Showing posts with label road test. Show all posts
Showing posts with label road test. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Buick Cascada test drive coming up.


I just got a new Cascada to drive for a week.
This is a car I was really waiting for.

I really loved it when it was introduced as an Opel in Europe a couple of years ago. And I was one of these people who was hoping it would end up here as a Buick.
Well, here it is...

First thoughts:
I still love the design. It looks really great in person.
Like everyone has said before me, the interior is nice, but in a "3 to 5 year old GM" sort of way.
Lots of buttons, smallish screen weirdly angled back etc...

Otherwise so far it seems really quiet, and feels as solid as the good German car that it actually is.

I will report on it very soon. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

GMC Yukon Denali XL Test Drive


The current Yukon/Tahoe/Suburban might be only a little over 2 years old, but they are already super popular.
Around L.A, they are pretty much everywhere.

Last year, GM sold over 152000  Tahoes/Suburbans, and over 71000 Yukons/Yukon XL.
Which is quite amazing.

They also seem to have replaced the TownCar as the favorite choice as a luxury ride to the airport.
(Or to the local Sleazy Hollywood "PullDown" club)
And they do look quite handsome. In a big brick sort of way.

The interior is nice too. Although I am still not sure why they still use the old 70's style column shifter. (Obvious cost saving?) But I got used to it pretty quickly. Even though it does cheapen the whole interior feel and look.

That interior is otherwise pretty nice.
 But, there are still a few cheap plastic bits here and there.
And the fake wood does a great job at... looking fake.

The Bose stereo sounded really good. But the interface got quite annoying a few times.
Like going back to shuffle without being asked to do so. Or just stop playing stuff altogether. etc...



The seats were surprisingly flat and hard.
(Quite a surprise to me since most GM seats are now really good)

Here is a shot of that beautiful "wood like thing".


And, of course. It is super roomy. Front and back. Even the 3rd row seats.
And the back in the long version (Similar to the Suburban) has a huge truck. And a giant space when all the seats are flat.
(That's pretty much the point of getting something that huge isn't it...)
On the road, it is, of course, very quiet.
But, the big 6.2 Liter V8 wasn't as super smooth and quiet as the smaller 5.3 Liter unit available in its Tahoe twin. (or the regular "non Denali" Yukon)

The new 8 speed transmission is mostly fine. But can also be a bit rough at really low speed around town.

The 6.2 Liter Yukon is rated at 14/21 MPG for the 4WD version I had for a week.
I could only get 12MPG in the city. And I was trying very hard...
But got 23 on the Highway.

The ride is pretty smooth, but not as isolated as I thought it would be.
It always lets you know that, no matter how much money you spent, this is still a truck, not a car.


Talking about price, the Denali version I had was priced at $78 825.
Which included about $8000 worth of options.

For my money, I would skip the Denali altogether and get the regular Yukon.
You can still get la loaded version with leather, sunroof etc... And the smoother 5.3 Liter engine
And save around $15 000.

This is something I had to try.
The "Camping in the Yukon" night. And it works. There is more than enough room behind the front seats for an inflatable mattress for 2 people.
And all the extra stuff you need for a cool camping night by the beach.

And with a total of 3 screens, it was a great way to watch the Larry Sanders show again.

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.