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    Review: 2014 Acura MDX Tech Entertainment


    • What Is Acura Doing Right With The MDX?


    American Honda CEO Tetsuo Iwamura told reporters at Tokyo Motor Show in November that his biggest challenge is Acura. Sadly, it's easy to see why Iwamura says this. Most of Acura's lineup are either half-baked ideas or showing their age. Even with those issues, sales for the brand were up 5.9 percent at the end of 2013. Thats thanks to Acura's refreshed SUV lineup which includes the MDX and RDX. These two models made up 59 percent of Acura's total sales for 2013. This begs the question of what is the automaker doing right with their SUVs. To find out, I spent a week with the 2014 Acura MDX.

    There are two ways to describe the 2014 MDX's design. Its either a last-generation MDX that has been smoothed over or the RDX hit with an enlarging ray. Either way, the MDX's design is not as polarizing as the last-generation model which in my eyes is a very good thing. The front end still has the bread-slicer/bucktooth grille, although a bit toned down. There is also a set of jewel-eye headlights sitting on either side of the grille. There is some RDX influence in the back as the two models have a similarly styled tailgate.

    2014 Acura MDX Tech Entertainment 8

    Moving inside, Acura has made massive improvements to the MDX. The most noticeable one is the center stack. With the previous-generation MDX and a few other Acura models, the center stack was filled to brim with buttons to control the climate control and infotainment system. Trying to find the button for the certain function you wanted was a nightmare. To solve the button overload, Acura is using a dual screen setup. There is a seven-inch touchscreen on the bottom that features haptic-feedback and an eight-inch screen that is controlled by a knob at the bottom of the stack. This setup is very easy to use since Acura made the interface very understandable and has kept certain buttons and knobs. But Acura's setup isn't all flying colors. For example; if you want to enter an address into the navigation system, you have to use the knob and top screen to enter it. There is no option to punch in the address on the lower touchscreen which would be much easier. Also, do I really need to see my presets on both screens when changing a station?! This new setup shows Acura going in the right direction, but it needs some more work.

    2014 Acura MDX Tech Entertainment 15

    Aside from the center stack improvements, the 2014 MDX really shows a step up in design and materials. The interior is appointed with leather and wood trim throughout making it feel very special. Comfort is up as well with supportive seats and loads of head and legroom. There is a third row, but its best reserve for small kids or folded into the floor.

    See the next page for impressions on the powertrain and handling.


    A peek under the MDX's hood reveals a brand new 3.5L Earth Dreams V6 with variable cylinder management. The engine is rated 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and a choice of either front-wheel or Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). While the 2014 MDX is down 10 horsepower and 3 pound-feet when compared to the 2013 model, the engine is more than powerful to handle it. This comes down to two things. One is that the 2014 MDX is 275 pounds lighter than the outgoing model thanks to new platform which is comprised of high-strength steel, aluminum, and magnesium. The other reason comes down to the six-speed automatic which is lightning fast on up and downshifts to keep you right in the power. One other item of note: I had a front-wheel drive MDX and was worried that torque steer would be a problem. I can say that there were no signs of it at all with the MDX during the week. Well done Acura.

    2014 Acura MDX Tech Entertainment 10

    The EPA rates the 2014 Acura MDX FWD at 20 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. During my weeklong test, I hit the combined number. This is partly thanks to the variable cylinder management system which can cut the 3.5 V6 from running on six-cylinders to three.

    The Acura MDX was known for being a fun to drive crossover and the 2014 model continues that. Acura has fitted the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) which alters the electric power steering, throttle response, suspension, and even the engine note. There are three different settings to choose from; Comfort, Normal, and Sport. Put the MDX into Sport and it becomes a joy to drive. The steering and suspension firm up and make the MDX feel like a sports sedan and not a crossover.

    2014 Acura MDX Tech Entertainment 5

    We Come In Peace..

    Click to enlarge.

    Even more impressive was the balancing act Acura was able to do MDX's suspenion. Put IDS into Normal or Comfort and the MDX becomes a very relaxing crossover. The suspension softens up to provide a comfortable ride that is very capable of smoothing over bumps and imperfections. The MDX is also very quiet. Acura worked hard on improving the NVH levels on the MDX with such items as Active Noise Cancellation and special engine mounts.

    The 2014 Acura MDX is marked improvement over the previous model. Acura kept the items that worked on the MDX and focused on the areas that needed to be improved. With that mindset, the 2014 Acura MDX stands out as being one of the best luxury crossovers.

    That's my big takeaway with the 2014 Acura MDX. They focused on the parts which needed to be changed and kept what worked pretty much the same. If they can apply this to their other models, then maybe Acura can enjoy the sweet success all around.

    Disclaimer: Acura Provided the MDX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Acura

    Model: MDX

    Trim: Tech Entertainment

    Engine: Earth Dreams 3.5L SOHC V-6 W/Direct-Injection

    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,200

    Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,500

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/28/23

    Curb Weight: 4,063 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, Alabama

    Base Price: $48,465.00

    As Tested Price: $49,550.00 (Includes $985.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    N/A

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Nice review!
    This car checks all the boxes you could ask for in its segment for its price, except the exterior styling is a bit bland. Not that the competition is a bunch of lookers.

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    Auto is nice, but not my cup of tea. This is what I figure you get when you take a biologist who ended up working in the auto industry and cross bred their ideas. An ugly plain Jane of a bug eyed auto. Over all while fit and finish look to be as expected to a high level, their design language just does nothing for me both external and internal. Just Blah, no big deal and will be forgotten in a few years.

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    7 months into the design of the all new 2014 MDX, and we still cannot get enough of them to sell. It's a nonstop vehicle, period. The only ones that do not sell are those without navigation, so Acura is adjusting production to minimize those and focus on AWD Tech models, the top model.

    It's an incredible crossover. No vehicle this size offers what it does, or is rated anywhere near to 27mpg with AWD...or actually get it, which this one does. It's fun to toss around and back in the summer, I clocked 31.4mpg in a 26 mile highway trek home.

    Great car. And yes, what you see here and the good bits of the RLX will carry over into next models. I met the lead engineer of the MDX in June in Ohio R&D, and that was a telling time.

    There are so many competitors, yet even this fall, we still had customers trading "newer" Infiniti's, Mercedes', BMW's, Audi's, etc on previous gen MDX's. The new one now tripled that.

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    Caddy Cruiser, if you are constantly sold out, you should ask to have some transferred from the Seattle area. There are ton's on the lots and they do not sell that well. Then again, in a Hi Tech city, you see plenty of MB, BMW, Audi and Cadillac SUV's everywhere.

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    Caddy Cruiser, if you are constantly sold out, you should ask to have some transferred from the Seattle area. There are ton's on the lots and they do not sell that well. Then again, in a Hi Tech city, you see plenty of MB, BMW, Audi and Cadillac SUV's everywhere.

    Not constantly sold out, but it's in batches everywhere. Sometimes you have them, then again you don't. Right now everyone mostly has a full inventory of AWD base models, but not Tech, Tech/Entertainment or Advance and those 3 are in constant demand.

    Once you get a batch, the batch is gone pretty quickly, base models aside.

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    Thanks for the clarification, that blows is all the Acura CUV's sitting around here are just base models. I cannot think why in a High Tech City they would not have all the electronic options that most workers would want.

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    Thanks for the clarification, that blows is all the Acura CUV's sitting around here are just base models. I cannot think why in a High Tech City they would not have all the electronic options that most workers would want.

    Built a mix of all of them, but what's happened is 80% sold are Tech models. Production is adjusted, but you still have to sell all the AWD non-Tech models to earn more AWD, AWD Tech, etc.

    Once they sell, you build more, and they sell as soon as they arrive. Thankfully Acura/Honda are quick at adjusting production. All things balance in time. Build a hot vehicle that doesn't need incentives to sell. Good move. Really, the only thing we've done from time to time is a special finance rate on base models. Otherwise, not necessary. That's how you keep resale and build value, without cash buckets and over produced inventory.

    Edited by caddycruiser
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    Are they still producing out of balance or is it adjusted now?

    No, it was balanced pretty quickly. But as we were doing a split of all models before, and Tech's were selling nonstop as they arrived and continue to, most dealers still have more non-Tech base inventory from before.

    Not as many bases will be produced, but we have to sell all the base models to earn more MDX's overall. Not really an issue.

    The MDX without Tech still has more "tech" than it ever did before, and is incredibly well decked out for almost everyone. My mother used to her Terrain with Intellilink where she streams and plugs iPhone/iPod in anyway is a perfect example of who one would be perfect for.

    On the opposite hand, the RDX that was new for 2013 continues to sell nonstop through today, however the "hot one" lately again is the AWD car without Tech. Different price level all together, and when you're in the mid $30k's there are so many small crossover choices, it's a no question choice to get the Acura vs. what else is out there.

    It fluctuates back and forth. Probably in a few more months, we will move back to more Tech RDX's and more FWD models as well. I've sold a lot of FWD MDX's even in PA, by request, even with the recent weather. Makes sense when you consider, even if people don't realize, how large the volume of FWD large crossovers is vs. AWD, especially vehicles like the Lambda's and others.

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    And as quickly as things change...in the course of a week, now we're selling a LOT of AWD non-Technology models. There's no rhyme or reason, except people realizing how great of a vehicle it is for the dollar. There's no way shape or form I would buy or lease an Explorer, GM Lambda, Pilot, Infiniti, Nissan, etc. crossover against the new MDX and we see the comparisons daily.

    Non-Tech, with the large screens, Bluetooth streaming, USB, Pandora, AHA Internet Radio, etc. I'm back to getting a lot of "that's all I need anyway, I use my phone for nav and that's rare as it is" comments.

    Oddball? We've had a lot of people recently, "in between" ready to buy an MDX then for whatever bizarre reason debating a new Explorer. No comparison. Mostly lease customers too. That huge discount and Ford marketing draw attention. Then you drive the Explorer...or realize, as we just looked up, an example MDX has a 60%+ 3-year lease residual...the Explorer? 45%. At that rate, you better be getting a coupon for owning a horse, a discount card, a credit card, a dance, and a bag of money to make it cheaper.

    Interesting stuff, what people compare and why.

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    Is that a real lease residual on the MDX or a subsidized one?


    I could see myself leasing an Enclave if I were in that market, but none of the others you list. The Grand Cherokee is still the highest on my list.

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    Is that a real lease residual on the MDX or a subsidized one?

    I could see myself leasing an Enclave if I were in that market, but none of the others you list. The Grand Cherokee is still the highest on my list.

    That's a real residual. Acura's, especially the SUV's, hold incredible value and even with 60%+ residuals, every time they come in to be turned in we buy them out and there's equity. We don't do funny business of lease cash, cap cost mystery cash, etc. Not necessary if the car truly holds value.

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    egads! the acrua lease calculator seems to be a bit off. 36 month/12k lease $749 a month for a MXD-AWD with 10% down? A slightly higher MSRP Jeep GC is $220 a month less than that.

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    egads! the acrua lease calculator seems to be a bit off. 36 month/12k lease $749 a month for a MXD-AWD with 10% down? A slightly higher MSRP Jeep GC is $220 a month less than that.

    The calculator is always off, I wish it would update to be closer to correct...but alas. That's why the national special programs are advertised and dealers can be emailed easily.

    To give an example, the last MDX AWD lease I just did stretching a bit at a loss, with $2500 down and PA suburbs tax, 12k per year I made it $499 monthly with tax included and new license plates. No funny money, no incentives needed, and Acura Financial. At the end of 3 years after 12k, it's a 62% residual on that car.

    Great stuff.

    Edited by caddycruiser
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      Three years on from its original launch, Acura has given the TLX a substantial refresh and revealed it on the eve of the New York Auto Show.
      Being of no surprise to anyone, the TLX is sporting a new face that was first shown on the Precision concept from last year's Detroit Auto Show. A huge pentagonal grille is flanked by a set of Acura's jewel-eye headlights. Some people will like this new look, while others (like myself) will be missing the shield/beak grille. Other design changes include a more sculpted hood and new fenders. The interior doesn't change much except the infotainment system has been overhauled to improve overall performance and add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The downside is it still retains the dual-screens setup that we have been complaining about in many Acura models.
      The base TLX gets a 2.4L four-cylinder with 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Next up is the TLX V6 that comes with a 3.5L V6 boasting 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. The V6 is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Topping off the TLX family is the all-new A-Spec. It sports a more aggressive exterior treatment with a new front bumper, side skirts, dual exhaust outlets, rear spoiler finished in black, and a faux rear diffuser. The 3.5L V6 is the only engine available for the A-Spec. FWD variants come with firmer shocks and revised steering, while AWD adds firmer springs and a stiffer rear anti-roll bar.
      Acura hasn't revealed pricing for the 2018 TLX. But we won't be waiting too long as the updated model will arrive in June.
      Source: Acura
      Press Release is on Page 2
      2018 Acura TLX Makes World Debut with Aggressive, Sporty Design, and New Technology Features

      Apr 11, 2017 - NEW YORK
      2018 Acura TLX sports sedan debuts with three distinct variants, Acura Precision Concept-inspired design language and robust tech features All-new TLX V6 A-Spec adds emotional styling and sport-tuning Standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and AcuraWatch™, and a host of premium features make TLX among most technologically advanced and well-equipped vehicles in its segment Acura has unveiled a refreshed and significantly enhanced 2018 TLX performance luxury sedan, delivering the brand's Precision Crafted Performance design direction to its core sedan. The all-new TLX A-Spec takes the sedan's design in an even more emotional direction, further broadening the brand's appeal to younger buyers. The Acura TLX also will be one of the most technologically advanced and well-equipped vehicles in the segment with new technology features including Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and AcuraWatch™ standard on all grades. The 2018 TLX is slated to go on sale at Acura dealerships nationwide in June.
      The 2018 TLX boasts a more aggressive and sporty look inspired by the Acura Precision Concept that debuted last year, a design direction that has successfully influenced the styling of the 2017 MDX luxury SUV. Acura's signature diamond pentagon grille, paired with changes to the sedan's stance, proportion, wheels and sheet metal boosts its presence on the road.
      "We've really upped the ante in terms of styling, emotion and road presence, more effectively communicating the TLX's dynamic capabilities," said Jon Ikeda, Acura vice president and general manager.        
      The 2018 TLX design illustrates its three variants with distinct characteristics. The 2.4-liter i-VTEC inline-4 cylinder TLX receives a sporty new front fascia featuring the diamond pentagon grille, a new bumper, more sculpted hood, fenders, redesigned Jewel Eye™ headlight design with LED turn signal and a new standard 17-inch wheel and tire package.
      The V6 TLX models add an aggressive, refreshed rear fascia with exposed, rectangular dual-exhaust finishers, rear diffuser and standard 18-inch wheels. The V6 TLX with Technology Package adds a new chrome side sill garnish, all-new seats with contrast piping and stitching, and a power-operated thigh extension on the driver's seat. The Advance Package gains additional technology including trapezoidal LED fog lights, Surround View Camera system, built-in wireless charging pad, white LED ambient light piping in 10 locations throughout the cabin, a heated steering wheel and heated rear outboard seats, a body-colored decklid spoiler, and power-folding side mirrors.
      Acura's acclaimed torque vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive® (SH-AWD™), the best handling all-wheel drive system in the industry, is available for the first time on all V6 TLX models, previously available only with V6 models equipped with Technology or Advance Packages
      New TLX A-Spec
      Reflecting Acura's Precision Crafted Performance DNA, the new TLX V6 A-Spec is available in two-wheel drive and SH-AWD™ configurations, adding character and performance inside and out. An exclusive front fascia, round LED fog lights, aggressive side sills, rear diffuser accented by large, round dual-exhaust finishers and gloss black decklid spoiler creates an even bolder character. Exclusive, dark finish 19-inch wheels paired with wide 245-series tires complement a sport-tuned suspension with more aggressive damper settings and retuned electric power steering for a sharper, more precise handling experience. TLX A-Spec models with SH-AWD also receive a stiffer spring rate and rear stabilizer bar for improved body control. Gloss black trim and A-Spec badging on the rear decklid, fenders, side sill garnish and steering wheel completes the look.
      On the inside, a host of sport-oriented refinements and premium features include exclusive leather seats with increased bolstering, red driver's meter highlights, brushed aluminum-look interior trim, and a thick-rimmed sport steering wheel. Two A-Spec exclusive interior color choices are offered: Red leather or Black leather with Alcantara™ seat and door inserts. Premium enhancements borrowed from the top trim Advance Package include wireless charging pad, ventilated front seats and red LED ambient light piping (white on the Advance Package). 
       
      Technology Enhancements
      The 2018 TLX is the first Acura to feature a refreshed dual-screen user On Demand Multi-Use Display™ (ODMD 2.0) interface that supports Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and Sirius XM 2.0. New software improves the system response time and offers more intuitive menus and command structures for a seamless and quicker user experience – approximately 30 percent faster. An enhanced 7-inch touchscreen has a capacitive display that is more responsive to the touch and is positioned within easy reach of the driver and front passenger.
      With its unique AcuraWatch™ suite of technologies, the 2018 Acura TLX is the only vehicle in its class with standard crash avoidance and active driving-assistive features. AcuraWatch™ includes Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with automatic emergency braking, Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow (LSF) and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM). AcuraWatch uses a millimeter wave radar and monocular camera sensing technology to detect other vehicles as well as lane markings and can help intervene to prevent or mitigate the severity of a collision. With Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Lane Keeping Assist, AcuraWatch can significantly decrease the driver's workload during freeway cruising by maintaining a set speed and following interval, initiating both braking and throttle inputs, and adding steering input to help the driver maintain their position in the detected lane.
    • By William Maley
      American automakers haven’t been known for building good compact vehicles. Previous attempts have faltered when compared to those from the likes of Honda, Mazda, and Toyota. But this perception began to change when Ford brought out the Focus in 2000. It seemed progress was being made in making a decent compact vehicle thanks to their European branch helping out. Seeing this, GM decided to follow the same path. They called in their Korean and European offices to help out with the development of a new model known as Cruze. The vehicle proved to be a massive improvement from the Cobalt as it got the basics right such as fuel economy and overall interior space. Yes, the Cruze was lacking in some key areas such as design and driving fun. But it was light years ahead of GM’s previous attempts at a compact vehicle.
      When it came time to work on the next-generation Cruze, Chevrolet knew they had a good starting point and only needed to make improvements to make the model a real contender in the class. Let’s see if that has panned out or not.
      Dare I say the new Cruze is a sharp looking compact? Yes, but to a point. It is clear that Chevrolet’s design team took a lot of inspiration from the Volt PHEV when working on the second-generation Cruze. The overall profile and certain lines of the Volt appear on the Cruze. The front end features Chevrolet’s new tiered-grille and a set of slimmer headlights. Where the Cruze’s design falls flat is in the back. It seems Chevrolet’s designers really couldn’t be bothered to do something special. There two ways you can fix this. You can either go with the Cruze hatchback which to our eyes looks so much better thanks to the longer roofline and tailgate, or opting for the RS appearance package which dresses up the back with a more aggressive bumper. The RS package also adds mesh grille inserts, and sporty looking wheels - 18-inch ones on our Premier tester.
      Moving inside, Chevrolet has put a lot of effort in making the Cruze a nice place to sit in. Many surfaces are covered with high-quality materials and feature some unique touches such as a curving character line on the dashboard. Making yourself comfortable is quite easy thanks to eight-way power adjustments for the driver and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel. The front passenger has to make do with manual adjustments. In the back, there is enough legroom for most passengers. Headroom is slightly tight if you decide to get a sunroof. One nice item for those sitting in the back is the option of heated seats.
      One area Chevrolet is using as a selling point for the Cruze is technology. All Cruzes get a seven-inch touchscreen with Chevrolet MyLink and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi also comes standard across the board. Our Premier tester came with the optional 8-inch touchscreen with navigation. MyLink has been a source of frustration in many of Chevrolet vehicles we have reviewed, but it seems they are starting to get its act together. Overall performance has seen a slight improvement with transitions into various functions being snappy. The navigation system still has some performance issues as it slows down when zooming in or out. Chevrolet has also fixed some of the bugs with their Apple CarPlay integration. We saw no issues of slowdown or apps crashing whenever we had CarPlay up.
      Under the Cruze’s hood is a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder with 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission choice if you get the Premier. Anything below and you have the choice of the automatic or a six-speed manual. A diesel engine is coming later this year. The performance figures for the turbo 1.4L will not knock the socks off of anyone - 0-60 mph time of just over eight seconds. But you won’t think the Cruze is a slowpoke thanks the engine having a lot of low-end grunt. The vehicle leaps forward when leaving a stop and doesn’t feel that it is going to run out of breath. It doesn’t hurt Chevrolet has dropped almost 300 pounds from the new model. The six-speed automatic is quick to upshift to maximize fuel economy, but the same cannot be said for downshifts. It takes a moment or two for the automatic to go down a gear when you step on the accelerator.
      The turbo 1.4 comes with an auto stop-start system as standard. The system is quick to start the engine back up whenever you take your foot off the brake. One item that will irk some people is that you cannot turn off the stop-start system.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze stand at 29 City/39 Highway/33 Combined for the Premier sedan. Our average for the week landed around 31.2 mpg. The L, LS, and LT sedan get slightly higher fuel economy figures of 28/39/32 for the manual and 30/40/34 for the automatic.
      It seems most compacts are trying to outdo one another in terms of offering the best driving experience. So it is a bit of fresh air that Chevrolet has decided to skip this and make the Cruze ride like a bigger car. The suspension provides a cushy ride with most bumps being ironed out. Road and wind noise are kept to almost silent levels. Handling is competent in the class as the Cruze shows little body roll. However, the steering is too light in terms of feel and weight when driven enthusiastically.
      Chevrolet’s previous attempts at a compact vehicle have ranged from the punchline to a bad joke to something that can be considered at competent. But with the 2017 Cruze, Chevrolet put their heads down into making a compact that could stand tall among competitors. They have succeeded as the Cruze gets the fundamentals right and offers some distinctive traits that help it stand out from others such as the big-car ride and impressive amount of tech. Yes, it would be nice if Cruze was a slightly sharper in terms of design and the steering tweaked a bit to make it a bit more fun to drive. 
      Since I have been reviewing new vehicles for almost five years, there have been only a few vehicles that I keep thinking about to this day. Chevrolet has two to its name. The first was the 2014 Impala and the Cruze is number two.
      Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Cruze, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Cruze
      Trim: Premier
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L DOHC VVT DI Four-Cylinder 
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 153 @ 5600
      Torque @ RPM: 177 @ 2000-4000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 29/39/33
      Curb Weight: 2,978 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lordstown, OH
      Base Price: $23,475
      As Tested Price: $29,195 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Sun & Sound w/Navigation - $1,995.00
      RS Package - $995.00
      Enhanced Convenience Package - $865.00
      Driver Confidence II Package - $790.00
      Floor Mats - $140.00
      Wheel Lock Kit - $60.00

      View full article
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