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Review: 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD


William Maley

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In every automotive manufacturer’s lifecycle, they will at least once build a black sheep. A vehicle which doesn’t quite fit into their lineup, despite how good or bad it is. A perfect example is the Buick Grand National. Taking the Regal Coupe, Buick dropped in a turbocharged V6 which produced anywhere between 200 to 245 horsepower and could smoke a number of performance vehicles in the era. But it didn’t quite fit in with Buick’s smooth-riding, luxury vehicles. Thus it became a black sheep, one that would become legendary in its own right.

The black sheep phenomenon seems to be making a return to Buick. Along the rows of the luxurious and quiet vehicles sitting on dealer lots, there’s also a vehicle who has those traits along with a bit of performance. It may not wear the Grand National nameplate, but it wears one that possibly has similar value: Regal GS.

Buick has given the entire Regal lineup some changes for the 2014 model beginning with the exterior. For the Regal GS, those changes include a new front clip with a bigger grille and a new trunk lid. Decked out in red paint and featuring inlet vents that look like vampire fangs, the Regal GS has an outlook of quiet aggression. It doesn’t look like it wants to fight, but if its provoked, the Regal GS will throw down.

Inside, Buick made some key changes to the Regal GS’ interior There’s a new instrument cluster with a color screen that displays the speedometer and trip computer information. The center stack has been revised with less buttons (thank you), a new climate control system with capacitive touch controls which are hit and miss when your trying to change the temperature or turn on the heated seats; and a larger touchscreen with the latest version of Buick’s Intellilink infotainment system which is easy to use for the most part.

2014 Buick Regal GS 10

The interior is trimmed in high quality leather and soft touch materials, along with black trim to accent the sporty image. The front sport seats are very comfortable and are able to keep you in place if you decide to be exuberant with your driving style. The back seat provides very good legroom, while headroom can be tight for taller passengers due to the sloping roofline.

For impressions on the powertrain and handling, see page 2.


Previously, the Regal GS produced 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder. For 2014, Buick cut back the horsepower to 259. But in turn, Buick adjusted where maximum torque was available. In this case, they lowered the point. Buick also increased the RPM range of where you have that torque (2,500 to 4,000 rpm if you're wondering). Like before, the Regal GS is available with either a six-speed manual or automatic. However, new for 2014 is the introduction of a all-wheel drive model with a six-speed automatic. The all-wheel drive system can send up 90 percent of power to the rear wheels.

2014 Buick Regal GS 9

Like the previous GS, the current model offers three different drive modes. Normal provides a nice balance of efficiency and performance. Sport firms up the suspension, while GS firms up the suspension even further, quickens the shifts of the six-speed transmission, sharpens up the throttle response, and sends 15 percent more torque to the rear wheels.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I drove the Regal GS onto one of the roads I use for evaluation. But I can say my jaw was on the floor once I finished driving. Put the Regal GS into the GS mode and it becomes something along the lines of a German sedan. The engine spools up quickly and gets the close to 4,000 pound vehicle moving at a rapid pace. Power is always ready whenever you need it. You also notice the all-wheel drive working, shifting power around to keep the vehicle moving and in control. The six-speed automatic is quick on up or downshifts, though I was wishing for a set of paddles so I could play around with gear selection.

Then there is the Regal GS’ handling. Drive it into a corner, and the GS hunkers down. There is minimal body roll and the steering provides excellent weight and feel. Agility was very good and felt like you could push the GS a lot further than you thought at first.

But what happens when you drive the Regal GS day to day? Well, the Regal GS has a much stiffer ride than the standard Regal. Even in the normal mode, the Regal GS does bounce around a little bit more than you'd think. I was thankful I had the standard nineteen-inch wheels and not the optional twenty-inch ones as this would only exacerbate this problem. But the Regal GS does retain Buick’s notion of providing a quiet ride.

The 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD is an excellent all-weather performance vehicle that could give many competitors, even the Germans a run for their money. But I fear that the Regal GS will go down in history as a black sheep much like the Grand National. Why? Well, Buick lists the Regal GS’ competitors such as the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. A tough set of competitors, many people don’t think of Buick as being a competitor to those brands. The other reason is price. A 2014 Regal GS AWD starts at $39,270. My tester rang in at $43,780. A fair price with all of the options on it, but for many, it will likely make their eyes drop out.

2014 Buick Regal GS 5

This price problem is further exacerbated by another General Motors model; the Buck Regal Turbo. Both models have the similar engines, choices of drivetrains, and number of other items. The difference is that Turbo costs less than GS. This brings up the question of why buy the GS at all. The best answer I can give is that the GS offers more performance thanks to a number of enhancements under the hood and the suspension.

If you like being a bit outside the norm, the Regal GS is worth a look.

Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Buick Regal GS, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

Year: 2014

Make: Buick

Model: Regal

Trim: GS AWD

Engine: 2.0L DOHC Turbocharged Four-Cylinder

Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive

Horsepower @ RPM: 259 @ 5300

Torque @ RPM: 295 @ 2500-4000

Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/27/22

Curb Weight: 3,981 lbs

Location of Manufacture: Oshawa, Ontario

Base Price: $39,270.00

As Tested Price: $43,780.00 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)

Options:

Driver Confidence Package #2 - $1,695.00

Sunroof - $1,000.00

Driver Confidence Package #1 - $900.00

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


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Outstanding write up, learned allot. and Love the interior, far better than most cars out there especially the crazy floating look of the Nav found on the German brands.

 

Question, did they say why they had to drop the HP? Was it due to the AWD system? Do you know if you can reprogram it to capture the additional HP and still get the Torque at the lower RPM level?

 

I can see this car as getting Tuners excited and after markets building options for it.

 

Nice Job, Thank you :metal:

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Question, did they say why they had to drop the HP? Was it due to the AWD system? Do you know if you can reprogram it to capture the additional HP and still get the Torque at the lower RPM level?

 

Nice Job, Thank you :metal:

 

Two-fold answer I think: New version of the 2.0L Turbo and a focus on more efficiency. I really think this car could do a bit more power as it could handle it, also give so much needed breathing space between it and the Regal Turbo.

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Guest Brandon

I owned a 2013 Regal GS with a manual transmission. I love that car. It was simply amazing. I ended up trading it for a crew cab 6.2L sierra, every time I drove it, it turned me into a different person, a speed loving animal, I couldn't get behind the wheel without wanting to drive like I stole it, so I traded for something a little more practical.

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Question, did they say why they had to drop the HP? Was it due to the AWD system? Do you know if you can reprogram it to capture the additional HP and still get the Torque at the lower RPM level?

 

I can see this car as getting Tuners excited and after markets building options for it.

 

Nice Job, Thank you :metal:

 

 

 

Yes.. The available Haldex AWD system caused them to have to augment the exhaust system creating more back-pressue.. thus the loss of 11 HP. The acceleration of the car was not changed tho, and now it handles as well has most RWD cars I can think of with no torque steer. One could easily tune the 2.0L up to 300HP.. I've seen even more.

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I owned a 2013 Regal GS with a manual transmission. I love that car. It was simply amazing. I ended up trading it for a crew cab 6.2L sierra, every time I drove it, it turned me into a different person, a speed loving animal, I couldn't get behind the wheel without wanting to drive like I stole it, so I traded for something a little more practical.

 

100% agreed. I get to drive a lot of incredible new vehicles day to day, but there was a "wow" balance, feel, power, steering, braking, ride, comfort, etc to my GS that I've not had in any other car yet. My G8 GT was the only other car I enjoyed as much, in a different way. The old Turbo 2.0T was fun too, and liked to scream.

 

Until you've driven this car, you don't understand, and I'm glad I did for almost 2 years even if I rarely did so :thumbsup:

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Is the 2.0 T the same one that is in the CTS? If so there had to be something wrong with mine as the gas mileage was terrible and even in sport mode, the turbo lag was noticeable and pathetic. Was not impressed.

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I owned a 2013 Regal GS with a manual transmission. I love that car. It was simply amazing. I ended up trading it for a crew cab 6.2L sierra, every time I drove it, it turned me into a different person, a speed loving animal, I couldn't get behind the wheel without wanting to drive like I stole it, so I traded for something a little more practical.

 

100% agreed. I get to drive a lot of incredible new vehicles day to day, but there was a "wow" balance, feel, power, steering, braking, ride, comfort, etc to my GS that I've not had in any other car yet. My G8 GT was the only other car I enjoyed as much, in a different way. The old Turbo 2.0T was fun too, and liked to scream.

 

Until you've driven this car, you don't understand, and I'm glad I did for almost 2 years even if I rarely did so :thumbsup:

 

 

I only drove it for a week, and get what makes this car special.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Too much coin for too little power and interior space.

I think the power and interior is right on for this category and competition. GM needs to work on the pricing issue. One wonders how much of this auto is really built here compared to importing from Europe which has much higher costs.

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Very little, if any, comes from Europe.

So do you think they are just trying to get a bit extra profit for the auto then and if it does not sell well they can say see no one wanted these type of auto's under the Buick name plate.

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Very little, if any, comes from Europe.

So do you think they are just trying to get a bit extra profit for the auto then and if it does not sell well they can say see no one wanted these type of auto's under the Buick name plate.

 

 

The Regal is about quality rather than quantity.  If you're looking for raw speed, this isn't your car. If you're looking for the most cubic feet of passenger room for your dollar, this isn't your car.

 

The Regal is your car if you want an excellently balanced sedan with plenty of pickup, in a solid and luxurious package, at a price that doesn't break the bank compared to equally equipped competition.

 

The price premium for the GS trim is a bit excessive in my opinion, but it does get higher end tech not available in the regular Regal.

 

If it were my money, I'd probably go for a top of the line non-GS.

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$40k+ for this is almost as bad as $40k+ for a Maxima or Cadenza but at least those are a bit bigger with more room.  For $40k you can get a 3-series, or even an Acura TSX or Lincoln MKZ if you want 2nd rate luxury badge.

Yet the statistics show the Maxima and Cadenza to not be as big as the Regal and the 3 series, TSX and MKZ sure do not have the room with only average quality, average materials.

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$40k+ for this is almost as bad as $40k+ for a Maxima or Cadenza but at least those are a bit bigger with more room.  For $40k you can get a 3-series, or even an Acura TSX or Lincoln MKZ if you want 2nd rate luxury badge.

 

The Maxima doesn't have the interior niceness. The Cadenza doesn't have the handling nor the solid feel, scratch the surface and you find the underlying Kia cheapness.

To get all the same equipment as this Regal GS in a BMW 328, you have to spend another $6,000 and you're still down on power.

The MKZ is junk... there... I said it.

 

The TLX is the most natural competitor from an equipment and price perspective and it comes with a V6.  It doesn't really float my boat looks wise, but there it is.

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You know...

 

Months after selling my 2012 GS back in June, I still miss it. I was thinking the other day if I changed careers and had to buy a car, there were 2 past cars I'd love to have again. Either my G8 GT or the Regal. Oddly enough I started thinking I missed the Regal even more.

 

The comfort of that car, the performance of that car, the look, the ride/handling/steering sublimeness, the tech features and setup, the seats, it was a total package.

 

There are SO many sedans out there and I understand when someone ignorantly says "yes but for $40k I could get A, B, C, D...instead", that doesn't mean much. Most of those sedans aren't nearly as nice. I love our new TLX and it has incredible performance and comfort, yet the uniqueness of my '12 GS and even it's previous 2.0T gen, plus the look, the suspension, etc were something special. That car never felt like a FWD something to me, and took corners at full tilt still nothing like most other vehicles I've had. 

 

Too bad the resale value is terrible, and they don't have high new sales volume, as its a niche product you have to drive and experience more than a day to understand.

 

Nissans? No. Infiniti? Are you kidding? BMW? Sure, heavy, crazy pricing, lack of features, etc. Audi? Fancy VW, nice bits, but meh. Lincoln? Smoking much?...

 

This is a great car I wish had more recognition, but being the high end model within the Buick brand, it would always be a struggle.

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    • By William Maley
      There are some cars I will not turn down the opportunity to spend time with again. A prime example is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a car that brings a smile to my face. This past fall, I had a chance to spend some time in a soft-top version and to figure out whether I would have this or the RF.
      What has changed since our last visit with Miata? Only a few things such as the addition of Mazda's i-Activsense suite of active safety features (automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning) as standard; and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the Club and Grand Touring models. I find myself drawn more to the standard Miata than RF because it looks a bit neater. The hardtop makes the Miata look somewhat bulky.  The 17-inch wheels finished in dark silver help set the car off. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes using the MazdaConnect infotainment system a bit more bearable to use. I found myself using CarPlay more due to its easier interface layout and brighter graphics. Power comes from a 2.0L Skyactiv-G inline-four with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed manual, while an automatic is optional. As I noted in my review of the RF, the new 2.0 makes a dramatic difference to the Miata's performance. Leaving a stop, the engine freely revs and delivers a smooth rush of power. I think this version is slightly faster than the RF, mostly due to it not having the foldable hardtop. The six-speed manual is still one of the sweetest transmissions I have used. It feels smooth and precise when running through the gears. Handling is still one of the Miata's strong points as it eagerly changes direction and shows little body roll. Steering is sharp and provides the right amount of weight when driven hard. Ride quality is slightly better than the RF I drove last year due to the Grand Touring not having as stiff as a suspension setup. Yes, you will still feel several bumps and imperfections. But not at the rate as you'll experience in the Club. The Miata is one of those few cars I find myself still being impressed with every time I get the chance to drive one. It offers a level of driving fun that very few models can match, along with a price tag that won’t break the bank. If you were to ask which Miata I would choose, it would be the soft top. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the MX-5 Miata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Mazda
      Model: MX-5 Miata
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.0L Skyactiv-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 7,000
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/34/29
      Curb Weight: 2,341 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $31,670
      As Tested Price: $32,790 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Grey Cloth Roof - $200.00
    • By William Maley
      I rarely get the opportunity to drive two different flavors of the same vehicle within a short timeframe. But that's what happened in the fall when I had the chance to drive the new Hyundai Sonata in its standard and hybrid forms. The Sonata has always been a favorite of mine as it offered a lot for a midsize sedan, with a surprising price tag. It has also come very close to being at the top of the class, but falling somewhat short due to one thing or another. This new version has the chance of changing that.
      Very Polarizing Design

      The consensus from several readers on Cheers & Gears and various social media sites on the Sonata's design was of dislike. Many found the design to be a bit much and overdone. I found myself in the minority as I was impressed by the lengths Hyundai went. The flowing lines and raked roofline reminded me of the 2012 Sonata which gave notice to other automakers to step up their game. Little details such as the bars the run along the outer edge of the hood to the headlights to a distinct rear-end treatment make the Sonata stand out.
      If there is an issue I have with the Sonata's design, it is the grille. I find it to be slightly cartoonish due to the large size and shape.
      Simple, Yet Elegant Interior
      If you're worried that the polarizing ideas from the exterior make their way inside, don't. The interior is surprisingly sedate with clean lines and a simple design. Hyundai should be commended for using a lot of soft-touch plastics and leather on various surfaces. It makes the Sonata look and feel more premium than its price tag may suggest.

      Despite the coupe-inspired roofline, the Sonata's interior space is quite spacious. Most no one will have any complaints sitting in the back as there is ample head and legroom. Taller passengers should be aware that the optional panoramic sunroof for the Sonata will take away some headroom. The Sonata Hybrid doesn't worry about that as it doesn't offer the sunroof.
      Tech Galore!
      Both of the Sonatas on test came in the Limited trim which means a bountiful selection of technology. It begins with a 10.2-inch TFT display for the instrument cluster which provides all of the key information needed at a glance. A clever trick is when you engage the turn signal, the respective 'dial' brings up a camera mounted underneath the side view mirrors to provide a blind-spot view. I found this system to be helpful as it gave me an extra set of eyes whenever I needed to change lanes.

      Next up is another 10.25-inch screen housing Hyundai's latest infotainment system. I like the three-window layout on the home screen that you can customize to your needs. Navigating around the system is a breeze with a response touchscreen and capacitive touch buttons sitting on either side. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
      The next two tech features are exclusive to the standard Sonata. First is what Hyundai calls a digital key. Using the BlueLink application on a compatible smartphone, you can use this instead of the key to start the car and drive away. At the time of this writing, this is only available on Android phones. Hyundai did provide a loner Samsung Note smartphone for the week to try this out. I did not have the best experience with this feature at first because I found you need to be pretty close to the vehicle to make a connection. Trying to connect from my room upstairs, just above where the vehicle was parked, the application would throw up a connection error. I found that if I moved to the living room or just outside the front door, the phone was able to make the connection. This sours some of the appeal of this feature. 
      At least using the phone as the vehicle's key does work a bit better. It only takes a few seconds for the phone to make the connection to the vehicle and you can start it up. Although, I found myself wondering wouldn't it be easier and faster to have the key. The only feature that makes any sense to me is the ability to share the key with other people, but lock down certain aspects.
      Second is Smart Park (or smart parkh as made famous by the Super Bowl commercial from last year). Using the key, you can have the Sonata move forward or back out of the parking spot to allow for easier access to get into the vehicle. It's simple to operate, just hold down one of two buttons for a few seconds; the Sonata starts up and goes into the correct gear to move in the desired direction. I can see the appeal in urban areas where space is limited. But in the current pandemic times all of us find ourselves in, this seems to be more of a gimmick.
      Power Selection
      Hyundai offers two engines for the regular Sonata; a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6L four. A more potent turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder is available on the upcoming Sonata N Line. My tester featured the turbo 1.6 which produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in line with some of the base engines found in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
      I wouldn't call this engine quick, but it handles most driving situations with aplomb. This comes down to most of the torque being situated at the lower end of the rpm band. The only area where you might be wishing for more power is merging onto a freeway or keeping up traffic. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of maximizing the engine's output.
      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

      Opting for Limited on the Sonata Hybrid brings a solar panel for the roof which acts as a trickle charger for both the 12-volt car battery and 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack for the hybrid system. Hyundai says that the panel can add an extra two miles of range with adequate sunlight. I can't attest to this claim, but will say the solar panel did add an extra bit of charge to the battery, even on an overcast day.
      Fuel economy for both models are as followed,
      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
      Hyundai has done some work on the Sonata's chassis and suspension to make it more rewarding to drive. It shows on a winding road as both versions show little body roll and feel more agile than the outgoing model. Steering feels direct and has a decent amount of weight. I will say the Mazda6 is still the one to beat if driving pleasure is your key goal.
      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

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