2017 Kia Sportage SX AWD (Review)

The Kia Sportage is a stylish compact crossover vehicle that offers a lot more than the average SUV. It has a luxurious flair with a distinctive exterior and excellent driving dynamics. It is fun to drive, stylish, spacious, and affordable with upscale interior details, high-tech features, and excellent fuel economy.

For 2017, the Sportage has been redesigned with a bold new look, a variety of interior cabin upgrades, a new exterior inspired by a modern jet fighter design, and features a new engine that yields better fuel economy, making the new and improved Sportage an excellent choice and a great alternative to its competitors.

The new look includes stylish suspended headlights, LED foglight clusters, and is 1.6 inches longer than earlier models allowing for more head/legroom, and more space for easier entering and exiting the rear cabin. Cargo space has also been increased to almost 31 cubic ft.

Interior features of the 2017 Sportage are very nice with better, high quality materials and technology, comfortable seats, wireless phone charging, upscale trim elements, and more insulation to subdue road noise. The panoramic sunroof is broader and there is better visibility due to thinner supporting pillars.

The Sportage is available in three trims: LX, EX, and SX and comes equipped with a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower, 177 lb. feet of torque, and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is good for the front-wheel-drive (FWD) model and yields an estimated 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, whereas the all-wheel-drive (optional) yields an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. A turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is available and delivers 241 horsepower and 260 lb. feet of torque.

The base LX trim comes fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels, 5 inch touchscreen display, cruise control, automatic transmission, streaming audio, Bluetooth, reclining rear seats, power windows/door locks, a tilt-telescoping steering column, rear privacy glass, USB/iPod interface, an AM/FM/CD stereo with 6 speakers, and air conditioning.

The Sportage EX trim adds additional features, such as- rear spoiler, automatic headlights, leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, a cooling glove box, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated side mirrors, a 7-inch touchscreen, rear backup sensors, one-touch driver’s window, fog lights, keyless entry, sun-visor illumination, Infinity audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, trip computer, heated front seats, a rear backup camera, UVO infotainment system, a power driver’s seat with manual lumbar support, WiFi hotspot connectivity, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The top-of-the-line SX trim comes equipped with a more powerful turbocharged engine that produces 260 horsepower and 269 lb. ft. of torque, HID headlights, push-button start with Smart Key, power-folding exterior mirrors, LED daytime running lights and rear taillights, better 19-inch alloy wheels, and voice-command navigation with a larger 8-inch color touchscreen.  An automatic opening liftgate, heated front seats, and a premium eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system are optional.

Additional features can be added to each trim level with certain packages. The Popular Package can be added to the base LX trim and adds a trip computer, rear spoiler, roof rails, a rear backup camera, UVO system, and rear backup sensors. The EX Premium Package adds leather seating, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, ventilated front seats, power-folding outside mirrors, and keyless entry with push-button start. The SX Luxury package adds ventilated front seats, a garage door opener, a panoramic sunroof, and leather interior.

The SX trim’s turbocharged engine is what makes it an ideal choice in my opinion, because it delivers an impressive amount of power on the road that is similar to higher priced luxury crossovers, but at a more affordable price.

Standard safety features for the Sportage include- standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, 6 airbags (front, front-side, full-length side curtain), and active front head restraints.

On the road, the Sportage delivers a smooth ride, handles extremely well on various terrains, and feels nimble, even when travelling in heavy traffic and on busy highways. The interior is very quiet and spacious with ample head/legroom for taller passengers in both the front and rear cabin seating areas. The seats are supportive, comfortable, and provide enough cushioning for longer trips on the road.

Due to its firmer suspension and responsive steering, the Sportage is very engaging and with new interior features, smoother chassis, and a turbocharged engine on the SX model, it is even a more fun driving experience.

If you have been looking for a crossover vehicle that is stylish, spacious, inexpensive, fun to drive, offers a great value, and is versatile with solid on the road performance that is on par with many of its higher priced competitors, then I highly recommend taking a look at the new 2017 Kia Sportage.

To find out more information about the Kia Sportage, please visit- www.kia.com

2015 Hyundai Azera Sedan (Review)

The Hyundai Azera is a premium four door full-size sedan that can seat five people and offers similar features, power, quietness, style elements, refinement, and features of competitors, such as the Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, and Kia Cadenza. The sedan is bigger and more luxurious than an average midsize sedan.

The front-wheel-drive Azera is powered by a direct-injection 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 293 of horsepower and 255 lb. ft. of torque.  The Azera is available two trims- base and Limited. The 6-speed automatic transmission (which is standard) is matched with a Shiftronic manual shift feature and the base trim yields an estimated 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, while the Azera Unlimited delivers 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Standard features for the base trim include- automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lights, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition and entry, 8-way power front seats with driver lumbar adjustment, seat-bottom extension and memory settings, heated and ventilated front seats, a chilled glovebox, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and 60/40-split folding heated rear seats. Technology features include- an 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, navigation, Hyundai’s Blue Link emergency communications, HD radio, a 14-speaker Infinity sound system with satellite radio, a CD player, USB port, and a rearview camera.

The Limited trim adds LED fog lights, xenon headlights with automatic high-beam control, rear parking sensors, lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, 19-inch alloy wheels, ambient interior lighting, a power rear sunshade and manual side-window sunshades, and a panoramic sunroof.

Standard safety features for the Azera include- antilock disc brakes, full-length side curtain airbags, traction and stability control, front and rear seat side airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active front head restraints, a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts, and a rearview camera. The Azera Limited adds rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning, and frontal-collision warning systems.

The interior of the Azera feels and looks luxurious with comfortable leather seats that are plush and supportive. The dashboard has an appealing and upscale appearance with stylish and easy to operate buttons and knobs, while the large 8-inch touchscreen is easy to use with excellent visuals. The instrument cluster emits soft white and blue light that is pleasant on the eyes. Cargo space is ample measuring about 16.3 cubic feet, which is big enough to accommodate large bags, suitcases, and boxes.

On the road, the Azera is a strong performer with almost 300 horsepower and is enjoyable to drive on a variety of terrains. It feels confident and steady when making sharp turns and on winding roads, consistently delivering a pleasant driving experience. One thing that stands out is the quietness of the cabin and the vehicle feels impeccably smooth even at faster speeds. The sedan is not sporty, but is better suited for comfort, longer excursions, and basic transport.

Safety features include- electronic stability control with traction control, rear-impact reducing front seats, antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, a tire pressure monitoring system, front, side, and curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag, and a rearview camera.

In summary, the 2015 Hyundai Azera is a sure winner. The full size sedan is stylish, spacious, comfortable, and quiet with smooth on the road performance that is on par with other vehicles in its class and feels like a higher priced luxury premium sedan. The Azera has a starting MSRP of $34,000 and with all that it offers, it is well worth the price.

To find out more about the 2015 Hyundai Azera, please visit- www.hyundai.com

The 2015 Toyota Corolla 4-Door Sedan (Review)

The 2015 Toyota Corolla is a 5-passenger compact sedan that from first glance may not appear very exciting, however for almost two decades, it has been one of the bestselling compact vehicles in the U.S. and has gained a reputation for being reliable, dependable, and affordable. With the Corolla, reliability is one of its most popular strength and feature, but after undergoing a redesign in the previous model year, the Corolla is now better than ever with a more sleek and refined exterior, greater technology features, and improved interior elements throughout the front and rear cabin, including a fold-down rear center armrest which is available on the upper trim levels. Also, the new exterior is bolder with a large trapezoidal lower grille and an attractive taut upper grille.

The Corolla is available in four trims- L, LE Eco, and S.  All models are equipped with a 1.8 liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 132 horsepower and 128 ft-lb of torque. A Plus and Premium package are available on LE and S models, an Eco package is available on the LE trim, and all of the trims, except for the L trim are accessible in both Plus and Premium sub-trims.

Standard features on the base L model include 15-inch steel wheels, LED headlights, air-conditioning, running lights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with auxiliary controls, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB/iPod interface, an auxiliary audio jack, and a 4-speaker sound system with a CD player.

The LE adds 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, cruise control, keyless entry, metallic cabin accents, automatic climate control, back-up camera, voice controls a 6-speaker sound system with a 6-inch touchscreen display, and Bluetooth audio connectivity.

The LE Plus Package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, piano black interior accents and eligibility for both an optional sunroof and the Driver Convenience package, which includes the sunroof and adds keyless entry and ignition, a roof-mounted antenna, Entune App Suite, satellite radio, HD radio, and a navigation system.  Available and optional features include heated front seats, premium vinyl upholstery, and a power driver seat.

The LE Eco Trim includes all standard features but adds 15-inch steel wheels, a rear spoiler, transmission tuning, low-rolling-resistance tires, an efficiency-maximizing engine, and better aerodynamics. The LE Eco Plus adds 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome window trim, fog lights, and an Eco driving mode.

The sporty S trim offers all of the features that the LE trim has, but adds special wheel covers, a chrome grille frame, color-keyed mirrors, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, a chrome exhaust tip, sport instrumentation, a rear spoiler, sport front seats, trip computer, and a sport driving mode.

Standard safety features include- stability and traction control, antilock brakes, a driver knee airbag, front side airbags, a passenger seat cushion airbag, and side curtain airbags. All trims except the base L include a rearview camera.

After undergoing a complete overhaul in 2014, the exterior and interior is more refined, with a better style, an easy to use touch screen display, and a stylish dashboard.  In the upper trim levels, the 6.1-inch touch screen and bolstered seats give the sedan a more upscale appearance.  There is ample room to accommodate taller passengers in the front and rear cabin and the seats feel comfortable and supportive. Trunk space measures approximately 13 cu. feet, which is average for its class.

On the road, the Corolla offers a quiet, comfortable ride- similar to the Camry, handles very well on the highway, and road noise is very minimal. The 4-speed automatic yields an estimated 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway and the LE Eco yields an impressive 30 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway.

Even though the Corolla may not appear particularly exciting upon first glance, the vehicle has a lot to offer and is extremely dependable, fuel efficient, versatile, and with an MSRP of only $18,915 for the LE Eco, it represents an excellent value for anyone looking for a sedan that is affordable, stylish, and reliable.

To find out more about the 2015 Toyota Corolla, please visit- www.Toyota.com

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet 2-Door Convertible Review

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet Blue Side Picture

Audi once again has proven that good things really do come in small packages and one of the best examples of this is the stylish and completely redesigned Audi A3 Cabriolet 2-Door Convertible. I have always loved convertibles, but the superb design and top of the line performance of the A3 Cabriolet is truly exceptional.

The popularity and demand for compact luxury vehicles has grown exponentially in recent years among consumers seeking something uniquely different from the sea of large sedans and SUV’s that are seen every day. The new Audi A3 Cabriolet is like a breath of fresh air and a beautiful convertible with excellent road performance, a spacious front cabin, great fuel economy, comfortable interior, a sleek exterior featuring attractive sloping lines and aluminum-finished detailing throughout, and a starting MSRP of $35,600, which makes the vehicle one of the most affordable luxury convertibles available today.

Although the A3 Cabriolet is small, it can seat up to four passengers and offers enough head/legroom for taller passengers; however, due to its sporty design, space is limited in the rear cabin. In fact, in my opinion, the rear is better suited for carrying some extra shopping bags, luggage, or small boxes. Cargo space measures 10.1 cu. ft., which accommodates a variety of small to mid-sized items.  The electric powered fabric soft top retracts down quickly and occupies less trunk space, which is a precious feature in a small car.

The 2015 Audi A3 is available as a 4-door sedan or a 2-door convertible and comes fitted with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission with either a turbocharged 4-cylinder 1.8 TFSI, 2.0 TFSI, or a 2.0 TDI (diesel) engine. The A3 Cabriolet equipped with a 1.8 TFSI engine and front wheel drive delivers 170 horsepower and 200 lb. ft. of torque, goes from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, and yields an estimated 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The 2.0 TFSI engine with all wheel drive delivers 220 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque, goes from 0 to 60 mph in a less than 5.9 seconds, and yields an estimated 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.  There is only one main trim level- Premium, which can be improved with the optional Premium Plus and Prestige packages.  The Premium Plus includes all standard features and adds dual-zone climate control, keyless ignition/entry, and an 8-way power passenger seat with 4-way power lumbar. The Premium Plus package adds additional features, such as ambient interior lighting, power-folding side mirrors, interior/exterior auto-dimming mirrors. The Prestige adds a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen Audio System, Audi’s signature LED headlights, and an “S line” exterior appearance package. The Advance Technology package adds a front collision warning and braking system, adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system. A Sport package is available for the Premium and Prestige options, which adds steering wheel paddle shifters, front sport seats, Drive Select (adjustable vehicle settings), and additional safety features.

The interior of the A3 is impressive with comfortable and supportive front seats, ample standard instrumentation, advanced technological features, an intuitive MMI display and navigation system, easy to reach controls, stylish jet inspired air vents, and high quality materials throughout that are similar to the A4 and A5 models. Even though the 2015 A3 resembles some other Audi vehicles, the interior design and features have a simple layout that is not flashy, yet is still elegant, beautiful, and unique. A3 trims include an MMI display screen, but the size of the screen depends on whether it comes with navigation.

All 2015 Audi A3 vehicles come fitted with standard safety features, such as- front knee airbags, antilock brakes, front side airbags, stability and traction control, full-length side curtain airbags, rear side airbags(convertible), and Audi Pre-Sense, which is an automatic seatbelt tightening and window closing system that helps in case of a possible frontal collision. A Driver Assistance option can be added to the Premium Plus package, which adds a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitoring system, and an automated parking system, while the Advance Technology package adds additional safety features, which include-  an automatic braking system, lane-departure warning, frontal collision warning, and frontal collision mitigation.

On the road, the A3 Cabriolet feels just as luxurious as it looks with a quiet cabin, smooth performance, comfortable seats, sprightly on the road maneuverability, and a lot of torque for easy passing on highways. The vehicle has a nimble feel on city streets and drives around tight corners with ease with a firm and planted feel due in part to Audi’s innovative quattro all-wheel drive system, which improves performance and handling on almost any road surface and in all seasons of the year, delivering power to wheels with optimum grip.

Another great feature of the A3 is that it is very lightweight, yet still has a solid feel on the road and that is due to the special lightweight technology Audi utilizes as well as high quality materials and construction methods which reduce weight to maximize performance.

The 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet is small in size, but definitely not small in luxury, offering prestige, refinement, incredible style, and solid performance for an affordable price.

To find out more about the new 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet, please visit-www.audiusa.com

How We Fall In Love With Cars At An Early Age

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Although the legal age for driving differs between countries, one thing which they all have in common is that from an early age we all want to get behind the wheel of a car and drive it around. Indeed, many kids have a collection of toy cars at an early age, imbuing them with a desire to drive for real one day, and giving them an appreciation of which car they want it to be in.

What is it that grabs us about cars before we are old enough to understand anything about them? For many of us, it is the fact that they allow us to travel so fast from one place to another, and the freedom that they seem to give. Faraway places have a powerful hold over us as children, and anything that gets us to them whenever we want to go will seem like a dream. The same fascination applies to aeroplanes.

Additionally, we see cars in virtually every TV show we like as older children. Whether it is a cop show that features a kick-ass law enforcer or anything else with a charismatic central character, we will want to be that person and want to drive what they drive. Herbie, KITT and the General Lee are three examples, and most of us between the ages of thirty and fifty can remember having one or more of these cars as toys.

As we get older, the car loses some of its mystique. If they have not done before the first time we take them in to have the clutch repaired, cars will certainly start to pale in terms of excitement when we have to pay for repairs. Nonetheless, we will still love them. Heck, many of us even name our cars.