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Review: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T

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2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited

In general, the midsize sedan world is about as sexy as a Billy Bass with Alexa’s voice. Where supercars with curvy looks get all the credit for automotive sexiness, though, midsize sedans actually do the work of being realistic. The good news is that being pragmatic and going for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata doesn’t mean you have to settle for frumpiness, as this is a really sleek-looking sedan.

For the 2018 model year, Hyundai didn’t do much to change the already well-done Sonata. A few tweaks to the interior design, some added suave to the exterior, and a lot of extra safety features make up most of the changes for this model year. The 2018 Sonata is otherwise the top-shelf sedan it’s been for some time.

From the outside, curb appeal is eyebrow-lifting with the 2018 Hyundai Sonata. The signature Hyundai diamond-shaped grille is flanked by a curved, beautifully sculpted hood and long, narrow LED headlights. Tapered fenders and a sporty lower intake and aero baffle are set off by large intake/fog lamp bezels. The bodywork on the Sonata features a strong upper beltline groove and edge, a well-defined and curved running board cut below, and an aggressively sporty roofline and fastback rear end. Noticeably on this new Sonata, the deck lid has an integrated spoiler replacing the add-on aero from before.

2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited

The rear wheels of the 2018 Hyundai Sonata are pushed to the corners’ edge while the front wheels feature some overhang ahead that promises smooth handling. Ground clearance is a sporty straight line that matches the beltline above.

This is a great look for the 2018 Sonata and it’s really set apart in the crowded midsize market. Once inside the Sonata, we found, the exterior’s beauty continues with intelligent and well-done interior design.

A new three-spoke steering wheel is fitted to the Sonata to emphasize a driver-centric feel for the cabin. The dashboard and center console have been reworked to make them less bulky and more modern. Seating is very comfortable with a lot of creature comforts available to add to that. The rear bench can seat three across and has excellent outboard positions with plenty of head and legroom despite the sloped roofline and smaller appearance of the rear doors.

2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited

Many of the additions to the 2018 Hyundai Sonata are in the technologies found behind the beautiful design work. Updated suspension and handling mean better ride quality and more engagement at the wheel. Technologies now standard in the Sonata include advanced options like blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist.

The Sonata has a host of trim level options (seven in all). Three four-cylinder engines can be chosen from, each with either a six-, seven-, or eight-speed automatic transmission on offer. That’s a lot to choose from, sure, but it means that the Sonata can be tailored to meet needs without sacrificing looks and comfort.

The base model is the SE, followed by the SEL, the Sport, and the Limited. These four models are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that outputs 184 horsepower to a six-speed automatic transmission. A much more interesting turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder (245 hp) and an eight-speed automatic transmission are found on the Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T trims. Finally, the Eco trim has its own 1.6-liter turbocharged four that outputs 178 horses into a dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic.

2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited - Interior

Prices vary based on which trim level you choose, of course, but the base model’s price tag is lower than all but one of its competitors in the segment, and the Sonata comes with more standard equipment than almost all of the others. The Eco model is only $600 more than that, upgrading just the powertrain to improve fuel economy.

We drove the Limited 2.0T trim and would highly recommend the turbocharged two liter for its peppy drive quality, fast responses to the throttle, and smooth-shifting transmission. This combination brings a whole ‘nother level of sexiness to the 2018 Sonata and is well worth the extra money spent.

It is possible to have everything in one package and the 2018 Hyundai Sonata certainly does a good job of offering just about the whole shebang in one car.

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The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Is Muscle Car Mayhem

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye officially shatters the automotive barrier that used to define muscle cars from supercars.

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2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

With its seemingly inexhaustible limit to horsepower and tire-smoking supercharger trickery, Dodge continues to get maximum mileage out of the Challenger coupe. First, the Hellcat nudged the muscle car goalposts beyond 700 horsepower, much to the annoyance of Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang fans. Then along came the Dodge Demon, an 840-horsepower speed machine built for drag racing. Among its other attributes, the Demon proved that folks will pay loads of cash for a car that comes with only a driver’s seat as standard.

The good news, at least for Demon owners with some friends and family to haul around, was that the front passenger seat and entire rear seat could be optioned back for one buck, apiece.

The 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye now blends of these two extreme vehicles. On one hand, the 797-horsepower supercharged Hemi V-8 is a no-excuses monster with a top speed of 203 mph and, according to Dodge’s stopwatch, the capability to run from 0-60 mph in only 3.4 seconds. But the fact that it’s so easy to drive under normal circumstances (note, the operative word here is “normal”) only makes this Dodge more endearing, in a huggable-gorilla kind of way.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Just never forget that this car is also capable of shredding its rear tires – and your driver’s license – at pretty much any moment, courtesy of its supercharged 6.2-liter engine. In fact, the Redeye’s 2.7-liter supercharger has a larger total displacement than entire engines fitted to many popular cars and SUVs. A wild motor like this one needs plenty of air so, with this in mind, Dodge fitted a new twin-snorkel hood to help keep the Hemi breathing freely. This hood also keeps the Hellcat Redeye more stable at its 200+mph top speed, which is substantially more than the 168-mph maximum provided by the now-discontinued Demon.

While Dodge provided a wide range of funky exterior hues during our test drive in Portland, Maine. Yet at a glance, it’s almost impossible to spot a Redeye from a standard Hellcat. The side badges on the Redeye are now black, rather than the silver used on Hellcat models. When you look closely, the eyes of that angry kitty logo are now fashioned out of red cloisonné. (And yes, for the record, your author did initially wonder why Dodge had named its latest muscle car after the most horrible of flight options.)

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Dodge engineers on-hand during our drive explained the horsepower gap to the Demon is due to a variety of factors. Remember, the Demon’s 840 horsepower figure was only achievable when the car was running on race fuel. We still have the nagging suspicion part of the reason for this difference in output was done simply to appease Demon owners, who can rest easy knowing their version of the Challenger retains top horsepower bragging rights.

Honestly, with this much power, who cares?

A few extra ponies were the last thing we needed when hustling the Hellcat Redeye on the sublime Club Motorsports race track, located in Tamworth, New Hampshire. This brand-new facility has sweeping turns and dramatic elevation changes that showcase the sheer grunt of the Redeye. With instructions to leave the traction control on – advice we didn’t mind heeding – the Dodge gobbled up the road with alarming speed, but it didn’t fall to pieces when heavy doses of braking were needed.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Credit the massive Brembo calipers, not to mention an overall ride and handling balance that’s surprisingly docile given this car’s capabilities. If anything, the Hellcat Redeye feels a little too heavy and roly-poly in corners. Ironically, this can be an attribute on public roads, where it happily settles into a relaxed cruise when you’re not in the mood to terrify everyone with a gratuitous display of chest-thumping power.

If you want the ultimate in muscle car soundtracks, however, you might want to check out the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt we recently test drove. While the Ford’s 480-horsepower V-8 sounds incredible and is retro-fantastic, the 797-horsepower engine in the Redeye is…well, dominated by a whole lot of supercharger whine. Purists might also wince at the fact the Redeye is only available with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox does a great job when it comes to power delivery, though the car itself can be difficult to transition smoothly, simply because the throttle pedal can unleash such a torrent of thrust with so little effort.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

One particularly cool feature is what Dodge refers to as the SRT Power Chiller. This system routes the car’s A/C coolant to the supercharger, where it helps lower the temperature of incoming air and then flows to the system’s heat exchangers. We’re also fans of the optional “Widebody” exterior, which bumps out the fenders and gives the Redeye and even more menacing stance.

There is a price to be paid for all this lunacy, of course. The Hellcat Redeye carries a starting price of $70,000, though that’s before factoring in a $1,700 gas guzzler penalty, not to mention a supercar-like destination charge of around $1,300. Really?!

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

We drove several examples of the Hellcat Redeye and, with a few options, the price usually hovered around $80,000. That’s big money for an old-school American muscle car, though you could argue that on a dollar-per-horsepower scale, the Redeye is an absolute steal.

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Top 5 Used Cars That Are Sure To Put A Smile On Any Enthusiast’s Face

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Before making the decision to purchase a new car, there are several questions you need to ask yourself. Perhaps the most important one is whether it needs to be a “brand new” car at all, as a car tends to depreciate pretty substantially in the first few years of ownership.

Instead, you might want to consider finding a used car that offers more bang for the buck than a new one, while saving some much-needed cash in the process. Below are a few car deals that will be good on your pocket and still satisfy your needs:

1. Ford Mustang GT

Need For Speed Mustang

There’s no question that the new Mustang GT is one of the best muscle cars around. But if you can’t quite swing the $50K price tag, consider one from the previous generation. The 2013-14 Mustang GTs are going for dirt cheap, with low mileage examples for as little as $20K. Spend some of that money you saved on mods, and pocket the rest!

2. Volvo S60 R

If you’re looking for a race car in sheep’s clothing, look no further than the Volvo S60 R. With so few of them out there, you’re bound to stand out from the crowd with your unique ride. You can only get one with a manual, but honestly it’s more fun rowing the gears yourself anyway. And it’s a great asset to have for any emergency auto equity loan.

3. Honda Civic SI

The Civic SI has always been a fun ride, one that can pull double duty as a daily driver and a weekend racer. They’re also very durable, have well-tuned suspensions and powerful motors, making them an excellent choice for someone who’s looking for a budget ride that they can build up over time. Parts are reasonable cheap, and the sky’s the limit with them.

4. Mazda Miata

What can I say about the Miata? While new models can set you back $30K, there are plenty of used models that are super affordable. Find a well-cared for example, and prepare for the ride of your life, as these cars are SO MUCH FUN. Amazing handling (thanks to that 50/50 weight distribution), an amazing shifter, and a top that drops to let the sunlight in. If you like to keep it simple, this is the vehicle for you.

5. Saab 9-3 SportCombi Aero

Got a family, but still want to have some fun? The Saab 9-3 SportCombi Aero is just want you are looking for. Despite the fact that it’s a decade old, the wagon still looks great, and they’re highly reliable. They’re a bit harder to find, but do the legwork and you’ll be rewarded with a great car that you’ll look forward to driving each and every day.

With all of that said, the outward appearance should not be a significant factor when getting a car. Some may look good at first glance, but not nearly as good when you peek inside. Beware of shocking cheap used car from strong brands; they are cheap for a reason, which will end up being a more significant liability than it should be.

Take a good look at your finances too and set a reasonable budget putting into consideration all the factors that come after purchase like insurance and maintenance. Good luck!

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Channeling Our Inner Steve McQueen In The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

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2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

Last week, Ford brought us out to San Francisco to drive the new 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt. A fitting venue, given that 50 years ago, one of the most iconic car chase scenes in Hollywood history was filmed there. Of course, I’m talking about 1968’s Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen.

In the movie, McQueen drove a Dark Highland Green ’68 Mustang GT fastback in an epic chase scene that spanned 12 minutes. And unlike today’s movies, it was the real deal, with no CGI to rely on back then. Cars were jumped, hubcaps were lost, and ultimately, one car went boom!

The 2019 Mustang Bullitt pays tribute to the original, painted in classic Dark Highland Green, equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission with rev matching (which can be disabled), and a gear shifter featuring a white cue ball shift knob.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

Other features paying tribute to the car McQueen drove are subtle chrome accents around a unique black honeycomb grille and side windows, 19-inch classic torque thrust aluminum wheels and red painted Brembo brakes. There’s minimal badging inside and out, with only a circular faux gas cap Bullitt logo emblem on the rear decklid adorning the exterior.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that the Bullitt is just an aesthetics package. Building off of the Mustang GT Performance Package, the new Mustang Bullitt gets a performance open air intake, Mustang Shelby GT350 intake manifold, plus a larger 87-mm throttle body and unique PCM calibrations. The exhaust has also been retuned to give the car its signature burble.

These changes give the Mustang Bullitt a nice bump in performance, with 480 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, along with a top speed of 163 miles per hour. That’s 20 HP more than a standard Mustang GT, with an 8 mph increase on the top end!

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

We took the Bullitt through the winding Skyline Boulevard at a pretty healthy clip, and the car felt fantastic, staying firmly planted in the twisties, never lacking in the power department. In fact, I kept it in 3rd gear for most of this stretch, as the car as torque for days. Could we notice that extra 20 HP? Not really. But it’s worth it just for that glorious exhaust note..

The following morning, I got up SUPER early with one goal in mind, To retrace Bullitt‘s iconic chase scene in the 2019 Mustang Bullitt. And with most of the city still asleep, I had free reign of the roads, barreling through town like I was Steve McQueen.

It was rather surreal pulling up to Bimbo’s 365, which looks the same as it did 50 years ago. We jumped out, grabbed a few photos, and then headed towards Taylor Street, where those sweet jumps happened. Much like in the movie, we drove up and down this street a few times, but at a slightly safer speed. The only thing missing? A green Volkswagen Beetle.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

From there, it was on to Filbert Street, the steepest street in San Francisco. Needless to say, I triple-checked the parking brake here before hopping out to take a few photos, as I didn’t need this car rolling away! Then it was off to Chestnut Street, where the Charger had a serious case of oversteer and slammed into a parked car. Steve missed the turn and is forced to do a smoky burnout in reverse. We may have left a few tire tracks of our own here as well. 🙂

Afterwards, we headed down Laguna Street, before hopping onto Marina Boulevard. And with that, our Bullitt chase scene had come to a close. Not many people can say that they drove in the footsteps (tire tracks?) of Steve McQueen, in a Mustang Bullitt no less!

“When making a Bullitt, there are certain things it absolutely must have,” said Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer. “It has to have the right attitude and it has to be unique in some way from a Mustang GT. More than anything, it has to be badass.”

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

The 2019 Mustang Bullitt delivers badassness in spades, and you will definitely stand out from the rest of the Mustangs out there in one. We got LOTS of thumbs-up from people as we drove through, many who probably never even saw the movie. But there’s just something about the Bullitt that resonates with people. Must be that baddassness.

With a starting price of $46,595 and a fully-loaded price of $52,980, the new Bullitt might give some folks sticker shock. But trust me, you’re getting a lot of car for your money.

What do you think of the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt?

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

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