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.