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  • William Maley
    William Maley
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    The Sunday Column - March 1, 2015

      Making the choice between the Lancer Evolution and Abarth, along with other thoughts of this week.

    The past couple of weeks at the Cheers & Gears Detroit Garage has been interesting for the past couple of weeks. Last week saw a Fiat 500C Abarth and the week before was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR. During a conversation with a colleague of mine, the question was asked which car would I feel more comfortable in pushing. The answer I gave surprised him when I said that I would take the 500.

    My reasoning for this choice comes down to this; the Lancer Evolution has a lot more exploitation available thanks to computer wizardry and a powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine. You can corner much faster and go a lot quicker than in many vehicles, which can make you feel like the greatest driver in the world. But that only happens to be an illusion; the computer, all-wheel drive, and engine can only do so much to keep the vehicle on the road. If you overcook a corner, don't expect the vehicle to save you.

    Then there is the Fiat 500C Abarth. A small car with a small 1.4L turbo engine and front-wheel drive. The limits in this car are much lower than the Evolution, but I feel that it makes a little bit safer and fun to push. I could press the accelerator further to floor and feel like I'm going quicker when in reality I wasn't. Also I knew that it being front-wheel drive meant I would have a hint of understeer if I pushed, which could mean visiting a ditch or something worse. Keep it steady I told myself driving on a curvy bit of road and the Abarth was fine.

    I think a lot of this also comes down to knowing my driving habits. I've never been a race track, nor have taken a advanced driving course to improve my skills. The only real skills I have are from driving school and making a number of mistakes in my young age. Maybe that plays into knowing that I don't much of extracting all of the performance of a car - possibly a good thing.

    Other thoughts from the week:

    • Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen did a reader Q&A on Jalopnik this week and dropped some interesting tidbits: A new V6 engine lineup will be revealed sometime this month, the CT6 will 'eventually' get a twin-turbo V8 engine, and the ELR will be getting some significant updates. I would recommend checking out the Q&A.
    • Sticking on the Cadillac tip, I'm currently driving an ATS coupe with the 2.0L turbo and all-wheel drive. Two things I want say about the vehicle.
      1. the 2.0T is so much better than the ATS 3.6 I drove awhile back. Lots of low end punch.
      2. Seeing the new Cadillac emblem up close, still don't like it.

      [*]Chrysler can't seem to catch a break on the nine-speed automatic transmission still. I'm beginning to wonder if it might make sense to kill this current transmission and go back to drawing board.

      [*]Geneva Auto Show kicks off this week and so far the only vehicle I'm excited by is the Kia Sportspace concept. Hopefully a couple other vehicles can amp up the excitement.

      [*]Big congrats to one of our members - GMTruckGuy on getting a new GMC Canyon. Sharp color!

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