Wednesday, October 27, 2010

High Tech, Low Price

There's plenty of expensive cars with cool high-tech features like navigation, dual clutch automatic transmissions, turbocharged engines and awesome multi-media connections. But what if you only have about $20,000 to spend - check out this report from AOL's Translogic web show.

The 2011 Ford Fiesta and 2011 Nissan Juke both offer compelling features that any tech-head would totally get geeked out about. Price range? $16,000 - $22,000.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010 Lexus IS 350C

Two parts sports car, one part luxury convertible, the Lexus IS 350 Convertible is the one Lexus that combines the best of sport and luxury. The rear-wheel drive IS convertible is based on the IS sedan so handling is sportier than other Lexus vehicles - it feels more like a BMW 3-Series or Infiniti G37. The 300+ hp six-cylinder engine is powerful and fun, plus it has a nice, subtle exhaust note.

The interior is perhaps a slight step down from more expensive Lexus sedans but the heated and cooled seats are comfortable, materials are high quality and all the features you'd expect in a Lexus are there. The power folding hard top instantly converts the IS from an open top sports car to a smooth and quiet luxury coupe.

In the end the Lexus IS 350C is the perfect car for someone who enjoys driving and seeking out twisty roads but wants to balance that with a comfortable everyday car. The ride is firmer than a Lexus ES but a little more forgiving than that of a BMW.

The Infiniti G is a little sharper and better looking but the Volvo C70 lacks the Lexus Convertible's refinement and polish.

Monday, October 25, 2010

2011 Mazda2 - Seems Fine to Me

Here's the problem with reading too many car magazines, they're not speaking to the people who actually buy cars. They're writing to people who wish they owned a Porsche 911 or a BMW M5 and think everything else is terrible, In short, they're writing to themselves. Know-it-alls and loudmouths populate the halls of these long overly esteemed publications that are lucky if they reach 200,000 people. Of course they go on like they're doing Tonight Show numbers circ 1973 but really they're just living in the past. They hate cars like the Mazda2 - it's underpowered they say, it's got an outdated automatic transmission is another complaint. Really? Seems fine to me.

With 100 hp, the 2011 Mazda2 feels plenty powerful. Is it going to win at Le Mans? No, but it is a fun car to drive that provides both entertaining handling and a high quality interior. The seats are comfortable and the back seat isn't impossible to use. The 2011 Mazda2 is mechanically related to the Ford Fiesta so that good - the Fiesta is probably the best subcompact out there.

At just $16,000 for a nicely equipped Mazda2, I say ignore all the old guys that write and talk too much simply for their own pleasure. Go test drive a Mazda2, it's a well-made little car that will have you re-thinking just how much car you really need.