Posts from ‘Test Drive Notebooks’

2017 Volvo S90 pics
2017 Volvo S90 in Mussel Blue Metallic ($660 option)

2017 Volvo S90 T6 Inscription AWD  2017 Kia Forte S

Class: Premium Midsize Car

Miles driven: 748

Fuel used: 31.5 gallons

Driving mix: 50% city, 50% highway

2015 Kia Soul EV, Kia Soul EV in Summer

2015 Kia Soul EV

We’re now about three months into our long-term test of the Kia Soul EV, and right in the middle of some seriously sweltering summer temperatures. As we mentioned in our previous update, the hot, humid weather hasn’t hurt our driving range quite as much as we were expecting. Here’s an update on the Kia Soul EV in Summer.

Kia Soul EV

After a full battery charge, the range estimate for the Soul EV was listed as 103 miles with the A/C off …

Kia Soul EV

… but that dropped to 95 miles after turning the A/C on. Note that the car’s EPA-estimated range is 93 miles.








With warmer weather comes more air-conditioning use. And since the Kia Soul EV’s air conditioning is electric (as opposed to a conventional gas car, which uses an engine-driven compressor pump) and thus is powered by the same battery that the motor uses to propel the car, hitting the A/C button reduces the overall driving range.

2015 Kia Soul EV, front

Our extended-use 2015 Kia Soul EV lists for $36,625 including floor mats ($125) and destination ($800); various federal and state incentives can bring that down considerably. EPA range estimate is 93 miles on a charge.

According to a recent report from the Consumer Federation of America, 54 percent of Americans surveyed had a positive view of electric vehicles (EVs), and nearly a third said they would consider buying one as their next car. Yet electric vehicles currently make up only about one percent of overall sales.


The Outlander’s all-wheel-drive system has gotten a lot of use — and praise — during our snowy Chicago winter.

Although we’ve had our long-term Mitsubishi Outlander for more than six months now, it wasn’t until I looked up some information on Mitsubishi’s website last week that I noticed this nearly invisible stunner: For 2014, most Mitsubishi vehicles – including our Outlander – are covered by one of the industry’s best warranties. For all practical purposes, it matches the famed – and widely publicized — 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and non-transferrable (original buyer only) 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty of Hyundai and Kia.


2013 BMW X1

Below are the test drive notes of Consumer Guide Automotive Editor Don Sikora. Also check out Consumer Guide Automotive’s complete review of the 2013 BMW X1.

Acceleration: X1 is rather quick from a stop, but ECO PRO really dulls the throttle dramatically. Stop-start system seems slightly better than in the new 3-Series, but that doesn’t mean it is seamless.

Fuel Economy: 27.93 mpg over 125 miles on premium. Rick Cotta drove approximately 20 miles of city, and I drove approximately 105 miles of nearly all highway.

Ride Quality: Mixed bag for this M Sport with sport suspension and 18-inch tires. It’s pretty comfortable most of the time, but at highway speed the car goes over some bumps rather than really absorbing them. It’s not really harsh, but it isn’t cushy either. Worst condition was on rippled concrete section of Edens Spur before tollbooth. There the X1 rocked front-to-back with more vertical motion than I’d like. Kinda like a 1-Series or a Fiat 500 Abarth.

Steering/Handling/Braking: Nice feel and seems reasonably sporty.

Quietness: Maybe a 7 [out of 10]? Seemed reasonably quiet on the highway for the little time I drove it when it wasn’t raining hard.


2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

Below are the test drive notes of Consumer Guide Automotive Editor Ed Piotrowski. Also check out Consumer Guide Automotive’s complete review of the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek.

Acceleration: Fairly modest, all things considered. Engine needs fairly high revs to produce power beyond adequate. CVT has an issue: It won’t immediately shift out of reverse and into drive.

Fuel Economy: An excellent 27.99 mpg over 231 miles, 65% highway.

Ride: A 6-minus, 5-plus [out of 10] in my estimation. Probably a combination of the tires and body structure makes the Crosstrek not feel as solid as it should be. Not as bad as an Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, but nowhere near as slick as a Mazda CX-5.

Steering/Handling: Steering is a bit heavy at low speeds, but has great road feel once you’re moving. Solid grip and little body lean make this a capable handler.

Quietness: The engine has that unique boxer sound, and you hear just about all of it when accelerating. The CVT doesn’t help here. Not much road or wind noise, though.

2012 Ford F-150 XLT, F-150 Reliability

2012 Ford F-150 XLT

If you’re among the half-million Americans who will purchase a Ford F-150 this year, you will have to decide on an engine. You could go with the more traditional powerplant options: 302-hp 3.7-liter V6, 360-hp 5.0-liter V8, or 411-hp 6.2-liter V8. Or you could go for the “wildcard”—the new EcoBoost 365-hp 3.5-liter turbocharged V6. In 2011, some 40 percent of F-150 buyers chose this new creation.

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