Category Archives: Car News

Pure Competence: 2017 Kia Optima in Depth

2017-Kia-Optima-01-Placement

All signs point to the fact that we have left the age of the sedan behind and entered the era of the crossover, but despite the wandering attention of the car-buying public, the contenders in the mid-size-sedan segment continue to put up a good show. Not only are there a handful of truly good cars in this class, but nearly every model lineup features several powertrains, often running the gamut from thrifty hybrids to powerful V-6s. The Kia Optima has one of the most diverse model lineups of the bunch, boasting five—count ’em, five—separate powertrains, including two hybrids, plus a stately exterior design and above-average driving dynamics. That the Optima isn’t one of our very favorites in this class speaks more to the excellence of others (including the Honda Accord and the Mazda 6) than it does to any glaring problems in the Kia. There are, of course, deficiencies—the hybrids could be more efficient, the performance and handling a bit stronger—but on the whole, the Optima is a thoughtfully conceived and well-executed package. READ MORE ››

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2017 Kia Optima – In-Depth Review

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2017 Audi R8 in Depth: Sex Sells

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It looks great, sounds fantastic, and goes like an autobahn bullet. The Audi R8 is almost everything you could want from a supercar, all of it wrapped in a comfortable, dead-sexy package that can easily be driven on a daily basis. Are there downsides? Sure. For one, it’s a two-seater, so passenger space is limited. Is it fuel efficient? Nope. It also doesn’t have the same thrilling, razor’s-edge handling of some of its supercar rivals. What the R8 does well, however, is provide surprising comfort along with its ballistic speed. That may outweigh its flaws for some buyers, and—let’s face it—this is Iron Man’s car. Deep down, don’t we all want to be a superhero with a sweet ride? READ MORE ››

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2017 Audi R8 – In-Depth Review

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Turbocharged Mazda 6’s EPA Fuel-Economy Numbers Released

2018 Mazda 6

We love Mazda’s mid-size sedan. The chassis is on point, the styling is well done, and the interior materials’ quality is the class of the field. It’s just an all-around pleasure to drive. But compared to the 300-hp-plus V-6 Camrys and over-250-hp 2.0-liter turbo Accords of the world, the naturally aspirated four-cylinder Mazda 6 feels a bit down on power. The situation was, we felt, nothing that couldn’t be remedied by the installation of the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine from the excellent CX-9. Happily, the heads in Hiroshima have now seen fit to do just such a thing, and the EPA has released fuel-economy numbers for the 6 with the new powerplant.

The king of the 6’s fuel-sipping mountain is the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine backed by the six-speed automatic transmission, at 26 mpg city, 35 highway, and 29 combined. Following that up is the shift-for-yourself 2.5, which delivers 24/33/27 mpg. Adding an air-pushing snail to the 2.5 knocks the automatic car down to 23 mpg city, 31 on the highway, and 26 mpg combined. For reference, the 2018 Honda Accord with the turbo 2.0-liter paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission manages 23 mpg city, 34 highway, and 27 combined on the EPA’s cycle, while the V-6 Camry gets 22/33/26 mpg.

The Accord’s hottest four pumps out 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, the V-6 Camry crests the 300-horsepower mark, offering up 301 ponies and 267 lb-ft. The Mazda nearly matches the Honda’s horsepower figure at 250 hp but beats both cars in torque output, with a healthy 310 lb-ft. The 6 has been known to take the perennial 10Best Cars fave Accord in a comparison test, but the new version of Honda’s stalwart chariot is ridiculously good, recently besting the new Camry in a comparo. With the new, torquey powerplant, the Mazda is most definitely back in the game, and we’re anxious to see the hottest 6 and the most boisterous Accord square off against each other.

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2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45 In-Depth Review: Profound Performance in a Pocket-Size Package

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What’s smaller than the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, has four doors, hails from Germany, and spanks those star-spangled stalwarts on the drag strip? Survey says: the 375-hp Mercedes-AMG CLA45. While its nemesis—the amazing Audi RS3—is even quicker, the mini Merc costs less and looks crazier. It also has an equally outrageous hatchback counterpart, the Mercedes-AMG GLA45. Still, the CLA45 has a harsher ride than the Audi and an interior plagued by cheap plastics. Its volcanic acceleration erupts from a turbo four-cylinder that feeds a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. Add a fiery exhaust note and hard-edged handling and this pocket-size road rocket packs more performance than its size suggests. READ MORE ››

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2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45 – In-Depth Review

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Ceed Planted: New Kia Ceed Unveiled, Could Preview Upcoming Forte5

Kia Ceed

The Kia Cee’d is dead. Long live the Kia Ceed. Kia has pulled the curtain off its third-generation European hatchback prior to its debut next month at the Geneva auto show. Along with a new chassis and improved styling, the compact car drops the apostrophe from its name.

Like the Forte sedan that made its debut in January at the Detroit auto show, the new Ceed features the brand’s latest styling, which includes a slim “tiger nose” grille and “ice cube” LED daytime running lights integrated into the headlights. Behind the mean-looking mug is a hatchback body that boasts a longer rear overhang and LED taillights.

Kia Ceed

Inside, the Ceed features a standard 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display that stands proud of the dash and is angled toward the driver. Both 7.0- and 8.0-inch touchscreens are optionally available. Whereas the Ceed’s exterior shares many of its design details with the Forte sedan, the hatchback’s interior is very much its own entity.

Despite its interior differences, we’d wager the new Ceed will eventually make its way to our shores as the next Forte5, a model that a Kia spokesperson told us “continues to be an important part of [Kia’s] lineup.”

Unlike the Ceed, which is assembled in Kia’s Slovakia plant and offers a range of gas and diesel engine, the next-generation Forte5 will almost certainly be built at the same Monterrey, Mexico, factory as its sedan counterpart. Expect the sedan’s 147-hp 2.0-liter inline-four and continuously variable transmission to power the all but inevitable next-generation Forte5 hatchback. Still, we’d be delighted if the Ceed’s 138-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four and six-speed manual transmission, as well as the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, found its way under the hood of the North American–spec car.

Of course, it’s possible this handsome-looking hatch will stay put in Europe and the next Forte5 will take on completely different styling. We hope that isn’t the case, though, because we like what we see in the Ceed.

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Ceed Planted: New Kia Ceed Unveiled, Could Preview Upcoming Forte5

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2019 BMW Z4 Spied: Supra Sibling

2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)

What It Is: At this point, we’re chasing Toyota rumors to find out more about the upcoming new BMW Z4 and hunting down Z4 odds and ends in the pursuit of educated conjecture re: BMW’s reconstituted Supra. The question on the minds of enthusiasts, however, is twofold: Will the Z4 finally be taken seriously as a sports car, something that plays in the Porsche 718 Boxster’s league rather than the Mercedes-Benz SLC’s? And will the new Supra be a worthy successor to the venerated mile muncher of the 1990s? READ MORE ››

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