Tuesday, July 29, 2014


The 2015 Ford Expedition brings a new higher-mileage turbo V-6 engine, a new continuous-damping suspension system for more comfort and quiet, new powertrain, an extensive list of new technologies and is available in a bold new Platinum trim. With cosmetic improvements all around the vehicle you’ll find it more comfortable, more advanced and more fun to drive. 

The model pictured is the new Platinum grade, which gets 22-inch wheels, special badging, and a fancy leather-lined interior; XLT and Limited trims will continue, and a new King Ranch model will be added in the future. The Expedition also gets a new instrument cluster, steering wheel, and center stack that accommodate Ford’s latest Sync and MyFord Touch technologies. Other tech items of note include keyless access and remote starting, a blind-spot monitor, a rearview camera, ambient lighting, a 700-watt Sony sound system, and Ford’s “truck apps” to augment various towing and off-road driving tasks.

While the interior and exterior changes are relatively predictable, and certainly not as noticeable as those of the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and (non-Denali) GMC Yukon, both of which are all-new this year, we imagine that Ford may raise a few customers’ eyebrows by dropping the current model’s 5.4-liter V-8 in favor of a direct-injected, 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6. The switch makes more sense once you see the stats: the EcoBoost V-6 just wallops the old V-8 in output, with an estimated 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque compared to 310 horses and 365 lb-ft. It is also more powerful than the base 5.3-liter V-8 in the GM trucks, which produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, although not as strong as the General’s optional 420-hp, 460 lb-ft 6.2-liter V-8.

From a design and functionality standpoint, the biggest news is front and center, where the MyFord Touch infotainment system has been installed here, with an eight-inch screen, two new, smaller full-color 4.2-inch screens flanking the steering wheel, and clean new center-stack design to accommodate it (and fit in with current Ford models). Based on early pictures, we still see the instrument-panel design, outside of those improvements, to be from another era, although the look is pretty cohesive—and a lot more convincing.

Facts on the 2015 Ford Expedition:
-The 5.4-liter V-8 is out -- in its place is a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 expected to produce around 370 hp, with about 420 lb-ft of torque
-The new electric power steering can adjust its feel by speed, making it considerably easier to cruise through the mall parking lots and par
-A new 8-inch touch-screen center-stack display offers MyFord Touch, and the instrument cluster display gets two 4.2-inch color screens

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Researchers at Porsche are looking for an understanding of the requirements that will shape tomorrow's products, the future direction of Porsche Intelligent Performance and how to integrate electric vehicles into the infrastructure. 

Boxster E prototypes are being used as part of the "Model Region Electro-Mobility Stuttgart" trial to explore the everyday practicality of electric vehicles (EVs) and how they are used, especially in terms of driving and battery charging.

Propulsion is provided by twin independent electric motors with constant mesh gearboxes that act on the front and rear axles. The rear drive unit comprises of a motor and transmission, with the power electronics for controlling the electric motor located where the transmission and exhaust system are accommodated in the conventional Boxster.

In the front end, the space vacated by the redundant fuel tank is occupied by the second drive unit. The power electronics unit in the adjacent luggage compartment serves the front electric motor. Therefore the Boxster E features all-wheel drive without mechanical transmission. To ensure maximum driving stability and traction, a central electric control unit synchronizes the two electric motors and controls the drive torque distribution to the front and rear axle. The two electric motors develop a total power output of 241 bhp and a total torque of 398 lb.-ft. of torque at approximately 12,000 rpm.

The two motors enable the two-seater to sprint to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds from a standing start with its top speed limited to 124 mph. The high power output of the two motors means more energy can be recovered during braking increasing the efficiency of the drive unit.

Rear-wheel drive only Boxster E models have a power output of 121 bhp and a rated torque of 199 lb.-ft. of torque. This model can sprint (?) to 62 mph in 9.8 seconds, and a top speed of 93 mph.

Manufactured by Porsche, the lithium-iron-phosphate based battery is fitted in place of the engine. Each cell has a nominal voltage of 3.3 V and an individual capacity of 20 Ah. Based on the NEDC, the combined energy from 440 individual cells is good for approximately 107 miles of driving in the Boxster E with its ready-for-the-road weight of a mere 3527lbs.

Friday, July 25, 2014


If you have seen the 2015 Chrysler 200 LX you know it drives like the premium vehicle it is, without the premium price. Virtually every component, system and process on the All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 has been designed, engineered and manufactured for outstanding quality,reliability,and dependability. 

Bifunctional means a single lamp provides both high- and low-beam illumination, for an uncluttered, sleek appearance. 2015 Chrysler 200LX LED taillamps The exterior lighting on the Chrysler 200 LX showcases advanced LED technology with contemporary LED taillamps. 2015 Chrysler 200LX color matched door handles . The All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 is the only vehicle in its class to offer passive entry as standard equipment+. 

With the key fob in the vehicle's proximity, Keyless Enter 'n Go™ automatically unlocks the driver's door when you pull the handle. Stay connected, entertained and focused on driving with the available Uconnect® 5.0 System. 

The Chrysler 200 LX features 17-inch steel wheels with stylish wheel covers that complement the refined exterior. The standard nine-speed automatic transmission includes a Rotary E-shift knob. Incorporated into the center console, the Rotary E-shift is intuitive to operate and takes up much less interior space than a traditional shifter. 

The center console combines the Rotary E-shift, climate controls, the Electric Park Brake and connectivity functions with the pass-through storage area. 2015 Chrysler 200LX premium cloth seats . The All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 has unsurpassed front and rear shoulder room+ so you can stretch out. The premium cloth front bucket seats are well bolstered for a high level of comfort and support. The driver and front passenger seats include six-way manual adjustments.

Every 2015 Chrysler 200 is equipped with eight airbags+ to help protect occupants in the event of a collision, including advanced dual-stage front airbags+ with adaptive venting technology, roof side rail airbags+, driver and front passenger knee airbags+ and front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags+. 2015 Chrysler 200LX electronic parking brakA push-button Electric Park Brake (EPB) replaces the traditional mechanical (or hand lever) parking brake system. 

The Safehold feature senses if the driver may be exiting the vehicle while it’s at a standstill but not in Park and will secure the vehicle by engaging the Electric Park Brake. 2015 Chrysler 200LX electronic stability controls. The four-channel Electronic Stability Control+ (ESC) links the vehicle’s dynamic control systems to assist the driver in maintaining control under demanding or adverse conditions. ESC uses the Antilock Brake and Traction Control Systems to help maintain control when a difference is detected between steering input and vehicle motion.Every 2015 Chrysler 200 is equipped with eight airbags+ to help protect occupants in the event of a collision, including advanced dual-stage front airbags+ with adaptive venting technology, roof side rail airbags+, driver and front passenger knee airbags+ and front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags+.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Whether you’re planning the road trip of the century or just trying to get to work this summer, gas prices are likely on your mind. Your smartphone can be a powerful tool in your quest to find the cheapest way to fill up your tank and make those precious gallons last. 

If you’ve got a long drive ahead, then Waze is about to become your best friend. The mobile app will direct you around traffic and let you know if you’re approaching an accident or red light camera. When you need fuel, Waze will show you the closest station and lowest price nearby. Focus your search on stations that are on your travel route, so you don’t waste gas backtracking or traveling off course. Or have the app just show you a particular brand of stations so you can maximize the credit card rewards points. And when you do find the perfect spot, Waze offers discounts at several stations.

GasBuddy is the mother of all gas apps; it can help you find a station based on gas prices or distance, and relies on its users to keep prices up to date. On the web version you can check out the average cost of a gallon in your town (or the destination of your next road trip), as well as view a heat map of what gas prices look like right now across the nation. 

GasGuru was created by YP (yes, as in YellowPages). In addition to finding cheap gas near you, GasGuru has a cool feature that allows you to save locations so you can check out the gas prices where you’re going as well. For instance, you might save your home and office address into GasGuru, and pull up both to figure out where it will be cheaper to fill up. 

Saving gas money isn’t just about finding the cheapest price at the pump. It also has a lot to do with how you drive. MyMPG is an iOS app that tracks your driving techniques and offers suggestions on how you could be more efficient behind the wheel. If you're wasting gas by being a little too heavy on the accelerator, for instance, the app can warn you by playing a tone. 

Small adjustments each time you drive can add up to big savings in the long term. The company estimates that changing how you use the accelerator in your car could save you up to $650 a year in fuel. The app tracks your improvement over time and can manage data for up to four different vehicles simultaneously. 

Sure, Google Maps can be great when you want to find the most efficient route to one location, but what do you do when you need to make a dozen stops? Route4Me helps you save time and gas by creating the most efficient route that hits all the stops you need (up to 200 at a time!). That means you won’t end up zig-zagging across town to do errands or drop off friends after an event.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


A new, futuristic-looking car has appeared on London’s streets. It is the Vauxhall Ampera, called the Chevrolet Volt in the U.S.; an electric-powered family saloon, which uses an onboard 1.4 litre petrol engine to recharge its batteries. The result is a usable car – 0-60 in ten seconds and around a 300 mile range – which achieves over a 100 miles per gallon.

Cramming a hatchback-sized engine, an electric generator, batteries, and an electric motor into one car may sound like the opposite of efficiency; but doing so reveals two key truths about cars and energy. First, electricity is a more efficient medium than petrol for managing power around a car. It can be harvested when braking and dispenses with the need for heavy gearboxes designed for internal combustion cars. Second, getting electricity to cars presents challenges; hence General Motors taking the decision to generate it on board.

The Ampera is a clever piece of systems integration. It also says a great deal about where the personal transport sector stands in 2014 – so much so that it is easy to imagine it as a museum piece of the future. Its design has a fully-electric power train for efficiency but recognises petrol as the most economical and portable underlying energy source. So is the Ampera ‘just another hybrid?’ The answer is no. In our automotive museum of the future, the preceding exhibit would be the Toyota Prius, first released in Europe in 2001. The Prius – which became a runaway success and is still a top seller for Toyota – is essentially a petrol car which uses a battery as a range extender around town. The Ampera is the opposite, which is a big difference; and it won 8/10 from the UK’s demanding Top Gear magazine, which is a bigger one.

Pure-play electric cars – those without range extenders – are also appearing. These include the Nissan Leaf with its quoted 80-mile range and the BMW i3 with a similar range, although it also comes in a range-extended model. Of these, the i3 is a bigger piece of news. It is a root and branch electric car, drawing on a BMW development programme that stretches back the electric Mini E of 2009. The i3 is built for lightness with a carbon-fibre body, and is tipped for success by the UK motoring press.

In the UK, sales of these cars are supported by a buyer subsidy of £5,000. This forms part of a broader systems of supports, including free recharging points in urban centres, which recently received a further £500 million commitment from central government. Although this should further boost the steady growth in this market, such vehicles still represent a small (but growing) proportion of overall sales for established carmakers. In the UK, 1,200 grant-eligible vehicles were registered in March 2014 ; while in the U.S., the equivalent figure was just under 5,000 . Consumer constraints include ‘range anxiety’ (hence the introduction of extenders), lack of charging infrastructure (although some retailers like Ikea have seen an opportunity to offer this as a perk to visiting customers) and, ultimately, cost. The Ampera and i3 are both around £30,000, which could easily get you a fast, frugal German sports saloon. And yet some markets are proving to be front-runners in the adoption of electric cars – in Norway, for example, around a fifth of new vehicles registered are electric.

So how ought investors to get exposure to this fast-moving theme? Automotive majors are not an option, given the small proportion of their business made up of electric vehicles and the narrowing profitability many face on their traditional lines (not surprising, given that the value chain of car manufacturing and distribution has hardly changed since Henry Ford). The one large, pure-play electric car manufacturer is Tesla. The company is selling over a thousand units of the Model S in the U.S. every month, which has received extremely positive reviews in the petrol-loving U.S. motoring press. Investor demand is currently outstripping the supply of the company’s shares, resulting in an eye-popping $30 billion valuation by Wall Street – or 135 times expected earnings this year. Yet this market capitalisation represents a broader vote of the confidence in the future growth of the market, especially given that Tesla is now set to produce batteries for other manufacturers. Tesla’s founder Elon Musk is living proof that one visionary entrepreneur can transform a market – he is nothing short of a modern-day Thomas Edison.

As far as batteries go, fears over raw materials constraints – of lithium, for example – appear to have eased. New supply has come on stream and more plentiful alternatives are emerging, while institutes such as MIT regularly post new research updates. And yet, as is often the case with scale and cost reduction challenges, China is likely to hold the key. Don’t forget that it has been China’s vast investment in solar photovoltaic manufacturing that has given the world competitive, ever cheaper solar power. Seeing their inability to overtake the West and Japan on internal combustion, Chinese companies are investing heavily in battery technologies. This should provide a boon to the market. In 2009, we made a private-equity investment predicated on future price reductions in batteries, which has since been proved correct. The team backed electric-outboard motor manufacturer Torqeedo, which has now benefited from such reductions to increase the power output of its largest unit tenfold to 80 HP – now the most powerful outboard electric boat engine on the market. And yet, as with any emerging sector, there is risk. Better Place, a well-backed Israeli start-up with the breakthrough idea of a network of ‘battery stations’ at which drivers could have one leased battery switched in a matter of seconds for a fully recharged replacement, went spectacularly bust last year.

For those looking for thematic growth coupled with lower risk, a better mindset may be to replace the words ‘electric cars’ with the less catchy ‘vehicle efficiency sector’. Driven by both increasing fuel-efficiency regulations (the EU’s latest standard calls for companies to reduce emissions to 95g/km across the EU car fleet by 2021); and by the demands of consumers suffering from high fuel prices, car makers are competing intensely on miles per gallon. Even in the U.S, where fuel is cheaper than in Europe, over a third of motorists list fuel efficiency as a top factor in choosing a car. The result is a great stimulus to automotive supply-chain companies focusing on delivering this outcome for large carmakers. ‘Stop-Start’ technology, which saves fuels and cuts down on urban pollution while paying for its upfront cost in a year, is now widespread. And there are multitude of more complex solutions, such as thermal management, ‘lightweighting’, and engine cooling. Our listed equities team has recently added U.S.-based Borg Warner, which clocked up sales of $7.4 billion in this market in 2013.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Polyphaga is the largest and most diverse suborder of beetles. The name is got from two Greek words: poly-, meaning 'many', and phagein, meaning 'to eat', so the suborder is called the “eaters of many things”this beetle hatchback is same style-focused, but it’s stable and will not eat many thing's only eat's gas. This beetle safe enough to satisfy in everyday driving. 

There’s plenty of space in the front seats, and the boot is a decent size, All Beetle Cabriolets get the multi-link rear suspension that you only find on the most expensive hatchback Beetles, but the ride is still unsettled. The body will shudder and flex over typical urban surfaces – particularly on models with bigger engines – though it all smoothes out at higher speeds. Slow steering response only heightens the sense that this is a cruiser, not a sports cabriolet.

All the engines we’ve tried in the Beetle are impressively quiet. There is some wind noise around the side windows, but no more than normal for a convertible. The large plastic wind blocker is cumbersome, and prevents the use of the rear seats when it’s in place, but it keeps buffeting down to a minimum with the roof down. 

Turbocharged petrol engines include a 103bhp 1.2, a 158bhp 1.4 and a 197bhp 2.0-litre, while turbodiesel options include a 103bhp 1.6 and a 148bhp 2.0. We’ve driven all but the 1.6 TDI, and the smooth, free-revving 1.2 is the one to go for if you don’t mind fairly weedy acceleration. The 1.4 pulls willingly even at higher speeds and is the best choice if you want a bit of urgency, whilst both 2.0 models are punchy and responsive but struggle to justify the associated costs, The Beetle Cabriolet is not cheap – the convertible costs thousands more than the similarly kitted hatchback, and if you can live without so much space then a Mini Convertible is also much cheaper. It won’t retain a huge amount of its value after three years, either. However, it’s still competitively priced next to most other four-seat cabriolets, and tax and fuel bills will be low.

The plastics in the cabin don’t feel as classy as those in the Golf, with hard body-colour panels used in place of soft-touch materials. The controls are just as solid and easy to read as those in fellow Volkswagens, though. Underneath, the Beetle shares most of its parts with the Golf, so reliability should be good.

The Beetle hatch received a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, and the Cabriolet should keep you similarly well protected. All models in the range have electronic stability control and four airbags as standard, which include side, head and forward protection for driver and front passenger. On the security front, you get an alarm, deadlocks, a visible VIN and plenty of marked parts. 

The Beetle’s dashboard has been inspired by the original’s, which means it’s taller than in most modern cars and has a squared-off front. You can go even further with the retro vibe and have the dash painted the same colour as the car. Thankfully, VW has stuck with modern controls and switches, which means everything is clearly laid out and easy to operate.

Front-seat passengers get plenty of head and legroom, but those in the rear will not be so happy. Legroom is very tight, and the design of the fabric roof makes it feel rather claustrophobic. The boot is deep but is an irregular shape and is accessed via a letterbox-shaped opening, though it’s a good size for the class and has a handy space to hold the wind-blocker when it’s not in use.

Equipment3 out of 5 starsReview-Cabin The entry-level Beetle trim is, confusingly, called Beetle and gets 16-inch steel wheels, DAB radio and air-con but is only available with the 1.2 TSI or 1.6 TDI. Design models get a body-coloured dashboard, alloys, Bluetooth, USB input, CD-changer, multifunction steering wheel and a black-and-white touch-screen. Top-of the-range Sport trim adds sports seats, front and rear parking sensors and bigger alloys. An extra £300 will get you a colour touch-screen and sat-nav on Design and Sport models.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The Ford Flex crossover effectively fills the family-vehicle hole left by the departed Freestar minivan in the Blue Oval's lineup. Along with space for up to seven passengers and all of their gear, the Flex boasts an available 355-horsepower EcoBoost V6 and love-it-or-hate-it sheetmetal that sets it apart from the crowd.

For the previous model year, Ford gave the Flex a refresh that included a more powerful standard V6, several interior tweaks and an extra dose of rock a roll styling for what is already an extremely heavy metal ride vehicle.

The Flex is the stylistic extrovert of Ford's range of people-haulers thanks to a striking, boxy-chic body with more horizontal lines than a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Ford recently made the look even more unique by adding an unusual chrome bar that spans the length of the grille and flows into the headlights on either side.

The interior is a highly functional space that offers the choice of a fixed second row-bench seat - which affords seating for seven - or a pair of sliding second-row captain's chairs that reduce passenger capacity to six but can be moved forward to extended third-row legroom. Behind that third row lies 20 cubic feet of cargo space; fold it down and there's 43.2 cubic feet to be had, while also folding the second row unlocks a cavernous 83.2 cubes.

All Flex models except come standard with SYNC, Ford's Bluetooth-based connectivity system that allows smartphone users to place calls and stream music by using voice commands or steering wheel-mounted buttons. It can also read incoming texts aloud to help the driver keep his or her eyes on the road, and allows the use of Ford-approved apps like The Wall Street Journal news and Pandora radio.

The Flex can be equipped with MyFord Touch, an infotainment system that builds on SYNC by letting users control everything from navigation to climate control to the sound system with voice commands. MyFord Touch also replaces conventional sound system knobs and buttons with a center-mounted eight-inch touchscreen, dual 4.2-inch displays in the instrument cluster and touch-sensitive controls in the center stack. Many consumers report that the system is a "love it or hate it" item, so those interested in the Flex are advised to try before they buy.

The base 3.5-liter V6 gained 20 additional horsepower as part of the recent refresh for total of 285 ponies in addition to 255 lb-ft of torque. With front-wheel-drive, it returns 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, while opting for all-wheel-drive reduces mileage slightly to 17/23 mpg.

Buyers can choose a twin-turbocharged and direct-injected 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that produces 355 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. This motor comes only with all-wheel-drive, a pairing that's good for 16/23 mpg.

The Flex is available in SE, SEL and range-topping Limited trim levels. The Flex SE is equipped full power accessories, A/C, a power-adjustable driver's seat with manual recline, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system with an AUX input, cruise control, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, SYNC and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The SEL adds dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power heated driver's seat and six-way power heated passenger seat, EasyFold 2nd row seats, MyFord Touch, foglights, heated exterior mirrors, 18-inch wheels and a brighter exterior thanks to some chrome accents.

The Limited jazzes up the exterior even more with larger, 19-inch polished wheels and extra chrome accents, a navigation system, heated and leather-trimmed seats in the first two rows, HID headlights and LED taillights, a power liftgate, a blind-spot warning system, a 12-speaker Sony-branded sound system, a rearview camera, a wood-trimmed steering wheel and a 110-volt power outlet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Petrol power is limited to a single 1.8-litre engine, which is a little short of low-rev shove and needs to be worked hard. The 124bhp 2.0-litre diesel is much more flexible, if still not exactly brisk. The 2.2-litre version doesn't feel much quicker. There’s also another 2.2 diesel that comes with an automatic gearbox as standard, but it can be slow to respond, so unless you need an auto, we’d avoid it.

Ride & Handling3 out of 5 starsReview-OnRoad The Avensis Tourer feels well off the pace compared with rivals such as the Ford Mondeo Estate. It’s generally comfortable and at its best on the motorway, where the suspension quietly goes about its business. Throw in a few bends, though, and a shortage of steering precision and plenty of body roll quickly curtail any notion of enthusiastic driving.

Refinement3 out of 5 starsReview-OnRoad It’s reasonably quiet around town and there's little to trouble you at speed, even if rough surfaces kick up some road noise. The diesel engines could be smoother and quieter, especially when being revved, but they’re decently hushed at a cruise. It's a pity that the automatic gearbox (standard on the 2.2-litre D-CAT diesel) isn’t a little smoother.

Buying & Owning3 out of 5 starsReview-OnRoad Despite similar performance figures, the 2.0 D-4D is far more economical than the 2.2-litre diesel, plus it costs less to insure and sits in a lower tax bracket. It's still not as efficient as the best family estate cars, however, so it will cost more to run as a company car. Resale values are nothing special. The Avensis Tourer doesn't provide the same feel-good factor as some rivals; the design and materials in its cabin are too bland for that. What's more, it was rated just average for reliability in the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey. At least everything feels solidly built and you get the reassurance of a five-year warranty. The Avensis Tourer comes with front, side and curtain airbags, and it has an airbag under the steering column to protect the driver's knees. There are also active front seat head restraints, along with a stability control system that helps get the driver out of danger in an emergency. Deadlocks and an alarm are fitted across the range. 

Behind The Wheel4 out of 5 starsReview-Cabin It doesn't score highly for style, but the Avensis Tourer's dashboard gets top marks for ease of use thanks to its bold, simple controls. The only quirk is the push-button handbrake, which takes some getting used to. The driver's seat is comfortable, although the system for adjusting the backrest angle is a little fiddly. Forward visibility is excellent, so it’s a shame that the thick rear pillars obscure your view behind.

Space & Practicality4 out of 5 starsReview-Cabin The Avensis Tourer is a ‘proper’ – rather than lifestyle – estate, with maximum space taking priority over style. With the seats up there’s as much boot space as in a Ford Mondeo Estate. There’s not as much when they’re folded, but the load space is long and flat. There’s so much head- and legroom in the front and rear seats that no one will struggle for space.

Equipment4 out of 5 starsReview-Cabin Entry-level Active models have the basics, including air-conditioning, Bluetooth and an auxiliary input socket, but we'd go for Icon trim, which adds desirable features such as sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, a rear-view camera and a digital radio. Icon Business Edition versions also get leather and Alcantara seats. Excel models come with electrically adjustable heated leather seats, a panoramic glass roof and a better stereo, but they're pretty expensive.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


The Ford Fiesta has always been brilliant fun to drive. Until now, though, anyone wanting nippy acceleration had to either go for the hardcore 180bhp ST hot hatch, or make do with the heavy metal ball 123bhp 1.0-litre model.

The new Red Edition slots neatly into that void. Its tiny turbocharged engine pumps out 138bhp, which is enough for a respectable 0-62mph time of 9.0 seconds, making this special-edition Fiesta a rival for the latest Mini Cooper – as well as our favorite sub-£16k hot hatch, the Suzuki Swift Sport.

 like the red and black color where blue color  well make flag our has x on it although for an extra £500 you can have a red roof and a black body, instead. This is called  the Black Edition,I call white black the better color's .

Based on the Zetec S, the Red Edition has stiffer suspension than other Fiestas (apart from the ST), along with retuned steering to help make it even more entertaining to drive. This set-up is ideal for anyone who enjoys driving quickly, but that also wants a car that’s easy to live with on a daily basis. In fact, the Red strikes an almost perfect balance between the ST hot hatch (that’s great fun but very firm) and lesser models in the range, which are comfortable but lean noticeably through corners.

Find a country road and the Red is in its element, darting eagerly into bends and staying wonderfully balanced as you approach its limits of grip. This is an easy thing to do with confidence because the steering is accurate and streams information to your fingertips about what the front wheels are doing.

Our test route covered several sections of Ford’s proving ground in Lommel, Belgium, which included a stretch of Tarmac designed to mimic a battered British B-road. Even over this, the Red stayed remarkably composed – especially for something with hot hatch pretentions.

The new 138bhp engine is properly impressive, too. It’s incredibly smooth for a three-cylinder, and pulls strongly from 1700rpm, so you don’t need to thrash it to get anywhere in a hurry.

Even though a Mini Cooper and a Swift Sport will ultimately show the Fiesta a clean pair of treads in a straight drag race, the Red’s closely spaced gearing and willingness to rev make it great fun whether you’re just pottering around town or flying along a country road.

What’s the 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0T Ecoboost 140 Red Edition like inside? Much the same as any other Fiesta, which has both its positives and negatives. The good news is the driving position is superb, with plenty of adjustment in the supportive seats and pedals that are thoughtfully spaced out and line up nicely with the steering wheel.

Less impressive are the flimsy air-con controls and the confusing infotainment system, which is littered with similar-looking buttons that make it tricky to use. The latest Mini Cooper certainly has a classier interior and more user-friendly control layout.

However, the Fiesta is more spacious than both the Mini and the rival Swift, with more space in the back and a much bigger boot.

The Red Edition gets the same basic kit as the Zetec S, which means air-conditioning, electric front windows, Bluetooth, front foglights and Ford’s Sync infotainment system all feature as standard. However, you do get larger (17-inch) alloys.

The Fiesta Red Edition is simply brilliant to drive. It’s more fun and more capable than both a Mini Cooper and a Swift Sport, thanks to its wonderfully balanced chassis and superb steering. There's no penalty in comfort either; on this evidence the Ford rides at least as well as its two key rivals.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Tractor-trailer drivers, if you text while driving in the middle of the freeway, then the future may belong to you. If you can afford a Mercedes truck, that is. The German vehicle maker sent an 18-wheeler barreling down the Autobahn recently, while the driver surfed the Internet for food recipes on tablet computer -- at least that's how media photos told the story.

Its test drive was brief, covering about three miles, German media reported. The trucker's hands didn't touch the wheel and his eyes were fixed on pork cutlets. But that could be the way some drive in the future, perhaps in the next decade or so. That's the message of the prototype "Future Truck 2025," which Mercedes says is the first self-driven freight vehicle. It may seem illogical right now, but the hands-off idea is aimed at eliminating human error. Special cameras and multiple radar systems watch the road, the sides of the road, and cars and trucks behind the vehicle.

Future Truck is also envisioned to communicate with other vehicles and connect to growing sources of online information as Big Data balloons on the road. Its computerized controls will also make it more fuel efficient, Mercedes boasts. Once the truck merges into traffic, it won't accelerate to clichéd Autobahn breakneck speeds. The system will throttle it to a meek 50 mph, Mercedes says.  

Many of the component parts to put a vehicle like this into production are already available in trucks on the market: Systems that help drivers keep their distance from other drivers, active braking assistance, guidance and mapping systems, and fine-tuned cruise control and tons of other hi-tech. If a puttering slowpoke pulls out in front of Future Truck 2025, it will slow down automatically to keep off of its bumper, but the 18-wheeler won't pass it by itself. That's when the driver will have to turn off the ball game, put down the iPad or lay away the knife and fork, then take the wheel. But he'd be ill advised to goof off too much, because two cameras and a sensor under his seat will monitor his activities.

Mercedes says that the trucker will still be expected to be responsible for controlling the vehicle. But by then they won't be called that anymore. In 2025, they'll be promoted to "transport managers."
src: cnn

Sunday, July 13, 2014


The Mitsubishi i-MiEV returns for 2014 as the nation’s most affordable plug-in electric car. The $6130 price cut, down to $23,845, brings more standard features and costs $1905 less than the segment’s previous cheapskate, the Smart ForTwo ED.

New for the i-MiEV are rear-door speakers, a passenger vanity mirror, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. A CHAdeMO quick-charge port, a light for the charging port, a 120-volt charging cord, a battery-warning system, fog lamps, and aluminum wheels are also included.

Mitsubishi has discontinued the costlier SE trim level, which had most of these extras, and will sell the i-MiEV in a single ES trim. This means that navigation, Bluetooth, a backup camera, a USB port, and steering wheel controls for the stereo—all part of the former SE’s Premium package—are no longer available. Just two options remain on the i-MiEV’s order sheet: a cargo mat and net for $95, and a $315 lighting package with blue LEDs on the floor, plus LED map and dome lights.

The price drop follows a tidal wave of EV discounts, in which nearly every automaker with a plug-in model cut sticker prices and lease payments by thousands of dollars. With those deals and more debuts—along with the popular Tesla Model S in its first full year of production—plug-in sales in the U.S. have doubled this year.

The i-MiEV, despite a three-star side-impact rating and a golf-cart footprint that caters more to Japan’s kei buyers than to average Americans, has been selling comparatively well. Mitsubishi sold 1018 cars through November, nearly double the amount it moved all of last year. Even without a 2013 model and a glut of unsold cars from 2012, the i-MiEV has been outselling the Smart ForTwo ED, the Fiat 500E, the Honda Fit EV, the Chevrolet Spark EV, and even the Ford Focus Electric.

So if you are thinking of  trying out this awesome little car know that we here at CarWarriors give the Mitsubishi i-MiEV a 9.5 on t\a scale of 1 thru ten.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Hyundai CEO John Krafcik says Subaru has an unquestionably strong lineup, he thinks the Ford Fusion is an unqualified success, and he even gave props to your author’s tie during a recent conversation. But Krafcik doesn’t have much positive to say about battery-electric vehicles. He doesn’t like the excess weight that comes with batteries, he doesn’t like their limited range and long recharge times, and he thinks that the cost of recharging them at home is only going to go up as more households adopt the technology. He is, however, smitten with hydrogen, and the prospect of selling Americans—or more specifically, Californians—on the technology. Enter the hydrogen-powered 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell.

The Tucson Fuel Cell isn’t anything earth-shatteringly new, though. Hyundai sells the ix35 Fuel Cell—which is identical to the American model debuting at the Los Angeles auto show in every way save for its name—in Europe. The Tucson-badged model uses the same in-house-developed fuel-cell stack, lithium-polymer battery, and hydrogen tank capable of carrying 12.3 pounds of the gas as does its Euro-market counterpart. It also delivers the same 134 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque by means of the same electric motor.

The Tucson Fuel Cell’s hydrogen tank and lithium-polymer battery gobble underbody space, so there is less room for passengers and cargo when compared to standard U.S.-spec Tucsons. So while overall length actually increases by 0.4 inch, second-row legroom diminishes by 0.6 inch, and cargo capacity drops by 1.9 cubic feet.

Hyundai says that its hydrogen-powered Tucson will be capable of traveling up to 300 miles between fills, a process that the brand assures us will take less than 10 minutes—once you’ve found a hydrogen filling station, that is. According to the California Fuel Cell Partnership, there are currently just eight filling stations in metro Los Angeles and one in the Bay Area that can serve the public, but the California legislature will provide $20 million annually over the next “several years” for the construction of additional locations, the first 19 of which will be located largely in San Francisco and L.A. 

The current lack of infrastructure should keep Hyundai’s fuel expenditures within reason, as the near 400-mile distance between San Francisco and L.A. means that operators of the Tucson Fuel Cell CUVs will be confined to their respective metro areas. Krafcik says that a home-fueling system is not something that’s being considered at the moment.

The 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell will be leased from four select California dealerships starting as early as April. Leases will cost owners $499 a month for 36 months, but that includes all maintenance and (unlimited) fuel costs.

Through 2016, Hyundai plans to build at least 1000 hydrogen Tucsons annually alongside the standard crossovers at the automaker’s primary production facility in Ulsan, South Korea. If Krafcik’s company can move all those hydrogen crossovers in the next few years despite the distinct lack of hydrogen pumps at most of today’s corner gas stations, he and Hyundai both will deserve a few plaudits of their own.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Some of the new features in the Acura ILX are very nice and can make your decision on buying an Acura easier. 

The ILX features classic sport sedan proportions- an elongated hood with a short rear deck. An upward-sweeping character line stretches from the front fender to the muscular haunch. 17” aluminum alloy wheels are standard on all models and complete the sporting look. 

The 2015 Acura ILX is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 150 horsepower. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower is available. Front-wheel drive and a five-speed automatic transmission come standard. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the 2.4-liter engine. The base 2015 ILX earns an EPA-estimated 24/35 mpg city/highway, while the more powerful engine achieves 22/31 mpg.

Settle in to 8-way adjustable heated leather seats. Grip the wheel and note the perfectly placed steering wheel controls. Choose your station or voice-command a playlist, then see it displayed at nearly eye-level on a color screen. Legroom is actually more generous in the ILX than its most direct competitor: the Lexus CT200h.

Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Audio System
Your favorite song: It takes a circuitous route from the recording studio to your ear to your soul. Thanks to Grammy® award-winning producer and engineer Elliot Scheiner—brilliant developer of the available Acura/ELS Surround® premium audio system—nothing gets lost on the journey. And thanks to Pandora® integration with your paired smartphone, it could play right when you need it most.

Multi-view Rear Camera
Standard equipment on every ILX, the multi-view rear camera50 lets you worry less about scratching your (or someone else’s) bumper. The system activates automatically when “reverse” is engaged. Three views can be displayed on the color screen—Regular, Wide Angle and Top-Down—while yellow gridlines on each help guide your parking.

The ILX comes with a 2.0 liter engine. The 2.0-liter, aluminum-alloy i-VTEC® 4-cylinder engine is remarkably smooth, making it a joy to rev up to 6500 rpm where it produces 150 hp (SAE net).

-The vehicle has an EPA fuel economy rating of 24 miles per gallon city, 35 highway and 28 combined.38
-Low-friction piston rings and the ability to run on lower viscosity oil and transmission fluid help improve both engine response and fuel efficiency.
-Intelligent Variable Timing and lift Control (i-VTEC®) increases horsepower by advancing valve timing relative to engine rpm. High-rpm airflow is enhanced by opening intake valves longer and deeper at approximately 4500 rpm.
-The all-aluminum engine improves front-to-rear weight distribution to improve handling and agility.
-The Drive-by-Wire™ Throttle system enables a smooth, powerful response with just the right throttle sensitivity in every driving situation.
Dual balance shafts turn in opposite directions at twice the engine speed to reduce vibration.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Whether you're a gadget-obsessed car shopper or a driver who just wants to occasionally listen to some music, Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system is the best in the business. Because infotainment is so important to modern cars these days, we think Uconnect alone is a strong reason for why you should add a Chrysler vehicle to your shopping list.

Chrysler's Uconnect is both hefty and simple. It's a multimedia system that can do a lot without leaving drivers befuddled with options. Like most infotainment systems, it integrates with your smartphone, has navigation functionality and boasts tons of media sync capabilities. What sets it apart is the cohabitation of a touchscreen with physical controls that adjust everything from climate to music preferences.

Its intuitive controls easily adjust seat or cabin temperature, your music options and call-making capabilities. Best of all, it also operates via voice command, so you won't need to take your eyes from the road.

You'll find the display area to be incredibly easy to navigate. Simple-to-read text and big icons ensure a frustration-free driving experience. Seven menu icons display a whole slew of options, including media, nav, phone and your favorite apps. These icons stay housed at the bottom of the screen at all times, making it a super simple way to access your digital stuff without spending a lot of time hunting down your faves.

What we like about Uconnect is just how big its displays are and how easy it is to read. While a few of today's Uconnect systems use a smaller 6.5- or 7-inch touchscreen, most feature the excellent 8.4-in touchscreen. There are large menus, big fonts, and easily understood functions and controls. In essence, Uconnect makes the infotainment system easy even for people who aren't used to one.

In addition, Uconnect also makes the process easy because it's laid out exactly how you'd expect. Virtually every control is intuitive. Control placement is easy to figure out and easy to remember. With the large menu screens, you'll never find yourself fumbling with your infotainment system as you do in many cars.

We also like that Uconnect has a few unique features that we haven't seen in too many other cars. One is the ability to favorite a song or artist. This useful feature causes a box to pop up notifying you that a favorite song or favorite artist is on the air. Press the box, and you're instantly transported from your current channel to the one playing your favorite song or artist.

Another unique feature is the navigation system, which doesn't only show a computerized image of the road you're traveling on. When you get to a highway ramp or a change in directions, the system shows an actual photo of the intersection where you'll be making your turn. That makes directions especially easy and leaves absolutely no doubt about where you're supposed to go.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


This summer is the release of the 2015 Transit A globally designed vehicle, the new-generation Transit was again a collaboration between Ford of Europe and Ford in North America. With its external design headed by Ford of Europe, the new Transit evolved from the New Edge styling used from the previous-generation model to the Kinetic design adopted by many of the company's global models since 2010; the interior drew cues from the third generation Ford Focus. In North America, part of the development was undertaken by Ford designers based in Detroit. 

As the Transit is replacing the E-Series, Ford loaned examples of the previous-generation (V347/348) Transit to high-mileage drivers in the United States for evaluation purposes and durability testing.By every reasonable definition, the 2014 Ford Transit Connect wagon is a minivan. It’s a van. It’s small. Ergo, it’s a minivan. Duh. Yet Ford is touting it as the “unminivan,” even turning the term into a hashtag for marketing purposes.

Yet by suggesting the Transit Connect wagon is something it’s not or, more accurately, saying it isn’t something it is, Ford is muddling what makes the vehicle unique. It’s a delightfully straightforward, fuel-efficient, and space-efficient minibus that’s relatively low on frills but very high on usefulness. It is equal parts utility van and compact car. As such, it stands in stark contrast to the heavy, bloated road whales currently being marketed under that modern misnomer of “minivan.” Okay, we suppose, in that respect, it is indeed the “unminivan.”

Based on Ford’s global C platform, which also underpins the Focus and Escape, among other products, the Transit Connect drives more like a small car than a minivan or utility vehicle, with surprisingly quick turn-in and some semblance of road feel through the wheel. Our test drive was limited to the confines of Ford’s Dearborn proving ground, where the Ford hounds assured us we would maintain sane speeds, but we came away impressed with the Transit Connect’s light-on-its-feet demeanor and the way in which it generally quashed body motions. Thanks to its unique suspension tuning compared with the cargo van, added sound insulation, and fully lined ceiling and walls, it is considerably quieter than the cargo model with which it shares its slab-sided body, highly stylized dashboard, and fuel-efficient powertrains.

Worldwide production of Ford Transits takes place in two facilities; All European Transit production is from Ford Otosan in Kocaeli Province, Turkey; this factory which will also provide a percentage of global exports. North American production will be primarily sourced from Kansas City Assembly in Claycomo, Missouri on the lines used for the previous generation Ford Escape. While the front-wheel drive V347 Transit was sold alongside the E-Series in Mexico starting in 2007 (replacing the Freestar minivan), this generation of the Transit is the replacement for the E-Series and the first to be officially sold in the United States and Canada.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


he 2014 Scion FR-S is an enthusiast's dream: light, agile, and affordable. Even compared to cars costing twice as much or more, the FR-S is one of the most engaging new cars around. The 2014 model carries into the new model year largely unchanged. 

The FR-S isn't your typical Scion. Economy and practicality are still evident, but they're not the priority. Instead, the Toyota-styled, Subaru-built sports car is engineered from the ground up to be fun.

The overall shape is reminiscent of a hatchback, although it features a conventional trunk. There’s very little that stands out with the FR-S – save for my test car’s searing orange paint.

But that’s totally okay. Near-anonymity is part of the recipe for creating possibly the best, most understated sports car that you probably never noticed until now. A key ingredient is the FR-S’s engine: a 2.0-liter, 200-horsepower four-cylinder which was co-developed with Subaru.

Simple surfaces and classic proportions give the outline of the FR-S. Details at the nose and tail give a modern, aerodynamic look to the car. Inside, the 2014 Scion FR-S is basic, but well-built and handsome, if not quite beautiful. 

Under the hood you'll find a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine rated at 200 horsepower. The engine doesn't develop much torque at all, especially low in the rev range, with most of the power living toward the top of the 7,400-rpm tachometer.

Once you've reconciled yourself with grabbing the Boxer four by the nape of its neck and squeezing for all it's worth, the FR-S becomes a second skin. Nimble, light (by modern standards), and incredibly neutral in its balance, the Scion FR-S captures the essence of what a sports car should be: honest, inexpensive fun. 

In terms of competition, the 2014 Scion FR-S has no direct rivals other than its Subaru twin. After all, affordable rear-wheel-drive sport coupes are few and far between. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is the closest in character to the FR-S, but if you prefer a rear-wheel-drive coupe, you'll have to step up to the more expensive Ford Mustang or Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Yet given its desirable qualities -- light weight and a responsive nature -- the 2014 Scion FR-S should be a thrill for driving enthusiasts looking for big kicks for small bucks.

Monday, July 7, 2014


ZL1 traces its strong presence back to the legendary 1969 production ZL1 models. Today’s ZL1 lives up to that iconic name as the most technologically advanced Camaro. Tested on some of the most rigorous tracks around the world, including world-renowned Nürburgring, where it ran a 7:41.27 lap.

Built to be track capable, one tap of the accelerator will immediately reveal why it’s like nothing you’ve ever driven before. You’ll feel the intensity of an all-aluminum 6.2L supercharged engine that delivers 580 horsepower† and 556 lb.-ft. of torque.

But the ZL1 doesn’t just boast unbridled power. That’s just half of the equation. There’s also Magnetic Ride Control™, world-class braking and a 4-wheel independent suspension. Influenced by the Corvette, Performance Traction Management (Coupe model only) lets you choose from five performance settings that adjust for ambient and track conditions, driver experience and vehicle familiarity. Behind it all is the confidence of knowing you’ve got the support of Chevrolet Complete Care.

They’re all performance refinements you can’t get on a Mustang Shelby GT 500 and another reason why you’ll be hard-pressed to find a production car that can match the Camaro ZL1.

Camaro ZL1 has a history to respect and build upon. That’s why the 2014 namesake is designed so everything works together, to give you not just power, but precision and control.

The fuel system has added fuel pickups to maximize the amount of fuel available even under high g-force cornering. The standard TREMEC® 6-speed manual transmission comes with a short-throw shifter for quicker, precision shifting.

The dual-mode exhaust enables peak performance at high engine speeds and has been engineered to create an aggressive growl while idling without drowning out the tunes when you’re cruising at a steady speed — the drawback of some aftermarket performance exhausts.

This is the kind of fine-tuned vehicle that engineers dream about designing and enthusiasts dream about driving. It’s so track capable you might just want to start looking for a sponsor.

Feel the rush of an engine that goes from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds with an available Hydra-Matic® 6L90 automatic transmission. Boasts power you can feel, topping out at 184 mph with the available automatic, and covers a quarter-mile of pavement in a mere 12 seconds.

One of the reasons you’ll get there that fast is the standard Performance Traction Management. It features launch control that automatically modulates engine torque for the best possible acceleration without excessive wheel spin.

The 580-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 556 lb.-ft. of torque can be mated to a TREMEC® 6-speed manual (MG9) or available Hydra-Matic 6L90 automatic transmission. This aluminum-block engine is based on the legendary GM small block V8 architecture and features an intercooled supercharger system and premium heat-resistant aluminum alloy cylinder heads.

Camaro ZL1 offers a uniquely designed sixth-generation intercooled 1.9-liter Eaton® supercharger. It’s what gives ZL1 additional thrust and force and it’s a big component of the driving exhilaration you’ll feel when you put ZL1 through its paces. The 4-lobed supercharger enables a broad range of power through the rpm band, giving the engine great low-end torque and excellent horsepower at the upper rpm range where a supercharger generally loses its effectiveness.

Unlike many of its competitors, ZL1 comes fully equipped with factory-integrated auxiliary fluid coolers that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars to install, including a liquid-to-liquid engine cooler typically found on high-end sports cars.

The differential cooler is a truly unique design. This innovative system pumps overcooled transmission fluid to a heat exchanger inside the housing that can drop the

differential temperature by over 100 degrees. That helps maintain cool, stable performance even during the most aggressive racetrack sessions.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


The 2014 Infiniti Q50S Hybrid steps up the tech for good fuel economy, handling, driver-assistance features, and cabin infotainment in a premium sport sedan.

Powered by the Q70 Hybrid's 3.5-liter V-6 and electric motor combo, the 2014 Q50S Hybrid is the most potent member of the Q50 lineup. Its drivetrain is good for a combined 360 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque – 32 horsepower more than the non-hybrid Q50. As is the case with the rest of the Q50 lineup, power is routed through a seven-speed automatic.

As comfortable, capable, and confidently styled as this new Q50S is, ours, optioned to the hilt with electronic elves, kept us at a robotic arm’s length, never really pulling us into the fun as it pulsed and lurched and shivered to its own internal programming. The computers have moved in and taken over. Are you a driver or a passenger? In the Q50 hybrid, you’re both.

Now that Infiniti has scrambled its model designations, converting a dull but familiar roster of part numbers into a new and thus confusing roster of part numbers, the Q50 succeeds the G35 and G37. Except that the newly created and christened Infiniti Motor Company Limited still produces the said G37 as an automatic-only, reduced-content stripper, at least through the end of this year and possibly beyond. Why? Its dealers need a placekeeper in the important circa-$35,000/sub-$300-lease-payment arena while they await a smaller sedan, not due for another two years.

The Q50 starts at $37,605 for a base rear-drive model and, as does its competitors, heads past $40,000 fast. The Q50 hybrid begins at $44,855 and hits $50,000 quicker than its 13.8-second quarter-mile run. The Q50S you see here carting its copper around Copper Harbor packs a $5000 whopper of a “Deluxe Technology package,” which helped boost its bottom line to $53,655. And this one doesn’t even have four-wheel drive, available on all Q50s for $1800.

The tech package offers a new technology for today's electronic systems, most intended to studiously keep you out of danger, including: Moving Object Detection, Distance Control Assist, Blind-Spot Intervention,  Predictive Forward Collision Warning,Backup Collision Intervention, Forward Collision Warning, ,Forward Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Prevention with Active Lane Control. If you predict that you will need a warning of every approaching threat to feel secure, this is your must-have package.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Hyundai is about to unveil a new safety feature for its 2015 Genesis sedan that can detect speed cameras and automatically brake if the driver is going too fast near them. The system will beep 800 meters before a camera and show the legal speed, and it will beep at you if your speed is over that. The system combines the automatic emergency braking technology offered in the Genesis sedan with the car’s GPS system so it “knows where the speed camera is and it will adopt the correct speed.” Either you brake or the Genesis sedan will brake for you — and potentially save you from a fine.

The combination of these two common contemporary systems seems like an obvious step, and many may welcome any feature intended to reduce their chances of getting a ticket, but Hyundai’s proposed system is not without controversy. First example: The automaker later recanted to Drive.com.au that it would not offer the system and we did not get a response from Hyundai's U.S. representatives asking for clarification.

It’s impossible to know how things will pan out, but it’s safe to say Hyundai’s idea would generate a great deal of conversation and debate. What’s to stop a manufacturer from setting up an auto-braking system that prevents drivers from speeding at all, or to use information from suspension control systems to "slow down" what it perceives as aggressive cornering? With backup cameras mandated to become standard equipment, what else will be argued as being "in the public interest" in the near future, and will we all be legislated into essentially autonomous vehicles before all is said and done?

Hyundai's system would only be effective against fixed speed cameras and ones that measure average speed, not mobile cameras or handheld radar guns commonly used by law enforcement. With this first step, however, the others are sure to follow. While the 2015 Genesis sedan makes its debut later this year, the speed camera/auto-braking system won’t be offered for some time afterwards, if it arrives on our shores (or any shores) at all. In the meantime, we’ll all just have to avoid tickets manually.

Friday, July 4, 2014


The Honda Ridgeline is a mid-size sport utility truck produced by the Japanese automaker Honda. The Ridgeline was released in March 2005 as a 2006 model and is Honda's first foray into the North American pickup truck market. Until 2009, the Ridgeline was built in Alliston, Ontario, Canada alongside the Acura MDX, Honda Civic, Honda Civic Si, and Acura CSX. The Ridgeline was awarded Motor Trend's Truck of the Year for 2006.

The new Ridgeline SE essentially adds cues from the Ridgeline Sport to the luxurious RTL trim level. The means features like black-trimmed 18-inch alloys and matching interior trim arrives as a no-cost option. This new model carries the same starting price as the RTL at $37,505 (*not including $830 for destination), and all other trim level pricing is carried over unchanged from the 2013 model year. The new SE model won't be available until November.

The Ridgeline's cabin has a low, flat floor, and minimal intrusion from the transmission in the center tunnel. Although the front row has only two seats, the Ridgeline's column-mounted shifter could allow for three-across seating, if the center stack was slightly redesigned to accommodate legs and feet in the middle position. As it is, there's generous space at the base of the console for a purse, briefcase, laptop bag, or whatever else, as well as ample center console storage. The rear seat is also significantly more spacious than other current midsize crew cabs

the Ridgeline's 250 hp 3.5-liter V-6 has no problem handling the truck's 4529 pounds, although a little more low-end torque would help. The engine makes an enthusiastic growl when pushed, but comes across as a little coarse, especially in comparison to current full-size truck powertrains. In the Ridgeline's defense, neither the Tacoma or Frontier are models of hushed refinement either. Its 0-60 and quarter-mile times of 8.3 and 16.5 seconds respectively are respectable, but no better than its peers.

Technical Features of the Honda Ridgeline:
250-hp (SAE Net), 3.5-Liter, 24-Valve, SOHC VTEC® V-6 Engine
Drive-by-Wire Throttle System
Variable Torque Management® 4-Wheel Drive System (VTM-4®)
Locking Rear Differential 
High-Mounted Fresh-Air Intake
ULEV-2 CARB Emissions Rating 
Direct Ignition System with Immobilizer
Heavy-Duty Radiator with 160-Watt Fans (2)
Integrated Closed-Box Frame with Unit-Body Construction 
Fully-Boxed High-Strength Steel (HSS) Frame Rails and Crossmembers with Internal Stiffeners
Steel-Reinforced Composite (SRC) Cargo Bed 
MacPherson Strut Front Suspension
Multi-Link Rear Suspension with Trailing Arms
Front and Rear Stabilizer Bars
Variable Power-Assisted Rack-and-Pinion Steering
Power-Assisted Ventilated Front Disc/Solid Rear Disc Brakes
18-Inch Special Edition Alloy Wheels

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Chevrolet Sonic comes with the optional 138-hp 1.4-liter turbo four on LT and LTZ trims but makes the little huffer standard in the sporty RS package. Midway through the 2014 model year, Chevrolet added the RS package to the sedan; it had been hatchback-only when it arrived for 2013. This demonstrates that, besides figuring out at long last how to build a decent small car and even assemble it in the United States, GM has also found a way to give the market something fresh for a third model year.

Also new for mid-2014, is the Advanced Safety package of forward-collision alert and lane-departure warnings, which added $395 to the $20,530 MSRP on the Sonic RS sedan tested here. It was the only extracost option, so the sticker price still came in at under $21,000.

The RS standard equipment list is pretty strong, with A/C, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a tilting and telescoping column, remote keyless entry, a rearview camera, and the Chevy MyLink infotainment system with voice recognition. Using apps on your smartphone accessed via the Bluetooth link, the MyLink touch screen gives you access to navigation, Pandora, and other features—this car didn’t have the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot link to the internet, but the Sonic will include that with 2015 models. So the “keep it fresh” mentality is continuing into a fourth year.

As with the hatchback, the RS sedan employs the 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo four-banger but gets no more thrust: 138 horsepower is the Sonic ceiling, whether from the base 1.8-liter naturally aspirated four or the turbo 1.4. The latter has a broader torque band with a stronger peak (148 lb-ft at 2500 rpm versus only 125 at 3800 rpm) and identical overall EPA mileage ratings, so we think it’s worth the $700 uptick.

Coupled here to a six-speed manual transmission, the 1.4-liter is strong enough to outrun the non-performance-grade versions of all the aforementioned competitors to 60 mph. The RS sedan clocked in at 8.2 seconds, one-tenth behind the 2013 hatchback RS and identical to the time we got in a 2012 LTZ with the turbo/manual combination. This parity is despite what, in theory, should be a more accelerative combination of final drive and closer spacing between the gear ratios. Whereas most turbo Sonics run a 3.65:1 final drive with the manual (3.23:1 with the six-speed automatic), the RS gets a shorter 4.18:1 differential ratio (3.53:1 with the automatic). 

The manual also uses a shorter first-gear, but aside from making it easier to squeal the tires from a standstill, it means very little: At the drag strip, the LTZ turbo/manual hatchback did a 16.5-second quarter-mile at 85 mph and the RS sedan got there a tenth quicker going 1 mph faster. Even the zero-to-30 time doesn’t improve—perhaps Chevy could save some bucks and just use one setup? Regardless, the most measurable effect of the gearing changes might be fuel economy: sixth gear isn’t quite as tall as in other models (0.74:1 versus 0.61), and with the shorter final drive we saw 29 mpg in the RS while the LTZ returned 31 mpg.

We’ve grown a little more jaded about the Sonic as the B-segment fun-to-drive quotient expands with new entries featuring sharper, more responsive driving dynamics. The Sonic’s manual shifter isn’t the best tool in the subcompact shed anymore, the car’s steering is quick but short on feedback, and handling is predictable but not sprightly.

Newer, more expressive designs also cast a distinct Elmer Fudd-ish shadow over Sonic’s micro-Cruze styling. The resemblance to its larger stablemates is more than skin-deep: at 2846 pounds on our scale, this RS sedan weighs some 220 pounds more than a similarly sized Ford Fiesta SFE sedan. Steering clear of the more serious performance end of the B-segment spectrum seems wise. In that context the weight penalty would loom larger and the advantages of size (a trunk more spacious than the one in the Honda Civic, for starters, and habitable rear seats) would matter less. As it is, the 168-foot stopping distance from 70 mph and 0.85 g cornering could be better were the chassis lighter.

Putting the RS trimmings on the sedan, then, is rather like that string of pearls granny used to wear with a housedress. It classes things up a bit without really fooling anyone into thinking that you’re headed to town in a ball gown. In a segment where the lowly Aveo once roamed the land in its Kmart wardrobe, the Sonic RS offers decent appearance upgrades. With 17-inch wheels, a decklid spoiler, front fog lamps, a more aggressive front fascia with an air dam and body-side moldings, it looks a tad sportier on its lowered, stiffened suspension. The RS interior upgrades include a set of leather-trimmed heated bucket seats with suede-like microfiber inserts up front and red stitching, plus a leather-dressed shift knob. Add those collision and lane-departure warning systems and drop a few more bucks on phone apps and the Sonic RS driver needn’t feel deprived. That’s more than you could say for generations of previous small Chevys. Let’s hope the next step—making the driver feel special when the gas pedal is pressed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


The Audi A6 is an executive car made by the German automaker Audi AG, now in its fourth generation. As the successor to the Audi 100, the A6 is manufactured in Neckarsulm, Germany – and is available in saloon and wagon configurations, the latter marketed by Audi as the Avant.

The Audi A6 comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. While reviewers are impressed with its great fuel economy, most prefer the engines available in higher trims, such as the supercharged V6, which they say is very powerful, and the turbocharged diesel V6, which they agree provides strong acceleration and excellent fuel economy. 

The A6 comes standard with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), but reviewers prefer the optional eight-speed automatic, which they say provides quick, smooth shifts. The base 2014 Audi A6 gets an EPA-estimated 25/33 mpg city/highway, which is very good for a luxury large car, while the diesel-powered A6 TDI gets an excellent 24/38 mpg. 

 The 2014 Audi A6 comes standard with leather upholstery, heated, power-adjustable front seats,Available features include navigation, a Bose or Bang & Olufsen audio system, Bluetooth music streaming, four-zone automatic climate control, a backup camera, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and a blind spot monitoring system. a sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker audio system, Bluetooth phone connectivity, satellite radio, an iPod interface and Audi’s MMI infotainment system.

Audi's latest lighting innovation – angular, full-LED headlamps in a style similar to what was first introduced on the A8 and then later used on the A7. The A6's eyes are arguably the most stunning of the bunch, with the nicest overall integration to the front fascia. We won't argue that the other two cars – the A7, specifically – aren't stunning beasts to behold, but there's something about the A6's front end that piques our interest the most.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Did you know you can get a BMW 5 Series for less than $500 per month? Available is thebase-level 528i model. In addition to a surprisingly potent 240-hp 4-cylinder engine, it offers stellar gas mileage of up to 23 mpg city/34 mpg hwy along with a spry 0-to-60 time of around 6.4 seconds. That may sound too good to be true, but there's even more: The 528i also features a standard sunroof, adaptive headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control and dual power front seats. And you can lease a base-level 528i for $439 per month for 36 months after $4,664 down at lease signing.  

The all-new Cadillac CTS is a newly redesigned midsize luxury sedan that boasts rear- or optional all-wheel drive. Right now, shoppers interested in a CTS can lease one for 39 months with payments starting at $479 per month after $3,979 down at lease signing. 

That figure gets you a 272-hp 4-cylinder model that manages 20 mpg city/30 mpg hwy, along with a long list of features that includes keyless access with push-button starting, dual-zone automatic climate control, driver memory settings and Cadillac's CUE infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen. Hyundai Genesis

The all-new 2015 Hyundai Genesis is available to lease for 36 months with payments from $429 per month and $3,999 down at lease signing. If that sounds like a lot for a Hyundai, it is -- but the Genesis is a lot of Hyundai for the money. In addition to a roomy interior and rear-wheel drive, the Genesis comes standard with a powerful 333-hp V6 and a long list of equipment that includes LED headlights, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control and other luxury sedan perks. The Genesis may not have the luxury brand name, but it certainly has all the other important benefits of luxury sedans. Volvo's handsome and surprisingly quick S60 is easily available for less than $500 per month. To be exact, the automaker is offering the sedan for just $349 per month for 36 months after $3,199 down at lease signing. 

Not only does that figure get you a distinctive, boldly styled exterior and a high-end interior; you also get impressive equipment like all-wheel drive, Bluetooth, automatic wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry, a sunroof and leather upholstery. We're also fans of the T6's excellent 300-hp engine, which returns 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy while still managing to reach 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds.