• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    2013 Lexus GS 350 F-Sport


    • The German automakers' worst nightmare has come to fruition.


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    October 16, 2013

    Last year, I had the great fortune of going to the Midwest Automotive Media Association's Spring Rally. The rally brings automotive media and manufacturers together for a couple days of driving new vehicles. During my time there, I had the chance to slip behind the wheel of the recently launched Lexus GS 350. But this wasn't any ordinary GS 350. It happened to be the new GS 350 F-Sport model. When I wrote my wrap-up of the event, I said this about the GS:

    "Has Lexus created a vehicle that can give everyone in the midsize luxury sedan class something to worry about? Oh very much so."

    Bit of a bold proclamation. I wanted to find out if that would hold true after an extended stay on the roads I drive on and Lexus obliged by handing over a 2013 GS 350 F-Sport for a week's stay.

    gallery_10485_700_1469074.jpg

    Polarizing. That's the word I would use to describe the GS 350 F-Sport's exterior design. To start, there is Lexus' spindle grille in the front. This is either a love it or hate it relationship. Personally, I love the spindle grille on the GS, especially when it has the mesh-grille insert. There is also a set of LED daytime running lights running along the inner edge and a more aggressive front bumper with vents to feed air to the massive brakes. Along the sides are a high belt line, side skirts, and a set of nineteen-inch alloy wheels in a graphite finish. Towards the back, a rear lip spoiler and valance finish off the sporty touches. It's shock and awe in one complete package.

    Heading inside, the GS 350 F-Sport looks and feels like a sporty sedan. You have loads of black leather and soft-touch materials that contrast very well with the grey trim pieces used in the dash. The front seats are well-bolstered and provide a wide range of adjustments such as adjustable side bolsters and power thigh support for the driver. Heat and ventilation are included for both seats. The ventilation was much appreciated during the week as it was pretty warm.

    gallery_10485_700_79828.jpg

    The back seat isn't as big as you might think. A large transmission tunnel means it's only really comfortable for two passengers. Also headroom comes at a premium due to a sloping roofline.

    Techwise, the GS 350 comes with a large 12.3-inch screen that houses Lexus' Enform infotainment system. The screen is divided up into two parts. The majority of the screen is dedicated to navigation, media selection, climate and information. The remainder of the screen is used for telling you what's playing and a overview of the climate system. I like this layout since I can have the navigation and what's playing on my iPod at the same time. Well done, Lexus!

    To move around the system, there is Lexus Remote Touch. The system uses a joystick to navigate around the menus and select functions. I'm not a fan of Remote Touch since the system is a bit touchy and you have to take your eyes off the road to make sure you are going into the selection you want.

    Enough about the design and seating arrangements, lets dive into how it drives.


    Powering the GS 350 F-Sport is a 3.5L V6 with 306 horsepower and 274 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is the sole choice. The 3.5L is very Lexus-like at the low end, quiet and smooth. Surprisingly, it also packs a bit of punch as well. Keep the revs climbing the 3.5L emits a very lovely engine note. The six-speed automatic never put a gear cog wrong. It somehow knew what gear the vehicle needed to be in.

    gallery_10485_700_1173403.jpg

    The GS also comes with Lexus Drive Mode Selector which offers four different configurations for the powertrain and suspension. The modes are as followed:

    • Normal: Standard throttle mapping and suspension tuning, gearshifts tuned for comfort.
    • Eco: Slower throttle mapping, reduced operation of the climate control
    • Sport: Quicker throttle mapping, stiffer suspension tuning
    • Sport+: Much quicker throttle mapping, even stiffer suspension tuning, heavier steering, number of powertrain enhancements

    During the week, I found myself cycling though all of the modes and using them for their respective needs. Normal worked very well in the city and in the suburbs. Eco did great on the freeway and the long rural roads of Northern Michigan. Sport and Sport+ were left to the curvy roads as the engine could be worked.

    The GS 350 F-Sport comes with Adaptable Variable Suspension (AVS). The suspension can be adjusted by a driver via the Drive Mode Selector to either be stiff or soft. The same is true for the steering as it can be adjusted to provide a heavier feel. Do they work? In short, yes.

    Flicking the Drive Mode Selector into Sport and Sport+ transforms the GS into something of a road demon. Moving along on one of the test roads I use, the GS felt much more agile than I was expecting. Body lean was kept to a minimum. Steering was excellent with good feel and weight when it was being pushed.

    Switching back into Normal and Eco mode, the GS 350 F-Sport becomes a very sensible luxury sedan. The suspension softens up and provides a very smooth ride. Sound deadening is excellent with wind and road noise kept to a minimum.

    gallery_10485_700_1193579.jpg

    Fuel Economy for the GS 350 F-Sport is rated at 19 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. During the week, I got an average of 26 MPG.

    Going back to beginning of this review, I was wondering if I could stand behind the verdict I gave to GS 350 F-Sport when I briefly drove it last year. The answer is a resounding yes. I don't how Lexus was able to pull this off, but somehow it has created a midsize luxury sedan that is very much fun to drive and provides many luxuries for its occupants.

    The GS 350 F-Sport should make everyone in midsize luxury sedan class a bit nervous and worried. Especially if Lexus engineers take what they learned from the GS F-Sport and applies it onto a GS-F.

    gallery_10485_700_1573756.jpg

    Disclaimer: Lexus Provided The GS, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas.

    Year: 2013

    Make: Lexus

    Model: GS 350

    Trim: F-Sport

    Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve VVT-i V6

    Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission

    Horsepower @ RPM: 306 @ 6,200

    Torque @ RPM: 274 @ 3,600

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/28/23

    Curb Weight: 3,795 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan

    Base Price: $46,900.00

    As Tested Price: $55,869.00* (Includes $875.00 destination charge)

    Options:

    F-Sport Package - $5,690.00

    Navigation Package - $1,735.00

    Blind Spot Monitor System - $500.00

    Trunk Mat - $105.00

    Cargo Net - $64.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    0


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    excellent article again!

    this car deserves props and Lexus is improving a lot. But I can't help but think I would pick the new CTS over this car 99 times out of 100, even as good as it may be.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The Toyota Camry of Mid-Size Luxury Cars..... It has everything it needs to have on paper, but fails to excite me in any way.

    At $55k, I would pick any of the Germans, the 2014 CTS or even XTS, the Infiniti Q70 (M45), the Jaguar XF 3.0 AWD.... or if I was feeling particularly American that day, the 300C John Varvatos and still have change in my pocket for another classic Oldsmobile.

    The only cars I can think of that the GS would beat on my "buy" list would be the Genesis, MKS and the RLX.

    1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    WOW, this was a great write up but the car leaves me dead on arrival. Just a rebadge of the Toyota and non inspiring. So many other auto's that are far more inspiring than this is.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The Toyota Camry of Mid-Size Luxury Cars..... It has everything it needs to have on paper, but fails to excite me in any way.

    At $55k, I would pick any of the Germans, the 2014 CTS or even XTS, the Infiniti Q70 (M45), the Jaguar XF 3.0 AWD.... or if I was feeling particularly American that day, the 300C John Varvatos and still have change in my pocket for another classic Oldsmobile.

    The only cars I can think of that the GS would beat on my "buy" list would be the Genesis, MKS and the RLX.

    I would be with you before I drove the GS. But after driving it, I would be my top pick. The XTS is too soft (although I do love it), Q70 is getting up there age, XF gets pricy (though that would be my alternate), 5-Series has gotten dull, E-Class has gotten ugly, and the A6 looks like a stretched A4.

    300 and Genesis are in a different category for me. Also, I need to get my hands on a CTS for review (still not sold on the styling though).

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The XTS V-Sport would be my first choice, but that is over $55k and without the turbos, I would default back to a V6 CTS or even just save a bunch of money and go with the 300c Hemi

    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

      Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

    ×   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. gmfannyc
      gmfannyc
      (34 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      Toyota Motor North America Reports January 2017 Sales
      Toyota division posts best-ever January in RAV4, Highlander TCUV posted 17th consecutive month of best-ever monthly sales L/Certified by Lexus achieves best-ever January sales Plano, Texas (February 1, 2017) – Toyota Motor North America (TMNA), Inc., today reported its U.S. January 2017 sales of 143,048 vehicles, a decrease of 11.3 percent from January 2016 on a volume basis. With the same number of selling days in January 2017 compared to January 2016, sales were down 11.3 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. 
       
      Toyota division posted January sales of 127,476 units, down 9.2 percent on a volume basis and DSR basis.
       
      “Coming off a record December and year in 2016, the industry in January took a bit of a pause with volume down slightly vs. a year ago,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division.  “Much improved Light Truck availability helped RAV4 and Highlander begin the year with record January sales.”
       
      Lexus posted January sales of 15,572 vehicles, down 25.6 percent on a volume basis and DSR basis.
       
      “January proved to be a challenging month driven by limited LUV availability and the strength of our December results,” said Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager of the Lexus division. “Our outstanding December of nearly 41,000 resulted in a low days’ supply for our core models, especially in metro markets. We are continuing to replenish dealer inventories and expect healthy levels in February. Our dealers did achieve a best-ever January in L/Certified sales with more than 7,900 sales.”
       
      January 2017 Highlights  
      Camry posts January sales of 20,313 units Toyota division SUV up 8 percent in January Highlander posts best-ever January, up 12.4 percent RAV4 posts best-ever January with sales of 22,155 units, up 2.8 percent 4Runner sales were up 16 percent TCUV had a best-ever January and 17 consecutive months of  best-ever monthly sales RX posts sales of 5,520 L/Certified by Lexus posts best-ever January sales of 7,901, up 9.2 percent from January 2016  *Note:  Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume
      TOYOTA  U.S. SALES SUMMARY
      JANUARY 2017
        -- CURRENT MONTH --
      -- CALENDAR YEAR TO DATE --     
                          2017
      2016
      DSR %
      VOL %
      2017
      2016
      DSR %
      VOL %
      TOTAL TOYOTA
      143,048
      161,283
      -11.3
      -11.3
      143,048
      161,283
      -11.3
      -11.3
      TOTAL TOYOTA DIV
      127,476
      140,350
      -9.2
      -9.2
      127,476
      140,350
      -9.2
      -9.2
      TOTAL LEXUS
      15,572
      20,933
      -25.6
      -25.6
      15,572
      20,933
      -25.6
      -25.6
                        YARIS IA (INCL SCI IA)
      1,951
      1,840
      6
      6
      1,951
      1,840
      6
      6
      YARIS LIFTBACK
      1330
      548
      142.7
      142.7
      1,330
      548
      142.7
      142.7
      TOTAL YARIS
      3,281
      2,388
      37.4
      37.4
      3,281
      2,388
      37.4
      37.4
      iQ
      0
      2
      -100
      -100
      0
      2
      -100
      -100
      xD
      0
      3
      -100
      -100
      0
      3
      -100
      -100
      xB
      0
      782
      -100
      -100
      0
      782
      -100
      -100
      tC
      72
      715
      -89.9
      -89.9
      72
      715
      -89.9
      -89.9
      COROLLA IM (INCL SCI IM)
      1,460
      1,250
      16.8
      16.8
      1,460
      1,250
      16.8
      16.8
      COROLLA SEDAN
      20,107
      22,362
      -10.1
      -10.1
      20,107
      22,362
      -10.1
      -10.1
      TOTAL COROLLA
      21,567
      23,612
      -8.7
      -8.7
      21,567
      23,612
      -8.7
      -8.7
      86 (INCL FR-S)
      474
      507
      -6.5
      -6.5
      474
      507
      -6.5
      -6.5
      MIRAI
      83
      26
      219.2
      219.2
      83
      26
      219.2
      219.2
      AVALON
      2,503
      3,597
      -30.4
      -30.4
      2,503
      3,597
      -30.4
      -30.4
      PRIUS
      7,829
      9,311
      -15.9
      -15.9
      7,829
      9,311
      -15.9
      -15.9
      CAMRY
      20,313
      26,848
      -24.3
      -24.3
      20,313
      26,848
      -24.3
      -24.3
      TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. CAR
      56,122
      67,791
      -17.2
      -17.2
      56,122
      67,791
      -17.2
      -17.2
                        CT
      393
      622
      -36.8
      -36.8
      393
      622
      -36.8
      -36.8
      IS
      1,423
      2,178
      -34.7
      -34.7
      1,423
      2,178
      -34.7
      -34.7
      RC
      447
      755
      -40.8
      -40.8
      447
      755
      -40.8
      -40.8
      ES
      2,171
      3,400
      -36.1
      -36.1
      2,171
      3,400
      -36.1
      -36.1
      GS
      422
      1,298
      -67.5
      -67.5
      422
      1,298
      -67.5
      -67.5
      LS
      280
      397
      -29.5
      -29.5
      280
      397
      -29.5
      -29.5
      LFA
      0
      1
      -100
      -100
      0
      1
      -100
      -100
      TOTAL LEXUS CAR
      5,136
      8,651
      -40.6
      -40.6
      5,136
      8,651
      -40.6
      -40.6
      TOTAL TOYOTA CAR
      61,258
      76,442
      -19.9
      -19.9
      61,258
      76,442
      -19.9
      -19.9
                        SIENNA
      7,285
      10,992
      -33.7
      -33.7
      7,285
      10,992
      -33.7
      -33.7
      RAV4
      22,155
      21,554
      2.8
      2.8
      22,155
      21,554
      2.8
      2.8
      FJ CRUISER
      0
      1
      -100
      -100
      0
      1
      -100
      -100
      VENZA
      4
      184
      -97.8
      -97.8
      4
      184
      -97.8
      -97.8
      HIGHLANDER
      12,656
      11,258
      12.4
      12.4
      12,656
      11,258
      12.4
      12.4
      4RUNNER
      8,699
      7,496
      16
      16
      8,699
      7,496
      16
      16
      SEQUOIA
      1146
      852
      34.5
      34.5
      1,146
      852
      34.5
      34.5
      LAND CRUISER
      272
      273
      -0.4
      -0.4
      272
      273
      -0.4
      -0.4
      TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. SUV
      44,932
      41,618
      8
      8
      44,932
      41,618
      8
      8
                        TACOMA
      12,509
      12,717
      -1.6
      -1.6
      12,509
      12,717
      -1.6
      -1.6
      TUNDRA
      6,628
      7,232
      -8.4
      -8.4
      6,628
      7,232
      -8.4
      -8.4
      TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. PICKUP
      19,137
      19,949
      -4.1
      -4.1
      19,137
      19,949
      -4.1
      -4.1
      TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. TRUCK
      71,354
      72,559
      -1.7
      -1.7
      71,354
      72,559
      -1.7
      -1.7
                        NX
      2,964
      3,133
      -5.4
      -5.4
      2,964
      3,133
      -5.4
      -5.4
      RX
      5,520
      6,956
      -20.6
      -20.6
      5,520
      6,956
      -20.6
      -20.6
      GX
      1,418
      1,608
      -11.8
      -11.8
      1,418
      1,608
      -11.8
      -11.8
      LX
      534
      585
      -8.7
      -8.7
      534
      585
      -8.7
      -8.7
      TOTAL LEXUS TRUCK
      10,436
      12,282
      -15
      -15
      10,436
      12,282
      -15
      -15
      TOTAL TOYOTA TRUCK
      81,790
      84,841
      -3.6
      -3.6
      81,790
      84,841
      -3.6
      -3.6
      Selling Days
      24
      24
          24
      24
          DSR = Daily Selling Rate
                   
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
    • By William Maley
      They say timing is everything. As I mentioned in our quick drive piece of 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium, the automaker announced a refreshed version for 2017. Changes included a revised exterior, improved interior materials, and a revised EyeSight active safety system. Once we heard about the refresh, we knew we need to get one in for review. That’s what happened this past fall as a 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring arrived at the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage. The XT is the important bit as it means we have the turbo engine.
      Let us begin with the engine as this is one of the best points of the Forester. The XT gets a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four producing 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT and all-wheel drive. The turbo engine solves some of the issues we had in the previous Forester. The 2.5i wasn’t as responsive as we would have liked and it takes its sweet time to get up to higher speeds. With the turbo engine, the Forester leaps into action. Yes, it does a take a moment for the turbo to spool up. But once it does, the engine delivers power at a steady and smooth rate.  Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT is one of the better CVTs on the market. Part of this comes from the simulated gear changes Subaru has programmed for the CVT. This will fool most people into thinking that the transmission is a standard automatic. Also, the CVT doesn’t have much of a groan when you decide to floor the accelerator. The downside to the turbo engine is fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the 2.0XT stand at 23 City/27 Highway/25 Combined. Our average for the week was 24.7 MPG. If you’re expecting Subaru to make some changes to the suspension and/or steering for the Forester 2.0XT, then you’ll be very disappointed. The 2.0XT is the same as the 2.5i we drove earlier. That means a smooth ride over some of the worst roads Michigan has on offer, but a fair amount of body roll when going around a corner.  Changes for the 2017 Forester’s exterior include a new grille design, LED accent lights for the head and taillights; and a new set of wheels. The XT also gets a more aggressive front bumper. While the Forester is still a box, at least the changes have made it a bit more stylish. The interior remains mostly unchanged when compared to the 2016 model. The only change we noted is the option of brown leather for the XT Touring that is used for the seats and various parts of the dash and doors. It is a nice touch, but it would have been nice if Subaru had gone a bit further with the luxury touches - especially considering the price of our tester. Subaru has upgraded their EyeSight system for 2017 by installing a new set of color stereo cameras. Subaru says the new cameras allow better detection of various objects and a wider range of monitoring. We believe it as the updated system was able to detect vehicles slightly faster than the previous system when using the adaptive cruise control system. There is one big issue for the 2017 Forester 2.0XT Touring, price. The base price is $34,295. Equipped with an option package that brings a larger screen for the Starlink infotainment system, EyeSight, and reverse automatic braking, the as-tested price comes to $36,765. Taking into consideration for what you get for the price, the Forester 2.0XT Touring isn’t worth it considering you can get into some luxury crossovers for around the same price. You can get the Forester 2.0XT in the Premium trim which kicks off at $29,295, but you cannot get EyeSight as an option. If you really want a Forester with a turbo engine, wait for 2.0XT Touring to hit the used car lot as it will become a slightly better value. Otherwise, skip the 2.0XT and go with the Forester 2.5i or another crossover. Disclaimer: Subaru Provided the Forester 2.0XT Touring, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Subaru
      Model: Forester
      Trim: 2.0XT Touring
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC GDI Boxer-Four
      Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 2,000 - 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/27/25
      Curb Weight: 3,686 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: OTA, Gunma, Japan
      Base Price: $34,295
      As Tested Price: $36,765 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Option Package 34 - $1,595.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      They say timing is everything. As I mentioned in our quick drive piece of 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium, the automaker announced a refreshed version for 2017. Changes included a revised exterior, improved interior materials, and a revised EyeSight active safety system. Once we heard about the refresh, we knew we need to get one in for review. That’s what happened this past fall as a 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring arrived at the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage. The XT is the important bit as it means we have the turbo engine.
      Let us begin with the engine as this is one of the best points of the Forester. The XT gets a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four producing 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT and all-wheel drive. The turbo engine solves some of the issues we had in the previous Forester. The 2.5i wasn’t as responsive as we would have liked and it takes its sweet time to get up to higher speeds. With the turbo engine, the Forester leaps into action. Yes, it does a take a moment for the turbo to spool up. But once it does, the engine delivers power at a steady and smooth rate.  Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT is one of the better CVTs on the market. Part of this comes from the simulated gear changes Subaru has programmed for the CVT. This will fool most people into thinking that the transmission is a standard automatic. Also, the CVT doesn’t have much of a groan when you decide to floor the accelerator. The downside to the turbo engine is fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the 2.0XT stand at 23 City/27 Highway/25 Combined. Our average for the week was 24.7 MPG. If you’re expecting Subaru to make some changes to the suspension and/or steering for the Forester 2.0XT, then you’ll be very disappointed. The 2.0XT is the same as the 2.5i we drove earlier. That means a smooth ride over some of the worst roads Michigan has on offer, but a fair amount of body roll when going around a corner.  Changes for the 2017 Forester’s exterior include a new grille design, LED accent lights for the head and taillights; and a new set of wheels. The XT also gets a more aggressive front bumper. While the Forester is still a box, at least the changes have made it a bit more stylish. The interior remains mostly unchanged when compared to the 2016 model. The only change we noted is the option of brown leather for the XT Touring that is used for the seats and various parts of the dash and doors. It is a nice touch, but it would have been nice if Subaru had gone a bit further with the luxury touches - especially considering the price of our tester. Subaru has upgraded their EyeSight system for 2017 by installing a new set of color stereo cameras. Subaru says the new cameras allow better detection of various objects and a wider range of monitoring. We believe it as the updated system was able to detect vehicles slightly faster than the previous system when using the adaptive cruise control system. There is one big issue for the 2017 Forester 2.0XT Touring, price. The base price is $34,295. Equipped with an option package that brings a larger screen for the Starlink infotainment system, EyeSight, and reverse automatic braking, the as-tested price comes to $36,765. Taking into consideration for what you get for the price, the Forester 2.0XT Touring isn’t worth it considering you can get into some luxury crossovers for around the same price. You can get the Forester 2.0XT in the Premium trim which kicks off at $29,295, but you cannot get EyeSight as an option. If you really want a Forester with a turbo engine, wait for 2.0XT Touring to hit the used car lot as it will become a slightly better value. Otherwise, skip the 2.0XT and go with the Forester 2.5i or another crossover. Disclaimer: Subaru Provided the Forester 2.0XT Touring, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Subaru
      Model: Forester
      Trim: 2.0XT Touring
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC GDI Boxer-Four
      Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 2,000 - 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/27/25
      Curb Weight: 3,686 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: OTA, Gunma, Japan
      Base Price: $34,295
      As Tested Price: $36,765 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Option Package 34 - $1,595.00
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)