Saturday, September 20, 2014

Devon test drives a popular Toyota crossover

The Toyota Rav-4 was popular for a reason. If you wanted a to save a few miles on the gallon the four-cylinder was standard and very good one at that. Those who wanted power could opt for a silk smooth six-cylinder with sports car-like acceleration. With the new Rav-4 has Toyota lost that momentum by not offering the class rare six-cylinder engine?
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder producing 175hp will satisfy most buyers needs. It's smooth and offers a good turn of pace when needed. Owners of the previous generation six-cylinder will be disappointed to learn that engine didn't carry over into this generation.
On the road the Rav-4 is smooth and comfortable which is great for a compact crossover, but those who want a little fun behind the wheel won't find it here. Steering feedback is completely numb and any idea of spirited driving is thrown out the window by the softly sprung suspension which is aimed more towards comfort. One thing the Rav-4 is good for is ferrying the family around and is quite easy to drive around town too thanks to light steering.
It isn't hard getting comfortable behind the wheel. All the controls and dials are within easy reach of the driver's hand and the infotaiment system offers a no nonsense layout. Much of the controls and dials feel upscale like you'd expect and overall quality is top notch too just the way a Toyota is supposed to feel.
LE trim adds a back-up camera, eco/sport mode for the ransmission and auto-off headlights. XLE trim adds auto climate control, roof rails and a premium audio system with navigation. Top of the range Limited trim adds 8-way adjustable driver's seat, keyless start system and a power liftgate.
The Rav-4 may not be the most engaging to drive and it may not wow you with its styling. The one thing that it does well is offer comfort for five with plenty of space to ferry the family around and is the most comfortable to drive as daily commuter car. It may not be a jack of all trade like the previous generation, but it still is a great option for those who want a no nonsense compact crossover.
Likes: Decent running costs, comfortable to drive and live with. Plenty of features for the money.
Dislikes: Not very engaging to drive as some rivals.
XLE trim is the pick of the range. It offers all you'll really need with the Rav-4 without being overly expensive. Too bad you'll still have to pay extra for all-wheel-drive on all forms. But it's not really needed though.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Devon test drives a VW GTI

The GTI is the original hot hatch and still is one of the best that money can buy.
You can still have the GTI with that thumping turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder producing 210hp and 258lb-ft torque. This makes the GTI a lot easier to live with than the even hotter Focus ST. Standard six-speed manual gearbox is the best way to have the GTI. The shifts are smooth and slick, for those who prefer the automatic the six-speed DSG gearbox is just as good and offers clutchless manual shifting. Want a little bit more power? You can add an optional power pack which adds an additional 10hp for a total of 220hp which is still far cheaper than the A3 hatch.
On the road the GTI feels very comfortable to drive yet agile when you want to get a little aggressive in the corners. Steering weighs up nicely and offers plenty of feedback. Interior quality is what you'd expect of a Volkswagen. Much of the materials used are high quality with excellent fit and finish. The boot has even more space than the previous generation which is also very helpful for those who want to use this as their daily commuter vehicle.
S trim comes with LED foglights, 18-inch alloy wheels, touch screen sound system with 5.8 inch screen and heated front seats. SE trim comes with rain sensing windshield wipers, keyless start and rearview parking camera. Autobahn package offers climate control, leather seating surfaces, navigation system and automatic headlights. Most buyers will be satisfied with the SE trim which is the pick of the range. It offers just enough kit without being overly expensive.
The new GTI is a large improvement over the previous generation. The turbo engine is smooth with plenty of torque to help make it more easy to live with as a daily commuter car. No other hot hatch blends these well like the GTI and is our top pick for hot hatches.

Likes: Smooth turbo engine. Plenty of grip and is very easy to live with. Offers plenty of features for the money.
Dislikes: Can get expensive with options.
Some may say the Focus ST is a better buy because it has 252hp for the same price. However, the Focus ST isn't as comfortable or composed as a GTI and it doesn't feel as classy in the inside. It's a no brainer here the GTI is a great package.
SE trim is our pick of the range. It has all the kit you'll want a a price tag that is affordable.