VW’s new Jetta grows a tad, remains fun …
With cars like its compact Jetta and crossovers like its compact Tiguan, Volkswagen seems poised to rebound from a dreadful period brought on by its corporate diesel emission scandal, not poorly designed vehicles.
This new 2019 Jetta SEL Premium (top-end model) is slightly larger than its predecessor while remaining a fun easy driver that’s user friendly and an automotive bargain. All that should make Jetta a runaway sales success, but the likes of Honda’s Civic, Toyota’s Corolla, Subaru’s Impreza and the Mazda3 continue to run away with most of the sales. Continue reading 2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Premium
Terrain redesign lightens the load; Denali model adds luxury …
GMC redesigns its Terrain crossover for 2018 to make it lighter and a bit smaller, fighting all industry trends to add weight and length. Mostly, it’s a success.
Terrain is virtually the same vehicle as Chevrolet’s Equinox with a bit boxier styling, but much improved from the previous model. Mine was a dark gray metallic with all-wheel-drive and was GMC’s top trim, the Denali. Continue reading 2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali
VW Beetle Dune a cute bug that will scoot …
Volkswagen’s latest Beetle, the Dune edition, is colorful and simply cute as a … OK, cute as a Bug!
There, I’ve said it. But honestly I got a lot of looks in this metallic dark yellow mustard colored Beetle with its blacked out wheel wells and rear spoiler. It looked racy and fun, and it was. Continue reading 2018 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0T Dune
New Audi Q5 remains smooth, luxurious …
Evidently once a smooth operator, always a smooth operator.
Audi’s new Q5 compact luxury crossover/sport-ute carries on its tradition of smooth, sporty performance with luxury ladled on for good measure. It’s a bit larger than its predecessor and slightly more fuel efficient too. This is an all-around winner. No wonder the Q5 is Audi’s best-selling vehicle. Continue reading 2018 Audi Q5 2.0T quattro w/Prestige
Honda Accord styling catches up with its competence …
Finally Honda has come out of its conservative styling funk to make its always solid Accord sedan look like more than a very reliable box. Continue reading 2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T
Honda’s Civic Si returns and it’s still an economical sportster! …
If you can get beyond the new Honda Civic Si’s odd Transformer-ish rear-end you’ll find one of the finest, and most economical, sporty coupes on the market.
There’s a lot to like here, even if eye candy is not one of them.
The souped-up Si model has been missing from the Civic lineup for a couple years, so its return is welcomed by entry-level sporty car buyers whose options have been limited since the Si’s demise.
The Si links performance and economy unlike most other cars. It starts at a highly affordable $24,100 while boasting a turbocharged 1.5-liter I4 engine that creates a peppy 205 horsepower.
For a coupe weighing less than 3,000 lbs., that turbo will jack it up to highway speeds quite smartly. Firing up, or down, freeway entry ramps is fun and quick. There’s not much turbo lag with the Civic and its smooth shifting 6-speed manual allows the driver to put as much muscle into acceleration as needed, or desired.
A Sport mode button may help that a little, although I didn’t feel it was needed or provided much extra boost. Mainly the Sport mode firms up the steering wheel, or more to the point, makes steering effort much heavier than when that mode isn’t engaged. I found the normal driving mode just fine and steering response fairly precise without the added steering weight of Sport mode. Continue reading 2017 Honda Civic Si
Audi A5 Coupe a rare breed …
Coupes used to be a more plentiful subset of cars, but as cars become a smaller subset of vehicles the coupe appears closer and closer to extinction.
But Audi, for one, is committed to the segment and its A5 Coupe is a good example of how much pleasure can be derived from a coupe. It looks sharp, and melds sporty handling and power with a smooth-shifting 7-speed automatic transmission and 4-wheel drive, which Audi calls quattro.
The A5 does everything well, but is not a racer, nor a true family car, unless your little ones are in booster seats and can latch themselves in, or big enough to not need a booster, yet not too long-legged. Rear seat room is fairly cramped.
But a coupe is meant to transport two folks, mostly, and here they ride in comfort and style.
The silver test car ($575 extra for the paint job) came with Audi’s stout 2.0-liter turbo I4 that creates a spirited, if not rambunctious, 252 horsepower and 273 ft.-lbs. of torque. Turbo lag is non-existent, in fact, I looked under the hood to make sure there was a turbo. The power here comes on so smoothly and in such a linear manner that it’s not obvious that all this boost is from a turbo. Continue reading 2018 Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T quattro