Car Buyer's Guide for 2015
When it comes to snagging unbiased advice on car buying, we turn to our "Test Driver In-Chief," Jeffrey Weidel. Each week, Jeff can be found burning rubber on the roads of Placer County and throughout California.
Always obeying the legal rules of the road and adhering to a safety first policy, Jeff can be spotted putting vehicles through extensive real-world driving conditions which often include trips near golf courses and ski resorts.
Here's a recap of what's hot and what's not so hot for the 2015 driving season.
Car Buyer's Guide 2015
- Family-friendly Toyota Venza needs some changes
The family-friendly Venza could use some remodeling. It's being challenged by three fresher competitors and is starting to fall behind in overall value.
- Hyundai Genesis: Quite an Impressive Sedan
Redesigned for 2015, the Hyundai Genesis features a roomier cabin, improved engines, better fuel economy, additional entertainment options, and offers all-wheel drive
- Mazda CX-9: Solid Choice Among Large SUVs
The Mazda CX-9 has gained appeal over the years because it's always been considered refined, stylist, and from this vantage point, never as luminous in appearance as
- Infiniti QX70 won't appeal to all luxury SUV shoppers
2015 Infiniti QX70: Although considered a luxury crossover sport utility vehicle, a week with the 2015 Infiniti QX70 didn't quite meet expectations that come with a reputed "luxury" vehicle.
- Ford Fusion Energi: Innovative Electric-Hybrid Sedan
Last year, Ford decided on a redesign and went a step further with the Fusion, adding the Energi to the mix. The Fusion Energi is an extended-range, plug-in version of the hybrid model.
- Lexus LX570 SUV: Big, Attractive and Safe
What most drivers will like about the Lexus LX570 is the combination of gracious around-town capability and its ability to go off-road in rugged winter conditions
- Lincoln MKZ Needs More Refinement
Successful luxury automobile brands include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and the Japanese contingent of Honda (Acura), Toyota (Lexus) and Nissan (Infiniti).
- Audi A3: Luxury Sedan at Reasonable Price
One of the class leaders for 2015 could be the Audi A3, which has been smartly redesigned.
- Ford Fiesta Emerges from Siesta
The Ford Fiesta had literally been on a siesta from the American market for a while, until being reintroduced in 2011. And frankly, very few people probably mourned its absence.
- Nissan Rogue Features Many Enviable Changes
In effort to attract more male buyers, Nissan reportedly decided to alter the exterior look of the Rogue in its 2014 redesign. Not a bad move. Most men don't
- Jeep Grand Cherokee: More Refined Than Ever
A 2014 "refreshening" has given the Grand Cherokee a more modern, sophisticated look that will have admirers giving it the double take.
- Volkswagen Passat a Stylish, Roomy Sedan
While the Volkswagen Passat is the only European car in the family sedan midsize segment, it's built in Tennessee and geared for the American market.
- Kia K900 Joins Luxury Sedan Crowd
Kia continues to expand its brand, offering a large luxury sedan for 2015. The K900 is the "next logical step," according to the South Korean auto manufacturer.
- Ford Focus Sportier and More Refined
Ford redesigned the Focus two years ago and has produced a fairly sporty and refined compact car that has received strong statements of approval from prominent auto publications.
- Subaru BRZ: An Old-School Sports Car
The 2015 Subaru BRZ, a sports car smartly designed for driving enthusiasts who want to own a light, agile car that can provide that elusive fun factor while also looking cool.
- Mazda6 Delivers in Many Categories
The Mazda6 is a fine midsize sedan with a lot of enviable qualities, which include affordability, styling, family-friendly interior space, plus solid fuel economy and performance
- Acura ILX: Luxury Vehicle, Reasonable Price
For car shoppers looking for an upscale luxury sedan that doesn't arrive with a luxurious price tag, Acura debuted the ILX a year ago and its back for 2014 virtually unchanged
- Honda Offers Appealing New Accord Plug-in Hybrid
Honda welcomed a new addition to its lineup for 2014: say hello to the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid. The new addition makes Honda one of the few automakers to offer
- Hyundai Equus: An Affordable Luxury Sedan
Although not on the Hyundai payroll, sometimes it feels like I should be because I'm often defending the South Korean auto manufacturer for its past transgressions
- Kia Sorento Continues to Make Improvements
Three years ago, the Kia Sorento redesign transformed this midsize sport utility vehicle from a truck-based model to a car-like crossover. The result: The Sorento began delivering a comfortable ride
- Hyundai scores with Santa Fe SUVs
One of Hyundai's more impressive vehicles is the 2014 Santa Fe, a sport utility vehicle that has three rows and seats seven. It replaced the 2012 Veracruz in the Hyundai lineup.
- Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Offers Solid Value
Although the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander went through a much-needed redesign this year, note that the Sport model only made minor changes.
- Lexus RX 350 Not Just for Women
It's not difficult to understand why the Lexus RX has been popular for so long. It's always possessed a very stylish, classy exterior look that particularly appeals to women.
- Mazda CX-5 a Standout in Compact SUV Class
Now in its third year, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 has clearly established itself as a strong entity in a crowded field of very competent five-passenger, crossover sport utility vehicles.
- Kia Soul: A Funky Good Buy
This is a vehicle with some definite funk. Pardon the pun, but if you're looking for a vehicle with a little out-of-box appeal, the Kia Soul is certainly worth a look
- Infiniti Q70: A Renamed Midsize Luxury Sedan
What's in a name? Infiniti is attempting to find out with the unveiling of the 2014 Q70.
- Honda Accord Remains Benchmark for Family Sedans
Who could have predicted that 38 years later the Honda Accord would become the benchmark for midsize sedans?
- Lexus IS-F: Powerful Luxury Sport Sedan
It doesn't take long to appreciate the 2014 Lexus IS-F - push the start button and you'll know why.
- Redesigned Toyota Highlander: Better Than Ever
There are many enviable characteristics that have helped separate Toyota from most of its competitors in the automobile world for more than a decade. The basic reason is
- Redesigned Subaru Forester: An Impressive Compact SUV
The Subaru Forester possesses two qualities that other competitors in the compact crossover sport utility vehicle category can't match...
- Ford Fusion Energi: An Intriguing Electric-Hybrid Sedan
Six years ago, Ford unveiled a fine midsize sedan in the Ford Fusion and backed it up several years later with the Fusion Hybrid, another quality automobile.
- New Buick Regal Boasts Turbocharged Engine
Although officially there's no 2014 redesign, the Buick Regal has certainly gone through some significant changes over the past year
- Lexus GS 450 Hybrid: Expect Greatness
Say hello to the 2014 Lexus 450h, which gobbles up the pavement in rapid style, going from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, a time that is impressive for any vehicle, much less a hybrid
- Infiniti QX80 provides smooth ride and comfort
Infiniti has a weird habit of frequently renaming its vehicles. The luxury division of Nissan decided on new names for much of its 2014 lineup. Strange!
- Classic Sports Car: Nissan 370Z
The Nissan 370Z is the type of car you want to drive for no other reason than its fun.
- Honda Civic: No Longer Undisputed King of the Hill
Honda continues to tinker with the Civic. For the second year in a row, the folks at Honda have been closely listening and decided to tweak one of its standard bears: the Civic.
- Toyota Avalon a 'Sleeper' Among Full-Size Sedans
The Toyota Avalon has always been viewed here as a "sleeper." Although it's an impressive full-size sedan, the Avalon seems to fly under the radar year after year.
- Hyundai Sonata: Top of Midsize Sedans?
Hyundai Sonata- The folks at Hyundai weren't satisfied resting on their laurels with the 2014 Hyundai Sonata.
- Toyota 4Runner retains its rugged appeal
Unlike many of the current class of midsize sport utility vehicles, the Toyota 4Runner has pretty much stuck to its original script.
- Redesigned Cadillac CTS a keeper
Many auto experts praised the Cadillac CTS when it was first unveiled in 2002. And since that time, I've remained a fan of this attractive midsize luxury sport sedan.
Author Jeffrey Weidel is an award-winning writer from the Sacramento region who has reviewed automobiles for more than two decades. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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