By Sue Mead.
Trucks and SUVs are the biggest-selling automobile segments today, however, there are still plenty of exciting choices to be found in the sedan and smaller utility vehicle market. We took a closer look at three sedans-each offers something different: a hybrid appeals to many for its fuel economy, while some like a sports-minded model that expresses itself with a tick of robust power and exhaust note, and others are looking for a value-priced model with nifty technology. We also tried out a fun and practical compact utility vehicle with mid-sized passenger and cargo room. It’s your turn to look at what’s right for you-you can have it your way!
2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid
All new for 2018, this mid-sized hybrid sedan is available in three grades — LE, SE, and XLE — starting at $27,800 and ranging up to $32,250, before some great options can be added to personalize it!
The best-selling car in America for the past 15 years, the eighth-generation model boasts newfound performance, sleek styling, and a comfortable cabin, plus an array of new connectivity and safety advancements. A 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine is paired with an electric motor to create 208 horsepower.
Combined with an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission, this comfortable cruiser promises best-in-class EPA-estimated mpg of 51 city/53 highway/52 combined on the LE models, and 44/47/46 on SE and XLE trims; fuel economy is boosted by Toyota’s Auto Glide Control, which helps to improve efficiency by calculating an efficient coasting logic.
Enhanced connectivity and entertainment via the new Toyota Entune 3.0 multimedia system also boasts Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link with Moving Maps. The standard Toyota Safety Sense P suite of safety systems and technologies includes dynamic radar cruise control and lane departure alert with steering assist, as well as pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.
Select models will also come with standard blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert.
Takeaway: Overall Camry sales in the U.S. since it first launched back in 1983 have surpassed 10 million units and counting!
For more information visit: https://www.toyota.com/camryhybrid/
2018 Mitsubishi Outlander
Mitsubishi’s top-selling three-row compact utility vehicle boasts new interior and exterior updates that enhance the driving experience. Available in ES, SE, SEL, and GT trim levels, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander starts at $23,795 and ranges up to $32,245, before options.
Powered by a 166-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission, it comes in either front- or AWD, with a fuel economy of 25 mpg city/30 highway/27 combined.
The sporty GT model pumps 224-horsepower from a 3.0-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, with a max towing of 3,500 pounds. A new, standard 7-inch touchscreen display audio unit brings Bluetooth wireless phone/audio/voice commands while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard on SE trim levels and above. Also standard on all are dual-zone climate control, steering wheel phone and audio controls, rearview camera, and silver interior stitching; Alloy Silver is a new exterior color.
Standard safety equipment for the seven-passenger ute includes active stability control, traction logic control, and anti-theft alarm system with engine immobilizer; blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alerts are standard on LE levels and above. Adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, and lane departure warning systems are available.
Takeaway: Most of the changes on the 2018 Outlander effect trim levels and features. The SE model starts at $24,945.
For more information visit: https://www.mitsubishicars.com/outlander/2018
2018 Kia Forte
This 5-passenger compact sedan is available in three trims: LX ($16,800 manual, $17,900 automatic), S ($19,400), and the nicely-equipped EX ($21,700). Cruise control is now standard on some grades as is UVO3 with access to compatible devices and smartphone projected-navigation via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
The LX Popular Plus Package adds a new alloy wheel design, LED taillights, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The S trim adds new 16-inch alloy wheels and the Technology Package now includes a sunroof. The EX sedan comes standard with advanced driver assistance features like Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine delivering 147 horsepower and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on LX models, while the S and EX trim levels get an automatic transmission.
Forte’s sporty look comes from a chrome-trimmed grille, low front air dam and its snubbed nose and steep windshield angle; side seams stretch to a rear that appears to ride high and is capped by big, wraparound taillamps with lighting patterns that look inspired by Tron. Inside, cabin surfaces undulate and curve, covered in soft-touch materials.
Takeaway: This small 4-door hatch mixes affordable comfort with some great luxury features, making it an excellent buy. Look for an updated model to go on sale later this year.
For more information visit: https://www.kia.com/
2018 Mazda 6 Grand Touring
Mazda says its re-engineered “6” brings unparalleled craftsmanship, top-notch design, and impressive technologies for the driver who savors every moment behind the wheel. It is available in Sport, Sport i-ActiveSense Package, Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature trim levels. Priced starting at $21,950 the Mazda 6 tops out at $34,750, plus options.
Under the hood is a 250-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine matched to a six-speed automatic developed specifically for the high torque that Mazda has onboard. Fuel economy is 23 city/31 highway/26 combined. Outside is a larger grille, standard LED headlights with integrated fog lamps, running lamps, and turn signals, plus new attractive taillights.
Soul Red Crystal is a new exterior paint color. Inside are redesigned front seats with high-density, vibration-absorbing urethane foam that creates a firm, supportive seating surface; an 11-speaker BOSE Premium audio system; SiriusXM satellite radio; Mazda Navigation; an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with homelink; heated side mirrors and paddle shifters for sporty response.
Safety features include standard Smart City Brake Support, as well as lane departure and keeping assist, full-speed Mazda radar cruise control with stop and go function, and High Beam Control that are also standard on Touring models and above.
Takeaway: The abundant comfort and technology upgrades should launch Mazda’s sports-minded 5-seater keeping it a standout that will attract attention in the mainstream, affordable sea of sedans.
For more information visit: https://www.mazdausa.com/vehicles/mazda6