Tag Archive: Nissan Altima

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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Sep 30

Road Test: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited & Sonata 2.0T Limited

Text / Images: Iain Shankland

It’s been said that it costs the same amount of money to create and build an ugly car as it does to produce a beautiful one and certainly Hyundai designers have taken it to heart (unfortunately somebody forgot to memo Citroen). In a world of bland econoboxes that can barely register a pulse, let alone raise it to excitement levels, Hyundai are doing their bit to clean up the automotive landscape.

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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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Jul 15

Road Test: 2010 Ford Fusion SEL

Text / Images: Iain Shankland

2010 Ford Fusion

It’s been a number of years since I last drove a Fusion. For the 2010 model year Ford have re-designed it from the ground up, so it was definitely time to put the new one through its paces.  I liked the first version, but didn’t exactly love it. This new one is certainly a real looker and turned heads everywhere we went. Like a woman – looks can be deceiving… so how does it stack up when under close scrutiny? Keep reading to find out….

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