New Car Reviews

11/05/2014

2015 International Car Award Finalists Revealed

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Road & Travel Magazine Announces Top 5 Finalists for 2015 International Car of the Year

Road & Travel Magazine Announces Top 5 Finalists for
2015 International Car of the Year

Los Angeles, CA – November 4, 2014 - Road & Travel  Magazine (RTM) is proud to announce its top 5 finalists for the 2015  International Car of the Year (ICOTY). Listed alphabetically, they are the BMW i3;  Hyundai Genesis; Kia K900; Kia Soul EV; and the Mazda Mazda6.

The mission of the ICOTY Award is to put emphasis on the  emotional connection between car and consumer in addition to how well  automakers achieve that goal through the marketing of their vehicles directly to  consumers through international and national campaigns. [Click here for full release]

02/05/2014

2014 Toyota Corolla Named Most Earth Aware Car of the Year

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2014 Toyota Corolla Eco Wins 2014 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year - Most Earth Aware

Toyota Corolla Eco Named

2014 Earth, Wind & Power
"Most Earth Aware Car of the Year"

Earth, Wind & Power Awards - Most Earth Friendly Car of the Year

sponsored by

Bridgestone Tire Sponsors 2013 International Car of the Year Awards - Presented by Road & Travel Magazine

Review by Martha Hindes | Press Release

As we watched a profusion of college students jog, skate, bicycle and schmooze their way past our Minneapolis hotel, we realized we were in for an education on what is important to those on the cusp of an environmentally challenging world. They were the kind, in their early 20s to maybe mid-30s it seemed, in plaid sneakers, cutoffs in cold weather and eyes glued to a smart phone screen. Just the type, we thought, who would be woed and won by a point-in-life auto like the resoundingly revised 2014 Toyota Corolla.
 
We had come to the largest of Minnesota's Twin Cities to find out why Toyota considered its revised compact car so important as the automaker kicked off the 11th generation of this staple. After all, the Corolla has dominated the world of compact autos in all corners of the globe for decades. It virtually launched the small car industry in the U.S. when seeming block-long domestic gas guzzlers dominated American roads. And it has spawned a wealth of imitators seeking to dethrone it from its lofty perch ever since.
 
It didn't take long to realize that not only was the Corolla a breath of fresh air visually, but in driving credentials as well. But it also pointed out how the auto is aiding in preserving the fresh air we breathe and protecting our planet by diminishing the factors that add pollutants to the atmosphere. And its achievement of reaching a lofty 40 miles per gallon mileage with an internal combustion engine heart rather than with a highly sophisticated and costly hybrid, clean diesel or more elaborate technology tells us there really still is life in yesterday's engine type when it's tamed and tweaked to accommodate tomorrow’s vehicles.
 
With those gold star elements plus pricing that has not gone ballistic, it didn't take long to determine the 2014 Corolla was an uncompromising champion to be recognized. And so, it was name Earth, Wind & Power’s Most Earth Aware Car of the Year for 2014. 

2014 Toyota Corolla Named 2014 Most Earth Aware Car of the Year by Road & Travel Magazine
Presenting the 2014 Most Earth Aware Car of the Year award to Bill Fay, Group VP & GM Toyota Division U.S., are Courtney Caldwell, editor, Road & Travel Magazine; and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE Americas, and EWP award sponsor.

In accepting the award, Bill Fay, Group Vice President and General Manager - Toyota Division, cited the company's long-time commitment to good fuel economy. "For the past 47 years, Toyota has prioritized outstanding fuel economy for the Corolla.  It’s this attention to detail that has enabled our company to sell a record 40 million Corollas worldwide," he said.
 
“With the new, 11th generation Corolla, we’ve illustrated that 40 miles per gallon can be achieved through excellent design and engineering. We are truly humbled and appreciative that Corolla has been named the 2014 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year. This award validates the efforts of our team to make Corolla the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class.” [Full story]

04/23/2013

2013 Green Car Buyer's Guide

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2013 Green Car Buyer's Guide 

by Martha Hindes with contributions by
Bob Plunkett and
Tim Healey

Not long ago, the idea of a plug-in electric car was enough to raise lots of eyebrows. Quips circulated about a bubble-shaped car dragging an orange extension charging cord behind it like the tail of a cat, or sitting in the middle of a freeway when the AA batteries ran dry. Of course the batteries that power an electric car, or a gas-electric hybrid car for that matter, are light years beyond those that set a flashlight aglow.

But the idea behind it isn't futuristic at all. With tragedies such as Hurricane Sandy and this winter's severe snow storms in our rear view mirrors, the idea of climate change has taken on an urgency not seen in the past. And while auto companies already had gotten on the bandwagon in developing earth friendlier vehicles that could scoff at trips to the gas station or get their power from distant plants or wind farms away from urban areas, there's nothing like immediacy to get someone's attention. Look around you as you drive, and you're likely to see fuel conserving vehicles in the next lane, or down the block. To see RTM's Top 10 Picks, click here.

03/04/2013

2013 Ford C-MAX Road Test Review

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2013 Ford C-Max Road Test Review : Road & Travel Magazine

By Tim Healey

Ford's 2013 C-MAX Hybrid has flown sort of under the radar--we'd almost forgotten about the vehicle until we received our invitation to drive it at the company's press preview--but after spending a day driving it in Southern California, we think it might soon be getting a wee bit more press.

Built to compete with the Toyota Prius V, the C-MAX is basically a cross between a Focus and an Escape with a hybrid powertrain (a plug-in hybrid, dubbed the C-MAX Energi, is planned for the near future).

Ford invited us to Los Angeles and its surrounding environs to test out the C-MAX among the glitterati and paparazzi, and we found that this new player in the hybrid game presents some intriguing questions to hybrid buyers.

The Basics
Powered by a 2.0-liter gas engine paired with an electric motor (lithium-ion batteries supply the charge, marking the first time Ford has used them in a hybrid), the C-MAX is a four-door, five-seat compact crossover that won't be available with a non-hybrid powertrain.

Available in two trims, SE and SEL, C-MAX offers features such as: Ford's MyFordTouch and Sync infotainment systems, a hands-free power liftgate, in-floor storage, dual-zone climate control, a USB port, Bluetooth, a capless fuel-filler, keyless entry, Ford's MyKey security key, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, 17-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, an EcoGuide that tells the driver how efficiently he/she is driving, satellite radio, a reverse-sensing system, ambient interior lighting, a push-button start, and a park-assist system.

Prices start at $25,500 for the SE and $28,200 for the SEL. The SE we tested, which included MyFordTouch, the power liftgate, and a reverse-sensing system, cost $27,990, including the $795 destination fee. To continue the review, click here.

03/01/2013

2013 Chevrolet Spark Road Test Review

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2013 Chevy Spark Road Test Review by Tim Healey

By Tim Healey

Most new-car press launches are set in places that offer twisty roads and elevation changes. Even when they're set in urban environs, the automaker seeks out the curviest possible nearby roads.

Not so with the 2013 Chevrolet Spark. Chevy invited us to Chicago so we dutifully shuffled off to the West Loop (home of meat-packing plants and tastefully decorated loft condos) to sample the Spark. With Chevy's new minicar being aimed at an urban audience, perhaps it should've been no surprise when the drive route turned out to be all urban.

The Spark truly is a city car. Chevy execs said so themselves, suggesting the brand's subcompact Sonic or compact Cruze as alternatives for those who do most of their driving outside of the confines of the concrete jungle. At just 144.7 inches long (the wheelbase is 93.5 inches long), the Spark will be competing with other mighty mites like the Scion iQ, the Fiat 500, and the Smart ForTwo. It's the only five-door hatchback in the segment.

Features & Prices

Chevrolet is keeping it simple by offering just one engine, two transmissions, and three trim levels (base LS, midlevel 1LT, and top-trim 2LT). The cheapest Spark starts at $12,995, including $750 destination fee. A manual-transmission 1LT will start at $14,495 (again, including destination), while a fully-loaded automatic 2LT will set you back $16,720. Chevy says it's keeping a $2,000 price gap between each Spark trim and the corresponding Sonic, in order to keep sales of one car from encroaching on sales of the other. To continue the review, click here.

02/27/2013

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Road Test Review

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2013 Hyundai Veloster Road Test Review by Tim Healey

By Tim Healey

Face it, America has become a nation of excess. Too much is not enough. We won't settle for anything less than the best, and no matter how much we have, we want more, more, more.

That's all true, but sometimes we really do need more. Such is the case with the power numbers on Hyundai's Veloster. The odd little three-door hatchback provided plenty of sporty handling when it hit the road in the fall of 2011, but its 138 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque doomed it to some disdain from the motoring press. Consider these quotes from this very Website, the one that you're reading right now, published just days prior to last Christmas: "Of course, spirit is in more than the eye of the beholder. A car that looks fast may not actually be fast, and that is sadly the case with the Veloster," and, "Even when mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the Veloster feels just a wee bit short of breath. Get it rolling and get rowing with the gears, and the Veloster is fun. Trouble is, getting it going takes a fair bit of patience, and the off-the-line jump isn’t quite enough." We also said this: "Hyundai has promised a turbo, and that may cure the Veloster’s ills." This all from the same review in which we compared the car to Charlie Sheen, for whatever that's worth.

Hyundai did make good on the turbo promise, and hence we found ourselves somewhere near San Diego in the driver's seat of the
2013 Veloster Turbo. With 201 ponies now under hood and 195 lb-ft of torque twisting the front wheels, we were hopeful that all the Veloster's "ills" (which were admittedly relatively few) would be cured. To coninue the review, click here.

02/25/2013

2013 Lincoln MKS Road Test Review

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2013 Lincoln MKS New Car Test Drive : Road & Travel Magazine's 2013 Luxury Car Buyer's Guide

by Bob Plunkett

Streaking along serpentine Skyline Drive, the ridge route high above Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, a powerful MKS EcoBoost -- elegant flagship sedan for the 2013 fleet of Lincoln -- tracks in a predictable line through so many chicanes.

MKS's all-aluminum 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine sends turbo-charged muscle to all four of the 20-inch 245/45R20 V-rated tires with big treads clawing for traction on blacktop around every bend.

Rumples in the erosive pavement don't upset this car's smooth suspension due to new Continuously Controlled Damping, a sophisticated device which regulates actions for the shock absorber at every wheel through electronic damping. It changes as much as 20 times every second, switching from soft to hard to soft again in an effort to isolates the movement of each tire for less bounce, vibration and noise, and producing more controlled handling with a smoother ride quality.

The 2013 issues of MKS score multiple enhancements including styling revisions to the body and cabin, upgrades to suspension and powertrain, plus improvements in fuel economy figures.

Lincoln's flagship sedan looks elegant and classy in a bold design for the body which focuses on a double-wing grille that's a contemporary homage to the classic 1941 Lincoln Continental. For 2013 issues the grille tips rearward in a sleeker pose as the prow adds horizontal louvers in a new fascia to underscore the grille with piercing optics of projector-type HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps wrapping around front corners. To continue the review, click here.

02/22/2013

2013 Buick Verano Turbo Road Test Review

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2013 Buick Verano Turbo Road Test Review by Bob Plunkett

by Bob Plunkett

We're cinched firm against the leather seat of Buick's 2013 Verano Turbo compact luxury sedan with hands locked on the heated steering wheel, feet dancing across sport pedals on the floor but eyes fixed squarely on the next bend of Oklahoma 1, squiggly blacktop draped over the pine-studded Ouachita Mountains.

Actually, we're romping along this ridgeback road, which follows contours of the slopes on undulating asphalt with whoop-de-do dips and rises and incessant sharp esses and broad sweepers.

And the newest Buick, projecting a coupe-like silhouette with glitzy waterfall grille crowning the prow, reveals stunning performance from a decidedly sporty vehicle that maneuvers around curlicue mountain traces with the dexterity of a mechanical athlete.
 
Cast on a rigid unibody structure with pliable independent suspension components pinned above each wheel, the test car carries a goosy turbochargedengine which translates all of its considerable torque through a malleable but definitely un-Buick-like six-speed manual shifter and sends it to the two front wheels which also steer in a predictable and controllable front-engine/front-wheel-drive arrangement. To continue thereview, click here.

02/20/2013

2013 Kia Optima Road Test Review

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Road & Travel Magazine Names the 2013 Kia Optima - International Car of the Year

by Courtney Caldwell

Road & Travel Magazine Names Kia Optima

2013 International Car of the Year

Range Rover Evoque Named 2012 International Truck of the Year - Road & Travel Magazine

I’ve never fancied myself much of a sedan girl. More like a speedy sports car siren or a mother trucker… the latter of which was my first priority for many years when rearing rugrats and camping out by babbling brooks in the back woods of New England. But this week, priorities changed when the new 2013 Kia Optima SX sedan was delivered as our test car. What a looker!

“Is that the new Jaguar,” one man shouted from across the parking lot. “No, it’s the new 2013 Kia Optima,” I yelled back. “Wow, woulda' never guessed,” he said shaking his head with surprise.

And that’s the reaction the Snow White Pearl Optima received all week long. Driving this car was like having a new puppy. Everyone wanted to stop and pet it, stoop down and take a closer look, inspiring miles of smiles and constant curiosity. I found one woman peering into the windows with her hands cupped around her eyes to get a better look inside. Approaching the car, I asked, “What do you think of it?” Startled and somewhat embarrassed she was caught, she replied, “Oh, so sorry, I wasn’t being nosy but this car is just so gorgeous. I had to get a closer look. I can’t believe this is a Kia!” To continue the review, click here.

02/18/2013

2013 Cadillac ATS Road Test Review

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2013 Cadillac ATS Road Test Review by David Merline

by David Merline - Web2Carz Managing Editor

The Cadillac ATS is being touted as the luxury brand's best chance at making serious inroads in the performance luxury market currently dominated by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. It also represents the latest evolution in Cadillac's "Art and Science" design philosophy, part of General Motor's strategy to bring the brand—which has a seemingly unshakeable reputation as a stuffy, old person's brand—into the 21st Century.

In both of these aspects, Cadillac is setting the bar very high. So high that it becomes tempting to praise is asking for the ATS to be judged against some very stiff competition, that's the standard against which it must be evaluated.

On the Road
In terms of performance, the ATS is definitely good enough to take on all comers. A look at the numbers confirms that the ATS is the equal of the BMW 3-Series, the Mercedes C350, and the Audi A4 in terms of horsepower, torque, 0-60 speed, and price. And behind the wheel of this rear-drive powerhouse, the car definitely feels Autobahn-worthy. Steering, handling, and cornering are as precise and confident as any Bavarian or German wündercar. The ATS's suspension settings allow the driver to enjoy their ride smooth or sporty, but the growl from the performance package's dual exhaust is fairly harsh—a muscle car yawp sounds ridiculous from inside a luxury car's cabin, especially one that is otherwise so nicely insulated against road noise. To continue the review, click here.