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

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

VW Jetta GLI Test Drive

 The current Jetta came out almost 6 years ago.
Yes, 6 years.

And for all that criticism of being boring and uninspired, I have to admit it has aged very well.
Which is usually what happens to "conservative" designs.

It is a pretty good looking car. And the GLI version I had for a week looked quite upscale.
(The 18 inch wheels helped a lot).

I had actually a couple of "non car fans" friends who though it looked great.

Inside, not much has changed in the past 6 years.
(They really missed the opportunity with the 2014 "facelift")

Some bits are still a bit too cheap. Although the dash is now covered in soft plastic (At least on the GLI) And the piano black finish looks much better than the horrible fake metal finish I've seen before (Which might well be still around in other versions)

Everything feels very solid and well put together. And the doors to have that solid "german car sound" when you close them.
It's no Audi A6, but it does feel more substantial than the Japanese competition.
The rear seat is as roomy as ever. In effect, the current Jetta is about as roomy as most mid sized cars around.
Carplay is now standard. And it works great.
The Fender system is still fantastic.

The first thing I noticed, as usual with most new VWs, is the sound of the 2.0 Liter Turbo engine.
It does have a gravely sound that most other small engines don't have.
And it still does sound like a quiet diesel a bit. (Especially when pushed)

People blame that sound on Direct Inection. But I don't, since other manufacturers also have Direct Injection engines and they are much quieter and smoother.

Although once warmed up, things are Lexus quiet at idle.

The steering is still a little bit too light. Especially for the sporty GLI version.
It is precise, smooth and turns really well. But it could have a little more weight to it.

The shifting is really smooth. But just like all VW's 6 speeds (Not the 5 speed for some reason), 1st gear is a bit hard to engage at times.
The clutch is very smooth and forgiving.

Now for what I think is actually the worst part of the car: The ride.
Of course it will be firm, which is expected. But most of the time, it is just uncomfortable.
Unless the road is smooth as glass.
The worse is for the rear passengers. Where it really becomes bad.
Everyone I had in the back were complaining. Most hadn't felt such a hard ride in a long time.

I do prefer a firm ride, especially in a sporty car. But to be that uncomfortable for passengers is not great. Especially in a roomy sedan.
Where people, and small kids might ride in the back.
(I would hate to see a small child shaking around in a car seat back there...)

The Jetta GLI was quite a joy to drive for a week.
It is a very engaging car.

After a while, the gravely sound of the engine became a "charming personality trait".
But the rough ride was never described as "charming". Ever...By anyone...

The GLI manual is rated at 23City/33HWY.
I did get 23 in the city but had no problem getting 41/42 on the highway.

The model I had was a GLI SE.
Which came pretty loaded, with heated seats, the great Fender stereo, Carplay, a sunroof etc..
And it was priced at $27 740 including destination ($820)

I think this is a lot of car for the money.
I mean this is a similar engine Audi uses an most of its (Much more expensive) models.
And one of the rare sedans you can actually get with a 6 speed manual.
The design has actually aged very well, and could be described as "pretty classy" now.

The problem is, I am not sure when a next one is out. I mean, 6 years is a long time for a car.
And we haven't heard anything about a next generation yet. (Which means it's probably still a couple of years away...)

But for now, the current Jetta GLI is just a fun car priced right.