By Bengt Halvorson, thecarconnection.com | Updated: Wed, Nov 19, 2014
The Mazda 3 is one of the best small cars on the market, although it is sometimes overlooked by shoppers in the crowded compact-car segment. A 2014 redesign brought seriously attractive styling to the fun package, along with more features and more efficient engines. It should be a mandatory addition to the shopping list for anyone searching for a car this size.
What's more, the improvements to the 3 come without disturbing what's been Mazda's primary appeal, particularly with this car's predecessors: driving fun. The 3 is one of just a handful of driver's cars in the segment, along with the Ford Focus and the VW Golf.
The Soul continues for 2015 with only a handful of changes, after last year receiving its first complete redesign since its original introduction. The redesign was evolutionary, building on the Soul's unique place in the market. Kia also managed to address some of the boxy car's flaws in the process. Ride, handling, and comfort have been improved, there are more standard and available features, and the space-efficient design saw enhancements.
The Soul defies categorization to some degree. It's a small hatchback, but it doesn't share the same swept-back profile that most small five-doors do. Instead, the Soul has a boxy profile and embraces its different look while capitalizing on it by providing more space for people
John Voelcker, thecarconnection.com | Updated: Tue, Aug 12, 2014
The 2015 Chevrolet Volt, now in its fifth model year, remains the first-ever high-volume electric car from General Motors. It's a five-door compact hatchback with four seats that combines around 40 miles of battery power with a small range-extending gasoline engine that produces electricity to give the Volt unlimited range for longer trips.
This first-generation Volt remains a low-volume car, with roughly 23,000 sold in each of the last two years--or just slightly more than the number of Cruze compact sedans Chevy sells in a single month. Popular in states and regions with electric-car incentives, including California, the Volt remains a rarity in other regions.
I like Infiniti vehicles and when I was told I would have a new QX70 for an entire week of test-driving, I was thrilled. Infiniti may not be the most luxurious of cars, but they certainly drip with a lot of those features that make you go ‘Uh-huh.’ So what is a QX70? It is probably best described as an SUV hidden in a coupe-looking body with a sports sedan power plant under the hood.’
My test model was a 2014 model QX70 with a 3.7-liter V6 engine. That V6 could push out 325 horsepower, which told me it could really get-up-and-go if it wanted to do so. There was a 7-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control, although manual shifting there for those who like it.
The first press trip for media types was held in Alabama in June. Then, a few weeks later, another 'ride-and-drive' event was held in the Memphis area. Due to a conflict, I did not make the first one, but was privileged to be a part of the Memphis trip. This new 2015 Sonata did not disappoint me. It was great.
The new 2015 Hyundai Sonata is the 7th generation of this mid-size sedan. Beginning with the 2011 model up through 2014, those six progressive generations received more than its share of awards. Spokesman Brandon Ramirez commented, “Sonata has been a great success for the Hyundai brand.” Over 200,000 have been sold up until now.
The 2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi are dedicated hybrids -- meaning you won't find a simple, non-hybrid version out there. They aim their sights directly at the Toyota Prius (and Prius Plug-In), and definitely offer more driving enjoyment than the iconic Toyota hybrid.
In size and shape, the Ford C-Max pretty much splits the difference between the Prius Liftback and the more family-oriented Prius V wagon. At the same time, it's built on Ford Focus underpinnings, so it's essentially a tall-wagon version of that Ford subcompact.
The Hyundai Genesis has been a very traditional designed car and a good selling vehicle for the Korean motor company. However, sales have dropped very noticeably during the first few months of 2014. Perhaps the new 2015 will be a turning point and bump sales up where they need to be. Letting go of the 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine may be a big part of the turn-around.