Browsing all articles from April, 2013
Apr
20

The 2012 Mazda Mazda2 vs. the 2012 Chevy Sonic L

Author JoeC    Category Compacts     Tags
2012 Mazda2

2012 Mazda2

Mazda has slowly become one of the top auto manufacturers in the world thanks to their dedication to high quality vehicles at low prices. The 2012 Mazda2 is a compact car that is available at an affordable price of $14,530. It may not be super luxurious, but has the comfort and power to make it a great buy at its price. However, the 2012 Chevy Sonic L is a very similar car available for a pricier $14,765. Which is the best deal?

Engine Performance

The performance of these vehicles is very similar. The Sonic has a much bigger engine at 1,796 cubic inches as opposed to the 1,498 of the Mazda2. This helps give the Sonic 138 hp compared to 100 hp in the Mazda2. However, this doesn’t really seem like the kind of huge power boost that such a large engine would get: we’d expect almost 50 more hp. The Mazda2 has a much more efficient engine at 29 mpg versus the 26 mpg of the Sonic. It’s pretty close to a draw here with each engine having its own slight advantages.

Interior Dimensions

2012 Chevrolet Sonic

2012 Chevrolet Sonic

Comparing the interior dimensions of these vehicles is another case of comparing two very similar items. The Mazda2 does have more front head room and front leg room: 39.1 inches of head room versus the 38.7 of the Sonic and 42.6 inches of leg room over the 41.8 with Chevy. However, the Sonic generally has slightly wider and longer interior areas sometimes by as much as an inch. When it comes right down to it, both are about the same size in the interior making this another near draw.

Final Verdict

It’s really hard to choose between these two vehicles. Both are available for dirt cheap and both have advantages and disadvantages that balance out nearly perfectly against each other. Basically, it comes down to what you want from your vehicle. The Mazda2 is the better choice for fuel economy minded drivers due to its higher fuel efficiency. However, the Sonic is more powerful, making it a better choice for those who want a lot of get up and go in their vehicle.

Apr
16

Kia Rio vs. Suzuki SX4

Author JoeC    Category Hatchbacks     Tags
2013 Kia Rio

2013 Kia Rio

In this era of auto-industry transition – from power to efficiency, from luxury to utility – the hatchback has become one of the primary weapons in the ever-intensifying competition between automakers. They balance versatility, economy, and style – perhaps the most important features that a vehicle can have these days – in a way that no other segment can compete with. Kia and Suzuki aren’t big players in the North American market, but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t made their gambits in the hatchback segment. So, how do the Kia Rio and the Suzuki SX4 compare?

Efficiency and Power

Drivers looking for a hatchback are most likely in search of a vehicle that can offer great fuel-economy. From this angle, the Rio is the clear winner. While the Rio EX with the Eco package gets an EPA estimated 30 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, the Suzuki SX4 falls short with a mere 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway for the base-model with continuously-variable transmission, for which you’ll have to pay extra.

2013 Suzuki SX4 Crossover

2013 Suzuki SX4 Crossover

The SX4’s 2.0L four-cylinder engine does pump out a bit more power than the Rio’s 1.6L engine, but that merely compensates for the SX4’s heavier curb weight. You do have the option of AWD with the SX4, so if you’ll be driving in lots of inclement weather or rough roads, that may tip the scales in favor of Suzuki’s hatchback.

Features and Value

The Rio EX ($16,700) sports features such as cruise control, upgraded cloth upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, and an upgraded sound system, in addition to basic features like 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, CD/satellite/USB audio system, and power windows.

The base-model SX4 Crossover ($16,999) is somewhat less full-featured, lacking cruise control, satellite radio, and USB audio options, though it does add 16” wheels.

The Verdict

Most of the evidence does add up in the Rio’s favor, though the SX4 offers a more comfortable, smooth, and quiet ride overall, in addition to a four more cubic feet of cargo space. And though both are entirely serviceable hatchbacks, they are generally outclassed by other hatchbacks like the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, and Chevy Sonic – so check those out before you make a decision.

Apr
8

Mazda5 vs. Kia Sorento

Author JoeC    Category Crossovers     Tags
2013 Mazda5

2013 Mazda5

When it comes to finding a car that is family-friendly, there are a number of options available that aren’t all minivans. Of the 15 most family-friendly cars on the list put together by Parents magazine and Edmunds.com, the Mazda5 and Kia Sorento made the cut. But which of these crossover models is the better family buy? Let’s take a look and see what each has to offer.

Price

If price is a major determinant for you when it comes to deciding on a car, Mazda takes a slight lead. The 5 has a starting price of $20,420 while the Sorento comes in at $23,950.

2013 Kia Sorento

2013 Kia Sorento

Powertrain and Performance

The Kia Sorento comes equipped with a standard 2.4L engine that delivers 175 hp, while the Mazda5 offers a 2.5L engine that produces 157 hp. The Sorento also has a 276 hp 3.5L V6 available. So when it comes to powertrain, the Sorento offers a little more power than the 5. However, going from 0 to 60 mph only takes 9.1 seconds for the Mazda crossover, while Kia’s crossover requires over 10 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. The braking distance is also better for the Mazda, with a braking distance of 128 feet at 60 mph. The Sorento’s is 140 feet.

Interior Space

If you’re looking for a crossover that offers plenty of space for your groceries or shopping bags, then you’d be in favor of the Sorento as it offers 72.5 cubic-feet of cargo room. The Mazda5 offers 44.4 cubic-feet of cargo space. You may also be a little more comfortable in the Kia as you’ll get 55.6 cubic-feet of space in the front, while the Mazda gives you 53.2 cubic-feet. What you will be impressed with as far as Mazda’s crossover goes is that it offers three rows of seating.

Warranty

You’ll get a little better vehicle warranty with the Kia crossover when compared to the Mazda. The Sorento offers a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty whereas the Mazda5 has a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty plan.

As you can see, each of these crossover models has its advantages over the other. As far as which one you should consider purchasing, that’s up to you as it depends on what you’re looking for in a family vehicle.

Apr
5

Volkswagen Passat vs. Toyota Camry

Author JoeC    Category Sedan     Tags
2013 Volkswagen Passat

2013 Volkswagen Passat

There has never been a better time to buy a new car. Not only has automotive technology given us vehicles that are safer, more efficient, and more useful than ever before, the competition between automakers is so intense that there often isn’t all that each company is offering more and more on each of their vehicles for so much less than before. This can actually make it more difficult to pick a vehicle as you’ll end up combing through mountains of minute details in order to find the car that suits your needs slightly more perfectly than another. If you’re looking for a midsize sedan, you’ll want to take a look at the Volkswagen Passat and the Toyota Camry. Both are industry standbys, with great reputations for comfort, utility, efficiency, and safety – and here’s how they stack up.

2013 Toyoya Camry

2013 Toyoya Camry

Cost of Ownership

The base-model Camry has an MSRP of $22,235, and the base-model Passat is about $1,400 cheaper, so you’ll save money up front if you go with the Passat. The Camry, however, beats the Passat in fuel efficiency. With the Camry, you’ll get an EPA estimated 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, for a combined fuel-economy of 29 mpg. With the Passat, those numbers drop to 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined.

Adding up the numbers, the value of each car depends on how long you’re planning on keeping it. If you’re planning on holding onto your vehicle for a decade or more, the Camry’s gas savings will more than make up for its sticker-price premium. If you’re planning on keeping your sedan for five years or less, you’ll be getting a pretty good deal with either vehicle.

Safety and Features

Standard convenience and safety features are about the same for both vehicles, but if you’re a stickler for top-notch safety score, the Passat has a slight advantage. It has 5-star safety ratings for driver and passenger crash tests, compared to the Camry’s 4-star ratings. The vehicles tie for rollover and side-rear crash test scores, and the Camry only beats the Passat in side-front crash tests, with five stars to the Passat’s four.