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.
Last year I drove the Ford Fusion SEL and was considerably impressed by it – so much so, that I recommended it to my brother-in-law when he was looking at buying a new vehicle. He loved it so much he bought one. I’ve driven a number of hybrids over the years, but never the Fusion. I liked the regular 4-cylinder version, so I grabbed the keys to the hybrid to see if it was any better. One thing it for sure, they are quite different.
~ 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?
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.
It’s been a number of years since I last drove a Fusion. For the 2010 model year, Ford have re-designed it from the ground up, so it was definitely time to put the new one through its paces. I liked the first version, but didn’t exactly love it. This new one is certainly a real looker and turned heads everywhere we went. Like a woman – looks can be deceiving… so how does it stack up when under close scrutiny? Keep reading to find out….
We Take the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid On A 2-Week Summer Holiday To Get The Answer A couple of years ago I drove a Toyota Camry Hybrid on an extended run of a whirl-wind trip from Niagara Falls to the Road America Racetrack in Wisconsin. We wanted to get there as fast as possible and return even quicker. To that end, we succeeded in averaging 6.7 L/100km during our hour upon hour of highway driving at or in excess of 130 km/h for the vast majority of the trip. To say I was impressed would be an understatement – not just with the fuel economy, but also with the car as a whole. Since that eventful trip, I’ve tested quite a number of hybrid vehicles, but no other hybrid impressed me like quite the Camry – in fact, most didn’t even warrant the extra expense of purchasing a hybrid over the traditional vehicle, because the fuel-saving were less than impressive.
The TSX is the entry-level car in Acura’s stable in the U.S (in Canada the CSX is the entry-level Acura). Based on the smaller European Honda Accord, the TSX promises to be sporty, as well as good value for money in the sub-luxury department. Considering the TSX is up against the likes of the BMW 3-series and the Audi A4, it’s competing in a very cut-throat part of the food chain. As is customary of Acura, the TSX is thousands of dollars cheaper than the car/vehicle it’s up against in the marketplace. Acura have a knack of pricing themselves just between two levels of near-luxury or luxury vehicles and the TSX is no different. Sometimes the Acura is a bargain, and sometimes it’s over-reaching. Which one is the TSX? I’ve been waiting a while to drive the TSX and it was worth the wait…sort of. One downside was that I waited so long the all-new 2009 TSX came out shortly after I test drove this one – oh well.
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.