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

2018 Audi Q7

2018 Audi Q7

By Phil Shuyler

The Audi Q7 just went through a complete redesign for the 2017 model year. Visually it has a low stance, which helps give it a nimble and capable appearance. It’s powered by either a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine with 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, or a 3.0L 6-cylinder supercharged TFSI engine that puts out 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. The 0-60 for the 2.0L is 7.1 seconds, while the 3.0L reaches 60 in 5.7 seconds.

Both engines are quite capable, however the 4-cylinder may leave you wanting more. The transmission you’ll find with either engine is a smooth shifting 8-speed Tiptronic automatic. Fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg highway, 19 city and 21 combined.

Quattro is standard on all Q7s and all-wheel steering is available to give you a tighter turning radius at lower speeds and more precise steering and higher speeds. Audi’s drive select includes up to 6 different modes, including Comfort, Dynamic, Auto, Individual, Offroad, and Allroad and Offroad/Lift. So no matter what condition or mood you’re in, there’s a mode for you.

Interior

The inside is Audi elegant, with available wood and brushed metal accents, and a infotainment screen that magically rises out of the dash. Of course the 12.3” fully digital virtual cockpit is available, as is the MMI all-in-touch touchpad which provides access to the infotainment screen. It enables you to handwrite various inputs as well as navigate through different screens and menus. Overall it’s easy and intuitive to use, though writing on the pad does take a little getting used to.

There’s also an available full-color head up display that projects relevant information directly in the driver’s field of vision. Handy to have, but it’ll probably take a little while before you get accustomed to using it. And who can’t live without the available adaptive ambient lighting, with over 900 color combinations!

Safety

Safety first! And the Q7 has a variety of ways to do just that. The standard Audi pre sense city detects stationary vehicles or pedestrians in the road ahead and initiates full braking when the vehicle is traveling under 52 mph and a potential collision is imminent. The available pre sense plus adds a collision warning and emergency braking at up to 137 mph.

Also available is Audi pre sense rear, rear cross traffic alert, collision avoidance assist, turn assist, and night vision assistant, just to name a few. Overall the Q7 earns a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating from NHTSA.

The 2018 Audi Q7 starts at $49,900 in the Premium trim with a 2.0L engine, and can be optioned up to around $90,000 in the Prestige trim which includes the 3.0L engine. No matter what your price point, the Q7 surrounds you with confidence and luxury.

2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T

2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T (for Turbocharged).

As we progress in the automotive industry we see such seeming advances in promised miraculous leaps into ‘green’ electric cars or ‘autonomous’ driverless cars. Can we really believe the claims? Well, we should be reminded that advances claimed simply don’t happen overnight. It will be 2038, in my estimation, before you see these promises become even remotely a reality.

Before it can happen, you and I will be expected to be the Ginny pigs who’ll have to be convinced we should gladly be on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. Yep, it is the consumer who will pay for any and all misguided moves in this industry or any industry for that matter.

In the meantime, if you don’t want to bear the cost, I suggest you enjoy the drive of real cars that are here, Now, and are reliable and have been for over 100 years. They have been and will be for the foreseeable future simply amazing vehicles for work and transportation.

General Information:

It is assembled in : Montgomery, Alabama, USA; Parts : US/Canadian 38%, Korea 51%; Engine and transmission – USA; Classification is : Large Cars. Cars from Hyundai : Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra GT, Santa Fe,Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Handling & Performance:

Drive Mode select: This is a system to monitor and modify engine throttle response, transmission shift points and steering to provide optimal performance. There are three modes: Normal (general comfort setting), sport (dynamic driving) and ECO (conserving fuel) all by the push of a button on the console.

Styling:

You’ve gotta love the look and feel that will remain stylish for many years to come. That is important for any significant investment.

Fit and Finish:

I have found Hyundai and Kia cars always fit together very well. They are still the ‘new kid on the block’ and have to try harder to please us.

Cost:

Very well priced. Thirty grand is very fair for the value provided by this large family sedan.

Conveniences and comfort:

One of my favorite features is smart cruise control, but be aware they are not all the same. Be sure you get the best available, like this Hyundai Sonata version. It has a Stop/Start capability that, for example, Toyota products don’t. It has been my observation that it a distinction not to be lightly taken. In the case of Toyota, the system cuts out at 25 MPH and disengages, which to me is dangerous. Watch for the difference when you test drive the car.

Another feature to look at closely is the proximity key and push button start. It is a great convenience you will love and I believe you too will want to include in your next car.

Consumer Recommendations:

Following is a great field of competition and only you can find the best fit for your need. Not so many that you can’t look at them all.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Hyundai Sonata 33,000 26 5 4 Korea USA
Ford Fusion 33,000 23 5 4 USA Mexico
Acura TLX 34,000 27 5 4 Japan USA
Chevrolet Malibu 32,000 26 5 4 USA USA
Kia Optima 31,000 25 5 4 Korea USA
Toyota Camry 35,000 26 5 4 Japan USA

Good News:

Affordable, comfortable large family sedan, powerful yet drive mode select allows you to go from economy driving to sport speed and handling.

Bad News:

N/A.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 248 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo direct injection engine, dual continuous variable valve timing, 8-speed automatic transmission, drive mode select, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, electronic parking brake, 18” Alloy wheels, power sunroof, rear window sunshades, leather sport seats, proximity key entry with push button start, heated and ventilated front power seats and heated steering wheel, dual zone climate control, 8” touch screen/ Navigation system, stability control, traction control, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes with brake force distribution, front, side and side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, rear view camera, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert, dual climate control, AM/FM/HD radio system with 6-speakers, Sirius XM radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Blue Link Connected services, steering wheel mounted audio controls.

Gas Stats:

$3.49-Gal avg. April 1, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

23 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $32,450.

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

2017 Genesis G90

2017 Genesis G90

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joseph Mavilia

Overview:
This is the 2018 Genesis G90. A friend bought a Hyundai Equus, a then new luxury brand and dumped his top of the line Lexus. He has the money to own any car in the world so I had to ask why Hyundai Equus? “… because I’ve done a lot of research and the Toyota Lexus was way more expensive to buy and own so I wanted a change”. It reminds me of the adage that “it isn’t what you make, it’s what you spend that is important, and my friend was always conscious of cost which explains why he is super wealthy.

So, the story continues because I was in the Genesis badge this week I called my friend to see if he had looked at the new Genesis G90. After all it is the replacement for the Equus. “I’m still driving the Equus after several years, but I will take a look at the G90 as it may be time to move to a newer model year. Thanks”.

Me, I said, I feel it is an improvement if only because of the many innovations the years bring. Surely this is ‘as good as it gets’ in luxury cars, and let’s face it, the price is right to boot. Hyundai / Kia products are still the hottest brands for today’s car buyer, in my opinion. When my friend and I worked together I drove a Mercedes-Benz 450 SL and in retrospect the Genesis is as sophisticated for far less money.

Last year when I reviewed the G90 I alluded to the thought that, if you are not stinking rich or don’t have a need to try to impress others you’ll want to consider Hyundai products like this Genesis. Yes, 99% of the population are like you and me, and that’s who should be test driving Hyundai and Kia Cars. My ownership of an automotive repair business in La Canada for several decades was a great lesson on the real world of cars and what to buy and what NOT to buy.

“It’s costly wisdom that’s bought by experience, and experience is the name everyone gives their mistakes”. . . a quote worth considering.

General Information: It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 2%, Korea 82%; Engine and transmission – Korea;Classification is Large Cars. Cars from Genesis: G80, G90.

 Opinion:

Last year I reflected on Electric Cars – and it is worth repeating this year. My opinion has not changed. My prediction is that ‘all electric’ is NOT the answer to our transportation needs short of some miraculous breakthrough that is not likely for at least the next 20 years.

Yes, I beat up on Tesla and other electric car enthusiasts who would try to make us believe an electric car is the answer, because it is NOT! And yes, it is my opinion. But I got that from observing the market and more importantly from test driving electric cars for many years and seeing no significant change for more than 100 years. And yes one only needs to look at history to gain a keen sense of the obvious.

You may recall reading a couple of my columns where I discussed Hydrogen Fuel Cell options available. First, about 11 years ago I test drove GM’s Hi-Wire Fuel Cell concept car, and more recently I teamed up with a lessee of a Hydrogen powered SUV. It reminded me why I was excited about the concept. And now as recently as the latest LA Auto Show, that excitement was reinforced. A lot was being said about Hydrogen cars with elaborate mock ups and cut-away’s to show how it all works. If you must be adventuresome the Hydrogen option is worth your time to consider. (note: if you have had an experience with Fuel Cell cars please email me).

I repeat, history tells us that in over 100 year’s electric cars have done precious little to improve on the then range of 100 miles. Fuel Cell propulsion continues to stay alive for good reason and it supports my prediction that battery powered cars just have too many limitations.

Handling & Performance:

Special.

Styling:

The cat’s meow and it lights my fire – how about you?

Fit and Finish:

Outstanding.

Cost:

Affordable luxury. Similar competitors will set you back double the cost of this gem.

Conveniences and comfort:

All the bells and whistles.

Consumer Recommendations:

Try a test drive if this is in your budget. I believe you’ll be as impressed with the product as I am.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$  MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Genesis G90 73,000 19 5 4 Korea Korea
Audi A7 73,000 23 5 4 Germany Germany
Cadillac XTS 73,000 18 5 4 USA Canada
Cadillac CT6 70,000 21 5 4 USA USA
BMW 6 Series 81,000 23 5 4 Germany Germany
Audi S7 82,000 18 4 4 Germany Germany
Audi A8 83,000 22 5 4 Germany Germany
BMW 7 Series 84,000 24 5 4 Germany Germany
Acura RLX Sport Hybrid 63,000 28 5 4 Japan USA

 

Good News:

Fun, fast, luxurious class act that is priced well.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

5.0 liter 420 horsepower GDI Twin Turbo V8 engine, 8-speed auto transmission, intelligent drive mode, adaptive control suspension with elect. Damping control, 19-inch allow wheels, stability management system, electronic stability and traction controls and ABS brake assist, 9-airbags, auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, driver attention alert, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist and lane departure alert, smart cruise control with stop/start feature, multi view camera, front and rear parking sensors, electronic parking brake with auto vehicle hold, rain sensing wipers with auto defogger windshield, pre-active seatbelt with anti-whiplash front head restraints, proximity key with push button start, auto headlights and high beam assist, LED headlights with Dynamic bending light, Leather seating, sport front seats and steering wheel with contrast stitching, leather wrapped power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 22 way power driver seat and 16-way power passenger seat that are heated and ventilated, 14-way power rear seats heated and ventilated, climate control, full color heads up display, 7” color LCD multi-information display, 12.9” HD Navigation with multi-media controller, Android Auto and Apple Car Play, 17-speaker audio system, AM/FM/XM/HD radio/ CD/MP3 with SiriusXM radio, rear seat entertainment system with 10.3” HD monitors, Wireless charging pad in front, power rear side sunshades, hands free Smart power trunk lid.

Gas Stats:

$3.35-Gal avg. March 24, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

18 City and 24 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $71,890.

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

2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited

Photos Courtesy Toyota

By Vince Bodiford

Among all of the Toyota cars, the Avalon is my favorite. It’s the largest of all of their sedans, and I like big cars. It’s also named after one of my favorite places anywhere – Avalon, which is the crown jewel little town on Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California.

Like the town of Avalon, the car is painting-perfect in good looks, is charming and welcoming, is upscale, and is just the right size.

As Toyota’s flagship midsize sedan, the Avalon brings premium style, performance, interior amenities, and presence to the road – without a first-class price. It’s this blend of high-quality characteristics that has been key to the Avalon’s success since it first rolled off the assembly line at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky back in 1994 (I drove that very first model, and it was great back then, too).

Avalon offers V6 and hybrid powertrains (for this test I drove they hybrid), the latter delivering 40 mpg combined. The Avalon offers a choice of V6 or hybrid powertrains – one of eight Toyota hybrid models available for 2018. The Avalon’s 3.5-liter, DOHC V6 with Dual VVT-imakes 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. Teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the V6 offers EPA-rated 24 mpg combined fuel economy (21 city/30 highway).

The Avalon offers a luxurious ride, yet also has a sporty side, especially when drivers use the standard steering wheel paddle shifters on the gas model and driving mode selector (Eco, Normal and Sport modes).
The Avalon certainly looks the part of a premium luxury sedan, with a coupe-like profile, bold grille and discrete chrome trim. Even with the sweeping roofline, Avalon provides ample rear seat head room. Interior design and appointments also live up to the premium promise. Avalon’s cabin – one of the roomiest in the segment – offers a choice of three interior color themes including Almond, Light Gray, and Black. Serenity on the road is assured by sound-absorbing and sound-insulating materials, including acoustic-type glass used for the windshield and side glass.

Even the smallest of cabin details have been paid attention to. The power windows, for example, slow down as they approach the top of the window frames, and the coin box features a damper for smooth opening and closing. The steering column tilts and telescopes, and elegant smoke chrome trim surrounds the center panel, while glossy trim frames the shifter.

For drivers wanting more sportiness, the Avalon Touring provides a dynamic and responsive driving experience with sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch dark gray painted alloy wheels. Standard LED headlights and LED daytime running lights give the Touring grade a unique styling signature as well as cutting-edge illumination.

Like the colorful little village on Catalina Island, the Toyota Avalon is available in striking colors with fun names: Ooh La La Rouge Mica, Crème Brulee Mica, Sizzling Crimson Mica, plus Parisian Night Pearl. Pricing starts at $42,800 which is the middle of the price range in the category.

For more information, see your local Toyota dealer, or visit Toyota.com

2019 Jeep Cherokee SUV

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee in Trailhawk and Limited trim feel equally at home in the great outdoors. Inside, you can expect all the comforts of home. Photos courtesy Jeep.

By Vince Bodiford

Legendary Cherokee is reworked into a package that is authentic Jeep

The new 2019 Jeep Cherokee is among the most capable mid-size sport-utility vehicles, and they are arriving at select dealers early, including Monroe Superstore locally. It boasts a new, authentic and more premium design, along with the addition of an all-new, advanced 2.0-liter direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine.

The Cherokee name has a storied and long history with Jeep. My family owned one of the early models back in the 1970’s. I drove this newest model recently for a week-long test drive, and found it to be a worthy keeper of that same Jeep brand identity. The new Jeep Cherokee’s evolution offers more interior comfort and convenience, delivering everyday practicality with outstanding ride and handling characteristics.

“A stunning, more premium design and the addition of our new fuel-efficient 2.0-liter turbo engine make the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee even more desirable in the mid-size SUV segment,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “In addition, Cherokee builds on its benchmark 4×4 capability and on-road dynamics with refinement and style, a host of new attributes, powertrains and the latest technology that is perfectly situated for consumers worldwide.”

Available in five different trim configurations – Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland and the rugged Trail Rated Trailhawk, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee production has moved from Toledo (so they can make more Wranglers) to the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois.

The new Cherokee features an extensive new exterior design that highlights a completely fresh appearance and includes a major restyling of a number of signature components.

Drivers and passengers will command road presence with an all-new front exterior that is consistent with classic Jeep design. The Jeep design team has created a distinguished new look that aligns on the premium side of the Jeep family, along with iconic Jeep styling.

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee stays true to its heritage with a wide and commanding stance and an aggressive wheel-to-body proportion for a distinctive identity.

The updated interior of the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee receives a fresh touch while remaining a practical and comfortable environment. Premium hand-sculpted forms tie signature Jeep design cues and high-quality materials together with precision craftsmanship.

Powered by the all-new 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, it’s rated at 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a high-efficient nine-speed automatic transmission. Two additional high-efficient engines options are available in the 2019 Jeep Cherokee: the 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 and 2.4-liter PZEV Multiair2 Tigershark I-4 – both mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee highlights a choice of three innovative 4×4 systems that have been enhanced for unmatched 4×4 capability for all weather conditions. Available on the Cherokee Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited and Overland models, Jeep Active Drive I features an all-new design for Cherokee.

I’ve long been a fan of the Jeep brand and product. Built on more than 75 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.

The Jeep vehicle lineup consists of the Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Renegade and Wrangler.

for more information, see your local Jeep deale, or visit Jeep.com

2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid. You know what, it is so nice to look at the instrument panel and see the range is like 500 miles. Those days of 7 MPG is behind us, thankfully. Then you look at the price of oil at $61.00 a barrel (55 gallons) turns into $4.00 per gallon at the pump. Now I’m just breaking even. Cars get more economical and the market (oil companies) get their pound of flesh. Then government taxes it heavily and the consumer is back to square one. OK, so that is a myopic view and we really need to put it all in perspective. The cost of goods and services has, overall, come down over the years.

Consider the price of a Ford Model A in 1929 in any color you wanted it (grey, green or black) began at $500 up to $1,200. Surely everyone could afford $500, which translates into $7,200 in 2018 dollars, to $17,000 for the top of the line. Pretty amazing, eh.

General Information:

Assembly: Georgetown, Kentucky, USA; Classification is Midsize; Vehicles from Toyota: 4Runner, 86, Avalon, Camry, C-HR, Corolla, Corolla iM, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, Prius V, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra.

Handling & Performance:

Smooth and comfortable is my first impression. If this were a Corvette, for example, you would be as pumped as a thoroughbred at “post time”. But a sophisticated passenger car isn’t off to the races but more a ride in the park. For sure this is a nice ride and has been an enjoyable week of leisurely travel.

Styling:

Typical Toyota design is to provide good functionality which has surely met consumers appreciation and we know that because Toyota is one of the top selling cars in the world. Fiat has edged them out worldwide in recent years to be number one.

Fit and Finish:

Toyota quality has infected all brands over the past few decades. Most brands have the Toyota standard to live up to. Some do, some don’t. For example, my 2011 Ford F350 is an exception. I just can’t find a cause of whistling sound emanating from the dash that would drive most to drink, or worse.

Cost:

The price of admission is about what I expected and a good value at $40,000.

Conveniences and comfort:

All the bells and whistles are included and what isn’t there isn’t all that important.

Consumer Recommendations:

I’m not a fan of ‘all electric’ but I am a big fan of Hybrid technology for today. Tomorrow – the moon, but I’m in no hurry. Before you’re ready, cars will be driving you. Be patient and enjoy the ‘drive’ in the meantime. The future? I can just imagine race drivers will be obsolete and computers will drive the cars and compete, for what I can’t imagine? Can’t wait, though and quite frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. I’ll enjoy ‘Lizzy’, as long as I can.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Toyota Avalon Hybrid 40,000 40 5 4 Japan USA
Ford Fusion Energi 40,000 42 5 4 USA Mexico
Chevrolet Volt 38,000 42 5 4 USA USA
BMW 3-Series 46,000 30 5 4 Germany Germany

Good News:

Comfortable affordable near luxury sedan with very good fuel economy.

Bad News:

N/A.

Standard Equipment:

Hybrid drive with a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, 17” alloy wheels, power assisted 4-wheel disc brakes, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beams, star safety system stability and traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution, and smart stop technology, 10-airbags, LATCH child anchor and tether system, anti-theft system with engine immobilizer, blind spot and cross traffic alert, heated mirrors with turn signal indicators, power tilt and slide moonroof, climate control with rear seat vents, AM/FM/CD/HD SXM audio system with 9-speakers, Aux/USB, Bluetooth, backup camera, leather trimmed steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth & voice command controls, leather seating with 8-way driver power seat and 4-way passenger power seat, smart key system with push button start and wireless smartphone charging.

Gas Stats:

40 City and 39 Highway MPG

$3.35 / Gal avg. March 10, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $40,132.

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

2018 Hyundai Elantra Ltd

2018 Hyundai Elantra Ltd

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited. The last time I reviewed the Elantra was 2015. It’s like visiting an old friend. Hyundai remains a favorite of mine. Daughter Jenny is on her third Kia (a Hyundai company) and she swears by the product. There are some things that children take a parent’s advice on. This is one of those, and I’m happy she has been happy with my recommendation. I was confident she should but you know kids.

Hyundai / Kia have matured well over the past decade, and although they have come up in price somewhat, they are still a good value. You’d expect price to rise over time, as consumers embrace the brand. The warranty is still at the top end of the competition. What has changed is that they’ve added high end luxury cars that rival the best of the best. As you probably know, Genesis was spun off as a separate brand in the past couple of years.

Fuel economy has improved since my last review but the competition was and is still a bit better. And finally, another bit of good news for US consumers is that it is made in the USA instead of Korea.

General Information:

It is assembled in: Montgomery, Alabama, USA; Parts: US/Canadian 46%, Korea 19%; Engine and transmission – USA; Classification is: Midsize Cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra GT, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Handling & Performance:

No turbo and for smaller engines I prefer that capability. But no real complaints otherwise because it handles well at freeway speeds.

Styling:

The interior cockpit has improved in appearance and functionality and it just seems more substantial and higher quality for this model since 2015.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Still a great value even though the price has edged up a bit in the past few years.

Conveniences and comfort:

A little light on the high-tech features for the standard items as priced, but the test vehicle included the ‘ultimate package’. It includes Nav, premium audio, power sunroof, emergency braking system, smart cruise control and lane keep assist system which adds $4,475 for a total of just over $27,000 with delivery and handling.

Consumer Recommendations:

Of course, I suggest you test drive all these players and as for me it’s a toss-up because I like ‘em all.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country/Origin Assembled
Hyundai Elantra 21,000 27 5 4 Korea USA
Mazda 3 21,000 31 5 4 Japan Japan
Chevrolet Cruze 22,000 31 5 4 USA USA

Good News:

Good pricing, roomy nice-looking commuter and family sedan.

Bad News:

On the lower end of fuel economy in this segment.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 147 hp 4-cylinder engine, dual continuous variable valve timing, 6-speed automatic transmission, stability control, traction control, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes with brake force distribution, front, side and side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, 17” Alloy wheels, rear view camera, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert, dual climate control, AM/FM/HD radio system with 6-speakers, Sirius XM radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Blue Link Connected services and remote start, steering wheel mounted audio controls, power driver’s seat , leather seating with heated front seats, proximity Key and push button start and hands free smart trunk.

Gas Stats:

$3.39-Gal avg. March 1, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

28 City and 37 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $27,460 as equipped with options noted above.

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

2018 Mazda CX-5 Crossover SUV

The new Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV is nimble, but delivers a great ride. The look is modern and sleek. Inside, there is more room than expected. Photos courtesy of Mazda USA.

By Vince Bodiford

Driving still matters to Mazda

While the automotive world is chasing a dream of autonomous self-driving cars, Mazda is sticking to the idea that many buyers want to buy cars that look and drive great. Mazda’s marketing language underscores that, saying “Driving Matters: it always has and always will.”
Mazda delivers on that promise in the new 2018 Mazda CX-5 Crossover. Our week-long test revealed some nice updates from the prior year, and proved that driving really does matter, especially in our cross-state drive and back. The CX-5 looks and drives great – and we got several complements about it, especially its “soul red crystal metallic” paint – which is really candy-apple red. Beautiful paint.

For the 2018 model year, Mazda CX-5 is employing cylinder-deactivation technology, safety and refinement updates at all trim levels and carries features such as an available head-up display and standard LED headlights and tail lights.
Mazda CX-5’s SKYACTIV-G 2.5 engine has received small updates to reduce internal friction and the amount customers will spend on fuel, but no feature stands out more than its cylinder-deactivation technology. The engine has the ability to shut down the two outside cylinders at cruising speeds to maximize efficiency. Mazda is the only automaker to equip a four-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation in North America.

Additional newly standard equipment includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather-wrapped shift knob. On the safety front, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert comes standard across all models. All features were previously available on mid-level CX-5 Touring models and above.

The entry-level CX-5 Sport features cloth upholstery, standard LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, an electronic parking brake, MAZDA CONNECT infotainment with a 7-inch screen and Bluetooth audio streaming and phone pairing as standard, among a much longer list of features. In its newly available Sport i-ACTIVSENSE Package, CX-5 adds High Beam Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane-Keep Assist, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Smart Brake Support, rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic on/off headlights.

The mid-trim CX-5 Touring adds standard 19-inch allow wheels for 2018 and the full i-ACTIVSENSE suite of safety features. Mazda CX-5 Touring upgrades to leatherette-upholstered seats and Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry. Additional features in CX-5 Touring include heated front seats, 6-way power adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air condition vents and two rear USB ports for charging smartphones or tablets.

The available Touring Preferred Package includes auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, BOSE10-speaker audio sound system with Centerpoint2 and AudioPilot2, navigation, a power glass moonroof and a power liftgate.

Further building on the Touring Preferred Package, the top-trim CX-5 Grand Touring receives new 2-position memory driver’s seat and 6-way power adjustable passenger seat. CX-5 Grand Touring comes standard with leather-trimmed seats, LED fog lights and tail lights, Adaptive Front-lighting System and SiriusXM satellite radio with 4-month trial subscription. The available Grand Touring Premium Package includes windshield-projected Active Driving Display head-up unit with Traffic Sign Recognition, heated steering wheel, heated second-row outboard seats and windshield wiper de-icer.

All CX-5 models come with a standard 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G engine that delivers 187-bhp and 186 lb-ft of torque, paired to the SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; Mazda’s predictive i-ACTIV all-wheel drive is available on every trim level.
Mazda likes to say they build vehicles that inspire, excite and—most of all— bring people joy. They say every Mazda is beautiful, functional and has advanced safety technology to help give the driver more confidence behind the wheel – and with this road test, we agree.

for more information, see your local Mazda dealer, or visit MazdaUSA.com

2018 Toyota Yaris iA

2018 Toyota Yaris iA

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Toyota Yaris iA and. since my review research of the 2013 model, as you might expect, Yaris has matured a bit for 2018. It has some history now and it remains in the top half, in class, for reliability and low ownership costs for a roomy interior car with good overall comfort.

My highway miles told me it was a nice stable car for its size and weight. Others I’ve recently reviewed, you may recall, in similar stature were not so good. No complaints from me here, especially for the money one must wonder – you can’t go wrong.

General Information:

Assembly: France; Classification is: Subcompact; Vehicles from Toyota: 4Runner, 86, Avalon, Camry, C-HR, Corolla, Corolla iM, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, Prius V, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra.Yaris, Yaris iA .

Handling & Performance:

Great turning radius and although I was impressed with the highway performance this would be a great commuter and small family sedan. Not much to complain about here and moreover the fuel economy is a big plus and can only grow more important as gas prices continue to rise.

Styling:

Basic design and quite frankly simple clean lines is good for me, especially in such an economy vehicle.

Fit and Finish:

Good.

Cost:

Outstanding value.

Conveniences and comfort:

Pretty basic but the standard features are very good for the money.

Consumer Recommendations:

Usual stuff to make your drive comfortable and economical, but as you look at all the standard features for the money you should be impressed. Overall it is a bargain for your transportation needs and a great young family car.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Toyota Yaris iA 18,000 35 5 4 Japan France
Mitsubishi Mirage G4 18,000 37 5 4 Japan Thailand
Chevrolet Sonic 17,000 28 5 4 USA USA
Kia Rio 17,000 32 5 4 Korea Korea
Nissan Versa 17,000 34 5 4 Japan Mexico

Good News:

Good performer, unbeatably priced, comfortable and roomy in class.

Bad News:

Not much to bitch about.

Standard Equipment:

1.5 liter 106 Horsepower 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, sport drive mode, front wheel drive, 16” alloy wheels, low speed pre collision system, stability and traction controls, anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, front and side curtain airbags, LATCH child safety system, rear view backup camera, tire pressure monitor, variable intermittent wipers, power mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, fabric trimmed 6-way adjustable driver’s seat and 4-way adjustable passenger seat, 7” color touch screen display, AM/FM/HD radio with 6-speakers, 2-USB ports with iPod connect, Bluetooth hands free phone and music streaming, voice recognition, connected suite for Pandora, Aha and Stitcher audio, remote keyless entry with push button start, cruise control, power windows and locks, tilt / telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, air conditioning, 60/40 split fold flat rear seat.

Gas Stats:

$3.35 / Gal avg. February 26, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

32 City and 40 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $17,050.

2018 Hyundai Sonata ECO

2018 Hyundai Sonata ECO

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Hyundai Sonata ECO. I have to remind all that there is little reason to be without personal transportation. Relative to the cost of living generally, cars have really decreased in cost to own. Of course, I’m referring to life in the United States and more specifically all of the country with the exception of city living where population is jammed in to a small area (New York City for example) Public transportation is easily justified in those areas, but when you grow up or live in rural parts of the country (90% or more of the USA) public transportation is impossible.

So, this friendly sedan from Hyundai, is a great solution to your transportation needs at an unbelievable price of ownership.

General Information:

It is assembled in: Montgomery, Alabama, USA; Parts: US/Canadian 34%, Korea 57%; Engine – Korea and transmission – USA; Classification is: LargeCars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent,Azera, Elantra,Elantra GT,Ionig, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid,Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid,Tucson andVeloster.

Handling & Performance:

With drive mode select you can go from ECO performance to turbo fast acceleration.

Styling:

This 2018 version has bold sharper edges, which by-the-way, reflects the general move to such design changes across most brands. What do you think?

Fit and Finish:

Very good quality from a great South Korean company.

Cost:

Incredible value of all in this class.

Conveniences and comfort:

In today’s high-tech world, Sonata wisely comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. For those who use their iPhone in the car, Apple CarPlay is a convenient and safer way to access Music, Maps, send messages, make calls and more with Siri and touch screen.

In addition, Sonata has more interior space than any vehicle in class to provide a comfortable ride.

Consumer Recommendations:

If you are in the market for a great family sedan you only have a few test drives to take with a very nice grouping of ultra affordable cars listed here.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Country/Origin Assembled
Sonata ECO 24,000 31 5 Korea USA
Ford Fusion 23,000 25 5 USA Mexico
Chevrolet Malibu 24,000 30 5 USA USA
Toyota Camry 24,000 34 5 Japan USA

Good News:

Affordable, super value, nice handling family sedan.

Bad News:

N/A.

Standard Equipment:

1.6 liter 4-cylinder 178 HP engine, 7-speed ECO Shift auto transmission, stability and traction controls, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes with brake force distribution, front, side and side curtain airbags, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, rearview camera, tire pressure monitor, 16” alloy wheels, keyless entry with push button start and alarm, power windows and locks, cloth seating, tilt & telescopic steering wheel with Cruise and audio controls, 7” color touchscreen display, AM/FM/MP3 with iPod, USB and Auxiliary input jacks, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, Bluetooth hands free phone system.

Gas Stats:

$3.27-Gal avg. February 19, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

28 City and 37 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $22,650.

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

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