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Road Tests: 2018 Kia Rio

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 1.6 liter

Horsepower: 130

Torque: 119 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 9.0 seconds

1/4 mile: 16.8 seconds @ 84 mph

EPA: 28 mpg city / 37 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 10.3 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 4.6 tons/yr

When it comes to subcompact cars, there are plenty to choose from. And while most are clearly aimed at the entry-level buyer, Kia is taking a different approach with their Rio sedan and hatchback. They’ve given it a much more “mature” design; hoping to both attract those looking to downsize, as well as over deliver on what the typical first time car buyer expects. So let’s see if it’s a good strategy.

Let’s be serious, every carmaker wants their vehicle to appeal to as many people as possible; it is all about selling cars, you know. But, Kia is really taking that to heart with the 2018 Rio.

And while many subcompacts try to attract attention with unique shapes or splashy designs and colors; the Rio takes a more adult turn, leaning closer towards European starter cars, than their traditional Asian counterparts. Which makes sense, as the Rio is a very popular car throughout Europa already.

For us, it’s still available as both a sedan, and a 5-door hatchback like our test car. Both are undeniably classier looking; taller, sharper, and better proportioned as well. 

Both also ride on the same 101.6-inch wheelbase which is just slightly longer than before…

…and share the same 1.6-liter I4, which has been slightly retuned. Numbers are down a bit, from 138-horsepower to 130; and from 123 lb-ft. of torque to 119. But, that’s still good for the segment; and peak torque arrives sooner, which helps hide the decreases. 

As before, a 6-speed manual transmission is standard, though it is available only in the base LX model. All other trims come with a 6-speed automatic. 

And indeed, at our test track, the 0-60 sprint took the same 9.0-seconds that it did in the last Rio 5-door we tested in 2012. 

But this new Rio did manage to shave a tenth off of the ¼-mile, taking 16.8-seconds, and finishing one mile-per-hour quicker at 84 miles-per-hour.

We praised its fun-to-drive spirit then, and it still shines through now. Understeer is predictable and gradual as it is playful; with very good feel through the wheel.

It stays very stable, even at higher speeds, and will let you push fairly hard before complaining. 

Brakes are vastly improved. At 110-feet, the average stopping distance from 60 is 20-feet shorter than before. Response and feel are also much better too, all fitting for any car with Euro-style aspirations.

The spry chassis feel is noticeable when out and about as well; but the engine can get a little buzzy, and the transmission can be a little slow on the downshift when you want more power coming out of a corner. 

Compared to the many bare-bones cars that still populate the subcompact ranks, the Rio’s interior is truly a notch above. 

The dash features a highly sculpted design, with the center touchscreen floating out of it. There’s not much a traditional center stack, just a cluster of climate controls clinging to the bottom of the dash. 

A wealth of controls are on the steering wheel; and behind it, a simplistic looking but comprehensive gauge panel.

As far as interactions with the car, the seats are sufficiently comfortable, and the multimedia screen very responsive and logical. 

Lift-over is a little high for accessing the cargo bay, but the space is well-finished and there’s a decent amount of it; 17.4 cubic-ft. seats up, 32.8 seats down.

Only basic safety systems here, no lane keep assist or blind spot monitoring; though Autonomous Emergency Braking does come with top EX trim. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 28-City, 37-Highway, and 32-Combined.  We averaged a very fine 33.0 miles-per-gallon on Regular. That makes for a very good Energy Impact Score, burning 10.3-barrels of oil yearly with 4.6-tons of CO2 emissions. 

Pricing for the 5-door starts just $300 over the sedan, at $15,095; with top EX trim beginning at $19,595.  

We’ve often praised larger Kia sedans for their European inspired tuning and execution. Now, that can also be said of the entry level Rio. It was a fine subcompact before, and it really stands out from its rivals now. The 2018 Kia Rio is indeed a very sophisticated design, that like the brand itself, has matured quickly.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Toyota Expands Uber Partnership On Self-Driving Cars

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 10:13am

Fearing that they might be falling behind in the race to develop dependable self-driving technology, Toyota has announced that it will expand its collaboration with ride-share pioneer Uber, including a new investment of $500 million. The announcement comes at a time when Uber is attempting to bolster their self-driving development program after one of their robotic cars killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona last spring. Uber will pair its technology with Toyota’s Guardian advanced safety system. The initial aim is to have the combined technology tested and ready for installation in Sienna minivans for Uber’s use starting in 2021.
Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Bugatti Divo World Premiere

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 3:05pm

Bugatti grabbed headlines this weekend at the Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California with the world premiere of the all-new Divo. The brand’s latest hypercar is named after French racing driver, Albert Divo and uses the stout W16 engine, boasts 1,479 horsepower — not a typo — and weighs 77 lbs less than a standard Chiron. Its top speed is limited at 236 mph and according to Bugatti, it lapped the Nardò handling circuit eight seconds faster than the Chiron; no doubt aided by a claimed 1.6 g of lateral grip. Even if you have $5.8 million sitting around, you still won't get your hands on a new Divo since all 40 examples are already accounted for.
Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Audi Unveils PB18 e-tron Concept Sports Car

Fri, 08/24/2018 - 10:58am
Audi is set to wow the jaded crowds at Monterey’s Pebble Beach Automotive Week with the debut of the PB18 e-tron, a concept for their high-performance sports car of tomorrow. Created at Audi’s new Malibu, California design studio, the radical coupe is shaped by the wind tunnel and inspired by Audi’s own R18 e-tron LMP1 racing car. The Quattro drive concept uses a liquid-cooled solid-state 95 kWh battery pack, powering three electric motors with a normal max output of 670hp, boosted up to 764hp for short bursts. 612 lb.-ft. of torque propels the PB18 from zero to sixty in just over 2 seconds, yet the PB18 still boasts a 310-mile driving range and 15-minute recharging capability at 800 volts. The cockpit features reconfigurable seating positions for 2 passengers side-by-side, or a single driver in the center position. 

Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3751

Fri, 08/24/2018 - 9:45am

Debut 8.24.2018


Road Test: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Goss' Garage: Meals on Wheels

Tire Tracks: 1970 Datsun 240z

Quick Spin: BMW C evolution

Quick Spin: Volkswagen GTI Autobahn

Road Test: 2018 Ford F-150

Categories: Syndicated

Podcasts: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Mustang Bullitt and Nissan 370z Nismo

Fri, 08/24/2018 - 8:00am

Podcast #188

In Podcast 188, John Davis and the gang are getting ready for season 38 of MotorWeek. Greg Carloss talks about his recent drive of the all-new Chevy Silverado, and Zach Maskell talks about his adventure in the Ford Mustang Bullitt. We also share what we're most excited for in season 38, and we answer a very common viewer question.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: BMW Serves Up New Z4 Roadster at Pebble Beach

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 1:30pm

The long awaited and much talked about 2019 BMW Z4 two-seater finally got its coming out party at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California. All-new, the Z4 M40i plays with the long-hood, short-deck proportions of its predecessor by seemingly shifting the cockpit forward, yet still delivers a more aggressive and striking profile where a large air extraction duct dominates. While the front end naturally still wears a twin-kidney grille, it is untraditionally wider and flatter than in the past. When leaked photos first started appearing a couple of weeks ago, it was obvious that the production model would stray little from the sports car Concept Z4 shown here last year. Power for the M40i is from and upgraded 3.0-liter inline 6 cylinder. The new Z4 will go on sale here in spring of 2019.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Infiniti Prototype 10 Gives Glimpse of Future Electric Sports Car

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 10:03am

While the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is mostly about the most desirable cars from the past, increasingly automakers are using it to introduce their ideas for the future of motoring. That is clearly the reason Monterey was chosen by Infiniti for the debut of their Prototype 10 concept electrified speedster. The concept is seen as a statement from Infiniti at how they intend to marry electric powertrains with performance in a seamless fashion and without the range anxiety that has dogged some similar efforts. Indeed, from 2021 forward, every new Infiniti model will feature electric drivetrain technology to enhance performance. While only a concept at this point, it is worth noting that unlike the classic open wheel racer look of last year’s electrified Prototype 9, the new ultra-modern Prototype 10 has a design that could easily be morphed into a production car.

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Horsepower: 117

Torque: 137 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 9.7 seconds

1/4 mile: 17.5 seconds @ 80 mph

EPA: 74 Combined MPGe / 34.8 mpg on Regular Gas

Energy Impact: 6.8 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 2.9 tons/yr

Believe it or not, it was actually 6 years ago at the 2012 Paris Motor Show that Mitsubishi showed us their vision of the future…the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid SUV. Since then, availability of this midsize hybrid utility has been slowly trickling around the world, and has finally arrived here in the States. Let’s find out if it was worth the wait.   

Considering that Mitsubishi is currently boasting a mostly all utility lineup, it makes sense, that their most advanced plug-in would be based on a crossover. Thus, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. 

But, they’ve done much more than just tack tack an electric motor and battery pack onto their Outlander. As you may remember, Mitsubishi was actually one of the first to have a full EV on the streets in the U.S., with the tiny iMiEV in 2011; and it remains the least expensive EV to date as well.

The Outlander powertrain starts with a 2.0-liter I4. Designed with efficiency in mind, output is modest at just 117-horsepower and 137 lb-ft. of torque. It works with a unique single speed reduction gearbox. 

Adding to it, are a pair of 60-kW electric motors; one located on each axle, giving the Outlander a two-motor all-wheel-drive system. And again, Mitsubishi is no stranger here either, having earned accolades for their all-wheel-drive systems in both rugged off roaders, as well as in performance machines with many generations of rally racing inspired Lancer Evos.

The 12.0-kWh battery pack offers a 22–mile EV-only range, a few less than the Kia Niro PHEV we tested a few weeks back, though that of course is front-wheel-drive only. The MINI E Countryman, with a similar all-wheel-drive arrangement, has just 12-miles of EV driving. So, it’s squarely in the game.   

In operation, the Outlander is more similar to the Chevrolet Volt than a typical hybrid; as it wants to be an EV as much as possible, and uses the gas engine more as a generator to charge the battery, seemingly only applying engine power to the wheels when it’s absolutely necessary. 

Otherwise, behind the wheel, the Outlander PHEV drives like a usual hybrid; but with very quiet operation of the powertrain, as well as the entire vehicle. NVH is noticeably improved over the last gas-only Outlander we tested. 

You can drive it around like a normal vehicle without really even thinking about where the power is coming from; though due to battery charging efforts, engine noise doesn’t necessarily correlate to throttle input. Or, with three drive modes to choose from, you can opt to save EV mode for when you want to use it, or prioritize battery charging. 

The chassis feels solid, the additional EV hardware weight helps here; but ride quality is more in the soft, floaty, luxury vein; than most Euro-style performance oriented electrified utes. 

None of that seemed to hinder it at our test track, however. Steering was light and fairly quick; and the Outlander seemed eager to give us all it had. Understeer arrived gradually and was very predictable. 

Grip was quite good; and while we could sense the power delivery coming from the front and rear sources, they seemed to blend almost seamlessly, unlike the herky-jerky push-pull we’ve felt in some other PHEV’s with similar setups. It was much more fun here than we expected.  

And it’s quick off the line initially, aided by the electric boost; but then just as quickly, it settles into a mild progression of power; taking us a lengthy 9.7-seconds to hit 60. 

For the 17.5-seconds of wide open throttle that it takes to complete the ¼-mile at 80 miles-per-hour; the engine really sounds strained, like it has been forced to work overtime and is very unhappy about it.

Mitsubishi’s graphics designers put in some extra hours as well, applying a considerable amount of decals and badges just about everywhere on the vehicle. Now, we could certainly do without all the extra cries for attention; but otherwise the Outlander is a very nice, modern-styled utility. 

Inside, are unique gauges and displays of course; and what appear to be large shift paddles, they’re actually adjusters for the amount of regen braking you want. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 74-Combined for the MPGe, and 25-Combined overall. We averaged a very good 34.8 miles-per-gallon on Regular gas. The Energy Impact Score is quite good, using just 6.8-barrels of oil annually, while emitting 2.9-tons of CO2. 

Pricing starts at $35,590, though depending on your situation, tax incentives could bring that down to just under 30-grand. Up level GT trim start at $41,290. 

Since Mitsubishi doesn’t really have any big sellers these days, it’s hard to see the 2018 Outlander PHEV going gang busters in a crowded crossover market. But they really do have a good thing going here, and it’s certainly great to see that they finally look to have a solid plan going forward. Here’s hoping we see more of this from Mitsubishi, no matter how long we have to wait. 

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: 35th Fiat FreakOut Draws Italophiles Crowds

Wed, 08/22/2018 - 6:00am

The Fiat brand may have it struggles re-establishing itself in America but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of brand loyalists at the 35th annual FIAT FreakOut national convention held at Orlando’s Disney World this past weekend. Hundreds of Fiat and Abarth vehicles gathered for the event put on by the FIAT Club America. Fans of the iconic brand come from all over North America, with many driving cross country. The oldest vehicle at the FreakOut’s Concorso Di Eleganza vintage display was a 1952 Fiat 500c Topolino.


Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: BMW to Reveal Z4 and M850i in Monterey

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 10:05am
Monterey Car Week is in full swing and BMW is one of the companies to watch.  The California coast will be the spot for the World Premiere of the all-new BMW Z4 Roadster. The concept appeared here last year. The BMW M850i Coupe will make its North American premiere after that concept was also revealed for the California crowd a year ago. It’s the first of a new line of BMW 8 Series models. The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe will also come to the states for the first time. 


BMW Z4 Roadster

BMW 8 Series Coupe (European Model)

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Dream Convertibles at Pebble Beach

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 10:42am
Every August, car enthusiasts turn their attention to the California coast for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. This year the renowned event is featuring something new: Dream Convertibles of the Eisenhower Era. Nine convertibles from the 1950’s will be on display, but the star of the show is the 1959 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible first seen by Americans during Ike’s inaugural ride. It’s almost 19 feet long with the largest tailfins ever fitted to a Cadillac. Other classic drop top rides include a Buick Skylark, an Oldsmobile Fiesta and offerings from Packard, Imperial, Continental and Chrysler.
Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: BMW 3 Series Testing

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:02am
The seventh generation BMW 3 Series is moving closer to production.  Camouflaged prototypes of the new sedan have completed final chassis tuning at the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife.  Engineers were watching how the new suspension, steering and braking systems handle the course.  BMW says they’re beefing up the “sports sedan” character of the car in a variety of ways, including enhancing rigidity levels of the body and suspension hard points.  As for power, the new 3 Series will get a revised 4-cylinder gasoline engine which the company says “is the most powerful 4-cylinder engine ever to be fitted in a BMW series production model”. It will be matched with an 8-speed Steptronic transmission.


Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3750

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 9:41am

Debut 8.17.2018


Road Test: 2018 BMW 640i GT

Goss' Garage: Oil Viscosity

Over the Edge: East Coast Defender

Long Term Update: 2017 Kia Niro

Quick Spin: 2018 Range Rover

Road Test: 2018 Tesla Model 3

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: VW Color Collection

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 1:29pm

Volkswagen is giving customers a new way to make their ride stand out from the rest.  The company has announced the 2019 Golf R will be part of the Volkswagen Spektrum Program.  This gives buyers the choice of 40 custom order colors, along with the standard five colors.  The special paint will add about $2,500 to the sticker.  To help you decide, Volkswagen plans on adding a builder tool to www.vw.com, so you can see how all 40 of the different colors look from a variety of angles.


Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2018 BMW 640i Gran Turismo

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 3.0 liter

Horsepower: 335

Torque: 332 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds

1/4 mile: 13.3 seconds @ 105 mph

EPA: 20 mpg city / 28 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 14.3 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 6.4 tons/yr

BMW seems to on a mission to be all things to all people…or at all least to all luxury car buyers. So, in addition to being early adopters to the luxury SUV game, they’re now trying to fill every niche possible, including ones that only they seem to be competing in. Well, maybe that explains the 6 Series Gran Turismo; let’s see if there is a method to their marketing madness.

It’s hard to classify the 2018 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo. It’s certainly not your typical sedan or hatchback; and don’t confuse it with the 6 Series Gran Coupe either. But, if you remember the 5 Series GT from 2010, think of this 640 GT as its replacement; or perhaps the closest thing to a 5-series wagon that we’re likely to get here in the states.

And like its predecessor, there’s an enormous amount of space inside, thanks to a 120.9-inch wheelbase that’s almost 4-inches longer than a 5 Series sedan.  

It’s still a far cry from beautiful, but the design appears much more cohesive than before. The rear remains tall; but in profile, it now looks more like a traditional 5-door hatchback, and less like a truncated wagon.

The aggressive nose, and lots of taut body lines, are all BMW hallmarks, and BMW continues to have some of the coolest headlights out there. Standard wheels are 19s.     

You’ll enjoy all of the roominess no matter which seat you find yourself in.

Those up front will also experience the typical BMW sporty cockpit feel; while those in back, will get full-size sedan amounts of legroom and headroom. 

Interior design is similar to the 5 Series and just about every other BMW for that matter; high quality materials, large dash-top mounted infotainment screen, iDrive controller, electronic shifter, shift paddles on the wheel, rudimentary manual controls, and great looking wood trim.

And of course available niceties such as a head-up display, soft close doors, 3D surround view, heated seats and steering wheel, panoramic moonroof, and even remote control parking. 

Under the power-operated rear hatch is a very wide opening, and 31.0 cubic-ft. of nicely finished space. Folding the seatbacks, ups it to 65.0 cubic-ft. Even though the swoopy roof will cut into cargo height, capacity is directly in between BMW’s X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles, and more than the bulbous looking X6. 

Much like the 5 Series, it has the perfect balance of luxury and sportiness. Want to relax and cruise on the highway? It does that with true tranquility and silkiness. Want to whip it around your favorite back road? No problems there either; it stays very flat and responds immediately to every input. 

Though our car was aided by the available Dynamic Handling Package, which adds Active Roll Stabilization and Integral Active Steering to the Dynamic Damper Control air suspension. It all works together to make the Gran Turismo’s 4,400-lbs. all but disappear through high speed sweepers.   

The experience however was slightly different through our tight cone course. Here, the steering feels over-boosted, and we wished for more feedback from all parts of the car. Yet, grip remained fantastic throughout. 

There was traction a-plenty for launching as well; and a launch mode that worked flawlessly, getting us to 60 in just 4.8-seconds. 

Power pours on strong, and never lets up; despite a bit of a see-saw weight-transfer effect when the 8-speed automatic transmission triggers a shift. And a healthy bellow from the exhaust accompanied us for the entire 13.3-second trip through the ¼-mile, at which time we were travelling at 105 miles-per-hour.   

Making all of this happen, is BMW’s 3.0-liter inline-6 turbo engine; rated at 335-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. All-wheel-drive is standard. 

There’s plenty of whoa to go along with the go. 99-feet was our average stopping distance from 60. We did experience some fade as the runs added up, but there is an awful lot of weight to bring to a stop that quickly. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 20-City, 28-Highway, and 23-Combined. Our average on Premium was just about right on, at 23.2 miles-per-gallon. Making for an average Energy Impact Score, with yearly use of 14.3-barrels of oil, and C02 emissions of 6.4-tons.

Things are as simple as it gets when it comes to pricing; just one version of the Gran Turismo, starting at $71,195, to which you can add a host of options, either in package form or a la carte. 

Well, if you were looking for a very luxurious ride with plenty of comfort and performance, there were already plenty of BMWs to choose from. Now you can add one more to the list, the 2018 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo. It is the best of BMW sedans, SUVs, and hatchbacks, all rolled into one. We agree that the brand may indeed be slicing the marketing onion super thin, but if that means competing in a class of one, no one does it better than BMW

Categories: Syndicated

Book Reviews: The Definitive Camaro Guide: 1970½ - 1981

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 4:13pm

While 1st gen Chevrolet Camaros draw most of the collector car attention, it’s a matter of fact that the original Camaro was a hastily assembled compromise based on the Chevy II, so that GM would have something to counter the wildly popular Ford Mustang. It wasn’t until the ground-up design of the 2nd generation that GM really had something on their hands. 

And indeed, it was the most popular generation to date, with almost 2-million sold.  If you want to learn more about these American classics, pick up a copy of The Definitive Camaro Guide: 1970½ - 1981.  In this Must Read, Jason Scott tells the story behind the development, as well as gives you a complete run through of model year changes; along with plenty of pictures, so you know what to look for if you’re in the market for one of these highly collectible, highly fun hot rods.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Aston Martin On Display

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 1:37pm
Monterey Automotive Week is coming up, and Aston Martin is giving us several reasons to look forward to the annual event.  The British luxury car maker will feature the North American debut of several products.  They say we’ll see the 715hp 5.2-liter V12 DBS Superleggera.  The Lagonda Vision Concept will show the brand’s zero emission powertrain plans. That’s just a sample of what they’ll share at the Aston Martin Club 1913.  Monterey Automotive Week runs from August 18 - 26, 2018.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Hertz Celebrates 100 Years With Special Edition Corvette Z06 Rental

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 1:55pm
To help commemorate its 100 years in business, car rental icon Hertz has teamed up with Chevrolet to make 100 special edition Corvette Z06s available to rent at select U.S. locations, as part of their Adrenaline Collection. The Hertz 100th Anniversary Edition Corvette Z06 features a classic yellow paint scheme with dual black stripes, special Hertz badging, and a numbered dash plaque. Hertz has traditionally offered a selection of high-performance sports cars for rent, most famously the Shelby GT350 Mustang from the 1960’s, some of which were allegedly returned with worn tires and brakes from weekend racetrack excursions.  We assume that such shenanigans are still banned, so read the fine print in your rental contract before getting any such ideas.

Categories: Syndicated