Since I get this neat thing called a three-day weekend, we decided to hit the town test-driving all day yesterday.
First up, the 2015 Kia Forté Koup EX 2.0GDI 6AT:
Not a bad car, per se, but not good either. The acceleration from the 2.0 was uninspiring. Suspension was soft enough to be compliant, but still decent enough to let you know what was going on. Love the looks. Seats are nice, and the interior is well thought out. Media integration is nice and simple as well.
Next, 2015 Kia Forté Koup SX 1.6TGDI 6AT:
Take everything I disliked about the EX and throw it out the window. The 1.6 liter turbo mill, with it's 201 mighty horses, pushed the little coupe quite nicely. It felt rev happy and willing to push itself as hard as you wanted it to. Suspension was a little bit harder than the EX model but not enough to kill you on a road trip. This one had leather with heated seats and ventilated driver seat. If it wasn't for the fact that it was black, we likely would've taken this one home. That, and no pressure gauge.
2014 Romaine salad with parmesan, bacon, smoked salmon and vinaigrette. Lunch.
2014 Ford Fusion SE 1.5EB 6AT:
This car was so memorable I forgot to put it here on my first draft! Seriously, the 1.5L EcoBoost in the Fusion is too small. The seats are still Ford Basic Uncomfortable™ and there was nothing in / about it that, to us, justified it's 26K asking price.
2008 Dodge Charger Daytona 5.7 5AT:
It was orange. Not just orange but "Bright Fuckin' ORANGE". with less than 5,000 miles on the odometer and a build number just south of the halfway point, it was a nice car. Its only modifications were a K&N FIPK and a Borla exhaust. Unfortunately its $25k price tag was too much (as deemed here on Oppo as well) for a non-warranty LX Charger, no matter how fancy it looks. It was fun to toss around, though the interior made me want to kill myself.
2014 Hyundai Veloster 1.6TGDI 6AT:
Despite having the same running gear as the Kia we loved so much earlier, neither of us could get a feel for this little hatch. Though it had surprisingly more interior space than I expected, it has next to no usable cargo space. Coming from a Saab hatch, that's kind of a big thing. We need at least some room for dogs and camping gear (though yes I know we have a truck and that's what the truck is for but still). Suspension was just as compliant as the Forté Koup SX but the seats were nowhere as comfortable. The interior wasn't as nicely laid out and, still, no pressure gauge.
2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0TGDI 6AT
Gat dag. Gat dag gat dag gat dag. This one right here, was just set up for us to buy it right then and there. $29k sticker knocked down to $23k because it was a service loaner and had almost as many miles as the 2008 Charger listed above. I was guaranteed that the full warranty and everything was still a deal, and that there were no stipulations as far as this being still sold new etc etc etc.
That said, the 2.0T is buttery smooth. Excellent delivery throughout the RPM range. The 6AT, with its flappy paddles, processed that power and sent it to the front wheels quite competently. It didn't shift millisecond quick, but it's a family sedan not a Ferrari for chrissakes. The electric power steering with three flavors - Comfort (think Crown Vic), Standard (good overall feel) and Sport (TIGHT FUCKIN' TIGHT BRAH) - made driving this thing a new experience at each touch of the button. That's the cool part. You can go from floating around town in your land barge to having more input response than you should really need, at any time, by pushing a button on the steering wheel. It's super effective! We didn't buy it. Had to look at other things and still that 3500 miles already on it thing kinda worries me. Also no pressure gauge.
2014 Honda Civic LX 1.8 CVT.
We didn't even drive this. We stopped to look at Hondas because I'm not going to discount anyone before giving them a decent shot, but this car was uncomfortable as fuck. The wife sat down in the drivers' seat and, before the salesman was done giving me the "requisite three-hundred-and-sixty degree spiel about I dunno, safety and soemthing" she was out of it and asking to see the Accord a shot.
2014 Honda Accord Coupé EX 2.4 EarthDreams CVT
My wife gave the best description of this car: "It has no soul." Plenty of gadgets and gizmos and no less than three TFT screens, one of which (maybe two) are touch. Turn the right turn signal on and one of them becomes a camera. Reverse? Camera. Lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, the second vaguest transmission I've ever felt and an engine that just wouldn't (couldn't?) sing. They tried to get us in a V6 after that but, with the four-pot's over $30k asking price, we walked. Maybe we missed out? Who knows.
2014 Dodge Dart Aero 1.4T 6DDCT
Comfortable seats. Compliant suspension. Good looks. The biggest trunk opening in its class. Peppy little motor that doesn't particularly disappoint. And apparently, according to the wife, a transmission that I'll hate because it feels so close to a clutch-pedal manual that I'd end up slamming on the brakes too often, looking for that pedal. UConnect is simple and easy to manipulate. The analog tach+TFT screen is weird, and one of our minus points on the car. The digital speedometer didn't seem to respond quickly, we were worried about how late we were getting information. Still on the Contenders list for "The car we will probably buy soon 2014"
So that's what I did yesterday :)