Sunday, October 23, 2016

2017 Kia Cadenza

Upscale Comfort and Style!

By Charles Donaldson

Comfort, style and performance are the makings of what so many of us want in a sedan. We are not looking for a car that looks like the vehicle next door; ,instead, a car that makes the neighbors’ fill with envy. There are many options in the mid-size sedan class; yet, in the large car category, there is only a handful. One make and model that is rising up on the charts is the 2017 Kia Cadenza.

Kia created the Cadenza for their customers who longed for a vehicle that was slightly larger than their very successful mid-size Optima model. The Cadenza was originally launched in 2010 and remodeled in 2016. With the redesign, the Cadenza has grown both in wheelbase and width which results in a roomier cabin.

For 2017, the Cadenza is available in three flavors: Premium, Technology, and SXL. Underneath the hood is a revised version of Kia’s 3.3-liter V6 engine, which has been retuned for improved fuel economy.  With an estimated 290 hp on tap (about three horses less than last year), the engine sends power to the front wheels via Kia’s first FWD-based 8-speed automatic transmission.

The newly-developed transmission which is highly efficient, makes up for the few clicks down in horsepower, and provides quick and crisp shifts for a more enjoyable driving experience.  Despite having two extra cogs, the 8-speed transmission, which was designed in-house, is lighter than the unit in the outgoing model.

The styling of the 2017 Cadenza really stands out from its rivals with a single contour line that runs the full length of the car helping to create a couple-like profile. The updated design incorporates Kia’s trademark quad-LED setup with the lower front grille. A walk-around of the vehicles has you taking notice of the sharp attention to style presented in all forms of lights from the headlights to the taillights.

The interior is crafted for luxury with high quality materials and packaged with high-tech features.  Soft-touch interior surfaces, real stitching available (Nappa leather with quilted seat bolsters accented by diamond-shaped stitching) dresses up the Cadenza’s already- attractive cabin. The driver’s seat has been lowered for a sportier and more stable feeling, while engineers extended the seat cushion slightly and developed an innovative cushion extension mechanism that slides and rotates, making it easier for drivers to find their comfort zone behind the wheel.  The heating elements used for the seat warmers have been reengineered to more evenly distribute warmth, and as a Kia first, the seat heaters now utilize a smart control system to automatically lower the heater-operating mode after a certain period of time.

Cool Features:

·         Heads Up Display which shows key driver information such as speed and turn-by-turn navigation directions on the windshield directly in the driver’s line of sight
·         Surround View that gives the driver a clearer birds-eye view of the area around the vehicle
·         Smart Trunk, which conveniently opens the trunk lid if the sensor detects the key fob for more than three seconds
·         Wireless smartphone charger
·         Available Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™

Safety on the 2017 Kia Cadenza is built upon a strong foundation with a body structure composed of more than 50 percent Advanced High Strength Steel. Cutting-edge driver assistance features include an Advanced Smart Cruise Control with stop-and-go functionality, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning.  Another Kia first is the Smart Blind Spot Detection System which senses unintentional drifting toward an adjacent vehicle and automatically brakes the opposite side front wheel to help maintain the vehicle’s intended course.

In Summary – The 2017 Kia Cadenza blends the features of a sports sedan with the comfort of a luxury sedan. It carries on the beautiful styling of its little brother, the Optima, while adding technology features found in much more expensive vehicles. It is comfortable, handles well, and delivers the performance you need to propel a large vehicle. Kia has paid attention to what buyers want in styling, features and reliability. It is definitely worth placing the Cadenza on your list of purchases to make.


2017 Kia Cadenza SXL

Base price:                  Expected range:
Engine:                        3.3 Liter V6-cylinder DOHC
Horsepower:               290 @ 6,400 RPM
Torque:                       253 @ 5,200 RPM
Transmission:             8-Speed automatic
Drive:                          FWD Drive
Seating:                       5-passenger
Turning circle:            37.2 feet
Cargo space:               16 cubic feet
Curb weight:               3633 pounds
Fuel capacity:              18.5 gallons      
EPA mileage:              City 20/Hwy 28
Wheel Base:                112.4 inches
Warranty:                    10 years/100,000-miles powertrain limited
Also consider:             Buick La Cross, BMW 5 Series, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, and Toyota Avalon

Thursday, September 1, 2016

2016 Honda Civic Coupe

A Civic’s Lesson

By Charles Donaldson

I’m not completely sure if the driving force for me to trade my 2-door in for a 4-door was when my daughter, Cayla, had gotten older and began toting her friends around, or if was the daily back-breaking habit of moving the car seat in and out via maneuvering the it through the tight crevasse leading to the back seat! Either way, my 15 years of owning only coupes and convertibles took a hike. The truth is - I did not know how much I missed the sportiness of a coupe until I slipped behind the wheel of the 2016 Honda Civic Touring.

Even though this article focuses on the Coupe model, I should mention that the 2016 Honda Civic comes in both 2 and 4 doors both with LX, EX and Touring trims.

Now in its 10th generation, the 2016 Honda Civic is a ground-up revision of the 9th generation, and according to Honda, it’s their most comprehensive and ambitious new-model development ever undertaken.  

The development of the Civic Coupe and Sedan was led by Honda’s North American team; a first for Honda. The Civic is a major part of Honda’s legacy and the first car for  so many kids and young adults. Luckily, the Civic has grown-up in both features and size compared to the original cute tiny box on wheels.

Virtually everything about the 2016 Civic Coupe is new – an all-new vehicle architecture, sporty and sophisticated new interior and exterior styling, a more spacious and high-quality cabin, two advanced new engines, and a host of new premium features and technologies.

Further, with the addition of Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technologies on the Touring trim and the first application of Honda turbo engine technology applied to Civic on the EX-T and above trims, the 2016 Civic Coupe offers buyers a wider range of options than ever before. Civic models powered by the new 2.0-liter i-VTEC™ engine are designated as the Civic LX and LX-P trims. Civic models powered by the new turbocharged 1.5-liter engine are designated as the EX-T, EX-L (with leather-trimmed interior) and new line-topping Civic Touring, which reaches higher into the upper end of the compact car market than ever before.

Class-leading EPA fuel economy ratings of 31/41/35 mpg (city/highway/combined) for models with a zippy 1.5-liter turbo mated to a CVT and 30/41/34 mpg for models with the 2.0-liter engine tagged with the CVT and 26/38/31mpg for the LX with the 2.0-liter engine and manual transmission. Not bad at all!

Sporty can truly describe the coupe with its swoop-like  sheet metal. The roof has been lowered approximately an inch, while the shoulder line below the rear windows rises up a few inches. The tail and rear overhang have been tucked in another 5 inches. Since the Coupe and Sedan share a wheelbase, the Coupe's shadow becomes more aggressive, with the wheels pushed out to the ends of the car, sports-car style.

The interior feels upscale with techy features throughout. The seats are comfortable and the seating position is low. It has gained more rear legroom now totaling 37.4-inches and the trunk space is 11.9 cubic feet (Coupe). The dash lights up like a video game and the controls are fairly easy to operate. There is no radio volume knob, however, instead, a touch-slide bar. I preferred the old fashion knob for ease of use.

The handling of the 2016 Civic Coupe was very sporty and confident, thanks in part, to the new multi-link independent rear suspension and larger stabilizer bars with bonded bushings for a more refined body control. The Civic Coupe is agile thanks in part to the assist brake torque vectoring for cornering precision and stability. A dual-pinion electric power steering with variable gear ratio helps improved steering feel and maneuverability delivering a fun-to-drive experience.

Cool Features:

·         Push Button Start
·         The Honda LaneWatch feature, which uses a camera on the right-side mirror to put a picture of your right-hand blind spot on the display screen whenever the right turn signal is activated
·         Available Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™

Safety on the 2016 Honda Civic features the Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technologies, next-generation ACE™ body structure, new crash stroke front frame design, and ultra-rigid high-strength steel floor for enhanced collision performance. Ranked highest-available collision performance safety ratings – a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score in the NHTSA's NCAP, a TOP SAFETY PICK from the IIHS for the LX through EX-L trims and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ from the IIHAS for the Touring trim. Airbags include dual-stage front airbags, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags with rollover sensor.

In Summary – The 2016 Honda Civic Coupe is a blast to drive. Honda set out to prove it could still build a conventional compact vehicle that leaves its competition in its shadow. The touring is loaded with high-tech features, performance and handling, and a beautiful, sporty interior and exterior that is fun to drive. The passenger side seat button creates the easier loading of both children and car seats in the back too!


2016 Honda Civic 1.5T Touring Coupe

Base price:                  $26,125 as driven: $26,960 (including destination & optional
Engine:                        1.5-liter Turbocharged DOHC 4-cylinder
Horsepower:               174 @ 6,000 RPM
Torque:                       162 @ 5,500 RPM
Transmission:             CVT automatic
Drive:                          FWD Drive
Seating:                       5-passenger
Turning circle:            35.7 feet
Cargo space:               11.9 cubic feet
Curb weight:               2888 pounds
Fuel capacity:              12.4 gallons      
EPA mileage:              City 30/Hwy 41
Wheel Base:                106.3 inches
Warranty:                    3 years/36,000-miles powertrain limited
Also consider:             Kia Forte Koup, Scion tC, Mini Hardtop 2 Door, and the Fiat 500

Monday, August 1, 2016

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage

Under 20K for the Under 20 Crowd!

By Charles Donaldson

Are you looking for a financially-affordable car for the newest driving member of your family or just a very fuel-efficient commuter vehicle? Well, there are a few options to choose from in the sub-compact car category; however, which one holds the claim as the most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid gasoline-powered vehicle available in America? That would be the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage!

The Mirage is the smallest car in the Mitsubishi stable. It was refreshed for the 2017 model year which may be why they decided not to produce a 2016 model. It hasn’t been hot on the buyer’s list when searching for a sub-compact car with sales dropping for the past couple of years. I’m sure one of the goals of the redesigned 5-door Mirage was to help re-spark interest in this little hatchback.

The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage is available in three trim levels: ES ($13,830), SE ($15,630) and GT ($17,330). Prices include a destination fee of $835. The U.S. version of the Mirage is built in Thailand.

Power comes in the form of a 3-cylinder, 1.2-liter motor with only 78 horsepower. The fuel economy isn’t bad at all with 37 City and 43 Highway. It’s not a rocketship at 78 horsepower and there definitely isn’t a warp drive; however, on flat roads it doesn’t get in its own way. The ES and SE come standard with a 5-speed manual transmission and an optional CVT automatic transmission that is also standard on the GT.

Mitsubishi claims to have made significant improvements to the handling and it does have a great turning ratio. I did experience wind noise and if you don’t give the doors a decent push, they will not close tightly.  

The Mirage is one of the smallest five-door hatchbacks sold in the United States; yet, it is longer than a Fiat 500. The styling is smooth and cute. New changes for the 2017 model year include new front and rear bumpers and lower-body treatments, different headlights, fog lamps, a new grille, new 14 and 15-inch wheels and a new spoiler.

The interior is simple and clean with offerings that include air conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry, steel wheels and a four-speaker 140-watt sound system. Bluetooth compatibility is an option on the ES. T In addition, a new available 300-watt Rockford-Fosgate™ audio system with EcoPunch™ is available with Smartphone Link Display Audio, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ the first Mitsubishi model to feature this popular infotainment system in the States.

Some new features for 2017 include new front and rear seat materials, 4-way adjustable driver’s and front passenger seat, keyless entry with panic feature, new front fascia with chrome upper/lower grille, New hood design, LED tail lamps, Rear spoiler, Color-keyed front and rear bumpers, folding side-view mirrors, door handles and tailgate handle, New 14-inch alloy wheel design; 15-inch alloy wheels (SE/GT), HID automatic on/off headlights (SE/GT), and Beveled fog lamps (SE/GT).

Room for improvement:

·         The dash and door pieces are hard plastic
·         The rear camera image is a bit fuzzy

Cool Features:

·         Push Button Start
·         Available Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™

Safety on the 2017 Mirage have improved from previous poor ratings to mostly good ratings by the Institute for Highway Safety. The Mirage's safety features include seven airbags—driver and passenger front and side bags, side-curtain bags over the front and rear windows, plus a knee airbag for the driver. For an inexpensive vehicle, the Mirage still includes stability control, traction control, and all of the typical anti-lock braking systems.

In Summary – The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage is a decent vehicle for getting around town without putting much of a dent in the gas tank. Mitsubishi has truly improved the looks and style of the vehicle as it continues to move in the right direction. Let’s not forget that you get a fair amount of features for nearly under $14,000.


2016 Mitsubishi Mirage GT

Base price:                  $16,495 as driven: $17,330 (including destination & optional
Engine:                        1.2-liter MIVEC DOHC 3-cylinder
Horsepower:               78 @ 6,000 RPM
Torque:                       74 @ 4,000 RPM
Transmission:             5-speed CVT automatic
Drive:                          FWD Drive
Seating:                       5-passenger
Turning circle:            30.2 feet
Cargo space:               17.2 cubic feet
Curb weight:               2117 pounds
Fuel capacity:              9.2 gallons        
EPA mileage:              City 37/Hwy 43
Wheel Base:                96.5 inches
Warranty:                    5 years/30,000 miles powertrain limited
Also consider:             Chevrolet Spark, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Toyota

Friday, July 1, 2016

2016 Acura RDX

A Responsive Crossover!

By Charles Donaldson

Lately, my weekly test vehicles have been a string of good looking and well-performing crossover SUV’s. The popularity of the Crossover is attributed to their high seating which creates a better birds-eye view, plus the storage flexibility and overall seating convenience. The crossovers come in all sizes and shapes and are available from nearly every manufacturer. Needless to say, the competition has become fierce and the car companies are doing everything they can to get interested parties into their dealerships to showcase their offerings. Today’s article features the luxury compact submission from Acura – the 2016 RDX.

 The RDX entered the field as the 2013 model year and receives an update for 2016 that involves a new V-6 motor and subtle styling improvements. The front and rear fascias have been reshaped and the back also moves to LED tail lights. The headlamps transition to a level of luxury with a string of five LED lights strung like a row of immense diamonds on a bracelet. The upside down pentagon-shaped center grille creates a look of movement even standing still. The fender arches are pronounced with flattened half circles that surround the 18-inch wheels.

The 2016 Acura RDX is available as one trim level in both Front-wheel drive and All-wheel drive along with three packages: AcuraWatch Plus ($1300), Technology ($3,700), and Advance ($6,650). The standard FWD base model has an MSRP of $36,310, while the AWD advances to $37,810. You can order the AcuraWatch Plus and the Technology packages together if your wallet will allow! The AWD with intelligent control, as termed by Acura, has been retuned for 2016 sending more power to the rear wheels under acceleration for improved stability.

The cabin is comfortable and designed with a rich feel for both the eyes and touch. The left and right sides of the dash are arched like a bird’s wings with the center representing the body housing one large screen for the entertainment center and one for the operational controls. The front seats conform to eight-way adjustability, while the rear seats are snug and more suitable for smaller people. Don’t forget, the RDX is a compact crossover.

The rear cargo compartment delivers 26.1 cubic feet with the rear seat up. Levers on both sides of the rear cargo compartment allow for easy flattening of the 60/40 split-second row seats to expand the rear storage area to 61.3 cubic feet. Four tie-downs placed at each corner allow you to securely anchor your contents in place. A large speaker provides great sound for those fun tailgate parties.

Power is generated from a 3.5-liter V-6 that generates 279 horsepower at 6,200 rpms and 252 foot pounds of torque at 4,900 rpms. The 3.5-L produces plenty of muscle both off the line and on the freeway. To improve fuel economy, three of the six cylinders smoothly deactivate under lighter loads without the drive ever knowing of the transition. The fuel economy ratings are 20/city and 29/highway for the FWD and 19/18 for the AWD. The V-6 is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential SportShift paddle shifters just in case you feel sporty.

Cool Features:

·         Cylinder Deactivation
·         Rear Cross Traffic Monitor
·         Multi-View Rear Camera
·         Acura Navigation System with 3D View

Standard safety features on the 2016 Acura RDX include multi-view rear camera with guidelines, advanced compatibility engineering body structure, dual-stage multiple-threshold front airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, vehicle stability Assist™ with traction control and motion adaptive steering, ABS brakes and hill start assist. Optional safety items available with certain package levels are a forward collision-warning system, collision mitigation braking system™, lane departure warning, blind spot information system, and rear cross-traffic monitor system.

In Summary – The 2016 Acura RDX is a well-styled compact luxury crossover vehicle that is great for an individual, couple or starter family. The RDX delivers decent power and is available with many high-tech features we have come to expect from Acura. The ride is smooth and the handling is confident. If you find yourself in the market for a compact luxury crossover, then the RDX is worth a test drive and your consideration.


2016 Acura RDX AWD Advanced

Base price:                  $43,420 as driven: $44,340 (including destination & optional
Engine:                        3.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC 6-cylinder
Horsepower:               279 @ 6,200 RPM
Torque:                       252 @ 4,900 RPM
Transmission:             6-speed automatic
Drive:                          AWD Drive
Seating:                       5-passenger
Turning circle:            38.9 feet
Cargo space:               26.1 cubic feet
Curb weight:               3,774 pounds
Fuel capacity:              16 gallons         
EPA mileage:              City 19/Hwy 28
Wheel Base:                105.7 inches
Warranty:                    4 years/50,000 miles powertrain limited
Also consider:             Audi Q5, BMW X3, Buick Envision, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti QX
                                    50, Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Volvo XC60

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

2016 Mazda CX-5

Athletic and Bold!

By Charles Donaldson

I was talking yesterday with a young lady in her late 20’s and the next vehicle on her shopping list needed to be an SUV or Crossover. She wanted to be free to take off camping or on a road trip with confidence knowing she could handle most terrains. Women, and quite honestly, I do as well; enjoy the extra seating height that you get with SUV’s and Crossovers. That said; let’s not forget the extra versatility and cargo capacity. One excellent choice in this very competitive market is the 2016 Mazda CX-5.

The Mazda CX-5 is heading into its fourth year and for 2016, this Mazda has been slightly updated with styling improvements and touches of refinement. Some of the changes for 2016 include a new grille, new 19” alloy wheel design on the Grand Touring trim, electronic parking brake replaces hand brake, and Bluetooth hands-free phone and Audio on Sport model. The mid-size crossover segment is crowded with fellow class mates including the Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4.

For 2016, the Mazda CX-5 is featured in three trim levels: Sport ($22,083), Touring ($25,400), and Grand Touring ($28,316). The Sport is now equipped with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5L engine that replaces the 2.0L on the Sport automatic transmission FWD model, where the manual transmission models keep the 2.0L. All other models come with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5L engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. All trim levels come standard with Front Wheel Drive and are available in All Wheel Drive. Only the Sport trim is available with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Mazda is known for taking the sporty design elements of its sedans and incorporating them into their crossover vehicles. The CX-5 is no exception with its bold lines and athletic stance, big wheel arches, and a rising window line. The roofline runs similar to the recently unveiled CX-3 model – raised at the front as it melts into the rear hatch.

The interior is layered in soft-touch surfaces and premium materials that adorn the cabin. Cloth upholstery is standard; however, real leather is an available option. My test model was the Grand Touring in two-tone white and black with luxury seats. Other manufacturers have a tendency to overload a vehicle with low-end materials like replica- wood trim. The CX-5 does not follow this trend which helps contribute to its upscale interior. Mazda upgraded the CX-5’s info-tainment system for 2016, which includes a new 7-inch touch screen.

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 seats four adults and one child comfortably. In the back seat, the middle bench is best reserved for smaller individuals. A child might fit best here. Behind the rear seats, the CX-5 can hold up to 34.1 cubic feet of cargo and with the rear seats folded, the capacity increases to 64.8 cubic feet.

The CX-5 engages the road as it controls winding roads with precise steering and good feedback. The ride is comfortable; however, I would give higher marks to its competitor, the Chevrolet Equinox.

Cool Features:

·         Bose® AM/FM/CD/SAT radio
·         Rear Cross Traffic Alert
·         Push Button Start

Safety on the 2016 Mazda CX-5 has very good ratings earning the best possible grade of Good in all five crash tests of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, and forward collision warning with low-speed automatic braking are available in both CX-5 models.

In Summary – The 2016 Mazda CX-5 is a great crossover for the money. Many of its competitors come with more features, but at a higher price. The reworking of this Mazda   for 2016 helps to elevate the CX-5. It is worth taking a test drive and having a little fun while you’re at it.    


2016 Mazda CX-5 Touring FWD

Base price:                  $28,220 as driven: $32,660 (including destination & optional
Engine:                        2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G 4-cylinder
Horsepower:               155 @ 6,000 RPM
Torque:                       150 @ 4,000 RPM
Transmission:             6-speed automatic
Drive:                          FWD Drive
Seating:                       5-passenger
Turning circle:            36.7 feet
Cargo space:               34.1 cubic feet
Curb weight:               3,212 pounds
Fuel capacity:              14.8 gallons      
EPA mileage:              City 26/Hwy 33
Wheel Base:                106.3 inches
Warranty:                    6 years/60,000 miles powertrain limited
Also consider:             Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue,
                                    Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4

Sunday, May 1, 2016

2016 Honda Pilot

Honda Takes Flight!

By Charles Donaldson

It seems that every automotive manufacturer assumes that when they redesign a vehicle, it has to grow in character and size. Some versions, however, end up lacking in character. In most cases, their footprint gets closer to the mammoth Big Foot, or, at least, sprouts enough so that he feels a little less cramped in the back seat! This month’s featured vehicle is the all-new, redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot, emerging with elevated character and a growth spurt.

In 2009, Honda reskinned the Pilot with a thicker and more squared-off body. This ended up being a misstep in styling as other manufacturers were edging into a softer-smoother curvy body sculpturing. Seven years later, we have a rebirth of the Pilot. In 2016, we are introduced to new sheet metal that carries softer corners resembling an overgrown Honda CRV. When the Pilot was delivered to my home, I had to take a second look, as it looks so impressive and formidable.

The 2016 Honda Pilot is a three-row crossover SUV that comes in three trim levels. It enters with the LX front-wheel drive for $31,045. It follows up with the FWD EX starting at $34,480, then as a FWD-Touring 9-speed automatic transmission for $42,070 and finishes up the top of the line, All-Wheel Drive Elite with navigation for $47,470. The LX, EX and Touring are also available in All-Wheel Drive.

Power for all models come in the form of a 280 horsepower V6 347-cc engine. The EX and LX models mate the V6 to a 6-speed automatic transmission, where the Touring and Elite are teamed with an unheard of 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The LX and EX FWD generates 19 City and 27 Highway miles per gallon. Decrease that by one mile each for the AWD versions. The Touring FWD (20/27) and AWD (19/26) and AWD Elite spits out 19 City and 26 Highway MPG.

The new Honda Pilot is longer in length, narrower and lower than its previous generation, and is also 300 pounds lighter. As noted earlier, the newly-styled Pilot has lost its hard lines and replaced them with elements of well-balanced curves. The low front-end and horizontal grille mesh well and begin the flow.

The eight-passenger interior is very well-finished and appointed with attention to detail. You can see and feel the influences of the Honda Accord and CR-V. New soft-touch points have elevated the interior to a near-luxury level. The front seats are comfortable and carved with better bolsters and more support. The driver seating position is not too high while delivering raised visibility, and the step-in is relatively low for a Crossover.

The second and third row seats fold down easily and support adult bodies with ease. The large panoramic sunroof creates an open and airy feel allowing in a great deal of light inside. Cabin space is plentiful with 18.5 cubic feet with seats up, or 56 cubic feet with the third row folded down. Need more space? When you drop the second row seat down, you will increase your cargo capacity to a total of 109-cubic feet.

Cool Features:

·         Panoramic Sunroof
·         Rear Entertainment System complete with Blu-ray player and HDMI input
·         Paddle Shifters
·         Push Button Start
·         Remote Engine Start

Safety on the 2016 Honda Pilot begins with many standard safety features, including:  side curtain airbags, even for third row seating, front seat-mounted side airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist, ABS Brakes, Electronic Brake Distribution, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, LED daytime running lights, rear camera, Road Departure Mitigation System, Forward Collision Warning, and Lane Departure Warning. Note some of these items are available as an option.

In Summary – Honda has upped the value-benefit proposal on the new 2016 Honda Pilot with its new interior and exterior styling, high tech features, smooth ride and safety features. If you are looking for a vehicle with plenty of storage and cargo area, you will not find many other vehicles that exceed the Pilot. This notable vehicle offers confident power and steering, while the 3.5-liter V6 surprises you with great MPG. 


2016 Honda Pilot AWD Elite

Base price:                  $46,420 as driven: $47,300 (including destination & optional
Engine:                        3.5-liter I-VTEC SOHC 24-valve V6
Horsepower:               280 @ 6,000 RPM
Torque:                       262 @ 4,700 RPM
Transmission:             9-speed automatic
Drive:                          AWD Drive
Seating:                       8-passenger
Turning circle:            39.4 feet
Cargo space:               16 cubic feet
Curb weight:               4,317 pounds
Fuel capacity:              19.5 gallons      
EPA mileage:              City 19/Hwy 26
Wheel Base:                111 inches
Warranty:                    3 years/36,000 miles powertrain limited
Also consider:             Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan
                                    Pathfinder, and Toyota Highlander

Friday, April 1, 2016

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

The Outlandish Advantage! 

By Charles Donaldson

Lately, I have had a run of crossovers as my test vehicles, all with a variety of options and prices. Some of the more expensive vehicles would be dressed in the fine linens as you would expect. Occasionally, you will find a vehicle dressed for the red carpet; however, available on an import-beer budget. This describes the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander.

The 2016 Outlander totally changed my impression of Mitsubishi. For 2016, the Outlander has really upped their game in technology features in value, presentation, styling, and performance. It was designed for the family value-oriented customer.

Style changes for 2016 could add up to a mid-cycle upgrade including the addition of Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield front-end design styling. The new front styling continues the character flair to the backend with complementary changes throughout. The result is a clean set of sheet metal.

The 2016 Mitsubishi comes in the following trim levels: ES ($23,890), SE ($24,890),  SEL ($25,890), and GT ($31,890). The SE and SEL have optional Four-wheel drive ($2000), while the GT comes standard with Four-wheel drive. All models except for the GT come with a 166 horsepower 2.4-liter engine and an automatic CTV transmission. The GT is packaged with a 224 horsepower 3.0-liter V6 and 6-speed Sportronics automatic transmission.

I was impressed by the clean interior with very comfortable seats and that the Outlander could accommodate a group of seven. If you have fewer people, and more stuff to transport, the rear seat folds flat and over double cargo space. All three rows of seats come with headrests to improve safety. There were plenty of cup holders and storage areas throughout.

My test model was the GT and it included satellite radio and a backup camera, which are all standard. The only option we had was the GT Touring package which comprised of many safety features, such as the navigation system, forward collision mitigation system, Adaptive cruise control and a lane departure warning system.

Cool Features:

  • Forward Collision Mitigation System (optional feature)
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Paddle Shifters
Safety on the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander begins with the standard package including many safety features. These features include: rear camera, anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, active stability control, traction control, side curtain airbags, and front seat mounted side airbags.

In Summary –Mitsubishi is striving to improve its image both in design and quality and become buyer-relevant. Mitsubishi’s hope is that the 2016 Outlander with its major mid-cycle refresh, feature offerings and attractive pricing, will generate enough buzz to deliver the value and benefit message, which in turn, will motivate buyers to add it to their list of choices.


2016 Mitsubishi Outlander GT

Base price:                  $30,995 as driven: $35,195 (including destination & optional
Engine:                        3.0-liter MIVEC SOHC 24-valve 6-cylinder
Horsepower:               224 @ 6,250 RPM
Torque:                       215 @ 3,750 RPM
Transmission:             6-speed automatic
Drive:                          AWD Drive
Seating:                       7-passenger
Turning circle:            34.8 feet
Cargo space:               10.3 cubic feet
Curb weight:               3,593 pounds
Fuel capacity:              15.8 gallons      
EPA mileage:              City 20/Hwy 27
Wheel Base:                105.1 inches
Warranty:                    5 years/60,000 miles powertrain limited
Also consider:             Honda CRV, Jeep Cherokee, Dodge Journey, Hyundai Santa Fe,
                                    and Subaru Outback