Thursday, April 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Review: Regular rides gain perks

By PETER COUTURE and LYRA SOLOCHEK

c.2012 Tampa Bay Times@

At least in automobiles, the trickle-down effect was at work in 2012, where entertainment and safety features once found only in luxury cars became more available in modest models. Here’s some of what we liked this year.

The best got even better

We were astounded by the performance of the 2012 Nissan GT-R, with its 530 horsepower, superb handling and a reasonable price for a supercar. But for 2013, Nissan tweaked it

further to produce 545 horsepower, with 0-60 mph estimated to be around 2.8 seconds. That’s close to the acceleration of the $2 million-plus Bugatti Veyron. So for around $100K, the GT-R is a steal. We drove the 2013 Black Edition, which sports a handcrafted carbon-fiber spoiler, 20-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels, and red and black leather Recaro seats. But watch that speedometer. It’s easy to exceed speed limits without even noticing.

Noteworthy makeovers

Several models got makeovers this year. Among the most notable is the Honda Accord. The redesign tweaked the exterior with more contemporary lines. Inside, the already comfortable cabin was refined even further with better materials and features. The handsome coupe version is a surprise in the performance department and instantly became one of our favorites.

Porsche also freshened its lineup. The 911 Carrera has a flatter, longer and aerodynamic look, while maintaining the iconic designs of a Porsche. The rear-engine coupe is built lighter and is more powerful. Porsche’s mid-engine convertible Boxster also got a facelift. The Boxster drives so well that we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a redesigned Cayman.

The Ford Fusion used to be a rather bland midsize sedan that suffered in comparison to its more stylish import competition. No more. The new Fusion sports an Aston Martin-inspired grille, slender headlights and stately lines from front to back. The 240-horsepower, 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine we tested gives it a peppy ride. Complaints about the MyFord Touch infotainment systems — many of them valid — aren’t enough to steer us clear of the Fusion, or any Ford.

Hyundai’s Azera was barely a blip on the full-size sedan radar. But the 2012 Azera changes that with a well-appointed cabin and an appearance that takes the best cues from two of our favorite sedans: Hyundai’s Sonata and its cousin, the Kia Optima. It would be a shame to overlook the Azera.

Domestics gaining ground

While not as bold as Ford’s Fusion, Chevrolet’s new Malibu shed its frumpy looks for a more athletic appearance with design influences from its sporty sibling, the Camaro. Chevy also took a more serious run at small cars. We liked its Sonic.

Dodge Dart is back. The compact sedan is a mashup of modern and retro, with a comfortable ride to compete well with others in its class.

Sleek people haulers

It’s kind of odd-looking, but the new Nissan Quest minivan manages to haul your kids and your stuff in style and comfort.

Mazda’s CX-5 combines the convenience of an SUV with good gas mileage thanks to the new SkyActiv technology.

With the new V-6 engine, the Cadillac SRX crossover not only has the looks, but oomph, too. That powerplant also found a home in GMC’s Terrain, which got a luxury makeover with a new and feature-laden Denali edition. Pricey but practical.

Innovations

Becoming more common is Bluetooth audio, which streams music from your smartphone or mobile device without a cord. Just pair your phone to the car’s audio system. When there’s a call, music pauses, then resumes when you hang up.

LED lights are more popular, especially as accent lighting for headlights. The lights no longer are just for luxury cars. The Magic Sky Control by Mercedes-Benz is pure genius. Light-blocking crystals embedded in the glass are altered with electrical charges, which lightens the glass and makes it transparent. Turn the feature off, and it goes back to a dark roof.

Attention to details

The Porsche Boxster’s rear spoiler is integrated into the taillight design.

The wood- grain trim of the Jaguar XJ sedan is bold and beautiful.

Storage is always a premium, especially in a compact car. The Dodge Dart gives passengers extra space with its hidden bin, which sits under the passenger seat cushion.

Scripps Howard News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Travis lines up 2 days of aviation excellence

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Congressman talks Travis, water

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Appreciate how good we have it now

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

 
Review set for $2M pizza case in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Cherokee Nation to offer photo IDs at Rush Ranch

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3

 
Dixon May Fair has deals on advance tickets

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Accused machete attacker testifies in trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
Garamendi talks love, pro football and Peace Corps

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

All Things Art Festival organizers seek artists, vendors

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Author to sign books at Vacaville Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Kroc Center women schedule inaugural Taster Tea

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Theme park welcomes seal pup

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Mother’s Day fair returns to Suisun waterfront

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

 
Docents to lead paddling tour in marsh

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Juneteenth committee extends vendors, exhibitors deadline

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Congressional Art Competition is back

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Spilled tomato juice case set for trial

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Report: Shots fired from car on Clay Bank Road

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A5

Fairfield police log: April 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: April 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Syrian activists accuse Assad of new gas attacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Airport official: Teen had no clue he was in Maui

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Murder charge for Vallejo man in head-on crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California bill reignites affirmative action fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Andy Lopez protest leads to school campus lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Navy Cross bestowed on heroic Marine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Bashtag: NYPD Twitter campaign backfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Soldier convicted in WikiLeaks case gets new name

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

US weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Gun carry rights expanded in Ga. under new law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

First lady announces one-stop job site for vets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Rail safety effort marred by squabbling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Small Wyoming town evacuated after gas explosion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Lawyer: US man held in Cuba seeks to go home soon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Captain who left doomed ferry had 40 years at sea

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Russian social media CEO quits, flees country

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Amid Russia warning, Ukraine is in a security bind

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Palestinian rivals to try again for unity deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
State senators get ethics training after scandals

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

Some Earth Day boos and cheers

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A11

 
Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

Be the first and give specifics

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
What we can do about crime

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Castro at odds with mentor on deportations

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

When Joe’s mad at me, he also ignores my 7-year-old son

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes for April 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Amazon snares classic shows in deal with HBO

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Jodie Foster weds artist Alexandra Hedison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Singer Chris Brown’s DC trial delayed for months

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Performing dogs go big after $1 million TV prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

Girls soccer update: Armijo, Vanden on way to playoffs

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Mustangs swim to sweep of Indians

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Warriors, Clippers to meet in Oakland for Game 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sharks confident with chance to sweep LA Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Perez helps Rangers sweep A’s with 3-0 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Party a century in the making for Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

A’s reject 10-year Coliseum lease offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prep softball: Vanden rolls to 14-0 win over Fairfield

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Prep badminton: Unbeaten Mustangs cruise past Crushers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Prep boys golf: Vikings suffer SCAC loss to Panthers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Sanchez’s slam in 11th helps Giants beat Rox 12-10

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Prep track: Armijo girls get win in MEL 4-way meet

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Emmert supports more efficient, effective NCAA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Phelps having fun in his return to swimming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Suns’ Dragic honored as NBA’s Most Improved Player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seahawks to open NFL season vs. Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Oldest living ex-MLB player dies in Cuba at 102

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Business

Wellness programs grow more popular with employers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Sales of new US homes plunge 14.5 percent in March

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Buffett disapproves of Coca-Cola’s pay plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Amazon snares classic shows in deal with HBO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
US stocks edge lower after a six-day rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Facebook 1Q results soar; CFO to step down

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Obituaries

Phyllis J. Miller

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jean Sophia Ruckdeshel

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert James Carty Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dondi Martin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard Of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9