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Tag Archives: luxury

What I think: 2015 Kia K900

2015 Kia K900Consider it fair to say Kia has benefited from the experience of its parent company. Hyundai’s first luxury cars were nice, but not quite good enough to be take seriously, in spite of attractive prices. That’s changed, and now Kia has made its own move in luxury sedan territory with the K900, a good-looking, well-conceived sedan that is a slam-dunk in terms of what you get for the price. Read my full review at TractionLife.com.

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Straight Eight: 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8

2015 Hyundai Genesis

1. Lots of luxury
My test car was a 3.8 Tech model, the best-equipped Genesis available with the V6 engine (there’s also a V8). It comes with, among other things, navigation, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable steering wheel, power trunk (more on that in a moment), power rear window sunshade, and wood trim that, if it isn’t real, looks pretty close to it.

2015 Hyundai Genesis

2. Is that a Bentley?
Two people who saw the Genesis’ winged logo on the hood asked if the car was “some new Bentley” model. Enough said.

2015 Hyundai Genesis mirror

3. So-so sightlines
It’s easy to lose sight of a pedestrian while making a left turn, thanks to the thick A-pillar, large side mirror and relatively short greenhouse, making the Genesis a nerve-wracking car to drive in busy urban traffic.

2015 Hyundai Genesis trunk

4. Big on convenience
With the “smart” key in your pocket, stand next to the trunk for a few seconds, and it’ll power open on its own. Handy if you’ve got armfuls of stuff, and saves you the indignity of having to wave a foot under the rear bumper, a common method of hands-free cargo access.

2015 Hyundai Genesis back seat

5. Short of practicality
If you’ve got big stuff to move, keep in mind the Genesis’ back seat doesn’t fold, at all. This is a serious oversight that’s common in upscale Asian sedans.

2015 Hyundai Genesis dash

6. New design, improved performance
Steering feel isn’t great, and the chassis tends toward understeer in hard cornering, but this is a much more entertaining car than its predecessor. In “sport” mode, the engine and transmission are eager to get where you’re going, quickly, and the engine and exhaust sound pretty sweet in speedy driving.

2015 Hyundai Genesis

7. Big-car thirst
My test car averaged 12.6 L/100 km (18.7 US MPG) in a mix of city and highway driving. It’s a thirsty car in city slogging, where you can expect an average of about 15 L/100 km (about 15 US MPG), even with a gentle right foot.

2015 Hyundai Genesis gauges

8. Enticing offering
For its upscale look, decent performance and long list of luxury goodies, this car is a steal at its $53,000 MSRP. But it’s a better deal in the U.S., where Hyundai sells the same car I drove for $48,000. If your eyebrow muscles need a workout, go see what it would cost to kit out a competitive German sedan with the same equipment.

 
 

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Straight Eight: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel

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1. A nice price – to start
The Grand Cherokee has been Jeep’s flagship model since1993. A starting price of about $40,000 makes it affordable for a comfortable, capable SUV, but that number reaches well north of $60,000 in Summit trim, and that doesn’t count the hip-hop video-worthy high-performance SRT-8 model.

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2. Diesel powered
With its optional 3.0-litre diesel V6, the Grand Cherokee is the only American-branded SUV offered with a diesel engine. That puts it in the same league as some pretty fancy competition, like the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Volkswagen Touareg, and Porsche Cayenne.

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3. Fuel economy
My test vehicle averaged 10.5 L/100 km in city driving, a solid 25 to 30 per cent better than you could expect from the Grand Cherokee’s base gasoline V6, and about equal to a six-cylinder family sedan.

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4. Refinement
Modern diesels are known for their quiet, smooth performance. Jeep’s is quiet on the outside, but from the driver’s seat, it feels a little rougher and more truck-ish than most.

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5. Interior space
There’s less space inside the Grand Cherokee than its commanding exterior presence suggests. Hyundai’s Santa Fe is smaller on the outside but, subjectively, is about as roomy inside as the Jeep.

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6. Off-road capability
Pair the Quadra-Drive II 4WD system (the most capable of the three on offer) with the optional height-adjustable air suspension (my test vehicle had that, too), and you’ve got a luxurious truck that could go just about anywhere, if not for the tires obviously biased toward mall parking lots.

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7. Cool tech
Jeep uses a thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument panel in the Grand Cherokee, a technology that’s becoming common in upscale vehicles. It allows a customizable gauge display, and in this case can be toggled between a digital speedometer and a representation of an analog gauge.

8. Jeep vs. Porsche
The Grand Cherokee you see here costs nearly $70,000. So does the diesel version of Porsche’s Cayenne SUV. That’s a lot of money no matter what, but the phrase “$70,000 Porsche” has a much different ring to it than “$70,000 Jeep,” don’t you think?

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Diesel, Jeep, Straight Eight

 

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What I think: 2012 Buick Verano

The hits keep coming from Buick, a brand trying to reinvent itself as hip and relevant after decades of selling stodgy, dull sedans. Its biggest engineering success so far is its smallest model, the compact Verano. Click here to read my Autos.ca Quick Spin of the 2012 Verano.

 

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What I think: 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec

The letter R is a dangerous one when used in a vehicle trim designation.

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