Thursday, October 30, 2014


The new updates for the 2015 Jetta include a front bumper that improves aerodynamics, which the automaker says has a direct impact on fuel economy. Other exterior styling updates include a revised trunk lid and taillights.

The 2015 Jetta also offers an updated cabin, with a new look for the gauges and new trim details like chrome and piano black accents and ambient lighting. Bluetooth is now standard, and the Jetta is now available with features like forward collision alert, blind spot monitoring and front and rear parking sensors.

Outside, the Jetta GLI surprisingly forgoes the GTI's front fascia with its trademark red styling. Instead, the front of the GLI is defined by two prominent horizontal lines across the top and bottom of the grille, which combined with the trapezoidal headlights help create a distinct look. Out back, the GLI has a discreet air diffuser integrated into the bumper, a small lip spoiler and smoked tail lamps.

Surprisingly, at the rear there's a new trunk lid with an integrated aerodynamic trailing edge, and GLI and Hybrid models get newly optional LED taillights. The rear-end changes give the car a conspicuous premium look, as it resembles very closely the current Audi A4. 

Jetta TDI models get a new, more powerful diesel engine and improved fuel economy when compared with the 2014 model. The 2015 Jetta TDI features a turbodiesel 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. EPA fuel economy is 31/46 mpg city/highway with a six-speed manual transmission or 31/45 mpg with a six-speed automated manual transmission. By comparison, the 2014 Jetta TDI was rated at 30/42 mpg with either transmission.

Despite the suttle changes and the obvious ones at places, the Jetta still commands respect from it's rivals such as Audi. Jetta continues to exemplify what a car should do and how it should drive. 

So on a scale of 1 to 10 we give the Jetta an 8.5

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


The 2015 Buick Verano is powered by a four-cylinder engine that some owners say struggles to accelerate off-the-line and to get up to highway speeds, while others report that it provides adequate power. Owners prefer the available turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which owners think has great power output and delivers swift acceleration. 

A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, though some critics prefer the six-speed manual that’s available with the turbocharged engine, which they say makes the best use of the engine’s power. Reviewers praise the Verano’s comfortable ride and precise, nicely weighted steering. While owners also report that the Verano feels stable in turns, most don’t consider it athletic.

Buick’s infotainment setup, IntelliLink, is included on all 2015 Verano models, featuring a newly developed OnStar system with 4G LTE and a hotspot to provide a mobile hub to help driver and passengers stay connected. The hotspot will be live whenever the ignition is on, enhancing its usability. A three-month, three-gigabyte data subscription also will be included, in addition to six months of OnStar.

IntelliLink can connect up to ten devices including smartphones, SD cards, and MP3 players. Other standard features include Text Messaging Alerts for smartphones that will read texts over the car’s audio-system speakers and Siri Eyes Free integration for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users. Should the driver forget that they’re actually in a car and not a coffeehouse, all but the base Verano also include forward collision avoidance, lane-departure warnings, side blind-spot detection, and rear cross traffic-alert systems.

The Verano also offers five years of the OnStar Basic Plan, which includes RemoteLink Key Fob Services. RemoteLink Key Fob allows owners to remotely start and lock/unlock a car, and activate the horn and lights from anywhere with a data connection. In addition, it includes OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics, which performs a monthly check of a vehicle’s engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes and more.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Ford engineers have given the Taurus a wide stance and advanced suspension tuning, delivering confident handling on the corners.Dynamic design begins right up front.Exclusive to the Taurus SHO, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps last longer and use less energy than conventional halogen bulbs. In the automatic position, when you turn on your windshield wipers, the headlamps are activated. Lamps automatically come on when ambient light is low enough. Projector-beam halogen headlamps help provide a focused beam, providing excellent brightness and range of visibility. With the standard autolamp on/off delay controls, you can set the switch to the automatic mode and the headlamps come on when the lighting diminishes. 

Also available on the Limited and SHO models are auto high-beam headlamps that detect vehicle light sources. When lights are sensed, the system returns to the low-beam setting.The choice is yours in the high-performance Taurus SHO: leather-trimmed seats in Charcoal Black with Mayan Gray Miko suede inserts or in Charcoal Black with embroidered SHO logo on the front seats. An extended thigh support cushion and the bolster contour help provide added comfort. 

The soy-based seat cushions, seat backs and the four-way adjustable (up/down/tilt) headrests are supportive and comfortable as well as environmentally friendly.These 20-inch wheels complement the sporty look of the Taurus.

Powered by its standard V6 engine, reviewers say the 2015 Ford Taurus has a good amount of power and accelerates quickly enough to appease most drivers. Still, they are even more impressed with both available engines. An available turbocharged four-cylinder engine wows reviewers with its brisk acceleration and improved fuel economy, and they say the available turbocharged V6 engine delivers excellent power and the fastest acceleration in the lineup. Models with the standard V6 engine earn 19/29 mpg city/highway, which is about average for a V6-powered large car. 

However, models with the turbo four earn 22/32 mpg city/highway, which is one of the best fuel economy estimates in the class. Automotive writers are also happy with the Ford Taurus’ silky six-speed automatic transmission, which comes standard with all three engines. While some critics say the 2015 Taurus offers stable handling and sharp steering, others say the Taurus' large size makes for ponderous handling.

The 2015 Taurus comes standard with a rearview camera, a six-speaker audio system, an auxiliary audio jack, MyKey and Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system, which includes Bluetooth and a USB port. Available features include a 12-speaker Sony audio system, the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, a power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, active park assist, remote start, push-button start and proximity key. The available MyFord Touch infotainment system, which controls audio, navigation and climate settings, is confusing and slow. With 20.1 cubic feet of room, the Taurus has more trunk space than that of nearly every rival, and reviewers report that the Taurus' deep trunk floor and wide opening makes cargo-loading a breeze.

Monday, October 27, 2014


The 2015 Kia Forte is the Korean answer to such powerhouse compacts as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. To accomplish its mission of world domination, Kia equips the Forte with a long list of standard and available features, including some features -- such as a heated steering wheel and a heated rear seat -- not offered by the competition. It then tosses in a trio of body styles that include a coupe (spelled Koup), sedan and 5-door hatchback.

The Forte is larger than most small cars, filling the space between a compact and a midsize sedan. Its exterior styling is impressive, and its interior is comfortable, if not posh. Kia's lineup of frugal 4-cylinder engines provides plenty of go power while returning excellent fuel economy. There's even a manual-transmission option, a feature that's fast fading from the automotive landscape.

We're particularly impressed with the level of standard and available equipment at the Forte's price. The base LX trim level offers Bluetooth and an iPod interface as standard, while high-end amenities like xenon headlights, keyless ignition and entry and even a ventilated driver seat are available.

There are also three different engines for the 2015 Kia Forte, two of which are competitive in terms of power and acceleration. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder on EX models makes the new Forte one of the quickest cars in the segment, while an even stronger, turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is available on SX versions of the Forte coupe and hatchback. The downside, though, is that none of these engines excels in the fuel economy department, even with this year's slightly improved EPA numbers.

There are many fantastic choices in this class of 2015. The more expensive Ford Focus and Mazda 3 are class leaders for their sophisticated blend of comfort, dynamism and impressive real-world fuel economy. Also notable are the Honda Civic, Kia's cousin the Hyundai Elantra and the 2015 Volkswagen Golf. These are well-rounded models with lots of refinement and comfort. But with its roomy interior, upscale features, strong engine lineup and sharp styling, the 2015 Kia Forte is an excellent choice for an affordable sedan, coupe or hatchback.The 2015 Kia Forte is available as a sedan in LX and EX trim levels. The two-door coupe (Koup) and four-door hatchback (Forte 5) are available in EX and SX trims.

Standard features on the LX sedan include 15-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a trip computer, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary input jack.

Optional for the LX is the Popular package, which includes keyless entry, cruise control, two additional speakers, upgraded seat trim and other interior upgrades, including extra storage, a sliding console armrest and a fold-down rear center armrest.

Spring for the EX, and you get all of the above plus a more powerful engine, 16-inch alloy wheels, adjustable steering effort, foglights, LED running lights, power-folding outside mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a cooling glovebox.

Both Forte sedans are available with Kia's Uvo eServices infotainment system with a rearview camera and upgraded wheels (16-inch alloy wheels for the LX and 17s on the EX).

For the EX the optional Premium package adds a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a ventilated eight-way power driver seat with memory (still a manual-adjustment seat on the Koup), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and illuminated exterior door handles.

The EX Technology package includes xenon headlights, LED taillights, an upgraded display screen, dual-zone air-conditioning, rear seat vents, a navigation system, HD radio and upgraded Uvo functionality.

The EX hatchback and coupe essentially mirror the sedan. The SX versions include those features but with a sportier mission and mechanicals: a turbocharged engine, 18-inch wheels and unique front and rear styling. Option packages for the coupe and hatchback essentially echo those for the EX sedan.

The LX is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine making 145 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque. Power runs to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA fuel economy estimates for the Forte LX sedan are 31 mpg combined (26 city/39 highway) for the 1.8 with the automatic. With the manual transmission it's rated at 30 mpg combined (25/37).

The EX gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder generating 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque. On the sedan and hatchback, this engine comes only with the six-speed automatic, but on the coupe, you can also get it with the manual transmission. Forte EX sedans with the 2.0-liter engine rate 29 mpg combined (25 city/36 highway), but we were impressed with the 32 mpg the Forte EX achieved on our Edmunds evaluation route. EX hatchbacks and automatic-equipped EX coupes rate 28 mpg combined, but have slightly lower highway figures. Manual-shift Forte EX coupes come in at 27 mpg combined (24/33).

The SX versions of the Forte Koup and Forte 5 have a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder good for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. On both body styles, you have a choice of the six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Kia Forte SX hatchbacks rate 24 mpg combined (21/29) with either transmission. For the Koup, fuel economy estimates stand at 25 mpg combined (22/29) with the manual or (22/30) with the automatic.

In Edmunds testing, a Kia Forte EX sedan accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, while a Forte SX Koup with a manual transmission did the sprint in 7.0 seconds. Both times are exceptionally quick for the compact car segment.

Every 2015 Kia Forte comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional. The optional Uvo telematics service includes roadside assistance, emergency crash notification and secondary driver (i.e., teenage) monitoring features including notifications for exceeding curfew, vehicle speed and vehicle location limits.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Forte EX sedan came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, while a Forte SX Koup turned in a 118-foot effort. Both are slightly better than average for this segment. Government crash tests of the 2015 Forte weren't available as of this writing. The 2014 sedan and hatchback both earned an overall score of four stars (out of five), with three stars for overall frontal-impact protection and five stars for overall side-impact protection. Within that three-star frontal rating, the Forte earned five stars for driver protection, but just two stars for the front passenger.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Forte its highest score of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test as well for the side-impact, roof-strength and whiplash protection (seatbelts and head restraints) tests. In the agency's small-overlap frontal-offset impact test, however, the Forte scored the lowest rating of "Poor."

Far from being an economy car stuffed with gadgets, the new Kia Forte boasts a handsome cabin furnished with quality materials that, in the higher trim levels, would give premium-brand compacts a run for their money. What's more, the Forte's high-tech features are well designed and easy to use. The touchscreen interface, with its large, logically positioned "buttons," is one of the best examples of this technology, regardless of market segment or price range.

Seat comfort front and rear is very good thanks to thick, well-bolstered seats. Even 6-foot adults should be comfortable sitting in back. The Forte sedan is also very generous when it comes to cargo capacity, boasting a trunk capacity of 14.9 cubic feet. The Forte 5 hatchback offers 23.2 cubic feet Even the two-door Koup is surprisingly practical, with a 13.3-cubic-foot trunk that rivals many compact sedans. Its backseat is also spacious enough for adults and reasonably easy to reach. Unfortunately, the driver seat is mounted a bit high, and as a result some of our taller editors found it difficult to get comfortable behind the wheel.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Both sedan and hatchback Hyundai Elantra models are powered by either a 145-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder or a 173-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder in Sport and GT trims, each mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. The Elantra is best for drivers who value first-rate fit-and-finish, whizz-bang features, and a sensible price.

The 2015 Hyundai Elantra comes with a four-cylinder engine that some critics say could use more power, though most agree that the more powerful four-cylinder engine found in Elantra Sport and Elantra GT models provides competitive acceleration. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while an optional six-speed automatic transmission earns praise for its responsive shifts and making good use of the engine’s power. 

The bigger engine hustles the Elantra into traffic gaps with more gusto than the 1.8-liter four and netted 27 mpg in our testing, exactly the same as the slower Elantra Limited. Few Elantra drivers will notice that abrupt road imperfections trigger secondary vertical wheel motions and body float; what will matter to them is that, on the whole, the suspension feels compliant.

The base Elantra gets up to an EPA-estimated 28/38 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class. Some reviewers write that the 2015 Elantra is surprisingly nimble, while others comment that the Elantra offers controlled handling, but isn’t particularly fun to drive.The Elantra is quiet and comfortable enough for commuting, though many note that the ride becomes harsh and unsettled over road imperfections.

Every 2014 Elantra wears mildly enhanced fog lights and new wheel designs. In addition to its direct-injected 2.0-liter four—with its 28 horsepower and 24 lb-ft of torque advantage over the 1.8-liter four in the SE and Limited—the Sport also employs a thicker 23-mm front anti-roll bar (versus 22 mm) and stiffer dampers. Front spring rates are identical to those on non-Sport Elantras and the rears are barely stiffer, but the steering ratio is quicker and the electric assist retuned for less friction for better accuracy. Unlike other Elantras, which offer selectable steering modes, the Sport has just one setting.

Friday, October 24, 2014


 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: The next evolution of the Miata promises to be leap forward in style and ability. Call this one a pick based on hope and faith.

 1967 Mazda Cosmo: Japanese-market GT coupe that was the first two-rotor rotary-powered car. Predates the RX-7 by more than a decade and only about 1,500 were built.

 2011 Nissan Leaf : It's the best-selling all-electric car ever made. And it's a consistently good one, too.2002 Nissan Altima: The also-ran Altima becomes a serious player in its third generation. Moving to the new "FF-L" platform optimized for North American market conditions, this Altima earned critical praise and became a true alternative to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

2016 or 2017 Acura NSX: It's going to be a hybrid. It's going to be fast. It's going to be made in Ohio.  In the U S A .  This  rock for u s a workers ,                                                                                     1991 Acura NSX: Midengine, all-aluminum monocoque construction, a suspension tuned with help from Ayrton Senna, and all the reliability and usability of a Honda. The NSX was so fantastic, so undeniably good, that it forced Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche to build better sports cars. For the first time, a Japanese car was the best car in the world.

1967 Toyota Corolla: It wasn't fancy or fast or even very good-looking. And the very first Corolla had a pokey 1.1-liter pushrod four under its hood. But it's the car that got the world to buy Japanese cars. Practically everyone has a Corolla story or still has a Corolla in their garage. And good experiences with Corollas led millions to buy more and more Toyotas.

 2004 Toyota Prius: The second-generation Prius, the one shaped like a sardine, is the car that made the gasoline-electric hybrids mainstream transportation for millions of ordinary consumers. In the 21st century virtually every car is following the Prius' lead in some way or another. And that includes the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari hybrids. This is the future and there's never anything greater than that.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


While Mercedes-Benz has let us Americans buy diesel versions of its flagship sedan from time to time, BMW has kept a number of versions of the 7-series from our shores, among them diesel 7-series models. That changes with the arrival of the 740Ld later this spring.

The 740Ld will be powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six diesel engine with a single turbocharger using variable vane turbine technology, making 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, and will be coupled exclusively with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system. The diesel 7 will be available only in long-wheelbase form, signaling that this is perhaps a car for commuters who are interested in a little more range rather than sportiness. Acceleration from 0 to 60 will be a bit slower than the current 740Li gas model: 6.1 seconds instead of 5.4 , though that slight disadvantage is perhaps moot in real-world conditions.

Back then, BMW didn’t participate in the energy-crisis-fueled race toward diesels. The brand was famous for its silky-smooth, naturally aspirated straight-six gasoline engines, and it took the company until 1983 to reluctantly offer its first diesel in the European-market 5-series. In fact, BMW tried everything to avoid diesels, including developing the low-revving, torquey eta gas engine.

Relegated to insignificance in the U.S. until a few years ago, diesel engines have developed polished manners and considerable muscle. Today, BMW’s straight-six turbo-diesels are among the finest on the market; in Europe, sales of 3-series, 5-series, and crossover SUV oil burners dominate over those of gasoline-powered versions. The turbo-diesel is a commonly chosen powertrain option in the 7-series as well, due to its generous torque even at low revs and a drinking habit that is far easier on the wallet than those of its gas-powered siblings.

This year, BMW has decided America is ready for a compression-ignition 7-series. Enter the 740Ld xDrive, whose clumsy model designation denotes a 3.0-liter, long-wheelbase, diesel-powered, all-wheel-drive model. The U.S.-market 7-series diesel gets the 740d moniker even though it serves up barely more power than the 254-hp European-market 730d. The U.S.-bound 740Ld is rated at 255 horsepower, available at 4000 rpm. Europe’s 740d makes 300 horses, and the triturbo M750Ld cranks out a healthy 376. The relatively low power rating of the U.S. version is partly due to the exhaust treatment, which consists of an NOx storage catalyst, a particulate filter, and a selective catalyst reduction system with urea injection—all required to comply with U.S. emissions regulations.

Riding the Torque Wave

But as with many other diesel engines, don’t let the relatively low power rating fool you. What matters in everyday traffic is this engine’s healthy 413 lb-ft of torque, which is available in a broad band from 1500 to 3000 rpm. That generous grunt is accessible virtually at any road speed, thanks to the car’s wide-ratio eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. From a standstill, the 740Ld xDrive takes off with a vengeance. We estimate it will charge to 60 mph in just under six seconds and continue to ride the wave of torque up to its governed top speed of 130 mph. It is absolutely unnecessary to put the driving-mode selector into the Sport setting; this engine appreciates and rewards cruising at low revs.

In the city and at low speeds, there is no mistaking this diesel-powered vehicle for a gas-fed one, but its rumble is subdued and reassuring. At highway speeds, what minor combustion noise you might have heard around town is drowned out entirely. The best part about the diesel, of course, is its fuel efficiency. It is EPA-rated at a conservative 31 mpg highway, and we found it easy to top this figure. You can rest assured you won’t need to refuel this diesel nearly as often as you would a gasoline-powered 7.

The current 7-series is a heavy car, and this particular one, with its all-wheel drive and long wheelbase, should tip the scales at a whopping 4700 pounds. But it is still one of the best-handling full-size luxury sedans, and it feels competitive enough that it’s somewhat surprising that the next-generation 7-series will appear at dealerships in 2015. We hope BMW won’t wait until the last year of the model run to bring in the diesel the next time around.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Wireless charging could make the process even easier.Charging an electric car or plug-in hybrid really isn’t all that difficult .

I can’t help but wonder if some drivers are reluctant to jump on the all-electric or plug-in hybrid bandwagon simply because of the extra effort it takes to connect the car to a charging station each evening? I know that seems a little absurd, but I suppose it’s possible. After all, it is an extra step that most people just aren’t accustomed to when they roll into the garage every night.

Oh, and if you failed to realize that you forgot to plug the car in until the next morning — well, that’s the kind of mistake that could ruin your whole day, especially if you had somewhere important to go. This is a positive change. Nothing can be more time consuming than plugging in your car a few times a day. I would hate to have to plug in my other appliances as I use them TV, Coffee maker, Washer, etc. This is a no brainer and Americans like things to be very easy.But there’s talk of a much easier method on the high tech.

We’ve been using wireless chargers (inductive charging) to power up our handheld devices for at least a few years now, so it only makes sense that auto manufacturers would eventually apply that kind of technology — on a larger scale, of course — to charge depleted electric car batteries. And while these wireless charging mats aren’t immediately available, manufacturers do hope to have the systems ready for home and public use within the next few years.

Obviously, there’s a good deal of science happening in there, but here’s a streamlined version of how it works: Electricity is emitted from the transmission unit (an electrically charged mat mounted to the ground) to the vehicle’s receiver unit (mounted underneath the car) through electromagnetic induction (wireless transmission of energy). The receiver unit passes the electric current on to the car’s battery pack until it’s fully charged.

An even simpler version: You drive your electric car (or plug-in hybrid) over the charging mat you installed on your garage floor and the system begins charging the car’s battery pack as soon as the vehicle is parked. That’s it. Simple, right? And there’s no added hassle of having to plug and unplug the car each time you intend to use it. Some of these proposed charging systems will even guide the driver into the correct parking position.

Now, as I mentioned, there aren’t any wireless charging systems currently available from the auto manufacturers — but they are in the works. Nissan has been teasing us with a wireless charging system for its all-electric LEAF for a couple of years now, and as of Dec. 2012, Toyota was working on an angular coil system for wireless power transmission.Toyota Motor Corp is considering employing an angular coil, which is made by winding a copper wire around a quadrangular plate, for its wireless power transmission technology under development.

Toyota prototyped a vehicle equipped with the angular coil and is evaluating its performance. The problem with angular coils is that it is necessary to reduce the leakage of electromagnetic waves to the extent that it meets radio laws. It seems that Toyota is now ready to meet such regulations.

There are two shapes of coils used for wireless transmitting electricity to vehicles: circular and angular shapes. A magnetic path is decided depending on the shape. Therefore, to efficiently pass magnetic fluxes, it is necessary to have the same coil shape on the power transmitting and receiving sides.

The two shapes are not compatible with each other, and they both have advantages and disadvantages. The number of automakers that are choosing a circular coil is almost the same as the number of makers that are choosing an angular coil.

So do you think we’ll see these systems reach production by the end of 2013? Or will it be 2014? Do you think the aftermarket options will be as good as (or maybe better than?) the factory offered wireless charging systems.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


One could make an argument that part of the Toyota Tacoma’s stranglehold on the not-quite-full-size truck market can be attributed to its easily condensed name: “Hey brah, sweet Taco. We should totes take it on a recon mission to spot some tasty waves.” Difficult to say without affecting a SoCal drawl. It’s no coincidence that, by Chevrolet’s estimate, the Los Angeles area alone accounts for more Taco sales than 48 other states combined (Texas is the other exception).

Of course, the Nissan Frontier—­just try to come up with an equally illustrative and organic chunk of lazy vernacular for that name—has been the only other player in the segment for the last few years, so Toyota hasn’t exactly been on the offensive. (You want to include Honda’s Ridgeline, too? Well, okay.) Sensing an opportunity, Chevrolet is bringing an all-new mid-size Colorado to market in hopes of stealing some of the Tacoma’s juju. As numerous Chevrolet engineers, designers, and PR flacks told us, they never stopped tracking the bull’s-eye on the Taco’s backside during Colorado development.

Pulling into traffic, it’s immediately obvious how quiet the Colorado is inside. Brad Schreiber, ride and handling performance manager for mid-size trucks, runs down the laundry list of details that contribute to the refinement: triple-sealed doors, extensive use of sound-deadening materials, the advanced tread pattern of the Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires, and even special attention paid to the lower back of the cab structure to quell wind noise. Our first impression is that it’s dramatically quieter at highway speeds than the Tacoma. Of course, it all starts with the fully boxed frame, which Schrieber says is downsized from a Silverado design. He adds that its sturdiness made calibrating the dampers and spring rates easier.

There’s plenty of room for stout American body shapes to get comfortable inside, including 41.4 inches of headroom and 45.0 inches of legroom in the front seats; combined with the adjustable steering column, even six-and-a-half-footers will have no problem finding a comfortable driving position. Fabrics and plastics are understated, consisting largely of matte-finished blacks and grays.

Aside from delivery services and tradesmen, most users will want to opt for the 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6. It’s no racehorse, but it pulls strong through all six of the mandatory automatic’s gears. The 200-hp four-cylinder has enough power to get through the workday, but the on-road manners of the Colorado are polished enough for work and play, and the bigger engine makes both more enjoyable. (A six-speed manual will be available for four-cylinder models, but we haven’t yet wiggled its shifter. Chevrolet estimates the take rate for the manual will be about five percent.)

The electric power steering offers good valley feel and weights up quickly off-center. Transitional responses are reasonably quick; close your eyes, and you might think you’re behind the wheel of, okay, a mid-size pickup truck. But it’s light years better than the previous Colorado or the old Ford Ranger. Likewise, braking is dramatically modern, and a firm, easy-to-modulate pedal hauls down the truck with authority, and the chassis is tuned to mitigate any brake dive.

Although true off-roading wasn’t part of Chevy’s plan for the first drive, staged near San Diego, we did manage to find a dusty, rutted, and steeply inclined dirt road to get that four-wheelin’ feelin’ in a Z71 crew cab. Selecting low range requires shifting into neutral; it takes a second but engages without any clunking or funkiness. The Goodyear Wrangler A/T Adventure Off-Road tires dug in, and the truck crawled up the incline with little drama, thanks in part to the automatic-locking rear differential. (A 3.42:1 rear axle comes with all V-6 models; all four-cylinder trucks get a 4.10:1 ratio. You can see how we’d spec our own similar Colorado here.) The twin-tube shocks we found so compliant on the road earlier allowed the front independent suspension to flex enough for reasonable articulation, and the steering made positioning a tire atop a crusty embankment a one-handed job. Stretching out on a flat section revealed a planted feel with well-proportioned braking in the dirt; sadly, we never found the right off-road terrain to fully assess the capabilities of the suspension during our drive. As a final test, we backed up the incline and then let the Z71’s standard hill-descent control determine our fate on the way back down. We lived.

All Colorado models have a 3500-pound tow rating by default, but buyers of the V-6 models can double that number to 7000 pounds for a paltry $250 by selecting the Z82 trailering package (essentially a two-inch receiver and a wiring harness), which is money well spent. Starting with the heaviest items and working backward, we tugged a 4500-pound fiberglass boat, a pair of Jet Skis, and, in a scenario that should paint a misty-eyed picture for an entire generation of Tacoma owners, a pair of dirt bikes on an open trailer.

The tow/haul mode (not available on four-cylinder trucks) does a good job of selecting the right gear to keep the engine in the meat of its torque curve, although the engine does get a tad raucous at higher rpm. Are its abilities comparable to those of an HD diesel or even a big gas V-8? Nope. But the Colorado is about doing more with less and about adding some versatility to the basic pickup formula at the same time.

Chevy has bet this particular bank on the theory that “people will buy as much truck as they need if given the choice.” If nothing else, the Colorado will serve as a real-time-analysis model of the concept. As one would expect, the Jet Skis proved to be of little burden and the dirt bikes were barely noticeable from the helm, both trailers tracking smartly behind the Colorado. Chevrolet’s GearOn system (a dealer-installed option, yet it’s covered under the Colorado’s warranty and you can roll the price into the financing) provides sturdy mounting for kayaks and bicycles and other gear, although the kayaks in particular can really howl when vehicle speed and wind conditions are right.

The goal for the Colorado was simple: offer improved NVH, decent payload and towing capabilities, and a quiet cabin with more amenities and content than the competition. But the Taco’s image has long surpassed its spec sheet, and vanquishing a near-icon might take more than just logic. But comments made to us by a pair of sunbaked enthusiasts lugging outrigger kayaks along the beach of affluent Del Mar, California, indicate that the maker may have hit the sweet spot: “Dude, is that the new Chevy mid-size truck? It looks awesome.” We just wonder if Chevrolet should have named it the ’Rado right out of the gate.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


All new 2014 Jeep Compass comes in three versions: base Sport, midlevel Latitude and top-end Limited, each with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The standard engine (except in Limited) is the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, with a 5-speed manual transmission. 

The Compass Sport 2WD ($18,495) and Sport AWD ($20,495) come standard with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, 60/40 fold-flat rear seats, foglamps, heated power mirrors, rear window wiper/washer, cruise control, power door locks and windows, 130-watt 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary audio jack, roof rails, and P215/70R16 tires (P225/60R17 with the 2.4-liter engine). 

The Latitude 2WD ($22,195) and Latitude AWD ($24,195) add heated mesh cloth seats, fold-flat front passenger seat, height adjustment to the driver's seat, 115-volt outlet, and leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated controls. The new 6-speed automatic transmission is standard, with the 2.0-liter engine. The 2.4-liter engine is optional ($495) for the Sport or Latitude model. 
In fairness, the Compass does have a few things going for it, most notably rock-bottom pricing and above-average off-road ability when equipped with a few special options. But that's where the positives end. Those off-road options result in being stuck with an unpleasant continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and dismal fuel economy as part of the deal. Then there's the weak base engine, disappointing crash-test results and generally unrefined character that put this crossover at the back of the pack.

If you're looking for alternatives within the Jeep family, there are two new arrivals: the sleek, satisfying 2015 Jeep Cherokee and the upstart 2015 Jeep Renegade. The Subaru XV Crosstrek provides comparable off-road chops and more polish in other respects, while superior on-road performers are plentiful, including the sharp-handling 2015 Mazda CX-5 and the rewarding, high-tech 2015 Ford Escape. If cost is your top concern, the Nissan Rogue Select is similarly value-oriented, and it's a considerably more pleasant vehicle all around. We can think of a few nice things about the 2015 Jeep Compass, but its rivals are quite simply nicer across the board.

The 2015 Jeep Compass is a five-passenger small crossover SUV available in three primary trim levels: Sport, Latitude and Limited. Two subtrims -- Altitude Edition and High Altitude Edition -- add features to the Sport .
Standard features for the Sport include 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control  foglights, roof rails, , manual accessories (windows, locks and mirrors), 60/40-split-folding rear seats, a tilt-only steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. heated mirrors, keyless entry and additional body-color exterior pieces.

This Altitude Edition package adds 18-inch black gloss alloy wheels, blacked-out exterior trim, "sport mesh" upholstery, heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

New Latitude starts with the Sport's standard features and adds a bright mesh grille, extended exterior and interior chrome trim, a height-adjustable driver seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a 115-volt power outlet and the Altitude Edition's leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls) and heated front seats.

With High Altitude Edition package lacks the Altitude Edition's blacked-out trim, but it starts with the Latitude's equipment roster and throws in 17-inch wheels, leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat (plus manual lumbar adjustment) and a sunroof.

New range-topping Limited starts with the High Altitude's equipment and adds 18-inch wheels, projector headlamps, additional chrome trim, automatic climate control, a driver information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen (with optional hard-drive-based music storage and navigation), a six-CD changer and satellite radio.

The touchscreen interface (with or without navigation) is optional on Latitude. All four-wheel-drive models are eligible for the Freedom Drive II Off-Road package, which includes the 2.4-liter engine, an engine oil cooler, a special CVT with crawl mode, 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, tow hooks, underbody skid plates, a full-size spare tire, hill-descent control, hill-start assist and (for the Sport trim) a height-adjustable driver seat.

The Latitude and Limited trims are eligible for the Security and Cargo Convenience package. On the Latitude this adds the auto-dimming rearview mirror, a security alarm and the driver information display. The Limited's version of this package adds remote start, a USB port and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. Jeep also offers Bluetooth as a stand-alone option on all trims.

Additionally available on the Latitude and Limited are the Sun and Sound package (including a sunroof, a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system, two flip-down tailgate speakers and satellite radio) and the Trailer-Tow Prep package (including an engine oil cooler, a trailer-tow wiring harness and a full-size spare).

The 2015 Compass's base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. It's only offered on Sport and Latitude trims with front-wheel drive. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the 2.0-liter Sport, while the 2.0-liter Latitude comes only with a six-speed automatic.

Note that front-wheel-drive Altitude and High Altitude models are equipped with the 2.0-liter engine and a CVT.

The EPA estimates fuel economy at 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway) for the 2.0-liter Patriot with the five-speed manual. The six-speed automatic drops those numbers to 24 mpg combined (21/28). The 2.0-liter Altitude and High Altitude rate 24 mpg combined (22/27) with their CVT.

Optional on the front-wheel-drive Sport and Latitude and standard on front-wheel-drive Limited is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 172 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. This engine is also standard on all Compasses with all-wheel drive. The five-speed manual is once again offered on the Sport, but otherwise the six-speed automatic handles the shifting -- unless you specify Freedom Drive II, which substitutes a CVT with a crawl mode.

Standard safety features for all 2015 Jeep Compass models include front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags antilock brakes, stability and traction control,  All front-wheel-drive models except the Limited feature rear drum brakes, while the rest of the lineup gets disc brakes front and rear.

In government crash testing, the  Jeep 2015 Compass received four out of a possible five stars for overall crash protection, with an unusually low three stars for total frontal crash protection and five stars for side crash protection.

Jeep upgraded some of the Compass's interior materials last year, including available accent stitching on certain trim pieces, but industrial-grade plastics are still the order of the day. Moreover, Bluetooth and USB connectivity remains optional, even on the upper trim levels, and the base Sport has to make do with crank windows and manual locks. That's something to keep in mind if you're eyeing a low-priced Compass -- it might not be equipped with the features you expect.
Front-seat occupants get plenty of room. That's a familiar Jeep hallmark: efficient use of space. Back-seat riders endure somewhat hard seatbacks, but should be satisfied otherwise, especially with the amount of headroom. Even the center rear position would be satisfactory, except for a cupholder console on the floor that prevents passengers' feet from finding much space. Cargo space is modest, beneath the cargo cover.
The Compass does offer some clever interior features, such as a cooled glovebox and those distinctive speakers that flip down and out from the raised liftgate for beach parties and the like. However, the maximum cargo capacity of 53.6 cubic feet pales in comparison to rival crossovers. Behind the second row, the Compass's 22.7-cubic-foot cargo hold is also relatively stingy.

The 2015 Compass's 2.0-liter engine keeps the cost down, but that's where the good news ends. Rowdy and underpowered, with disappointing fuel economy for such modest output, this engine is well past its prime. The 2.4-liter engine, on the other hand, has enough pep to stay with most competitors, and fuel economy barely suffers, though the refinement level isn't much higher. A word of caution to those drawn to the Altitude Edition's cool blacked-out styling: If you go with front-wheel drive, you're stuck with the smaller engine and the CVT, a truly miserable tandem. Fortunately, the Altitude (like the High Altitude) is also offered with all-wheel drive for 2015, which brings the larger engine and the more likable (if somewhat slow-shifting) six-speed automatic.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Did you know thta the SEAT Altea is still one of the smartest looking small people carriers currently available in the UK. It's efficient, fun to drive and offers two effective diesel engines that offer an appealing balance of performance and economy, so it's cheap to run too. You get a practical boot and a spacious interior – but other rival people carriers, such as the Ford C-MAX, offer superior practicality and more room for passengers. 

Also, even the larger SEAT Altea XL doesn't get seven seats – meaning it loses out to rivals like the Ford Grand C-MAX and Renault Grand Scenic. Like the Golf, though, the build quality is solid, equipment levels are high and prices are affordable, all in all making the Altea affordable and fun family transport.

The longer XL version feels virtually the same as the standard Altea. We have no complaints about the engines, which are generally refined. However, road noise is far too pronounced at motorway speeds, and you can hear the wind licking at the rear edges of the front doors.List prices are competitive, undercutting those of key rivals, and buyers should also be able to haggle for a large discount. Running costs are reasonable and there’s a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. Many rivals cost less to run, though.

The Altea’s cabin is solidly built. Seat has tried to make it interesting to look at, but the hard plastics, sombre colour scheme and small glass area make the cabin feel dark and drab. The Altea’s VW-sourced mechanicals are proven and should present few problems. All Alteas come with anti-lock brakes and stability control to keep the car in check, even in slippery corners. There are also twin front, side and curtain airbags, and Isofix child seat mounts, as well as an alarm and deadlocks fitted.The driver’s seat is height-adjustable and the steering wheel moves for reach and rake to give good comfort. 

The controls are logically placed, too, but the small windows between the windscreen and front doors are of little use, while the upsweep of the rearmost side windows creates a blind spot when reversing. There’s lot of space in the cabin for adult passengers, and the rear seats split, fold flat and slide. However, they don't tumble, and can't be removed completely like they can in other MPVs. That said, the split-level boot is deep and large, especially in the longer XL model. XL models also have roof rails.

Entry-level S models have air-conditioning, front electric windows, a CD player with an Aux-in socket, while S Copa models add alloys, Bluetooth, and climate and cruise controls. SE trim brings electric rear windows and a leather steering wheel, while SE Copa trim adds sat-nav, DAB radio and automatic lights and wipers.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

McLAREN 2014 12c COUPE

Heritage can be a big asset in the automotive world, but when a company has some of the best racing engineers in its employ, perhaps it is best to start with a blank sheet of paper. McLaren is in that enviable position. This brand's heritage springs from its racing history, and there is thelegendary F1. In the 1990s, it was the supercar ideal, unmarred by overly extravagant styling or any kind of technological compromise.Our first road car since the iconic F1, the exquisite 12C is engineered to perfection. Everything you see. Everything you touch. Every line, surface and detail of the 12C’s design enhances the car’s performance and the thrill of the drive.

But some customers found it to be lacking in drama, noise, and effect. The 12C does compete, after all, with the likes of the Ferrari 458 Italia which comes to battle with three shrieking exhaust pipes and the fussyManettino driving-mode switch on the steering wheel. To address these concerns, McLaren made a mid-2013 update to the 12C to make it louder, a bit faster, and its Track mode even sharper. The 12C delivers just as before, but does so a bit more emphatically. Those changes continue into 2014. The twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 co-developed with engineering-house Ricardo, fires up at the push of a button, and it makes its presence known even at idle. Once pushed, it cannot hide its character as a turbo engine, sounding more subdued and generic than the V-8 engines of AMG and Ferrari, or the V-10s of Audi and Lamborghini. There is the distinct, very 1980s whoosh of the turbochargers, and the 12C does display a whiff of turbo lag. Drivers who wish to mark the corner exit with a precise repositioning of the vehicle's rear end must practice accordingly.

Maximum horsepower is now rated at 616, reached at 7500 rpm; maximum torque is 443 lb-ft, available from 3000 to 7000 rpm. There is so much thrust on hand at any time that it’s easy for the 12C to achieve triple-digit speeds between corners. The sprint from zero to 60 mph takes a mere 2.9 seconds; top speed is 205 mph. Redline is a lofty 8500 rpm. Yet, the 12C is a highly efficient machine; during our drive it reported an average of 15 mpg in mixed driving, and even stretches of 20 mpg on the highway with a very light right foot. The rear spoiler rises and functions as an air brake during hard snubs, a race-car element rarely seen on public road. We lament the fact that there is no manual transmission available. In objective terms, however, the 12C’s seven-speed, Graziano-supplied dual-clutch gearbox works with laser precision. It rips through the gears without any fuss or excessive throttle-blipping; an automatic mode is available.

The combination of compact dimensions, precise steering, and predictable handling means that the 12C can be positioned precisely and with great ease. It is tempting to switch off the stability control system, or at least select Track mode, which allows for greater drift angles. But drivers need to respect the race car that lies just beneath the surface. Even though the 12C is relatively forgiving and easy to control, there is so much torque that the rear can break loose under acceleration, even at elevated speeds.Most McLaren 12C customers now go for the Spider version and its electrically operated convertible top, which is heavier by almost 90 pounds. But the purist's choice is the coupe, which we drove. The 12C’s seats are comfortable and wide enough for about 90 percent of drivers—in fact, they could be a bit more narrow and snug. The trunk holds a medium-size roller bag and a few small soft carry-ons, comparable luggage space to that of most other exotics. The instrumentation is modest and businesslike. McLaren’s lightweight approach is underlined by details such as the shifter paddle, which is one piece that stretches to both sides of the steering column. The low point of the interior is the navigation system—our test vehicle's unit crashed frequently. Other irritating details from previous iterations have been corrected: The capacitive sensors that required several swipes to open the scissor doors have been replaced by conventional buttons.

With its race-bred power and dynamics, the McLaren MP4-12C is still the perfect car for a perfect world—so, one without speed limits. Modestly styled, but utterly uncompromising on the road, it can still hold its ground against any competitor.

Yet McLaren buyers now have another choice: the 2015 650S. Debuting at at this year’s Geneva auto show, the new car shares the bones of the 12C, but its more evocative styling details, interior upgrades, and higher-yield 641-hp, 500-lb-ft 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 should address customers who desire a faster, flashier, and spendier McLaren supercar. Although McLaren hasn’t yet announced 650S pricing, expect a 10 percent premium over the current 12C.

The McLaren 12C coupe lists for $241,900, and the Spider fetches $268,250. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Did you know that many children are killed or seriously injured in backover incidents?. A backover incident typically occurs when a vehicle coming out of a driveway or parking space backs over an unattended child because the driver did not see him or her.Backup cameras have become ubiquitous on all varieties of cars-- from the most affordable subcompacts to the priciest of exotics-- but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just issued a long-awaited ruling that will make the technology legally required on every sub-10,000 pound vehicle by May of 2018.

Safety is our highest priority U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statment, "and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents-- our children and seniors."

As anyone who's become accustomed to rear-view cameras will agree, the technology enables crucial visibility that would otherwise be unavailable from a car's rear or side mirrors. According to this 251 page document , there are stacks of data supporting the judgement, as well as the silver lining of less financial impact than initially expected because 73 percent of vehicles will be sold with rearview video systems by 2018.

The report also cites the "net cost per equivalent life saved" as ranging between $15.9 million to $26.3 million, an eerie calculation that recalls the cold, hard reality of actuarial math that was cited in the 1999 just like in the film Fight Club cars had backup.

Prevention Tips:

Teach children not to play in or around cars.

Supervise children carefully when in and around vehicles.

Always walk around your vehicle and check the area around it before backing up.

Be aware of small children-the smaller a child, the more likely it is you will not see them.

Teach children to move away from a vehicle when a driver gets in it or if the car is started.

Have children in the area stand to the side of the driveway or sidewalk so you can see them as you are backing out of a driveway or parking space.

Make sure to look behind you while backing up slowly in case a child dashes behind your vehicle unexpectedly.

Roll down your windows while backing out of your driveway or parking space so that you'll be able to hear what is happening outside of your vehicle.

Teach your children to keep their toys and bikes out of the driveway.

Because kids can move unpredictably, you should actively check your mirrors while backing up.

Many cars are equipped with detection devices that provide rearview video or warning sounds, but they cannot completely take the place of actively walking around your car to make sure children are safely out of the way. Do not rely solely on these devices to detect what is behind your vehicle.

Monday, October 13, 2014



It added two further plaudits to that collection at the International Engine of the Year Awards when its V8 was voted “Best Performance Engine” and “Best Engine Above 4 Litres”.The success being enjoyed by the 458 Italia with both critics and public alike crosses all borders– it has won awards in a host of different nations from the USA to the Far East and Europe. In the US, the mid-rear V8 was named "World Performance Car of the Year". It was also named “Car of the Year” by the Robb Report and topped the New York Times rankings.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the discerning British motoring media proved equally enthusiastic. In fact, the 458 Italia scooped both BBC Top Gear Magazine’s “Supercar of the Year” and “Car of the Year Awards”. Staying in Britain, CAR magazine also named the 458 Italia “Performance Car of the Year 2010”, as did Auto Express and What Car. 

The 458 Italia also enjoyed an enthusiastic welcome from the German and Italian public with the result that it voted “Sports Car of the Year” by the highly reputable Auto Moto und Sport and Quattroruote magazines.

Continuing around the world, the authoritative Car Middle East magazine declared the 458 Italia both “Car of the Year” and “Supercar of the Year” also. In China, Top Gear, Auto Moto und Sport, Robb Report and the popular X-Car website all named it “Car of the Year”.The 458 Italia’s volumes have been honed to a compact and aerodynamic shape by Pininfarina and the Ferrari Centro Stile with the themes of purity, simplicity, technology, efficiency and lightness underpinning the concept.

It is unmistakably a Ferrari, incorporating the characteristics that have become a signature of every car that leaves Maranello. Yet it is also clearly a significant leap forwards from the sporty mid-rear V8 cars that preceded it.The stylistic choices in the interior developed by Ferrari Centro Stile reflect the functional, ergonomic design of the cockpit. The driver is set in the centre of a streamlined, intuitive layout, very much in line with the marque’s signature styling cues.

The instrument panel consists of two leather-trimmed shells which outline the clean, overlapping forms from which the central aluminium structure emerges that house the instruments.The styling of the steering wheel underscores a sense of continuity with classic Ferrari styling cues (such as the aluminium central pad), whilst representing at the same time innovation by eliminating the indicator and windscreen wiper stalks and clustering all of the controls on the steering wheel.The technology is based on the independent management of even and odd gears which are pre-selected using two separate input shafts. The gear shifting time (the overlap between the opening and closing phases of the two clutches) is zero and thus there is no interruption of engine torque to the driven wheels.

Compared to the California gearbox, response times have been reduced and the 458 Italia has specific, sportier gear ratios to match the power and torque curves of the new V8, guaranteeing high torque even at lower revs. The E-Diff 3 electronic differential has also been integrated into the gearbox, resulting in a more compact and lighter unit. 

The design of the engine components has been influenced by the carry-over of racing technology – F1 in particular – for maximum fluid-dynamic efficiency in order to achieve both performance and fuel consumption objectives, and meet the most stringent international emissions restrictions. The piston compression height was reduced as per racing engine practice. Similarly, thinner compression rings have been adopted to minimise friction between piston and liner. A graphite coating was applied to the piston skirt for the same reason.Two pick up oil from the cylinder heads and front and rear of the engine via dedicated oil recovery ducts outside the crankcase area, and two pick up oil from below the crank throws.

The recovery ducts of the latter are interconnected in two groups of four cylinders to optimise the scavenge function and create a strong vacuum (800 mbar) around the crankshaft.This solution prevents excess oil splashing out of the sump and onto the rotating crankshaft and thus reduces power loss caused by friction. It also reduces losses due to windage caused by the pumping action of the pistons. 

The engine oil pressure pump features variable displacement geometry which reduces the amount of power absorbed at high revs. Lowering the pump’s displacement actually increases the power available at the crankshaft for the same amount of fuel used.

As is traditional for Ferrari engines, the new V8 is equipped with continuously variable timing on both inlet and exhaust cams. The aluminium intake manifold has been lightened by reducing the wall thickness. It has short, almost straight inlet tracts to reduce losses and a system that varies the geometry of the manifold, optimising the volumetric efficiency throughout the rev range. This is achieved by incorporating three pneumatic throttle valves in the central section between the two plenums. The engine mapping provides four different configurations of the valves for optimum torque values at all revs.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Not long ago, Hyundai expanded its lineup with the rear-wheel-drive Genesis — a car intended to emulate midsize luxury cars like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class for less money. Hyundai has a sort of super Genesis in the Equus, an even larger sedan that aims to take on the BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS at a price point one rung lower. Toward that end, the Equus, which can seat up to five people, might be cross-shopped against sedans ranging from a 5 Series or an E-Class to an Acura RLX or a Volvo S80. 
This marks the ninth year for the honors program, which provides Motorist Choice Awards in 13 customer-focused segments for both Popular and Luxury entries.

The party line from Mike O’Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning for Hyundai Motor America: “The Motorist Choice Awards are meaningful because they are based on the feedback of new car owners. This accolade is a further testament to Hyundai’s commitment in creating, developing and delivering products like the Equus that creates a new top tier in terms of customer experience and luxury car ownership.”To do so, the 2015 Hyundai Equus starts at $61,500 and boasts benefits like:ABS Brakes
ABS: 4-wheel
Air Conditioning
HEAD AIRBAGS: Curtain 1st and 2nd row PASSENGER AIRBAG: Yes
Audio System
IN-DASH CD: Single MP3 PLAYER: Yes RADIO: SiriusXM AM/FM/HD/Satellite
FRONT BRAKES: Ventilated disc
Child Safety
Convenience Features
CRUISE CONTROL: Adaptive cruise control POWER STEERING: Speed-proportional power steering STEERING WHEEL: Tilt and telescopic
Driver Seat
HEATED: Multi-level heating POWER ADJUSTMENTS: 10
Engine Spec
CYLINDER CONFIGURATION: V-8 DRIVE TYPE: rear-wheel ENGINE LITERS: 5.0 FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 20.3gal. HORSEPOWER: 429hp @ 6,400RPM NUMBER OF VALVES: 32 RECOMMENDED FUEL: premium unleaded TORQUE: 376 lb.-ft. @ 5,000RPM TRANSMISSION: 8 speed automatic
Fuel Consumption
CITY: 15 mpg HIGHWAY: 23 mpg
COMPASS: Compass EXTERNAL TEMP: External temperature display TACHOMETER: Tachometer TRIP COMPUTER: Trip computer
ADAPTIVE HEADLIGHTS: Adaptive headlights
Memorized Settings
DRIVER MIRROR ADJUSTMENT: Power remote w/tilt down
SUNROOF: Express open/close glass
Safety and Performance for CarsProd
STABILITY CONTROL: Stability control TRACTION CONTROL: Traction control
NAVIGATION SYSTEM: With voice activation
Weights and Capacities
DIAMETER: 19 RIM TYPE: Silver aluminum WIDTH: 9
POWER WINDOWS: Power windows REAR DEFOGGER: Rear defogger

A 429-hp, 5.0-liter V8 engine mated to the rear wheels via an eight-speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission
Infotainment features such as Blue Link telematics, Lexicon audio with 17 speakers, navigation with a 9.2-inch LCD screen and DIS multimedia controller, a head-up display, and a 12.3-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster
Driver-assistance measures including smart cruise control with automatic braking, a multi-view camera system, lane-departure warning, blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic alert
Premium illumination, with LED turn-signal indicators and front fog lights, as well as HID headlights with auto-leveling and an adaptive lighting system
Available rear-seat upgrades including a dedicated infotainment system, cooled/heated seats and power sun shades
Extensive use of real leather and wood cabin trims, complemented by a premium suede headliner.Warranty
Basic warranty: 60 months/60,000miles
Corrosion perforation warranty: 84 months/ unlimited distance
Powertrain warranty: 120 months/100,000miles
Roadside assistance coverage: 60 months/ unlimited distance

Friday, October 10, 2014


All new car's and truck's  is the best mobile computer ever invented. With plenty of space for data storage, wireless antennas, and multiple processors and LCD screens, driving a new car is like towing a data center with you to the beach  place. The problem is that all of that connected bliss has been limited to speeds of about 1 MBps or so. While your new phone might get some 4G service as you motor along, most cars themselves can connect only via 3G. 

That is changing, fast. We recently tested two cars—the new Audi A3 and  Cadillac ATS and that use a 4G data feed to connect at speeds of greater than 5 Mbps, creating a roving hotspot not only for the passengers in the vehicle watching The Blacklist on an iPad but also for the driver's smartphone or tablet. You can connect over 4G to the car,such as Pandora and iHeartRadio, and then play apps from your phone that run on the touchscreen  no need for  phone while you drive hands free. 

Driving with 4G means your music stream is less likely to be interrupted by spotty service, but it's about much more than that. A fast connection in the car is ushering in the age of vehicular processing, which will allow passengers to use data-intense apps such as full 3D map visualization, two-way video calling, HD or even 4K video streaming, surround-sound audio, and even multiplayer gaming PlayStation 4 or on the Xbox One , all in the car. A new age of mobile connectivity is coming. 

2015 Cadillac ATS

The Cadillac ATS mid-sized sedan is the smaller cousin to the Cadillac CTS and XTS full-size models. It's a sleek and nimble ride. The OnStar 4G LTE connection is also quite nimble. In our tests using the SpeedSmart iPhone app, we tested speeds of 6 to 10 MBps. To create a Wi-Fi hotspot in the car, you press the OnStar connection button on the rear-view mirror. Our test car was already configured with an SSID network name and password; you can set up one of your liking. Seven people can connect using any wireless device. 

GM says the antenna on the ATS is much stronger than the one that fits inside a smartphone or tablet, and is tweaked to make sure the cellular data connection remains consistent as you drive, jumping onto cell towers quickly. As long as you keep driving, the hotspot never runs out of power. You can also use the accessory mode with the engine turned off to keep the hotspot going for 30 to 60 minutes. 

One cool 4G perk: If you call an OnStar adviser, the agent can run a diagnostic on the car via the data connection, even while you're in motion. Previously, the OnStar agent could connect to speak to you but had to run the diagnostic tests after the call ended and then send the results. Someday soon, auto repair shops will be able to run these same diagnostics on your car. 

GM is slowly rolling out OnStar 4G throughout its entire fleet; about 30 cars will use the faster data connection in the next few months, including most GM cars in the Cadillac, Buick, Chevy, and GMC line-ups. Cadillac offers a three-month trial for every new owner. After that, you'll pay by the month—(that's right, your car has a data plan now). There's also a single day package as well as an annual plan. If you already use AT&T, you can add the ATS for a flat rate of $10 per month and shared data. 

2014 Audi A3

The A3 offers deeper connectivity via 4G. Google Earth and Google Street View both pop up immediately thanks to the faster feed. There are additional in-car apps available, from Twitter and Facebook to one for checking fuel prices and the weather. 

The A3 will provide a hotspot for only about 10 minutes after you put the car in accessory mode; there's no extended mode. As with the Caddy, your 4G speeds depend greatly on where you connect, how many other drivers are around, and the time of day. The Audi and the Cadillac produced similar speeds, and no surprise there—both use the AT&T network. Audi, however, offers its own set of data plans, which cover six months or even 30 months of service. Go above your data allotment, though, and you'll need to sign up for more. 

Audi does include a six-month trial with the A3, however, which is three extra months of free surfing over the Cadillac ATS. You can also add the A3 to your existing AT&T plan. 

More Than Entertainment

A 4G connection in the car means that everyone can connect their phone or tablet to watch movies, web surf, even control the Wi-Fi-connected sprinkler system in your home. It's great for those family road trips, too. Many kids' devices don't have cellular data, but they can stay connected (and occupied) through the connection to your hotspot. And in my tests, having a fast and reliable connection meant streaming over apps like Pandora actually worked reliably, without the typical glitchy behavior on 3G-connected cars. Having about 10Mbps on board means everyone share the bandwidth without hiccups.

Yet the future promised by 4G connectivity in cars is about more than streaming movies. Tim Nixon, the CTO of OnStar, told me the next wave of connectivity will probably focus more on diagnostics. When a GM car can connect reliably over 4G, he says, it will be that much easier for dealerships to connect to your car's systems and diagnose any problems. 

Of course, 4G is just the opening act of the connected car future. Cars will connect to the roadway, other vehicles, and a central car traffic control center over a wireless signal. (This won't be 4G. Current plans call for a more tightly controlled wireless signal called dedicated short-range communications, or DSRC, and it's currently in a testing phase.) When cars start driving on their own using sensors that look for problems on the road and adjust steering, braking, and speed autonomously, having a high-speed and secure connection will be crucial. Imagine an entire car network that adjusts in real-time to traffic flows, accidents, and road obstructions. We might not even need traffic lights, speed limits, or yield signs because the cars will all connect into a central grid. If we can get the network right, that is None of this is coming tomorrow, but it is coming.