Posts Tagged ‘I4’

Does A Four Cylinder Belong In Today’s Premium Cars?

September 12th, 2011 No comments

     A while back we were staring down a schedule featuring two consecutive Audis powered by the company’s latest 2.0-liter four cylinder. There was a time not so long ago that seeing such a pint size engine in a anything from a premium manufacturer like Audi would have spelled certain sales doom and a hearty round of “what were they thinking!” reviews from the automotive press. Having spent considerable time with these engines in various Volkswagen and Audi products, including an A4 that we tested and approved a few years back, we were confident we’d continue to like what Audi was offering. It didn’t hurt that both the A4 and A5 were equipped with the standard 6-speed manual transmission, an increasingly rare treat for us three-pedal fans.  But the question remains, does a four cylinder belong in today’s premium cars? Read more…

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2011 Kia Optima

July 28th, 2011 No comments

2011 Kia Optima

Like the Sonata. Only Better.

     If you’ve been on the hunt for a new midsize family sedan you’ve probably already read our Hyundai Sonata review, but if you haven’t, allow us to sum up our thoughts on the Korean new kid. We loved everything but the artificial steering and messy handling, especially the unbeatable value and stellar fuel economy. So we had high hopes when the Sonata’s kissing cousin from Kia appeared on our schedule recently. The Optima shares almost everything mechanically with the well-received Sonata but wraps it all in completely distinct sheetmetal and tunes everything to suit Kia’s corporate Mazda-wannabe driving philosophy. We’re going to tip our hand a bit and tell you upfront that Kia has built a better Sonata and the competition has one more midsize contender to worry about. Read more…

2010 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain

May 25th, 2010 No comments

Bringing Value and Efficiency to Midsize Crossovers

     Five years ago we reviewed the first-gen Equinox and had mostly good things to report about Chevy’s first crossover. Sure we noted a few ergonomic foibles and suggested that something closer to 250hp would earn more praise than we were willing to lavish on the 185hp mill in all Equinoxs at the time. But the general consensus around here was the Equinox was a nicely sized people mover that looked good and topped out around $30k. That market has proved a popular place among automakers since almost every one of them now offers a vehicle that we could sum up the same way. And as they were introduced they all put the Bow Tie offering a little further behind the curve. But at the 2009 NAIAS GM decided it wanted to lead the crossover pack instead of follow and debuted the 2010 Equinox with the right hardware to get it done. A few months later GMC dropped in as a player in the segment with its mechanically identical Terrain. Sure, the numbers are impressive, but how do they drive? We spent time in several versions to find out. Read more…

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2009 Mazda6

March 3rd, 2010 No comments

Does The Sexy New Sheetmetal Still Hide The Soul of a Sports Car?

     In the interest of full-disclosure it should be noted that Senior Editor Muxlow’s daily driver is a first-gen Mazda6, and not just any old 6. His is an exceedingly rare 5-door with a manual transmission and it does a convincing impersonation of a sports sedan, even with its front-wheel drive handicap. Which is the main reason this publication, and many others, have raved about the smartly-sized 6. In our last review of Mazda’s mid-sizer we said, “the 6 drives and behaves like a responsively tuned sport sedan should.” But now there is an all-new 6 and it’s grown a bit to better match up with its mid-size competitors.  Has it become dull and soft like the Camry and Accord too? Fortunately, no. Read more…

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