Archive for April 2014

2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate, Mazda3, Kia Soul+ Named to Ward’s 10 Best Interiors List

2014 Hyundai Equus

The 2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate was named to Ward’s 10 Best Interiors list.

It’s easy to get caught up in a vehicle’s appearance. After all, that’s how a car makes its first impression. But when it comes down to it, the interior is just as important, since that’s where you spend your time whenever you’re on the road.

That makes it all the more meaningful that the 2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate, Mazda3 and Kia Soul+ were recently named to Ward’s 10 Best Interiors list, which evaluated more than 40 new vehicles with significantly redesigned interiors.

After spending about two months evaluating cars ranging from the luxury to utility segments, the WardsAuto editors were able to narrow it down to what they described as “the most diverse list we’ve ever had.” All three models were lauded for offering tremendous value to their owners.

The 2014 Equus Ultimate stood out to the eight editors “for its surprising value quotient,” providing a “limousine-like experience to passengers” that can go toe-to-toe with six-figure luxury cars … all for an MSRP below $70,000. The new Hyundai Equus Ultimate earned praise for its comfort features – for instance, a “Relax” button allows for seats to fully recline – as well as for having a number of modern electronic and safety features.

The Kia Soul nameplate returned to the Ward’s list for the first time in five years, with the 2014 Soul+ receiving honors this time around. In addition to an appearance unlike anything else on the market, Wards pointed out that the “car’s redesigned cabin continues to fit the bill while offering outstanding comfort, space, ergonomics and value.” Add in a number of upscale technological features and a panoramic roof, and the “$24,010 Soul+ is a stylish bargain that’s hard to resist.”

Meanwhile, the 2014 Mazda3 helped Mazda earn a spot on the 10 Best Interiors list for the second year in a row, with the Mazda6 receiving the designation in 2013. From an entry-level model standpoint, the WardsAuto editors noted how the “aesthetics put the Mazda3 in a category by itself.” The advanced central controller and safety features also helped the all-new Mazda3 stand out.

Ward's 10 Best Interiors

2015 Nissan Murano to Bring Bold, Concept-Like Style into Production

2015 Nissan Murano

Last year at the Detroit Auto Show, Nissan made waves with the futuristic, swooping design of its Resonance crossover concept, and surprisingly, most of that bold styling will actually make it to production on the 2015Nissan Murano late this year. The Japanese automaker’s redesigned midsize crossover SUV debuted at the New York International Auto Show this week, retaining the floating roof and strongly sculpted sides of the Nissan Resonance while sporting more refined versions of the concept’s V-Motion front end and LED boomerang headlights.

Inside, the 2015 Nissan Murano carries over the modern, lounge-like atmosphere of the Resonance, featuring NASA-inspired Zero Gravity front and outboard rear seats, a wide center console, and an overall open feel thanks to the large windows and an expansive power panoramic moonroof. Buyers will be able to opt for advanced technology that complements the new Murano’s progressive styling, including the NissanConnect infotainment system with navigation and app compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity and an eight-inch color display with multi-touch control. When it comes to safety, a newly available Cross Traffic Alert will use radar to notify drivers of approaching vehicles as they back out of a parking spot, while other optional driver-assistance systems will include Blind Spot Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Moving Object Detection and Predictive Forward Collision Warning.

“Most times, an automaker will incorporate aggressive style themes into a concept vehicle that are never intended to see a dealership lot, but Nissan is showing that it’s serious about injecting some excitement into the midsize-crossover segment with its 2015 Murano,” said Joe Lage, general sales manager of Rosen Nissan Gurnee, a Chicago Nissan dealership. “Even with its daring design, though, the new Murano is built to be a highly practical ride for commuters, whether you’re looking at its intuitive technology or its impressive fuel efficiency.”

Shedding about 130 pounds compared to its predecessor, the 2015 Nissan Murano is expected to be roughly 20 percent more fuel efficient in combined city and highway driving. Contributing to those fuel savings will be aerodynamic improvements on the crossover’s exterior, low-rolling-resistance tires and tweaks made to its 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Like the current model, the 2015 Murano will be available in either front-wheel drive or Intuitive All-Wheel Drive.

2015 Honda Fit Arrives with Increased Space and Better Fuel Economy

2015 Honda Fit

In a show of impressive ingenuity, the redesigned 2015 Honda Fit currently arriving at dealerships boasts a smaller exterior while offering its passengers nearly five cubic feet of added interior space compared to its predecessor. That kind of clever engineering is on display throughout the new Fit subcompact, which now returns up to 41 mpg on the highway, an improvement of six miles per gallon over the prior 2013 model.

The 2015 Honda Fit achieves its excellent fuel efficiency with a new 1.5-liter Earth Dreams Technology four-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower and a newly available continuously variable transmission (CVT) with G-Shift Control. Helping the new Fit provide its class-leading interior space are a center-mounted fuel tank and a second-row Magic Seat that offers multiple configurations, including the ability to fold up the seat bottoms to fit taller gear like an upright bicycle. Outside, Honda’s subcompact now sports slimmer headlamps, sculpted side panels, LED taillights and a dramatically curved roofline that concludes at a standard body-color spoiler in the rear.

“Honda has done a tremendous job of improving the new Fit in every category, whether it is fuel efficiency, maneuverability, spaciousness, style or technology,” said Tony Pescatore, general sales manager of Chicagoland Honda dealer Rosen Honda. “The redesigned Honda Fit may be smaller in stature outside, but it delivers a huge amount of value on the inside with smart features that other automakers usually reserve for their larger cars.”

Coming standard with Bluetooth connectivity, auto on-off headlights and a multi-angle rearview camera, the 2015 Honda Fit makes a strong appeal to tech-savvy subcompact buyers. Available features include the next-generation HondaLink infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen, Smart Entry Push Button Start, a one-touch-operated moonroof and the Honda LaneWatch display, which uses a camera on the right-side mirror to give drivers a clear view of the next lane.