Last week, in my review of the 2012 Kia Rio SX Sedan, I posited that the default answer to the question of “what makes the best road trip car” was a big, soft luxury car—a wafter, if you will. This week, we’re looking at two such machines to see how well they do against each other, and how well they represent the traditional cruiser market. They’re our null hypothesis, if you will, as we try to decide whether a small car can do the job just as well or better. Oh, and there will be some back roads and on-ramps involved, too. Don’t fret.
We’ve done some fairly off-the-cuff comparisons over the years, but today we bring you the rare showdown that actually features similarly-priced competitors with very different approaches to midsize luxury. The defending champ is the Audi A6 S-Line, equipped with their now-ubiquitous 3.0L supercharged V6. The challenger: Hyundai’s new Genesis 5.0 R-Spec, delivering traditional luxury power from a 5.0L V8 with a non-traditional luxury badge. Both cost $50k. The Hyundai has the edge in power and boasts hoon-friendly rear-wheel drive; the Audi offers up quattro and the promise of superior fuel economy. Which will best devour an 800-mile sprint from suburban Maryland to Daytona Beach, Florida? Will they both leave the Rio in the dust? Click on through to find out.
If you read TTAC (and chances are if you’re a fan of this site, you do), you’re probably aware that Jack Baruth and his merry band of tag-alongs recently published a multi-part track comparison pitting the Scion FR-S against a Mazda X-5 PRHT and a Genesis 2.0T. You can read the crucial details here if you like (if you don’t, be warned that I’m going to spoil the results after the jump), but what you should really take away from this isn’t their analysis, but the absolutely ridiculous reaction from the online community.
Photos courtesy of Infiniti, Lexus and Kia media relations.
It’s hard to believe that more than ten years have passed since the introduction of the Prius–a car which either revolutionized the vehicular landscape for the better or, alternatively, represented the beginning of the end for automotive enthusiasm, depending on who you ask. Over the past decade, hybrids have made their way into just about every segment, and while production hybrid sports cars aren’t quite here yet, several manufacturers have tested the waters of marketing hybrid vehicles to the enthusiast crowd. Honda did it first with the Accord Hybrid back in 2005, if you’ll recall, and the result wasn’t pretty. While very few critics disliked it, it was outwardly identical to regular Accord, and boasted a heavier, more complicated, more expensive powertrain that returned only marginally better gas mileage than the V6 on which it was based. Oh, and the engine interacted with the stereo. That was kind of a big deal back then, though if you lurk on any BMW-friendly message boards, you know it’s still kind of a big deal now.
Stock photography courtesy of Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America
As Hyundai and Kia continue their U.S.-market product onslaught, their entrants into the subcompact market have drawn the eye of buyers looking for practical, fun and funky cars on a just-post-recessionary budget. Over the past month, I’ve had the privilege of driving all three of the new platform-sharing hatchbacks in the Koreans’ portfolio, and I’m pleased to report that all of them are competent, practical and efficient, and yes, they have that modern Kia and Hyundai styling—more aggressive, more “out there,” and more youthful than previous offerings. But are they any fun?