2016 Toyota Camry 4-Door Sedan (Review)

The Toyota Camry is a five-passenger midsize sedan that has undergone a complete redesign in the previous model year with new exterior styling, noise insulation, better driving dynamics and interior details, improved handling, more equipment, better materials, and a more contemporary appearance making it a top competitor in its class.

Even though the changes seem subtle at first glance, every element of the new Camry has been restyled, except for the roof. The grille is more prominent, larger, and the exterior has a more refined appearance with stylish LED front running lamps, the door panels are enclosed in a padded leather-like material, the tail lights have an elongated look to them that is similar to some luxury sedans, and side mirrors have been redesigned to improve airflow. The dashboard and center console now have an upscale appearance with larger buttons and knobs with every trim level coming fitted with an attractive Entune touch screen.

There have also been major changes implemented in 2015 to improve the Camry’s responsiveness by introducing a retuned brake-booster system and better electric power steering, which improves handling.

For 2016, Toyota has introduced a new Special Edition trim that is based on the sporty Camry SE. The new 4-cylinder Special Edition comes equipped with a sport tuned suspension, sunroof, stylish 18-inch wheels, keyless entry/ignition, vibrant blue interior trim accents, smoked taillights, and a sportier gauge cluster.

The 2016 Camry comes in four main trims: L, SE, XLE, and XSE with the newest trim to the group being the sporty Special Edition. Every Camry comes standard with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 178 of horsepower, 170 lb-ft. of torque, front-wheel drive, and a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the XSE and XLE trims can be fitted with a more powerful 3.5-liter, V6 engine that produces 268 of horsepower, 248 lb-ft of torque, front-wheel drive, and a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The base LE trim comes standard with automatic headlights, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, heated mirrors, keyless entry, a backup camera, a 6.1-inch Entune touch screen electronics interface, 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, voice controls, a 60/40-split folding rear seats, an 8-way power driver seat with two-way power lumbar adjustment, Siri Eyes Free, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 6-speaker audio system with a CD player.

The SE adds sport fabric and simulated leather upholstery, advanced gauges, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, unique exterior styling and interior trim elements, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. An Entune Plus Package is available for the LE and SE trims and includes Satellite radio, HD radio, and an upgraded 7 inch touch screen display. A sunroof is optional.

The XSE adds dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather and simulated suede upholstery, sport tuned suspension, LED running lights, heated front seats, satellite radio and HD radio, and a 4-way power passenger seat. A Convenience package for the SE and XSE models and adds keyless ignition/entry and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.

The XLE is very similar to the XSE trim, except that it has full leather upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels and a more comfortable suspension. Also, the XLE trim has a wireless charging area for smart phones and a smart key push button start.

Safety features for all trims include- front and rear side airbags, front knee airbags, antilock disc brakes, a Pre-Collision System with Auto High Beams, stability and traction control, and a rearview camera. A Blind Spot Monitor and Warning System with Rear Cross Traffic Alert are available on the XLE and XSE trims. Adaptive Cruise Control is optional.

The Advanced Technology package adds a pre-collision system that uses the adaptive cruise control sensors and a lane-departure warning system. Optional only on the XLE trim is Safety Connect, which adds automatic collision notification, a stolen-vehicle locator, and an emergency assist button.

From testing, I have found that the 2016 Toyota Camry is a fun to drive, engaging sedan with a powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine that provides adequate acceleration and smooth on the road performance. The automatic ECT-I transmission is incredibly responsive and the Eco mode helps to increase fuel efficiency. The XLE trim goes from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6.5 seconds and yields an estimated 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The 2016 Toyota Camry has a very comfortable and spacious interior and provides enough head and leg room in the front and rear cabin for taller passengers. The seats are supportive and plush with an ergonomic feel. Audio and climate controls on the center stack are big and are easy to reach, while the larger 7-inch Entune touchscreen interface with audio and navigation is intuitive and user friendly. Trunk space is ample measuring approximately 15.4 cubic feet with plenty of room to haul a variety of mid to large sized items with ease.

On the road, the Camry is a strong performer with responsive handling and has a composed, planted demeanor on busy highways, and when making sharp turns and travelling on curvy roads.

If you have been looking for a modern family sedan with comfortable interior, strong on the road performance, advanced technology, sleek exterior styling, and many features that are usually only available in more expensive luxury vehicles, then I highly recommend taking a look at the 2015 Toyota Camry XLE 4-Door Sedan.  The Camry has a starting MSRP of $23,070 and in my opinion; it is well worth the price.

To find out more about the 2016 Toyota Camry, please visit- http://www.toyota.com/camry/

 

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

Bringing The Toyota Mirai’s Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Technology to Schools in an Exciting Way

Toyota invited me, as well as several science teachers to a special training class at their headquarters in Torrance, California to learn Horizon Education’s methods to teaching and instructing new hydrogen fuel-cell technology to their high school students.

Since Toyota’s successful introduction of the Mirai Hydrogen Fuel-Cell 4-door Sedan in 2015, there has been much excitement and acceptance of the new vehicle and innovative technology. The positive reception has made Toyota look at growing Technology, Science, Mathematics, and Engineering education, also known as STEM, in schools within Southern California.

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The teaching session was thorough, fun, interactive, and informative, beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m.

A wonderful breakfast and lunch was provided while the teachers learned all about how they could teach their students about the Mirai and how hydrogen fuel-cell technology works.  Also, during the training class, Mirai engine models and various parts were displayed on a table near the instructor for the participants for observation and visual learning.

The instructor, Lindsey Spalding, was very knowledgeable, articulate, understood her subject, and explained to the teachers in attendance how the engine is built, how it runs on hydrogen, and how to teach this new technology to their students in a fun, exciting, hands-on way, getting them ready for future race competition with their very own hydrogen fuel-cell powered miniature cars.

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Lindsey demonstrated how the mini Mirai engines function and kits were provided to teachers to show their students how the hydrogen fuel-cell engine works.

For more than two decades, Toyota has been fully committed to the advancement of fuel cell technology with worldwide research and development. The Mirai is the first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle Toyota has ever produced and is fueled by hydrogen. Yoshikazu Tanaka, who is Toyota’s chief engineer, was the overseer and business manager of the Mirai project at Toyota.

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I found the training session to be very interesting, informative, educational, and I believe that high school students will enjoy learning about the Mirai, engine, and fuel-cell technology with their teachers instructing them, demonstrating, and giving hands-on assignments, class discussions, and engine models to work with. The students will be able to design their own mini cars, sculpt the exterior, and build the chassis. It is a wonderful subject for students to learn how the Mirai operates using hydrogen as fuel. Also, by learning how the Mirai runs and operates, they may want to own and drive one in the future.

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The special Toyota after-school program has a fun and exciting conclusion for all participating students at the Los Angeles Convention Center between March 30th-April 2nd 2017 when they will have the opportunity to compete and race their custom, hand built mini Mirai Vehicles in front of a large audience.

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2016 Toyota Corolla S (Review)

The 2016 Toyota Corolla is a 5-passenger compact sedan that from first glance may not appear very exciting, but for fifty years, it has been one of the bestselling compact vehicles in the U.S., currently ranks as the world’s best-selling small sedan, 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 2014, 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.

For the 2016 model year, the Corolla received an S Special Edition variation, an updated Entune sound system, and a variety of cosmetic improvements.

The Corolla is available in four trims- L, LE, 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.

The S Plus adds firmer suspension tuning, 17-inch alloy wheels, and rear disc brakes.  A Driver Convenience package and sunroof are options available for the S Plus trim.

A limited-production S Special Edition, marks the Corolla’s 50th anniversary and comes equipped with the standard gear of the S Plus, but adds keyless entry and ignition, 17-inch alloy wheels with a special gloss black finish, all-black interior with red contrast stitching, red accents on the instrument panel, and Special Edition badges. Although, the S Plus has a sporty design, it is not available with a manual transmission.

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 cubic 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 about $18,000, it represents an excellent value for anyone looking for a sedan that is affordable, stylish, and reliable.

To find out more about the 2016 Toyota Corolla, please visit- www.Toyota.com

2016 Toyota Avalon 4-Door Sedan (Review)

The 2016 Toyota Avalon is a full-sized premium sedan that is comfortable, practical sedan, and luxurious offering a smooth ride even on some of the bumpiest surfaces. The Avalon does not display the luxury label that Toyota’s Lexus division offers, but it is just as luxurious as a Lexus ES350 in upscale and plush interior, advanced technology, exterior design, and powerful on the road performance, but is available for a much lower price.

New for 2016 is an XLE Plus trim, all Touring models now feature a sport-tuned suspension, and the Touring Sport trim has been removed from the lineup.

The Avalon is available with either a gas-powered or hybrid engine. The base gas engine is a stout 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 268 horsepower, 248 lb. ft. of torque, and is matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which yields 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The hybrid 4 cylinder engine combines a 2.5-liter engine with an electric motor that produces 156 horsepower, is connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) V-6, and a yields 40 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.

The Avalon comes in four trims- XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Plus, XLE Touring, and Limited. Both the hybrid and gasoline models are available in Touring, Premium, and Limited trims, but the base-level Avalon XLE is exclusively limited to the gas-powered model.

Standard features for the base Avalon XLE trim include leather upholstery, automatic headlights, power front seats, iPod connectivity, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a 6.1-inch center-mounted touchscreen. The XLE Premium trim adds a built-in garage door opener, improved keyless entry functionality, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a power sunroof. The XLE Touring adds fog lights, larger wheels, an upgraded sound system, a navigation system that includes satellite radio, and Toyota’s impressive Entune app-integration system.

The Avalon has been facing some major competition from other full-sized vehicles in its segment and has responded to the challenges by making the Avalon more visually appealing, bolstering the vehicle’s powertrain, improving handling, and adding a full amount of high-tech safety features. Toyota has recently given the Avalon a distinctive look that is different from the Camry and Lexus models with flared-out rear fenders and an attractive roofline that make it really stand out.

Interior features are quite impressive too with a modern instrument-panel with flat, touch-based dashboard buttons/switches that eliminate physical knobs and buttons. The front and rear cabin areas are very spacious with upscale elements throughout and the seats are comfortable, ergonomic, and supportive. The Avalon feels luxurious, with high quality materials, elegant details on the dashboard/console areas and the rear seats are contoured and have elongated lower cushions that provide great thigh support. Rear seats do not fold down, but trunk space is generous measuring 16 cubic feet to accommodate mid-large sized cargo with ease.

On the road, the Avalon feels poised and sophisticated, not sporty, however; when navigating around tight corners it handles much like a sports car in a capable and disciplined manner.

Safety features include- a backup camera system, anti-lock brakes, security system stability control, knee bags, front impact airbags, overhead airbags, and pretensioners. A Blind Spot Monitor is now standard on the XLE Touring and Hybrid XLE Touring models.

Overall, the 2016 Toyota Avalon is one of the most luxurious full-size sedans available today and with a starting MSRP of only $32,650, it is a great choice for anyone wanting a luxury car without the high price tag.  The 3.5-liter V6 gas powered engine is smooth, powerful, and delivers an enjoyable driving experience that is like no other in its class.

If you have been looking for a stylish full-sized sedan that has a lot to offer, then I highly recommend checking out the new 2016 Toyota Avalon today by going to- www.Toyota.com/Avalon

2015 Mitsubishi Evo GSR Sedan Review

Fast, Unique, Stylish, and Ideal For Car Enthusiasts!

Style, speed, and a thrilling on the road experience is what you can expect when you get behind the wheel of the 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR.

Unlike the family sedan, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a powerful, turbocharged vehicle that is ideal for car enthusiasts and people who enjoy driving very fast.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR, also known as the “EVO” is a powerful all-wheel-drive turbocharged, 5-passenger vehicle that is a modified version of the Lancer. Equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, a four cylinder turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 291 horsepower, and 300 feet of torque, the Lancer Evolution GSR is built for the avid sports sedan enthusiast. The Lancer Evolution exhibits all of the features a high powered sports car should have, such as bold styling, excellent handling, sporty interior, and quick on the road performance.

Although 2015 is the EVO’s final year of production, it is still one of the most exciting vehicles available sedans on the market. The Lancer Evolution, or Evo, is available in two trims- GSR and MR. Both trim levels are fitted with a powerful 291 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, however, there are some differences between the models. The GSR has a 5-speed manual transmission and a large rear spoiler, while the MR has a 6-speed twin clutch Sportronic transmission, paddle shifters, and a more modest rear spoiler.

The performance features of the GSR include a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch aluminum wheels with performance tires, while the MR is further outfitted with Eibach springs, Bilstein shocks and exclusive forged aluminum wheels.

Standard features for the GSR include Brembo brakes, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, cruise control, sports fabric interior, a 6-speaker 140-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with a 6.1 inch touch screen, SiriusXM Satellite radio with a free three-month trial, power windows, mirrors, and locks, remote keyless entry, fog lights, connectivity, voice recognition system, MP3 capability, auto-off reflector halogen headlights, USB port, rear diffuser with dual exhaust outlet, high-contrast instruments with silver bezels, shift knob, color LCD multi-information display, covered cup holders, and a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel. Bluetooth connectivity, a 710-watt 9-speaker Rockford-Fosgate audio system, and HID headlamps are optional.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR handles highways, curvy roads, and city streets with ease, accelerates quickly, drives fast, and has a firm feel on the road. Braking is superb, steering is sharp, and air conditioning, heating, and other controls are easy to access with superb functionality. The Rockford-Fosgate Sound System produces high quality audio that is crisp, clear, and enjoyable. Rear seating provides ample leg room for tall passengers, but the trunk area is somewhat small, yet still big enough to carry medium to large cargo items. The seats sit lower than a conventional sedan, giving the EVO a sporty-race car feel.

Standard features include 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, stability and traction control, a tire pressure monitoring system, driver knee airbags, front, front side-impact, and an overhead curtain, front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters for additional protection. Rear seats integrate child safety seat tethers and anchors. Available all-wheel control enhances safety in slippery conditions. Back in 2012, the Lancer was awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick, with the best rating in high-speed frontal impact, rear impact, and high-speed side impact.

If you are a bit squeamish and you don’t want to feel any traction when you are driving or if you are looking for a luxury vehicle, then this is not the car for you. It is perfectly normal to “feel the road” while driving the Lancer Evolution GSR and it has been designed to have a sporty feel verses a conventional one. The Lancer Evolution GSR is a high performance vehicle with 300 lbs. of torque and goes from zero to 60 mph in just 5 seconds. This legendary sedan was created from the world of rallying with a rally-bred drive train and high quality parts, such as Brembo Brakes and BBS Wheels.

The Lancer Evolution GSR is not your normal family vehicle or a luxury sedan. It is a beautiful, sporty, race car which is surprisingly suitable for both men and women who can appreciate its unique quality, design, strength, and high performance.

I was given the wonderful opportunity to drive the Lancer Evolution GSR for a week and when I first saw it, I thought the vehicle had a very masculine appearance with its oversized rear spoiler and racer styled snout. The EVO definitely looks like a race car with its aggressive front fascia and angular headlights. When I sat in the driver’s seat of the EVO, I noticed the quality of the upholstery and some changes to the interior, such as the absence of Recaro Sport Bucket Seats, which were available in previous model years.  The interior feels a little less luxurious, however it still retains rich looking black, shiny paneling across the front dashboard with chrome accents, which all give the vehicle a regal, classy, and elegant appearance, definitely not cheap, however, I found the manual transmission a little stiff and difficult to shift at times.

The 2015 Lancer GSR delivers 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, so while it is fun to drive, it is not considered to be fuel-efficient, however, that is expected due to the vehicle’s power and mechanical design.

The Lancer Evolution GSR has a starting MSRP of $35,305, which makes it one of the most inexpensive turbocharged sports vehicles on the road today and in my opinion, it is worth the price.

So, if you are looking for a high performance car that is sporty, looks great, is fun to drive, highly appointed, stylish, and drives fast, then the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR is a wonderful choice.

To find out more about the Lancer Evolution GSR, please visit- www.mitsubishicars.com

2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan (Review)

The 2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan is a luxurious 5-seat, midsize sedan with an upscale feel to it and smooth on the road performance that is reminiscent of higher priced luxury vehicles in its class.  For the 2015 model year are minimal and subtle with repositioned cruise control buttons to improve driver ergonomics and an upgraded UVO 2 system with additional features, such as speed alerts, geo fencing, and curfew reminders.

The Optima comes in five trims: LX, EX, SX, SX Turbo, and SXL Turbo.

All LX, EX and SX models come equipped with a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 192 horsepower and 181 lb. feet of torque and yields an estimated 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The standard transmission is a 6-speed Sportmatic automatic transmission with manual shift control.

The SX Limited and SX Turbo trims come fitted with a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 274 of horsepower and 269 lb. feet of torque. The additional horsepower is wonderful, but with it comes a decrease in fuel economy yielding 20 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The base LX trim features- fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, an AM/FM/CD stereo with 6 speakers, USB port, a tilt-telescopic steering column, air conditioning, power windows, mirrors/door locks, a 6-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar adjustment, remote keyless entry, heated outside mirrors with turn indicators, steering-wheel-mounted audio/Bluetooth controls, and cloth seating.

The EX trim adds dual-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch wheels, an 8-way power driver’s seat leather seats, push-button start with keyless entry, and rear-seat vents.

The SX trim adds bigger 18-inch wheels, LED taillights, a 4.3-in LCD display screen, metal foot pedals, metal interior accents, sport suspension, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The SX Turbo trim offers HID headlights, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a powerful turbocharged engine, and driver mode select.

The Optima SX has a powerful, yet amazingly quiet engine. Acceleration is quick and getting up to highway speeds is easy, almost effortless.  The interior cabin is quiet as well with little to no road noise. The Optima is one of the only Kia vehicles I have tested besides the Cadenza that possesses these qualities.

The top of the line SXL Turbo includes- chrome 18-inch wheels, LED fog lights, power-folding outside mirrors, red brake calipers, an 8-speaker Infinity surround sound system, UVO 2 infotainment with a rear backup camera, navigation system, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, black-cloth headliner and pillar trim, a heated steering wheel, a 4-way power passenger seat, an electronic parking brake, Nappa quilt-pattern leather seat trim, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated rear seat, driver’s seat memory, and a panoramic glass sunroof.

There are trim-specific packages available, such as a Convenience Plus package for the base LX trim that adds UVO 2 eServices, an acoustic laminated windshield, and a 10-way power driver’s seat. Technology and Premium packages are available for the EX and SX trims, which add a navigation system, heated steering wheel, a panoramic glass sunroof, a blind spot monitoring system, rear backup sensors, a power passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, driver’s seat memory heated rear seats, and an Infinity audio system.

All Optima models come with standard safety features, such as- dual front advanced airbags, front seat mounted aside airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, hill start assist control, and 3-point seat belts.

I tested the 2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan and I was very impressed with the luxurious and spacious interior, uniquely styled front grille, smooth on the road performance, and comfortable seating in both the front and rear cabin that feels a lot like an Audi A6 or Lexus ES 350. On the road, the Optima provides a fun and enjoyable experience and the seats provide enough cushioning for longer trips.

The 2015 Kia Optima is one of the best midsize sedans I have driven with a sleek design, luxurious interior, advanced technology, and top notch performance for less than $25,000.

If you have been looking for a stylish and spacious vehicle that is fuel-efficient, comfortable, is fun to drive, and feels like a luxury sedan, then I highly recommend checking out the 2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan.

To find out more about the 2015 Kia Optima, 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 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