MAY 2011
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Motoring

SCION tC DELIVERS A ‘COOL’ PERFORMANCE

Test-drive reviews by NITISH S. RELE, motoringtampabay@gmail.com

The 2011 Scion tC has not just been redesigned but also packs more punch if we can take the liberty of calling it that. Horsepower is up by 19, pounds-feet of torque increase by 11 and now you have a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission from the previous 4 or 5 speed. What more can one ask for in a starter car? Really!

The five-passenger sporty hatchback is equipped with a 2.5-liter, DOHC inline-4 cylinder engine, which develops 180 hp @ 6000 rpm and 174 pounds-feet of torque @ 4100 rpm. Suspension is handled adequately via a MacPherson strut front and a double-wishbone rear. The Electric Power Steering is direct and precise, making it effortless to place the car in corners.

Sitting on 18-inch wheels, the revamped front-wheel-drive tC acquires an even sleeker front grille flanked by projector-beam headlights, protruding fender flares, wraparound window graphics and, of course, body-color mirrors and door handles. The four-spoke tilt/telescopic steering column with a flat bottom catches your eye as you take the six-way and height-adjustable driver’s seat. Also striking are the speedometer and tachometer with large meters and needle indicators. Other standard amenities include air-conditioning, cruise control, 60/40 recline-fold rear seat, driver information center, the Pioneer 300-watt stereo system and a USB port with iPod connectivity for music lovers.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, front active headrests, Vehicle Stability Control and traction control, three-point front seatbelts with pretensioners and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.

The tC should be a perfect fit for the young driver in the family. It is affordable, sporty, agile and stylish with the right amount of power to deliver a “cool” performance. And with $4 gallon of gas a reality, our 27 mpg of fuel economy in city/highway driving make this Scion even more alluring than ever before!

Scion tC
Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length: 174 inches
Weight: 3,102 pounds
Fuel capacity: 14.5 gallons
City: 23 mpg
Highway: 31 mpg
Base price: $19,275
Web site: www.scion.com


KIA’S SX MODELS ARE A THRILL TO DRIVE

The venue or venues to test-drive Kia’s 2011 SX models – Sportage SX Turbo, Forte 5-door SX, Optima SX Turbo and Sorento SX – couldn’t have been better. The Korean carmaker picked Orlando with its numerous attractions and theme parks for the ride-and-drive event. And what better hotel than the Hard Rock at Universal Orlando (www.hardrockhotelorlando.com) as the base? After a brief product introduction, the media took off in the SX models for Kennedy Space Center to be greeted by former NASA astronaut Jon McBride, who is on the Kennedy Space Center Astronaut Encounter team. On our way back to Hard Rock, we stopped at Titusville for lunch and some driving loops.

Jon McBride

The Kia Optima on display at Amway Center in Orlando.

Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the evening, we took off for the Amway Center to watch the Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls. By the way, Kia is the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA and Optima is the Official Vehicle of the Magic. The following day, the media left for Homestead-Miami Speedway to watch two Forte Koups participate in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.

Here’s a summary of the SX models, which mean fine-tuned performance, bold design and superior handling. In short, they are a thrill to drive!

SPORTAGE SX: A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection engine boasts 256 horsepower and 264 pounds-feet of torque. Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, it is available as a front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Of course, the Sportage gets a sport-tuned suspension, i.e. firmer shocks and struts. Kia has upgraded the exterior of this hot-selling SUV with a black and chrome grille, 18-inch wheels and dual exhaust tips while the cabin shows off a new instrument gauge cluster and aluminum door sills. It starts at $25,795.

 

 

OPTIMA SX: A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection engine pumps 274 hp and 269 pounds-feet of torque. Like the Sportage SX, it also is mated to a 6-speed auto transmission and equipped with a sport-tuned suspension. The exterior is aggressive, thanks to HID headlights flanking an exceptional front grille, LED rear combination lights, sculpted side sills, rear lip spoiler, and chrome- and body-color door handles. Black leather seats, an instrument meter cluster with LED display, paddle shifters, metal pedals and tilt/telescopic steering column round up a sporty interior. It is base-priced at $21,795.

 

SORENTO SX: A 3.5-liter V-6 engine cranks out 274 hp and 248 pounds-feet of torque in the seven-seater. A 6-speed auto transmission is standard in the Sorento, which is offered in front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Suspension is handled via a MacPherson strut and a fully independent multilink rear. Exterior tweaks include SX-style body front and rear bumpers, wraparound headlights, chrome exhaust and body wheel-well molding. The cabin is nicely done with heated front seats, leather in the first- and second rows, stainless-steel pedals and sill plate. Base price is $32,395.

 

 

FORTE 5-DOOR SX, SEDAN: Power comes from a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine offering 173 hp and 168 pounds-feet of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed manual or auto transmission. A sport-tuned suspension is standard.

Clear-lens headlights, angled wrapped tail lamps, silver-finished exhaust tip and 17-inch alloy wheels make for an attractive appearance. The black interior is equally eye-catching with cloth seats but leather steering wheel and shifter knob, metal-finish trim, gauge cluster telescopic column and 6-speaker sound system. It is base-priced at $18,395.

In the near future, we plan to review each of the SX trims of these Kia vehicles in more details. Till then, visit www.kia.com

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