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

2017 Audi Q7 3.0T Quattro tiptronic SUV (Review)

The 2017 Audi Q7 is definitely a new and sprightlier SUV in practically every way, with a slimmer body, improved technological features, better engine options, and is about 700 lbs. lighter than the 2015 model, increasing fuel efficiency.

After being completely redesigned for 2017, the Q7 also features revised styling, a more spacious interior, a prominent angular grille, and a more wagon-like exterior. Some of the changes seem subtle at first glance, but upon closer evaluation, the new changes can be both seen and felt.

2017 Audi Q7 3.0T Front View SUV

Although, the Q7 is the largest crossover SUV in the Audi lineup, it is very easy to drive. In fact, it feels just as nimble as a mid-size sedan when making sharp turns and on winding roads, but what really makes the Q7 stand out, is its amazing ability to almost drive itself by recognizing speed limit signs and making adjustments, continuing speed and distance from other vehicles in front of it, consistently staying within its lane, and spontaneously slowing down before turning by utilizing huge amounts of data from cameras and sensors on the SUV.

The Audi Q7 is a luxury 7-passenger, three-row full-size SUV and comes available in three trims: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige.  All Q7’s feature a powerful 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 333 horsepower, 325 lb. ft. of torque, an 8-speed automatic transmission, can tow up to 7,700 lbs., and yields an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, which is average for this segment.

The Premium trim includes- a panoramic sunroof, three-zone automatic climate control, roof rails, 19-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, xenon headlights, 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, LED running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, a power lift gate, 35/30/35-split second-row folding seats, automatic brakes, front and rear parking sensors, selectable drive modes, driver memory settings, 50/50-split power folding third-row seats, HD and satellite radio, heated 8-way power front seats with driver four-way power lumbar controls, Bluetooth and audio connectivity, two USB ports, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with wheel-mounted shift paddles, Audi’s MMI infotainment system, frontal collision warnings with pedestrian recognition, a rearview camera, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 7-inch color driver information display, and power-folding heated mirrors. A 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, a handwriting recognition controller pad, and navigation system are optional.

The Premium Plus includes all of the aforementioned features, but adds interior ambient lighting, auto-dimming side mirrors, a navigation system, keyless entry and ignition with hands-free tailgate access, and a power-adjustable steering wheel.

A Vision package which offers a surround-view camera system LED headlights, and a configurable gauge-cluster display is optional as well as a Cold Weather package that adds manual rear window sunshades, heated steering wheel, a four-zone automatic climate control, heated rear seats, a tow hitch, a rear-seat entertainment system and ventilated 12-way power front seats.

The Prestige trim adds a 19-speaker Bose surround sound system, 20-inch wheels, extra interior lighting, side exit warnings, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and a large high-resolution 8.3-inch display.

A Driver Assistance package is available for both the Prestige and Premium Plus trims and adds automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, and lane-departure intervention.

Options exclusively for the Prestige trim include a special Luxury package which adds power door closers, upgraded leather upholstery, 18-way power front seats with massage functions, and a faux-suede headliner as well as an Adaptive Chassis package which adds a night vision camera, a 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen Sound System, all-wheel steering, and adaptive air suspension.

All 2017 Q7 models come equipped with standard safety features, such as a rearview camera, frontal collision warning, stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front-seat side airbags, front and rear parking sensors, full-length side curtain airbags, automatic braking, and the intuitive Audi Pre-Sense system that senses if the driver is trying to avoid an accident and automatically tightens the seatbelts, prepares the brakes, and closes the sunroof and windows. Audi Connect services, which include emergency assistance, speed and valet alerts, automatic crash notification, and remote door locking are optional.

The interior of the Q7 is quite impressive with high quality materials throughout the cabin with ambient lighting that enhance the vehicle’s luxury appearance. There are many functions on the dashboard and middle console areas, but I found that they are easy to operate by using the MMI controller, steering wheel controls, and a touchpad with handwriting recognition.

The front seats are comfortable, supportive, and have an ergonomic feel. In the second row, there is plenty of head/legroom for taller passengers and the seats recline, slide, and can fold down for easy access to the third row. Similar to the majority of other SUV’s in this segment, the third row seats are best for children and shorter adults and can fold down flat with the push of a button.

Cargo space is average in its class, measuring 14.8 cubic feet when the seats are up, 37.5 cubic feet when the third row is folded down, and a good 71.6 cubic feet when both the second and third rows are flat.

On the road, the 2017 Audi Q7 is amazingly nimble and maneuvers very well in difficult driving conditions and actually drives like a smaller crossover vehicle, such as the Audi Q3. Acceleration is quick due to the powerful V6 engine and the interior cabin is remarkably quiet even at highway speeds.

What I think is most impressive about the Q7 is its ability to do much of the driving in heavy traffic and on long stretches of highway by using a combination of new technologies, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, navigation information, and forward-looking cameras.

The 2017 Audi Q7 has a starting MSRP of $54,811 for the base model with special features that can be added with various packages.  The Q7 is the perfect blend of performance, luxury, advanced technology, and in my opinion, is one of the best SUV’s Audi has to offer.

To find out more about the new 2017 Audi Q7, please visit- www.audiusa.com




1480530575757Philippa Lane is an automotive writer, expert author for Ezine Articles, and staff writer for Cable Muse Network.

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

2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX Sedan (Review)

The 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid is a luxurious, midsize sedan with an upscale feel to it and smooth on the road performance that is reminiscent of higher priced luxury vehicles in its segment.  The Optima Hybrid comes in two trims- LX and EX and was completely redesigned a few years ago and now the new model is better than ever with changes that can be both seen and felt, helping to improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics and fuel economy with the LX yielding 36 MPG in the city/38 MPG on the highway and the EX yielding 35 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway.

The Optima Hybrid EX comes equipped with a stout 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder hybrid engine that produces 199 horsepower and 235 lb. feet of torque. The engine is powerful, yet amazingly quiet. 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 Hybrid is one of the only Kia vehicles I have tested besides the K900 and Cadenza that possesses these qualities.

Standard features include- a 6-speed automatic transmission, 4.3-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, push-button start, a cooled glove box, and dual-zone automatic temperature control. My test vehicle came equipped with power-adjustable seats, leather seat trim, an Infinity Sound System, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, Kia’s voice-activated UVO infotainment system, blind spot monitoring, a rearview camera, HD radio, gloss black interior trim, a navigation system with an 8-inch touchscreen display power windows and door locks, SiriusXM Radio, and a panoramic sunroof.

Both trims come with standard safety features, such as- dual front advanced airbags, front seat mounted aside airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, hill start assist control, and 3-point seat belts. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, rear view camera, and rear parking sensors, and an UVO System that includes roadside assistance and automatic collision notification are optional.

I tested the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX 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. During the testing period, my daughter sat in the in the 2nd row and liked the design, spaciousness, and appearance of the vehicle. She is about 5’6 and thought the rear cabin was more spacious than a Nissan Versa and was amazed by how much legroom the Optima Hybrid EX offered.

The 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX is the best midsize hybrid sedan I have ever driven with a sleek design, luxurious interior, advanced technology, and top notch performance for less than $38,000.

If you have been looking for a stylish hybrid vehicle that is both spacious and fuel-efficient, then I highly recommend checking out the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX.

To find out more about the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid, please visit- www.kia.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