Archive for April, 2012

Apr
26

Each year, Consumer Guide Automotive editors test drive and evaluate nearly every vehicle sold in the United States. Together, the editors rate each vehicle 1–10 in the following categories: Acceleration, Fuel Economy, Ride Quality, Steering/Handling/Braking, Quietness, Controls, Details, Room/Comfort/Driver Seating (front), Room/Comfort (rear), Cargo Room, and Value Within Class.

The editors add those numbers to produce a total rating score for each vehicle. Below are the total rating scores for all 2012 compact cars (excluding luxury cars). Click the name of the car for a detailed review of that vehicle. Or simply check out The Consumer Guide to 2012 Compact Cars.

1. Scion xB

Base MSRP: $16,300; Consumer Guide Rating: 73

2012 Scion xB

 

2. Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Base MSRP: $19,995; Consumer Guide Rating: 72

2012 Jetta SportWagen

 

3. Volkswagen Golf

Base MSRP: $17,995; Consumer Guide Rating: 71

2012 Volkswagen Golf

 

4. Ford Focus

Base MSRP: $16,500; Consumer Guide Rating: 67

2012 Ford Focus

 

4. Nissan Leaf

Base MSRP: $35,200; Consumer Guide Rating: 67

2012 Nissan Leaf

6. Mazda 3    Base MSRP: $15,200; Consumer Guide Rating: 66

6. Subaru Impreza    Base MSRP: $17,495; Consumer Guide Rating: 66

Apr
25

Typically, real-world fuel-economy numbers are lower than EPA estimates, but not when Don takes the wheel. He averaged 46.87 mpg with the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, exceeding the highway estimate by 6.87 mpg.

At Consumer Guide HQ, we all have our little areas of expertise. Ed Piotrowski is always upgrading his electronic gadgets, and he understands better than anybody on the staff the good and bad qualities in every car’s connectivity options. I bet Ed even knows what Pandora is. Jack Stewart knows Jaguars. Rick Cotta can recall which cars have good outward visibility like nobody in the business. What’s my claim to fame? Somehow, it has ended up being fuel economy. I’m almost always the office gas-mileage champ.

Apr
25

Scion FR-S drifting in a skid

Scion’s professional drift racer, Ken Gushi, was on hand during the Scion FR-S press preview to show us the capabilities of the company’s new rear-wheel-drive performance car. As part of the program, journalists were put in the passenger seat for a lesson in drifting as Gushi gracefully flung the car around a wet skidpad. I gotta tell you, Ken makes it look easy. Under his care, the FR-S carved wide arcs and made smooth transitions from one opposite-lock drift to the next as if it were grasped by the hand of God. During his slides, he made constant minor adjustments to the steering, accelerator, and brakes to keep the car on its magical sideways trajectory.

Apr
25

New cars don’t just seem expensive, for many consumers, they’re out of reach.

Most people don’t know that there is a unifying intersection in the metric system. Not by accident, one cubic centimeter of water weighs one gram. That’s probably mineral-free distilled water, but you get the point—there’s a connection between how we measure lines and how we measure mass.

Apr
25
Jeep Patriot

Few cars can beat the audio- and climate-control placement and simplicity of the Jeep Patriot.

Before roof pillars got thicker, thus escalating “visibility” to my No. 1 pet peeve, control layouts headed my list of automotive annoyances.

Apr
24
2012 Ford F-150, Best 2012 Large Pickup Trucks

2012 Ford F-150

Consumer Guide Automotive presents its Best Buy and Recommended Awards to five 2012 Large Pickup Trucks. Best Buys represent the best balance of attributes and price within the large-pickup class. Also be sure to check out our 2012 Best Buy and Recommended selections for the 17 other vehicle classes.

Apr
24
Nobel Peace Laureates

F. W. de Klerk, the former president of the Republic of South Africa and a 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner, arrived in a Chrysler 300 at the 2012 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Chicago.

Carmakers are no strangers to event sponsorships. Most luxury makers have reached out to golf enthusiasts by working with the PGA and LPGA, and Kia has rather famously embraced the NBA. Looking outside the box, some makers latch on to more peripheral activities. For 2012, Mini became the official sponsor of Table Tennis Canada (TTCAN).

Apr
24

Ferrari F12berlinetta

Once again, Ferrari has outdone itself. Thanks to lighter materials and more power, the all-new 2014 F12 will be the fastest production Ferrari ever, with a claimed 0-62 mph time of 3.1 seconds! Chris Poole files a full report on the 2014 Ferrari F12.

Apr
24

Each year, Consumer Guide Automotive editors test drive and evaluate nearly every vehicle sold in the United States. Together, the editors rate each vehicle 1–10 in the following categories: Acceleration, Fuel Economy, Ride Quality, Steering/Handling/Braking, Quietness, Controls, Details, Room/Comfort/Driver Seating (front), Room/Comfort (rear), Cargo Room, and Value Within Class.

The editors add those numbers to produce a total rating score for each vehicle. Below are the total rating scores for 2012 midsize cars. Click the name of the car for a detailed review of that vehicle. Or simply check out The Consumer Guide to 2012 Midsize Cars.

1. Mazda 5

Base MSRP: $19,195; Consumer Guide Rating: 74

2012 Mazda 5

 

2. Hyundai Sonata

Base MSRP: $19,795; Consumer Guide Rating: 73

2012 Hyundai Sonata

 

2. Subaru Outback

Base MSRP: $23,295; Consumer Guide Rating: 73

2012 Subaru Outback

 

4. Kia Optima

Base MSRP: $19,500; Consumer Guide Rating: 72

2012 Kia Optima

 

5. Nissan Altima    Base MSRP: $20,410; Consumer Guide Rating: 71

5. Toyota Camry    Base MSRP: $21,955; Consumer Guide Rating: 71

5. Toyota Prius v    Base MSRP: $26,400; Consumer Guide Rating: 71

Apr
23

The concept of picturing the Optima’s exterior on its dash reminds Chris of “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Shown here is a still from the 1945 film.

I recently tested three versions of the 2012 Kia Optima, and I noticed in each one that the vehicle-information display, between the speedometer and tachometer, contains a little picture of the car. The image is always displayed and, curiously, varies with model: a profile view in one, a rear-three-quarter angle in another, a front aspect in the third.

At first I wondered what Kia was doing here, as these are still images that seem to serve only as space-fillers. Then the thought occurred to me that they might have a faintly insidious purpose akin to the theme of the Oscar Wilde novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, only in reverse. Consider that the actual car inevitably ages, becoming dingy and dinged, but the picture stays the same, always there to remind you of the vehicle in its original pristine condition. Perhaps Kia hopes that the ravages of time will generate feelings of discontent and embarrassment that will eventually drive the owner to trade his/her old ride for a brand-new Optima, which by then will probably be a brand-new design.

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