Sunday, November 30, 2014

Honda reveals HRV crossover ute at Los Angeles Auto Show

Honda revealed its next home run knocking the socks of its meager competition in the class. Arguably better built, its a Honda after all, but better technology packages than either the Mazda and Nissan its closest competition.

The HRV crossover is based on the Fit platform and is powered by a traditional gas engine and backed up with the utility and practicality you expect (demand?) from Honda.  It has all the latest gizmos Honda has to offer.

Monday, November 24, 2014

2016 Ford Explorer L.A. Auto Show reveal

Here it is, I teased it a few weeks ago after the Edge Reveal at the Ford Los Angeles HQ.  This vehicle is going to be even more amazing than the outgoing.  Best part of the news today with this reveal is that all the added tech will become standard and the Explorer will have the same base price as today.

Joining the mix for this generation Explorer is the new "Platinum Edition"that will be a blend of the current Sport and Limited editions.  For all the details on the new Explorer.  Watch the video.

The most amazing thing to come out of the reveal is that the next generation Explorer completely does away with naturally aspirated engines.  Good move:?  Who knows.  Standard motor is the 2.3L ecoboost making 270 bhp and optional in the top of the range models is a 3.5L ecoboost making 350bhp.  This latter is the standard and only engine available on the new Platinum Edition.

More details to follow once I get to drive the car and get into the inside for interior detail pics.

Hundreds more pics from the L.A. Auto Show, some of this Explorer too in high res in a flickr album.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ford C-Max 112 Miles, 2.2 gallons of Gas

I finally got the chance to spend more than a few minutes in Ford's CMax. Nice Car.  Really nice car, rides, drives and handles like a small SUV, not your typical hybrid.  If that was the point behind this car and Ford knocked it out of the park.

I was loaned a 2013 Ford CMax for 3 days while my Focus was in the shop.  This was a nicely loaded up to the gills SEL version.  MyFordTouch with Navigation, Sony premium sound, leather heated seats...the only thing missing was a sunroof and really who needs one of those?

My time with the car I was the primary driver, my wife "didn't want to learn how to drive a hybrid".  I explained its really no difference.  Instead of coasting to a stop you lightly tap the break and use regen braking to recharge the battery.  Other than when you have to romp on it to get on the freeway and/or climb a hill light peddle pressure is all you need to move along yet keep it in electric mode.  I even showered her the snazzy regenerative braking coach that shows you how effective you are (I hit consistently 93-99%).

She did really like the automatic liftgate action.  No fuss or bother and activates with a wave of the foot under the rear bumper or the key fob...and voila liftgate open and your nails are in one piece.  She wants to know why Ford didn't put that option on the Focus.  I do too.

A pleasant surprise was how much room it had behind the rear seats.  Looks are deceiving.  I had 4 gallons of milk, a back pack and the Grand,s 3 wheel jogging stroller back there with no issues!  I really liked the load capacity of this car, better than I had expected.

This is so much more car than its nearest competitor. Standard features of the Prius V and the CMax are night and day.  The prius is nicely assembled, great fit, but the materials are all hard nasty plastic.  The CMax gets premium feel materials through out and looks like a small luxury utility not the bread and butter hybrid it is. Advantage here still is the has stuff Prius owners only wish they could have.

Without much effort its possible to rack up some impressive MPGs.  On one trip alone I registered 67, but to the cars credit it was mostly downhill urban driving and I never broke 35mpg...still an impressive number.  After my time was up and it was time to turn in the car I averaged 50.90 mpg which compares very favorably with its EPA estimates of 45City/40highway/43 combined.  If you know how to drive a hybrid and maximize regen and keep the gasser from kicking in around town you can ger some outright amazing numbers.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hot, HOT SUV's debut at the L.A. Auto Show 11/19-20

The Los Angeles Auto Show may be about green cars and awards for the same, but it doesn't stop manufacturers from showing off their really HOT performance vehicles.

This years show BMW's M Division is showing off its latest goodies.  The X5 M, and the X6 M.

Making their world debuts together in Los Angeles, the all-new BMW X5 M and BMW X6 M combine the robustness, agility, and everyday use characteristics of the successful BMW X family with the commitment to high performance that defines BMW M vehicles. Purpose-designed for exceptional driving experiences, the latest generation of high-performance all-wheel-drive vehicles from BMW M delivers boosted output, optimized suspension technology, and new heights of luxury and innovation in the equipment range.

The BMW X5 M and BMW X6 M raise the bar in terms of dynamics, steering precision, and braking performance, while fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions are significantly lower than previous models. The perfectly tuned package of engine, powertrain, and suspension, both models are equipped with the V8 unit with M TwinPower Turbo technology that delivers a maximum of 567 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The standard eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. The BMW X5 M will be offered at a base MSRP of $99,650 and the BMW X6 M will start at $103,050, including $950 destination and handling.

 Not to be outdone by its Bavarian brothers Porsche will debut the new Cayenne GTS Sport Ute with an emphasis on sport.  Details haven't been released at this writing but I am certain that this version of the Cayenne will squish out every ounce of power possible from its powertrain and have extra suspension and brake goodies to ensure it does what a Porsche does best...go really fast.