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    New York Auto Show: 2016 Infiniti QX50


    • Infiniti Gives the QX50 Some Much Needed Changes


    The Infiniti QX50 (formally known as the EX 37) is what you might a relic in the lineup. The 2 + 2 crossover hasn't seen many changes since it was introduced back in 2007. Today at the New York Auto Show, Infiniti is addressing this with 2016 QX50.

    The most noticeable change on the 2016 QX50 is a increase in size. Compared to the current QX50, the 2016 model gains 4.5 inches in overall length and 3.2 inches in the wheelbase. This will help out the back seat as the current model barely has any space for passengers.

    The exterior has gotten minor changes with with new front and rear bumpers, front grille, and LED accents in the headlights. Unchanged are the interior and the 3.7L V6 325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This can go to either the rear-wheels or all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic.

    Source: Infiniti

    Press Release is on Page 2


    2016 Infiniti QX50 Press Kit: Overview

    • 2016 Infiniti QX50 features longer wheelbase, larger interior, enhanced styling and new package content
    • Infiniti's Pioneering Luxury Crossover Continues to Offer A Uniquely Personal Expression of Rewarding Style and Rewarding Driving

    When the Infiniti QX50 was originally introduced (as the Infiniti EX35), it was one of the first personal crossovers, foreshadowing what has become the hottest segment in the auto industry. It offered a choice of rear-wheel or Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, one of the most powerful engines in its class and a full-feature interior. It was also the first vehicle to offer technology features such as Infiniti's innovative Around View® Monitor.

    Today, the QX50 remains one of the most powerful and versatile personal crossovers in the segment. But much has changed for the 2016 model year – starting with the addition of 3.2 inches to the wheelbase and a revised exterior that brings its design closer in look and feel to other Infiniti models such as the sporty Q50 sedan. Standard content has also been increased, including the addition of a moonroof for all grade levels. Additionally, a new Hagane Blue exterior color is now offered.

    "Even as Infiniti is getting ready to significantly expand its product portfolio in the next few years – including production models based on the Q30, Q60 and QX30 Concepts – we're also making significant enhancements to our current lineup," said Randy Parker, vice president, Infiniti Americas. "Following the 2015 introductions of the updated Infiniti Q70 and the addition of the Q70L long-wheelbase version and new range-topping QX80 Limited full-size SUV, we're kicking off model year 2016 with the updated QX50."

    A New, Fluid Appearance with Unique Personality

    The 2016 Infiniti QX50 luxury crossover provides a unique combination of a right-sized exterior with a luxurious interior environment and suite of advanced technology features.

    The QX50's coupe-inspired luxury crossover design – a fusion of coupe and sport utility vehicle – has been enhanced for 2016 with a new front bumper and lower front fascia, new LED Daytime Running Lights, new signature Infiniti-style double-arch front grille, new side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, updated side sill styling, and new rear bumper and lower fascia. New 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are added as part of the Deluxe Touring Package.

    The wheelbase is now 3.2 inches longer (113.4 inches versus previous 110.2 inches) and overall length has increased 4.5 inches (186.8 inches versus previous 182.3 inches). The result is an 8.3 cubic feet increase in interior volume (115.4 cubic feet total volume versus the previous 107.1 cubic feet). Most of the increase in interior space can be felt in the 2nd row – rear legroom grows by 4.3 inches and rear knee room is boosted by 3.9 inches. In addition, ground clearance has been enhanced to 6.9 inches (+0.4 inches) for rear-wheel drive models and to 6.5 inches (+0.8 inches) for all-wheel drive models – giving drivers a higher vantage point for improved visibility.

    As in previous years, the QX50's wide rear hatch and low load floor make the QX50 a versatile vehicle for both everyday and weekend use. The exterior includes many signature Infiniti touches, including large L-shaped headlights with new LED Daytime Running Lights, available xenon auto-leveling headlights with Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS), integrated fog lights, distinctive LED taillights and "dynamic arch" profile.

    Other exterior features include a high-mounted rear hatchback spoiler with integrated brake light, chrome-finished dual exhaust tips, standard power sliding tinted glass moonroof with tilt feature, sliding sunshade and one-touch open/close and available roof rails. The QX50 also features a standard courtesy light integrated in the driver's outside mirror, which welcomes the driver to the vehicle.

    Seven exterior colors are offered for 2016: Malbec Black, Midnight Garnet, Graphite Shadow, Liquid Platinum, Black Obsidian, Moonlight White and new Hagane Blue.

    A Versatile Interior Designed for Personal Use

    The 2016 QX50's dramatic interior again offers an invigorating and engaging environment, one that is both indulgent and inspiring. The driver-focused cabin layout features an Infiniti signature "double-wave" instrument panel, easy-to-read high-contrast gauges, hospitality lighting with a pin LED light mounted over the center console and Infiniti signature analog clock.

    The instrument panel also features a 7-inch color display with Infiniti controller for the trip computer and additional vehicle information. The available Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System includes a color touch-screen display, Lane Guidance and 3-D building graphics, NavTraffic® with Real-Time Traffic Information, NavWeather™ with Real-Time Weather Information and 3-day forecast (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Infiniti Voice Recognition for audio and navigation, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth® wireless technology. Other technology systems include Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Infiniti Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately).

    Comfortable seating is provided by an 8-way power driver's seat and a 4-way power passenger's seat. Heated front seats are now standard on both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive models.

    Also available are driver's seat memory system, an 8-way power front passenger's seat and a power remote up-folding feature with dual controls (operated from the front or the hatch area) for the 2nd row 60/40 split seat. There is also a leather-wrapped shift knob, and leather-wrapped steering wheel, which includes controls for audio and cruise control.

    All models feature aluminum interior accents, with available maple interior accents. The available Bose® Premium Audio System includes 11 speakers (including 2 subwoofers), AM/FM/CD in-dash changer and USB connection port for iPod® and other compatible devices.

    The advanced Around View® Monitor (AVM), available with the new Premium Plus Package, utilizes four small cameras located front, side and rear to give the driver a virtual 360° view of the outside of the vehicle and help aid when parking. The AVM system includes Front and Rear Sonar.

    The interior is offered with standard premium leather-appointed seating surfaces, available in three colors – Graphite, Wheat and Chestnut.

    Offered at no charge for the first four years of ownership is the Infiniti Personal Assistantä, which provides new Infiniti owners access to a team of professional personal assistants from a registered phone. Information and service requests range from directory assistance and weather forecasts to arranging tasks such as hotel or dinner reservations on the caller's behalf.

    Advanced Platform and Powertrain

    Under the QX50's dramatic body is an equally advanced platform and powertrain. The FM (Front Midship) platform helps provide high levels of handling performance. Every 2016 Infiniti QX50 comes with a VQ37VHR 3.7-liter V6 engine rated at 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque.

    The engine is matched with a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, DS mode with Downshift Rev Matching (DRM) and Adaptive Shift Control.

    Superb handling is provided by a subframe-mounted independent front double-wishbone suspension with aluminum-alloy upper and lower links, twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is an independent multi-link design with aluminum-alloy upper and lower links and axle housing, twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.

    Steering is provided by a vehicle speed-sensitive power-assisted steering system. The QX50's standard braking system includes power-assisted front and rear discs (vented front) and standard Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Also standard is Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS), while an advanced Intelligent Cruise Control (Full-Speed Range) is optionally available.

    Available wheel and tire combinations include standard 18-inch 8-spoke metallic finish aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/55R18 all-season tires or new 19-inch split 5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels with 245/45R19 all-season tires, which are offered as part of the Deluxe Touring Package.

    Infiniti QX50 AWD models feature Infiniti's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, which utilizes an active torque distribution management system with an active center clutch. The electromagnetic AWD system responds quickly, helping to minimize wheel slip in adverse conditions.

    Standard safety equipment includes an Infiniti Advanced Air Bag System (AABS); driver and front passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags; roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for outboard occupant head protection; and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

    Also standard are 3-point ALR/ELR seat belts (driver ELR only) and front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters and adjustable upper anchors, front seat Active Head Restraints and the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system for the rear outboard seating positions.

    The QX50 also features advanced Zone Body Construction with front and rear crumple zones to help disperse crash energy around the passenger compartment.

    Available as part of the Technology Package is the Blind Spot Warning (BSW) system. BSW illuminates an indicator light if another vehicle is detected in the blind spot area. If the driver then uses the turn signal, the indicator flashes and an audible warning sound.

    Models and Packages

    The 2016 Infiniti QX50 is available in two models: QX50 and QX50 AWD, with four option packages available. The Premium Package includes Bose® Premium Audio System with 11 speakers, including 2 subwoofers, Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) with Plasmacluster® air purifier, dual occupant memory system for driver's seat, outside mirrors and steering wheel, entry/exit assist for driver's seat and steering wheel, outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature, auto-dimming inside mirror with HomeLink® Universal Transceiver Maple interior accents, power tilt and telescopic steering column and aluminum roof rails.

    The new Premium Plus Package adds the Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation, Around View® Monitor (AVM), and Front and Rear Sonar System.

    The Deluxe Touring Package features 19-inch split 5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels with 245/45R19 all-season performance tires, High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlights, Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) with auto-leveling headlights, 2-way power driver's seat lumbar support, coat hanger on driver's seat head restraint, 8-way power passenger's seat, power up-folding 2nd row seats, meter hood with premium stitching.

    The Technology Package features Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), Intelligent Cruise Control (Full-Speed Range), Distance Control Assist (DCA), Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Blind Spot Warning (BSW).

    "The enhanced 2016 Infiniti QX50 delivers a rewarding experience for both driver and passengers," said Parker. "With its standard 325-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 and range of advanced safety, driving and parking aids such as Around View® Monitor, driving is a pleasure. And with the added rear seat roominess and cargo flexibility, passengers will enjoy riding in an QX50 more than ever before."

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      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
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      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
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      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
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      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
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      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00
    • By William Maley
      Three years might not seem like a long time. But in the automotive industry, it is an eternity. In that short amount time, a vehicle may be surpassed by competitors and sales may take a dive. Take for example the Nissan Altima. When the redesigned model was launched back in 2013, it was considered to be above-average and some key advantages over rivals. But time has passed and the Altima has been surpassed in a number of key areas by refreshed/redesigned competitors. Nissan knew they needed to do something to get the Altima back in contention. Last year, they introduced a refreshed Altima that would hopefully give them a fighting chance in the class. Let's see if it does.
      If you were expecting some big changes to the Altima’s exterior in this mid-cycle refresh, then you’ll be disappointed. The front end features a new V-shaped grille and revised headlights to bring the model in line with the current Nissan design language. Updated taillights and new wheel choices finish off the changes. The interior is mostly left alone in this refresh aside from some new choices of trim pieces. That isn’t a bad thing as the Altima’s interior is a nice place to be in with ample space for passengers, a fair amount of soft-touch materials used throughout, and a simple dash layout. 
      One item we do wish Nissan would have addressed in this refresh is the NissanConnect infotainment system. All Altimas come with a five-inch touchscreen as standard, while our SL tester featured the optional seven-inch screen. This system has a number of issues ranging from an interface that makes it look older than it really is to the system crashing our iPod on a regular basis. More worrying was the system crashing and rebooting twice during our week-long test. It would be nice for Nissan to take the system out of the Maxima and Murano and put it into the rest of their lineup as it doesn’t have the issues listed here.
      Under the hood of the Altima are the same engines that have powered it since 2013. Our Altima SL tester came with the standard 2.5L four-cylinder with 183 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 3.5L V6 with 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. No matter which engine you pick, a Xtronic CVT routes the power to the front wheels. The 2.5 does quite well around town as the engine gets up to speed at a decent rate. Getting onto the highway is another story as you’ll need to almost floor the gas pedal to get up to speed at a somewhat decent rate. This also brings forth an abundance of engine noise, something we complained about in our 2014 Nissan Altima SL review. At least the Xtronic CVT is responsive when you step on the accelerator and the illusion of the stepped gears can make most buyers believe they’re driving an automatic.
      The EPA rates the Altima’s fuel economy at 27 City/39 Highway/31 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 31.7 MPG.
      The Altima’s ride and handling characteristics are in the middle. The suspension does a decent job of soaking up most bumps, but some larger ones will make their way inside. The recently redesigned Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat do a better job in this regard. In the bends, the Altima feels composed and shows little body roll. But the steering is way too light and doesn’t offer enough feel to feel sporty. If you want that, a Mazda6 or Ford Fusion should be on the list.
      How do you sum up the 2016 Nissan Altima? It is a competent midsize sedan. But competent isn’t a strong selling point to a midsize sedan as you can apply to any model in the class. What you need is something that makes your model stand out whether in terms of design or features. The Altima doesn’t have anything like that.
      Picking the Altima may be the safe choice, but it be might a choice you regret.
      Disclaimer: Nissan Provided the Altima, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Nissan
      Model: Altima
      Trim: 2.5 SL
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Xtronic CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 182 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 180 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/39/31
      Curb Weight: 3,254 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Smyrna, TN
      Base Price: $28,570
      As Tested Price: $32,115 (Includes $835.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Technology Package - $1,700
      Moonroof Package - $800.00
      Carpeted Floormats and Trunk Mat - $210.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Three years might not seem like a long time. But in the automotive industry, it is an eternity. In that short amount time, a vehicle may be surpassed by competitors and sales may take a dive. Take for example the Nissan Altima. When the redesigned model was launched back in 2013, it was considered to be above-average and some key advantages over rivals. But time has passed and the Altima has been surpassed in a number of key areas by refreshed/redesigned competitors. Nissan knew they needed to do something to get the Altima back in contention. Last year, they introduced a refreshed Altima that would hopefully give them a fighting chance in the class. Let's see if it does.
      If you were expecting some big changes to the Altima’s exterior in this mid-cycle refresh, then you’ll be disappointed. The front end features a new V-shaped grille and revised headlights to bring the model in line with the current Nissan design language. Updated taillights and new wheel choices finish off the changes. The interior is mostly left alone in this refresh aside from some new choices of trim pieces. That isn’t a bad thing as the Altima’s interior is a nice place to be in with ample space for passengers, a fair amount of soft-touch materials used throughout, and a simple dash layout. 
      One item we do wish Nissan would have addressed in this refresh is the NissanConnect infotainment system. All Altimas come with a five-inch touchscreen as standard, while our SL tester featured the optional seven-inch screen. This system has a number of issues ranging from an interface that makes it look older than it really is to the system crashing our iPod on a regular basis. More worrying was the system crashing and rebooting twice during our week-long test. It would be nice for Nissan to take the system out of the Maxima and Murano and put it into the rest of their lineup as it doesn’t have the issues listed here.
      Under the hood of the Altima are the same engines that have powered it since 2013. Our Altima SL tester came with the standard 2.5L four-cylinder with 183 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 3.5L V6 with 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. No matter which engine you pick, a Xtronic CVT routes the power to the front wheels. The 2.5 does quite well around town as the engine gets up to speed at a decent rate. Getting onto the highway is another story as you’ll need to almost floor the gas pedal to get up to speed at a somewhat decent rate. This also brings forth an abundance of engine noise, something we complained about in our 2014 Nissan Altima SL review. At least the Xtronic CVT is responsive when you step on the accelerator and the illusion of the stepped gears can make most buyers believe they’re driving an automatic.
      The EPA rates the Altima’s fuel economy at 27 City/39 Highway/31 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 31.7 MPG.
      The Altima’s ride and handling characteristics are in the middle. The suspension does a decent job of soaking up most bumps, but some larger ones will make their way inside. The recently redesigned Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat do a better job in this regard. In the bends, the Altima feels composed and shows little body roll. But the steering is way too light and doesn’t offer enough feel to feel sporty. If you want that, a Mazda6 or Ford Fusion should be on the list.
      How do you sum up the 2016 Nissan Altima? It is a competent midsize sedan. But competent isn’t a strong selling point to a midsize sedan as you can apply to any model in the class. What you need is something that makes your model stand out whether in terms of design or features. The Altima doesn’t have anything like that.
      Picking the Altima may be the safe choice, but it be might a choice you regret.
      Disclaimer: Nissan Provided the Altima, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Nissan
      Model: Altima
      Trim: 2.5 SL
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Xtronic CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 182 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 180 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/39/31
      Curb Weight: 3,254 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Smyrna, TN
      Base Price: $28,570
      As Tested Price: $32,115 (Includes $835.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Technology Package - $1,700
      Moonroof Package - $800.00
      Carpeted Floormats and Trunk Mat - $210.00
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