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A few reviews: Audi A3, Chevy Colorado, Challenger V6, 2012 F-150


Stew

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Just a few quick reviews i have done over the last few months, originally shared on MT forums.

 

2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro

 

So, my brother had this car as his loaner while his A5 was being worked on at the closest Audi dealership..............  which is around 200 miles away.  He had to return it Saturday and pick his car up.  I got to spend a good solid 2 hours driving it.

Exterior:  the A3 is a good looking car with nice detailing on the exterior.  It does have a stubby butt and is kind of tall, but not bad at all.

Interior:  I have mixed emotions here.  The quality was very good and I love the newest version of MMI (I prefer it over touchscreens).  It was very easy to navigate and looked great.  A huge update from the 11 A5.  I liked the pop-up screen at the top, but I prefer the older design in the A5 better (screen is nearly as big and intergrated into the dash.).  The cupholders are located side by side right under the climate control buttons which means they get blocked out by taller drinks.  The seats did not seem as comfortable as the A5 and seemed smaller,though i did appreciate the lumbar on both front seats and the fact it could be moved up and down.  The center console juts out towards the front and despite the tilt and telescoping steering wheel I could not find a position where it did not jab into my knee.  Otherwise room up front was good and despite me being 6.0feet tall and my brother 6.2 headroom was excellent, even with the sunroof.

The drive:  I also have mixed feelings here too:  He good:  It handled well, it felt considerably quicker than the A5, and the steering felt excellent.  The ride was very good making most bumps felt more than heard, though it had a little more body-roll than I expected.  The bad:  I have no idea who decided on the calibration for the gas and brake pedals, but they need to revisit both.  The brakes were strong and felt goof, but the pedal was so sensitive they were impossible to adjust to and breathing on it would send you through the windshield.  The gas pedal was just the opposite.  Yes the engine had some slight turbo lag, but half throttle should get you moving quickly, but to get it going it seemed to take more.  At least that was easy to adapt to and was not a problem at all.  

Overall:  My brother liked this more than the A5, I am the opposite.  i think the interior looks nicer in the A5 and the seats are more comfortable, the pedals are progressive. I liked but just could not love it.  Also, this car had quite a few options that drove the price to right at $43k.  

 
 
2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71:
 
Was heading home today and decided to see what the Chevy dealer had in stock.  Was admiring a beautiful Z71 when the salesman opened it up and then offered a test-drive.  I, of course, accepted.

Truck:  LT Z71 extended cab 4x4 V6.

The interior:  Wow, I really loved the interior.  Only complaint is that the shifter is a little awkwardly placed, otherwise very nice!  It had the Mylink which looked great and had a very nice and high res backup camera.  It also had power seats with a cloth/leather mix.  The seats were some of the best seats I think I have ever been in.  Very comfortable and supportive, not to mention very handsome and felt of high quality.  A comfortable seating position was a snap to find.  The front had more than enough room.  It had 2 small jumpseats in the rear and being a mid-size the room was of course pretty tight.

They nailed the exterior.  It appeared to have more ground clearance than the other LT 4x4 which I had origionally stopped to look at, but was not a Z71.  it was already sold.  The Z71 rims look amazing on this truck and I loved the blackedout grill.  Of course the first thing that would happen is that front spoiler would have to go, don't care if it costs me an MPG.

The drive:  I have no other way to describe this truck but smooth and solid.  It literally felt like some luxury cars I have been in.  The steering felt just right.  It had just the right heft, no dead spot on center, and actually had some feel.  I know people complain about the 3.6 in this truck, but I must say that it worked EXTREMELY well in this application.  I was even impressed by the sound, very throaty and better than 3.6 GM DI i have been in before.  It was not lacking in the low end and had excellent passing power and mid range punch.  This was probably the best shifting verion of the GM 6 speed auto I have experienced.  No problem shifting down and responded very well.  It was an absolute joy to drive.

Price:  It was a little over 34k.  It had a towing package, and a couple other dealer added options (mud flaps, exhaust tip, yadda, yadda).  Honestly you could not get a fullsize extended cab with this content for anywhere near this price.

Overall:  I 100% understand Motor trend's choice of this truck for their truck of the year trophy.    it has burnt the old book on mid-size trucks and completely rewritten it.  Before you naysay this truck, DRIVE IT!  I can guarantee you WILL be impressed!  If I was in the market right now, this would be in driveway right now.  unfortunately my plans for a new(er) truck purchase have been put off for a while, but that should give time for some to hit the used lots and maybe eventually get some rebates.  Right now, here anyways, they generally don't last aa week on the lot.  
 
2015 Challenger V6 w/Track pack
 
So, I stopped at the local Mopar dealer to see what they had in stock.  They had 3 15 challengers, all V6 models.  So I was looking and the salesman comes over and asks me if I wanted to drive it, I couldn't pass it up.  Was originally looking at a lower option SXT because it was parked next to a 2014 SXT (more on that in a few).  There was an SXT plus with the Track Pak on the other side of a Charger and I told him that is the one I want to drive.  This was a nicely loaded SXT plus and I was happy to see the track pak on it.  Anyway, here are some impressions from looking it over and the drive.

Exterior:  Man oh man I never realized such relatively minor tweaks could make such a huge difference.  The split taillights with the black surround doesn't just sing retro, it screams it from the rooftops!  The slimmer split grill and larger lower air intake simply add a new level of aggressiveness to the Challenger.  Then there are the details.  One of those details is the lower portion of the rear bumper.  There is sculpting that the 14 lacked that really  makes that area look MUCH better!  On models with the spoiler, it is a newer design.  It is taller, better fitting with a couple inch dip in the center that makes a bigger difference than one would imagine compared to the smaller basic spoiler on the 08-14s.  Overall, BEAUTIFUL car that looks much more cohesive than the 08-14 models.

Interior:  Is this the same car?  I never had an issue with the od Challenger's interior....... until now.  WOW!  Everything looks rich and high quality and feels it too.  The shapes and design are pleasing.  The huge 8.4 inch touch screen in the center is easy to see and vibrant.  The steering wheel feels amazing in your hands.  The materials on it are top notch and the size just fits perfectly in my hands.  The shifter looks great and feels good on your hand and the detents leave doubt what drivemode you are in, overall VERY impressed.  Honestly, this interior is everybit as good as the Audi, More so in some areas.  The seats were very comfortable and feel great.  The leather was soft to touch and again of very high quality. Getting a comfortable driving position with the seat and power tilt and telescoping steering wheel was a cinch.  My one issue was trying to figure out why the seatback control was manual, though the rest was power with power lumbar.  Unfortunately I didn't really play with the features as I was so excited to hit the road!  Anyway, on to the drive.  

The drive:  Just pulling out I knew this felt different from previous Challengers I had driven.  The electric steering is weighted perfectly and turns in is more lively.  The brakes were a bit of an adjustment as they seemed grabby at first, then again I drive a  13 year old pickup with 250k miles, so that is relative.  I take the turn out onto the highway and everything feels very solid.  the transmission is buttery smooth, yet eager to downshift when called upon.  The ride is smooth, yet tout, no doubt the track pak has some starch in it's suspenders.  Then we make a turn onto one of my favorite test driver spots, a curvey uphill 3 or so mile road leading to the local airport.  I immediately switch to the paddle shifters.  The response is great, no lag time and no waiting, though one big drawback of so many gears is that it takes a few flips to get down to the gear you want.  It did a VERY good job of holding the gears as well.  Only had 1 automatic upshift while using them.  The transmission is just as much of a peach here as it is in the A5!    The pentastar V6 pulled smartly and ever harder as the revs climbed and the 8 speed allowed it to be kept in it's power band, I was more impressed than i thought I would be and it even had a great sound to it, though certainly no Hemi!  The handling shocked me, but in a VERY good way.  Yes, there was some roll, but it was VERY slight.  Grip was impressive and it just stuck like glue to the pavement.  Turn in was surprisingly adept and eager, and I don't just mean for such a big car, it was very impressive.  I do wonder how the extra couple hundred pounds of Hemi would effect this though.  Anyway, I was not pushing it anywhere near the limits (public road and the salesman was with me), but I couldn't believe how well it went around corners.  I thought the previous Challengers were decent handlers, but this is whole 'nother level.  It was truly smile inducing!  The brakes gave more than enough stopping power and the V6 had no problem powering the big Challenger out of turns.  The car simply didn't feel as big as it is.  IMHO, the new steering rack had a lot to do with that (along with the updated suspension of course).  As I said, the steering is perfectly weighted, whether moving through a parking lot or taking long switchbacks.  There is also no slack on center and it just tracks amazingly well.  If you judge this car and call it a non-handling pig without driving it, you are doing yourself a MAJOR disservice!

Overall:  I have to say I am impressed.  Everything about this car seems so well thought out and sorted.  The exterior upgrades have a bigger impact than one would think, the interior is top notch with amazing quality, and the drive is shocking it's so good.  One thing specific to the Challenger I can say is this.  I would have never considered the V6 before, but after this drive it is on my mind!  I hated getting out because I just wanted the hit the highway and just go while finding some nice curvey stretches along the way.  The Challenger has finally found it's way and the direction it has traveled is a VERY good one!

On another note got to see the 15 ATS coupe and 15 Mustang in person.  The ATS is simply beautiful  It looks better than it does in pictures because there are a lot of details they just do not "pop" in photos, this may be the hit Cadillac needs.  I hope so anyways.

The 15 Mustang is also a handsome car, given the 2 they had were base V6s with no fog lights and 18 inch torque thrust style rims.  It looks so wide and menacing in person and I am sure the lower and bigger rimmed PP models look fantastic.

Anyways, i hope you enjoy my review of the Challenger as much as I enjoyed driving it!  I am waiting on the Ford store to get an ecoboost as I am very curious about that model the most and yes, it must have the performance package!  
 

2012 Ford F-150 SXT 4x4 5.0

 

So, i have decided to get rid of the Z71 and 97 F-150 and get something newer.  First test drive was a 2012 F-150 STX 4x4.  just going to do a plus and minus on this one.  49k miles, extremely clean.

Likes:  Loved the 5.0 and the room.  It had plenty of power and drove well enough.  The cabin was spacious and I have always loved he look of the STX.  The ride was pretty smooth and it really reminded me a lo of my 07 in the drive.  I also like the fact i the manual locking rear diff.  The blindspot mirrors were incredibly useful.  

Dislikes:  Steering is way over-boosted with a nasty deadspot on center. I was no a fan of the basic interior, especially the dash.  it was cheap feeling and i did not care for the small slit at the to for the clock, stereo etc.  All the headrests made backing up a tough proposition, though I am sure the rear ones can be removed.   Tracking could have been better, it seemed to want to wonder.

Overall:  i liked it, but I didn't love it.  I did love the 5.0o in it and that keeps it in the running, though I really want a regular cab 4x4.  

Still want to drive a 13+ ram and a newer Silverado.  

 
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2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71:
 
Was heading home today and decided to see what the Chevy dealer had in stock.  Was admiring a beautiful Z71 when the salesman opened it up and then offered a test-drive.  I, of course, accepted.

Truck:  LT Z71 extended cab 4x4 V6.

The interior:  Wow, I really loved the interior.  Only complaint is that the shifter is a little awkwardly placed, otherwise very nice!  It had the Mylink which looked great and had a very nice and high res backup camera.  It also had power seats with a cloth/leather mix.  The seats were some of the best seats I think I have ever been in.  Very comfortable and supportive, not to mention very handsome and felt of high quality.  A comfortable seating position was a snap to find.  The front had more than enough room.  It had 2 small jumpseats in the rear and being a mid-size the room was of course pretty tight.

They nailed the exterior.  It appeared to have more ground clearance than the other LT 4x4 which I had origionally stopped to look at, but was not a Z71.  it was already sold.  The Z71 rims look amazing on this truck and I loved the blackedout grill.  Of course the first thing that would happen is that front spoiler would have to go, don't care if it costs me an MPG.

The drive:  I have no other way to describe this truck but smooth and solid.  It literally felt like some luxury cars I have been in.  The steering felt just right.  It had just the right heft, no dead spot on center, and actually had some feel.  I know people complain about the 3.6 in this truck, but I must say that it worked EXTREMELY well in this application.  I was even impressed by the sound, very throaty and better than 3.6 GM DI i have been in before.  It was not lacking in the low end and had excellent passing power and mid range punch.  This was probably the best shifting verion of the GM 6 speed auto I have experienced.  No problem shifting down and responded very well.  It was an absolute joy to drive.

Price:  It was a little over 34k.  It had a towing package, and a couple other dealer added options (mud flaps, exhaust tip, yadda, yadda).  Honestly you could not get a fullsize extended cab with this content for anywhere near this price.

Overall:  I 100% understand Motor trend's choice of this truck for their truck of the year trophy.    it has burnt the old book on mid-size trucks and completely rewritten it.  Before you naysay this truck, DRIVE IT!  I can guarantee you WILL be impressed!  If I was in the market right now, this would be in driveway right now.  unfortunately my plans for a new(er) truck purchase have been put off for a while, but that should give time for some to hit the used lots and maybe eventually get some rebates.  Right now, here anyways, they generally don't last aa week on the lot.  

 

 

Most know by now I'm NOT into new cars ... at least, not as much as I used to be.  HOWEVER, this 2015 Colorado-GMC Canyon duo has me intrigued.  Would love to at least test drive one to see if my fascination has merit.  From what I've read these last few months, it would seem that would be the case.

 

 

Cort :) www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

1979 & 1989 Caprice Classics | pigValve, paceMaker, cowValve
"It's half timing, and the other half's luck" __ Michael Buble __ 'Haven't Met You Yet'
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great write ups, thanks, keep posting more!  A young Asian dude passed me on the freeway last week, in a new ATS coupe.  The young buyers I assume is what Caddy is hoping to get with the car.  It was a sharp looking car in coupe mode.  I hope Caddy pushes them and they get snapped up.

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thanks guys!

 

Frisky, my brother got a different A3 for his loaner again.  Same options, but this one was white with the black interior (other was silver with beige).  Still a like, not love, situation.  I really like the front sensors/Camera though.  Worst cupholder position ever though, right in front of the dash.  larger cups don't fit and if anything is in it it blocks out the climate control completely.  Anyways, he got his A5 back.  Had to have new bearings in the front and new pistons/rings/seals.  Thank goodness he has the CPO warranty!

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  • 4 weeks later...

You know, I drove a 2014 Ford F150 crew cab as my loaner when my Taurus was having the bumper replaced. It was the 5.0 too. I felt the steering was fine for a truck and didn't have anything unpleasant about it in the 2014. My only complaints were poor mileage and that the 5.0 doesn't have enough low end oompf for the weight of the truck (likely related). Well, that and the interior wasn't anything to write home about. But my expectations/desires for a truck interior aren't that high beyond functional and comfortable.

 

That 5.0 still had a good sound though. And I would have let them keep the Taurus in exchange if it was an option.

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You know, I drove a 2014 Ford F150 crew cab as my loaner when my Taurus was having the bumper replaced. It was the 5.0 too. I felt the steering was fine for a truck and didn't have anything unpleasant about it in the 2014. My only complaints were poor mileage and that the 5.0 doesn't have enough low end oompf for the weight of the truck (likely related). Well, that and the interior wasn't anything to write home about. But my expectations/desires for a truck interior aren't that high beyond functional and comfortable.

 

That 5.0 still had a good sound though. And I would have let them keep the Taurus in exchange if it was an option.

 

I don't think it was a bad truck by any means.  I think i am use to my Dakotas which have some of the best steering ever offered in truckdom.  I had no low end torque issues wit the 5.0, though I am sure the lightly options SXT Supercab may have been a bit lighter than the one you drove.  The sound is intociating.  I do love the fact you can get a true locker in the rear of even the lowest model F-series. 

 

It's good to read these reviews again. Keep posting 'em here, man!

I am still a little gun shy lol. 

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No doubt. I checked in a coupla days ago, not much going on. I guess they went and banned Olds again for what they called a "foul-mouthed tirade." Smooth move-in a forum that's now 90% trolls you gas one of the three guys who actually cares about the place. It's like they're deliberately trying to be crappy at this point.

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I have a lot of trouble paying A3 money for a Jetta.  At $32k for the base "Premium" model with the 2.0t. and that gets you basically no options.

An absolutely loaded Verano Turbo (sunroof, NAV, heated seats, heated wheel, sport suspension, native iphone USB support included) is $31k.

 

And the Verano has more horsepower and more torque.  

 

Yes, the A3 has AWD... and it is branded as Quattro... but it is not really the Quattro system.   It's a Haldex unit... and Haldex units are good, but they shouldn't be branding it as Quattro.

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Yup. Which is why you need to post your reviews here from now on :D

 

Oh, i will!

 

I have a lot of trouble paying A3 money for a Jetta.  At $32k for the base "Premium" model with the 2.0t. and that gets you basically no options.

An absolutely loaded Verano Turbo (sunroof, NAV, heated seats, heated wheel, sport suspension, native iphone USB support included) is $31k.

 

And the Verano has more horsepower and more torque.  

 

Yes, the A3 has AWD... and it is branded as Quattro... but it is not really the Quattro system.   It's a Haldex unit... and Haldex units are good, but they shouldn't be branding it as Quattro.

I kind of agree, but you this through all makers who have an additional lux marquee.

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  • 5 months later...

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