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Technology

TEST DRIVE

HEAVY METAL


with Rita Cook


Audi Q7

This one offers sharp design and luxury. Fitting seven people easily, the Audi Q7 has an amazing interior design and every feature seems to have been well thought out. With sports-oriented handling there have also been some trim level updates, the base 3.6, 3.6 Premium and 4.2 Premium trims all have extra standard equipment. The 18-inch wheels are good for the road and you get eight-way front power seats, leather upholstery and a dual-zone automatic climate control system.

Audi Q7

Least you need to know: There is a 3.6-liter, V6 engine with 280 horsepower and 266-pound feet of torque. Another option is the 4.2-liter, V8 and that gives you 350 horsepower and 325 pound feet of torque. A six-speed transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive system rounds out the package to make this vehicle well worth its weight and price.

Audi Q7

  • Miles Per Gallon: Not so good at 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.

  • Price Tag: You can expect to spend in the mid-$60,000s to get all the goodies.



Volkswagen Beetle

This is one classic car that just never seems to go out of style. The changes to the new look of the beetle that came quite a few years ago still reflect the classic Beetle style when the top is up. It just seems more polished now with the ability to haul around at least three passengers since there is room in the back seat. In the old days records indicate that as many as 22 million Beetles were sold, but only 331,000 between the years of 1949 and 1980. One has to imagine this new version will not hit that mark no matter how stylish it is - there are too many other choices. However, this is a good, solid car that looks good on both men and women. One real plus is the ease in which you can lower the convertible top. You twist a handle, hit a button and it's magic as it lowers to above the deck lid. However, one more thing to note, even in cold weather when the top is up this is a good choice for an every day car.

Volkswagen Beetle

Least you need to know: What was once just available in the 2.0 liter version with 115 horsepower has now been upped to a choice of a 150-horsepower turbo-charged version. The car is heavily resistant with what is known as A and B-pillars, floors, doors and just about everything else. Rollover safety is well thought out with roll bars hidden in the rear seat headrests. Inside, you can expect standard VW fare, which is high-quality and don't forget the cute built-in vase.
  • Miles Per Gallon: Good gas mileage with 22 mpg in the city and over 30 mpg on the highway.

  • Price Tag: You can start at around $20,450, I drove one with a price tag of\about $26,000 and it was excellent with all the extras.



Chevrolet HHR

The Chevrolet HHR is just one of those cars that looks and acts a little different for all the right reasons. The HHR stands for Heritage High Roof and in reality it could easily be mistaken for the PT Cruiser. The HHR is actually seven inches longer than the cruiser and two inches wider and taller. The base car is called the 2.2L and is heavier than the cruiser by about 80 pounds overall. A little bit more rear cabin space, but otherwise, pretty much the same. It might remind one of the PT Cruiser, but with its own personality just as well. Think of the extras to make the HHR personalized - add a sunroof, running boards, high-end wheels and even roof rails. The HHR looks good dressed up.

Chevrolet HHR

What to Know: The engine is a DOHC, 16-valve with twin balance shafts and an aluminum-block electronic throttle control, which is a GM special. In the 2.2L it's 143 horsepower although there is also the 180-horesepower to choose from as well and that one is a turbocharged 2.4L. Transmissions are either a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual. Even the low-end HHR offers something for everyone with standards like eight-way power driver's seat, cast aluminum wheels and satin chrome trim. For the higher end HHR you get 17-inch wheels, sports suspension, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lamps and a high-end sound system. If you want traction control, it also comes with ABS and, take note, the remote start as only offered in the automatic version.
  • Miles Per Gallon: With a 16.2-gallon tank the mileage will make you smile with 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

  • Price Tag: The price for the HHR will range from $16,005 to $18,805 so decide on your extras because it can also go up from there as you opt for the extra luxuries.


Back to Technology

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