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→
Suzuki finally earning some respect as quality improves
For years Suzuki’s cars and small utes didn’t garner much respect, but you have to earn respect, and NOW Suzuki is getting some.
That’s after its fine Kizashi sedan and SX4 small crossover raised awareness in the brand by being well designed and executed, with quality more on par with other entry-level and value brands. Another winner is its Grand Vitara, a small sport-ute that’s fun to drive, simple and delivers excellent value.
My silver tester was the mid-level Ultimate Adventure model with 4WD. And even with its impressive sounding name, it lists at $23,949, including delivery. This is where entry-level sport-utes used to be priced and what some, like Jeep’s Liberty started out to be. Continue reading 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara→
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→
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→
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 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→
Infiniti’s new M56X sedan is the rich man’s Park Avenue, full of luxury and comfortable ride, but also an absolute blast to drive.
Certainly it’s more spirited than many large luxury sedans, while looking as tame as, well, a Park Avenue. Yet there’s a growling 5.6-liter V8 under its hood that is just waiting to use its monster 420 horsepower. Continue reading 2012 Infiniti M56X→
Buick moves into the compact sedan market with its new Verano based on a front-drive Opel platform from Europe.
This has been a successful General Motors strategy of late, revamping its European models and offering the restyled versions in the North American market. Verano’s goal was to reach the entry-level luxury sedan buyer, the first-time luxury car shopper. Buick says its primary targets were buyers aiming at the Acura TSX, Lexus IS 250 and Volvo V30. -But wait, there’s more!>
Luxury cars make you feel special; they coddle you.
After a week in a gorgeous “mercury metallic (dark sparkling metallic blue)” 2013 Lexus GS350 I consider myself sufficiently coddled. The redesigned full-size GS comes as both a rear-drive and all-wheel-drive model, this being the latter.
All come with a strong 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 that delivers 306 horsepower via a seamless 6-speed automatic that allows you to shift manually via the console shifter or paddle shifters located behind the power tilt/telescope steering wheel. Everything feels silky smooth, belying the GS AWD’s $49,450 base price. Continue reading Lexus GS 350 AWD→
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→