Tag Archives: Sportronic

2017 Kia Niro Touring

Kia’s new hybrid will knock your socks off …2017 Kia Niro

            Roughly once a year a test car knocks my socks off, trips my trigger, simply surprises the heck out of me and this week’s Kia Niro Touring has me amazed.

Looking at it you’ll say that’s no car, that’s a crossover vehicle. And that’s what Kia wants you to say. The styling is typical Kia wonderful with good looking nose, tail and beautifully proportioned profile. It has a taller stance like a crossover, but (and this is one of at least two surprises) it is front-wheel drive, and as of now AWD is not an option.

Second surprise, from a driving standpoint, this little beauty is a hybrid.

That’s right, it has an electric motor to go along with its 1.6-liter 4-cylinder gas-powered engine to create what sounds like a modest 139 horsepower. Don’t let that number fool you.2017 Kia Niro

Sure, left in Normal drive mode the acceleration here is (yawn), shall we say, modest. But simply by sliding the 6-speed Sportronic gear lever to the left into Sport mode the Niro jumps to life. Acceleration is quick and quiet as the electric motor propels this honey to normal city cruising speed.

I found myself leaving the shifter in normal mode, which is the most economical way to go, and then slipping it into Sport at stoplights. Fun, and zippy! Continue reading 2017 Kia Niro Touring

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2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR

2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR

Mitsubishi doesn’t sell a lot of vehicles in the U.S. market, but it still appeals to the boy toy racer crowd with its Lancer Evolution.evo1

However, it probably says something about the market for a super high-horse turbocharged 4-cylinder sedan that it’s pretty much a two car segment consisting of the Evo and Subaru’s WRX, based on its Impreza sedan.

Whatever you think of these (and if you’re more than 30, you probably don’t think about them much), these cars are little road rockets. But unlike muscle cars past, present and probably future, these are nimble road warriors, a real blast to drive. These are pure adrenaline rush machines. If you could snort a car, junkies would be sniffing these up! Continue reading 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR