Thursday, February 14, 2019


CHEVROLET BOLT OFFERS ALL-ELECTRIC DRIVING WITH A RANGE OF NEARLY 240 MILES


Though the electric car may be viewed by some as a recent development, its history dates back well over a century when, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the work of innovators in the 1800s led to the first electric vehicle on the road in the U.S. in 1890.

By 1900, electric cars were a popular choice among budding automotive enthusiasts, more convenient than steam-powered vehicles and cleaner and easier to drive than the gasoline-powered versions.


Of course, we all know what happened. Steam cars died a natural death, and, thanks to the more economically feasible Ford Model T and a support system of filling stations throughout the country, gasoline-vehicles took over the market.

Now, however, we see renewed interest in electric cars. thanks in part to the introduction of hybrid gas-electric vehicles like Honda’s Insight and especially Toyota’s Prius in the 1990s and concerns about the environment and future supplies of fossil fuels.


More recently, fully electric cars have come to market, but two issues may be slowing their development: their range (or lack thereof) and powering them up.

Progress is being made on both fronts, but slowly.

I recently spent a week in the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV, which unlike its stablemate the Chevy Volt, is an electric vehicle that the auto buff magazine Car & Driver rates the best  “everyday” electric car on the market today.

For C&D “everyday” apparently is code for “affordable” as compared to Tesla’s luxury models. The Bolt EV comes in two versions with the base LT carrying a starting MSRP of $36,620 and the more upscale Premier edition starting at $40,904, so I don’t know if that really falls into the “affordable” class.


This is especially so for a vehicle that lacks the refinement and niceties you usually find in vehicles in that price range. Standard equipment on the Bolt EV Premier model includes items like heated front seats, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and auto-dimming inside mirror in a Comfort and Convenience Package that is optional on the LT along with other features like keyless entry and push-button start and leather-appointed seats, but seat adjustments are made manually and cabin ambiance is more economy than premier. 

A Driver’s Convenience Package (automatic high beam headlights, Forward Collision Alert, Lane-keeping Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Front Pedestrian Braking with Pedestrian Alert), Infotainment Package (wireless charging, Bose Premium sound, USB charging ports), the DC Fast Charger, and the $875 destination and delivery charge) ran the total for my Bolt EV Premier to $43,510, which is getting up there for a non-luxury compact hatchback. 


Of course, being an electric vehicle, there are tax credits and other current (pun intended) incentives from the government to knock some off that price. The Bolt currently (again pun intended) qualifies for up to the full $7,500 U.S. tax credit.

The reason for the C&D’s recognition of the Bolt, however, doesn’t have so much to do with the MSRP as it does with the Bolt’s technology. Chevy boasts a range of 238 miles on a full charge, though that may vary.

Once I got my test vehicle up it showed a range of 267 miles, but that wasn’t until I was able to leave it hooked up to my household outlet for an extended time (well over a day) that I was able to get it up to that number.

That’s the rub that no doubt many overlook. If you are going to go with an electric vehicle, you really need to invest in a Level-2 charging (240 volts) system.

Depending on where you work, you may be close to a charging outlet that will allow you to charge up your car during the day, and you can top it off when you get home at night. A DC fast charger also can give you a range of up to 90 miles in about half-an-hour.


But what about those family vacation trips? You’ll have to rent a conventionally powered vehicle or be prepared to add time to your journey. Motor trend magazine reported that an 800-mile trip using a DC fast charger took nearly twice as long than doing a similar trip with a gas vehicle. Or maybe you’ll just fly to your destination.


What I liked about the 2019 Chevy Bolt EV: The handling and throttle response is excellent. This can be a fun car to drive (it even has a Sport mode), one that is roomy and quiet as well. Zero-to-60 mph times of less than seven seconds have been reported. The false floor in the cargo areas gives you a place to hide items from view.

What I didn’t like about the 2019 Chevy Bolt EV: Without a 240-volt charger, charging times are long, and max range is difficult to get to. The interior has a cheap feel to it especially for its initial price. Built-in navigation isn’t available. The gear shift pattern is unnecessarily complicated, and the car seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to locking the doors after you get out. Beep! Beep!

Would I buy the 2019 Chevy Bolt EV? Not likely. Range (I have mileage anxiety) and charging times (no patience) are issues with me. Spur-of-the-moment trips to the Keys? Forget them. Even with the Fast Charger, longer excursions are impractical. The Volt doesn’t have the electric range of the Volt (only 53 miles) but at least it has a gas engine to kick in, resulting in up to 1,100 miles driving between fill-ups with regular charging.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

CHEVY COLORADO OFFERS A COMFORTABLE WAY INTO THE PICKUP TRUCK SEGMENT


Crossovers and SUVs may be pushing aside sedans in the automotive world, but one traditional segment remains strong, and that is the pickup truck.

In fact, the top three selling vehicles in 2018 are pickups — in order, the Ford F-Series, the Chevrolet Silverado, and the Ram pickup.

Sales numbers for these three were a combined, 2,033,492 last year, which is well over 800,000 more than the next three vehicles on the list, Toyota’s RAV4, Nissan’s Rogue, and Honda’s CR-V. Little wonder that some manufacturers are cutting back on their sedan production to concentrate on their SUVs and pickups.


But as popular as they are, the traditional half-ton pickups (misnamed by today's capabilities) may be too much for someone who still might like a truck in their future. If you aren't going to carry a lot of cargo, you may find the disadvantages of the full-sized pickup offsetting.

A full-size pickup can be a real bear to maneuver in tight mall parking lots, usually is thirstier than a smaller model, and often comes with a higher sticker price. They’re not as fun to drive either.


But consider the midsize pickup. It can handle more modest hauling needs like runs to the local home improvement/garden center, generally is more fuel efficient, and is easier to get in and out of than its bigger brethren. And it still exudes more of “macho” image than your typical sedan.

There are several good choices to be found in the midsize segment, one of them being Chevy’s Colorado.

Introduced in 2004 along with its GMC counterpart, the Canyon, the Colorado is offered in a number of different cab/bed configurations in five trim levels starting with a bare-bones Base model and a slightly upgraded Work truck.

LT trim covers as standard what are options on the Work model, and the Z71 takes that another step by making standard features that are optional on the LT trim, like automatic A/C, rear-window defogger, remote vehicle start, driver’s seat lumbar control, 4-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, and the EZ lift tailgate.

The Z71 also is more off-road capable than the lower trims, but if that’s what you’re looking for, you need to splurge for the top-of-the-food chain ZR2 trim.


My test model was the Z71 trim with crew cab and a 3.6-liter V6 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is standard, and a 2.8L Duramax Turbo-Diesel is also available.

The V6 is rated at 308 horsepower at 6800 rpm and 275 pound-feet of torque at 4000, which is a good deal healthier than the 200 hp/191 lb.-ft. of the 4-banger, but the diesel (186 hp) boosts that torque up to a robust 369 lb.-ft.


I found the performance of the V6 to be up to snuff. It certainly is no laggard. With its stiff suspension, the Colorado handles corners with little or no sway, and the ride on expressways is quiet  enough.

With the crew cab and the short box (5 feet, 2 inches), it is 212.7 inches long and a full 19 inches shorter than a Silverado Crew Cab, which makes driving it comparable to a midsize SUV.

In addition to what was mentioned earlier, standard equipment includes the Z71 off-road suspension, fully automatic locking rear differential, hill descent control, an HD rear-vision camera, rear park assist, 17-inch dark argent wheels, front fog lamps, front recovery hooks, rugged all-terrain tires, folding rear bench seat, cruise control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather-wrapped steering wheel, sport cloth/leatherette seats, and connectivity features like a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, all in the $36,900 base MSRP.

Additional equipment included the Z71 Midnight Edition package (spray-on bedliner, body color grille, black bow-tie logos, dealer-installed all-weather floor liner, the Z71 emblem) and assist steps that ran the total to $41,565 including the $995 destination and delivery charge.

What I liked about the 2019 Chevy Colorado: It’s not too big to be a challenge to handle in mall parking lots, but big enough to handle most of the ordinary tasks non-construction workers might encounter. In other words, it’s just right. It’s a pretty good cruiser on the highway, and the infotainment system is intuitive to operate. The EZ Lift and Lower tailgate (standard on upper trims) is a nice feature. 

What I didn’t like about the 2019 Chevy Colorado: The running board makes it easier to get into, but seems at kind of an odd level. Legroom in the back of Crew Cab models is a modest 35.6 inches (but that is more than the 28.6 on Extended Cabs).

Would I buy the 2019 Chevy Colorado? There are other trucks I would look it if I were in the market, but the Colorado is definitely a contender.



Saturday, February 2, 2019


FORD MUSTANG MAY BE GROWING OLDER, BUT STILL EXUDES A FUN-LOVING ATTITUDE


Ford's Mustang will soon reach “senior status” as its 55th birthday fast approaches, but it still is very much the same young-at-heart vehicle as when it was unveiled at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964.

Especially in convertible form, the 2019 Ford Mustang exudes the same “life is short, have fun” image evoked by those early Mustangs, which fans dubbed 1964 1/2 models because of the timing of the launch. (For the record, Ford, which took orders for 22,000 Mustangs that first day, had advertised it as a 1965.)

That’s no doubt an important part as to the Mustang’s ability to survive for over five decades without a break in production, but not, I think, the only key.

So to is its versatility.


If you want to experience the full effect of what the Mustang offers in the way of a traditional America Muscle Car, you should go for the Mustang GT with a 5.0-liter V8 under the hood pumping out 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque to its rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission and the dual exhaust emitting all the proper sounds.

You can go full bore with the Bullitt coupe model that marks its return for 2019 or the Shelby GT350, each with a 5.2-liter V8 rated at 526 hp and 429 lb.-ft. of torque.


But if a price that starts at over $46,000 is out of your league (as it is mine), or you want something a little less thirsty than a V8 that drinks premium fuel at the rate of 15 miles-per-gallon city and 24 highway, the Mustang also is offered with a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder Ecoboost engine that boosts those figures to 20/28 while still delivering a lively driving experience.

This is not the sluggish 4-cylinder introduced in the Mustang II back in the 1970s and phased out in 1993. Far from it. It actually led to Ford’s phasing out of the V6 that once served as the base engine in the updating Ford gave the Mustang for 2018.


Using premium fuel, the Ecoboost-4 is rated at 310 horsepower at a peak 5500 rpm with maximum torque of 350 pound-feet at 3000, so it is no slouch. It has been clocked with a zero-to-60 mph time of less than a second off the V8’s 4.6 seconds.

Of course, the Mustang also is noted as much for the V8’s throaty sounds as it is looks and performance, and you can still get that with the Ecoboost by adjusting the exhaust to one of four settings — Quiet (for a late night arrival in the neighborhood), Normal, Sport, or Track.


My test Mustang convertible came with the a 10-speed automatic transmission that shifted so smoothly you’d have thought it was a CVT (thankfully, it wasn’t). You can also shift gears manually via the usual steering wheel-mounted shifters, 

Inside, Ford has given the Mustang several upgrades. It seats four, if not in luxury at least in comfort without the Spartan-like ambiance of past models. You still have to crank a latch at the top of the windshield for lowering or securing the soft top, but it’s an easy operation.

Standard equipment in the Premium version includes headlamps with LED signature lighting, LED taillights with sequential turn signal lighting, 12-inch LCD instrument cluster, dual zone electronic climate control, leather-trimmed seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, two Smart charging USB ports, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, keyless access and push-button start, selectable drive modes (Sport adds to the experience), and Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system, which I found very user-friendly.

All that is covered in the starting MSRP of $37,355 (including $995 destination and delivery).

A couple of options, a package that included navigation, the automatic transmission, and a rear deck spoiler, ran the total of my test vehicle to $42,440.


What I liked about the 2019 Ford Mustang Convertible: Hey! It’s a convertible! What’s not to like? OK. The turbo-4 engine offers a bit of practicality to go with a fun driving experience. The capability of setting the exhaust notes to your personal taste (Normal, Quiet, Sport, Track) also is a nice feature.

What I didn’t like about the 2019 Ford Mustang Convertible: It’s a given that the back seat is going to be cramped since it’s a convertible, but it's also extra difficult to get back there, especially with the top up. Trunk volume is only 11.4 cubic feet, but you don’t need to make any special adjustments before lowering the cloth top.

Would I buy the 2019 Ford Mustang Convertible? Sure would. U.S. News & World Report ranks it right behind the Mazda Miata in sports cars. But with those two vehicles being so different, the Mustang essentially is No. 1 in its class.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

G-WAGEN RETAINS ICONIC LOOKS AFTER FIRST FULL UPDATE IN FOUR DECADES


Frankly, you can’t tell much of a difference at first glance, and maybe even second or third, but for the first time in 40 years Mercedes-Benz has put its iconic G-Class SUV through a myriad of updates and changes for 2019.

Yes, it still has the boxy profile reminiscent of the 1950s era Willys Jeep Wagon my grandfather once owned, and its aggressive stance and in-your-face front fascia still pays homage to its military roots. (It was developed as a military conveyance at a suggestion by the Shah of Iran back in the 1970s. He never really got to use it, but that’s another story.)


You’re not going to confuse the G-Wagon with say the more gentile GLC, GLE, or GLS SUV/Crossovers out of the German automaker’s stable. If you want an idea of what polarizing styling can look like in an automotive vehicle, you still may have no better example than the Mercedes G-Class

Most of the updates have gone toward making it even more impressive in the way of performance.


It is more rigid than its predecessor with a body shell of various grades of steel and the generous use of aluminum for the hood, doors, and fenders for a weight-saving of around 375 pounds.

An extra 2.1 inches in length and 2.5 inches in width give occupants 1.5 inches more legroom and 1.5 inches of shoulder room up front and an addition 5.9 inches of legroom in the second row.


The G-Wagen, as it is more familiarly known, comes in four trim levels starting with the G550 and topping out with the G550 4x4². My test vehicle for the week was one of two models getting AMG treatment, the AMG G63, the other being the AMG G63.

Among other touches, the AMG G63 gets distinctive styling elements with an AMG-specific radiator grille, flared wheel arches, side pipes for the exhaust system, and wheels up to 22-inches in diameter.

A handcrafted AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine replaces the 5.5-liter biturbo V8 in the previous G63. It generates 577 horsepower and a whopping 627 pound-feet of torque ranging between 2500 and 3500 rpm.

That engine is mated to an AMG Speedshift TCT 9G transmission that can be shifted manually via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters or run as a automatic in Comfort, Sport, or Sport-Plus modes.

As you know doubt suspect from the AMG designation, the overall setup is performance-oriented with a top speed of 137 mph or 149 with the AMG Driver’s Package.

Fuel economy figures fall into the you-don’t-really-want-to-know category. They weren’t even available for my test AMG G63, but the numbers provided by the government for the G550 are 13 miles-per-gallon city, 17 highway, and 14 combined, using premium, of course.


The AMG G63 gets numerous standard features expected in a luxury vehicle, like push-button start, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, multicolor ambient lighting, rain-sensing windshield wipers (that often pause and then go like crazy), active lane-keeping assist (sometimes too active), blind-spot assist, a rearview camera, a 12.3-inch screen for the COMAND system, and parking assist included in the base price of $147,500.

What you don’t get are usual luxury features like keyless entry (you have to push a button the key fob to unlock the doors), a power liftgate, and a surround-view camera that actually is of use.

You also get doors that won’t close without some effort.


The Cardinal Red Metallic paint job added $2,300 and the “Black Flame Open-Pore Ash Wood trim” another $1,300 to the base MSRP of my test G63, but there was no charge for the black Nappa Leather interior. How generous!

The extras didn’t stop there. The optional Interior Design Package that includes a Nappa leather dash and multi-contour seats with massage function plus an AMG Performance steering wheel, carbon-fiber engine cover, and a 12.3-inch wide instrument cluster ran the total to $166,095 including the $995 destination and delivery charge.

That puts the G-Wagen in rare air for sure.

What I liked about the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63: Despite its size, this is no lumbering elephant going through town or cruising the highway. It is almost a second faster than its predecessor in getting from zero-to-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. 

What I didn’t like about the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63: Getting in and out of the G-Wagen can be a chore. The running boards are so narrow to be barely helpful. I’ve gotten used to the COMAND system for infotainment functions, but there are much easier ways to adjust audio, climate control, and navigation systems. Rather than give you a picture of what is around you, like another car, the surround-view camera gives you a depiction in graph form, which is not as useful.

Would I buy the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63? In a word, no. I can think of better places to put down high six figures for a vehicle. But if you just won the lottery or hit it big as a hedge fund manager and want a vehicle that stands out from the crowd, the AMG G63 could be for you!


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

CADILLAC JUMPS INTO THE COMPACT LUXURY SUV/CROSSOVER POOL WITH NEW 2019 XT4 


Cadillac enters the fast growing compact luxury SUV segment with the 2019 XT4, its third SUV/Crossover model, joining the midsize XT5 and behemoth Escalade with a fourth, the XT6 to come for 2020.

With a starting price of under $36,000, the XT4 offers what is by today's standards an “affordable” way to flaunt your economic success, though it should be pointed out that you are going to have to spend more, much more in some cases, to enjoy the full scope of what the luxury class has to offer.

A bit more on that later.



The XT4 comes in three trim levels — Premium, Luxury, and Sport — all powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that offers good fuel efficiency (24 miles-per-gallon city, 30 highway with front-wheel drive models and 22/39 with AWD) and a lively performance. 

That engine delivers 237 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 1500-4000 rpm and is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission that may be run in Tour or Sport mode (selection is by pressing a button by the shifter on the console). Manual gear selection is accomplished via paddle shifters.

That button, by the way, is next to one that allows you to disable the stop/start function that many find to be an annoyance not worth whatever fuel-saving that technology provides.


That’s the second-best thing about the XT4. The best is the upgrade to the infotainment system Cadillac replaced the former CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system with. CUE must have seemed like a good idea at the time when it was introduced on the new 2013 ATS sedan, but it proved highly problematic.

It had a tendency to respond if a hand simply got near the touchscreen whether you intended to make an adjustment or not. Other times it just locked up. I think whoever designed it wound up in a Bud Light dungeon along with mead drinkers.

With the new system on the XT4, adjustments for such operations as navigation, audio, etc. are made using the 8.5 clear touchscreen, though climate control functions also work off buttons near the bottom of the center stack. It may not be the most user friendly I’ve experienced, but it’s pretty close.


The XT4 may reside in the compact class, but its interior has more the feel of a midsize cabin. It offers 40.4 inches of legroom up front to the XT5’s 41.2 inches, and the 39.5 inches of legroom for the second row matches that on the XT5, which is classed as a midsize.

Cargo volume is 22.5 cubic feet behind the second row and 48.9 with those seats folded. That’s less than what the XT5 offers (30 cubic feet behind the second row, 63 with that row folded) but is adequate for most tasks.


The XT4’s towing capacity is 3,500 pounds with a trailering package, which matches the XT5’s capacity.

Cadillac continues to upgrade the cabin’s ambiance, and if it doesn’t match up to some of its competitors, it’s still high grade with lots of soft-touch spots around. It has room for five passengers, and the driver’s seat is power adjustable 8 ways, the passenger’s 6 ways.

Now, more about pricing.

The XT4 Sport model that served as my test vehicle came with a base MSRP of $42,790 (including destination and delivery). Standard equipment included LED headlamps and taillights, keyless start, 4-way power lumbar support for the driver and front passenger, remote start, an 8-inch color display, power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, lane change alert with blind spot alert (accomplished by a gentle vibration in the driver’s seat), and rear cross traffic alert.

That’s a nice array of equipment and can make you happy. But to go full luxury, adding features such as leather seating surfaces (replacing Leatherette), ventilated front seats with massage function, dual pane sunroof, navigation with real-time traffic, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, HD surround view camera, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and more you need to look into options and option packages.

Such options ran the final tab on this particular XT4 Sport to $57,735. No doubt you could live without such features as a head-up display and 20-inch wheels (replacing the standard 18s). But even a few of the extra packages can get the final price over $50,000.

What I liked about the 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport: The infotainment system has been refined since Cadillac ditched the infamous CUE (Cadillac User Experience) setup, which helps get you to functions quicker and easier. There are better systems, but this is such an improvement it's worth noting. The ride is very smooth and quiet. Very quiet. Passengers in the rear have generous legroom.

What I didn't like about the 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport: You have to pay extra for a lot of options to get most of the goodies that are associated with luxury vehicles. This includes safety equipment like a surround view camera (replacing the standard rearview camera) and forward collision alert.

Would I buy the 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport? Yes. If you are looking for a luxury five-passenger SUV, you should give it a look.


Friday, January 11, 2019


HYUNDAI CONTINUES TO ADD FEATURES

TO ELANTRA SEDAN, ITS TOP SELLER


Although SUVs and crossovers seem to be taking over the automotive world, at least one manufacturer seems to be bucking that trend.

South Korean automaker Hyundai’s best seller remains the Elantra, a compact sedan that outsold the company’s best-selling SUV/crossover, the Tucson, by over 58,000 units in 2018.

Sales of the Elantra hopped up to 200,415 last year from 198,210 in 2017 while the Tucson came in at 142,219 and the Santa Fe SUV at 117,038 for 2018. (Yes, combined the Tucson and Santa Fe outsold the Elantra, but adding the Sonata’s total of 105,118 to that of the Elantra, Hyundai still sold more sedans as opposed to the recent trend toward SUVs.)


Hyundai reports that over 9 million Elantras have been sold since its launch in the U.S. in 1991.

Early last year I had the pleasure of driving the 2018 Elantra SEL, a model introduced following the redesign of 2017, and was impressed with the number of safety and convenience features it offered for its class.

Trickle down apparently is not just an economic theory but applies to car development as well. Features introduced on high-price luxury models eventually find their way down to more affordable vehicles like the ones in the compact sedan segment where the Elantra resides.


Hyundai didn’t quit with the changes for 2017, however. For 2019, the company gives the Elantra a new hood, front fenders, front fascia, grille, and headlights along with a new trunk, taillights and rear fascia. The 16- and 17-inch wheels get new designs, and the Eco trim has new 15-inch alloy wheels. Top-of-the-food-chain Limited and Sport trims come with LED headlights as standard.

Inside the Elantra has a new center cluster and new instrument housing and controls, and the Limited trim gets Infinity Premium Audio with 8 speakers.

SEL and above models get the Smart Shift Drive Mode that adapts to your driving characteristics to enhance your overall experience. I opted for Sport mode most of the time.

All but the base SE model also get as standard a suite of safety features labeled SmartSense that includes Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Driver Attention warning, Blind-Spot Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision warning.

With the base SE model, the most exotic safety system is a blind-spot mirror.

All Elantras get as standard a rear-view camera features dynamic guidelines to give you a better picture when you are backing, stability and traction control systems, anti-lock brakes, and front and side-impact airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger. 

Power trains vary. Most Elantras come with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, but the Eco trim gets a 1.4-liter turbo-4 and the Sport gets a 1.6-liter turbo-4.

The 2.0L offers only 147 horsepower and 134 pound-feet of torque, but fuel economy numbers are good — 28 miles-per-gallon city, 37 highway, and 32. You get less horsepower (128) but slightly more torque (156) from the 1.4-liter and more of both (201/195, respectively) with the 1.6 turbp in the Sport.


A 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic (manual gear selection) is available on the SE, adding $1,000 to the MSRP for the manual SE. The automatic is and standard on SEL Value Edition, Limited models. The Eco and Sport models are equipped with a 7-speed Eco-shift dual clutch transmission with Shiftronic, and you can also get a 6-speed manual transmission with the Sport.

SE Elantra manual models carry a base MSRP $17,985 (including destination and delivery). Pricing tops out at $24,385 for Sport models with the dual-clutch tranny. The Limited, which served as my test vehicle for the week, carries a starting MSRP of $23,485.

What I liked about the 2019 Hyundai Elantra Limited: It comes with a plethora of technological and safety features, many of them standard and all of the very user-friendly.  I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. Unlike some European manufacturers, Hyundai makes technological features, like say navigation, easy to operate.

What I didn’t like about the 2019 Hyundai Elantra Limited: I’d like to see a little more in the way of performance for a more fun driving experience. For that, you probably need to take a look at the Sport trim or, if you will accept a hatchback, the Elantra GT Sport with similar power numbers (201/195).

Would I buy the 2019 Hyundai Elantra Limited? Yes. Bigger families may want a vehicle with more room for passengers and their stuff, but if that’s not you, the Elantra has a lot of offer in a stylish package.