Cruis­ing into 2016

Sweet lit­tle auto treats come in af­ford­able lit­tle pack­ages

GA Voice - - Front Page - By CASEY WIL­LIAMS

It’s that time of the year when sweet lit­tle treats come in af­ford­able lit­tle pack­ages. No, not candy, but the lat­est af­ford­able cars for the new sea­son. From sexy com­pact to mus­cu­lar pony, th­ese wheels are more af­ford­able than you imag­ine:

Honda Civic

This one’s all about the slick new wrap­per that flashes LED head­lamps and has an ath­letic stance, sculpted hood, racy fast­back roofline, and C-shaped LED tail­lamps. Roomier in­te­ri­ors im­press with a soft-touch in­stru­ment panel, premium seat fab­rics and pi­ano fin­ish in a mid­sized pas­sen­ger space. Heated front and rear seats are stan­dard menu—as is safety equip­ment like Col­li­sion Mit­i­ga­tion Brak­ing, Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol with Low-Speed Fol­low, and Road De­par­ture Mit­i­ga­tion. It also has Ap­ple CarPlay® and An­droid Auto to con­nect to smart­phones. Choose

be­tween a 158 horse­power 2.0-liter four­cylin­der en­gine and 174 horse­power 1.5-liter de­liv­er­ing up to 31/42 mpg city/ high­way. Get it as a sedan, coupe, 5-door hatch­back, or sporty Type R.

Base price: $18,640

Hyundai Tuc­son

Hyundai bills the Tuc­son as the per­fect cross­over for young sin­gles and empty nesters, but it’s also a stylish choice for debonair gay cou­ples and fam­i­lies of all va­ri­eties. A bold grille, LED run­ning lamps, and BMWin­spired body sculpt­ing lend it an up­scale look. Base mod­els sport lots of hard plas­tic in­side, but premium trims come with heated/ven­ti­lated leather seats, a prox­im­i­typrompted rear hatch, an app for An­droid watches, and crash avoid­ance tech. For­get the base en­gine and choose the avail­able1.6liter turbo-four that serves 175 horse­power and 26/33 mpg—enough to stomp through moun­tains or onto free­ways. It’s a tony, tomb-quiet refuge from city life—and a pretty hand­some one at that.

Base price: $22,700.

Mazda CX-3

Imag­ine a Mi­ata ex­panded to com­pact cross­over pro­por­tions, sport­ing Mazda’s flow­ing KODO de­sign cues. That’s the CX3. Driver-friendly in­te­ri­ors can be equipped with nav­i­ga­tion, Blue­tooth au­dio/call­ing, in­ter­net ra­dio apps, and heated seats. Safety is en­hanced with a heads-up dis­play and all the lat­est crash avoid­ance warn­ing sys­tems. One look and you’ll want to throt­tle the 2.0-liter four-cylin­der en­gine that de­liv­ers 146 horse­power and an eco­nom­i­cal 29/35 mpg city/high­way. All-wheel drive is op­tional. The CX-3 de­lights with sexy style, driv­ing dy­nam­ics, and an af­ford­able win­dow sticker. Go drive one!

Base price: $19,960

Ford Shelby GT350

You can buy a hot rod Mus­tang that drives like an Audi for just $23,895, and you’d love it, but that’s not the sexy temptress in the blue oval brothel. Ford is re-in­tro­duc­ing the Shelby GT350 that de­buted in 1965, but its 526 horse­power 5.2-liter V8 makes the old one seem quaint, while an ad­justable Mag­neRide sus­pen­sion, 5 driv­ing modes, and aero­dy­nam­i­cally ac­tive hood heat ex­trac­tor would bog­gle 1960s minds. If you re­ally want a fly ride, check the GT350R that’s stripped and ripped with a min­i­mal in­te­rior and car­bon fiber wheels. If that doesn’t get your mo­tor rac­ing, you’re prob­a­bly dead. “Af­ford­able” is rel­a­tive, but good luck find­ing more for less.

Base price: $47,795.

Kia Op­tima

Like the Tar­get of sedans, Op­tima sym­bol­izes pre­ci­sion style at bar­gain prices. Pe­ter Schreyer’s flow­ing body with hun­kered shoul­ders looks strong and el­e­gant. In­te­ri­ors con­vey lux­ury through avail­able Nappa leather, soft-touch ma­te­ri­als, and rich col­ors. Turn up Har­man/Kar­don au­dio to rock out—or em­ploy the stan­dard rearview cam­era and tech like adap­tive cruise, front col­li­sion warn­ing, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, and au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing sys­tems to en­hance safety. En­gines in­clude a 185 horse­power 2.4-liter four-cylin­der, 245 horse­power 2.0-liter turbo-four, or the new 178 horse­power 1.6-liter turbo-four con­nected to a seven-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Ex­pect to see over 35 mpg high­way. You won’t have to drive far to see an Op­tima get built, as it’s as­sem­bled in West Point, Georgia.

Base price: $21,840

‘Af­ford­able’ is a rel­a­tive term for the Ford Shelby GT350, but good luck find­ing more for less. (Photo cour­tesy of Ford)

The Kia Op­tima sym­bol­izes pre­ci­sion style at bar­gain prices. (Photo cour­tesy of Kia)

Clock­wise from above: Hyundai bills the Tuc­son as the per­fect cross­over for young sin­gles and empty nesters, but it’s also a stylish choice for debonair gay cou­ples and fam­i­lies of all va­ri­eties. The Honda Civic is all about the slick new wrap­per that flashes LED head­lamps and has an ath­letic stance, sculpted hood, racy fast­back roofline, and C-shaped LED tail­lamps. Imag­ine a Mi­ata ex­panded to com­pact cross­over pro­por­tions, sport­ing Mazda’s flow­ing KODO de­sign cues. That’s the CX-3. (Pho­tos cour­tesy of auto deal­ers)

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