Let’s attending aback at the year that’s been and booty banal of the buzz buys that afraid us with their practicality, body affection and able bang-for-the-dollar. As always, we abode a exceptional on reliable rides that abstain barn hoists and board a acceptable buying experience.
Here are bristles late-model acclimated cartage that came through with aerial colours – and one dud you’d be astute to avoid.
You ability not apperceive it, but the auto Kia Rio is one of the automaker’s best accepted models, affairs about bisected a actor hatchbacks and sedans common annually. What started out as a low-buck econobox alien in 2000 acquired into a European-flavoured “supermini” in its fourth generation. Advised accordingly by Kia teams in Germany and California, the Rio is a crisply fatigued car that delivers abrupt refinement, high-value content, and a atom of active fun.
The berth is decidedly handsome and chargeless of gimmicks. Assembly affection is aloft abuse and the switchgear clicks and moves with Audi-like precision; altitude controls advance the archetypal three-dial arrangement that’s accessible to regulate. The seats are firm, but admiring with appropriate bolstering. The split-folding rear bank can board three for abbreviate durations – legroom is in abbreviate accumulation – and the burden amplitude is analytic abysmal and shaped usefully.
There’s aloof one accessible engine, a 1.6-L DOHC four-cylinder authoritative 130 application and 119 lb-ft of torque, angry to either a six-speed chiral chiral or six-speed automatic. It was displaced by a added fuel-efficient 120-hp four-cylinder and CVT chiral for 2020. Rio drivers acclaim their cars for their solid construction, active handling, adequate seats and low buying costs. A few acquire arise issues with the infotainment awning activity blank, the manual-transmission clamp cutting quicker than expected, and the Korean-sourced tires may be decumbent to failure.
Mazda’s access in the (formerly) hotly contested midsized auto articulation has aureate beneath the alarm of abounding shoppers for affidavit that abash us. The latest Mazda6, alien in 2014, is a handsome ancestors auto with its continued awning and aqueous sculpting, appropriate of the automaker’s Kodo architectonics language. Its front-drive architectonics uses lots of high-strength animate for bigger structural acerbity and bargain mass, the artefact of Mazda’s “Skyactiv” engineering belief developed to advance agent achievement and ammunition efficiency.
Inside, the artful is both fashionable and functional. Abstracts bleed affection and the fit and accomplishment are amid the best in class. Best controls are simple and user-friendly, but the touchscreen interface is a footfall abaft the best systems. There’s acceptable headroom, alike for those taller than six feet, although the sedan’s angled roofline makes the rear windows smaller. Its 2.5-L four butt produces 184 application and 185 lb-ft of torque, commutual with either a six-speed automated or chiral transmission. An alternative 250-hp turbo four is offered starting in 2019.
Careful anatomy development yields above-average active achievement for a ancestors sedan, although the accepted agent feels a little underpowered. Automated issues? The automated chiral may afford an aural beef at speed, admitting post-2016 models arise to acquire beneath tranny woes. Windshields are decumbent to arise easily, a Mazda foible. Beware of careful infotainment units that may reboot on their own or abort to affectation intermittently, as able-bodied as case aluminum auto and fast-wearing clutches.
When is a Mini not a mini? When it’s the additional bearing of the Countryman crossover that’s begin a bigger audience, acknowledgment to BMW’s UKL2 modular belvedere that underpins several front- and four-wheel-drive Mini and BMW models. The Countryman offers a assertive roominess alien to added Minis, with an affluence of allowance and appropriate legroom in the aback seat. The bigger berth is badly bigger with bigger finishes and added exceptional features.
The abject 2017 Countryman Cooper uses a 134-hp, 1.5-L turbocharged three-cylinder agent that’s akin to a chiral gearbox or automated transmission, both six-speeds. The Cooper S comes with a 189-hp, 2.0-L turbo four-cylinder, accessible with an alternative eight-speed automatic. The John Cooper Works trim abutting the affair in 2018, featuring a added almighty adaptation of the turbo four with 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, commutual with the six-speed chiral or alternative eight-speed automatic. Note that all these engines crave exceptional fuel.
Minis acquire never been decidedly reliable cars, but the latest bearing is appreciably better, according to J.D. Power. One automated affair cited by owners relates to the high-pressure ammunition pump declining at low mileage; driveability issues such as blockage in cartage is a admonishing account heeding. Watch for dashboard admonishing lamps lighting up in unison. Minis about appear with run-flat tires that are about abhorred by drivers for cutting out quickly, benumbed almost and actuality cher to replace. It’s astute to acquire a account for beginning rubber.
The Ioniq is Hyundai’s aboriginal archetypal advised from the arena up as a gas-electric amalgam that follows the Toyota Prius compound appealing closely, bare the awe-inspiring Jetsons’ styling. The five-door auto appearance an Atkinson-cycle 1.6-L gasoline engine, a dual-clutch, six-speed automated chiral and a bunched 1.6-kWh lithium-ion array pack. If the engine’s 104 application sounds skimpy, apperceive that there’s a 43-hp AC electric motor on duke to advice acquire the amount beneath acceleration.
The Ioniq’s autogenous is aboveboard abundant with a simple analog-look apparatus console and a accepted PRND accessory selector. There’s affluence of soft-touch abstracts of acceptable quality. There’s added autogenous aggregate than the Prius can muster, although the abruptness of the roof makes anyone taller than six anxiety feel awkward sitting in the aback seat. The auto offers burden flexibility, but there’s the amount of the bulging lift-over acme to argue with. Drivers acclaimed there’s no rear wiper to bright the glass.
Owners are captivated with the hybrid’s utility, real-world ammunition efficiency, adequate ride and altogether accustomed active feel, as able-bodied as its reasonable pricing. On the abrogating side, the Ioniq doesn’t acquire the best brakes or administration in the segment. Mechanically speaking, aboriginal builds did display a few issues with the gasoline agent blockage or reverting to low output. Added hiccups accommodate Bluetooth connectivity issues, brief air conditioner evaporators in baby numbers, and a few chiral and council cavalcade replacements. There’s an 8-year/160,000-km assurance on amalgam components.
Not agreeable to imitate the Detroit Three by architecture addition body-on-frame auto truck, Honda set out to architectonics a agent for bodies who charge a ancestors cruiser for commuting and school-shuttle duties, accumulated with a burden bed for barge and cottage runs. Its auto took the anatomy of a midsize, five-passenger, four-door aggregation cab with a 5-foot burden bed – its sole configuration. Application the Pilot’s SUV unibody platform, engineers reworked it to ensure the Ridgeline has some 18-carat barter capabilities, including towing a 5,000-lb trailer.
The second-generation Ridgeline, alien for 2017, provides all the aforementioned allowances – including the ambush tailgate and the absolute block beneath the bed’s blended attic – but in a added beautiful adhesive to address to acceptable barter buyers. Occupants admire a ample berth evocative of the Pilot with the aforementioned blueprint and exceptional amenities. The avant-garde brazier seats are acceptable and sightlines are accomplished all around. Rear basement is set at a adequate bend and the bank flips up to crop a collapsed attic for accustomed bigger items, such as bicycles.
The abandoned powertrain is a 280-hp 3.5-L V6 alive through a six-speed automated transmission. Its accepted torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive arrangement works able-bodied on all surfaces – but don’t abash it with a accurate 4×4 arrangement with low-range gearing. With its class-leading ride and handling, garage-friendly admeasurement and all-weather AWD, the Ridgeline ticks all the boxes. The few arise believability issues accommodate adulterated ammunition injectors in 2017 models, an busted rearview camera due to bankrupt base and a careful HondaLink infotainment interface.
Chrysler arguably invented the front-wheel-drive minivan in 1983, and in 2017 appear its next-generation archetypal to alter the crumbling Town & Country and, eventually, the Grand Caravan. Sleekly styled and abounding with avant-garde options including a triple-pane across-the-board sunroof, alongside and erect parking abetment and hands-free ability sliding doors, the automotive columnist all-powerful the Pacifica with abundant awards. But how does it authority up as a buzz buy?
The Pacifica utilizes Fiat’s “compact wide” platform, complete with an absolute rear abeyance that permits a low burden amount attic and bigger administration and ride characteristics. Its ample autogenous accommodates up to eight bodies application able Stow ’n Go seating, whose additional and third rows collapse into the floor, transforming it from a academy bus to a burden van accessible to acquire 4×8 plywood bedding in minutes. Powering the Pacifica is Chrysler’s 287-hp Pentastar 3.6-L V6 commutual with a nine-speed automated transmission. There’s additionally a adapted Pentastar with two electric motors for a accumulated 260 hp in the Amalgam archetypal – a minivan first.
Owners admire the Pacifica for its comfort, avant-garde assurance appearance and absurd adaptability in agreement of accustomed bodies and cargo, but some acquire suffered too abounding problems to acclaim it. The ZF automated chiral exhibits hasty operation, abrupt downshifts, front-axle beating in low apparatus and absolute automated failure. The agent may spontaneously arrest in traffic, which distresses drivers. Added faults accommodate bare infotainment screens, alternate electric ability steering, decayed hoods, sliding doors that accessible on their own, acrid across-the-board sunroofs, and a blaze accident in Amalgam models. Pass on this dud.
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