New Sonata Hybrid with solar roof panels leads mileage parade …
OK, OK, OK, I oohed and aahed so much over the gas-powered 2020 Hyundai Sonata you might ask, how could I be any more enthusiastic for the hybrid version?
Well, you asked!
First, the Sonata Hybrid is still its same beautiful self as the gas-only model. Same dynamic profile, grille, nose, and taillights that ooze personality, a rarity among family sedans. Hyundai did not feel compelled to put blue or green eco markings on the car, or give it some odd styling tweaks to make it scream hybrid. There’s simply the word “hybrid” on its tail. Continue reading 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited Hybrid
ST is a family hauler with a sporty ‘Edge’
Ford revamped the nose and tail styling of its successful Edge crossover for 2019 and at the top end, gave it more power and a better tranny.
I’d driven a new Edge Titanium last winter and it, along with the lower level SE and SEL, are aimed squarely at the family market. But this bright metallic blue ST edition had a decidedly sportier edge (sorry) to it. Continue reading 2019 Ford Edge ST AWD
Edge’s new turbo and tranny provide crossover zip …
Ford revamps and upgrades its popular Edge mid-size crossover for 2019, discarding its V6 for a twin-turbo I4 and a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
The result is a fairly peppy crossover that will easily haul five adults with oodles of rear seat legroom and equally expansive cargo area. Continue reading 2019 Ford Edge Titanium AWD
Accent an impressive low-cost sedan …
Need new wheels at a low price, but don’t want to look like you’re driving an econobox that could tip over in a heavy wind or snag a trophy at the ugliest car on the block contest?
Hyundai has an impressive answer for just such a buyer, it’s redesigned 2018 Accent sedan. This week I tested a “rental-car white” SE, the base model, with an automatic transmission. And get this, with delivery fee, the Accent was $16,985. That’s right, just under $17 grand and you have a new car with a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
It has been a while since I tested an entry-level model and boy, was I pleasantly surprised. The Accent doesn’t feel cheap or look it. This is not bare bones by any means. Hyundai gave the Accent crisp body styling and a large grille to reflect the rest of the sharp-looking Hyundai lineup. Most entry-level cars appear squished, too narrow, and top-heavy. Or they simply are truncated and look out of proportion.
So, right off the bat, the Accent makes you feel you’re driving something a notch up from the price point where it starts. Continue reading 2018 Hyundai Accent SE A/T
New VW Passat hits for the cycle …
It may be a bit early in the calendar year to talk about hitting for the cycle, but the 2017 Volkswagen Passat does just that.
Rare is the mid-size car that delivers healthy power, refined handling and ride along with a quiet interior. Often a sedan with respectable power is noisy inside, or rides like a buckboard.
But the Passat is a pleasant blend that retains its sporty characteristics while delivering the “dreaded” practicality of room for five adults and their luggage, while also being a delight to drive and competitively priced. Its one drawback through the years (the car was redesigned for the 2016), has been reliability. The old model had issues. Time will tell if that monkey is off VW’s back for Passat, which is made in Tennessee.
From a driving standpoint I haven’t driven a more pleasurable mid-size car in ages. First, this pretty “Fortana Red” test car was the SEL Premium model with VW’s romping V6, a 3.6-liter number that creates a kickin’ 280 horses and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Coupled with a 6-speed automatic the power comes on in a hurry and gives the front-drive Passat major power.
Better yet, that power is smooth, not a burst as with the standard engine, a 1.8-liter turbocharged I4 that makes 170 horses. You’ll drink more gas with the V6, 20/28 mpg vs. 23/34 mpg for the I4. But I still got 23 mpg in a mix of driving that leaned more toward city speeds. Continue reading 2017 Volkswagen Passat V6 SEL Premium
Passat’s diesel economical and we’re not blowing smoke!
Perception often matters as much as reality, especially in the retail world of which the auto business is a top dog.
So the perception of a diesel engine being loud, smoky and not terribly pleasant to drive remains Volkswagen’s biggest obstacle when selling its pleasant mid-size front-drive Passat. This and the Chevrolet Cruze are the main turbo diesel cars available on our market today.
Their advantage is excellent fuel economy and reduced engine maintenance. That’s the case for both.
But VW has been offering its turbo diesels (TDI in VW parlance) for years, so you’d expect its version to perform better and feel more refined. It does not. My test earlier this year of the Cruze shows it to be quieter, run smoother and feel, well, more refined.
However, the tested champagne silver Passat TDI SEL, got excellent fuel mileage. Rated 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, I got a stellar 41.4 mpg in about a 50-50 mix of city and highway driving. The Cruze, while rated at 27 mpg city and 46 mpg highway netted me just 35 mpg in a drive tilted toward highway miles. Continue reading 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL