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Entries in Audi (14)

Friday
Jan272017

Quick Impressions

By Christopher A. Sawyer

2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited

During lunch at a VW all-model drive event a few years ago, one of the VW  engineers remarked on the styling of the then-current Hyundai Elantra. “It’s too much. The basic shape is nice, but the detailing is too heavy handed and over-the-top, unlike the Jetta. This would never fly in Germany, and I think the car will look old and out-of-date very quickly.” I prided myself on keeping steady eye contact and not laughing out loud or choking on my food when he praised the handsomely restrained styling of the rapidly aging VW Jetta, and took his words to heart. The Elantra was a bit cartoonish in a way, though perky and nonetheless handsome. A subtle toning down of the worst excesses might do it some good. And with Audi refugee and former Kia chief designer Peter Schreyer taking over control of all Hyundai and Kia design, the next-gen Elantra was certain to be more Germanic.

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Friday
Jul012016

2016 Mazda3 Grand Touring

By Christopher A. Sawyer

The first thing that comes to mind after sitting down to write this is that, if you’ve driven one Mazda, you’ve pretty much driven them all. The same could be said of any modern BMW, Audi, Mercedes or, for that matter, VW or Ford. All come from companies that have a pretty good idea of what they stand for, and how that translates into ride, handling, steering feel, etc.

In the case of the Mazda3, this familial heritage — DNA if you must call it that — manifests itself as a stiff but light structure, accurate steering that is relatively free of friction but not of feel, solid brakes, a frugal (but sometimes noisy) engine with good power, a stylish interior with high-end materials and features, and an aura of quality. Based on that alone, Mazda should be nipping at the heels of Toyota and Honda, pushing aside Nissan, and looking on with disdain at Hyundai and Kia. Unfortunately, it’s not. Mazda sells fewer cars than each one of those Asian automakers.

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Friday
Aug142015

What’s Behind Hyundai’s Vision G?

By Christopher A. Sawyer

What is the Vision G Coupe Hyundai unveiled at Monterey this week? Is it just a concept, or is it  meant to indicate Hyundai’s goals in the expanding luxury market? Will it replace the current pony car-like Genesis Coupe with a vehicle more in line with the Genesis badge? Or is it an indication that it is adding a new model to the Genesis line as it taps leading consultants about what it takes to build true high-performance cars?

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Friday
Jun052015

Rethinking the Lexus RC 350 F Sport

By Christopher A. Sawyer

December is not the time of year that you want to have a Lexus RC 350 F Sport for review, yet here I was driving a Molten Pearl (orange to you and me) version from the suburbs of Detroit to downtown and back again in weather that couldn’t decide just how much snow it was going to unleash to go with the bone-chilling cold. Standing out like a safety vest against the accumulating snow and gathering dark, the RC 350 F Sport and its summer tires were as out of place in these conditions as blue jeans and a t-shirt at a commencement address. Had the car been fitted with all-season tires and all-wheel drive, it would have been a fair test of the RC’s all-season suitability. However, I was not so lucky.

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