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Wednesday
Aug132014

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

2014 Chevrolet Malibu LT

2.5L 4 Cylinder 196 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

Ashen Grey Metallic with Grey Leather Interior

The photo gallery slide show of the Malibu...click

We started doing reviews a few years ago with a Malibu, and 100 reviews later we again have the new Malibu. You could not plan this out if you tried, this is our 100th review, its a Malibu.

It is a milestone for us!

We were anxious to spend a few days with this Malibu. Especially to see how it compared to the previous version which was a benchmark car for GM at the time.

The styling is mid size sedan inoffensively appealing. Accompanied by a subdued street presence. Yes we know that styling is a personal preference.

The interior is well executed for this segment, and price range. As you know GM made quantum leaps a few years ago with interiors. This Malibu continues the interior progression. Its as good as it gets in a mid size sedan. Good materials, soft touch areas, contrasts stitching.

This tester has the 7 inch screen in the center of the dash, My Link, as well as navigation, accompanied by a solid performing sound system to enjoy the satellite radio. The front seats are comfortable, supportive and power assisted, the rear seat provides ample leg room for adults. The trunk is a generous size.

You can configure your own Malibu here.

With a 4 cylinder and a 6 speed automatic the performance is middle of the road, like most mid size sedans. Its an impressive, superb highway cruiser that encourages you to cover appreciable distances.

One gets the impression that the folks at Chevrolet did an appreciable amount of due diligence to refine the Malibu so that it does everything well, with a strong value proposition. Its a competent, solid, reassuring car. 

From our perspective Chevrolet did everything right. Compared to the previous model, its an improvement in all areas. With the exception of being inspiring, for some reason Chevrolet overlooked making this car inspiring. 

Why you should consider a Malibu? In a crowded and competitive mid size sedan segment this car is supremely competent, and does everything that you expect very well. It does it so well, in such an unassuming fashion that its quickly taken for granted. 

The Malibu might not blip on your radar screen. We urge you to make it a point to experience the Malibu, it will realign you mid seize sedan thought process.

 

The quick review

 

 

Thursday
Aug072014

2014 Range Rover Sport

2014 Range Rover Sport HSE

3.0L Supercharged V6 349 HP with 8 Speed Automatic

Corris Grey Metallic with Espresso/Ivory Leather

The photo gallery slide show of the Range Rover...click

Range Rover through the years has created its own niche in the luxury SUV market segment. This new Sport is making a solid contribution to expand the niche for Range Rover.

It was presented as a concept a few years ago, has softer lines, a dramatic sloping roof, and still maintains the iconic Range Rover look. Although styling is a personal preference, we find it appealing. The street presence remains compelling, distinctly Range Rover, and as usual attracts attention.

What is it about Range Rovers?

They communicate a distinct message that the owner has risen beyond the increasing noise of luxury SUV's, risen to a higher level. The legendary off road capabilities, which will seldom be used add a unique cachet to the image.

As you would expect the inerior is superbly well finished, and styled with a meticulous choice of materials, and soft touches. It makes you feel good. All the amenities are present, from power seats, heated seats including the rear, back up camera, navigation to name a few. 

Yes...the sound system fills the voluminous interior with authority.

The rear seat provides ample room for adults, augmented by a cool center armrest.

Yes...there are distinctive front LED lights, which are a "de rigueur" feature on a luxury vehicle, these are totally cool.

This Range Rover inspires the moment you open the door, and sit in the driver's seat. The new all aluminum structure is impressive. It feels like a solid block of aluminum.

The suparcharged V6 generates a good level of performance with 340 HP, the 8 speed automatic augments the versatility of the performance, while shifting in an uncanny, intuitive fashion. Although the console shifter requires a learning curve in its "unintuitive" operation.

Be it on the highway or surface streets there is always a reserve of performance that is available. Its a great highway cruiser, while being uncannily quiet.

The steering is precise, and on center, the brakes are good, althought from our perspective they could offer an additional level of stopping power at higher speeds (which are easily attained).

Why you should consider a Range Rover Sport?

You are seeking a luxury SUV, while desiring to make a stronger statement. You appreciate having superb off road capabilities, accompanied by a brilliant terrain management system. You undrestand and appreciate the inovative approach of making an all aluminum structure and body panels.

Make it a point to experience the Sport, yo will be impressed.

 

The quick review

 

 

Monday
Jul212014

2014 Honda Civic

2014 Honda Civic EX Coupe

1.8L 4 Cylinder 148 HP with 5 Speed Manual Transmission

Dyno Blue Pearl with Charcoal Cloth Interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the Civic...click

Last time we experienced a Civic was almost 2 years ago. We were anxious to spend a few days with the restyled Civic again.

Yes, its the best selling car in Canada for countless years now, in a very competitive segment. The message is clear this car is loved by Canadians.

The Civic does everything well in a discreet fashion, and you would not expect anything else.

The styling is discreet with a subdued street presence which still conveys the message that its a Honda. The fastback roof line conveys a sporty appearance, the black accented alloy wheels reinforce the sport styling of the car. The restyled front fascia ads a touch of boldness.

The cloth interior is well crafted with attention to all the details. The digital instrument panel is refreshingly different with the center mounted tachometer. The screen in the center of the dash is the correct size, the sound system augments your level of enjoyment. The right hand side Blind Spot camera is an appreciated feature, in addition to the back up camera.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive, with a wide range of manual adjustments. Obvious that the rear seat is for occasional use only.

You can configure your own Civic here.

Its a car that pleases such a wide spectrum of buyers, and drives in a competent, assured fashion.

Our tester had a 5 speed manual transmission. You have to wonder why not a 6 speed? There is a good level of power, the shifter is smooth, the performance is middle of the road. The steering is on center, the brakes are up to the task. 

Its not a car that will encourage you to get exhuberant, but it does reassure by its middle of the road competence. 

If you are seeking a car in this segment be it a sedan or a coupe. The Civic surely appeared on your radar, or was suggested to you. Make it a point to experience the version that you are seeking.

The quick review

 

 

Wednesday
May282014

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

1.6L 4 cylinder 197 HP Ecoboost with 6 Speed Manual Transmission

Molten Orange with Charcoal / Orange Interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the Fiesta...Click

This Fiesta ST is small with a strong fun factor to make it an interesting car. In addition to having all the styling cues that augment its street presence, while setting it apart. 

The Fiesta captured our attention a few years ago, and we still think its a cool car. 

The ST version raises the coolness, and exhuberance factor to another level.

The street presence of our tester n Molten Orange is bold, forceful, unique, augmented by an authoritative exhaust sound from the dual pipes.  The ST styling accents from the black grille to the rear spoiler are subtle, distinctive, youthful. Instantly conveying the message there is something special about this car.

The Recaro seats reinforce the uniqueness of this car, they are bold, comfortable, while holding you securely in place. While raising the cool factor to the next level, and capturing the attention of the entire Strada Crew. The interior is appealing, while the materials are in line with the price segment of the car. 

The controls are intuitive, the center screen is easy to navigate, yes...automatic climate control in a small car. The sound system is good too, the rear seat is acceptable for adults considering the size of the car. The rear hatch and fold down rear seat enhance the versatility when having to carry oversize items.

You can configure your Fiesta...here.

How does it drive?

The folks at Ford sweated details that make it a pocket performance car. The car immediately communictes a sense that its purpose is to generate a hogher fun factor. Its has a good level of power considering the size of the engine. The transmission is a joy to shift up or down, the electric power steering is direct and precise, the brakes are strong.

Torque steer is almost non existant with the included Torque Vectoring Control.

Yes this car is small, nimble, and encourages exhuberant driving. The sport tuned suspension, which makes the ride a little hard is a joy in situations where you want to get a little aggressive.

This version of the Fiesta inspires a high level of confidence and competence, be it in cornering situations, highway cruising, and navigating surface streets. Its always ready to perform.

There are many choices of small performance cars, and if you are considering one, the Fiesta ST will impress you by the attention Ford applied to the details that make it a well designed and thought. Make it a point to experience the Fiesta ST for yourself...you will be impressed.

The quick review:

 

 

 

Tuesday
Mar252014

2014 Infiniti Q50

2014 Infiniti Q50 S

3.7L V6 328 HP with 7 Speed Automatic Transmission

Platinum Ice Metallic with Graphite Leather

The photo gallery/slide show of the Q50...click.

We have had memorable times with the various Infinitis we experienced. Needless to mention we were anxious to see how the new Q50 would compare. 

As expected we were pleasantly surprised.

The fastback sedan styling is discreet, refined, with flowing lines, and authoritative exhaust pipes, while clearly communicating that its an Infiniti. 

The interior is well executed, with excellent materials, and attention to detail. The front seats are supremely comfortable with the adjustable cushion lenght as a bonus.

The rear seat provides good leg room for adults, in addition to easy access.

The center of the dash with the double screens is striking by its simplicity, and intuitive use. In addtion to all the expected features, be it navigation, a superior sound system, climate control. This tester had a drive mode display with several choices...a totally cool feature.

You can configure your own Q50 here.

How does it drive? The previous G versions had a distinctive Infiniti personality, and we expected this to carry over into the Q50. 

The 3.7L V6 upholds the Infiniti growl, delivering abundant levels of power. Throttling up the Q50 is a pleasant experience appealing to the senses. 

The S version has a finely tuned suspension which is as expected a little on the stiff side. Its winter, the pavement is cold, the car has winter tires. During a few moments of better road conditions, the brilliance of the suspension, the advantage of an adjustable steering feel emerge into a Wow moment .

Infiniti calls it "Direct Adaptive Steering" (steer by wire), if you wondered for a moment why anyone would go the length of developing a steer by wire system. Driving this Q50, selecting the various driving modes which alter the steering modes...its a cool experience. Negotiating 90 degree turns with little more than the flick of the wrists is also very cool.

The lingering thought "This car must be exhuberant in on/off ramps, pity its winter".

From our perspective the Q50 upholds the tradition established by the G, and the S version of the Q50 ads an additional sporting aspect. Its truly a luxury sport sedan with a heightened fun factor.

In a busy and competitive segment with a myriad of choices from worthy manufacturers. Why should you consider a Q50?

This car has an undeniable sporting nature in its DNA, always did, and still does. If you are seeking a luxury sedan with an empahasis on sport, fun, a lively engine, great brakes, superlative steering. Make it a point to experience the Q50.

 

The quick review