Tag Archives: driving modes

2016 Toyota Avalon Touring

Stylish Toyota Avalon long on comfort at good priceavalon1

Toyota’s Avalon is a breath of fresh air, a full-size sedan with stylish lines and oodles of comfort and features at a reasonable price.

In days of yore, that would be enough to make it one of the top sellers in the marketplace, but alas, modern times belong to trucks, SUVs and crossovers.

Still, if you enjoy a smooth well-controlled ride and a roomy quiet interior that will coddle five adults on a road trip, Avalon should be atop your shopping list.

Toyota restyled Avalon a couple years ago, all to the good. It looks modern, youthful and sporty for a big sedan. Its 111-inch wheelbase gives it one of the most pleasant rides of any car, truck or ute, no matter the price.

Avalon’s strong 268-horse V6 engine delivers excellent power so the sedan will hoof it up to highway speeds like a race horse, not a plow horse like most SUVs. Amazingly its gas mileage is excellent too, rated at 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway by the EPA. I got 26.7 mpg in about 75% highway driving, including a roundtrip to Chicago with two folks aboard and light luggage.

avalon5This has three driving modes too, Normal, Eco and Sport, but I felt little difference between Normal and Sport. Eco allows the transmission to shift earlier to save fuel, so cuts power a bit. Yet the gas mileage, as stated earlier, is fine without using Eco. Continue reading 2016 Toyota Avalon Touring

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T

Santa Fe Sport blends car, sport-ute nearly flawlesslysanta-fe-sport-01

There are few crossovers that come close to being the perfect blend of car and sport-utility, yet are comfortable and affordable too – but Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport is pretty darned close.

Hyundai remodeled its popular Santa Fe crossover lineup a couple years back and essentially split it into two models, the larger and heavier Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Sport, which is smaller and sportier. The latter, my friends, is the way to go.

My frost pearl white Sport looks and feels luxurious and is loaded with a ton of goodies, thanks to the Ultimate Package. But at its core it’s a high performing mid-size crossover for the family of four, or five. It handles well, rides well and has enough power to make it borderline fun.

The test unit was the Sport AWD 2.0T, the upper end Santa Fe Sport with a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 and all-wheel-drive. It lists at $33,000, plus an $875 delivery fee. This one added the appropriately named Ultimate Package for $4,350, pushing it to $38,350. That’s getting up there, but as you might suspect, there is a base model starting at $25,845 including delivery. It touts a 190-horse 2.4-liter I4 and comes with front-wheel drive.

You can move up to an AWD model for $27,575, or get a front-drive version with the turbo for $31,250. Plenty of choices.

Value is high in the test unit. Here’s what you get. Continue reading 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T