Millennials Car Guide

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Feb 112015


At the forefront of the digital revolution, Millennials are proving to be a game changing generation. While they appreciate ancient history, e.g. the 1960s and 70s, this generation will also strike the nail in the coffin, not just to technology favored by the Baby Boomers who grew up in those decades (hasta la vista CD players), but to the social conventions of the day, e.g. marriage first, babies later.

What really distinguishes this generation is its open-mindedness and willingness to pursue the unconventional. It’s in this spirit that we compiled our Millennials Car Guide. Choosing among vehicles actually tested for at least a week by Decisive Latino, we selected nameplates that combine fun, affordability, fuel economy, and innovation. Tweet us @decisivelatino if you agree, or not.


Bang for the Buck

2013-01-23 sonicsquirrel2

Chevy Sonic

Hoping to captivate this market, Chevy studied Millennials intensely before introducing the 2012 Sonic in 2011.

Fuel efficient by virtue of its size, the subcompact, comes with a five-speed manual transmission matched to a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. It should achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy of 26 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The available 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, however, will achieve an estimated 40 mpg on the highway, with a six-speed manual. I averaged 34.4 mpg on the test drive. A six-speed automatic is also available.

Offered in two body styles—a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback—the Sonic provides hill-hold technology on all models that will help novices master the manual transmission and keep all models from rolling back on an incline.

StabiliTrak, electronic brake assist, anti-lock brakes, and OnStar are also standard. A free subscription to Onstar for six months is one thing but Chevy adds the MyChevrolet mobile app that gives owners, i.e. parents, remote access to the vehicle.

The entertainment system reflects the millennial affinity for new technology—a CD player is standard on the LT trim only.

Pricing for the 2014 Sonic starts at $14,995.


2015 Soul

2015 Soul

Kia Soul

The 2015 Kia Soul compact five-door hatchback has captured its segment with the right combination of utility and fun. Redesigned for 2014, Kia designers opted to keep the same bug-like front fascia as well as the silhouette.

More substantive changes include a stiffer chassis that is longer and wider, adding interior room, and an improved ride vis-à-vis heavily revised front and rear suspension systems.

Also adding to the Soul’s upgrades is the standard Flex Steer system that allows the driver to select from three distinct steering settings, Comfort, Normal and Sport, for added oomph in certain situations, e.g. entering a freeway.

The base model receives the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with gasoline direct injection (GDI), 130-horsepower and 118 lbs.–ft. of torque. A new, more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder is available as is a six-speed automatic with idle, stop, and go, and this combination also delivers the best EPA city/highway estimated fuel economy, 24/31 mpg. A six-speed manual is only available on the base model.

Techies will appreciate the optional UVO infotainment system with Pandora preloaded into the headunit and accessible through the touch screen and Voice Command.

Pricing for the 2015 Soul starts at $15,900.

Sporty Fun

2014 Fiat 500 Abarth

Fiat Abarth

Named for the famous racer and car builder Karl Abarth, the Fiat 500 Abarth emerged in 2012. This sporty version of the 500 retains its cute appeal but revs ups its performance so that the driving experience sets it far apart from its siblings.

It gets power from the 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo engine with 160 horses, matched to a five-speed manual transmission. While the 2015 model year will add an optional six-speed automatic transmission, Millennials may want to embrace the simpler manual technology, it’s worth it.

The 500c cabrio or open-top version was added last year.

Parents will appreciate the 35 active safety features including side curtain and knee airbags, and electronic stability control, while Millennials will like its fuel economy, an EPA estimated city/highway of 24/38 mpg, and wonderful engine rumble.

It also comes with an AM/FM stereo with CD player and auxiliary input jacks, air conditioning, a leather wrapped cluster brow with accent stitching, and the Blue & Me hands-free communication system. The Beats by Dr. Dre audio system is optional. The test model included fabulous red leather seats.

Pricing for the 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth starts at $23,045.

2014 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe

2014 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe

Honda Accord Coupe

Redesigned for 2013, the Accord and its two-door sibling, the Coupe, brought Honda back to the plus side when it came to design and technology.  For Millennials, the Coupe offers a more age appropriate version of a car that continues to win accolades for reliability and value.

Powered by either the standard four-cylinder or optional V6, the Accord Coupe offers a choice between a six-speed manual or automatic transmission and the continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The CVT earns the best fuel economy, a city/highway EPA estimated 26/29 mpg.  The test model came with the optional automatic and averaged 23.8 mpg.

Standard features on the new Accord include Bluetooth HandsFreeLink with audio streaming, USB/iPod integration, a rearview camera, an audio/information screen, and an Eco Assist driving system. The instrument cluster is backlit and fades from white to green to indicate fuel-efficient driving. It’s a nice touch.

New technology also includes the available lane change warning system that engages a camera view in the center console display screen when switching lanes on the right. The tip of the driver’s side mirror provides a better view into the left lane.

Pricing for the 2014 Honda Accord Coupe starts at $24,415.


Scion tC

Scion may be the one brand that set its sights on the younger generation from the get-go, although at the time is was Generation X.  Its no haggle pricing and opportunities to customize the interior, from lighting choices to sound systems, has brought a younger buyer to its parent company, Toyota. Affordable yet distinctive, Scions should appeal to Millennials, particularly, the tC.

Redesigned for 2014, the super sporty coupe includes a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with 179 horsepower and can be matched to either a six-speed manual transmission or an updated six-speed automatic with Dynamic Rev Management technology, adopted from the FR-S. On the test drive, the manual scooted through traffic and enhanced the four-cylinder’s acceleration nicely.

Inspiring more aggressive driving, the tC still managed an above average fuel economy of 27.3 mpg.

It’s a fun car and the new exterior adds to its appeal. The long list of standard features includes a panoramic sunroof, a 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen, Bluetooth and HD radio, a leather trimmed steering wheel, and cruise control.

The three-door liftgate configuration adds versatility.

Pricing for the 2015 tC starts at $19,965.

Green and Groovy

2015 Sonata Hybrid

2015 Sonata Hybrid


Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

No list of vehicles for Millennials could exclude hybrids, but in this case, we searched outside the box among the vehicles actually tested and we chose the Sonata Hybrid.

Lightweight and thermally stable, its lithium-polymer battery pack is expected to last through the normal lifespan of the car. Combined with an electric motor, hybrid starter generator, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission, the hybrid is expected to achieve 36 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway. The test model, or Limited, averaged 39.5 mpg and at the end of a week loan, and 457.3 miles traveled, it still had more than one-quarter of a tank left.

It also includes colorful displays on a 4.2-inch TFT display that lets the driver scroll through a variety of screens, from seeing the hybrids inner workings, to watching your Eco score grow.

By nature, hybrids tend to live at the higher end of trim levels, and with that, offer more standard features.

Fancy ones like a rearview camera, chrome exterior door handles, dual-zone air conditioning, touchscreen color audio, HD radio, integrated Bluetooth, and the Hyundai Blue Link Telematics system are standard.

Pricing for the 2014 Sonata Hybrid starts at $26,810.

MY2014 Mazda 3

MY2014 Mazda 3


Mazda adopted its own fuel-efficient technology, SKYACTIVE, to lower its carbon footprint and compete with hybrids. The latest version of the Mazda3, sedan or compact five-door hatchback, adds impressive styling, or Kodo “soul of motion” to its advantage.

The first Mazda model to include SKYACTIVE technology, the Mazda3 begins its the third-generation, lighter and lower than its predecessor.

Powered by two engine choices—a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter and a larger SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter—it also comes with a choice of two transmissions—a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.

Optimum fuel efficiency comes from the automatic on the sedan with an EPA city/highway estimate of 30/41 mpg. The test model, Mazda3 Grand Touring hatchback, achieved an average mpg of 28.3.

It also had a beautifully appointed interior with two-toned leather seats and red accent stitching.

Mazda was the first to offer a blind spot monitor on a compact and it’s still available on the 3 with the GT Technology package that also includes regenerative braking and active grille shutters for better fuel efficiency.

Available in a sedan or the five-door, we recommend the later for its added versatility.

Pricing for the 2014 Mazda3 five-door starts at $19,740.

Parental Preference


Subaru Legacy

Subaru will redesign the Legacy for 2015. Whether you prefer the look of the 2014 or the new model, what’s underneath makes the Subaru a good choice for Millennials and one that parents will approve.

All Subarus come with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD), and while it may hinder fuel economy slightly, what it adds in safety and on-road confidence give it an advantage over its competitors.

Powered by the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder BOXER engine, the 2015 Subaru Legacy should achieve an EPA city/highway fuel economy rating of 26/36 mpg. The optional 3.6-liter six-cylinder should achieve 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The test model, Legacy 2.5i Sport averaged 26.1 mpg.

Both are matched with the Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). The six-speed manual, unfortunately, is no longer available.

While Subaru seemed to lag behind in technology, it’s caught up with the Legacy offering the highly rated EyeSight driver-assist front crash prevention system. Other optional technology includes the Rear Vehicle Detection System featuring Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Unique creature comforts include heated cloth seats.

Pricing for the 2014 Subaru Legacy starts at $21,090. The 2015 pricing starts at $22,490.

Nissan X-Trail 2015.

Nissan X-Trail 2015.

Nissan Rogue

While some Millennials can afford to buy their own car, most will need help from Mom and Dad. Affordability and quality will always be considered but parents may also want to minimize temptation. The Nissan Rogue fits the bill plus it’ll come in handy when relocating during the college years.

First introduced for the 2008 model year, the all-new 2014 Nissan Rogue offers optional third-row seating, expanding its passenger volume to seven. Every seat except the driver’s folds down and the class-exclusive Divide-N-Hide Cargo System enhances its versatility with 18 adjustable variations (two-row models) between the cargo and occupant areas.

Parents will also appreciate available safety features like the blind spot and lane departure warning systems, and forward collision warning.  The rearview camera is standard, but Nissan’s 360-view camera, or Around View monitor, is also available.

Configured in AWD or front-wheel drive, the latter should achieve the best city/highway fuel economy from the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and CVT of 26/33 mpg. The test model averaged 27 mpg.

Standard features include air conditioning, AM/FM stereo, steering wheel controls, remote keyless entry, and a drive computer.

Pricing for the 2014 Rogue starts at $23,650.



Toyota Recalls Certain Prius V Models

 Recalls  Comments Off on Toyota Recalls Certain Prius V Models
Feb 112015


Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., today announced plans to conduct a safety recall of approximately 5,000 Model Year 2014-2015 Prius V vehicles.

In the involved vehicles, the front passenger seat is equipped with an Occupant Classification System (OCS), which activates / deactivates the passenger seat air bag system depending on the weight of the seat occupant.  There is a possibility that some OCS’s may not have been calibrated properly during the vehicle manufacturing process.  Under some conditions, this could result in no deployment of an airbag, increasing the risk of an injury to a front seat passenger in the event of crash.

Toyota is not aware of any injuries or fatalities caused by this condition.

Owners of the involved vehicles will receive a notification by first class mail.  Toyota dealers will recalibrate the Occupant Classification System properly.

Detailed information is available at www.toyota.com/recall and by calling Toyota Customer Service at 1-800-331-4331.

GM Announces Six Recalls for Varying Safety Issues

 Recalls  Comments Off on GM Announces Six Recalls for Varying Safety Issues
Feb 112015


DETROIT – General Motors today announced six safety recalls covering 717,949 recent model vehicles in the U.S.

“These recalls signify how we’ve enhanced our approach to safety,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president, Global Vehicle Safety. “We are bringing greater rigor and discipline to our analysis and decision making. If we identify an issue – large or small – that might affect the safety of our customers, we will act decisively.”

The recalls cover:

414,333 2011-2012 model year Chevrolet Camaro; 2010-2012 model year Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain; 2011-2012 Buick Regal and LaCrosse; and 2010-2012 Cadillac SRX models in the U.S. equipped with power height adjustable driver or front passenger seat structures. In these vehicles, the bolt that secures the height adjuster actuator may become loose or fall out. If the bolt falls out, the seat will move up and down freely because it is no longer attached at the height adjuster. The vehicles are safe to drive, but customers should not use the power height adjustable feature until dealers can replace the height adjuster bolt. GM is aware of one crash and three injuries but no fatalities related to this condition.

124,007 model year 2014 Chevrolet Caprice, 2014 Chevrolet SS, 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado LD and HD, 2013-2014 Cadillac ATS, 2014 Cadillac CTS, 2014 Cadillac ELR; 2013-2014 Buick Encore; and 2014-2015 GMC Sierra LD and HD vehicles because certain vehicles may have an incomplete weld on the seat hook bracket assembly. A loss of power to a laser welding machine may have resulted in an incomplete weld, according to data collected from the machine between July 2013 and January 2014. Dealers will inspect the weld. If it is sufficient, no further action is necessary. If it is insufficient, dealers will replace the lower seat track at no charge. Less than 1 percent of welds are expected to require seat track replacement. GM is unaware of any crashes or injuries as a result of this issue.

120,426 2011-2013 model year Buick Regal and 2013 model year Chevrolet Malibus equipped with front turn signals that use two bulbs in each front turn signal. While the driver would get a rapidly flashing turn signal arrow in the instrument cluster if both bulbs in one turn signal were burned out; if only one bulb on either side burns out, there would be no signal to the driver. Dealers will reprogram the body control module to fix the condition. GM knows of no crashes, injuries or complaints related to this issue.

57,242 2014 Chevrolet Impalas equipped with belt-drive electric power steering. On certain vehicles, customers may experience reduced or no power steering assist at start-up or while driving due to a poor electrical ground connection to the Power Steering Control Module. If power steering is lost, a warning message is displayed on the Driver Information Center and a chime sounds. Steering control can be maintained because the vehicle will revert to manual steering mode, but would require greater driver effort particularly at low vehicle speeds. Paint may have seeped behind the nut on the power steering control module ground stud. Dealers will inspect and clean paint from behind the ground nut, re-torque the nut and update the power steering control module software at no charge. GM is aware of one crash but no injuries or fatalities related to this condition.

1,919 2014-2015 Chevrolet Sparks imported from Korea that were assembled with a lower control arm bolt not fastened to specification. The condition could result in noise from the front suspension and separation of the lower control arm from the steering knuckle while driving resulting in loss of steering control. Dealers will inspect the left and right hand lower control arm attaching bolts to assure they are tightened to specification. GM knows of no crashes, injuries or fatalities related to this condition.

22 2015 model year Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/Yukon Denali vehicles in the U.S. In these vehicles, the roof carriers may have been attached with the wrong retaining nuts, resulting in holes or tears in the roof rail air bags if they deploy. Eight of these vehicles are in dealer stock and will be repaired before being sold.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com

Reviews—2015 Chrysler 200

 Chrysler, Reviews  Comments Off on Reviews—2015 Chrysler 200
Jul 152014

2015 Chrysler 200C

The midsize car segment is the biggest and most competitive in the country. Imports from Honda and Toyota dominate it, particularly popular among Latino car buyers. Chrysler hopes to compete with its all-new 2015 200 midsize sedan. Its good looks and amenities will certainly give it game.

“The all-new Chrysler 200 lays the groundwork for the future of the Chrysler Brand,” says Al Gardner, president and CEO—Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “It involved a three-year process because we wanted to build something fantastic.”

This has not been a good segment for Chrysler, starting with the 200’s precursor, the Sebring. The hapless sedan jus2015_chrysler_200_3t couldn’t capture consumer appeal. At the recent launch in Louisville, Kentucky, however, the new 200 gained immediate attention for its styling. The “new face of Chrysler” includes the updated Chrysler winged badge, signature light pipe headlamps, standard LED tail lamps, rear spoiler, and a European profile. Like the Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee before it, the 200 will also be based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform.

But in a segment this competitive, the advantage usually comes down to the details and the 200 stands out with game changing technology.

For starters, it’s the first Chrysler product to feature the nine-speed automatic transmission, standard on all 200s. The clear star of this driving experience in Louisville, additional gear ratios optimize performance by precisely matching the gear state to the most efficient engine operating condition. This was evident, from zero-60 acceleration to deceleration on curvy roads. There’s also a sport-driving mode for added performance.

2015 Chrysler 200S

The transmission is not only a performance enhancer, it’s a fuel saver. Powered by two available engines, the base inline 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 184 horsepower and has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 23 miles per gallon (mpg)  in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Considered best in class, the available 3.6-liter V6 offers 295 horses. On the road, the 200 was quiet and peppy, even with the base four-cylinder engine.

For car buyers who appreciate the added control of all-wheel-drive (AWD) but not the loss of fuel economy, the 200 offers AWD technology that engages only when it detects slippage, operating in front wheel drive the majority of the time to save fuel.

2015_chrysler_200_2No discussion of technology can exclude safety features and the 200 offers 60 of them, more than its competitors. Standard features include airbags with knee protection and side curtains, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and traction control. Available features like ParkSense rear backup sensors, ParkView rear backup camera, blind spot monitoring, and Rear Cross Path Detection are well worth the added investment. Unfortunately, they’re not available throughout the lineup.

On the inside, timeless American design based on simple elegance that includes high-quality materials, epitomized by the Eames chair, Airstream travel trailers, or Apple iPhone, inspired the 200’s designers. Attention to detail is apparent, like the blue backlit instrument cluster with an available seven-inch configurable display, the pass through storage space below the center stack with rubber lining stamped with the Detroit skyline, or the sliding armrest and storage. Storage, in general, on the new 200 is pretty plentiful.

2015 Chrysler 200S

The use of quality materials includes available leather seating with accent piping and real wood accents, a segment exclusive.

The base trim model, LX, is basically sold as-is but does include keyless entry, push-button ignition, air conditioning, a steering wheel with audio controls, the vehicle information center in the instrument cluster, and a Uconnect five-inch touch screen display for the AM/FM stereo. CD players are optional across the lineup.

Available in four trim levels, pricing for the 2015 200, including destination fees,  starts at $22,695.