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July 19, 2013

Kia’s new Cee’d

Filed under: LED Work Lights — Tags: — solaroutdoorlight @ 2:04 am

Every now and then a mould-breaker comes along – a car that changes the public perception of its manufacturer.

In Korean company Kia’s case, that car was the oddly named Cee’d, a five-door hatchback that launched the industry’s first transferable seven-year warranty.

The latest generation of a model that has been designed

, engineered and built for Europe has moved the game on once again.

Slightly larger and with better head and shoulder room, the new Cee’d also has a coupe-like roofline that gives it a sporty stance on the road.


But it’s in the cabin where you really notice the difference, from the quality of the switches and plastics – all sensibly laid out with piano black inserts – to the overall ambience.

A cockpit-like design with aircraft-themed fascia sees the main control panel wrap around the steering wheel for easy access, and there are plenty of places for putting away odds and ends.

While the front seats are comfortable and offer lots of support, the rear ones can accommodate two tall adults, though a centre rear passenger is slightly perched.

You also get a reasonably sized boot and the rear seats split and fold 60/40.

Of the 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol and the pair of turbo diesel engines of similar capacity available in the range, the 1.6 GDI used in the tested model is the most powerful. It boasts 133bhp of punch, six-speed manual transmission and Kia’s ISG stop/start system.

The Cee’d returned an average fuel economy of 41.7mpg over 350 miles of mixed motoring – and that’s not too far removed from the official combined figure.

While family-friendly cars like the Cee’d aren’t about outright performance, the 1.6 GDI certainly isn’t a slouch, showing plenty of spirit and a planted feel when I drove it out on the road.

Trim levels – named 1, 2, 3 and 4 – all feature standard kit, such as electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment and an adjustable driver’s seat.

They also include air con, steering wheel-mounted controls, front electric windows, daytime running lights, remote central locking, cooled glovebox and ambient front lighting.

An iPod-compatible audio system with radio and CD player, USB port, Bluetooth, hill-start assist control, six airbags and speed-sensitive auto door locking also all come as standard.

Prices are from 14,395 for an entry-level 1.4 petrol version developing 98bhp and capable of an average 47mpg with CO2 emissions from around 139g/km.

Diesels start at 15,695 for the 1.4 CRDi with 89bhp and almost 69mpg, as well as CO2 emissions of 109g/km.

July 18, 2013

2013 Lexus ES 300h is refined

Filed under: LED Lamp — Tags: — solaroutdoorlight @ 2:21 am

The best-selling Lexus car, the ES entry-luxury sedan, now comes as a gasoline-electric hybrid, and what a fine hybrid it is.

The 2013 ES 300h has an impressive government fuel economy rating of 40 miles per gallon in city driving and 39 mpg on the highway; it earned an overall five-out-of-five-stars safety rating in federal government crash tests; it’s a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine, with predicted reliability of above average.

And it comes with the improvements made for 2013 in the non-hybrid, sixth-generation ES. So, the 300h rides on a longer, front-wheel drive platform than the previous ES had, and it has upscale styling that makes it look more like the pricier Lexus LS 460 flagship. The ES 300h even has the striking “spindle” grille that appears on sportier Lexus cars.

The 2013 ES 300h also has 41.9 inches in the front-seat legroom and a whopping 40 inches of legroom in the back seat.

Still, the ES 300h and its gasoline-only sibling, the 2013 ES 350, remain mid-size sedans that are comfortable and refined to drive and ride in. The 200-horsepower hybrid ES 300h has a luxury car starting retail price of $40,145.

This is $2,880 more than the starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $37,265 for a base, 2013 ES 350 with 268-horsepower V-6 and no hybrid system.

But since the ES 300h’s city fuel mileage rating is roughly double the 21 mpg of the 2013 ES 350’s, and the hybrid is estimated to get 8 more miles per gallon on the highway than the ES 350 does, the $2,880 difference in base price can be recouped after fewer than 45,000 miles, given today’s gasoline prices.

Competitors include the 188-horsepower, 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, whose starting MSRP, including destination charge, is much lower: $36,820. The MKZ Hybrid has the top federal government fuel economy rating among luxury-branded, gasoline-electric hybrid sedans: 45/45 mpg; the ES 300h ranks second.

The 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, which uses the same hybrid drive system as the ES 300h and has the same underlying platform, has a starting retail price of $36,350.

The base ES 300h comes with standard eight-speaker sound system, 10-way, power-adjustable front seats, unique, small “puddle”-illuminating lights under the outside mirrors that light the ground as driver and front-passenger exit, 17-inch wheels, light-emitting diode (LED) turn signals, halogen headlamps with LED daytime running lamps, power moonroof and a high-grade, vinyl NuLuxe material on the seats.

But the feeling inside the new ES is more upscale than in the previous model, in part because there’s luxury-imbuing stitching atop the dashboard and the dashboard is modernized with a layout that almost looks serene. This is not an easy accomplishment, given the number of buttons and knobs and displays in today’s cars.

Passengers didn’t sense that this ES has only a 2.5-liter, dual cam, four-cylinder engine operating with a fuel-thrifty Atkinson cycle. The car accelerated strong and steadily and power felt more like that from a V-6, though there were no V-6 engine sounds.

In the test ES 300h, the 156-horsepower four cylinder was peppy — with 156 foot-pounds of torque at 4,500 rpm — and meshed seamlessly with the two on-board electric motors/generators and 1.6-kilowatt battery pack that helped save on gasoline.

Everything was managed expertly by electronics, and during the test drive, there was no hesitation or shuddering of the car during the transitions from electric power to engine power.

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