It’s been a little while since I’ve taken a hybrid out for a test, so I thought I’d try out the 2015 Ford Fusion Titanium Hybrid while it’s still new and not ready for a re-design in the very near future.
Ever since I laid eyes on the Optima, I’ve loved its style and couldn’t wait to drive it. Well time flies and it took longer than expected to finally get behind the wheel. Half-way through its model cycle, the Optima gets a refresh for the 2015 model year (its subtle, but better looking inside and out), so it was important to grab the keys to a 2014 before the change, in order to compare them next year.
~ 2011 Honda CR-Z hybrid In 2006 I had the opportunity to Road Test my first two hybrid vehicles – the Ford Escape and the Toyota Camry. I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than good gas mileage and a very quiet engine. That was a long time ago and hybrids have come a long way since then with numerous manufacturers throwing their hat into the fuel-savings ring. Each time I get the opportunity to drive a hybrid, my main goal is to learn if they actually sipped fuel as promised, or whether all the hype is just another game of smoke and mirrors that tree huggers have become so adept at feeding the general public by way of the media. I always get numerous questions come my way from friends, family and complete strangers. Most are somewhat confused about what exactly a hybrid is, and that got me to thinking – how many other people are confused about them? So, with my readers in mind, here is a brief explanation and summary of my experience …
It’s been said that it costs the same amount of money to create and build an ugly car as it does to produce a beautiful one and certainly Hyundai designers have taken it to heart (unfortunately somebody forgot to memo Citroen). In a world of bland econoboxes that can barely register a pulse, let alone raise it to excitement levels, Hyundai are doing their bit to clean up the automotive landscape. Probably the hottest car company around right now is Hyundai, with last year’s launch of the amazing Genesis Coupe (my favourite sports car of 2010) and the Genesis sedan, then along came the Sonata and Tucson, followed by the 2012 Equus & Elantra … and there’s the soon to be released Azera – can they do no wrong?
If you’ve been reading any of my reviews over the past few months, you might remember that my wife and I are in the middle of a large conundrum: we need a new car to replace her Mazda5, but we have no idea what we want to get. Not only is the type of vehicle the problem (car, coupe, CUV/SUV), but so is our budget! We have no idea what we want or how much we want to spend! In the recent past we’ve gone through the Ford Fusion, Genesis Coupe, Ford Flex and Edge, Honda Crosstour, Ford F-150, Toyota Venza, Prius and RAV4. The Kia Soul is very high on my wife’s list (we had it last year, but another one coming up next week), just to mention a few.
It’s been a number of years since I last drove a Suzuki vehicle – too long in fact. I’ve always been a fan of Suzuki vehicles because they are always well built and well equipped – and they typically cost a lot less than other Japanese vehicles. Many moons ago (1987) when I was a driving instructor I leased one, and my students absolutely loved it.
It’s been a number of years since I last drove a Mazda6 – well when I say the 6, I really mean the awesome MazdaSpeed6. For the 2010 model year Mazda re-designed the 6, making it bigger in every dimension and I have to say it’s better looking too. Unfortunately, after spending a week with the Mazda6, it left this writer indifferent. The mid-sized sedan segment of the automotive landscape is the toughest area to do battle, so a car has to not only look good, but it has to excel in order to get noticed. I was really looking forward to driving the Mazda6 GT, but perhaps because it was in non-descript Silver, I never really felt myself looking forward to driving it or excited about having it sitting in the driveway.
The all-new Chrysler Sebring was launched last year and is one of many new vehicles coming from Chrysler over the next few of years. To say it was long over-due for a make-over would be an understatement. I drove the 2006 model in California back in April of 2006 and came away impressed with a vehicle that was well past its sell-by date even then. Considering it hadn’t changed much over its relatively long life-cycle – long in terms of the Japanese and Korean brands, but just a newbie in the Ford/GM design cycle – it held up well, but was definitely showing its age. Back in June of 2006, Chrysler announced the arrival of the all-new Sebring for the spring of 2007. Surprisingly, the public response of the news on PaddockTalk was far greater than we had imagined and the hits on the site were quite outstanding. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one looking forward to this vehicle’s facelift.
The Mitsubishi Galant was re-designed for the 2007 model year and since I liked the 2006 model so much, I thought I’d take another look at this new car. In the summer of 2006 I drove the top-of-the-line GTS model. For 2007 and beyond, the top-end Ralliart name returns to the Galant fold. Much like the GTS – the Ralliart comes only one way – fully loaded with no options, including satellite navigation. That’s one thing that I really like about Mitsubishi – the model ranges are very simple and the prices reasonable for the many extras that are included within the various models.
The Hyundai Sonata is a serious competitor to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Like the Camry, Accord and Ford Fusion, the Sonata is built in the U.S.A. – Hyundai is serious about building cars for the North American market and eager to meet our unique likes and dislikes as compared to the rest of the world. In 2006 AJAC (Automotive Journalists Association of Canada) awarded the Sonata the “Best New Family Car Under $35,000.” Numerous awards from MotorWeek, Consumers Digest and Popular Mechanics followed soon thereafter.