Hyundai hybrid is low cost from the get-go …
Hybrids in general, and plug-in hybrids in particular, are becoming the way to go for families looking for the best fuel economy, or socially conscious buyers wanting to reduce their carbon footprint.
Fortunately the hybrid market just keeps expanding while becoming more affordable. Continue reading 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid Limited
Civic comes in 3 shapes, a big player in small car market …
Honda’s Civic is a mainstay in the small car market. Why? It has been around for years, remains affordable and comes in three body styles, sedan, coupe and hatchback.
All of those traits make it unusual. And for the past few years Honda designers have been trying to create a bit more visual excitement with Civics that feature sharp creases and angles that frankly, always make me think of a kid’s Transformer toy. Some love it, others, not so much. I find the nose appealing, the profile acceptable and the rear end rather garish. Continue reading 2019 Honda Civic 1.5T Touring
LEAF Plus: Better range, and exceeding expectations …
No matter how much good I have to say about Nissan’s new LEAF (and I have plenty to say), I’m not sure you’ll believe me.
That’s because the original LEAF, as revolutionary as it was as the first fully electric car to be marketed to the masses, was underwhelming, if for no other reason than its range was only about 80 miles. Certainly that would be fine for a city commuter, but not real practical for much more than that. Continue reading 2019 Nissan LEAF SL Plus
Mazda CX-3 sticking with a good thing …
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
Mazda CX-3 flickable fun, but practical too
Small hatchbacks have always been fun to drive and practical too. So why shouldn’t a small crossover with a hatch be much the same?
Well, more and more tiny crossovers are being made and mostly they are pretty entertaining to drive. This week’s bright metallic blue (dynamic blue mica) Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD fits that bill.
Steering is light and lively with quick handling and downright perky acceleration when you toggle the Sport mode on the console. That pumps up the revs so the 146-horse 2.0-liter I4 has maximum torque, which also is 146. The Mazda zips away from stoplights with relative enthusiasm, but you’ll need to toggle back to the normal setting or it holds the engine’s revs way too long and eventually will suck down gas mileage.
But hey, toggling the Sport mode is almost as much fun as shifting a manual transmission – almost.
Add to that the practicality of all-wheel-drive to help steady the little crossover in winter slop, plus excellent fuel economy and you’ve got an attractive and cute ute, er crossover to take the place of any small sedan or hatchback.
The CX-3 is Mazda’s smallest crossover, just down a notch in size and wheelbase, from the CX-5. Both handle well. Continue reading 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD
Fiat 500 Easy: low price, low power, lower expectations
Several years have passed since I last drove a Fiat 500, the mini-car Fiat re-launched its brand with in the U.S. market for 2012.
The 500 hasn’t grown any, nor changed much, which depending on your point of view may be good, or a bit sad. The 500’s cuteness level remains high. It still looks like a slightly more modern version of the original rear-engine 1957 model it’s designed to resemble. Continue reading 2016 Fiat 500 Easy
Scion iA a snazzy low-cost small sedan
Rarely has so little felt like so much.
Scion delivers possibly the highest value car for the entry-level market and does it with a good looking small sedan that is value priced and yet looks and feels much more like a mid-priced compact sedan.
The new iA, and we could quibble about the name, is a delight. Based on the Mazda2 platform, the iA delivers much more than the Mazda, which is a small hatchback. While I love hatchbacks for their usefulness, this sedan simply feels like it can take on and beat the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Chevy Sonic, to name a few competitors. Continue reading 2016 Scion iA