Last updateTue, 26 Jul 2016 5pm

Best of the breed: Volkswagen 2015 e-Golf is electrifying

courtesy of Volkswagen
The 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf hatchback has a range of 80 miles and can fully recharge overnight.

The choices for consumers seeking battery-electric cars keep increasing, simply because manufacturers have to meet quotas for sales of zero-pollution cars in California and other states with similar environmental regulations.

Of the electric vehicles recently introduced, it’s hard to beat the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf. In our view, it may be the best all-around choice in the compact EV category.

General Motors roars back

Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
Chevrolet’s 2015 Corvette Stingray Coupe can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds.

Fifty members of the Western Automotive Journalists gathered a few weeks ago at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey to drive several dozen brand-new, high-performance cars on the track.

Some might wonder whether journalists and auto manufacturers worry about the track performances of new cars when so few owners will ever drive them on tracks and at such high speeds. The answer can be wrapped up in our experience with three 2015 Chevrolets: the Camaro 1SS Coupe, the SS Sedan and the Corvette Stingray Coupe W/Z51.

Taking on a mounting problem

Last week I had a customer complain about a vibration at idle in her 2002 Honda Odyssey.

She told me that as much as she enjoys the back massage while waiting at the stoplight, she felt it was important to get it checked out.

Cars that are right on track

Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch of throttle.

Last month we drove two new coupes that felt exactly this way – the Subaru BRZ and the BMW M4. They made us smile every time we had the opportunity to drive anywhere other than on El Camino Real. However, beyond both being ready for the racetrack, they couldn’t have been more opposite – starting with price.

The key to car remotes

One of my longtime customers came in recently and explained that the keys and remotes to his 2000 VW New Beetle weren’t working.

The customer had three keys – two main keys and one valet key. Most late-model VW keys have the key and remote together. One of the main keys started the car, but the remote did not work. On the other main key, the remote worked but the key did not start the car.

SUV or plus-size sedan?

Photos courtesy of BMW
The BMW X4 xDrive28i can span approximately 20 miles in combined driving on a single gallon of gas. On the highway, the sedan averages 28 mpg.

The recent moves by BMW and Mercedes-Benz to shave the rear roof line of their mid-size SUVs – making them look less like utility vehicles and more like slightly inflated sedans –has some people scratching their heads.

Good things come in smaller packages

Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class boasts a stylish exterior, above, and luxurious interior, below.

Several of the major global automobile companies have recently expanded their product offerings to cover a broader range of uses and age/income markets. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class we drove last month is one result of this strategy.

Mercedes recently introduced the CLA and GLA, the first two models of a completely new range of front-wheel-drive compact cars at the affordable end of the market, keyed to the needs and incomes of younger buyers. At the same time, the company has moved the C-Class – previously its entry-level model in the United States – a bit higher in size, price range and luxury level to better bridge the gap to the best-selling E-Class.

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