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Monday
Nov142016

2017 Subaru WRX STi

2017 Subaru WRX STi Sport Package

2.4 L Turbo 4 Cylinder 305 HP with 6 Speed Manual Transmission

World Rallye Blue with Black Leather interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the WRX...click.

I can feel the smirk on my face get bigger as I’m walking up to this WRX for the first time. I think to myself “wow that is way more aggressive then my little 2008 Impreza” As you walk around you do notice more bulging fenders, quarter panels, a really big wing, and the typical STi hood scoop.

The model that we got to drive was the Sport Package STi which came with the huge rally wing, LED front and rear lights, power driver’s seat, and sun roof. From the front the car has an aggressive look to that commands respect, and does speak volumes when seen in a rear view mirror. Ours was also erupted with the 6 speed manual and carried an MSRP $40,796. The performance level of the car is tremendous, The majority of the performance you feel is due to the speed you can carry around corners or on/off ramps. Grip level, suspension set up, and brakes are the prime reason why this car is still on the top 100 Ring times, and tied with a Ferrari F430 and ahead of some late 2000’s model Porsche GT3’s.

Sitting in, and driving the car you can tell where money was spent. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing but it depends on the type of person you are. The majority of people who will buy the STi will not be concerned that only the driver’s seat is power, or that the exhaust rumble is loud (that’s what the girl friend says) or that the suspension is too stiff.

The interior is iconic Subaru except for the Recaro seats, and actual carbon fibre trim. The radio is the same as you find in the standard Impreza with 6 speakers that can be fed AM/FM/bluethooth, and XM radio. The infotainment system styling is also straight out of the Impreza and is adequate. For the Audiophiles out there In the Sport-Tech model does get a premium Harmon Kardon 9 speaker sound system and navigation as well. Regarding the quality of materials and styling but a Subaru will always have a unique perspective on interior styling, and where the R&D funds are spent.

Transmission wise the new STi gets 2 choices a CVT and a 6 speed manual, ours came with the manual. Shifter feel is direct and throws are short. The clutch is aggressive and is heavier than the pedestrian Impreza and rightfully so since it also has to deal with almost twice the power. Motivating the 2017 STi is the tried and true 2.5L flat 4 being fed 17PSI of boost from a twin-scroll Turbocharger, the outcome of all this is 305hp and 290lb-ft or torque. Peak torque is at 4,000 rpm so if you keep the rpm’s around there or above that the car feels very motivated and moves down the road with authority. Below that the STi feels more sedate and could make a nice daily driver.

Transferring all this power is a slick 6 speed manual, and a trick centre differential that can be controlled from the console toggle switch. Power can be split 50/50 to the front and rear or as low as 20/80 front rear or you can leave it in full auto and the car will send power to the best location based on your driving. On top of the adjustable differential the STi also offers a cool engine management system called SI-DRIVE. This system has 3 different settings, I, S, and S#. I- which is the intelligent mode opens up the throttle more gradually and can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%. S- Is the nice everyday sport mode which makes the car more lively and good for “spirited driving”. S# is the most aggressive map and doing a pull in 3rd or 4th gear and mid pull you switch maps you feel as if the car just got fed a few extra PSI of boost. Throttle response is very sharp and you feel as if the car is always waiting for you. To be honest the car spent most of the time in this mode and the fuel consumption shows it. As The Colonel say’s “last I checked it still takes gas to make power” and the STi is no exception. Another member of the Strada crew who drove the car said that it reminds him of a go-kart, and in essence it is a big go-kart.

All the small quibs that the 99% of people out there would have issues with this car “oh the suspension is to hard” or “the radio is not that good” or “why is that wing so big?” “400km to a tank!?!” and that is fine, that is not the car for them. The 1% who will buy this car, will buy it for all the reasons that the 99% of the others won’t, and use it.

LPR

 Strada Talking Points:

  • Superior handling.
  • Appreciable level of performance
  • Innovative center differential controls
  • Bold street presence
  • Fun

 The quick review...

 

 

Tuesday
Aug092016

2016 Malibu - Its Impressive

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Premier

2.0L 4 Cylinder Turbocharged 250 HP with 8 Speed Automatic

Iridescent Pearl with Loft Brown Leather Interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the Malibu...click.

Going back a few years, the first car we reviewed was a Malibu. At the time that car impressed us and several folks who did not think that a Chevrolet could make a good sedan.

We pick up this tester, its Pearl White which is always a "hot color" on a GM car, the styling is fresh, crisp, and its a fastback sedan which you would expect. This car has evocative street presence. While the 19 inch Turbine wheels add character.

The interior finished in Loft Brown leather captures the attention, its stylish and surprisingly well finished for a mid range sedan. "Somebody at Chevrolet did their due diligence to execute this interior". In addition all the features that you expect, from navigation, satellite radio, wifi, back up camera, power driver seat with memory, to name a few are all present. Including a panorama roof.

Did we forget the heated and ventilated front seats. The controls are easy, and intuitive, and will not permit you to be distracted. You cannot enter an address in the navigation system while the car is moving as an example.

The Bose sound system is surprisingly good for a mid range car, and the volume control behind the steering wheel are even easier than controls on the wheel.

Rear seat leg room is ample for adults. The folding seat back increases the versatility, and carrying capacity.

You can configure your own Malibu...here.

The drive...its where this car truly captures your attention.

The styling, interior, the vast array of features are almost surprising in a Malibu. Experiencing the 2.0L turbo really caught our attention.

By now we have driven a good choice of vehicles with 4 cylinders, be it naturally aspirated, and with turbos. Most of these engines have comparable horsepower, and every manufacturer tweaks their computer management especially on the turbo motors, to what they think the customer wants.

From our perspective the 2.0L turbo with the 8 speed automatic is a "benchmark" powertrain for a mid size sedan. With solid acceleration complemented by robust passing power on the highway, or when you need to optimise the road position. There is no torque steer, but you sense torque in the steering wheel.

This car urges you to get exuberant...

The steering has a good level of feel for a sedan, the brakes are good, while the 245/40 tires provide the road adherence.  Its not a hard core sport sedan, its not rear wheel drive, its a Malibu that is fun to drive, and urges you to seek the next level.

While we agree that mid size sedans are migrating towards utilities.

If you are considering a mid size sedan, and perhaps the Malibu did not even blip on your radar. Agreed...there are numerous wonderful mid size sedans being offered by various manufacturers. We urge you to experience a Malibu 2.0T for yourself prior to finalising your decision.

The car will refresh your priorities, and raise your expectations.

Strada Talking Points

  • Attractive styling
  • Compelling interior finishes
  • A deluge of features and technology
  • Benchmark powertrain
  • Strong value proposition

The quick review...

 

 

Wednesday
Jun152016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma Doublecab TRD Sport

3.5L V6 278 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

Barcelona Red Metallic with Dark Grey Cloth

The photo gallery/slide show of the Tacoma...click

To continue our urban truck experience we surely had to spend a few days with a refreshed Tacoma.

The first thing that grasps our attention, this truck has an endearing ruggedness about it which is simply cool. It instantly communicates that its a pick up. You open the door and the pick up message is reinforced and endures with the interior.

The street presence is subdued its a mid size pick up in an environment that is ruled by full size gargantuan pick ups. While the styling absolutely conveys an image of solidity.

It has a truck interior, its stylish, well executed, with good materials, but a truck interior. In this version the cloth seats are refreshing, its not trying to be anything else than a well idone truck interior in a truck. Again its cool...

All the features that you expect are there, from a comprehensive back up camera that actually shows the rear step bumper, to navigation, satellite radio, automatic climate control, partial power seats, a reasonable sound system, locking tailgate...to name a few.

Rear seat is spacious for a mid size pick up with good leg and head room, as well as the folding seat.

Let's not forget the GoPro mount on the windshield.

Its a Toyota pick up, its conservative, its in some ways a throw back to when pick ups were pick ups, its rugged, with a distinct identity. Yes...a 2 speed transfer case is standard.

You can configure your own Tacoma...here.

Wondering how it drives?

It feels absolutely, totally rock solid. You immediately get a feeling that nothing will discourage this pick.

Reasonable power, slower than faster algorithms to shift the transmission, precise steering, and strong brakes. It feels and drives like a purposeful pick up, its endearing especially if you are looking for the pick up feel that is often missing in some trucks.

Its great on surface streets, easy to navigate mall parking lots, while seeing the rear bumper on the back up camera is more intuitive that orange and red lines alerting you of the distance.Its a little sluggish on initial acceleration, but throttle up the V6 comes alive with an improved algorithm for the transmission.

Its a superb highway cruiser with acceptable passing power, and no wind noise even with an open bed.

If you are seeking a mid size pick up with a genuine pick up feel, a standard 2 speed transfer case, and rugged good looks. Make it a point to experience the Tacoma.

Strada Talking Points:

  • Conservative with pick up cool
  • Solid feel that is reassuring
  • Wonderful pick up feel and driving
  • Obvious you sit high
  • Plastic liner in bed not sprayed on.

The quick review...

 

 

Thursday
May192016

2016 Honda Civic

2016 Honda Civic Touring

1.5L 4 Cylinder Turbocharged 174 HP with CVT Transmission

Crystal Black Pearl with Black interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the Civic...click.

The new Civic caught our attention a while back, and obvious that we had to spend a few days with this version of Canada's best selling car.

From our perspective this Civic is a bold styling move by Honda. Heightened in your face street presence, compared to the previous versions which were discreet. The grille, headlamps, more pronounced fastback styling all make a contribution towards the bolder statement.

We will concede that black is perhaps not the best colour to really bring this new Civic sedan to life. Styling and colour are personal preferences, this Civic rocks compared to the previous versions.

The interior feels positively large for a small sedan. The dash is refreshing, the instrument panel gauges assembling themselves every time your start the car is cool and entertaining. In Honda tradition the prominent gauge is the tachometer which sets a purposeful tone.

The center of the dash screen looks and feels like a tablet while being well integrated into the dash. Honda deserves credit for the execution of the center screen.

Obvious, the interior is well finished with good materials and feel for this price range.

This tester is the Touring version with a wide selection of features from power seats, sunroof, superior sound system, satellite radio, navigation, back up and right hand camera, adaptive cruise control to name a few. Let's not forget the automatic climate control.

Its a small car with a ton of features.

The rear seat has ample leg room for adults, while the trunk is positively immense for this size of car, made even more versatile with folding seat backs.

You can configure your own Civic...here.

How does it drive?

You expect any Honda to drive well, its an intrinsic part of the Honda DNA, and this Civic follows the DNA, and drives very well for a small car.

It has a reasonable level of power from the 1.5L 4 cylinder, the CVT transmission is smooth and calibrated to the engine, the electric power steering transmits an appropriate sense of the road, the brakes are stunning in their power.

In an urban setting its agile, nimble, feels quick, even if initial acceleration is subdued. Its easy and fun to navigate surface streets, and parking areas. While being a reassuring car on broken pavement, always keeping its composure.

On the highway it cruises effortlessly, is very quiet, and has a surprising level of passing power.

Its clear that Honda is on a path of constant improvement and was attentive to a myriad of details on this car. It does everything well in a thoughtful middle of the road fashion. Is it a sport sedan...not really, but it sure handles well. Is it fast...not really but it always has adequate power.

The adaptive cruise control is useful and relaxing in an urban commute on 400 series highways around the GTA. Also a revelation that a car in this price range has an adaptive cruise control.

If you are considering a small car, and for some reason have missed the Civic on your radar. Make it a point to experience a Civic, the competency of the car will surprise you.

Strada Talking Points:

  • Bolder styling with heightened street presence.
  • Impressive center of dash screen.
  • Well designed and executed interior.
  • Back up and RH side camera.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control in this price segment is a pleasant surprise.

The quick review...

 

 

Thursday
Apr142016

2016 Chevrolet Colorado

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab SWB Z71

3.6L V6 302 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

Red Hot with Jet Black / Grey cloth insert interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the Colorado...click.

It's a cool "urban truck"....

Although at the launch of the Colorado we had reservations about a compact/mid size pick up from Chevrolet. Full size pick ups make a compelling "macho" statement. While their size is often overwhelming in an urban environment, even with all the cameras.

They are big...

The Colorado removes the emphasis from big. Its similar to pick ups from a generation ago. Agreed considered small by current full size pick ups. It fills a void in the "urban" pick up segment.

In an urban setting its right sized, pleasant to use, while making a reserved statement, with discreet street presence.

The styling is let's call it pick up attractive, and the red of our tester made a strong statement.

The interior is refreshing from the perspective its a pick up that is not trying to emulate a luxury car. The fit and finish is very good, the cloth inserts on the seats are distinctive. We appreciated the interior styling, choice of materials, and the "pick up" message the interior sends. Yes...you can get a full leather interior if you absolutely need to emulate a luxury car.

As you would expect all the features are present from a good Bose sound system, navigation, satellite radio, obvious power windows, locks, back up camera which is surprisingly very accurate, opening rear glass, lockable tailgate which is cool. Lets not forget the 4G WiFi.

Rear seat leg room is very good, and obvious better than most mid sized sedan.

You can configure your own Colorado...here.

How does it drive?

Compared to a full size pick up its a "sports car", with better manoeuvrability which inspires you to be  a bit more spirited. Good on center feel of the steering, strong brakes which you always expect in an unloaded truck, and agile acceleration especially at full throttle, the V6 has an authoritative growl, with a well calibrated transmission.

This tester had the Z71 option with a 2 speed transfer case which from our perspective is essential in any 4 wheel drive pick up, as well as a rear auto locking differential to increase the versatility. The off road suspension ads a level of stiffness which is a personal choice. It also includes an old fashioned skid plate under the transfer case.

Probably for the sake of fuel economy bragging rights part throttle operation is sluggish, you can sense that its due to software coding and algorithms.

Yes...a pick up is always useful, there is always a bunch of stuff that you can suddenly do and/or carry.

If you are considering a pick up, and the full size version is simply too big. Or if you are considering a "utility" vehicle, and are concerned that it will put you in the "me too" category. The Colorado works well as a pick up, and a cool utility vehicle with a frame, 2 speed transfer case, 4 doors, and a bed to haul all sorts of stuff.

Strada Talking Points

  • Right sized for an urban truck.
  • Appropriate pick up interior.
  • All the features you expect including a 2 speed transfer case.
  • Pleasant styling.
  • Good level of power from the V6.

The quick review

 

 

Tuesday
Sep292015

2015 Ford F150

2015 Ford F150 Platinum with FX4

3.5L Ecoboost V6 365 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

Ruby Red Metallic with Black Leather

The photo gallery/slide show of the F150...click

You probably anticipated that at some point we were going to spend a few days with an "aluminum" F150. This tester is the Platinum version with the FX4 off road package. 

For 2015 Platinum is as good as it gets, its the top of the line version of the F150, yes this truck has an impressive array of features.

From our perspective an aluminum pick up is an innovative decision by Ford, especially when the aluminum comes from recycling. There is a cool factor about the aluminum, which feels different to the touch, when you close a door, or close the tailgate. Lets say that it has a muffled sound of increased solidity compared to steel.

Its also lighter which is the real benefit of the aluminum body, in addition to not corroding.

The street presence is totally in your face, how can anyone miss a metallic red pick up with an immense Ford blue oval in the grille, you know that its a pick up (obvious), and its a Ford. The grille with augmented by the chromed bumper below enhances the presences of this truck.

All pick ups are big, this F150 seems incrementally bigger.

The interior is immense, and well finished with leather seating surfaces. The features are impressive, from a panorama roof, 360 degree camera, robust Sony sound system, navigation, adaptive cruise control, satellite radio, heated and ventilated seats, remote tailgate release...to name just a few.

The features are comparable to and in some instances beyond any luxury vehicle.

You can configure your own F150...here.

Pick ups are big, bold, and usually perceived as a vehicle primarily for men. Lets be aware that pick up sales in Canada are inexorably increasing on a yearly basis.

We had the unique opportunity to see how an "immense, red, pick up, with retractable running boards, a myriad of cameras will fare in a feminine environment".

A mid size car is diminutive next to this F150, the running boards immediately make access easier than a car, the various cameras facilitate parking and negotiating tight spots. We know that women appreciate the higher seating position of SUV's, they simply love the height of a pick up.

The initial reservations of the physical size, are quickly dispelled, while becoming a cool factor. Obvious the interior space of the cab is an added feminine feature in a family environment. From the feedback we received, fair to say that women love pick ups...once the initial size reservation is overcome.

How does it drive...

The Ecoboost has a good reserve of power, the 6 speed automatic is well calibrated with responsive shifts, the steering has an accurate feel, the brakes are strong. Its feels like a block of aluminum with no squeeks, rattles on any surface, just plain solid.

Although the ride unloaded is quite stiff, and would feel better with some load in the bed to smooth out the suspension. This FX4 version has aggressive tires it was a surprise as to how quiet they were on the highway.

The cool factor of this truck is HUGE, the features are extensive. If you are considering a pick up, you need to experience an aluminum F150 prior to finalising your decision.

Strada Talking Points

  • Solid/substantial feel of aluminum
  • Strong Ecoboost V6
  • Extensive array of features
  • Easy to drive
  • Compelling feminine appeal

The Quick Review

 

 

Wednesday
Aug192015

2015 Lexus NX200t

2015 Lexus NX200t - F Sport Series 2

2.0 L 4 Cyl Turbocharged 235 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

Nebula Grey Pearl with Rioja Red Nu Luxe

The photo gallery/slide show of the NX200t...Click

The NX really caught our attention at this year's Toronto auto show. It was a moment of, its smaller than an RX, its different, edgy, and from our perspective cool.

We know that styling is a personal choice, and the NX makes a strong statement that is either endearing, or almost a complete turn off. We think its young, edgy, refreshing, original, while reinforcing Lexus styling cues. The NX attracts praise and brickbats for its styling.

Yes..the grille on the F Sport is immense.

We have to mention that on the street everyone becomes aware of the NX200t this vehicle does not go unnoticed.

The interior is refreshing in Rioja Red, with attention to detail, contrast stitching, aluminum inserts in the dash, console, and door panels. The Nu Luxe material has a better feel, and finish than most leather that is currently available in vehicles. In this price segment Nu Luxe is a great choice.

While making a compelling styling statement too...complementing the exterior.

The front seats are comfortable, the heads up display is cool, the sound system is great. You expect all of this in a Lexus. As well as a full complement of features, from navigation, satellite radio, back up camera, parking sensors, power seats, blind spot monitoring, to name a few. The controls for the various functions in the center of the dash could be more intuitive than the myriad of buttons which are not as easy to quickly interpret.

The removable vanity mirror in the console is a thoughtful consideration.

Rear seat leg room is adult sized, the rear cargo area is adequate considering the size of the NX. Yes...the power tailgate is very convenient, and expected on a Lexus.

You can configure your own NX...here.

The drive...

You expect a Lexus to be smooth, seamless, and refined, the NX does not disappoint. We had reservations about the 4 cylinder, which were quickly dispelled. This engine has adequate power, the 6 speed automatic is responsive and well calibrated. In Sport + mode the NX takes on a decidedly more aggressive behavior, we alternated between Eco and Sport+ in our use.

Its a utility vehicle with a solid and confidence inspiring behavior on smooth and broken pavement, with good steering feel, and surprisingly strong brakes. Quiet on the highway with a reasonable reserve of power, and a seamless adaptive cruise control, and braking action if anyone suddenly pulls out in front of you.

The back up camera actually shows the rear bumper which is rare; most back up camera applications simply show the green, orange, red lines.

If you are considering a luxury CUV, and we agree there are several choices. The NX is new, the styling is unique, the interior is appealing, the drive is smooth. Make it a point to experience the NX you will be surprised, and it will recalibrate your decision parameters.

Strada Talking Points

  • Original styling
  • Great Interior
  • Smooth, confidence inspiring
  • Good power from a 4 cylinder
  • Vanity mirror in the console

The quick review

 

 

 
Thursday
Jul162015

2015 Chevrolet Suburban

2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ

5.3 L V8 355 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

Crystal Red with Jet Black Leather

The photo gallery/slide show of the Suburban...click.

We have always had through the years unique and memorable experiences with Suburbans. Needless to tell you we were looking forward to spending a few days with this new Suburban, and even take it on an extended road trip.

Did you know that Suburbans have been around since 1935?

From our road trip, its a phenomenal highway cruiser, with an exceptional adaptive cruise control.

Although its a personal choice we find the styling appealing especially the rear roof line and glass area. its unique and immediately sets this Suburban apart providing a distinct street presence. Yes...its big, Suburbans have always been big with a cavernous interior and 3 rows of seats.

The interior with leather seating surfaces, wood trim, contrast stitching ads a touch of luxury. The roof mounted screens of the entertainment system will make travelling with children or adults seeking entertainment an effortless experience. The power folding 3rd and rear seat are an appreciated convenience. Fold down the seats and the cargo area turns into an old school pick up with an 8 foot box.

Lets not forget the 4 inch screen in the instrument panel with classic truck style gauges.

The retractable running boards are a wonderful feature, even if they are a little pricey.

All the features you expect are there, starting with a great sound system, sunroof, navigation, keyless entry, rear camera, blind spot and cross traffic monitor. In addition to heated and cooled front seats which are appreciated on a longer drive.

Do we have to tell you that rear seat leg room is abundant.

This tester had the "max trailering package" with the 2 speed transfer case, and 3.42 gears...agreed you need a low range in the transfer case to increase the versatility of any Suburban. Lets not forget the 22" wheels.

You can configure your own Suburban...here.

How does it drive...

Its big, its easy to manoeuvre in tight spots, and it weighs 2,620 kilos, its a lot of truck and surprisingly easy to drive. It has an imposing presence in any parking area.

The electric power steering has a good on center feel, the brakes are certainly up to the task, the magnetic ride suspension is simply awesome on the highway. Its not a sport sedan, and you will not be seeking apexes with a Suburban. Although its more agile, than you would think or expect. The power is adequate accompanied by responsive shifts from the transmission.

On the highway it has surprising passing power, and immediately communicates that it can cruise all day in a quiet, comfortable, smooth fashion. The adaptive cruise control is a brilliant feature, and turned into the memorable part of our Suburban experience.

A Suburban has its own niche, cool factor, if you fit in the niche, and can use the versatility get one.

Strada Talking Points:

  • Unique and versatile "utility" vehicle
  • Appealing styling / strong street presence
  • Magnetic ride suspension
  • Power folding seats
  • Supreme highway cruiser

 The quick review

 

 

Wednesday
Jul082015

2015 Ram

2015 Ram 1500 Crew Cab Big Horn

3.0 L V6 Eco Diesel 240 HP with 8 Speed Automatic Transmission

Deep Cherry Red Pearl with Beige/Brown Cloth interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the Ram...click.

Although all pick ups have a bold grille, for some reason the Ram grille stands out more or makes a more emphatic statement. Because of the grille, the Ram has been capturing our attention for quite some time.

As you know diesel pick ups are usually the heavy duty work versions, with reasonable fuel economy when working, and poor when not working.

Agreed...there is a serious cool factor surrounding diesel pick ups. 

Where we anxious to spend a few days with this Eco Diesel Ram? Yes we were...

The Big Horn version has an appealing two tone cloth interior, with the theme carried over to the dash and door panels. This is one time where its refreshing not to encounter a leather trimmed interior. Cloth seats in a pick up...it works very well especially in a 2 tone combination.

The interior is spacious, the attention to details is very good, the front console is wide to quickly serve as a work area. The features compete with any luxury vehicle, while most folks with luxury vehicles probably do not realise that pick ups often have more convenience options than their cars. This Ram is bursting with a myriad of features, starting with navigation, impressive sound system, satellite radio, heated steering wheel, automatic climate control, power rear window, sunroof to name a few.

The controls on the 8.4 inch touch screen are intuitive.

Agreed pick ups are big, although with a rear camera, parking assist, blind spot monitors, the Ram immediately diminishes in size especially when negotiating tight spots.

You can configure your own Ram...here.

How does it drive?

The first thing that grasps the attention is the quietness of the diesel engine. Its very quiet, with a substantial rush of torque at low revolutions. This tester had the air suspension which makes it very smooth especially on the highway. In addition the suspension lowers the truck at highway speeds.

Lots of torque, smooth shifting 8 speed automatic, air suspension, reinforced by impressive fuel economy this truck quickly becomes endearing.

It handles likes a pick up, with a reasonable steering feel and good brakes, its all part of the driving a pick up experience. Obvious the transfer case has a low range, you would not expect anything less. As well this tester had the required skid plates for serious off road activity...just in case.

While experiencing this Ram, and reading that Mercedes-Benz is perhaps considering a pick up. The thought that M-B would probably have a pick up with a diesel, and a myriad of features, similar to this truck occured to us on a few occasions.

Agreed the pick up segment is hyper competitive, the diesel engine option in this Ram is over $4,000. but the cool factor is priceless. If you are seeking a light duty pick up with a diesel, we urge you to experience the Ram Eco Diesel.

Strada Talking Points

  • Quiet and economical diesel engine
  • Air suspension
  • All the features you expect
  • Great highway cruiser
  • Easy to maneuver in tight spots

 

 The quick review

 

 

Thursday
May282015

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

2.0 L Turbo charged 4 Cylinder 245 HP with 6 Speed Automatic

Coast Blue Metallic with Black Leather

The photo gallery/slide show of the Sonata...click

Five years ago we had the then new Sonata for a few days. At the time we were impressed by the evocative styling, and mentioned that styling sells. In the ensuing years Sonata sales reinforced our thinking that styling sells. Subsequently we had an opportunity to do an extended road trip with a Sonata, again the car continued to impress.

Needless to say we were anxious to experience this restyled Sonata Sport with a turbo charged engine.

The Sonata was impressive five years ago, this new version is an appreciable improvement. Hyundai has made a diligent effort to reimagine the Sonata.

The grille is bolder, the headlamps and LED's reinforce the boldness of the grille, while the minimal rear spoiler complemented by the rear diffuser with the quad exhaust makes a statement. The side chrome moulding on the lower body is unique.

It upholds a solid street presence, even if there are a lot of Sonata's on the road.

The interior is truly a wow moment. How did such a sophisticated interior get into a Sonata? Its leather, contrast stitching, immense panorama roof, flat bottomed steering wheel its all good, and impressive. The layout of the dash is a quantum leap from the previous version. Although the dash cover comes across black, hard, and plastic.

Its well finished with a superior choice of materials for the price range. The front seats are comfortable, power, heated and ventilated. The controls are easy and intuitive, you expect a center screen, navigation, automatic climate control, satellite radio its all there. The sound system is impressive, and will capture your attention.

Rear leg room is ample for adults, the seat is heated, there are sunshades for the door glass, and vents is the console for the rear seat passengers. The seat backs fold down.

You can configure your own Sonata...here.

How does it drive?

The turbo charged engine deliver a rush of torque from low revolutions. Its impressive, and reinforces the styling, interior finishing, and strong value of the car. Especially if you have an appreciation for a bit more power.

This generates discreet acceleration on surface streets, accompanied by effortless passing on the highway.

The 6 speed automatic is well calibrated to the engine with precise shift points, while the paddle shifter permits manual shifts.

The steering and brakes are good, the suspension is firm (its a sport version) while the overall handling is reassuring. On our favorite stretch of road with broken pavement and several turns, the Sonata is composed and inspires confidence.

The mid size sedan segment is filled with exceptional vehicles, and very competitive. If you are considering a mid size sedan, make it a point to experience the Sonata Sport 2.0T especially if you appreciate an increase in power and torque. You will be pleasantly surprised by a myriad of features that you would not expect. While starting at $30,990 its a compelling value proposition.

This car will certainly provoke your thought process towards making a decision.

Strada Talking Points:

  • Refreshed iconic styling
  • Superb interior for the class
  • Immense Panorama roof
  • Great center of dash layout
  • The rush of torque

The quick review