Thursday, June 14, 2018

New, stylish Elantra GT has room for all your stuff

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  www.sacbee.com/news/business/article4005306.html

Sacramento, California -- Check out my past reviews of the Hyundai Elantra, and you'll see that it consistently has ranked in the LIKE column.

There's more to like in the 2018 model year with the introduction of the new Elantra GT hatchback.

My week with the vehicle showed off all the highlights that have prompted Hyundai's stock to rise not only in my book but throughout the automotive world.  Hyundai used to translate to cheap, but that is ancient history, as extinct as Betamax.

My 2018 Elantra GT looked sharp, with smooth Euro-styling rolling on 17-inch alloy wheels.  The flashy "Scarlet Red Pearl" paint job certainly was a positive.


A long list of standard features was bolstered by a Style Package and Tech Package, but even the extras added only a little to the most reasonable bottom line of $27,460 on the sticker.  That's a pretty competitive number for a vehicle that has to compete with heavyweights from Chevrolet, Subaru and Honda in this segment.

The hatch functioned more along the lines of a midsize sport-utility vehicle with 25 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats alone.  Overall, storage capacity tops 55 cubic feet, more than multiple competitors. The vehicle was capable of easily taking on a full boat of camping supplies and then some.  Nice.

A relatively stiff suspension and body structure with a comparatively wide stance made for a comfortable ride on freeway straights and virtually no body roll on twisty portions of roadway in the Sierra Nevada foothills.  Very little exterior noise reached the interior cabin.

The Elantra GT's 2-liter, 162-horsepower, four-cylinder engine was a willing performer, with surprising muscle on hill climbs.  It likewise did the job pushing my ride into tight holes coming down freeway entrance ramps.

Fuel mileage is nice at 24 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

Throw in Hyundai's typically generous warranties, and this new-for-2018 Elantra GT is an excellent candidate for motorists in the market for affordable, practical-size transportation that can carry heavy loads and has ample room for contented adult passengers.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Newest Mustang GT piles on the horsepower

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo reviews of the latest motor vehicle models also can be seen on The Sacramento Bee’s website at www.sacbee.com/news/business/article4005306.html

This review first appeared in the May 2018 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California The horsepower curve keeps going up.  Mustang and Camaro and Challenger can’t get enough of it … 300, 400, 500. Where does it end?

Some of these top-tier Mustang/Camaro/Challenger models have more horsepower than some purpose-built racing cars.

And it’s comparatively affordable horsepower among the three competitors.


Take the recently tested 2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium coupe, which wore a starting price of $39,095.  My tester was loaded up with extras that pushed the bottom line to nearly $47,000, but still, the prospect of getting a 5-liter V-8 with 460 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque for less than 40-grand is not a bad deal.

My Mustang GT tester arrived wearing gleaming “Kona Blue” paint, covering skin that was all intimidation and menace.

Starting it up produced a deep, toe-rattling rumble from under the hood. If the neighbors aren’t already awake when you start up this GT in the morning, they will be by the time you pull out of the driveway.

The 460 horses are delivered with brute force.  Nothing subtle here.  When you want to blast past a freeway straggler in this GT, you get the full-on rumble and roar, and you’re rudely pushed deep into your cockpit seat as the gauges light up.

I’ll admit: It’s addicting.

My ride was equipped with a 10-speed automatic that functioned seamlessly through all those choices.

I should note that, for all the power the GT has, fuel mileage is pretty fair at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

The GT is so sleek and racy in appearance that you typically draw a crowd when it’s parked in a public space.  You get the same satisfied stares and envious words that I’m sure Porsche and Ferrari owners get all the time … but for a much higher price.

Feel good?  Yeah, it does.

For 2018, Ford dressed up this Mustang with LED lighting, more safety/driver-assist technology and an enhanced performance-loaded suspension.  Love the quad-tip exhausts, by the way.

My tester had an option package that included 19-inch polished aluminum wheels and a top-notch audio system.  I didn’t mind those perks, either.

One note of caution: The GT is billed as a four-passenger model, but stuffing two adults into those back seats, in my view, might get you indicted for administering cruel and unusual punishment.
The Mustang and I go way back, so there’s an emotional jolt every time I step into one.  I learned to drive in a 1965 Pony Car and won my first driving license in a 1967 Mustang.

Back then, I didn’t dream that you could someday walk into a dealership and drive out a couple hours later in a vehicle with more horsepower than a vintage stock car racer.

Am I complaining?  Not a chance.


Monday, June 4, 2018

Peppy Volvo reviewed in latest Cruisin' News

Check out my review of the horsepower-laden 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD Inscription sport-utility vehicle in the latest, June 2018, edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News, published out of Folsom, California, by John Sweeney and Evonne Sotelo.

The “Hot Laps” reviews, along with my "Oil Drips" observations on anything with wheels, appear monthly in the publication.

To subscribe to the Cruisin’ News, visit www.cruisinnews.com, call (916) 933-0949 or send an e-mail request to cruisinnews@mac.com. Mailed requests for information should be sent to Cruisin’ News, P.O. Box 1096, Folsom, CA 95763-1096.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

This Ford Fusion is the best of the breed

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  www.sacbee.com/news/business/article4005306.html

Sacramento, California -- I was maybe two hours into my week with the tested 2018 Ford Fusion Platinum Hybrid sedan when I said out loud: "I think this is the best Fusion I've ever driven."

And that's saying something, because I've driven every version of the Fusion ever produced.

So sure, it looked great in gleaming "Burgundy Velvet" exterior paint and sweetly sculpted 18-inch wheels.  Smooth lines and an aggressive, but not over-the-top front end added to the visual appeal.

The 2-liter, four-cylinder power plant matched with an electric motor provided peppy accelerations and more than adequate power in all situations.  The tested Fusion blew past freeway stragglers with ease and was a quick-cutting player on the busy downtown streets of Sacramento.

Comfort and quiet greeted me in the cockpit, and despite my best efforts, very little noise made its way inside the cabin.  My ride was nicely equipped with only the barest of extras, which translated to $38,770 on the sticker's bottom line.

That seems like a lot, you say?  Well, perhaps, but in my view, this ride felt like a mid-range Lexus or a heavily equipped Toyota Avalon.  And if you do that math, the $38,770 number comes off as a relative bargain, especially considering that this is a hybrid package.

And with that hybrid package comes a bonus: fuel mileage ratings of 43 miles per gallon in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

Top it off with a max five-star federal government overall safety rating, and you're talking about a sedan that nicely covers all the bases.

Pretty nice package, I'd say.  And no doubt in my mind: best Fusion I've ever laid my hands on.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Good Will driving makes for memorable Indy 500

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  www.sacbee.com/news/business/article4005306.html

The Indianapolis 500 was run for the 102nd time on May 27, when Mark Glover attended his 56th 500.

"You just don't know what Indy means."

Al Unser Jr. famously uttered those words in Victory Lane when he notched the first of his two Indianapolis 500 victories in 1992.

The full meaning of those words was displayed Sunday by 2018 race winner Will Power -- normally a somewhat reserved fellow -- when he exploded with emotion during his over-the-top post-race celebration.  The genuine, raw outpouring of joy was something to behold.

And very satisfying.  And well deserved.  What a masterful drive Power put together over 500 miles on a sizzling hot, humid Indiana day.

Power, driving for the now-legendary Roger Penske, was not wheeling the best car during most of the first half of the race.  His Chevrolet-powered machine didn't have the juice to catch pole-sitter Ed Carpenter, the Indianapolis hometown driver who was getting serious positive vibes from the massive crowd.

Carpenter had it dialed in early, and only 2013 winner Tony Kanaan seemed able to keep up with him.  Even so, when Kanaan passed Carpenter on an early restart, Carpenter simply swept him aside when he got up to full song moments later.

It was looking very much like Carpenter's day.

By the midway point, however, Power seized the advantage.  Kanaan was dealt a severe blow with a punctured tire just prior to the 250-mile mark, and over the last half of the race, Power was the one everyone was chasing.  And in the late-going, it was obvious that Carpenter was not going to catch the Australian driver.  Carpenter settled for second.

It was a tribute to the Penske team, which not only performed a series of incredibly fast pit stops but tweaked Power's car to the max, making it the swiftest in the field.  The Penske strategy team also had this 102nd running of the race well figured out before the checkered flag fell.

But in the end, it was Power, smooth and steady when he needed to be, and most important, patient in a race that requires incredible patience.

When it was go-time, Power stuffed his ride into harm's way and skillfully pushed aside cars that were determined to deny him the prize he long sought.  Under green flag conditions, however, Power's rivals didn't stand a chance.

He overpowered them.  There, I said it.

Our reward was watching the 37-year-old driver wildly celebrate his victory.  For Power, first-place winnings of more than $2.5 million helped extend his feels-so-good celebration during the awards ceremonies on Monday night.

Good show, Will.  And for Indy, another good, memorable race in the history books.