CAR REVIEWS

Spacious 2017 Toyota Avalon is all about comfort Featured

Mar 20, 2017
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The 2017 Toyota Avalon offers lots of room and lots of comfort.

 

 

As vehicle trends change over the years and customers change their minds about what kind of cars and SUVs they want to take home, some things don’t seem to change much. One of those is the continued presence of large sedans for folks not following trends to go small.


Think back to the decades past and you’ll envision many large boxy sedans. And while the boxy look is now gone, many folks who want to stick to sedans still want to have some room to enjoy their ride, and for those people, longer vehicles like the Toyota Avalon still exist.

I recently drove a 2017 Avalon, and I’m back with a full report on how this big sedan stacks up.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Toyota Avalon
  • Price as tested: $37,539 (starts at $33,300)
  • Best feature: Comfy and large interior space, surprisingly strong engine
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Folks looking for a quality large sedan without making full leap to luxury level.
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Kia’s upscale Cadenza sedan reboots for 2017 Featured

Mar 02, 2017
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The Kia Cadenza gets a redesign for 2017.

The Cadenza seemingly came out of nowhere in 2014 -- It was Kia’s attempt to show itself as capable of producing a sedan that could compete in the entry-level luxury segment (what I like to call “luxury lite”). At the time, when I tested the original, I thought it was a bold splash, but needed some refinement and improvements to truly compete.

Here we are in 2017, and that refresh has arrived.

The Cadenza sits somewhere between a midsize sedan and a large sedan, but the new model moves it more toward the large side of that argument.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Kia Cadenza
  • Price as tested: Starts at $31,990 (tops out about $45K)
  • Best feature: Top-notch and classy interior design, spacious back seat
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Folks who want an upscale sedan without going the full luxury route
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Toyota's Corolla has hit the half-century mark, a rarity in the auto industry.

50 years is a rare birthday for a car make to reach … Only a select few have done it; but the Toyota Corolla has now joined that group.


Toyota has sold a ton of these things over the years (technically, it’s the best-selling car of all time with over 43 million sold), and it’s gone through many changes through the years, but the nameplate persists, and strongly too.

To put the model’s popularity in perspective: Once you get past the pickup sales, the Corolla only trails Toyota’s Camry and Honda’s Civic in overall U.S. sales … that’s impressive.

I recently drove a Corolla and I’m back to let you all know whether the car measures up to all the hype it’s been creating for the past five decades.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Toyota Corolla
  • Price as tested: $24.831 (starting price is $18.500)
  • Best feature: Reliability, spacious interior
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Small car buyers seeking an inexpensive option with high reliability and resale value
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The 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport coupe aims to shake up the luxury coupe market.

 

Some cars are just vessels -- to get you where you need to go. They place no emphasis on beauty.

Some are the total opposite, designed to not only get you moving, but also to stun you visually -- in a good way.

In this second category you can place the 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport, a sporty coupe that even car aficionados will have to take a moment to appreciate.

After some time in the Q60 Red Sport, I’m back with a full review on how it compares both visually and performance-wise.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport coupe
  • Price as tested: $62,355 (base Q60 model starts at $38,950)
  • Best feature: Beautiful design, powerful ride, plush interior
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Coupe buyers looking for one of the more attractive, powerful and luxurious options on the market
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The 2017 Audi A6 has an attractive design both inside and out.

I have high expectations of Audi vehicles.

From the time I first stepped into one years ago, they have impressed me highly, so any step down in new models will be noticed. As the saying goes, getting to the top is hard, but staying up there is harder once the standard is set.

I recently tested a 2017 Audi A6, the luxury automaker’s mid-size sedan entry, and I’m back with a full report on my experience.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Audi A6
  • Price as tested: $56,875 (starts at $47,600)
  • Best feature: Powerful, responsive engine, sharp Audi design; Safety scores
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Anyone who truly enjoys driving and is looking for a luxury sedan
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The Chevy Cruze gets a hatchback version in the United States for the 2017 model year.

Compact cars may be a smaller part of the sales pie than they used to be, but they’re not going away. Chevy knows this, and are doing what they can to keep the Cruze up-to-date in this extremely competitive segment.


One thing they were lacking was a hatchback option on the Cruze. While they long ago offered a hatch overseas on the Cruze, it’s just now coming to the U.S., having debuted with the 2017 model. I recently tested one out and I’m back with a full report.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback
  • Price as tested: $26,475 (starting price is $21,240 for hatchback; sedan starts around $17K)
  • Best feature: Smooth ride, strong tech, impressive storage in hatchback version
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Small car buyers who want to stay domestic and are into hatchbacks
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The Honda Civic remains a top seller despite a lack of flash

“Car guys” dislike vehicles like the Honda Civic for the most part, because they are pretty boring in the grand scheme of things, unless you go for the tricked-out versions.


But boring is safe, and boring is reliable, and boring is fuel-efficient. So boring is very attractive to the masses who don’t care about super-sporty motors and flashy colors and designs -- as evidenced by the countless grandmas and neighbors and cousins of yours who probably own a Civic.

I recently spent some time in 2017 Civic sedan, and I’m back with a report about which side of that argument I fall on.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Honda Civic
  • Price as tested: $18,640 (tops out at $26,500)
  • Best feature: Honda reliability, gas mileage
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Those looking to skip the flash and get a reliable, fuel-efficient small car
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The Toyota Camry hybrid is more fun to drive than a typical hybrid.

Toyota has long been a leader in the areas of hybrid vehicles and pushing fuel mileage to new heights. While the Prius is their most well-known offering in this arena, it’s worth noting that there are others to consider -- including the hybrid version of their top-selling Camry sedan, which isn’t quite the fuel mileage champ as a Prius is, but excels in other ways to make up for it.

GETS YOU MOVING

The Camry hybrid features a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine; plus an electric motor. This provides you with 200 horsepower. The vehicle is front-wheel drive and the transmission is a CVT.

That translates to a bit of a surprise -- a much more enjoyable ride than you’ll get in a Prius or many other hybrids. You don’t hit the gas and wonder, “When it this thing going to get moving?” or worry about holding up traffic. You actually can get around pretty well and not even realize it’s a hybrid most of the time. What's interesting is that this Camry hybrid actually performs better than the standard 4-cylinder engine on the non-hybrid Camry.

It comes at a bit of a fuel economy cost, you lose at least 10 mpg off the 50+ mpg Prius, but 40 mpg is a realistic goal here and that’s not too bad. Official numbers on the Camry hybrid are 40 city/37 highway/38 combined, but I was able to top that during my testing. Using the Eco and EV modes will help boost your fuel mileage, but limit the fun of the drive at the same time.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Toyota Camry hybrid
  • Price as tested: $29,605
  • Best feature: Fuel mileage, reliability, good acceleration for a hybrid
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Hybrid buyers who want more power than a Prius, and want to stay in the Toyota family
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