Produced in association with our pals at BestRide.

Car Talk Test Drive Notes

Toyota 4Runner Trail Premium 4x4 (2016)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • This thing is a beast. It really goes anywhere, and crawls over any surface. If you need an enclosed vehicle that handles steep, barely passable roads, the 4Runner will do it. And they’ve updated the interior enough that you’re not driving a stone age horse-cart the rest of the time.

  • Part of the week long road test happened to include carrying a full load of cargo and people down a very steep, narrow, potholed dirt road down the side of a canyon to a river bank. Other vehicles couldn’t make it, but the 4Runner didn’t break a sweat. It even backed up the hill without skidding at all.

  • Using the electronics that already work the stability control and ABS systems, Toyota has added several, electronically controlled off-road modes that make this thing even more unstoppable.  We never had to use them, because even in basic, 4WD-high, the 4Runner never faltered.

  • Toyota durability and reliability.

  • Reminds us of what the Toyota Land Cruiser used to be, before Toyota upscaled it and starting charging $80,000 bucks for it. The 4Runner Trail Premium is more of a basic, capable, non-luxurious, go-anywhere truck. Although the definition of basic is now $41K, and includes things like a touch screen, Bluetooth, and a few modern safety features.  

  • Good amount of room in the cargo area, especially with the back seats folded down. Sliding platform helps with loading things.

  • We got a little more than 18 MPG combined.  For a real truck, that isn’t awful. The much more comfortable (but less off-road competent) Highlander only gets 20 combined. 

  • This thing looks capable.  It looks like it could go absolutely anywhere.Think Tonka. Brings out the eight-year-old boy in most grown men. Looks even better when it’s dirty.

  • Con List IconCons
  • As great as it is off road, it’s highly compromised on road. The ride, handling, and braking are distinctly truck-like. They reflect the 4Runner’s original pickup-truck roots. We wouldn’t recommend the 4Runner as an everyday vehicle unless you really need its capabilities. For people who travel 99 percent on road, you can do better.

  • Plus, unless you’re actually using this thing to do what it’s designed to do, you’ll probably come off looking like a poseur. I mean, who needs a quasi-monster truck to go to Starbucks for a decaf latte with 1 percent milk?

  • Women are either intimidated or uninterested in it.  So if you’re looking for a vehicle to help you attract women, this is not it. If you’re looking to attract men, however, this is your ride.

  • It’s tall. Not a single person entered this vehicle without emitting a grunt while heaving him or herself up onto the seat.

  • Rear cargo floor is high off the ground, too, which makes loading heavy objects difficult.

  • The large, off-roady tires are noisy and contribute to loose handling on the highway.

  • The engine, while it has plenty of grunt off road, wheezes a bit in normal highway driving. It’s an old-style, big, four-liter V6. In these days of much smaller, twin turbo V6s and powerful turbo 4s, this engine feels like it’s ready for an update. 

  • Touch screen is small, and it’s not always easy to make selections while driving.


Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium (2017)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • Good looks. The Fusion stands out in a sea of Camrys and Accords. If you’re looking for a mid-size, family car with some style, you’ll like the Fusion.

  • Very good handling. It’s almost sporty. Steering is precise and cornering is surprisingly flat. It’s got a good balance of handling and comfort.

  • Ride. Very good ride. Comfortable and composed over lots of types of road surfaces.

  • Quiet: The cabin stays very quiet, with the exception of when the gasoline engine revs up. Then you hear a bit of harshness. But mostly, it’s pretty damned serene inside. It’s especially quiet on the highway, compared to the Camry and Accord.

  • Mileage: We got a combined 38 mpg. And it’s a large car. That’s impressive.

  • Range: After a fill up, the Fusion Hybrid’s range (how far you can go before needing to fill up again) was listed at a phenomenal 489 miles. We like electric cars, but this kind of range reminds us that hybrids still give you the best of both worlds…actually better than either world alone.

  • vSync 3: We love that’s it not Sync 2. It’s vastly improved, from what we could tell in our week-long test. Most importantly, it’s now not something you'll hate about your car. The controls are logical, and easier to use without driving off the road, or smashing your fist against the touch screen.

  • Price: Our loaded Fusion Hybrid Titanium stickers for just over $35,000. It’s a large car with great mileage, power leather seats, European-esque handling, a 12-speaker sound system, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning, pedestrian detection with automatic emergency brake assist, blind-spot monitoring and a bunch of other stuff.

  • Con List IconCons
  • It’s a pretty large car. If you’re looking for small-car maneuverability, you might think carefully. Plus, the interior doesn’t quite match the exterior in terms of size—some of the size is devoted to style. Rear seat room is certainly adequate, but not as roomy as you’d think for a car this long.

  • Visibility is limited by sleek styling. Fortunately, there’s a rear camera (standard on our Titanium version) and blind spot monitoring (optional) to assist you.

  • Reliability, historically hasn’t been as good as Toyota’s.

  • The gasoline engine does make a buzzing sound when it’s revving, which may bother some people. It’s not annoyingly loud, but it’s noticeable.


BMW X1 xDrive 28i (2016)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • Size. This is exactly the kind of vehicle that a lot of people want right now. It’s a compact crossover. It looks like an SUV, but drives more like a car. It’s big enough to hold four, maybe five passengers. Plus it has a cargo compartment in the back where you can easily toss a Golden Retriever, an off-road stroller, or a couple of boxes of recycled “Manatee Weekly” magazines.

  • Looks. It’s a good-looking vehicle. Looks very upscale and modern, but not controversial. Classy looking. The combination of size, styling, and BMW’s reputation makes us think they’re going to sell a gajillion of these.

  • Cornering. Like most BMWs, the X1 holds the road. Cornering is good for a crossover on twisty roads, and at higher speed on highway curves. It provides a confident feeling ride.

  • Transmission. The X1 features BMW’s excellent 8-speed automatic transmission that operates mostly unnoticeably.

  • Interior room. Unlike other BMWs, this entry level crossover is based on a front-wheel-drive platform that it shares with Mini. That opens up a lot of room, especially up front, where driver and passenger have far more room than they have in rear-wheel-drive BMWs. Even the back seat is pretty comfortable for two.

  • Interior looks. It’s got a classic BMW interior. The controls, switches, and materials are a good match for more expensive BMWs.

  • Mileage. The X1 is rated at an impressive 22 city, 32 highway, and 26 overall. We got just about 24 in mostly city driving.

  • Con List IconCons
  • Noise. The first thing we noticed about the X1 (after admiring the looks, and BMW-like interior) was the engine noise. It seems loud inside the cabin, and doesn’t sound like a luxury car engine. It’s a 2.0-liter four cylinder that you’ll also find in the Mini Countryman, where refinement expectations are a little lower. But it’s odd to hear an engine that sounds like something in an economy car in a BMW.

  • More Noise. The second thing we noticed was the road noise. Once we got going, the road noise was pretty loud. If we were advising BMW, we’d put “lots more insulation” on the list for the next version of the X1.

  • Ride. It’s fine, but in no way cushy. The ride leans towards stiff, which you really notice on less-than-perfect roads. Often, that’s the price you pay for a great-handling car. But the X1 is good handling, not great handling. Despite its solidity and cornering ability, it somehow doesn’t feel sporty. If you’re looking for “fun to drive,” or “very comfortable,” you might be a little disappointed. If you buy it for the styling, the packaging and the prestige, you’ll be fine.

  • Price. BMW is known for its expensive options, and our test car, with a base price of $34,800, rolled out the door at $45,200. The add-ons included navigation, LED adaptive headlights, a heated steering wheel, a rear view camera (optional!), partial automatic braking, premium sound, and a bunch of other nice stuff. Still, that’s a lot for a crossover that doesn’t quite drive like a premium vehicle.

  • Lack of Standard Safety Equipment. The rear view camera is optional, and requires you to buy a $1,000-plus Driver Assistance Package. The basic forward collision warning and automatic braking system require an additional $700 package plus the navigation system at $1,200. And if you want the full speed automatic braking option (which we strongly recommend), plop down another $1,000 on top of that. Strangely, no blind spot monitors are available, even while we’re seeing them on Nissans that cost half the price of the X1.


Toyota Mirai (2016)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • Nothing comes out the "exhaust pipe" except water (OK there’s no real exhaust pipe). The technology absolutely works. There’s a fuel cell up front that converts the hydrogen into electricity and water. Every once in a while, the Mirai will purge its water. So it doesn’t "make water" at an inopportune moment (like while you’re picking up your date, or in your garage), the Mirai has an H20 button that allows you to preemptively purge the water holding tank.

  • You get a 250-mile range on a tankful of 5kg of hydrogen. Compared to other electric vehicles that are now just crossing the 100 mile range, you forget about range anxiety altogether when you’re driving the Mirai. At least until you get down to 50 miles left and you have to leave enough fuel to get to the one area hydrogen station that’s 20 miles away.

  • Quick refueling. Unlike battery powered cars, “recharging” takes about the same amount of time as refueling a gasoline-powered car. It’s a little slower, because the pump turns on and off while pressurizing the tank. But it’s five to eight minutes, not not five to eight hours. That also means long trips are possible in certain parts of the country, with some planning.

  • Wonderfully smooth power delivery.

  • Solid, comfortable ride, and pretty flat cornering. Comfortable seats, luxury feel. It’s a very heavy car at 4,500 pounds, and the weight makes it feel planted. We didn’t take it on any twisties, but around town, the center of gravity felt reasonably low and the body lean at modest speeds was minimal.

  • Good room for four adults, with very comfortable back seats.

  • Prius-like controls inside, with more luxury.

  • Full suite of modern safety features including automatic emergency braking.

  • Rebates galore. Hydrogen cars have a cart and horse problem. Until there are more hydrogen fueling stations around, people won’t buy hydrogen fuel cell cars. Until more people buy hydrogen fuel cell cars, filling stations won’t add hydrogen. The solution? Incentives galore. You can get up to $8,000 from the feds, $5,000 from the state of California, and $7,500 from Toyota. That turns a $58,000 car into a $38,000 car. Or a $499 a month lease for three years. Plus Toyota will give you up to $15,000 worth of fuel over the first three years, good for about 15,000 miles a year by our calculation.

  • Con List IconCons
  • Excuse me, can you tell me where the nearest hydrogen station is? (Nope.) While the technology is great, whether you can even consider a car like the Mirai depends on how close you are to a hydrogen filling station. From what we could discover, there’s one in Massachusetts, one in Connecticut, one in South Carolina, and a couple of dozen in CA, with Los Angeles pretty well covered. More are planned for California in the next year or two, which is the key market for the Mirai right now. But Toyota says the Northeast is next for growth in hydrogen stations.

  • Hydrogen Fueling Station Locations

  • Fuel is pricey. At our local hydrogen station, fuel was available for $16.78/kg. The Mirai takes 5kg, and after refilling, the on-board computer predicted a range of about 250 miles. That comes out to about 33 cents a mile in fuel costs. Compare that to the slightly larger Toyota Camry, which gets 28 mpg overall. At three dollars a gallon, the Camry’s fuel cost is about 11 cents a mile. A Camry Hybrid, rated at 40 mpg, would cost you about 7.5 cents a mile. Toyota will pay for your gas for the first three years, so your cost for those first three years is zero. But after that, you’ll presumably be paying a premium.

  • Large A pillars can block out pedestrians when you’re turning right in city driving.

  • The small- to mid-sized Mirai weighs about 4,500 pounds. A bunch of that mass comes from the fuel cell. That weight gives it a very solid feel on the road. But you can also feel the front-heaviness on sharper corners.

  • Other than that, there’s nothing to dislike about the Mirai. If you live near a hydrogen station, you could become a very happy early adopter.


Honda HR-V EX-L (2016)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • Size.  It’s a smallish crossover, that’s easy to maneuver in traffic and easy to park. Inside, it’s got good room up front, very decent room in back for two, and a good amount of cargo room in the back that expands dramatically if you drop the flat-folding rear seats. It’s a versatile car.

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  • Styling. It’s a nice looking vehicle. Both cute and modern.

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  • Easy to drive. Typical of Honda, driving it is effortless. It’ll also probably serve its owners for 150,000 mostly trouble-free miles, if Honda’s past history is a guide. The driving position puts you higher up than in a car, and visibility to the front and front-sides is good.

  • All wheel drive. Makes it practical for the snow belt and the occasional-snow belt.

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  • Fuel economy. Rated by the EPA at 27 city, 32 highway, and 28 overall, and 28 overall is what we got. That’s quite good for a car with all-wheel drive.

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  • Lane Watch. When you turn on your right directional signal, a camera in the right side view mirror activates, and you see what’s on your right in the center screen.

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  • Con List IconCons
  • It’s no Honda Civic. The redesigned Civic has a high-quality feel, smooth ride, and great handling. The HR-V has none of those. There’s something cheap feeling about the HR-V. And, unlike many other Hondas, there’s nothing fun to drive about it. It reminds us of the old Toyota Matrix. Practical and appliance-like.

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  • While there’s enough room, the seats themselves are only adequate and not terribly comfortable. We wouldn’t want to spent 5 hours in the HR-V.

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  • Sometimes loud CVT transmission.  While it delivered adequate power in town, the engine and transmission could get loud, whiny, and a bit slow under hard acceleration, like when entering a highway.

  • Touch screen. The touch screen is plain old annoying. Especially the capacitive volume control that’s so much harder to use than a volume knob. The software is not terribly intuitive, and the navigation system is cheap, not even telling you the name of the street that it wants you to turn onto. So you hear “turn right,” instead of “turn right on Main Street.” That leaves you with one less way to verify that you’re making the correct turn. Overall, it’s a poor infotainment system, compared to others. You can avoid it by buying the lower trim versions, like the LX, which still has Bluetooth.

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  • Lane Watch is great for the right side. What about the left? And at night? Where’s the blind spot monitor that everyone else has now?

  • No forward collision warning or emergency pre-collision braking available, which all cars should have.  


Honda Civic EX-T 1.5L Turbo and EX 2.0L (2016)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • Looks great, with sharp edges and a flared, fastback style back end. When you look at the new Civic next to its main competitors, the Sentra and Corolla, it’s immediately clear which one is the cool kid on the block.

  • Engine transmission combinations. Feels like the perfect amount of power, and delivered smoothly and easily. One of the better continuously variable transmissions we’ve driven. The 174 horsepower 1.5L turbo is the more powerful of the two, but the 158 horsepower 2.0L is absolutely powerful enough. What you get with the 1.5L turbo is a little more pep, and less CVT-related engine noise on harder acceleration.

  • Gas pedal feel. One thing that Honda got right is that when you take off from a dead stop, you get the right amount of power, not so little that you feel like you’re driving a Prius in Eco Mode, but not so much that it snaps your head back or makes your passengers silently curse you. It’s just right.

  • Handling is definitely improved over previous Civics, and is perfectly tuned for urban and suburban environments. The car is comfortable and pliant on city streets, but seems to grip well without much body lean on corners. Feels like a far more expensive car than previous Civics, although it’s not.

  • Trademark Honda Lane Watch camera is great. It activates a rear-facing camera in the right side-view mirror whenever you signal to turn right. Helps you change lanes to the right. And in the city, it let’s you see if a bicyclist is coming up from behind you before you turn.

  • Interior feels large. Plenty of leg room, and because of the lower seating, lots of head room. Taller folks no longer need to wear their protective original-equipment Honda Yarmulkes while driving.  Back seat room is decent. Trunk room is generous.

  • The previous Civic was designed during the 2008 recession, and it felt cheap. Particularly inside. This one does not. The shapes and materials are definitely not “econo-box” anymore.

  • Excellent gas mileage. Both engines get around 30 mpg city and 40 highway. We got 32 in mostly city driving, and saw 40 on the highway.

  • The optional low-profile wheels are really nice painted, brushed aluminum. And, they don’t have a lip, fortunately—which means you won’t grind up the aluminum when you park a little too close to the curb.

  • Price. The 2.0L EX with keyless entry and the safety package lists for $22,875. It’s a nice car for that money. The 1.5L EX-T, similarly equipped, lists for $23,200, and is more fun to drive.

  • Con List IconCons
  • The touch screen, and especially the @#*& touch screen volume control. The whole infotainment system is annoying, not terribly intuitive, and makes you take your eyes off the road far more than is safe. Why Honda refuses to provide a volume knob in its higher trim models is a disappointing mystery. A volume control where your left thumb falls on the steering wheel, which you just slide your finger over to raise or lower volume, helps mitigate the problem once you get used to it. Apple Car Play and Android Auto help you avoid Honda’s software design some of the time.
  • Right where the volume and tuning knobs should be are the temperature controls for the driver and passenger. Whenever Car Talk came on, we kept turning the driver’s temperature down to try to avoid it.
  • While the Lane Watch camera is great for merging to the right during the day, it doesn’t help at all with your left side blind spot. And it does very little at night, where all you can see is headlight glare. It’s disappointing that Honda wouldn’t add a blind spot monitor to an otherwise good safety package.
  • It’s low. You fall down into the Civic. And you clamber up out of it. Particular when you get in the back seat.
  • You can barely see out the back at all. The sweeping belt line and wide pillars result in great styling, but a steeply raked back window. Fortunately, all Civics come with a standard backup camera. You’ll need it.
  • This car needs a rear wiper in the worst possible way. The window is too angled to rely on snow and rain sliding off without some assistance.
  • There’s a fair amount of road noise, particularly on the highway, and particularly if the road is anything but perfectly smooth. It might be related to the lower profile tires used to improve handling on the higher trim models.
  • Seats bottoms are rather short, and have limited thigh support. The cloth seats are a little bit on the soft side, too, giving us some concern about long trip back comfort. Leather seats in the EX-L might be better, but we haven’t tried them.

Toyota Prius Four (2016)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • Much improved suspension. Tracks well, feels more planted, not as light and tinny feeling, a lot less body lean in curves. The new, independent rear suspension makes a big difference, and removes a lot of the unpleasantness some people felt when driving a Prius. Less of an appliance on wheels, more of a car.

  • The accelerator pedal encourages gentle starts. We actually preferred to leave the Prius in “Power” mode, where the acceleration is zippier. We paid a penalty in mileage. Instead of the reported 52 mpg, we only got 48.5. Sold!

  • The interior continues to feel airy and spacious. Compared to the Chevy Volt, it feels almost palatial.

  • Interior materials are improved (with one exception).

  • Hatchback makes the Prius enormously versatile for carrying anything and everything.

  • While it’s not easy to see out the back, the new Prius does retain the extra slice of rear window below the rear spoiler. While you’ll still be grateful for the rear view camera, the extra piece of window helps.

  • Blind spot and cross traffic alerts are standard on the higher level Prii, and the available Toyota Safety Sense - P adds the safety stuff everybody should have now: Pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection and emergency braking. Heads up display is also a nice safety add on, particularly when paired with the navigation system.

  • Looks. We’ll put this in the “Likes” category because the wife of our producer saw the 2016 Prius in the driveway and said “Wow, that is one bad-ass looking Prius.” Our Producer did not agree, finding it trying too hard to look futuristic. We’ll also note that her taste in looks is also suspect, since she chose him. But we’ll let you decide.

  • Overall, this is a much improved Prius. Handling, mileage, interior materials and safety equipment are all meaningfully improved. If you’ve been waiting to trade up from your old Prius, you can now feel good about doing so.

  • Con List IconCons
  • The bidet.The center console appears, on first glance, to be made of white porcelain, suggesting there is a bathroom fixture of some kind between the front seats. While that’s not a bad idea for long trips, we checked, and there is, in fact, no drainage via the cupholders. This thing is actually made of hard plastic, but it’s only available in “Kohler White,” so get used to it

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  • Road noise is improved, but it’s still not great. At highway speed, it’s not easy to have a conversation with a back seat passenger at normal speaking volume.

  • Braking can still be a bit grabby in the Prius.

  • We found the navigation system a little difficult to follow, and you have to access it through the APPS menu, which is odd. However, having the navigation directions in the heads up display is a plus.


Chevrolet Malibu 2LZ (2016)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • One of the nicest four-door sedans Chevy has created in a long time.

  • Very nice looking car. It has an almost fastback-like rear end. It stands out next to the Accord and Camry.

  • Handles well and rides smoothly. The Malibu has found a nice balance between ride and handling, making it an easy car to drive every day. The steering is tight, there's minimal body lean, yet the suspension soaks up city bumps pretty well. It’s a very comfortable car to drive in town or to cruise in on the highway.

  • The optional turbo charged two-liter, four-cylinder engine has plenty of power--250 hp, as a matter of fact.

  • That two-liter engine, in combination with the eight-speed automatic transmission makes the Malibu pretty efficient. It’s rated at 22 city, 33 highway, with an average of 26 MPG.  We got about 25 in mixed driving.  Not bad for a pretty large car. Transmission operates smoothly under most conditions (see below).

  • Roomy inside (including the back seat and trunk), with a nicely done interior. Lots of soft-touch materials in the right places, and a clean, airy, comfortable feel. If you’re used to cheap-feeling Chevy rental cars, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  • Ergonomically thoughtful — with a good balance of easy-to-see and easy-to-read hard controls on the console, and less commonly used controls in touch screen form. When you do use the touchscreen, it’s pretty intuitive, with a very useful “home” button well-located for easy reach. Apple Play is available.

  • Love the volume controls placed on the back side of the steering wheel, right where your fingers are already resting anyway.

  • Available with all the good, up to date safety features, including pre-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring. Unlike some other cars, you can order these options (called Driver Confidence packages) on mid level trim models, not only the highest end version.

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  • Our loaded Malibu, with all of that safety equipment, leather seats, the 9 speaker Bose system, the upgraded engine and more stickered for a shade over $34,000.  Not bad.

  • Con List IconCons
  • When you’re crawling along in traffic, the new eight-speed automatic transmission shifts hard between first and second gear. It’s not something you notice much when accelerating normally away from a stop light. But when you’re stuck in traffic, it gets pretty annoying. Hopefully that’s something Chevrolet can fix with software.

  • As nice a car as this is (and it is pretty darned nice), Chevrolet has long lagged behind Toyota and Honda in reliability. That has to be factored into a purchase decision, and only time will tell if Chevy has stepped up its game.

  • Visibility out back is poor. The price you pay for the styling. You’ll be making good use of the (fortunately) standard back up camera.

  • OK, we admit it, this is a truly picayune complaint. But the directional signal blinker sounds like it came off of a ’73 Vega. Given all the thought and effort that obviously went into making this car feel like a high-quality ride, maybe the next generation can upgrade the blinker to a less "plasticky" noise.


Nissan Altima 2.5 SV (2016)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • Competent.  It provides transportation for four or five people, in reasonable room and comfort, and, based on previous years’ experience, decent reliability.

  • Very good fuel economy.  Rated at 31 overall, with 27 mpg city and 39 highway.

  • Plenty-good-enough power from 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder engine.  182 horsepower.

  • CVT transmission is mostly very good, without the noise and high revving of some others.  See note below about low-speed operation.

  • Reasonably quiet at highway speed.

  • Airy cabin, with lots of glass and, as a result, pretty decent visibility.

  • Simple, easily understandable controls.

  • Roomy back seats.  Your passengers will praise you.

  • Con List IconCons
  • Mushy handling with more body lean than you’d get in an Accord, or even a Camry.  Scores very low on "fun to drive” scale.

  • Interior is showing its age.  Just feels old compared to other cars we’ve driven more recently.  It’s got more hard plastic than you see on arch rivals Camry and Accord.

  • Cheap feeling, too-soft cloth seats.

  • CVT transmission sometimes creates an unpleasant vibration at low speed operation.  To maximize fuel economy, the CVT always tries to use the highest gear ratio.  In the Altima, it tries a little too hard, and on streets where we were just trying to maintain our speed, we’d feel a sort of lugging, rumbly vibration.  It’s not awful, but slightly annoying.

  • While you can get blind spot monitoring, the most advanced safety systems, like pre-collision warning and automatic braking, are not available on the four-cylinder models.  To get those, you have to get the higher end V6.

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  • There’s nothing particular memorable about the Altima.  It does everything reasonably well, but does nothing spectacularly well.  It feels like it’s due for a redesign, and is getting a bit of a rental-car vibe.  


Lincoln MKX (2016)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • Looks good.  For many years, Lincoln has approached design by simply dressing up Fords with every piece of costume jewelry in the drawer.   Or, as we once put it, making its cars look like the JC Whitney catalog just threw up on them.  The MKX is different.  It’s truly classy looking and, dare we say, desirable. It’s got a muscular elegance that works.

  • Feels like a luxury car.  The materials inside the cabin are rich looking and feeling.  The MKX is quiet, solid and calming.  The interior feels airy and spacious.

  • The 2.7 liter Eco-boost V6 is very smooth and powerful.  We don’t know what it’s long term reliability will be yet, but its performance is impressive with plenty of power available anytime.  Transmission operates unnoticeably.

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  • It rides and handles well, with two qualifications, noted below.  The ride is actually on the firm side for a Lincoln.

  • Controls are intuitive and easy to use.  It seems to have the right balance of actual knobs and buttons to stuff that’s addressable via the touch screen.

  • Comfortable seats up front.  Good room in the rear seating and cargo area, which extends when the back seats fold.  Lots of good, usable space overall.  

  • Excellent rear view camera which comes on instantaneously, and features a bird’s eye view of the car, making backing up and parking pretty easy (available on high trim models).

  • It has a rocking Rebel sound system on the highest end model.

  • Con List IconCons
  • Price.  Our tester listed at $58,740.  Worth $10,000 more than an excellent, fully loaded Ford Edge on which it’s based?

  • Eco-boost is far more boost than eco.  We got a combined 16.8 mpg, which is several mpg less than the competitors Lincoln hopes to target.  Six speed automatic transmission may be part of the problem, as most competitors have seven or eight speeds now for better highway mileage.  But we’ve found that, in general, Ford's engines provide more boost than eco.

  • The ride is quite good, but the MKX does feel heavy.  We really felt the car’s 4,500 pounds on corners.  A fully loaded Ford Edge lists as 500 pounds lighter, and seemed to handle better.  Plus, the 20 inch wheels that came with our test MKX made the ride a little less smooth than it could have been.  

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  • Our test vehicle came with the old, reviled My Lincoln Touch infotainment system.  Lincoln is in the process converting MKX's to the upgraded Sync 3.  Be sure the one you buy has the upgraded Sync 3 (wait if you have to), or your car will tick you off every single day.

  • You have to pay big bucks, and choose a higher end model to get the most important safety features, like forward collision warning and automatic pre-collision braking.

  • In a nod to “different” styling, the selections for the automatic transmission are in a long, vertical row, to the left of the touch screen.   As you might imagine, it’s not that hard to hit a transmission button with your thumb, while trying to use the touch screen.  


Comments

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SiliconValley2000

I bought a brand new e-Golf, Nov 2015. Drove it 4 days and broke! It's been 1 month in the shop and still not repaired.

Volkswagen America answer (3rd week) - We will never give you a new car, that's why it has a warranty. - We will not give your money back. - We don't have to provide you a loaner nor pay for your transportation while your car is being repaired. - You will not get compensated for anything. - You owe us this month lease payment, btw!

Volkswagen America answer (4th week): We are not allowed to talk you. Get an attorney to reach out to us.

Still considering to buy an e-Golf?? Good luck!


Crispy Critter

You guys need to do a review of the 2016 Ford Focus RS when it comes out this summer. It's been five years since you've done a Focus review, and this (actually it's brother) is one of the best selling cars on earth. My impression is that if you think the BRZ/FRS is fun to drive you'll be blown away by the Focus RS.


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