Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Toyota RAV4 has reached adulthood

It has been 22 years since Toyota broke ground in the small SUV segment with the RAV4. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at what the 2019 version brings to the party.

2019 Mazda6

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2019 Mazda6 Signature
  • ENGINE: 2.5-liter turbocharged 4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual mode  
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 227 hp @ 5,000 rpm/310 lb.-ft. @ 2,000 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 111.4 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 192.7 x 72.4 x 57.1 in. 
  • TIRES: P225/45R19 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 14.7 cu. ft.  
  • ECONOMY: 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway/27.3 mpg test  
  • FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 16.4 gal.  
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,580 lbs.  
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata 
  • STICKER: $36,560 (includes $920 delivery, $500 options)  
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Mazda6 deserves to be on anyone’s list of choices for a midsize sedan, based on its looks, size and performance.

            I’ve always liked the Mazda6. It is firmly in the family of midsize sedans, yet I feel it doesn’t get enough respect. 
            Styling is spot on, with curves in the right places. Test cars rest in my driveway between excursions, and I often stare at them when I’m sitting on my front patio. So I get to compare styling over time. On the 6, the front fenders, for example, could have been lifted from the RX-7 style book, but with more conservatism. 
            Internally, the combination of “parchment” (light grey) leather seating surfaces and black dash is striking. 
            Ride quality is very good. Overall, the ride is smooth, but some of our more energetic Pennsylvania road surfaces did transfer back into the cabin.
            There’s good power from the 2.5-liter turbocharged Skyactive 4. In general, the engine is quiet, more like a 6-cylinder, although on hard acceleration there is some rumble. On good asphalt roads, no noise enters the cabin, either from the engine or tires.
            There are two drive modes in the 6, normal and sport. In sport, the engine holds its speed longer before the transmission shifts. You get the feeling you’re in manual mode and you forgot to upshift. There is a manual mode to the 6-speed automatic, with paddle shifters behind the wheel.
            Front seats are comfortable with some side support. Mazda considers itself a performance car manufacturer (remember “Zoom, Zoom”?) so its seats tend to hold you in place. Front seats are also heated and cooled. The heated rear seats offer good legroom. Rear passengers have their own HVAC controls, as well as individual reading lights.
            For entertainment, there is a good, but confusing, audio system that requires some learning to master. Tuning and volume controls are on the center console, but the “tuning” knob also controls the infotainment screen functions. Additionally, the navigation system was difficult to program. “Search by name” led me, not to my local coffee shop but to a candy store in Connecticut.
            The HVAC system is good, and we’re at that time of year when we use both heating and cooling functions.
            Interior storage consists of a nice large cubby at the base of the center stack. There are the standard two cupholders in the center console plus a small console/arm rest with two USB and one 12-volt outlet.
            There is the conventional rear view camera plus the option to switch it on plus a 360-degree view that is a handy feature when you’re parking in tight spaces. 
            In the back is a very good trunk of 14.7 cubic feet. Cargo capacity can be increased by lowering the rear seat backs - releases are in the trunk - to create an essentially flat floor.
            If you’re in the market for a midsize sedan, the Mazda6 should definitely be on your shopping list. It has all the features you’d want, plus knockout styling that separates it from the pack.

(c) The Auto Page Syndicate 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Lincoln Nautilus, a throwback name for a modern vehicle.

The Lincoln Motor Company is offering a series of luxury automobiles that are competing against strong import competitors. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at one of them which combines features, luxury and technology.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The next generation of safety for the rear seat.

A lot of focus has been on driver assistance technology in new cars. Bumper2Bumpertv reports that automakers are also giving some attention to the well being of rear seat passengers, especially children.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Compact and up to date, the 2019 Toyota Yaris

Toyota is staying close to its roots with a fuel efficient subcompact sedan that appeals to the budget conscious buyer. Bumper2Bumpertv has its own thoughts on the pluses and shortcomings of the Yaris.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Curiosity may lead to answers for future mobility.

There is a new player on the scene to develop and test the latest technology for the next generation of cars and trucks. And as Bumper2Bumpertv tells us it is located thousands of miles away from the usual suspects on the west coast.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

2019 Hyundai KONA

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2019 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD
  • ENGINE: 1.6-liter turbocharged 4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic Ecoshift 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 175 hp @ 6,500 rpm/195 lb.-ft. @ 1,500-4,500 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 102 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 164 x 71 x 61 in. 
  • TIRES: P235/45R18  
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 22.5 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 26 mpg city/29 mpg highway/23.4 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 15.0 gal. (est.) 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,145 lbs. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Buick Encore 
  • STICKER: $30,005 (includes $980 delivery, $125 options (carpeted floor mats) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: While the Hyundai Kona may seem like a small SUV/CUV, it is in reality a compact car with issues.

            When I approached my test Hyundai Kona, I couldn’t avoid a sticker on the side window that proclaimed it the “2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.” I wonder who voted and how desperate were they to select this vehicle. Kona is a decent compact car, but utility vehicle, no! 
            First, the Kona is subcompact, so utility is compromised. Second, although it has a locking differential, 4WD, or even AWD capability is questionable. So I wonder….
            Our tester wore a “Lime Twist” exterior, which is by itself worth a visit to your local Hyundai dealer. It’s great for finding the Kona in a crowded parking lot. The color does make for striking interior accents, however.
            The 1.6-liter turbocharged four under the hood offers decent power, but you can hear or feel every transmission shift. The engine is noisy anyway, but the shifting gets old fast. The engine is bad enough in normal mode, but in sport mode it’s even noisier.
            On Kona’s plus side is that it is filled with useful features. I mentioned the locking differential, but it also has a blind spot monitor, lane assist, and a heads up display that consists of a glass panel that rises from the top of the dash. 
            The driver faces clear white-on-black instruments. In the center of the dash is a standard infotainment screen with the usual options. 
            Front seats are comfortable and heated with the lime stitching and trim. In our tester, the driver’s seat was powered but the passenger’s wasn’t, and my wife couldn’t figure out how to raise it to a decent height. Rear seat legroom is very tight. Four assist handles aid in entry and exit.
            Interior storage consists of a small center console/arm rest and a cubby at the base of the center stack with two 12-volt outlets, AUX and USB. All doors have room for water bottles.
            Cargo capacity is okay, but really not in the “utility vehicle” class. Besides, I had to lower a rear seat back to fit my golf clubs. There are four tie-downs in the cargo area. An interesting nod to relationships was the Kia-branded ice scraper under the cargo floor. 
            The Hyundai Kona is touted as a utility vehicle (it even has the award to show for it) but it’s severely lacking in my estimation. It is, however, okay as a subcompact sedan.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Ford Ranger, back on the scene with some chops.

What do the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, GMC Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado have in common? The answer is the revival of the Ford Ranger which Bumper2Bumpertv had a chance to experience.

Friday, August 30, 2019

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

John Heilig

·         MODEL: 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT
·         ENGINE: 2.0-liter MiVEC with twin electric motors
·         TRANSMISSION: 1-speed
·         HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 117 hp @ 4,500 rpm (190 hp with electric)/137 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm
·         WHEELBASE: 105.1 in.
·         LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 184.8 x 70.9 x 67.3 in.
·         TIRES: P225/55R18
·         CARGO CAPACITY: 30.4/66.6 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
·         ECONOMY: 74 mpge/25 mpg fuel
·         FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 11.3 gal. 
·         CURB WEIGHT: 4,178 lbs.
·         TOWING CAPACITY: 1,500 lbs.
·         COMPETITIVE CLASS: Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4, Ford EcoSport
·         STICKER: $43,920 (includes $995 delivery, $430 options)
·         BOTTOM LINE: The Mitsubishi Outlander is a good SUV, but the electric range of only 22 miles seems like much ado about nothing.

            I know that manufacturers are doing their best to comply with Federal guidelines for overall fuel economy, and I appreciate their efforts. However, the much-touted Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT is a disappointment insofar as the electric power aspect. You can get a “basic” gasoline Outlander for around $25,000. Yet, for an additional $18,000 you get a whopping 22 miles electric before it switches back to gasoline. Why?
            The 2.0-liter 4 under the hood is an under impressive 117 horsepower. The two electric motors boost that to 190 horsepower for reasonable performance through the one-speed (yes!) transmission. The tranny does have a manual shift mode, but even on our hill climb it was a “why bother?” situation.
            Obviously, there’s a lot to be desired from the performance perspective. 
            There’s an interesting shift pattern to the automatic that I’ve seen before. Push the lever left and up for reverse, left and down for drive. When you’re in drive, tap it down and you get B, which hooks up the manual mode. Paddles behind the wheel are large and not connected to the wheel.
            On the plus side, front seats are comfortable and heated. Rear seats offer good legroom. Rear passengers also have their own heating and cooling controls, plus USB and 110-volt outlets at the rear of the center console. 
            We enjoyed the proprietary Rockford Fosgate sound system.  The centrally mounted infotainment screen has the standard menu of options - FM, AM, Bluetooth, Phone, SiriusXM, Apps, iPod, settings, plus 11 more on secondary screens. 
            Cargo capacity is very good. In addition, there’s a 110-volt AC plug in the cargo area, EV plug-in connectors stow below the cargo floor.
            Overall, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, because of its electric limitations, is just another ho-hum SUV with the questionable feature of electric drive.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate