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    William Maley

    Review: 2015 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T Coupe

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      The ATS Gets A Bit Sharper


    The past few years, Cadillac has been on a quest to show they can compete with the Germans. Whether it was introducing new and improved models such as the ATS and CTS, commercials that show one of their vehicles on the ‘green hell', or bringing in people from German automakers to lend their expertise. With all of these changes, how is this working out for the brand? I spent a week in a 2015 ATS4 2.0T Coupe to find out.

     

    The ATS Coupe is mostly a carbon copy of the larger, last-generation CTS coupe. The difference is the overall ATS coupe design isn’t quite as sharp as the CTS, a good thing in my book. The ATS coupe follows the basic guidelines for a coupe design; a long front end, lower roofline, and a very short rear end. Little design items such as the vertical headlights and exhaust tips mounted in the middle make the coupe quite the standout. One quibble I have with the ATS Coupe is the new emblem. Cadillac says this is to help bring in younger buyers, but I think it might backfire. I just think there is something missing on it, like a wreath.

     


    2015 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T Coupe Premium 10


    Moving inside the ATS Coupe, it feels quite snug thanks to the lowered roofline and high beltline. But once you get settled in, it becomes quite comfortable. My tester came with brown leather and piano black trim which I believe adds a nice touch of class. The front seats provided adequate comfort and were able to hold me in place during exuberant driving. There are a number of power adjustments that anyone can find a comfortable position, along with heat to keep you and a passenger warm. The back seat is best left for show as there isn’t enough room for anyone to feel comfortable sitting back here.

     

    Infotainment duties are taken care of by Cadillac’s CUE system. Now this system has been maligned for a number of reasons ranging from slowness of the system to crashes. I want to say this system has seen some improvements since the last time I used it, but unfortunately I cannot. The capacitive touch buttons still take a few tries to recognize that they have been touched; performance of the system is still quite sluggish; and I had no maps appear on the navigation system for a few minutes. I’m beginning to wonder if it would be in the best interest for GM to scrap CUE and start over with a new system.

     

    Engine, Ride, and Specs on the next page


     

    Unlike the ATS sedan, the Coupe is only available with two powertrains. The base is the 2.0L turbocharged four, while the 3.6L DI V6 is an option. My tester came with the 2.0T which produces 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This can be paired to a six-speed manual or my tester’s six-speed automatic. The 2.0T fixes one of the biggest problems I had with the ATS sedan I drove almost three years ago. In my review, I said the 3.6 had to be worked to reach all of the power it was capable of. Not so with the 2.0T. With torque arriving between 3000 - 4600 rpm, the 2.0T makes the ATS go like a rocket. Power comes on immediately and quite smoothly. It can almost fool someone into thinking you’re driving a six-cylinder, not a four. The six-speed automatic is smart in its shifts and is quite smooth. Rear-wheel drive comes as standard, but I had the optional all-wheel drive system. This system came in handy during a brief snow fall where the ATS was able to get going through the snow with no problem. Fuel economy for the ATS4 2.0T is rated at 20 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. I got 20.3 MPG during my week.

     


    2015 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T Coupe Premium 7


    The ATS has been praised for the way it drives around corners - providing something akin to an automobile from Germany. This holds true for the coupe. Equipped with a sports suspension (but not with Magnetic Ride Control, that’s only available on the rear-drive model), the ATS Coupe showed excellent poise. There was no hint of body roll and it felt flat when going through corners. Steering was quick to respond, but I was wishing for a little bit more weight. Maybe Cadillac could do something with adjustable steering with the different drive modes that are available on the ATS. Now the flipside of the sports suspension is a jarring everyday ride. Even with the vehicle set in the tour mode, bumps and potholes are transmitted quite clearly. Now I expect the ride to be a bit worse if you keep the standard 19-inch wheels with the paper thin tire sidewall, but I was lucky to have the optional 18-inch wheels which gained a tiny bit more sidewall and made the ride a little bit more bearable. Road noise is noticeable, but wind noise is kept to a decent level.

     

    The ATS Coupe shows all the hard work that Cadillac has been putting in. From the distinctive looks to a punchy turbo-four, the ATS brings a bit of freshness to the luxury coupe class. If you are one of those people who cares about the way a coupe performs, then give the Cadillac ATS a hard look. If you happen to be one of those who cares about looks and wants something a bit more comfortable, then you might want to look at the Germans. Never thought I would say that.

     

    Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the ATS4 Coupe, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     


    Year: 2015
    Make: Cadillac
    Model: ATS4
    Trim: Premium 2.0T
    Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DI VVT Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 272 @ 5500
    Torque @ RPM: 295 @ 3000 - 4600
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/28/23
    Curb Weight: 3,418 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
    Base Price: $48,205
    As Tested Price: $51,345 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Kona Brown with Jet Black Accents - $1,295.00
    18-inch Polished Aluminum Wheels - $850.00

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    I've spent small bit of time in one of these with the bordello red interior.....  If only my automotive needs were different, I would own one.

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    Oh, the last line, "If you happen to be one of those who cares about looks and wants something a bit more comfortable, then you might want to look at the Germans" made me laugh aloud, being of German heritage.   So the question that arises from my mind is, just how well can this Caddy keep up on the autobahn? 

     

    What kind of bothered me from looking over this design is the visibility of the front windshield.  Looks to be at a funny angle, but maybe that is just me.

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    Oh, the last line, "If you happen to be one of those who cares about looks and wants something a bit more comfortable, then you might want to look at the Germans" made me laugh aloud, being of German heritage.   So the question that arises from my mind is, just how well can this Caddy keep up on the autobahn? 

     

    What kind of bothered me from looking over this design is the visibility of the front windshield.  Looks to be at a funny angle, but maybe that is just me.

     

    It can keep up just fine. It has more power than a similarly priced 4-series or A4.

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    What kind of bothered me from looking over this design is the visibility of the front windshield.  Looks to be at a funny angle, but maybe that is just me.

     

    I thought the same thing, but visibility out front is decent. I wished the side and rear visibility was better, along with blind spot monitoring which is apparently an option and not ticked on my tester.

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    I really am in love with the ATS in either form but no way I can buy one considering the back seat lack of room.  With a fam, I gotta have more space.

     

    I hope Caddy gives this car a new interior.

     

    This is a coupe I would consider otherwise, to eschew a sedan.

     

    My notion is always reinforced of how nice a step up the new CTS is for only a bit more money while big discounts on 14's are available.  It's still light and not huge, but at least takes care of the back seat issue.

     

    I'll get bludgeoned for saying this, but on the sedan, still having the 2.5 available due to mpg it gets vs the turbos, is still a good thing IMO.  Even if its sales are not much the mpg of the turbo 4 and v6 are not fabulous.  To have one ATS in the stable that can get bigger mpg in case gas tops 4 bucks again soon is nice to have in the back pocket.

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    I am not a fan of high belt lines, and a lot of cars do it, some are really bad like a Chrysler 300.  I like having a more open feeling and being able to see out of the car, something that older cars seem to be better at compared to new ones because of safety regs.

     

    They should probably scrap CUE and just buy something from Apple or Android.

     

    I miss the wreath, the old logo looked better.  But if they want younger buyers to buy the ATS, they should put 4 rings on the grille.

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    I wouldn't mind having a coupe again...I'm so used to 4drs, though..they are so much easier to get in and out of (shorter doors) and easier to put stuff in the back seat..

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    But if they want younger buyers to buy the ATS, they should put 4 rings on the grille.

    You've got that backwards!

     

    Feb A4 sales : 1743 (down 21%)

    Feb ATS sales : 2028

     

    Audi needs a Crest on it's grille!  :neenerneener:

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    http://autoweek.com/article/car-news/long-wheelbase-cadillac-ats-l-launch-august

     

    ATS-L1.jpg?itok=ninu3M_Y

     

     

    If i were Cadillac, and the ATS will be dead someday, I would try to make the most of it the next 3-4 years or whatever.  I would make the ATS-l the ATS sedan here, replace the interior and fix CUE.  And then bring in some powertrains prior to the next car coming in to test them out.  I would also work to give the best value in the ATS range as far as packages and equipment for the money.  Bring a lot of value to the entry offering and get new owners in the fold set up for the next wave 4-6 years down the road.  No wasting any time,  just get it done now.  Switching to the long WB platform might even allow you to use the CT3 name.

     

    ATS-L2.jpg?itok=GtlmVBDq

     

    http://blogs.youwheel.com/2014/08/01/side-profile-comparison-the-2015-cadillac-ats-vs-ats-l/

     

     

    2015_Cadillac_ATS-L_1.jpg

     

     

    2015_Cadillac_ATS-L_2.jpg

     

     

     

    if the CTS all wheel drive is the CTS4.....what is the CT6 AWD?  CT6-4?

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    Why not just buy a CTS, or another brand?

     

    Once again- ATS has the same total legroom as the NEVER complained about audi A4. It has 9" more total legroom than the exact same overall length MBCLA.

    There is NO need for an ATS-L because there is the CTS, and AFAIK, there is no other sedan in this segment with an 'L' version on the US market AND the ATS is wholly competitive in legroom in this size segment. An 'L' version sets up a 'tweener' scenario because the CTS's wheelbase is only a mere 5" longer. Overlap & confusion. Pointless, also.

     

    It's also not going anywhere in 3-4 years; you missed the idea that the NAME is slated to change. Still outselling the A4 to boot.

     

    Interior is one of the nicest in its segment, certainly no glaring deficiencies. CUE I have not experienced so cannot address.

    A small diesel would be a nice addition, tho I note the A4 has only ONE engine avail. and the same price class (non-AMG) CLA has all of ONE engine avail, whereas the (non-V) ATS offers THREE.

     

    These non-issues pointedly point to one underlying factor; this is not the car for YOU.

     

    - - - - -

    On another point, there seriously needs to be a de-coupling of the 'AWD' designator from models names. There's already more than enough alpha-numerics going on in general that adding a '4' or 'X' to it all only makes the 'system' that much easier to hate. Decouple.

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    I do have to laugh when people complain about rear seat space in a compact sports sedan; these aren't family sedans. They are for singles and dinks. If you need to lug around a family, get a minivan or CUV.

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    It's not so much the specs of rear seat legroom but how this platform handles the floor pan back there. If you look in the back seat of the ATS the floor pan juts out into where your feet would go effectively reducing what little space is available. Just because this car is compact does not give it a free pass for no space back there. The touch capacative crap needs to go along with Cue, the turbo and 3.6 should be getting better MPG numbers than they do and the price of this car is just too high. It would be a cold day in hell before I shelled out 51 large for a small cramped coupe with a 4 cylinder engine that drinks gas like a V6 even with the 4 wheel drive!

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    "cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

    FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

     

    RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

    A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

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    It's not so much the specs of rear seat legroom but how this platform handles the floor pan back there. If you look in the back seat of the ATS the floor pan juts out into where your feet would go effectively reducing what little space is available. Just because this car is compact does not give it a free pass for no space back there. The touch capacative crap needs to go along with Cue, the turbo and 3.6 should be getting better MPG numbers than they do and the price of this car is just too high. It would be a cold day in hell before I shelled out 51 large for a small cramped coupe with a 4 cylinder engine that drinks gas like a V6 even with the 4 wheel drive!

     

    But the you would if it had 4 rings or a 3-pointed star?  That's the point Balth is making here.  Why are there complaints about Price per Interior Space on the ATS when the smaller competition doesn't get the same complaint.

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    "cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

    FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

     

    RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

    A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

     

    Some specs you missed:

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30 - 272hp - 295 lb-ft - Regular fuel okay, premium recommended

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32 - 211hp - 258 lb-ft - Premium fuel required

     

    Any fuel cost savings gained by the extra mpgs in the Audi are reversed and then pushed into the negative by the Premium fuel requirement..... even if you did run regular fuel which isn't recommended, your mpg will suffer substantially.  The Cadillac ATS 2.0T can run regular fuel 100% of the time and you'll just see a small performance decrease. 

     

    This is also where the Cadillac 2.5 liter comes in. It runs regular fuel just fine and has almost the same HP as the Audi 2.0T though a lot less torque... and gets the 22/33 mpg

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    "cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

    FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

     

    RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

    A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

     

    Some specs you missed:

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30 - 272hp - 295 lb-ft - Regular fuel okay, premium recommended

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32 - 211hp - 258 lb-ft - Premium fuel required

     

    Any fuel cost savings gained by the extra mpgs in the Audi are reversed and then pushed into the negative by the Premium fuel requirement..... even if you did run regular fuel which isn't recommended, your mpg will suffer substantially.  The Cadillac ATS 2.0T can run regular fuel 100% of the time and you'll just see a small performance decrease. 

     

    This is also where the Cadillac 2.5 liter comes in. It runs regular fuel just fine and has almost the same HP as the Audi 2.0T though a lot less torque... and gets the 22/33 mpg

     

     

    Except, in the real world, none of that really holds up.

     

    As premium is recommended for full power with Cadillac's 2.0t, those numbers are achieved using premium. The Audi's engine is well documented as being under-rated, and it shows. What looks like a massive difference in horsepower simply doesn't materialize in reality. Performance data shows the the A4 and ATS as having nearly identical acceleration times, both generally around 5.8 seconds. It's the same thing with the 328i, which also looks to be at a disadvantage on paper, yet is the quickest of the bunch by far. Edmunds even dyno'd the ATS and 328i back to back, finding the the BMW had an ever so slight advantage in power. It also happens to achieve the best fuel economy, also on premium. There is a slight cost savings using regular in the Cadillac, but it's not that big a difference, especially after factoring in real driver's actual MPG (to be honest, there's very little data on fueleconomy'gov's website, but owner's forums seem to back up that data after a quick search). 

     

    So yes, on paper, the Cadillac looks like a winner. In reality, they're all about the same. Not such a bad thing, and honestly, the Germans set themselves up for it by under-rated everything. 

    Edited by blackviper8891
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    The ATS and the CTS out BMW what BMW's used to do...now that BMW's are big and soft, and heavy. It's baffling to hear all magazine critics proclaim this proudly and gush over the ATS/CTS year after year, yet it doesn't translate into sales.

     

    Why? Many reasons, but terrible marketing so no one has recognition of what an ATS or CTS are is a huge reason. Show them beating a BMW...show those quotes saying it...make the car sound incredible on a sound clip...something that makes you go "whoa, what is that?"

     

    Car people can appreciate how high performance this platform and the cars off it are. But the buying public needs to know that too, so they want to buy them.

     

    The ATS is not exactly the most comfortable car, but is a performer top to bottom.

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    BMW may have lost some touch due to the electric steering and bigger vehicles, but they BMW buyers keep coming back.  I seem to remember a Car and Driver comparison and they said the ATS had the best chassis and best handling but the 0-60 time and fuel economy were worse than the BMW, and C/D didn't like the 6-speed automatic transmission or the CUE system.  The ATS doesn't do enough other things well to topple the Germans.

     

    Advertising and marketing are a problem, but so is image.  Cadillac still has a lousy image with a lot of buyers.  They could make the ATS out handle the Z06, it still won't help it get sales, the rest of the car needs to exceed what the Germans are doing to get people to look at it.

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    BMW may have lost some touch due to the electric steering and bigger vehicles, but they BMW buyers keep coming back.  I seem to remember a Car and Driver comparison and they said the ATS had the best chassis and best handling but the 0-60 time and fuel economy were worse than the BMW, and C/D didn't like the 6-speed automatic transmission or the CUE system.  The ATS doesn't do enough other things well to topple the Germans.

     

    Advertising and marketing are a problem, but so is image.  Cadillac still has a lousy image with a lot of buyers.  They could make the ATS out handle the Z06, it still won't help it get sales, the rest of the car needs to exceed what the Germans are doing to get people to look at it.

    99% of the ATS out does both MB and BMW. Just too many Badge snobs with their heads buried in the sand like an Ostrich and poor marketing / advertising to get people to check out the superior product.

     

    Cadillac would do well to have MB and BMW identically equipped auto's on hand to allow real comparison to their ATS and CTS and this is where you will see the separation of the Curds from the Whey!

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    "cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

    FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

     

    RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

    A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

     

    Some specs you missed:

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30 - 272hp - 295 lb-ft - Regular fuel okay, premium recommended

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32 - 211hp - 258 lb-ft - Premium fuel required

     

    Any fuel cost savings gained by the extra mpgs in the Audi are reversed and then pushed into the negative by the Premium fuel requirement..... even if you did run regular fuel which isn't recommended, your mpg will suffer substantially.  The Cadillac ATS 2.0T can run regular fuel 100% of the time and you'll just see a small performance decrease. 

     

    This is also where the Cadillac 2.5 liter comes in. It runs regular fuel just fine and has almost the same HP as the Audi 2.0T though a lot less torque... and gets the 22/33 mpg

     

     

    Except, in the real world, none of that really holds up.

     

    As premium is recommended for full power with Cadillac's 2.0t, those numbers are achieved using premium. The Audi's engine is well documented as being under-rated, and it shows. What looks like a massive difference in horsepower simply doesn't materialize in reality. Performance data shows the the A4 and ATS as having nearly identical acceleration times, both generally around 5.8 seconds. It's the same thing with the 328i, which also looks to be at a disadvantage on paper, yet is the quickest of the bunch by far. Edmunds even dyno'd the ATS and 328i back to back, finding the the BMW had an ever so slight advantage in power. It also happens to achieve the best fuel economy, also on premium. There is a slight cost savings using regular in the Cadillac, but it's not that big a difference, especially after factoring in real driver's actual MPG (to be honest, there's very little data on fueleconomy'gov's website, but owner's forums seem to back up that data after a quick search). 

     

    So yes, on paper, the Cadillac looks like a winner. In reality, they're all about the same. Not such a bad thing, and honestly, the Germans set themselves up for it by under-rated everything. 

     

     

    But again, the point we're talking about here is that even when specs are identical, people complain about the Cadillac spec but not the equal spec from the Germans. 

     

    I do wonder what the ATS performance will be once it gets the new 8-speed in August. 

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    Maybe the Wreath and Crest, errr Crest just can't pull buyers in regardless of what the specs are.  Because the Lexus IS outsells the ATS pretty easily, (4488 to 1500 in March) and that is a sedan only car with gas only engines.  The Lexus doesn't really beat anything in the class in fuel economy or power or acceleration or handling.

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    • By William Maley
      When I was driving the 2020 Lexus GS in late February, rumors were flying around that the model would be discontinued at the end of the model year. There was some credence to this rumor as sales had been falling and Lexus hasn’t been updating the model to keep it somewhat up to date with competitors. It would sometime later that we learned that the GS would be going away at the end. So this is the last look at a sedan that I liked at the beginning but now have some mixed feelings.
      Not much has changed in the overall design of the GS since our last review in 2018. The F-Sport has its tweaks such as a mesh grille insert, more aggressive bumpers, and dual-spoke wheels. I still find this sedan very striking, especially in this bright blue. The interior is much the same as the 2013 and 2017 models I have driven. Plus points are high-quality materials, very comfortable front seats, and an easy to read instrument cluster. Downsides are the very dated infotainment system and confounding controller for it; and tall transmission tunnel that eats into rear legroom. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in many Lexus and Toyota vehicles. In the GS, it produces 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet. My test vehicle came with the optional all-wheel drive system, which means a six-speed automatic is standard. Sticking with rear-wheel drive gets you the eight-speed. The performance of the V6 doesn’t really wow as it once did. 0-60 takes around six seconds for the AWD version, which is unremarkable as other competitors can do the same in around five seconds or less. Not helping is the six-speed automatic which limits the flexibility of the engine. The pluses to the V6 are minimal NVH levels and silky smooth power delivery. The EPA says the GS 350 AWD will return 19 City/26 Highway/21 Combined. I saw an average of 22 mpg during my week. The GS surprised me as to how it well handled in the corners, especially in the F-Sport trim. That continues here as the GS 350 F-Sport AWD shows off minimal body roll and sharp steering. You do miss out on some of the trick features on the RWD model such as limited-slip differential and variable gear-ratio steering, but you’re likely not to notice it. What is a bit surprising is the GS F-Sport’s ride quality. Those expecting more bumps to disrupt the ride will be surprised as the GS glides over them like it was nothing. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. Previously, the GS 350 F-Sport would have been my recommendation for a luxury midsize sedan with a sporting edge. Now, it is difficult for me to recommend the GS at all considering the age and how many competitors have moved forward. Right now, I would go with a BMW 5-Series as being the one for sport while the S90 takes the place of being something a bit different in the class. Still, if I had the opportunity to get my hands on the GS 350 F-Sport, I would do it. This is a prime example of do as I say, not as I do. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the GS 350, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: GS
      Trim: 350 F-Sport AWD
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve VVT- V6
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 311 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 280 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/26/22
      Curb Weight: 3,891 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $54,505
      Author's Note: Unfortunately, I lost my copy of the window sticker for this particular test vehicle, hence why I don't have the as-tested price or option list for this review.
    • By William Maley
      I felt very mixed when I reviewed the Mitsubishi Outlander last year, There was a lot to like about the crossover, but the list of negatives pushed me towards recommending it if you could find one at a good price. How would I feel when I drove the Outlander PHEV? Spoiler: About the same.
      (Author's Note: If you're looking for thoughts on the interior, I will direct you to my Mitsubishi Outlander review from last year as the PHEV shares all of the positives and negatives from the standard model.)
      Not much is different from the standard Outlander I drove last year to the PHEV except for the various hybrid badging around the vehicle, and additional fuel filler door on the rear passenger-side fender housing the charging outlets. The hybrid system is comprised of 60kW electric motors mounted on each axle providing 80 horsepower. The motors draw their power from a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery. A 2.0L inline-four acts as the generator for the battery and can power the wheels in certain situations. Total output stands at 190 hp. The driver has three different drive modes for which the Outlander can operate. EV which makes the Outlander PHEV only run electric power; Battery Save which turns on the engine to power the wheels to save charge; and Battery Charge where the generator charges up the battery. Most of my week, I found myself using Battery Save and Charge when driving on the freeway. Around town, it was left in EV or automatic mode. When the Outlander PHEV is running on electric power only, it provides enough grunt to get out of the way of traffic when leaving a green light. But begin to climb in speed and you realize this isn’t a quick car. Despite the instantaneous torque, the Outlander PHEV does take its time getting up to speed. Some of this can be attributed to the curb weight of 4,222 lbs.  Not helping is when the engine comes on to charge/power the wheels. When the engine is put under a load, it sounds very harsh and under a lot of stress. EPA figures for the Outlander PHEV are 74 MPGe (electric and gas combined) and 25 MPG (gas only combined). My average for the week landed around 35 MPGe, which is well under the EPA figure. But I will cut it a fair amount of slack as it arrived during one of the coldest weeks Michigan experienced. For electric-only range, Mitsubishi claims 22 miles. I saw between 16-18 miles which isn’t bad considering the cold temps. On recharging, Mitsubishi says that the Outlander PHEV takes about 13 hours when plugged into 120V/8A outlet, or 8 hours for a 120V/12V outlet. In my testing with 120V charging, it took about 8 hours to fully charge a depleted battery. The Outlander PHEV feels at home on long stretches of road where it shows off one of its strongest attributes, a smooth ride. On some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Outlander glided over them like it was nothing. On a winding road, the Outlander PHEV feels slightly out of its depth partly due to very num steering. What is surprising is that the PHEV doesn’t have as much body roll as the standard model when put into a corner. I feel conflicted on the 2020 Outlander PHEV as on the surface, it is a pretty competent crossover with the ability to run on electric power only. But the gas engine needs a bit of NVH work and performance could be slightly better. Also, it has several issues that I talked about in the previous Outlander. The final nail is the price; $43,600 for the top-line GT seen here. Yes, it does qualify for a federal tax credit of almost $6,000 that drops the price to under $38,000. But that still a fair amount of money for what is an old crossover.  If you can find one at a decent price, around $35,000 or less, then I would say take a closer look at it. Otherwise, wait to see Ford and Toyota’s entrants into the PHEV crossover market.  
      Disclaimer: Mitsubishi Provided the Outlander PHEV, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Mitsubishi
      Model: Outlander PHEV
      Trim: GT
      Engine: 60kW Electric Motors (Front and Rear Axles), 2.0L MIVEC DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Single Speed Reduction Gearbox (Front & Rear), All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 80 @ 0 (Electric), 117 @ 4,500 (Gas),  190 (Total)
      Torque @ RPM: 101 @ 0 (Front Electric Motor), 144 @ 0 (Rear Electric Motor), 137 @ 4,500 (Gas)
      Fuel Economy: MPGe/Gasoline Combined - 74/25
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Okazaki, Japan
      Base Price: $41,495
      As Tested Price: $43,600 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      GT Premium Interior Package - $400.00
      Pearl White Paint - $395.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats and Portfolio - $145.00
      Charging Cable Storage Bag - $70.00

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    • By William Maley
      I felt very mixed when I reviewed the Mitsubishi Outlander last year, There was a lot to like about the crossover, but the list of negatives pushed me towards recommending it if you could find one at a good price. How would I feel when I drove the Outlander PHEV? Spoiler: About the same.
      (Author's Note: If you're looking for thoughts on the interior, I will direct you to my Mitsubishi Outlander review from last year as the PHEV shares all of the positives and negatives from the standard model.)
      Not much is different from the standard Outlander I drove last year to the PHEV except for the various hybrid badging around the vehicle, and additional fuel filler door on the rear passenger-side fender housing the charging outlets. The hybrid system is comprised of 60kW electric motors mounted on each axle providing 80 horsepower. The motors draw their power from a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery. A 2.0L inline-four acts as the generator for the battery and can power the wheels in certain situations. Total output stands at 190 hp. The driver has three different drive modes for which the Outlander can operate. EV which makes the Outlander PHEV only run electric power; Battery Save which turns on the engine to power the wheels to save charge; and Battery Charge where the generator charges up the battery. Most of my week, I found myself using Battery Save and Charge when driving on the freeway. Around town, it was left in EV or automatic mode. When the Outlander PHEV is running on electric power only, it provides enough grunt to get out of the way of traffic when leaving a green light. But begin to climb in speed and you realize this isn’t a quick car. Despite the instantaneous torque, the Outlander PHEV does take its time getting up to speed. Some of this can be attributed to the curb weight of 4,222 lbs.  Not helping is when the engine comes on to charge/power the wheels. When the engine is put under a load, it sounds very harsh and under a lot of stress. EPA figures for the Outlander PHEV are 74 MPGe (electric and gas combined) and 25 MPG (gas only combined). My average for the week landed around 35 MPGe, which is well under the EPA figure. But I will cut it a fair amount of slack as it arrived during one of the coldest weeks Michigan experienced. For electric-only range, Mitsubishi claims 22 miles. I saw between 16-18 miles which isn’t bad considering the cold temps. On recharging, Mitsubishi says that the Outlander PHEV takes about 13 hours when plugged into 120V/8A outlet, or 8 hours for a 120V/12V outlet. In my testing with 120V charging, it took about 8 hours to fully charge a depleted battery. The Outlander PHEV feels at home on long stretches of road where it shows off one of its strongest attributes, a smooth ride. On some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Outlander glided over them like it was nothing. On a winding road, the Outlander PHEV feels slightly out of its depth partly due to very num steering. What is surprising is that the PHEV doesn’t have as much body roll as the standard model when put into a corner. I feel conflicted on the 2020 Outlander PHEV as on the surface, it is a pretty competent crossover with the ability to run on electric power only. But the gas engine needs a bit of NVH work and performance could be slightly better. Also, it has several issues that I talked about in the previous Outlander. The final nail is the price; $43,600 for the top-line GT seen here. Yes, it does qualify for a federal tax credit of almost $6,000 that drops the price to under $38,000. But that still a fair amount of money for what is an old crossover.  If you can find one at a decent price, around $35,000 or less, then I would say take a closer look at it. Otherwise, wait to see Ford and Toyota’s entrants into the PHEV crossover market.  
      Disclaimer: Mitsubishi Provided the Outlander PHEV, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Mitsubishi
      Model: Outlander PHEV
      Trim: GT
      Engine: 60kW Electric Motors (Front and Rear Axles), 2.0L MIVEC DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Single Speed Reduction Gearbox (Front & Rear), All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 80 @ 0 (Electric), 117 @ 4,500 (Gas),  190 (Total)
      Torque @ RPM: 101 @ 0 (Front Electric Motor), 144 @ 0 (Rear Electric Motor), 137 @ 4,500 (Gas)
      Fuel Economy: MPGe/Gasoline Combined - 74/25
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Okazaki, Japan
      Base Price: $41,495
      As Tested Price: $43,600 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      GT Premium Interior Package - $400.00
      Pearl White Paint - $395.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats and Portfolio - $145.00
      Charging Cable Storage Bag - $70.00
    • By William Maley
      Nearly two years ago, I drove the then all-new Hyundai Kona crossover at a press event. It was a unique looking vehicle that was entering the growing subcompact crossover class. Out of the three Hyundai vehicles I drove, the Kona impressed me most with its performance and value for money. But if there is something I have learned over eight years with reviewing vehicles, is that I can’t take first impressions as final. It has been a long wait, but I finally got my hands on a 2020 Kona Ultimate AWD. Let’s see if my first impression can still hold up.
      The Outer Limits (of Exterior Design)
      You may be forgiven for thinking that the Kona has just arrived in a UFO from Planet Nine due to its shape. But Hyundai knew they needed to make a splash in what is becoming a very competitive class. Designers took some influence from the Jeep Cherokee with a rounded front end and the front lights being separated into daytime lights and headlights. Another design trait is the slit that sits between the grille and hood cutline. Finishing off the look is body cladding running along the lower edge and a bright green paint color only available on the turbo engine models. It may seem like an odd mashup of ideas, but it works surprisingly well.
      A Conventional Interior
      Some will be disappointed that Hyundai didn’t continue the wacky design for the Kona’s interior. But having an interior that is user friendly will always pull ahead of interesting design. That isn’t to say Hyundai hasn’t added some special touches such as vent surrounds and seat stitching matching the exterior color. Hard plastics are used throughout, but they don’t feel hollow or cheap when you run your hand across.
      There is a fair amount of space for those sitting upfront. Comfort is ok for short trips, but I found myself wanting more thigh support on longer trips. In the back, there is a large amount of headroom for most passengers. Legroom is a different story as tall people will find their knees pressed against the front seats. Cargo space is another area where the Kona is lacking. With the rear seats up, the Kona’s cargo area measures 19.2 cubic feet - about 0.1 cubic feet more than the Toyota C-HR. Fold them down and space increases to 45.8. This trails the likes of the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Kicks, and Honda HR-V.
      The One To Still Be Beaten (Infotainment-wise)
      The Kona Ultimate comes equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen featuring Hyundai’s infotainment system. This system has consistently been one of my favorites as Hyundai nails the basics - simple interface, blazing-fast performance, and having features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. My only complaint is that the design is starting to look dated when compared to other automakers and their updated infotainment. 
      Turbo Power!
      Two powertrains are available in the Kona. SE, SEL, and SEL Plus use the 2.0L four-cylinder offering 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic. Limited and Ultimate come with the turbocharged 1.6L four producing 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Front or all-wheel drive is available for either engine.
      Zippy is the word to describe the performance of the turbo engine. The Kona easily accelerates away from a stop and has no issue with passing a slower vehicle. The dual-clutch transmission seems to stumble when leaving a stop, but does get itself together at higher speeds. I also found the transmission is slow to react when your floor the throttle, taking a few milliseconds to downshift.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 1.6T with AWD are 26 City/29 Highway/27 Combined. My average for the week landed around 26.7 mpg, mostly due to cold weather during the week I had the Kona.
      Woah, This Crossover Handles
      If you wanted a subcompact crossover that handled decently, your choices were either the Mazda CX-3 or Toyota C-HR. The Kona enters the ring as the third choice, and possibly the best. On the backroads, the Kona feels quite agile and has almost no body roll. If I was to nitpick, the steering doesn’t have as much feel as you’ll find in the CX-3. But it feels noticeably better than the C-HR. Ride quality is impressive with most bumps being isolated from passengers sitting inside. Not too much wind and road noise come inside.
      Possibly the Best Subcompact Crossover At the Moment
      Hyundai has a very compelling package in the Kona. There is an excellent performance from the turbocharged engine, impressive driving dynamics, easy to use infotainment system, and a long list of standard equipment. There are some drawbacks with the small cargo area and rear legroom topping the list. If you need the space, a Honda HR-V would be my first pick. The dual-clutch transmission still needs a bit more work to iron out the hesitation issues I experienced. 
      That first impression I had still stands and moves the Kona not only being the best in the class at the moment, but also onto a very rarefied list; a vehicle I would considering buying.
      How I Would Configure A Kona: The only reason I see buying the Ultimate is for the adaptive cruise control as most of the other safety equipment such as blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, and forward collision avoidance are available on other models. So if I wanted the Turbo engine, then I would step down to the Limited at $26,100. For those who think that is a tad expensive still should consider the SEL Plus as it comes very well equipped for $23,950. You do sacrifice the turbo engine for the 2.0L four-cylinder which is fine if your planning to drive mostly around town. Add an additional $1,400 for all-wheel drive.
      Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Kona, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Kona
      Trim: Ultimate
      Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC 16-Valve GDI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 175 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/29/27
      Curb Weight: 3,276 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $29,150
      As Tested Price: $ 30,380 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

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