Showing posts with label drive. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drive. Show all posts

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Let's drive: Mulholland Drive


I took a drive along Mulholland drive a few days ago. back when the city was still filled with smoke due to the many local fires.

It does created a strange look but also blocks the views of the city...

Still, I think the legendary Mulholland road is a wonderful drive to take when you are in L.A. I do know a couple of people living up there and I feel lucky every time I get to visit. (Which is, unfortunately, very rare these days)

You can watch the video HERE. 

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.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Chevrolet Trax test drive

 The little Trax is pretty familiar by now.
I remember back when GM didn't want to sell it in the US. (For a while it was sold in Europe and Canada. While the US was only getting the Buick Encore version)

But with a bunch of newcomers like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, GM needed something cheaper than the Encore in that segment.

I do like the look of the Trax. It reminds me of a little bulldog. And I actually got nice comments from strangers about the "Orange Rock Metallic" color.

 Inside, everything is just fine. Simple and well laid out.

The version I had for a week was an LT FWD. So seats didn't have leather.
But the vinyl/cloth combo looked good. And they were very comfortable.

The Bose stereo (part of the well worth $1400 Sun & Sound package) sounded great.

 The only thing I really hated inside was the stupid placement of the USB plug.
Inside the top glove compartment. So you either cannot see your phone. Or you have to leave the compartment open for the wire.
Pretty bad.

Maybe things will be better once Apple Car Play is offered on the Trax. (Or just move the USB to the console!)
 The back seat is pretty much what you'd except in a compact.
It's actually fine for most people.
 A roomy truck is what you get.
 On the road, the first thing I noticed, was a pretty bad case of the "video game style steering feel".
I guess most people don't mind anymore. Since it reminds them of the games they play all day.

I still have a problem with it...(Maybe because I don't play video games...)

But, as usual. I did get used to it. Kind of.
The Trax is very easy to drive. The engine feels pretty "peppy". At least around town.
And I never had problems on the freeway.

The ride is always very comfortable. The car feels really solid on any road. (Although the doors feel a bit tiny when you close them)
The whole thing was also very quiet all the time.

The Trax is rated at 26City/34HWY. After a week of driving I did get 26 in the city.
But had no problem getting 39 average on the freeway.
I really enjoyed driving the Trax for a week.
It feels like the right car for the right price. At least the one I got.

Mine was an LT FWD with the "LT Plus package" and the previously mentioned "Sun & Sound package". For a total of $25 215.

I'd say this is really a good price for a nice car with a sunroof and great Bose stereo system.
It's no sports car but it doesn't pretend to be.
I never felt it was too slow.
It is comfortable and quiet. And gets really good mileage for a small SUV. And it does have a nice, friendly personality to it.

The Honda HR-V seems like the more conservative choice in that segment.
But the new Mazda CX-3 is the one to watch.
As a top of the line Grand Touring model is about the same price as the Trax I was driving.
And it includes GPS, Sunroof, Bose and leather.

So, I do recommend the Trax. If you can get a good deal on it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

GMC Canyon test drive

 After a week driving the big Silverado, I was wondering if the smaller Colorado/Canyon would make more sense.
I mean, the Silverado is fun (kind of...), but it is quite a chore to drive around in the city.
And that horrible ride on the freeway...

So GMC sent me a loaded version of the new Canyon.
I think it looks great. (Especially with the Emerald green color, a $495 option).
And the oversized GMC grille seems to work on the smaller truck.

Even though it feels like a compact after driving the Silverado, it's not. The "short bed" version I had is still over 10 inches longer than a Chevrolet Impala.
A long bed is available and that adds another 12 inches!
Plus, at least my AWD model, it is really high. Almost a foot taller than the Impala.

So it is still a "big thing" to drive around. It might be "mid sized for a truck", but still bigger than a full size sedan.
 The one GM sent me had a dealer installed tonneau cover. A $615 option.
Which makes this truck more like a car, since now you have a lockable trunk.
But it's not that easy to remove when you need to carry big things. (Which is kind of the point of a truck..)

 Inside, it feels much more like a car than the Silverado. Mostly because of the console and the shifter between the seats. But also the "more normal" size.
Everything looks nice and simple. And it all feels very solid. (except the turning signal stalk)

The optional Bose stereo sounds good. But still, to me, not worthy of the Bose name. (It's not better than some really good base systems.)

The seats are very comfortable.

 The back seat is pretty roomy. But not nearly as much as in a (shorter) large sedan.

 The whole thing is very nicely finished. It's not luxury sedan level, but it doesn't pretend to be.

 The 1st thing you say when you turn around is "Thank God for rear cameras". (As a matter of fact, you'll say it every time you turn around)
The top of the headliner is really high. And without the camera, it would be really tough to see a car.
A pet, ot a small child.
 The first thing I noticed was how much nicer the ride was, when compared to the 2 door Silverado.
It is still trucky, and even a bit hard sometimes. But that's expected.
It is just fine for every day use.

The V6 is pretty quiet. Although not as super quiet and smooth as the big 4.3 Liter from the Silverado.
It does a great job moving the truck around in the city.

But things do change when you get on the freeway. For some reason, it seems that most of the 305 horses from the 3.6 Liter engine are taking a break. A very long break...
Combined with a transmission that doesn't really like to downshift, and you get a very frustrating experience. You basically have to push it most of the time to move.
It's really bad on long hills. Where the whole thing feels like a 4 cylinder.
(I cannot imagine what the actual 4 cylinder is like.)

The version I was driving (V6, 4WD SLT 4 door) is rated at 17MPG city and 24 Hwy.
I did get 17 in the city, but up to 28 on the freeway.
Which is actually really good, I think.

The version I drove was loaded at $41 785. Which, at first, seemed really expensive to me.
Until I compared it to the 4 door loaded Silverado (High Country) I drove last year. With pretty much the same equipment (plus a V8 of course). It was $52 000.
Mileage was 14/20.
So by going for the "small guy", you are saving about $10 000. And even more on gas.
Sure, the High Country is roomier and carries more stuff.

But for most people, I think the Canyon/Colorado is really the way to go...

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Chevrolet Silverado Test Drive

 Last year, I test drove the 4 door version of this truck. It was a loaded "High Country" model, costing over $52 000.

This one, a "1500 2WD" starts at a much more reasonable (And more "truck like") $26 000.
Mine had a few options, like a Spray On bed liner, 4.2 Inch color screen, Trailing Equipment.
Mut mostly a $1445 "Black out edition" package. ("Big Black")
For a total of $31 400. (Including a very expensive $1195 Destination charge)
 As you can see, it is big. Very big. And high, very high.

And that Black out package gives it quite a menacing look.
A look that, I must say, was quite popular among most of my friends. (especially the ladies)

The bed is really roomy, with a heavy gate (This is not for girl scouts).
The whole thing would make John Wayne look effeminate.

 Inside, things are pretty simple. As expected.
Which is just fine. Everything is well put together and feels really solid.
The small screen is not the best, but again, just fine for this. It even includes a welcome back up camera.
The stereo sounded surprisingly good.
 There is not much storage behind the seats. Just a small space.
The armrest folds up to reveal a 3rd middle seat. With a real seat belt!
Nothing like the ones from the 70's with the old fashion "airplane style" seat belts.

 Even in this base model, the doors have a really nice finish.
The drive in this particular model is, well... Very, very truck like.
Very different than the smooth "High country" model I drove last year.
(It is also much higher)

It is quite smooth on a flat stretch of highway. But as soon as the road isn't perfect, watch out.
It is a constant mix of shaking, shuddering and jumping around. The suspension basically absorbs nothing. It can actually be quite scary at times.

The 6 transmission is super smooth and very responsive.
The big 4.3 Liter V6 works quite well in this truck. It is so quiet and smooth I thought it was a V8.
It also has enough power. And is rated at 18/24MPG.
I was only able to get about 16/17 around town. (Which is still fine)
But easily got 27 on the freeway.
Which seems really good for such a giant.

It might not be comfortable, but it sure is quiet. Amazingly quiet, at all time.
I would even say, "Lexus quiet".

After almost getting used to the super rough ride, I really enjoyed my week with the big truck.

Sure, I have zero need for this.
But this is a really nice vehicle for people who need a truck.
It is not that expensive. It feels like it will last forever. Mileage isn't that bad.
The back up camera helps a lot with parking (Although I still couldn't fit in any Trader Joe's parking lots around my area...)
So why not?

And. As you can see. This is the best place to have a picnic under the stars with a good friend...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Citroen Cactus test drive

 So I was in Europe a few days ago. And needed to rent a car for a while. I saw a few things I had seen (and driven) before, like a Fiat 500 etc... Then I saw the Cactus! And I felt lucky.
As I have been a big fan of the design. Wondering if it was as much fun to drive as it is to look at.

And it is fun to look at in person.
If doesn't look like a wagon. Or an SUV. But something in between. Which is really nice.
At about 164 inches long, it is a couple of inches shorter than a VW Golf. Pretty small.
But would still look fine on US roads.

 There are fun design touches everywhere. The most obvious one is the "Airbump" feature. Which look like bumpers on the doors.
It looks great and I'm sure it is useful.
Plus, it makes this car rather unique. Which, I think, is what Citroen should always be.

(I also think Subaru is a brand that should include more unique/quirky styling touches to their cars, but what do I know...)

 Same thing inside. The interior is simple, yet so stylish.
With fun, original details everywhere. Even in the rather basic cloth model I was driving.

 Rear seat room is not amazing. But still fine for most. Especially for a young family with small kids.

But there is lots of trunk space. Even with the rear seat up.

The interior is very simple. But there is so much style, it never felt cheap to me. 
(You can still get options like leather, glass roof, armrest etc...)

 I was actually surprised to see a 3 cylinder under the hood.

I could tell it wasn't a fast car. But with the 5 speed manual, things were mostly fine.
The engine sounded good. Mostly quiet and smooth.
After checking the specs, I realized it had only 82HP! ( A turbo version is available with 109HP. But I hear the best bet is the Diesel with twice the torque)

It was just fine around town. And I had no problem cruising at around 90MPH on the freeway (Which wasn't so "free")
I got over 40MPG on these freeways. (I'm sure 45 would be a more realistic number if I had done closer to 70MPH)

 The suspension was always very comfortable. The car felt solid. But you can tell it's a lightweight.
Side winds are felt most of the time.

It was pretty quiet, even at FWY speed. The 5 speed manual was nothing amazing. But better than what you'd find here in a Nissan Versa.

The basic stereo was fine too.

 I actually really liked my few days with the Cactus.

There is nothing that fun looking in the US.
And the icing on the cake is the price.
It starts at the equivalent of around $17 000. And that includes all taxes!
(So it would be a bit over $15 000 here before taxes.)
I figured the model I was driving with a few options and GPS was still way under $20 000.

A loaded diesel model would be around $26 000. (Still including tax)

It's just too bad we don't have the Cactus over here. And Citroens in general for that matter...

It just makes me happy knowing someone, somewhere, is building cars like these. At a price people can afford.