Archive for the Category ◊ Sonatas Picks ◊

Author:
• Monday, August 04th, 2014

The Alfa Romeo Brera is the picture of Italian style and flair and is a larger cooler version of the Alfa Romeo Mito. It has a V6 engine and exceptional Alfa handling. All things considered one would think that the Brera would be a huge hit. Unfortunately, the Brera is close to the bottom of the list among this years top twenty-car shoot out. This is due to the fact that the little Alpha delivers a stunning appearance, but not a stunning performance.

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The Brera has consistently under-performed the competition. One reason for this is the long gearing that makes the 260bhp engine seem slow and sluggish and lacking in top-end power. The 322Nm torque is equally disappointing. The Brera looks like it has power that it can’t deliver.

The steering though nicely weighted lacks feedback. The Q4 all-wheel-drive provides excellent traction, but because the Brera has failed to outperform many of its competitors and is not built for speed, it is not likely that the all-wheel-drive feature will be needed much. In fact, when timed around a track the Brera came in last among the cars that participated. The Alfa Romeo Brera is a beautiful car but should be thought of more as a zippy GT than a sports car.

Practicality

A fully loaded Brera isn’t a cheap undertaking. If driven hard the Brera will prove to be costly at the fuel pump as well. This makes the diesel alternative very appealing. Parts, maintenance, and servicing costs should mirror that of Alfa’s 159.

The Brera’s cabin is small but can accommodate front passengers with adequate room, but passengers riding in the rear may have a difficult time entering and exiting the vehicle. Rear passengers have little legroom, and all passengers have limited headroom. Despite the limited space inside the cabin, the Brera has a spacious hatch.

Clear dials and large controls decorate the Brera’s center console, there are easily accessable controls located on the steering wheel as well. The car has a manual transmission and a gear shift that is long but precise.

Front seat passengers will be reasonably comfortable in the Brera’s supportive seats, but headroom is limited. Road and engine noise has successfully been suppressed in order to ensure a pleasant ride. The rear seats are extremely limited on legroom and headroom.

The Brera has large doors for easy entry, but the low roof can still make easy access a challenge. Exiting the vehicle is far easier than entering the vehicle. One major plus for the Brera is that it has a large hatch for carrying cargo.

The Brera provides a clear view out the front, but the rear view is not as good. The rear window is small and allows restricted visibility, this could make parking difficult.

Life Style

The Brera has great driver appeal. It has a sports car look, but drives more like a coupe. This Alfa delivers a smooth ride and a variety of engine options including a diesel option. The diesel option is very attractive for drivers who plan on driving long distances or commuting between cities.

This Alfa is not a family car. It is not spacious and can not comfortable accommodate a family. It would even be difficult to load and unload small children into the rear of the vehicle.

The Alfa Romeo Brera would not make a good first car. It would be expensive to service and maintain. It is not the fastest car in its sector, but it is a fast car for a first car. Insurance rates would be high for new drivers and limited visibility makes it difficult to park.

Alfa Romeo has always sported a racy image. This car portrays a beautiful exterior that lives up to that image. The performance however, does not live up to the hype. The car does not perform to a true sports car capacity. The lack of quality performance measures have reflected badly on the Alfa Romeo Brera.

Security and Safety

The Brera is definitely a looker, and with such an attractive exterior façade it is easy to see why a theft deterrent system is necessary. The Brera comes with a comprehensive alarm and immobilizer system. The car provides remote central locking, and doesn’t provide an external handle for the rear hatch.

The Brera comes with plenty of safety aids including air bags and electronic stability aids. The safety features only ingage when necessary and allow the driver to enjoy the capabilities of the Brera.

The Finishing Touches

The stereo unit is prominently displayed and functions well. Duplicate controls are mounted on the steering wheel for convenience. Upgrades are available and with each upgrade performance and quality are enhanced.

Alfa Romeo is famous for their red sports cars, and the Brera is no exception. The car looks great in red. The dark interior compliments the bright color and leather interior is one option that really compliments the sporty look.  Other colors are available for those who wish to blend in a little more.

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Summary

The Brera has an incredibly beautiful and sporty exterior. This car has looks like a race car and has lots of style, but is not designed for speed. The car has some very sophisticated interior features that are designed to enhance the ride. Alfa has delivered another eye catcher that is more about class than power.

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Author:
• Thursday, July 10th, 2014

The Boxster has been subtly redesigned by Porsche. The Boxster now sports an exterior design true to traditional Porsche form. The Boxster has been totally restyled to lessen its resemblance to the Porsche 911 and to bring it back to a more traditional form.

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The Boxster delivers excellent handling and a choice of impressive engines. The Boxster’s interior is impressive but the most impressive enhancements are not so easily seen.

The Boxster’s engines are more powerful than before and its suspension has been revised along with improvements in handling and the inclusion of electronic aids. The Boxster has enjoyed a great deal of popularity since its introduction the added enhancements will increase the Boxster’s desirability.

Practicality

The Boxster is more costly to purchase than most of its competitors but it also offers a lot of value for the money. The Boxster is fast and boasts a good build quality. Resale values should be high and maintenance is likely to be routine.

The Boxster is not a spacious vehicle. Available cabin space is surprisingly much more limited than exterior dimensions suggest.  The Boxster does boast pretty impressive boot space however and a decent glovebox.

The Boxster’s instrumentation and cabin design are based on the Cayenne. The Boxster’s main controls and dials are large and well designed. The roof is easy to retract with the pull of a lever and the push of a button.

Passengers will not have any trouble getting comfortable inside of the Boxster’s cabin. The seats are supportive and the Boxster provides fully adjustable seats. Engine noise is better disguised with the top up but has an appealing sound with the top down as well.

The Boxster provides good accessibility. The doors open wide providing a large aperture that facilitates accessibility. The Boxster’s doors are large and heavy and may present difficulties in a crowded parking lot.

Life Style

The Boxster is a fun car to drive with enhanced steering and plenty of grip. Enthusiastic drivers will appreciate the powerful engines that are available. Porsche’s 2.7-litre six cylinder engine is more than competent.

The Boxster is a two-seater and is much too small for a family car. The Boxster was not designed to lug a family or their cargo around. It would make a really fun second car or even third car for a family.

The Boxster would be a really fun first car for those who could afford it. It is unlikely that many first time buyers could afford the initial purchase price, insurance and fuel for the Boxster.

Porsche has never had an image problem and the Boxster will only serve as a compliment to the firm’s already positive image. Some dispute the quality of materials used in the cabin (centre console), but for the most part the baby Porsche is very impressive.

Security and Safety

The Boxster is an attractive car with plenty of curb appeal. Porsche has taken this into account and has included remote central locking and an engine immobolizer as standard. Porsche has even included the option of a hard top for buyers who desire increased security.

The Boxster comes equipped with an array of safety features including twin front airbags, side and head airbags. Other standard safety features include rollover safety features, and Porsche Stability Management.

The Finishing Touches

The Porsche Boxster’s standard audio unit includes a radio and CD player. The standard unit provides good sound quality but optional upgrades are available from the options list including a sat-nav system and a trip computer.

The Boxster’s exterior looks the most attractive in silver. Dark metallic colours increase the Boxster’s charm and a mixture of cloth and leather successfully create a classy and sporty atmosphere in the cabin area.

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Summary

The Boxster’s traditional design will be appealing to many buyers, but its performance and build quality will impress even more buyers. The Boxster has been enhanced in all the right places and offers buyers a complete package.

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Author:
• Sunday, July 07th, 2013

Alfa Romeo has done it again. The pretty GT looks all business from the outside with its sleek Italian style, but the car’s extravagant interior cabin is also designed to impress. The car is not all looks however; the front-drive GT also drives and handles well.

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Alfa Romeo is well-known for designing cars that are showy yet elegant. Some of their more recent designs have not been short on looks, but have fallen short when it comes to performance. The Alfa Romeo GT carries on the tradition of beauty for the Italian company and gives them a much needed boost in the performance sector as well.

German makers tend to lead the market in sales of small coupes. This is due partly to the lack of competition in this area. Many of the leading producers are unrepresented in the small coupe sector, and as a result these cars tend to come with an extremely high price tag. The GT however; is very affordably priced and is a welcomed and affordable option for buyers who are in the market for a small coupe. The Alfa Romeo GT is extremely attractive, reliable, and affordably priced. This is great news for Alfa Romeo fans, but not such great news for the competition.

Practicality

There is a lot of competition among the high-end competitors giving the GT a huge cost advantage. The GT also brags a high level of standard kit and offers the option of a diesel variant that can save on fuel costs. Despite these money saving features insurance and servicing can be costly.

The GT is not a spacious car. The rear hatch is small and can only accommodate smaller items. The rear seats can fold down hatch-back style to accommodate larger items. Cabin space is adequate for comfortable driving and riding for most passengers. The glove box is also on the small side but various storage bins and trays located inside the cabin allow for storage of small miscellaneous and odd items.

Alfa Romeo’s trademark dials complete the cars interior façade. They are functional and accommodate the comprehensive trip computer. The car’s stereo system is functional, but the buttons are too small making it difficult to change functions. The car is equipped with convenient rotary ventilation controls and digital displays. The main backlight color is red making it difficult to read the instruments at night.

The sporty two-door GT coupe has a more comfortable driving position than past Alfa Romeos, and the cabin is small but comfortable. The cabin would accommodate most drivers easily, but headroom is limited for taller drivers. There is more leg room for the front passenger and driver, but the low seating can pose problems for some passengers. Rear seating would more easily accommodate children rather than adults, and the hatch is small but easily accessible. The GT looks, handles, and sounds more like a sports car than other traditional hatch-backs.

Even tough the GT is a small car; it can be difficult to park. The car is equipped with a rear screen and a rear bootlid making it difficult to see. Door mirrors are also on the small side making it even more difficult to park at times. The car steers tightly and easily at low speeds.

Life Style

The GT true to its image is fast and exciting to drive. A more comfortable driving position makes it an even more attractive choice. The Alfa Romeo GT comes with three engine options. The 2.0 JTS is designed to be driven hard, and the JTD model provides a smoother ride, and of course there is the more standard V6 option. The steering is designed to be accurate, light, and fast.

The Alfa Romeo GT would not make a good family car. It would make a better second car. Access to the backseat is limited and would not be convenient for the daily demands of family life. Also the limited carrying capacity and storage might not be ideal for a family situation.

The GT may not be the best choice of cars for first time car buyers. It is on the expensive side to purchase and upkeep and maintenance are also on the expensive side. It would also be costly to insure and due to limited visibility it may be difficult for new drivers to park. This car is more practical for experienced drivers.

Security and Safety

Alfa provides remote central locking with an electronic code plus an alarm immobilizer. However, due to the cars sporty look and overall appeal it might be wise to invest in additional theft deterrent devices.

Although Alfa Romeo doesn’t boast that it has the highest safety standards, the Italian based company doesn’t take safety lightly. The car comes equipped with twin front, side and curtain airbags. The GT features anti-lock brakes and a comprehensive electronic stability system.

The Finishing Touches

The Alfa GT comes equipped with a standardized stereo unit. The standard unit performs well, but the small buttons make it difficult to manipulate. The access controls located on the steering wheel make it much easier to control. The CD player can be upgraded with an optional disc changer, or the more expensive option has a colour screen enhancement and east to use controls.

The most popular and all-time favorite exterior color among Alfa Romeo fans is red. The bright color makes the already showy car stand out among the crowd.

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Summary

Alfa Romeo’s GT is the perfect head turner. It feels (and rightfully so) like all eyes are on you as you sit behind the wheel. The cars good looks are matched by the cars power and ability. The GT is an affordable coupe that offers a fresh and welcome change to the less affordable cars offered by BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.

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Author:
• Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

BMW’s M5 is the ultimate sports saloon. It rivals big name competitors in all out speed, and maintains BMW’s sporty, high-class look.  This car definitely has snob appeal with its good looks and saloon functionality. The 5 Series has caught buyer’s attention with a combination of looks, speed, and performance. There are lengthy waiting lists for the M5, despite the hefty price tag that the car comes with.

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The BMW 5 Series is taking a more hi-tech approach to performance. The M5 offers a semi-auto gearbox, adjustable suspension, and a V10 engine. The engine is most impressive; it sounds great and runs fast. The powerful engine and rear wheel drive make this a very attractive vehicle. This car is not great on gas mileage, but that is not likely to matter to the buyer.

BMW has created a fast, stylish car with a lot of power. The M5 is a fast car, but it is also a fun car to drive without sacrificing practicality. There are many brag points associated with this vehicle besides its complex V10 engine. For instance, it sports an F1 style gear shift, has adjustable suspension, and an array of lightweight components all designed using the latest technology.

Practicality

The 5 Series comes with many perks, and the price is a direct reflection of those luxuries. This is a costly car to buy and run. Insurance runs high and fuel economy is fairly low, especially when driven hard.

Front cabin space is good with plenty of legroom and head room for most passengers, back cabin space is also decent with good legroom and adequate headroom. Most adults should fit comfortably. There are several storage devices geared toward storing miscellaneous items and saving space.

The car comes with two front cup holders. These come in handy, but their quality doesn’t match the rest of the cabin’s features. They just look cheap. The boot is a moderate size and is only big enough for shopping and maybe a few smaller suitcases.

The controls and instruments are designed in true BMW fashion. They are clear, easy to use, and modern. The car’s head-up display projects speed, gear position, sat-nav instructions, and other useful information can be programmed to display only the information that you want.

The 5 Series is more than reasonably comfortable. The seats adjust and support where needed, and provide a comfortable driving position. The V10 engine noise is a constant reminder of what’s under the hood, especially while changing gears.

Access to the front cabin is spacious and easy enough, but the rear is a little more difficult to access. Smaller rear apertures somewhat limit rear access for larger passengers.

Maneuvering the car to park is fairly simple. The good-sized mirrors are easy to use and visibility is good too. The process is simplified even further with parking sensors. The only drawback to parking this vehicle is the gearshift tends to be a little finicky at times.

Life Style

This car has fantastic driver appeal. It is a nice looking car, but its looks do not do justice to its capabilities. It’s hard not to be impressed with this Series, the car has a 5.0-litre V10 engine, it’s fast, fun, dependable, and extremely easy to drive.

The 5 Series does not have all the luxuries of modern family vehicles, but it is capable of providing reasonable transportation for a small family. The boot would not be very accommodating for strollers and similar objects, but it would hold a moderate amount of shopping. The 5 Series’ leather interior also might not be kid friendly.

Even if a new driver could afford the car, it is not a good first vehicle for a beginner. The car boasts a top engine speed of 200 mph and is powered by a 507bhp engine; insurance wouldn’t be practical for a newly licensed driver.

The 5 Series definitely has a quality fit and finish, which is reflected by its hi-tech design and high price tag. This car is stylish and sports BMW’s famous logo. Image-wise the car is doing great-people are literally lined up waiting to get their hands on one.

Security and Safety

The 5 Series sports all the usual security devices. It comes with a standard remote central locking device, an alarm and immobilizer system. Given the car’s image and popularity it would be wise to invest in a tracking device as well.

The cabin comes stocked with many airbags, and the aid of the head up display. Various gear-shift and traction modes add to the over all safety of the vehicle.

The Finishing Touches

The 5 Series comes with a great stereo and sound system, of course the buyer is paying plenty for it. The sound quality is good and the visual display makes it easy to keep track of the various functions. Stereo control via the iDrive system can be challenging at first, but will get easier. The display makes reading the sat-nav system easy too.

The 5 Series offers exterior colors that are unique to the Series. Most of them work well, lighter colors tend to fair better than the darker ones. The interior is leather with the option of various trim inserts.

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Summary

This car has amazing performance potential and still manages to handle the rigors of daily life. This car is an executive family car that has the speed of a Ferraris or a Porsche. All things considered, this car delivers great value for the money.

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