Welcome to Motoring Monday for January 26th, 2015. I’m Sam Haymart for TestDrivenTV
Today we’ve got a new drop-top sports car from Alfa Romeo, diesel Range Rovers and a plug-in hybrid Hyundai all coming to our shores soon.
Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder
The open air experience of wind in your hair and sweet exotic sound of the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is coming to U.S. dealerships this summer.
Building on the affordable exotic image of the Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe, the removable carbon-fiber hard top 4C Spyder made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show.
The new 4C Spyder has a unique carbon fiber windshield frame for light-weight strength, composite-framed sport seats wrapped with leather and exposed carbon fiber structural elements all around.
More upscale than the 4C Coupe, a premium fully wrapped leather interior is standard on the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, as are unique carbon fiber vent surrounds.
You can also now option a high-end Alpine audio system, as if you’d need it with the sounds this car makes on its own. Its 237 horsepower 1.7 liter turbocharged four is now available with count them, three exhaust systems to please just about anyone.
The big one is an all-new Akrapovic dual-mode system with two center-mounted tailpipes. The computer can optimize resonance and that exotic sound with valves that divert flow through its mufflers.
At only 22 lbs more than the Coupe, the new 4C Spyder should offer up virtually identical performance in terms of speed. How stout the chassis is missing a solid roof will have to wait until a test drive.
Pricing hasn’t been announced for the Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder yet, but you can expect at premium over the Coupe when it arrives this summer.
Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid
Mid-size sedan buyers will have a new high-efficiency option this fall with the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid sedan.
At the Detroit Auto Show, Hyundai unveiled their next entry in a coming line of hybrid models with a plug-in version of their already popular Sonata Hybrid.
With a lithium polymer battery pack five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid it’s expected to offer up an all-electric range of up to 22 miles, which would be class leading.
Like the Sonata Hybrid, the Plug-In has a 2.0 liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with a powerful electric motor mounted between it and its six-speed automatic transmission.
In EV mode, the gasoline engine is disconnected from the drive unit. When the battery becomes depleted, the system switches back to normal hybrid operation with the gasoline engine operational.
With 202 total system horsepower, the combination offers a more traditional driving experience than hybrids with a CVT as you get a normal shifting feel.
Hyundai says the new 2016 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid can achieve 93 MPGe combined in EV mode. In hybrid mode, it should achieve 38 mpg city, 43 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined. EPA tests have yet to be finalized however.
You can charge the battery in two and a half hours with a 240V Level 2 charger of five hours using a standard 120V outlet.
Pricing will be announced closer to when the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid goes on sale next fall.
Land Rover Diesels
In a bid for efficiency market share, Land Rover has announced they will for the first time offer diesel engines in the United States.
At the Detroit Auto Show, the announcement was made that a new 3.0 liter turbo-diesel V6 will be available in both the top line Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models next year.
Offering up to 32% better fuel efficiency, the 3.0 liter Td6 diesel engine delivers 254 horsepower and stump pulling a low-end torque of 440 lb-ft.
With this torque, 0-60 acceleration times are 7.1 seconds for the Range Rover Sport and 7.4 seconds for the larger Range Rover.
Fuel economy Land Rover says, is for both models 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. This brings estimated cruising range to an impressive 658 miles on a tank.
With a selective catalytic reduction with diesel exhaust fluid injection, the Range Rover diesels are expected to be 50-state legal which is very important given places like California and New York are their top markets.
The move is a smart one as chief competitor Mercedes-Benz has offered a similar option in their full-size utilities which has a high take rate here in the States.
The 2016 Range Rover diesels will go on sale this fall. Land Rover also announced they would be offering diesel engines in the balance of their lineup in the coming years. Smart.
In our test drives this week, we spent time in the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T to see how it stacks up in the hotly contested mid-size sedan scene.
What we found was a more traditional design inside and out than the more flowing and artistic model it replaces. Not a bad thing at all, as the new one has a more chiseled and deliberate appearance.
The turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine offers impressive power and refinement for the full-sized sedan and proves fun under foot. It’s does get thirsty if you really dip into the power though.
You can watch our full review and learn how it scored by clicking on the link here. This week we are testing the 2015 Kia Forte5 which knocks on the doors of the VW GTI and Ford Focus ST.
The sportiest version of Kia’s compact warrior has all the go fast goods like larger wheels and tires, a handling suspension, and a highly optioned leather interior.
The question is will its 1.6 liter turbocharged four-cylinder offer up the same kind of excitement that more powerful competitors offer. And can it match them in refinement?
You can see these and many other test drives at TestDriven.TV or on our YouTube Channel.
Reality Check: Mustang Passwords
In our Reality Check this week, a new study says that Mustang is more popular than Superman or Batman, but it’s not what you might think.
The study by SplashData reveals that the name Mustang is actually the 16th most common password people use on the Internet, higher on the list than Superman and Batman. In fact it’s the only car in the list of the top 25 most common passwords.
To that, Ford said that while they are flattered that they suggest their fans add letters, numbers, acronyms to their pony car-inspired passwords to strengthen them up.
In fact they went so far as to suggest people their favorite Mustang model year, or option codes, paint codes, engine codes and even digits from their VIN.
The marketing gets even thicker as Ford suggests you create acronyms for modifications made to your Mustang like for example “FRSC” for Ford Racing SuperCharger.
First of all, don’t you find it a bit alarming that some entity out there has the ability to study what all of our passwords are for our sensitive online accounts, and then spin it all out there for the world to consume?
And second, now you have a better idea of the passwords a Mustang fan might be using. Given this plus the rest of the study’s data it just seems like a can of worms to hand off to hackers.
I’m a Mustang fan, but I can assure you that I don’t use the word or any form of it in my own passwords. So don’t even bother.
Now it’s time for our Money Shot where we take the hottest photo from this week’s press releases and we show it to ya.
Porsche unveiled a very special edition of their 911
to celebrate 60 years of the Porsche Club of America. They will build only 60 of the Porsche GTS Club Coupe in this beautiful and stunning shade of Club Blue. Nice.
Thank you for being with us on Motoring Monday today. Please click on the link here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and we’ll keep you updated on our latest test drives, auto news and Motoring Monday episodes.