Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2016 Ford Fusion SE

Living with a Fusion SE for a few days turned out to be the most pleasant surprise in while for me.  Not that I didn't already know this generation Fusion was a solid competitor in the Mid-size market, I just never lived with it for several days where niggles and problems arise.  Spoiler alert...for me there were none.

Redesigned a few years back and a global platform for Ford this generation was more style forward than the departing model with an entirely new face of Ford introduced with the car. The trapezoidal grill stands out and snarls I'm different in a good way in a crowded playing field.

This car was equipped with the 1.5l Ecobooost and was a pleasant surprise.  When I first read that the 1.5l was being used instead of the every so slightly more powerful 1.6l I questioned the logic.  No worries, its thoroughly competent and runs on par with its competition in normal driving.  Even slight grades and uphill on ramps aren't an issue for this tiny 4pot turbo as boost comes on fast and early and it has a broad torque curve to motivate you into traffic.  I liked it.

Build quality on this version with 11K miles was still as shiny as the brand new models I get to drive and test.  Not a quibble, shake or rattle even when driving around Chicago's horribly potholed streets and freeways.  Even the worst holes were absorbed with a solid thump and no jittery, bottoming out or bouncing afterwards.  Controlled suspension was greatly appreciated on those freeways.

This was a moderately equipped SE with the leather trim package.  The seats were marvelously comfy though I would have liked just a bit more side bolster.  The driver's seat was 8 way power with power lumbar adjustment.  Made it really easy to dial in a comfortable driving position.  The passenger side only got a 4 way power adjustable.  Both seats were heated which is a nice touch in a cold climate.

Trunk space was adequate.  Easily swallowed in our 2 large-ish bags, carry-ons and camera gear.  Interior space up front was really nice.  The sunroof did eat up a bit of head room, but not objectionably so.  The rear seat leg room was appreciated by my 6' 2 1/2 inch son who traveled with us.  Even head room was good for him with that fastback style sloping rear roof line and window.

The real surprise for me with this car was its mileage and that is courtesy the 1.5L Ecoboost.  This was the first time EVER that I really beat the the mpg performance significantly with an Ecoboost engine.  Our 330 mile of heavy urban traffic, city bump and go, free flowing freeway between our hotel, Chicago and The Navy Base yielded an impressive 30.2 MPG.  Not even three quarters of a tank of gas in 5 days of constant on the move. That compares very favorably with the EPA estimates of 24/28/36.

This car was equipped with the easy to use simple version of MyFord with Sync.  It didn't have navigation but you could send directions to it via the Ford Sync App that I have on my Iphone and get turn by turn to your destination.  Not as easy as a map display but adequate and it works.  The other functions were smooth and user friendly stupid easy to access and do with voice commands.

My wife took a turn driving the car and she had one complaint.  Let me preface it with her 2010 Milan has the 240bhp V6 and sport suspension and felt that the Fusion lacked power and finesse compared to what she was used to.  Fair enough, since she's used to more torque and  horsepower than the 181bhp that the 1.5L ecoboost puts out. For me its a fair trade off if mileage is more important than get up and go.  If you want more power there is an options 240bhp 2.0L Ecoboost optional in the Titanium that would solve that problem.

My 5 days with the Fusion SE really confirmed what a great car this really is.  With 255K already sold this year through October it tells me a lot of consumers agree with me.

All the information on optional and standard features as well as being able to build your own can be found on the Ford.Com web site.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Guest ride Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell

What a few years of research and development made with the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle, Hyundai's answer to Californias clean air mandate for zero emission vehicles.  This little SUV fits the bill as its only emission is water vapor out the tail pipe.  WATER.

Last time I sat in and drove this it was on concept stage.  It was road ready and driveable and the sheer ability at the time amazed me.  Imagine, nothing more than air and stored hydrogen passing through a fuel cell making electricity to power you down the road.  The down side to that concept is that every cycle of a compressor, fan or relay you heard.  Not unpleasant, just unusual. 

Flash forward to the production version.  Gone area all the rumbles, whirs and whines.  DEAD SILENT like a plug in electric car.  According to the rep driving* she has a traditional gasser version of the car and this drives the same.  Same get up and go, same able handling, nothing to tip you off that you are driving a green car.  In our short ride around the Los Angeles Convention center there was nothing to tip you off that this was a green car other than the sheer quiet inside the cabin.

Hydrogen infrastructure is still in its infancy and therefore your ability to travel great distances is limited.  Range anxiety however in daily use isn't a problem as the car fills fast (3-5 minutes) and has a range up to 265 miles per tank.

You can learn about Hyundai's fuel cell on their WEB PAGE.  The upshot is its available in limited areas in California right now. Its lease only at $499/mo.

Pics by me and more from the L.A Auto Show in my flickr album.

*Hyundai now requires you to be an approved member of their fleet reviewers hence the ride along and not me driving.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ford Reveals the New 2017 Escape with Guillermo

Ford had an unusual reveal for the Ford Escape at this years Los Angeles Auto Show.  Instead of some drama and pulling off the curtain it was a YouTube video from the night priors reveal on national TV.  Different and not what anyone was expecting for a press conference reveal that is full of razzle dazzle and screeching tires drifting as in years past.

What we do know is the 2017 Escape going on sale this coming spring is significantly different than the model currently on sale.  The roof appears to be the only body panel left untouched.  The entire front clip is new, higher in the front with a larger more upright version of the trapezoidal face that is Ford these days.  Rear end is changed and more in line with the rest of Fords SUV's.  It looks like a mini-Explorer and thats a good thing.  Hondas CRV needs to be very worried.

Tons more technology added to the mini-SUV than the current iteration of Escape.  Adaptive Cruise control, lane keeping assist, and forward crash alert to name a few are added.  Also this generation has rolled in Sync3 and the MyFord app for apple and android that allows you to remotely control the car and do stuff with it while not in the car.  Nice.

Powertrains are changed up some too.  The 1.6L ecoboost is replaced with the 1.5l ecoboost with stop/start technology that will add a few extra MPG in city driving in temperate climates.  The 2.5l Ford remains standard in the Escape S and the 2.0L ecoboost remains for the SEL and Titanium editions of the Escape.

Video courtesy Ford and on YouTube.  Pics by me.  More pics from the Los Angeles Auto Show in a Flickr Album

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Buick LaCrosse Concept Reveal Los Angeles Auto Show

This was an interesting reveal.  Lots of bragging on the success of the car and the brand. More so its success in China and casual mention that this car is the best selling Buick in North America.

I disagree there's elements of the Avenir.  The Avenir had smaller dimensions, sharper angles and better proportions with a more formal roof line.  The LaCrosse as nice as it is to look at is curvaceous with more of a fastback roof line and a much more pronounced grill.  The cabin simply rises and falls from the hood to deck lid.  The Avenir has a more pronounced and formal cabin rising above the body.  I liked it better, not to say the LaCrosse is ugly, its not its actually the nicest looking Buick in a while.

Buick isn't messing with success on this one.  Powertrains carry over and more time was spent enlarging the cabin and giving the passengers more room.  This car falls into the large car category and it looks and feels it as you walk around and check it from all angles.

This new LaCrosse will show up in showrooms summer of 2016 as a 2017 model.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Lincoln MKZ Concept Debut at Los Angeles Auto Show

Lincoln was the big surprise at the Los Angeles Auto Show...the video explains it all.  I have to give Lincoln a nod for the bold directions they have taken in the last year.  With the Detroit launch of MKX, New York for the Continental Concept and now us with the MKZ they have mapped out a path clearly stating what they are doing.  They call it quiet luxury, I call it a huge step forward to differentiate themselves for the Ford family with which they share a few platforms.  Unlike Caddy that slowly evolved into the powerhouse they are today, Lincoln isn't taking the slow ramp but diving into the production of true luxury vehicles without chasing anyone in particular,  They will be the classic American luxury car with all the tech and what they call "Quiet Luxury" that buyer wants.

The MKZ really is changed in profile from the current model though it shares many of the same parts.  The decklid has a bigger more pronounced spoiler.  The entire front clip is new, slightly higher and with the "new face of Lincoln" introduced on the Continental Concept.  Gone is the split wing design they've toyed with and replacing it is a classic shaped grill inlet with the new cover. A big departure and very elegant.

The really big news is the addition of what they call "Smart All Wheel Drive" that adapts to driving style.  This is coupled with a new and unique to Lincoln 3.0l twin turbo V6 putting out 400 horsepower and 400 ft lbs of torque. This single change elevates the MKZ over its similar flatform mate at Ford and makes it contender in the Mid-sized Luxury segment in my not so humble opinion

Technology abounds in this car as they explain in the video.  Some unique to Lincoln, some common to all of Fords products such as Sync 3 customized for Lincoln.  Too bad the voice will be the anonymous female, if they swapped it to Matthew McConaughey they'd sell tons more...or so says my wife who says she'd buy Lincoln over the other choices if that option existed.

This model will go on sale summer 2016 as a 2017 model according to a Lincoln rep I spoke with at the L.A. Auto Show last week.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

2016 Ford Focus Electric and MyFord App

Its no secret I'm a huge fan of the Focus Electric, its been a while since I sat in one and reviewed it.   Not much has changes since I last reviewed it here.  It's still a silent cruiser, thoroughly enjoying and completely adept at what it needs to do for you.  Certainly better creature comforts and build quality than its immediate competition, I like to think of it as the Tesla of small EV's...but I need to get back on track.

Technical upgrades this year come in the form of the MyFord app available for iPhone and Android users.  As the video explains there is little information you can get from the app.  Charge level, distance to next charging station, time to full recharge you name it its pretty much there.  You can even remote start and set temp to heat or cool too...a huge plus here in the Southwest where its beastly hot 6 months of the year.

The MyFord app is also being launched in the next generation Ford Escape launching next summer as a 2017 model.  Take that CRV.

A quick drive in the car in and around the Los Angeles Convention Center reminded me how much I like this little car.  Quick to blend with traffic, nary a road noise in the cabin, comfy seats with a decidedly upscale feel to everything inside.  Sync with MyFordTouch and navvy,  What's not to like?  Even the 80ish mile range isn't an issue as I rarely drive that much in a week for my basic running.  I'd still have the Milan or Audi for road tripping.

Since I last reviewed the Focus EV one thing big has happened.  Enough that I'd consider it for my second car.  A price drop.  Starting retail is 27,829 over 10K cheaper than when it launched.  Add in the current Friends and family pricing and the 7.5K federal tax credit the car is a respectable 21,204.  Now here's where things get really interesting...add 1.5K State tax credit on the Focus EV and the effective starting price is suddenly a very attractive 19,704...why they're practically paying you to by the car.  Taking it easy on the options page and adding in leather seating the price came to 22,143.  I can almost justify trading my 2013 gasser and paying the 10K upgrade costs to bring power to my garage for the home charger.  Take that and smoke it Rowan and Martin.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Audi E tron Quattro Concept Press Conference

Audi started its press conference different than others, different than others with problems with recalls and associated turmoil.  They hit it head on at the beginning of their press conference.  Rather than ignore the pink elephant in the room the addressed it.  They apologized for violating their customers trust with the clean diesel and what has now been determined to be a deliberate effort to foil emissions testing with programming that senses when a car is in test mode to run its cleanest.  They said they will make their customers whole and resolve the problem.  They promised to win their customers respect and loyalty back.

They discussed the A3 e-tron which was one of the Green Car of the Year nominees.  Its really a nice A3 that just so happens to have been electrified as a plug in hybrid.  Making a total 204hp and 243 ft lbs of torque this compact hybrid tops its competition in terms of power and performance yet returns up to 30 miles in EV mode and EPA tests at 87MPe in EV mode and 39 MPG combined in gas mode.  Certainly not prius numbers, but its not a prius.  Its an Audi and it gives up nothing in terms of performance, luxury or build quality.  Its an Audi dammit and you don't compromise the experience.  Its worth the slightly lower number from a prius for an Audi in my not so humble.

The big news however was the E-tron Quatrro concept and its North American debut.  It promises to be a competitively priced (with what...Tesla Model x?) full sized all electric EV with a range of 300 miles.  Enough for a non-stop Vegas run something no EV today can claim.  Creature comforts and performance of an Audi are promised in the production model when it releases in a couple of years.  Unlike other manufacturers releasing EVs, this won't be a CA release only, it will be national.

To ensure range anxiety will be a thing of the past with this car Audi is partnering with a few others to build a fast charge network across the country.  Making it possible to drive cross country, across multiple states, not just a few established interstate routes that we see now.  These fast charging stations promise to charge the E-tron Quattro for 200 miles in 30 minutes.  Not gas fast, but an improvement in mobility with an EV.

More pics from Press Days at the L.A Auto Show in a flickr album

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chevrolet Volt Green Car of the Year with a quick drive

Chevy's Volt that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show last January added an award to his impressive tech.  Green Car of the Year was awarded to the Volt at this years Los Angeles Auto Show...barely 11 months after its reveal.

Its quite the car, nearly 50 miles EV range if you don't try to be Speed Racer, more fuel efficient 1.5l gasser to assist when battery alone isn't enough.

The biggest changes are all visual and touch.  Gone are the sharp angles replaced with curvaceous curve and chrome on the new Volt.  Inside is a real delight.  Gone are the hard edges and plastics replaced with decidedly soft touch vinyls and leather.

Starting at 33,170 the car is priced right, add in the 7.5K Federal tax credit and CA's 1.5K makes this an extremely affordable car with an after credit effective base price of 24,170.  More about pricing and building your own at Chevy Volt Web Site.

My drive was limited due to heightened security concerns at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year.  I was the 3rd driver on a short loop around the convention center.  Just getting into the car you know this is different, really different than the last generation.  The door handle feels more solid and form fitting on your hand, you're greeted with soft touch plastic and vinyl through out.  There's even Android carplay available (as well as Apple) which was an interesting and simple to use interface compared to the old MyLink system the car was equipped with.

Driving it was apparent that it was peppier than the outgoing model, seemed lighter on its feet than simply shedding 200 lbs should do to a car.  Keeping it in EV mode the entire time was pretty easy though I did romp it once to move into traffic and was pleased at how refined the engine start and assist was to the old model.  When the gasser wasn't needed it wasn't even noticed that it shut down, not a wimper or thud like the outgoing model did.  I liked it.

Rear seat is still cramped for 2 only.  The hatch is bigger yielding a more usable storage place for road trips which I see as a real possibility with this version of the Volt.  Its much quieter and more fun to drive than what one normally expects from a hybrid.

Easy to see why it was chosen as Green Car of the Year.

Pics from the Los Angeles Auto Show in a flickr album.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jeep to unveil two Specialty models at L.A Auto Show

Fresh off the press release feed from FCA's Jeep division, there will be two specialty jeeps unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week during press days.  They are trim and hardware upgrades over the basic models they are built off of.  They should get the speed freak and off roading folks just a little bit amped.

The press release:
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
  • New 2016 Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT Night boasts stealth-like premium black appearance, with black roof and lightweight performance wheels 
  • New 2016 Wrangler Backcountry delivers enthusiasts a unique Jeep SUV loaded with off-road capability features to tackle the toughest winter months
The Los Angeles Auto Show will mark the debut of two new-for-2016, special-edition Jeep® models:  the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Night and the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Backcountry.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night blends ultimate performance with a premium black appearance that includes a unique black roof and lightweight performance wheels. To celebrate the winter season, the Jeep Wrangler Backcountry delivers snow lovers a winter-themed Jeep that will get them wherever they want to go with a host of Wrangler's most capable off-road features.
"Jeep enthusiasts anticipate and truly appreciate special-edition models that deliver a customized Jeep SUV right from the factory," said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. "The Grand Cherokee SRT Night and Wrangler Backcountry both offer a distinctive appearance, while delivering an array of prominent performance and capability features."
The 2016 Jeep Wrangler Backcountry arrives in showrooms in late November. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night will be available in the first quarter of 2016.
Jim Frenak-FPI Studios

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night
The new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night features a stealth-like appearance with the roof, rear spoiler, front grille bezels, B and C pillars and side window surrounds all adorned in Gloss Black. The front applique is Satin Black, as is badging on the hood and rear liftgate.
New lightweight, split five-spoke "5Ten" 20-inch wheels are also finished in Satin Black and are designed to showcase the Grand Cherokee SRT8's standard Brembo brakes. Interior appointments include Black Laguna leather with Silver accent stitching and Light Black Chrome bezels.
Available colors for the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night include Velvet Red, Billet Silver and Granite Crystal. 
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night features a standard 6.4-liter V-8 engine with Fuel Saver Technology that delivers 475 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque, an adaptive damping suspension and a Selec-Track Traction Control system.
Available features include a dual-pane sunroof, a 19-speaker 825-watt Harman Kardon stereo system, trailer tow package, three-season tires, a full-size spare tire and a dual-screen rear entertainment system.
Performance numbers for the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night include 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.8 seconds, 0-100-0 mph in 16.3 seconds, quarter mile in the mid 13-second range and a top speed of 160 mph.
Jim Frenak-FPI Studios

2016 Jeep Wrangler Backcountry
The Jeep Wrangler Backcountry boasts a winter capability theme and is based on the Wrangler Sahara model. It features a Backcountry decal on the front fender and rear quarter panel, a unique off-road front and rear powder coated bumper, 17-inch Rubicon wheels painted in Mid-gloss Black and a black fuel fill door. Wrangler Rubicon rock rails are standard on the Wrangler Backcountry, but Sahara side steps are also available at no additional charge. A black hard top is standard, but an optional body color hard top is also available. 
Wrangler Backcountry is available in five colors: Hydro Blue, Black, Bright White, Granite Crystal and Xtreme Purple. Backcountry is the only model in Wrangler's lineup available in Xtreme Purple.
Inside, Wrangler Backcountry features Piano Black vent rings, door handles and grab handles. A vinyl-wrapped console lid and door armrests with Diesel Gray accent stitching, black McKinley leather seat bolsters with black sport mesh inserts, a nine-speaker premium Alpine sound system and all-weather slush mats are featured. The Bluetooth hands-free Connectivity Group is also standard in the Wrangler Backcountry.
About Jeep Brand
Built on more than 70 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.
The Jeep vehicle lineup consists of the Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. To meet consumer demand around the world, all Jeep models sold outside North America are available in both left and right-hand drive configurations and with gasoline and diesel powertrain options. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Elio P5 to debut at L.A. Auto Show

This is going to be either an engineering marvel that will change how we think about cars like Tesla...or be another hysterical blip on the radar like the Dale and illicit snickers.  We have no idea what the car will look like.  A few tidbits have been dropped, 3 wheels, .9liter 3 cylinder, under 10 second 0-60 and a top speed around 100.  An urban car?  Commuter special?

What we do know is that the 10AM on Thursday November 19 the car will be introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show. I'll be there for the fun and excitement and share my thoughts after I see the car.

Friday, October 23, 2015

An Angeleno in Chevy's #FindNewRoads publicity stunt

Chevrolet's newest cars and trucks are staged in front of GM Global Headquarters Tuesday, October 20, 2015 for the kick-off of Chevrolet's Find New Roads Trip -  as drivers head out on a 48-state tour of America's highways and byways in the new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro. The event celebrates Chevrolet's momentum provided by the introduction of five all-new Chevrolet cars in 2015. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for Chevrolet)    

The real story behind this is that a large number of 2016 Chevy Camaros were lined up in Detroit with bloggers from across the country for a massive road trip on the byways of America.  Included in this JozJozJoz of Los Angeles.

Joz flew to Detroit two days ago to meet up with her driving partner JD Brown.  They got lucky and drew the keys to a shiny new 2016 Silver SS for their drive across the NE states.  The story officially starts in Syracuse and they have 36 hours to get the car to Boston.  So far in 24 hours they have left New York, been to Utica, took a ferry to Vermont, drove all night and wound up at some old fort in Maine.  986 miles so far that included lots of stops for photo ops.

When she returns I'll try and get her to tell us about the adventure and how great the new Camaro SS is to live in for 36 hours.  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

5 Finalists named in Green Car of the Year for L.A.Auto Show

Chevy Volt Reveal at Detroit Auto Show January 2015

With the Los Angeles Auto Show being the green car show in the International Show Circuit its only appropriate that the Green Car of the Year is awarded at this show by the Green Car Journal.  The winners in past years haven't always been an electric or even a hybrid, but they've been class leaders in efficiency and emission reductions.  This years fleet of the 5 finalists is no different.

The 5 finalists this year are:
  • Honda Civic
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Toyota Prius
  • Chevy Volt
  • Audi A3 e-tron (my personal favorite)
Judging will be done prior to the announcement on the second day of Press Days at the L. A. Auto Show next month.

The full press release:

Green Car Journal to Reveal Winner of 11th Annual Award at LA Auto Show Press & Trade Days, November 19

LOS ANGELES, CA (October 15, 2015)Green Car Journal has announced its five finalists for the magazine’s prestigious 2016 Green Car of the Year® award. The 2016 models include the Audi A3 e-tron, Chevrolet Volt, Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata, and Toyota Prius.
An increasing number of vehicle models are considered for the Green Car of the Year® program each year, a reflection of the auto industry’s expanding efforts in offering new vehicles with higher efficiency and improved environmental impact. Green Car Journal has been honoring the most important “green” vehicles every year at the LA Auto Show, since its inaugural award announced at the show in 2005.
“This is the strongest field of finalists we’ve seen in our annual Green Car of the Year® program,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and “Each of the five nominees makes a strong environmental statement in distinctly different ways, with a common strategy of recognizing what’s most important to today’s drivers. Their use of wide-ranging powertrain technologies underscores that all approaches are essential to achieving important environmental goals.”
The Finalists:
The A3 Sportback e-tron is Audi's entry in the hot plug-in hybrid vehicle market. This five-door hatchback uses lithium-ion batteries and a 102 hp electric motor to deliver up to 19 miles of all-electric driving, after which its 150 hp, 1.4-liter gasoline TFSI engine provides power for extended driving in efficient hybrid mode.
Chevrolet’s second generation Volt features sportier styling, better performance, and a lighter and more powerful two-motor drive system. The five-passenger, extended range electric now drives up to 53 miles on batteries alone, with its 1.5-liter gasoline powered generator creating on-board electricity to deliver an overall 420 mile range.
Now in its tenth generation, the all-new Honda Civic delivers exemplary fuel efficiency in an affordable, conventionally-powered model. The Civic thoughtfully blends hybrid-like fuel economy and appealing style, with an array of desired amenities and advanced electronics that meets the needs of a great many drivers.
Hyundai’s stylish 2016 Sonata offers it all with efficient gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid choices within the Sonata lineup. New this year, the hybrid delivers up to 43 highway mpg and features distinctive styling cues. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid drives up to 24 miles on batteries with additional range on conventional hybrid power.
The venerable Toyota Prius emerges in 2016 a completely redesigned model, faithfully delivering the attributes expected of an industry-leading hybrid with important design, technology, and efficiency updates. It features a familiar yet bolder exterior and incorporates suspension and other improvements to deliver improved driving dynamics.
The Green Car of the Year® is selected through a majority vote by an esteemed jury that includes celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno, plus leaders of noted environmental and efficiency organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA; Dr. Alan Lloyd, President Emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation; Mindy Lubber, President of CERES; and Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy.
During the award’s vetting process, Green Car Journal editors consider all vehicles, fuels, and technologies as an expansive field of potential candidates is narrowed down to a final five. Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Many factors are considered including efficiency, EPA and CARB emissions certification, performance characteristics, ‘newness,’ and affordability. Availability to the mass market is important to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact, and finalists must be available for sale by January 1st of the award year.
About Green Car of the Year®

Since 1992, Green Car Journal has been recognized as the leading authority on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment. The GCOY award is an important part of Green Car Journal’s mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. presents ‘green car’ articles online along with a focus on connectivity. Green Car of the Year® is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc.

Hashtag: #GreenCarJournal

About the Los Angeles Auto Show and Connected Car Expo
Founded in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show®) is the first major North American auto show of the season each year.  The show’s 2015 Press & Trade Days begin with the Connected Car Expo (CCE) at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live on Nov. 17, followed by LA Auto Show’s vehicle debuts and press and trade events at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Nov. 18 and 19.  LA Auto Show will open to the public from Nov. 20-29.  The third annual CCE will unite automotive and technology professionals in an effort to increase development and foster relationship-building in the connected car industry, providing attendees with access to the key players and top media constructing the future of the automotive mobility.  The CCE conference is where the rules for how vehicles are made, sold, serviced and owned are changing and where the playbook is being written.  Named “Best Car Tech/Connected Car Trade Show” by AUTO Connected Car News, CCE is where the new auto industry gets business done, unveils groundbreaking products and makes strategic announcements in front of media from around the globe.  LA Auto Show is endorsed by the Greater L.A. New Car Dealer Association and is operated by ANSA Productions.  To receive the latest show news and information, follow LA Auto Show on Twitter at or via Facebook at and sign up for alerts at  For more information about CCE, please visit

Hashtag: #LAAutoShow

Friday, October 16, 2015

Alfa Romeo to unveil sexy sibling to the 4c at L.A. Auto Show

Alfa Romeo is on a roll and FCA is out to introduce a sibling to the sexy 4c they revealed in Detroit in January.  What will it be?   Sexy sedan to take on BMW's 3...because you aren't a serious sports car maker if you can't do a sexy sedan, right?  We'll have to wait for 11/18 to see what they have in store.

To make sure this is a storied reveal Alfa Romeo has worked with the Palm Springs Concorso to bring 35 classic Alfa's from their show the weekend prior caravan style to the Los Angeles Convention Center and build on their past with this new automobile.  Should be interesting, sadly that part of the show won't be availble to the public, only to the motor I'll take lots of pics for you at the event to make sure you don't miss a single sexy detail.

You need to make the jump to read the full press release on Alfa Romeo at the L.A. Auto Show

Saturday, October 3, 2015

All-New Ford Focus RS Coming to USA

Dang...I'm so anxious to get my hands on this.  Love the Focus ST as it is, but adding ludicrous power to the tune of 310+ from a 2.3L Ecoboost and adding AWD will make it insane.  INSANE.

But it gets better, Ford is releasing teasers fast and furious.  The first of the teasers here this week.

The transformation from the pedestrian Focus SE we commonly see to the RS is going to see an amazing piece of engineering in this machine.  WRX...lock your doors they'll get blown off as this beast passes you.  Ken Block drives this car like no one other in development of this car.

Drool...did I mention I can't wait to get my hands on this road ready rally car?  More details on Ford Social.  Or better yets start with a well equipped RS starting at 36.6K and build your own at  I built mine in Stealth Grey with the RS2 package for 39.4K....still quite the deal.  Maybe I should trade in my A4 and actually do this car now that the last teen driver is about to fly the coup?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rancho Palos Verdes Concours d' Elegance 2015

The premiere auto show of So Cal took place this past Sunday. What a show it was.  From pristine restorations to meticulous "preservation" class aka survivors this show displayed the best of luxury automobiles of days gone by.  Yes, there were a few special interest cars in a class to themselves that contained more basic rides, but the bulk was the luxury tourer or sports car from days gone by.

A few of my favorites.
1919 Buick #10Tonneau

1929 Buick LaSalle Sport Touring

1942 Packard Darrin Victoria

1950 Jaguar

1950 Lincoln Sport Sedan

1950 Lincoln Premiere

1963 Ferrari 400 Super America
1960 Renault Jolly

All images and pics by me.  More in my flickr album.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

1 Millionth Corvette repaired after dip into sink hole

Jim Fecht, GM News Photo - used with permission

After losing several classic, important or just damn cool Corvette's to a sinkhole at the Corvette Museum several months back GM didn't just sit around.  They fished those cars out of the sink hole and repaired them all one, by one.  The most recently finished was Corvette #1Million.  Glad it was saved and with the time put into it, prolly better than it was new.

The official Press release:
After more than four months and 1,200 man-hours of painstaking craftsmanship, restoration of the milestone 1 millionth Corvette – a white 1992 convertible – is complete and the car is unveiled Thursday, September 3, 2015 back at its home at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where it returns to the permanent exhibit. Executive Director Global Chevrolet Design John Cafaro (left) and General Motors Global Design Fabrication Operations Director David Bolognino unveil the vehicle. The car was damaged on February 12, 2014, when it and seven other rare Corvettes tumbled into a sinkhole that opened beneath the museum’s Skydome area. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)

Executive Director Global Chevrolet Design John Cafaro addresses the gathering at the unveiling of the restored 1 millionth Corvette – a white 1992 convertible – Thursday, September 3, 2015 back at its home at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. After more than four months and 1,200 man-hours of painstaking craftsmanship, General Motors returns the Corvette to the museum's permanent exhibit. The car was damaged on February 12, 2014, when it and seven other rare Corvettes tumbled into a sinkhole that opened beneath the museum’s Skydome area. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)

During the restoration of the 1-millionth Corvette, the 1992 Corvette damaged in the sinkhole disaster at the National Corvette Museum, Chevrolet found hundreds of workers’ signatures on the vehicle from workers during its production at the Bowling Green Assembly plant. Chevrolet was able to save all of the signatures except for one -  from retired General Motors employee Angela Lamb, who recreates her signature on a panel of the car before it is reattached - to complete the restoration process Thursday, September 3, 2015 at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. GM Global Design Fabrication Operations Director David Bolognino (left) and Executive Director Global Chevrolet Design John Cafaro hold the panel for Lamb. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)

General Motors Global Design Fabrication Operations Director David Bolognino attaches the final panel to complete the restoration the 1-millionth Corvette Thursday, September 3, 2015 at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The historic vehicle was damaged in the sinkhole disaster at the National Corvette Museum in February of 2014. Bolognino oversaw the restoration - more than four months and 1,200 man-hours of painstaking craftsmanship - leading up to the return of the vehicle to the permanent exhibit at the museum. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)

Thirty World Debuts Confirmed for LA Auto Show

I'm so jazzed, I absolutely love the hustle and bustle and showmanship with the manufacturers trying to one up each other with their new car or concept car reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  With 30 new car reveals on tap, this year should be no different than the years prior.  Awesomesauce.

The press release:
LOS ANGELES, CA (September 2, 2015) – The Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show®) announced today that 30 world debuts, totaling 50 vehicle unveilings overall, will be introduced in front of media, analysts and automotive industry executives during its Press & Trade Days, November 17-19, 2015. 
Almost every manufacturer will be making news, and while most have yet to announce details, a few manufacturers have begun to share their debut plans.  Specifically, Infiniti will have a global reveal of its all-new QX30 crossover and Hyundai will host the world premiere of its all-new Elantra.  Other debuts include Jaguar’s first luxury SUV, the F-PACE, and Kia’s next-generation Sportage. Other automakers officially confirming premieres include Alfa Romeo, BMW, Bentley, Fiat, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru and Volkswagen.
This year’s global and North American debuts will deliver production and concept vehicles representing the ever-growing performance, mid-size cross over, electric and high-technology categories.  Debut categories range from luxury SUVs and flagship sedans to new compact sedans., the world’s largest and most trusted online source of consumer technology news and reviews, will live-stream and provide commentary about the latest debuts and groundbreaking technology on Car Tech, CNET’s auto focused online show.  The coverage will be led by CNET Car Tech Editors-at-Large and industry experts, Brian Cooley and Tim Stevens, and will allow the excitement of Press & Trade Days to be experienced by everyone, not just industry insiders, around the world.  Brian Cooley will also serve as emcee of the LA Auto Show's Connected Car Expo.
KABC Los Angeles (KABC7), is also the official television media partner of the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.  KABC7 will broadcast event highlights in an hour-long special in Primetime November 20 at 9 p.m. PST, showcasing breakthrough auto innovations, new vehicles and interviews with industry insiders.  The show will also be streamed live and available on-demand on the “Watch ABC” app.
For the third consecutive year, the LA Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo (CCE) will kick-off Press & Trade Days on November 17.  This opening day will be dedicated to the convergence of technology and the automobile and will now occupy virtually the entire JW Marriott at the adjacent L.A. Live entertainment complex. The Connected Car Expo will feature over 30 exhibitors and sponsors, an entire day of presentations, news announcements and networking opportunities.  
The remaining Press & Trade Days will continue at the Los Angeles Convention Center (November 18 & 19) and will focus on vehicle debuts.  More than 25,000 auto industry executives, including 4,500 media from around the world, are expected to attend.
Registration for the show is now open.  CCE exhibitors and attendees with a three-day pass will be able to witness this year’s vehicle debuts and have access to an all-new CCE networking destination at the convention center.
For more information visit and
About the Los Angeles Auto Show and Connected Car Expo

Founded in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show®) is the first major North American auto show of the season each year.  The show’s 2015 Press & Trade Days begin with the Connected Car Expo (CCE) at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live on Nov. 17, followed by LA Auto Show’s vehicle debuts and press and trade events at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Nov. 18 and 19.  LA Auto Show will open to the public from Nov. 20-29.  The third annual CCE will unite automotive and technology professionals in an effort to increase development and foster relationship-building in the connected car industry, providing attendees with access to the key players and top media constructing the future of the automotive mobility.  The CCE conference is where the rules for how vehicles are made, sold, serviced and owned are changing and where the playbook is being written.  Named “Best Car Tech/Connected Car Trade Show” by AUTO Connected Car News, CCE is where the new auto industry gets business done, unveils groundbreaking products and makes strategic announcements in front of media from around the globe.  LA Auto Show is endorsed by the Greater L.A. New Car Dealer Association and is operated by ANSA Productions.  To receive the latest show news and information, follow LA Auto Show on Twitter or via Facebook at and sign up for alerts  For more information about CCE, please visit


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Art Car or Mad Max refugee

Spotted this converted 199Something Chevy Caprice in an alley in Old Town Monrovia.  Talk about not dieing a dignified death!  I have no idea what its for, but it sure is different.  A spice for my morning walk.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Look Ma...its a 4 holer found on road alive

Found on Road Alive...and in use at the Mission in Carmel by the Sea.  This gorgeous late 40s Buick Road Master...from the days Buick had cache and meant something to aspire to.  Of course arguably they are in a period of rebirth and the brand is alive and well in China at least.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

drifters take over the freeways...have you seen it yet?

I've seen the drifters in action in a smaller scale and certainly don't condone taking over a freeway and inconveniencing hundreds of other drivers.

What I do advocate is find a place they can practice their driving skills safely and not put other drivers at risk.  Maybe open drifting days at local speedways or race tracks.  Giant parking lots like Santa Anita Park in Arcadia that are often empty during the off season.  Certainly there must be something we can do to give them a safe release.  Your thoughts?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Not trying to pick a fight...

But this is too funny not to share.

And  you know my position is when the manufacturers compete we only win.  Found this on a Dodge truck fan's we know his allegiance.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chevy Bolt, Volt and Goat

Actually, I'm kidding on the last one, Goat or GTO died with Pontiac which is sad.  The future for Chevy however is pretty electric.  Very Electric and all electric with the recently revealed Chevrolet Bolt.  The car Elon Musk said no manufacture could build, well Chevy just did it.  A purpose built from the ground up all electric car, the Bolt concept was revealed at this years NAIAS in Detroit.
The Chevrolet Bolt due to launch next year is GM's latest iteration of the electric car.  Recall they did the EV-1 sold through Saturn dealerships some 20 years ago then killed it as there was really no demand for electric cars then.  Flash forward to now and CA mandate for zero emissions auto and there's an artificial demand for electric cars and they are heavily subsidized with Federal and State incentives to the tune of nearly 10K depending on your income bracket.  That's not chump change and with a moderately priced car like the Bolt it suddenly becomes very affordable.

What we do know about the bolt is that it is a tall EV to maximize interior room.  It will use GM's newest Lithium ion batteries and capable of being fast charged.  Range is preliminarily estimated at 200 miles which makes this very practical for everything but extended road Vegas runs with this baby unless you have access to a fast charger at the half way point.  Still 200 miles is nothing to sneeze at and pretty much what one gets around town in a compact gasser.  Nice job if the numbers pull through.

Speaking of numbers officially Chevy says the price will be about $30,000 for a nicely equipped Bolt.  Off the record I over heard in the potty at NAIAS some GM Execs talking about how they were being pressed hard by another publication for a hard price.  They acknowledged full sticker price will be closer to 40K and with Federal and local incentives the price would be down around the 30K.  Makes sense, why the guess is incentive amounts will vary and are in question with the 2016 elections. No official on sale date was give for the car.

At the end of the day the Bolt is a nice dart tossed at Elon Musk and his "I build the cars no one else dares to".  (Several such darts were tossed at Tesla/Musk at NAIAS but I digress and giving the devil his due he's the first to really build a EV that people want and respect as a real car not a novelty).

Chevy didn't stop with the Bolt, they also have revealed the next generation Chevy Volt.   This car gets a host of feature updates as well as technology and complete redesign on the outside.

The Volt for 2016 maintains its profile but all the hard edges and creases are massaged into gentle curves and swoops.  It looks much more aerodynamic and mainstream.

Under the hood it has a newer battery pack, again using their newest battery technology.  This combined with a new gas engine for range extending improves performance, mileage and can travel up to 50 miles in all electric mode.  Price also is lower than the first generation Volt which adds up to a much more affordable gas/electric hybrid.

UPDATE 8/6/2015 General Motors Executive Chief Engineer Electrified Vehicles Pamela Fletcher announces the second-generation Chevrolet Volt delivers 53 miles of pure EV range, based on EPA testing, Tuesday, August 4, 2015 during her 'Advanced Powertrain Forum:  Developing Powertrain Diversity' presentation at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan..

More pics from NAIAS and the Chevy Bolt/Volt can be found in my flickr album.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

First L.A Auto Show and CCE Info being sent out...

I'm so jazzed, tickled even.  Today my credentials were approved again for the L.A Auto Show in November and the first press release on the topic hit the old inbox.  Yeah...
The press release:
Fortune partners with CCE to help recognize
new auto industry disruptors
LOS ANGELES, CA (July 16, 2015) – The Los Angeles Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo (CCE) announced its plans to establish the premier top ten list of the hottest and most influential startups to hit the automotive scene.  Slated for reveal in September by Fortune, the inaugural shortlist will recognize startups with the potential to shape the future of the new automotive industry.
LA Auto Show’s Top Ten Automotive Startups (Top 10) will be selected by the CCE Advisory Board, comprised of senior executives from companies including Aeris Communications, AT&T, City of Los Angeles, Elektrobit, Ellis & Associates, Google, Microsoft, Mobile Electronics Group, NVIDIA, Pandora and Strategy Analytics.  Following the Board’s consideration and extensive analysis of qualified newcomers, ten startups will be chosen based on the following criteria: vision, innovation, unique perspective and the likelihood of technology adoption and success.
“Today’s automakers are looking at California’s technological hotbeds to spark their innovation, but there are thousands of companies competing to bring their technologies to market,” said Andy Gryc, CCE Conference Director.  “We feel that the startups identified by our Advisory Board will be the true standouts among a crowded field, companies that will push the envelope of the automotive world in ways that will change the way cars are built, bought and driven.”
Part of LA Auto Show’s broader Press & Trade Days, CCE is the award-winning conference and trade show that unites innovators, manufacturers, futurists and influencers to further the convergence of technology and the automobile.  This year’s CCE will be held at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live on Nov. 17, followed by LA Auto Show’s press and trade events at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Nov. 18-19.  CCE exhibitors and attendees with a premium pass can witness this year’s vehicle debuts and have access to an all-new CCE networking destination at the convention center.
Over the next few months, the LA Auto Show and CCE will announce more details about the 2015 show, including session/discussion topics and industry expert participants.
For more information visit and

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

2015 Jeep Patriot - Road trip review

So fraz left So Cal for a reunion and touring of the Ozarks and Southern IL wine country (they have one...who knew). As luck would have it Enterprise Rent a Car didn't have the Chrysler 200 in stock that I had reserved months prior and had really wanted to have.  They offered up this as an alternative which I took as it was still better than the massive SUV's they had left.

During the course of my week with the car I put on 1000 miles and was pleasantly surprised by the little beast as well as disappointed.  After having spent a lot of time in Honda CRV and the Ford Escape cute utes this car had a lot to live up to as the class leaders have raised the bar so high.

Powertrain, thankfully this car was equipped with the 2.4L 4 cylinder and 6 SPEED AUTOMATIC.  (My daughter has the Compass equipped with the CVT and I hate that combo).  The combination always found the right gear to keep you moving, though to down shift you did need to goose it good.  It rewarded you with taking off and accelerating quickly to the speed you need to climb a hill or pass a slow moving truck.  For the latter, plan accordingly as this naturally aspirated motor takes a bit to build a head of steam and passing without a long straight stretch is a challenge.  Passing, hill climbing and getting onto a freeway is an exercise in cacophony and aural displeasure.  The engine is coarse sounding and doesn't like to be pushed.

However, settle into a highway cruise where you can just set the cruise control and fly this car rewards you with a class competitive silence in the cabin.  Only when pressed does its bargain basement powertrain show.

Mileage was the big surprise with the Patriot.  Tanks were 22.7 mpg, 27.9 mpg, 28.9 mpg and 22.8 mpg.  The highest numbers came with flat land cruising and freeway cruise control in use.   The lower numbers were urban freeway and hill country driving with lots of hills and twisty bits.  Not bad and it compares favorably with its EPA numbers of 21 City, 23 Combined and 28 Highway.  (Note the CVT is rated 20/21/23 so why exactly would anyone get that tranny?)

This model was equipped with 4 wheel drive.  A waste in summer you say?  Hardly.  The area of the country was in flood mode after the wettest June on record.  It rained daily when I was there.  The 4WD was a simple flick of a switch to activate and you were ready to cross washed out roads, debris filled roads, ford creeks what have you.  My first flash food ravaged roadway I was glad I had the Patriot instead of the 200.  Trust me.

Engaging 4WD is easy peasy.  Flip a switch and its all silently activated.  The only way you know its on is by the "4WD" lit up in the instrument cluster.  Which leads to me a niggle...the switches for 4WD are right where you'd slide a cell phone while driving, far to easy to put it into 4WD mode by accident for my tastes.

The interior was comfortable.  A lot of hard plastics and cheap switchery.   Not at all what the leaders in the class give you.  But I suppose since its a Jeep you cut it some slack for not being upscale as this cute ute is meant for people who will actually do some occasional light off-roading and durable, read not easily soiled, materials is an asset not a liability.

One of the more interesting things with this car that caught me off guard was wind noise.  The mirrors were placed in such a way that at freeway speeds they generated a lot of noise on their own.  Not a whistle, but  rumble as the air tumbled over them.  In the rain you could see the fouled up air flow in that water collected on the window and swirled about blocking your view of the mirrors when travelling on the highway.

What absolutely dumbfounds me is the lack of technology in the car.  The closest thing to being in this decade was the auxiliary jack on the radio.  Bluetooth isn't even available as an option on the basic model such as this rental.  Really?   Yes, Really, something the class leaders offer up as standard in base models isn't even a pipe dream here.

Price, to build out this basic Patriot as equipped you start with the stripped down at 17.8K model, add 4WD, add A/C (not standard...sheesh), power window/locks and cruise control with the AM/FM/CD player with Auxiliary and you've now pushed the sticker up to 23.9K.  I had to choke on that as the class leaders add so many more features standard for the same money that I have a hard time backing down from them to consider the Patriot as a real option.  Maybe its trading on the legendary trail abilities that sell the model.  For my money I want more creature comforts and upscale feel than it had to offer.  IF creature comfort and upscale feel aren't important and off-road capability is then the Jeep may be your ticket.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chevy reveals next gen Camaro Convertible

The good folks premiered the new Camaro convertible. Nice looking. Not as long and sleek, slim as a Mustang but nice. I'll reserve final judgement for when I see it in person.

Details in advance of the leak GM promises it will be lighter and faster than a Mustang. Will it be as nimble remains to be seen.

From the press release offered up little in the way of details: 

---------- ----------
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible.
 The Camaro convertible has a hard tonneau cover that deploys automatically, providing a more refined, finished appearance when the top is lowered and stowed. 

Chevrolet Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser unveils the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Wednesday, June 24, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Camaro convertible has a hard tonneau cover that deploys automatically, providing a more refined, finished appearance when the top is lowered and stowed. It is capable of opening or closing at speeds up to 30 mph. (Photo by John F. Martin for GM.)
Steve Fecht
GM News Photos

Photos are for Editorial and Social Media Use Only. They may also be archived.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ford F150 FX4 V8

The real surprise in the V8 isn't the subtle natural rumble in the exhaust, the premium feel of the cloth interior and touch surfaces, nor the substantive changes in ride and handling over the outgoing 2014 model.  The real surprise can in the MPG jump for the V8 with the switch to the all aluminum body for this model year.

Over the 20 mile loop of nicely moving freeway traffic, urban streets and a big hill climb this truck returned an incredible 19.2MPG, half mile per gallon less than the 2.7L EcoBoost.  Its also a huge increase over a 2014 model, 4X2 with the same engine that I drove a while back that returned 15.8 over the same loop.  That switch to all aluminum makes this V8 down right thrifty for a pickup truck.
There are subtle differences between this and the volume leading 2.7l Ecoboost.  The added weight of the V8 over the tiny turbo V6 you do notice when making turns on a twisty hill.  The extra weight makes it feel just a bit more ponderous and slow to react to input speeds, on wavey freeway it wants to bob a bit more before recovering.  Nothing obnoxious, just noticeable.

The interior on this model was the all cloth.  Well, actually a very nice durable artificial fiber called Repreve made from recycled water bottles. As a part of its commitment to sustainable, recyclable and renewable materials, Ford wants to help change that. So this week, Ford announced that all fabrics in the all-new F-150 will be made from REPREVE fiber, a sustainable fiber made from 100 percent recycled materials, such as plastic water bottles.The F-150 is the sixth Ford vehicle to be manufactured with this environmentally responsible, high-performance material. And this simple substitution will have a major impact on the planet: By adding REPREVE to the F-150, Ford will divert five million plastic bottles from landfills each year.

On the topic of the F150 being ecologically friendly I got a real treat courtesy my friends at Ford where I was their guest at the NAIAS aka Detroit Auto Show this past January.  Not only is the new F150 made of all aluminum that will contribute to better fuel economy and fewer greenhouse emissions than its competition, it also is manufactured in a green plant.  The Ford Rouge.

The Rouge was the first, and for several years, largest factory in the world with a living roof.  A prairie constructed of native plants on the roof that grow and produce oxygen and serve as insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs at the plant.

But that's not the end of of the The Rouge's ecologically friendliness.  It's also a green plant. Its a near zero waste generated plant. IE everything is recycled, reused or re-purposed so they have near zero landfill waste created in the manufacture of the new F 150.

Manufacture of the all aluminum F150 is an expensive proposition as military grade aluminum doesn't come cheap.  There's milling waste that's captured via vacuums and traps that's remelted and recycled into new aluminum.  This yields little waste and more efficient manufacture that offsets the added cost of the raw aluminum.  Added bonus to this is that recycled aluminum is cheaper than new aluminum made from raw materials as its less energy intensive.

All in all the F150 is an amazing vehicle thats eco-friendly from manufacture to on the road in the drivers hands.  The V8 was a real surprise in improvement from the outgoing 2014 which was no slug in its own right.  For 2015 its more refined, more capable and more eco-friendly.  A win on 3 levels.

The cost of entry on pickup trucks is no longer the inexpensive proposition it once was.  These are in many ways luxury vehicles that happen to be very capable haulers for whatever the activity may be.  The entry cost for the basic XLT starts at a pretty reasonable 36.4K.  Add in the FX4 all wheel drive, creature comforts like Sync/MyFord with Navigation and the prices jumps up pretty quickly to $40.4K  Not unreasonable for what you get.  For more information visit and build your own.

all pics by me, more high res images from the shoot on my flickr album.