Showing posts with label Test Drives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Test Drives. Show all posts

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Cadillac XT6 Test Drive

The Cadillac XT6 is one of these cars (crossover/SUVs etc...) that does look much better in real life.

I was really disappointed with the photos I had seen when it came out. And I have seen very few on the road to actually realize it is quite good looking in the flesh. It is not very original, but it does remind me of a classic German design, with straight lines. A design that would be elegant and tasteful for years to come. Something many German cars don't have anymore...

Its problem is that it doesn't stand out at all. And no one associate Cadillac with "invisible".

The inside of my loaded Premium Luxury version had very nice high-quality materials. But as soon as you get in, you realize it is the exact same interior as the XT5. A model that came out almost 5 years ago.

So nothing here is very exciting, or new. Cadillac keeps pushing that odd-looking trim on the dash and doors. Instead of something more current like open-pore wood.

And the 8-inch screen seems a bit small by today's standards. I really think Cadillac should have at the very least redesigned the whole dashboard for this all-new model.

One great thing about Cadillac's infotainment system is the scrolling wheel on the center console. Which lets you scroll through all your music playlists very quickly.

My car as equipped with 14 Bose speakers option. And this is a great sound system.

The interior is very roomy, front and back. And the 3rd row is ok for shorter people or kids. But not as roomy as the Chevrolet Traverse. That is because, for some odd reason, this big Cadillac Crossover is based on the same platform as the smaller XT5 and Chevy Blazer. NOT the longer one used on the Traverse of Enclave.

So it is basically a 3 row, longer XT5. And not a Cadillac version of the Enclave/Traverse. 

The XT6 uses GM's popular 3.6 Liter V6 with a 9-speed auto. And the whole thing is smooth, quiet and has plenty of power all the time. I know Cadillac has been criticized for not offering more power like Lincon does in the Aviator. But it is really not needed. Very few people would ever need more power in a vehicule like this one. 

The ride is, as expected, very smooth. And the steering is light.

This is basically the new version of what the old Cadillacs were. Smooth, quiet, and comfortable. A modern large Cadillac wagon.

It is not nearly as enjoyable to drive as the great CT6 sedan. But that's what people wat these days...

The XT6 is rated at 17/24MPG. While it was tough to get 17 around town (more like 15/16) I had no problem getting around 30MPG on freeway trips. Which is excellent.

The Cadillac XT6 is a very nice 3 row crossover. But I am afraid it might not be enough. Cadillac came late in the game and didn't come up with anything special. The biggest drwaback is th e5 year old interior. (Which was nothing special 5 years ago)
They need to rething the interior all together and design something similar to the striking 2021 Escalade.

the price is also, in my opinion, a problem. After checking, I realized it is only a couple thousand more than the XT5. Which is OK. But with a $53 000 starting price ($71 000 for my loaded test car) it competes with the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, and others. 
I would even think a loaded Kia Telluride could be included in there. For a lot less money, it does feel more special.

The XT6 is good, but it does need to be special. As all Cadillacs should be.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Drive: To the Griffith Observatory.

This is a quick drive I did a few days ago while test driving a Cadillac XT-6.(Test drive report coming up soon) With all the fires we have been having nearby, it wasn't the clearest day, but you can still enjoy a great view from up there. For movie fans, at 9;45mn into the video, you can see an intersection with a tunnel on the left. That tunnel was the gateway to "ToonTown" in the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". For some reason, I always think of this when I drive by...

Friday, January 17, 2020

GMC Sierra test drive coming up...

I have been driving this brand new GMC Sierra pick up for a few days.
So far it is, of course, very similar to the Chevrolet Silverado I had a while ago.
Especially inside.

But this one comes with the new 3.0 Liter Duramax Diesel. Which is quite a different experience.
Basically, I think this new Diesel is amazing.
Super quiet and smooth (even when cold). And so far, quite an amazing gas mileage, especially for this huge beast.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have. 

Friday, January 03, 2020

Chevrolet Equinox Test Drive

 The current generation of the Chevrolet Equinox came out almost 3 years ago.
It is a very popular model for Chevrolet, with over 330 000 of them sold in 2018. So these are basically everywhere, and the design is by now very familiar.
And after 3 years, it still looks really nice.

 Same thing inside. My loaded model came with pretty much everything you can imagine in a modern car.
Except, for some weird reason, an upgraded sound system. So, for over $40 000, it still had the basic stereo. which sounds just OK. But is not acceptable at all in a car of that price.

The seats are very comfortable. Except for the headrests that are positioned a bit too far back and are pretty flat.
The back seats are very roomy. So much that most people would not need to step up to a larger SUV, unless you really need a 3rd row of seats.

The interior has nice, rather upscale details. And everything feels pretty solid and well put together.

 The panoramic sunroof is a great option.

 There is plenty of room behind the back seats.
And once these are folded flat, there is room enough to sleep in there. So this would really make a very decent camping companion.

 I have not driven the Equinox with the standard 1.5 Liter/CVT .
Although I though that combo was very decent in the Malibu I drove a while ago.

The 2.0 Liter in my test car was, as usual, great. Always quiet, smooth with plenty of power.
The steering actually had a nice feel to it. Which was a good surprise.

 The suspension was still a bit too firm for me.
As this is not marketed as a sporty car. But rather a modern replacement for the family sedan.
Not sure if it is because of the large 19 inch wheels, but the ride is just a bit too firm for an every day family car.
Something I had noticed a while ago in my previous Equinox drive. But this was the Redline model which was marketed as a sportier option.
The "regular" models should really be a bit smoother.

The popular Chevrolet Equinox is still a great option for buyers looking for a "large" compact SUV.

Besides the firm ride, its main problem is its price.
Sure, it does have a 2.0 Liter engine with over 230HP. Which is more than most of its competition.
But at over $40 000, my test car was overpriced.
On the "Premier" model, the 2.0 Liter engine is almost $3000 more than the base 1.5 Liter.
Still, at $37 000, it is about $2500 more than a loaded AWD Honda CR-V.

And my test car was actually more than a base Acura RDX.
The RDX does feel much more upscale and substantial than the Equinox, in every way.

If you are really interested in the Equinox, just make sure you pick the options you want. Also make sure you get some discount or incentives.
As it is still a good choice.
Click on the picture above to enlarge my test car's window sticker.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Chevrolet Silverado test drive.

  The new Silverado is a very nice looking truck in person.
I even like the rather weird wavy character line on the front fenders. And the front end doesn't resemble a "wall of chrome" like on some other trucks.

But overall, the look is still pretty generic for a full size pick up truck. Which, I guess, most truck buyers like.
(people who really, really want to stand out can always  get the Tesla Cybertruck)
It only looks "new" when compared to the previous generation.  Not really better or more modern. Just different...

Same thing inside. It's all new, but kind of the same.
It pushes even more the "tricky/macho feel". Everything is big, heavy, and a bit overdone.
The column shifter seems exactly the same as in previous generations.
And so does the center console cover. 

 The plastic chrome around the gauges has a very late 90's feel to it.
Again, this seems to be designed for people who have always been buying the same truck over and over again. People who don't like things to change too much...

 Everything feels very solid inside.
My expensive "Trail Boss" version had leather seats and a sunroof.
The seats are very comfortable. Unfortunately, the headrests cannot be adjusted forward (a common problem with almost all new GM interiors)
The optional sunroof is a very nice addition.

The Bose stereo sounds great. And GM's newest infotainment system is always a pleasure to use.
And very easy to figure out.

One little detail I noticed was the lack of auto-up function for the passenger windows.
Nothing vital, but the truck I was driving is priced at over $58 000...

 The rear seat is roomier than ever. With huge amounts of legroom for everyone.

 My test truck came with the optional "underseat storage" which is a dealer installed $255 option.

As you can see, it does take a lot of the cargo room. Since I had to pick up a couple of friends (and their luggage) from the airport, I actually had to remove it.
It might be convenient for some people who need to hide their expensive tools, but most will miss the otherwise available room.  And the plastic feels very flimsy.

 The driving experience can be best described as "old fashion".

Unless you are able to drive the current one and the previous generation back to back, I think it is impossible to tell the difference.
I actually think the Silverado driving experience has not really changed, or improved, for a few generations.
This really feels like you are driving a big pick up truck from 5, 10 or even 20 years ago.
The ride feels smooth since the tires are so big. But it is not really. Even on good roads, you are still constantly moving around. Up and down, left and right.
The steering and brakes are fine, but still a bit mushy.
this is in no way trying to be car like. Which, again, is fine for most real truck buyers who don't want a car in the first place.

The big 5.3 Liter V8 is always super smooth and quiet. The 8 speed automatic is quite amazing. And always willing to downshift when needed.
The ride is as I described: trucky.

And it is always very quiet. Even with the off road tires from this Trail Boss version.

 One ridiculous thing I noticed was the super cheap fixed antenna.

It doesn't retract. And is actually about an inch too high to fit in regular parking structures. So while you are looking for a spot, you hear it hitting every single concrete post above your head.
Why?  Why???  On a $58 000 truck!

 Of course, gas mileage on a giant off road pick up truck isn't gong to be great.

Still, while my test model is rated at 15MPG city. The best I got was only 12.
(although I did match the 20MPG number on the freeway)

Yes. That is 12 MPG in 2019/20...

 I did enjoy my week with the new Silverado trail Boss.

But I really think this is strictly for truck fans. People who really need that big of a truck.
And mostly, repeat Chevrolet truck buyers. Since it feels and drives pretty much the same as Chevy trucks from the past few generations.
Which, again, is a really good thing for tons of people...

 You can click on the window sticker to enlarge it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Honda Pilot Test Drive

 The current generation Honda Pilot is already over 4 years old, and its classic/conservative design is aging pretty well.
Small changes done last year did improve things as well.

This is mostly targeted to families, while the very similar (but smaller) Passport seems more intended to outdoor single types.

So there is nothing aggressive looking about the Pilot. Which is just fine.

 Same thing inside. Everything is laid out in a logical manner.
Everything feels solid and well put together. Like in all Hondas.
Except, for my taste, the whole thing feels more like a Minivan interior than an SUV.
which, I guess, doesn't matter to most families...

The seats are comfortable. (But things could even be better if the headrest could be adjusted forward.)

The stereo system in my Elite model was fantastic and one of the best I have heard.

 Rear seats are roomy. Even the 3rd row is actually OK. (Except the floor is pretty high back there)

While there is nothing wrong with the interior, it doesn't feel upscale.
Which was probably not Honda's goal almost 5 years ago. But these days, new models like the Kia Telluride have interiors that can at least match luxury car brands at the same price as the Pilot, or even less.

The interior is really nice for the $32 000 base price. But my test model was over $48 000.
For this price, I would expect things to be a bit fancier...

 The first thing I noticed when first driving the Pilot, was the thin steering wheel and the very, very light steering.
But after a couple of days, you realize that everything is fine. The steering is light but actually quite precise.
And quite a pleasure on the highway.
 The ride is mostly very smooth. But somehow, struggles a bit on rough roads. Where bumps are felt a bit too much.

The transmission was perfect during my weekly drive. Always smooth and very quick to downshift on the freeway when needed.

Since the Pilot still has a big 3.5 Liter V6, it is of course smooth and quiet. Although around town, the V6 is actually not much quieter than the great 2.0 Liter from the Accord or RDX.
Acceleration was always fine.

 I do not have 5 kids, so a big 3 row SUV is not something need or usually drive.
But they make great camping companions. And the Pilot did not disappoint.
Inflatable mattress and tons of stuff had plenty of room with all the seats folded down.

 One thing that was quite annoying was the stop/start system.
Which was not as smooth as in many other cars. At least you can turn it off. Although you do have to do this every time you get into the car.

 The Honda pilot is rated at 19/26MPG.
There was no way to get 19MPG in the city. The best I got was 16.
Which is what you usually get in a big 3 row SUV with a big 3.5 Liter engine...

But I had no problem averaging 30MPG on freeway trips.

The Honda Pilot is still a great choice if you need a 3 row SUV.
It also comes with a peace of mind associated with Honda products.

But if you don't need all these seats, I would really recommend the Acura RDX. Which similarly equipped, is not really more expensive at all.
(I think the RDX has a nicer steering and even smoother ride.)