2017 Audi A4
2017 is the first model year for the 5th generation of the Audi A4 sport sedan. But, wait a minute, if you throw in its Audi 80 ancestry, it’s actually the 9th gen b-series architecture for Audi. Regardless, over the years all those cars just keep getting better and better. So let’s find out if it’s b-car business as usual at Volkswagen’s premium brand.
The 2017 Audi A4 may be on the smaller side of four-doors, but it is both big-time polished and potent; boasting technology above any flagship luxury machine of 10-years ago.
That includes a Driver Assistance package with the latest safety technology; cameras to read road markings and even road signs, and of course automatic braking. So, you have to work pretty hard to crash it. We tried, but it stopped just shy of our barrier every time; applying the brakes in full, almost immediately after a warning chime.
As for interior technology, there is still a large MMI display on the dash; but it’s largely redundant if you opt for the huge 12-inch all-encompassing virtual gauge cluster as well as a new full color Head Up Display. With all pertinent info right before your eyes, and controls right there on the steering wheel; there’s no need to look or reach elsewhere.
Those are just highlights of what is a fantastic interior, fully upholding the lofty standards we have for Audi.
Leather seating is standard, and space is up over last year in all seating positions. Trunk space is very good at 13.0 cubic-ft.
Power sneaks up a little, with a revised 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 252-horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque for both front and all-wheel drive models. Now, that’s only 32 added ponies, but it feels like much more than that.
Possibly because weight is down slightly, but more likely because the 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission has been tightened up as well. No manual is available.
The exterior design is clearly an evolution of the previous A4, combined with style indicators from the larger A6-7 and 8. A4 suspension is 5-link independent all-around, with upgraded sport tuning available, as is adaptive damping, integrated into Audi Drive Select.
Our car’s optional, rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive aids that sporty feel as well, with its self-locking center differential and selective torque control.
With quattro, understeer is minimal, challenging the best of its rear-drive competition. And while the A4 has once again gotten bigger, it surely doesn’t drive like it. Though, we will stop short of saying its loads of fun to toss around; it’s more of a case of sterile mechanical precision.
Steering is very light at lower speeds, but firmed up quickly here at our track as the pace increased. After some slight lag off the starting block, the power eventually started getting put down in a smooth and steady fashion; ushering us to 60 in a fine 5.8-seconds.
There’s a nice growl from the engine, but not much from the exhaust, while the transmission keeps the gears coming quickly; clearing the 1/4-mile in 14.3-seconds at 99 miles-per-hour.
Braking was most impressive, a 104-foot average from 60; with rock steady stability and zero fade.
In everyday driving, everything about the A4 is smooth; as it absorbs bumps and pavement imperfections more like a full-size sedan than any compact. The dual-clutch tranny is mostly seamless, with the only hiccups coming during low-speed maneuvering.
Ride quality can be dialed to your liking, but even in full comfort mode, body control is well managed, and it never feels soft.
The low seating position will not endear it to those crossover inclined, but visibility is excellent all around.
Though very well-equipped in standard Premium trim, Prestige is where you want to be with 18-inch alloy wheels, S-line aluminum trim, and full LED lighting outside; along with Bang & Olufsen surround sound and heated seats for inside.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 25-City, 33-Highway, and 28–Combined, with our average coming in at a fine 29.1 miles-per-gallon of Premium. For an average Energy Impact Score, of 11.8-barrels of oil burned yearly, with C02 emissions of 5.2–tons.
Pricing starts at $35,850, that’s just a bit more than a base BMW 3-series, but significantly less than a base Mercedes-Benz C-class; Prestige trim with quattro however, will have you at $48,950.
And while those other German sport sedans are certainly the logical competition for the 2017 Audi A4. To us, it’s more in the spirit of the Cadillac ATS with luxury, performance, and technology addressed in equal balance. So, it is indeed business as usual; with another solid small-ish sedan from Audi.
- Engine: 2.0 liter
- Horsepower: 252
- Torque: 273 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 14.3 seconds @ 99 mph
- EPA: 25 mpg city / 33 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 11.8 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 5.2 tons/yr
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined