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 Volkswagen Passat has a long and storied history that dates back to the automaker’s decision to release the Dasher in the U.S. in 1974. Save for the change of name, some safety add-ons and emission-reducing components, the Dasher was essentially the same as the rest of the world’s Passat. The Quantum replaced the Dasher in 1982, then the Passat finally arrived in the U.S. in 1990.

Heading toward 2015, the highly anticipated, eighth-generation — sixth generation in the U.S. — Volkswagen Passat, which rides on the new MQB platform, has been already launched in Europe, although it won’t reach the U.S. market until 2016. Redesigned inside and out, the new Passat was dressed in a more stylish suit and fitted with a host of brand-new convenience and safety features.

Much like the previous iteration, the 2015 Passat becomes available with a bevy of gasoline and diesel engines. For the very first time, the mid-size vehicle has gained a plug-in hybrid version powered by a gas unit and an electric motor combo. Naturally, the redesigned Passat will endure a few changes before it reaches North American shores, but the Euro-spec model is a very good preview of what we’ll be getting in showrooms for the 2016 model year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Volkswagen Passat

Cadillac ’s latest edition of the CTS sedan builds off the high benchmark set by 2014’s generation change. Now in its third generation, the CTS is a formidable opponent to the German and Japanese rivals. Debuting for the first time in 2003, the CTS brought Cadillac’s ‘Art and Science’ theme to the forefront with an interesting, angular design that not only looked futuristic, but helped revitalize the brand’s dying appeal. The CTS’s second generation built an empire atop the foundations laid. Now with a more luxurious feel with a beautifully trimmed interior, the 2008 became a true competitor in the sport luxury class. Things got even better in 2014 when the third generation CTS debuted, and for 2015 the CTS gets a slight refresh that includes a revised grille and an updated Caddy emblem..

Moving into its second year, the third-generation CTS gets a bevy of telecommunications and connectivity additions, including OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charging, along with an revised version of the Cadillac CUE infotainment system.

What’s more, 2015 ushers in the new Cadillac crest — the newly updated version of the brand’s iconic emblem. Gone is the wreath surrounding the crest. Now the crest is wider and shorter for a more youthful appearance.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Cadillac CTS.

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. Things began to change for the Korean automaker when its products became better looking and longer lasting. The 2005 Sonata was a key player in that movement with its good-looking proportions and U.S.-built claim-to-fame. Things got even better in 2011 when Hyundai debuted the YF platform Sonata. Its upscale looks and solid powertrain sent the competition packing and sent Hyundai’s sales numbers skyward.

Now entering 2015, the Sonata has once again gone under the knife. But unlike 2011, the look is more sculpted, angular, and upscale thanks to Hyundai’s new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language.

Like I mentioned in my Sonata preview article, I spent a recent day behind the wheel of Hyundai’s newest car in hopes of gaining an understanding about the direction the new Sonata is headed, as well as the changes that exist.

Click past the jump for the full review

Say hello to the 2015 Hyundai Sonata – the Korean automaker’s all-new midsize sedan. From its front grille to tailpipes, this car is completely different inside and out for the upcoming model year. Hyundai invited me to spend a day behind the wheel of its latest cash cow along the rolling hills of Montgomery, Alabama in the shadows of its massive assembly plant perched just off I-65.

With six trim levels and three engines to sample, the testing was extensive. The drive route included plenty of twisty roads, some interstate jaunts, and a few in-town treks to get a feel of how the new Sonata handles. Hyundai has spread out its trim packaging from spartan to sporty to luxurious. The trim levels include SE, Sport, Limited, Sport 2.0T, Sport 2.0T w/ Ultimate Package, and Eco. The three engines are spread evenly throughout the trim levels and include the turbocharged, 1.6-liter I-4; the carry-over, 2.4-liter I-4; and the turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4.

But before I dive into all the nitty-gritty details of the new Sonata in full Driven Review, click past the jump for a sneak peak at what the new car is all about.

So often when I get a time with a car, I typically focus on how it rides, drives and performs, but with SUV s, cargo room is a huge deal for many buyers. Sure, you need to haul Johnny’s and Suzie’s soccer and softball equipment from A to B, but what about when things need to get a little dirtier than usual? So many crossovers fall flat when hauling anything other than groceries or sports equipment, but is the Sorento an exception to this rule?

Absolutely yes! Kia advertises its Sorento as having 72.5 cubic feet of cargo room — only about 8 cubic feet less than the much longer Explorer — with all three rows of seats folded, and I put this to the test. I happened to have a bit of a landscaping project to finish off this week, and I needed to pick up a ton of mulch, so I decided to see just how many bags I could easily stuff into the back of this midsize crossover.

In my first trip, I folded the third row of seats left the second row up, and still managed to cram 15 two-cubic-foot bags of mulch without much issue. But that was nowhere near enough for my project, so I took out my son’s booster seat and folded the second row of seats, exposing a rather cavernous hull with a relatively flat loading surface. Off to Lowes I went after pre-ordering 30 — yes thirty — two-cubic-foot bags of mulch.

After some careful planning, I was able to stack the mulch bags in piles of five before they got too close to the sunroof, and I was able to create a total of six stacks of five. Even with 30 bags of mulch in the rear, I still had a good eight inches between the last row of mulch and the rear hatch, so there was no "I hope the rear glass doesn’t shatter" moment.

So if you’re looking for an SUV that can haul seven passengers day in and day out, while still having the ability to carry cargo when needed, the Sorento is more than capable.

Click past the jump to read more about how easy it is to access this huge amount of cargo room.

Introduced in 2006 as a 2007 model, the Ford Edge became an important player for Ford in the midsize crossover SUV category. Based on the CD3 platform shared with a number of other Blue Oval products, the Edge became a good seller, rolling over 130,000 units off dealer lots its first year alone. A refresh came for the Edge in 2011 with a reworked exterior that kept up with Ford’s then-current design language, as well as a refreshed interior. The basic bones of the CUV hadn’t really changed since 2007, but all that changes for 2015.

Meet the all-new 2015 Ford Edge. Ford says the new crossover is an evolution of the Edge design idea with the new model pushing the envelope in packaging with more equipment and features that customers are looking for these days. A slew of new techno-features like a standard EcoBoost engine, an available 2.7-liter, V-6 EcoBoost engine, an adaptive steering system, active grille shutters for increased aero efficiency, and a laundry list of innovative safety equipment help push the 2015 Edge ahead of its current competition. It seems Ford’s not-so-little crossover is well positioned for the last half of the decade.

There’s a ton more information below the jump, so head on down for our full rundown of Ford’s newest vehicle.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Ford Edge.

Inden Design is not your typical Mercedes-Benz tuner. Unlike Brabus or Carlsson , this small German tuning house rarely focuses on appearance. Sure, some of its vehicles feature a few nips and tucks and different wheels, but Inden ’s modifying skills are more visible under the hood and in the suspension department.

Not surprising, the company’s most recent project, which is based on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class , follows the same recipe. The sedan got wrapped, lowered and slammed on bigger, sexier wheels, while its engine had its output increased by nearly 30 percent.

Inden Design’s vehicle of choice is a C-Class fitted with the company’s sports grille, which comes with the traditional three-pointed star embedded in the grille. Up front, the sedan can be easily mistaken for a standard C-Class , with only the lip spoiler standing out through its gloss-black paint. On the regular model, the piece sports a body-color finish. Things are a tad different around back, where the AMG Line apron houses a set of exhaust pipes taken from the C63 AMG Black Series Coupe .

But wait, there’s more to this souped-up C-Class than just a new exhaust and front spoiler piece.

Click past the jump to read more about Mercedes C-Class By Inden Design.

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.


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