Volvo S60 Cross Country tall, awkward looking
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
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.
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
I’ll be dogged, Acura RLX delivers power, elegance and PAWS
My experience is that it’s hard to go wrong with an Acura sedan, and the new mid-size RLX does nothing to make me rethink that notion.
Fairly handsome outside, elegant inside it’s smooth on the road, handles well and offers oodles of power. Even the gas mileage is good for a powerful V6.
Mechanically the silver RLX Advance was as close to automotive perfection as one can get for roughly $60 grand. Sadly that’s the price one has to pay for such stout performance and elegant interior appointments, plus what is becoming the usual assortment of electronic gizmos, from a blind-spot warning system to rearview camera.
Ah, but the Acura adds in yet another, PAWS. That’s short for Precision All-Wheel Steering, which obviously is a step up from simply standard All-Wheel Steering. What this goodie does is mildly improve your car’s handling and agility by tilting your car’s rear wheels 1.8 degrees in the direction you’re steering the front wheels. This shortens your turning radius and makes the car feel a bit more responsive. PAWS helps in cornering and braking too. As you apply the brakes it slightly angles your rear wheels to increase tire braking pressure.
Certainly if you were driving on a race course this would become much more evident and useful. In daily driving I must admit it was hard to notice, but then most Acura sedans have fairly responsive steering and corner well. So the best way to test it would be to have the exact same car without the system installed and run it side by side with the tester. Continue reading 2014 Acura RLX Advance