In late 2015, Hyundai broke off the Genesis model into its own brand as a luxury manufacturer. Here’s a look at the two models celebrating their rebirth. [Read more…]
The eco-efficiency of the Sonata Hybrid isn’t just about taking you wherever the road takes you, but where you go every day in an affordable and eco-friendly manner.
I don’t mean in the ‘let’s go sideways around a corner’ fun – though the Sonata Sport gives a good smile at green lights – I mean in a ‘let’s all pile in and just drive’.
With an EPA highway rating of 35 mpg, 24 city and 28 overall, it’ll be easy to take off and head to where ever the road leads, with plenty of room for everyone.
There’s head and leg room enough in the backseat for two average adult, but I wouldn’t throw a basketball star back there or stretch that number to three adults – that’ll be a little too close for comfort.
While the seats could be a touch more comfortable, more like the Genesis maybe, they were fully adjustable for the driver including lumbar support. It does come with a telescopic and tilting steering wheel, similarly to the Genesis, which makes the driving position more comfortable for longer drives (or for Seattle traffic).
While driving around Seattle’s curvy roads, enjoy the sport-tuned suspension. Create your own smile at a green light by tapping the gas pedal, sending the 185-hp 2.4L direct injection engine into action.
The tested version came with two added packages, the Premium and Tech packages, well worth the $1,700 each.
The Premium package came with a Blind Spot Detection System with a rear sensor for cross traffic the driver can’t always see, a hands-free trunk opener for those times a driver is laden with bags, sport seats to help the driver stay in the seat (when going sideways), dual climate control and more.
A leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob gives one a little extra grip, but also a bit more style.
The Tech package comes with a larger, 8-inch touchscreen display, a premium sound system (including sub-woofer and amplifier) from Dimensions, HD radio and more.
Don’t let me forget the color, either. The Venetian Red color stood out with its undertones of fiery orange. There’s no way anyone could miss this red delight.
Of course, all of that to help you and your passengers get on the road safely and comfortably in the 2015 Sonata Sport.
The $26,100 base-priced ($43,295 as driven) Kia Sedona has available seating for seven people – two in the front, two in the center seats, and three in the back – with more than enough legroom for all.
All Sedonas come standard with dual power sliding doors and a power tailgate, with driver-accessible buttons to open and close each door, and also comes standard with dual sunroofs, one for each additional row of seating.
What makes the second row of seats the place to be is the seat’s ability to recline.
Imagine that there’s an extra ten minutes in your busy day of doing this and running there (I know this imagining is asking much of busy-Seattleites, but bare with me…).
In those ten minutes, you pull into a parking spot at a local waterfront park (pick one of the many around here), open the two sun roofs, slide into the second row seats, recline and listen to the wind through the trees and the surf hitting the shore.
Nice daydream, isn’t it? Well, its’ not a daydream, I did it and it was awesomely relaxing.
The second row seats also move side to side and front to back, allowing for more accessibility options for third row passengers and all rows have a plethora of air bags. If the third row seats aren’t needed, they fold into the floor allowing for more cargo capacity, however the second row seats cannot stow away.
The infotainment system comes standard with Kia’s UVO eServices, a car information system that’s free with most Kia vehicles and also available on smartphones with the free UVO app. The system not only operates the parking and driving assists, but also helps owners remember needed maintenance and find it in a parking structure if they can’t remember exactly where the van was parked.
A component of the infotainment system that isn’t standard is the same top-view, surround video parking display Kia puts in the K900 luxury sedan. It’s not just a rearview camera, but a 360-degree view of the vehicle at speeds less than 10 mph. Though the surround view monitoring is only available on SXL spec’d models, it’s definitely an option that is great to have so that the park-job is just right.
The only thing that isn’t ‘just right’ is the fuel economy; though, if one is purchasing a minivan, it’s likely they already know vans aren’t kings of mpgs. The Kia Sedona SXL is equipped with a 3.3L V6 DOHC engine with Continuous Variable Valve Timing for fuel efficiency and multiple driving modes, including Eco and Comfort.
At 19 mpg combined, 17 in the city and 22 on the highway, the Sedona isn’t the most eco-friendly minivan on the market, but it’s also not the worst (as most minivans offer between 15 and 22 mpgs).
Minivans are kinds of cargo, though, and with 142 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats and 78.4 behind the second row, owners will have more than enough room for all the kids or cargo they have.
Whether its for the great cargo space or the extra seating for kids and adults, the Kia Sedona offers everything a person could ask for and a few comforts they might not have known they wanted.
This $52,450 luxury sedan is not only comfortable, but loaded with conveniences that will make you hate traffic and the ill-kept roads a little less.
Take, for instance, Hyundai’s Smart Cruise Control (radar-assisted cruising) is incredibly intelligent and can help you avoid becoming overly angry at the person six cars ahead of you doing 10 miles an hour underneath the speed limit. Instead of getting anxious, turn the 17-speaker radio up, pop into smart cruise control and relax your way around aggravating traffic in style and luxury.
There’s plenty of room for all size of passengers, too, with tons of room in the back seats for even the tallest of adults. The heated seats are sure to please everyone in the back-seat area, along with the rear-heating options, too. No longer will the backseat be the lesser of all seats, as they have many of the same creature comforts.
Drivers have the ultimate in creature comforts, with the 12-way power front seats, including some of the best lumbar support I’ve seen in a vehicle, along with a power tilt and telescopic steering column, ensuring one can find the best position all-around.
The soundtrack for this car had me smiling the whole time I had it.
While the powerhouse normally stays quiet so as not to disturb the luxuriant driving experience, it can come to life with but the tap of a pedal. The Genesis’ HTRAC all-wheel drive technology, can increase or decrease the amount of power to each of the wheels in order to accommodate driving conditions.
What this means in the real world is that when you step on the gas, there’s little screech of tires and a lot of grip all around. A drive-train intelligent enough to provide just the right amount of power to each wheel.
The Heads-up Display (HUD) not only shows the car’s speed, the next turn while using navigation functions, cruise control speeds, distance to other cars while using the smart cruise control features, but also (the reason no cop will listen to a Genesis driver’s complaints about no speed limit signs) a notification of the current speed limit for the area.
As a diligent auto-journalist, I tested out the speed limit notification by driving around through changing speed limits and… it’s smart. The changes in speed limit show up on the HUD within 10 to 20 feet of the sign, so you really will know pretty quickly that you’re speeding. You can’t help but notice it, the limit is right next to where your speed is shown!
While the Genesis is full of the kinds of comforts that will have Seattlites wanting to get out and drive, there’s one aspect they won’t be very happy about – the MPGs. The V6 engine gets around 19 mpg’s combined (16 city and 25 highway), not bad for a large luxury sedan, but not great for many of the eco-minded people in the area.
However, the luxuries that surround occupants of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis is going to make the lack of better fuel economy fade away into the (automatically dimming) rearview mirror.
The TLX is a $45,595 4-door with an intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD) system and adjustable sprotyness through the Integrated Dynamic System (IDS) and plenty of room for your needs, whether they be child- or adult-sized.
The front seats are both heated and cooled, have power seats (10-way for the driver, including lumbar support, and 8-way for the passenger, but doesn’t have lumbar controls). The safety features include airbags for the knees, airbags in the vents, side curtain bags that deploy in case of a rollover and a radar-assisted breaking system.
Safety is key in this car, but so is the engine’s sporty performance and ensuring a comfortable driving environment.
The direct injection 3.5L VTEC V6 engine puts out 290hp and has variable cylinder management that will decrease the number of firing cylinders depending on driving conditions, such as fewer cylinders for highway and more for track time.
While I’m not to keen on push-button shifters, Acura makes up for that with responsive flappy paddle shifting with the dual-clutch transmission and their IDS (Integrated Dynamic System) options to differ engine responses depending on driving. There are four modes: Eco, Drive, Sport and Sport+.
Sport+ is the best. No, seriously.
I had heard of a local car meet that drives some backroads of the Puget Sound area and decided to take this car there. During the driver’s meeting, participants had the option to split into three groups; cruisers, normal and spirited drivers.
On a whim, I chose spirited and the Acura TLX kept up with the likes of Corvettes, Lotus’, and Porsche’s. On a track they would have toasted me, but on the backroads there was no getting away from the TLX.
The soundtrack wasn’t as earsplitting loud as the other engines around me, which is a great thing. While they can’t ‘turn off’ their engine noise, when a driver is done being sporty in the TLX it goes back to a tame, eco-friendly (ish), kid-carrier.
Ready, at a push-button’s moment, to tear into the world via flappy paddle fun.
The Kia K900 is a luxury sedan aimed at the purchasers of BMW 7-series and Mercedes Benz S-Class. However, whether it has what it takes to lure drivers away from German-made and into Korean-made cars is another matter.
For the vast majority of crossover owners, there isn’t a lot of dirt roads or partially eroded creek beds to traverse, but it’s always nice to know that one could potentially off road in the Mitsubishi Outlander should the need arise.
The 2015 Outlander is a Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) for the outdoorsy driver. The Outlander MSRP’s for around $28,200 starting, $35,145 as driven.
I have been remiss. My husband transplanted to my native state, Washington of course, after the military and we have lived up here for around 8 years now and I still hadn’t taken him to see Deception Pass.
It was about damn time, but we didn’t just take any car – we took the 2015 Mazda3 and it was the perfect car for the job.
This 5-person 4-door sedan, also available in 5-door hatch, costs around $25,000 starting out – though the version I drove had optional accessories that bumped the price up to $26,335.
Yes. I, Deanna Isaacs, drained the batteries in an EV (not completely, but to the point it wouldn’t drive). Go ahead. Laugh it up now. You know you want to.
It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t set out at the beginning of my drive with the notion of being the guinea pig – ahem, hamster – in my own experiment in battery efficiency just to end up spending 3 hours on the side of the road near Seattle, Washington.
However, it happened and this is how. [Read more…]
Kia has entered a new realm with the 2015 Kia Soul EV, one of all electric vehicles, great for the environment Washingtonians love.
Starting at $35,700, or $36,625 fully optioned, however, there’s also the $7,500 federal tax credit for buying electric vehicles, making final prices between $26,200 to $29,125.
It’s no secret that I love my Miatas. I daily drive a beautiful 1996 Mazda Miata M-Edition that’s Starlight Mica Blue. So, when I got a chance to drive one of the newest models of Miata, I jumped at the chance to see how they compare. Would I need to upgrade to a newer roadster soon?
This is the first Battle of the Mazdarati.
The 2015 Mazda Miata Grand Touring
Note: Deanna Isaacs is an owner of an older model Mazda Miata and makes no efforts to hide what an enthusiast she is about her ‘Mazdarati’.
Mazda’s flagship 2-seat roadster has been one of the top selling convertibles for over two decades, with the newest body style (the ND) unveiled in September. That means that the 2015 Miata is the last of its body style and I got to give a good hurrah for the last New Years’ this car will see as a ‘new car’.
While having an Electric Vehicle (EV) is a great eco-friendly alternative to using gas or diesel power there are a few precautions you’ll want to read about before you pick up your personal EV.
This article has been updated.
Seattleites, and those in the surrounding Puget Sound and Lake Washington communities, are eco-friendly and green. (Note: This is by no means an extreme understatement…). For those who want to be green on the roads, but also keep their pocket book in mind, there is now a minicar for you.
The 2015 Mitsubishi iMiEV is a fully electric minicar with a range of around 60 miles. This 5-door hatch starts at around $23,000, but if you subtract the Federal Tax Credit for Electric Vehicles of $7,500 for the iMiEV, you’re looking at spending around $15,000 for a fully electric car.
That’s about the same price as that 15 year old Subaru Impreza you were looking at and much cheaper than any other brand new EVs – or brand new vehicle, at that price…
This article has been updated (9/3/2014).
I’m absolutely in love with my the official media car of AON Media, the Mazdarati – a 1996 Mazda Miata M-Edition (in Starlight Mica Blue). I have gone scuba diving (though I couldn’t bring my dive buddy in the same load), she’s gone on Canadian dirt rally roads, and safely transported me and my husband everywhere we need to go.
As Mazda Unveils their newest incarnation of the MX-5, I’ll be live-tweeting the event from @AON_Media:
My initial misgivings about Mazda not listening to the enthusiasts who have really stuck with the brand (Cough). The new design really showcases that they not only listened, but they acted on those comments.
We already knew the chassis would be lighter when Mazda revealed that a few weeks back, what we didn’t know is what kind of body would be set ontop.
The new look really shows off the return to simplicity. It doesn’t look bloated like the NC (but I’m also looking through it on my computer screen). It doesn’t seem too tall or too bulky…
And I absolutely love the lines on the side profile. Those lines are clean, they are curvy, they are beautiful!
I’m really stoked. I can’t wait to see how the new Miata compares to the current Media-Miata, aka the Mazdarati, that AON Media uses for all coverage.
I know mine can handle Canadian wildernesses… Can yours, Mazda? Can the new one?
If you’d like to watch the live stream of the 2016 Mazda Miata unveiling yourself, head here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze5GPxABcMs