Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A survivor of the boxer wars, the KIA Soul X Line.

After nearly ten years in the market the KIA Soul has become ubiquitous as a boxy runabout. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at some of the changes in the 2020 model year version.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A show horse or a work horse? The Ford F150 Limited.

There is no doubt that light duty trucks are able to work and in many instances also be a comfortable driving experience. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at an offering from Ford that seems to have a dual personality.

Monday, August 12, 2019

2019 Mazda3

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2019 Mazda3 AWD
  • ENGINE: 2.5-liter 4  
  • TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual mode 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 186 hp @ 6,000 rpm/186 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 107.3 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 183.5 x 70.7 x 56.9 in. 
  • TIRES: P215/45R18 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 13.2 cu. ft.  
  • ECONOMY: 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway/18.2 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 12.7 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,248 lbs. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Bolt, Kia Forte, Volkswagen Golf 
  • STICKER: $30,635 (includes $920 delivery, $1,845 options) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Mazda3 is a serviceable compact car the offers a good ride but is slightly underpowered.

            The great thing about testing cars over a long period of time is change. I remember driving a Mazda3 several years ago and wasn’t overly impressed. This edition, however, offers a lot of amenities that you’d expect from a larger car at a more reasonable price. The Mazda3 is still a compact, however, and displays some of the characteristics of that segment.
            For example, ride quality is borderline good. It tends to be choppy on less-than -perfect road surfaces, but it’s fine on asphalt. 
            Under the hood is a 2.5-liter 4 that is rated at “only” 186 hp. Many cars have smaller 2.0-liter engines that deliver more power. In general, the power level of the Mazda3 is decent, although it could use a tad more. On my hill climb test, I had my foot to the floor on a couple of sections, although most of the time power was adequate.
            Also on the hill climb I used the manual shift paddles tucked behind the wheel. These paddles are smaller than most, but they work just as well. They don’t get in the way. Shifting was a lot of fun. 
            Like few cars in its segment, the Mazda3 offers a heads-up display, where your speed is projected on the windshield. Most HUDs are almost impossible to read if you’re wearing polarized sunglasses. You must tilt your head to read the HUD clearly. However, Mazda either “pre-tilts” the HUD or has compensated for the polarization issue and you can read the HUD even when you’re wearing sunglasses. 
            Front seats are comfortable with some side support. Great support isn’t necessary because this isn’t one of the Mazda’s you’d race. Rear seat legroom is cozy and passengers back there get intimate with the backs of the front seats. In addition, there’s a tall center hump that would make it even more uncomfortable for the center passenger back there.
            In the center of the dash is a larger horizontal infotainment screen. The home menu has a choice among information, entertainment, communication, navigation and settings. For entertainment, I found it impossible to change the Sirius XM station and resorted to Bluetooth and my iPhone.
            The master controller on the center console has major choices, then you can use it to “fine tune” once you’ve made a major choice. An owner should spend some time with the owner’s manual before taking the Mazda3 out on the road and trying to figure it out there.
            The air conditioner worked very well during our test. We had 100-degree weather and the AC cooled us as quickly as could be expected.
            Interior storage consists of a large cubby at the base of the center stack. Cupholders are tucked in under the center stack. There’s a medium-sized console/arm rest with a Qi charger inside plus 12-volt and USB outlets. I liked that you can slide the arm rest forward.
            What impressed me a lot was the large trunk that was wide enough for my golf bag. A foursome could make it to the course in the Mazda3 with all their gear, so long as the two in the back seat aren’t too robust.
            I have a few complaints. When you shut the car off, the emergency brake automatically sets. It won’t unset until you fasten your seat belt.
            And the radio comes on every time you start up, even if you shut it off manually.
            Overall, the Mazda3 fares well among its competition. The only knock is the tight rear seat and the difficulty in trying to tune the Sirius XM radio.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The latest version of the midsize luxury SUV, Lexus RX !!

Lexus broke ground with the RX platform and now it has evolved into the standard for Midsize SUV’s and Crossovers. Bumper2Bumpertv finds the RX still hits the mark for the most part.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Giving the Edge a bite.

Up to now the Ford Edge small SUV has not been known as a distinguishable vehicle. Now the engineers have literally gone over the edge for the platform in terms of performance. Bumper2Bumpertv has a closer look at the Edge ST

Monday, July 22, 2019

A second look at the Toyota Corolla Hatchback

The Corolla has been a mainstay of the Toyota lineup for more than 50 years. Bumper2Bumpertv has had a chance to do a deeper dive into the hatchback version which has been reintroduced to the mix using an existing platform.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

2019 Volkswagen Jetta SE

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta SE 
  • ENGINE: 1.4-liter turbocharged 4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 147 hp @ 5,000 rpm/184 lb.-ft. @ 1,400 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 105.7 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 185.1 x 70.8 x 57.4 in. 
  • TIRES: P205/60R16 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 14.1 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 30 mpg city/40 mpg highway/48.1 mpg test
  • FUEL TANK: 13.2 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 2,970 lbs. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra
  • STICKER: $23,005 (includes $850 delivery) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: Just as the famed Volkswagen Beetle has died, so the redesigned Jetta may be posed to take its place, but with better economy from a stronger engine and more interior room.

            Compact cars these days are trending toward smaller engines that are turbo/supercharged in an effort to improve fuel economy while not detracting from the needed power. It often doesn’t work. 
            The Volkswagen Jetta, on the other hand, seems to have it right. The engine is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four rated at 147 horsepower. This is good power for a car that weighs 2,970 pounds, and we had no power issues in more than 500 miles of driving.
            I confess that the great majority of those miles were on long trips with considerable Interstate usage. I issue this caveat because we averaged a phenomenal 48.1 miles per gallon. Not only was our economy outstanding, but ride quality was very good. On good road surfaces - asphalt - there was almost no road noise transmitted into the cabin. Concrete road surfaces were a different issue.
            The Jetta is hard-sprung, so you also feel all the little road imperfections. While these don’t contribute to a harsh ride, they do detract. The Jetta uses a strut-type front suspension with lower control arms and long-travel coil springs. At the back, there is a torsion beam setup with telescopic dampers. 
            We traveled to our daughter’s house and, naturally, brought food supplies along with our luggage. My golf clubs were also included. The clubs fit neatly horizontally in the trunk, leaving plenty of room for all the other goodies. there was no need to lower the rear seat backs for extra cargo capacity, but I did anyway to reduce the stuffing component. With the seat backs lowered, there’s a “frame” around the trunk opening that restricts space somewhat. I’m sure this metal helps strengthen the chassis.
            My biggest complaint with the Jetta was with the trunk lid. If you didn’t make the extra effort to open it to its full gap, it had a tendency to drop down and whack you in the head. It definitely needs a stronger strut to hold it up.
            Front seats are comfortable, if firm. Our tester had manual seats that were slightly difficult to adjust for maximum comfort. However, since we only had one driver, once we had it set there was no need to change it. Rear seats offer decent legroom and are more comfortable than the fronts. Sadly, there is no rear seat HVAC, so passengers back there must rely on the kindness of the front passengers. 
            Speaking of heating and cooling, we found the air conditioner to work like a charm, and the weather demanded it. 
            The driver faces a clear instrument panel with a digital speedometer chosen as the information panel display. Our infotainment was basic with a Bluetooth radio along with AM and FM. 
            Interior storage consisted of a large cubby at the base of the center stack, a medium-sized console/arm rest and room for water bottles in the doors. 
            I’ll admit that some of the amenities in our tester were basic - seats, audio, etc. But, to compensate, the sticker price is outstanding, as is the economy. Many compacts can’t pass the comfort test on long rides, but the Jetta also did that in spades.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate