Car Review: 2014 Mazda6 i Grand Touring

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From the time we saw the first teaser images of the 2014 Mazda6 i Grand Touring, there was no doubt that this new Mazda had some mojo! The midsize car segment is very competitive, and after a week driving the new 6, we came away with a favorable view of this car’s possibilities.

EXTERIOR

The hot new Mazda6 Grand Touring proudly wears its equally skin-deep beauty on its sleeve with a sense of confidence reserved for the real deal and not for pretenders. An evolution of the TAKERI Concept, Mazda’s new midsize features the brand’s KODO “Soul of Motion” design language, which is inspired by the movement of animals in the wild – their ability to showcase power in its purest form combined with agile finesse. KODO’s prominent personality, inside and out, easily distinguishes the Mazda6 from competitive people movers, whose personalities seem to have been relegated to match their prudish exteriors. The Mazda6 makes no excuses for its muscular manner, nor does it need to. With pronounced sheet metal strokes, the vehicle evokes a controlled intensity, seemingly moving yet standing still. Not meant to be ignored, the stunning Mazda6 presents an uncommon but welcome appeal of emotion to the midsize segment. With 19-inch alloy wheels and dual exhaust with bright outlets, the new Mazda6 has that It factor that some rivals can only dream about!

INTERIOR

The zoom zoom statement continues into the cabin with black leather seating that can stand up to much more expensive sedans. As tested, the highly-optioned Mazda6 Grand Touring offers Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio connectivity, a 5.8-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, HD Radio Technology, Pandora, Sirius Satellite Radio, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink, an 11-speaker Bose Surround Sound System, a TomTom-based navigation system with real-time traffic alerts, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and memory settings, a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, those upscale leather-trimmed seats with front seat heaters and paddle shifters. Standard interior equipment for all Mazda6 models include a push-button start, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, cloth seat upholstery, power windows with a driver’s side one-touch auto open/close feature, sliding sun visor extensions, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, carpeted floor mats, six-way manual driver’s seat adjustments with lumbar support, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 six-speaker audio system, auxiliary and USB connection ports as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, parking brake and shift knob.

There is so much room in the 2014 Mazda6 i Grand Touring that it’s hard to believe at times that you’re actually in a midsize sedan!

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Car Review: 2013 Hyundai Sonata Limited

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When Hyundai released the latest Sonata a few years ago, the design was cutting edge, and now that the current design is running close to the end of its cycle, the design still holds true to this day. For 2013, Sonata built on its trailblazing recipe of high-design and high fuel efficiency with more features, higher value and better residual value than ever before. That’s important, as the midsize segment is more competitive than ever, with new competitors borrowing pages from the Sonata playbook with improved fuel economy and design.

EXTERIOR

First and foremost, you can’t help but notice the panoramic sunroof which is now part of the Limited Premium Package for 2013 as tested. Fluidic Sculpture is a consistent, cohesive design language that is used throughout the entire Hyundai showroom. It considers the interplay of natural, fluid elements with more rigid surfaces and structures to create the illusion of constant motion.

The exterior of the Sonata is long, light and low. The high beltline allows for a long, sleek roofline accented by a third window. A monoform side profile includes flowing lines highlighted by a Hyundai signature chrome accent that spans the length of the car. Normally, this type of trim is only found around the windows. On the Sonata, this trim extends out from the headlamps, juts up along the hood and through the beltline. The face is bold with a large powerful chrome grille and headlamps that integrate precise details. The stance is completed by 17-inch alloy wheels on our Limited edition. It’s amazing how the Sonata design has influenced competitors and reshaped the midsize sedan marketplace.

INTERIOR

The sleek design, combined with Hyundai’s expertise in interior packaging, delivers class-leading interior comfort, functionality and practicality. A sleek roofline typically compromises headroom and interior volume, but at 120.2 cubic feet, the Sonata has more interior volume than many of its key competitors. It is so spacious that Sonata continues to be classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a large car, truly a “class above” other categorized midsize cars. The Sonata shines even in trunk volume, with 16.4 cu. ft. of trunk space that gives it a 6.1 percent advantage over direct rivals. Our test model was upscale and loaded with features, including leather seating surfaces with heated front and rear seats, power driver seat with power lumbar support, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, XM Satellite radio, Dimension AM/FM/CD-MP3 with iPod/USB input, HD Radio technology with multicasting, integrated Bluetooth hands free phone system, navigation with high resolution touchscreen display, rear backup camera, and a booming and crystal clear Infinity premium audio system with subwoofer and amplifier.

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Car Review: 2013 Toyota Avalon XLE Touring

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A moulin rouge mica 2013 Toyota Avalon XLE Touring is a great sight on a cool spring day in the Midwest. Toyota has dramatically altered the chemistry of Avalon’s DNA creating, a new potent and persuasive sedan that helps shift the product’s generational appeal while symbolizing Toyota’s exciting new design and product direction for future sedans. Our test model verified this just from first impressions.

EXTERIOR

As good as the previous Avalon was, the new 2013 model is a much more refined and expressive car, starting with the exterior. For the mission of re-positioning the Avalon brand and shifting consumer perception of the sedan, Toyota fashioned an exterior that offers a much more athletic expression in sheet metal. The new Avalon sedan clearly represents a dramatic styling departure from previous Avalon models. The 2013 Avalon’s elegant and athletic design offers a longer flowing roofline, creating a more appealing side silhouette with a lower vehicle beltline that suggests a sense of motion with a road holding stance. Its chiseled shoulder line sculpted into side sheet metal starts over the front wheels and creates a strong, fluid body side design cue, adding to its athletic stance. The new Avalon exterior is designed to communicate a greater sense of performance and agility to better match the car’s vastly enhanced dynamic capability.

Compared to the 2012 model, the new Avalon offers more compact and athletic exterior dimensions, and with a greater styling sophistication that does not sacrifice interior comfort. The vehicle’s stance has also been improved with more taut and compact exterior dimensions. Overall height has been reduced by 0.98 inch (25 mm), while the overhangs have been reduced by 0.59 inch (15 mm) at the front and 1.77 inches (45 mm) at the rear. Filling the wheel well, the gap between the body and the tires has been reduced by 0.27 inch (7 mm) compared to the previous Avalon model. The new Avalon’s visual stance has been further enhanced by 1.29-inch (33 mm) reduction in width of the rear side rails surrounding the rear glass to tighten the proportions of the greenhouse. Vehicle tread has been increased by 0.39 inch (10 mm) at the front and 0.59 inch (15 mm) at the rear, widening the wheel placement underneath the more athletic Avalon body. Our test model sported heated outside mirrors with turn signals, power tilt and slide moon roof, dual chrome tipped exhaust and quadrabeam headlights with auto on/off.

A stronger, more expressive front-fascia design with larger grille opening creates an aggressive appearance while enhancing cooling air flow and pedestrian impact protection. The new Avalon’s exterior turn signal indicators have been located at the lower section of the front bumper to contribute to the slim and sleek appearance. The 2013 Avalon’s sleek and sculpted rear tail lights utilize LED lamps to help ensure visibility and reduce the gap of unlit dark area between the trunk and rear quarter panel.

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