2018 Toyota Camry

2018 Toyota Camry

Episode 3748
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Specifications

  • Horsepower: 206
  • Trim: XSE

Long Term Updates

 

Built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture it shares with the Prius, we chose to stick with standard 4-cylinder power, prioritizing fuel economy over the V6’s grunt. 

The I4 rates 28-City, 39-Highway, and 32-Combined; yet so far we’re averaging just 28.6. But we do expect that to climb, as we’ve only burned through a few tanks of Regular at this point, at just 920-miles. 

So we’ll see over the next year, if its 206-horsepower is enough to satisfy our power-hungry staff. 

206 is actually three more than the base Camry, thanks to our XSE’s dual exhaust system. The XSE is the sportiest Camry yet; with very aggressive bodywork, smoke tinted lenses, and gloss trim. And, it’s quickly becoming a very popular item at Toyota dealerships. Hmmmmm… maybe Camry buyers aren’t just appliance shopping after all. 

Mileage: 5,000

Toyota has been trying to change the Camry’s narrative for a while now; infusing more and more luxury and excitement into their family staple with each new generation.

Two months with our long term 2018 Camry and we have to say they’ve made significant progress.

GREG CARLOSS: “Our XSE uses the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and we think most Camry prospects will be pleased with the power. The new 8-speed automatic transmission can be slow to downshift for passing. But, the smooth upshifts, and light steering make it a breeze to drive around town.”

GREG CARLOSS: We’re already closing in on 5,000 mostly highway miles, and our mileage has jumped way up to 35.3 miles-per-gallon. Every one of them has been pleasurable and increasingly entertaining. 

Mileage: 7,500

The Toyota Camry is not immune to the well-documented decline in sedan sales in the U.S. Yet, it remains the #1 selling car in America, as it has for about 16-years now. 

And we’re finding out why, having accrued almost 7,500-miles in just 3-months’ with our 2018 XSE. With its 206-horsepower 2.5-liter I4 and 8-speed automatic transmission; we’re enjoying those miles more than we have in any Camry before.

In fact, the fun only stops when we stop for fuel, at which time we’ve been dealing with a sticky fuel door that doesn’t like to open right away. But after a bit of metal massaging, it seems to be working much better. 

Fortunately for us, those stops are few and far between; with a 35.4 miles-per-gallon average so far.

Mileage: 9,000

As for another one of our family transporters, the 2018 Toyota Camry may not have the space of a minivan; but long distance comfort for four, and five in a pinch, is in ample supply.

We test so many crossovers these days, it’s easy to forget how useful sedans can be. This Camry has really reminded us why Toyota has sold so many of these over the years. It has space, it has comfort, it has great fuel economy. Now, some on our staff have admitted to missing the more commanding ride height of a crossover, but that’s just a matter of preference.

Yes, despite what you may have heard, there are still plenty of families that make do with a 4-door sedan; at least for one of the cars in their driveway.

We’re just over 9,000-miles, from these last four months of driving this 2.5-liter 4-cylinder XSE; and the 34.7 miles-per-gallon fuel mileage continues to impress, as does the overall driving experience. 

Mileage: 12,500

Saying goodbye to one of our long-terms is never easy, but that’s what we must do this week with our 2018 Toyota Camry mid-size family sedan.

“It’s been a relatively short run in this Camry XSE, but a good one for us. We love the styling and the  sporty-er suspension really backs up the look. Quicker transmission shifts would be a nice upgrade, but as far as a daily driver, the Camry is as solid as it gets, and it’s pretty entertaining too.”

Just routine maintenance was all that was required during the Camry’s 7-month stay with us. And, over 12,500-miles, the 206-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder delivered a very good 33.4 miles-per-gallon. 

Best part of all, the improved ride-and-handling came without losing any of the comfort and practicality we’ve come to expect in Camry. We’ll miss it for sure…

2024 Mazda CX-50

2024 Mazda CX-50

Episode 4328
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Long Term Updates

Date: January 2024


Mazda has always been sort of a niche brand relative to other automakers like Toyota and Honda. Well recently Mazda’s focused a little less on “zoom, zoom” and a little more on “room, room”. This 2024 Mazda CX-50 is a prime example of that philosophy and its the newest member of our long term fleet. So, let’s dive into the details.

Specifically, this is a CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus. As you may have gleaned, power comes from a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. It sends 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque through a 6-speed automatic transmission. Power is boosted to 256-horsepower and 320 lb-ft on 93 octane gasoline.

All-wheel drive is standard for all CX-50s. Here those wheels are 20-inchers and they span quite a bit further front to back than paired with the CX-5. That means the CX-50 has a bit more room inside and, here in Premium Plus trim, an upscale feel. That comes via 10 and a quarter inch infotainment screen, heated front and rear seats, as well as a full color head-up display.

Adding up the cost of the Turbo Premium Plus package and a $450 charge for it’s Zircon Sand Metallic paint, this CX-50 stickers for $45,740 after destination.

We’ve only just begun our long term test on this CX-50 but we’ll have an update soon.

Date: March 2024Mileage: 3,000


This week, we’re kicking off some extended test time in this 2024 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo compact crossover.

Sporting Zircon Sand Metallic paint over a Terracotta interior, our CX-50 sounds pretty fancy, and it is. Premium Plus trim means 20-inch alloy wheels, leather-trimmed seating for 5 with heating elements for front and rear passengers, lots of fine stitch work, panoramic moonroof, and a 10-inch infotainment display are all included.

The engine is just as special, the turbo version of their 2.5-liter I4 which outputs 256 horsepower with 93-octane fuel to a six-speed automatic transmission, with standard all-wheel drive.

Crazy as it sounds, an automatic transmission with only six gears is borderline retro at this point, but it operates so smoothly with the CX-50’s 4-cylinder turbo, one could easily be fooled into thinking it’s an eight-speed. But there really aren’t any tricks here. Just good old-fashioned engineering on a tried and true powertrain.

We’ve already put a quick 3,000 miles on the odometer with a trip south to our winter testing grounds and our early fuel economy average of 25.2 miles-per-gallon is right on the Government’s Combined Rating.

Mazda seems to have thought of everything with this CX-50, even including a comprehensive Roadside Assistance Kit complete with jumper cables.

2023 Kia EV6 GT 3

2023 Kia EV6 GT

Episode 4313
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Specifications

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Torque: 545 lb-ft
  • Horsepower: 576
  • EPA Range: 206 miles
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Long Term Updates

Date: October 2023

Performance SUVs? Seen ’em. Battery electric SUVs? They’re pretty much everywhere. But a performance battery electric SUV? Now that’s something a little different.

This EV6 GT is Kia’s most powerful production vehicle EVER and the replacement for our current EV6 long termer. So, let’s dive into the details.

Saying goodbye is such sweet sorrow unless you’re immediately saying hello to a 576 horsepower four-door rocket. The extra 256 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque that the GT has over our outgoing EV6 comes courtesy of a 160-kW motor driving the front wheels and a 270-kW motor spinning the rears.

And it has no problem spinning the rears when set to drift mode. The under-floor battery pack is still 77.4-kWh but with all that extra “umph”, EPA-estimated range is down to 206 miles.

Draped in Runaway Red paint, the GT’s body looks even sleeker with more aggressive front and rear fascias. Wheels measure 21-inches and come wrapped in Z-rated Goodyear rubber. Brakes are considerably bigger and considerably greener.

Inside, dimensions are the same as our 2022 EV6 Wind. Notable additions are these sports seats and a special GT drive mode button the steering wheel which unlocks full power potential.

Keys to unlock this car’s potential come at a price of $63,575.

We’ll have our first long term update soon, but in the meantime, if you have any questions or comments during our year long test of this Kia EV6 GT…reach out to us on your social site at MotorWeek.

Date: November 2023Mileage: 1,500


We all know how awesome it is to get an upgrade; well we just replaced our 2022 Kia EV6 with this 2023 Kia EV6 GT and my oh my, what an upgrade!

While the EV6 was a very attractive SUV by any measure, it clearly sheds the commuter car vibe for a much more purposeful design here, with the GT’s lower stance and performance hardware on full display.

And not only is it a more powerful EV6, it’s the most powerful Kia ever, with 576-horsepower coming from a dual-motor setup featuring a 160-kW front motor and 270-kW rear.

That’s 256 more horsepower than what we were dealing with in our EV6 Wind.

But, with the same 77.4-kWh battery, the GT is rated for just 206-miles compared to 274.

Though as we’ve quickly learned over 1,500-miles so far, those miles are packed with a lot more smiles, and it’s plenty to get most of us through a weekend’s worth of errands.

In our short time so far with this EV6 GT we’re finding that, just like in our outgoing EV6 Wind, the range estimate is pretty spot on. Now I will say we’re watching those miles tick off a little faster due to our inability to ignore that little voice telling us to trigger GT Mode and go full send. But to be fair, that happens in gas-powered cars too.

It’s going to be a great year plugging into this one!

Date: January 2024Mileage: 2,500


This 2023 Kia EV6 GT is not the first EV we’ve had as a long-term test vehicle here at MotorWeek, but it’s definitely the most fun…by a wide margin! And miles have been adding up quickly, with some 2,500 over our first 2-months of driving.

Overall performance really is exceptional in this fast, cool, and smooth utility. But things truly get interesting when you engage GT Drive Mode, or “hit the NOS” as we like to call it around here. Supercar performance at the press of a button with power delivery, braking, steering, suspension, limited slip differential, and stability control all set to their most dynamic.

The all-wheel drive traction for putting power down out of corners can easily turn your commute into an amusement park ride. Though as we race into winter we’ll have to be mindful that colder temperatures won’t likely play nice with the performance tires currently mounted on these 21-inch wheels.

Even winter can’t grip this EV6 GT with all its bountiful torque, which in some cases, can be useful. For instance, compared to a standard EV6, the turning radius isn’t quite as tight. But under the right circumstances, Drift Mode can take care of that…

With its 77.4-kWh battery, the EV6 GT is rated for just 206-miles, but we’ve routinely seen over 230 available in the gauge display; and a recent attempt to take it down to zero had us traveling 215-miles before pulling up to the charger on whatever the EV equivalent to running on fumes is…let’s call it ‘rolling on electrons.’

Date: February 2024Mileage: 5,000


Our 2023 Kia EV6 GT has been on the move a lot recently, as we’ve just passed the 5,000-mile mark in only 4-months.

Winter hasn’t impeded things at all, just requiring us to take a little extra caution with the GT’s performance tires. Everything else remains solid as the EV6 GT truly is a joy to drive.

The cabin is lovely too, and the dash setup has it appearing more traditional than many EVs; though, the GT’s splashes of additional color and accent lighting go a long way in making it special, as do the aggressively bolstered sport seats, and the unique themes that appear when changing drive modes, which we occasionally do accidentally by grazing the large steering wheel buttons.

“Recently, every time I’ve hopped in for a cruise with this EV6 GT, the drive mode has been set to ECO, which is a bit unusual for us. But I think it’s because we’re all realizing that it’s been helpful in two ways this winter. One, it takes some of the responsiveness out of the accelerator, decreasing the likelihood of unwanted wheel spin; and two, we’re extending our range.”

Indeed, recent news headlines have pointed out that cold weather does have an impact on EVs, particularly when it comes to batteries, charging, and range. But it’s certainly not a deal-breaker as very cold weather impacts everything else too. EVs just require a little bit of thinking ahead, like making sure the battery and interior are warmed before unplugging to minimize range loss. Much like remote starting has done for internal combustion cars for years.

Date: April 2024Mileage: 6,000

Depending on who you listen to, EVs are either the future of the automobile or something that nobody wants. Believe what you will, but the facts are EV sales were up 46% for calendar year 2023.

We don’t play favorites. We drive all cars here at MotorWeek no matter what they’re powered by, and we absolutely love driving this 2023 Kia EV6 GT.

We are suckers for speed. So, without a doubt, our favorite thing to do in this EV6 GT is mash the accelerator! Yeah, a 3.5-second 0-to-60 is essentially a party trick, but we’d argue there are some real-world scenarios where our use of all that instant torque is justifiable. For instance, passing on the interstate.

The GT is certainly not bashful about its performance credentials, wearing aggressive black trim, monster 21-inch wheels with performance tires and, yeah, those neon brake calipers; but, if you could run as fast as Lamborghinis and Ferraris, you’d probably be flaunting that too.

We’ve made it through winter with no issues to speak of, having driven 6,000 miles in five months’ time.