Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Kia Soul!!!, a small wagon with attitude.

The compact station wagon segment is not routinely known for performance. But Kia is changing that with the Soul Exclaim as Bumper2Bumpertv recently learned from behind the wheel.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Kia Cadenza

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2017 Kia Cadenza Limited
  • ENGINE: 3.3-liter V6 
  • TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with Sportmatic paddle shifters
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm/253 lb.-ft. @ 5,200 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 112.4 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 195.7 x 73.6 x 57.9 in. 
  • TIRES: P245/40R19 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 16.0 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway/25.5 mpg test
  • FUEL TANK: 18.5 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,765 lbs.
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Jaguar XJ, Cadillac XTS, Audi A8
  • STICKER: $45,290 (includes $900 delivery)
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Kia Cadenza is a luxurious package with ride quality to match. It’s Kia’s best ever.

          Kia made its reputation by building small cars. It was the perfect companion to its sister brand, Hyundai.
          But now the Korean manufacturer is set to give Hyundai’s Genesis cars a run for their money with the redesigned Cadenza, which is a large car with all the comfort and luxury you would expect from any large luxury car manufacturer. Well, maybe not Rolls-Royce or Maybach, but you get the idea.
          Cadenza’s redesigned chassis and body do not appear to be built on the Genesis platform, as one might expect. The dimensions are all too different. Nevertheless, Cadenza offers outstanding front and rear legroom. The upholstery is cream-colored with diamond pleating and very good side support, both for the front and rear. Both front seats and the outside rear seats are heated, which was an asset since we drove the Cadenza in some bitter cold weather.
          Under the hood is a 3.3-liter V6 rated at 290 horsepower, driving the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Sportmatic paddle shifters are located behind the wheel, but the character of this car seems to preclude “manual” shifting, even if it is clutchless. Cadenza has four drive modes - Eco, Sport, Smart and Comfort. We drove in Eco all the time, and it is reflected in our 25.5 mpg overall.
          Between the front seats is a clamshell-covered console/arm rest. It is deep, with a 12-volt outlet inside. An additional 12-volt outlet is located in a cubby at the base of the center stack along with USB and AUX connections. 
          There is a nicely designed clean dash with all the controls within reach of the driver. Instrumentation consists of the standard tachometer and speedometer with an information panel between them. The white-on-black dials add a touch of luxury, rather than some exotically designed mishmash.
          My only complaint is that the HVAC controls are on the top and the nearly identical audio controls are lower down on the dash. This is sometimes confusing, but an owner could master it quickly.
          In the middle of the dash is a clear infotainment panel. At start-up, it shows a map on the left and audio on the right, but you can easily convert it to a full-screen map or audio. The navigation destination is easy to program once you get it in the right state. We were trying to find a location in New York state and the navigation system kept toggling back to Pennsylvania. 
          Shift into reverse and the show begins. First, the outside rear mirrors dip to give you an idea of the relationship between the tires and the curb. On the infotainment screen are two views. One is the “standard” rear view camera view. To its right is an “overhead” view that gives you the car’s position in relation to curbs, parking lot lines and any other obstacles. This was very convenient when we had to navigate large piles of snow. 
          Cadenza is equipped with all the necessary safety goodies, plus a full assortment of air bags. For example, the Cadenza has Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, and a Smart Blind Spit Detection System. The latter seemed to be “touchy” at first when we noticed that it was detecting vehicles further to the rear than most BSMs do.
          Ride quality is excellent, thanks to significant improvements in NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) over the previous model. Sound absorbing insulation abounds, as does a full floor pan that reduces road noise. 
          Rear legroom is excellent. In addition, rear passengers have their own HVAC controls plus the outboard heated seats. There are also shades for the side and rear windows. With the shades down, there is excellent visibility for the rear passengers that includes a panoramic sunroof that extends to the rear seats. 
          Cargo is taken care of with a large lighted trunk (16.0 cubic feet). The rear seats apparently don’t fold to increase the trunk. The trunk lid is powered and can be opened remotely or (occasionally) using a switch on the dash.
          Clearly, Cadenza is a big step toward a possible future luxury brand coming under the Kia nameplate. Even if Kia chooses not to go that route, they have an excellent top-of-the-line model at a very good price point.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hyundai Ioniq, a first look!!!

Hyundai has developed a different platform to attract drivers who like hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. Bumper2Bumpertv has a first look at the Ioniq, which offers 3 drive trains for hybrid drivers.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Mazda3, a hatchback astride two segments.

While classified as a compact the Mazda3 hatchback is also nudging its way into the midsize category. Bumper2Bumpertv also notes it comes with a lot of content for the dollar.

Monday, March 20, 2017

2017 Hyunda Elantra Sport

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
  • ENGINE: 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 201 hp @ 6,000 rpm/195 lb.-ft. @ 1,500-4,500 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 106.3 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 179.9 x 70.9 x 56.5 in. 
  • TIRES: P225/40R18 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 14.4 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway/23.2 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 14.0 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,042-3,064 lbs. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze 
  • STICKER: $25,018 (includes $835 delivery, $2,525 options)
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Sport Version of the Hyundai Elantra adds some styling and performance panache to an already capable compact-to-mid-size sedan. 

          At its core, the Hyundai Elantra is a pretty decent small sedan. While it’s technically rated as a mid-size, it’s really at the lower end of that scale (or at the upper end of the compact scale). 
          Yet Hyundai has created an Elantra Sport with some modifications that add appeal to the base model. For example, in the styling department, model-exclusive front and rear fascia separate the Sport from the base. In addition, the Sport has a black hexagonal grille with a “Turbo” badge, as well as side sill extensions. Add to this, chrome exhaust extensions and model-specific 18-inch wheels, and the physical separation is complete. Inside, there’s a flat-bottom wheel with a red center stripe, but it’s on the bottom rather than the top.
          For performance, the 1.6-liter engine adds a turbocharger to produce 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, increases of 54 hp and 63 lb.-ft. over the base model. Underneath, a Sport-exclusive multi-link rear suspension helps keep the wheels in contact with the road, while both front and rear suspensions have larger stabilizer bars and higher spring and damper rates.
          A nice 6-speed manual helps shift the gears. A 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters is also available, but I liked the manual for its ability to make better use of the engine range.
          Even the sound has been tweaked, with modifications to the intake and exhaust to create a sporty sound character.
          That all adds up to, as the name implies, a sportier version of the standard Elantra. It’s nice that these performance additions don’t detract a whole lot from the base car.
          Ride quality is good. Despite the enhanced suspension, ride quality is not harsh. In fact, it isn’t even that stiff in normal driving. The suspension goodies do more to enhance handling, which is very good. In addition, there’s a tight turning circle, which is an aid in parking. 
          I’m as guilty as the next guy, but despite al the performance additions and exterior tweaks, you spend your time inside the car, looking at the dash when you’re also looking out the window. The Elantra Sport’s cabin is useful for both driver and front passenger. For example, there is a cubby at the base of the center stack that is a good size and has a pair of 12-volt outlets plus AUX and USB ports. It also has a cover so it can be used as a two-level cubby if wanted. Both front doors have dual compartments that include room for water bottles.
          The center console/arm rest is deep with another USB plug.
          Front seats offer some side support, as befits a sport version. They are heated with red stitching, like the wheel and arm rests. Rear seats offer good leg room. I generally “measure” rear legroom by sitting behind the driver’s seat when it is in “my” position. There’s red stitching on the rear seats as well, and the pull-down arm rest has a pair of cup holders. My wife and I both appreciated the extensions to the visors that add sun protection. 
          In standard configuration, the trunk is a good size at 14.4 cubic feet. The rear seat backs can be folded to increase cargo capacity, with the seat back releases located in the trunk. 
          Overall. the Hyundai Elantra Sport is a good driver and rider. The enhancements over the base Elantra do well to create a sportier four-door sedan with none of the flaws that seem to crop up in other “sport” modifications.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lexus GX460, luxury still has a place!!


Friday, March 10, 2017

VW Jetta, a compact with a lot of content.

While it may seem ubiquitous the Volkswagen Jetta tries to appeal to a wide range of drivers. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at how the car tries to hit those marks.

Honda Ridgeline

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD RTL-E
  • ENGINE: 3.5-liter SOHC V6 
  • TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 280 hp @ 6,000 rpm/262 lb.-ft. @ 4,700 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 125.3 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 210.0 x 78.6 x 46.5 in. 
  • TIRES: P245/60R18 
  • CARGO: 1,584 lbs. payload; 33.9 + 7.3 cu. ft. cargo bed trunk vol
  • ECONOMY: 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/23.5 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 19.5 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 4,515 lbs.  
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 5,000 lbs. (standard Class III hitch with harness) 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado 
  • STICKER: $42,270 (includes $900 delivery) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: The redesigned Honda Ridgeline pickup seems more like a car when you’re driving it, but it has all the features one would demand from a mid-size pickup. 

          Get behind the wheel of the new Honda Ridgeline pickup and before long you’ll notice how smooth it is. Yes, it’s a pickup truck, but it drives more like a sedan. Ride quality is excellent. The suspension seems to float the Ridgeline over most bumps, unlike most pickups that insist you know they are trucks. Even my wife likes the Ridgeline, and my wife doesn’t like trucks. 
          The 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood has more than enough power for an unloaded Ridgeline that isn’t towing anything, although it has a 5,000-pound towing capacity. The engine is quiet, only exhibiting any noise when it’s under hard acceleration. And it’s relatively economical. We averaged 23.5 mpg during our test. The Ridgeline used regular gasoline, and there’s also a capless filler for the tank.
          The feature that “tire kickers” we talked with when we had the Ridgeline is the cargo bed. The bed is a healthy size (5’4” long by 4’6” wide between the wheel arches), and will carry the requisite 4x8 plywood sheet. But more than that, under the cargo bed is a lockable, practical trunk that’s big enough to hold a small body. The tailgate has two positions. It opens by pulling it downward like a standard pickup. But you can also open it like a door, which makes getting to objects further back in the cargo bed easier. When it’s opened like a door, the lockable trunk becomes available. There are eight tie-downs in the cargo bed, and as soon as you open the tailgate, lights go on to make it easier to find things in the dark. In a compartment on the right side of the cargo bed is a 115-volt outlet with a 400-watt maximum as long as the engine is running.
          Let’s suppose that you have more cargo than even the Ridgeline’s cargo bed can hold, or you want to protect your cargo from the elements. No problem. The rear seats fold up to create a large cargo area in the back of the cabin. They are easy to fold up and fold down.
          As proof of its car-like credentials, the Ridgeline has a full suite of passive safety features, like a collision mitigating braking system, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist system, lane departure warning, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and forward collision warning.  
          Front seats are comfortable with folding interior arms rests that obviate the need for a tall center console. The arm rests have to be worked a bit to find an ideal position, though. However, the console that’s there is deep with 12-volt, AUX and USB outlets. Our granddaughters also reported that the rear seats were comfortable. 
          Besides the console, interior storage consists of a flat tray in front of the shifter at the base of the center stack. It has 12-volt and USB outlets. There’s also a small cubby in the center stack. The multi-level door pockets have a myriad of uses.
          Other features that are valuable are the outside right mirror that dips when you’re back up. There’s also a “spy” mirror located on the roof console to check on any shenanigans that might be going on in the back seat. 
          The infotainment system is fairly conventional, but the HVAC system is super efficient. We drove the Ridgeline in some fierce cold weather and reached a point where we were complaining about the heat.
          The prior Ridgeline was noted for its quirky design, especially in the cargo area. The new Ridgeline is more conventionally styled, but it is still aerodynamic. Inside, the dash has nice flowing lines and the “barbell” instrument panel is a pleasure to use. 

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate