2018 Chevrolet Volt Electric Hybrid Hatchback (Review)

As gas prices have continued to climb in recent years, more consumers are seeking fuel efficient vehicles that not only have a stylish exterior, comfortable interior, and technologically advanced features, but fuel efficiency that can be felt with fewer trips to the gas station. The new 2018 Chevrolet Volt embodies all of those characteristics and so much more. Chevrolet has introduced a hybrid sedan that saves gas, money, time, and provides one of the best hybrid driving experiences available today.

The Volt is a mid-size, plug-in electric hybrid vehicle that comes in two trim levels- LT and Premier, and has become one of the most popular hybrids in North America. It is powered by an electric motor that delivers 149 horsepower and 273 lb. ft. of torque. The electric motor receives power from a 18.4 kilowatt lithium-ion battery pack until the charge is 70% used up, at this point the vehicle’s 1.5 liter, 4-cylinder gas engine kicks in and powers the electric motor.

There are various driving modes, such as normal, sport, a mountain mode for rougher terrain conditions, and a hold mode, which turns of the all-electric propulsion mode until the best driving conditions are met, permitting the vehicle to achieve optimal efficiency.

Standard features for the LT trim include- keyless ignition/entry, heated mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, remote ignition, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, LED running lamps, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, cruise control, an auxiliary audio jack, automatic headlights, a height-adjustable driver seat, satellite radio, an iPod/USB interface, Bluetooth and phone connectivity, OnStar communication with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, 8-inch touch screen display, a 6-speaker audio system with CD player, and Chevrolet’s MyLink system, which offers Smartphone integration and voice controlled audio functions. For 2018, the leather-wrapped steering wheel is not a standard feature; instead it is available with certain packages.

The Premier Trim adds leather upholstery, heated rear outboard seats, a wireless charging pad for smartphones and other devices, a center armrest, heated front seats, a removable rear seat, better 17-inch wheels, an automated parking system, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

A Driver Confidence package is available for both the Premier and LT trims and offers rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

For the Premier trim, a Driver Confidence 2 package can be added to the Driver Confidence package, which offers adaptive headlights, forward collision warning with automatic low-speed emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control and an upgraded automatic emergency braking system. A navigation system is optional for the Premier trim.

Increased safety packages are also available for the Volt and include a rearview camera, forward collision and lane departure warning functions, front parking sensors, and rear parking sensor. A 7-speaker Bose Audio System, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a navigation system with digital music storage and voice controls are optional.

Unlike an all-electric vehicle, such as the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt is a hybrid, in which the vehicle operates in electric mode for about 38 miles and then the 1.5-liter, 4 cylinder gas engine switches on to generate electricity to help prolong the Volt’s mpg by an estimated 300 miles. Between the battery and an 8.9-gallon fuel tank, the Volt delivers an impressive 420-mile range, which makes it the perfect choice for long distance trips.

Compared to many hybrid competitors, the Volt definitely has a longer electric range. Many of the Volt’s plug-in competitors can only operate in electric mode for  about 10-20 miles before switching over to hybrid mode, whereas the Volt can achieve in electric mode more than 35 miles. This makes the Volt the best choice for commuters who typically drive shorter distances to school, work, or in the city, eliminating the need to visit a gas station for a very long time with the Volt’s Hybrid System yielding an astounding 101 in the city and 93 on the highway.

It is necessary to plug the car into either a 120 or 240 volt outlet to recharge the battery. I recommend using a 240 outlet, because it greatly reduces the charging time to only about 4.5 hours, whereas the 120 outlet takes about 10 hours to charge completely.

Unlike many other hybrids, the Volt has an attractive and sleek exterior that looks very much like the Chevy Cruze Hatchback. In fact, from certain angles, it is nearly impossible to tell them apart, aside from the Volt’s distinctive badge and rear/tail that sits higher to better repel air in the best way possible.

The interior of the Chevy Volt is stylish, modern, with a quiet cabin, comfortable seats, and high-end materials. The front cabin feels spacious and there is plenty of head/leg room for taller passengers. The Volt’s interior has a twin-cockpit design with elegant black and silver accents. I like the layout of the dashboard with the big 8.0-inch touch screen display and I noticed that the soft “touch” controls that were in the first generation of the Volt have been replaced with easier to use traditional buttons, which work much better. Cargo space is somewhat limited with no cover to hide items in the trunk, and the bottom of the front of the vehicle seems to scrape the ground when entering or exiting some driveways.

On the road the Chevy Volt provides a smooth, comfortable ride, navigating curves and tight corners extremely well, without any roll feel, and handles bumpy road conditions with ease. The Volt has a refined demeanor and feels composed even on rougher terrain. The hybrid engine is quiet and there is only a small amount of noise heard from the tires when driving over rougher surfaces.

Currently, for the 2018 Volt, a 7,500 federal tax credit is available and many states in the U.S. are offering generous incentives, which make it one of the most affordable hybrid vehicles available and with a starting MSRP of only $33,220, it is definitely worth taking a look at.

To find out more about the 2018 Chevrolet Volt, please visit- www.chevrolet.com


2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Diesel (Review)

The new Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Diesel is a fuel-efficient, stylish, power packed hatchback and embodies everything a compact car should be.  In fact, the Cruze is one of the most popular vehicles GM has ever introduced and that popularity has increased with the brand new hatchback diesel, which offers more cargo hauling flexibility than the sedan and a stout diesel-powered engine that yields an impressive 50 mpg combined.

The Cruze is a combination of style, economy, efficiency, and state of the art features that set it apart from other compact sedans on the market today, offering what the consumer needs, from safety features to modern styling. It has been meticulously designed, with the hatchback offering a large cargo area, more safety, 10 standard air bags, and more miles per gallon, providing one of the best mileages of any diesel vehicle in America. The Cruze makes the most out of every dollar put in the fuel tank, but without sacrificing performance and handling. To get such amazing results, you need to have a very impressive engine, and the Cruze absolutely does.

The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze comes as either a sedan or hatchback and is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 153 horsepower and 177 lb. ft. of torque.

The LT Hatchback Diesel, comes fitted with a turbocharged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 137 horsepower, 240 lb-ft of torque, and can be paired to either a 6-speed manual or a 9-speed automatic transmission. The engine has been specially designed to make the most out of diesel fuel by getting as many miles as possible out of each gallon. The LT Hatchback Diesel yields an estimated 30 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, which is better than its gas powered counterpart.

The sedan is available in four trim levels- L, LS, LT, and Premier, while the hatchback model comes in two trims- LT and Premier and the diesel engine is only available in one trim- LT Diesel.

The base L trim comes with standard features, such as- air-conditioning, a rearview camera, 6-speed manual transmission, 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, remote locking/unlocking, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 6-way manually adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, smart phone app integration, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, a 4-speaker sound system, USB port, 4G LTE connectivity with a Wi-Fi hotspot, MyLink infotainment system, and a 7-inch touchscreen.

Similarly equipped as the base model, the LS trim comes with all of the standard aforementioned features, but adds a front center armrest, carpeted floor mats, and can be equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission with a variety of options.  The LT trim adds heated mirrors, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted phone and audio controls, a 6-speaker sound system with satellite radio, better headlights with LED running lights, and a rear center armrest with cup holders.

The Cruze Premier trim comes fitted with all of the aforementioned features, but adds chrome exterior accents, 17-inch wheels, an upgraded rear suspension, illuminated vanity mirrors, and ambient interior lighting.

There are also a variety of packages available for the upper trims, such as the Convenience Package for the LT, which adds key-less ignition/entry, heated front seats, an 8-way power driver seat, and remote engine start for models equipped with an automatic transmission. A Leather Package adds a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable front passenger seat, and leather upholstery. A Driver Confidence Package can be added to the LT and Premier trims, which offers rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and a Driver Confidence II Package can be added solely to the Premier trim and offers forward collision warning, automatic high-beam headlight control, and lane departure warning and intervention.

An RS Appearance Package is available for the LT and Premier trims and adds fog lights, a sport body kit, rear spoiler, and 18-inch wheels for the Premier trim. A Sun and Sound Package adds ambient interior lighting, a sunroof, a color driver information center, a bigger 8-inch touchscreen display, and a 9-speaker Bose sound system.

The Driver Confidence, Sun and Sound package, offered only on the LT Diesel with the automatic transmission, combines features of both the Sun and Sound package with the Driver Confidence Package and an Enhanced Convenience Package is available for the Premier trim adding automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, a 110-volt power outlet, wireless device charging, and heated rear seats.

The exterior design of the Cruze gives the appearance of a more expensive car with its beveled hood,  taut curves, and sharp angles. Centered by the strong, attention-getting Chevrolet grille, its swept-back lamps guide the eye across its sculpted fenders, around the sides, and back again.

Most definitely, the Cruze leaves a lasting impression with its bold exterior design, but it is important to remember that those curves, lines, and angles do so much more than just please the eye and turn heads. They actually improve the aerodynamics of the Cruze, which optimizes efficiency and helps get the most out of every drop of fuel.

Interior features of the Cruze Hatchback Diesel are very nice with comfortable seats, upscale features, advanced technology, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and an attractive interface that is easy to understand and operate. Also, one of my favorite features is the 4G LTE internet connectivity and a Wi-Fi hotspot with a subscription. It is so helpful to have internet access on the go and it is a rare feature that is unavailable in many vehicles by other manufacturers.

On the road, the Cruze Hatchback Diesel is a strong performer and is designed for fuel efficiency without compromising performance and accelerates with authority. The 9-speed automatic transmission is smooth and quickly changes gears efficiently. The vehicle handles tight corners and curvy roadways with ease and provides a unique driving experience that just might surprise you. It definitely surprised me!

Diesel powered vehicles may not be the most popular choice today, but the new Chevy Cruze Hatchback is a solid car with a clean diesel engine and offers more of everything you need and ought to have, such as fuel efficiency, safety, features, advanced technology, and styling. It has a starting MSRP of $26,310 for the manual or $26,740 with the 9-speed automatic, but with all of its high end features, it is definitely well worth the price.

To find out more about the 2018 Chevy Cruze Hatchback Diesel, please visit- www.chevrolet.com

2016 Audi A7 3.0T Quattro Tiptronic (Review)


The A7 is definitely one of the most stylish and beautiful large 4-door sedans Audi has ever made, so it seems that there would be no need for improvement, but for 2016, the A7 has received some minor restyling and technical upgrades that have made the very popular luxury sedan even better. Upon first glance these enhancements may not be immediately noticed, but they truly do make the A7 more appealing, desirable, and better looking with a sharper trapezoidal grille, redesigned exhaust outlets, taillights, upgraded LED headlights, a revised front and rear fascia, a faster Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system, USB audio connectivity, and an additional 23 horsepower.

The 2016 Audi A7 is available in two trims- Premium Plus and Prestige comes fitted with either a supercharged 3.0-liter (3.0T) V6 or a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 (TDI) engine. The supercharged 3.0T gas engine produces 333 horsepower (previously 310 hp) and 325 lb. ft. of torque, while the turbocharged TDI diesel engine produces 240 horsepower and 428 lb. ft. of torque. Both trims come equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive (AWD), and quickly accelerates to 60 mph in less than 5.5 seconds, which is impressively fast for vehicles in this class.

Standard features for the Premium Plus trim include- leather upholstery, a blind-spot warning system, an 8-inch pop-up display screen, automatic adaptive LED headlights, four-zone automatic climate control, 19-inch wheels, a power-adjustable steering wheel with shift paddles, LED running lights and taillights, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, driver memory settings, an MMI infotainment system with console-mounted controls, auto-dimming power-folding heated mirrors, a Google Earth navigation system with voice controls, a sunroof, Bluetooth, Google search capability, smartphone-app integration, front and rear parking sensors, an adaptive rear spoiler and keyless entry and ignition, heated 8-way power seats (with 4-way driver lumbar adjustment), satellite radio, a 10-speaker audio system with CD player, USB audio connectivity, 4G LTE with mobile WiFi hotspot capability, a rearview camera, and Audi Drive Select which provides adjustable settings for the accelerator, steering, and transmission.

The Prestige trim comes equipped with all of the aforementioned features, but adds a 14-speaker Bose Sound System, a head-up display, LED ambient interior lighting, ventilated front seats, and passenger lumbar adjustments.

All A7’s come equipped with Audi Drive Select, which adjusts transmission, shifts throttle response, and steering strength with four different modes- Auto, Dynamic, Individual, and Comfort-which is my favorite mode when driving the A7 3.0T, because I found this mode to be the most pleasant and enjoyable, delivering a smoother and quieter driving experience.

There are a number of packages available for the A7, such as a Cold Weather package, which adds a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. The S Line Sport package adds a sport-themed exterior design, stylish 19-inch wheels, and firmer suspension. The Black Optic package adds high-gloss black trim on the grille/window areas and bigger 20-inch wheels, while a Driver Assistance package adds a front and rear corner-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane-keeping assist and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking.

Available exclusively for the Prestige trim is an Individual Contour Seating package which adds 14-way power front seats with memory and massage functions and improved leather upholstery, while an Audi Design Selection package adds distinctive extended leather trim and walnut insets.

The A7’s interior is very luxurious, highly appointed, and is the finest in its segment. The sedan can easily seat up to five passengers, but due to the sleek, sloping roof line, headroom in the rear cabin is not as accommodating for taller passengers, however, headroom and legroom in the front cabin is spacious and the seats are comfortable, plush, supportive, and ergonomic. The interior is constructed of high quality materials with beautiful wood accents and ambient lighting that give the vehicle an elegant and upscale appearance.

The trunk of the A7 with its hatchback design is spacious, measuring about 24.5 cubic feet and can accommodate a variety of larger items that usually don’t fit in the trunk of a smaller sedan.

On the road, the A7 is a strong performer and the 3.0T can easily pass slow moving vehicles in just seconds with quick acceleration, athletic handling, and immediate throttle response that rival many luxury competitors in its segment.

The A7 3.0T yields an estimated 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is an increase in fuel economy from previous models, while the A7 TDI yields better fuel efficiency with an estimated 25 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.

Safety features include- stability control, antilock disc brakes, front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system, front knee airbags, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, an Audi Pre-Sense safety system which tensions the seatbelts and closes all of the windows if a possible accident is detected and warns the driver, and a Pre-Sense Rear system which uses the brake light to warn traffic behind the vehicle in the event of a rear impact. A Driver Assistance package is optional and adds lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, and a corner-view camera system.

With its beautiful exterior, upscale interior, good fuel economy, quiet and luxurious interior, advanced technology, strong acceleration, and excellent handling, the 2016 Audi A7 is definitely one of the best performing, stylish, and sought after full sized sedans available today.

To find out more about the 2016 Audi A7, please visit- www.audiusa.com




Philippa Lane is an automotive writer, expert author for Ezine Articles, and staff writer for Cable Muse Network.


2015 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8 Sedan (Review)

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8 is a luxury full-size, 4-door sedan with a distinctive style, unique features, a lot of power, is a great alternative to higher priced European luxury vehicles, and is currently ranked one of the top upscale mid-size cars in its segment. The Genesis offers all of the luxury that you would expect to find in a more expensive vehicle, but for a lower price than most of its competition and delivers smooth on the road performance, a comfortable cabin with plush seats, and advanced technological features.

The Genesis is available in two trims- 3.8 and 5.0 R-Spec. The 3.8 Sedan with all-wheel-drive comes fitted with a powerful 3.8-liter V6 GDI engine that produces 311 horsepower, 293 lb. ft. of torque, and yields an estimated 16 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway.

The interior is well-crafted and spacious with enough head/legroom to accommodate taller passengers. Seating is very comfortable and the 12-way power front seats with lumbar are easy to adjust, providing optimum support and comfort for long road trips. The dashboard and console areas are tastefully designed with controls that are easy for the driver to reach.  All of the armrests, doors, and buttons have soft-touch materials suiting of a luxury car.

The sound system delivers clear audio and the display and navigation settings are easy to operate with a control knob that is similar to the one in an Audi A7. The 3.8 sedan is available in black, silver, grey, blue, brown, and white with leathery upholstery. Trunk space is quite generous measuring 15.3 cu. feet, which is bigger than the Lexus GS 350, but the rear seats do not fold down to allow for more cargo space.

Standard features include- automatic headlights, LED running lights, heated front seats, an 8-inch touch-screen navigation system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, leather upholstery, a rearview camera, push-button start, auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless ignition and entry, electroluminescent gauge cluster with LCD information display, woodgrain and chrome interior accents,18-inch alloy wheels, power heated side mirrors with turn-signal indicators, fog lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, Hyundai Blue Link Telematics System, full power accessories, proximity key, SIRIUS XM satellite radio, Bluetooth, HD Radio and USB/iPod ports.

The Signature Package adds a power tilt and slide panoramic sunroof, integrated memory system/ventilated front seats, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, HID Headlights/auto-dimming outside mirrors, power rear sunshades, manual rear side window sunshades, and blind spot detection.

The Tech Package adds specially made leather seats, 7” LCD Cluster Display, power driver seat cushion extender and side bolster, lane departure warning, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, haptic steering wheel, pre safety belt, auto emergency braking, electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, front & rear parking assistance system.

The Ultimate Package adds a premium HD 9.2-inch screen with navigation system, genuine matte finish wood trim & aluminum trim, a heads-up display, a power trunk lid, Lexicon 17 speaker audio system, and dual mode vent control with CO2 sensor.

For the 2015 model year, the Genesis has received a more distinctive and attractive front grille which still has the beautiful winged Genesis badge on it and the steering has been re-tuned to provide better maneuverability.

On the road the Genesis 3.8 Sedan handles a variety of road conditions extremely well with a firm and solid feel when making sharp turns and driving on curvy roadways. The Genesis actually feels much more like a Lexus ES 350 than a sports car, but yet still has sporty features that make the vehicle the perfect combination of both elements.

One of the best things about the Genesis 3.8 is the big 8-inch touch screen with navigation and the Ultimate Package offers an even bigger 9.2-inch HD touchscreen which is absolutely spectacular and is the largest display that I have ever seen in any other vehicle.

Safety features include- 9 airbags including a driver knee airbag, electronic stability control, traction control, vehicle stability management system, ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist, 4-wheel disc brakes, and anti-whiplash front head restraints. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis received excellent ratings in all Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests and earned their highest designation: Top Safety Pick Plus. The Genesis received the top score of “good” in all crashworthy tests as well as a rating of “superior” for front crash prevention when fitted with optional safety features.

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Sedan has a starting MSRP of $40,500, but in my opinion, is well worth the price.  The vehicle’s high performance and luxury features put the Genesis on par with European competitors, but costs thousands of dollars less. It drives, performs, and looks like it should be about $20,000 more than it is and is an excellent choice for anyone who desires a luxury vehicle without a luxury price tag.

To find out more about the 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Sedan, please visit- www.hyundaiusa.com

2015 Mazda Mazda3 i Touring 4-Door Sedan


The 2015 Mazda3 i Touring is one of the best in its segment with a stylish exterior, solid on the road performance, great driving dynamics, and is one of the most affordable small cars in America with a bold, yet unique exterior consisting of distinctive sculpted lines and a grinning front grille. The 2015 Mazda3 has entered the automotive scene with much to offer and it is easy to see why it is becoming a popular choice throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe.

The Mazda 3 is among the very best in its class, even though it may not capture as much attention as offerings from some larger brands. After undergoing a Redesign in 2014, the Mazda3 now offers more efficient engine options, better exterior details, and new features.

With a desire to create a vehicle with excellent gas mileage, responsive handling, and acceleration, Mazda has focused on making a lightweight vehicle by using a smaller amount of stronger steel, more welds, as well as weld-bonded adhesives in the body. Mazda’s engineers found a variety of ways to save extra pounds, for example the wiring harness, door locks and latches, radiator, automatic transmission shifter, pedals, stereo speakers.  As a result, the 2015 Mazda3 is one of the lightest vehicles sold in America. Driving is smooth, easy, and almost effortless, which makes driving the Mazda3 fun, enjoyable, and a pleasurable experience.

The 2015 Mazda3 is available as a sedan or hatchback and in either 3i or 3s trims.

The base 3i SV trim is available only as a sedan and comes fitted with air-conditioning, 16-inch steel wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat, full power accessories, USB/iPod integration, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, auxiliary input, a folding rear seat, and a 4-speaker audio system.

The 3i Sport adds cruise control, a 7-inch touch screen display, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone-enabled Internet radio, a 6-speaker sound system with CD player, HD radio, and a USB/iPod audio interface.

The 3i Touring trims do not have a CD player, but add much desired features, such as keyless ignition and entry, 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated side mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rear-seat center armrest, rearview camera, rear spoiler, and a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alerts. The Touring Technology package is optional and adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a premium 9-speaker Bose Sound System, a navigation system, sunroof, and voice controls.  The Mazda3 i Grand Touring comes equipped with all of the aforementioned special features as well as heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a 6-way power driver seat with manual lumbar adjustment.


The Mazda3s Touring Trim is similarly fitted like the 3i Grand Touring, but offers a more powerful engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, a special display for vital driving information, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Last, but certainly not least in the lineup is the Mazda3s Grand Touring, which adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and leather upholstery. A technology package for this trim offers additional safety features, such as a forward collision warning and mitigation system, active grille shutters, i-ELOOP Regenerative Braking System, a lane-departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.

All 2015 Mazda 3 i trims come equipped with a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 155 horsepower, 150 lb-ft of torque, and is available either as a 6-speed manual (standard) or an 6-speed automatic transmission (optional). The sedan with automatic transmission yields an impressive 30 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, while the sedan fitted with a manual transmission yields an estimated 29 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

The 2015 Mazda 3s models come equipped a more powerful 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 184 horsepower, 185 lb-ft of torque, with a choice of either a manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The sedan with manual transmission yields 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, while the 6-speed automatic yields 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.

Standard Safety features include- stability control, antilock disc brakes, traction control, side-impact and side curtain air bags, active front head restraints, front disc brakes and rear drum brakes equipped with ABS, frontal airbags, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and Brake Assist. A blind-spot monitoring system and a rearview camera are not available on the Sport and SV trims. A Technology package offers additional safety features for the 3s Grand Touring trim which include a forward collision warning, lane departure warning system, and Mazda’s innovative collision-mitigation system, known as Smart City Brake Support.

Interior amenities in the Mazda3 i Touring are quite nice. The front and rear cabin are roomy enough to accommodate up to five people, but because of limited space, I would not recommend transporting three adults in the rear cabin for long road trips. The front seats are supportive, firm, yet comfortable and on the i Touring trim, the seats have an attractive design, the trip computer and controls are intuitive, the dashboard/console area are within easy reach, and the upholstery, interior design, and knobs give the vehicle a more upscale appearance. I also really like the mounted color display touch screen that is located on top of the dashboard with a controller on the center console. This feature is similar to is found in an Audi A4 and it is very easy to use.

The trunk measures about 12.4-cubic ft., which is somewhat small, but I found it to be big enough for hauling small to medium sized items. For those desiring a little more cargo room, I suggest the hatchback, which offers about 20.2 cubic ft and 47.1 cubic ft. of space with the rear seats folded down.

Compared to similar small sedans, such as the Nissan Versa, the Mazda3 has less interior space in the rear cabin for taller passengers, however, it provides faster, more solid road performance, and better handling than the Versa.

Mazda3 2015 Side View

The exterior is stylish and eye catching with a modern, sporty look that is hard to ignore and a distinctive grille that has become one of Mazda’s signature features.

On the road, the Mazda3 i Touring performs very well with strong braking, responsive steering, solid suspension, and when driving at higher speeds, the ride is very smooth.  It handles tight corners and sharp turns with ease, is engaging, and has a planted feel on the road.

In summary, the 2015 Mazda3 i Touring is a great choice if you are looking for a small subcompact sedan that is fun to drive, sporty, inexpensive, stylish, and fuel efficient with excellent driving dynamics, and is affordable with an MSRP of only $16,945. It is definitely one of the best compact vehicles available and worth taking a look at. 

To find out more about the 2015 Mazda3, please visit- www.mazdausa.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