Sunday, April 20, 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

Bay Area makes growth plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Supervisor candidates vary on Plan Bay Area

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 14 Comments | Gallery

Earth Day means cleanup Day for Suisun City

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Hop to it: Couple lights up home, yard for Easter

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1

Ranking the best Bay Area athletes

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
The Edge hosts Easter egg hunt

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3

Alooma Temple keeps children in mind

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield author to speak at women’s expo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Piano scholarship competition set in Vallejo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
The resurrection has changed the lives of Christians

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3

 
Armijo graduate completes basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: C4

 
Understanding your health insurance

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: D4, 1 Comment

 
Record Store Day a commercial hit

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Easter egg hunt brings out the smiles

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. joins Fairfield coffee corridor

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7, 6 Comments | Gallery

City sets plan to dispose of property assets

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Counties tell Brown they need money for his law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
San Francisco probe leading to entrapment claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Exhibit recreates Warhol’s 1964 World’s Fair mural

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Documents detail another delayed GM recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

At barricades, Ukraine insurgents await Easter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Official: 3 bodies retrieved from inside ferry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Costa Rican a celebrity after certified miracle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Government … for the government?

By Bill James | From Page: A8, 9 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Neighborhood speeders don’t get it

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

 
Why would a person do this?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Sound off for April 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Jeb Bush, love, and today’s GOP

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
 
.

Living

Today in History for April 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Bill Nye says he underestimated debate’s impact

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3, 10 Comments

 
Book details lives of cloistered nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Horoscopes for April 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D4

 
Pete spends weekends at my house but he never invites me to his

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D4

.

Entertainment

Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Tartt, Goodwin finalists for Carnegie medals

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

New book on fracking illuminates pros, cons

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

A’s score 3 in 9th, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Warriors beat Clippers 109-105 in playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Kings, Sharks look to put Game 1 in past

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stults, Padres hand Giants third straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Hawks take 1-0 lead by rolling past Pacers 101-93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raptors GM Ujiri uses profanity about Brooklyn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Williams scores 24 as Nets beat Raptors 94-87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Durant leads Thunder past Grizzlies 100-86

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Federer beats injured Djokovic to reach final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Indians set two new school records for track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Wie shoots 67, wins LPGA LOTTE Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Rapids, Earthquakes play to scoreless tie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Travis Bowl Highlights

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Jimenez leads Langer by 1 shot in Greater Gwinnett

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Stars Recreation bowling results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Donald shoots 66, takes lead at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Big names among prospective Buffalo Bills buyers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Award-winning archery champ shoots with his teeth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Survivors keep busy as Boston Marathon approaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Business

Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
US delays review of contentious Keystone pipeline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Subscription sample boxes shake up beauty routines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Girls from modest families get lift in technology

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Haunted house part of San Antonio apartment lofts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

 
Recalls this week: lanterns, exercise devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

Review: Siri-like Cortana fills Windows phone gap

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Obituaries

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Margaret Elizabeth Silva

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Lloyd G. Hoffmeister

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Ramon Isidro

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Rogelio Tinoco-Zamudio

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
James Leroy Barbour

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

William Paul Wehrly

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics