Friday, September 27, 2013

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: It's Worth a Look

If you're looking to save fuel, but still want a midsize sedan, you may wish to check out the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.
The Korean automaker retooled the hybrid's drivetrain a bit, which has improved its fuel economy. The Sonata Hybrid is now rated at an impressive 36 mpg city, 40 highway.
The car is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a 35-kilowatt electric motor, with the pairing creating 206 horsepower. That's more output than the gas-only Sonata.
Hyundai says it added a higher-capacity generator, a hybrid battery pack with more power and that it adjusted the tuning on the hybrid system. Hyundai's engineers also were able to make the battery pack smaller and lighter, which gives back a little space in the trunk. However, that trunk is still a bit cramped.
As for interior room, it's not bad. Front seat passsengers have good head- and leg- room, and back seat riders don't fare too poorly either.
The interior features are good; fit and finish and material quality are fine.
 On the outside, there are a few design elements that are different from the gas-only Sonata, such as headlights and taillights, side sills and a large front air dam.
The Sonata Hybrid has standard features that include the BlueLink communications system, satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity.
Options include push-button start, heated leather seats in front and rear and simulated wood trim.
The Sonata Hybrid starts at around $26,000 and ranges to around $31,000.
For a good, fuel-fficient midsize sedan, the Sonata Hybrid is worth a look.

Infiniti G37 Coupe: An energetic and fun way to hit the road

There’s nothing quite like driving a fun, energetic coupe, and the Infiniti G37 offers clear proof of that.

The G37, also available as a sedan or hardtop convertible, is pleasantly stylish without being too flashy.

Infiniti did away with the base trim level for the G37 coupe, offering trim levels of Journey (which the tester was), G37x, Sport and IPL.

The Journey’s spirited engine is a 3.7-liter V-6 that makes 330 horsepower and is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Friday, September 20, 2013

3 Great Tailgating Vehicles

It's that time of year when a number of sports are kicking into high gear, so for fans, that means it's tailgating season.
It can be a lot of fun to pack up the vehicle with coolers, a grill and plenty of food and beverages to enjoy before and after you root for your favorite teams.
With that spirit in mind, The Beat has come up with a short list of three great tailgating vehicles.
Check them out and feel free to share your best tailgating ideas and stories.


This minivan is versatile, roomy and can carry plenty of sports fans and their gear. And the newest model has gotten some styling updates to make it a bit, well, sportier. How fitting.


The pickup truck is the original tailgate vehicle, and it still functions wonderfully in that role today. And here's another vehicle that's newest model has gotten a redesign. New look, same great capabilities.


This crossover SUV offers decent fuel economy and a fairly reasonable sticker price at the lower trim levels, leaving you with more to spend on good eats for your tailgate party. It also has some updates for its most recent model year.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

2014 Honda CR-V: It Covers All the Bases

Take the practicality and reliability Honda has long been known for, and add some utility a bit of sportiness, and you've characterized the CR-V, a compact SUV that is one of the Japanese brand's most popular vehicles.
The 2014 CR-V is virtually unchanged from the previous model year, and that's fine because no changes were needed.
It's still a terrific five-passenger vehicle that offers a surprising amount of room for passengers, gets great fuel economy and is priced modestly.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2013 Honda Crosstour: A Standout among Sedans

The 2013 Honda Crosstour is a versatile large sedan that offers innovation and sporty styling.

Honda first rolled out the Crosstour as a 2012 model, originally dubbing it the Accord Crosstour.

For this model year, the Accord name has been dropped, but the similarity to Honda’s popular midsize sedan remains.

In fact, we really liken the Crosstour to a bulked up but sportier version of the Accord, and we mean that as a compliment.


Friday, September 13, 2013

2014 Acura MDX: Changes for the Better

The 2014 Acura MDX takes a number of steps in the right direction when it comes to meeting the needs of people who want to haul families and cargo, but don’t want to have their wallets drained at the gas pump.

Acura redesigned the MDX, but it doesn’t look drastically different from last year’s model.

The most notable changes are a larger third row of seating that is easier to access – just touch a button – and an improved center console that is much simpler, with far fewer buttons.

Under the hood, the MDX has a slightly smaller engine, a 3.5-liter direct injection V-6 that makes 290 horsepower and 267 pounds-feet of torque. The power plant is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional, with front-wheel drive standard. The previous version had standard all-wheel drive.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

3 Reasons Your Auto Might be a Break-in Target

You might worry about having your car stolen, but a more likely scenario is that your car is broken into and valuable items inside are pilfered.
What might make your car vulnerable?
Here are three factors. 

1. You aren't taking proper precautions

If you leave your vehicle unlocked, you are greatly enhancing the chances that it will be broken in to. Don't be careless. Park in well-lit, populated areas, make sure windows are closed and every door is locked. Avoid leaving your car in unsecured lots overnight.

2. You leave valuables in a visible area in your vehicle
Theft from vehicles is much more common than theft of vehicles. Electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets are popular targets of thieves. Also popular are costly car parts, such as air bags and catalytic converters.
Do not leave valuables in a visible position in your vehicle. Lock them in the trunk or glove compartment. Use an alarm system or other anti-theft device. Such devices might get you a discount on your insurance.

3. You are using an inadequate security system

Thieves often do their research on the Internet to learn techniques for breaking into vehicles, such as using small pieces of ceramic to shatter car windows without much noise. Thieves also sometimes unlock vehicles without setting off the alarm by jamming a screwdriver into the key hole and twisting it forcibly.
It's a good idea to not display labels that identify your security system on your vehicle because thieves can learn how to bypass that system.
Consider installing a second battery for your alarm system or using a hood lock to combat theft of mechanical parts under the hood. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2014 Acura RLX: An Exciting New Approach

Acura has a new large sedan to carry the luxury brand forward, and competitors should beware - this one is pretty formidable.
The 2014 Acura RLX replaces the RL, and offers a completely new approach for the automaker.
It is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 310 horsepower and is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. The RLX is front-wheel drive, but offers four-wheel steering, meaning the rear wheels can be turned in both directions, providing improved handling and agility. The RLX also features Agile Handling Assist, which creates smoother steering and can apply brakes to individual wheels. 
The ride was sportier than what we've become accustomed to in Acuras, while remaining quite refined.
Engine noise was virtually nil, and acceleration and braking were handled simply and comfortably.
On the outside, the RLX offers a sweeping front-to-back design that addresses some of the criticism that Acura has received in the past for boring designs that were basically glorified takes on its sister brand Honda's styles.
The LED headlights offer new styling, with bulbs clustered in each lamp.
The RLX comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, but 19-inchers are available.
We got a few head turns from bypassers when driving the car, from folks who might not have realized at first glance that they were seeing an Acura.
On the interior, leather seating is standard, with fancy perforated leather seats optional. Metal and imitation wood trim combine nicely throughout to present a classy, but not overstated look.
There are two display screens on the center console, with the larger one on top showing navigation or audio information and the smaller one below showing controls for climate and audio systems.
All the luxury technology you would expect is present, including three-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and USB/iPod docking.
Safety technology is also abundant, including blind spot monitoring and automatic braking if the sensors detect a crash that is about to occur.
This terrific package of luxury, technology and performance comes with a steep price tag - starting at around $50,000 and ranging into the $60,000 neighborhood.
But get a look at this ride up close, then get behind the wheel, and you'll see that it is a worthy offering indeed.