Tag Archives: all wheel drive

2019 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD

Mazda CX-3 sticking with a good thing …2019 Mazda CX-3

Not much seems to have changed with Mazda’s stylish small crossover, the CX-3, since I last tested it a couple years ago.

I mean it gained two horsepower (big whoop), but really nothing much needed to change. I’d still like more horsepower, but at least there’s a Sport mode toggle on the console to boost power when you need it. Continue reading 2019 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD

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2018 BMW 530e xDrive iPerformance

BMW 530e hybrid defines ‘ultimate driving machine’ … 2018 BMW 530e xDrive

The 530e sedan defines why BMW can justifiably lay claim to building the “ultimate driving machine.”

This plug-in hybrid exudes everything one would want from a luxury car, with the added benefit of a hybrid system. Continue reading 2018 BMW 530e xDrive iPerformance

2018 Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T quattro

Audi A5 Coupe a rare breed …2018 Audi A5 Coupe

Coupes used to be a more plentiful subset of cars, but as cars become a smaller subset of vehicles the coupe appears closer and closer to extinction.

But Audi, for one, is committed to the segment and its A5 Coupe is a good example of how much pleasure can be derived from a coupe. It looks sharp, and melds sporty handling and power with a smooth-shifting 7-speed automatic transmission and 4-wheel drive, which Audi calls quattro.

The A5 does everything well, but is not a racer, nor a true family car, unless your little ones are in booster seats and can latch themselves in, or big enough to not need a booster, yet not too long-legged. Rear seat room is fairly cramped.

But a coupe is meant to transport two folks, mostly, and here they ride in comfort and style.2018 Audi A5 Coupe

The silver test car ($575 extra for the paint job) came with Audi’s stout 2.0-liter turbo I4 that creates a spirited, if not rambunctious, 252 horsepower and 273 ft.-lbs. of torque. Turbo lag is non-existent, in fact, I looked under the hood to make sure there was a turbo. The power here comes on so smoothly and in such a linear manner that it’s not obvious that all this boost is from a turbo. Continue reading 2018 Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T quattro

2016 Jaguar XF 35t R-Sport RWD

Jaguar XF R-Sport has the looks and the handling …2016 Jaguar XF R-Sport

Jaguars look better than most other luxury cars, and that matters in a world and a time when all luxury cars offer similar features and performance.

The Jaguar tradition is one of lean looks and mighty power, plus excellent handling. This new XF sedan fits that bill and pumps new blood into the Jaguar lineage. There’s the muscular nose and curved haunches that still resemble, albeit less obviously, a pouncing cat.

Power is generous too, a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 pumping out 340 horses and 332 lb.-ft. of torque. The spirited V6 pushes this rear-drive R-Sport edition to highway speeds quickly via a silky 8-speed automatic that you can let do its thing and not give shifts a thought, or you can flick the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

Such flicking will make the XF seem more spirited, but the automatic is so good you’ll likely let it do the job most of the time.

2016 Jaguar XF R-SportEven old muscle cars had plenty of power (although mostly horrible transmissions), so if handling is pedestrian the XF R-Sport would be just another sport luxury sedan. Ah, but handling is fine too, a fairly heavy feeling wheel, but one that is responsive and helps put some sport into the R-Sport. You can clip off a corner’s apex and accelerate hard out the other side and the Jaguar is purr-fectly (sorry) happy and stable.

The XF also features four dynamic driving modes, Sport, Normal, Eco and Winter. That last one will get a workout here most winters, especially with this being rear-wheel-drive. And Eco may save you a tiny bit of gas along with the annoying stop-start feature, that is easily turned off via a console button. Continue reading 2016 Jaguar XF 35t R-Sport RWD

2015 Chevrolet Trax LT AWD

Trax AWD offers high value for young SUV buyerstrax

            As Millennials and Gen-Xers battle for jobs and income in a challenging work environment it seems natural that small cars and small sport-utility vehicle sales would blossom.

Affordability and a high degree of usability would seem to be just what the new car/ute buyer would crave. So it’s no surprise that a host of small utes are being launched this year, with Chevrolet decidedly in the hunt.

Chevy already had the Aveo and Sonic small cars, but for 2015 launches the Chevy Trax a small ute riding on a 100.6-inch wheelbase and extending a modest 168.4 inches. That’s just about four inches longer than the recently tested Nissan Juke and Trax has a 1-inch advantage in wheelbase.

Yet unlike Juke, the Trax makes a compelling argument for small utes or crossovers. It’s fun to drive with nimble handling and a pleasant ride. While obviously trim, with a modest rear overhang, it’s reasonably attractive in a fit-in-with-the-neighbors sort of way. Folks won’t laugh at you.

trax1And if they ride with you and know what you paid for a Trax, they may even envy you.

Here’s why! Consider this the facts on Trax.

Trax, which is sold as the Holden Trax in Australia and built by General Motors in South Korea, is useful, equipped well at a low price, is available with all-wheel-drive and delivers excellent fuel economy. Continue reading 2015 Chevrolet Trax LT AWD

2015 Subaru WRX Limited

Subaru’s WRX still wicked fast, and somewhat practicalIMG_0004

WRX is Subaru’s abbreviation for wicked fast!

Has been for 23 years too, and yet, this flipped-out head case of a car is still a rush, a thrill, a beast. But it’s way more affordable than most speed-oriented machines, and as practical in most ways as any sedan, plus not all that tough on gas, considering.

Let’s start with a few numbers. The WRX, which is a Subaru Impreza on steroids, starts at $27,090 (including delivery), comes standard with all-wheel-drive to make it stick to the street, boasts 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque and is rated 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway in its 6-speed manual configuration. Weight is just 3,267 lbs.

Continue reading 2015 Subaru WRX Limited

2015 Lexus IS350

Lexus IS350 a BWM 3 Series fighter heavy on luxurylexus3

Star Trek groupies may already believe in mind melds, but BMW and Lexus engineers and designers have convinced me it’s a real phenomenon.

Their convincing argument is their creation of two like models that if more identical would be sold in the same showroom. Lexus calls theirs the IS350, while BMW sticks with 335i.

It’s no surprise really, BMW’s 3 Series rear-drive sport sedan has for decades been the holy of holies for auto enthusiasts and many magazines that cater to their Bimmer fetish. Lexus got the idea to fight the 3 Series about 10 years back, launching the IS series in 2005 as it looked to induct younger buyers into the Lexus family.

Continue reading 2015 Lexus IS350