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29th June 2010

Consumer Reports gives top marks to Nissan Altima and Hyundai Sonata among family sedans

Consumer Reports gives top marks to Nissan Altima and Hyundai Sonata among family sedans

by Zach Bowman (RSS feed) on Jun 29th 2010 at 11:01AM

2010 Nissan Altima and 2011 Hyundai Sonata – Click either image above for high-res image gallery

The minds at Consumer Reports have just wrapped up testing on a handful of family sedans. The publication lined up the Chevrolet Impala, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima and Suzuki Kizashi for a four-door throw down, and by the time the dust settled, Nissan and Hyundai reigned supreme. Both the four-cylinder Altima and Sonata racked up ‘Excellent’ ratings from the Consumer Reports testers, but only the Altima managed to walk away with the coveted ‘Recommended’ badge – the Sonata is too new for CR to weigh in on the Big Hyun’s reliability.

Likewise, the Kizashi secured an ‘Excellent’ rating, though missed out on the honor of being ‘Recommended’ for the same reason. The same can’t be said for the Chevrolet Impala. The Bowtie only managed a ‘Good’ rating, though it fared poorly enough in testing to be ‘Not Recommended.’ According to Consumer Reports, the big Chevrolet’s disappointing fuel economy, clumsy four-speed transmission and lackluster fit-and-finish simply mean that it’s due for a new model in a big way. Hop the jump for the full press release blast.

[Source: Consumer Reports]
Photos by Michael Harley / Copyright ©2009, ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

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Consumer Reports: Redesigned Hyundai Sonata Now Rivals Nissan Altima

Altima and Sonata now at top of class for family sedans

YONKERS, N.Y., June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The redesigned Hyundai Sonata is now one of Consumer Reports’ top-rated family sedans, posting an “Excellent” score, and scoring just behind the four-cylinder Nissan Altima.

The Sonata has agile handling, a steady ride, good accommodations, easy-to-use controls, and impressive performance and fuel economy for the class.

Two freshened versions of the Nissan Altima posted “Excellent” overall scores topping Consumer Reports’ tests of four family sedans for the August 2010 issue. Along with the Altima and the Sonata, the new Suzuki Kizashi and the Chevrolet Impala were part of the test group. The Kizashi posted an “Excellent” overall score and the Impala a “Good” score.

“The Sonata has been transformed from a humdrum car into a really nice stylish car with impressive fuel economy, all at a competitive price,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut.

The Altima’s 2010 freshening includes standard electronic stability control, which make the sedan’s handling more secure at its limits.

While both versions of the Altima are Recommended, the Kizashi and the Sonata are not Recommended because they are too new for Consumer Reports to have reliability data. The Impala scored too low in CR’s testing to be Recommended. CR only Recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR’s Annual Auto Survey of its more than seven million print and Web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

Prices ranged from $21,800 for the Sonata GLS to $30,335 for the V6-powered 3.5 SR Altima.

Full tests and ratings for all five sedans appear in the August issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale June 29. The reports are also available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to site for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information.

The Nissan Altima has been among the best family sedans rated by Consumer Reports for some time, and a freshening makes it better. A pleasant ride, handling balance and a quiet cabin add to its appeal. The Nissan Altima 2.5 S ($23,970 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price as tested), is powered by a 175-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is responsive and gets an impressive 26 mpg overall in CR’s own fuel economy tests. The continuously variable transmission facilitates instant responses and adds to the fuel economy. Braking is Excellent. The interior is neatly finished. The 60/40-split rear seatbacks fold down to accommodate more cargo.

The redesigned Sonata is a major leap ahead of its predecessor. The ride is supple, yet composed, and handling is agile and responsive. Like many contemporary cars, the new Sonata has coupelike body styling, but unlike most, it has good rear-seat room, and its visibility remains decent. The Hyundai Sonata GLS ($21,800 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 198-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers smooth and responsive performance and gets an outstanding 27 mpg overall. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and responsively. Braking is Very Good. The interior is well-finished. Folding the 60/40-split rear seatbacks supplements the already large trunk.

The new Suzuki Kizashi is a capable car, but not quite the bargain sports sedan that it is marketed as. It’s small for a family sedan, with a snug cabin and a tight rear seat. The ride is fairly stiff and handling is fairly nimble, but not overly sporty. The Suzuki Kizashi SE ($22,489 MSRP as tested) is powered by a 180-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that delivered just average performance and gets a respectable 25 mpg overall. The continuously variable transmission is smooth. Braking is Very Good. The interior is well-finished but not quite posh. The trunk is on the small side, but folding the 60/40-split rear seatbacks expands the capacity.

The dated Chevrolet Impala is overdue for a redesign. Although it’s a large sedan, the cabin is less roomy than that of its smaller and less expensive Chevrolet Malibu sibling. Handling is clumsy, and powertrain refinement falls short. The Chevrolet Impala LT ($29,270 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 211-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine that gets just average performance and 20 mpg overall. Most modern transmissions have five or six speeds, but the Impala retains a four-speed automatic that shifts smoothly but is reluctant to downshift. Braking is Very Good. Fit and finish is second-rate. The trunk is large and folding the 60/40-split seatbacks expands its space.

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29th June 2010

Monster’s Mountain: Heartaches and Headaches at Pikes Peak 2010

This is the year. The year the record would be broken. The year the ever-elusive 10-minute barrier would fall, or so the competitors from Suzuki and Hyundai would tell us. Did it?

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29th June 2010

Ford debuts new curve control technology

The 2011 Ford Explorer — due later this year — has an upgraded electronic stability control system to better hug the road if a driver takes a curve too quickly. Ford demonstrated its curve control technology Monday.

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29th June 2010

Toyota’s loss — and Toyoda’s loss

The death of master test driver Hiromu Naruse, killed last week in his beloved Lexus LFA sports car at the Nurburgring complex in Germany, is a loss not just for Toyota Motor Corp. but for President Akio Toyoda.

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28th June 2010

Jeb Sessums Mini Sprints winner at Cowtown

Jeb Sessums was the 600 Mini Sprints winner.

By Don Cook
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Cowtown Speedway (Kennedale)
June 19 (Saturday)

Thirty-four cars competed in the 600 Mini Sprints Cowtown Challenge. The four heat winners were Colby Estes, #71, Taylor Smitherman, (21t), Chipper Wood, #47, and D.J. Estes, #74. In a 4-lap race to see who would get a chance at the challenge, the Estes boys, D.J. and Colby, were offered the challenge, both turned it down. If one of them had excepted the challenge, he would have started on the back of the field. If he had gone on to win the race, he would have won over $2,600 dollars.

In the 25-lap feature race, last years 600 champion, Jeb Sessums, #01j, who started 12th, worked his way to the front and managed to hold off a hard charging Hunter Jones, #198, for the win. Jeb took home $1,160 for his efforts. Hunter Jones won $660 and third place finisher Andy Hogan, #3d, $410. Tyler Russell, #29t, and D.J. Estes, #74, rounded out the top five. Jeb Sessums is the first Cowtown Challenge repeat winner.

Jared Webb was the Modified winner.

In the Modified feature, Jared Webb, #15, continued to add to his impressive win totals. With his win last night, Jared now has 204 Modified feature wins in his outstanding career. Starting on the outside front row, Jared quickly jumped to the lead and held off Kaufman’s Bobby Ruffin, #121, and Bonham’s Kevin Clement, #32, who’s 15 year old son, Mitchell Clement, #32m, was also racing, to take the feature win. Jacob Pirkle, #41, and Troy Taylor, #56, were 4th and 5th. 

Mitchell Clement from Bonham finished 12th in the Modified feature.

Sean Jones was the Limited Modifieds winner. 

Sean Jones continued his winning ways at Cowtown Speedway. In the Performance Transmission raceTX.com Limited Modified featureSean Jones, #94, worked his way passed Keith Martin, #85, and Chase Brewer, #99, to take the win. New comer Jeff Emerson, #35, ended up second and Troy Taylor, #56, was third.

Garron Brimmer was the Restrictor Mini Sprints winner.

In the Hooters sponsored 3g Restrictor Mini Sprint, Garron Brimmer stuck by the competition to take his second feature win of the season. Brandol Hull, #4h, was second and Reagan Reed, #7, was third.

Anthony Pearce was the Bomber winner. 

Keeping it in the family, Anthony Pearce, #50, passed Chad Pearce, #82, on the final turn to take the Bomber win. Frank Lackey, #41, Jon Roan, #76, and Chris Roan, #14r, finished out the top five.

For OFFICIAL results and more information, go to: www.cowtownspeedway.com

To purchase track photos, contact Rudy at: www.rudygarciaphotos.smugmug.com

To view some photos of the race cars from Saturday, click on the slide-show below:

To view some racing highlights, click on the video below:

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28th June 2010

News & Rants: Hot or Not? Pushing Your Car’s Fuel Limit

The good news is we were within walking distance of the camp and I could wait in air-conditioned, caffeinated bliss at a nearby coffee shop for my father to come rescue me and bring me a can of gas. The bad news? My dad had to reminisce (and by reminisce I mean tease relentlessly) about the last time he rescued me after running out of gas when I was 16 and driving home from one of my first dates.

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