Monthly Archives: May 2012

2012 Kia Optima Hybrid

Introduction

Every luxury sedan plays a critical image in its automaker.  This fact stays strong due to many luxury sedans already out in the market, which defaults to a very competitive arena for automakers.  Luxury sedans offer a series of attractive features such as respectable performance, reliability, safety, comfort, practicality, and affordability.    Not many sedans out in the market can hit all the check boxes, but the Kia Optima definitely comes very close.  Above all, the Kia Optima Hybrid also offers excellent fuel economy.

Exterior

The styling of the Kia Optima was designed by the same car designer of many notorious luxury vehicles from Audi and Volkswagen.  No surprise that the overall looks of the Kia Optima is pure eye candy.  The smooth trims and contours of the chassis makes the overall vehicle beautiful.

Power Train

The power train of the Kia Optima includes the latest and greatest hybrid technology while offering many safety features and promised reliability.  The fuel economy of the Kia Optima is rated at 35mpg city and 40mpg highway. The Kia power train also offers very respectful performance rated at 206 horse power.

Interior

The interior shares the same attributes as the beautiful styling of the exterior.  The interior dash and seats are lined with soft and comfortable leather.  Standard features include a push button engine start, mounted audio and cruise control buttons mounted on the steering wheel, automated dual zone temperature control, and Kia’s own infotainment system that allows voice recognition, rear camera display, and audio/radio control.

Features

Kia has also included many features that make the Optima stand out by including heated side mirrors with mounted turn signals, 18″ alloy wheels, and an on board LCD dash display to help keep the driver informed of the real time performance of the hybrid power train system.  Extra optional features also include a panoramic sun roof, heated as well as cooled seats, heated steering wheel, and an 8 speaker infinity sound system.

Conclusion

It is refreshing to see automakers step their game by offering new and innovative design in their luxury sedans.  Kia has not only done an excellent job in the styling and performance of the Kia Optima sedan, but has also raised the bar with the quality and luxury of the vehicle with a comfortable interior and a plethora of features most luxury sedans lack.  There is no doubt that the Kia Optima will be one of the most popular luxury sedans of 2012.

2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid

 

The Ford Fusion plays very aggressively in the already competitive mid-sized sedan arena with other automakers.  The Ford Fusion also offers a wide range of model selections from 20,000$ msrp up to a hybrid version.

The trunk space provides ample space for your every day living.  To give a simple size comparison, it can easily fit 4 full golf club and all your groceries for the weekend.  What really makes the Ford Fusion stand out in the crowd is the Hybrid powertrain.  The Power train is built up of a 2.5 liter engine combined with an electric drive train system working in parallel totaling up to 191 horsepower.  The hybrid power train system offers plenty of power with the extra benefits of fuel costs savings rated at 41 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.  Compared to all the competitive mid-sized sedans on the market, the Ford Fusion Hybrid stands on top of the list for lowest fuel consumption.

The Ford Fusion comes in a non-hybrid version as well, but both drive equally smooth.  With the latest electronic controls technology incorporated into Ford’s hybrid power train system, it is barely noticeable when the power train system switches between full electric mode and engine hybrid mode.

The Ford Fusion interior is also very nice as well.  The hybrid model we tested comes with full leather seats and can easily fit 5 adult passengers.  The dashboard and controls are very nicely laid out and easily accessible.  The Ford Sync infotainment system bundled with the Fusion Hybrid model allows quick access to media, navigation and connectivity to your smart phone.

The MSRP for the fusion hybrid ranges from $27,000 to $34,000, playing very competitively with not just price, but quality of similar hybrid models including the Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata and Buick LaCrosse.  The smooth hybrid power train, cost saving fuel consumption and beautiful interior makes the Ford Fusion one of the top rated vehicles in its class.

 

 

 

2012 Lexus CT00h

For those of you collecting thoughts of  owning a fun to drive luxury car without pumping golden pennies into your gas tank every few days, your prayers have been answered.  With the 2012 Lexus CT Hybrid, you can now spend more enjoying driving rather than stressing out at the fuel gauge.

It has been 7 years since Lexus first debuted their first production hybrid vehicle (2005 RX400h).  Throughout the years, Lexus has been busy grinding and sculpting their hybrid powertrain system to near perfection with the Lexus CT hybrid.  A quick glimpse at the technical spec will convince you the performance of the CT Hybrid falls nothing short of expectation.

Apart from the fuel economic features, the Lexus CT also offers plenty of comfort, space, and versatility.  As the name implies, the Lexus CT is classified as a “Compact Tour” 5-door hatchback vehicle leaving an abundance of space in the back seats and trunk.  The interior is an elegant blend of high quality material, ergonomics, and technology.  The optional F-sport tuned suspension tops it off with an overall performance-thrilled driving experience.

 

2012 Mazda CX7

Introduction

Mazda has always been notorious for their “zoom zoom” driving experience that offer quick acceleration and sharp handling.  Well this time, Mazda has stepped it up even further by morphing their genetics into into their new line of cross-over SUV.

The cross-over design offers a consumers the traditional versatility of an SUV while preserving the driving performance of a passenger car.  The CX-7 fits five passengers blended with a sleek and low profile design.  As much as how great Mazda has attempted to preserve the characteristics of an SUV, the back seats simply don’t offer quite a lot of room.

Performance

If the CX-7 were a playoff hockey game, the driver’s seat would be the the ticket every fans would fight for.  The CX7 is equipped with a turbocharged 4 cylinder originating from their line of Mazda Speed 6 series.  The smaller turbocharged engine provides the benefit of adding less weight in the front end of the aluminum as well as an overall well balanced car.  The result is a versatile vehicle offering great acceleration superb handling.

Versatility

One of the best features we like about the CX-7 is the rapid folding rear seats.  A simple pull of a latch lever conveniently located in the trunk space will automatically engage the spring loaded folding rear seats, allowing a plethora of extra space when you need it.  However, as mentioned above, the CX-7 does lack the legroom of its competitors as well as cargo space.

Interior

Mazda continues to strive for using high quality material in their interior with the CX-7.  The console is nicely laid out with blend of smooth contours outlined with chrome rims to accentuate the interior.  The CX-7 also offers a series of LCD displays to coordinate the driver and passengers with all the on board electronic controls.  The bucket seats in the CX-7 offer plenty of support with the extra added bonus of powered seats.

Exterior

The exterior of the CX-7 is something sets its main competitors apart.  The chassis give off a smooth flow of contours from head to toe.  The chrome handles, 18″ wheels, aggressive front grill, and large exhaust reminds you of its sport-inspired drivability.

Conclusion

Mazda  CX-7 crossover SUV has been well thought with the idea of integrating their sports-inspired driving characteristics of their sedans into the CX-7.   The CX-7 offers all the versatility of a traditional SUV while offering a thrilling driving experience.  Although the CX-7 does lack the last bit of cargo space, the car makes up for its high quality interior coupled a sweet eye-candy exterior.

 

 

2012 Buick Verano

The Buick Verano is a well deserving compliment to any small family.  The Buick Verano packs quite a luxurious palette without a heavy price tag.

The compact sedan cabin is furnished with leather interior and chrome plating and the exterior shares the same quality and looks of higher end luxury sedans. A simple push of a button located on the rear view mirror activates the on-star navigation system that comes bundled with Buick Verano free of charge for the first six months.  The Buick Verano is also preloaded with the intellilink infotainment system that allows the driver and passenger to interact and communicate with the on-board radio while having the ability to connect to your smart phone to stay in touch with your friends and family.  As well as Buick has executed the interior of the cabin space, it does leave a small blemish in the odd looks of the engine-start button that camouflages with the rest of the dash control.

Although some may fall in love at first sight, I personally disliked the charcoal red paint and excessive vents located on the sides of the front hood.  Nevertheless, whatever the Buick Verano lacks or falls behind in makes up for the driving experience.

The suspensions design equipped on the Buick Verano is a complex Z-link suspension that offer comparable ride quality as many German luxury sedans offer.  One of the first things you’ll notice as you turn on the vehicle is the feeling of an opening symphony.  The Buick Verano is definitely one of the quietest cabins you will find in the market to date and this quality is something that definitely deserves to be complemented.  The power steering is precise in handling and the automatic transmission is buttery smooth.

Rated at 180 horsepower, the drive train packs a 2.4 Liter engine that offers a decent amount of power with an added bonus of good fuel economy at a combined city and highway rating averaged at 25 mpg with the ability to run on 85 octane.  For those of you who wanting an extra punch at the push of the pedal, Buick will also be offering a 2.0 Liter Turbo engine as an option.

The Buick Verano is by no means a powerful sports sedan.  This vehicle was specifically aimed as a luxury sedan that offers a pleasant ride with its soft roomy leather interior, quiet cabin and exceptional drive train and suspension.

The Buick Verano base model has a targeted price of $23, 700 while the highest trim with leather interior starts at $27, 200.  Considering the ride quality and the interior grade of material used, the price gives you a bang for the buck for those looking for a luxury sedan.