Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mazda MX5 RF delivered 2 months early to L.A Area Customer at L.A. Auto Show

Photograph courtesy Mazada

Mazda's Holiday Surprise: 2017 MX-5 Miata RF Arrives at Dealers Two Months Early

- First Customer Recognized by MNAO CEO Masahiro Moro at Los Angeles Auto Show -

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- There's plenty to be thankful for this week, but Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) has added to that list by announcing that the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF has officially gone on sale in the U.S. The MX-5 RF arrives two months ahead of its originally announced timing due to shifts in the production schedule.

Dave Putter, the first customer to take delivery in the U.S., met with MNAO President and CEO Masahiro Moro onstage at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week to receive his keys ahead of taking home his MX-5 RF Launch Edition the following day. Putter was among the first customers to order one of the 1,000 MX-5 RF Launch Edition vehicles in October and is now the proud owner of his 16th Mazda and his eighth MX-5 Miata.

"Mazda is a unique and special car company that aims to do more than simply sell cars," said Moro. "We want to build lifelong relationships with our customers and fans, providing them a fulfilling ownership experience they couldn't get anywhere else."
Putter's MX-5 RF was air-freighted to Huntington Beach Mazda, where he took delivery. Approximately 500 additional MX-5 RFs will arrive nationwide beginning in early December, followed by wider-scale availability throughout the winter and spring.

The first-ever MX-5 RF gets its name from its exotic KODO design—"Retractable Fastback"—in which its power-operated top can deploy from closed to open or vice versa in a mere 13 seconds. Complementing the World Car of the Year-winning MX-5 roadster, MX-5 RF satisfies the open-air experience of the soft top model but with a vastly different, coupe-like design and premium accoutrements. It comes powered by a free-revving, 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G engine, paired with either a SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, sending power to the rear wheels
Available exclusively in MX-5 RF Club and Grand Touring trim levels and starting from an MSRP of $31,5551, the hardtop MX-5 adds a 4.6-inch TFT color gauge display in addition to its folding roof. It is also the only MX-5 variant available with the liquid-metal-like Machine Gray Metallic paint.

MX-5 RF Launch Edition is based on the Grand Touring model and comes finished exclusively in Machine Gray. It is the only U.S.-bound MX-5 model to have Auburn Nappa leather and a hand-painted black top for the 2017 model year.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers.  Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.  For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.
1MSRP does not include $835 for destination and handling ($880 in Alaska) or any additional taxes or fees. Dealers set actual sale prices.

Cadillac reveals CT6 Plug-in Hybrid at L.A Auto Show

Its an interesting car. With its competitors over at Mercedes Benz talking full electric cars in the very near future this Plug-in is a step in the right direction.  Full electric ala Tesla (showing for the first time at the L.A Auto Show) would seem to be the better direction to go given the green car mandates in CA.

Its a stylish enough car, certainly doesn't scream butt ugly freak mobile like the big volume hybrids.  But will this take off in green cred conscious Los Angeles?  Hard telling given as we aren't a predictable lot.  We'll know in Spring when it goes on sale if it will be a hit here or not.

For full press release make the jump.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Buick debuts new Cascada Sport at L,A Auto Show

This car was the darling of NAIAS 2 years ago.  Its Buick's Cascada, a compact luxury convertible.  A nice enough car for 2, perfect for those who really don't have to take other passengers.  Yes, there's a back seat, but with only a couple of inches between front seat back and the leading edge of the rear seat you won't get adults that want to keep as friends long back there.  But I digress.

Its a sexy 'mericanized Opel.  In Sport Touring trim  with the Dark Appearance package it appears to have the makings to put this car on the charts for more than a few buyers.  With it already outselling its entry level luxury tourers from BMW and Audi its safe to say this is a big deal for Buick and GM.

Full Press Release after the jump.

3D Printing on a grand scale at L.A Auto Show

This was some pretty amazing stuff. CAD/CAM and then printed 3D from suspension parts to full monocoque chassis to complete cars, the display had it all.  See in in the lobby of the South Hall of the L.A Auto Show now through November 27.

Tickets range in price from $5-12 and can be bought in advance HERE.  I STRONGLY recommend buying tickets in advance, especially for weekends as the lines can be hours long at the door.

Full Press Release after the jump.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Chevy Bolt the Big Winner at L.A Auto Show

Awarded Motor Trends Car of the Year and Geen Car of the Year

Yesterday the coveted Motor Trend Car of the Year was awarded to the soon to be on sale 2017 Chevrolet Bolt.  The car I predicted two years ago when it debuted in Detroit to be the car that kicks Tesla in the crotch and drags it through the dirt.  Under 40K before Federal and CA State taxes this car sits in a comfortably affordable price point with over 200 miles of travel per charge possible.

This morning the Green Car of the Year was awarded to the Bolt at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  Quite an impressive result for the folks at GM.  But I'm not surprised as GM has made electification a priority.

Pic by me, more in the L.A Auto Show flickr Album.  More on the Green Car of the year award after the jump.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio revealed at L.A Auto Show

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio at L.A Auto Show

This is a pretty SUV, about the size of an average mid-size SUV.  Its really a nice proprtioned trucklet crossover thingy that carry's the Alfa design language quite nicely.  The fact it packs a 500+ horsepower drivetran good for sub 4 second 0-60 runs is impressive.  Totally useless in gridlocked DTLA, but impressive if you get to go on a Vegas Run and put it to good use.

More pics for press days at the L.A Auto Show on flickr.  Full press release after the jump.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2017 Nissan Rogue One World Premiere L.A Auto Show

A friend let me know in advance to get a seat for the Nissan reveal as it was going to be a shock and awe like none other at the L.A Auto Show.   She wasn't kidding.  Laser beams firing, balls of gas ignited, bombs going off, you name it Nissan through it at their new Rouge Star Wars Edition.  Quite the car.

For the full press release full of details, you need to make the jump

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Finalists for North American Car of the Year announced at L.A. Auto Show's Automobility

Finalists for 2017 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY) were announced Tuesday at Automobility L.A., the conference that precedes the Los Angeles auto show.

The finalists are:
Car of the Year
  • Chevrolet Bolt
  • Genesis G90
  • Volvo S90
Truck of the Year
  • Ford F-series Super Duty
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Nissan Titan
Utility Vehicle of the Year
  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Jaguar F-Pace
  • Mazda CX-9
The North American Car and Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards honor excellence in innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value.  Initiated in 1994, they are judged about 60 professional automotive journalists from the United States and Canada who work for magazines, television, radio, newspapers and web sites. They are the longest-running award not associated with a specific publication, a structure that produces a diverse base of jurors.

Jurors evaluated dozens of new vehicles that went on sale this year to determine the finalists.

The award for Utility Vehicle of the Year is new for 2017, in recognition of the growing popularity of SUV-style vehicles. Passenger-oriented minivans are also eligible for Utility of the Year. Vehicles eligible for Truck of the Year include pickups of all sizes and light- and medium-duty commercial vans.

The 2017 Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the year will be announced Jan. 9 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The process of selecting the Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the year starts in June by identifying vehicles eligible for the awards. It includes three rounds of voting.
The voting for finalists and winners is tallied by Deloitte & Touche.

The finalists were announced at Automobility L.A., the conference that precedes the Los Angeles Auto show. It continues with vehicle unveilings and press conferences Wednesday and Thursday. The Los Angeles auto show is open to the public Nov. 18-27 at the Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles.

For more information, go to: www.northamericancaroftheyear.org
SOURCE North American Car of the Year
For further information: Mark Phelan, mmphelan@freepress.com

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Los Angeles Auto Show opens this week!

Let's Get This Show on the Road You've waited long enough Los Angeles. The 2016 LA Auto Show is back this week and bigger than ever. November 18-27 at the LA Convention Center.

Whether it’s new car shopping, learning about the latest auto tech or exploring an assortment of customized rides, there is something for everyone. Early entry tickets are available each Friday, online only, for a limited time. Buy Tickets HERE.

What to expect this year? Comparison car shopping, test drives, customized rides, games for the kids and a whole lot more. Plan your day and create your own experience at the 2016 LA Auto Show.  Know before you Go!

They've changed up their bag policy this year, much more restrictive so be aware and plan in advance. The LA Auto Show has implemented a new bag policy for 2016. All bags, purses, backpacks, camera bags and diaper bags larger than 12” x 15” x 6” will NOT be allowed inside the show. All bags will be subject to screening/security check.  Bag Policy Info.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Jeep to introduce 2 new Renegade Models at L.A. Auto Show

Jeep® Introduces Two New Renegade Models

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
  • New 2017 Jeep® Renegade Deserthawk limited-edition model to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show
  • Deserthawk model, inspired by the desert's extreme conditions, builds on Jeep Renegade's rugged appearance and best-in-class Trail Rated 4x4 capability
  • 2017 Jeep Renegade Altitude, featuring unique 'blacked-out' exterior, also makes first appearance
  • Renegade Altitude available in Jeep showrooms later this month; Renegade Deserthawk available in January
Two new Jeep® Renegade models will make their debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, providing customers with two new and unique special editions for the most capable small SUV on the market.
"These two new Jeep Renegade models help to extend our popular small SUV's continued global success since its launch last year, and to provide customers with the choice of two distinctive and unique special editions," said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. "The Jeep Renegade Deserthawk takes the best-in-class capability of the Renegade Trailhawk and combines it with a unique look and additional features that include rock rails and a towing package – all inspired by the desert's extreme conditions. For customers looking for an edgy and aggressive appearance, the Jeep Renegade Altitude offers just that, building on the popularity of the other Altitude models across the Jeep lineup."
The new 2017 Jeep Renegade Altitude model arrives in showrooms later this month, while the Renegade Deserthawk model arrives in January.
Jeep Renegade Deserthawk
The Jeep Renegade Deserthawk takes the Renegade Trailhawk's rugged appearance and best-in-class capability a step further with exclusive features and functionality inspired by the desert – an extreme location where the legendary capability of Jeep vehicles is best expressed.
Available in Alpine White, Anvil, Black or Deserthawk-exclusive Mojave Sand, the Jeep Renegade Deserthawk features fully painted 17-inch black wheels, exclusive hood and rear body panel decals, rock rails and Trailer Tow Group. Inside, the Renegade Deserthawk features an exclusive interior with black leather seats, Light Frost stitching and accents, all-weather floor mats and cargo tray mat.
The Jeep Renegade Deserthawk, like the Renegade Trailhawk, delivers best-in-class Trail Rated 4x4 capability with standard Jeep Active Drive Low with 20:1 crawl ratio; Selec-Terrain system with exclusive Rock mode; 8.7 inches of ground clearance; skid plates; signature red front and rear tow hooks; up to 8.1 inches of wheel articulation; Hill-descent Control; up to 19 inches of water fording; and up to 2,000-lb. towing capacity. The Renegade Deserthawk comes standard with a 2.4-liter Tigershark engine with MultiAir2 paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission, ParkView rear backup camera and 7-inch full-color thin-film transistor (TFT) cluster display.
Arriving at dealer showrooms in January 2017, the Jeep Renegade Deserthawk limited edition will be available for a U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $28,140.

Jeep Renegade Altitude
Joining the other Altitude models across the Jeep lineup, the 2017 Jeep Renegade Altitude features a unique "blacked-out" look with a distinct, aggressive flair. Available in all exterior colors, the Jeep Renegade Altitude features 18-inch Gloss Black wheels with Gloss Black accents around the exterior, including the front and rear badges, grille rings and tail lamp rings.
Inside, the Renegade special edition's blacked-out theme continues with a black interior, black premium cloth seats and High Gloss Black finishes. Metal Diamond accents are found throughout on key touch points, such as the shifter knob and door handles.
The Jeep Renegade Altitude, based on the Renegade Latitude model, is available with either a 2.4-liter Tigershark engine with MultiAir2 paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission, or a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine with a six-speed manual transmission. The Renegade Altitude comes with a variety of standard features, including ParkSense rear backup camera and Keyless Go.
Arriving at dealer showrooms later this month, the Jeep Renegade Altitude model will be available starting at $22,390 U.S. MSRP.
Jeep Renegade
The Jeep Renegade delivers a unique combination of best-in-class, off-road capability, open-air freedom and convenience, a segment-first nine-speed automatic transmission that contributes to outstanding on-road and off-road driving dynamics, two fuel-efficient engines, world-class refinement and a host of innovative safety and advanced technology offerings. The 2017 Jeep Renegade starts at $17,995 MSRP (not including destination).
About Jeep Brand
Built on 75 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. 

For further information: Angela Bianchi, (248) 512-0011 (office), (248) 766-2937 (cell), angela.bianchi@fcagroup.com; Todd Goyer, (248) 512-0041 (office), (248) 761-0805 (cell), todd.goyer@fcagroup.com

Thursday, November 10, 2016

1 Millionth Mazda MX-5 Miata to be visit L.A. Auto Show

And select folks may get to sign it during press days!

Mazda Miata #1,000,000, photo courtesy MAZDA USA

This is a cool milestone for Mazda and its lovely little roadster the Miata aka MX5.  One million cars since its introduction is an accomplishment.  Number 1 million is touring the world and select folks get to sign their name to it prior to its permanent enshrinement in the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima.  Who get's to sign...interested journalists (me!) during Press Days of the L. A Auto Show next week.

For the full press release you need to make the jump.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

New Panamera and Panamera Executive to be revealed at L.A. Auto Show

Big news, the darling of the Porsche collection, at least in my corner of L.A is the Panamera and the enthusiasts that love that model will have more to rejoice over after the L.A. Auto Show reveal.  Yes, tuned with a more more powerful V6 that produces some 20 hp more than the out going version an it will also have an all wheel drive option and an extended wheelbase version the Panamera Executive.

To be released during press days of the L.A. Auto Show I'll grab as many pics as I can while there.  To further your appetite..make the jump and read the press release!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2017 Green Car of the Year finalists named

Winner to be announced during Press Days of the L. A Auto Show
Chevy Bolt concept at NAIAS 2015

The Finalists:
BMW 330e iPerformance
The BMW 330e iPerformance adds a plug-in hybrid drive system to the BMW 3 Series. The use of an electric motor with the BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder engine results in a total system output of 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The BMW 330e iPerformance accelerates from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 140 mph. Pure-electric driving is possible at speeds up to 75 mph with a range of approximately 14 miles and combined fuel efficiency of 71 MPGe when driving on batteries.

Chevrolet Bolt
The Bolt EV offers a breakthrough EPA-estimated 238 miles of range on a full electric charge, the first production electric vehicle to achieve a 200-plus mile driving range. It features an array of advanced connected technologies designed to enhance and personalize the driving experience. A Regen on Demand feature allows the driver to use a steering wheel paddle to initiate more aggressive regenerative braking to slow down without using the brake pedal, while transferring electrical energy back to the battery.
Chrysler Pacifica 
The Chrysler Pacifica includes an array of choices including the LX, Touring, Touring L and the Touring L Plus. This innovative minivan also offers the first-ever plug-in hybrid in its class, delivering outstanding 80 MPGe efficiency, a 30-mile electric driving range, and a total driving range of 530 miles with combined battery power and its V6 powertrain. The plug-in hybrid model may be conveniently charged in as little as two hours with an available 240v charger. It features hands-free sliding doors and liftgate for convenience
Kia Optima 
The 2017 Kia Optima's sleek styling and pleasing performance live on in the entire 2017 model lineup. The 2017 Optima Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid are new additions that intelligently combine an electric motor and a new 2.0-liter, GDI 4-cylinder gas engine for welcome fuel efficiency and a satisfying driving experience. The Plug-in Hybrid uses a larger battery pack than the standard hybrid to allow up to 27 miles of all-electric driving before the plug-in model reverts back into its efficient hybrid mode.

Toyota Prius Prime 
The Toyota Prius Prime is this automaker's evolution of the Prius Plug-In, which did not accompany the completely redesigned Prius model last year. This new 2017 model plug-in features up to 22 miles of battery electric range, double that of the original Prius plug-in.  It retains the distinctive silhouette of the latest-generation Prius and adds unique exterior styling cues to set the model apart. Inside, the Prius Prime is also distinguished with an 11.6 -inch touchscreen display.

The Green Car of the Year® is selected through a majority vote by an esteemed jury that includes celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno, as well as 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 and narrow it down to the final five. Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Many factors are considered including efficiency, performance characteristics, 'newness,' affordability and overall environmental achievement. Availability to the mass market is important to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact. Finalists must be available for sale by January 1 of the award year.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

L.A Auto Show set for November 18-27

Get your tickets now to attend this years Los Angeles Auto Show. As usual it will be at the Convention Center and this year promises big changes that will make it bigger and better than before.  This year’s press days promises over 50 World and North American premiere’s for the show goers to ooh and ah over.
The really big news is that Kenetia Hall is going to be better organized and renamed “The Garage” to really showcase custom rides and tricks to upgrade your own car.
Press Days this year have been renamed to be more descriptive of the 4 days prior to public opening. Now called AutoMobility it focuses on the future of transportation beyond just the automobile but how solutions now are being worked on for denser populated cities of the future.  These exhibits will be open to the public as “Go-Movement” during public days…you just miss on the actual press presentation.
Tickets range in price from $5-12 and can be bought in advance HERE.  I STRONGLY recommend buying tickets in advance, especially for weekends as the lines can be hours long at the door.
Parking is pricey $20 for the day so be prepared to pay the price of admission.  Traffic around the convention center is circus like during the show and I again have a recommendation to work around that problem.  Use the Expo or Blue line and exit at the Pico station for a quick 2 block walk to the convention center.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Mazda to premier next generation CX-5 at L.A Auto Show

Mazda, the Japanese car company that goes its own way making drivers oriented cars plans on debuting an updated and new for 2017 CX-5 compact cross over.  Details are slim in advance of the Press Days debut but the teaser pic reveals more sculpting to the body, longer lower roof line and a much longer hood with less slope than the prior model  More SUV like than ultra-minivan in appearance.  Should help boost its sales considerably.  If they keep its drivers orientation, offers up a manual tranny this could be a really viable option over the Honda HRV.

You need to make the jump for the press release:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Nissan Titan Driving Adventure and you can do it too!

Those who know me know I'm a car guy at heart, but its hard to turn your back on a well engineered machine regardless of the form it takes.  This pretty much describes the Titan XD and new for 2017 Titan trucks from Nissan.  I've already reviewed the Titan in detail HERE.   Its really a well built, terrific handling and quiet truck.  Worth your time to look at if you're in the market for a new truck.
The 5 year/100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty can't be beat in the industry for a truck either.

Since that last review I had the chance to really run the truck through its paces on a closed circuit slalom course.  It will do a decent burn out.  The ABS performs flawlessly, and repeatedly...and it has the best pedal feel of any ABS system in a truck I've ever driven.

Through emergency lane changes and slaloms the Titan is smooth and easy to transition from right to left with nominal lean and nose dive.  Confidence inspiring is the words that come to mind.

On an off-road course the acoustic glass and sound insulation present is really noticeable.  Over a log trail or rocks the noise is signficantly subdued inside the cabin while you float along in hushed quiet on the "zero gravity seats".

The automatic hill descent control is a trip.  Simply activated on the dash, release the brake and the system will control gas and ABS brakes to take you slowly and safely down a steep grade with no drama at all.  Add in the side cameras to prevent going off trail and damaging your rims and the front camera aimed low at the road when you can't see it and you have quite the safety suite of technology to add to your off-roading fun.

Now for the fun stuff.  The Nissan Titan Driving Adventure is open to the public this weekend 10/1-2 at the StubHub Center in Carson.

More pics by me from the drive in a Flickr Album

DEETS: Nissan Adventure Drive,10/1-2 8AM-5PM.  StubHub Center, 18400 Avalon Blvd, Carson CA  MAP HERE

Sunday, September 25, 2016

2016 Japanese Classic Car Show

What a terrific car show this was.  Small enough to be walkable and not exhausted at the end of the morning.  PERFECTLY curated.  Outstanding collection of cars from survivors to complete restorations, to customs to amazing imports of such darlings at the Skylines which aren't for sale here.

One of the big surprises at the show was Nissan's debut of the hot new GT-R Nismo supercar.

The new 2017 Nissan GT-R NISMO features a new front end design, hand-laid carbon fiber body components derived from motorsport and a refreshed interior with special NISMO appointments. The performance of the all-wheel-drive GT-R NISMO has also been upgraded, with revised suspension and increased chassis stiffness, while the hand-crafted twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6, which produces 600 horsepower.

More pictures of some incredible cars in my JCCS Flickr Album.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Holy Tequila Tuesday...you can make car parts with it too

Ford in its quest to build the sustainable automobile has been chronicled here in the past.  From wheat chaff reinforced plastics to recycled water bottles becoming carpet and car upholstery they are leading the way towards just that.

The quest took an interesting twist recently.  The use of left over mash from making tequila as the source for a polymer to create plastic resin.  Go figure...Happy Tequila Tuesday have a shot for the cause.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Grandparents Go Drifting | Donut Media

How fun is this!  Imagine getting to work on the RS team and then share it with your Grandparents.  Its no debating who had more fun with this "Take your Grandparents to work day".

Sunday, September 11, 2016

2016 Street Rods Forever 27th Annual Show

Saturday 9/10/2016 was the 27th Annual Street Rods Forever car show in Old Town Monrovia.  What a show it was, bigger by a few blocks over prior years  and jammed with hundreds of cars in various states of restoration and customization.

It was difficult but I was able to identify one car as a personal favorite to name "best of show" for the blog.  It was this custom chopped and channeled low riding Mercury.  The flame work was amazing, the depth of color was so rich a simple photo doesn't do it complete justice.  The paint itself was so deep it was like a mirror picking up the refection of everything around it.  The young man who made this car is a master in the craft of car customization.

I have several other pictures from the show in a flickr album.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Street Rods Forever car show in Monrovia this Saturday 9/10/16

Look here sometime after the weekend is over for a recap and a flickr folder full of pics from the show along with my personal choice as "best of show".  Simple criteria, unique, different and stopped me in my tracks is enough to capture the title.

The show is Saturday 9/10/16 from 9AM to 2PM.  ITs well attended and concurrent to the show the city of Monrovia will be holding zipcode day as our zip, 91016 coincides with the short version of the date.   Why do I bring this up?  The good towns folk will be in Library Park for festivities celebrating the date and zip code coincidence and parking will be tight.  DO arrive early for best parking.

Where: Myrtle Avenue 300 South block to 600 South Block. Monrovia CA 91016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

2016 Ford GT: 360 Experience for smart phones

This is cool. Totally cool.  Can't afford a real Ford GT like me?  Can't get on the approved list if you can afford one?  Well this 360 app for smart phone is the ticket.

Launching today for iOS and Android users in the United States, Ford’s new virtual reality app delivers a powerful storytelling platform for consumers and fans to experience Ford innovations like never before.

The first piece of featured content is the story behind the all-new Ford GT’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Fifty years after the original victory, the innovative balance of power and efficiency delivered an incredible class win earlier this year

You can download the app now for iOS and Android devices – and a headset or cardboard is not required! You can still use your smartphone for 360 video fun.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Autonomous Vehicle on sale date announced by Ford

Listen up.  This is HUGE.  Bad news for uber and lyft drivers, but imagine the possiblities.  With an aging population that is facing the loss of drivers licenses, this means mobility won't end when ones vision fails.  As promised in the last couple of Auto Show previews Ford is out to be the disrupter in the auto industry and create waves changing how things are done in the transportation industry.  I implore you to listen to the entire video as it really lays out the road map to get to level 4 autonomous vehicles.

Ford isn't doing it alone.  Ford isn't doing it all in Dearborn.  They're increasing the size of their Silicon Valley campus.  They are investing and partnering with other companies to do it.  Companies like Velidar makers of the Lidar systems that help in the guidance of the autonomous car.  Also they are working with a NEURO scientist to bring human like intelligence in how the cars see the world around them.  Amazing.

As a kid of the Jetsons era this is big.  Its not the self flying car of the cartoon, but it will be the self driving car.  Game changer.  Disruption in the Industry.

Monday, August 15, 2016

2017 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve

Its no secret at this point...this is the #NissanYearoftheTruck.  With all Armada, Titan XD and Pathinfinder on sale or about to go on sale, the regular duty TITAN is ready to join the ranks.  Its part of Nissan's lofty goal of selling 500,000 trucks a year by the end of this year.

Fleshing out their line of trucks is the light duty TITAN that was revealed at the New York Auto Show in the spring.  This truck available in regular or crew cabs will be the volume leader of their truck business.  Its all new and focused on several areas to take on the competition in a variety of trims from S,SV, SL, Pro-4X to Platinum Reserve its designed to be the go to for fleet managers who already have their NV vans in service.  Some of the key things they did for the TITAN:

  • Unique rugged steel frame from the XD
  • Powered by Nissan's new for 2016 Endurance 5.6L V8 with 390 horsepower, 394 ft lbs of torque mated to a new 7 speed automatic.
  • Available V6 (details to be released at later date)
  • Available in Crew, Single and King Cab configurations with standard 8 foot bed
  • Crew model going on sale August 2016
In development of their regular duty truck Nissan looked at 4 key areas of development to set themselves apart from their competition and set themselves up to be a leader in the truck field. the areas of focus:
  • Styling and Aerodynamic enhancements
  • New powertrains and capabilities
  • Handling, steering and ride capabilities
  • Utility and Driving aids
They took a bold styling approach to emphasize power and abilities when looked at even at a stand still.  Power bulge in the hood indicates its packing.  Add in nice touches like LED headlamps and taillamps.  Their signature deep V chrome grill unique to TITAN but bears a family resemblance that is enhanced with their boomerang LED Daytime Running Lamps.  It even has LED Puddle lamps and improved running boards for easier access to the cab and bed over the 2014 models.

Aerodynamics were improved over the 2014 model by 10%.  Things like active grill shutters when the engine and condensor don't need large air flow close down to improve air flow.  Bed seals, smoother front air dam and undercarriage sealing all improve aeros on the road.

Coupling the newly improved drivetrain with these aerodynamics you get improved fuel economy.  How much?  A whopping 28% increase in fuel economy over 2014 to 15 MPG city, 21 highway and 17 combined.  Not bad when you look at the TITAN half ton's base towing capacity is a class leading 9,390 pounds!

A lot of attention was put into making the new TITAN a class leading quiet and comfortable cabin. Things like hydraulic body mounts, acoustic front side glass and better sealing of the cabin result in a 43% reduction of noise inside at cruise speeds.  An enhanced frame new for 2017 allows for better handling while further reducing noise and vibration passed into the cab.  End results is ride and handling are improved and Nissan is proud of these achievements:

  • Better steering "feel" in the half ton segment
  • More responsive steering while being linear and predictable
  • Reduced body roll motion
  • Improved body response over moderate to heavy steering inputs
  • Reduced vibration, maintained competitive level of harshness and improved interior quietness
  • Consitent handling across all model line
The truck bed has a lot of new and useful features.  Its obvious a lot of thought went into how people use trucks and built in some pretty slick ideas.  The cargo bed has LEDs embedded into the light rail for even load illumination.  There are built in cargo rails that are designed so you can use a tonneau cover or bed topper.  They even put lockable dry storage compartments into the side of the box!

For 2017 Nissan adds some really new and useful drivers aids to enhance driving and trailering. Among them;
  • Around View Monitor that provides a 360 degree view around the truck.  Not warped with trailer mirrors instaled.  Very helpful in maneuvering in small spaces.
  • Front and rear sonar
  • Blind Spot monitoring
  • Nissan Connect with Navigation and smart phone integration
  • Back up Camera
  • Built in Integrated Trailer Brake Control with sway control, trailer light check and downhill speed assistance
The big news with all the changes to the TITAN is that its will get a best in class warranty to back up how serious Nissan is about the truck market.  The new warranty will be 5 years/100,000 miles.

Now that I've told you about how the truck has changed, what does it all mean in the real world?  Driving impression is that this is still a truck, refined and quieter than most.  Definitely a smoother ride than most of its competition with noticeably less wiggle and jiggle over potholes and speed bumps (or humps as the refined neighborhoods call them).  

Steering is precise and it has decent road feel, again better than most of its competition.  What I really appreciated was the back up camera and 360 Around View when driving and parking into tight spaces.  Its a lot more confidence inspiring knowing whats next to the fenders!

The model I drove and photographed was the new tippy top of the line Platinum Reserve. This trim level brings about such niceties as single stitched leather seating, soft touch dash, heated and cooled seats, multiple USB ports, electrical ports and an uber quiet luxury car ride.  Add in the standard driving changes and this could easily be mistaken for the cabin of a luxury car, not a truck capable of towing nearly 5 tons of stuff or offroading.  You won't mistake it for their 370z in roadhandling, but you will know its much more comfortable and easy to drive in over the long haul than most of its competition.

  Just as a little reminder, this trip Nissan paid for my travel and put me up in the swanky Carmel Valley Ranch Lodge.  Their providing this junket didn't affect my opinion...as if anyone can sway influence over me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

5th Annual Galpin Car Show September 18

Galpin Motors in the San Fernando Valley, the largest volume Ford Dealer in the world is hosting its 5th annual Car Show.

What sets this car show apart from the others is that it is dedicated to custom and unique show cars, not restorations and survivors.  The show is tightly curated so you get the best of the custom car crafters.  Galpin says that they have over 300 cars lined up for this show.  More details on the show at their FB Event Page.

Galpin Motors, 15505 Roscoe Blvd, Van Nuys CA 91343  10AM-2PM September 18, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

2017 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum

Nissan could have rested on its laurels with the Pathfinder as this generation is only a couple of years old and selling 90% up over the previous generation.  But the segment is competitive and they listened to their customers and gave the 2017 model a significant change inside and out with a lot more tech goodies to make life easier and safer.  They focused on several areas:

  • Major style and design upgrades
  • Improved driving dynamics
  • Enhanced user friendliness
  • Advanced  Driver Assistance Technology
The exterior has front and rear changes that move it towards bolder SUV stance and less carlike/crossover than the previous iteration.  New LED headlamps, revised grill and fog lamps and front air dam yielded slightly better aerodynamics than the prior version.  This model as a drag coefficient of .326 vs .34 of the outgoing model that adds incrementally over the long haul to its highway fuel economy.

The drive train is improved with a new version of the 3.5l V6.  Adding in new air intake, mirror finish cylinder bores with direct injection and new variable valve technology brings about a horsepower increase from 260 to 289.  Torque also gets a bump with these changes from maximum rating of 240 in the old version to 259 in the new engine.  The changes added power yet let the Pathfinder keep best in class mileage ratings of 20 city, 27 highway and 23 combined.  Towing capacity is best in class at 6,000 pounds.

Ride and handling was enhanced with all new struts and 25% stiffer springs in the rear.  There is now less roll and sway through the twisty bits of the canyons than the outgoing models had.  Steering has a quicker ratio allowing for faster response while turning and making lane changes.

Their all wheel drive system is new with an enhanced 4X4-I system.  This simple rotary dial allows for full lock up in LOW range allowing 100% torque to be allocated perfect for launching a boat in water, slippery slopes and snow driving.

New to this model is Nissan's enhance infotainment center with NissanConnect.  It has built in HD microphone for better voice recognition and commands.  It has smartphone style pinch and zoom finger controls on the touch screen.  It even has over 5,000 points of interested preloaded into its map folders.

NissanConnect allows you to control your cars lights, remort start, lock, valet alert and a few other tricks from from your smart phone.  It has an SOS button that you can use to signal for help in an emergency.  Its even possible to do remote stuff similar to the smart phone via the web including sending maps to your navigation system.

Technology enhancements make this vehicle stand out in the class for 2017.  Several are new for this year adding to the well equipped available features from the out going model.  They are:
  • Forward Emergency Braking (new)
  • Forward Collision Warning (new)
  • Blindspot Warning
  • Rear Collision Alert
  • Class exclusive All Around View Monitor with moving object detection (new)
  • Intelligent Cruise Control
  • Automatic Hill Descent
Pricing is expected to start at under $30,000 for the S trim and increase as you move up the grade ladder through SV, SL and Platinum.  Additionally enhanced packages are available with each move up the ladder that make each grade have unique customization.

What does all this mean.  It means the Pathfinder got a significant upgrade over the last version of this generation.  On the road this is the quietest Pathfinder yet.  Only the occasional roar from the throaty V6 when its called to accelerate hard up an onramp or steep grade.  It seriously is the best as in quietest and drone-less CVT application I've seen yet.  

This is really  a road trip car that can take a serious jaunt off pavement as this video can attest too.  On the freeways and twisty bits on Laureless Grade in Carmel the car was not wanting for power, nor was it lacking finesse in the curves.  

Off-roading is where I was pleasantly surprised by the abilities of this machine.  Up hill, loose gravel, sand whatever it was able to effortlessly power through it all.  The Downhill Assist was a trip.  Push a button and simply aim where you want to go, the system does the downshifting and braking to get you safely down.  Its so different to not control gas and brake and let it do it for you with only the soft hum of relays alternating which brake needs application to ensure your safe descent.  Amazing.

With its stated competition of Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, Toyota Highlander and Honda's Pilot mechanically and driving this is an extremely competitive truck.  The niggles come about in the hard plastics used on the dash and console that just don't exude the same upmarket feel as the Platinum version of the Explorer.  Whether that is a hindrance or not is debatable, just an observation I made regarding top trim comparisons.  Overall I really liked this Pathfinder.

 This adventure was a gift from Nissan, they provided my transportation and hotel while in Carmel Valley.  It however doesn't affect my opinion and impressions of the vehicle...as if anyone could program my words!

Monday, August 1, 2016

2017 Nissan Armada Platinum

The Embargo is over and I can now tell you about the redesigned for 2017 Nissan Aramada in Platinum trim.  The machine is a beast in the very best meaning of the word.  Aimed at the Yukon, Denali, Sequoia and Explorers of the world it beats them handily.  In fact, in my not so humble opinion its knocking at the doors of the Navigator/Escalade and will be cross shopped with them in the Platinum Trim.  Its. That. Good.

The Armada may seem like a new model but its history dates back to the 1952 Patrol sold in other markets and in fact the Patrol is rolled into Armada this model year as part of a giant remake of the mode.  ITs about going anywhere in  confidence and style.  With this redesign to combine the two Nissan focused on several areas to ensure they could beat their target competition:

  • Premium Style
  • New Powertrain
  • Superior Comfort, Convenience and roominess
  • Enahanced Ride and Handling
  • Safety Suite of features
In terms of style they made it bigger and bolder.  Raised the hood and continued with the "v motion" grill and LED DLRs.  The grills on the front fenders are functional air intake and engine compartment heat exhaust.  Across the model line up LED headlights and tail lamps are standard.

The interior got the complete redo as well.  It now boasts the roomiest 2nd row seats in its class with 40" of head room and 41" of leg room.  Everything you touch is premium quality soft touch.  Real wood, real brushed aluminum.  REAL stuff not a bit of faux anywhere.  Add in the use of acoustic glass and you now have a library quiet cabin at cruise where you don't hear a thing and can carry on a quiet conversation.

The standard and only available engine is new for this year.  ITs a 5.6l V8 with variable valve lift and timing with direct injection.  What it comes down to is the most powerful standard motor in the class with 390 horsepower and 394 ft lbs of torque.  Add in the new 7 speed automatic and you get authoritative get up and go coupled with library quiet when cruising without even a hit of rumble from the powerful V8.  As a side bar to this power and refinement...it now boasts best in class towing with 8,500 tow capacity, easily 1,100 pounds better than its nearest competitor.

Creature comforts like heated and cooled seats are available if not standard on the Platinum edition.  Across the board in all trims a 13 speaker BOSE stereo system is standard.  Also standard is a Navigation system with traffic and weather (the latter two require a subscription to Sirius XM to function.  There is also available a second row, 2 screen LCD entertainment system that allows your rear passengers to play games, watch video or listen to their own music privately through wireless headphones.

The ride and handling was completely reinvented for the new Armada; Nothing was left untouched in the effort to make it the best in class:

  • full box steel exterior frame
  • double wishbone front suspension with 36mm sway bar
  • double wishbone rear suspension with 36.5mm sway bar
  • auto-level rear suspension
  • twin tube shock absorbers
  • engine speed variable rack and pinion steering
  • 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake assist
The standard Safety Shield is an entire suite of features that make driving in town and crowded parking lots even safer in the all new Armada.  They are:
  • Around View with Motion Detector and intervention
  • Intelligent Cruise Control with distance monitor
  • Forward emergency braking with collision detection
  • Lane departure warning and intervention
  • Blind spot intervention and warning
  • Back up collision warning and intervention
The Armada will come in 3 trims, SV, SL and Platinum.  It will go on sale mid-August 2016 at a base price of $44,440 and a destination charge of $995.  Nissan expects that 65% of the Armadas sold will be in the premium priced Platinum trim.

So what does all that gobbledy gook mean?  It comes together as the most complete, luxurious, roomy SUV in its class.  Ride and handling benefit from the attention given.

Driving this SUV was so much easier than I expected.  It was actually fun, FUN to drive on the twisty bits of Laureles Grade.  It had ample power to take on the 7 mile 10% grade of the Laureles grade down into Carmel Valley.  All the while it was in hushed quiet and uber comfy ride.

There was a wild fire in the area so the original course intended to test the Armada's 4X4 mode had to be changed up a bit.  I wasn't heartbroken in the least to learn our Off Road course was going to be at a specially designed for the Armada at Maxda Race Way Laguna Seca, yes....that Laguna Seca.  I was living the dream. 

On the track the Armada displayed the same quiet confidence up the hills, down the hills, through steep banked curves and supremely uneven ground as it did on the freeways and country roads of Monterey County.  Even when transitioning from 4 to 3 to 2 wheels on the ground you felt confident this truck would get it done with style and comfort.  

This adventure was a gift from Nissan, they provided my transportation and hotel while in Carmel Valley.  It however doesn't affect my opinion and impressions of the vehicle...as if anyone could program my words!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

All I can share now on the 2017 Pathfinder

Yup. Another teaser out of me. Beg me, beat me and I can't share a thing about the refreshed for 2017 Pathfinder until August 8, 2017. 

I can tease a photo of the 2017 Titan

Yes I drove it. But I can't even think about sharing details until August 15. Come back then y'all for the details on this totally new Titan truck for 2017. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

You have to wait for info...#2017nissanArmada

I can share a picture, but I can't tell you a thing about the 2017 Nissan Armada Platinum. Until 8/1/16 I must honor the information embargo. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

First ever Lincoln Experience Center opens in Newport Beach

2017 Lincoln Continental Concept

The first ever Lincoln Experience Center opens at Fashion Island in Newport Beach.  Yes, of all the places the first could be, Lincoln chose tony, wealthy Newport Beach here in Sunny So Cal as the place to start it all.  

What is the Lincoln Experience Center?  Its luxury in its purest form from Center Stage events with wine and artisanal cheese paired by a master wine tasters, live sculpting, tactile story boards.  Connectivity centers and Custom fitting for the Lincoln that best suits your lifestyle.  Quiet luxury abounds furthering the brands efforts to be a solid player in the upscale luxury market.

There's even a Lincoln cafe' with complimentary espresso, coffee and tea to set the tone for a relaxing visit learning about Lincoln.  Date nights, extended test drives with a Lincoln that best suits you can be arranged over a cup-o-coffee with a concierge near you.  Does this get anymore extravagant?  Visit it yourself and see.

The Lincoln Experience Center is open now at Fashion Island.  139 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660,  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

2016 Ford Explorer Platinum

When this trim level of the Explorer was released I thought to myself "Self,...this is so good it could be its own line as its so far ahead of the rest pushing into the luxury SUV category".  I was right and its hard to "review" this as you have to experience it.

I could give you a laundry list of specs, and there are many including the standard 3.5l Ecoboost with All Wheel Drive, but this Explorer Platinum is more than the sum of its parts.  It really rivals luxury SUV's in terms of comfort, convenience and performance.

Walking up to this car, discreet badging lets you know its a "platinum".  The unique mesh grill in a satin finish, LED headlamps and unique 20" wheels set it apart from its lesser siblings.  Opening the door the aroma of thick leather and real wood welcomes you in.  The unique to Platinum quilted leather begs you to snuggle in and enjoy pure luxury.  They beg you to come in and go for a nice cruise.

This Explorer Platinum starts with a push of a button and is nearly silent.  Only when you press it to merge onto the freeway do you notice this beast has some power behind it.  Subtle rumble and a steady authoritative rush to the speed limit lets you know this is not your average Explorer.

Standard features galore in the Platinum take the pain from many different driving tasks.  Its luxury and creature comforts first with this SUV.   There are so many luxury touches its hard to enumerate them all, those that stand out are:

  • Nirvana leather-wrapped instrument panel, armrests and door bolsters 
  • Wood-trimmed, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel 
  • 10-inch digital instrument cluster 
  • Premium 500-watt Sony audio system with Live Acoustics™ and Clear Phase™ technologies 
  • 3.5-liter EcoBoost® V6 engine 
  • Sync 3 with WiFi
  • Adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support
  • Active park assist for parallel and perpendicular parking, lane-keeping system
I really fancy myself a car guy but when presented with the pure luxury of the Explorer Platinum its hard to find fault with it.  Yes, its big but it doesn't drive that way.  Yes, its got some performance chops but when driven with traffic it returned a respectable 19MPG on my mixed loop of urban and urban freeway driving. Pretty terrific results from an SUV that behaves like a luxury sedan.

Friday, June 10, 2016

L.A Auto Show's L. A. Mobility looking for top 10 app Developers.

The Los Angeles Autoshow is morphing and growing.  Yes the 10 day spectacular show open to the public will remain,  What's new is the following act to the Connected Car Expo is the introduction of the open to the trade only Automobility show that preceeds Press Days and Public Days to the L.A. Autoshow.  This event is looking at the entire mobility picture including cars, trucks, public transpo and things like bikes and pedestrian modes and how they all interact.

If you are an app developer and thing your app has the chops to be one of the top 10 mobility apps Automobility is running a contest.  Prizes...there are a few, perks to the winners there are many.  For the criteria to enter and entry blank follow this LINK

For the full press release you need to make the jump.

Monday, June 6, 2016

2016 Mustang California Special for when you really want a V8

Its hard to find fault with the Mustang GT, even harder when its a convertible, impossible when its the limited edition California Special.  Yes, that storied limited edition for the 60s is back with this generation and its really sweet.  All the goodness of the GT with its own identifiers.

Starting with the grill the badging is classic mustang moved to the driver side aligned with a power bump crease and air vent on the hood.  Add in a custom half-toned black to gray stripe on the power bulge that runs the length of the hood.  Special limited edition magnetic painted alloy wheels with the CS logo to signify its unique to the California Special.  Ending on the deck lid with badging around the GT also tastefully inscribed, you go it. California Special.  Why even the badge on the dash is inscribed the same.    The differences between a GT are subtle.

Settling into the cockpit the standard leather trimmed seats are a really nice, tasteful even, charcoal black.  They are 8 way power adjustable, dare you to not find a comfortable setting.  Why, they're even heated and cooled, something not even a pipe dream in 1968 when the first California Special was offered.

Firing up the V8 you notice a sound distinct from the regular GT. I swear it sounds on idle and being run through the gears like the original 289 V8 from 1965!  Driving this car is a dream come true if you're a gear head, with a wife who isn't.  Want to firm things up and carve a canyon...use the steering and suspension controls to firm things up.  Date night with the lovely wife...soften things up to normal and just cruise on into your evening with no fuss or mus.  Regardless the setting you get that wonderful growl and snarl of a V8.  That I wouldn't change one bit.

I'd highly recommend this if you are interested in a Mustang GT and want something a little bit different that the standard fare to set yourself apart from the rest.

Friday, June 3, 2016

2016 Ford Focus SE two flavors with Ecoboost

Recently I got to spend a little time with the 2016 Focus SE with "automatic" coupled to Ecoboost 1l 3 cylinder motor which is a new combo for this year.  The differences aren't much between the stick and automatic though one does lose a couple mpgs to the automatic.  Not much when you're talking over 30 mpg, but noticeable on my 20 mile loop.  You can read about my impressions of the 1l Ecoboost and stick HERE from a while back.

Driving this Ecoboost is like the others carrying that badge.  Step on the go peddle and it takes off thanks to its 125 foot pounds of torque available practically off idle.  This little 3 cylinder is a torque monster and is perfectly happy in the low RPM range.  Forced to run into the upper RPM when climbing a hill or scooting down an on-ramp you do notice it runs out of steam faster than the standard 4 cylinder and is a bit coarser sounding.  Not objectionable, just noticeable, but then again the 2.0l naturally aspirated is probably the best 4 cylinder power plant Ford has ever produced.

The 2016 has a bunch of little running changes since its new for 2015 face lift and interior redesign.  Suffice it to say this 2016 SE Sedan is a handsome devil carrying with the Ford signature trapezoidal grill.

For those of you who like to row their own gears still the Ecoboost 1l is available with a 6 speed manual tranny that is just a hoot to drive.  That boosted torque right of idle keeps the car moving without a whole lot of rowing of the gears.  Unless of course if you like to imagine yourself as speed racer then all 6 speeds are a dream to snick, snick, snick through.

Monday, May 30, 2016

2017 Ford Edge Sport

Dang...this is a fun Cross Over/SUV.  Refined from the first generation this Sport has all the right stuff added in to truly make it a "sport" and not just a trim package.  Stem to stern suspension upgrade, 2.7L Ecoboost cranking out 315hp on premium fuel are just the start of what sets this apart from the Edges in the line up.

Walking up to it you notice right away this isn't a regular Edge.  There are visual cues, gone is the chrome grill replaced with one in a magnetic paint.  Gone are the regular wheels supplanted with low gloss magnetic painted 20...yes TWENTY inch wheels.

Opening the door you are welcomed to the smell of leather and alcantara trimmed seats that are heated and cooled.  The latter appreciated in this hot climate where nothing is worse than sitting on a hot seat on a hot day.  Settling in you notice a nice simply designed dash full of user programmable options in the information portion of the speedometer housing.  Center console is equally clean and houses the new Sync3 infotainment center that is so much faster and intuitive than the last version.

An interesting feature that I really like on the Edge Sport is the standard adaptive steering wheel.   The system controls the relationship between how much the driver turns the steering wheel and how much the front wheels turn. Low-speed steering – such as pulling into a parking space – requires much less turning of the wheel. On the road it doesn't seem to be any different than the traditional steering wheel, just when you a manually parking do you appreciate the reduced effort to simply turn into your space.

That 2.7; Ecoboost in the version I drove was every bit as powerful and sport as the nomenclature on the rear of the hatch implies.  Tip in the throttle and its near instant power and torque propel you forward.  Step on it a little harder and it will down shift quickly and push you into the seat back while it runs up to freeway cruising speed with the rest of the traffic.  This is the most powerful engine available in its class and it shows.

Fuel economy isn't the concern it was with regular well under $3/gallon and premium hovering around $3/gallon here in Los Angeles but that won't last forever.  Over my 20 mile loop from Carson to Signal Hill and back with a mix of fast flowing freeway, bump and go freeway and urban stop-n-go this Edge Sport returned a very respectable 21.7mpg,  This compares favorably to the EPA estimates of 17 city/24 highway which is pretty dang good for a midsized SUV with this kind of power and all wheel drive.

As with most Ford products the last few years this Edge has a decidedly premium feel to it.  A soft spoken luxury feel that makes one really appreciate the efforts the designers put into the product.  Thoughtful touches like real brushed aluminum, soft to the touch leathers where you touch, Delightfully firm yet soft to the touch knows and controls. Non-plastic looking vinyl and plastic where you aren't touching but looking.  I really like this generation Ford Edge...so much so I may let into my wife's wishes and let this be what replaces our aging Focus.

Friday, May 27, 2016

2017 Ford Fusion and Fusion Platinum

Introducing the first ever Fusion Platinum

I first saw the new Fusion Platinum trim package this past January at NAIAS in Detroit and I was impressed.  From its unique mesh grill to the all premium leather interior I knew this car was going to be special.  Flash forward to this past week and I got to drive this new car and marvel at the leap forward this redesign has for the car in terms of driving experience and pure luxury that the Platinum Trim delivers.

First up walking towards the new Fusion and Fusion Platinum you notice that it has an all new grill and headlamp fascia.  Sleeker and more refined with the iconic trapezoidal grill opening intact and as fashion forward shark-like as ever.

Opening the door is where you know that this is going to be a much different car than even the now mid-level Titanium.  Rich quilted Venetian leathers with beautiful real satin finished wood trim welcome you on first sight.  Everything, door panels, dash, steering wheel, and rear shelf are trimmed out in a rich cocoa leather that contrasts with the beige leather seats.  Its taking the Fusion which is a nicely equipped in its own right to the entry level luxury category.  Truly the most luxurious, tastefully done interior for has ever put in one of its cars.  None of its competitors offer a trim as nice and luxurious.

Slipping into the seats its possible to dial in the perfect position with the 8 way power seats.  Too hot or cold for you...they're heated and cooled in the Platinum.  Even the gear shift is missing this year in the Fusion, its a decidedly luxurious rotary dial for gear selection now with standard paddle shifters on the leather wrapped steering wheel.

Driving the new Fusion and Fusion Platinum is comfortingly familiar yet quieter than the outgoing generation.  Especially so in the Fusion Platinum where even wheel thump is deeply muted. The standard 2.0l Ecoboost of the Platinum makes it a quick performer that still yielded 25.6 mpg over the 20 mile loop that consisted of free flowing freeway, jammed crawling freeway, and urban driving.  This compares favorably to the EPA estimate of 21 City, 31 highway and 25 combined.

Handling is noticeably tighter and crisper with the Fusion Platinum and its standard 19" wheels compared to the base Fusions 17 inchers.  

I also drove the new Fusion Platinum Energi version.  This plug-in hybrid was nothing short of amazing compared to the last version of the Energi I drove a couple of years ago.  The off throttle regenerative capture is much more aggressive than in the past.  Driving the car its definitely noticeable that you aren't just coasting when you lift your foot from the throttle and the live driving coach even notes for you the increased electricity returned to the battery.  I left for my 20 mile loop with an indicated range of 16 miles and figured I would have to switch from EV mode to hybrid before I got back to my starting point.  I was wrong.  Between understanding how to brake to recoup lost energy via the regenerative braking coach and using the same on a long downhill grade I ended back with an indicated 2 miles range left. Add in the new all electric top speed of 85 its possible to do more in all electric mode than in the prior generation.

Worth noting is that this new generation Fusion has available Sync 3.  I really liked it and it is a noteworthy advance over the outgoing MyFord Touch system.  Getting around the screens is faster and easier than before.  The touch screen isn't as picky on precision pokes and reacts fast to your manual commands.  Even voice commands seems to be much more intuitive and fast reacting.   I really liked this new version of Sync.

Lastly, not available at last weeks Open House at Motor City hosted by Ford was the new Fusion Sport.  That should be available next fall and will be a leap ahead of its competition as well.  It will be equipped with a twin turbo 2.7l Ecoboost pumping out around 325 horsepower through all wheel drive and a specific sport tuned suspension.  Can't wait to drive that one!

Overall I have to admit I am totally smitten with the new Fusion and Fusion Platinum in particular.  That high end trim is understated pure luxury, and the standard 2.0L Ecoboost making 245 horsepower has ample power and a cheaper alternative than the Audi A4 I looked at recently.

For the Press release form NAIAS on the new for 2017 Fusion on sale now make the jump!