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, Extended-Use Kia Soul EV

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.

Mitsubishi Outlander Reliability

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 Infiniti JX

Acceleration: Never felt underpowered to me. It was often hard to tell it was a CVT. Around-town “kickdowns” were quick.


2013 BMW X1

Below are the test drive notes of Consumer Guide Automotive Editor Don Sikora.

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.


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.

2012 Chevrolet Sonic hatchback

2012 Chevrolet Sonic hatchback

Test car came quipped with . . . two options: a turbo 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 6-speed manual transmission ($700; replaces base 1.8 non-turbo 4-cylinder and 5-speed manual) and “Inferno Orange” metallic paint ($195). Total MSRP with $760 destination = $18,190.

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.