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 Buick Encore Premium FWD

2018 Buick Encore Premium FWD

By Phil Shuyler

Small but mighty comes to mind when I think of the Buick Encore. This is more of a term of endearment than a fact. It’s definitely a small package, however it’s certainly not mighty. The 1.4L 4-cylinder variable valve timing Ecotec turbo engine gives you barely enough power and may leave some wanting more. It’s rated at 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The 6-speed automatic transmission was smooth and silky working along with the front-wheel drivetrain (AWD is available).

Perhaps the mighty could refer to the Encore’s versatility. It may have limited cargo capacity (18.80 ft³) with the rear seats folded up, however that figure is not what attracts people to this tiny crossover. It’s the fact that it has a small footprint and a versatile storage area (up to 48.40 ft³) with the rear seats folded down. The flexibility of a compact crossover would fit the needs of most people or families of 4 or less, so the Encore can make a lot of practical sense. Its size and tight turning radius make it easy to maneuver around town, however for being so small, there are large blind spots created by the C pillars. So you’ll want to double check your mirrors, blind spots, and use the Side Blind Zone Alert lights before changing lanes.

Besides the blindspots, the Encore is a pleasure to drive, and achieves a respectable 25 city and 33 highway MPG rating. The all-wheel-drive option is rated at 23 city and 30 highway, and adds $1,500 to the price tag.

Buick and GM vehicles are making a big push toward mandatory auto start/stop functionality for their engines. This technology (which turns the engine off when the vehicle comes to a stop, and turns it back on when the vehicle begins to move) has great potential, however right now it’s mainly just annoying. Once the engine turns off, the HVAC decreases and it almost immediately starts to get hot or cold inside the cabin, depending on the outside temperature. The Encore is available with or without start/stop technology, however if you choose to purchase the engine with this feature, keep in mind that you can no longer turn it on and off. It only stays on. If you’d prefer to have it off, make sure you purchase the engine without start/stop built-in.

Some of the other safety features available on the Encore include rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, rear vision camera, stability control, lane departure warning, and lots and lots of airbags – all giving the Encore a 5-star overall safety rating.

The exterior styling is conservative yet modern, and I’ve heard a lot of people describe it as “cute.” So depending on the image you’re going for, that may or may not be a good adjective for your new ride.

The 8” infotainment system looks crisp and clean, and responds quickly to input. CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard, and an integrated navigation system is optional.

The starting price for a 2018 Buick Encore is $22,990, and with options that price can grow to over $35,000 for a fully loaded Premium trim model. As tested, our vehicle was priced at $35,420.

Overall, the Encore comes in at an affordable price point that will fit the budgets of most people. It gives you shades of luxury for a non-luxury price.

2018 Lexus LC 500

2018 Lexus LC 500

By Phil Shuyler

The Lexus LC is newest addition to the luxury brand’s portfolio. It has been available for less than a year, so when people see it, there’s a mixture of emotions.
1.) What is that?
2.) Wow, that looks nice! and
3.) I want one!

All three are things you want to hear when you drive a high performance luxury vehicle. And that’s exactly what the LC is. Its 5.0L naturally aspirated V8 engine produces 471 HP and 398 lb-ft of torque – plenty to either mightily impress or scare your front passenger. Rear seat passengers will either need to be pets or luggage as there is zero leg room. This is quite common for sporty coupes though, so no negative marks here. Front seat room is perfect for anyone 6’ 3” or under, and the seats are firm yet supportive.

On the road, the ride is exceptionally comfortable, even in the potentially harshest Sport+ mode. Everyone who rode in the car commented on how smooth it felt. There are 5 drive modes you can choose from, including Eco, Comfort, Normal, Custom, Sport and Sport+. The good news is that no matter what mode you’re in, if you push hard on the accelerator, that glorious V8 will come to life. The sound the engine makes is purely outstanding. I don’t think I’ve grinned so much while driving in years. The sound is very much Lexus, and is very similar to the RC F and GS F, which makes sense since they all three use the same 5.0L V8 engine. The LC does have 4 more horsepower, thanks to improved intake and exhaust.

The LC is rear-wheel-drive and the engine is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission, which seems excessive when you’re driving spiritedly as you don’t hardly get out of 4th gear. There are little blips on up and downshifts, which some people aren’t fond of, however I think they give the car that much more audible character. The paddle shifters are attached to the steering wheel and are always right where you want them.

It may not be a critical buying factor, but we were impressed with the fuel economy we achieved during our one week test. Spirited driving averaged a little over 16 MPG, while pure highway driving maintained over 30. Both numbers are above the 16 city and 26 highway published by Lexus.

The 10.3” infotainment screen is integrated seamlessly into the dash, and the touchpad controls are comfortable and easy to use. It would be nice to have a touchscreen, however with the current design, the screen is too far to reach, so we’ll all just have to live with the touchpad for now.

Other optional goodies include an active rear spoiler, active rear steering, carbon fiber or glass roof, Alcantara headliner and color head-up display.

Pricing for the LC 500 starts at $92,000 and can climb up to $107,000 for a fully loaded chariot with the Performance Package, Convenience Package, 21-inch forged alloy wheels, a Mark Levinson surround sound system, and more.

2018 Toyota Corolla

2018 Toyota Corolla

An Automotive Love Affair

By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Toyota Corolla. Corolla was introduced into the US market in the summer of 1968. That is exactly 10 years after Toyota began marketing and selling their cars in the US. Surely they have come a long way in quality and in numbers. By 2012 they had produced 200 million cars and since then they have consistently sold over 10 Million cars each year worldwide. But they aren’t the largest car maker any longer since VW eclipsed Toyota’s record in 2016.

No question they are a very good car company but in today’s world the competition is stiffer than in the past, in my opinion. Technology has advanced so rapidly that one has to wonder what will happen to the automobile industry in the relatively near future.

I have been working with an Autonomous vehicle company and it is impressive how fast the concepts are being picked up by many metropolitan cities for the use of driverless cars. Other interested potential users include the major airline industries, Disney theme parks, Colleges, and many more.

“Beam me up Scotty” may not be heard any time soon, but the demand for cars in America may be taking a nose dive, as driverless vehicles are perfected. From what I’ve seen that shouldn’t be too far off.

General Information:

Assembly: Japan; Classification is Midsize; Vehicles from Toyota: 4Runner, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, C-HR, Corolla, Corolla iM, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, Prius V, RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma Access Cab, Tacoma Double Cab, Tundra CrewMax, Tundra Double Cab, Tundra Regular Cab, Yaris and Yaris iA.

Handling & Performance:

Actually I was very surprised and impressed on the Crest Test mountain road course for a 1.8 liter 132 horsepower engine.

Styling:

Simple and I like it that way.

Fit and Finish:

Good and that is no surprise to those who drive Toyota products.

Cost:

Very affordable and the options that upgrade to the SE model are also affordable at $1,535 over base prices noted here.

Conveniences and comfort:

Very good features at this price point for a midsize car when you include the options. I like the lane assist but if it isn’t needed you can turn it off. To me it is a helpful feature but it can be annoying.

Consumer Recommendations:

Pay particular attention to the Smart Cruise feature in all those you test. I found this version isn’t as good as the ‘smarter’ smart cruises out there. The reason I give it bad marks is that it cuts out at 25-30 mph and when you’re used to full start/stop versions this one can be dangerous. Most these days, at the very least, will come to a complete stop before releasing control. Let me know what you think.

Recognized Competition:

Toyota Corolla $23,000, Kia Niro $24,000, Honda HR-V $23,000, Mazda CX-3 $22,000.

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Toyota Corolla 21,000 31 5 4 Japan Canada
Hyundai Elantra 21,000 35 5 4 Korea Korea
Mitsubishi Lancer 21,000 26 5 4 Japan Japan
Chevy Cruze 22,000 32 5 4 USA USA
Mazda 3 20,000 32 5 4 Japan Japan
Subaru Impreza 20,000 32 5 4 Japan USA
VW Jetta 22,000 32 5 4 Germany Mexico

Good News:

Economical to buy and operate, basic, good power and handles nicely. It continues to be one of the more popular offerings from Toyota.

Bad News:

Small size feeling more like a sub-compact to me. Another thing that is an irritation, for me, is the Seat Belt warning tone, that seems even louder than most. What’s next, the car can’t be started until you buckle up? That rubs me the wrong way because the Smart cruise has an almost inaudible sound when it drops control of the cruise function. My reason is simple, I want the option to turn off the seat belt bell. Or if it triggered a reminder periodically it wouldn’t be so bad. Hey, I’m just going next door or taking a turn around the ranch – Shut up !

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter 132 horsepower 4-cylinder VVT engine, Continuously variable transmission, sport drive mode, 17”Alloy wheels, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar, power steering, auto high beams, Star Safety system, power ABS braking with brakeforce distribution and smart stop technology, 8-airbags front, front side mounted, driver knee, passenger seat mounted side airbag, passenger seat cushion, front and rear side curtain airbags, LATCH child system, power heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, rear spoiler, SofTex front sport seats with fabric inserts, power adjustable front seats, audio with 6 “ touch screen, multimedia bundle with AUX/ USB, Bluetooth, Voice recognition, Siri Eyes free 4.2 ” color monitor, backup camera, leather wrapped steering wheel with Audio & hands free phone voice command, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, climate control, remote keyless entry, power windows and locks.

SE Premium package for $1,535 includes: Audio Plus with Navigation, multimedia bundle with 7” HD touchscreen display, AM/FM CD player, 8-speakers, Aux, audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, phone, phone book access and music streaming with Bluetooth wireless technology, GPS nav scout link app, Siri eyes free, Sirius XM w/ 3 month comp, HD traffic and Weather, Smart Key system with push button start, power tilt / slide moonroof with sunshade.

Gas Stats:

28 City and 35 Highway MPG

$2.99 / Gal avg. December 17, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $20,495 – with SE Premium Pkg – add $1,535.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2017 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium

An Automotive Love Affair

By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium. Overall it is a nice car but it is sometimes the little things that bug us most. In this case it was the Seatbelt alarm. It is always annoying but this was especially noxious to my senses when I ignored its demand to buckle up. Several seconds after the first reminder a really loud alarm that you can no longer ignore. What next? will the manufacturer require you to connect your seatbelt before the car will start. You can see it coming as your every action is controlled by a computer. In my opinion, you should be provided with a switch you can turn off such alarms. I’m guessing there are some services from aftermarket folks to disable the alarm. If you know any let me know and I will share with other readers. I put the seat belt on but if I’m going next door to the neighbor I should be able to decide when I put it on. Nag, Nag, Nag just doesn’t get it for me. Perhaps the manufacturer should allow a button to be pushed to delay the reminder. That would make me happy.

General Information:

Assembly: Japan; Classification is Compact; Vehicles from Toyota: 4Runner, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, C-HR, Corolla, Corolla iM, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, Prius V, RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma Access Cab, Tacoma Double Cab, Tundra CrewMax, Tundra Double Cab, Tundra Regular Cab, Yaris and Yaris iA.

Handling & Performance:

It handled the Crest Mountain course very well. Fun.

Styling:

Undecided on design, but the consumer is the judge of what looks good to them. So ultimately sales will be the judge. For me it’s a little busy and I’m inclined toward smooth lines.

It looks like a two door at first glance but it has real high rear door handles molded into the body. Curious because small children would not be able to reach them as they are almost to the roof height.

Fit and Finish:

Good… meaning pretty average at this price point.

Cost:

I’m always amazed at how affordable, generally, that such a great convenience, like today’s cars, can cost.

Conveniences and comfort:

Good standard features listing.

Consumer Recommendations:

All competitors are very closely priced so in class a test drive of all 4 would be wise. I am partial to the Kia but wouldn’t rule out any of the others listed. Styling wise Kia and Mazda have more traditional clean lines, which as noted here are more to my liking. Kia reports the best fuel economy because it is a Hybrid. But the pricing is the same so it gives Kia a decided advantage.

Recognized Competition:

Toyota C-HR $23,000, Kia Niro $24,000, Honda HR-V $23,000, Mazda CX-3 $22,000.

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Toyota C-HR 23,000 29 5 4 Japan Japan
Kia Niro 24,000 50 5 4 Korea Korea
Honda HR-V 23,000 29 5 4 Japan Mexico
Mazda CX-3 22,000 29 5 4 Japan Japan

Good News:

Priced right and fuel economy is good.

Bad News:

Kia seems to have a MPG advantage.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 144 horsepower 4-cylinder electronic fuel injected engine, front wheel drive, electric power assisted steering, 4-wheel disc brakes, 18” alloy wheels, Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, auto high beams, full speed range dynamic radar cruise control, electric parking brake, front, side and side curtain airbags, backup camera, LATCH child system, tire pressure monitoring system, auto on/off headlights, rear window wiper and defogger, power mirrors with turn signals, variable intermittent wipers, 7” touch screen for audio, AM/FM/HD with 6-speakers, Aux/ USB ports with iPod connectivity, hands-free phone and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless, voice recognition, 4.2” color multi-information display, dual zone climate control, remote keyless entry, power locks and window, leather trim tilt and telescopic steering wheel with controls.

Gas Stats:

27 City and 31 Highway MPG

$2.99 / Gal avg. December 17, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $24,350.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2017 – An Automotive Love Affair

1214 Ram 3500

1214 Ram 3500

An Automotive Love Affair

By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 1214 Ram 3500 Limited Mega Cab 4X4. You and I both know that, if you’re wise, you buy a vehicle for a particular need. Well, I’m just testing this truck, but I’m convinced that when I need a big truck, like this Ram, it would have to be for use in a large area environment. That became vividly clear when I had to visit UCLA for a lecture. There are few places where this size truck is easily maneuvered – one of those places is “Home, home on the range, where the deer and the buffalo roam”. One of those places where it is not at home is clearly the UCLA campus and parking facilities. First, I was able to find a parking area underground and carefully entered the structure checking to see if it cleared the entry way… Just barely. Second, I was lucky to find two empty spaces next to each other, a feat, in itself. It was necessary to use both spaces to house this behemoth.

On the other hand, if you need to move a house or whatever, by all means, this is the truck you’ll want. Running to the store for milk, not so much.

General Information:

The 1500 & 2500 are made in Saltillo, Mexico, all others are made in Warren, Michigan; Classification is Heavy Duty Vehicles; Vehicles from RAM: ProMaster Cab Chassis, Promaster Cargo van, Promaster City, Promaster Cutaway and Promaster Window Van; RAM 1500, 2500, 3500 Chassis Cab, 3500 pickup and 4500 Chassis Cab.

Handling & Performance:

Handling is not a problem on the highway. I’ve tested a 40’ Motorhome and large vehicles handle very well on the open road.

This Ram is super-fast and on the Crest Test over the Angeles National Forest road North of Los Angeles, it proved to be surprisingly agile.

Styling:

I really like the sculpted rear fenders but overall it is the look of ‘tough’ and ‘rugged’ that sets it apart from the rest.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

Special vehicles usually cost more. In this case, it is also loaded with great features so that explains the high cost of this test vehicle.

Conveniences and comfort:

Loaded and super comfortable driving.

Consumer Recommendations:

Some would say I’m biased because I’ve owned an earlier version of this truck and now someone gave me a 2011 Ford F350 so I think I can say I have first-hand experience with both brands to make an informed decision on which is best. Ram has my endorsement. Some may remember I had a 2007 Ford F350, I wrote about, before I got this 2011. I had to spend $5,000 on the 2007 to fix the 6.0-liter design defect on the EGR Cooler. The aftermarket Bullet Proof fix worked but Ford should have paid for poor design. I wasn’t a happy camper.

So, you ask, why did I get another F350? Only one reason – it was a Gift. Wanna buy one? Make me an offer.

Recognized Competition:

Ram 3500 Mega Cab $65,000, Chevrolet Silverado 3500 $59,000, GMC Sierra 3500 $69,000, Ford F350 Super Duty $65,000.

Good News:

A great workhorse. And speaking of horses, you can carry tons of hay. But it is also elegant, comfy and good on long drives.

Bad News:

Pricey.

Standard Equipment:

6.7 liter Inline 6 Cummins turbo diesel engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, front, side and side curtain airbags, park sense and rear park assist system, rear back up camera, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes, stability control, anti-spin differential rear axle, trailer brake control, remote keyless entry, sentry key theft deterrent system, cruise control, power chrome trailer tow mirrors with power fold away, power windows, remote start system, dual zone climate control, Uconnect with 8.4 Nav.

Options: Limited Package $3,700: Adjustable cargo tie down hooks, bed cargo divider / extender, 115 volt aux power outlet, 20” aluminum wheels, auto high beam, heated second row seats, heated steering wheel, Keyless enter, chrome body side molding, leather bucket seats, power 10-way driver seat with memory and 6-way passenger seat, rain sensitive wipers, cargo management system, 60/40 split folding seat, steering wheel mounted audio controls, ventilated front seats, wheel to wheel side steps, wood / leather wrapped steering wheel.

Other options totaling $17,775: Transfer case skid plate, 5th Wheel/ gooseneck towing prep group, tri-fold tonneau cover, upgraded transmission and Cummins turbo diesel engine with diesel exhaust brake, Ram Active Air, rear window defroster, power sunroof, cargo view camera, CD player, rear air suspension, dual rear wheels, Chrome tubular side steps and clearance lamps.

Gas Stats:

$3.75/ Gal avg. Diesel December 8, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Heavy Duty Vehicle designation means that no numbers are required to be reported. Research shows the average to be about13 mpg.

Pricing:
MSRP $81,900.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2017 – An Automotive Love Affair

2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Ltd.

2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Ltd.

An Automotive Love Affair

By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Ltd. I support Hybrid technology in today’s world. But I cannot buy the hype about “All-electric” battery powered cars. I must remind you of a bit of history. In 1903 all electric cars were available and they provided a range of 100 miles. That technology has made very modest improvement in a staggering 120 years. That tells me Tesla and others are on the wrong track with All Electric propulsion.

Consider that when you make short trips or around town All electric works fine, but not if you must go over 25 miles, remembering you must go back home another 25 miles. I have been stranded commuting 50 miles, charging all day and not being able to get back home. You see, home was uphill and that draws a huge amount of current.

The hype Tesla makes has been bought by many. Recall in late October 2016, Elon Musk made the bold prediction that his fleet of Tesla vehicles would pick someone up from their residence in Los Angeles, and drop them off in New York without the need for a single charge, and that would be done by the end of 2017. Many were skeptical about his claim, but Musk was confident since his Tesla vehicle was planned to be outfitted with powerful sensors, an updated computer system, GPS, and inertial measurement unit to aid in object detection. All Model S, X, and 3 sedans were predicted to include this updated technology. However, the CEO has walked back this prediction. In early August 2017, Musk lowered expectations by delaying the cross-country road trip.

Hybrids work today but all electric is doubtful to take over any time soon. On the other hand, you may recall my review of Fuel Cell hydrogen cars. It is still exciting and has a chance of making electric powered cars practical. If you attended the LA Auto Show this year you had a chance to see the technology up close. Be wise in how you spend your hard-earned money. Hybrid will be solid for the next 20 years. Then? beam me up Scotty.

General Information:

It is assembled in Asan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 1%, Korea 89% ; Engine and transmission – Korea; Classification is Midsize Cars. 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:

I did not use a plug-in cable but the charge maintained at ¼ capacity in normal driving conditions for the entire week – because I had a gas engine. I experienced 300 miles travel using only ½ tank of gas. Had I plugged in at night to charge the batteries that performance would have been far better. Impressive. This technology has my vote.

Styling:

Very nice, clean neat lines.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Competitive in class.

Conveniences and comfort:

Excellent standard features as priced.

Consumer Recommendations:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Country/Origin Assembled
Sonata Hyb 39,000 39 5 Korea Korea
Fusion Hyb 40,000 42 5 USA Mexico
Volt Hybrid 38,000 42 5 USA USA
MKZ Hybrid 41,000 40 5 USA USA
Accord Hybr 37,000 48 5 Japan USA

If you’re happy with 40 MPG this is a great option. As noted above, I didn’t plug in, but if I owned this and it were parked in my garage regularly I would have a cable conveniently placed to plug it in when I returned home.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid $39,000, Ford Fusion Hybrid $40,000, Chevrolet Volt Hybrid $38,000, Honda Accord Hybrid $37,000, Lincoln MKZ $41,000.

Good News:

Affordable higher tech car with very good fuel economy.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder hybrid 202 HP combined engine, 6-speed auto transmission, 120 volt charge cable, electric motor, lithium-ion polymer battery system, 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, forward collision warning and lane departure warning, rearview camera and rear parking sensors, 17” alloy wheels, keyless entry with push button start, Xenon headlight with auto high beam assist, leather seating with heated and vented front seats, power front seats with memory system, leather wrapped steering wheel with Cruise and audio and Bluetooth controls, 4.2” color LCD trip computer display, Smart cruise with stop/start capability, electric parking brake, 8” color touchscreen display with Navigation system, Infinity speakers with amplifier, Sirius XM travel link, Bluetooth hands free phone system.

Gas Stats:

$3.15-Gal avg. December 3, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

City and Highway Combined 39 MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $38,600.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2017 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 T SE

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 T SE

An Automotive Love Affair

By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 T SE. What is hard to believe is that 2018 came quickly in the blink of an eye. I was just getting used to 2017 and haven’t had time to get through reviews of that year and here we go again. The good news is for the consumer who can find deals on new 2017’s to make room for the 2018 models.

Christmas is just around the corner and a perfect time to kick off the new year by adding a VW to your driveway. The Tiguan is simply a cool car – perfect size for today’s usual needs, for most folks. It has good utility / Cargo area and alternatively a 4-door 5-seater for moving people. To my son – Sorry, it isn’t big enough for your 5 kids. Who does that any more anyway?

Enter Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes Benz GLS-Class, Toyota Land Cruiser, Infiniti QX80, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LX, Cadillac Escalade and Dodge Durango. These range in cost around $70 to 130,000. . . so much for “Cheaper by the Dozen”.

General Information:

It is assembled in – Puebla, Mexico; Parts – US/Canadian 11%, Mexico 43%; Germany 16%, Engine – Mexico, Transmission – Japan; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Volkswagen: Atlas, Beetle, CC, e-Golf, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf Gti, Golf R, Golf Sportswagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan & Touareg.

Handling & Performance:

An absolute delight to drive.

Styling:

Classic VW styling of course.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

Some would say these competitors are colluding on the pricing. Of course, that would be illegal, under Antitrust Laws of the land. More likely, in my experience, CAD (Computer Aided Design) systems are either exactly or so close to the same, you can expect car makers will come up with the same costs.

Conveniences and comfort:

This has to-be one of the more impressive small SUV’s you will drive. It is noticeably very comfy and overall a very nice car to drive.

Consumer Recommendations:

I absolutely can see myself owning this car. I enjoyed the week’s travels which means being in the seat for over 100 miles a day. If you are an out-of-doors kind of guy or gal, this is a great option for the active life. Be sure to take it for a spin and you’ll see what I mean.

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Country/Origin Assembled
VW Tiguan 31 23 5 Germany Mexico
Infiniti QX30 31 27 5 Japan UK
Chev Equinx 31 32 5 USA Canada
GMC Terrain 31 26 5 USA Canada
Subaru Forstr 30 25 5 Japan Japan

Recognized Competition:

Volkswagen Tiguan $31,000, Infiniti $31,000, Chevrolet Equinox $31,000, GMC Terrain $31,000, Subaru Forester $30,000.

Good News:

Great application, good fuel economy, powerful Turbo acceleration, competitively well priced.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter turbo 4-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, all-wheel-drive with 4-wheel independent suspension, front, side and side curtain airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, engine brake assist, anti-slip regulation, electronic brake force distribution, stability control, intelligent crash response system, LATCH system, tire pressure monitoring, 17” alloy wheels, auto halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated power mirrors, intermittent wipers with heated washer nozzles, dual zone climate control, leather wrapped multi-function steering wheel, tilt / telescopic steering column, 10-way power heated driver seat, 6-way manual passenger seat, 2nd row 40/20/40 split folding seats, leatherette seating, rear view camera, forward collision warning & autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring front assist, blind spot monitor and rear traffic alert, keyless access with push button start, composition media 8” touch screen, multi band radio & CD player, dual USB inputs, Aux-in, voice control & 8-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity for compatible devices, Sirius XM Satellite radio, cruise control, Electric parking brake.

Gas Stats:

$3.15/ Gal avg. November 25, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

21 City and 27 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $30,230

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2017 – An Automotive Love Affair

2017 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0T Quattro S tronic

2017 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0T Quattro S tronic

An Automotive Love Affair

By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2017 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0T Quattro S tronic. Merry Christmas – you gotta wonder how many lucky folks will find an Audi under their tree. Suppose your kids asked you what car you thought they should buy – what would you suggest?

Likely most every parent would tell them to do what is best for them. Also, most people, not only youth, lean toward Flashy or high-performance cars…

Well, there is no question that German and Italian high-end Luxury cars are engineering marvels. They are fabulously fun (thrilling) to drive but practically speaking they are designed and built for the very well healed – financially.

If your budget resembles young college students or young families and even yours or mine you may want to tread lightly and cautiously when considering whether this kind of Luxury car will be your choice. I was thrilled when my kids opted for Hyundai, Kia, Chevy and Chrysler. Just say’n it is best to spend wisely and keep your hard-earned money in your bank account for that inevitable rainy day.

General Information:

It is assembled in Gyor, Hungary; Parts – US/Canadian 1%, Hungary 37%, Germany 57%; Engine – Hungary and transmission – Germany; Classification is Subcompact. Cars from Audi: A3 Cabriolet, A3 Sedan, A3 Sportback e-tron, A4, A5 Cabriolet, A5 Coupe, A5 Sportback, A6, A7, A8, Allroad, Q3, Q5, Q7, R8, RS 3, RS 5, RS 5 Cabriolet, RS 7, S3, S4, S5, S5 Cabriolet, S5 Coupe, S5 Sportback, S6, S7, S8, SQ5, TT Coupe, TT Roadster, TT RS and TTS Coupe.

Handling & Performance:

Unquestionably exceptional.

Styling:

Unmistakable Audi.

Fit and Finish:

Among the best.

Cost:

Yes, Audi, like most German luxury cars are far more expensive to buy and operate than other choices, but it is also true they are exceptionally fabulous cars to drive. But your budget is what determines at the end of the day.

It is not a bad thing that these cars are pricey. Just be aware of this fact. As an owner of an automotive repair business for many years I can say this with confidence. It’s simply a fact you need to consider. Ferrari and Lamborghini are not for everyone and that is common sense and a place where you enter at your own risk. High end Japanese and German and Italian cars are simply expensive. Exceptional engineering comes at a high price. Oh, by the way, we did drive Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche cars, but it helps when you own a repair facility.

Conveniences and comfort:

A good complement of standard features. However, you must pop for about $9,000 if you want all the high-tech features becoming more commonplace in today’s competitive world. . . many of which are standard on many, even lesser luxury classed auto products. Things like ‘lane assist, cross traffic, side assist, adaptive cruise control, Navigation, etc., you’ll pay extra for here.

Consumer Recommendations:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Country/Origin Assembled
Audi A3 35 27 5 Germany Germany
Volvo S60 34 29 5 Sweden Sweden
MBZ CLA 35 27 5 Germany Germany
Cad ATS 36 25 5 USA USA
BMW 3 Ser 34 28 5 Germany Germany
Jag XE 31 34 5 United Kingdm United Kingdm
Acura ILX 30 29 5 Japan USA

Recognized Competition:

Audi A3 $35,000, Volvo S60 $34,000, MBZ CLA $35,000, Cad ATS $36,000, BMW 3 Ser $34,000, Jag XE$31,000, Acura ILX $30,000.

Good News:

Excellent engineering for exceptional handling and performance.

Bad News:

German luxury car high cost of purchase and maintenance.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter Turbo 220 hp 4 cylinder engine, 6-speed auto transmission, all-wheel-drive (Quattro), 17” wheels, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes, stability control, speed sensitive power steering, keyless push button start/stop system, tire pressure monitor, Audi concert radio sound system, xenon headlights, dual zone climate control, information system , leather seating, sunroof, heated power mirrors, Bluetooth prepared, rain and light sensors, rearview camera, multifunction steering wheel, Aux-in with USB charge, 8-way power driver seat, front, knee, thorax side and side curtain airbags, LATCH children system with safety locks, anti-theft alarm system.

Options:

Prestige package adds about $9,000 for a total of $44,000 for this test vehicle.

Gas Stats:

$3.05/ Gal avg. November 18, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

24 City and 31 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $44,475 – equipped with options.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2017 – An Automotive Love Affair

Kia launches all-news 2018 Stinger sedan

All-new Kia Stinger was launched this week. It was developed by a “dream team” of automotive designers and engineers. Inside, the inspiration comes from aviation with strong connectivity usefulness.
Photo by Kia.

By Vince Bodiford

2017 Nissan Rogue SL Hybrid AWD

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2017 Nissan Rogue SL Hybrid AWD. It is, for me, a very strong contender in class because Nissan has been a favorite of mine for many years. The only bias I’m inclined to is to buy American. I like the Denali, but the Rogue is a Hybrid and the fuel economy gives it a decided edge. It also has a fantastic array of standard features for the money.

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