Category Archives: Car Reviews

Kia Rio hatch delivers sporty feel

2012-Kia-5-door-Hatch review, auto reviews, savageonwheels
Photos courtesy Kia

Last week I drove the Hyundai Accent and this week I drive its near twin, the 2012 Kia Rio SX, both fine small entry-level cars. But there are differences among the similarities.

First, the test Rio was a 5-door or hatchback version, while last week’s Accent was a four-door sedan.

Second, Rio has a much sportier feel created by a stiffer suspension and more supportive contoured seats inside. Continue reading Kia Rio hatch delivers sporty feel

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2012 Hyundai Accent GLS

Hyundai is trying something few carmakers have of late, offer a small entry-level car with nice styling.

4-door sedan reviews, Hyundai Accent 4-door sedan
Photos Courtesy Hyundai

No, the Accent isn’t as swoopy as the Sonata or even the Elantra, which is sandwiched between Accent and Sonata. But its lines are crisp and give the small car some flair. I drove a sparkling “marathon blue” 4-door GLS for the week and found it a great value. Here’s why.

First, it doesn’t cost you much to get into an Accent. Base price on the 4-door is $12,545 and for that you get the same 1.6-liter fuel-efficient direct-injected 4-cylinder all aluminum engine as all Accents. It delivers 138 horsepower, which is best in class, so there’s plenty of power for a light, 2,463-lb. car. Continue reading 2012 Hyundai Accent GLS

2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

The world needs another compact sport-utility vehicle like it needs a few more politicians, but Mazda definitely needed a new compact SUV.

It’s Tribute, which was based off Ford’s Escape, was aging and barely selling. Its CX-7 and CX-9 are larger and frankly, more expensive.

2013 Mazda CX-5, Mazda reviews, savageonwheels
Photos courtesy of Mazda

So the 2013 (already) CX-5 comes along at just the right time, for Mazda. The fact that it’s attractive, abandoning the giant gaping mouth nose styling that Mazda has fancied of late, will likely make it popular too, that and its performance. The good mojo starts with better than average gas mileage and extends to a pleasant ride, above average handling and a stylish interior. Continue reading 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

2012 Subaru Impreza

Let’s get this right up front, I like the looks, ride and handling of the restyled 2012 Subaru Impreza.

Subaru Impreza, car reviews, savageonwheels
Subaru Impreza

The small sedan’s chiseled nose and flattened wheel flares give it a much more exciting appearance than its predecessor. But the variable speed 5-speed transmission is a stumbling block. The continuously variable transmission (CVT), like so many others, makes the car’s acceleration less than stellar, plus combines with the engine to create a whine and groan that make the car sound like it’s working awfully hard to get up to normal driving speeds. Continue reading 2012 Subaru Impreza

2012 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L Nav

2012 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD, Honda CR-V
Photos Courtesy Honda

The Honda CR-V has been a solid compact sport-utility vehicle for years, so it should be no surprise that the restyled 2012 model remains simply that.

Naturally some changes were made. CR-V adds a few more horses (5 to be exact) under the hood, but it also rounds its styling to the point of being rather bulbous in back, and its length and height shrink a bit while the cargo space grows by 1.5 cubic feet. Pricing has continued to inch upward too. The base LX model with 2-wheel drive now starts at $22,295 and there’s a monster $810 delivery fee to get it shipped from Ohio. Lucky it doesn’t come from overseas. Continue reading 2012 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L Nav

2012 Hyundai Veloster

2012 Veloster, savageonwheels, car reviews
Photos Courtesy Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai has done it again, created a styling home run, a car that people talk about. This time it’s the diminutive 2012 Hyundai Veloster, a sporty coupe/hatch with a bonus back door on the passenger’s side. Ah, you say, “Didn’t Saturn do that  years ago?” Yes, but that car wasn’t nearly as attractive as this one, nor as well built.

Veloster, which sounds like a dinosaur from “Jurassic Park,” is a fun drive. It combines the swoopy appeal of Honda’s CR-Z hybrid coupe, with the light, fun to drive feel of former Toyota Celicas. Youngsters, and maybe a few of us 50-somethings looking for a stylish commuter, will dig this economical coupe/hatch. Continue reading 2012 Hyundai Veloster