By on October 13, 2017

2018 volkswagen jetta gli - image: volkswagenFor the 2018 model year, Volkswagen of America is adopting an entirely different approach to its sports sedan transmission lineup than Honda and Subaru.

Unlike the Honda Civic Si, which is available exclusively with a manual transmission, and unlike the Subaru WRX, which is available with a manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic, the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI will drop the manual transmission option.  (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

2018 Kia Stinger GT - Image: KiaLet’s face it. Most American car buyers in 2017 don’t actually want cars. You know, the traditional passenger car. Most car buyers who actually want cars don’t want full-size sedans built by mainstream sedans. And among the few car buyers who actually want full-size volume brand sedans, the overwhelming majority — 99 percent, in fact — do not want a Kia Cadenza.

The U.S. market is about to get a lot more difficult for the Kia Cadenza, which is currently priced from $32,890. Admittedly more powerful than the forthcoming 2018 Kia Stinger, the Kia Cadenza is a nearly five-year-old front-wheel-drive luxury barge in a semi-attractive Kia body.

The 2018 Kia Stinger, on the other hand, is a flashy new cut-price sports sedan hatch, a model deserving of some anticipation that’s priced from $32,795, or ninety-five dollars less costly than the chronically unpopular Kia Cadenza. (Read More…)

By on September 8, 2017

2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport AWD - Image: © Timothy CainBefore you’ve even pressed its starter button, you’re already mindful of a number of reasons most sports-sedan buyers veer away from the 2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport.

The IS’s decidedly Japanese styling, which I’m personally quite fond of but many TTAC authors detest, is an instant turn-off for luxury-car buyers who prefer subdued Teutonic touches. The Lexus IS is a look-at-me car, especially with $595 Ultrasonic Blue Mica and F Sport bodywork.

The third-gen Lexus IS is also bizarrely packaged. Driver’s ingress is made nearly intolerable by a small aperture. The doorframe lusts after your right hip; the center tunnel is waiting to aggressively greet your right knee. Entering the IS is like crawling under your kitchen table. Sure, you’ll fit once you’re under there, but adult frames aren’t designed for such maneuvers.

More obvious, now that you’re primed to ignite the 3.5-liter, 306-horsepower naturally aspirated V6, is the array of buttons and switches and controllers and contraptions that encompass the cabin’s frontal lobe. Few are where you’d expect them to be. Many do not operate in the conventional fashion to which you’ve grown accustomed.

Buyers could be put off by the 2017 Lexus IS350’s design, by its awkward access, by its unusual ergonomics, or by all three factors. If so, they’re missing out on an exceptionally balanced driver’s car. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2017

2018 Genesis G70 - Image: Michael Giele/TwitterYou must wait a little while longer, but we’ll soon have a much better idea of what the Genesis G70 will look like. The entry-level sports sedan from Hyundai’s upmarket Genesis division debuts in its South Korea home market next Friday, September 15, 2017, at an event at Seoul’s Olympic Park.

In fact, in advance of the unveiling in Korea, we already have a clearer view of the Genesis G70, thanks to the timely response of one Michael Giele, who spotted the new Genesis sedan and posted images to Twitter.

Destined to provide the next major shakeup in the small luxury sports sedan sector after the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Jaguar XE, and Cadillac ATS arrived with great expectations, the Genesis G70 will be tasked with challenging the Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS, more likely than not with more equipment and lower MSRPs. It won’t be easy for Hyundai’s Genesis brand, so the car had better look good. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2017

2018 Cadillac CTS-V Glacier Metallic Edition - Image: CadillacThe production run for the 2018 Cadillac CTS-V Glacier Metallic Edition, set to take place in 2017 on behalf of the 2018 model year, will be limited to a scant 115 units to celebrate Cadillac’s 115th anniversary.

Sounding like the proper name for a glitzy Jeep Grand Cherokee, the CTS-V Glacier Metallic Edition operates with the same 640-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 of less costly CTS-Vs, but Cadillac demands $15,895 for the privilege.

That brings the CTS-V Glacier Metallic Edition’s price up to $103,885 including destination, a lofty sum for a performance-oriented Cadillac.

Yet the 2018 Cadillac CTS-V GME — you can’t expect us to type Glacier Metallic Edition every time, not when Cadillac alternatively calls it “smoky light gray” — is more than just an anniversary paint job. The CTS-V GME still undercuts the Mercedes-AMG E63 S and Audi RS7 and is slathered with typically optional equipment.  (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - Image: FCACritics love the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

And they hate it.

American luxury car buyers, however, are increasingly interested. The Alfa Romeo Giulia lineup has been available since the tail end of 2016. And every month, right through the spring and into the summer, stories of breakdowns and limp-home modes and on-track failures had no apparent impact on increased demand.

July 2017 was the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s best month on the U.S. market to date. (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI MV Confederation - Image: © Timothy Cain

I was lost. Rather, I was about to be lost.

As I drove an eye-catching white silver metallic 2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI onto the MV Confederation in Caribou, Nova Scotia, it dawned on me. I had never driven across Prince Edward Island by myself. But I was about to, if I could find my way.

Mrs. Cain and the kids had already made it to Prince Edward Island, having departed earlier in the week to begin our house hunt after our Nova Scotian home sold in 24 hours. Sunshine and a quick car made me realize that the MV Confederation’s perfectly timed departure would allow for some sorely needed blood pressure reduction, sitting on the deck of a ferry for an hour in the middle of a Friday afternoon.

But I left my iPhone charge cord at home on the dining room table. My phone’s battery was below 5 percent with pictures yet to be snapped. I couldn’t use my phone for directions. I didn’t trust the island signage to be sufficient — we’re not big on signs around these parts. And then a light came on: the ferry’s tourist bureau would have maps. Maps! Maps, my dear Watson. Maps. I studied that arcane sheet for, well, it had to be minutes. In the belly of the ship, with everybody else back in their cars, I spent a few more minutes folding that sucker up with every ounce of dexterity my parents’ genetics afforded me.

Not until I arrived at my Summerside destination did it dawn on me. The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI has a navigation system.

Maybe that’s why it costs $29,815. (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2017

General Motors

Can we call it a hot hatch? The next-generation 2018 Buick Regal bowed earlier this week in Sportback and TourX wagon form, but one variant was missing from the spotlight: the go-fast GS model.

While the existing Regal GS makes do with a high-output turbocharged four, a source told us last year the new Regal would offer six-cylinder motivation. So far, the launch date and the TourX wagon variant claims have come to pass, though there’s still no V6 Regal in sight.

Actually, there is. And it happens to be in plain sight. (Read More…)

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