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Lexus RC Coupe and Kia Forte


Lexus RC Coupe | Starting price: $40,000

Any proper luxury brand like Lexus is expected to offer a sporty luxury coupe. It must have the obligatory front engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, two doors, swoopy styling and lots of power. The Lexus RC coupe fits that description very well.

The RC is offered in several versions. The RC Turbo has a turbocharged 2.0 4 cylinder engine with 241 horsepower. The RC 300 has a milder tuned 3.5 V6, and the RC 350 models have corralled 306 horsepower under the hood.

The RC F, however, is fitted with the 5.0 liter V8 and is a lovely, glorious road monster. It sports the 467 horsepower V8 and will drill to 60 miles an hour in 4.4 seconds flat… very fast! All offer the 8-speed automatic transmission and both rear and all-wheel drive versions are available.

Several driving modes are offered that range from ECO to Normal to Sport to Sport+. In Eco mode, the car purrs along in a sedate tractable manner. As you progress up the driving modes the intensity of the vehicle increases. The shift points change, the exhaust note gets louder, the suspension firmness increases and Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde! The tachometer shows a 7,300 rpm redline which is crazy high for either the 3.5 liter V6 or the 5.0 V8 engine. Yet, in the fury of the Sport + mode, they both go there.

The V8’s special exhaust system emits a rumbling baritone note and Active Sound Control (ASC) electronically “boosts” the raging exhaust note under hard acceleration into the cabin via the audio speakers. The driver can turn the ASC system off…I don’t know why you would, but you could.

Well I suppose that if you were enjoying the RC’s unique Mark Levinson 17 speaker premium audio with “decompression” (compensating for the loss of audio quality during digital file compression) you might. Where they fit 17 speakers into the cabin of this car I don’t know but the system sounds fantastic.

With Lexus Enform Remote, the customer can remotely view and control certain aspects of the RC using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Functions include remote door lock/unlock; remote start/stop for the engine and climate control; vehicle finder, guest driver monitor and more.

The RC F can go fast and with the additional performance features like torque vectoring suspension, track grade brakes and even all-weather drive, it is very good at staying on the road as well.

A full suite of safety gear is available including blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, radar cruise control, pre-collision braking and parking assist, plus every airbag in the book including those for knees. If you’re comfortable with active safety, the RC is capable of dodging or out-smarting lots of problems if the driver will employ all its capabilities.

The RC does everything a car like this is supposed to do. There is a tremendous range of models and options in the RC with prices ranging from $40,000 to almost $80,000.

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kia.forte 

Kia Forte | Starting price: $16,600

The Forte is Kia’s highly successful compact sedan. It lines up against the Toyota Corolla, Chevy Cruz and Honda Civic to name a few. It is a well sculpted, feature-rich sedan that continues to be very popular.

All brands have family styling cues. Clearly, the Forte is a member of the Kia family. It tends to be somewhat rectangular and a bit boxy, yet is a very nice-looking car and that squarish design provides maximum interior space.

This 2017 model has been updated and refreshed to keep it in the mainstream of what buyers of this class of car are looking for. It’s what Kia calls European sport-sedan styling and it’s topped off with their signature “tiger nose” grille.

The Forte is offered in three trim levels…the LX, the S and the EX. The new S trim amps up the Forte’s dynamic demeanor by adding a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED positioning lights, rear spoiler, and a chrome exhaust tip.

The LX and the S models get the Atkinson version of the 2.0 liter engine. The EX gets DGI direct injection 2.0 liter which has better power but worse fuel economy. The Atkinson produced 147 horsepower but delivers an overall average of 32 mpg. The DGI 2.0 has 161 horsepower but offers a significantly lower 28 mpg fuel economy. Though you can get a 6- speed manual transmission, it’s not advisable unless you just really have to have one. The automatic is much easier to drive, it’s faster, gets better fuel economy and has better resale value, but other than that…!

The Forte is a roomy compact. Entry and exit are a breeze and the car is fun to drive. My test car had more of a feeling of substance than most compacts. You feel like you’re in a miniaturized premium sedan rather than a small economy vehicle.

While the entry level model is priced at $16,000, the fully optioned EX can cost over $27,000. Car manufacturers have discovered that there is a large group of buyers of compact cars who want the same upscale options found on larger vehicles. They want small but blingy.

The Forte offers a broad array of options that are bundled into a few packages. The base LX is well equipped for its price. It’s a 4 cylinder, manual transmission, power windows, locks, air conditioning, simple info-display type of car that has good quality and is basic but solid transportation with nice styling.

Adding almost $10,000 to the price of the EX with the Premium Package gets you these items: automatic transmission, alloy wheels, LED headlamps, power heated and cooled leather seats, dual climate control, push-to-start plus keyless entry, cruise control, back up camera, blind spot detection, collision alert, self-braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, navigation with upscale audio system, cornering lights, a moon roof plus more.

What Kia offers in the Forte is a full-featured, reliable and attractive compact sedan that can be configured to suit many drivers’ tastes.

 

For more information about these and other vehicles, visit mycardata.com.


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