Showing posts with label 2016. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2016. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Chevrolet Cruze test drive


 The all new Cruze is a really nice looking car in the flesh.

I was a little underwhelmed when I first sat in one at the Auto show. I thought it was just OK.
But this top of the line Premier model I had for a week was much nicer.
And much more upscale looking.

The design isn't breaking any grounds (lots of people see a lot of the previous Civic in it), but it is pleasant from any angle.


 Inside, what they call "Jet black/Kalahari" combo looks great.
And there isn't too much of that fake metal trim that most car have. It's mostly a piano black finish.
(Which looks nice but is also a magnet for finger prints...)

The only details I didn't like was the small metal trim bits left. They are just way too shiny, still.
Most car makers now are using a more satin finish which gives the cabin a more upscale look.
I know it's a detail...

Overall the new interior looks great. Everything seems very well made and solid.
Everything is where it is supposed to be.
AND, this is the first GM car I've had in a long time where CarPlay worked flawlessly with my iPhone.


The 6 speaker stereo sounds good. But not great. ( I guess that's what the extra cost Bose system is for)

 The back seat has plenty of room.
It's not "Jetta Huge", but it's really fine. And roomier than most premium compacts from BMW and Mercedes.

 As you can see, the 110Volt plug in the back makes for a perfect road trip.


 The first thing I noticed was how quiet the engine is.
The new 1.4 Turbo is always quiet and smooth. No matter how I pushed it. When you hear it, it sounds very refined.
And there is always plenty of power for all uses.

The new Cruze comes with a Stop/Start system. It works all the time when the A/C is off.
(When it's on, it only works a few times.)

It is pretty much invisible with A/C off. Only a very slight shutter in the steering wheel.
It works very quickly and there is really no delay. So it doesn't affect normal driving at all.
I could feel it a tiny bit more when the A/C was on.


 The steering is a bit light for my taste. Off center feeling can be a little loose.
But it's no worse than most modern cars. They all mostly feel like a video game in that regard...


 The drive is smooth and quiet, pretty much all the time.
It really feels like a more expensive car. And makes you wonder why anyone would spend more money on a mid-size car.

I really enjoyed my week with the new Cruze.
Comparing it to the other compact I drove a few weeks ago, the Nissan Sentra, this is light years ahead.
The Sentra's seats are some of the worst I've even sat in. While the ones in the new Chevrolet are very comfortable.
The Cruze is so much more refined. It also drives much better and even gets much better gas mileage.

The Cruze is rated at 30/40. (For some reason other models of the Cruze are rated at 42HWY. But not the Premier)
I got around 45 on the Highway.
But "only" 28 around town.
These are great numbers.
( I got 23/38 with the "CVT Sentra".)

So, yes. I would definitely recommend the new Chevrolet Cruze for anyone looking for a very nice compact sedan.
It does everything very well.
As far as style, it kind of fits in between the super conservative Jetta and the over styled Civic.

Which might just be what people really like.

I can't wait to drive the all new Hatchback version soon.
And there is also a Diesel version coming up.
Here are all the specs of the car I had for a week.
You can click on it . See what happens....

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

VW Beetle Dune Convertible Test Drive


I have driven a few versions of the current Beetle before. So this is a pretty familiar car to me. But this Dune model is all new.
Available as a coupe or convertible.

It is actually so new, that VW was not able to quote me a price on the car I was test driving for a week.
And while the coupe is on the VW site, the convertible version of the Dune isn't on there yet. (Last time I checked)
All I know is that my test car had a 1.8 Liter turbo. The one they use on almost every VW models in the US. With a 6 speed auto.
It didn't have features like GPS or the amazing Fender stereo system.
So I assume it is sort of a base model for the Dune series.

I was actually surprised by how much I liked the look of the car. Even the color!

In real life, it does have a great personality, and all these fake Crossover/SUV bits actually work.
The whole thing is just pretty charming.


Inside, it is standard Beetle convertible stuff. Except the colors.
Same thing here, I found myself loving that weird/odd/ and rather loud color combo.
The seats are great. And that dark yellow hue makes the interior even more fun than it is in the regular model.
The stereo worked fine. Apple CarPlay is great. But it is not as good as the great Fender system offered as an option.
No GPS but,  finally, VW offers a rear view camera on most of their cars in the US.
And it is a great system. as the camera is super sharp.
And it also comes with front warnings.
The color combo on these Dune seats looks great. At least to me...

Too bad you can't put much inside that armrest. Even my "not that big" camera couldn't even fit there. At all.
Looks like the Bug is finally getting LED tail lights. At least on the Dune version...
Looking really good.
The ugly spoiler is still there. Doing its job of "spoiling" a great design.
It just looks like a bookshelf. Quite ridiculous.
The very first thing I notice was how smooth the ride is. It feels actually smoother than the regular Beetle. The car rides a bit higher, and the 18 inch tires might be quite different.
But it really does ride almost like a luxury car. (Especially compared to the 20 inch tires on the Cascada I had a few weeks earlier)
But at the same time, the steering felt quite a bit heavier than other Beetle models.
Which is not a bad thing. Since I always feel that modern steerings are a bit too light for my taste...

Otherwise, the drive is pretty similar to other VWs with that same engine.
It is mostly smooth, and  quiet. But not as much as the competition. Especially new turbo engines from Ford and GM.
There is still a bit of turbo lag. It still feels a bit weird when starting from a stop.
Like if the engine had turn itself off. Similar to a hybrid.( Although It does not have that feature)

Otherwise it feels very solid and quiet.

The Beetle is usually rated at 25/34 MPG. (Not sure what the official numbers for the Dune are)
During my weekly drive I was able to get 25 in the City. Although it quickly went down to around 20 when I was having fun.
But on the freeway I had no problem getting over 38MPG

I really enjoyed my week with the new Beetle Dune.
More that I though I would.

It has a great, fun personality. And it drives great. The luxury car ride is an added bonus.

I am not sure of the price, but there has to be quite a premium over the regular convertible model.
Which starts at around $25 500. I would guess my test car was around $28 000. But who knows...

I couldn't help but comparing it to the Buick/Opel Cascada I was driving a few weeks earlier.
Sure, at around $37 000, it is a lot more money.
But..  For some reason, they are only about $50 a month apart when leasing.
Weird.

For that $50, the Cascada is a larger, roomier car. Even though the Bug feels very solid, the Cascada feels even more substantial. With a real back seat where 2 adults can actually fit.
It also comes with much more stuff. It is larger and heavier and uses a little bit more gas. But not that much more.
And the engine is quieter and smoother.


In the most recent new car quality study from JD Powers, the Cascada scores very high as well.
While VW usually are not known for being reliable cars. (At least in the US. As they reputation in Europe is golden for some reason)

That's just a though . A very personal one, since most buyers won't really compare these two cars.
But since I really enjoyed driving both cars, I thought I would mention it...




Monday, April 25, 2016

All new Honda Avancier Video



One of the best example of something "so bad it is great".

This has to be one of the most obnoxious car videos ever.
And the fun part is that it is for one of the worst looking car ever. Which makes it a truly great watch.

The CGI, the soundtrack, the directing, the "madame Tussault inspired" acting.
Everything comes together to created a truly wretched experience.
Something horrible for all senses.

Just like the design of the car, this video is displaying a new low for humanity.
(Or maybe just the car business...)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2017 Buick Lacrosse Hybrid

This is, so far, for the Chinese market.

We did have a hybrid version of the previous generation Lacrosse available over here.
For a few years. ( I even test drove one for a week)

It was an OK car. Had more power than the base 2.4 Engine. But it wasn't that amazing and the gas mileage wasn't that much better either. So, really, why???

They claim this one gets 50MPG. Which is, of course, in the Chinese test driving cycle.
But, GM said it is a 35% improvement.
Which, here, would mean around 40MPG combined.

Which wouldn't be bad at all for such a large car. Actually competing with the Lexus ES Hybrid .
This would be a good move for Buick in the US.
I mean, a large Buick with 40MPG.

The "old" Lacrosse was  not a true Hybrid. Instead, relying on that weird eAssist Technology from GM. ( A.K.A "eASS") Which usually resulted in just about a 3MPG increase for a $2000 price increase.
Not something anyone should ever consider.

With its new 1.8 Liter engine, the new version seems to be using the same power train as the 2016 Malibu.


I think a great move for Buick here would be to make it standard. Price the Hybrid the same as the V6 version.
Lincoln is already doing it with the MKZ, so why not...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Toyota teases new Prius model


The picture on top is the tease.
The bottom one is the regular 2016 Prius.

Some say this is just the Plug-In version. But I don't think Toyota would redesign the whole rear of the car for just the Plug-in version.
Even brand new lights.

Others suggest it might be the new Prius V.
That could be. Although Toyota has hinted recently that the new Rav4 Hybrid might actually replace the Prius V in their line up.

Could it be a sporty coupe? A sedan?

What do you think???

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback


I did have an accurate picture of this a few weeks ago.
So this is not a big surprise.

Still, a welcome addition to the US Civic line up.
Now it can do battle with the Focus, Mazda3 and Cruze Hatch when it comes out later this year.

How about a Del Sol version next?

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Chevrolet Volt test drive. Part Three


 Here are a few more observations about the new Volt, after driving it for a full week.

I do like the design a lot. Even though I do understand people who miss the more original 1st generation.
It is a little bit blender, but still very modern.
More so than most other compacts out there. And, it is still a hatchback. But looking more like a 4 door coupe now.
it is really slick looking. And has a more upscale feel and look to it.

 Inside, the first thing you notice is the new screen.
The first thing I wanted to do with it is angle it more toward me. But it's not adjustable.
(So don't ever try that. I'm begging you!)

So it lays a bit flatter than it should. But it's actually fine, and not much of a problem to get used to.
Plus, it is quite large and very sharp. And perfectly positioned above everything else on the dash.

The shiny bits have more of a satin finish now. Which is much nicer, and again, more upscale.
The plastics are hard, but everything does look and feel very solid.
(Except the super cheap feeling and sounding turn signal stalk)

The doors still have that heavy feel to them, which I like.

 There is enough room for 4 adults. As you can see. There is a seatbelt for a 3rd human in the back seat, but I cannot imagine how legs would even fit.


 The one thing still missing, is a sunroof. Or some kind of glass panel. At least as an option.
As the roof is pretty low.
GM still gives the "weigh excuse". Which I don't buy. (The new Hyundai ionia will offer a sunroof)

The Bose stereo sounded very good. Although, like most Bose car systems lately, it wasn't very loud.

Overall, I loved my week with the new Volt.
It feels as solid and sporty as the old one.
But it is much quieter when the all new gas engine comes on.
And when it does, power seems to be almost the same as in the EV mode.
The ride is very comfortable, and the car feels super solid over any surface.
The steering is really nice, a little bit on the heavy side, which is a welcome change from most other cars.

As I mentioned before, I got 56 miles out of a full charge (it is rated at 53)
And my gas mileage when the battery was empty was 46 on the freeway and 42 in the city.
Which is, again, better than the official numbers.

I think the Volt is the best way to get into an EV right now.
As a range of almost 60 miles of pure EV is plenty for most people.
Plus, once it's empty, you end up with a very comfortable, quick car that gets great mileage anyway.
It is truly the best of both worlds.
Until we can charge a 300 miles battery everywhere in 15 minutes, the Volt is the best option.
(The Model S is still a rich guy's toy)






BUT....
There is one thing that drove me crazy, most of the time.
As you can see, the stereo system had a lot of trouble recognizing songs from my phone.
As most playlists showed "empty".

When switching to Apple CarPlay, things were different.
But NOT better. As  playlists after the letter "B" were non existent.
Using a different phone, different cables, restarting the phone never fixed the problem.
It would work one time, and nothing a few minutes later, etc..

I checked various forums online, and it looks like quite a few people have that problem.

A few of the solutions included upgrading to the latest version of iOS.
( I did have iOS 9 already)
And, weirdly enough, getting rid of the Pandora app.
I did all these, but it was too late to really check it.
It was working the last evening I had the car.

After mentioning this to GM, they decided to send me another Volt for a few days in a couple of weeks.
Which is really nice.

So I will check this again.
I hate to be picky, but the car is , in general,  my favorite place to listen to music. And I do want to make sure this isn't a general issue with this otherwise great car.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Chevrolet Volt test drive. Part one.

 I got the Volt yesterday. For a week.
It had an EV range of 45 miles when delivered to me. (Not the full 53 I was hoping for...)

Still, plenty for a few day-drives.
I was curious about the gas mileage when the car is not in EV mode.
So I used the "hold" mode, which saves "the juice" for later. A very cool feature.

 As you can see. For these few miles, MPG was very impressive.
But I also noticed that it did use some of that juice. By the end of the day, in the "hold" mode, my total EV range was only about 39 miles...
(The picture above was taken today, after charging)



At the end of the day, I plugged it in. At a regular 120 outlet. So technically, it should take about 13 hrs to get a full charge.
Which I didn't need since it still said "39".

But, about 13hrs later, I was still at "just"  49 miles. Not the 53 miles advertised for the full charge.
Maybe that plug at the lot where I parked the car was defective? Or something else...
Who knows.

 
 The rear hatch is really big. And quite heavy.
But the inside cover is just a rather flimsy cloth sheet. Unlike the solid stuff found in most other hatchbacks. Maybe to save weight?
 Someone was asking me about rear legroom. so here it is.
I am 5'11" and drive pretty far from the steering wheel, and that's what's left behind me.
Which isn't bad. Technically, the new Volt has a bit more rear legroom.

And here is what it looks like whith an actual super good looking human.

Someone was also asking about visibility. 
And I was mentioning the rather high position of the rear window.
So this is what it looks like when you turn around. 

Not that you really need to, since it comes with a back up camera.

So far there is plenty of power all the time. If you drive in a relaxed manner, the engine almost never comes on during normal city driving.
And when it does, it is much quieter than before. It just seems to be far away...

Next, I will try to compare MPG when the battery is completely empty.
And, of course, check the actual range of the full EV mode.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Hyundai Ioniq Vs,Toyota Prius


 It's that time again. Every time I see new pictures of the Ioniq, I feel like comparing it to the new Prius.

Like I mentioned before, I never disliked the previous generation Prius.
It's not something I would get for myself, but a few friends of mine have one, and it is OK.
(Even though many car nerds love to hate it.)

But this one is horrible. It is trying way too hard.
It is basically a visual mess, inside and out. And there is no excuse for it.

I mean look at both cars above. One seems confident, the other one is like crazy kid on speed.


 And it's even worse in the back!


 A tale of two shifters.
 One that looks classy and even quite upscale.
The other one, trying to re-invent the wheel. Ending up looking like a gadget sticking out of a Japanese toilet.
 Nothing to compare here. Since the new Prius doesn't even offer a sunroof anymore...

Trunk space seems pretty similar. At least on these pictures.
The Prius might have a small advantage here actually. (Its floor seems a bit lower)

Now, Kia just announced their "50MPG Niro Crossover".
Which is larger and heavier than the Ionic. Yet uses the same power train.
So the Hyundai might even end up being more fuel efficient that the new Prius!

I really think Toyota messed up. And might end up paying the price by seeing former customers switching to other brands.

Plus, this is 2016. There is no excuse for any car to look like that...