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September 2012

September 07, 2012

2012 Hyundai Veracruz Road Test Review

2012 Hyundai Veracruz Road Test Review - Road & Travel Magazine's 2012 SUV Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

It isn't that there's anything wrong with the larger, seven-passenger Veracruz, with the aspirational sounding name. Even though the styling hasn't had a major upgrade for a bit, it's still attractive looking, nearly luxurious inside, is exceptionally usable and carries a price tag worth a second and third look. There are other factors at play here that deal more with an auto industry landscape somewhat saturated with good, wonderfully-functional SUVs. Hence the decision by Veracruz's Korean parent, Hyundai, to let go of the vehicle that has been its flagship truck entry. The companion Santa Fe SUV gets boosted to a seven seat, long wheelbase version next year to replace the Veracruz. For full review, click here.


September 05, 2012

2013 Mitsubishi Lancer SE - First Impression Review

by Courtney Caldwell

Mitsubishi-lancerMitsubishi has been known throughout the years for their great electronics and other gadgets but their cars have had a limited audience. 

Until recently, Mitsubishi cars almost seemed like a hobby to the company, a small fish in a big pond of automakers. Their small line of vehicles appeared to target the men's gear-head market, save their Galant sedan, which leans more towards a family audience. 

Then, this week, their new and improved 2013 Lancer 4-door sedan showed up on my doorstep for a test drive. Impressed would be an understatement. Gear-heads, move over. First, it's got looks, good looks. Small and compact for a sedan, it's certainly roomy enough for four and has more pep and pizazz than imagined. Corners very well, holds a steady grip on the road when turning (unless you're tearing into a corner at warp speed) at which time expect to test its 4-star rollover safety rating.

After driving it around town for everyday use it hit me that this was a fun yet practical car, a rare combination in most vehicles today. They're either practical and not much fun, or loads of fun but not very practical. The 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer definitely owns both characteristics as well as charm. 

It also comes with a gaggle of safety features so me thinks it's fair to say that the Lancer would make a very nice, practical with sporty handling family car, especially for those starting out, say a young family, single drivers on a budget, even a great empty nest vehicle to drive around and leave at your warm weather cabin. This is not to say the Lancer wouldn't make a great year round car... as it would with ease. However, I know many 'retired' people who are always looking for a 'second car' to leave at their summer or winter home so they don't have to ship a car back and forth. After test driving it this week, the 2013 Lancer passed my 'family and friend recommendation' test with flying colors. 

The estimated fuel cost per year is $2150, which of course always depends on how you drive and gas prices at any given time. More aggressive drivers can expect to spend more. Mitsubishi claims a 25MPG average but again that would be subjective to your driving habits and environment. It still has a way to go to catch up with other vehicles, some of which now get up to 50MPG, especially hybrids, but if there was ever a little engine that could it would be Mitsubishi.

Its warranty is a 10 year-100,000 mile selling point; however Mitsubishi does offer other variations of the warranty so as in all things, be sure to do the research, make a list of questions before buying, get the answers you need to make an informed decision, and always, always read the fine print on any car you buy or lease. While owning a new vehicle can be a wonderful and exciting emotional experience, one must not let the emotions get in the way of the negotiating and deal making. Save your giggles and showing off for later when you can also brag about what a great deal you got.

Our test car price tag, including options and destination charges, was $22,640K, sticker price. But as we all know, no one pays sticker price so be ready to bargain. The 2013 Lancer seems well worth the effort. 

I must say that my first impression of the little Lancer was surprise at how far the company had come. After the first day on the road, driving it in a manner that the average driver would drive (meaning no hot-dogging, race-tracks, peeling off at red-lights), I was sold. Welcome to the big pond, Mitsubishi. 

For more road test reviews and vehicle buyer's guides from Road & Travel Magazine, click here



September 04, 2012

2012 BMW 128i Convertible Road Test Review


2012 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide - 2012 BMW 128i Review

by Martha Hindes

Who hasn't heard of the old adage, “Good things come in small packages.” Take Snooki of Jersey Shore fame perhaps. All four feet nine inches of her tiny height has sure been very good for cable TV during the last year or so. A lotta naughty. A lotta flaunting. A bit of super sweet nice. She's copped the over-the-top vamp spot from wee Salma Hayek , Hilary Duff and Eva Longoria (all 5'2”) and commands more celebrity interviews than rapper Lil' Kim  (also 4 foot nine).  We won't state that BMW's minuscule 128i Convertible for 2012 flaunts it. But is there any true convertible auto that doesn't?

An answer to that question should be answered by the first glance at the BMW 128i in top-down mode. It has a trim, petite shape that bears all the proper planes and curves a sexy sports car should have and an ability to get close up and personal with a staunch Teutonic badging without needing a degree in advanced engineering to appreciate it. For full review, click here.

September 03, 2012

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Road Test Review

2012 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide - 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

by Martha Hindes

Separating a legend from its inspiration can sometimes come as a shock. Like splitting 'Tomcat” back into the two individuals who combined to make up that moniker. Take sweet, docile looking actress Katie Holmes and her shocker in seeking a divorce from her hubby, Tom Cruise, master of all cinematic venues, an original do-it-yourself guy. Holmes, who after five years of marriage, has bloomed in intrigue from her pre-Cruise days, was becoming a legend in her own right, not withstanding the casual divorce bombshell she dropped in late June. That's rather like the 2012 Chevrolet ZL1 Camaro emerging from the shadows of its iconic sibling, Corvette, which inspired some of the mutations that contribute to its current unbridled prowess on the nearest test track or velvet smooth section of sun beaten Arizona asphalt.

Take your pick. Both legends stand tall and victorious in the ranks of vehicular driving fun and games. A major difference is the ability to choose having all that throbbing, surging ability underfoot (and underbutt) for a  more modest price and intender sports car logo, despite the Camaro's rejuvenated “pony car” heritage after a few earlier years in hiatus. For full review, click here.

September 01, 2012

2012 Chevrolet Corvette Road Test

by Martha Hindes

While the rash, raw newbies can get lots of attention, sometimes it’s the faces and bods with a little mileage on them that attract the crowd. Consider Hollywood A-lister Jennifer Aniston. Hardly anyone considers the three decades behind her and the fourth already underway a detriment. Remaining the American dream girl for many, she excites photographs just being in them, is toned, lusty and confident and can still command space in entertainment magazines portraying hotties on their pages.

That's what you might call "staying power." And we offer another example of staying power with the 2012 two-seater Chevrolet Corvette, particularly in convertible mode. It's the kind of lasting class that has continued to excite American drivers since Chevy launched its rear drive classic nearly SIX decades ago.

We're sure there is an ideal Corvette fan out there. The driver who wants it all -- track worthiness, demon speed, lunge talent, sultry good looks, and the ability to finesse an import out of the desired fast lane while traveling in a domestic sports car. We think Chevy understands that as well, as droves of Vette owners ply cruise events each summer to show off a treasured and pampered sample of the American classic. For full review, click here.