Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Vehicles of 2014

Atlanta Auto Beat is proud to present the 2014 edition of its annual list of top-ranked vehicles. Rankings are based on vehicles tested by The Beat, and measure traits such as affordability, fuel economy, functionality, looks and predicted reliability.

We hope you enjoy this list, and as always, feel free to comment.

No. 10 Volkswagen Jetta

If you're talking fantastic fuel economy in a fun-to-drive package, you're talking the VW Jetta. This little machine makes it fun to zip through city streets or get out on the open highway and cruise to your heart's delight.

No. 9 Honda Pilot

You want rugged? The Pilot can be that. You want refined? Yep, it does that too. This versatile SUV is great for families and has a number of really neat features that make it a great choice.

No. 8 Toyota RAV 4

After many years on the market, this small crossover SUV has been through a lot of changes. But it has consistently remained a good choice for those who want practicality and reliability.

No. 7 Lexus LS 460

When it's time for a luxury sedan that lets you step out in style, it's time for the LS 460. This roomy car is full of creature comforts and provides the typically smooth Lexus ride.

No. 6 Nissan Altima

This is just one of those all-around good, solid sedans that you would recommend to almost anyone who's shopping for a car. It has a sporty look inside and out, and is also practical.

No. 5 Toyota Avalon

The Avalon has always been a pleasant sedan, but forgive us if we viewed it as a car for the more mature set. Well, this Avalon is not ready for anyone's retirement home. We were impressed by its looks, but even more so by its spunky driving dynamics.

No. 4 Toyota Prius v

The regular Prius has long been a favorite among the green crowd, but for those who needed a little more room, the Prius v has come along and filled the void beautifully.

No. 3 Honda Fit

A subcompact does not have to feel like you're riding in a phone booth, and the Honda Fit surely is much more comfortable than that. Add in its great fuel efficiency, and you've got a wonderful car.

No. 2 Honda Accord Hybrid

What's not to love here? Great fuel efficiency, a consistently reliable record and a roomy interior make this hybrid a top choice among those who want a sedan that will fit all of their needs.

No. 1 Acura TLX

This brand new sedan replaced the TSX and TL in the Acura lineup, both of which were pretty good cars in their own rights. But the TLX managed to take the best from both and add a little extra appeal, putting it at the top or our list.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Volkswagen Tiguan: A Solid Choice in Small SUVs

Looking for a compact SUV? The Volkswagen Tiguan might fit the build. It has a roomy interior, good driving dynamics and distinctive styling.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Acura TLX: A Great New Sedan

Over the past few years, some car industry observers, including this one, have surmised that Honda has been somewhat neglectful of its luxury brand, Acura. Recent offerings from the higher end of the Japanese automaker have been greeted less than enthusiastically.
So, enter a brand new sedan.
The TLX replaces the TSX and TL, both of which had their own merits, but neither of which made enough of an impact on the market to survive.
The 2015 TLX doesn't take a radical departure, appearance-wise, from recent Acura styling conventions.
But it has its own brand of attractiveness, which is to say that it's neat without being gaudy.
It assumes a role in the Acura lineup smack between the ILX, an entry level sedan, and the RLX, which has become the big Kahuna for Acura in cars.
It's a bit shorter than the outgoing TL, and its reduced size is most noticeable on the interior.
Not to say that the TLX is cramped, though, because front passengers can be seated reasonably comfortably and rear passengers will be alright if they aren't above average size.
The TLX has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine that makes 206 horsepower and is linked to an eight-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.
If you choose to upgrade, you get a 3.5-liter V-6 with a nine-speed automatic.
Fuel economy is rated at 24 mpg city and 35 highway for the four cylinder and 21 and 31 for the six-banger.
All models get the all-wheel steering system, which Acura introduced on the RLX. Acura touts its benefits as gaining improved handling in corners by moving the rear wheels counter to the front, but letting the rear wheels pivot just a tad on high speed lane changes, allowing for smoother movement.
On the V-6 models, all-wheel drive is optional.
The interior design of the TLX is understated, but pleasant. You won't find anything that will make you oooohhh and aaaahhh, but neither will you find anything that will make you wretch.
Enjoy the mellowness.
Standard technology includes Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, USB/iPod port, Pandora Internet radio, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Siri Eyes Free technology which combines with an iPhone to give the driver command over certain functions via voice commands. If you choose, a navigation system with Zagat restaurant review, real-time traffic and rerouting and GPS-linked climate control are optional.
The TLX doesn't radically change the luxury sedan market. But it adds an intriguing element of wonder to it. So check it out.
It starts at around $32,000 and ranges to around $45,000.
For a nice, practical midsize sedan, the TLX is worthy of much consideration.