Tag Archives: Fuel Efficient

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid | First Drive

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid

In retrospective of last year’s review, our impression of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has generally been positive.  The new 2014 Nissan Pathfinder model is ultimately unchanged with the exception of an added hybrid power train configuration to increase fuel economy.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe Review

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe was introduced early in 2012. It became available for purchase in July 2012. A base model starts out with an MSRP of just $18, 220, making it affordable for nearly any budget. The interior is designed to be comfortable and roomy, with enough space to fit five adults total in the vehicle. The outer design is sleek and modern. It is designed with aerodynamics in mind to glide over the road as you drive. The fuel efficiency for this vehicle is outstanding. The automatic transmission gets an estimated 29MPH in the city and 40 MPG on the highway. The manual transmission is just 1 MPG less in both city and highway estimates.

Body Styling

Several upgrades to the design of this all new 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe are what make it attractive. It has a high-end design without the high-end price. The larger head and tail light assemblies ensure that drivers on the road see you at all times. It was both a style and safety decision to redesign the look of the lights, not to mention it makes the car look more sporty. The sculpted rear spoiler adds a bit of flair to the design. Plain Jane is not an option. The sides are bolstered to add more appeal to the overall look of the car. It helps to give the overall design a little depth and be more pleasing for potential buyers to look at.

The Benefits and Engine Performance

Hyundai Elantra 1.8L four that develops 148 hp and 131 lb-ft

Hyundai Elantra 1.8L four that develops 148 hp and 131 lb-ft

The engine of the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe is designed for efficiency and performance. Either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission is available. The 1.8 liter engine packs in a total of 148 horsepower at 6500 rpm. This does not mean that power is not there.  Because of the low low vehicle weight and well balanced chassis, this car will get up and go when you tell it to. The economic engine design allows users to drive worry free with several warning systems in place to alert drivers of a potential problem. High-tech is what to expect out of a somewhat compact engine. One of the huge benefits of purchasing the automatic transmission model is that you can turn on the ECO system. This system is specially designed to allow you to control the efficiency of both the engine and transmission with just the touch of a few buttons.

Overall Impression of the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe
Hyundai got it right with this car. It has a smart design with plenty of clear cabin room for tall individuals. One of the most impressive inclusions on this vehicle is the bulletproof side panels on the doors. This is just one additional safety measure taken by Hyundai. It already has six interior airbags, but adding in the bulletproof panels takes it up a few steps above the rest. For a safe and highly efficient family vehicle with a few perks, such as a great sound system, XM satellite radio, and heated rear seats, it is driving in luxury for the middle-class family. Comfort, style, affordability, and efficiency are all tied together into one attractive vehicle.


Direction Fuel Injection vs. Port Injection

Today’s automotive manufacturers face tremendous pressure to deliver vehicles that are cheaper in cost and better in performance.  Auto makers must meet strict fuel emission regulations every year before their vehicles can be put on the road.  Direction fuel injection is a technology used in many of today’s cars to boost performance, lower emissions and improve fuel economy.

The question you have right now is: “what is direction fuel injection anyways?”  Firstly, there are two methods of injecting fuel into gasoline engines: the conventional port injection method, and the newer and modernized direct fuel injection method.

Both systems require precise computer control to inject the right amount of fuel into the engine at a given time.  The difference  lies in the location of where the fuel injectors are mounted at.  In port injection, the fuel injectors are mounted in the intake manifold before the intake valve where the air-fuel mixture resides.  Once the intake valve opens, it will pull in the air-fuel mixture into the cylinder for the combustion process.

In direct fuel injection, the fuel injectors are mounted right on the cylinder head, and fuel is directly sprayed into the cylinder where the fuel-air mixture occurs.  In other words, only air passes through the intake and eliminates the need of the intake valve in direct fuel injection.  This method allows more precise control of fuel air mixture into the cylinder; thus, optimizes the cylinder combustion.

With direct injection method, fuel injection can be controlled much more precisely.  In addition, because engine cylinders can reach an excess of 15,000 psi, the high amounts of pressure allows the injected fuel to synthesize and ignite almost instantaneously.

Performance doesn’t come without compromise.  Direct fuel injection costs more to manufacture.  Because the fuel injectors are mounted so close to the cylinder heads, the injector are exposed to extremely high levels of pressure (up to 14,000 – 15,000 psi).  As a result, fuel injector components must withstand much harsher environments compared to port injectors.

Compared to port injectors, the pressure introduced in the intake manifold only reaches up to 40 – 70 psi.  As a result, port injectors are much more simpler and cheaper to manufacture.  One of the draw backs of port injection is that fuel is injected behind the intake valve.  Depending on how long the fuel-air mixture sits in the intake manifold runner, fuel can leak out of the air.

With tighter fuel emission standards and increasing pressure from consumers, automotive manufacturing itself, is a competition arena.  Direct fuel injection is a perfect example of offering both increased in performance and fuel efficiency at an affordable price.  Today’s vehicles still use both methods of fuel injection, but with new technology and development introduced every year, it may not be too far in time before we see all vehicles out on the road equipped with a direct fuel injection system.


  1. http://thechronicleherald.ca/wheelsnews/26226-direct-vs-port-injectio

2012 Kia Optima Hybrid


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.




2012 Hyundai Veloster


Want something that opposes the norm of style with loads of features at an affordable price?  Well the 2012 Hyundai Veloster will check quite a few boxes off your list.  Back in the days.  Hyundai was known for copying Japanese auto brand makers and selling their own revisions at a lower cost.  Hyundai has, in no doubt, realized their own potential and has stepped out of the hole into a new generation of unique and inspired design.

The unique style of the 2012 Veloster really shows the world of Hyundai’s intellectual potential.  The compact coupe is equipped with front side doors and a 3rd passenger side door and a small but gutsy 1.6 Litre engine as well as a dual clutch gearbox transmission allowing the vehicle to score a 32 mpg combined city and highway fuel economy rating.

The performance of the Hyundai Veloster isn’t too shabby either.  The engine is rated at 138 horse power and 123 lbs of torque.  The car doesn’t feel very quick when launching the vehicle from the start, but once the vehicle starts moving, the lightness of the vehicle and the latest and greatest electronic drive train control system will start to play mind tricks with you into making the car feel quick and responsive.

When you first take the Veloster for a drive, it can be easily realized that Hyundai designed the car to be fun to drive.  The stiff suspension along with the optional 18″ allow aluminum rims and crisp power steering allows the car to be sport driven.

The interior is comfortable and is fitted with enough gadgets to please most drivers.  The rear seats can be conveniently folded down to offer extra storage space.  The roof is also slightly bubbled to offer extra head room for taller passengers.  The optional 2000$ “tech” package is also something that deserves compliment.  The Veloster is equipped with a push button blue-link navigation system located on the rear view mirror as well as Hyundai’s own infotainment system.  The infotainment system is what really makes the vehicle step up to the next level.  It is packed with features such as radio, navigation, smart phone connectivity and intelligent fuel efficiency features, but above all, it is extremely simple to use.

The Veloster starting price with the eco-shift transmission is at $19,310.  Anyone who’s done their homework in the auto market will realize the amount of features you get for this price is a great bargain.