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Found 10 results

  1. Many automotive journalists have been flummoxed by the popularity of the Toyota Camry. The model trails the pack in a number of key areas such as design, handling, and performance. But I know the reason why the Camry is beloved by many; it is a no hassle midsize sedan that will go the distance. But there is a change that endangers many midsize sedans. Buyers who previously brought sedans are now trending towards crossovers and SUVs as they offer a number of traits such as a higher ride height and a large area for people and stuff. Automakers find themselves in a difficult spot as to whether they should drop their sedans to focus on utility vehicles, or put more effort into making them more appealing. Toyota has chosen the latter option with the 2018 Camry. Let’s see if they made the right call. Previous Camrys have tended to play it safe with their exterior designs. The new model drops the safe attitude and goes for something very extroverted. For the XSE, this includes a different front end with a smaller lower grille and large cutouts in the bumper. The side profile shows off a pronounced character line and a set of 19-inch machined-finish alloy wheels. Move the back to find a faux diffuser and a set of quad tailpipes. I actually prefer the look of the XSE to the other Camry models as it loses out on the gaping maw that is the lower grille. Compared to the jumbled-together look of the previous Camry’s interior, the new model features a flowing and modern design. The unique shape of the center stack and contrasting trim pieces for the passenger really help the model stand out. Controls are laid out in a very logical fashion and have easy-to-read text. Material quality is very impressive with exposed stitching, metal trim, and a lot of soft-touch plastic. The XSE features leather seats with eight-way power adjustments for driver and passenger. I found the seats to be on the firm side and provide decent support on short trips. But on longer trips, my lower back started to ache. I couldn’t tell if I design of the seat just didn’t work with my back or if I had too much lumbar. On paper, the Camry has the smallest amount of rear legroom. But in reality, I found that I had more than enough to feel comfortable. Taller passengers will need to duck as headroom is quite tight due to the optional sunroof. Toyota has installed the latest version of their Entune infotainment system in the 2018 Camry. The new version comes with an updated look that retains the ease of use that we have liked on the older systems. Performance is about average for the class as it takes only a few milliseconds to get to the various functions. I do like the array of physical buttons that provide an easy way to move around the system. There is still no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. But considering the 2019 Avalon does have Apple CarPlay, we hope the Camry will get it as well. XSE models get a heads-up display as standard. However, I found the display to be more of a hindrance as the image was blurry. I think this is a problem with Toyota as I experienced the same issue in the LC 500 coupe I drove late last year. For its polarizing character, you might be expecting the Camry XSE to have either a turbo-four or V6 under the hood. While a 3.5L V6 is available, this XSE featured the standard 2.5L four-cylinder engine producing 206 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It was a bit disappointing to find this engine under the hood considering the vehicle’s character. Around town, the Camry doesn’t feel as fast as the Hyundai Sonata due to most of the power being available only at higher rpms. On the highway or needing to make a pass, the four-cylinder comes alive with enough shove to get you moving at a decent clip. Disappointingly, Toyota forgot to quiet down the engine during acceleration as there is a fair amount of buzz coming inside the cabin. But the engine quiets down to a murmur when cruising. The new eight-speed transmission pairs well with the engine, delivering unobtrusive and quick shifts. Fuel economy figures for the 2.5 are 28 City/39 Highway/32 Combined. My average for the week landed around 32.6 mpg in mixed driving. The Camry is the latest Toyota model to move on to the TGNA modular platform and it makes the model somewhat fun to pilot. On a curvy stretch of road, the XSE feels well-mannered as there isn’t excessive body motion and the steering proving a direct and well-weighted feel. Despite its sporting nature, the XSE’s ride is well-controlled with only a few bumps making their way inside. One disappointment is the large amount road and wind noise that comes inside when driving on the freeway. The Camry XSE sits as the flagship trim with a starting price of $29,150 for the four-cylinder and $35,100 for the V6. With a number of options, the as-tested price of this XSE comes to $35,333. That is quite the poor value considering for a few hundred dollars more, you can get into a loaded an Accord Touring complete with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder producing 252 horsepower. For a couple thousand dollars less, the Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T and Kia Optima SX offer similar driving dynamics and more luxury touches. Toyota knew it had to take a big gamble with the new Camry considering the growing demand for crossovers. In certain respects, Toyota has done it. The Camry is not a wallflower in terms of its looks and handling. Additionally, the interior blends a distinctive design with ease of use. But there are some problems that put the Camry in a tough spot. The four-cylinder engine needs a bit more low-end punch for around-town driving. Some more sound deadening would go a long way in making the Camry a good long-distance cruiser. The biggest issue is the value argument as other sedans offer much more equipment for similar or less money than the Camry. Toyota is likely banking on the name equity of model to justify the higher price. This would be ok if we weren’t in a time where more and more buyers are moving to crossovers and utility vehicles. The 2018 Toyota Camry is a much better car from the one it replaces, but the high price tag may be its downfall. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Camry, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: Camry Trim: XSE Engine: 2.5L Twin-Cam, 16-Valve Four-Cylinder Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 206 @ 6,600 Torque @ RPM: 186 @ 5,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/39/32 Curb Weight: 3,395 lbs Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY Base Price: $29,000 As Tested Price: $35,355 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Audio Package - $1,800.00 Driver Assist Package - $1,675.00 Panoramic Sunroof - $1,045.00 Special Color - $395.00 Illuminated Door Sill Enhancements - $299.00 Carpet/Trunk Mat Set - $224.00 View full article
  2. Many automotive journalists have been flummoxed by the popularity of the Toyota Camry. The model trails the pack in a number of key areas such as design, handling, and performance. But I know the reason why the Camry is beloved by many; it is a no hassle midsize sedan that will go the distance. But there is a change that endangers many midsize sedans. Buyers who previously brought sedans are now trending towards crossovers and SUVs as they offer a number of traits such as a higher ride height and a large area for people and stuff. Automakers find themselves in a difficult spot as to whether they should drop their sedans to focus on utility vehicles, or put more effort into making them more appealing. Toyota has chosen the latter option with the 2018 Camry. Let’s see if they made the right call. Previous Camrys have tended to play it safe with their exterior designs. The new model drops the safe attitude and goes for something very extroverted. For the XSE, this includes a different front end with a smaller lower grille and large cutouts in the bumper. The side profile shows off a pronounced character line and a set of 19-inch machined-finish alloy wheels. Move the back to find a faux diffuser and a set of quad tailpipes. I actually prefer the look of the XSE to the other Camry models as it loses out on the gaping maw that is the lower grille. Compared to the jumbled-together look of the previous Camry’s interior, the new model features a flowing and modern design. The unique shape of the center stack and contrasting trim pieces for the passenger really help the model stand out. Controls are laid out in a very logical fashion and have easy-to-read text. Material quality is very impressive with exposed stitching, metal trim, and a lot of soft-touch plastic. The XSE features leather seats with eight-way power adjustments for driver and passenger. I found the seats to be on the firm side and provide decent support on short trips. But on longer trips, my lower back started to ache. I couldn’t tell if I design of the seat just didn’t work with my back or if I had too much lumbar. On paper, the Camry has the smallest amount of rear legroom. But in reality, I found that I had more than enough to feel comfortable. Taller passengers will need to duck as headroom is quite tight due to the optional sunroof. Toyota has installed the latest version of their Entune infotainment system in the 2018 Camry. The new version comes with an updated look that retains the ease of use that we have liked on the older systems. Performance is about average for the class as it takes only a few milliseconds to get to the various functions. I do like the array of physical buttons that provide an easy way to move around the system. There is still no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. But considering the 2019 Avalon does have Apple CarPlay, we hope the Camry will get it as well. XSE models get a heads-up display as standard. However, I found the display to be more of a hindrance as the image was blurry. I think this is a problem with Toyota as I experienced the same issue in the LC 500 coupe I drove late last year. For its polarizing character, you might be expecting the Camry XSE to have either a turbo-four or V6 under the hood. While a 3.5L V6 is available, this XSE featured the standard 2.5L four-cylinder engine producing 206 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It was a bit disappointing to find this engine under the hood considering the vehicle’s character. Around town, the Camry doesn’t feel as fast as the Hyundai Sonata due to most of the power being available only at higher rpms. On the highway or needing to make a pass, the four-cylinder comes alive with enough shove to get you moving at a decent clip. Disappointingly, Toyota forgot to quiet down the engine during acceleration as there is a fair amount of buzz coming inside the cabin. But the engine quiets down to a murmur when cruising. The new eight-speed transmission pairs well with the engine, delivering unobtrusive and quick shifts. Fuel economy figures for the 2.5 are 28 City/39 Highway/32 Combined. My average for the week landed around 32.6 mpg in mixed driving. The Camry is the latest Toyota model to move on to the TGNA modular platform and it makes the model somewhat fun to pilot. On a curvy stretch of road, the XSE feels well-mannered as there isn’t excessive body motion and the steering proving a direct and well-weighted feel. Despite its sporting nature, the XSE’s ride is well-controlled with only a few bumps making their way inside. One disappointment is the large amount road and wind noise that comes inside when driving on the freeway. The Camry XSE sits as the flagship trim with a starting price of $29,150 for the four-cylinder and $35,100 for the V6. With a number of options, the as-tested price of this XSE comes to $35,333. That is quite the poor value considering for a few hundred dollars more, you can get into a loaded an Accord Touring complete with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder producing 252 horsepower. For a couple thousand dollars less, the Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T and Kia Optima SX offer similar driving dynamics and more luxury touches. Toyota knew it had to take a big gamble with the new Camry considering the growing demand for crossovers. In certain respects, Toyota has done it. The Camry is not a wallflower in terms of its looks and handling. Additionally, the interior blends a distinctive design with ease of use. But there are some problems that put the Camry in a tough spot. The four-cylinder engine needs a bit more low-end punch for around-town driving. Some more sound deadening would go a long way in making the Camry a good long-distance cruiser. The biggest issue is the value argument as other sedans offer much more equipment for similar or less money than the Camry. Toyota is likely banking on the name equity of model to justify the higher price. This would be ok if we weren’t in a time where more and more buyers are moving to crossovers and utility vehicles. The 2018 Toyota Camry is a much better car from the one it replaces, but the high price tag may be its downfall. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Camry, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Toyota Model: Camry Trim: XSE Engine: 2.5L Twin-Cam, 16-Valve Four-Cylinder Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 206 @ 6,600 Torque @ RPM: 186 @ 5,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/39/32 Curb Weight: 3,395 lbs Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY Base Price: $29,000 As Tested Price: $35,355 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Audio Package - $1,800.00 Driver Assist Package - $1,675.00 Panoramic Sunroof - $1,045.00 Special Color - $395.00 Illuminated Door Sill Enhancements - $299.00 Carpet/Trunk Mat Set - $224.00
  3. The story of the Kia Sorento can be best described as an ugly duckling to a swan. The first-generation was a rough and tumble, body-on frame SUV. It had some questionable choices in terms of interior materials and the engines drank gas like it was going out of style. The second-generation Sorento became a bit more mature in a number of key areas such as design, fuel economy, and refinement. But it still was missing that one thing, something that could put it over the top. Now we have come to the third-generation Sorento and Kia might have it figured out. The Sorento's design can be described as aspirational. When I was walking around the Sorento after it was dropped off, I was thinking of how much it reminded me of the last-generation Audi Q7 in terms of overall look. A lot of this comes from the boxy shape with rounded corners. The front end gets a larger a tiger-nose grille and LED fog lights. Chrome trim running along the side windows and nineteen-inch alloy wheels only add to the overall aspirational impression. The interior of the Sorento looks and feels like something you would find in a more expensive crossover. Most surfaces in the Sorento are soft to the touch and have some decorative touch such as contrast stitching. The dash layout is very clean and controls are in logical order. The SX Limited comes with Nappa leather for all of the seats, though you would be hard-pressed to tell a difference between this and the standard leather used on lower trims of the Sorento. The front seats come with power adjustments, along with heat and ventilation. I found them to be quite comfortable once you figured out what adjustments needed to be made. The back seat has plenty of legroom thanks to a three-inch increase in overall length and the ability to slide the seat. Headroom is on par with the class, even with the SX Limited’s panoramic sunroof. The Sorento does have the option of a third-row, but it isn’t available on the Limited Turbo. You'll need to opt for a model with the V6 to get that. On the technology front, the Sorento SX Limited begins with a color display in the instrument cluster that acts as the speedometer, along with a trip computer. The screen is easy to read thanks to clear text and vibrant colors. The only downside is the screen can be washed out if sunlight hits it. An eight-inch screen with Kia UVO eServices and navigation is standard on the Limited and optional on lower trims. Kia’s infotainment system is one my favorite systems to use as it features a simple interface and fast responses. The Sorento’s engine lineup is comprised of a 2.4L four-cylinder, a new turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder, and a 3.3L V6. My Sorento SX Limited tester came with the turbo producing 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque (arriving at 1,450 rpm). It comes with a six-speed automatic and the choice of either front or all-wheel drive. The 2.0L turbo is a bit of a disappointment as it has turbo lag, something I thought was banished with the current generation of turbo engines. Leaving a stop, there are a few seconds where you creep along before the turbo spools up and gets a punch of power. Once the turbo is working, the engine is quite responsive and willing to get up to speed at a decent rate. The six-speed automatic is the best part of the powertrain. Shifts are very smooth and the transmission is quick to downshift when you need a bit more oomph. The other disappointment comes in fuel economy as I only got an average of 21 MPG for the week, slightly lower than the 22.1 I got in the last-generation model equipped with the 3.3L V6. Personally, I would go for the V6 as it offers a better spread of power and would likely achieve around the same fuel economy as the turbo-four. Kia hasn’t messed with the Sorento’s ride and handling characteristics which is a very good thing. The suspension does an excellent job of isolating bumps and other road imperfections from those inside. On the highway, the Sorento is very quiet. No hint of road or wind noise came into the cabin. Steering has a little more heft, but some will complain they want more feel. But you need to keep in mind that Sorento is built for coddling passengers, not trying to be a sporty crossover. But like the last Sorento I drove, this one has a big value problem. The SX Limited with the Turbo and all-wheel drive starts at $41,700. Equipped with an optional technology package that adds lane departure warning, smart cruise control, an around-view camera system, and a few other bits along with destination ran the price to $45,095. If you want a V6, you’ll need to add about $1,600. The SX Limited does come with everything, but how many people would be willing to drop that much money on a Kia? The 2016 Sorento is a complete shock. Not only has Kia made a crossover that looks expensive, but they also made it feel expensive in terms of the interior and overall refinement. The value argument on the Limited models are quite hard to swallow and the 2.0L turbo needs a bit more work in terms of low-end performance. Hence is why I would recommend going for either EX or SX equipped with the V6. They both have that aspirational feel at a price that won’t make you faint. Cheers: Handsome exterior and interior, Smooth ride, Value for money on lower trims Jeers: Price of the Limited, Turbo Engine doesn't feel powerful, Fuel Economy Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Sorento, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Kia Model: Sorento Trim: SX Limited Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged Direct-Injected Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 240 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,450-3,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/25/22 Curb Weight: 4,004 to 4,303 lbs Location of Manufacture: West Point, GA Base Price: $41,700 As Tested Price: $45,095 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: SXL Technology Package - $2,500 View full article
  4. The story of the Kia Sorento can be best described as an ugly duckling to a swan. The first-generation was a rough and tumble, body-on frame SUV. It had some questionable choices in terms of interior materials and the engines drank gas like it was going out of style. The second-generation Sorento became a bit more mature in a number of key areas such as design, fuel economy, and refinement. But it still was missing that one thing, something that could put it over the top. Now we have come to the third-generation Sorento and Kia might have it figured out. The Sorento's design can be described as aspirational. When I was walking around the Sorento after it was dropped off, I was thinking of how much it reminded me of the last-generation Audi Q7 in terms of overall look. A lot of this comes from the boxy shape with rounded corners. The front end gets a larger a tiger-nose grille and LED fog lights. Chrome trim running along the side windows and nineteen-inch alloy wheels only add to the overall aspirational impression. The interior of the Sorento looks and feels like something you would find in a more expensive crossover. Most surfaces in the Sorento are soft to the touch and have some decorative touch such as contrast stitching. The dash layout is very clean and controls are in logical order. The SX Limited comes with Nappa leather for all of the seats, though you would be hard-pressed to tell a difference between this and the standard leather used on lower trims of the Sorento. The front seats come with power adjustments, along with heat and ventilation. I found them to be quite comfortable once you figured out what adjustments needed to be made. The back seat has plenty of legroom thanks to a three-inch increase in overall length and the ability to slide the seat. Headroom is on par with the class, even with the SX Limited’s panoramic sunroof. The Sorento does have the option of a third-row, but it isn’t available on the Limited Turbo. You'll need to opt for a model with the V6 to get that. On the technology front, the Sorento SX Limited begins with a color display in the instrument cluster that acts as the speedometer, along with a trip computer. The screen is easy to read thanks to clear text and vibrant colors. The only downside is the screen can be washed out if sunlight hits it. An eight-inch screen with Kia UVO eServices and navigation is standard on the Limited and optional on lower trims. Kia’s infotainment system is one my favorite systems to use as it features a simple interface and fast responses. The Sorento’s engine lineup is comprised of a 2.4L four-cylinder, a new turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder, and a 3.3L V6. My Sorento SX Limited tester came with the turbo producing 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque (arriving at 1,450 rpm). It comes with a six-speed automatic and the choice of either front or all-wheel drive. The 2.0L turbo is a bit of a disappointment as it has turbo lag, something I thought was banished with the current generation of turbo engines. Leaving a stop, there are a few seconds where you creep along before the turbo spools up and gets a punch of power. Once the turbo is working, the engine is quite responsive and willing to get up to speed at a decent rate. The six-speed automatic is the best part of the powertrain. Shifts are very smooth and the transmission is quick to downshift when you need a bit more oomph. The other disappointment comes in fuel economy as I only got an average of 21 MPG for the week, slightly lower than the 22.1 I got in the last-generation model equipped with the 3.3L V6. Personally, I would go for the V6 as it offers a better spread of power and would likely achieve around the same fuel economy as the turbo-four. Kia hasn’t messed with the Sorento’s ride and handling characteristics which is a very good thing. The suspension does an excellent job of isolating bumps and other road imperfections from those inside. On the highway, the Sorento is very quiet. No hint of road or wind noise came into the cabin. Steering has a little more heft, but some will complain they want more feel. But you need to keep in mind that Sorento is built for coddling passengers, not trying to be a sporty crossover. But like the last Sorento I drove, this one has a big value problem. The SX Limited with the Turbo and all-wheel drive starts at $41,700. Equipped with an optional technology package that adds lane departure warning, smart cruise control, an around-view camera system, and a few other bits along with destination ran the price to $45,095. If you want a V6, you’ll need to add about $1,600. The SX Limited does come with everything, but how many people would be willing to drop that much money on a Kia? The 2016 Sorento is a complete shock. Not only has Kia made a crossover that looks expensive, but they also made it feel expensive in terms of the interior and overall refinement. The value argument on the Limited models are quite hard to swallow and the 2.0L turbo needs a bit more work in terms of low-end performance. Hence is why I would recommend going for either EX or SX equipped with the V6. They both have that aspirational feel at a price that won’t make you faint. Cheers: Handsome exterior and interior, Smooth ride, Value for money on lower trims Jeers: Price of the Limited, Turbo Engine doesn't feel powerful, Fuel Economy Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Sorento, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Kia Model: Sorento Trim: SX Limited Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged Direct-Injected Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 240 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,450-3,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/25/22 Curb Weight: 4,004 to 4,303 lbs Location of Manufacture: West Point, GA Base Price: $41,700 As Tested Price: $45,095 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: SXL Technology Package - $2,500
  5. Volvo is known for a few things: Safety, boxy designs, and wagons. Volvo also happens to be known for a specific engine, the T5. Introduced in the 850 in the mid-nineties, the T5 was a turbocharged and intercooled five-cylinder engine unbeknownst to the company, this engine in its various forms would go on to power a number of models and take number of race wins in Europe. The T5 engine would become part of a rarified company of engines that have long lives such as GM's 3800 V6 and Nissan's VQ engine family. But with all things, there has to be an end. Before too long, the T5 engine will be retired. In its place will be a new range of four-cylinder engines called Drive-E which will come turbocharged or turbo/supercharged to provide the performance of a bigger engine while getting the fuel economy of a smaller engine. So before Volvo retires the T5 from their lineup, I decided to take one last spin with it in a 2014 S60. Lets begin with the engine itself. The T5 in current Volvos is a 2.5L inline-five engine that makes about 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Volvo made some tweaks to the T5 last year which included new pistons, crankshaft, and engine management system to improve performance and drivability. This is paired to six-speed automatic that sends power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is optional. While the T5 doesn’t have the same exuberance of the S60 T6 R-Design I drove last year, it has a couple of traits that make it a standout. For starters, the T5’s torque band is available from 1,800 to the peak of 4,200 rpm. This means the T5 provides very satisfying power from any speed. The six-speed automatic also deserves some credit here as well. It’s very responsive and isn’t so quick to upshift in a effort to improve fuel economy. Speaking of that, the 2014 S60 T5 is rated at 21 City/30 Highway/24 Combined. My week average landed around 24 MPG.This S60 came equipped with the optional sports package which includes eighteen-inch wheels and a dynamic chassis. The chassis is very stiff which makes the S60 a really fun vehicle to throw around in the corners as it provides limited body roll and excellent grip from the tires. It also means the S60 tends to communicate every single road imperfection. This is one of those times where I would say drive the sports package and standard model back to back to see whether or not you can stand the suspension tuning. Aside from the engine and suspension, not many things have changed since we last reviewed the S60. The front clip has been changed to feature a wider grille. Inside, the 2014 S60 has a new instrument cluster that can switch between three different modes to show varying amounts of information. Much like the Volvo S60 T6 R-Design, the S60 T5 is a sleeper among the compact luxury sedans. The T5 engine is the sweet spot as it provides almost the same power feeling as the T6 while delivering better fuel economy. Other traits such as the fun to drive nature are shared between the two. Like I said in the S60 T6 R-Design, if you don’t like to follow the leader, then the S60 deserves a closer look. As for the T5 engine, it’s amazing that it has lasted as long and been powering a number of Volvo’s vehicles throughout. Even more impressive is how much Volvo was able to improve the engine over time. While the end is near, Volvo has given the T5 something that very few automakers do; given it a swan song in the S60. Disclaimer: Volvo Provided the S60 T5, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2014 Make: Volvo Model: S60 Trim: T5 Engine: 2.5L Turbocharged Inline-Five with Intercooler Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,400 Torque @ RPM: 266 @ 1,800 - 4,200 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/30/24 Curb Weight: 3,528 lbs Location of Manufacture: Ghent, Belgium Base Price: $32,400.00 As Tested Price: $38,715.00 (Includes $915.00 Destination Charge) Options: Premier Plus - $3,150.00 Sport Package - $1,800.00 Metallic Paint - $550.00 Heated Front Seats - $500.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  6. Volvo is known for a few things: Safety, boxy designs, and wagons. Volvo also happens to be known for a specific engine, the T5. Introduced in the 850 in the mid-nineties, the T5 was a turbocharged and intercooled five-cylinder engine unbeknownst to the company, this engine in its various forms would go on to power a number of models and take number of race wins in Europe. The T5 engine would become part of a rarified company of engines that have long lives such as GM's 3800 V6 and Nissan's VQ engine family. But with all things, there has to be an end. Before too long, the T5 engine will be retired. In its place will be a new range of four-cylinder engines called Drive-E which will come turbocharged or turbo/supercharged to provide the performance of a bigger engine while getting the fuel economy of a smaller engine. So before Volvo retires the T5 from their lineup, I decided to take one last spin with it in a 2014 S60. Lets begin with the engine itself. The T5 in current Volvos is a 2.5L inline-five engine that makes about 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Volvo made some tweaks to the T5 last year which included new pistons, crankshaft, and engine management system to improve performance and drivability. This is paired to six-speed automatic that sends power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is optional. While the T5 doesn’t have the same exuberance of the S60 T6 R-Design I drove last year, it has a couple of traits that make it a standout. For starters, the T5’s torque band is available from 1,800 to the peak of 4,200 rpm. This means the T5 provides very satisfying power from any speed. The six-speed automatic also deserves some credit here as well. It’s very responsive and isn’t so quick to upshift in a effort to improve fuel economy. Speaking of that, the 2014 S60 T5 is rated at 21 City/30 Highway/24 Combined. My week average landed around 24 MPG.This S60 came equipped with the optional sports package which includes eighteen-inch wheels and a dynamic chassis. The chassis is very stiff which makes the S60 a really fun vehicle to throw around in the corners as it provides limited body roll and excellent grip from the tires. It also means the S60 tends to communicate every single road imperfection. This is one of those times where I would say drive the sports package and standard model back to back to see whether or not you can stand the suspension tuning. Aside from the engine and suspension, not many things have changed since we last reviewed the S60. The front clip has been changed to feature a wider grille. Inside, the 2014 S60 has a new instrument cluster that can switch between three different modes to show varying amounts of information. Much like the Volvo S60 T6 R-Design, the S60 T5 is a sleeper among the compact luxury sedans. The T5 engine is the sweet spot as it provides almost the same power feeling as the T6 while delivering better fuel economy. Other traits such as the fun to drive nature are shared between the two. Like I said in the S60 T6 R-Design, if you don’t like to follow the leader, then the S60 deserves a closer look. As for the T5 engine, it’s amazing that it has lasted as long and been powering a number of Volvo’s vehicles throughout. Even more impressive is how much Volvo was able to improve the engine over time. While the end is near, Volvo has given the T5 something that very few automakers do; given it a swan song in the S60. Disclaimer: Volvo Provided the S60 T5, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2014 Make: Volvo Model: S60 Trim: T5 Engine: 2.5L Turbocharged Inline-Five with Intercooler Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,400 Torque @ RPM: 266 @ 1,800 - 4,200 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/30/24 Curb Weight: 3,528 lbs Location of Manufacture: Ghent, Belgium Base Price: $32,400.00 As Tested Price: $38,715.00 (Includes $915.00 Destination Charge) Options: Premier Plus - $3,150.00 Sport Package - $1,800.00 Metallic Paint - $550.00 Heated Front Seats - $500.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  7. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 28, 2013 "Why is Volkswagen doing a hybrid version of the Jetta?!" That was my response when the news first came that Volkswagen would be introducing the Jetta Hybrid. On one hand this doesn't make sense. Volkswagen is known as the diesel automaker with five vehicles that offer amazing fuel economy and performance. Plus, diesel vehicles in the U.S. are making huge inroads. According to R.L. Polk, registration of diesel vehicles have increased 24.3 percent from 2010 to 2012. However there are still a fair number of the public who believe that diesel is EVIL! Instead they are turning to hybrids which also offers amazing fuel economy numbers. Volkswagen not wanting to miss out on this has created the Jetta Hybrid. But this being Volkswagen, they did it their way. In this case, you'll find a turbocharged engine, dual-clutch gearbox, and promises of fun to driveness. Does it fully work? The Jetta Hybrid's design is very much a Jetta. That's to say the current incarnation is very conservative. You'll find crisp lines and a tailored rear end as its distinctive design cues. Some believe the design will age well in the coming years. I agree with that, but is that something you should be proud of in a design? There are little giveaways that help differentiate the Jetta Hybrid from a normal Jetta, but you're going to have to get close to notice them. There is a new grille and small spoiler in a effort to improve aerodynamics. Other changes include LED taillights, new wheels, and a number of 'hybrid' badges on the vehicle. Moving inside, it's hard to tell the difference between a normal Jetta and Jetta Hybrid. The only real giveaway that you're in the Hybrid is a new gauge cluster that replaces the tachometer with an Eco/Power/Charge gauge that makes no sense. Sure it will tell you how aggressive you are on the throttle, but it's not tied to something quantifiable. Stick with the trip computer in the gauge cluster that provides a screen that shows which powertrain is working if you want to maximize your MPGs. Much like the exterior, the Jetta Hybrid's interior design is plain. Material quality is pretty poor as the door panels and lower trim pieces are hard plastics that look like they came from milk crates. This is a huge no-no on a vehicle with a $30k+ pricetag. The only real bright spots inside were a soft touch dash and aluminum-like trim pieces. Another downside to the Jetta Hybrid is the infotainment system. Volkswagen uses a small five-inch touch screen that provides radio, navigation, and information about the hybrid system. While I liked the simple navigation interface and the screens showing the important hybrid information, the rest of the system is not great. The touch points on the screen are too small and I found myself repeatedly hitting them to get something to happen. You also can't pan from one part of the map to another which I found somewhat annoying. Finally, I don't like that Volkswagen uses this small screen in a number of their high-end compact vehicles (Jetta Hybrid, GLI, GTI, and Beetle Turbo). I would be willing to shell out a few more dollars just so I can have a larger screen. Not all is bad with the Jetta Hybrid's interior. To start, the Jetta Hybrid has one of the largest interiors in the compact class. That means you and your passengers will be able to find a comfortable position in the vehicle. There is also the excellent Fender audio system which pumped out some great sound. I originally thought this would be just a stick-on name to a mediocre sound system, but I was wrong. The heart of the Jetta Hybrid is 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder, paired with a 20kW electric motor. Total output stands at 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A 220-volt, 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack helps power the electric motor. Volkswagen uses their seven-speed DSG transmission to send the power to front wheels. The hybrid powertrain provides a surprising punch of power. The 1.4L turbo engine shows little lag and paired with the electric motor, provides smooth acceleration no matter the occasion. The smooth shifting DSG is lightning quick with its gear changes. At low speeds or if you are gentle on the throttle, the Jetta Hybrid will run on the electric motor alone for a time up to 37 MPH. You can also engage E-Mode which turns the engine off and lets you use the electric motor only. I found myself turning on E-Mode when entering my neighborhood to save more gas. The one complaint I'll level at the powertrain is when I'm leaving a stop. The powertrain goes through a shuddering stage as the computer works out which mode it should go into. Volkswagen still has some bugs to work out. Fuel economy is rated at 42 City/48 Highway/45 Combined. During my week, I got an average 40.1 MPG in mixed driving. This is a vehicle where you have to learn how to drive it correctly if you want to attain high MPG numbers. Fun to drive isn't something you would expect of a hybrid, but the Jetta Hybrid is that. Borrowing the suspension from the Jetta GLI, the Hybrid is engaging on a nice curvy road. It's a shame I can't say the same about the Hybrid's steering which is light and not very good at communicating the road to the driver. On the flip side, the suspension is very competent on providing a comfortable and smooth ride. The steering makes it a breeze of navigating tight parking spots and the city. The big question when talking about hybrids is 'how are the brakes?' The Jetta Hybrid is much like any other hybrid; the brakes are very grabby. Weirdly, I found the pedal would offer some brake feel sometimes and there would be none other times. This is something I believe Volkswagen should go back to the drawing board on. The Jetta Hybrid leaves me in a bit of a quandary. On one hand the Jetta Hybrid is packs a nice punch of power from the hybrid powertrain and is very competent when you want to have some fun. But the fuel economy, interior material quality, and as-tested pricetag give me hesitation. Factor in the similar fuel economy and lower pricetag of the Jetta TDI and the Jetta Hybrid becomes a bit tougher to argue. In summary: If you want the best hybrid, go with the Prius. If you want the most fuel economy in the Volkswagen family and something fun, go with the Jetta TDI. The Jetta Hybrid just cannot make a very compelling argument. Disclaimer: Volkswagen provided the Jetta Hybrid, insurance, and one tank of gas. Year: 2013 Make: Volkswagen Model: Jetta Hybrid Trim: SEL Premium Engine: 1.4L Turbocharged and Intercooled Inline Four-Cylinder, Electric Motor Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed DSG Transmission Horsepower @ RPM: (Gas) 150 @ 5,000; (Electric) 27 @ 0; (Combined) 170 @ 5,000 Torque @ RPM: (Gas) 184 @ 1,600; (Electric) 114 @ 0; (Combined) 184 @ 1,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 42/48/45 Curb Weight: 3,312 lbs Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico Base Price: $31,180.00 As Tested Price: $32,010.00* (Includes $795.00 destination charge) Options: First Aid Kit - $35.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  8. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 28, 2013 "Why is Volkswagen doing a hybrid version of the Jetta?!" That was my response when the news first came that Volkswagen would be introducing the Jetta Hybrid. On one hand this doesn't make sense. Volkswagen is known as the diesel automaker with five vehicles that offer amazing fuel economy and performance. Plus, diesel vehicles in the U.S. are making huge inroads. According to R.L. Polk, registration of diesel vehicles have increased 24.3 percent from 2010 to 2012. However there are still a fair number of the public who believe that diesel is EVIL! Instead they are turning to hybrids which also offers amazing fuel economy numbers. Volkswagen not wanting to miss out on this has created the Jetta Hybrid. But this being Volkswagen, they did it their way. In this case, you'll find a turbocharged engine, dual-clutch gearbox, and promises of fun to driveness. Does it fully work? The Jetta Hybrid's design is very much a Jetta. That's to say the current incarnation is very conservative. You'll find crisp lines and a tailored rear end as its distinctive design cues. Some believe the design will age well in the coming years. I agree with that, but is that something you should be proud of in a design? There are little giveaways that help differentiate the Jetta Hybrid from a normal Jetta, but you're going to have to get close to notice them. There is a new grille and small spoiler in a effort to improve aerodynamics. Other changes include LED taillights, new wheels, and a number of 'hybrid' badges on the vehicle. Moving inside, it's hard to tell the difference between a normal Jetta and Jetta Hybrid. The only real giveaway that you're in the Hybrid is a new gauge cluster that replaces the tachometer with an Eco/Power/Charge gauge that makes no sense. Sure it will tell you how aggressive you are on the throttle, but it's not tied to something quantifiable. Stick with the trip computer in the gauge cluster that provides a screen that shows which powertrain is working if you want to maximize your MPGs. Much like the exterior, the Jetta Hybrid's interior design is plain. Material quality is pretty poor as the door panels and lower trim pieces are hard plastics that look like they came from milk crates. This is a huge no-no on a vehicle with a $30k+ pricetag. The only real bright spots inside were a soft touch dash and aluminum-like trim pieces. Another downside to the Jetta Hybrid is the infotainment system. Volkswagen uses a small five-inch touch screen that provides radio, navigation, and information about the hybrid system. While I liked the simple navigation interface and the screens showing the important hybrid information, the rest of the system is not great. The touch points on the screen are too small and I found myself repeatedly hitting them to get something to happen. You also can't pan from one part of the map to another which I found somewhat annoying. Finally, I don't like that Volkswagen uses this small screen in a number of their high-end compact vehicles (Jetta Hybrid, GLI, GTI, and Beetle Turbo). I would be willing to shell out a few more dollars just so I can have a larger screen. Not all is bad with the Jetta Hybrid's interior. To start, the Jetta Hybrid has one of the largest interiors in the compact class. That means you and your passengers will be able to find a comfortable position in the vehicle. There is also the excellent Fender audio system which pumped out some great sound. I originally thought this would be just a stick-on name to a mediocre sound system, but I was wrong. The heart of the Jetta Hybrid is 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder, paired with a 20kW electric motor. Total output stands at 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A 220-volt, 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack helps power the electric motor. Volkswagen uses their seven-speed DSG transmission to send the power to front wheels. The hybrid powertrain provides a surprising punch of power. The 1.4L turbo engine shows little lag and paired with the electric motor, provides smooth acceleration no matter the occasion. The smooth shifting DSG is lightning quick with its gear changes. At low speeds or if you are gentle on the throttle, the Jetta Hybrid will run on the electric motor alone for a time up to 37 MPH. You can also engage E-Mode which turns the engine off and lets you use the electric motor only. I found myself turning on E-Mode when entering my neighborhood to save more gas. The one complaint I'll level at the powertrain is when I'm leaving a stop. The powertrain goes through a shuddering stage as the computer works out which mode it should go into. Volkswagen still has some bugs to work out. Fuel economy is rated at 42 City/48 Highway/45 Combined. During my week, I got an average 40.1 MPG in mixed driving. This is a vehicle where you have to learn how to drive it correctly if you want to attain high MPG numbers. Fun to drive isn't something you would expect of a hybrid, but the Jetta Hybrid is that. Borrowing the suspension from the Jetta GLI, the Hybrid is engaging on a nice curvy road. It's a shame I can't say the same about the Hybrid's steering which is light and not very good at communicating the road to the driver. On the flip side, the suspension is very competent on providing a comfortable and smooth ride. The steering makes it a breeze of navigating tight parking spots and the city. The big question when talking about hybrids is 'how are the brakes?' The Jetta Hybrid is much like any other hybrid; the brakes are very grabby. Weirdly, I found the pedal would offer some brake feel sometimes and there would be none other times. This is something I believe Volkswagen should go back to the drawing board on. The Jetta Hybrid leaves me in a bit of a quandary. On one hand the Jetta Hybrid is packs a nice punch of power from the hybrid powertrain and is very competent when you want to have some fun. But the fuel economy, interior material quality, and as-tested pricetag give me hesitation. Factor in the similar fuel economy and lower pricetag of the Jetta TDI and the Jetta Hybrid becomes a bit tougher to argue. In summary: If you want the best hybrid, go with the Prius. If you want the most fuel economy in the Volkswagen family and something fun, go with the Jetta TDI. The Jetta Hybrid just cannot make a very compelling argument. Disclaimer: Volkswagen provided the Jetta Hybrid, insurance, and one tank of gas. Year: 2013 Make: Volkswagen Model: Jetta Hybrid Trim: SEL Premium Engine: 1.4L Turbocharged and Intercooled Inline Four-Cylinder, Electric Motor Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed DSG Transmission Horsepower @ RPM: (Gas) 150 @ 5,000; (Electric) 27 @ 0; (Combined) 170 @ 5,000 Torque @ RPM: (Gas) 184 @ 1,600; (Electric) 114 @ 0; (Combined) 184 @ 1,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 42/48/45 Curb Weight: 3,312 lbs Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico Base Price: $31,180.00 As Tested Price: $32,010.00* (Includes $795.00 destination charge) Options: First Aid Kit - $35.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  9. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 7, 2013 "And the winner of Miss Fleet Queen 2013 is.... the 2013 Chevrolet Impala! There she is, Miss Fleet Queen for 2013." A bit harsh, but sadly it is true. The last generation Impala is known in the automotive world as being a fleet queen. Not many Impalas end up on driveways: Instead you can find them at your nearest rental lot, police station, or used car lot at very low prices. In fact, General Motors said that 70 percent of Impala sales in 2012 were to fleets. This isn't good news when you consider the resale value proposition and legendary status of the nameplate. General Motors knew it was time to try and salvage the Impala nameplate, which brings us face to face with the 2014 Impala. GM hopes the new Impala can very much erase the past of fleet service and start a new chapter as Chevrolet's full-sedan. Can it though? The first thing you can say about the new Impala is that it's a major improvement over the last one. The new model has presence and a style that is distinctly Chevrolet. The front end is very much influenced by the current Camaro. You have a long and very stout front end, with a small grille that is flanked by a set of narrow headlights. The sculpted hood and LED daytime running lights help give an aura of class. Moving to the side, the Impala has two bold character lines; one stretching from the headlights to the rear door handles and the other running along the wheel arch. The back end features a chrome bar with the Impala name stamped and a set of chrome-tipped exhaust ports. The big surprise of the new Impala lies inside. If you were expecting acres of hard plastic, awful wood trim, and just plain blahness, then you will find yourself with your mouth wide open at what Chevrolet has pulled off. The center focus of the interior is the dual brow dashboard that gets stitched leather accents along the top of gauge cluster and along the top edges of the dashboard and door panels. Chrome trim runs along the bottom to provide some contrast and has ambient blue backlighting which adds a nice touch of class. Materials and build quality are excellent. Being a full-size sedan, you expect it to be very spacious for you and your passengers. The Impala delivers that in spades. The driver and front passenger will find power adjustments and heated and cooled seats. The driver also gets a power tilt and telescoping wheel. In the back, you'll find plenty of head and legroom. As for technology, the Impala comes with a 4.2-inch color display in the instrument cluster that displays infotainment and vehicle information in a very clear and easy manner. The big news is the next-generation of Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. Housed in a eight-inch display, the second-generation system provides a new interface with large buttons to press, 3D maps, a much improved voice recognition system, and number of changes. Playing around with the system, I found it to be a little bit sluggish. Trying to move around the system or changing a system with touchscreen took longer than expected. Thankfully, Chevrolet provided a set of buttons and knobs below the screen to help control certain functions. Much like Cadillac CUE, I expect MyLink to get better after a update or two. Powering the 2014 Impala is the well-known 3.6L direct-injected V6 engine with 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front wheels. If you have read past reviews of mine concerning GM vehicles equipped with the 3.6L, you know that my biggest compliant is that you have to work the engine to get to the power. The Impala is a little bit different. I found that Impala had a bit more power on the low end and was able to accelerate much quicker than its sister car, the Cadillac XTS. Much of this is attributed to Impala's lower curb weight of 3,800 pounds. The six-speed automatic provided smooth and crisp shifts. Fuel economy wise, the EPA rates the 2014 Chevrolet Impala at 19 City/29 Highway/22 Combined. During the week, I averaged 22 MPG in mixed driving. The 2014 Impala mostly follows the book on full-size sedan ride. The suspension does an excellent job of lessening the impact of road imperfections, even with the LTZ's twenty-inch wheels. Chevrolet also borrowed a couple engineers from Buick to help with quietness. There is a large amount of sound deadening, additional door seals, and acoustically treated front and side windows. The Impala is very quiet on most surfaces; the only place it falters is when you're driving concrete parts of freeways. This is mostly down to the tires as I figured out. Where the Impala differs is in relation to how it drives. The steering is somewhat heavy and responsive, something I wasn't expecting in a full-size sedan. The Impala's body is very rigid as well. Pair these two items together and you have a very confident full-size sedan. Driving on a curvy road, the Impala allows you to have some fun. It's no Toyota Avalon in driving fun, but for many the Impala offers the right balance. At the end of my time with the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, I was awestruck. Here was a nameplate that was dragged through the fleet mud for a number of years and General Motors realized it was time to save it. From the design to how it rode, you could see the hard work that was put it to make the new Impala stand out and leave its fleet past well behind. That work seems to be paying off as Consumer Reports named the Impala the best large sedan, and sits right behind the Tesla Model S and BMW 135i in their ratings. Meanwhile in the sales chart, the Impala record a 38 percent increase in July sales. It's a vehicle that GM and Chevrolet should be very proud of. Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Impala, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year - 2014 Make – Chevrolet Model – Impala Trim – LTZ Engine – 3.6L VVT SIDI V6 Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM – 305 @ 6,800 RPM Torque @ RPM – 264 @ 5,300 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/29/22 Curb Weight – 3,800 lbs Location of Manufacture – Oshawa, Ontario Base Price - $35,770.00 As Tested Price - $39,510.00* (Includes $810.00 destination charge) Options: LTZ Comfort & Convenience Package - $1,035.00 Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $795.00 LTZ Premium Audio Package - $700.00 20' Aluminum Wheels - $400.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  10. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 7, 2013 "And the winner of Miss Fleet Queen 2013 is.... the 2013 Chevrolet Impala! There she is, Miss Fleet Queen for 2013." A bit harsh, but sadly it is true. The last generation Impala is known in the automotive world as being a fleet queen. Not many Impalas end up on driveways: Instead you can find them at your nearest rental lot, police station, or used car lot at very low prices. In fact, General Motors said that 70 percent of Impala sales in 2012 were to fleets. This isn't good news when you consider the resale value proposition and legendary status of the nameplate. General Motors knew it was time to try and salvage the Impala nameplate, which brings us face to face with the 2014 Impala. GM hopes the new Impala can very much erase the past of fleet service and start a new chapter as Chevrolet's full-sedan. Can it though? The first thing you can say about the new Impala is that it's a major improvement over the last one. The new model has presence and a style that is distinctly Chevrolet. The front end is very much influenced by the current Camaro. You have a long and very stout front end, with a small grille that is flanked by a set of narrow headlights. The sculpted hood and LED daytime running lights help give an aura of class. Moving to the side, the Impala has two bold character lines; one stretching from the headlights to the rear door handles and the other running along the wheel arch. The back end features a chrome bar with the Impala name stamped and a set of chrome-tipped exhaust ports. The big surprise of the new Impala lies inside. If you were expecting acres of hard plastic, awful wood trim, and just plain blahness, then you will find yourself with your mouth wide open at what Chevrolet has pulled off. The center focus of the interior is the dual brow dashboard that gets stitched leather accents along the top of gauge cluster and along the top edges of the dashboard and door panels. Chrome trim runs along the bottom to provide some contrast and has ambient blue backlighting which adds a nice touch of class. Materials and build quality are excellent. Being a full-size sedan, you expect it to be very spacious for you and your passengers. The Impala delivers that in spades. The driver and front passenger will find power adjustments and heated and cooled seats. The driver also gets a power tilt and telescoping wheel. In the back, you'll find plenty of head and legroom. As for technology, the Impala comes with a 4.2-inch color display in the instrument cluster that displays infotainment and vehicle information in a very clear and easy manner. The big news is the next-generation of Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. Housed in a eight-inch display, the second-generation system provides a new interface with large buttons to press, 3D maps, a much improved voice recognition system, and number of changes. Playing around with the system, I found it to be a little bit sluggish. Trying to move around the system or changing a system with touchscreen took longer than expected. Thankfully, Chevrolet provided a set of buttons and knobs below the screen to help control certain functions. Much like Cadillac CUE, I expect MyLink to get better after a update or two. Powering the 2014 Impala is the well-known 3.6L direct-injected V6 engine with 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front wheels. If you have read past reviews of mine concerning GM vehicles equipped with the 3.6L, you know that my biggest compliant is that you have to work the engine to get to the power. The Impala is a little bit different. I found that Impala had a bit more power on the low end and was able to accelerate much quicker than its sister car, the Cadillac XTS. Much of this is attributed to Impala's lower curb weight of 3,800 pounds. The six-speed automatic provided smooth and crisp shifts. Fuel economy wise, the EPA rates the 2014 Chevrolet Impala at 19 City/29 Highway/22 Combined. During the week, I averaged 22 MPG in mixed driving. The 2014 Impala mostly follows the book on full-size sedan ride. The suspension does an excellent job of lessening the impact of road imperfections, even with the LTZ's twenty-inch wheels. Chevrolet also borrowed a couple engineers from Buick to help with quietness. There is a large amount of sound deadening, additional door seals, and acoustically treated front and side windows. The Impala is very quiet on most surfaces; the only place it falters is when you're driving concrete parts of freeways. This is mostly down to the tires as I figured out. Where the Impala differs is in relation to how it drives. The steering is somewhat heavy and responsive, something I wasn't expecting in a full-size sedan. The Impala's body is very rigid as well. Pair these two items together and you have a very confident full-size sedan. Driving on a curvy road, the Impala allows you to have some fun. It's no Toyota Avalon in driving fun, but for many the Impala offers the right balance. At the end of my time with the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, I was awestruck. Here was a nameplate that was dragged through the fleet mud for a number of years and General Motors realized it was time to save it. From the design to how it rode, you could see the hard work that was put it to make the new Impala stand out and leave its fleet past well behind. That work seems to be paying off as Consumer Reports named the Impala the best large sedan, and sits right behind the Tesla Model S and BMW 135i in their ratings. Meanwhile in the sales chart, the Impala record a 38 percent increase in July sales. It's a vehicle that GM and Chevrolet should be very proud of. Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Impala, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year - 2014 Make – Chevrolet Model – Impala Trim – LTZ Engine – 3.6L VVT SIDI V6 Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM – 305 @ 6,800 RPM Torque @ RPM – 264 @ 5,300 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/29/22 Curb Weight – 3,800 lbs Location of Manufacture – Oshawa, Ontario Base Price - $35,770.00 As Tested Price - $39,510.00* (Includes $810.00 destination charge) Options: LTZ Comfort & Convenience Package - $1,035.00 Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $795.00 LTZ Premium Audio Package - $700.00 20' Aluminum Wheels - $400.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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