Do You Really Need to Change the Transmission Fluid?


There are many fluids that run throughout your vehicle, but one of the most important to keep track of is the transmission fluid. Whether or not you should change it is not a matter of debate: Yes, you should. But how often this service should be performed varies by manufacturer and vehicle, and it’s open to debate.

The manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for many automatic transmissions doesn’t call for fresh fluid until 100,000 miles or, with some Ford transmissions, even 150,000 miles. A lot of mechanics say that is too long and that it should be done at least every 50,000 miles. Manual transmissions require more conventional gear oil rather than ATF and tend to be on a different maintenance schedule, so it’s best to consult the service intervals in the owner’s manual.



The 2018 Hyundai Kona is Hyundai’s little big man.

Chances are that in 2013, you probably jammed to Mafikizolo’s mega hit song “Khona” which took audiences in Africa by storm and had many singing along through out the year and beyond.Fast forward to the middle of  2018, and it might  be possible to arrive at Kona bar and grill in Osu, Accra in your brand new Hyundai Kona vehicle.The buzz-kill is that, evidence provided by, indicate that the newly-derived model’s name takes inspiration from the popular tourist destination on Hawaii’s Big Island–a naming tactic which follows in the tradition of the Tucson, Sante Fe and Tiburon, all recognisable American locations–and  not from either the Khona song or the Kona bar in Accra.But that’s just by the way of giving you a little teaser about the nomenclature of this new small SUV coming out from South Korea.


Where does the 2018 Hyundai Kona sit in Hyundai’s SUV lineup?

The 2018 Hyundai Kona is a subcompact crossover(small 4X4, as we prefer to call them over here in GH) that slots below the Tucson as Hyundai’s new entry-level crossover in North America.Generally, Ghanaian car buyers tend to pay particular attention to vehicles which are made for the North American market because a great number of used cars are imported from that market.On the global market though, the Hyundai Creta which has a comparable proportions  as the 2018 Hyundai Kona has been around since 2014 but it was not available to the North American market.The Hyundai Creta has been around in Ghana for sometime now, though not many due to the fact that, most private car buyers tend to settle for the imported used vehicles as a matter of affordability.

What are the engines, transmission and trim levels?

The 2018 Hyundai will come standard with Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive is optional on all trims.The Kona will come in 4 main trim levels, namely:

  • SE: The base Kona SE comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, full LED headlights, Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system, cloth uphosltery, keyless entry, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.
  • SEL: Moving up to the SEL grade adds heated side mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, blind-spot monitoring, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, keyless start, and a leather shift knob.
  • Limited: The Limited trim adds the 1.6-liter turbo-four, a power-operated driver’s seat, a sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels and LED taillights.
  • Ultimate: the range-topping Ultimate trim is equipped with  rain-sensing wipers, a head-up display, a wireless charging pad, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, an Infinity premium audio system, and navigation.


Why should you be giddy about the 2018 Hyundai Kona?

The 2018 Hyundai Kona and other subcompact crossovers such as the 2016 Honda HR-V, and the 2017 Toyota C-HR are very ideal for the Ghanaian setting due to the following reasons:

  • High ground clearance–which is crucial in ensuring that even on many of our dirt and rough roads, your car’s undercarriage is safe from the elements which can damage parts such as the oil sump.Hyundai claims the Kona has been designed for a “true SUV experience” with plenty of ground clearance and that makes us on this side of the globe, very happy indeed.2018-Hyundai-Kona-3
  • Low Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)–According to, the 2018 Hyundai Kona will go on sale in March with a starting price of $20,450.That is a very impressive starting price for a small 4×4–but well-equipped automobile–bearing in mind that prior to the emergence of these models, the lowest priced compact SUVs such as the Toyota RAV, Honda CR-V and the Hyundai would set you back at least $25,000–when purchased new.The 2018 Hyundai Kona is so reasonably priced that it even beats that of a mid level trim of the 2018 Elantra; the 1.4-litre turbocharged Eco model which sells for $20,550. Mind you the MSRP is what the Ghana Revenue Authority refers to as Home Delivery Value(HDV) which is used to calculate your import duty. A lower HDV is always good news for any importer as it usually translates into a lower import duty cost.1kona
  • Performance and Fuel Economy Rating–The 2018 Hyundai Kona is available with two engines, 2.0-liter I-4 with 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque and paired to a conventional six-speed automatic transmission.Hyundai-Kona-Highlander-engine-bay-1024x683 A 1.6-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine rated at 175 hp and 195 lb-ft is optional and comes exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.The Kona is EPA-rated at 27/33 mpg city/highway with the base engine and front-wheel drive, or 25/30 mpg with all-wheel drive. An upgrade to the optional  1.6-litre turbocharged engine and the fuel economy becomes 28/32 mpg with front-wheel drive or 26/29 mpg with all-wheel drive.These fuel economy numbers are impressive considering the Kona is a mini SUV, yet averaging a combined fuel economy rating of 30 mpg.In Ghana, the majority of prospective car buyers who might be upgrading to a mini 4X4  in the their next car purchase will find the 30 mpg combined fuel economy rating as really good news at a time when a gallon of petrol is selling for GHS20.30(US$4.51) or more. The added bonus of this impressive fuel economy rating is that you can keep your windows rolled up and your  air-conditioning system turned on for most days and spare the fresh and beautiful interior of your Kona from dust–perhaps, a luxury some full size 4×4 owners might not be able to enjoy.
  • Clean Interior design–Whiles the exterior of the Kona appears to be designed to be dramatic and attention-seeking, the interior was saved from all that flash.
  • 2018-Hyundai-Kona-front-interior2018-Hyundai-Kona-cabin-6
  • 2018-Hyundai-Kona-rear-interior-seats

The cabin design blends trendy color-matched bits and pieces with the outside paint color with a “floating” infotainment display located at the top of the center portion of the dashboard. There are lots of buttons and knobs, promising simplicity of use, and the transmission shifter is a standard PRNDL setup.


Editor’s Note: The optional 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo-four in the 2018 Kona is shared with the larger Tucson.









Introducing the all new 2018 Honda Accord

The all new 2018 Honda Accord(in its 10th generation) is a multiple award-winning vehicle–2018 North American Car of the Year, Car and Driver’s 2018 10Best Cars, and Kelly Blue Book’s 2018 Midsize Sedan Best Buy  are some of the awards earned by the Accord.With such impressive accolades, we at Engine Matters, had no choice but to go and dig deep to find out the secret recipe Honda used to cook up this sumptuous driver’s delight.Truth be told,yours truly is  Honda Accord biased.This stems from my exploits as a delivery driver in and around the DMV(DC, Maryland and Virginia) in the latter years of the 2000s, when I purchased a 1993 Honda Accord equipped with a manual transmission.

90802041990219A 1993 Honda Accord

At the time of purchase, the odometer read 210,000 miles.The car was such a fun and dependable companion which eventually clocked 320,000 of mostly delivery miles before it was donated to the Salvation Army.But I digress, I am sure you are here to read about the all new 2018 and its wonderful attributes, so let’s get right to it.

1.Elegant european-inspired exterior design

The 10th generation Honda Accord has a bold design with an aggressive yet elegant front grille and a coup-like roof-line reminiscent of the modern German fastback sedans made famous by the Mercedes CLS.But as you might be aware, beauty they say is in the eyes of the beholder.And yes! you are the beholder so we hope the new Accord looks good to you in pictures.Give or take,by the end of the year you would be seeing lots of this 2018 Accord “filifili” on our Ghanaian roads.





2.Powerful yet fuel-efficient turbo-charged engines and a hybrid.

The 2018 Accord  lineup starts with a 192-hp turbocharged 1.5-litre inline-four–a replacement for the 2.4-litre naturally aspirated engine which has powered many generations of Accords.This 1.5-litre comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission but can also be had with a well-calibrated CVT. The 3.5-litre V6 that used to power the top of the range models has also been replaced with a 252-hp turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four  with either a six-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic.

The new 1.5-litre turbocharged engine

2.0-litre turbocharged engine

2018 Honda Accord Hybrid Engine Bay

The hybrid powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors.

3.The fresh, clean and contemporary Interior layout

The auto journalists appear unanimous in their love of the interior of the 2018 Honda Accord but the the description by Kelley Blue Book caught my attention.

Inside, the new Honda Accord manages to pack more refinement, more features and even more room into a sedan that’s actually a little shorter than the model it replaces. The design is familiar but elevated, thanks in part to a more liberal application of high-quality materials. Everything is where you’d expect to find it and all the controls are visible from the driver’s seat. Nothing is visually obscured behind the steering wheel, the controls have a quality feel, and the buttons placed lower left of the steering wheel are thoughtfully marked with a larger font. The front seats offer more adjustments than before, and they’re now available with cooling ventilation as well as heating–

As every Tom, Dick and Kofi is wowed into singing the praises of this Honda, the prudent thing  for me to do here  would be to borrow the words of  Hip Hop mogul Jay Z, “what more can I say?”


2018 Honda Accord equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission






Now that you have been given the gist on what makes the 2018 Honda Accord such a compelling piece of automobile engineering, our job here at Engine Matters would not be complete if we do not end on a high note.And it goes something like this:

But the Accord isn’t just better than the Camry. This is a mass-market car selling at a keen price—and a better-driving one than many more expensive and pretentious performance cars. It’s the unquestioned victor here and everywhere else mid-size, mid-price vehicles may roam–

Such high praise for the 2018 Honda Accord came after it vanquished the  2018 Toyota Camry in a recent Car and Driver’s comparison test–a noteworthy  information for the car fanatics who love to indulge in Accord versus Camry arguments.









If you live in Ghana and own a sedan(saloon) vehicle  then it’s most likely that the undercarriage of your vehicle has suffered greatly from the poor road networks.On the main roads, which tend to be tarred your vehicle is able to go about its duties sufficiently.The story changes when you are maneuvering your way through the dirt roads in the suburbs of Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and the other cities, towns and villages in Ghana.It is only when your small vehicle with low ground clearance has been brutalized by this rough terrain that one would begin to appreciate the need for a vehicle with high ground clearance, i.e. Crossover Utility Vehicles (CUV) and Sports Utility Vehicles(SUV) which are broadly referred to as 4×4 (4-Weel Drive)  vehicles in Ghana.

4x4s are no longer for a select few!

In Ghana, during the 1990s, 4×4 vehicles were the reserve of government officials,state agencies, NGOs and a few wealthy individuals.I know a majority of  Ghanaians still remember the Mitsubishi Pajero, which  was the preferred vehicle of the then Head of State, Flt.Lt Jerry John Rawlings.In recent years there has been a  proliferation of 4x4s in Ghana thanks in part to the Americans’ love for vehicles with high ground clearance, high seating position and all season capability.Ghana imports a high number of  used cars from the American market, hence the cars on our roads tend to mimic those on US roads.

Honda is cashing in

For 2016, Honda added the HR-V,  a small 4×4(subcompact CUV) to its fleet of 4×4 vehicles–which included the CR-V( compact CUV) and the Pilot(SUV).For us in Ghana, this was a welcome addition to the Honda family.Our excitement is due to the following reasons:

  • Reasonable price
    With a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price(MSRP) starting from $19,215 in the US, the Honda HR-V is reasonably priced. The MSRP of the 2016 Honda Civic sedan  is $18,640, which means the HRV’s import duty will be about the same as the Honda Civic. Mind you, the MSRP is what the Ghana Revenue Authority refers to as Home Delivery Value(HDV) which is used to calculate your import duty. A lower HDV is always good news for any importer as it usually translates into a lower import duty cost.

hrv 3

  • Superb fuel economy
    The Fuel Economy rating for the Honda  HR-V is 28mpg in the city 35 mpg on the highway. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder provides fuel-economy ratings near the top of its class, with front-wheel-drive CVT models achieving a combined rating of 31 mpg. That is very impressive for a mini-4X4. It is note-worthy considering that in Ghana fuel prices keep rising consistently but with the HR-V you can afford to disregard the news on fuel price increases. An added bonus of this impressive fuel economy rating is that you can enjoy the air-conditioning system  on most days and spare the interior of your HR-V from dust.



  • Beautiful and roomy interior
    The interior of the HR-V is pleasant and roomy as can be seen in the picture below .The Honda HR-V may appear small but with its  up to 58.8-cubic-feet of cargo space, the Honda HR-V Crossover stores more than just the essentials.  Loaded with luxuries including: available buttery-soft leather-trimmed interior, and a one-touch power moonroof, making it easy to get a breath of fresh air on cool days.

2017 Honda HR-V

  • High ground clearance
    The Honda HR-V has an impressive ground clearance of 6.7 inches compared to the paltry 6.1inches of the Mazda CX-3 which is a direct competitor.Even more interesting is that the HR-V’s bigger sibling, the  2016 Honda CR-V also has 6.7 inches of ground clearance.This means that you would be able to maneuver your way  through all those rough roads in your neck of the woods without enduring  that heart-aching pain–which  the scratch of your saloon car’s undercarriage usually brings.

2017 Honda HR-V

  • Reliability and overall package
    When it comes to reliability and dependability of a car, nobody does it better than Honda.Kelly blue book summed up the virtues of the 2016/2017 Honda HR-V well in one sentence “If you’ve been looking for compact car with good gas mileage, a low price, strong resale and reliability ratings plus the ability to tackle deep snow and carry all your toys, the 2017 Honda HR-V subcompact SUV should fit you like a glove.” All you need to do is to replace the  ‘deep snow’ with ‘dirt roads’ and the sentiment applies directly to all prospective owners of the 2016/2017 Honda HR-V in Ghana.





The all new 2017 Honda CR-V: The best compact SUV in the world!

2017-Honda-CR-V-111-1-876x535The side-view of the 2017 Honda CR-V

Yup!, the all new 2017 Honda CR-V is the best compact SUV in the whole world–and that’s not a subjective statement.But before you begin shouting obscenities at the editor, please take a few minutes and digest the views of some of the experts in automobile journalism and be convinced by the overwhelming evidence.

Car and Driver:

“Versatility, competency, and reliability are the tenets on which the CR-V hangs its hat, hence its 2017 10Best award. Supportive seats and a firm but supple ride make it easy to live with. The interior is quiet, handsome, and roomy. The base engine is a 184-hp 2.4-liter four, while a 190-hp 1.5-liter turbo four is optional. A CVT (one of the best available) and front-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional”.

2017-Honda-CR-V-129-1-876x535The rear view of the 2017 Honda CR-V


“Are you looking for a crossover SUV that’s coolly competent across the board? The redesigned 2017 Honda CR-V will certainly fit the bill. It gets sharp new styling, even more feature content and an excellent optional turbocharged engine. It’s a great choice for an all-around crossover SUV”.

2017-Honda-CR-V-First-Drive-135-876x535The interior and instrument cluster of the 2017 Honda CR-V


“The Honda CR-V was the best-selling vehicle in the compact CUV segment last year, and it has been redesigned for 2017. Major updates mean more space inside for passengers and cargo, a bit more power and efficiency from a new 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a quieter, more comfortable driving experience. The previous CR-V was already one of the best vehicles in its class, and the fully redesigned 2017 CR-V remains the best bet for your buck”.

2017-Honda-CR-V-150-876x535The view from the spacious back seats of the 2017 Honda CR-V

Consumer Report:

“In an attempt to keep its sales crown, the 2017 Honda CR-V adds convenience, technology, and refinement; expands advanced safety feature offerings; and, for the first time, offers an up-level turbocharged engine.Overall, the 2017 Honda CR-V boasts notable improvements throughout that make it very competitive. Plus, the incremental size increase makes the CR-V a viable option for shoppers considering a midsized SUV”.

2017-honda-crv-4The aggressive-looking front view of the 2017 Honda CR-V

Motor Trend:

Although we haven’t tested the new fifth-generation 2017 Honda CR-V, the roomier interior, more powerful and efficient powertrain option, and available tech should keep the crossover toward the top of the segment. After all, the refreshed 2015 Honda CR-V was the 2015 Motor Trend SUV of the Year.

2017-Honda-CR-V-168-876x535The new up-level  1.5-litre turbocharged engine that powers all CR-Vs except the base LX models

Editors Note:

For anybody shopping for a compact SUV in Ghana, the 2017 Honda CR-V should be on the their list for these 3 reasons:

  • The reasonable MSRP  of the 2017 Honda CR-V which starts from $24,045 in the US.Notice that i make references to the US market often because most of the used cars on the Ghanaian market are imported from the US.
  • The fuel efficiency  rating of the 2017 Honda CR-V which is 28 / 34 mpg for the Front-wheel drive versions equipped with the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine.In Ghana, the price of fuel keeps rising on a daily basis as such fuel efficiency should be a key consideration when deciding on a car or SUV.
  • The 2017 Honda CR-V is bigger, taller and wider than the outgoing model which implies that buyers who opt for the CR-V will not be compromising much on size.



The 10 Best Cars that Nobody Buys

Build a great car, and it deserves to succeed. But that’s not to say it will. The U.S. auto market, past and present, is littered with examples of excellent products that buyers shunned. In an effort to right that wrong—or at least highlight some worthies you may have overlooked—we bring you our list of today’s best cars that nobody buys. We think that each of these ten sedans, coupes, sports cars, and wagons deserves to sell better, much better. But for various reasons, they’re unjustly ignored. Should you take our advice and pick up one for yourself, you’ll not only get an excellent car, but you won’t see yourself coming and going. Although if this were a true meritocracy, you would.


BMW 3-series sports wagon (2014 sales: 3687)

It’s fitting that this list starts off with a station wagon. Like most enthusiasts, we love wagons with the same intensity with which the American car-buying public disdains them. With a lower center of gravity than an SUV or crossover, they have all the handling goodness of a sports sedan yet their expanded cargo hold adds an extra measure of practicality. Even when confronted with an example as excellent as the BMW 3-series Sports Wagon, U.S. shoppers stay away in droves, flocking instead to the X1 (which outsells the 3-series wagon by more than 5 to 1). BMW offers the longroof 3-series in two versions: gasoline-powered 328i and diesel-drinking 328d. Both add the xDrive appendage to their name, as they’re sold with four driven wheels only. The 328i uses BMW’s ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbo four, with 240 horsepower and 255 lb-ft. Working with the eight-speed automatic (the only gearbox available), it hustles the little hauler to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. The 328d uses a turbo-diesel of the same displacement; its forte is fuel economy, with EPA ratings of 31/43 mpg (we can vouch for the highway figure, based on our experience with our long-termer). Either way, this wagon is a winner—in every aspect except sales.


Cadillac ATS (2014 sales: 29,890)

Change can be hard to recognize—and even harder to accept. That certainly seems to be the case with Cadillac. The division has shaken off the overstuffed glitz of its (admittedly highly profitable and, for a long time, quite popular) past. After a period of some identity confusion, Cadillac with the ATS and the CTS [see separate entry] has come out the other side, offering cars that out-BMW BMW. The ATS both in sedan and—even more so—in coupe form, drive with the poise and responsiveness that used to be a given in the BMW 3-series. Granted, the ATS is not perfect: The CUE interface is annoying and the back seat is pretty tight. But enthusiasts for years had no problem overlooking the frustration of iDrive and a cramped back seat in the BMW (both alleviated in today’s models). Why can’t enthusiasts do the same for the ATS? One suspects it’s not that they can’t overlook the car’s shortcomings in order to embrace its driving excellence, but that they’re unwilling to look in Cadillac’s direction at all. The ATS is a very different Cadillac from those that have gone before—a polar opposite, in fact. As we’re seeing with the disappointing sales of this anything-but-disappointing car, it’s the kind of change that many buyers are having a hard time coming to grips with.


Cadillac CTS (2014 sales: 31,115)

In a just and righteous world, every BMW 5-series buyer would instead be driving brand-new Cadillac CTS. Hell, most 3-series folks would do well to cross-shop the Caddy dealership. The CTS simply has all the traits you want in a sporty sedan. It’s lightweight—skating in significantly under 4000 pounds in an increasingly portly segment—thanks to a mass-reduction program that obsessed over not pounds or ounces, but grams. The electrically assisted steering is sports-car good, the optional multi-mode magnetorheological dampers work chassis magic, and the Vsport’s twin-turbo V-6 with 420 horses and 430 lb-ft moves that stiff, lithe chassis with aplomb. Thrifty buyers could save money with the naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6, or even the capable (if not traditionally Caddy-esque) 2.0-liter turbo four; those who commute wearing Simpson racing shoes will have to wait for the utterly insane 640-horse CTS-V due later this year. That one, the supercharged, Nürburgring-devouring Caddy that’s basically a four-door Corvette Z06, is the best argument against buying German: While BMW wobbles around slapping once-vaunted M badges on unworthy, overweight crossovers, Cadillac made the CTS-V more single-mindedly performance-oriented than ever before. Why do otherwise-smart people still choose the roundel over the (now wreath-less) crest? Damned if we know.


Ford Flex (2014 sales: 23,822)

“No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” That paraphrase of H.L. Mencken has been a guiding principle of the auto industry for decades. Nowhere is that dictum on better display than at your local Ford dealership, where sales of the Flex trail those of the Explorer by almost 9 to 1. Design-wise, the Flex is a ’65 Ford Country Sedan thrown into a blender with a Jeep Grand Wagoneer and a modern Range Rover, the result of which stands proudly apart from the herd of lookalike SUVs. It also happens to excel at its mission, being a quiet and roomy conveyance for six or seven and their chattels; and with the available 365-hp EcoBoost V-6, it’s among the most powerful vehicles in its class. Too bad Ford never understood this vehicle, starting with its goofy name and the ridiculous ad campaign that pitched the preppy, 7-seat family wagon as a car for nightclubbing hipsters. Once the Explorer switched to the same layout, its overwhelming name recognition meant it was all over for the Flex, but we’ll take the classically handsome Flex over the bloated fat-boy Explorer any day.


Jaguar XJ (2014 sales: 4329)

Full-size luxury sedans seem to be suffering a pandemic of weird design. The Audi A8 has a nose like an industrial air inlet, the BMW 7-series suffers from goiter, and the Lexus LS? Yeesh. That’s why we nod in approval whenever we see a Jaguar XJ roll by. The Jag’s athletic appearance talks the talk, while a lightweight aluminum structure and sporty but not punishing ride give it the walk. Upgrade to the long-wheelbase model for business-class rear accommodations in an airy sedan that hardly gives up any of the shorter variant’s hustle. Alternately, go all the way with the 550-horse XJR, whose nimbleness—especially in long-wheelbase format—seems to defy both physics and common sense. Jag’s sales volume can’t touch the German competition, perhaps in part because of semi-outdated perceptions of the brand’s quality, but maybe that’s a virtue in disguise: In a line of “bought it with my branch-manager bonus” German luxobarges at the country club valet, the Jag stands out like a set of washboard abs in a room full of paunches. Plus, coming in more than $20,000 cheaper than a comparable Mercedes-Benz S-Class, you could even call the sinewy Jag a bargain.


Mazda 5 (2014 sales: 11,613)

Bigger-is-better is as much the driving force in the purchase of the American family car as it is the American family home. That seems particularly true for those in the midst of child raising, which means the notion of a smaller-than-standard minivan was always going to be a tough sell. But the Mazda 5 selling at 10 percent of the volume of the Dodge Grand Caravan? The Mazda 5 isn’t that much smaller. After all, plenty of minivans are sold to people with only two kids, the extra seats designated for additional members of the kiddie carpool. So what does it matter if the Mazda 5’s third-row chairs are cramped? These are other people’s kids we’re talking about. Meanwhile, the Mazda’s tidy dimensions make it far easier to park and maneuver for those cool parents who haven’t abandoned the city for a four-bedroom colonial in the exurbs. The Mazda 5 is also far more nimble and fun to drive than any of the regular-size vans—even if Mazda has dropped the available six-speed stick. At a starting price of $22,060, the Mazda 5 is also the most affordable minivan out there, although not by a lot. On a dollars-per-pound basis, the Euro-size Mazda is never going to compete. But for those who can get beyond that warehouse-club thinking, the Mazda 5 is an excellent way to get six seats without going full suburban-paunch.


Mazda 6 (2014 sales: 53,224)

Previous versions of the Mazda 6 sedan might have deserved their anonymity, their place as wallflowers at the mid-size-sedan dance. But the current Mazda 6 does not. Designed and engineered by the same talented crew that brought us the excellent Mazda 3 and the transcendent new Miata, the Mazda 6 beat out all comers in our comparison—including the vaunted Honda Accord—to take the crown as our favorite mid-size sedan. It did so by excelling in categories both objective and subjective. With its 184-hp engine, it sprints to 60 mph in a brisk 7 seconds flat, yet returns 37 mpg on the highway according to the Feds. Subjectively, we love responsiveness of the chassis, the interior materials that feel a class above, and the way the body’s sculpting and proportions disguise the 6’s front-wheel-drive layout and instead impart the upscale elegance of a rear-wheel-drive car. Yet in an auto market where it seems that legions of customers unthinkingly buy or lease the same model they did before, the Mazda 6 is having a hard time breaking in. Its 53,224 sales in 2014 were dwarfed by the Toyota Camry’s 428,606. We’d say it’s underrated if it weren’t so highly rated—really, it’s just underappreciated.


Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon (2014 sales: 2327)

The 1980s weren’t kind to the domestic station wagon. Already under assault from minivans, the wagon was nearly eradicated when the same taste-making consumers responsible for elevating neon spandex and bi-level hairstyles to the pinnacle of fashion aligned themselves with the emerging SUV lifestyle, relegating the once-ubiquitous station wagon to duty as the dorksville express. Although a handful of manufacturers persevered through those dark and confusing days, it’s the current Mercedes Benz E-class wagon that displays the most faithful modern interpretation of a given maker’s original longroof philosophy. As with its forebears, the differences from its sedan counterpart are contained primarily in the aft portion, and it’s of our opinion that the classic, understated lines of the Mercedes Benz E-class are better suited to the wagon format right from the start; the additional cargo capacity and a third-row seat, cramped as it may be, are just welcome rewards for selecting the more handsome body style. Considering that the $59,925 base MSRP of the 2015 E350 4MATIC wagon in sport or luxury trim is just $4200 more than that of a comparable 2015 E350 4MATIC sedan, it’s beyond us why the wagon accounted for only 3.5% of E-class sales in 2014. To put a finer point on it, of the 66,400 E-class variants Mercedes dealers managed to peddle to a new generation of tastemakers, only 2327 were of the wagon variety. We’re all for ’80s nostalgia, but this is one trend we’d like to see reversed.


Porsche Cayman (2014 sales: 3417)

While the Porsche Cayman continues to hold us in its thrall—it’s been on our 10Best Cars list eight times—the 911 is the Porsche sports car that holds sway with buyers. In fact, while the first-generation Cayman burst out of the gate at a sprint, with 7025 sold in 2006 and 6027 in 2007, sales haven’t cracked 3500 in any other year. The 911? Porsche moved more than 10,000 in each of the past two years. And that’s a shame, because the Cayman is the better car to drive, distilling and delivering the Porsche magic with few superfluous frills. The secret is its mid-engined chassis, which imparts hyper-sharp reflexes and a natural at-the-limit stability that requires electronics on the rear-engined 911. From its sublime steering to its wonderful transmissions, and from its gorgeous styling to its rigid structure—40 percent torsionally stiffer than the hyper-rigid Boxster convertible—the Cayman is one of the very best cars on the planet.


Scion FRS / Subaru-BRZ (2014 sales: 14,062 and 7504, respectively)

Judged as a corporate entity, neither Subaru nor Toyota is in danger of drowning in red ink. But underneath those blue-chip financials lays a no-so-secret secret: The Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins aren’t exactly burning up the sales charts. They were touted by the automotive media as a triumphant return to the small, light, and affordable sports car formula of yore, and enthusiasts couldn’t wait to open their wallets for an FR-S or BRZ to call their own when the cars went on sale. But as we reported earlier, a quick look at the sales numbers reveals that after the initial burst of buyers signed the contract, sales slumped. Despite being on sale for only the last six months of 2012, Scion moved 11,417 FR-S models; in 2013, the first full calendar year of sales, 18,327 buyers found a home. But in 2014, the number fell to 14,062 units, a development our financial adviser would refer to as “trending downward.” For the first three months of 2015, Scion chalked up sales of 2445 units, well off the pace for the same period last year when 3425 FR-S models found happy—we hope—owners. Over at Subaru the story is largely the same, but the overall numbers are lower: 4144 units sold in 2012, 8087 in 2013, and 7504 in 2014. In the first three month of 2105 Subie sold 1159 BRZs, compared to 2066 in the same period last year. Is the declining interest due to the sonically challenged 2.0-liter flat four being a bit rough around the edges? Could be. Could the suspension offer a better blend of damping and road holding for daily drivers? Maybe. But for those of us who value timeless driving dynamics like steering feel, a playful confidence-inspiring chassis, and braking action so natural it feels hardwired to the brain, the FR-S/BRZ twins are like money in the bank.

Editors Note:

Armed with this information about how good these vehicles really are don’t forget to give these cars a serious consideration when importing your next vehicle from the United States.The Mazda 6 is highly recommended due to its equipment levels and the impressive fuel efficiency  ratings of the skyactiv engines–capable of 37mpg on the highway.


Meet the 2018 Range Rover Velar

land-rover-range-rover-velar-live-genevaThe front view of the 2018 Range Rover Velar

New Range Rover models don’t come along that often but it appears Range Rover lovers have been fortunate in recent times.I say this because somewhere in 2005, the Range Rover Sport was introduced as the younger sibling to the Range Rover, proper.The Range Rover Sport was also joined by its smaller sibling, the Evoque in 2011.And with the official launch of the Range Rover Velar  on March 1st 2017;with a grand unveiling at the London Design museum, the Range Rover family has grown to four.The Velar is expected to sit between the Evoque and the Sport; both in size and price.In the UK, the starting price of the Velar is estimated at £45,000.The MSRP in the US is expected to be from $50,000, which would make the Velar about $15,000 cheaper as compared to the starting MSRP of the Range Rover Sport which is $64,950. With that said, enjoy the following fun facts about the all new  2018 Range Rover Velar .

My name is Range Rover Velar.

The name Velar, was derived from the Italian word ‘velare,’ meaning to veil or cover. According to Jaguar Land Rover, in order to keep the prototype for the first-ever Range Rover a closely guarded secret, the designers and engineers behind this revolutionary new vehicle gave the top-secret prototype the name ‘Velar’ and even fitted the first 26 prototypes with a badge of the same name to disguise its identity.

Sahara-Desert_desktop_680x450_281-345722_680x450One of the prototypes of the 1st generation Range Rover with the Velar name-plate

Design, engineering and production.

The Velar was designed, engineered and made by over 15,000 people.According to the Design Director at Range Rover, Mr McGovern, the car’s design was influenced heavily by women.Amy Frascella  the Creative Director, Interiors, was responsible for the interior design of the Velar  and Massimo Frascella, the Creative Director, Exteriors did the outside work.Please note that Amy and Massimo are married, so assuming that the Velar fails to meet your expectation you can take solace in the fact that, love was at the centre of the design.Now, take that for the policy that forbids spouses from working together.

range-rover-velar-asdf4-1006_1well-crafted interior of the Velar

For extra panache, Range Rover partnered with high-end Danish textile company Kvadrat to offer a premium material alternative to leather. The thinking being that the new cloths will be attractive, just as durable, but less damaging to environment than traditional leather.

range_rover_velar_14The side profile of the Velar

Range_Rover_Velar_rear_viewRear view of the Range Rover Velar

3. Engine Options.

There will be five engine options for the Velar, all of which will be paired with an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. However, only 3 engines will go to the US market:the range-topping powertrain, a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine producing 380bhp can get the 2.55 tonne luxury SUV from 0-60mph in just 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph, a 247-hp 2.0-liter inline-four, and  a more frugal engine option in the 2.0 litre four-cylinder 16v 180hp diesel  which will accelerate from 0-60mph on 8.4 seconds on to a top speed of 130mph.The diesel power-train  will suit  individuals who can’t resist the beauty and charm of the Velar but are not too keen on power .

More tech than you can handle!

The 2018 Range Rover Velar is so technologically advanced that it needed nearly 10km of electrical cabling to cater for all the gadgetry in the car.Some of these new tech include the deployable door handles that contribute to the aerodynamic form factor of the Velar. These handles extend outwards powered by motors that are powerful enough to punch through ice, so even in the worst conditions, the system will remain operable.For audiophiles, there is a choice of four audio systems – the top-end being the 1,600W Meridian Signature Sound System with 23 speakers.

2018-Land-Rover-Range-Rover-Velar-interior-viewThe all new Touch Pro Duo system with dual HD touch screens

Another major tech in the Velar is the all new Touch Pro Duo system, which is a new driver interface for Range Rover and consists of two HD touchscreens on top of each other. The upper screen is for infotainment while the lower is reconfigurable depending on your activity, and includes two rotary switches that alter function depending on what is being displayed.

Let me conclude by giving  Jaguar Land Rover their props for coming to the market with a Range Rover that more people can actually dream of buying thanks to the wonderful entry level price of roughly US$50,000.



Meet the all new 2017 Nissan Armada

269961-2017-nissan-armada-review-room-for-eight-by-larry-nutson-7-lg  2017 Nissan Armada(The American-spec  Nissan Patrol)

For 2017, Nissan  abandoned their formula of basing the North American Armada SUV on the Nissan Titan pickup and settled instead for the global Nissan Patrol platform.And that is very exciting, considering the legendary off-road pedigree of the Patrol nameplate.

2017-19-2-00-56-41The 2016 Nissan Patrol(in colour Black , as preferred by Ghana’s ruling class)

Ordinarily, i do not indulge in discussions on big SUVs equipped with big engines due to the huge import duties these cars tend to attract at Ghana’s port of entry.However, this Armada is different in the sense that the global Nissan Patrol has been a big hit in Ghana since its release somewhere in 2010.Since its release it has become only second to the Toyota Landcruiser(V8) in terms of car choice for Ghana’s ruling class.I am very certain you know a government official who uses one of these Nissan Patrols.Given Ghana’s poor road infrastructure, the need to ride high is of paramount importance to officialdom.Not to be outdone by their ruling class colleagues,some  high-achievers in business have also added the New Patrol to their fleet.Last but definitely not the least are the Entrepreneurs(especially the owners of companies which conduct business with government). For these individuals, perhaps the choice of the Nissan Patrol or Toyota Landcruiser is to enable  them blend in with the ruling class.Given this background,  the 2017 Nissan Armada is a car which is destined to be popular on Ghanaian roads in the coming months and years.

2017-nissan-armada-1The 2017 Nissan Armada with its aggressive stance and high ground clearance

The following are some of the compelling reasons why you should consider the 2017 Nissan Armada when looking for a big SUV that can carry seven individuals:

  • Low Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price(MSRP) starting from $44,900, in the United States:That amount gets you the  5.6-litre Endurance V-8 engine.The new direct-injected engine produces an impressive 390 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, up from a comparatively low 317 hp and 385 lb-ft. The new seven-speed automatic transmission helps to achieve these high numbers.In the US, you will have to fork out  $84,775  for the  2017 Toyota Landcruiser  powered by the   5.7-litre (381 HP V 8, 401 ft lb) and eight-speed automatic transmission.Considering that , globally not a lot separates these two cars in terms of price, the $44,900 for the 2017 Nissan Armada  surely a huge bargain.

2017-nissan-armada-platinum-116-876x535The powerful 5.6-litre Endurance V-8 engine

  • Nissan price for Infiniti interior is great news,indeed: According to,”The differences between the 2017 Nissan Armada’s interior and that of the costlier Infiniti QX80 are negligible. Frankly, this says more about the Nissan, which boasts virtually the same design, materials quality and overall ambiance as the luxurious QX”.And this is noteworthy, because the Infiniti QX8O has a steep MSRP starting from about $64,000

269961-2017-nissan-armada-review-room-for-eight-by-larry-nutson-5-lg 2017  Nissan Armada benefitted from the upscale interior of the Infiniti QX80

  • Base trim(SV) is well-equipped 13-speaker Bose audio: The standard SV trim comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a full-size spare, automatic LED headlights (low-beam only), roof rails, side steps, rear privacy glass, keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated four-way power front seats (with two-way power driver lumbar), a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a reclining second-row bench split seat and a 60/40-split third-row seat. Standard technology features include Bluetooth connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, a navigation system, and a 13-speaker Bose audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB media player interface.


  • This car will give you official clout:Why? Because even diplomatic missions have added them to their fleet.That plus the numbers in the government pool of vehicles has created a situation, where police officers assume that owners of these vehicles are of VVIP status and deserve the “Agya Koti” salute.The driver of the $100,000 Range Rover Vogue will be amazed when you get your “yes sir” salute whiles he gets delayed at police check points.

Now that we got all the good news out of the way, let me drop the little bad news about this impressive SUV…the fuel economy is nothing to write home about–a mere 14 / 19 mpg.Do take one last look at this beast and tell me if the poor fuel economy  will be a deal breaker.Hahaaaaa

269961-2017-nissan-armada-review-room-for-eight-by-larry-nutson-2-lgNavyBlue or Black is your definite hack to officialdom

p.s: If you plan on driving your Armada in Ghana and faking as a governmental official to speed through traffic all the time, then by all means staiy away from all colours except BLACK or NAVY BLUE as pictured above.



Do you know one thing Mercedes Benz AMGs, Aston Martins, Bentleys, Porsches,and McLarens have in common?

Mercedes-Benz_SLS_AMG_(C_197)_–_Frontansicht_geöffnet,_10._August_2011,_DüsseldorfMercedes Benz SLS AMG

Hahaaaa, you’re partially right if you guessed that  are all these cars are for the rich and famous.The right answer in this context though is MOBIL 1 synthetic.2016-20-7--11-56-52

That’s one common thing all the aforementioned cars have in common.

Starting out with Mobil 1 motor oil

In the past, serious car enthusiasts were known to change the factory oil to Mobil 1 synthetic oil upon delivery of their new high-performance cars. Before the first mile – even before the tires touched the pavement – their car was getting its first oil change. Why? They wanted to make sure the best motor oil protected their prized engines from the start.That was then. Now, for more and more manufacturers, it’s only Mobil 1 from day one. Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil is original equipment in several high-performance vehicles. And the list is always growing. Current makes and models include:

1. Aston Martin

aston_martin_vanquish_2014_-_rear2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

Mobil 1 advanced synthetic oil is original equipment in these Aston Martins

  • DB9, DB9 Volante
  • Rapide S
  • V12 Vantage Coupe, V12 Vantage Roadster
  • Vanquish, Vanquish Volante

2. Bentley

Shiny-Black-Bentley-Continental-Flying-SpurBentley Continental Flying Spur

All these bentleys are factory-filled with Mobil 1 synthetic oil

  • Continental Flying Spur
  • Continental GT
  • Continental GTC
  • Mulsanne

3. McLaren

McLaren are not  known for making a lot of production cars but even in the few that are manufactured, the company trusts Mobil 1 advanced synthetic oils to provide the necessary protection for their high performance super cars.

MCLARENMP4-12C-4552_12McLaren MP4-12C

  • MP4-12C
  • P1

4.Mercedes Benz AMG



The AMG list is a long one but Mobil 1 delivers nonetheless, even in the limited edition SLS AMG.

  • C 63 AMG, C 63 AMG Estate, C 63 AMG Coupe, C 63 AMG Coupe Black Series
  • CL 63 AMG, CL 65 AMG
  • CLS 63 AMG Coupe, CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake, CLS 63 AMG S-Model Coupe, CLS 63 AMG S-Model Shooting Brake
  • E 63 AMG, E 63 Estate AMG, E 63 AMG S-Model, E 63 AMG S-Model Estate
  • G 63 AMG, G 65 AMG
  • GL 63 AMG
  • ML 63 AMG
  • S 63 AMG
  • SL 63 AMG, SL 65 AMG
  • SLK 55 AMG
  • SLS AMG Coupe, SLS AMG Roadster, SLS AMG GT Coupe, SLS AMG GT Roadster, SLS AMG Coupe Black Series

5. Nissan

2015-nissan-gt-r-photo-556362-s-986x6032015 Nissan GT-R Did you know that Nissan has a super car?For those who might not be aware it is called Nissan GT-R and its one high performance car which is also factory-filled with Mobil 1 synthetic oil.

  • GT-R(The GT-R is Nissan’s high performance super car)


Porsche-Macan-Hamann1Porsche Macan S

The list of high performance cars would not be complete without the quintessential sports car, Porsche.And the fact that the Germans trust their engines lubrication duties with Mobil 1 is testament of the superior quality of the Mobil 1 oils.The Porsche Macan S and Macan Turbo, though new to the Porsche family, gets the Mobil 1 love.

  • 911 Carrera, 911 Carrera S, 911 Carrera Cabriolet, 911 Carrera S Cabriolet, 911 Turbo, 911 Turbo S, 911 GT3, 911 Targa, 911 Targa S
  • 918 Spyder
  • Boxster, Boxster S, Boxster GTS
  • Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne GTS, Cayenne Turbo, Cayenne Turbo S
  • Cayman, Cayman S, Cayman GTS
  • Macan S, Macan Turbo
  • Panamera, Panamera S, Panamera GTS, Panamera Turbo, Panamera Turbo S