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    Review: 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE


    • Can A Hybrid Camry Be Sporty?


    The midsize sedan field has changed drastically within the past few years. New models are now standing in the spotlight, while older and more established models are beginning to fall flat. The Toyota Camry is beginning to feel some of the pressure. While it still is one of the top selling vehicles in the U.S., the likes of the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Ford Fusion are eating into its sales. Toyota knew it was time to make some changes to keep the Camry on top. The result is the 2015 Camry. I spent a week in the Camry SE Hybrid to see if these changes help or hurt.

     

    The 2015 Camry is quite a departure in terms of design. Whereas previous-generations were more reserved and somewhat boring to look at, the 2015 model is quite out there. From a long, slim chrome bar paired with a massive mesh grille up front, to character lines along the side, this Camry has style. A set of grey, 17-inch wheels and hybrid badging finish off the finish off the Hybrid SE. I’m not to keen on the Camry’s overall design, but I have to admit this is the most exciting Camry in a while.

     


    2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE 11


    The interior is also a departure from previous Camrys. There is some style throughout the interior with slight curves on the dash panels and grey stitching on certain interior pieces. There is also more soft-touch materials used throughout to make the cabin a bit more pleasing to touch. The center stack gets a seven-inch touchscreen with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, and a set of large buttons and knobs to control it and the climate control system. Some might complain and make fun of the giant buttons and knobs that Toyota employs., Bbut in the age of using small buttons which are difficult to find, or capacitive-touch buttons which can be hit and miss, I appreciate Toyota’s decision to keep it simple. One item I wish Toyota would fix is the touchscreen as it appears to be washed out in any condition.

     

    SE models get a set of sport seats with what Toyota calls ‘sport fabric material’ - a combination of their SofTex vinyl and patterned fabric. Finding a comfortable position in the front is no problem thanks to good support from the seats and a number of adjustments - power for the driver, manual for the passenger. The back seat has no shortage of head and legroom for even the tallest of passengers.

     

    See Page 2 Powertrain and Ride Impressions


     

    One item Toyota did not dare mess with is the hybrid powertrain. Like on the larger Avalon Hybrid, the Camry Hybrid uses a 2.5L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder paired with an electric motor to produce a total output 200 horsepower. This powertrain is paired to a CVT. There are also three different drive modes which varies power output:

    • Drive: Goes between electric, gas, and hybrid modes automatically.
    • Eco: Restricts throttle response and use of the A/C compressor
    • EV: Runs the vehicle solely on electric power if the vehicle is under 25 MPH


    The Camry Hybrid is quite the potent vehicle. Leaving a stop light, I was shocked at how it was able to leap off and get moving at a quick rate. Maybe it was due to me thinking I was driving a Prius XL. But the reason for this fast response is due to the 199 pound-feet of torque from the electric motor which is available from 0 to 1,500 rpm. More impressive was how the Camry Hybrid did around town and on the freeway as the powertrain was able to get up to speed at a reasonable rate. I had to remind myself that this a hybrid and not a basic four-cylinder model. Fuel economy is rated at 40 City/38 Highway/40 Combined for the hybrid. My average for the week was around 37 MPG. This was due to frigid weather I was driving in.

     



    2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE 8


    Now the Hybrid SE model is new for this generation of Camry Hybrid which includes a sport-tuned suspension. Does this make the Camry Hybrid sportier? I have to say no. In the corners, the car felt somewhat squishy - possibly due to the low-rolling resistance tires. Also, the steering felt very rubbery and had no feel. If you want a midsize hybrid sedan that is somewhat fun to drive, I would point you in the direction of the Honda Accord Hybrid. But for day-to-day driving, the Camry Hybrid is quite good. Even with the sport-tuned suspension, the vehicle still kept bumps and imperfections at bay. Wind and road noise were kept at acceptable levels.

     

    At the end of my week with the Camry Hybrid SE, I felt that most of these changes have helped the Camry. It may not be the most exciting to look at or to drive, but Toyota focused on improving the basics which will help it in the sales chart. As for the SE trim, I think its a half-baked idea. They have the looks down, now Toyota just needs to work on making the driving a tiny bit more sporting.

     

    Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Camry Hybrid, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Toyota
    Model: Camry
    Trim: Hybrid SE
    Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive (2.5L DOHC 16-valve VVT-i four-cylinder, 105 kW Electric Motor)
    Driveline: CVT, Front-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 156 @ 5,700 (Gas), 200 (Total Output)
    Torque @ RPM: 156 @ 4,500 (Gas), 199 @ 0-1,500 (Electric)
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 40/38/40
    Curb Weight: 3,565 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
    Base Price: $27,995
    As Tested Price: $32,987 (Includes $825.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite - $1,300.00
    Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof - $915.00
    Remote Start - $499.00
    Clear Protective Film - $395.00
    VIP RS3200 Plus Security System - $359.00
    Four Season Floor Mat Package - $325.00
    Illuminated Door Sill Enhancements - $299.00
    Wireless Charging for Electronics - $75.00

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    User Feedback


    I think it's important to note that the interior is largely carry over from the 2012 redesign. All I see for 2015 is an elaborate refresh of a refresh.

     

    2012 Camry SE:

    lead12-2012-toyota-camry-se-fd.jpg

     

    2015 Camry:

    24347481b630484546ebcdbf601f15ad.jpg

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    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00
    • By William Maley
      Three years might not seem like a long time. But in the automotive industry, it is an eternity. In that short amount time, a vehicle may be surpassed by competitors and sales may take a dive. Take for example the Nissan Altima. When the redesigned model was launched back in 2013, it was considered to be above-average and some key advantages over rivals. But time has passed and the Altima has been surpassed in a number of key areas by refreshed/redesigned competitors. Nissan knew they needed to do something to get the Altima back in contention. Last year, they introduced a refreshed Altima that would hopefully give them a fighting chance in the class. Let's see if it does.
      If you were expecting some big changes to the Altima’s exterior in this mid-cycle refresh, then you’ll be disappointed. The front end features a new V-shaped grille and revised headlights to bring the model in line with the current Nissan design language. Updated taillights and new wheel choices finish off the changes. The interior is mostly left alone in this refresh aside from some new choices of trim pieces. That isn’t a bad thing as the Altima’s interior is a nice place to be in with ample space for passengers, a fair amount of soft-touch materials used throughout, and a simple dash layout. 
      One item we do wish Nissan would have addressed in this refresh is the NissanConnect infotainment system. All Altimas come with a five-inch touchscreen as standard, while our SL tester featured the optional seven-inch screen. This system has a number of issues ranging from an interface that makes it look older than it really is to the system crashing our iPod on a regular basis. More worrying was the system crashing and rebooting twice during our week-long test. It would be nice for Nissan to take the system out of the Maxima and Murano and put it into the rest of their lineup as it doesn’t have the issues listed here.
      Under the hood of the Altima are the same engines that have powered it since 2013. Our Altima SL tester came with the standard 2.5L four-cylinder with 183 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 3.5L V6 with 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. No matter which engine you pick, a Xtronic CVT routes the power to the front wheels. The 2.5 does quite well around town as the engine gets up to speed at a decent rate. Getting onto the highway is another story as you’ll need to almost floor the gas pedal to get up to speed at a somewhat decent rate. This also brings forth an abundance of engine noise, something we complained about in our 2014 Nissan Altima SL review. At least the Xtronic CVT is responsive when you step on the accelerator and the illusion of the stepped gears can make most buyers believe they’re driving an automatic.
      The EPA rates the Altima’s fuel economy at 27 City/39 Highway/31 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 31.7 MPG.
      The Altima’s ride and handling characteristics are in the middle. The suspension does a decent job of soaking up most bumps, but some larger ones will make their way inside. The recently redesigned Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat do a better job in this regard. In the bends, the Altima feels composed and shows little body roll. But the steering is way too light and doesn’t offer enough feel to feel sporty. If you want that, a Mazda6 or Ford Fusion should be on the list.
      How do you sum up the 2016 Nissan Altima? It is a competent midsize sedan. But competent isn’t a strong selling point to a midsize sedan as you can apply to any model in the class. What you need is something that makes your model stand out whether in terms of design or features. The Altima doesn’t have anything like that.
      Picking the Altima may be the safe choice, but it be might a choice you regret.
      Disclaimer: Nissan Provided the Altima, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Nissan
      Model: Altima
      Trim: 2.5 SL
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Xtronic CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 182 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 180 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/39/31
      Curb Weight: 3,254 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Smyrna, TN
      Base Price: $28,570
      As Tested Price: $32,115 (Includes $835.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Technology Package - $1,700
      Moonroof Package - $800.00
      Carpeted Floormats and Trunk Mat - $210.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Three years might not seem like a long time. But in the automotive industry, it is an eternity. In that short amount time, a vehicle may be surpassed by competitors and sales may take a dive. Take for example the Nissan Altima. When the redesigned model was launched back in 2013, it was considered to be above-average and some key advantages over rivals. But time has passed and the Altima has been surpassed in a number of key areas by refreshed/redesigned competitors. Nissan knew they needed to do something to get the Altima back in contention. Last year, they introduced a refreshed Altima that would hopefully give them a fighting chance in the class. Let's see if it does.
      If you were expecting some big changes to the Altima’s exterior in this mid-cycle refresh, then you’ll be disappointed. The front end features a new V-shaped grille and revised headlights to bring the model in line with the current Nissan design language. Updated taillights and new wheel choices finish off the changes. The interior is mostly left alone in this refresh aside from some new choices of trim pieces. That isn’t a bad thing as the Altima’s interior is a nice place to be in with ample space for passengers, a fair amount of soft-touch materials used throughout, and a simple dash layout. 
      One item we do wish Nissan would have addressed in this refresh is the NissanConnect infotainment system. All Altimas come with a five-inch touchscreen as standard, while our SL tester featured the optional seven-inch screen. This system has a number of issues ranging from an interface that makes it look older than it really is to the system crashing our iPod on a regular basis. More worrying was the system crashing and rebooting twice during our week-long test. It would be nice for Nissan to take the system out of the Maxima and Murano and put it into the rest of their lineup as it doesn’t have the issues listed here.
      Under the hood of the Altima are the same engines that have powered it since 2013. Our Altima SL tester came with the standard 2.5L four-cylinder with 183 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 3.5L V6 with 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. No matter which engine you pick, a Xtronic CVT routes the power to the front wheels. The 2.5 does quite well around town as the engine gets up to speed at a decent rate. Getting onto the highway is another story as you’ll need to almost floor the gas pedal to get up to speed at a somewhat decent rate. This also brings forth an abundance of engine noise, something we complained about in our 2014 Nissan Altima SL review. At least the Xtronic CVT is responsive when you step on the accelerator and the illusion of the stepped gears can make most buyers believe they’re driving an automatic.
      The EPA rates the Altima’s fuel economy at 27 City/39 Highway/31 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 31.7 MPG.
      The Altima’s ride and handling characteristics are in the middle. The suspension does a decent job of soaking up most bumps, but some larger ones will make their way inside. The recently redesigned Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat do a better job in this regard. In the bends, the Altima feels composed and shows little body roll. But the steering is way too light and doesn’t offer enough feel to feel sporty. If you want that, a Mazda6 or Ford Fusion should be on the list.
      How do you sum up the 2016 Nissan Altima? It is a competent midsize sedan. But competent isn’t a strong selling point to a midsize sedan as you can apply to any model in the class. What you need is something that makes your model stand out whether in terms of design or features. The Altima doesn’t have anything like that.
      Picking the Altima may be the safe choice, but it be might a choice you regret.
      Disclaimer: Nissan Provided the Altima, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Nissan
      Model: Altima
      Trim: 2.5 SL
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Xtronic CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 182 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 180 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/39/31
      Curb Weight: 3,254 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Smyrna, TN
      Base Price: $28,570
      As Tested Price: $32,115 (Includes $835.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Technology Package - $1,700
      Moonroof Package - $800.00
      Carpeted Floormats and Trunk Mat - $210.00
    • By William Maley
      It seems odd that Nissan didn't choose one of the major auto shows to introduce a refreshed model. Instead, they chose the Miami Auto Show to introduce the updated 2017 Rogue crossover.
      The first change you'll notice is the revised front end. Nissan took some ideas from the Murano with a large V-Motion grille that dips into the front bumper and sharper headlights with LEDs. Around back are new taillights and bumper. The interior is mostly unchanged aside from a new steering wheel and new trim pieces. 
      Under the hood is where you'll find the biggest change. Nissan has added a hybrid powertrain for the Rogue. There is a 2.0L four-cylinder engine with 141 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque teamed with a 30 kW electric motor. Total output stands at 176 horsepower. You can get the hybrid with either front or all-wheel drive. Fuel economy figures for the Rogue Hybrid stand at,
      FWD: 33 City/35 Highway/34 Combined AWD: 31 City/34 Highway/33 Combined The Rogue also features a 2.5L four-cylinder with 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. No matter which powertrain you pick, Nissan's xTronic CVT comes standard.
      On the safety front, the Rogue adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, and rear cross traffic alert.
      Nissan hasn't announced pricing for the 2017 Rogue, but it will arrive at dealers later this year.
      Source: Nissan
      Press Release is on Page 2


      New 2017 Nissan Rogue offers advanced safety and security, connectivity, infotainment and driving aid technologies
      New Safety Shield technologies include Intelligent Cruise Control and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection Connectivity and infotainment features range from NissanConnectSM with Navigation, Mobile Apps and Services to Bose® audio system with nine speakers and Siri® Eyes Free Driving aids include High Beam Assist headlights, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Prevention and Lane Departure Warning, and Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection As part of a major revision for the 2017 model year, the popular Nissan Rogue crossover now includes the widest range of available advanced technology features ever. For example, adding to the list of previously available Nissan Safety Shield technologies such as radar-based Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) (both now standard on Rogue SV grade in addition to Rogue SL), the 2017 Rogue is also available with Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP).
      Two additional Safety Shield technologies that are newly available for 2017 are Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC)1 and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection2. Intelligent Cruise Control uses radar to maintain a set distance between the Rogue and the vehicle ahead, even braking to help maintain that distance.
      Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection provides audio and visual display warnings to help alert the driver of a potential frontal collision and help reduce speed if necessary. If a collision is unavoidable, the feature can engage the brakes to help reduce both the speed of the impact and the severity of the collision. The system is also designed to help avoid or mitigate frontal collisions with pedestrians, using a camera-based system to recognize human shapes.
      Both Intelligent Cruise Control and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection are optional for Rogue SL as part of the new Platinum Package – along with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Departure Prevention and new 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
      Rogue connected technology and smartphone integration features include available NissanConnectSM with Navigation and Mobile Apps. The system, which is standard on Rogue SL and optional on Rogue SV, offers a 7.0-inch color touch-screen display, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, SiriusXM® Traffic and SiriusXM® Travel Link™ – which provides 24/7 access to sports scores, movie listings, stock prices, gas prices, weather and other information (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately).
      NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM® (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately), which comes standard on Rogue SL model, offers available services including Automatic Collision Notification, Emergency Call and Stolen Vehicle Locator, Maintenance Alerts and Vehicle Health Report. Remote Access is another key feature, with help accessible through a compatible computer or smartphone. Services include Remote Door Lock and Unlock3, and Remote Horn and Flashing Lights to help find the Rogue in a garage or parking lot.
      NissanConnect Services also provides enhanced Internet Navigation searches. Navigation search options include Assisted Search (live agent), Connected Search, Destination Download, Journey Planner, Send-to-Car, and navigation search (points of interest).
      The system also offers customizable alerts via email, text message or automated phone call. Alerts include Vehicle Speed, Curfew Alert (with available notification to the driver 20 minutes before the Curfew Alert), Valet Alerts (more than two miles from drop-off) and geographical boundaries setting.
      Also available is Siri® Eyes Free4, which makes it easy to make and receive calls, hear and send text messages and emails, select and play music from a compatible device, get notifications, request directions and more.
      In addition, Rogue offers available Around View® Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD)5, which utilizes four small wide-angle cameras mounted on the front, sides and rear of the vehicle to provide a “bird's eye” virtual 360° view of objects around the vehicle. It provides additional selectable split-screen close-ups of the front, rear and curb views, helping the driver maneuver the car in or out of tight spots.
      Moving Object Detection builds on the capabilities of the AVM system, helping enhance the driver's situational awareness by providing visual and audible warnings if the system detects large moving objects around the vehicle in situations such as when pulling out of a parking space.
      Available audio systems start with the standard 4-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with 5.0-inch color audio display, auxiliary audio input jack, USB connection port for iPod® interface and other compatible devices, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately) and Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant (compatible smartphone required). Rogue SV grade adds two additional speakers, bringing the total to six. Rogue SL grade includes a Bose® audio system with nine speakers and 7.0-inch audio display. The Bose® system is available on SV models as part of the new Sun and Sound Touring Package.
      In addition, standard on all Rogue grade levels is the Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display (ADAD), located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, which features infotainment and driver assistance displays.
      Finally, High Beam Assist headlights, which are standard on Rogue SL, automatically change between high and low beam settings and back again as needed, such as when headlights or taillights from other vehicles are detected.
      Nissan offers Rogue drivers more choice – new Rogue Hybrid model launched for 2017
      The Nissan Rogue Hybrid, the newest addition to the popular Rogue crossover lineup, offers a second powertrain choice for Rogue buyers for the 2017 model year – in both FWD and AWD applications. Like the 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine-equipped standard Rogue models, the Rogue Hybrid offers freshened exterior and interior styling, additional safety, security and driving aid technology and a wide range of standard and available comfort, convenience and utility features.
      The new, compact hybrid powertrain is designed to balance performance with significant increases in fuel efficiency. It takes full advantage of an electric motor's instant torque for exceptional acceleration and, in combination with the 2.0-liter engine and advanced Xtronic transmission, provides an energetic feel under all driving conditions.
      The 2017 Rogue Hybrid produces projected fuel economy1 of 33 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined (estimated) for the front-wheel drive model. Rogue Hybrid all-wheel drive models are projected at 31 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined (estimated)1. Most significantly, it does so with virtually no compromise of performance, interior roominess or cargo space (compared to standard Rogue models).
      The hybrid system combines an advanced 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC aluminum-alloy inline 4-cylinder engine and a compact lithium-ion battery with an innovative one-motor, two-clutch control. The system's gasoline engine is rated at 141 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of torque, while the advanced 30 kW electric motor is rated at 40 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid system net power is 176 horsepower.
      At the core of the Rogue Hybrid gasoline-electric hybrid system is Nissan's advanced Intelligent Dual Clutch Control system. The first of the two clutches is a dry clutch installed between the 4-cylinder engine and the electric motor, where the torque converter would normally be, and the second is between the motor and Xtronic transmission.
      The high-output lithium-ion battery is able to charge/discharge quickly, which contributes to high-speed, precise control of the electric motor and optimum clutch control, and in combination enable smooth start and quick shift changes. An Intelligent Regenerative Braking system partially recharges the battery during vehicle braking and additional fuel economy is provided by an Idle Start/Stop system.
      In addition, with use of the compact Lithium-ion battery located under the rear cargo area, the Rogue Hybrid maintains its flat rear floor for easy passenger access to the rear seat and little reduction of cargo room.
        2017 Rogue Hybrid 2017 Rogue Powertrain 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC aluminum-alloy inline 4-cylinder, 30 kW electric motor, Nissan Intelligent Dual Clutch Control 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder Horsepower (hp) 176 (net) 170 @ 6,000 rpm Torque (lb-ft) - 175 @ 4,400 rpm Transmission Xtronic transmission with manual gear shifts and standard Sport and Eco Mode switches Xtronic transmission with manual gear shifts and standard Sport and Eco Mode switches Projected Fuel Economy (estimated)1 – FWD 33 mpg city
      35 mpg highway
      34 mpg combined 26 mpg city
      33 mpg highway
      29 mpg combined Projected Fuel Economy (estimated)1 – FWD 31 mpg city
      34 mpg highway
      33 mpg combined 25 mpg city
      32 mpg highway
      28 mpg combined Cargo Volume (cu. ft.): 
      Behind 1st row
      Behind 2nd row
      61.4
      27.3
      61.6
      28.4  

      View full article
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