We’re catching up. Lots of driving. Not enough writing. So here we go. These are some of the cars we drove these past few months. Something really small, something really tall, something really flashy, something really useful , and something really red.
Each time we drive a Nissan, we’re reminded of the quality of these cars—quality that we forget because we’re so used to it. We’ve driven a few over the year, a few Muranos, Rogues and Zs. We drove this one down to San Diego for Super Bowl weekend, and the ride was just as lovely as the view. Like its big brother the Murano, the Rogue is roomy and comfortable, with every appropriate accoutrement. No one ever went wrong buying a Nissan.
MSRP: $21,840 – $29,430
Sonic Hatchback LTZ
You know those commercials where they drop a car out of an airplane with a parachute? It’s a Sonic, and it’s a terrible waste of a car. The parachute, not the car itself. The Sonic Hatchback LTZ is a terrific car, economical and stylish, this is a smart alternative to a Civic. It’s got a turbo-charged 1.4-liter engine, six-speed manual transmission, and 17-inch low-profile tires. It’s still a little stubby, but it makes up for its teapot styling with efficiency and practicality. A 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LT with automatic transmission and the Bluetooth / cruise package lists for $18,090.
2011 InfinitiG37 Coupe
Here is is how I knew how cool the 2011 Infiniti G37 Coupe was. I pulled into the Sheraton Gateway at LAX for a conference, and the valet actually said, “That’s a great car” This from a guy who sees beautiful cars all day. And he was right. This ride is power and style to burn. Great lines and a genuine luxury feel. Not cheap. Worth every penny.
MSRP from $37,150.
2011 Nissan Titan
We kinda have this thing about trucks. Unless you have a construction business or promote backyard raves and always carry ten huge speakers with you, a truck seems more like an affectation than a need. But we can see the attraction with this one. It’s big, powerful, and will carry half your house across town. If you’re opting for a strong statement and need room for a couple neighbors, try the Titan.
Oh those Italians. Chrysler’s recent takeover of the Fiat brand has resulted in the latest challenger to the Minis and Smart cars of the world. Built like a lady bug with a dragonfly’s engine underneath, the Fiat 500 is a nimble and surprisingly roomy gnat.
Over a week’s time, we pushed this little yellow cricket up and down the 605, deep into Orange County, into Riverside and beyond. We found it quick and responsive, with enough room for a tall driver and a passenger (but only one, despite the presence of a back seat. Just drop those down and forget about them.).
While we enjoyed the drive, this ride is a little too pricy for what it offers. At $19K, and fully loaded, it’s only 3,ooo bucks less than a Jetta sedan, a far more grown-up and serious affair.
But the mileage is dramatic (38 Hwy/30 City) and the 5-speed trannie and 1.4 liter engine are fun and responsive. Would we buy one? Yes, but not first. MSRP $15,500 – $19,650.