Category Archives: Car Reviews

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

Cute and powerful, but overpriced and a rough rider

A co-worker put it perfectly after seeing my black and white Fiat 500 Abarth, it’s the Beanie Baby of cars – Cute with a capital C.Fiat's new Abarth

I like small cars, appreciate their efficiency, their fun factor and generally their lower cost. The Fiat 500 is cute, almost to a fault. At its base Pop trim level it’s a fun sub-compact that starts at an extremely attractive $15,500.

The Abarth (Fiat tells us that’s pronounced AH-bar) is its racy version. Think of its 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged engine as a Mini-Hemi, seeing as how Fiat and Chrysler are now linked up. Continue reading 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

Sporty, useful, practical, some hatchbacks have it all

Hatchbacks are fantastic and Hyundai’s latest entry the Elantra GT proves the point.2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

Sporty, useful, practical and bordering on fun to drive a hatchback often gives you more for your money than any other car design on the market. Think of crossovers as hatchbacks on steroids and you get the picture for useful and practical, but without the sporty. Continue reading 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

2012 Hyundai Azera

Azera is aces in luxury, quiet, comfort

 If you are among the folks who thought Hyundai would never make it in the U.S. car market, well, get over it.

I’ve driven quite a few Hyundai models of late and the new Azera is the finest yet. This is a large front-drive sedan to challenge Toyota’s Avalon and entry-level sedans from Lexus, Infiniti, Acura and the like.

Granted the Azera looks much like a Lexus and, similar to that make, it tends more toward luxury than sport. The emphasis here is on smooth, starting with its gentle curving roofline and profile to the car’s stylish soothing leather interior. Continue reading 2012 Hyundai Azera

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

A Sculpted, Sensuous Styling Home Run

Hyundai’s new Genesis Coupe is a styling home run, sporty, sculpted and sensuous.

I’ve gotten in trouble before using sensuous to describe a car. But I’m just saying, this baby has all its curves in all the right places. Heck, a co-worker who saw only the 2013 coupe’s nose out our office window asked me if I was testing a Maserati this week.

Part of that perception of the Genesis Coupe as something special comes from the four creases in the hood and the way the blend into the nose. Helping are two angular air scoops (fake, sadly) that perfectly accent the hood’s lines too. Not so subtle creasing of the sheet metal along the sides also makes Genesis look quick, even sitting still. Continue reading 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata

A Sports Car as Good as it Gets

This is the Miata I actually drove, but a few weeks before the test. Here it sits near the Carousel at Road America at a Midwest Autowriters outing.

To look at Mazda’s MX-5 Miata you’d think little has changed since its introduction nearly 25 years ago.It’s still the quintessential two-seater, a sports car for the ages with a simple layout, simple lines, simple controls and for today’s market, a simple price tag.

The base Sport with a soft convertible top goes for $23,470, but the tested Special Edition with a power hardtop lists at $31,225. Add in the $795 destination charge and you’re looking at $32,020, not an economy car, but there aren’t many convertibles available in this price range anymore.

Yet Miata is a pleasant mixture of change and stability. The petit, some might call it cute, styling has been cleaned up a touch through the years, so now it reflects a bit more crispness, like the former Honda S2000 roadster. Continue reading 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2013 Ford Mustang V6 Coupe

Mustang is Ford’s home run hitting all-star

Ford continues to belt home run after home run with its Mustang lineup and the newly freshened 2013 Ford Mustang powered by a stout V6 is the latest round-tripper.

Ford touches all the bases here, looks, speed, handling and ride. My test car was a light (Ingot) silver Premium model, so just up from the base Mustang. Both feature the same hot rod V6, a 3.7-liter motor that cranks an impressive 305 horsepower. But the base starts at a modest $22,200 and the Premium at $26,200.

The Premium model includes, among other upgrades, a 370-watt Shaker audio system along with Microsoft’s Sync system to help you select radio or other audio options via voice. Continue reading 2013 Ford Mustang V6 Coupe

2012 Audi A6

2012 Audi A6: Defining the luxury sedan

The new 2012 Audi A6 is just about everything a luxury sport sedan should be. It’s fast, it’s nimble, it’s stylish inside and out and it’s loaded with luxury amenities. Any quibbles I have are minor.

First, Audi continues its string of well styled cars that offer character and identity. When you see an A6, you know it’s an Audi, with its large grille opening and stylish LED headlamps in front and its slim lights and trim rear styling. It looks strong, yet elegant, and unlike most of its German competitors, it delivers an equally stylish, not staid and primarily black interior. Audi calls its interior a wraparound skyline design. Continue reading 2012 Audi A6