I wanted something with good acceleration and excellent handling that wouldn't punish me when commuting. I find it easy to commute in this car because it is compact and has good low-end torque, so I a...
I wanted something with good acceleration and excellent handling that wouldn't punish me when commuting. I find it easy to commute in this car because it is compact and has good low-end torque, so I am not constantly shifting to keep the engine in the power band. In typical traffic I skip a few gears when upshifting the six-speed gearbox. I'm getting about 24.5 mpg in my 25 mile commute from a rural area to downtown Austin. No doubt the AWD reduces economy a bit -- the car noticeably loses momentum when coasting compared to my last car, a 2000 BMW M5. While this doesn't have near the power to weight ratio of the M5 I find it lots more fun to drive and easier to live with, able to put power to pavement on greasy roads and less worries about sending going off in the weeds with the AWD and lighter car. It is very capable on a track, easily pointed using throttle along while cornering at the limit of tire adhesion, although the stock tire width seems challenged by the extra weight contributed by the AWD.
Carrying capacity is good for a 2-door hatch (rear seats fold) and the Koenig seats in front are very comfortable.
Pros -- plenty of power, very good brakes, and excellent handling. Reliable up to 80,000 mile so far with only an electric window motor needing replacement and a brake light switch recall. Excellent fit and finish. Very good paint and interior materials.
Cons -- economy could be better, premium fuel requirement adds to cost of ownership, final drive ratio is a bit "short", so engine runs at a higher cruise rpm than some other V6 cars. Match between gearbox and engine is good but not perfect. Minor occasional rattles.