The Kia Soluto is a subcompact sedan that offers a lot of value for money. It is a domestic car in the truest sense as it is built on practicality and efficiency.
The exterior design is modern, with a distinctive tiger-nose grille, LED daytime running lights, and 14-inch alloy wheels.
The body has some character lines and even non-functional air vents to give it a sleek appearance. Something that I immediately liked is the mechanism thatu allows the trunk to rise on its own when opened. This is extremely convenient, especially when your hands are occupied. It also comes with a spare tyre, which is very uncommon for new cars, even the luxury ones.
The Soluto is available in six colours: Clear White, Titanium Silver, Aurora Black Pearl, Blue Stream, Mars Orange, and Gravity Blue.
The interior of the Kia Soluto is adequate and comfortable, with ample headroom and legroom that is okay for medium-height persons. For the most part, it is both simplistic and functional, nothing too exorbitant, and at the same time, it can get everything done. Controls for the window are unconventionally placed on the centre console and not on the door panels. Below this is a USB port, a 12V socket, and an AUX port. The seats are upholstered in fabric and have side bolsters that will keep the driver in place. As for the dial cluster, it is simple and intuitive, with a 3.8-inch LCD that displays important information such as fuel range, fuel level, and engine temperature. The Soluto also has a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Bluetooth connectivity. The audio system consists of four speakers and two tweeters that deliver a moderate sound.
The ride and handling of the Kia Soluto is smooth and stable, thanks to its MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension. The steering is light and responsive, making it easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces and traffic due to its turning radius of 5.2 metre. The braking system is composed of disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear, with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) for enhanced safety.
The engine performance of the Kia Soluto is impressive for its class, with a 1.4-liter dual-CVVT gasolene engine that produces 95 horsepower and 132 Nm of torque. The engine is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission and power comes in at about 3500rpm. The Soluto has a fuel consumption rating of 15.4 km/L for the manual transmission and 14.8 km/L for the automatic transmission, which is quite economical for a sedan.
The Kia Soluto is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable, practical, and affordable subcompact sedan. It has a stylish exterior design, a spacious and comfortable interior, and a decent audio system. Where driving is concerned, it handles smoothly and has an efficient engine performance.
Price of tested model:$3.795m
Engine: 1.4-litre engine
Fuel tank: 43 litre
Gas consumption: 7.7 l/ 100 km
Body Type: compact sedan
Competition: Toyota Yaris, Honda City, Mitsubishi Mirage
Vehicle courtesy of ATL Tiger Motors. For more information, interested persons can visit www.kia-jamaica.com or call 888-ATL-AUTO (285-2886).
The Honda Ridgeline is a midsize pickup truck that offers a unique blend of car-like ride comfort, utility, and technology.
The brand has long ditched the design concept of the first-generation Ridgeline, which had no dividing line between bed and cabin. Now, it more resembles a traditional pick- up, with a large bed with a number of features that make it more versatile such as a built-in trunk, which can also be used as a cooler. Adjacent to this is a hidden compartment that stores the spare tyre.
Once I entered the vehicle, I realised how spacious it felt due to the huge centre console, which acts like an island between driver and front passenger.
There are also individual armrests mounted on both front seats and a secret storage compartment that can hold a medium-sized handbag in the centre console. Nonetheless, with all of this, I still felt like at 6.55 feet, it was wider than most pickups, and I was right, with the standard bearer Toyota Hilux being narrower at 6.05 feet wide.
The leather front seats are supportive and well-cushioned, with side bolsters and adjustable lumbar support for the driver. The rear seats are spacious enough for three adults, but what really stands out for me is how innovative Honda is with creating more storage compartments. The 60/40 split rear-seat configuration can be folded up from the floor, which allows for a medium-sized mountain bike to be placed upright in the second row.
When the seats are placed down, a hollow space exists between the base of the seat and the floor, which is ideal for storing delicate items like fruits.
The interior is well-appointed, with soft-touch materials and a modern design. The dashboard is easy to use, and the controls are well-placed. The Ridgeline also comes standard with a number of features, including a rearview camera, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a six-speaker sound system. A quirky, but nifty feature is the conversational mirror. It is a concave mirror that is incorporated into the sunglasses holder in the overhead console. When it is in use, it allows the driver to have eye contact with the rear passengers and is excellent for parents who want to monitor kids.
The Ridgeline is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. The driving options, such as reverse or neutral, are controlled by buttons instead of a traditional gear lever.
The Honda Ridgeline has one of the best rides in the midsize pickup truck class. It’s smooth and comfortable on the highway, and it handles well for a pickup. It shares its unibody chassis with the Odyssey, Passport, and Pilot, and has independent rear suspension. This gives the Ridgeline a more car-like ride than its competitors, which typically have body-on-frame construction and solid rear axles.
The all-wheel drive system helps to keep it planted on the road in all weather conditions and improves handling, with little to no body roll.
The 2022 Honda Ridgeline is a great choice for buyers who want a comfortable and versatile midsize pickup truck. It’s not the most powerful or capable truck on the market, however it will be able to handle light-duty towing and hauling.
Car-like ride comfort
Spacious and comfortable interior
Versatile bed with a number of features
Standard safety features
Available advanced safety features
Not the most powerful or capable truck on the market
Single engine option
Price of tested model: $12.6m
Price Range/ Options:
Engine: 3.5 litre V6
Torque: 262 lb-ft at 4700 rpm
Transmission: AWD, 9-speed automatic
Fuel tank: 73.8 litre
Body Type: pickup
Competition: Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier, Mazda BT50, VW Amarok, GWM P Series.
The 2023 Honda HR-V is a completely redesigned small SUV that offers a lot of value and shares its platform and engine with the Civic. This time around, Honda went for a new rugged appearance as it abandoned the curves from the previous model.
Now, the HR-V is all about sharp angles and a tank-like silhouette.
I always wanted to test the HR-V, and I was fortunate to get the Hybrid version. This model is a new addition to the Honda line-up, and it offers a number of advantages over the standard HR-V. There is also more technology, like an automatic gate lift, which is quite common, however, Honda does something different with a walk-away feature. This allows you to press a button, and once you have possession of the key, the tailgate will close automatically when you are walking away.
The interior is covered with leather, which provides soft touches on all the interactive areas such as the steering wheel and the dashboard. The seats are also wrapped with leather that is perforated and is heavily padded with cushions. The headrest has a concave design and was one of the more comfortable ones I have felt. The creature comforts continue to the driver’s seat, which is fully electric, with the option to provide thigh support.
Leave it to Honda to come up with nifty features, like the conversational mirror that is found in the Ridgeline and Pilot. While this is not included in the HR-V, the company incorporated their ‘magic’ folding-seat mechanism. This is where the base of the rear seats can be folded upward to create more space, a truly ingenious feature that gives Honda the edge from many other brands.
Another one is the dedicated AC vents for the front passenger and driver, which has a multidirectional airflow option. This means that rather than blasting a concentration of air straight towards the person, the air is spread out.
To my surprise, there are rear AC vents, which are not common in small SUVs, and also, for the rear passengers, there are tweeters on the side door.
Infotainment system: The HR-V Hybrid comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. In addition, there is a wireless charging station below the climate controls.
Speaking of climate controls, the HR-V Hybrid comes standard with dual-zone climate control. This means that the driver and passenger can each set their own temperature.
Cargo space: The HR-V Hybrid has 25.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. This expands to 58.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. This is more cargo space than many other SUVs in its class.
The hybrid model gets better fuel economy, thanks to its combination of a 1.5-litre turbo gasolene engine and two electric motors, which delivers 129 horsepower and 187 Nm of torque. It also has a more refined ride, thanks to its unique suspension setup, which can give a floaty ride.
The HR-V Hybrid can switch between three driving modes – Econ, Normal and Sport – as well as adjust the level of energy recovery and deceleration using paddles behind the steering wheel. I found the acceleration to be quite adequate, especially when in Sports mode. For a small SUV, it was able to move swiftly when needed, taking a little over 10 seconds to go from 0 to 62mph, and having a top speed of 106mph.
Where handles are concerned, the HR-V manages effectively through corners, with a stable and secure feeling, and a well-weighted and precise steering. With an impressive ground clearance of 7.7 inches, you won’t be able to go around corners at maximum speeds without some body roll. On the flip side, the batteries are under the seats, and with this favourable ground clearance, it gives the driver some confidence when going through water.
Overall, the driving experience of the 2023 Honda HR-V Hybrid is good where performance and comfort is concerned.
Price of tested model: $7.995m
Options: HR-V LX $6.859m, HR-V EX $7.385m
Engine: 1.5 litre
Torque: 187 Nm
Transmission: FWD or AWD:
Fuel tank: 40 litres
Gas consumption: 13.3 km/l
Body Type: small crossover SUV.
Competition: Kia Seltos, Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda CX-3 and Suzuki Vitara
Vehicle provided by ATL Automotive Ltd, atlautomotive.com
Porsche, for the most part, has kept their formula very simple: build a performance-based car that is reliable and well tested. Where the silhouette is concerned, there have been some slight deviations over the years with models like the 944, and in recent times, the development of the Cayenne and the Panamera. However, the brand’s claim to fame is, and will always be, the 911 design. It’s a shape that is unmistakably hard to miss and is recognised worldwide. For the new 911, the brand has built over 20 variants, ensuring that all potential owners can find something that they like.
The test model I drove was the Carrera 4 GTS 911. It comes with a soft top and a pronounced rear arch to cover the back wheels. This reminds me of the batmobile that was designed in Tim Burton’s 1989 classic movie, Batman.
The interior keeps a similar layout to other models, with premium leather wrapped around the surfaces. The stitching on the seats is designed to match the overall colour scheme of the vehicle. They also kept an analog dial cluster and clock in the centre of the dashboard, as homage to the past.
I appreciate the fact that the leather seats are perforated, which makes the cooling and heating system operate more efficiently. In addition, there are multiple electronic adjustments that can be made to the seat, such as: the base, the lumbar and side bolsters. It also has a simple memory option where various seating positions can be stored.
The gear shifter, which controls the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is the size of a key fob, which might be hit or miss with the hardcore fan base. In addition, the panel, that it sits on, is outlined with gun-metal silver that gives it a unique depth of field.
Below this is what every cabriolet lover wants to find: the switches to retract the roof along with the rear windshield. When this is done, the cool factor goes up a notch, and it can be activated at speeds of up to 50km/h.
The Bose speakers default to a heavy bass sound and occupy the lower panels in the vehicle. This becomes very useful when the top is removed as it helps the sound quality to remain impactful. Porsche intuitively uses as many surfaces as possible to give a rich surround-sound effect even putting a speaker in the door handle.
Around back are two small bucket seats, for which, to be fair, Porsche has to get credit. This vehicle is ideally intended to be a two-seater, so when they added things like ISO fix points for baby seats, you know that they were trying to be inclusive.
The Carrera ticks all the boxes where fandangles are concerned for a super-luxury car, like a 10.9-inch touchscreen, and uses the limited space inside cleverly, like having a retractable cup holder in the dashboard or a designated area inside the armrest to hold a cellphone.
Despite the fact that the car has a very low ground clearance, it felt very comfortable on the road, with very good absorption of the potholes. The sports suspension, dampeners, along with the cushioning material used in the seat made the ride better than I expected.
With super-wide 305mm tires on the rear wheels and Porsche Traction Management system, this car can go around any corner, at almost any speed, without body roll.
To get an engaging driving experience from the six-cylinder engine, simply turn the knob on the steering wheel, which allows for the selection of Normal, Sports Plus, Sport, and Individual mode. I used Sport mode whenever I was on a stretch that allowed me to drive fast. Truth be told, there is no road that can fully facilitate the power that this car has, so I would encourage drivers to take it to a track. Even when I pressed it on the highway, going from 0 – 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, it was clear that it could go much faster.
The gas pedal is on the heavier side and has to be pressed hard for the acceleration to kick in. I liked this feeling because it had a slight delay effect, and then the speed came on in a rush, which reminded me of older model cars that had turbo.
My test unit was painted in a modest colour, which will most likely blend into the corporate world. However, these cars are built to stand out, as there is nothing ordinary about a 911. So if you are getting one, go for a colour like Papaya Metallic or Shark Blue that pops.
Engine: turbocharged three-litre, flat six-cylinder
Torque: 570 Nm, 2,300 – 5,000 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed Porsche Dual Clutch transmission with dual-mass flywheel, AWD.
Fuel tank: 67 litre
Cooling system: Water-cooled system with map-controlled thermal management and switchable water pump
Luggage compartment volume: 132 litre
Body Type: coupe, cabriolet
Competition: Audi R8, BMW 8-series, Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-Type. Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
Vehicle provided by ATL Motorsports, firstname.lastname@example.org
VW has decided to up the ante with this model variant of the Amarok, which is known as the Territus. Armed with imposing 265/60/R18 all-terrain mud tyres, that are both huge and wide in dimensions, it immediately stands out on the road. This version of the Amarok, which started production in 2010, comes with side steps, black wheel arches, and anti-rolling bars to give it a rugged look.
To the back of the twin cab is a black bedliner, which is able to manage loads of up to 911kg and has a designated light. Up front are halogen headlights with range adjustment and a blacked-out front grille, with fog lights below.
Though it is still in its first generation, the interior has been tweaked to look more modernised as well as improved in functionality. For example, there is a slight protrusion where the centre display and a/c units are. This helps with air circulation as each unit is angled towards the driver and passenger, respectively.
Where the display is concerned, it is monochrome with touchscreen functionalities. This might be a bummer for some as many drivers have become accustomed to colour screens, however, the more basic a pickup is, the better it is for me. Call me old-fashioned, but the less technology the more durable things are, plus everything functions in a streamline manner, such as pairing your phone or adjusting the audio setting.
What kind of surprised me was the quality of the six speakers. Every time I get a vehicle to test-drive, I go into the audio settings and level all the options, like treble and bass to zero, as this gives me true feedback from the speakers. After this was done, the music sounded clear and powerful in a manner that rivalled a lot of high- end vehicles.
On the top of the dashboard is a storage area, with a rubber surface, to ensure that whatever is placed there doesn’t slide around, and there is also a charging port. The Territus is littered with these ports. There is even a 12V power outlet in the load area. These are the type of things I like to see in pickups because they are most likely going to be used as fleet vehicles, so practicality is essential.
An area where it loses some points is the size of the storage bins in the door. Unfortunately, they are not large enough in girth to hold a 2-litre water bottle, hence you will have to rely on the two cup holders in the centre console.
For around-town driving the 2.0L Bi-Turbo Diesel is very nippy, and it pushes out 180hp, which ensures that you can move as quickly as most SUVs.
However, most persons who buy a pickup are interested in how it performs off-road. I remember when the Amarok first launched, it was as though VW was trying to make a casual-lifestyle pickup that competed with the Honda Ridgeline. Well, now the company seems fully committed to building a utilitarian pickup to compete with the likes of Toyota Hilux and Nissan Frontier.
The Amarok uses a permanent four-wheel-drive system called 4Motion which has the ability to shift power to 80% to the rear and 60% to the front. This helps a lot with the intelligent ‘Off-Road’ option which uses a very active hill descent control and anti-brake system. I did notice that this option uses more gas than normal, as it is constantly applying pressure to the ventilated discs brakes, which was a bummer when I was using the petrol version. Luckily, this time, I was driving the diesel variant, and the fuel consumption is very impressive as it can take you on a roundtrip from Kingston to Negril without refilling the tank.
With a ground clearance of 19.2 cm (7.6 inch) and a towing capacity of 3,200 KG, the Amarok definitely means business this time around. It is clear it is ready to get down and dirty with the industry stalwart as it shifts its focus to being fully utilitarian.
Price of tested model: $8,495,000 (full duty)
Price Range/Options: $7,995,000 Comfortline, (full duty)
Engine: 2.0L Bi-Turbo Diesel
Transmission: 4X4 (4Motion)
Fuel tank: 80-litre
Competition: Mazda BT50, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Hilux
Contact info: email – VWSales@atlautomotive.com or telephone – 888-ATL-AUTO
Once you have driven your car for a few years, there comes the time when you want something new. Along with the decision to upgrade, comes the contemplation of upgrading to a more modern used car, one that is more appropriate with your current needs or a brand new car fresh off the lot. Let’s explore the benefits of trading in an older car for a brand spanking new vehicle.
On March 10-12, the first of its kind automotive lifestyle event will be hosted at the ATL Automotive Oxford Road facilities featuring car brands Honda, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW, MINI and ATL Approved Pre-Owned.
Centred primarily on the consumer, this complimentary entry event will have something for everyone spanning seminars, performances, a kids’ zone/crèche and much, much more.