About: Autolove

Joe Mavilia is a syndicated columnist with more than 35 years in the automotive industry. He is a member of the Motor Press Guild and Automotive Press Association. His reviews have been published in print media including the Los Angeles Times, The Golden Transcript - Colorado, La Feria News - Texas, The Pasadena Weekly - California, and others around the country, including www.theweekenddrive.com where he is the West Coast Editor. Reviews and Opinion Columns may also be seen in Sunnews.org and The Country Journal every week in the Antelope Valley, CA. I hope they are helpful

Recent Posts by Autolove

2019 Lexus UX 250 h Sport

2019 Lexus UX 250 h Sport

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2019 Lexus UX 250 h Sport. UX as in Urban eXplorer and UI for User Interface all lead to this new offering which is mostly to targeting a younger audience.

And speaking of IT / high tech stuff, it has long been one of my pet peeves how IT (information technology) is dominating nearly everyone’s time. I agree with carmakers to go after the youthful customer / consumer because I know what effect it had on my car buying life. Young people are impressionable and winning their approval pays dividends for a lifetime. However, caution is advised since that sword cuts two ways. Either they come away with positive or very negative opinions.

 

In regard, it is common knowledge of consumers that some of the high-tech stuff is NOT wanted. So, I encourage carmakers to listen more to those who will buy their products. One example is the ‘touchpad’ approach at controlling devices. I agree with Motor Trend in saying touchpad control “has a lousy user experience”. Truly that must be looked at closely. We could be wrong, and it could eventually be embraced by consumers, and clearly carmakers are counting on that. Please write me at joe@autolove.com and let me know how you feel about this high-tech application in our automobiles.

Me, I prefer ‘knobs’ on some controls like the radio, for example, that is far easier to ‘interface’ with. Am I old fashioned? I subscribe to the KISS principle and the adage that we should “keep it simple stupid”. Let me hear from you.

General Information: Assembly: Japan; Classification is Sport Utility; Vehicles from Lexus:  ES, GS, GX, IS, LC, LS, LX, NX, RC, RX, UX.

Handling & Performance:
I love the size of this SUV because it fits my needs, and I believe it fits most needs and that explains why they sell so well. I like the maneuverability and I notice this handling benefits mostly when I get into my HUGE tank called a Ford F350 Super Duty pickup truck. Literally it requires 2 parking spaces and even virtually impossible for growing numbers of “Compact Car” spaces.

Styling:
I like it.

Fit and Finish:
Always excellent assembly in all Toyota products.

Cost:
Competitive in class. We all notice how close prices are between brands because Cost Accounting is bullet proof in determining the exact cost. Aren’t computers great.

Conveniences and comfort:
Generally good, but some common need features are missing. Example: nearly every person on the planet uses cell phones and tablets yet there is no real innovative solution on how to attach them in the car. Universally they provide USB ports, 12V charging ports, and all are beginning to include WiFi connectivity, CarPlay etc. But I find I must use the cupholder to put my cell phone where I can reach it without dropping it between the seats.

Consumers must rely on ‘aftermarket’ products to take care of phone holders, note pad devices etc., for use in their car. One aftermarket phone holder uses the air conditioning outlet slats to hold a phone device. Then, when I went to put the holder on the A/C vent I find they have redesigned the register outlets to prevent that.

Another feature that I would absolutely include on any car I buy is Smart Cruise Control with a ‘start/stop’ capability at all speeds. That is the most innovative feature that removes a major part of driving stress. Love it.

Consumer Recommendation:
All things considered I would encourage you to include this in your test drives in this segment of the market for smaller SUV’s. Truly, for me, it would be a toss up in choosing from the listed competition below.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Lexus UX 250 35,000 31 5 4 Japan Japan
Audi Q3 36,000 23 5 4 Germany Germany
BMW X1 38,000 25 5 4 Germany USA
Mercedes Benz GLA 37,000 26 5 4 Germany Germany
Volvo XC40 41,000 26 5 4 Sweden Belgium
Infiniti QX30 42,000 25 5 4 Japan UK

Good News:
State of art features, good fuel economy, good size.

Bad News:
Tech controller touchpad is not user friendly.

Standard Equipment:
2.0 liter 4-cylinder Hybrid system with 181 combined horsepower, CVT (continuous variable transmission), Drive mode: Eco, Normal, Sport & EV,  AWD (all-wheel drive), pre-collision system, pedestrian & bicyclist detection, smart cruise control, road sign assist, lane tracing assist, auto high beams, lane departure alert with steering assist, electronic parking brake, 10 airbags, backup camera, aluminum roof rails, keyless entry with push button start, 8-way power front seats, 7” multi information display, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, service connect to provide vehicle condition and maintenance alerts, 4-USB ports, dynamic voice command, WiFi up to 5 devices (one year 4GB complimentary data), sport tuned suspension, 18” sport wheels with run flat tires, fog lights.

Gas Stats:
33 City and 30 Highway MPG

$3.13 / Gal avg. February 5, 2019

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:
MSRP $36,000.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2019 – An Automotive Love Affair

2019 Kia Forte S Automatic

2019 Kia Forte S Automatic

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joseph Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2019 Kia Forte5. Back to basics and you know what, it brings back memories of being in college and my transportation was an ‘old’ VW Bug. Some of my classmates took the bus or walked. Guess I was fortunate – not sure it would have made a difference. But it also was not a matter of being humbled NOT to have a car. It simply never entered my mind, which by the way, was being expanded for the experience.

Anyway, basic is not only a good thing it is necessary when the circumstances dictate economy over plenty. Moreover, those are some of the happiest days of our lives and we’re wise to embrace those times joyfully. 

General Information:

It is assembled in Pesqueria, Mexico; Parts – US/Canadian 3%, Korea 43%, Mexico 54%; Engine and transmission – Mexico; Classification isMidsize. Cars from Kia: Cadenza, Forte, K900, Niro, Optima, Rio, Rio 5-door, Sedona, Sorento, Soul, Sportage and Stinger.

Observation:

Have you ever noticed when you see paint failure on a car it is more often than not a Honda? I think they need to get better painting their cars.
 
I have also noticed it on Pick up trucks made by Chevrolet and Dodge but then they are work trucks and often abused.

Handling & Performance:

I’m always impressed with how much power car makers can get out of 2 liters. This one is normally aspirated and no Turbo, but I was satisfied with its performance. Handling is great with a little more of a solid ride than I like. You get more road noise and feel than with heavier softer rides. Around town it is easy entry and easy exit and easy to maneuver.

Styling:

Nice looking clean lines and even a little futuristic look.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

It is amazing, to me, to know how great a car can be owned for around $20,000.

Conveniences and comfort:

The ride is very comfy despite the fact it is only 20 grand. I recently tested a luxury Lexus that wasn’t as comfortable as this Forte.

Consumer Recommendations:

We are smart when we balance our lives based on the times. When it comes to cars SOMEtimes we’re in need of transportation first and other times we’re in need of Luxury. And even other times we may need a large van to carry our motorized wheel chair. Friend Richard reminds me to “Ignore yourself”, and that means that we simply need to deal with the place we’re in at the moment.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Kia Forte S 21,000 34 5 4 Korea Mexico
Honda Civic 24,000 36 5 4 Japan USA
Hyundai Elantra 24,000 32 5 4 Korea Korea
Nissan Sentra 19,000 32 5 4 Japan Mexico
Toyota Corolla 20,000 32 5 4 Japan USA

Good News:

Affordable new car, 5-seat convenience, good features for safe driving.

Bad News:

Noticeable road feel that some will call a rough ride

Standard Equipment:

2.0 4-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, drive mode select, 17” allow wheels, front side and side curtain airbags, LATCH system, ABS braking system, traction & stability controls, vehicle stability management, hill start assist, tire pressure monitor, climate control, power windows and locks, AM/FM/MP3 audio with 8” touchscreen, rear view camera, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, SIRIUS XM , USB / auxiliary input jack and 12 Volt outlet, Bluetooth, 60/40 split folding rear seats, remote keyless entry, leather wrapped shift knob and steering wheel (with controls for Bluetooth/Audio and Cruise), driver attention warning, forward collision avoidance and warning, lane departure warning, land keeping assist.

Gas Stats:

$3.09-Gal avg. January 3, 2019

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

30 City and 40 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $ 20,190.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2019 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Review

2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Review

By Phil Shuyler

Something fresh and new from Mitsubishi has arrived. The Eclipse Cross is a new model for 2018 and Mitsubishi hopes its size, styling and features bring people to the brand that would have otherwise looked elsewhere.

Exterior

At first look, the Eclipse Cross has sharp lines and a tapering roof design that make for a good looking crossover. The overall styling is something most people should find attractive. The only real problem people have with the outside is once they sit in the driver’s seat and look in the rearview mirror. There’s a large bar that crosses through your view of the road behind you, which at first is a bit alarming and you may feel as though it’s blocking too much. However once you spend a little time behind the wheel, you’ll find it’s easy to get used to and it really doesn’t block as much as you might think.

Interior

Inside you’ll find comfortable seating for 5, with a sliding, reclining, and folding second row. Leather is available, as are heated front and rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. You have big paddle shifters to control the 8 simulated speeds of the CVT (continuously variable transmission).

All trims include a 7” infotainment screen, however upgraded trims also include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, SiriusXM radio, and a touchpad controller. We found it difficult to navigate the infotainment screen with the touchpad, and were glad it’s also a touchscreen. On the highest trim you’ll also have a multi-view surround view camera system, which gives you a birds-eye view of your surroundings from all 4 sides of the car.

You’ll also be kept in comfort with standard automatic climate control, with dual-zone climate control as an option. And a feature you wouldn’t expect on a vehicle like the Eclipse Cross, is a head-up display, which is standard on the top trim. There’s also a Mitsubishi Connect app that allows you to remotely control your vehicle’s climate, lights, door locks and more.

On the Road

While cruising down the highway, the ride is surprisingly quiet. The peppy 1.5L 4-cylinder turbo whisks you along with 152 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, which is actually a little lower than we recorded at 28 mpg combined. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert. S-AWC, or Super All-Wheel Control, is standard on all but the base trim.

Conclusion

The base Eclipse Cross ES starts at $23,295 and the top SEL trim starts at $27,895. There’s a lot to love about this new crossover, and the turbo engine gives it a spooling edge on much of the competition.

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Review

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Review

By Phil Shuyler

Surprisingly delightful. That was our overall experience with the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

The overall look and feel of the interior is much better than previous Outlanders. The seats are extremely comfortable, even on long rides, and the design of the dash is quite appealing. The quality of the standard 7” infotainment screen does look a little dated, however the screen itself is integrated nicely into a wraparound center stack. Available dual-zone climate control is a helpful feature, as are the heated front seats and steering wheel. When pulling in or out of a tight space, the available multi-view surround view camera is something you will grow to love. It takes a backup camera to the next level by giving drivers a birds-eye view from the top of the vehicle, showing you all 4 sides simultaneously. While this is nothing new in the industry, it’s not available in every car, and it’s a nice feature to have in a budget friendly vehicle like the Outlander.

Helpful Technology

Some of the available technology that you’ll find yourself using every day includes adaptive cruise control (which allows the vehicle to automatically follow and keep a set distance between you and the vehicle in front), a blind spot warning system (that warns you when a vehicle is in your blind spot), and SiriusXM Tune Start (which records selected SiriusXM channels so you can rewind and fast forward). We do wish there was a physical “TUNE” knob or buttons to skip between different radio channels and music tracks, but thankfully they did include a volume knob.

For those looking to link your smartphone to your car, the Outlander PHEV includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as a free Outlander PHEV II app that allows you to control certain vehicle functions over Wi-Fi. These include preheating or cooling the cabin, setting the most efficient charge times, and more.

 

On the Road

While on the road, we found the drive to be exceptionally smooth, and even though the 197 combined horsepower isn’t a lot, it was perfectly sufficient in everyday driving. The pair of 60-kilowatt electric motors are located at the front and rear, aiding in the effectiveness of the standard all-wheel drive system.

To help you maximize your electric range, there are multiple drive modes for you to choose from. Choose between Charge, Save, EV, B0 to B5, as well as normal D and ECO modes. The Charge feature allows you to use your gasoline engine to charge your EV battery, while Save only uses the gasoline engine to power the vehicle, allowing you to save your EV battery for future use. EV of course is for pure electric driving. You can also use the paddle shifters to go between B0 and B5, which adjusts the amount of regeneration when your foot is lifted off the accelerator. And for those that want to take their conservativeness a step further, there’s a button that allows you to turn on and off the motor of the power liftgate.

It’s important to note that the standard Outlander can seat up to 7 passengers, while the Outlander PHEV can only seat 5. In gas only driving, the fuel economy for the PHEV is actually about the same as the gasoline Outlander (25 mpg), but of course you get the ability to drive up to 22 miles in pure EV mode with the PHEV. This adds up to give you an MPGe rating of 74. The total range for the PHEV is an estimated 310 miles, which we found to be conservative as we averaged over 330.

While the exterior offers a variety of colors including black, white, silver and red, the interior offers only 2 – black or dark brown. It’d be nice to see something lighter, but if you’re a fan of darker interiors, then you’ll feel right at home. Some additional interior features we liked included a 3 prong AC outlet in the backseat and another in the cargo area, the ample second row leg room, a power sunroof, and a rockin’ 710 watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with 9 speakers.

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV starts at $34,595 and can climb to over $45,000 with options. Overall, it brings us a relatively large plug-in vehicle at an affordable price tag. And with standard all-wheel drive, it’s a vehicle that could be right at home in all 50 states.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid that is a small SUV and Subaru’s first plug-in hybrid that is referred to as StarDrive technology. It uniquely integrates two electric motors, where one functions as an engine starter and electricity generator. The second powers the vehicle for hybrid and electric driving modes and charges the battery during regenerative braking.

This is my idea of a move in the right direction for the transition period while we move toward an alternate propulsion system that proves to be the best long-term solution. Whether all electric or Hydrogen electric wins out in the end is anyone’s guess. Me, I’m guessing the final solution is 20 plus years into the future before we find out for sure. I always recommend that you stick with Hybrid cars for the best performance solution until then.

General Information:

Class- Small SUV; Cars from Subaru- Ascent, RZ, Crosstrek Hybrid, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, WRX.

Handling & Performance:

The new Hybrid is faster than the standard Crosstrek and is capable of speeds up to 65 mph in full electric mode. This EV (electric vehicle) has a range of 17 miles but up to 90 mpg with a total range of 480 miles when you count the battery power.

Subaru encourages owners to go off-road. “We actually say it’s fine to take this vehicle off-road,” said Garrick Goh, Subaru of America’s product planning manager for the Crosstrek Hybrid. “Some competitors’ owner’s manuals warn against it.” This is because Subaru appeals to buyers who have active lifestyles and love out of doors adventures.

Read more: https://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/2019-subaru-crosstrek-plugin-hybrid-first-drive#ixzz5eDYElX53

Styling:

Typical small SUV styling that has satisfied the wants and wishes of consumers for several years now.

Fit and Finish:

Subaru quality assembly that makes Subaru a strong contender.

Cost:

Competitive in class.

Conveniences and comfort:

All the good stuff.

Consumer Recommendations:

Buy a hybrid until something better comes along.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid 36,000 90 5 4 Japan Japan AWD
Chevrolet Equinox 28,000 27 5 4 USA Canada AWD
GMC Terrain 40,000 23 5 4 USA Canada AWD
Toyota Prius Prime 34,000 133 4 4 Japan Japan FWD
Kia Niro 36,000 105 5 4 Korea Korea FWD
Mitsubishi Outlander 42,000 5 4 Japan Japan 4WD
Honda Clarity 37,000 110 5 4 Japan USA FWD
Lexus RX 52,000 29 6 4 Japan Japan AWD

Good News:

Great fuel economy, off-road specialty, AWD, very good high-tech feature list, competitive pricing.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 137 HP 4-cylinder horizontally opposed (boxer) engine, Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable) transmission, Symmetrical all-wheel-drive, 18” alloy wheels, Eyesight driver assist tech, Adaptive cruise control, auto pre-collision braking, Lane departure, blind spot detection, Lane change assist, Rear cross traffic assist, climate control, electronic parking brake, hill start assist, keyless access with push button start, pedestrian alert system, power windows, locks and mirrors, rear vision camera, tire pressure monitor, dynamic control, steering responsive headlights, high beam assist fog lights, roof spoiler, roof rails, heated front seats, heated mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer, leather trimmed seats, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth controls, 6-way power driver seat, multi-function display with hybrid functions, dual rear USB ports, Starlink 8 inch multimedia system , smartphone integration with CarPlay, Android Auto, Aha Pandora, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, audio with Sirius XM.

Gas Stats:

$3.09 / Gal avg. January 30, 2019

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

35 to 90 combined MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $34,995.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2019 – An Automotive Love Affair

2019 GMC Terrain AWD Denali

The GMC Terrain AWD Denali sports new styling and a wide range of new features and content. On the road, its comfortable with good road manners.
Photo courtesy GMC.

By Vince Bodiford

Second-gen raises the luxury bar in Denali trim

The “we are professional grade” GMC division has raised the bar with the new 2019 GMC Terrain AWD Denali – the second year into this second-generation Terrain model. Our week-long test drive left us with a favorable view of the Terrain overall – where it stood out in overall comfort and luxury, road manners, and distinctive styling inside and out.

A relative newcomer in the auto world, the first-generation Terrain made its debut in 2009 at the New York Auto show as a 2010 model. That model featured boxy styling, with oversize squared-off fender wells. This second-generation model made its debut last year at the Detroit Auto Show (NAIAS). Gone is the boxier styling, with the new modelfeaturing a distinctive rear quarter window treatment that could’ve been inspired by the eye mask of Zorro.It’s styling makes it stand out from the crowd, and it’s consistent with the Denali line.

A large part of GMC’s sales success comes directly from this model. Terrain sales were up 33.8% in 2018 over the prior year, a direct validation that customers like this model. And Denali makes up about a third of all models sold.

“GMC’s strong growth over the past decade is due in large part to Terrain, which introduced a new generation to this premium brand,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing. “The all-new Terrain builds on that success, leveraging GMC’s proven SUV experience to shake up one of the largest vehicle segments, with a strong blend of design, functionality and engineering excellence.”

The all-new Terrain’s exterior design signals the next chapter of GMC’s design language, evolving the brand’s signature cues with stronger, sharper and more sculpted elements such as the grille and lighting features.
“It is a striking design with functional beauty,” said Helen Emsley, executive director, Global GMC Design. “There’s confidence and optimism in its stance, with exceptional attention to detail that speaks to GMC’s rise as a premium brand.”

Elevating GMC’s new design, the Terrain Denali features its signature chrome grille along with Denali-specific accents including body-color fascias and lower trim, plus chrome roof rails, door handles, side mirror caps and body-side molding. Additionally, LED headlamps and 19-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels are standard on Denali.

Our test car had the 2.0L turbo engine, which had a strong feeling of torque and power output. A range of three new turbocharged engines, including a 1.6L turbo-diesel, provides more choices when it comes to performance, efficiency and capability. New 1.5L and 2.0L turbocharged gas engines are matched with two unique new nine-speed automatic transmissions, with the 2.0L turbo engine offering stronger acceleration and a higher degree of performance than its 1.5L counterpart.

Although it took some getting used to, we liked the snazzy new Electronic Precision Shift, which enables more storage room in the center console by replacing the conventional transmission shifter with electronically controlled gear selection consisting of push buttons and pull triggers.

A handy feature for our winter test is the standard driver-controllable Traction Select system, which has choices for different driving conditions. Elements such as the throttle responses are optimized for the selected driving mode. AWD models include a FWD mode that disconnects the AWD system to minimize drag and optimize fuel economy, while the AWD mode offers all the benefits of an active AWD system.

We were impressed with storage space. An expanded center console with pass-through storage underneath and side-by-side cupholders adds to the functionality. A new fold-flat front passenger seat and flat-folding rear seat help Terrain offer greater versatility for stowing longer items and make it easier to load cargo. There are also new under-floor compartments in the cargo area for more secure storage.

Connectivity is at level you’d expect in a Denali package and this price point. We stayed connected with our 8-inch-diagonal infotainment system, featuring compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionalityand a standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that can accommodate up to seven mobile devices. We could also manage the vehicles remotely with the myGMC mobile appvia our compatible smartphones. It’s a high tech cocoon that is rounded out with the as-expected Bluetooth connection.

An expanded range of available active safety technologies – including the new bird-eye view Surround Vision, forward collision alert, auto-braking, lane keeping and alert, and more. Our favorite systems are the Rear Seat Reminderand Teen Driver. Rear Seat Reminder alerts drivers to check the back seat as they exit their vehicles under certain circumstances, while Teen Driver allows parents to set controls and review an in-vehicle report card in order to help encourage better driving habits, even when adults are not in the vehicle.

Overall, we like the new 2019 GMC Terrain AWD Denali, and if a premium SUV is on your list, you should test drive the Terrain. Combined MPG rating is 23-mpg, but we got slightly better on our drive. Pricing starts at $39,500 with test car priced at $43,650 nicely equipped. Incentives and offers will likely bring transaction pricing down, see your local dealer or visit www.GMC.com for more details.

2019 Subaru Ascent

2019 Subaru Ascent

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2019 Subaru Ascent SUV. This is touted as all-new this year and I think it will appeal to the outdoorsy folks as a first choice. I believe it stands up extremely well to rivals noted and especially as compared to other high end trim models.

Subaru is getting better at promoting themselves but over the years I’ve been observing they don’t blow their own horn but rather leave it up to reviewers like me. They are always very accommodating when it comes to getting their product in our hands to pick apart. It is there where it makes the best case for itself, so they are wise to put their money into product quality and not into advertising.

General Information:

Classification is- SUV; Cars from Subaru- Ascent, BRZ, Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, WRX.

Handling & Performance:

All wheel drive is a specialty for Subaru as all their cars are indeed AWD. Thus, common sense tells us they would be the best of the best with that feature.

This SUV is a delight to drive. You feel that especially on mountain courses like my testing grounds over the windy San Gabriel mountains in Southern California. I use two separate routes over the mountains regularly to get a sense the vehicle’s prowess under difficult conditions.

Styling:

You gotta love the clean stylish lines that is consistently Subaru. That’s important to me over time since I know image is remembered by consumers and that sword cuts two ways. If the car is a good or bad performer people will equate the look to a history colored by how consumers judged the quality.

Fit and Finish:

Very good assembly wherever the car is assembled. In the case of all the competition noted below, amazingly all are built in the good old USA.

Cost:

Pricing for this Ascent is among the least expensive brand offerings.

Conveniences and comfort:

It doesn’t get much better as you look at the standard features included in the MSRP price noted. Nearly everything is covered that I’ve found to be the essentials for a complete driving experience.

Consumer Recommendations:

When considering your choice, I can tell you that the warranties are essentially the same, except the VW which is slightly better in years covered. Of all the listed rivals this is my pick all things considered. In fact, I look less at the warranty but rather the quality and character of the company.

VW Atlas, that I recently tested, would be second choice on the list, and if I’m swayed by American made cars the good news is all these are assembled right here in the USA.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Subaru Ascent 46,000 22 7 4 Japan USA AWD
Ford Explorer 55,000 18 7 4 USA USA 4WD
Chevrolet Traverse 54,000 20 7 4 USA USA AWD
Dodge Durango 50,000 21 7 4 USA USA AWD
Honda Pilot 49,000 22 7 4 Japan USA AWD
Toyota Highlander 45,000 22 8 4 Japan USA AWD
Volkswagen Atlas 46,000 19 7 4 Germany USA AWD

Good News:

All the safety features I enjoy and count on including AWD, comfortable.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter direct injection turbocharged boxer engine, 8 speed continuous variable transmission, four wheel independent suspension, 20” aluminum alloy wheels, symmetrical all-wheel drive with dynamic control, eyesight driver assist system with auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, smart cruise control with lane keep assist, reverse auto braking system, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, rear vision camera,, front airbag system with front knee airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor and seat side airbags, auto power door locks, LATCH system for second and third rows, anti-theft alarm and immobilizer system, electronic brake force distribution, 8” Starlink multimedia Navigation Infotainment, Harman Kardon audio with Quantum logic surround sound system, with 14 speakers, Sirius XM radio, Sports, Weather, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Aha, Pandora, iHeart Radio, CD, 6 USB ports for front and rear, keyless access with push-button start, power rear gate with Height Memory, Cargo area cover, Tri-zone climate control, leather trimmed seating and wood patterned trim, 10-way power driver’s seat with memory, 4-way passenger seat, ventilated and heated front seats, heated side mirrors and wipers and steering wheel, rear door retractable sun shades with tinted rear glass, 2nd row captain’s chairs and 3rd row bench seating for 7-passenger seating, rain sensing wipers, 180 degree front view camera, reading lights in front and 2nd and 3rd row seating, 19 cup and bottle holders.

Gas Stats:

$3.19 / Gal avg. January 14, 2019

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

20 City and 26 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $44,695.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2019 – An Automotive Love Affair

2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4X4

2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4X4

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited. But from my experience it is not ‘limited’ off road. I’m sure other competitors are capable but Jeep emphasizes off road prowess. I’ve had great off road trips that Jeep just exudes confidence in that environment.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Belvidere, Illinois, USA; Parts- US/Canada 69%, Mexico 20%; Engine & Transmission– USA; Classification is- Small SUV; Cars from Jeep- Cherokee, Compass, Commander, Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler, Wrangler JK, Wrangler JK Unlimited and Wrangler Unlimited.

Handling & Performance:

Jeep delivers all that I expect in performance. It’s fast and responsive and a good size for all around driving needs. I always find when I drive my large F350 Ford truck I appreciate smaller vehicles, where you can go to the market and take up only one parking space.

Styling:

Jeep is the official the Icon to designate going off road and generally displays a consistent view of its rich heritage.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Equal to the competition and if you opted for the technology group, an upgrade in luxury, a full sunroof, you’d add $7,000.

Conveniences and comfort:

As equipped (below) I’m a happy camper, but if I were using your money I would add every option, but since I’m using mine I would include crash avoidance and adaptive cruise control with Stop and Go capability. That would add about $1,000. The rest I could do without.

Consumer Recommendations:

A lot to choose from because SUV’s are so popular. In addition, they are profitable for manufacturers, so you can deal effectively – so test drive all to find the best for your sensibilities.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Jeep Cherokee 35,000 23 5 4 USA USA 4WD
Hyundai Tucson 34,000 23 5 4 Korea Korea AWD
Ford Escape 35,000 23 5 4 USA USA 4WD
Mitsubishi Outlander 34,000 22 7 4 Korea Korea AWD
Toyota RAV4 34,000 30 5 4 Japan Canada 4WD
Nissan Pathfinder 37,000 22 7 4 Japan USA 4WD
Honda CRV 30,000 29 5 4 Japan USA AWD

Good News:

Decent fuel economy for off road capable, stylish, great handling, priced well in class, and versatile.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder Turbo, 9-speed auto trans. 4WD, ,front, side and front and rear side curtain airbags, LATCH child seat anchor system, park sense and rear park assist with stop, power liftgate, active drive select terrain system, hill start assist, rear back up camera, blind spot and cross-path detection, keyless entry and go, remote start, traction, stability controls, roll mitigation, windshield wiper de-iceer, capless fuel fill, tire pressure alert and monitoring display, security alarm, Uconnect 4 with 8.4” display, apple car play, android auto, Sirius XM radio, voice command with Bluetooth, memory for radio, driver seat and mirrors, climate control with dual zone control, heated front seats, leather wrapped heated steering wheel, front power 4-way lumbar adjust, 18” polished painted aluminum wheels.

Gas Stats:

$3.19 / Gal avg. January 11, 2019

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $33,770.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2019 – An Automotive Love Affair

2019 Kia K900

2019 Kia K900

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2019 Kia K900. After a year-long hiatus, thankfully it’s back. But they took time off to upgrade it to the Genesis G90 Platform to be wider, roomier and generally all around more luxurious. The competition is good but the K900 is special for me because I appreciate having a real capable competitor to the old-line leaders in the luxury field.

The last time I reviewed the K900 was 2015 and this revisited model is noticeably enhanced to be a major threat to the entrenched leaders noted here. This addition to the class will surely keep the others on their toes. Ain’t competition great in this capitalist marketplace.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Hwangmyeong, Korea; Parts- US/Canadian 1%, Korea 93%; Engine and transmission- Korea; Classification is- Large Cars; Cars from Kia- Cadenza, Forte, Forte 5, K900, Niro, Optima, Rio, Rio 5-door, Sedona, Sorento, Soul, Soul, Sportage and Stinger.

Handling & Performance:

Superb. It is elegantly (smoothly) fast. This is an area where there is a departure from the American car makers traditional ‘Muscle Car Mentality’. I’ve come to appreciate the difference between quiet or subtle performance and loud performance. Loud performance works with Camaro, Mustang, Charger and other ‘hot rod’ performers but it doesn’t work in the luxury class.

Styling:

The styling hasn’t changed much from the 2015 model because it wasn’t needed to be changed. It was a winner then and still is now. Very nice option for the discerning luxury car owner who isn’t impressed with Badge alone.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent look and feel. Really special in my opinion.

Cost:

Cost is essentially the same as the 2015 version, so it is even more competitive with the marketplace.

Conveniences and comfort:

Nearly all the high-tech features for safe and comfortable driving experience.

Consumer Recommendations:

When looking at the competition I find at the top of the heap. Love this car.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Kia K900 60,000 23 5 4 Korea Korea
Acura TLX 47,000 24 5 4 Japan USA
Audi A6 62,000 23 5 4 Germany Germany
BMW 5 Series 60,000 24 5 4 Germany Germany
Cadillac XTS 47,000 22 5 4 USA Canada
Genesis 59,000 20 5 4 Korea Korea

Good News:

Classy option to the old guard, top of the heap quality in a luxury class.

Bad News:

The only bad news is from the competition point of view.

Standard Equipment:

3.3 liter twin turbo V6 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, AWD, drive mode select, electronically controlled suspension, front and side & side curtain airbags, stability control, dual zone climate control, 7 surround audio system, Nav system with 12.3” touch screen, Android Auto a& Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Sirius XM, Nappa leather seat trim with heated & ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel and rear outboard seat cushions, wireless charger, smart key with push button start, surround view monitor and Heads-up display, smart cruise with stop and go, power rear window and manual side sunshades, blind spot collision warning, and view monitor, driver attention warning, forward collision warning and avoidance assist, lane departure warning and lane following assist, parking distance warning both forward and reverse, rear cross traffic collision warning, safe exit assist, LED headlights with high beam assist, power sunroof, auto rain sensing wipers, power trunk.

Gas Stats:

$3.15-Gal avg. December 31, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

18 City and 25 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $ 59,900.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2019 – An Automotive Love Affair

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE. This model I tested was a pre-production car, but I notice nothing I could complain about. As you read through you be hard pressed not to be impressed with this full featured car. Great job and although I’m luke-warm for Toyota, generally, I have to give credit where credit is due.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Japan; Classification is- Standard SUV; Vehicles from Toyota- 4Runner, 86, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, C-HR, Camry Hybrid, Corolla, Corolla Hatchback, Corolla iM, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, Prius v Wagon, RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma Access Cab, Tacoma Double Cab, Tundra CrewMax, Tundra Double Cab, Yaris.

Handling & Performance:

If you ever wanted to know what a CVT (continuously variable transmission) is, it is also known as a shiftless transmission, single-speed transmission, stepless transmission, pulley transmission, but it is still an automatic transmission and one that can change seamlessly through a continuous range of effective gear ratios.

Styling:

Typical Toyota. Simple clean lines.

Fit and Finish:

Well done.

Cost:

Unbelievable what you can get for the money.

Conveniences and comfort:

Wow, read carefully the Standard Equipment and be blown away by Corolla pulling out all the stops on technology. I love it. Remember when these features were only available on super luxury class cars. Well that is history and for the money you have to be impressed.

Consumer Recommendations:

If you are in the market for a car and this is in your budget range, you have to look at it seriously.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Toyota Corolla 22,000 36 5 4 Japan Japan
Mazda 3 26,000 30 5 4 Japan Mexico
Subaru Outback 27,000 28 5 4 Japan USA

Good News:

Bargain pricing, great fuel economy, all the bells and whistles in an economy car. I’m impressed.

Bad News:

I can’t complain.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder 168 horsepower engine, CVT Transmission, front wheel drive, 16” alloy wheels, auto on/off headlights, power mirrors with turn signals, climate control, backup camera, 60/40 split fold down rear seat, tilt/telescopic leather steering wheel with system controls and paddle shifters, smart key with push button start and keyless entry, power windows, Entune audio with App suite, 6-speakers, 8: touch screen, CD player, Aux port, USB media Port, 2-USB charge ports, voice recognition, Blue tooth, Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay, Alexa, Sirius XM, Safety Connect, Wi-Fi Connect by Verizon, Safety Sense includes pre-collision and Pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, auto high beams, full speed dynamic cruise control, road sign assist, lane tracing assist, stability & traction controls, 4-wheel ABS brake system with Brake force distribution, Brake assist and smart Stop technology, seven airbags and Blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert.

Gas Stats:

32 City and 42 Highway MPG

$3.29 / Gal of gas avg. December 16, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $22,010.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

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