fuel mileage


Mazda 6 : Not Just Another Pretty Face

by The Car Family
for more car reviews go to https://www.motorists.org/tag/the-car-family/

Overlooked, underestimated, and undervalued, the Mazda 6 is not only a bargain, but an exceptional family fun sedan with a frisky disposition, above average fuel economy, and a responsive engine. If you enjoy driving and still have frugal family obligations the Mazda is a must drive. For example, if you opt for its i-Eloop system you can get over 30 miles per gallon, and this isn’t a hybrid. And you don’t sacrifice quickness either as the 6 is energetic, maneuverable, and nimble. The steering is excellent as are the brakes. The downside of the Mazda 6 is two-fold. First, the ride can be a bit rough for roads that have been deprived of taxpayer funding. Secondly, the competition is staggering. There are the Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Kia Optima, and Toyota Camry tugging at the buyer’s dollars. However, none of them are as fun to drive as the Mazda, although each has its own attributes that make this segment of the market a treasure trove of choices for buyers.

2016_Mazda6_-57

Mom’s view: Finally, a sporty looking family car. The Mazda 6 comes in three flavors, Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. We tested the premium packed Grand Touring. Standard safety features included anti lock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat and side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Our test car also came with a rearview camera, parking sensors and blind spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring.

The 6 also had Mazda’s frontal collision mitigation system with forward collision warning system. Crash test scores were good as well. I feel saddened that this Mazda is overlooked by so many. It does everything well and yet feel people even know what a “6” is. Perhaps Mazda should consider going back to naming their vehicles instead of giving them numbers to help people identify. Everyone knows what a Miata is, but a MX-5 even though it is the same car? Different vibe. The interior is functional, but not without much charm. The aluminum trim pieces are well placed and the 7-inch screen on our test car was easy to read and use. The touchscreen has a knob controlled on the center console that helps with interactions, but it takes time to master. The trunk is ample with a fairly low lift-over and the doors open wide enough to make entry wearing a dress worry free. Plenty of storage areas and comfortable seats. Overall, the Mazda 6 is your morning cup of coffee that keeps you going.

Dad’s view: Peppy and personable, the 6 is a front wheel drive sedan powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and can even be ordered with a manual transmission if the six-speed automatic transmission isn’t to your liking. It isn’t blistering fast, but it will keep up with most anything in daily driving and still provide 30 mpg in mixed driving. The Mazda 6 feels light on its feet with a sporty feel that can be stiff at times. The engine is very responsive and eager to please. Quiet, efficient, and easy to love, the Mazda 6 is athletic and appareling to those stuck in daily grind who enjoy driving home in something that isn’t an appliance. This is one of the few family sedans you can order with a standard transmission. Basically, this is a five passenger Miata. I liked everything about it except for the GPS interface. I found it better to utilize Waze. The fact that it is available with a stick shift is noteworthy and tends to deliver on the Mazda zoom message. Fun and practical.

2016_Mazda6_dash

Young working woman’s view: There is an abundance of standard features such as air-conditioning, cruise control, 60/40-split rear seat, mufti-information display, Bluetooth phone, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod /USB interface with axillary audio jack. I would recommend the Grand Touring with keyless ignition and entry, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sliding console armrest and a six-way power driver seat. For the 6 Touring there’s an option package that adds a sunroof, an upgraded 11-speaker Bose audio system and satellite radio. The Technology package that features LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated side mirrors, heated front seats and a collision mitigation system with automatic braking. I would also opt for the rear parking sensors. The Mazda 6 would probably be on my short list of family sedans.

Young sort of working male’s view: Back to school and working part-time makes one appreciate the advantages of being rich. Until that day arrives I must scuttle my dreams of a new Lexus and remind myself of the benefits cars such as the Mazda 6 offer the non-lottery winners such as being affordable, dependable and not a total bore to drive. The rear seat is actually usable and the trunk can hold nearly 15 cubic feet of Amazon Prime bargains. The base version starts in the low$20,000 range , but options can push the price over $30,000. My sage advise, look for deals with the loaded Grand Touring model. The added safety options are worth it.

Family conference: Mazda has a hidden gem in the 6 and that is too bad because this family sedan appeals to those who love to drive, but need the practicality of a four-door. The technology is current, the option package attractive and the pricing competitive. Besides, the sharp looks makes it easier to spot in a parking lot.

BMW X1 vs Lexus NX Hybrid
by The Car Family
for more reviews go to https://www.motorists.org/tag/the-car-family/

Family oriented compact utility vehicles are the hottest segment of the industry now with the emphasis on compact. The BMW X1 xDrive 28i and Lexus NX hybrid fit this description well with both falling in the $40,000 plus range when well equipped and offering seating for five. The main difference between the two in terms of driving is that the X1 has a sports car feel to it and the Lexus offers a more cushy ride. The NX gets superior fuel mileage the BMW offers more fun for those miles. One caveat and that the theses two are not as spacious as their big brothers, the BMW X3 and Lexus RX, but cost thousands less.
bmw

lexusnx

As vehicle manufactures move to find better ways to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), four-cylinder are becoming more popular as they offer more efficiency with nearly the same performance. Both of these vehicles have these engines although our Lexus NX was a hybrid with additional electric power that adds nearly $5000 to the price, but has more features as well as averaging nearly 32 miles per gallon in daily driving. What sets them apart is everything else. The Lexus is more refined, quieter, and has a more upscale interior. The BMW is sportier, friskier, and handles better.

Mother’s view: The BMW X1 xDrive28i was more rough and ready. The interior noise was significant with the optional run-flat tires, but it was quite agile and simple to park. The Lexus was a bit more portly, but the interior was nicer. Both cars have nearly identical interior space with the X1 getting a slight nod for room. The BMW X1 comes standard with stability and traction control, airbags nearly everywhere, an emergency communication system and more. Make sure to order such options as frontal collision warning and lane departure warnings among other life saving devises. The Lexus offers similar safety features and has excellent crash safety ratings. My choice would be the NX for its nicer interior although the BMW’s navigation and axillary controls were easier for me to master.

Dad’s view: The BMW X1 comes with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine rated at 228 horsepower and uses an eight-speed automatic transmission with a standard all-wheel-drive system. The engine is noisy, but productive and I could get 30 mpg in highway driving. The Lexus hybrid gets even better mileage from its 2.5 liter engine with hybrid boost. There are enough option packages for both vehicles to muddle the differences between wants and needs. I would strongly suggest you do your homework once you have narrowed down your choice as options can quickly add $10,000 to the bottom line. My selection would be the Lexus NX hybrid for daily use, but if you enjoy a vehicle that handles the BMW ranks just below a Porsche in fun per mile.

Working woman’s view: The BMW has some nice standard features such as a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, driver memory settings, BMW’s iDrive interface with a touchpad controller, 6.5-inch screen, navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, HD radio, CD player and a USB input. The Premium package adds keyless ignition and entry, hands-free control for the power liftgate, adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, power-folding mirrors, four-way power lumbar for the front seats and interior ambient lighting. The Technology package offers BMW’s integrated smartphone apps, navigation and an upgraded 8.8-inch display screen. The NX has similar standard features with a larger display screen and a rearview camera. Lexus options include wireless phone charging, navigation with a touchpad controller, voice recognition, a 10-speaker audio system, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning. You can also add the Lexus Enform Remote that allows you to control certain vehicle functions from your smartphone. My choice is the Lexus NX, but not the hybrid version. I don’t drive enough to justify the additional cost of the hybrid. One kudo for the BMW was its smaller turning radius making it easier to maneuver, a larger cargo area and its maintenance free four years or 50,000 mile program.

Young working man’s view: Both vehicles are loaded with electronic goodies such as the BMW iDrive with an integrated touchpad on the main control that lets you draw number inputs and has to be experienced. Lexus Enform remote is handy. The Lexus is fairly quick off the line when its two electric motors kick-in. Both the BMW’s and NX engines shut down at stop lights or when stuck in traffic to save fuel. The NX’s regenerative brakes can be a bit abrupt whereas the X1’s were excellent. The Lexus NX is very car and handles well and is comfortable. The BMW is just plain fun all the time.

Family conference: These two vehicles offer buyers an interesting choice based on their driving habits. The BMW is athletic and never lets you forget that. The optional run-flat tires provoke a lot of road noise and the energetic engine can be raucous. On the other hand the X1 gets excellent fuel mileage and has superior handling and braking. The NX has a distinctive exterior that may be off-putting and gets exceptional gas mileage and provides a cushy ride. With the new Porsche four-cylinder Macan coming to market priced nearly identical this is going to be an even tougher choice.

Hyundai Genesis: Glitz and Glamour
by The Car Family
for more reviews go to https://www.motorists.org/tag/the-car-family/

Hyundai threw everything at their disposal at the Genesis from LED running lights to HID headlights in an effort to attract upscale buyers. The result is a large, smooth, and very quick sedan with a variety of features that are unique and useful. For example, when you enter the vehicle at night the ground outside of front passenger doors is illuminated with a light that reads, “Genesis” and prepares you for what is inside. And what’s inside is plenty good. A multimedia control system, eight-inch touch-screen with an optional 9.2-inch touch-screen, a multifunction display and, thankfully, real knobs that can be used to control functions. There is also a head-up reveal that offers drivers a variety of important data including your speed, a Blue Link communications system that has a voice-recognition program, and even an optional remote start feature.

2016 Genesis

2016 Genesis

With a plethora of features the Genesis is designed to attract buyers who enjoy the idea of a large sedan with the latest in electronics and don’t want to pay for the more expensive competition and not nearly as spacious competition. The downside is that the V6 version only gets 16 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Handling is best when the Hyundai Sports Mode is activated. If you would rather have a more relaxed ride try Normal, and when stuck in commuter traffic selecting Eco can help ease your pain.

Young male’s view: Working on my degree in cybersecurity and its challenges is not unlike the challenges of the Genesis electronics. Optional systems such as Apple Siri integration that can be used for a variety of internet audio options such as Pandora, the latest traffic information, fuel prices, traffic data and more are nice, but there is also Bluetooth wireless connectivity, satellite radio, a USB, audio jacks, and the list goes on. For example, there is the Smart Trunk feature that automatically opens the trunk when you stand near it with the proximity key in your possession for a few seconds, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and a multi-speaker Lexicon audio system available. There is even a rear window power sunshade and heated steering wheel available. The option packages are the Ultimate, Signature and Technology packages and they can add over $10,000 to the base price to the $38,950 base price. Personally, I would get them all as they add considerably to the joy of owning a premium sedan.

2016 Genesis

2016 Genesis

Dad’s view: We had the 3.8-liter, V6 engine with 311 hp, but you can order the 5.0-liter V8 rated at 420 horsepower and is very fast. There is also an all-wheel-drive option with a V-6. Our rear wheel drive 3.8 test car averaged around 20 mpg in mixed driving a 22 on long trips unburdened by heavy traffic. The EPA has estimates on the highway up to 29 mpg. It could happen. The ride can be best described as lush with little road feel and steering that was vague. The Genesis can be best described as a relaxed sedan that wants to coddle you.

2016 Genesis

2016 Genesis

Mom’s view: The 5.0 Genesis is more expensive, but I would opt for the 3.8. It has as much power as most people need and even in base trim you get heated and power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, real-time traffic alerts, and more. Add to that the tight turning radius at about 38 feet that makes parking very easy and you have an upscale sedan with some remarkable features. For example there are nine air bags most everywhere, including overhead, and a Blue Link crash notification system that provides automatic emergency contact information to those selected by the owner. So very reassuring. The Genesis also has excellent crash scores with a forward-collision warning and autonomous braking set-up systems. Standard featured such as Electronic Stability Control, energy-absorbing front seats, anti-lock disc brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution. Other safety options include blind spot warning, with an enhancement called Lane Change Assist that helps detect vehicles approaching towards its rear side at high speeds. The Genesis offers a Land Departure Warning that activates, the vibrates the steering wheel as well as warning lights when the transmission is noted. The Genesis is a sedan you can build to your needs with a strong emphasis on family safety.

Young working woman’s view: A large trunk with a low and wide lift over, a grocery bad holder that folds down, and there is an abundance of storage areas in the cabin and the seats can be heated. The doors are hefty and shut with a reassuring, bank vault sound. Parking is greatly eased with the rearview camera and warnings that abound. This car is a little too much car for me. I prefer the very nice Elantra. I have noticed that Hyundai is offering some excellent lease deals and, as usual, the warranties are exceptional with 10 years or 100,000 on the drivetrain and five years of free roadside assistance.

Family conference: When you think of a premium sedan Hyundai’s Genesis probably does not come to mind, but perhaps it should. It has plenty of pep, enough features to keep a pre-teen busy, and a comfortable and accommodating interior.

Using vehicles to create student interest in math and Language Arts
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Using vehicles is an excellent way to motivate students and to help ready them for real life buying decisions. The following links deal with the various manufactures where students can write for information, obtain pricing information and to harvest compare and contrast data for Common Core related essays.

A listing of all DMV offices.
Finding the office that deals with your state and others can provide information on how old one needs to be to drive as well as the various license fee data that could be used for Common Core math problems. I have used driver manuals to motivate students to read.
http://www.dmv.org/

Data on fuel economy
This federal site would enable students to select a variety of vehicles and there fuel mileage. This could be used for math as well as to provide statistics for an essay on the best or worst type of vehicles in terms of fuel costs.
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/

A link site to manufacturers who sell cars in America
http://search.ezilon.com/united_states/business/automotive/auto_manufacturers/

A listing of vehicle websites worldwide
http://autopedia.com/html/MfgSites.html

National Motorists Association
A great source of information on driving and the law.
http://www.motorists.org/

A listing of car value prices
A good place to find statistics for math problems about the prices of cars and motorcycles.
http://www.nadaguides.com/

Where cars are made by location
Great way to teach geography.
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/a-graphic-representation-of-whats-really-made-in-america-feature

Mazda’s 5 and CX-5: A Family 10

 

by The Car Family

 

For more reviews go to http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/

 

Mazda should win the best underdog car award for its remarkable creation of economical, fun to drive, and utilitarian vehicles. Typical of these are its updated CX 5 CUV and the its minivan, named the 5. If you love to drive the 5 and the tossable CX-5 are a must to test.

 

Mazda CX-5

2014 CX-5 (16)

 

The 2014 CX-5 is a compact CUV that is the most entertaining to drive of any of its competitors. The trade-off is that you don’t get as much interior cargo space, but 65 plus cubic feet is not only ample, but only a few feet under that of the much larger Honda CR-V, and the Mazda gets better fuel mileage and maneuverability is in the CX-5’s favor.

 

 

Make sure you or driving the one with the Skyactiv technologies that sharpens the Mazda’s performance and provides increased mileage. We got over 30 mpg in mixed driving with the all wheel drive version, 2.5 version. That makes it superior to the Subaru, the previous best gas mileage champion in the all wheel drive segment. The government has rated the model at 35 mpg on the highway for the base model’s 2.0 engine.

 

 

The 2.5-liter Skyactiv 4-cylinder engine standard in Touring and Grand Touring models and is a combination of improvements from weight reduction to better aerodynamic bodies to make this Mazda a heady performer considering its size.

2014 CX-5 rear

 

The five-passenger CX-5 are two rows of seats which can be upgraded from cloth to leather. There is good leg room in the second row and the cargo hold is generous with over 34 cubic feet of space. The ergonomics are straight forward, but the GPS is slow to respond and the audio outputs are limited.

 

Sport, Touring and, and Grand Touring are the models, but we recommend you go for the high end models as they have so many features including the larger engine, blind-spot monitoring, Bluetooth with upgraded stereo, a rearview camera, and a larger monitor. The Grand model offers standard safety equipment such as stability/traction control, antilock brakes, and front, side and side-curtain airbags. Worth every penny. As for the all wheel drive option, that would depend on your weather conditions. Safety wise you can also get the Smart City Brake Support, which can automatically stop the car at speeds under 20 mph situations to help avoid a collision. There are many other options, too, but we found the front and rear parking sensors must haves.

 

The bottom line is that this is a terrific driving machine that look good, drive well, and even run on regular fuel. A bargain, they start just over $20,000 but the Grand Touring models can breach the $30,000. Be prepared as to what you want in terms of options and models and note the dealers are offering some excellent prices.

2014 CX-5 side

 

Family conference: Cute, comfortable, and affordable, the CX-5 comes with a plethora of features that make is a compelling choice for those who march to that different drummer. The bottom line is that Mazda makes the best handling, affordable, vehicles in the nation and the CX-5 continues that tradition.

 

Mazda5

 

Nimble, great visibility, and enough power to make it fun to drive, the 5 is the utility vehicle of the future that caries a price tag from the past with a starting price just over $20,000 and we went 25 mpg in mixed driving. Despite its exterior size the interior is spacious. With the rear seating folded down you have over 44 cubic feet of cargo space and Mazda has incorporated a number of small spaces to provide storage for cell phones, drinks, and much more. The seating is comfortable and the ergonomics are well done. There is room for six by using the third row of seats, but the last row is small as opposed to the more generous front seats. The second row in our test vehicle had captain’s chairs which provided ample leg and head room and slide and recline. There is an abundance of features on the more upscale models, but even the base version has cruise control, automatic climate control, remote key less entry,and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD system with USB and auxiliary inputs and six airbags, traction control and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

2013 Mazda5

 

The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine offers 157 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque running through a five-speed automatic transmission. For a family of our this Mazda makes sense. If you opt for the much more expensive Honda, Nissan and Toyota models you are going to be carrying around a lot of unneeded and expensive to fix equipment so think carefully if you are looking for minivan at what you are really going to use it for.

2013 Mazda5

 

Family conference: This Mazda 5 is fun to drive. Really drive. It is easy to park and easy on the environment. Of the three versions, the Sport, Touring and Grand Touring, we advocate you take a look at the best price the dealer is offering of each model as we have found for only a few dollars a month more you can get a lot of extra features. Regardless, you get a handy vehicle that has wide opening side doors and a tight turning radius. Taking with the Mazda CX-5 this pair makes for a commonsense consideration for those who enjoy driving and saving money and aren’t afraid of not having the biggest gas guzzler on the block. Mazda’s Family 10.

 

 

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