Tag: turbo

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TSI Short Take Review

At just under $24,000, my 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TSI press car included most things you’d want as standard:  bluetooth connectivity, pushbutton start, a 6 speed automatic transmission, good torque, and a fun character.  There is an available 2 liter Jetta with a paltry 115hp, 4 speaker audio system, and basic features to get you by, but it’s special order and you probably won’t see it on any dealer lots, and you don’t want one.

The new 1.8 liter turbocharged direct injected engine is amazingly torquey and flexible and is just fun to drive.  It sounds good too!  The six speed automatic shifts well- it’s not a DSG box like in the GLI, but it does the job without fuss and is programmed well.  The Jetta is pretty quick, and is definitely fun to drive.  The suspension is a bit on the sporty side, but is still very comfortable over all road surfaces.  It rolls a bit in corners, but in an engaging way.

The touch screen infotainment system is extremely basic and rather low resolution, but it gets the job done without  fuss.   The stereo sounds good, and Fender premium audio is available as an upgrade should you desire even better musicality.  Materials are of good quality and feel well put together.  The VW-tex seats look great and wear like iron.  I had a similar seats in my 2001 Audi A4, and with one hundred thousand miles on them they still looked near new.  The graphic display on the instrument cluster is a bit outdated, and there’s no coolant temperature gauge which I found a bit odd.  The pushbutton start works fine, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t function to unlock the doors as well- you need to do this manually or with the buttons on the key.

Overall, the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TSI is back to being what it always was: a fun, sporty, frugal daily driver.  The 1.8t engine is so far ahead of the old 2.5 it isn’t even comparable.  Torque is always there to pull you along, efficiency is up, and the Jetta is just plain fun.  For those who want something more sporty, there is a GLI variant available with a DSG gearbox and upgrades like the GTI.  Honestly though, this is all most people will need or want.  It’s an engaging, affordable, quality car.  Good job VW.

Vehicle provided by Volkswagen of America.

2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Ecoboost Short Take Review

After the MKZ, could the next new Lincoln come close?  Think of the 2015 Lincoln MKC as the compact SUV version of the MKZ.  The 2.3 ecoboost version as tested is downright fast, and there is never a lack of passing power.  The transmission shifts smoothly and authoritatively when called upon to do so.  The suspension is sporty but not overkill, and the optional all wheel drive system provides exemplary traction on all surfaces. The steering has good weight, good feedback, and feels well matched to the vehicle.

The interior is quite nice.  Leather and soft touch materials adorn the panels, and MyLincolnTouch works as intuitively as ever.  Voice commands are easy to use, as are the physical buttons on the console, as well as the touchscreen.  The instrument cluster has it’s own small color information screen that is simple and easy to use as well.  Front seat passengers are always comfortable, with heated and cooled seats.  3 adults fit in the back seat in relative comfort, but this is still small SUV, so there is limited rear legroom, as is typical for all vehicles in this class.  Cargo space is adequate, certainly up there with the best in its class as well.

Fuel mileage is very competitive and the feature set is good on this new crossover.  Ecoboost turbocharged direct injection engines are really setting Ford apart.  The response, power, and relative fuel efficiency are pretty staggering considering how inefficient small SUVs were even a few years ago.  Should you upgrade to the 2.3 liter?  Honestly, you may not need anything more than the peppy 2.0 Ecoboost that comes standard in the 2015 Lincoln MKC.

Overall, the Lincoln MKC is a lovely little SUV that further solidifies Lincoln’s new image and reputation.  In fact, I recommended one of my good friends go look at one with his wife when he asked me about it.  “A Lincoln? Really?” he said, and I assured him he wouldn’t be disappointed.  He drove off the lot with one that day.  Keep up the good work, Lincoln.

Vehicle provided by Lincoln Motor Company.

2015 Ford Expedition

2015 Ford Expedition EL Ecoboost Platinum Ecoboost Road Test Review

I had this behemoth 2015 Ford Expedition for two weeks in Miami traffic with a wedding road trip to Key Largo thrown in.  How does the Expedition handle in congested city and open highway driving?  Is the Ecoboost 3.5 V6 a worthy replacement for the tried-and-true 5.4 Liter Triton V8?  Short answer- What a great truck.

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2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0t Short Take Review

The dreaded Sport moniker.  Some manufacturers add it to an options package, some change driving dynamics, some ruin a perfectly good car.  How does this Hyundai do?  Quite well.

First of all, this Hyundai exceeded my expectations of build quality.  It’s definitely up there with its midsize competitors, if not ahead.  The infotainment system is far snappier than previous models, and the voice command works well.  The seats are extremely comfortable and well padded, and this tester had orange piping, a nice touch.  The only knock is the steering wheel, which has a material that feels artificial to the touch, but it’s a trivial qualm.  Room for 5 and a good size trunk add up to a very capable daily drivable package.

What about the Sport part?  Well, it’s a mixed bag. The firmer shocks and springs are definitely stiffer, and while not jarring, the car can get a bit upset over large bumps and road imperfections compared to the base car.  It doesn’t seem to kill the body roll much either.  The sport mode feels strange: the steering isn’t much stiffer, and the car doesn’t really feel all that different.  The 2.0t engine is very good, but is held back by the conservative boost mapping.  Even in sport mode, the engine just doesn’t give that low end grunt that turbo engines are famous for.  While I’m sure ramping the boost on harder would give some wheelspin, I’d at least like to see a more aggressive sport mode.  All-in-all, it’s a capable package, but the lack of quick boost onset left me wanting compared to some of the manual turbo Hyundais I’ve driven.

So the price.  This car is a smidge under $30k all in, and that’s with the Sport package and a 2 liter turbo engine, orange piped seats and a nice interior, and all the bells and whistles you’d ever need including keyless start.  It also has stylish 18 inch wheels, HID headlights, LED tail lights, quad exhaust, and an amazing amount of features for the price.  I really enjoyed the Sonata Sport even with my small complaints.  I have to say, value for money is definitely the Sonata’s strong suit.  With all these features, comfortable driving dynamics, and good gas mileage, I can definitely recommend the Sonata 2.0t Sport to midsize sedan buyers looking for a quality option, but those looking for razor sharp handling and aggressive response should look elsewhere.

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport

What’s in a letter? The 2014 Cadillac CTS V-Sport Road Test

Long story short: This is the best Cadillac I’ve ever driven.  The 2014 Cadillac CTS V-Sport takes a very good sport sedan and gives it a twin turbo pick-me-up along with subtle performance upgrades to make it one of the best sport sedan values on the market.  So how is the rest of the package?

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2013 Dodge Dart

A Breath of Fresh Air: The 2013 Dodge Dart Road Test

I’ve seen the Dodge Dart commercials on TV, read positive reviews of it, but never expected this car to be as good as it is.  The Dart reviewed here is a Rallye model with the 1.4 Turbo Multiair engine and dual clutch transmission.  From the first drive, you know what this car is about:  fun.

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