midsize cars

midsize cars

  Midsize cars offer a compromise between expensive luxury and cheap cars. They are comfortable and nicely equiped but they often look a bit dull and not real fast. But they will often be the best deal for the money conscious consumers.

The Sonata has been roaming the streets of America since 1989. Those early Hyundais were rather boring, bland cars with little styling, questionable reliability, and a name that was synonymous with less than impressive tax brackets. However, with the Sonata’s 2006 heavy revitalization, that began to change. The idea that the Sonata and the Korean brand making it were bargain basement started to fade. The following generation of Sonatas beginning in 2011 completely obliterated that notion. Hyundai’s brand perception rose, as did its vehicles’ styling, reliability, and ability to sell extremely well. For 2015, the Sonata is again completely new. And new to the Sonata’s trim line is the new Eco model, designed with fuel efficiency as its prime goal.

With Hyundai estimating the car to get 28 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 32 mpg combined, the Sonata Eco gains an extra 10 percent fuel efficiency about the standard 2015 Sonata. Hyundai employs some fairly interesting hardware to achieve the extra efficiency, including a specialized engine and the first-ever use of a dual clutch transmission in the mid-size car category.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco.

The Legacy was a bit of a departure from the Subarus of the past when it rolled onto U.S. dealer lots in 1990. The all-new Legacy featured a new flat-four engine that was more refined and quieter than the automaker’s previous engines and it didn’t have to share the engine bay with the car’s spare tire. Yes, that was a thing. The Legacy’s first generation lasted until 1995 when the second generation took over. The Legacy was new again in 2000, 2004, and 2010 with the third, fourth, and fifth generations, respectively. Despite the changes over the years, the Legacy never lost its “quirkiness;” among which was a standard all-wheel-drive system and a manual transmission option.

Now totally redesigned for its sixth generation, the 2015 Legacy is a new bag of tricks. Subaru has seemingly traded quirkiness for quietness – a sort of yielding to the needs of the mainstream. Gone are the manual transmissions and visceral feelings of driving; replaced by a car better suited to compete with the likes of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

I recently spent a week getting to know this new Subaru inside and out. My particular tester came loaded to the hilt with the most inclusive option package. Decked out in the Limited Trim, the car came with the “Moonroof + Keyless Access & Push-Button Start + Navigation” package. What’s more, under the hood was the optional 3.6-liter flat-six-cylinder engine that powers all four wheels.

Click past the jump for the full review of the all-new 2015 Subaru Legacy

Following the 2013 model year, Acura axed its aging flagship, the RL , and introduced a new sedan for the 2014 model year. The 2014 RLX — yeah, we know it’s not the most creative of names — is Acura’s answer to the 5 Series and A6, but can the Japanese luxury-car builder really compete with the best of the best? With Honda’s venerable 3.5-liter V-6 boosted to 310 horsepower under the hood, the new sedan is poised to make a valiant effort at least.

I recently got the chance to get behind the wheel of the new RLX sedan, and I had some mixed feelings about it. It certainly didn’t lack in features, as it came with leather everything, touchscreen, Krell audio system with 14 speakers, tri-zone climate control, and much more, but something just wasn’t quite "luxurious" about it. As a first impression, it wasn’t promising.

After a full week behind the wheel of the newest member of the Acura family, did the RLX change my feelings about it?

Click past the jump to read my full review on the 2014 RLX and see the results.

Facelifted for the 2012 model year, the Honda Pilot SUV remained basically unchanged for 2014 , keeping its boring, highly criticized exterior looks. Now if you were hoping that will change for 2015, then you’d better start relaxing those fingers, because the boxy, three-row SUV is holding onto its current specifications for one more year.

There is a notable change in the Pilot lineup, however, coming in the shape of a brand-new Special Edition trim. Sounds familiar? It should, because we’re talking about the same strategy Honda pushed with the aging Ridgeline pickup truck last year.

Essentially a well-equipped model fitted with a couple of exclusive features, the Pilot SE resides between the EX and the EX-L trims and can be had in both two-wheel and four-wheel-drive configurations. The Special Edition benefits from the same 3.5-liter V-6 engine as the rest of the Pilot lineup, meaning it can carry up to eight people and tow up to 4,500 pounds with input from 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque.

In charge with transferring the power to the wheels is a five-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control. The unit can be paired with Honda’s VTM four-wheel-drive system for AWD capability. Helping the SUV cope with tougher terrain is a fully independent suspension with a MacPherson strut at the front and a multi-link unit with trailing arm to the rear.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Honda Pilot Special Edition.

There are few things in this country more American than a NASCAR race. Sure, apple pie and baseball might outrank it, but neither of those can compete with stock cars thundering around a track at 200 mph while continually riding on the brink of catastrophe as they race just inches away from a concrete wall and other drivers gunning to win. So when the opportunity arose to become deeply immersed in the culture during the recent All-Star race, I jumped at the chance.

It all started a few months ago with an email invite from Toyota. It read something along the lines of, “how about joining us at the NASCAR All-Star race and tours of the Joe Gibbs Racing Center and NASCAR Hall of Fame?” My reply went something like, “Heck yeah, I’ll be there!”

I decided to skip the crowded airports for a 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport and a seven-hour drive through the heart of the eastern seaboard. I viewed this almost like a pilgrimage; setting out on a roadtrip for a destination of racing importance located in the rolling hills of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Once on the road, my choice of chariot was immediately affirmed. Unlike my last Lexus experience, the front seat was perfectly molded, padded, and bolstered. The more I drove, the more the car seemed to shrink around me, making tight maneuvering a thing of ease. The stout 3.5-liter V-6 offered plenty of grunt while the tight steering and sport-tuned suspension made each corner a memorable event.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport and about my time spent at Joe Gibbs Racing Center

The Chrysler brand has just announced it has received more than 10,000 orders for its brand-new, 2015 200 in the first day the ordering system for the sedan went online. The second day brought another 7,000+ requests from customers and dealers and, according to the company, orders keep pouring in.

Production of the redesigned vehicle had already commenced in mid-March at the company’s plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and full assembly capacity — much-needed given the 200’s pre-delivery success — is expected to be reached through mid-July.

This is great news for Chrysler, who has been struggling to survive with a lineup comprising only four models the past few years. That hasn’t changed and the offer will shrink even further once the old 200 Convertible gets the axe later this year, but the redesigned 200 might just be the pill that precedes the curing process Chrysler had to begin years ago.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Chrysler 200.

Kia Motors represents the truest form of the American dream. Long ago in 1992, Kia immigrated into the U.S. and brought with it little more than the proverbial change in its pocket. The Korean automaker had ambitious dreams of striking it big and making a name for itself within the free 50 states that span the North American continent. Ambition and tenacity would come in handy as the young automaker rolled out products that were less than popular with buyers used to elbow room and reliability.

However, as time marched on, the young automaker grew up. It began making vehicles the car-buying public actually took interest in. Sales began to grow, as did the level of talent within the design and engineering teams. Improved looks and better quality interiors soon started finding their way into Kia’s model lineup, improving year over year. Reliability grew as well, netting some notable awards that further assured potential customers. Soon, Kia Motors and its sister company Hyundai , found themselves unofficially considered a respectable automaker in the land of dreams.

The twins aren’t resting on their laurels, though, as both are rolling out premium products that evenly compete against the vehicular industry stalwarts like Ford , Toyota , Honda , and even Lexus . That brings us to Kia’s latest and greatest product, the 2014 Optima.

The new Optima carries the torch by sporting a slight refresh and reworked interior over the outgoing 2013 model – one that enjoyed incredible sales of over 150,000 units last year alone. Without messing with success, Kia has moved the Optima into the new year with extra levels of refinement and class – something never associated with the automaker just 15 years prior.

Updated 5/15/2014: Kia has announced that the 2015 Optima will feature a few changes to make things a little easier inside the cabin. These changes include the moving of the cruise control buttons into an easier-to-access part of the right spoke of the steering wheel, new brushed bezels on the SX model’s D-shaped steering wheel and white contrast stitching in the SX trim. Additionally, the LX model has optional black cloth upholstery. The biggest change, however, is the addition of the next-generation UVO system as an option on the EX, and SX trims — the SX Limited gets the UVO system as standard. There are also a few color changes and an upgraded windshield on all trim levels.

Click past the jump for all the info on the 2014 Kia Optima

Nissan has a lot riding on the success of the Murano . That’s not an easy position to be, seeing as the Murano is considered as the halo vehicle for the company’s range of crossovers and SUVs, but also has such a polarizing look. So it figures that Nissan is using the New York International Auto Show as the event to introduce to the auto world the new 2015 Murano.

Far more than just a debut of the vehicle, the Murano’s attendance in New York will also serve as a showcase for the automaker to introduce its new design language, one that will be used on future production vehicles. Big stakes involved here for Nissan, if people haven’t already noticed.

As far as the 2015 Murano is concerned, the SUV’s new look isn’t the only thing that’s worth paying attention to. Far from it, actually. A spacious premium interior is also being offered, as are a host of new safety and connective technology features.

As we anticipated, this new generation for the Murano moves it away from its unconventional look of today and gives it a more mainstream look.

Updated 05/09/2014 Nissan unveiled a new video in which it explains the design features in the 2015 Murano. Enjoy!

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan Murano.

If you happen to own one of the most beautiful mid-size sedans on sale, the new Mazda6, you may want to get to your dealer really quickly. Mazda and the NHTSA are recalling more than 19,000 2014 Mazda6 models for issues with the fuel system.

Now what happens is actually little awkward, but apparently you can put too much gas inside the tank. The back pressure that should build up to shut off the pump doesn’t do so at a low enough volume. Sure, you could accidentally spill some fuel and ruin your new shoes, but the real concern is a much different issue.

Image you fill up your car on a nice, crisp spring morning, and the temperature is a brisk 45 degrees. If you have that tank too full and the temp gets hot outside, all that fuel will begin to expand. According to the NHTSA, that fuel could find its way into the charcoal canister which is a part used for improved emissions. Yes, that means fuel is going near the exhaust system. Last time I checked, hot metal and gasoline was a pretty reliable recipe for making fire.

All it takes to fix is a quick adapter in the tank shut-off valve, and it shouldn’t take very long to fix. Just make sure you get into your Mazda dealer to have it done. You don’t want your car to burst into flames because you were too lazy to see a dealer, do you?

Read more about the Mazda Mazda6 sedan after the break.

The current-generation Buick LaCrosse just received a facelift for the 2014 model year, but the GM -owned brand is now rolling out a new interior package that’s set to move the sedan up the luxury ladder. Available as the Ultra Luxury Interior Package, the bundle adds extra richness to the cabin and can be fitted on all LaCrosse models powered by the 3.6-liter V-6 engine, save for the base trim.

The first thing that changes when the package is selected is the leather that wraps the front and rear seats, which gain a deep Sangria hue and white stitching. Also present on the console and the door panels, the soft, semi-aniline leather is complemented by the Ebony-painted headliner and door pillars.

Moving over to wood trims, which are mandatory in a vehicle that wants to compete in the luxury segment, the LaCrosse sedan equipped with this special package comes with Shadow Tamo Ash inserts on its dashboard, center console and door panels. What’s fancy about this high-grade species is that it’s usually used to create musical instruments, especially drums, by renowned companies. What’s more, the shade selected by Buick matches beautifully with the Sangria leather.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Buick LaCrosse.


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