Monday, March 30, 2015

April is all about the Car Show

First show is April 19 adjacent to Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park.  Its the Fabulous Fords Forever show that covers everything Ford made from 1905 to the current model year.  Sometimes there are even teasers for coming production cars.  There will be a huge showing of Mustangs.  Without a doubt this is by FAR the best single manufacture show in So. Cal.

I can tell you parking is tight in the area later in the day. Arrive early to beat the crows.

Time: 10am-6pm.  Location:Beach Blvd at La Palms, Buena Park, CA 90620  MAP HERE.  WEB SITE

The following weekend is the Concorsco Ferrari '15 held in Old Town Pasadena.  Its open free to the public and will included hundreds of Ferrari's along the stretch of Colorado from Raymond Avenue to Pasadena Avenue.  Quite the collection of cars.

Also known as Ferraris on Colorado, this signature event hosted by the Ferrari Club of America Southwest Region delights over 5,000 owners, enthusiasts and spectators each year. Impressive Ferraris from around the country will line Colorado Boulevard from Pasadena Avenue to Raymond Avenue. Adding to the entertainment will be a vast array of sponsors and partners displaying exceptional sports and luxury cars, offering quality accessories & fine apparel and introducing various automotive related services. This Ferrari exclusive annual concours is free and open to the public. Ferraris from 2004 and earlier are eligible for judging. Judging will follow FCA National Guidelines IAC/PFA (International Advisory Council for the Preservation of Ferrari Automobiles). Awards in up to ten classes will be made at the conclusion of the event by an esteemed panel of Ferrari experts.

Date April 26, 2015, 10AM - 3PM West Colorado Blvd, Pasadena CA MAP HERE  WEB SITE

Friday, March 27, 2015

2015 Ford Edge - quick road trip review

I recently got the chance to drive the new 2015 Ford Edge and I was impressed.  IMPRESSED!

I don't use that word lightly, especially with non-car automobiles.  I'm a car guy for crying out loud, and this cross-over made me stop for a bit and rethink and adjust my opinion on them.

First impression as you walk up the edge is that is a very organic flowing machine.  Lots of lines, curves and sex appeal.  Gone is the slab slided straight edged body style of the first generation.  Add in LED lights all over the place and the trapezoidal grill and you have an entirely new vehicle, yet familiar to the first generation.

The version I drove in a lap around Arcadia (SGV, the 626 to you neophytes) just added to my overall impression of the vehicle. Pep and power in regular driving with the 2.0l EcoBoost was ample for keeping up with the urban traffic flow.  Little engine or road noise entered the cabin.  Ditto road dimples and bumps didn't intrude and interrupt the ride.  Very solid, but not sloppy with the handling.

Handling..I got to do that on a closed circuit track.  Its nearest competitor the Toyota Highlander Limited couldn't keep up.  The Edge inspired confidence and dared you to push it a little harder in the corners.  AND it still rode really nice doing that.  The folks at Ford nailed it with this CUV.

The interior bits are significantly upgraded on the 2015 Edge.  Single needle tailored leather seats are comfy and I really appreciated the cooled seats option on the blistering hot day I drove the car.  Great soft touch materials abound.  The redundant knobs for the infotainment have solid feeling knobs.  Its all got a high end quality feel

Sync/MyFord Touch is also available in the upper end models as standard equipment.  It works really nicely.  I'm hot, I'm cold, Directions home all work like a charm.  Sync 3 rolls out next year and it will be a significant upgrade over this system...more able to understand diction differences, more commands and an easier user interface.

Mileage...this isn't a biggy for buyers at the moment as we in the L.A area are still enjoying gas a good $1.10 cheaper than the 4.39 of January.  But you know as well these cheap prices are just a fluke and eventually OPEC will put the screws to us again and voila back over $4/gallon.  Then Mileage matters and the Edge rocks out some solid numbers.  The 2.0L EcoBoost showed an indicated 22.3 MPG in a loop of urban driving.  The 2.7l Ecoboost on the TRACK showed an indicated 19 (as a comparison the Toyota Highlander had an indicated 7.9 which is the worst I've ever seen at one of these events).

Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 EcoBoost Challenge visits Los Angeles

This past weekend the 2015 EcoBoost Challenge visited Los Angeles at the Santa Anita Park in suburban Arcadia here in the SGV.  To say I had fun would be an understatement.  I mean...what could be more fun than cars on a closed circuit track?

There are several stations within the event.  Each has its own merit...peaks in my not so humble opinion with the ST Academy where you get to drive a Fiesta ST or Focus ST in a reaction time, timed competition.  Also in that group is the chance to really drive a Mustang EcoBoost the way it was meant to through twisty corners.

First up was the Drive the competition.  Interesting choice of vehicles representing the areas Ford dominates in the market place, Crossovers and Trucks against some very worthy competitors.

  • Ford Escape Titanium VS Honda CRV
  • Ford Edge VS Toyota Highlander
  • Ford F150 VS Chevy Silverado
First drive it was the compact crossovers, Escape and CRV.  The Edge handily won all categories when you look at driving dynamics.  It was very capable in the corners and slalom.  It smacked the CRV upside the head and left it dead in the straight line acceleration portion of the test.  Honda's CRV does get a nod for improvements in the interior and the addition of the 2.4l direct injection Earth Dreams engine to the carlet for 2015.  The changes weren't enough though for it to best the Escape on any level whether it be sheer performance or aesthetics.

Second up for me was driving the 2015 Edge Sport against the Toyota Highlander Limited.  The Limited was very nicely outfitted and full of wonderful soft touch materials.  Straight line acceleration was really very good, certainly more capable than what needs for daily driving.  Handling was another matter, the steering was so over boosted there was no road feel and the front end dove under hard braking or in corners it was more like a 45 year old Buick than a contemporary car based cross over.  The all new for 2015 Edge was equipped with the 2.7l EcoBoost and it handily spanked the Highlander on any metric you want to consider for driving enjoyment and confidence.  It was really that good.  Add in the significantly upgraded for 2015 interior and standard features and you will agree Ford really will handily beat the outgoing models sales.

Last up for me was the Trucks.  The Silverado for this year got a direct injected 5.3l V8 that was a significant upgrade from last year.  Its definitely more powerful than the trucks in the past, the interior needs a lot of work. Like I noted last year this LTZ doesn't have a better look and feel to build quality than my '13 Focus and that's unacceptable when you are talking vehicles in the $40K price point.  The F150 as I've written in the past is superior in this category and this 2.7l EcoBoost equipped Lariat was no exception.

The track made a change with the trucks, instead of the curvy road portion of the track used with the cross overs they add in a rough road test....2X4s laid out on the tarmac for you to drive over and get a feel for how the truck will handle and ride on a rough cobbled dirt road in the woods.  Here the Ford and Chevy were pretty neck in neck for acceleration and braking.  In the slaloms they were again similar with Ford getting the nod for not understeering and plowing through, I chalk that up to the lower weight on the front due to smaller engine and aluminum construction.  The rough road test...Chevy had more cowl shake and noticeable bed shake than the Ford...I presume that comes from a more solid build with the "military grade aluminum"

The ST Challenge portion of the day was without a doubt my most favorite part of the day.

Due to a slight equipment malfunction the timer was working so I got a few extra laps in the Focus ST.  To perform this challenge one gets a brief lesson in how the drag timer works, rev to 3,000 RPM and let the clutch out and floor it until the finish line.  Then you get to run through a slalom and a twisty curved set on the track before returning to the pit.

Mustang EcoBoost challenge was fun as well.  Accelerate hard, mash the brakes for a quick 90 degree turn into some rough curves, then a slalom then a cool down straight away to the pits.  Fun.

To learn about the Ecoboost Challenge for a potential visit to your area visit the web site HERE.   This was the only shot for SoCal this year.  The next closest they will be is NorCal in June.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fast cars on a track...everyone welcome this weekend

Its the Ford Ecoboost Challenge at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia
Don't miss this one. Its where Ford shows its moxy and puts its car against the class leaders for you to compare on a closed circuit track.  None of that mamby pamby wussy dealer rep with you as you drive around the block on a test drive.  Its real cars on a closed circuit obstacle course where you get to do the things you've always wanted to do.  Drive fast and accurate and really compare cars.  Being on a closed circuit your safety is way up and you still can see how well they brake, accelerate, steer, ride and a host of other factors.  It shows that Ford has the chutzpah to put their cars up to a challenge.  No fear. No Pain, just fun in great cars.

The best part for me without a doubt ALWAYS is the ST Performance Academy.  You get a short introduction on the course from a professional driver that includes tips on how to go your absolute fastest in the timed parts.  Everyone is a winner just because you get to drive a fast car how it was meant to be, not stuck in bump and grind traffic.

Attending is easy.  Simply sign up for a drive time on the Ecoboost Drive 2015 web site.  Show up on Saturday March 14 with your drivers license and you are good to go.

Also...bring your sunblock as its going to be a clear, hot sunny 90+ day here in the SGV.

Deets: Ecoboost Drive 2015 Santa Anita Race Park, Arcadia CA.  MAP HERE