Turbo adds kick to Mazda3, AWD gives it traction …
It’s possible that the current new generation of drivers will never know how much fun it is to pilot a car. Sad!
Crossovers and trucks are so big, so dominant in the marketplace that it’s almost unbelievable that some automakers are still making cars. Several have stopped, or scaled car models way back.
Thankfully Mazda is not one of them.
In fact, the Japanese automaker continues to improve its entry-level sedan/hatch the Mazda3. Last year it added all-wheel-drive to the sporty car and this year it ups the ante with a more powerful engine to deliver even more fun. Bravo! Continue reading 2021 Mazda3 Turbo Premium AWD
Crosstrek sporty, practical, moderately priced …
Subaru takes a serious step forward with its new Crosstrek, a small crossover that mates sporty styling with practicality and moderate cost, a winning combo. Continue reading 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited
Acura RDX couples luxury, power with AWD
Smooth, quiet and useful, with a strong interior luxury quotient. That’s the new Acura RDX AWD Advance, the top-of-the-line model that should be making European makes nervous.
Well, it’s awfully nice and for substantially less cash than equally equipped German makes, such BMW, Mercedes and Audi. There’s still some panache to such nameplates, but folks looking for luxury and value will find both in the Acura.
This is an incredibly quiet and comfortable crossover vehicle that will carry five passengers. It’s handsome but certainly not a head turner. But the dark metallic blue of the test vehicle made this RDX stand out in a sea of gray/silver crossovers populating suburbia.
There’s much to like here, and little to loathe, or even think twice about.
Power is good from the 3.5-liter iVTEC V6 that creates 279 horsepower with a torque rating of 252 ft.-lbs. Plus there’s a sport mode that increases throttle response if you’re needing quick acceleration. Certainly the RDX will quickly get you to highway speeds for easy merges. However, and this was only a moderate concern, sometime there is a lag in acceleration once you are at speed and get on the gas quickly to pass, or when powering out of a turn. This is not uncommon in many of today’s vehicles, no matter their price. Continue reading 2016 Acura RDX AWD Advance
Small cars can be fun to drive if spunky and good handling
Driving small cars isn’t a turnoff to me. I enjoy their economy, their simplicity their easy handling and their low cost.
But frugal needn’t mean blah, and Ford’s Fiesta has learned that lesson. It offers a spunky look and feel, good handling and an overall simplicity that helps you enjoy the pure driving ability of the car. And it does it without all the electronic gee-whiz gadgets that add so much cost to today’s cars, yet it was no fuddy-duddy.
I drove the SE hatchback, the mid-level model of seven trims. There is the base S sedan starting at a bargain basement $14,000, all the way up to a racy ST hatchback with a turbocharged four-banger at $21,400.
The Race Red SE hatch is indicative of what many Fiesta buyers will select and lists at $16,050.
First, the hatch gives you more cargo hauling capability and it looks sportier in profile than the sedan. There’s even a little spoiler in back.
Standard to all but the ST model is a 1.6-liter, Duratec I4 that creates 120 horsepower that is effectively put to use via an easy shifting 5-speed manual gearbox. The Fiesta never seems slow or pokey. While no speed racer it’ll get up to highway speeds easily and feels downright frisky as you pull away from stoplights, having good low-end torque. That’s quite a contrast to the Nissan Versa Note I tested recently. It felt way underpowered, yet these cars are almost identical in price, amenities and weight and the Note was just 11 horsepower shy of the Fiesta. Continue reading 2014 Ford Fiesta SE
Luxury, your initials are XTS
Luxury always has its price and for Cadillac, that price is $60,385 for its new XTS sedan.
Don’t gasp, that’s nowhere near where the price for luxury starts, nor where many other midsize luxury sedans end up. This one added but a $920 delivery charge to end up at $61,305, yet it’s still loaded with enough electronic goodies to give Bill Gates a headache.
First, the XTS is Cadillac’s new top-level sedan, replacing, in a way, the bigger DTS and more similarly sized STS. This one rides on a 111.7-inch wheelbase, is 202 inches long and weighs in at 4,215 lbs. By comparison a Lexus GS350 sedan tested earlier this year is roughly the same size, weighs about 250 lbs. less and costs just $1,500 less. So XTS is right in the gated neighborhood it wants to occupy.
This graphite gray metallic test car was the uppermost AWD Platinum model, so it has the advantage of all-wheel drive. A “base” front-drive XTS starts at $44,075 and a Luxury version that adds AWD begins at $50,915. So less expensive models are available. Continue reading 2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum