Long Term: 2014 Mazda6: July/August 2013

Filed under: Sedan, Mazda, Long-Term Garage

2014 Mazda6

Our newest long-termer – the Soul Red 2014 Mazda6 seen here – arrived in my driveway at the end of June. Without hesitation, I immediately put it to work as a daily driver, carpool bus and family vacation sled, and it accomplished all of those tasks with aplomb. Now, more than 4,000 miles down the road, I am left convinced that Mazda’s latest midsize sedan is one of the best in its segment.

During the past 60 days, I have subjected the Mazda6 to scorching travel across Southwestern deserts, wheezing climbs over 8,000-foot-high Sierra Nevada mountain passes and basking in the cool ocean breezes of Malibu. It traveled with four passengers and a full load of luggage from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe, and it braved the bumper-to-bumper freeway congestion on a weekday trip down to San Diego. It accomplished everything that was asked of while hardly skipping a beat – it has only required a regular sip of unleaded fuel to keep it moving forward.

Continue reading 2014 Mazda6: July/August 2013

2014 Mazda6: July/August 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Long Term: 2014 Mazda6: July/August 2013”

Long Term: 2014 Mazda6: July/August 2013

Filed under: Sedan, Mazda, Long-Term Garage

2014 Mazda6

Our newest long-termer – the Soul Red 2014 Mazda6 seen here – arrived in my driveway at the end of June. Without hesitation, I immediately put it to work as a daily driver, carpool bus and family vacation sled, and it accomplished all of those tasks with aplomb. Now, more than 4,000 miles down the road, I am left convinced that Mazda’s latest midsize sedan is one of the best in its segment.

During the past 60 days, I have subjected the Mazda6 to scorching travel across Southwestern deserts, wheezing climbs over 8,000-foot-high Sierra Nevada mountain passes and basking in the cool ocean breezes of Malibu. It traveled with four passengers and a full load of luggage from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe, and it braved the bumper-to-bumper freeway congestion on a weekday trip down to San Diego. It accomplished everything that was asked of while hardly skipping a beat – it has only required a regular sip of unleaded fuel to keep it moving forward.

Continue reading 2014 Mazda6: July/August 2013

2014 Mazda6: July/August 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Long Term: 2014 Mazda6: July/August 2013”

Long Term: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: July/August 2013

Filed under: Performance, Hatchback, Hyundai, Long-Term Garage

Long-term 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

If you’ve been reading the past several updates on our long-term 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo, you may have noticed a trend developing. This is a flawed vehicle. Not critically so, but for many of our editors, this vehicle’s annoying attributes are indeed outweighing the good. What may not be obvious, though, is that the deck is kind of stacked against the Turbo model.

See, a Veloster with its base powertrain and less of the gimmicky, look-at-me styling is a solid, fashion-forward, nicely packaged hatchback at a good price. Our issues haven’t so much been with the Veloster itself, but with the unfulfilled expectations of hot-hatchery that the Turbo brings to the equation.

For this update, then, I will focus on a common bridge between the two Veloster models: the cars’ top-end infotainment systems. Tack on the Style and Tech packs on the standard Veloster or the Ultimate Package on a Veloster Turbo, and you’ll get the same Blue Link infotainment system, touchscreen navigation and eight-speaker Dimension stereo (a standard item on the VT).

Continue reading 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: July/August 2013

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: July/August 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Long Term: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: July/August 2013”

Long Term: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: July/August 2013

Filed under: Performance, Hatchback, Hyundai, Long-Term Garage

Long-term 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

If you’ve been reading the past several updates on our long-term 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo, you may have noticed a trend developing. This is a flawed vehicle. Not critically so, but for many of our editors, this vehicle’s annoying attributes are indeed outweighing the good. What may not be obvious, though, is that the deck is kind of stacked against the Turbo model.

See, a Veloster with its base powertrain and less of the gimmicky, look-at-me styling is a solid, fashion-forward, nicely packaged hatchback at a good price. Our issues haven’t so much been with the Veloster itself, but with the unfulfilled expectations of hot-hatchery that the Turbo brings to the equation.

For this update, then, I will focus on a common bridge between the two Veloster models: the cars’ top-end infotainment systems. Tack on the Style and Tech packs on the standard Veloster or the Ultimate Package on a Veloster Turbo, and you’ll get the same Blue Link infotainment system, touchscreen navigation and eight-speaker Dimension stereo (a standard item on the VT).

Continue reading 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: July/August 2013

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: July/August 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Long Term: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: July/August 2013”

Official: Lucra 2.2 helps define long hood, short deck

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Design/Style, MISC

Lucra 2.2 - front three-quarter studio view

If not for Fast & Furious 6, most of us would have probably never heard of Lucra Cars or its incredibly powerful and lightweight LC470. While that car had a simplistic retro design, Lucra’s upcoming car, codenamed 2.2, is bringing more modern style to the boutique, California-based car builder.

Aside from a few pictures posted on its Facebook page over the last month, Lucra has released little information on the long, sleek roadster except to confirm that the car would be offered with the M156 Mercedes AMG 6.2-liter V8. In terms of its design, this car looks something like a modern interpretation of the Bill Thomas Cheetah with its long hood and set-back cabin, but the front end is very distinctive with flared fenders that C3 Chevrolet Corvette lovers should appreciate. We’ll let you know as more details emerge on this car, but until then, enjoy the handful of images posted in the gallery above.

Lucra 2.2 helps define long hood, short deck originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 02 Aug 2013 16:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: Lucra 2.2 helps define long hood, short deck”

Official: 2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year long list released

Filed under: Etc.

North American Car of the Year crystal award

Is it that time of the year again already? The 2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year award “long list” has just been revealed, with 29 nominees sliding into the car category and 19 up for consideration in the truck/utility space. As ever, both NACTOY lists serve to illustrate the ever-widening scope of product that our industry has to offer. Tiny electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Spark EV and luxury bruisers like the new Maserati Ghibli bookend the car list, and the truck/utility nominees continue to illustrate the growing popularity of crossovers.

Last year, the Cadillac ATS claimed the car award (the Ram 1500 took home the truck category), and this year, General Motors has a healthy crop of nominees, including two from Cadillac (CTS, ELR) and four from Chevrolet (Corvette, Impala, Spark EV, SS). On the other side of the fence, the Buick Encore and Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra twins are also vying for the coveted cut crystal. Kia and Mercedes-Benz also have a lot of vehicles up for consideration. The Korean brand is represented by the Cadenza, Forte, Soul, and Quoris on the car side, and the Sorento on the truck/utility front, while Daimler will see its B-Class, CLA-Class, E-Class and S-Class models in the mix.

As ever, the long list gets its name because it serves as broad brushstroke roundup of new or substantially updated vehicles released in time for consideration. Given the fluid nature of new vehicle releases, the long list shows which vehicles are eligible for consideration – some of them may not have been seen or driven by the NACTOY’s 50-strong juror pool yet. Select vehicles may thus fall off the list if they do not become available for judging in a timely fashion, while other vehicles not shown on the list may be still be added at this stage. Later this fall, after jurors have driven the vehicles, a first round of voting will be held, and the resulting “short list” of a dozen or so vehicles will trigger further assessment followed by another vote that will result in three finalists for each category. A final round of voting will commence, and the winners will be announced at January’s Detroit Auto Show.

Check out both lists of nominees by scrolling below, then have your say on who you think should win in Comments.

*Full Disclosure: Author is a NACTOY jury member.

Continue reading 2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year long list released

2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year long list released originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: 2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year long list released”

Long Term: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder: June 2013

Filed under: Crossover, Nissan, Long-Term Garage

Long-Term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder - front three-quarter view

When we say that our long-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has been busy, we mean it. Want proof? In the past month, the big, brown Nissan was only idle enough for us to take it in for its 11,500-mile routine service and to shoot a couple of new photos of the long-termer in Detroit.

Most recently, the Pathfinder spent a few weeks in the hands of AOL Autos‘ executive editor Sharon Carty, who used the three-row CUV to haul her entire family from Detroit to New Jersey and back… twice. That’s a pretty serious amount of miles, but it gave Sharon a really solid look into how the vehicle holds up for the needs of a family with kids of different ages.

Continue reading 2013 Nissan Pathfinder: June 2013

2013 Nissan Pathfinder: June 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Jul 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Long Term: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder: June 2013”

Long Term: 2014 Mazda6: June 2013

Filed under: Sedan, Mazda, Long-Term Garage

The 2014 Mazda6 is our most recent addition to the Autoblog long-term fleet, and we spent the month of June getting to know our Soul Red tester, generally enjoying the honeymoon phase of this twelve-month relationship. During June, the Mazda6 spent the majority of its time with director of photography Drew Phillips, who in addition to putting together this pretty gallery of our rakish long-term car, had a lot to say about it as a daily driver.

You see, not too long before Mazda delivered our long-term 6, Drew bought a 2014 CX-5 crossover to support his growing family. The CX-5 was the first vehicle to use Mazda’s full suite of Skyactiv technologies, and we’ve generally enjoyed the good-to-drive CUV. A lot of that CX-5 goodness lies beneath the more shapely lines of this sleek Mazda6 sedan, so it’s only fitting that Drew had a lot of comparisons between Mazda’s two housemates during his month behind the wheel.

Continue reading 2014 Mazda6: June 2013

2014 Mazda6: June 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Jul 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Long Term: 2014 Mazda6: June 2013”

Long Term: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: June 2013

Filed under: Performance, Hatchback, Hyundai, Long-Term Garage

There are an awful lot of good reasons to get into the Hyundai Veloster family and formula. This car looks good, is loaded out with tech and offers a great deal of practicality in a small form factor. One good reason not to consider a Veloster, at least if you’re a city dweller or have primarily urban daily driving path, is the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine in the eponymous Veloster Turbo.

Two major factors kill the Veloster Turbo in terms of said city driving: turbo lag and fuel economy.

Two major factors kill the Veloster Turbo in terms of city driving: turbo lag and fuel economy.

I had our long-term Turbo for all of June and the first week of July, during which time I primarily used the car as a runabout in Ann Arbor, MI. With the exception of a few 40-ish-mile jaunts into Metro Detroit, I drove the Hyundai roughly five to ten miles at a time, with speeds that I’m sure averaged 30 miles per hour or less. This kind of driving isn’t a good recipe for high mile-per-gallon numbers, to be sure, and I netted out at about 21.6 mpg – a decent bit lower than the EPA estimate of 24 mpg in the city.

Meanwhile, I wasn’t having a riveting time whilst burning that gas (at least you don’t have to run premium). If you’ve been following the saga of this long-term car to date, you’ve read a lot about how the Turbo doesn’t feel especially hot-hatchy. There are plenty of reasons for this, but I think much of it comes down to a laggy turbo. Getting into the heart of the boost takes a really heavy foot and a low gear when initially accelerating. Worse, the rush from the turbo boost doesn’t feel especially strong once it does come on. (I don’t actually mind a bit of turbo lag, if the payout at the end is a crazy accelerative moment; see Mazdaspeed3, Mini Cooper S, etc.)

In other words: If the Veloster Turbo felt really fast, even sometimes, I’d forgive the fuel economy. As it stands, I’m quite sure the trade-off versus the standard, slow, nice handling non-turbo Veloster, at least for city drivers, is a bad one to make. That’s not even taking sticker price into account…

Continue reading 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: June 2013

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: June 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Jul 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Long Term: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: June 2013”

Long Term: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI joins Autoblog’s Long-Term Garage

Filed under: Sedan, Volkswagen, Diesel, Long-Term Garage

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you had told us last year that this year’s most controversial redesign would be the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, we would’ve politely walked away and laughed at your outrageous claim behind your back. We’re like that. But here we are, and the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is, arguably, the most controversial redesign of the year.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

The reason is not so much how the designer’s hand has changed the car’s look, but rather how the bean counters and product managers have completely changed what the Jetta is. It’s no longer a premium compact sedan with a price to match. Now it’s a near-mid-size four-door with an ultra-competitive base price.

Jetta fans and auto journalists have been less than enthused with the changes. Buyers, however, apparently disagree. Sales of the new Jetta through April are up 68.8 percent. So which camp is right?

After the untimely demise of our last long-term Jetta (follow the jump for the whole story), a 2010 model year TDI Cup Street Edition, we were offered a 2011 model to take its place. Driving these two diesel Jettas back-to-back will help us craft a before-and-after snapshot of what the car has gained and lost with this latest redesign.

Continue reading 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI joins Autoblog’s Long-Term Garage

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI joins Autoblog’s Long-Term Garage originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 May 2011 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Long Term: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI joins Autoblog’s Long-Term Garage”