While theaters are bulging with “Star Wars,” auto dealer showrooms are embroiled in car wars as top-selling mid-size sedans butt heads with their latest models.
Top of the sales heap are the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, both of which have been revamped for 2018. But one of the sedans each of those has set its sights on is the already snazzy Mazda6. Mazda isn’t sitting still though, it will launch a new Mazda6 this spring, but its most updated model, the 2017.5 version is well worth a look now.
I visited family in the Las Vegas area last week and slipped behind the wheel of a Soul Red ($300 extra, and worth it) Mazda6, a muscular, sporty sedan that still is among this segment’s styling leaders. The sparkling metallic red test car was the top-level Grand Touring edition, so it was loaded.
But before you pooh-pooh it for fear its price is out of reach, consider that the GT starts at $31,570, including delivery, and even with options this one clocked in at $34,695. That’s below the average selling price for a new car and well below a crossover or sport-utility equipped this well.
First consider that all Mazda6 models come with what Mazda calls SkyActiv-G technology that delivers good power and excellent fuel economy. SkyActive-G is applied to Mazda’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and include a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. This one came with paddle shifters too.
Weight remains moderate at 3,305 lbs. and the engine’s 184 horsepower is plenty perky when you tromp the accelerator to get on the highway. But, as with many cars today, Mazda includes a sport mode, this one activated by a toggle on the console. Boom! The tranny holds the lower gears longer to boost power and in this mode the Mazda races to highway speeds. Read more
Mitsubishi continues to fly under the radar among the Japanese car makers in the U.S., with just a few models and those don’t change often.
But the Outlander Sport has been one of its success stories, as it spun off from the larger Outlander SUV a few years back. This is a small ute, or crossover, about a foot shorter in length than Outlander.
It’s handsome, easy to maneuver in a parking lot and an automotive bargain. But it’s no benchmark to be sure.
The body is tidy and looks a bit sportier than many mainline small utes. I tested a pretty metallic red almost top-level SEL with AWD. The later is a bit of a misnomer in that you must engage the 4-wheel-drive system while cars and wagons such as Subarus are AWD all the time. Still, that’s easy because there’s a big button on the console. Press it once and you go from 2WD to 4WD.
Price though is what sets it apart. You can easily pay $30-35 grand for a decent AWD crossover or small ute, but the SEL model starts at $26,835, including delivery. Even with its pricey Touring Package, a $2,000 option, the test vehicle checked in at just $29,110. That’s a certifiable bargain.
That AWD works fine once engaged, and the Outlander Sport SEL now comes with a bit horsier 2.4-liter I4 engine. This one has 168 horsepower compared with 148 in earlier models and lower cost trim levels. Read more
You never know what you might find
This article caught my attention because I’m getting our 2008 Chrysler Pacifica ready to sell on Craigslist. This is not my first rodeo as I sold our 1994 Dodge Intrepid with no problems a couple of years back. I love looking at the listings, just to see what’s out there like this Lotus Esprit. Read on.
And not the traditional way
Mark and I love slot car racing because it’s fun and you get to drive smaller versions of race cars you would never have a shot to drive. See my blog entry about it. How’d you like to see how Grand Prix racers see a track? No, not the traditional way where there’s a in-car camera. Here’s a fun video where Daniel Riccairdo takes you on a tour of the Canadian F1 track, the slot car version of it.
It seems like it’s taken forever to get the new Acura NSX into production.
It just started in Honda’s Marysville, OH plant. When it gets to the dealerships, it will be priced at just over $150,000. Want to guess what the first one sold for and who bought it? Read on
On my bucket list
A spin around the track in Nurburgring. Not really picky on what car I’d want to drive but it would have to be freaking fast. The 2017 Chevy Camero ZL1 would be a blast. Want to see it, not with me in it, flexing its 640-Horsepower muscle. Watch.
Ever been stopped by a cop?
Of course I have but all for minor stuff like missing a front plate. Just get it fixed and show us, you’ll be on your way the officer told me. But he never thought my car was cool like this one in Nebraska. Wish there were more pictures. I’ll be in the wood shop tomorrow.
Angry, party of one, angry party of one…….
That best describes the jerk driving the Ford Fusion in this video shot in Florida. Classic case of road rage. A guy on a bike pulls up at a stop light between two cars (guess you can do that in Florida. Not for me though) and the guy in the car on the right got ticked off. OK, it’s easy to say what I’d do after the fact but here’s what I would do. I could easily out run the guy on my Suzuki Hayabusa but that would put me and others in danger. I would have pulled into the nearest gas station and dialed 911. The guy in the Fusion should be charged with attempted vehicular homicide and undergo serious anger management. One things for sure. It would have scared the s……t out of me! Thoughts?
When Kia first hit our shores, it was just another Asian import, but now the products they offer are through the roof cool. I have to admit that I have not been a fan of the Soul but it has grown on me. To spread the word, they are partnering with the NBA (National Baskeball Association). Read on here.
25 Years of Zoomies
Here are my Car of the Year Awards for the first 25 years of the Savage On Wheels column, as they appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. This year the Zoomies will appear only on this website. Watch for their posting …. very soon!
Here are the past Zoomie winners:
2014: Mazda3 (light, swoopy hatchback with power, fun handling and fuel efficiency)
2013: Dodge Dart (sassy smart looking small car, full of youthful features, value)
2012: Chevrolet Volt (good looking, well built and cutting edge technology)
2011: Ford Mustang (in any trim a beautiful, fast, fun car with excellent ride and handling)
2010: Suzuki Kizashi SLS (modest price, good looks/handling, loaded with goodies)
2009: Volvo C30 (sassy, economical, fun with fresh styling)
2008: Nissan Altima Coupe (awesome looks, good value, fun drive with power)
2007: Mazda5 (stylish blend of sportwagon-van, low price, practical)
2006: Ford Fusion (good looks, good value, improved fit and finish) Read more
Zoomies: The Everyman’s Car of the Year, where style and value still matter
Zoomie got kicked to the curb this year, after 25 years of top car selections for the Milwaukee newspaper.
Hey, stuff happens!
So while you didn’t get to see my top car, hybrid, crossover, etc. selections in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after 25 consecutive years, you can see them here. I hope you also hear, or heard, me chat them up on WUWM’s (89.7 FM) Lake Effect show on March 9.
My Zoomie Car of the Year was launched in 1990 as a response to what I thought a travesty. Noted car mag Motor Trend had just dubbed the bulbous whale-like Chevrolet Caprice, that of big city taxi fame, as its Car of the Year.
This was the year that Mazda had launched its soon to be iconic Miata roadster, the first, the best and the most affordable sports car ever. I had to right a wrong!
Thus, my first Zoomie (named after my brother Steve’s iguana) went to the Miata, instantly setting the automotive world right – even if said world was fully unaware.
NOW … 26 years later I’ve driven roughly 1,300 cars and trucks and use that as my basis for selections. Yet I only compare the vehicles I’ve driven in the past year, since the last Zoomie Awards, for Car of the Year, and other categories as befit the past year’s fleet.
My intent, as always, is to select a car for the masses, but one with styling flair, something that’s fun, yet also delivers value.
So you won’t see a Ferrari, Bugatti or Lamborghini here (uh, they’ve never even invited me to drive one), but the award also won’t go to a big ol’ truck either, as they simply aren’t fun or sporty, ever.
Now the envelopes please: Read more
New reveals, but kind of laid back
Laid back, that’s how Mark and I sum up this year’s Chicago Auto Show as far as the new models go. Of course nobody could top Subaru’s reveal of their new Legacy last year. No car was cooler than the new Ford GT, which you can see in the image here and in one of the videos below.
The reveals continue in Detroit
I really love the big auto shows like the NAIAS going on in Detroit. The manufacturers pull out all the stops with new concepts. Some make it into production and some don’t. I hope this Hyundai Santa Cruz crossover truck hits the streets soon.
The auto show season is up and running
It began today when the North American International Auto Show opened in Detroit. Lots of reveals including and all-new Ford GT supercar which will be racing at Le Mans next year and a brand new Shelby GT350R. The “R” for racing. Bet both of these would be a hoot to drive.