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 Toyota Sequoia Platinum SUV (Review)

The 2016 Toyota Sequoia is a large, full size, four door, truck-based SUV that is spacious enough to feel like a living room on wheels with ample room for a lot of people (seven passengers), plenty of cargo space,  and an impressive towing capacity up to 7,400 pounds.

Even though the Sequoia has not had any major changes for 2016, it is still a practical choice for bigger families with great on the road performance, comfortable and spacious interior, advanced technology, and quick acceleration.

The Sequoia is available in three trims- SR5, Limited, and Platinum.  All trim levels come fitted with a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produces 381 horsepower, 401 lb. ft. of torque which is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. A 4-wheel drive system is optional. Although there aren’t a lot of engines to choose from, the standard one is definitely not sluggish and delivers remarkable acceleration and the six speed automatic transmission performs perfectly, smoothly, and shifts gears with great ease and without hesitation.

The base SR5 trim comes equipped with standard features which include- fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a deicing windshield wiper, heated mirrors, keyless entry, sunroof, roof rack, running boards, rear privacy glass, a power rear window, tri-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a 40/20/40-split second-row bench seat that can slide and recline, an 8-way power driver seat, second and third row side window sunshades, a 60/40-split reclining and fold-flat third-row bench, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, a rearview camera integrated into the auto-dimming rearview mirror and an 8-speaker sound system with Toyota’s Entune Audio Plus with 6.1-inch touchscreen, a CD player, Connected Navigation, Siri Eyes-Free smartphone voice controls, a USB/iPod interface, HD radio, and an auxiliary audio jack. A sport package is available for the SR5 trim and adds second-row captain’s chairs, 20-inch chrome alloy wheels, and a color-keyed grille.  The SR5 premium package adds a four way power passenger seat, leather upholstery, a powered reclining and folding third row seat, heated front seats, and a power driver seat with lumbar adjustment.

The Limited trim adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 20-inch alloy wheels, power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors, a navigation system, Pandora and OpenTable apps, front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, leather-trimmed doors, improved gauges, a backup camera, and a 7-inch touchscreen display.  An optional Safety and Convenience includes a blind spot monitoring system, two-position driver seat and outside mirror power memory functions. A large 9-inch display, 14-speaker JBL audio system, and a rear seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray player is optional.

The Platinum trim comes equipped with all of the aforementioned features and adds heated and ventilated front seats, 20-inch wheels, a blind spot monitoring system, adaptive air suspension, a second-row center console, a premium JBL audio system, a power-adjustable driver seat with thigh support, adaptive cruise control, heated second row captain’s chairs, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and driver memory functions.

Fuel economy is good with the full size Sequoia SUV yielding an estimated 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, however, some competitors have better fuel ratings.

Standard safety features for all 2016 Toyota Sequoia trims include- front knee airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, full-length side curtain airbags, a rearview camera, and anti-lock disc brakes. Front and rear parking sensors and a blind spot monitoring system are optional on the Limited trim, while adaptive cruise control and a blind spot monitoring are standard on the Platinum trim.

The interior of the Sequoia is very nice with a spacious front and rear cabin with enough head/legroom for taller passengers. Seats in all three rows can recline in variety of ways, are comfortable, supportive, and feel ergonomic.

Even though the Sequoia is rugged, there are a lot of elegant interior features and materials that add a touch of elegance to the SUV. The gauges are easy to use, but the touchscreen controls are not easy to reach at times. There are many areas in the front cabin to store items with a big storage compartment directly under the front/middle armrest.

Cargo space is excellent with 18.9 cubic feet of space behind the third row when the seats are upright, 66.6 cubic feet of space when the third row’s seats are folded down, and an impressive 120 cubic feet of cargo space when both the second and third rows are down, which is more than the Chevy Tahoe.

On the road, the Sequoia provides excellent and smooth ride quality, which is much better than many others in its class. The Sequoia has a solid, planted feel when making sudden turns and on curvy roadways. It is more capable off-road than most big family vehicles, however, because of the Sequoia’s large size, maneuvering in tight spaces, can be difficult at times, but the rearview camera is very helpful.

In summary, the Toyota Sequoia remains a great choice for consumers with bigger families that want a large, reliable, and comfortable SUV with a spacious interior, luxurious features, and excellent towing ability.

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

How We Fall In Love With Cars At An Early Age

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

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

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

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