DRIVE Magazine: April Issue

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OUR STAFF. Daniel Bulgarelli: Editor-in-Chief Kyle Edward: Founder Eric Stafford: Editor Aaron Starnes: Editor Brett Davies: Editor Calvin Sherwood: Technical Writer Neal Anderson: Designer


APRIL 2016

TABLE OF CONTENTS Review: 2016 Lexus RC-F....................................4 Feature: Mazda’s Three Amigos...........................6 2016 Mazda CX-3.............................................7 2016 Mazda CX-5 ............................................8 2016 Mazda MX-5.............................................9 News: Chevy Camaro........................................ 10 News: Aston Martin DB11................................ 11



Review: 2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription........... 12 News: Cadillac ATS-V......................................... 14 Review: 2016 Lincoln MKC Reserve.............. 16 Review: 2017 KIA Sportage SX........................ 18 Review: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid............ 20



Letter from the Editor....................................... 22









Badges, what do they mean anyways? We see them on super sweet cars all the time, Mercedes-Benz has the AMG line, Audi the S and RS lines, BMW the M line, Cadillac the V line and Lexus the F line. For any of us that are vaguely interested in cars, we know the badges AMG and M, it’s an icon of insane performance since the 1970s. They know how to take a normal everyday car and make em go like rocketships. But Lexus, I mean come on, they make cars that are super quiet, efficient and normal. So what business do they even have making some sort of two door, so called sports car? Well you see, Lexus has started to transform their brand from that normal everyday car into something more exhilarating. There’s nothing that can represent their goals better than the RC-F. I mean damn, this car is thrilling! There’s nothing that can represent their goals better than the RC-F. I mean damn, this car is thrilling! A striking oversized front grill dominates the front end styling while checkmark shaped led lights add some flair to the triple-beam LED headlamps. These headlamps not only look extremely unique, but provide super clear, bright light. The rear styling follows this new age Lexus look with a broad, bold look. By jetting the rear LED taillights out they were able to go bold with styling which is continued with quad exhaust. Our press car was equipped with the carbon fiber package which includes a rear spoiler and roof made completely out of carbon fiber, not only does it look super cool, but it reduces weight.

You feel so sophisticated as you’re driving in downtown traffic and your rear spoiler folds into place with your reduction in speed. Now obviously you can’t just have a cool looking car, it needs to move as fast as it looks, and that it does. With a 5.0L V-8 cranking out 467 hp, you feel like you’re about to take off when you drop the hammer, it sounds glorious too when you kick it just over 4,000 rpms, you sound like a lion chasing after its prey. Unfortunately that’s exactly what you will be doing, chasing after your prey (the M4), as the RC-F is 0.5 seconds slower 0-60. However when you’re already doing 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, you can’t even fathom something faster. At a certain point fast is just that: fast. I wouldn’t let a half a second stop me from purchasing this beast. Torque vectoring differential, what a glamorous term. Basically this system dynamically distributes more torque to the outside rear wheel to help rotate the vehicle through a turn, and let me tell you, it works very well. It’s really the full package, providing excellent handling, an amazing engine note and a super fast 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds.

Ah, let’s not forget the 8 speed automatic transmission which provides very quick shifts and perfectly tuned ratios. When you step inside the cockpit, you will be greeted by F sport seats which have very large side bolstering to keep you locked in place as you carve that curve at 60 mph. The seats are my favorite part of the interior, it’s well made with alcantara headliner and a sporty steering wheel proudly boasting the F badge. However if you are looking for a cutting edge multimedia system, you won’t find it here. It’s a dated system that is controlled by a touch pad which is very finicky. It looks cool, but when it comes to usability, it fails. They have introduced a new updated multimedia system; however, it’s not making an appearance in the 2016 RC-F. But a saving grace is the killer premium sound system by Mark-Levinson, it captures every note and provides crystal clear sound at any volume range.

So many sports cars to choose from these days, and all of them have a different approach to their high performance vehicles. I would call the RC-F sophisticated as it looks very unique with it’s bold styling and features many high-tech options. In the beginning we were curious if the RC-F had what it takes to play with the big boys. Yeah, the RC-F is a serious player and means business. It will leave you wanting nothing more. Pros: Bold styling, engine note, premium sound system. Cons: Dated multimedia interface, 0-60 slower than competition. 2016 Lexus RC-F Engine: 5.0L V8 Horsepower: 467 HP @7100 rpm Torque: 389 lb-ft @4800 rpm Transmission: 8-Speed Shiftable Automatic 0-60: 4.4 secs MSRP: $62,805 Overall Score- 9.0 out of 10


BY KYLE EDWARD Mazda has been expanding its lineup and reach as a brand by introducing some cool new models such as the CX-3 which is a small SUV, based on the Mazda 3. Then we have the fully redesigned MX-5 plus an overhaul of the CX-9 is coming this summer. They really have a vehicle for every need, whether you’re after space and efficiency or speed and thrill. 6


So you want an SUV, you’re single, have no kids and just got out of college which means you’re basically broke. A Jeep Renegade isn’t for you since you’re more into that sleek styling and don’t feel like driving a plastic box down the highway, but yet something like a Ford Escape is simply too big. This is where Mazda wants to come in and save the day with their all new CX-3. It’s a first for the brand and caters to those who still want that SUV feel without sacrificing looks and the handling dynamics of a car. It starts at $19,960 so it’s affordable and for the price, looks great. If you are so inclined, you can load up the CX-3 with some cool tech options such as a HUD, (heads up display) LED lights that actually follow the road as you turn the wheel and push to start with keyless entry. No, it’s not quite as fast as it looks with a 0-60 time of around 8 seconds; however it’s a very fuel efficient little SUV achieving 29 city and 35 highway mpg. But the real fun comes when you get to play on some curvy roads. The steering is very responsive and tight while the suspension lets you feel just enough of the road without sacrificing ride comfort. Others in the segment tend to feel top heavy or lean too much into turns and curves, but with the CX-3, it feels sporty and firm all the way through the curves and turns. Without a doubt it’s going to be the best handling vehicle in this segment, however it falls short when it comes to acceleration and engine noise. I don’t like hearing the engine scream like a baby everytime we go past 3,500 rpm, which believe me happens at nearly every green light. Yes it’s possible I’m being a bit harsh because I’m a power addict and love anything that goes fast. However it’s still something I feel could be improved upon.

Ah tech, we all love it and crave for the latest and greatest. This is where Mazda can really pull ahead (pun intended) of the competition, with cutting edge options such as a HUD -- I mean, how many other small crossovers that cost under $30k do you know of that have a HUD? I will tell you, none. Same goes for laser guided cruise control, lane departure warning and forward collision warning. They didn’t forget to add a multimedia system with navigation and a bose sound system either, which provides us sound fanatics with a system that’s at least decent, providing clear sound all the way through the volume range. It’s the standard Mazda system, which is easy to use, works well and has very few problems. I love this new little SUV; it’s fun to drive, looks sleek and sporty, and combines the best of the Mazda brand while not costing you a fortune. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too, however with this all new Mazda CX-3, I say you can. Pros: Sleek styling, 2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring affordable price, Engine: 2.0L Inline4 available tech features.

Horsepower: 146 HP @6000 rpm

Cons: Engine noise, more powerful engine option

Torque: 146 lb-ft @2800 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Shiftable Automatic 0-60: 8.0 secs MSRP: $24,990 Overall Score- 8.5 out of 10



The Mazda CX-5 has been a very successful and important vehicle to the brand’s existence, it’s well known in the journalism community for being a smart choice among the midsize SUV category because of its solid handling capabilities and build quality. It competes with the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Chevy Trax, to name a few. Although I’d hardly consider the Trax at the same level as the CX-5, as the Trax is a cheap, lousy attempt at an SUV. But enough about my hatred for the Trax. Mazda is absolutely killing it with their new models, I can’t think of a brand that has a more perfect lineup of vehicles. Especially with the all new CX-3 SUV, they have something for everyone’s needs and tastes. For 2016 the CX-5 sees some subtle but includes excellent updates. You will first notice the newly updated LED daytime running lights which are split into three LEDs and look very refreshing in my opinion giving the CX-5 a more refined look. On the interior we have Mazda’s all new multimedia system which is easy to use and boasts a sleek design, plus upgraded interior materials make you feel like you could be in an Audi. So yes, I’d say Mazda is killing it with the updates, as subtle as they may be. When you start driving, the first thing you will notice is how agile and sporty this SUV actually is; you can punch it on the curves and come out with a big smile on your face. Put it in sport mode and it holds engine revs well into the 4,000 rpm range and is ready to upshift like a racehorse at the starting gate. Now it’s not exactly a fast vehicle; it has an adequate amount of power but nothing that’s going to win you any between light races with a lead foot soccer mom.

Mazda has my respect forever because they didn’t make the steering super light or disconnected from the road like so many crossovers do today. Why would you want to feel like you’re playing a videogame when driving your car? Apparently that’s what most automotive manufacturers think. Mazda does have a ton of great features crammed into their top trim level such as automatic high beams that actually follow the road as you turn the wheel, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and laser guided cruise control. With Mazda’s all new multimedia interface, we were able to easily stream bluetooth audio and get directions to the closest Target, because that’s just what you do when you have a CX-5, go to Target? Wait, why? We don’t know yet, still trying to figure that out. But the moral of the story is, we like Mazda’s new interface, it looks sleek and is easy to use via either the large metal trimmed knob or you can simply touch the screen. With so much competition in the mid-sized crossover market, it’s not always easy to make your mark, but with years of research and refinement Mazda has managed to become one of the top dogs in this ruthlessly competitive segment.

Pros: Styling, Fuel quality.

2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

Cons: Engine noise.

Horsepower: 184 HP @5700 rpm

Engine: 2.5L Inline4 Torque: 185 lb-ft @3250 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Shiftable Automatic 0-60: 7.8 secs MSRP: $28,220 Overall Score- 9.0 out of 10



Mazda has been making this fun little rear-wheel drive convertible since 1989. It’s really an icon for the brand, representing the most exhilarating and sporty side of Mazda. They also just released a drop dead gorgeous hard top convertible as well. We were not big fans of the previous MX-5 aka the Miata, however everything has changed with this major redesign. I just love the sharp edgy curves and the led lights that are tucked just inside the hoodline, making for very sharp front end styling. The back also continues the trend of crisp led lights with circular brakelights and wraparound accent lights. I can’t tell you how much I really do love this refreshingly modern yet, somehow retro design. On the interior Mazda has followed the trend with door panels that are the same color of the exterior of the vehicle, and nifty circular air vents. As you would expect, the interior is very small and compact, but it includes the standard Mazda multimedia system with navigation and a Bose sound system. The seats are comfortable and interior fit and finish is solid as with any Mazda. I appreciate how they were able to design the interior and make it feel as fun and sporty as the exterior. We all know how it feels to get out on a nice summer day and feel that wonderful summer air running through our hair with the sunshine out and the Ray-Bans on. It’s a great feeling and that’s exactly what it’s like to drive the MX-5 with the top down and the sun out. Unfortunately living in Michigan during the March blues only allowed us the do that twice, and then only at 50F. I had my jacket on zipped up to my neck, but even still, it was a blast. Rear-wheel drive, a low center of gravity, sporty suspension and precise steering make this an excellent switchback warrior, carving in and out of those curves with your hands gripped firmly on the steering wheel make you feel like you’re on a ride at Cedar Point.

Let’s not forget you have two transmission types to choose from, a 6 speed manual or automatic. We had the purist’s version, a slick 6 speed manual that was fine tuned for sporty driving and had excellent shift feel. Now the Miata is really focused on handling and is meant to be a weekend touring car, not something to tear up the track with. On that note, it’s by no means a slow car, with a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds. It’s fast, but nothing that’s going to make you feel like the earth is moving. It has a good balance of power, efficiency and handling, with that said I feel that accomplished their driving dynamic goals. Super bright, road following LED lights lead the way through the darkness, keyless entry and push to start make your life just that much easier. Their is no shortage of tech here, another thing Mazda greatly improved upon with this all new design. Rarely do you come across a car that is able to embodies everything that it set out to be. That’s exactly what the MX5 does through its careful engineering and well-crafted design. It is everything you could possibly want in a fun little convertible, from excellent handling to a high quality interior design. It makes you excited just to sit in the driver’s seat. Hit the start button, clutch into first gear, and you’re ready to cruise Pacific Coast Highway. Pros: Exterior design, Fun to drive, reasonable price. Cons: Cup holder design.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Club Engine: 2.0L Inline4 Horsepower: 155 HP @6000 rpm Torque: 148 lb-ft @4600 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Manual 0-60: 6.5 secs MSRP: $28,600 Overall Score- 10 out of 10



By Brett Davies The Chevy Camaro was first released in 1967. It was General Motors’ response to the Ford Mustang. The Ford Mustang was released in 1964 and had dominated the muscle car market the previous three years. The only answer Chevrolet had to the Mustang was the compact Chevy Nova. The Nova needed more muscle and a bigger design and thus, the Chevy Camaro was born. The Chevy Camaro came standard with a four drum breaking system (standard for the time period), manual steering, three speed manual transmission, and a whopping 140 horsepower. The base price for the Camaro started at around $2,500.00. Buyers at the time had two options to upgrade the Camaro, the RS and the SS packages. The RS (Rally Sport) had hidden headlights and an upgraded interior trim, while the SS (Super Sport) had a domed/vented hood, SS badges, and a 350 cubic inch small block engine that rated at 295 horsepower. The first of its kind for Chevy. Flash forward to 1969. It is called best year of the Chevrolet Camaro. Essentially, Chevrolet did not make any mechanical or structural changes but just fine tuned the Camaro’s appearance with new grill, fenders, redesigned dashboards, and new taillights which gave the car a new lower sleeker design. The ZL-1 version of the ’69 Camaro proved to be the hottest market package and most rare. Only 69 of these cars were built which caused a very high demand and increased their value substantially. The ZL-1 rated at 425 horsepower and all aluminum built. They are still considered to be the most valuable Camaro ever built. The Camaro had peaked in ’69 and the later years proved to be a boring period for the Camaro which only tended to get worse. From 1970-2002 the Camaro went through some phases but nothing extraordinary. It became a really grim era for the Camaro in the early 2000’s. The Camaro’s in the 90’s were never really updated in the 2000’s with the exception of minor details such as radio controls in the steering wheel. 2002 was the last year for the Camaro and sadly, was the Camaro’s 35th anniversary. In 2010, the Camaro made a comeback.


Chevy released its LT and SS models. The standard modern version replicated the 1969 retro body style and maintained the power seen in the old days, a 304 horsepower direct injected, 3.6 liter V6 and a six speed manual transmission. It also sported 18” wheels and a base price of around $23,000. The SS had a 6.2 liter V8 with a 426 horsepower manual transmission or a 400 horsepower six speed automatic. With these credentials it went 0-60mph in 6 seconds. Finally, the curtains are opened wide for the 2016 Chevy Camaro. The new Camaro maintains the retro style body of the 2010-2015 models born from the infamous 1969 body style. It is built off of the same architecture that Cadillac built the highly rated Cadillac ATS and CTS giving it incredible dynamics. It allows for a reduction in size to utilize performance, shrinking the body around 5 inches overall and 200 pounds lighter already making the car built on performance. The Camaro comes with premium Brembo breaks, 18 inch wheels, and Goodyear Eagle Sport tires. The SS model is available with 20 inch wheels and Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 run flats. The new Camaro’s engines have V6 and V8 options and the two smallest engine packages are available in the LT and 2LT trims. The most impressive part of the new Camaro are the engine’s credentials. A 2.0-liter turbocharged engine maxing at 270 horsepower and more importantly, a whopping 295 lb-ft of torque. This power exists in the Cadillac ATS and CTS models. Chevy reports that the Camaro gets around 30 miles to the gallon and exerts this power, making it a very fun car to drive and doesn’t guzzle gas. The Camaro clocked in 0-60mph in under 6 seconds. If you want muscle and economy, the Camaro would be a great choice in 2016.

Aston Martin’s new DB11 to lead company into second century

By Eric M. Stafford Aston Martin’s new DB11 is being hailed as the company’s most significant new model since the DB9 was introduced in 2003. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last month, the DB11 is the first vehicle launched under Aston’s ‘Second Century’ plan and will be the flagship of the ‘DB’ bloodline, according to the company. “We aspire to make the most beautiful cars in the world,” said Aston Martin CEO Dr. Andy Palmer. “DB11 is the absolute embodiment of what an Aston Martin should be and we have worked tirelessly to ensure that DB11 combines both exceptional design with the latest technology throughout.” The evolutionary design of the DB11 manages to capture the iconic nature of past Astons such as the DB2/4, DB5 and, most recently, the DB10 while appearing fresh and modern. Some of the most significant design features are the front-hinging clamshell bonnet, distinctive LED headlights and accentuated lines of the iconic Aston Martin grille. The roof flows seamlessly from A-pillar to C-pillar where clean lines continue at the rear into a sloping decklid that incorporates striking taillights. Integrated in the DB11’s design are innovative aerodynamics that divert airflow both over and through the bodywork, which aids stability and keeps the car’s surfaces clean. What Aston Martin is calling its “AeroBladeTM” reduces rear-end lift and is described as “a virtual spoiler fed by discreet air intakes located at the base of each C-pillar.” The DB11 is built on a new bonded aluminium structure that the company calls “lighter, stronger, and more space efficient.” Powering the DB11 is Aston’s newly-designed 5.2-liter, twinturbo V12 that is estimated to produce 600 horsepower and 516 lb. ft. of torque.

The engine will feature intelligent bank activation and stop-start technology and be mated to an 8-speed automatic ZF transmission. Also, the DB11 will utilize new electric power steering and Torque Vectoring by braking while increasing the firmness of the adaptive damping for a greater sense of agility in the different, selectable driving modes - GT, Sport and Sport Plus. Top speed is predicted to be 200 mph, and 0-62 mph times are estimated at 3.9 seconds.Inside the DB11 is an all-new instrument cluster with a full-color 12-inch TFT LCD display, and an 8-inch TFT screen mounted in the center of the dash, which is for infotainment and controlled by a rotary control or optional touchpad. A variety of color palettes and numerous detailing options will be available to personalize the interior. Nexus quilting and Celestial perforation are said to add layers to the DB11’s ornate leatherwork. “This is not only the most important car that Aston Martin has launched in recent history, but also in its 103-year existence. The DB11 rightfully places Aston Martin once again as a leading brand in the luxury automotive market,” said Palmer. The DB11 is expected to go on sale late this year with a price of $211,995, which does not include the five-year service plan.




Scandinavian design is the first thought that enters my mind when I think Volvo. Now you might ask what does that even mean: well, it boils down to a clean, simplistic, modern design with superior safety technology, comfort, efficiency and a sporty driving dynamic. That’s how I would define the S60. It still has Volvo’s old styling which is classy in my eyes. In recent months they introduced the all new XC90 SUV and S90 sedan, which accentuate the new Volvo styling goals. However the current S60 design is still modern and clean; it doesn’t feel dated as when you have an excellent design to begin with. However you can bet Volvo will be updating it soon to follow the new styling goals of Volvo. We had the inscription trim level which extends the wheelbase and adds additional rear legroom. I must say, I loved the interior, which had beautiful wood inlays and clean crisp metal trim throughout the plush cabin. We found the seats to be some of the most supportive and comfortable ever, that’s probably due to the fact they are designed with the help of physiotherapists to ensure maximum comfort. Volvo decided to make the S60 in China, as after all they are owned by a chinese company. It’s a big upfront investment for them, however it will payoff in the long run by reducing unit costs. From what I can tell, they haven’t sacrificed that Volvo quality we have all come to know and love.

When it comes to tech features, this car has it all; automatic parallel parking, auto start/ stop, built in wifi, navigation, dual zone climate control and a stellar premium sound system by Harman Kardon, and many helpful apps like Pandora and Yelp. However, the multimedia system is dated and lacks a large screen plus it’s not the most user friendly. Volvo has an all new touch screen system found in the XC90, I’m sure something similar will end up in the S60 soon enough. We all want to be safe when driving, and if you’re not driving a Volvo then you’re just not as safe. It’s as simple as that. We reviewed the IISH data on the S60 and it scores vastly beyond satisfactory in every category. Forward collision warning with braking assist, blind spot detection, laser guided cruise control, lane keep assist and automatic windshield wipers are among some of the most notable safety features on the S60.

I love to drive a car that’s efficient, and sporty, the S60 T5 does such a great job with combining those two dynamics, achieving 26 city and 38 highway. I thought it would be a slouch, but when I jumped on the gas, I found out just how wrong I was. The power is handled by a perfectly tuned 8 speed automatic transmission, it’s really one of the best 8 speeds out there, it’s never hunting for the right gear or shifting prematurely. If you want more power you can get the T6, however we found the T5 to be adequate. Handling is very pure and complemented by a stiff sporty suspension, it’s not overly stiff as to make the ride uncomfortable, but it’s not like driving in a Cadillac either. We like it this way; it is, after all, a sports sedan. Volvo is one of those companies that always seems to be overlooked and underrated. They make amazing vehicles that are at the cutting edge of safety and mechanical technology. We loved our time with the S60 and will be looking forward to seeing what else Volvo has in store for us. 2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription

Pros: Interior design, safety technology Engine: 2.0L Inline4, Turbocharged Cons: Dated multimedia system Horsepower: 240 HP @5600 rpm Torque: 258 lb-ft @1500 rpm Transmission: 8-Speed Shiftable Automatic 0-60: 6.3 secs MSRP: $38,700 Overall Score- 9.0 out of 10


ATS-V Adds New Flavor to Cadillac’s Vaunted V-Series

By Eric M. Stafford What do you get when you combine Cadillac’s charismatic ATS with a turbocharged V6 and a slew of top-of-the-line performance parts? The answer is the all-new 2016 Cadillac ATS-V of course, which will be available in coupe or sedan versions. “It adds a new flavor in the V-Series with no compromise,” said Head of Brand Communications David Caldwell. The newest addition to the vaunted V-Series was not designed as a direct competitor with its big brother the CTS-V, instead it is a more accessible yet unmistakably unique machine. “The attitude of the car is lightweight and agile, so the point of entry is a little more accessible,” said Caldwell. “It’s like a precision instrument.” At first glance, both the sedan and coupe are visually striking with their carbon fiber hood vent, front splitter and rear diffuser. Upon closer inspection, the extra-wide front and rear fenders sculpted from the regular ATS along with 18-inch wheels create a striking stance that is quite magnificent. As is typical with any true contender in the sport sedan segment, everything on the car is fully functional and performance orientated. “Of course they’re designed as a Cadillac, but they’re not extraneous in nature,” said Caldwell. “Everything that is there is to make it quicker and more agile.” Topping the list of savory specs is the Caddy’s exclusive 3.6L twin-turbo V6 with titanium Alluminide turbines, patented low charge air cooler and titanium connecting rods producing an estimated 455 horsepower and 445 lb.-ft. of torque, which is claimed to rocket the car from 0 to 60 in less than four seconds and achieve a top speed in excess of 185 mph.


Mated to that motor is a choice of a six-speed manual transmission equipped with active rev matching, performance traction management, and no-lift shift or an eight-speed automatic that provides incredibly fast shift times and a shorter first gear ratio to improve off-the-line acceleration. Putting that power to the pavement are Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer only tires backed by massive race-inspired six-piston front, four-piston rear fixed caliper Brembo brakes. The V-tuned temperature adapting Magnetic Ride Control suspension features four selectable driving modes that read and react to the road up to 1,000 times per second. The ATS-V’s interior is appointed with Recaro seats and sueded microfiber accents, magnesium paddle-shift controls and full color Head-Up Display.Also, a performance data recorder allows drivers to record, share, and analyze their driving through capturing track video, in-cabin audio, and performance metrics like 0-to-60, lap times, and G-force. Aside from the fact that every V-Series comes loaded with a variety of technological and performance oriented goodies, available options include a Track Pack, Carbon Fiber Pack, and a few other comfort and convenience options. All in all, Cadillac’s latest creation in the V-Series line-up looks poised to compete with the best in its segment offered by Europe’s BMW M-Series and Mercedes AMG. Caldwell summed up the ATS-V as this: “Unbelievable agility and a ton of power, but delivered in a way that is very precise.”

“It’s like a precision instrument.”




What separates a luxury brand from its well equipped cousin? For me, it comes down to one word: refinement. There are some that may say that the Lincoln MKC is nothing more than a fancy Ford Escape. First, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Second, while the MKC and the Escape are related, and may even have similar features, Lincoln has done a wonderful job of separating itself and earning the badge of a luxury automaker. The first thing that jumped out at me was the softness of the leather seats. While leather is available on many vehicles today, it’s a rare treat to sit in a seat this nice. The microperforated leather trimmed seats just envelop you and let you know that you’re good for the long haul. Living in Michigan, it’s not uncommon to use the heated seats and steering wheel in the morning and the cooled seats in the afternoon. Fortunately for me, everything worked well in this department and worked quickly. Another feature of the seats I liked was the memory function. Those of you that have read our work in the past know that I’m a bigger guy. My wife and I share vehicles pretty regularly and a pet peeve of mine is having to adjust the seat time and time again (shh, don’t tell her). The memory function worked really well not just getting the seat back in the right position but the power tilt/telescope steering wheel as well. While sitting in the cockpit I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of space available to me. Everything was open and easily seen, particularly with all of the light pouring in from the Vista Roof.

It really did feel roomy but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. It was a few minutes later when I literally put my finger on it. There wasn’t a gear shifter or at least I couldn’t find it. I won’t embarrass myself further by telling you just how long it took me to realize that the gear selection was actually controlled by buttons which were located in the center console below the start/stop push button. It was amazing just how much room this cleared up, allowing me just a bit more space than anticipated. As I slipped into reverse (once I found it that is) I looked at the display to enjoy a nice view of the street behind me. Just as I was about to take my foot off the break I heard beeping and an arrow pointing to my right. Before I knew I had this feature, the cross traffic alert was letting me know of an approaching car. When I was able to get on the road the engine let itself be known. The 2.3L turbocharged engine let me know it was ready for anything. I never had the need to hammer the accelerator down to the ground, but the MKC always had me moving. This didn’t feel like the 4 cylinders I’ve driven in the past, this engine was proving to be as refined as the interior. Now that I was on the road looking to see what the Lincoln MKC offered, it was time to try out the sound system. Once again, I was impressed. The Enhanced THX® II Audio System‡ puts out an incredible sound through 14 speakers pushing about 700 watts. We may not all need to agree on musical styles but I doubt anyone will disagree with me on the quality of the music in this vehicle. Ford and Lincoln recently switched their partnership for the Sync system to Blackberry. Whatever changes have been made were wonderful.

I truly enjoyed the versatility of the displays, particularly how I could switch what I needed from the main display to the driver’s console. The Sync system worked well with my phone, with voice commands, and with the steering wheel controls. The only thing that didn’t work as well as I’d hoped is when I was trying to find the nearest Chipotle. Then again, I feel that every Nav system should come preprogrammed with all Chipotle locations. Just me? In all seriousness the car drives like a dream. Going back to my earlier comment about setting a luxury brand apart from its well equipped cousin; it’s the refinement of them all. Some things you can only enjoy at night, but I’m okay with that. As you walk up to the vehicle, it senses the key in your pocket and the lights come on systematically, and of course adaptable, the sideview mirrors fold out, and the Lincoln badge is projected on to the ground. It really does make your entrance that much more grand. The illuminated kick plates guide you into your cockpit with the ambient lighting of your choosing. The 2016 Lincoln MKC may share much with its cousin, but it easily separates itself and earns the right to be called luxury. From the moment you approach you will see the precision and feel the power it was designed to deliver. Pros: Micro-perforated leather trimmed seats, powerful and refined drive, sound system Cons: Better recognition of Chipotle’s whereabouts.

2016 Lincoln MKC Reserve Engine: 2.3L Inline4, Turbocharged Horsepower: 285 HP @5500 rpm Torque: 305 lb-ft @2750 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Shiftable Automatic 0-60: 6.8 secs MSRP: $44,095 Overall Score- 8.5 out of 10




The intermediate SUV/CUV market is oversaturated and for good reason; this class offers the size and versatility that so many people want with the driving feel of a car. So how do you stand out from your competition while maintaining those qualities that appeal to so many? While the name of the group may have dropped the sport and replaced it with crossover, Kia decided to keep the Sport in its name as well as its engine and handling. By now, we have all at least spent time in a CUV and we know what they have in common. I’d like to take a minute to talk about what sets the Sportage apart in my opinion. The 2.0L Turbocharged I-4 that cranks out 240hp makes this vehicle so much fun to drive. Whether you need to hit the gas at a green light or make a pass on the highway, this is going to get you there. I never felt any turbo lag with the Sportage, in fact it felt more like a 6-cylinder than turbocharged 4 cylinder. Sadly in life, as with engines, to get something extra you generally have to give something back. With the more powerful engine under the hood you are going to give up a few MPGs. The model we drove estimates at 21 city and 26 highway, which is roughly what we found as well. So now it’s up to you. Is the added horsepower worth giving up a few miles per gallon? For me, it is. I really enjoyed the power and handling of the Sportage.

The Sportage is far more than just an engine, obviously. The design lives up to the name and comes with a sporty look. The hood is raised up giving the entire vehicle a mean stance and aggressive styling. The sweeping headlights combined with the grill create a menacing scowl letting everyone know that the Sportage means business. When I stepped inside, I found a much more refined space than I had expected from the sporty exterior. The panoramic sunroof made even a cloudy Michigan winter day seem bright. The 8-inch color display, Harman Kardon Surround Sound and heated/ cooled seats made me feel like I was in a much more expensive vehicle. The voice controls were easy to use and I found myself using them quite a bit. In many vehicles I find them to be tedious and end up using the controls on the steering wheel or the dash itself. Kia’s voice recognition was so nice that it took me a while to adjust back to my own vehicle. Another bonus for me is that Kia’s HD radio interface allows you to set presets from different sources (AM/FM/SiriusXM) on one favorite’s list. I realize that switching sources isn’t the biggest deal, but it’s the little things like this that make a difference. Remember what I said about the give and take features? Here’s another little sacrifice for styling purposes. I found the headroom to be a bit lacking. I am the exception to the rule, I get that. I’m tall and headroom is not always easily found for me, but it’s not non-existent either. The windshield is a bit more steeply angled for the sportier look and when you combine that with the inch or two extra needed to add the sunroof, I found myself with a bit of a problem. Like I said, I know I am in the vast minority here. This will not be an issue for 99% of you. The second row and cargo area were standard for the class.

What stood out to me, and maybe it’s because I discovered this feature by accident, is that the Sportage will sense you standing behind and open the back hatch without you having to press any buttons. This immediately reminded me of the piece added by Ford a few years back where you can wave your foot underneath. This builds upon that thought and takes away the balance aspect for those of us that are not born yogis. Kia has created the Sportage to be much more than a muscle car in sheep’s clothing. It packs a slew of safety features as well. Adaptive cruise control, lane departure guidance/correction, rear view camera, and forward collision warnings help keep you that much safer. The navigation system was also easy to use. When adding an address it uses predictive technology to help find what you’re looking for that much sooner. When you have chosen your destination, you are able to choose the level of guidance you want. I appreciated that I could choose to have my navigation on the 8” display, in the center console, or both. From beginning to end, front to back, and side to side, I enjoyed the Kia Sportage. It was more fund to drive than I had expected when I learned I was getting a CUV. One of the joys of this job is learning about vehicles of which you are unfamiliar and realizing that they could very well be your next ride. Pros: 2.0L Turbocharged I-4 pumping 2017 KIA Sportage SX Turbo out 240 hp, Adaptive cruise control, Rear Engine: 2.4L Inline4, Turbocharged hatch - vicinity awareness. Horsepower:240 HP @6000 rpm Cons: Headroom Torque: 260 lb-ft @1,450 rpm

Transmission: 6-Speed Shiftable Automatic 0-60: 7.0 secs MSRP: $32,500 Overall Score- 9.0 out of 10




The 2016 Hyundai Sonata is a car that wants to be taken seriously. Over the last decade Hyundai has upped the luxury and quality of their automobiles and the latest Sonata is not an exception. It’s a grown up car for grown ups. First impressions are that this car is roomy. The front seats are some of the most comfortable I can remember while being heated and cooled, the passengers in the rear have to make due with heat alone. However, they’ll be consoled by ample leg room. There’s space for two adults to sit in comfort. Hyundai really put some thought into the layout of the dash on this car. I was pleased to see their designers move away from the swoopy look of the previous generation of Sonatas. This car’s asymmetrical function-over-form style seems a lot more user friendly. Hyundai put the big color touch screen smack in the middle of the dash, and they separate the dual climate controls from those of the stereo rather than mixing them all up in a confusing jumble knobs and toggles. There’s a little cubby with two power ports, an aux jack and a USB port. My only quibble with that is drivers with long legs may find the touch screen just out of reach. If the whole thing were angled just a bit more toward the driver it would be ideal. The leather wrapped steering wheel is heated and has controls for cruise control, the stereo and your phone. Drivers can also cycle through gauge display options from the wheel. The all-grown-up Sonata does make at least two concessions to adolescent antics.

First, the panoramic sunroof option offers a feature you’re not likely to find in the sales brochure. When you’re traveling at 45 mph and above the opening the sunroof makes the most incredible noise. Then when you shut it, it sounds even better. It sounds like opening the airlock on a spaceship in some sci-fi movie to suck some villain or evil alien out into the black abyss. Once all the bad guys have been sucked out you can shut it again and carry on. The second concession is the Infinity sound system. The sound quality is great, partly due to the well-insulated cabin. This car is as hushed as a library on the highway. When the kids are in the back you can listen to radio Disney at appropriate levels, and then after you drop them off at school you can crank it up to the ear splitting teenager range. The subwoofer in the package tray will bump away as you rock out to the tunes of your youth. The back doors have clever screens built in that pull up from the door panels to shade the back windows. This is perfect for keeping the sun off your kiddos or when you want to pretend to be a dictator while riding in the back. Speaking of the rear windows, don’t put them down at speed. I’ve driven a number of cars that buffet with the windows down, but this is without a doubt the worst I’ve ever experienced. The turbulence inside the car is so great that the entire headliner pulsates and the image in the rearview mirror vibrates to a blur. That said, if you crack one of the front windows or the sunroof the buffeting subsides. The trunk is spacious with plenty of room for all your adult type hobbies, but don’t go looking for a spare tire. Hyundai has filled the spare tire well beneath the trunk floor with batteries to run the electric motor.

What customers get instead of a This car won’t tolerate shenanigans. spare is essentially an air pump and some Even with the traction control disabled the sealant goo. This system probably works car slaps you on the wrist for any wheel fine for punctures, but in the event of a spin. The car I tested featured lane departure blowout you’re going to be up goo creek. warning to let you know how much you’re But chances are, if you bought this car, weaving, and a smart cruise control system. you were mature enough to have the fore- Other safety features include a rearview sight to sign up with AAA. Exterior styling camera and backup sensors. There’s also for this generation has improved in a big blind spot detection system which lets you way. Gone is the mash up of hard lines and know when there’s a car in your blind spot. rounded off corners of the previous body The smart cruise option will spoil you. Set it style. This iteration of the Sonata has a like a standard cruise control, and it automore conservative look which is not a bad matically adjusts speed to match the vehicle thing. It’s kind of like it traded that ratty in front of you. Drivers can adjust the gap old punk band t-shirt for a button up. between cars from the steering wheel. If the The headlights no longer stretch car ahead of you comes to a complete stop, back halfway up the hood. They’re up the smart cruise system will stop the car for front where they belong and they are you. exceptional. Hyundai gave the Sonata HID The Sonata is a comfortable and caheadlights which do a fantastic job. Night pable option for those looking for a car with time visibility is excellent. The ride quality a great warranty and a dash of luxury. This is above average, this car feels heavy in a car is a manifestation of the image Hyundai good way. Steering is light and responsive, is trying to sell. They’re not the awkward but the accelerator pedal leaves a little new kids anymore, and the Sonata has mato be desired. When you put the hamtured into a complete package. If when you mer down there’s a moment of indecision think of Hyundai you think of the stripped almost like the car is frowning at you and down basic transportation units of ten years saying, “well, if you’re sure that’s really ago, perhaps it’s time to take another look. what you want.” The combined power output of the 2.0 liter engine and the electric motor is just shy of 200 horsepower. Pros: Quiet Ride, Comfortable Seats When the power does come on Cons: Hyundai Tire Mobility Kit the acceleration is adequate and will get the car from zero up to 60 in just under 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid eight seconds. At the bottom of the pedal Engine: 2.0L Inline4 travel there is a sort of impediment to get Horsepower:193 HP @6000 rpm the last 10 percent or so of throttle. The Torque: 140 lb-ft @5000 rpm EMT: 151 lb-ft brake pedal feel is mushy. This is not an indication of brake performance, more Transmission: 6-Speed Shiftable Automatic than likely it is a symptom of the regenera0-60: 7.9 secs tive braking system. The brakes are good, MSRP: $26,000 and it doesn’t take long for them to feel normal. Overall Score- 8.5 out of 10


DRIVE Magazine is backed by some of the most prolific minds in automotive journalism today. With years of experience in the realm, the team is well placed to add a new magazine in an industry that hasn’t seen a fresh, modern publication in decades. Our team’s unique ability to craft these seemingly antithetical precepts into a comprehendible narrative affords it nimbleness unheard of in today’s industry. However none of this would be possible without our readers and for that we are very grateful. -DRIVE STAFF



Photographs on page 10, 14, and 15 are courtesy GM. Photographs on page 11 are courtesy Aston Martin. Photographs on page 20 and 21 are courtesy Hyundai. All car brands are © their respective owners. All other content is © DRIVE MAGAZINE. 23


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