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2017 Toyota Sienna, Tested in Depth: Today’s Family Hauler Is Perfect for Griswold-Style Family Vacations

Overall Rating:

Minivans are a really clarification of automotive flexibility and functionality. Eye-catching styling is great, and enchanting highway manners make pushing indeed enjoyable, though when we need to get a cackle of kids to round use or transport a family to Wally World, something large and boxy is a apparatus for a job. The Sienna builds on this plans with a still and gentle interior, an accessible rear-seat party system, and a segment’s usually all-wheel-drive option. A new powertrain with an skilful V-6 and a responsible eight-speed involuntary delivery yield stoical cruising and manly passing. The Sienna doesn’t possess possibly a innovative facilities or connectivity of a all-new Honda Odyssey or a 10Best-winning Chrysler Pacifica, though it stays a estimable chariot for each charge from Home Depot runs to family highway trips.

What’s New for 2017?

The Sienna looks radically a same as it did when a third-generation indication initial strike showrooms as a 2011 model. The many poignant change until now was ditching a bottom four-cylinder engine in 2013, creation Toyota’s 3.5-liter V-6 a usually engine choice. For 2017, a Sienna gets an updated powertrain. The V-6 has a same banishment as a predecessor, though boasts an additional 30 horsepower (up to 296) and 18 lb-ft of torque (up to 263). Its using partner is a new eight-speed involuntary delivery that replaces a six-speed. Together they urge refinement, acceleration, and fuel economy.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

Those not watchful for a restyled (but not all-new) 2018 Sienna and a innumerable of updates will still be satisfied—if they keep a cost right. The LE indication we preference is a step adult from a bottom L and starts during $33,500. Along with combined chrome and color-matched extraneous trim, it includes:

• 7.0-inch touchscreen Entune infotainment
• Heated, power-adjustable extraneous mirrors
• Power-adjustable driver’s seat
• Dual power-sliding side doors

Unfortunately, reward facilities such as rear-seat party and active reserve assists are indifferent for aloft trim levels and costly choice packages. Toyota does offer a handful of accessories. To strengthen a investment from kids, dogs, and a elements, we chose a Outdoor package ($393). It adds all-weather building liners, mudguards, and entrance protectors. That singular choice brought a sum to $33,893; all-wheel drive, should we wish it, costs $2540. While a Odyssey EX ($33,940) has some-more tech and a Pacifica Touring Plus ($33,455) has some-more innovative features, a Sienna LE is distant from bare-bones. Those who don’t need fancy-pants facilities and/or cite a Toyota in their drive will be content.

In Depth: 2017 Toyota Sienna

Why High-Octane Gas Costs So Much More Than Regular

Kentucky Mayor Bashes High Gas Prices With City-Run Fueling Station

Kentucky Mayor Bashes High Gas Prices With City-Run Fueling Station

There’s a gas hire by a Orlando airfield charging $4.50 per gallon, or some-more than double what unchanging 87 octane costs in Florida, substantially since it’s tighten to a rental-car return. But while foe pushes these impassioned prices to a fringe, drivers refueling with reward gas are clearly gouged in each state. If we fill adult with 91 or 93 octane, you’ve no doubt grumbled, “How a ruin is high-test 50 cents extra?”

That’s a normal inhabitant widespread of sell prices between a gallon of unchanging and reward gasoline, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In all states, what was once a medium upcharge over regular—roughly 10 cents for mid-grade, another 10 cents for premium—has spin an all-out surge. As gas prices tumbled over a past 3 years, a premium-fuel reward skyrocketed from 35 cents per gallon in 2013 to 47 cents in 2015 and reached 50 cents in late 2016. According to a latest information from AAA (which marks fuel prices daily instead of a EIA’s weekly), reward costs $2.80 per gallon on average, or 60 cents some-more than regular. In 2000, a widespread was 18 cents.

According to a EIA, there’s no Big Oil collusion to blame. Rather, it’s a connection of market, industry, and regulatory factors that impact everyone, not only those in oppulance cars. In Aug 2016, reward gasoline reached a 12 percent share of all U.S. gasoline sales, a spin not seen in 13 years. AAA pronounced a direct for reward gas is due to some-more automobile owners “treating themselves” as siphon prices drop. That’s true, adult to a point. About 80 percent of all purebred vehicles run excellent on regular, according to AAA, and in a given year some 16.5 million people incorrectly trust reward gas will urge their aging hoopties or “clean out” engine deposits. But another cause pushing direct is that some-more difficult fuel-economy standards have put downsized and turbocharged engines in some-more and some-more new cars. And most, if not all, of those engines, either in a Mini Cooper or a Nissan Juke, need reward for a best energy and mileage.

The enlightening attention hasn’t been means to keep up. Greater domestic prolongation of light wanton oil has led to a over-abundance of naphtha, a lower-octane feedstock. When refiners modify naphtha into reformate, a high-octane member constructed in a apart catalytic process, they’ve taken advantage of a naphtha over-abundance to furnish some-more reformate. But these larger volumes of reformate are reduce in octane than smaller volumes, a EIA says, and with a plastics attention branch divided from naphtha, refiners have some-more of an inducement to mix a lower-octane batch into their gasoline. In turn, refiners haven’t increasing their octane prolongation with altogether gasoline production. In 2016, refiners dedicated 30 percent of their sum ability to octane production, a three-point dump from 2007.

Regulatory changes have contributed to a octane woes. The latest Tier 3 standards enacted this year have cut gasoline sulfur levels to 10 tools per million, that mirrors a Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 requirement for ultra-low-sulfur diesel. This formula in a “slight loss” in octane, according to a EIA, during an additional cost that “likely also shabby a flourishing widespread between unchanging and reward gasoline.” But as that widespread grew in 2014, a EPA expelled an research of low-sulfur costs on a enlightening attention and resolved that any boost in gas prices would be “less than a penny per gallon” and that drivers would be “unlikely to notice a disproportion in fuel prices during a siphon due to Tier 3.” At an EIA discussion this week, a group cited Tier 3 regulations as contributing to a “looming octane shortage.” The dual agencies competence wish to get together for a chat.

Additional caps on benzene, a vast suit of reformate, presents another plea to octane production. What about ethanol, a plant-based renewable blended into each tankful? At 115 octane, ethanol is already blended into gasoline during 10 percent, though refiners can’t pull any further. Automakers, engine manufacturers, AAA, and a American Petroleum Institute have all lobbied opposite E15, a 15 percent blend, claiming it would lead to beforehand member failures. Without transfer some-more ethanol—or other octane boosters like lead and MTBE, that were outlawed for highway use in 1996 and 2006, respectively—refiners have gifted an “octane necessity that compulsory refiners and blenders to acquire some-more costly sources of octane,” a EIA said.

This isn’t to assume your internal hire isn’t also stuffing a increase when reward gas shoots adult in price. But before we dispute about profitable 25 percent some-more for premium, know a army operative opposite you before a initial dump hits your tank.

A Whole Lotta Soul: We Embark on a 40,000-Mile Adventure in a Kia Soul Turbo

More than one rarely regarded philosopher has claimed that everybody’s got a soul. Which, with a wily blink about capitals and capitalization, Kia is focussed on rambling into everybody drives a Soul. Kia’s execs infrequently seem as astounded as anyone else to see a elementary shoebox of a travel apparatus augmenting like so many highway rodents, though it has turn a brand’s tip seller, with some-more than 145,000 American buyers in 2016 lifting their hands to say, “Yes, please—I’ll take one of those.” That’s about 5 times a series who sprang for a Rio.

The Soul is customarily personal as a subcompact crossover formed on a Rio platform, that brings us to another surprise: The tiny speculator scampered off with a 10Best Trucks and SUVs award, anchoring a affordable-and-parkable finish of a spectrum. One reason was a 2017 model’s new choice of a turbocharged inline-four creation 201 horsepower, adequate to make it a speedster in a difficulty that also includes a Jeep Renegade, a Mazda CX-3, and a Honda HR-V. The pre-turbo Soul placed second in a six-way comparison test, in partial since it lacks an all-wheel-drive option, something all a others had. (For what it’s worth, Kia mostly calls a Soul an “urban newcomer vehicle” rather than a crossover. That’s a categorization not widely famous in a attention though one that tacitly acknowledges a miss of off-road capability.)

To see what it’s all about, we’ve usually combined to a long-term swift a 2017 Soul Turbo—or, in Kia parlance, a Soul Exclaim, rendered “Soul !” on a window plaque though nowhere on a automobile itself. We’re subjecting it to 40,000 miles of tough labor in use to a perfectionist staff. We put it to work early in a ancillary purpose to an outward family wedding, where a high and atmospheric load reason straightforwardly accommodated all a libation coolers, grass tools, and infrequently made decorations we threw during it.

The 24 cubic feet of load ability comes customary on each Soul, that starts during $16,995 with a bottom engine, a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter inline-four creation 130 horsepower and corresponding to a primer transmission. The mid-grade choice is a 161-hp 2.0-liter 4 with a six-speed automatic. You contingency step adult to a Exclaim trim turn to get a car’s turbocharged 1.6-liter joined to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, that puts your starting cost during $23,695.

Opting for a many absolute hamster circle underneath a hood brings a lot of other apparatus as well, including involuntary meridian control with an ionizer, leather and cloth upholstery, a flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering circle dirty with buttons, and more. Also customary during this turn are 18-inch aluminum wheels, a drive-mode selector, and red-stripe highlights on a extraneous that make a Titanium Gray instance demeanour like a 1960s-era high-top sneaker, such as a PF Flyer or a Converse All-Star, with an accent on a side of a solitary (a joke event we’ll skip this time—you’re welcome).

We afterwards indulged in some checking of a choice boxes, starting with a $3000 Technology package. So, nonetheless all Exclaims have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, we also have an in-car navigation complement with an 8.0-inch display, a Harman/Kardon audio complement (with orator lights!), HID low-beam headlights, LED haze lamps and taillights, power-folding outward mirrors, power-adjustable seats in both front positions (the driver’s has lumbar support), feverishness for a front and outboard-rear seats, a exhilarated steering wheel, blind-spot monitoring, and USB charging ports in a core console.

Our Soul also ached for a breathtaking sunroof with that to suffer a 6 weeks of annual Michigan sunshine, adding another grand to a cost while sacrificing a ascent points for a roof shelve (a preference that in a prolonged run competence infer argumentative among a ranks). We also ticked a boxes for carpeted building mats ($125) and for a behind spoiler ($395). All in, you’re looking during a $28,215 Soul, that competence send some buyers looking for vehicles one category larger, such as a Mazda CX-5. The cost also triggers some grousing about a miss of paddle shifters for autocratic a gearbox and about how a behind seats don’t overlay entirely flat.

On a outing to a exam track, a long-termer incited in somewhat improved opening numbers than did a Soul Turbo we tested earlier—but usually after we filled it with 93-octane reward fuel. Compared with a formula on regular, a Soul was 0.4 second quicker to 60 mph (6.3 seconds in a category where 9 is normal) and lonesome a quarter-mile 0.3 second sooner, going 2 mph faster. That 0.3-second domain also relates to a 30-to-50-mph and 50-to-70-mph runs, so when we need to dart around Winnebagos on a behind roads, premium-grade fuel is value a investment.

We’ve remarkable no glitches in a Kia’s initial month in service, and a usually fumble was when an unsecured cooler full of soda flipped brazen and doused us in ice. Clean-up was elementary (even after conference a hiss of an overcharged can of lemon-lime Faygo underneath a newcomer seat), and we put a Soul behind to work.

No one has sealed adult for a multistate journey in it, so far, though for a daily chores of travelling and shopping, a Soul is a tiny consternation to that a turbo engine now adds an component of scoot.

Months in Fleet: 1 month Current Mileage: 2613 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 28 mpg Fuel Tank Size: 14.2 gal Fuel Range: 390 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0

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2017 Audi A4 In-Depth Review: This Impeccable Sport-Luxury Sedan Aces Nearly Every Test

Overall Rating:

The A4 embodies all we adore about Audi: clever performance, complicated design, modernized technology, and wealthy comfort. This latest version, all new for 2017, is a rival entry-luxury sedan that ideally toes a line between sportiness and luxury. The extraneous is understated—some competence contend too most so—but it slips by a breeze with nary a wheeze transmitted to a interior. A manly turbocharged engine invigorates a pushing experience, while a far-reaching array of tech options adds cutting-edge sophistication.

What’s New for 2017?

The A4 is redesigned for 2017 and so rides on a new chassis, facilities an updated turbocharged inline-four engine, and integrates all sorts of new features. A fuel-economy-focused chronicle of a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four, famous as a Ultra, joins a lineup.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

Audi offers a six-speed primer delivery on all A4 2.0T models versed with Quattro all-wheel drive; that’s what we’d name for a increasing motorist rendezvous (#savethemanuals). Standard facilities include:

• A 180-watt 10-speaker audio complement with a singular CD player
• 7.0-inch core infotainment arrangement with voice control
• Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
• Bluetooth streaming audio and voice authority
• Sliding/tilting sunroof
• Remote keyless entry

We’d also hack adult $3800 for a mid-level Premium Plus trim, that adds a prolonged list of acquire niceties including exhilarated front seats, push-button start, and a 755-watt 19-speaker Bang Olufsen audio complement with SiriusXM satellite radio. Choosing a Premium Plus trim allows we to name a Technology package ($3250), that includes a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit arrangement along with an 8.3-inch core infotainment display, navigation, and back cross-traffic assist.

On a Premium trim, a better-looking 18-inch wheels produce an $800 surcharge over a customary 17-inch circle option, so we conclude that they come customary on a Premium Plus and Prestige. We didn’t exam a 19-inch wheels that are accessible with a Sport package, though going to that distance competence concede a car’s well-spoken float quality.

Our well-equipped A4 stickers during a high $47,400 though includes an considerable volume of tech. If you’re antithetic to changeable for yourself, a seven-speed dual-clutch involuntary delivery is a no-cost option. Unfortunately, Audi does assign $575 for any paint tone other than white or black.

In Depth: 2017 Audi A4

Eight into 11 Will Go: Aston Martin Debuts AMG V-8 in DB11


We’ve been revelation we about Aston Martin’s understanding to use a Mercedes-AMG twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine for several years, yet now we’re saying a initial fruit of a partnership. Not, as creatively expected, in a new Vantage—which will come after this year—but rather in the recently launched DB11, where it will offer alongside Aston Martin’s possess twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V-12.

The DB11 V-8 will be suggested during this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, and nonetheless a smaller engine allows a reduction costly track to DB11 ownership, it’s tough to report it regulating coarse terms like “entry level” or “base.” For starters, it will beget 503 horsepower, 97 hp reduction than a twin-turbo 12-cylinder yet still a some-more than adequate sufficiency for many people; that’s a same outlay that Mercedes claims for a S chronicle of the AMG C63 regulating a engine. Aston claims a 4.0-second zero-to-62-mph time for a new car, only 0.1 second adrift from a central guess for a V-12, nonetheless a V-8’s 187-mph tip speed falls 13 mph brief of a explain for a big-hearted stablemate.

Aston’s specific changes to a engine from Mercedes-AMG–spec embody a possess wet-sump oiling system, atmosphere intake, and exhaust; new engine mounts; and new ECU program with reprogrammed engine and stifle mapping. The V-8 also pares a substantial volume of mass from a DB, subtracting 254 pounds from a claimed quell weight, dropping this to 3880 pounds. Aston Martin describes a smaller engine as giving a DB11 an increasing clarity of lively and reckons it will interest over a V-12 to those “drawn to a polished and gentle GT with a some-more sporting bias.”

Although both V-8 and V-12 variants get a same customary apparatus and tone and trim choices, there are some pointed visible differences, with a V-8 automobile carrying dim headlamp bezels and dual carp vents instead of a 4 propitious to a V-12.

When we spoke to Aston Martin boss and CEO Andy Palmer about a automobile progressing in a year, he pronounced that a V-8 is directed essentially during markets that charge aloft taxation rates on cars with larger-displacement engines. “In China you’ve got a taxation threshold during 4.0 liters, so a disproportion between that and a 5.2-liter engine is huge in terms of cost,” he explained.

That acknowledged, we’d be astounded if a new powerplant didn’t strive a clever interest to those looking for a some-more energetic take on a DB11. We think that, with some-more than 250 pounds reduction mass (most of it entrance off a front axle), we’ll find that a V-8 is a sharper-handling choice in a DB11 line, nonetheless we’ll have to haven visualisation until we expostulate it. It would be similar, though, to a conditions with a Mercedes-AMG S-class coupes, in that a S63 V-8 is some-more nimble than a V-12–powered S65.

Customers can sequence a V-8 DB11 immediately, with U.S. deliveries set to start in a fall. The endorsed sell cost of $198,995 represents a $17,500 assets over a starting cost of a V-12; even if you’re Aston-rich, that’s still a cube of change.