Tag Archive: Hyundai Sonata

Aug 15

Road Test: 2015 Buick Verano

Road-Test.orgI’ve never been a big fan of Buick cars – or GM in general, even though I’ve owned a couple of Chevy’s (Camaro & Malibu) and a Saturn. My experience with the Chevrolet brand has been terrible, but I must admit I really liked our Saturn Vue. So why am I driving a Buick Verano? Quite by accident really – my wife’s car was in the shop for repairs and the dealership gave us a rental. Being a car guy – it’s never just a drive – everything is a test drive for me and so why not? Let’s give this car the full test treatment….

What Is It? 

  • Small-mid-size sedan
  • Buick are way off the mark by offering this as a luxury car
  • Up against similar cars like the Honda Civic and Ford Focus, this car is a true, fierce competitor

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Dec 04

Road Test: 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid – EX Premium

Kia Optima Hybrid, Road-Test.orgEver since I laid eyes on the Optima, I’ve loved its style and couldn’t wait to drive it. Well time flies and it took longer than expected to finally get behind the wheel. Half-way through its model cycle, the Optima gets a refresh for the 2015 model year (its subtle, but better looking inside and out), so it was important to grab the keys to a 2014 before the change, in order to compare them next year.

What Is It? 

  • Mid-size sedan
  • Full Hybrid – A traditional vehicle with an electric motor that can exclusively propel the vehicle at times or in combination with a gas engine. An example of this would be an electric motor that propels the vehicle from a stop, a gas engine that operates at highway speeds and both combine when extra power is required. A Full Hybrid charges its own batteries via electric motor or gasoline engine.
  • Depending on the state of charge and load, the electric motor may propel the vehicle for longer distances and speeds up to 100 km/h. I easily got up to 80km/h on the battery power only
  • Lithium-Polymer Battery – One of the smallest, lightest and most advanced hybrid batteries in the automotive world
  • Hybrid Engine Clutch – A ‘Hybrid Engine Clutch’ allows for a seamless transition between electric motor and gas engine. The entire seamless transition takes only six-tenths of a second
  • Traditional Transmission – A traditional 6-speed transmission is used instead of a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This allows for desirable shift feeling instead of a shiftless ‘golf-cart feeling’ 

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Aug 20

Road Test: 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Ford

Last year I drove the Ford Fusion SEL and was considerably impressed by it – so much so, that I recommended it to my brother-in-law when he was looking at buying a new vehicle. He loved it so much he bought one.

I’ve driven a number of hybrids over the years, but never the Fusion. I liked the regular 4-cylinder version, so I grabbed the keys to the hybrid to see if it was any better. One thing it for sure, they are quite different.

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Jun 03

Road Test Special: Buying A New Vehicle – Is It A Pleasure or Painful?

I go under cover and put my own money on the line to find out

Text / Images: Iain Shankland

Every day, many people purchase new and used vehicles over the internet through eBay and other similar sites. In fact eBay claim they sell just short of 1,500 vehicles EVERY DAY! That’s over 500,000 per year. Now I’ve bought plenty of things over the internet, but a new vehicle is one thing I don’t think I could ever do. I do lots of research and comparison shopping before I buy and the internet is used 99.9% of the time to do that, but I have to see and touch things before parting with my cash – especially anything over $50.

So why am I even mentioning this if you know I won’t be giving you my experience of purchasing a vehicle over the internet? Well, I did use the internet to purchase my new vehicle, but I also touched and drove it before handing over my money. Let me explain…

What Does An Auto Journalist Buy When It’s Time To Get A New Vehicle?

When I can drive almost any vehicle in any price-bracket, you’d think it would be quite easy for me to make a decision when it comes time to buy my very own vehicle – but it’s actually quite difficult.

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Sep 03

Road Test: 2011 Suzuki Kizashi SX

Text / Images: Iain Shankland

It’s been a number of years since I last drove a Suzuki vehicle – too long in fact. I’ve always been a fan of Suzuki vehicles because they are always well built and well equipped – and they typically cost a lot less than other Japanese vehicles. Many moons ago (1987) when I was a driving instructor I leased one, and my students absolutely loved it.

But Suzuki is just a little car company and don’t make many cars – right? Wrong! Suzuki is the NINTH (9th) largest auto manufacturer in the world – they’ve been around for more than 100 years, they’ve got the Number 1 best-selling car in Japan and have a 50 per cent market share in India. I talked to one car dealer several years ago that sold Suzuki’s side-by-side with Volvo’s. He hated the Suzuki’s because they never came back for warranty work. The Volvo’s kept the dealership doors open because of all the warranty work!

In late spring 2010 Suzuki decided to shake things up a bit in the automotive landscape when they launched the Kizashi. They’ve always had small cars and small to mid-sized SUV’s – but until now they’ve never competed in the mid-size sedan arena – at least in North America they haven’t. It’s a tough segment with perennial best-sellers like Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata and the Ford Fusion  constantly beating each other up for the “Best-Selling” title. It’s a tough and competitive segment of the market where mediocrity is severely punished, and where glory results in the spoils of huge sales and bigger profits.

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Jun 17

Road Test: 2011 Mazda6 I-4 GT

Text / Images: Iain Shankland

It’s been a number of years since I last drove a Mazda6 – well when I say the 6, I really mean the awesome MazdaSpeed6. For the 2010 model year Mazda re-designed the 6, making it bigger in every dimension and I have to say its better looking too. Unfortunately, after spending a week with the Mazda6, it left this writer indifferent.

The mid-sized sedan segment of the automotive landscape is the toughest area to do battle, so a car has to not only look good, but it has to excel in order to get noticed. I was really looking forward to driving the Mazda6 GT, but perhaps because it was in non-descript Silver, I never really felt myself looking forward to driving it or excited about having it sitting in the driveway. The Mazda6 GT doesn’t look very special when you compare to something like the Camry SE which looks the part – sporty, and other than minor interior bits it looks like a base model. When you look at the $23,000 price of the base model it’s perfectly reasonable, but at over $33,000 for the GT as kitted out, it’s a bit much for what you get, and I’m not sure HID lights, keyless entry, moonroof and leather interior are worth that much money. When dropping an extra $9,000 I’d expect my car to stand out just a bit more thank you very much.

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