• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    Cheers and Jeers for 2014


    • It's been an interesting year! Come read our 13th annual Cheers and Jeers!

    It was a year of fear as the ebola virus was plastered all over the news despite being almost entirely contained to West Africa. Terror group ISIS rose up and took over parts of Iraq as America’s longest war wound down in Afghanistan and officially ended. Protests erupted across the country over the deaths of unarmed black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, by white police officers. An apathetic electorate, assisted by gerrymandering, decided that they wanted Congress and governor mansions to be red and gave the President another spanking despite an improved economy, rising employment, and an all-time high Dow Jones. Same-sex marriage became legal in an additional 17 states, now at 35.

    Hacking continued to be in the news, as the full extent of purloined personal data from Target’s computers in late 2013 became known early in the year and showed how antiquated credit card security is in the U.S. Home Depot was victim of a major breach. Towards the end of the year, XBOX addicts couldn’t get their fix for a few days, and North Korea allegedly hacked into Sony’s computers as retribution to their pending release of a satirical film, or was it an inside job?

    In other international news, diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba are being reestablished. Three airline disasters, including one jumbo jet that is still missing, took place in the Far East areas of Malaysia and Indonesia.

    Prominent passings included Robin Williams, James Garner, and Joan Rivers. Tom Magliozzi, the older of NPR’s “Click and Clack” brother duo, also passed away.

    In automotive news, Ford began sales of the all-new Mustang, which debuted to mixed reviews, but the marketplace has flocked to the car so far. Ford also brought out the aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup. This was after a F-250 prototype caught fire in August and quickly vaporized, leading people to ask whether aluminum is the best material for a pickup, combined with lingering questions about durability, repair costs, and insurance costs. Mazda unveiled a new Miata that lost some weight and has a sharper look. Porsche became even more of an SUV company with the runaway sales of the Macan. Subaru sales continue to be through the roof. GM recalled about 30 million vehicles, about double what Toyota did in their crisis about three years ago. A sinkhole opened up at the Corvette museum in February and swallowed 8 Corvettes, 3 of which will be restored. Attendance at the museum spiked up 71%, and the big hole is now being filled up with gravel. Google revealed their prototype of their driverless car, which has the potential of transforming tight urban places. At the end of the year, gas prices dropped by about a third due to increased production in the U.S., which will ensure sales of large vehicles for a while.

    Here on the C&G boards, it was another pretty quiet year, though the forum platform got a nice upgrade. Here are a few of the highlights and lowlights in the 13th Annual Edition of Cheers and Jeers:

    Cheers to Cadillac for credible performance vehicles with the ATS-V and the CTS-V. Details of the upcoming CT6 are promising. Cadillac sales are down 20% this year, but Cadillac is not doing fire sales anymore and will be plugging gaping holes in the lineup.

    Jeers to Cadillac for their lame new naming convention. The updated emblem, which is supposed to be “sleeker and streamlined”, comes across as plain and squat, but worse is their unoriginal naming convention of having a different number designate each model in its hierarchy after CT for the passenger cars and XT for the crossovers and SUVs. The fact that Escalade will retain that name shows the power of having a unique, immediately identifiable name.

    Cheers to GM for having the Best New Pickups with the Colorado and Canyon returning to the lineup, and not making them half-baked like the last go-round. They will genuinely be best-in-class, albeit a shrunken class of other aged vehicles, but they will have a year ahead of the new Tacoma to establish themselves. The diesel engine coming next year will make them that much more compelling.

    Cheers to GM CEO Mary Barra for her adept handling of the recalls. She’s bringing a clarity of direction with limited obfuscation. Jeers to GM for not resolving the safety issues to begin with, and for GM somehow initially forgetting that the Saturn Ion had the same defective part. The defective ignition switch has been blamed for 42 deaths. Now GM is erring on the side of caution for recalls, which is probably necessary for the sake of PR, but it’s also the right thing to do.

    Jeers to Takata for dragging their feet to recall defective airbags that spew metal debris.

    Cheers to FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) for producing the audacious Challenger and Charger Hellcat, with their 707 hp and 200 mph top speed. Perhaps the Hellcat was in response to the new Mustang and pending Camaro changeover, but the American muscle car is more alive than ever in terms of performance.

    Cheers to FCA again for having the full-size pickup with best mileage by placing a Fiat-sourced diesel engine in the light-duty Ram EcoDiesel and keeping the truck current. GM had plans for a small Duramax for the light-duty Silverado, but that project got shelved during the bankruptcy.

    Jeers to Ford on the beer can F-150, which is not a game-changer. The styling is overwrought inside and out. Ford pickups have historically been overweight, and a 700 pound weight loss is really only about a 300 pound weight advantage compared to the competition. The new 2.7 liter EcoBoost engine has gotten good reviews so far and gives the best mileage for any gas-powered pickup, but will truck buyers feel comfortable about having such a small engine, and how will reliability be over the long term?

    Cheers to Ford for the trusty, dearly, and now departed Econoline/E-Series, which was discontinued in 2014 after having the same platform architecture since the 1975 model year. RIP. The Econoline name dates back to 1961. While “eco” names have been in vogue with branding the last 10 years, Ford actually phased out the Econoline name in 2001. As balthazar pointed out, Ford and Mercedes had E-350 and E350 models concurrently. But out with the old, and in with the newfangled Transit. Only GM still has old-school vans with the Chevy Express and GMC Savana.

    Cheers to Tesla for the quickest production automobile, the all-wheel-drive, 691 hp, 964 lb-ft Model S P85D. Tesla CEO and publicity hound Elon Musk closed the year by making the announcement that their six year old Roadster can be upgraded to achieve a 400 miles range, which would conceivably make an electric car practical for far more than the 80% or so it is for now, at least in terms of range. Earlier in the year, Tesla announced their first rollouts of their battery changing stations, which will swap out the battery faster than a typical car fills with gas. On the last day of the year, Musk announced that a robotic snake is being worked on to automatically plug in the charger, because that is just too much work.

    Cheers to C&G Admin William Maley, aka mudmonster, for the Best Post on learning to drive a stick: http://www.cheersandgears.com/topic/83744-learning-the-dark-arts-of-driving-a-manual-transmission. How many of us were able to relate to the frustration, sheer terror, or satisfaction of doing the same thing in our youths? More Cheers for his consistently good car reviews.

    Jeers to the Worst Post on spiritual and philosophical matters and inexplicably posted in the Mercury forum: http://www.cheersandgears.com/topic/83093-here-is-practical-explanation-about-next-life-purpose-of-human-life-philosophicalreligious-facts-theories-etc/#entry743913. However, perhaps it could be said that a diversity of thought can help foster a better understanding to all of us.

    Finally, Cheers to all the staff and members of C&G. The constancy of the posters is like comfort food: ocnblu alternating between cars and trucks, with it now beng truck time with a pending Colorado. GMTruck74 having that constant yearning for a new GMC, and possibly getting a GMC Canyon. smk4565 being smk4565. Cmicasa did bring some needed energy to the boards late in the year. And thanks to board owner Drew Dowdell, aka oldsmoboi, for keeping the board chugging along. Cheers to all!

    Hope everybody has a safe and prosperous Happy New Year!

    0


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    Thanks once again, bobo, for the yearly wrap-up!  As always, there are some things to cheer and jeer about, some of us would have maybe chose to put some of those things in the opposite category, but hey, it is always entertaining to read your traditional overview.  Cheers!

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Great wrap up as usual, I've been even less active here than usual but it's nice to see this place is still here.  2015 marks my 13th year on C&G and honestly it is quite surprising as this is the only website I have visited nearly daily for so long.  It's a testament to the quality of the members here and the postings that makes C&G what it is.  Here's to many more years!

    2

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Great wrap up as usual, I've been even less active here than usual but it's nice to see this place is still here.  2015 marks my 13th year on C&G and honestly it is quite surprising as this is the only website I have visited nearly daily for so long.  It's a testament to the quality of the members here and the postings that makes C&G what it is.  Here's to many more years!

     

    thanks for peeking in from time to time.  We've got some nice improvements, expansions, and refreshes coming over the next 8 months.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Good to see that Cheers and Jeers has made yet another appearance - my own are almost as rare these days, but this place is still home.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor




  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. 2005 EquinoxLS
      2005 EquinoxLS
      (41 years old)
    2. Shaula
      Shaula
      (36 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      By William Maley
      Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
      April 22, 2013
      Maserati showed off the new midsize Ghibli sedan over the weekend at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show and have revealed a few more details about this new sedan.
      The Ghibli will come with the choice of three different V6 engines,
      Turbocharged 3.0L V6: 330 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque (Ghibli)
      Twin-Turbocharged: 3.0L V6: 410 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque (Ghibli S)
      Turbocharged 3.0L Diesel V6: 275 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque

      All engines will come equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Maserati's Q4 AWD system will be available on the Ghibli S.
      Underneath the Ghibli's skin, the double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear setup with available Skyhook air suspension is shared with the larger Quattroporte sedan. This decision was made to help speed up development of the Ghibli.
      The Ghibli will begin to arrive at Maserati dealers sometime late this year.
      Source: Maserati
      Press Release is on Page 2
      ALL-NEW MASERATI GHIBLI PREMIERING IN SHANGHAI
      Together with a new 330 Hp Quattroporte purposely conceived for the Chinese market.
      Shanghai, China, April 20, 2013 - The Shanghai Motor Show will mark three giant steps in Maserati's march towards its goal of 50,000 cars a year.
      The Maserati momentum that began late last year with the all-new V8 and V6 Quattroporte continues in Shanghai with the all-new Ghibli – the first-ever mid-size four-door luxury sports saloon in Maserati's history.
      Both the Quattroporte and the Ghibli saloons will each boast two different power outputs from their turbo-charged V6 petrol engines.
      The Ghibli will additionally be offered with the first diesel engine in Maserati's history. The turbo-diesel 3.0-litre V6, developed by Maserati engineers under the direction of Scuderia Ferrari former Chief Motorist Paolo Martinelli, will deliver traditional Maserati high performance and sound but will use less than six litres per 100 km (more than 47 mpg) on the NEDC fuel economy cycle. In addition, its CO2 emissions output will be less than 160g/km on the combined cycle.
      Another Maserati making its world debut in Shanghai is a version of the new Quattroporte equipped with a V6 capable of 330 Hp (243kW) and specifically conceived and developed for the Chinese market.
      MASERATI GHIBLI WORLDWIDE DEBUT
      The all-new Ghibli is set to break new grounds for Maserati. With its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show, it marks the first time in Maserati history that the Italian sports, luxury and prestige maker will have two four-door saloons on sale at the same time.
      The Ghibli's design ethos emphasises its more dynamic driving characteristics by maintaining visible links with the larger Quattroporte while delivering a more aggressive visual personality.
      The outline of the body reflects a coupe-like philosophy for the four-door saloon, while there are strong feline hints around the Ghibli's grille and headlights. The grille takes its inspiration from the current GranTurismo and it can draw a line back to the classic A6 GCS of the 1950s.
      It also maintains Maserati's distinctive C-pillar treatment, which delivers much of the coupe-like stance and carries the classical Saetta Maserati logo, carrying on a tradition dating back to 1963.
      The side profile is dominated by a swage line that runs from the traditional Maserati grille vents behind the front wheels and finishes in the rear lights themselves.
      Inside, the Ghibli sets itself apart from the Quattroporte with its own dashboard design that perfectly meets the buyer's need for a sportier and youthful experience without losing any of the luxury expected in a Maserati. The Ghibli also delivers a sporty design combined with the typical roominess of an executive saloon.
      The Ghibli will have a more-focused, sportier philosophy than the larger Quattroporte. It will be available with two turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engines, and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
      The most powerful of the V6s will be the twin-turbo unit in the Ghibli S, which produces 301kW (410hp) of power at 5500rpm and 550Nm of torque from just 1750rpm.
      The rear-wheel drive Ghibli S will reach 100km/h in 5 seconds flat, and has a quoted top speed of 285km/h (177 mph).
      The second turbo-charged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine available on the Ghibli not only has an impressive power of 243kW (330hp) and 500Nm of torque, but delivers a fuel economy figure of just 9.6 litres/100km (28.8 mpg). It is much more than a fuel saving car, though, because it is capable of accelerating to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds.
      Both of these engines, with their parallel turbochargers, were developed by Maserati Powertrain in partnership with Ferrari Powertrain and will be built by Ferrari in its world-leading engine construction facility in Maranello.
      Sharing much of the technology with the Quattroporte's 3.8-litre V8 engine, the V6 engines use petrol direct-injection technology along with two low-inertia parallel turbochargers, four continuous camshaft phasers and deliver their fuel at around 200 bar of pressure.
      This technology means that while the Ghibli S V6 has a rev limiter at 6500rpm, it still delivers 90 percent of its torque from less than 1500rpm.
      The Ghibli will also become the first Maserati production car in history to be powered by a diesel engine, with a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel. The 3.0-litre turbo-charged V6 develops 202kW (275hp) of power and a crushing 600Nm of torque to deliver 0-100km/h acceleration in just 6.3 seconds. Critically, its NEDC fuel economy figure is less than 6.0 litres per 100km (more than 47 mpg). It uses highly advanced Common-Rail direct fuel injection with 2000 bar of injection pressure and it also features reduced-dwell-time injectors. This helps it to deliver sequential multiple injections for highly responsive performance and cleaner emissions with a CO2 output of less than 160g/km on the combined cycle.
      Every Maserati is instantly recognisable by its engine note and the Ghibli Diesel is no different from its petrol 'sisters', thanks to the new Maserati Active Sound system. Two sound actuators, fitted near the exhaust tailpipes, accentuate the engine's most distinctive tones and modulate them precisely to suit the way the car is being driven. When the driver presses the Sport button on the central tunnel, the sound becomes even more resonant and utterly inspiring.
      The Ghibli is set to reveal a character all its own thanks to its combination of double-wishbone front suspension and a state-of-the-art, multi-link rear suspension with the option of the active Skyhook system, part-time all-wheel drive, firm suspension damping and a powerful braking system.
      The Ghibli is the only car in its class to use a standard mechanical limited slip differential in all its versions in order to deliver the best inherent traction in all driving situations.
      Like the Quattroporte, its chassis design is based around a rigid and extremely secure steel safety cell that employs an array of different steel and aluminium alloys to deliver precise strengths and minimal weight.
      The front of its chassis is based around an aluminium casting with a reinforced cross-strut which helps deliver outstanding rigidity in all directions, while the rear of the chassis is made from rolled steel.
      The Ghibli's three ground-breaking engines will be fitted into a wheelbase that is around 20 cm shorter than the Quattroporte (2.99m) and an overall length that is, at 4.97m, 29cm shorter.
      The Ghibli S will boast 360mm x 32mm ventilated and cross-drilled dual-cast front brake discs while it has 350mm x 28mm ventilated rear discs. It uses six-piston Brembo fixed brake callipers on the front and four-piston units at the rear to help it stop from 100km/h to zero in just 36 m.The Ghibli sits on 18-inch wheels and tyres, while the Ghibli S models ride on 18-inch staggered tyres; 19-inch, 20-inch and 21-inch wheels are available as optional extras.
      MASERATI Q4 ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
      With the Q4 all-wheel drive system both Ghibli and Quattroporte are capable of finding traction on the slipperiest surfaces thanks to its state-of-the-art, on-demand engineering.
      The Q4 system delivers the responsiveness of a rear-wheel drive combined with the added security that only an all-wheel drive can bring in critical situations, without creating extra fuel consumption.
      That is what Maserati has achieved with the Q4. The system leaves the front wheels passive until they are needed to help with traction and then they are instantly and intelligently engaged.
      The system architecture is based on an electronically controlled multi-plate wet clutch, installed into a transfer case linked by a drive shaft to the front axle.
      When grip is lost through excessive cornering speeds, hard acceleration or very low grip at the rear axle, the system takes just 150 milliseconds to change from delivering 100 percent of the drive to the rear wheels to an equal, 50%-50% split between the axles. The multi-link rear suspension provides so much rear traction, though, that the Q4 rarely needs to send more than 35 percent of the drive to the front wheels.
      It is also capable of returning to rear-drive status just as quickly, ensuring at any time the best possible traction without the traditional all-wheel drive penalties of added fuel consumption and poor responsiveness.
      Maserati developed its own sophisticated algorithm to oversee in real time an enormous array of vehicle parameters (such as wheel slip, steering and yaw angle, power output, speed, braking action, ESP) as well as wheel grip versus driving style. By processing this data, the Q4 system can maximise a dedicated grip profile for each wheel, creating the optimal vehicle dynamic management to suit any given road condition, at any time.
      The Maserati Q4 all-wheel-drive system is available with the new V6 410hp engine and perfectly matches the grand touring qualities expected of a high performance Maserati saloon, whatever the road conditions.
      Please note that the Q4 all-wheel-drive system won't be available on RHD models.
    • By William Maley
      By William Maley
      Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
      April 22, 2013
      Maserati showed off the new midsize Ghibli sedan over the weekend at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show and have revealed a few more details about this new sedan.
      The Ghibli will come with the choice of three different V6 engines,
      Turbocharged 3.0L V6: 330 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque (Ghibli) Twin-Turbocharged: 3.0L V6: 410 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque (Ghibli S) Turbocharged 3.0L Diesel V6: 275 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque All engines will come equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Maserati's Q4 AWD system will be available on the Ghibli S.Underneath the Ghibli's skin, the double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear setup with available Skyhook air suspension is shared with the larger Quattroporte sedan. This decision was made to help speed up development of the Ghibli.
      The Ghibli will begin to arrive at Maserati dealers sometime late this year.
      Source: Maserati
      Press Release is on Page 2

      Page 1 of 2 1 2 → Last » Click here to view the article
    • By dfelt
      G. David Felt
      Alternative Fuels & Propulsion writer
      www.CheersandGears.com
       
      Top 10 Least Reliable Cars
       
      Consumers Report published their annual best and worst reliable cars. If your wanting to look at the best go here Reliable Cars.
       
      For this story, you could watch the videos and dive through the mountain of spreadsheets that consumers reports has for their data, but MSN Auto helped out by focusing on the top 10 least reliable cars and here is their list. The predicted reliability score was 125% below that of the average car. 
       
      #1 - Scion xB 125% below the average auto
      #2 - Mercedes-Benz S-Class 127% below average
      #3 - Infiniti Q50 127% below average
      #4 - Jeep Grand Cherokee (Diesel) 134% below average
      #5 - Dodge Dart 140% below average
      #6 - Chevrolet Cruze 1.4T 143% below average
      #7 - Nissan Pathfinder 154% below average
      #8 - Ford Fiesta 162% below average
      #9 - Jeep Cherokee (4-cyl) 176% below average
      #10 - Fiat 500L 219% below average
       
      The issues seem to be focused on either the power train, suspension such as the active system in the S-Class from Mercedes-Benz or electrical.
       
      The one area that no car seemed to really have issues with is the body / paint jobs.
       
      So the question to be asked here is as follows:
       
      Are we building auto's to complex for our own good?
      Do we really need all these electronics in an auto?
      Do we really need all the sophisticated power train variables?
      Would it be better to focus on a more radical jump in autos by setting a dead line to move away from fossil fuel auto's to EV or Hydrogen?
       
      The questions can be endless and I hope this gets you to start thinking about what is important to you. One thing is for sure, some of these auto's will not be on my list for shopping, others would be such as the Cheverolet Cruze which got knocked for drive shaft / axel seals and GM has addressed this according to GM's web site.
       
      What are your thoughts on this list? Is it right or is Consumers reports to critical?
    • By William Maley
      Next up in the 2014 review wrap-up is sporty cars. Originally I was going to call this sports cars, but only one can be considered it. The other two happen to be sporty takes on standard models.
      First: Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring PHRT
      For an automobile to remain true to its mission for a quarter-of-a-century is an amazing feat. Such is the case for the Mazda MX-5 Miata. When it first was shown back in 1989, it promised to bring fun and sporty driving that roadsters from the fifties and sixties, but with better reliability. Throughout its three generations, the MX-5 Miata has achieved this, along with a loyal and rabid fan base. With a new MX-5 Miata coming over the horizon, I wanted to give the third-generation model a final spin. Well a 2015 MX-5 Miata Grand Touring PHRT arrived for a week to do just that.
      Mazda decided to stick with the shape from the first-generation MX-5 Miata and make evolutionary changes to it. I think this is a wise decision as you can tell there is a direct lineage from first model to the current one. The front end has a rounded shape and the smiling grille that has been a key part of Mazda’s last-generation designs. There is also a lip spoiler which comes as part of the Grand Touring trim level. Along the side are some the largest wheel flares I have ever come across on a vehicle. Its a nice touch as it makes the Miata that much more distinctive.




      Now the third-generation Miata is special because it introduced a power hardtop. The hardtop gives the Miata a coupe look when it is up and provides extra sound deadening. Putting the hardtop up or down only takes around ten seconds. One note, the hardtop when folded does take up a majority of trunk space. So pack really lightly if you decide to take a trip in one.Getting inside the Miata is a bit of an acrobatic act as the way you have enter involves folding your legs and then lowering yourself into the seat. Once you are settled in, you feel that you have become one with the vehicle thanks to the low seating position which means all controls are in easy reach. The leather bucket seats provide a multitude of adjustments so you can your find your perfect spot. The dash is nothing fancy with black plastics and aluminum trim which helps reduce distraction while driving. Standard on the Grand Touring is a Bose sound system. The system sounds great when you are puttering along in the city or along a back road. But if you decide to hit the freeway, the sound system has it work cut out as it has to try to drown out an abundance of road noise.
      Power comes from a 2.0L MZR four-cylinder paired with the optional six-speed automatic. This combination produces 158 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. Go for the six-speed manual on the Grand Touring and it nets you an additional nine horsepower. Those numbers are somewhat worrisome when you also take into account a curb weight of 2,619 pounds for the power hardtop model. But once you slip behind the wheel and get moving, those thoughts of being underpowered wash away. The engine has to be worked to use all that power, but Mazda made sure that you enjoyed doing it by making the engine pop and rev freely, giving you the thoughts of driving a sixties roadster.. The six-speed automatic was very smooth and provided crisp shifts. Fuel economy is rated at 21 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. My week saw an average of 25.1 MPG.




      Of course the real story of any Miata is its handling. I heard all of the superlatives and cheers about the MX-5 Miata’s handling, and I have to say those claims are very much true. The Miata is a joy around curves as the suspension keeps the vehicle steady and makes sure no body roll makes an entrance. Steering was excellent thanks to the right amount weight and feel. This is a vehicle that wants to be pushed and it rewards you when you decide to. When you decide to drive the Miata on a daily basis, the ride does let in a few bumps.
      After spending a week with the MX-5 Miata, I was sad to see it go. Mazda has been able to keep the spirit of the original Miata with the third-generation model. With excellent handing characteristics, the addition of a power hardtop, and a design all its own, it shows why the Miata has been able to last as long as it has.
      Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the MX-5 Miata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

      Year: 2014
      Make: Mazda
      Model: MX-5 Miata
      Trim: Grand Touring PHRT
      Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve VVT Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 158 @ 6700
      Torque @ RPM: 140 @ 5000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/28/23
      Curb Weight: 2,619 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $30,550
      As Tested Price: $32,735 (Includes $795.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Package - $1,390
      Next: Ram 1500 R/T
      The past ten to twenty years in the pickup truck market has seen an explosion in trims and model variations. You can get a standard work truck with the vinyl seats or go all the way for a luxury model with such amenities as heated and cool seats, and dual-zone climate control. But one area in the marketplace that has been neglected for sometime is the sports truck. Models such as the Chevrolet 454SS, Ford Lightning, and Dodge Ram SRT-10 really don’t exist anymore. But Ram wants to let you know that sport truck is still a thing and it comes in the form of 1500 R/T Regular Cab.




      Ram has got the basics down on the 1500 R/T. The R/T comes when you order the Sport trim level with the standard cab and 6’4” bed. Exterior changes include a blacked-out mesh grille, a new hood with faux air vents, twenty-two inch chrome wheels, and dual exhaust pars. Donning a red paint job, the R/T gives the Ram 1500 a mean look. Inside are a set of bucket seats wrapped in cloth and leather, and dash layout familiar to anyone who has been in a recent Chrysler product. This means an eight-inch screen for the UConnect infotainment system and a compressive gauge package. Getting in truck was a little bit of a hassle as its quite leap to get in. A set of step bars would be nice feature for this truck. But once inside, it was easy to get settled and understand where everything was.
      Power for the R/T is the 5.7L HEMI V8 with 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired up with an eight-speed automatic. Despite a curb weight of 5,106 pounds, this powertrain is able to get the Ram 1500 moving at a rapid rate. 0-60 will take you around the mid-5 second area. The eight-speed automatic provides lightning fast shifts and keeps the truck in the zone of power. I should also mention the noise of HEMI makes you want to push the go pedal that little more to enjoy the sweet sounds. Don’t expect to win any fuel economy awards though. The 1500 R/T is rated at 15 City/22 Highway/17 Combined. I got 18 MPG during my week.




      As for the ride, the Ram 1500 R/T has to be one of the smoothest rides I have ever experienced in a truck. Thanks a to multi-link, coil spring setup in the rear, bumps and imperfections were mostly ironed out. Even when the Ram was called in to haul a freezer and a wood lathe, the suspension was able to keep the truck level and provide a comfortable ride. Don’t expect the R/T to be a handling champ. Ram didn’t lower the suspension, which means you’ll have a bit of body roll. Also the steering is a bit slow and somewhat light in feel. But for many buyers, this isn’t a big deal.
      While the marketplace for sport trucks has dwindled a bit, the 2014 Ram 1500 R/T shows that you can still make a decent case for having a fun truck that can still do its fair share of work. Now if we could only convince them about stuffing the 6.4L HEMI into it…
      Disclaimer: Ram Provided the 1500 R/T, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

      Year: 2014
      Make: Ram
      Model: 1500
      Trim: R/T
      Engine: 5.7 HEMI V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 395 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 410 @ 3,950
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/22/14
      Curb Weight: 5,106 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Saltillo, Mexico
      Base Price: $35,105
      As Tested Price: $38,595 (Includes $1,195 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Uconnect 8.4N AM/FM/BT/ACCESS/NAV - $500.00
      Convenience Group - $495.00
      Spray-In Bedliner - $475.00
      Remote Start and Security Group - $350.00
      Class IV Receiver Hitch - $335.00
      Rear Sliding Windows - $140.00
      Next: Lexus LS 460 F-Sport
      Most of the luxury manufacturers have a high-performance model of their flagship sedan to entice those who want a bit of sport along with the amenities of a flagship. Mercedes-Benz is the best known with their S-Class AMG models, followed by the Audi S8 and Jaguar XJR. The latest one to join the fun is Lexus with the LS 460 F-Sport. Is it possible for a company known for producing some of the softest and most comfortable vehicles to embrace the sporty side?
      The LS hasn’t changed much since we last looked at it in our review of the 600h L last year. What has changed is what the F-Sport package adds. Up front, the spindle grille gets a new mesh insert and larger air intakes. A set of nineteen-inch multi-spoke wheels hide a set of large, Brembo brakes. Around back is a new bumper with chrome exhaust ports. These changes do give the LS a sporty outlook. Although, I not sure if red suits LS as it makes it look a bit gangly. White or black suits it much better.




      Inside is the same as the exterior. The only real changes of note are new brushed aluminum trim pieces, F-Sport embossed seats, and aluminum pedals. The LS is nice place to sit in and the controls are in easy reach. But I think its aging quite fast, especially when you compare it to like of the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG. Not helping matters is the Remote Touch interface which is slow to react and quite jumpy when moving around.
      Under the hood, you’ll find a 4.6L V8 with 386 horsepower and 367 pound-feet. Opt for the all-wheel drive model and those numbers drop to 360 and 347 respectively. Whichever way you decide to have your power sent to wheels, an eight-speed automatic is standard. Acceleration is very strong and power comes on very smoothly. However if you were expecting some theatrics from the V8 with loud noises, prepare to disappointed. The only real noticeable change from the standard LS to the F-Sport is new piping to channel some of the engine noise inside. The eight-speed automatic is barely noticeable when it shifts. On the fuel economy front, the LS 460 F-Sport RWD is rated at 16 City/24 Highway/19 Combined. I saw 18.6 MPG during my week.




      Now the big changes the F-Sport brings to the LS deals with the suspension. The air suspension has been lowered by 20 millimeters and has been tuned for more sporty driving. Other changes include low-profile summer tires and a limited-slip differential. I can say there is a difference when you have the LS in the Sport or Sport+ setting when compared to the LS in normal. The suspension stiffens up a bit and keeps the vehicle stable when you decide to have a bit fun in the curves. However, the steering doesn’t have the weight or feel that is needed for a sporting sedan. It veers more to the light and numbness most owners of the LS are used to. As for day to day duties, the LS 460 F-Sport handles that about as well as a standard LS with a quiet and smooth ride.
      So the LS 460 F-Sport has shown that Lexus is capable of building sporty flagship up to a point. If they can work on the steering, they might have a real contender on their hands. Maybe that’s for the next-generation model.
      Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the LS 460 F-Sport, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

      Year: 2014
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LS
      Trim: 460
      Engine: 4.6L DOHC 32-valve VVT-iE V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 386 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 367 @ 4,100
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/19
      Curb Weight: 4,365 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $72,140
      As Tested Price: $88,080 (Includes $910.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      F-Sport Package - $8,350.00
      F-Sport Comfort Package - $1,650.00
      Mark Levinson 19-Speaker Audio System - $1,580.00
      Pre-Collision System - $1,500.00
      LED Headlamps - $1,450.00
    • By William Maley
      Next up in the 2014 review wrap-up is sporty cars. Originally I was going to call this sports cars, but only one can be considered it. The other two happen to be sporty takes on standard models.
      First: Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring PHRT
      For an automobile to remain true to its mission for a quarter-of-a-century is an amazing feat. Such is the case for the Mazda MX-5 Miata. When it first was shown back in 1989, it promised to bring fun and sporty driving that roadsters from the fifties and sixties, but with better reliability. Throughout its three generations, the MX-5 Miata has achieved this, along with a loyal and rabid fan base. With a new MX-5 Miata coming over the horizon, I wanted to give the third-generation model a final spin. Well a 2015 MX-5 Miata Grand Touring PHRT arrived for a week to do just that.
      Mazda decided to stick with the shape from the first-generation MX-5 Miata and make evolutionary changes to it. I think this is a wise decision as you can tell there is a direct lineage from first model to the current one. The front end has a rounded shape and the smiling grille that has been a key part of Mazda’s last-generation designs. There is also a lip spoiler which comes as part of the Grand Touring trim level. Along the side are some the largest wheel flares I have ever come across on a vehicle. Its a nice touch as it makes the Miata that much more distinctive.



      Now the third-generation Miata is special because it introduced a power hardtop. The hardtop gives the Miata a coupe look when it is up and provides extra sound deadening. Putting the hardtop up or down only takes around ten seconds. One note, the hardtop when folded does take up a majority of trunk space. So pack really lightly if you decide to take a trip in one.Getting inside the Miata is a bit of an acrobatic act as the way you have enter involves folding your legs and then lowering yourself into the seat. Once you are settled in, you feel that you have become one with the vehicle thanks to the low seating position which means all controls are in easy reach. The leather bucket seats provide a multitude of adjustments so you can your find your perfect spot. The dash is nothing fancy with black plastics and aluminum trim which helps reduce distraction while driving. Standard on the Grand Touring is a Bose sound system. The system sounds great when you are puttering along in the city or along a back road. But if you decide to hit the freeway, the sound system has it work cut out as it has to try to drown out an abundance of road noise.
      Power comes from a 2.0L MZR four-cylinder paired with the optional six-speed automatic. This combination produces 158 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. Go for the six-speed manual on the Grand Touring and it nets you an additional nine horsepower. Those numbers are somewhat worrisome when you also take into account a curb weight of 2,619 pounds for the power hardtop model. But once you slip behind the wheel and get moving, those thoughts of being underpowered wash away. The engine has to be worked to use all that power, but Mazda made sure that you enjoyed doing it by making the engine pop and rev freely, giving you the thoughts of driving a sixties roadster.. The six-speed automatic was very smooth and provided crisp shifts. Fuel economy is rated at 21 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. My week saw an average of 25.1 MPG.



      Of course the real story of any Miata is its handling. I heard all of the superlatives and cheers about the MX-5 Miata’s handling, and I have to say those claims are very much true. The Miata is a joy around curves as the suspension keeps the vehicle steady and makes sure no body roll makes an entrance. Steering was excellent thanks to the right amount weight and feel. This is a vehicle that wants to be pushed and it rewards you when you decide to. When you decide to drive the Miata on a daily basis, the ride does let in a few bumps.
      After spending a week with the MX-5 Miata, I was sad to see it go. Mazda has been able to keep the spirit of the original Miata with the third-generation model. With excellent handing characteristics, the addition of a power hardtop, and a design all its own, it shows why the Miata has been able to last as long as it has.
      Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the MX-5 Miata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

      Album: 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring PHRT
      14 images 0 comments Year: 2014
      Make: Mazda
      Model: MX-5 Miata
      Trim: Grand Touring PHRT
      Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve VVT Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 158 @ 6700
      Torque @ RPM: 140 @ 5000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/28/23
      Curb Weight: 2,619 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $30,550
      As Tested Price: $32,735 (Includes $795.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Package - $1,390
      Next: Ram 1500 R/T

      Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 → Last » Click here to view the article
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)