The current Mazda6 is starting to show its age a little bit, which raises the question if it’s still a compelling proposition for those in the market for a family sedan.
In this review from Redline Reviews, we get a taste of what it is like to live with the 2020 Mazda6 Signature variant, which sits at the very top of the Mazda6 family with prices starting at $35,400. Those with not quite that much money to spend have heaps of other variants to choose from, such as the Grand Touring Reserve, Grand Touring, Touring, and the entry-level Sport that’s priced from $24,100.
Powering the car is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 250 hp and 310 lb-ft (420 Nm) of torque. The engine is mated exclusively to a 6-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels and, according to the EPA, the Mazda6 Signature is good for 23 mpg in the city, 31 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined.
Visually, the current-generation Mazda6 has aged very gracefully and the Kodo design language still looks good. Sure, we can’t wait to see the next-generation land in 2022 and are sure it will look even better, but the current model is still stylish enough to attract attention.
The interior of the model tested looks particularly nice, thanks largely to the nice white Nappa leather. Also found within is a Head-Up Display, a partly-digital gauge cluster, and some subtle wood trim as well as various aluminum trims.
Outfitted with a roaring 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe is an absolute beast of a thing, as Matt Farah recently found out.
All AMG-badged SUVs from Mercedes-Benz are pretty special and the GLC 63 S Coupe is no different. While you may not be a fan of the ongoing craze of coupe-like SUVs, there’s no doubting the vehicle’s performance.
The aforementioned engine is good for 503 hp and 516 lb-ft (700 Nm) of torque and comes mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. Mercedes-Benz says the GLC 63 S Coupe can hit 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.8 seconds, although Farah notes that quicker times have been recorded. Top speed sits at 174 mph (280 km/h).
Interestingly, while the United States gets the flagship GLC 63 S Coupe, it does not get the ‘regular’, non-Coupe GLC 63 S SUV. That’s a shame as we think the regular model looks better and also happens to be more practical, but we guess the powers-that-be at Stuttgart know better.
While the vehicle is a beast in the straight-line, it is also very quick through the corners and handles very well despite its weight. Then there’s the fact that, as an SUV, it is quite practical and can easily, and comfortably, ferry around a family.
Few car manufacturers are as well versed at making exceptional sports cars like Porsche, and the 718 Cayman GT4 is one of its finest recent creations.
Powering the GT4 is a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six, although this is not the same engine as the 911 GT3 and is instead based on the 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder of the current 911 Carrera models. It pumps out 414 hp and 310 lb-ft (420 Nm) of torque, excellent figures for a vehicle that is this compact and driver-focused.
Mated to the engine is a six-speed manual transmission. While Porsche makes some of the finest stick shifts on the market, the gearbox of the Cayman GT4 is not perfect. In this review, Matt Farah says that the gearing of the GT4 is simply too long, just as it was on the previous-generation model.
Porsche itself has admitted it got the gearing wrong on the car. First gear on the GT4 is good for 52 mph (84 km/h) while second tops out at 85 mph (137 km/h) and third continues through to 121 mph (195 km/h). If the car was turbocharged and had heaps of torque low down in the rev range, the gearing might not have been a huge issue, but the 4.0-liter of the GT4 needs to be revved to make use of the power.
When recently quizzed about the gearing by Which Car, the boss of the Porsche 911 and 718 lines, Frank-Steffen Walliser, said the brand is using an old gearbox with the GT4.
“The gearbox we have, don’t get me wrong, it’s an old one, an existing one and changing the gear was just technically not possible as we were running out of space on the shafts, if we need an adjustment there. We would have loved to have seen that, [the gearing] a little bit shorter, but technically there was no way,” he said.
If we don’t count the Regal, which is available in the TourX, Sportback, GS and Avenir grades, Buick’s lineup consists solely of high-riding vehicles, and sitting at the low end is the Encore.
A subcompact crossover based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Trax, it’s offered in four trim levels with an MSRP of $23,200. For only $900 more, you could get the Encore GX, a bigger and more premium offering that comes in three trim levels.
The base Preferred starts at $24,100 and includes 18-inch aluminum wheels, an 8-inch infotainment system with smartphone connectivity and a few other features. The Select can be had from $25,700 and adds remote engine start, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, rear cross traffic and lane change alert with side blind zone alert. The Essence will set you back at least $28,500 and brings LED front and rear lights, a heated and leather wrapped steering wheel, leather seats, an air ionizer and a 120-volt outlet.
Pricing can be further bumped by choosing the multitude of optional extras available, from the all-wheel drive system to the Experience Buick, Sport Touring, Advanced Technology and Safety packages.
The Encore GX is offered with a 137 HP 1.2-liter or a 155 HP 1.3-liter engine, both with three cylinders and turbocharging. The former is mated to a CVT and the latter to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
So, what should one expect when going for such a model? A premium-like interior, decent room at the back, sufficient cargo area for a car in this segment and plenty of gear, as we already mentioned. On the downside, the ride needs more refining, as it’s not that comfortable for a small crossover that wants to compete in the premium niche, and the soundproofing isn’t great either.
You will have to decide on your own whether the Encore GX is worth the premium over the standard Encore, but if you made it this far, you may want to check out KBB’s review that follows.
The 2020 Kia Niro is a good value for an eco-friendly small hybrid car, starting at $25,710, including $1,120 destination.
We rate it at 6 out of 10 with a point awarded to its standard 8.0-inch touchscreen, and another point awarded for its 5-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty. But we have to deduct a point for the lack of automatic emergency braking.
The 2020 Niro comes in LX, LXS, Touring, Touring Special Edition, and EX Premium trims. The EX Premium tops out at $33,910. The 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid starts just over $30,000, but still qualifies for federal and state EV incentives.
The base LX comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, a digital instrument cluster, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, and power features. It’s almost the one to have, except it lacks collision-avoidance tech. For that, you’ll have to step up to the LXS, which includes keyless ignition, automatic emergency braking, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a few other features.
At the top of the lineup, the EX Premium adds synthetic leather upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, a 10.3-inch touchscreen with navigation and upgraded Harman Kardon audio, and a few other features.
Chris Harris, like all of us, absolutely loves performance cars and in this 47-minute video, we can relive some of his finest moments behind the wheel of some cars most can only dream about.
Kicking off the video is a review of the current Ford GT, painted in a bright shade of yellow and complete with black racing stripes. The current GT may be a road car but it is actually spawned from the Le Mans-winning GT GTE race car. That means it is extraordinary to drive on a track and loves nothing more than being hustled through corners at high speed.
After the GT, Harris drives a Dodge Viper ACR and a Lamborghini Huracan Performante before things get really entertaining when he tests an Acura NSX alongside an Audi R8 V10 Plus and Porsche 911 Turbo in torrential rain. While the idea of driving a mid- or rear-engined supercar in wet conditions can be a challenge, Harris has an incredible ability to drive cars at their absolute limits regardless of the conditions.
Other reviews include the McLaren 570GT before Harris makes the trip to Fiorano to drive the extreme Ferrari 488 Pista. This track-focused monster is bound to be a future classic and, according to Harris, has one of the finest turbocharged engines of any supercar and, at times, doesn’t actually feel like it has forced induction.