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2020 Genesis G70 AWD 3.3T Sport

Susan Frissell, Editor/Publisher

Rising almost out of nowhere, the Genesis ‘brand,’ a product of Hyundai has made a name for itself in just a short period of time. Driving the new 2020 G70, I found it hard to be invisible. Heads turned on every block and even engendered questions when at a stop. I was disappointed in myself that I hadn’t done my ‘homework’ before getting into the new G70 so I could answer intelligently. I also didn’t get the feeling-at first-I thought I would when climbing into the supportive driver’s seat.

I had all but decided G70 would be my next vehicle, hoping at some point to negotiate a decent price. Which is why there are second chances in life. First impressions-no matter what you’ve heard-aren’t always the correct impression. As the week progressed, I grew  fond of the G70 and its knock-out styling.

Our test G70 was the AWD version Sport, equipped with the 3.3L Twin-Turbo V6, 365 horsepower. A member of the Luxury Support Sedan market, the G70 was launched early in 2019. Hard to compare it to the big players in this market (Audi, BMW, $60,000), but one does not need to as it stands alone, both in styling (especially in Havana Red), interior charm and value.

Our G70 test vehicle is fast enough for most and challenging in looks. Our G70 came equipped with three separate packages: Elite (including Low Beam Assist, Rain-sensing wipers, parking distance warning, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, Wireless charging pod); Prestige (Heads-up Display, Surround View Monitor, Napa Leather seating Surfaces with Luxury Quilting, Heated Rear Seats, Power Trunk, Microfiber Suede Headliner); and Sport (including Electronically Controlled Suspension, 12-inch Sport Alloy Wheels w/Summer Tires (RWD) or All-Season Tires, AWD, Copper Headlight Bezel Accents, Dark Tint Taillight Covers, Dark Chrome Grille and Window Trim, Black Napa Leather Seating Surfaces with Sport Quilting).

These packages add to the car’s pricing, of course, and some of us can do without such opulence. Nice to have, but perhaps not always necessary, especially if you’re trying to get into the new G70 for a decent price. MSRP at $46,650 is doable for some, and this may be a vehicle drivers will elect to lease.

Pricing of today’s automobiles is on the high side; and seems so to most people. But with Hyundai (and cousin Kia), buyers get a lot for the price. For instance, one can have a specially painted color without extra cost.  These new versions of red in today’s color choices are smashing. Just In one month of driving vehicles in the fleet, we had four versions of ‘red,’ all stunning.

The G70’s grille is reminiscent of Lexus’ most recent grille which has caused mixed emotions among many. We like it on the G70. It has a commanding presence. This luxury sedan has no trouble taking off with the help of 365 horsepower, and drivers can choose from one of five drive modes. Genesis brags numbers of 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. While some long for the days of the V8 (oh, how I mourned it), today’s turbo engines strive to make up for that experience, and in a much more efficient way. We preferred Sport mode but found Comfort mode a good option for daily drives.

Genesis also offers a Smart mode which believe it or not, learns the driver’s style adjusting shift points to match the driver’s normal way of driving. Of course it does, you say. Aren’t all vehicles “Smart” cars today? Custom and ECO mode are also available. I often find myself driving on ECO mode, assuming MPG will be better.

What took a little getting used to for this writer was the driver’s seat and its position. It felt either too close or not close enough to the pedals, and too high most of the time. I spent time looking for the perfect fit, and finally after a few days in the G70, I found it. The seats are plush and very sporty.

This is a substantial sedan at close to 4,000 lbs. and feels so when navigating the roads. Although the feel isn’t just like a performance vehicle, still it feels sporty, if not a tad stiff on worse roads. The 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth and shifts effortlessly. One can opt for a rear-drive G70 as well, and a 2.0T entry level engine.

Available models include the 2.0T Standard ($35,450), 2.0T Standard AWD ($37,450), 2.0T Sport ($38,500), 3.3T Standard $44,650), and 3.3T Standard AWD ($46,650).

The interior on the Genesis G70 meets luxury specs and is comfortable. Seats are large yet rear seating room can be a tad tight. The trunk isn’t as generous as we expected, and the trunk mat a little cheesy. We admired the perforated leather seating with a quilted pattern. Matching door panels just added to the ambiance. These seats are available on the Sport and Prestige packages. Team that up with the Lexicon 15-speaker audio with Quantum Logic surround and Clari-F sound and you’ve got it made.

We would have preferred the steering wheel (black leather) be the D-shaped version, as it denotes sportiness and class. The red stitching is a nice touch, along with the satin chrome trim on doors, dashboard and console. Of course, front seats are heated and cooled; the steering wheel also heated (option). The dash is easy to figure out and with just a touch, one can operate all these conveniences. The steering wheel also is a power tilt/telescope one, and if you need to adjust mirrors, locate the button on the door. When leaving the vehicle and locking it, the mirrors automatically fold inward. Nice touch.

In all, the 2020 Genesis G70 is a beautiful, fun-to-drive sedan. While sporty it also manages to give off a lot of class. We can assume its maintenance record will also be good.


Pricing: $53,245; MSRP: $46,650; handling $995; $35,450-$46,650

Engine: 3.3L Twin-Turbo V6; 365 hp., 376 lb.ft.torque

Transmission: 8-speed Automatic Transmission with Paddle-Shifters and Rev-Match, Shift by wire, AWD

Class: Luxury Sedan, 5 seats

Wheels: 19-inch Alloy

Tires: 19-inch Michelin All-Season, front: P225/40R19; Rear: P255/35R19

Length: 184.4 in.

Width: 72.8 in.

Height: 55.1 in.

Wheelbase: 111.6 in.

Weight: 3.887

Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.9 gal.

MPG: 22/30 mpg.

Cargo: 10.5 cu. Ft.

Added Features: Elite Package ($1,450); Prestige Package ($2,850); Sport Package ($1,300)

Warranty: 3 yr/36,000 Complimentary Maintenance; 3 yr/36,000 Complimentary Service Valet; 3 yr/Complimentary Genesis Connected Services; 3 yr/Complimentary Map Care

2016 Toyota Highlander XLE V6 AWD

untitledSusan Frissell

At long last, the 2016 Toyota Highlander gets a look that matters. The old design seemed to just blend into the crowd, forsaking any distinguishing features. Now, with its new curves and shape, the 2016 Highlander is a better looking vehicle. Returning with just one ‘factual’ update is the now standard towing package (heavy-duty radiator, 200-watt fan coupling, bigger alternator, transmission fluid cooler), on all V6 trim levels.

With all the sport-utes on the road, big and small, it’s near impossible to stand out in the crowd. Competing with the likes of the Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, and Nissan Pathfinder, the Highlander is available in several versions, including Hybrid (in Limited trim only): LE ($29,990), LE V6 ($31,515), LE Plus V6 ($33,895), XLE ($36,815) and Limited ($40,415), Limited Platinum.

The Highlander is not an inexpensive vehicle, and similar to its competitors, somewhat resembles a minivan. Seating eight, this is a large vehicle, with a flexible second row of seating and easily accessible third row. While it is an easy vehicle to drive and handle, it falls to those who are seeking a lot of extra room.

Some have called the redesigned 2016 Highlander “bland.” While we might agree that description better describes the last generation Highlander, we happen to think the 2016 design is much improved. The interior is updated with new materials and a much busier dash design.

Although equipped with a V-6 engine, horsepower is lacking and power just adequate. Our test vehicle was the XLE trim level, equipped with three options, including Rear-seat Blueray, DVD Entertainment System w/9-inch display, RCA Jacks, Remote and two wireless headphones ($1,810); Seating for 7; 2nd row Captain’s Chairs; leather-trimmed second-row Captain’s Chairs with folding side table w/two cupholders ($275), and Carpet floor mats and cargo mat ($225).toy

Our Highlander XLE came in Shoreline Blue Pearl, a striking color choice. As expected in vehicles of this caliber, the Highlander comes equipped with all of the amenities one would want. Such new technology as enhanced vehicle stability control, ABS, Electronic brake=force distribution, brake assist and smart stop technology, Adaptive Cruise control, 8 airbags, Smart Key immobilizer/alarm and protector child seating and door locks.

Our XLE version came equipped with a power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade, leather seating (8-way driver, 4-way passenger, adjustable power liftgate, side-window sunshades, back-up camera, 8-inch display and Toyota’s Entune premium sound system/App suite, navigation, Homelink, AM/FM/CM/MP3/USB/Aux, HD and SXM.

Tires are available in either 18-0r-19-inch size, and the Highlander sports a rear spoiler, LED running lights, and power sunroof. Cloth, premium cloth or leather upholstery is available, heated and ventilated seats with power-adjustable front seats. A telescoping tilt-steering wheel and cruise are standard, and on higher level trim vehicles, Toyota throws in 3-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED ambient cabin lighting, driver seat memory setting, and rear parking sensors.

As with all Toyota products, one can depend on long-term driving and years of ownership. The Highlander is a comfortable and accommodating city and highway driving vehicle. It aims to please and continues to lead the market.


MSRP: $38,275; total vehicle price $41,485; destination $900
Engine: 3.5-liter, DOHC V6, Dual VVT-1, 248 lb-ft torque, 270 hp.
Transmission: six-speed electronic automatic w/OD, ECT-I sequential shift mode, snow mode, FWD
Wheelbase: 109.8 in.
Height: 68.1 in.
Length: 191.1 in.
Curb Weight: 4,135 lbs.
Width: 64.4 in.
Towing Capacity: 5,000 lbs.
Wheels: 18-inch alloy
Tires: P245/60R-18
EAP class: small SUV, 2WD
EPA fuel economy: 18/24 mpg., avg. 20 mpg.
Class: Midsize crossover



2016 Scion iA Sedan

iaSusan Frissell

Having just spent the last week in the 2016 Scion iA, the edict comes down from Toyota: They are killing the Scion brand. Spun off as a separate lineup of vehicles in 2003, Scion will now slip off into oblivion to that great automobile place in the sky. Another foreign-car fighter bites the dust. Scion sales dwindled in 2015, to 56,817 units (a drop of 3 percent).

The Scion iA, introduced last year isn’t a bad little sedan; but not a compact entry that will be sorely missed. We attended the launch for the Scion iA and iM a year or so ago and thought the two new entries somewhat noteworthy, but also more contestants in an already crowded market.

Toyota North American CEO Jim Lentz stated this isn’t a step backward for Scion; rather a “leap forward for Toyota.” Scion, according to Lentz, was an ‘entry point for cost-conscious, young buyers.” A platform for allowing Toyota dealers to attract and engage young customers, the Scion brand was kind of an experiment, including all that was new and high tech.

The average age of the Scion buyer was 36 years; 70 percent of those buyers who had never purchased a Toyota. Not necessarily on an upward climb, Scion may have succumbed to plunging gasoline prices, crushing sales of small cars.

The sad part-for this writer-is that anything that ISN’T a sport-utility-vehicle is headed for oblivion. What with Fiat Chrysler just announcing they may kill the compact Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans, only to bring out additional SUV’s. Not only are cars idolized as they once were, but now the “car” as we know it, may be history.

Despite Scion’s struggles, their products did seem innovative when first out. The FR-S sports car, along with the iA and iM, so it’s said, will live on as Toyota models. Whether the public supports it or not, automotive manufacturers might want to make available a sports car; something fun, not only practical.

Our Scion iA, a base model selling at just over $17,000 (including destination) was well-equipped, yet not fancy. Cloth interior, the basic AM/FM/ HD Radio with six speakers and the only available power plant, a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, 16-valve. Six-speed automatic and manual transmissions are available and fuel economy is a respectable 31/41 mpg.; average 37 mpg.

The Scion iA comes well-equipped for an entry-level sedan and includes the usual Halogen headlamps, 7-inch color touch screen display, Ports w/iPod connectivity, Am/FM/HD, Bluetooth wireless, voice recognition, connected service suite, Pandora , keyless entry, push-button stop/start, A/C, 60/40 split rear seat, carpeted floor mats, and a large host of safety technology.

Competition for the Scion iA is Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic and Spark, SmartforTwo, Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent. Some with a little more style, but fewer standard features. Acceleration seems a tad sluggish in the iA, the upholstery what you’d expect in this level of vehicle, but the iA takes most road surfaces well, gets you from point A to point B, and provides a good value. It feels like a solid little sedan when on the road.


MSRP: $16,800; total vehicle price $17,570; destination $4770

Engine: 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder DOHC, 16-valve, 106 hp., 103

Transmission: six-speed automatic w/sport mode

Wheelbase: 101.2 in.

Height: 58.5 in.

Width: 58.9 in.

Weight: 2,385 lbs.

Length: 171.7 in.

Wheels: 16-inch 16×5.5 in.

Tires: 185/60R16

Warranty: 3 yr/36,000-mile basic; 2 yr/25,000-mile free maintenance; 5 yr/60,000-mile drivetrain

2016 IS 200t F-Sport Package 4-door sedan


This is one Lexus product we don’t mind driving whenever it’s available. Probably our favorite Lexus product, the IS2005 is way fun.

Sounds silly, I know, but with so many vehicles available today, the differences in them begin to disappear. Especially partial to performance vehicles, Lexus doesn’t necessarily fit this category. But the IS200t drives and acts a little like a performance car, and we welcome that.

Revamped in 2014, the IS took on a little bit of an edgy look, resembling Lexus’ NX trim versions. It’s about time, we thought. While this sedan is not large by any stretch of the imagination, it is agile, and fun to drive.

In the entry-level IS 250, Toyota plunked the 2.5-liter V6 engine. Adding a turbo engine and/or the 3.5-liter V6, coupled with Lexus’ F-Sport package, made the IS a real contender. Handling was much improved, and the car’s all-around feel felt, well, less Lexus-like.

The new powerplant in the IS is now a 2.0-liter twin-scroll Turbocharged inline 4-cylinder with VVT and 241 horse. Our test vehicle, although carrying a near-luxury price tag of $37,325 quickly become a lot more pricey once a few ‘special’ options were added.

Our test IS 200t came equipped with a lot of standard features, as expected, and an added couple of options: Blind Spot Monitor cross-traffic alert heated outside mirror ($600), F-Sport package ($3,545), Navigation system/Mark Levinson Audio System, 5.1 surround 17-speakers, 835 watts, remote touch interface, Lexus Enform Destinations, App Suite, Voice Command, Lexus Insider, Electrochromic auto–dimming rearview mirror ($2,645), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control w/Pre-collision System ($500), Preium Paint ($595), F-Sport perforated leather heated steering wheel with paddle shifters ($150). Yikes.

Hard to give up a few of these goodies; namely, the Mark Levinson stereo. We had so much fun throwing in sound tracks form The Imitation Game and The Danish Girl, and ramping up the volume. The F-Sport package, in this writer’s opinion, is also a must.

So be ready to shell out some big bucks for this compact-ish sedan. Some may not have warmed up to the new styling out of Lexus; we like it and believe it was time to do something different; read: less bland.

Competing with the likes of Mercedes C300, BMW 328i, Infiniti and Acura, the IS 200 may fall somewhat short, but in some ways, we’re talking apples/oranges.

Lexus’ 200t’ model name also sits on the Lexus NX small crossover, Lighter than the crossover, the IS 200t benefits with the same engine. Not a record-breaker but top speed is claimed to be 148 mph. The car seems to hold the corners well, and although somewhat ‘light,’ navigates normal roadways with a little understeer, Once all four tires are on the pavement, the IS 200t appears confident
The consensus was to definately opt for the special paint: Ultrasonic Blue Mica. At the ‘premium’ price of $595, it is a real gift to yourself, but stands out.

The IS 200t’s interior isn’t award-winning, but comfortable. This is a tight fitting cabin, however. It somehow feels good as the driver has the feeling of being ‘tucked in.’ Not a lot of room for movement, however. Stats state seating is 2/3! There is a regular rear seat, but not recommended for long trips.

Now that we are accustomed to the ‘joystick’ that navigates your display, audio, we kind of like it. There are, of course, various versions of these controls throughout autoland. Some better than others.


MSRP: $37,325, total vehicle price $46,300, destination $940
Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder inline, Variable Valve Timing Intelligent Wide, 241 horsepower, 258 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic w/ECT-i
Wheelbase: 110.2 in.
Height: 56.3 in.
Width: 71.3 in.
Length: 183.7 in.
Curb Weight: 3,583 lbs.
EPA fuel economy: 22/33 mpg.
Fuel tank capacity: 17.4 gal.
Tires: 225/45R17 all-season
Wheels: 17-inch aluminum
Warranty: 4 yr./50,000-miles basic; 6 yr/70,000-miles drivetrain

Susie Wolff: Hanging up Her Helmet

2014_DTM_HockenheimringII_Susie_Wolff_by_2eight_8SC3775Dani Ben-Ari

Susie Wolff, wife of Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff, has announced she is formally giving up her dream to become the first female driver to reach an F1 grid since Lella Lombardi made 12 starts in the series between 1975-1976. However, she did manage to come close at both the 2014 British GP at Silverstone and German Grand Prix, where she participated in the first Friday practice session in both of those race weekends. She became the first woman to drive in a Grand Prix weekend since Giovanna Amati in 1992.

Born December 6, 1982 in Oban, Scotland, Susie (nee Stoddart) began karting from an early age, and in 1996 she was named the British Woman Kart Racing Driver of the Year. In 1997, she competed in a number of different karting categories and succeeded in most of them, including winning the 24-hr Middle East Kart Championship, champion in both the Scottish Junior Intercontinental “A” and the Scottish Open Junior Intercontinental “A” categories. She was again named British Woman Kart Racing Driver of the Year.

In 1998 she moved up to the British Junior Intercontinental “A” Championship and was placed 10th overall in her first season in the class. She also competed in the Federation Cup European Intercontinental “A” Championship and she was placed 11th overall, as well as named British Woman Kart Racing Driver of the Year, before being crowned Top Female Kart Driver in the World the following year.

From there, Wolff moved up to single-seater racing, driving for Motaworld Racing in the 2001 Formula Renault Winter Series. In 2003, she again competed in the Formula Renault UK Championship where she finished 9th overall and made her first podium finish this season, as well. She achieved recognition for her efforts this year as she was selected as one of the finalists in the prestigious BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award and was selected as the BRDC Rising Star of the Year. This was followed by a 3 podium finish for the Comtec Racing team in 2004.

Wolff progressed to the British Formula 3 Championship to race for the Alan Docking Racing team in the Championship Class in 2005, but was sidelined by an ankle injury suffered during the winter. Susie did however, make a one-off appearance in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatchin in June before returning to competition in 2006. This time she moved up to drive a 2004-spec Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe for the Mücke Motorsport team in the DTM, the German Touring Car series. She remained in the series through 2012.

After marrying Toto in October 2011, Susie was named as a development driver for the Williams Formula One team (of which she and husband Toto were stockholders) the following April, and promoted to test-driver for 2015. During her tenure with the team, she played a role in the development of the FW35, FW36 and FW37 through extensive simulator work alongside getting behind the wheel for straight line aerodynamic tests and during numerous test days.

Wolff, however, has decided to retire from all motorsports following the Race of Champions at the Olympic Stadium in London on November 20-21, along with Williams driver Felipe Massa.

Claire Williams, deputy team principal said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Susie over the years and see her develop as a driver within the team. Her feedback and knowledge of the car has been an important part our recent development and we will be sorry to see her go. We want to thank her for all her efforts and wish her the very best for her future endeavors.”

In turn, Wolff thanked Williams for the opportunity given to her the last few years

Scion iM Compact Hatch: A Second Drive

We reviewed the all-new 2016 Scion iM hatchback in July after an intro in Grand Rapids (…m-introduction). Overall, we liked the iM, although found it a tad weak in the power department. Now, after our second preview, we have a more favorable impression of its assets, which are several for a compact vehicle.

First off, the Scion iM is an all-new, but familiar compact. Sold as the Toyota Auris in Europe, the iM is a hatch equivalent of the ever-popular Toyota Corolla. A “return of the Corolla wagon, ”the iM will appeal to not only its target audience: young and active, but also to the Boomers (much like other Scion products, namely, the xB).

While the iM offers a lot of goodies, it lacks some features common in competitive compacts. For instance, you won’t find any factory options, only one engine option slightly below average for other compacts (1.89-liter, 4-cylinder, 137 hp,.126 lb. ft. torque), active safety gear, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, or forward collision warning.

What you will get includes a long list of standard features, including power windows/door locks, 17-inch wheels/tires, rearview camera, Bluetooth, touchscreen infotainment system, cruise, keyless ignition/entry, power folding/heated side mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, auto headlights, and streaming Internet radio/HD.

We especially like the dog-friendly accessory offered by Scion. With your pup’s safety in mind, Scion offers a package that includes a pet barrier for the seat, unusual grass pad that mounts on the center console to keep your pet from standing there, door guards to prevent claw scratches, and a tether to keep your dog tied when running errands.

Other standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, a standard body kit, and free scheduled maintenance for two years/25,000-miles, whichever comes first. Included in the free-scheduled maintenance are oil changes, filters, tire rotation and scheduled inspections.

This useful daily driver has a tight interior (cu. Ft. under 21), replaces the subcompact Scion xD. A sporty compact option, the iM is an entry-level vehicle starting at $18,460 ($795 destination). Scion subscribes to the ‘no haggle’ pricing regimen so expect to pay the price advertised.

The iM is road-trip worthy, but don’t expect to out-run the faster-moving vehicles when negotiating the on-ramp. This little 4-banger takes a longer time than we would like to get up to speed. Buyers can opt for navigation.
The iM weighs in at 2,943 pounds, seats five and has a 14-gallon fuel tank. Fuel economy is respectable and averages between 27/28 (MT/CVT)-36/37 mpg.

Countdown of the 15 “Hottest New Cars”

The ‘hottest’ new cars of 2015, according to columnist Jim Gorzelany include:

*Ford F150 truck: long-awaited redesign
*Midsize Pickups: Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon
*Large SUV’s: GM models Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, GMC Yukon/XL and Cadillac Escalade/ESV
*CUV’s: Chevrolet Trax/Jeep Renegade, Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC
*More Crossover SUVS
*First sporty SUV: Porsche Macan
*New Luxury models: Audi A3, Kia K900, Hyundai Genesis, Acura TLX, Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, S63 AMG, MB S550 Coupe-redesigned, renamed
*Muscle car: Corvette Z06
*Italian Sports Cars: Alfa Romeo 4C
*Exotic Supercar: Porsche 918 Spyder

*Less worthy models: Chrysler 200, Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Sonata-redesigned, MB C-Class, Mini Cooper Hardtop, Subaru Legacy and Outback.

Jim’s Picks for the Least Exciting Cars:

15. Smart 4Two
14. Scion iQ
13. Nissan Titan-redesigned
12. Nissan Armada
11. Mitsubishi Mirage
10. Mitsubishi MiEV
9. Lincoln MKT
8. Lincoln MKS
7. Jeep Wrangler
6. Jeep Patriot
5. Jeep Compass
4. Fiat 500L (not competitive to CUV’s on mkt)
3. Dodge Journey
2. Cadillac XTS (among industry’s worst values
1. BMW-7 Series (lost its edge)

reprinted from Jim Gorzelany in Autos column

107th Chicago Auto Show 2015 Highlights

Susan Frissell

Look out for all the introductions at this year’s 2015 Chicago Auto Show, from many of the manufacturers. In its 107th year, CAS15 is every bit worth visiting. On until Sunday February 22, the show has a lot to share. For instance:

Mitsubishi GC-PHEV concept

Mitsubishi GC-PHEV concept

Acura: ILX, NSX, 2016 RDX, redesigned
Alfa Romeo: 4 C Spider
Cadillac: CTS-V, ATX-V
Chevrolet: Camaro Commemorative Edition, Colorado ZR 2 concept, 2016 Silverado
2016 Equinox
Honda: Pilot-redesign for 2016, seats 8,
Ford: GT Supercar, GT 350 Mustang, 500 hp., 5.2-liter V-8
Hyundai: Velostar Special Edition, 2016 Elantra GT redesign
Kia: Sedona minivan, Trail’ster e-AWD concept
Jeep: Renegade (made in Italy)
Mazda: CX-3, CX-5, MX-5 Miata 2016-redesign, 4th generation, Mazda MX-5 Cup concept-racecar version
Dodge; Challenger SRT Hellcat, Charger SRT Hellcat
Mini: Countryman
Mitsubishi: FC-PHEV concept
Toyota: 2016 redesigned Avalon, Camry, FT-1 concept, Tacoma-midsize pickup, all new direct injection V-6 engine
Lexus: GS-F
Lincoln: 2016 MKX, new 330 hp engine, EcoBoost V6
Nissan: Titan XD truck

Keep an eye out for some of the favorites that debuted at Detroit’s show (January)and on the Chicago Auto Shop floor too:

Kia Trail'ster Concept

Kia Trail’ster Concept

*VW Cross Coupe GTE
*2016 NSX redesign (one engine, 3 motors, AWD, V6 gaslone engine, 550 hp.)
*Buick Avenir Concept sedan: blend of old/new: Tesla S and Porsche Panamera. Please make this Buick!
*2016 Audi Q7
*2016 Nissan Titan makeover (new 5.0-liter Cummins V-8 turbo diesel in Titan XD, 310 hp., 535 ft. lb. torque, V6 abnd V8 availbale, $29,000)
*2016 redesigned Chevy Volt (cut 243 lbs, 50-mile range)
*Dodge Ram 1500 special edition
*Hyundai Santa Cruz crossover truck concept
*Chevy Bolt EV-concept
*Nissan NISMO concept
*Infiniti Q60 concept (new V6 engine)

Ford GT Supercar

Ford GT Supercar

Don’t miss Camp Jeep in the south Hall, special features such as the Camry test track and distracted driver simulator for teens at Toyota, and Dodge’s Multi-brand test track. Plus all the vendors, Volo Museum display and more.


Admission is Adults, $12, Seniors, $6, Children (7-12), $6; 6-under, free. Open 9:00 am-10:00 pm., the show is open through Feb 22. Held at the ‘new’ McCormick Place on 23rd St and Lake Shore Drive, parking is available there, and the Hall can be accessed via Metra and CTA.

Chrysler 200 comes out the Winner for 2015 Family Vehicle MAMA Award

CHICAGO, Ill. (February 12, 2015) – Starting off Media Days at the Chicago Auto Show was the announcement by the Midwest Automotive Media Association that the 2015 Chrysler 200 has been named the winner of its fifth annual Family Vehicle of the Year award. This is a beautiful sedan.

The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), a nonprofit group of automotive journalists and public relations professionals, developed the award to assist car buyers in making the best buy decision when shopping for a family vehicle. “Choosing a family vehicle is an important decision. It should be affordable, reliable, efficient, and roomy. MAMA members pooled their expertise to select the best family vehicle from an impressive group of new and notably refreshed models, and the Chrysler 200 rose to the top,” said award coordinator Damon Bell.

In order to qualify for the award, vehicles must sport four doors, be priced at less than $50,000, appear at one of MAMA’s two annual rallies, and be new or significantly updated within a year of the 2014 Spring Rally (May). The MAMA Spring and Fall rallies feature about 100 manufacturer vehicles for journalists to drive and evaluate.

2002Voting takes place at each rally, culminating in a list of 12 contenders, which included: the Chrysler 200, Ford Transit Connect Wagon, Honda Fit, Hyundai Genesis, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Soul, Lincoln MKC, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Toyota Highlander, and Volkswagen Golf.

A total of 99 automotive journalists and MAMA members caste their final vote. The 2015 Chrysler 200 came out the winner with 79 total points, edging out the 2015 Subaru Outback, which came in at 73 total points. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf placed third, at 68 total points.

2015 Chrysler 200

2015 Chrysler 200

In each round of voting, three points were awarded for a first-place vote, two points were given for a second-place vote and third-place votes were valued at one point each.

Voting for the 2016 Family Vehicle of the Year award will begin at the 2015 MAMA Spring Rally, which is scheduled for May 12-13 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

The Fall Rally is set for October 7 at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill.

Women are Still Buying…and Best Informed

Anne Fleming

Women are responsible for buying over 13 million cars at new car dealerships; that’s an impressive 36,000 vehicles a day. Dealerships have to literally change gears, advertising, amenities and their sales strategies to attract this powerful buying force. “It’s a very competitive industry” shares President, Anne Fleming. “Women know they can buy a car anywhere in their respective city. It’s in dealer’s best interest to strategize and market to women. However, it takes more than just having a family female spokesperson.”

2015 US Womens Car Dealership Report Key Findings

•When shopping for a vehicle, the overall WSI was 4.37, up from 4.25 last year. The top five rated shopping brands by women are Volkswagen, Ford, Chevrolet, Jeep, and Buick.
•When purchasing a vehicle, the overall WSI was 4.73, up from 4.65 last year. The top five rated purchasing brands by women are Mercedes-Benz (also held the #1 spot in 2014), Lincoln, Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler.
•When leasing (a subset of purchasing), the overall WSI was 4.88, a jump from 4.80 in 2014. An amazing 98% of women would recommend their sales advisor when leasing a car.
•When servicing a vehicle, the overall WSI was 4.57 a considerable leap from last years’ 4.38. The top five rated servicing brands by women are BMW, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Audi.
•Women visit on average 2 dealerships prior to buying a care. Sixty percent of women who leave without purchasing, do not return to that dealership.
•When shopping, 56% of women go to the dealerships by themselves. 83% of them would recommend their sales advisor.
â—¦Almost one-third report that the dealerships website is not helpful
•When buying, 46% of women go the dealership by themselves. 95% of them would recommend their sales advisor.

â—¦Women report the average time to buy a car is 3 hours and 20 min

•Top reasons women don’t go to service department at original dealership:

â—¦Not satisfied with last visit

◦Didn’t like how she was treated

â—¦Inability to get issue resolved to her satisfaction

â—¦Cost of service

â—¦Location not convenient

â—¦Hours not convenient

â—¦Lack of concierge services

•The top requested item by women who have to leave their car overnight for service? A car to drive home – typically a service reserved for luxury brands

•The research in the 2015 US Women’s Car Dealership Report comes from over 3,450 women’s surveys from the company’s website. From these surveys, the company generates a Women Satisfaction Index® or WSI score. The range is from a 5.0 (the highest) to 1.0 (the lowest).

•Unlike other 5-star review sites, offers women the opportunity to write a quick review and then opt-in to a ‘deeper dive’ survey to share more thoroughly about their dealership visit. Over 90% of the reviewers opt-in to the twenty-five question survey.

•Fleming goes on to share, “In the past, women haven’t been asked for any real feedback by the industry, with the exception of the dutiful CSI. Through our platform, women are empowered by the opportunity to share their voice and provide productive opinions. Generally, these buyers are having more than “satisfied” visits at car dealerships; they are truly delighted by the respectful and trustworthy manners of their sales advisors. In turn, when asked to write a review, they are generous.”

•Dealership groups and manufacturers use the data collected by the company to better understand, improve and shape the customer’s experience. From the analytics, trends and predictive patterns are captured to help take the guesswork out of marketing to women.