First Drive: 2013 Acura RDX

At first glance the new Acura RDX may not seem entirely new, but underneath the revised sheet metal lies an entirely new car. Not only is it new, but it has been reconfigured for the customers that actually bought the original one. The first RDX was meant for young, aggressive A-type personalities, but this one is meant for the aging boomers that actually bought the car. However, that doesn’t mean that this car is any worse for it.

Refined Looks

To attract the young go-getters, the first-gen RDX was chiseled and sharp. But older professionals aren’t known for their edgy styling and forward thinking outfits. Because of this, the new RDX has been softened all around. Gone are the chiseled shoulder lines and aggressive taillight treatments, and in their places are rounder, friendlier items. The result is a more refined, professional image that fits this compact CUV nicely. It no longer looks like it’s trying too hard to act tough.

The story stays the same in the interior. Material quality is the same as before, but the interior design has benefitted from a mellowing out. It also comes very well equipped at any trim package, but navigation is not standard. The upgrade is well worth it for the ESL stereo system though. Even if grandpa isn’t going to be blasting dubstep while out on errands, he will appreciate the low range punch and high range clarity of the upgraded system.

New Powerplant for a New Personality

The original RDX, to fit their target market, was a jittery mess. Its turbo four and SH-AWD system combined to make the car eager to chase apexes, but never settled down and enjoyed the ride. With a new motor, drivetrain, chassis and suspension, the RDX has been taken off Ritalin and finally learned to calm down. The major change is the switch to a V6 instead of the old turbo 4. This 3.5L unit delivers more power (273hp) but is smoother and more relaxing than the frantic old mill. The 6-speed transmission has also been revised to prioritize smoothness over quickness.

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First Drive: 2013 Acura ILX

Small Acuras have always held a special place in the automotive pantheon. Small, nimble and always ready to be wrung out, they delivered a premium driving experience without the premium cost. The Integra and RSX were thesis statements for what the Acura brand stood for: technologically advanced, fun to drive, and a great value for the money. The new ILX is the newest small Acura, and although not a true successor, it looks like it will continue Acura’s brand mission.

Exterior

The ILX shares a platform with the Civic, like the Integra and RSX did, but it does not look as differentiated as its predecessors. Acura took great pains to change the look though. The windshield was brought forward and raked farther back; the nose of the car has less overhang; and scalloped sides were added, not to mention the premium touches added such as the headlights, taillights, and metallic surrounds around the windows.

But although it looks completely different than its platform mate, it’s just not distinctive enough for a near premium car. The Integra and RSX could be spotted from across a parking lot because of their distinctive look; looks that drew in a generation of car enthusiasts. The ILX does not – it is attractive, but not in a way that will tug at the heartstrings.

Interior

Acura spent a great deal of attention on the interior of the ILX to give it a premium feel over the Civic as well. Acura started out with the concept of a “cockpit” to make the driver feel connected and the passenger comfortable. To do this, Acura designers created two character lines on the dash on each side. The result, they believe, was to give it a sporty but mature character. Without hearing their motives behind the design, you may not notice it, but it can surely be felt while sitting in the car.

Fit of the interior is also top notch, but material quality falls flat. Some of the materials are soft touch, including the dash, but the buttons on the console and the plastic trim are brittle and harsh. Some of the detailing also falls short. For example, Acura saw fit to give the ILX the connectivity system a TFT screen, but didn’t see fit to upgrade the graphics from something seen on the N64. The interface works well, but its design is straight out of much older cars.

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First Drive: 2013 Hyundai Azera – The Return of the Full-Size Sedan

Before crossovers, minivans, SUVs, and “lifestyle utility vehicles” entered the marketplace, U.S. roads were full of full-size sedans. These cars offered average American families size, comfort and presence that no one else in the world could experience. But like dinosaurs, fedoras and cheap coffee, this segment went extinct as gas prices rose, the products became worse and different segments replaced them. But now, this uniquely American segment is seeing a revival, with the Hyundai Azera leading the charge.

The Azera is not new to our shores, but until now has always occupied an odd spot in the lineup. In fact, with a revised Sonata, it was on the verge of extinction. But for 2012, the Azera is all new. New looks, more power and all for around 30k. What you’re witnessing is not only a new car, but also one of the first entries in a revitalized category.

Exterior

Big cars need to be distinctive on the outside. You should be able to see them coming from two miles away on the highway because of their presence and size. The Azera is certainly an attractive car, but not in the traditional big car way. The Azera continues Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” design theme seen in the Sonata and Elantra, but has been toned down compared with its smaller siblings.

Gone are the deep creases along its flank, like the Sonata, and the overly stylized headlights. In turn, the Azera is more subdued, refined and upscale. This can be seen in its arching rear taillights that span the entire rear, or the slightly upraised haunches. But presence is added by chrome detailing and upscale design cues, such as the jeweled headlamps.

The car looks expensive, but so do many in its segment. Cars such as the Taurus and LaCrosse, and especially the 300C, have also brought styling into the full-size segment. With this in mind, the Azera loses a bit of that full-size presence on the road. That being said, it brings Hyundai’s design language into a new class segment and looks good doing it.

Interior

Interior space and design is the killer app of full-size sedans. They must not only provide space and comfort for occupants, but also a sense of design that takes advantage of the size these cars offer. The interior of the Azera lives up to this tradition. The Y-shaped dash welcomes occupants much like that in the Sonata, but immediately apparent is the new found shoulder, head and legroom. It’s not much larger than the Sonata, but the overall result is comforting – just enough to be accommodating, but not so big to make you feel like you are wearing an ill-fitting suit.

The car is also well equipped with a host of standard features that are optional in much more expensive vehicles. For instance, niceties such as navigation, heated front and rear seats, and a navigation system are all standard. And for $4,000, you can add an Infinity sound system, HIDs, panoramic sunroof and a few other premium touches.

The fit and finish is snug and upscale, with soft touch plastics where most of the touch points are and small panel gaps all around. Detailing, though, is one downside. For example: the fake carbon fiber trim that spans the length of the dashboard. This trim piece undersells the air of luxury that this car has and looks gimmicky. Wood would be a much better fit for the image that this car exudes. Some people enjoy the look of carbon fiber, but wood should at least be an option. Styling niggles aside, the interior showcases the value that Hyundai continues to offer by bringing a dearth of technology and convenience pieces to the table standard, and raising the bar that much higher for not much more money.

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First shots of the 2011 BMW 335i Sedan

Bullz-Eye.com took delivery of a 2011 BMW 335i Sedan this week to test and review the car. The 335i is a very sleek and smooth ride that really gets your blood flowing when you’re behind the wheel. This is going to be a fun week with the 335i! Look for a full review in the coming weeks.

Check out the slide show of our test model.

  

2011 Camaro 2LT Coupe gallery

Bullz-Eye spent some quality time behind the wheel of the 2011 Camaro 2LT Coupe. Our review will go live shortly but we wanted to share the good looks of this muscle car with our readers prior to the official review. Enjoy!

For more car reviews and features check here often!

  

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