What can C70 drivers do in 30 seconds? Press a button and have their ride transform itself from an all-weather coupe into a wind-in-the-hair convertible. A luxurious four-place cabin is swathed in leather and bedazzled with aluminum accents. The new Premier Plus trim level adds HomeLink, Keyless Drive, a digital compass and rear park assist. Step up to the Platinum and be rewarded with Volvo premium sound and a handy navigation system. Motivation is supplied by a 227-bhp 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder teamed with a 5-speed Geartronic transmission. Safety features include stability control, double-locking doors, a rollover protection system and door-mounted inflatable side curtains to protect heads when the chips are down—and so is the top.
The new interior takes advantage of the 2014 Forester's expanded roominess by creating a feeling of spaciousness through a combination of horizontal design elements and more space between the instrument panel and seats.
The front seats use a new cushion spring array for long-distance comfort, the hip point is 1.1-inches higher than before, and the driver's seat has 1.3 inches more fore-aft and 0.6 inches more height adjustment travel. Materials are upgraded compared to previous models with soft-touch surfaces on the upper instrument panels and armrests.
Rivaling some larger vehicles, rear-seat legroom is 41.7 inches in the 2014 Forester, from the previous 38.0, ample room for a leggy six-footer even with the front seat all the way back, and there's more room than before for a center rear passenger. Wider-opening rear doors make it easier to climb in and out and to install a child seat, and the rear seatbacks recline a bit in all but the base 2.5i model.
To better accommodate cargo, the load floor is flatter and total capacity is increased to 74.7 cubic feet when the standard 60/40 split rear seats are folded down. The available power moonroof cuts cargo space to 68.5 cubic feet.
Instruments are limited to large, round speedometer and tachometer dials and a digital fuel gauge between them. We appreciated the blue cold-engine light following a cold start but would have gladly traded it for a real temperature gauge. The climate controls are very nice. We also loved that top-center color screen for the rearview camera, which can also display a multitude of information including average fuel economy, range and entertainment system selection.
The base Forester 2.5i has a 4.3-inch LCD screen at top center of the dash that displays outside temperature, fuel economy and a road surface freeze warning. All other models have a multifunction color display with rearview camera, audio and Bluetooth information, climate control, vehicle self-check and maintenance reminder; when equipped, X-Mode and Hill Descent Control operation are displayed as well. Premium and Limited models offer a new standard six-speaker audio system with AM/FM HD (but no satellite) radio with capability to play music from CD, Bluetooth audio streaming, iPod and other players.
The Forte is Kia's offering in the competitive Compact market segment. Attractive styling, pricing and feature content are what make this car standout.
The Forte sedan is available in LX and EX trims. The LX features a 148-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder and a six-speed manual. A six-speed automatic transmission is available. The EX features a 173-hp 2.0L four-cylinder matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Forte comes nicely equipped with standard items such as; traction control, stability control, side and side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, Bluetooth, trip computer and a tire pressure monitoring system. Dual-zone automatic climate control, HID headlights, LED taillights, power heated and ventilated leather seats, and a power sunroof are just some of the available features.
The Forte has been completely redesigned inside and out for 2014.
R&T Overview:New on the thrifty Volt for 2012 is GM's MyLink system that pairs a smartphone with its audio system and voice control. The standard navigation system is now optional, shaving a few hundred dollars off the price of the compact. On the road with its large lithium battery charged, the innovative 4-seater will run up to 50 miles using only electricity, and beyond that distance a small 1.4-liter engine starts and turns a generator that powers the electric motor. A 9-gal. gasoline tank allows the car to run an additional 300 miles. The complex graphic gauges let the driver know what the electric and gasoline systems are doing, although some potential buyers we spoke with said that it takes a long learning curve to figure out how it all works.
The Volvo XC70 is a crossover wagon providing comfort and stability on the road, and security and peace of mind on rough roads or when the weather turns bad. New for 2014 the XC70 has been updated inside and out.
A very functional wagon, the XC70 features higher ground clearance and SUV styling. Available in all-wheel or front-wheel drive the XC70 3.2 features a 240-hp 3.2-liter inline-six. A 230-hp 3.2-liter PZEV engine is available. The all-wheel drive XC70 T6 includes a 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine. Both engines are paired with a Geartronic six-speed automatic transmission, allowing driver selectable shifting. With seating for 5 and a flat folding back seat the XC70 offers great versatility and maximum cargo capacity. Safety features include electronic stability control, side-impact and side curtain airbags, and anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution. Standard equipment includes Bluetooth and Hill Descent Control.