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Seat Time: 2015 Volkswagen GTI

June 10th, 2014 at 9:00am

Golf GTI Exterior 3

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake
Manufacturer: Volkswagen AG
Make: Volkswagen
Model: Golf GTI S; Golf GTI SE; Golf GTI Autobahn
Type: 2 & 4-door hatch
Competitors: Ford Focus ST, Civic Si, Subaru WRX
Price: Base: $24,395
(Price based on 2-door hatch with manual transmission)
Made in: Puebla, Mexico
Drivetrain: 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged direct-injection engine with a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG dual-clutch AT
EPA Ratings: 24 City/35 Highway
(EPA numbers are for base model with a manual transmission)

Final Impression:

Golf GTI InteriorFor the car basics, please refer to the Golf TSI/TDI final impression. However, for the GTI difference see below…

VW gave the 2015 Golf GTI a new 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with more horsepower – 210 – and torque – 51 lb.-ft – over the previous engine. All while keeping its mpg numbers the same: 25/34 for the MT, 21/31 for the AT.

In addition, to highlight the performance roots of the car, VW lowers the GTI a little over a half-inch over its TSI version making it much more sporty driving experience.

Seat Time: 2014 Toyota Corolla S Plus

June 9th, 2014 at 10:36am

2014 Toyota Corolla S

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Ben Sanders
Manufacturer: Toyota Motor Corporation
Make: Toyota
Model: Corolla S Plus
Type: 4-door sedan
Competitors: Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, Ford Focus
Price: Base: $17,610; As Tested: $22,870
Made in: Blue Springs, Mississippi, U.S.
Drivetrain: 1.8L DOHC I-4 engine; CVTi-S transmission; 133 hp; 128 lb-ft torque
EPA Ratings: 29 city/37 highway/32 combined/29.7 observed

Final Impression:

2014 Toyota Corolla InteriorThe Toyota Corolla promises a lot from the start. No longer is this compact car a melted Camry in miniature; aggressive styling gives it a presence like no other small car out there and presages similar goodness within. Not everyone will love the sharpened “keen look” (Toyota’s vocabulary, not ours), but then that’s the point. Its face, dominated by a gaping lower grille and blacked-out bumper, is hard to miss and bears an undeniable resemblance to its bigger brothers, the Avalon and newly reworked 2015 Camry.

Inside the design does not disappoint. Those who complain that automakers these days play it too safe with monochromatic interior colors should be pleased with what the so-called “beige” brand has done to amp up the Corolla. No, you won’t find a lemon-hued vinyl dashboard, but this is a car that comes across as more premium and sporty than you might expect for its segment and price.

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AAH #245 – Jeep Renegade Gets Ready to Invade the World

June 6th, 2014 at 3:16pm

Audio-only version:

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UP FOR DISCUSSION:
- GM’s internal investigation.
- First impressions after driving the Lincoln MKC.

SPECIAL GUEST: Philip Jansen, Vehicle Line Executive, A/B Segment, Minivan & Current C/D Segment Vehicles, Chrysler
- A closer look at the Jeep Renegade in studio and an exploration of Jeep’s Product Development Process

All that and more with John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production; and Todd Lassa, Automobile.

Thanks to our sponsor who makes Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone.

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

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Thanks to our partners and friends AutoFieldGuide.com, DrivenMavens.com and WardsAuto.com for embedding AAH!

Seat Time: 2015 Volkswagen Golf

June 6th, 2014 at 11:52am

Golf TSI Exterior

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake
Manufacturer: Volkswagen AG
Make: Volkswagen
Model: Golf TSI, S, S w/ Sunroof, SE, SEL; Golf TDI S, SE, SEL
Type: 2 & 4-door hatch
Competitors: Ford Focus, KIA Forte, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza
Price: Base Golf TSI: $17,995; Base Golf TDI S: $21,995
(all prices reflect 2-door hatch w/ manual transmission)
Made in: Puebla, Mexico
Drivetrain: 1.8-liter TSI engine w/ five-speed manual or six-speed AT.The automatic is optional on the S & S w/ sunroof but standard on SE & SEL. The Golf E288 TDI Clean Diesel comes equipped w/ either a six-speed manual or DSG dual-clutch AT.
EPA Ratings: Golf 26 city/37 highway; TDI 31 city/42 highway
(EPA numbers reflect only base model w/ manual transmission for the Golf & TDI)

Final Impression:

Golf TSI InteriorIf you want longevity in a compact car, it’s hard to beat the VW Golf. The car has been around for 40 years and sold more than 30 million over those four decades. But the category is so competitive these days, VW realized it couldn’t rest on those laurels and gave its new seventh-generation Golf a variety of upgrades inside and out.

The 2015 Golf is the first car produced on VW’s MQB architecture, which will be outfitting 4 or 5 other VW/Audi vehicles in the coming years. And because of that upgrade, this vehicle is longer, wider and out-and-out bigger than the previous gen even though it’s 51 pounds lighter.

The Golf TSI gets a new turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and can get up to 37 MPGs on the highway with the six-speed manual transmission.

Meanwhile, the Golf’s diesel cousin, the TDI, also receives a new engine, in this case, a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that has 150 horses –- an improvement of 10 from the last engine –- and tops more than 40 MPGs on the highway.

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AAH #244 – Toyota Throws Out the Plain Vanilla Approach

May 30th, 2014 at 8:01pm

Audio-only version:

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UP FOR DISCUSSION:
- Why is racing losing fans? Look no further than your TV screen.
- Google’s car puts the OEMs on notice. Autonomy is coming.
- The Union of Concerned Scientists issues a damning report (with a political agenda).
- BMW i8 First Drive: panelist Christie Schweinsberg has her report.

SPECIAL GUEST: Monte Kaehr, Chief Engineer, Toyota Camry
- What will it take to keep Camry #1?

All that and more with John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production; Christie Schweinsberg, WardsAuto.com.

Thanks to our sponsor who makes Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone.

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

Stitcher-Icon-1 YouTube

Thanks to our partners and friends AutoFieldGuide.com, DrivenMavens.com and WardsAuto.com for embedding AAH!

Seat Time: 2014 Scion FR-S

May 29th, 2014 at 3:00pm

2014 Scion FR-S

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Sean McElroy
Manufacturer: Toyota
Make: Scion
Model: FR-S
Type: 2-door coupe
Competitors: Mazda MX-5, Subaru BRZ, Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Price: Base: $25,255; As tested: 28,624 (Including destination charges)
Made in: Ota City, Japan
Drivetrain: 2.0L 4-cylinder Boxer engine 200hp w/ 6-speed manual transmission RWD
EPA Ratings: 22 city/ 30 highway/ 25 combined. Observed 27 MPG

Final Impression:

2014 Scion FR-SWhile I had the FR-S a buddy said that he had heard it was underpowered and wondered what I thought of the car. I told him it really depends… and then I explained.

To me, it really comes down to how you’re going to use the car, which should be no surprise because that’s what you should be asking yourself when buying any car. But when it comes to a sporty car, like the FR-S I think you need to be a little more honest with yourself. What are you looking for? Do you want something that goes fast in a straight line, which would be better for mostly city driving or do you want something that’s fast going around corners, say for some twisty rural roads or even the track? While the FR-S is quick, it really seems to be at home flying around a corner. However, I would replace the tires because the one’s that came on it (I think they were Michelins) just did not grip the road very well. Which would make going through the twisties even more fun. I know someone that races his FR-S in SCCA events and with very few upgrades (no power upgrades to the engine) dominated the class that he was in.
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Seat Time: 2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T

May 28th, 2014 at 3:00pm

2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Sean McElroy
Manufacturer: Hyundai-Kia
Make: Hyundai
Model: Sonata 2.0T
Type: 4-door sedan
Competitors: Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Volkswagen Passat
Price: Base: $25,750. As tested: $29,555 (including destination charges)
Made in: Montgomery, Alabama
Drivetrain: 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder 274hp w/ 6-speed automatic transmission
EPA Ratings: 21 city/ 32 highway/ 25 combined. Observed 22.1 MPG

Final Impression:

2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0TI’m not in the market for a new car, but if I were this would be the segment that I’d be looking at. So I thought it would be interesting to see how the Sonata fit my needs.

There was plenty of room for me, my wife, daughter in a car seat and dog. Back seat leg room is ample for an adult and so is trunk space. Ample trunk space for your stuff that is, not ample space for an adult. But I’m sure you could fit someone in there if you really wanted to. One drawback was that it was difficult trying to find a comfortable seating position in the driver’s seat. I’m a tall guy with long legs and while the seat went back far enough, the telescoping steering wheel did not come out as far as I would have liked so I was forced to sit closer, which I have found to be a common occurrence. Even still, the seats themselves were comfortable. As for the rest of the interior, it’s not the best looking in the segment but still looks pretty nice and the controls were easy to reach.
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Seat Time: 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

May 27th, 2014 at 3:00pm

2015 Chevrolet Spark EV

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: John McElroy
Manufacturer: General Motors
Make: Chevrolet
Model: Spark EV
Type: 4-door hatchback
Competitors: Fiat 500 EV, Honda Fit EV, Mitsubishi i-MIEV
Price: Base: $27,820. As tested: Same
Made in: Changwon, South Korea
Drivetrain: 100 kW motor generates 130 hp and 400 lb.-ft. of torque.
EPA Ratings: 119 MPGe, 82 mile range

Final Impression:

2015 Chevrolet Spark EVThe car companies have got it all wrong when it comes to selling electic cars. Instead of their “save the planet” marketing messages they should be selling these cars based on their fun-to-drive quotient.

With 400 pound-feet (542 Nm) of torque on tap, the Spark just flies off the line. If you see an opening in traffic, just go for it. No need to mash the pedal down and wait around for the engine to rev up and the transmission to kick down. No, you just go. Point the Spark where you want it to be and it’s there. In fact, I felt rather smug blasting off the line at traffic lights, watching the startled looks of the motorists behind me as this dinky little bug of a car car shot away in a flash.

Better still, with its battery pack giving the car a low center of gravity, the Spark feels very sure footed whiile weaving its way through traffic and scooting into tight parking spots.
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Poor Battery Location – Autoline Garage

May 27th, 2014 at 11:51am

Changing a vehicle’s battery should involve little less than having to open the hood, disconnecting the battery cables and removing the hold down. But what if you open the hood and the battery is no where in sight? It’s one reason why it’s always a good idea to pop the hood before buying a vehicle.

AAH #243 – The Secret, Illegal Race that Nobody Knows About

May 23rd, 2014 at 12:48am

Audio-only version:

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UP FOR DISCUSSION:
- Dodge & SRT: Hell(cat) Yes!
- Hyundai’s Fuel Cell Tucson Hits the Streets of SoCal
- GM Recalls Continue to Pile Up as a New PR Chief Steps In

SPECIAL GUEST: Cory Welles, Producer/Director, “32 Hours, 7 Minutes”
- The filmmaker discusses her documentary about breaking a record time for traveling across the United States

All that and more with John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production; Todd Lassa, Automobile; and Elliot Wilhelm, Detroit Film Theatre Director.

Thanks to our sponsor who makes Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone.

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

Stitcher-Icon-1 YouTube

Thanks to our partners and friends AutoFieldGuide.com, DrivenMavens.com and WardsAuto.com for embedding AAH!