Tag Archives: sedan

2017 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Dynamic

Volvo S60 OK, but doesn’t distinguish itself …2017 Volvo S60

Volvo’s S60 is a fine, but underwhelming, compact, entry-level luxury car.

The S60 is nice looking and has all-wheel-drive, which will make it more useful to drivers in northern climes. It performs well, although its ride is rough, yet nothing really stands out.

Some will argue that its safety features stand out. That’s what Volvo, now owned by Geely, a Chinese firm, has hung its woolen winter cap on for years. Certainly the S60 T5 AWD Dynamic (quite a mouthful) that I tested had safety equipment, about what you’d expect on any car or crossover costing north of $40 grand.

For instance, there’s lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, collision warning with automatic braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection also with auto braking, plus distance alert. All those are swell, but are not standard. They’re part of an optional $1,500 tech package. It also adds active high beams, rain-sensing wipers and the ability for the car to read road signs so you’ll always know what speed you should be going.

I’m not pooh-poohing these devices, but nearly all car makes have these now.2017 Volvo S60

The test car also added an optional $1,950 vision package too that added a blind-spot information system (BLIS), plus rear park assist, cross-traffic alert, rearview camera, and a few other features. Again, others have these systems too, some come standard on other luxury, and non-luxury, lines. Continue reading 2017 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Dynamic

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Die-cast: NEO’s 1957 Buick Roadmaster Hardtop Coupe

1957 Buick Roadmaster Hardtop a two-tone beauty1957 Buick Roadmaster

Fins were fun and gave the 1950s cars both personality and a hint of aerodynamics that merged the streamlined models of the 1930s with the aerospace world of the 1960s to come.

Buick may not be the first brand you think of when it comes to ‘fin’ish styling, but in 1957 it was tastefully incorporating fins into its sleek designs. Witness the 1957 Buick Roadmaster Hardtop Coupe with is four ventiports and straight tailfins with round projected taillights hinting at being afterburners in those beautifully sculpted chrome rear light surrounds.

NEO does another fine job of re-creating the look of a 1950s chrome-laden model in 1/43 scale resin with the Roadmaster, and for a still modest $74.95. Some 1/43 models are now creeping over the $100 mark.1957 Buick Roadmaster

The History

All Buick hardtops were considered Riviera models in 1957 and 4-door sedans were eliminated. The clean, sexier look of the hardtop with no B-pillar was setting the styling and sales trends. Two-tone paint was being enhanced by chrome sweeps on the hardtop’s sides and around the windows. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1957 Buick Roadmaster Hardtop Coupe

2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Advance

New Acura RLX sport sedan does it all2016 Acura RLX …

I quickly feel in love with driving the new Acura RLX Hybrid, a sport sedan that does everything right from a performance standpoint.

One could argue that its looks are pedestrian, and they are mid-pack at best. But driving the RLX is like flying under the radar of our beloved highway patrol simply because it does NOT stand out visually. It simply kicks booty when it comes to manhandling the roads.

First, the Crystal Black RLX Sport Hybrid I tested was the top-end model with the Advance package and clicked the cost turnstiles at $66,870 including delivery. There were no options left to add.

The Advance package hybrid comes with the standard RLX engine, a strong 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing. To that it adds a hybrid system consisting of three electric motors, two working directly to power the rear wheels. That electric power extends gas mileage and boosts power by 67 horsepower for a total of 377 ponies.

In standard mode the car has generous power from a stop, but punch the Sport button on the console and the car is noticeably faster off the line, delivering a punch you might not expect from a car of such nonchalant looks. Sort of like discovering your class valedictorian also is a professional stunt double. Continue reading 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Advance

2016 Honda Civic EX

New Honda Civic adds style, remains no-nonsense sedan …civic2

Need good basic wheels? Make that better than basic, but at a no-nonsense price, a practical car that’s fun to drive with good ride and that will fit a family of four comfortably.

Honda’s new 2016 Civic sedan has you covered, and then some.

Civics, when first introduced in the States, were little boxes that brought to mind clown cars, or maybe the original Mini Cooper from the 1960s? Civics were cheap cars that ran forever and got good gas mileage. That fit a big niche in the early 1970s. Continue reading 2016 Honda Civic EX

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

2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country T5 AWD

Volvo S60 Cross Country tall, awkward lookingvolvoS60

I really liked the last Volvo S60 sedan I drove and was curious about this new Cross Country model that adds all-wheel drive, plus more pronounced fender flares to give it a somewhat different look.

AWD continues to gain popularity, especially in the northern climes such as ours. Subaru offers its Legacy sedan with it, but doesn’t make it look as tall and awkward as the Volvo. In fact, from a rear three-quarter view the new Volvo looks an awful lot like the ancient American Motors Eagle sedan, which was obviously way ahead of its time as an AWD sedan. I think it’s the Volvo’s ride height, which is 2.5 inches taller than the standard S60 sedan, plus the short rear-end Continue reading 2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country T5 AWD

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid

Accord Hybrid quietly delivers improved gas mileage

Honda’s Accord has grown to be a larger sedan, but remains a smooth, quiet comfortable family car that will haul five adults while remaining a good family value. NOW, it adds a hybrid power system.honda1

The tested silver Accord features a 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder gas engine that creates 141 horses along with a hybrid electric system that combines with the gas engine to create 196 horsepower. So the power is there, but so is the gas mileage, and isn’t that why you go with a hybrid power system?

The hybrid Accord is rated 50 mpg city and 45 mpg highway. Ironically I seemed to get better gas mileage on the highway than in the city. The trip computer mileage rating dropped every time I tooled along city streets with their lengthy stoplights, especially along Blue Mound Road. Overall the car put me at 37.1 mpg and I recorded 35.2 mpg for the week, with roughly 350 miles on 10 gallons of gas, including a highway drive to Chicago where the computer put me at 40 mpg overall. I might have been disappointed by the gas mileage, but nearly every day I had the car the air temperature was below zero to start the day.

But is there sufficient power to get away from a stoplight or change lanes in a hurry if you so desire?

Yes, but on any incline, no matter how slight, and when you need real power to slip in and out of lanes on the highway or when pulling away from a stop, the car’s engine growls and sounds labored. The electronic-CVT (continuously variable transmission) seems to hesitate before building any torque. In fact, the hybrid system’s torque rating is a paltry 122. In gas-powered cars the torque rating is usually near, or better than its horsepower ranking. But acceleration through it all is adequate. Continue reading 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid