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Found 222 results

  1. William Maley

    Detroit Auto Show: 2013 Dodge Dart GT

    By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 8, 2013 Dodge will be expanding the Dart lineup with the introduction of the new GT model at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Hitting Dodge dealerships later in the year, the GT uses a 2.4L TigerShark MultiAir2 four-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque that goes through either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. There is also sports suspension with frequency sensing damping shocks, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and and integrated exhaust tips. On the outside, the GT model gets black elements in the front bumper, headlights and grille, body-color door handles, GT badging, and twelve different exterior colors. Inside, the GT gets plenty of luxury and technology appointments including perforated and heated, 10-way adjustable Nappa leather seats; heated steering wheel, dual zone automatic climate control, 8.4-inch touch-screen Uconnect interface, a reconfigurable digital instrument cluster, a backup camera, and an optional Alpine sound system with 10 speakers. Dodge says the Dart GT will start at $20,995 (excluding destination charges). Source: Dodge 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. Press Release is on Page 2 New 2013 Dodge Dart GT Model to Debut at North American International Auto Show Dart GT model hits the mark with 184 horsepower, premium Nappa leather and a sport-tuned suspension that caters to the driving enthusiast for a U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of only $20,995 - Dart GT is powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 four-cylinder engine, which produces 184 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque, providing just the right balance of power and fuel efficiency - New 2013 Dart GT model features a sport suspension with frequency-sensing damping shocks that delivers ride and handling attributes designed to cater to driving enthusiasts - Unique exterior and interior design elements, including standard 18-inch aluminum wheels and premium perforated Nappa heated leather seats, differentiate the GT model from the rest of the Dart lineup - Standard class-exclusive features include racetrack LED taillamps, integrated dual exhaust, 8.4- inch touchscreen, 7-inch TFT display, in-seat storage and much more - The new 2013 Dart GT delivers an incredible value, with a starting U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of just $20,995 Auburn Hills, Mich. , Jan 8, 2013 - The Dodge brand dug deep into its rich, nearly 100-year history to name its all-new compact car, the 2013 Dodge Dart, and is again drawing on the storied history for the newest Dodge Dart model. The sporty Dart GT model originally made its debut in 1963 and offered drivers enhanced performance and style, including a heavy-duty suspension that delivered improved ride and handling characteristics. The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart GT model delivers sport-tuned suspension attributes that cater to the driving enthusiast, distinctive styling, including standard class-exclusive racetrack LED taillamps and integrated dual exhaust, and it's loaded with premium standard features, including perforated heated Nappa Leather seats, 8.4-inch touchscreen and 7-inch TFT for an outstanding value, with a starting U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of only $20,995 (excluding destination). "The new Dart GT embodies the best attributes that compact car buyers are looking for, including outstanding style, performance, technology and value," said Reid Bigland, President and CEO Dodge Brand. "With 184 horsepower, 18-inch aluminum wheels, sport suspension, premium leather interior and several class-exclusive features, the Dart GT represents the sweet spot in the compact car market, offering mid-size roominess combined with premium amenities for only $20,995 MSRP." The Dart GT model is the latest addition to the 2013 Dodge Dart lineup, which currently includes the Dart SE, SXT, Rallye, Aero and Limited models. Dodge continues to investigate a high-performance R/T model. Building off the exceptionally well-equipped Dart Limited, the GT adds: 184 horsepower 2.4-iter Tigershark with MultiAir 2 with six-speed manual or available six-speed PowerTech automatic AutoStick; 18-inch aluminum wheels; sport suspension with frequency sensing damping shocks; unique performance front fascia with black accents and Hyper Black grille; black projector headlamp bezels; body-color door handles; class-exclusive integrated dual exhaust with bright exhaust tips; class- exclusive racetrack LED taillamps; unique premium Nappa perforated leather seats in Black with Ruby Red stitching or two-tone Black/Ruby Red; class-exclusive heated steering wheel; heated front seats; dual-zone automatic temperature control; remote start (with automatic transmission); universal garage door opener and GT badge. Additional standard equipment on the 2013 Dart GT model includes: projector fog lamps; power heated mirrors with supplemental signals and courtesy lamps; class-exclusive 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen; class-exclusive floating island bezel; ParkView rear backup camera; class-exclusive 7-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) reconfigurable instrument cluster display; premium door trim panel with soft-touch upper surfaces; leather steering wheel with audio controls and speed control; accent stitching on the instrument panel; power 10-way driver seat, including power lumbar support; driver and front passenger seatback pockets; overhead console with sunglass holder; front passenger in-seat storage; illuminated front cup holders; illuminated vanity mirrors; temperature and compass gauge; 12-volt auxiliary power outlet in console; speed-sensitive power locks; power windows with express one-touch up/down front windows; ambient LED interior lighting; automatic headlamps; active grille shutters; underbody aerodynamic treatment; tire pressure monitoring display; air conditioning with micron filter; power mirrors; remote keyless entry; front center console with fore and aft sliding armrest; 60/40 split folding rear seat with armrest with storage/cup holders and trunk pass-through; six-speakers; security alarm; front and rear floor mats and 600-amp maintenance-free battery. A variety of options are available to allow the GT customer the ability to personalize their Dart to their exact specifications. It starts with a choice of 12 exterior colors – all available at no extra charge – including Redline Red, Header Orange, Blue Streak, Citrus Peel, Laguna Blue, Pitch Black, Tungsten, Bright Silver, Bright White, True Blue, Maximum Steel and Winter Chill. Optional equipment includes: - Six-speed Powertech automatic transmission with AutoStick - Technology Group (push-button start, keyless Enter 'N Go, rain sensing wipers, smart beam headlamps, blind spot monitoring with rear cross path detection) - 18-inch Hyper Black Aluminum Wheels - Power Sunroof - HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlamps - SiriusXM Satellite Radio - Garmin Navigation with Sirius XM Travel Link - Alpine Premium Sound System with 10 speakers, including subwoofer and 506 watt amplifier - Engine block heater
  2. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 8, 2013 Dodge will be expanding the Dart lineup with the introduction of the new GT model at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Hitting Dodge dealerships later in the year, the GT uses a 2.4L TigerShark MultiAir2 four-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque that goes through either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. There is also sports suspension with frequency sensing damping shocks, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and and integrated exhaust tips. On the outside, the GT model gets black elements in the front bumper, headlights and grille, body-color door handles, GT badging, and twelve different exterior colors. Inside, the GT gets plenty of luxury and technology appointments including perforated and heated, 10-way adjustable Nappa leather seats; heated steering wheel, dual zone automatic climate control, 8.4-inch touch-screen Uconnect interface, a reconfigurable digital instrument cluster, a backup camera, and an optional Alpine sound system with 10 speakers. Dodge says the Dart GT will start at $20,995 (excluding destination charges). Source: Dodge 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. Press Release is on Page 2 New 2013 Dodge Dart GT Model to Debut at North American International Auto Show Dart GT model hits the mark with 184 horsepower, premium Nappa leather and a sport-tuned suspension that caters to the driving enthusiast for a U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of only $20,995 - Dart GT is powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 four-cylinder engine, which produces 184 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque, providing just the right balance of power and fuel efficiency - New 2013 Dart GT model features a sport suspension with frequency-sensing damping shocks that delivers ride and handling attributes designed to cater to driving enthusiasts - Unique exterior and interior design elements, including standard 18-inch aluminum wheels and premium perforated Nappa heated leather seats, differentiate the GT model from the rest of the Dart lineup - Standard class-exclusive features include racetrack LED taillamps, integrated dual exhaust, 8.4- inch touchscreen, 7-inch TFT display, in-seat storage and much more - The new 2013 Dart GT delivers an incredible value, with a starting U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of just $20,995 Auburn Hills, Mich. , Jan 8, 2013 - The Dodge brand dug deep into its rich, nearly 100-year history to name its all-new compact car, the 2013 Dodge Dart, and is again drawing on the storied history for the newest Dodge Dart model. The sporty Dart GT model originally made its debut in 1963 and offered drivers enhanced performance and style, including a heavy-duty suspension that delivered improved ride and handling characteristics. The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart GT model delivers sport-tuned suspension attributes that cater to the driving enthusiast, distinctive styling, including standard class-exclusive racetrack LED taillamps and integrated dual exhaust, and it's loaded with premium standard features, including perforated heated Nappa Leather seats, 8.4-inch touchscreen and 7-inch TFT for an outstanding value, with a starting U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of only $20,995 (excluding destination). "The new Dart GT embodies the best attributes that compact car buyers are looking for, including outstanding style, performance, technology and value," said Reid Bigland, President and CEO Dodge Brand. "With 184 horsepower, 18-inch aluminum wheels, sport suspension, premium leather interior and several class-exclusive features, the Dart GT represents the sweet spot in the compact car market, offering mid-size roominess combined with premium amenities for only $20,995 MSRP." The Dart GT model is the latest addition to the 2013 Dodge Dart lineup, which currently includes the Dart SE, SXT, Rallye, Aero and Limited models. Dodge continues to investigate a high-performance R/T model. Building off the exceptionally well-equipped Dart Limited, the GT adds: 184 horsepower 2.4-iter Tigershark with MultiAir 2 with six-speed manual or available six-speed PowerTech automatic AutoStick; 18-inch aluminum wheels; sport suspension with frequency sensing damping shocks; unique performance front fascia with black accents and Hyper Black grille; black projector headlamp bezels; body-color door handles; class-exclusive integrated dual exhaust with bright exhaust tips; class- exclusive racetrack LED taillamps; unique premium Nappa perforated leather seats in Black with Ruby Red stitching or two-tone Black/Ruby Red; class-exclusive heated steering wheel; heated front seats; dual-zone automatic temperature control; remote start (with automatic transmission); universal garage door opener and GT badge. Additional standard equipment on the 2013 Dart GT model includes: projector fog lamps; power heated mirrors with supplemental signals and courtesy lamps; class-exclusive 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen; class-exclusive floating island bezel; ParkView rear backup camera; class-exclusive 7-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) reconfigurable instrument cluster display; premium door trim panel with soft-touch upper surfaces; leather steering wheel with audio controls and speed control; accent stitching on the instrument panel; power 10-way driver seat, including power lumbar support; driver and front passenger seatback pockets; overhead console with sunglass holder; front passenger in-seat storage; illuminated front cup holders; illuminated vanity mirrors; temperature and compass gauge; 12-volt auxiliary power outlet in console; speed-sensitive power locks; power windows with express one-touch up/down front windows; ambient LED interior lighting; automatic headlamps; active grille shutters; underbody aerodynamic treatment; tire pressure monitoring display; air conditioning with micron filter; power mirrors; remote keyless entry; front center console with fore and aft sliding armrest; 60/40 split folding rear seat with armrest with storage/cup holders and trunk pass-through; six-speakers; security alarm; front and rear floor mats and 600-amp maintenance-free battery. A variety of options are available to allow the GT customer the ability to personalize their Dart to their exact specifications. It starts with a choice of 12 exterior colors – all available at no extra charge – including Redline Red, Header Orange, Blue Streak, Citrus Peel, Laguna Blue, Pitch Black, Tungsten, Bright Silver, Bright White, True Blue, Maximum Steel and Winter Chill. Optional equipment includes: - Six-speed Powertech automatic transmission with AutoStick - Technology Group (push-button start, keyless Enter 'N Go, rain sensing wipers, smart beam headlamps, blind spot monitoring with rear cross path detection) - 18-inch Hyper Black Aluminum Wheels - Power Sunroof - HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlamps - SiriusXM Satellite Radio - Garmin Navigation with Sirius XM Travel Link - Alpine Premium Sound System with 10 speakers, including subwoofer and 506 watt amplifier - Engine block heater View full article
  3. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 7, 2013 For the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, Nissan decided to show their performance wares. 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO First up is the 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO which features many modifications to give it more oomph. The exterior is more aerodynamic than the standard Juke and features red painted exterior rearview mirrors, smoked headlights, eighteen-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and blacked out B-Pillars. Under the skin, the 1.6L DOHC turbocharged four-cylinder engine has been reworked to increase horsepower and torque to 197 and 184. The suspension has been lowered to improve aerodynamics and tweaked to improve traction. A six-speed manual is available on front-wheel models while all-wheel drive models get a continuously variable transmission. Stepping inside the Juke NISMO, Nissan has fitted new seats that offers more lateral support and a alcantara steering wheel. Interested? You can pickup a Juke NISMO at your local Nissan dealer in March. 2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO Next up is the 2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO which still retains a 350 horsepower 3.7L V6 and six-speed manual. Other performance tweaks include a more aerodynamic front fascia and rear spoiler, nineteen-inch wheels with a sport suspension and a strut tower brace. The exterior gets new gray accents and red striping on the front and rear fascias, lower side sills, side mirrors and rear spoiler. Inside the 370Z NISMO, there is a Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and a new red Nismo tachometer. The 370Z NISMO arrives in the summer. 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition Rounding out the performance showings at the Chicago was the 2014 GT-R Track Edition. The Track Edition integrates a specially tuned suspension that features Bilstein DampTronic gas pressure shocks and higher spring rates, unique brake cooling system, a front spoiler with carbon-fiber air ducts, carbon-fiber rear spoiler, and new fuel injectors. The GT-R Track Edition's interior features blue-trimmed, high-grip leather and fabric front seats. The back seats found in other GT-R's has been removed and in its place is a lightweight quilted cloth mat. Only 150 GT-R Track Edition will be coming to the states and will be available in May. Album: 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo 6 images 0 comments Album: 2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo 5 images 0 comments Album: 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition 8 images 0 comments Album: Nissan's NISMO Showing At The 2013 Chicago Auto Show 8 images 0 comments Press Releases are on Pages 2, 3, 4 2013 JUKE NISMO OFFERS UNIQUE STYLE, ATTAINABLE PERFORMANCE BORN FROM MOTORSPORTS – Nissan Expands NISMO Line-up in the United States with Addition of New JUKE NISMO – • Kicks off new strategy to expand NISMO's presence in key markets • Race-inspired exterior provides enhanced aerodynamic performance • NISMO-tuned suspension, steering and transmission help deliver engaging driving dynamics • Fourth model in popular Nissan JUKE line-up, available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive NISMO, its vision and name derived from NISsan MOtorsports, is embarking on an aggressive journey to expand its presence beyond the racetrack in key markets around the world. Already a legendary brand among professional and grassroots racers, as well as performance enthusiasts everywhere, NISMO now is applying its near-50 years of engineering experience and expertise to an expanding range of affordable production vehicles such as the new 2013 JUKE NISMO model. The new JUKE NISMO, with its track-derived design, enhanced performance and engaging handling, gives JUKE buyers a distinct choice among the affordable S, well-equipped SV and premium SL grades of the popular crossover. Two configurations – front-wheel drive with a 6-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive with sport-tuned Xtronic CVT® – are available. Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product and Advanced Planning and Strategy, Nissan North America, Inc. said: "NISMO's unique motorsports DNA adds a new dimension to the pioneering JUKE's long list of attributes. With nearly 100 separate performance, exterior and interior modifications and solid functionality behind every element, JUKE NISMO adds a whole new dimension of sporty style and driving exhilaration – all within reach of performance buyers' budgets." Ultimate Sports Styling Far from being purely cosmetic, the modifications to the JUKE exterior are designed to enhance the JUKE NISMO's aerodynamics, resulting in a 37-percent improvement in downforce (versus non-NISMO models). Many of the aggressive sports-cross styling elements were influenced by NISMO's motorsport expertise, in particular using lessons learned from the styling and engineering of the Nissan GT-R racers that compete in the Super GT series in Japan. Compared to the standard Nissan JUKE, the most obvious visual change is to the front fascia and grille, which have been modified to better control airflow to the engine. The new front end features a lower and more aggressive design. JUKE's familiar integrated fog lights have been replaced by thin-strip LED accent lights, positioned at the top edge of new small vents to the side of the larger grille. On front-wheel drive versions these are blanked, but on all-wheel drive models the left-hand side vent allows air into the engine bay for the CVT oil cooler and the right-hand vent is styled to match. The prominent upper edge of the large lower grille features a red pinstripe, which drops dramatically to curve around the smaller vents and continues all the way to the front wheel arches. This distinctive NISMO cue gives the nose a visual width and presence while emphasising the Juke NISMO's athletic stance on the road. The signature Nissan V-strut grille is finished in a darker shade than other JUKE models. To the right of the grille is a NISMO badge with a red "O," stamping NISMO's distinctive motorsport heritage on JUKE for first time. The distinctive JUKE combination lights are smoked as part of the NISMO appearance treatment. The red pinstripe continues on the flanks of the car at the base of the doors. The sculpted side skirts have been reworked to enhance aerodynamic performance, directing airflow around the rear wheels and away from the car as quickly and efficiently as possible. To increase the JUKE NISMO's visual stance, the wheel arches are more muscular and are now finished entirely in the body color to give a truly premium feel. The door mirrors have been painted red to give a visual indication to the casual observer that this is not a standard Nissan JUKE. The B-pillars are now finished in gloss "piano black," also promoting a sleek and sporty image. In the rear, the bumper is deeper than on non-NISMO models and the red pinstripe is also visible on the black sill. A redesigned body-colored liftgate spoiler and rear fascia diffuser complete the body modifications. Also part of the stunning JUKE NISMO exterior appearance are the new 18-inch lightweight aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/45R18 Continental ContiSportContact5 summer tires, which help give drivers additional grip during cornering and further boost the JUKE NISMO's on-road presence. One inch larger than the standard JUKE wheels, the diamond-cut alloys feature a 10 twin-spoke design and are finished in dark anthracite. The 2013 Nissan JUKE NISMO is available in three exterior colors – Sapphire Black, Brilliant Silver and Pearl White. All come equipped with red outside door mirrors and the matching pinstripe around base of the vehicle. Sporty Interior Styling Focused on the Driver NISMO's core belief is that everything should be focused on the driver. It's about enhancing their experience, pure and simple. So the JUKE NISMO's seats, instrumentation, steering wheel, gear knob, pedals and door trims have all been redesigned to boost driver enjoyment by creating a more performance-oriented environment. The front seats have been redesigned to offer additional lateral support. Trimmed in suede, they sport vibrant red stitching – picking up the detail introduced by the red bodywork pinstripe. Red is also used as a background to the tachometer and also appears on the steering wheel stitching, which is finished in Alcantara and leather. The tactile steering wheel now includes a red marker to indicate "top dead center," another feature derived directly from racing. The rear seats also feature red stitching. Dark Smoke coloring is used throughout the interior to help allow the driver to focus entirely on the elements that are most important – the gauges, switchgear and controls. Consequently the headliner is black (no moonroof is available with the JUKE NISMO) and there is a gloss "piano black" finish around the ventilation and audio controls. There is also new smoked grey trim around the gear selector. In the footwell, the standard black rubber pedals have been upgraded to a metallic finish, and there is a NISMO badge visible on the dead pedal. The NISMO logo has also been precision-stitched into the seatbacks. Other standard content includes privacy glass, Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Start and the I-CON (Integrated Control) system with automatic air conditioning. Revised Powertrain for Improved Dynamics NISMO's spirit of innovation and determination, born on the racetrack in 1984, remains at the heart of the performance brand today. This DNA has been injected into the JUKE NISMO in the form of a reworked version of Nissan's advanced inline 4-cylinder 1.6-liter DOHC aluminium-alloy Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) turbocharged engine. Direct injection helps improve combustion, enhancing power, torque, economy and emissions. The use of the turbocharger and intercooler also help boost power, while the variable timing control for both intake and exhaust cycles improves low-end engine response. For use in the JUKE NISMO, both power and torque have been increased without compromising emissions and efficiency. The JUKE NISMO is rated at 197 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, versus the standard JUKE's 188-horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The front-wheel drive JUKE NISMO is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, while the all-wheel drive version comes with a sport-tuned version of Nissan's advanced Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission) with manual mode. Fuel economy is rated at 27 mpg City (est.) and 32 mpg Highway (est.) for JUKE NISMO FWD (6MT) model and 25 mpg City (est.) and 30 mpg Highway (est.) for JUKE NISMO AWD (CVT). Improved engine performance is only one element of Juke NISMO's dynamic enhancements. The suspension settings have been completely revised, leading to greater traction and improved body response and roll control. The suspension has also been lowered slightly versus non-NISMO JUKE settings, reducing the gap between the tires and wheelwells for a cleaner appearance and improved aerodynamics. An independent MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension is utilized on FWD models, while JUKE NISMO AWD model offers a multi-link rear suspension design. A cradle-type front subframe enhances lateral stiffness of the assembly. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard on all models. The JUKE NISMO's vehicle-speed-sensing electric power-assisted steering has been reworked for sportier and more direct handling. Thanks to increased resistance at the wheel, more feedback is evident at medium and high speeds. Braking is supplied by power-assisted 4-wheel disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Advanced Torque Vectoring AWD The JUKE NISMO's advanced torque vectoring AWD system – standard in all 2013 JUKE AWD models – offers performance technology often reserved for premium vehicles. The torque vectoring system is designed to limit understeer by increasing torque to the outside rear wheel, helping the car follow its intended course. It also enhances agility, giving the JUKE NISMO exceptional ride comfort and handling in spite of its higher ground clearance when compared to other compact cars. As well as splitting torque front to rear – up to a maximum of 50:50 – the torque can also be shifted from side-to-side across the rear axle. In total, up to 50 percent of the total available engine torque can be sent to either rear wheel. Information collected by various sources (measuring wheel speed, steering angle, yaw rate and lateral G-force) is interpreted to anticipate the driver's intention. System actions are relayed to the driver via a real-time graphic display on the instrument panel depicting the torque distribution under all conditions. Both FWD and AWD JUKE NISMO models include another example of advanced Nissan technology – the innovative Integrated Control (I-CON) system that combines control of the automatic A/C and the three-mode drive selector – Normal for everyday driving; Sport for a more intense performance feel; and Eco for maximum efficiency – adjusting throttle, transmission (CVT) and steering feel. The centrally mounted I-CON digital screen changes display, color and functions depending on the mode selected by the driver. Settings alter throttle maps, steering effort and CVT shift schedules on the AWD models. In the D-Mode Sport setting, the throttle map is retuned to deliver higher engine revs and sharper responses, while in the Eco setting, engine revs are reduced for more gentle progress. In the M-CVT version (AWD only), the Sport setting even introduces a "rhythmic" auto upshift that simulates manual gear changes at redline. In addition, steering effort in Sport is firmer and more responsive, while in Normal it's lighter and more linear. In the Eco setting, the quantity of cold air circulating in the cabin is optimized, reducing the load on the climate control and lowering the system's power consumption. Real time trip information can also be displayed giving average speed, fuel economy, journey times and engine torque and turbo boost as well as a daily fuel consumption history. The I-CON system even incorporates a G-Force indicator. Said Loing: "For a vehicle of its compact size and attainable price, JUKE NISMO packs a huge amount of advanced performance technology." A Range of Available Features and Amenities The 2013 JUKE NISMO is offered with a range of features that add a level of convenience equal to its sporty style, including an available Nissan Navigation System with 5-inch color touch screen display and NavTraffic capability (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Rockford Fosgate ecoPUNCH™ audio system, USB interface (iPod® compatible) and RearView Monitor. Standard features include dual front and rear beverage holders, speed-sensitive automatic door locks, storage under the rear cargo floor (FWD models only), Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Interface System for iPod®, and AM/FM/CD audio system with steering wheel controls. In the rear, a fold-down 60/40-split bench seat and flat load floor provide passenger and cargo hauling flexibility. Every JUKE NISMO comes equipped with the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage, dual-threshold front air bags and seat belt and occupant classification sensors, roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection, seat-mounted driver and front passenger side-impact supplemental air bags and front-seat Active Head Restraints. Other standard equipment includes LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system, Nissan Vehicle Immobilizer System, Vehicle Security System (VSS), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS). Said Loing: "The JUKE NISMO combines distinctive style, advanced technology and a fun-to-drive factor that is unlike anything in the segment – all at an attainable price. It optimizes the already innovative JUKE design, re-engineering it to NISMO standards and sets the stage for future NISMO-branded models to come." 2014 model previewed at the Chicago Auto Show Features new exterior color with dark grey accents and red stripes Continues to offer 350-horsepower 3.7-liter V6, close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission, sport-tuned suspension and brakes and 19-inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels Joins new JUKE NISMO in Nissan showrooms this summer In conjunction with the U.S. debut of the new 2013 Nissan JUKE NISMO – and the ongoing expansion of the NISMO brand worldwide – Nissan is giving attendees at the Chicago Auto Show a preview of the 2014 370Z NISMO. Set to go on sale at Nissan dealers nationwide this summer, the 370Z NISMO follows the new NISMO design theme with distinctive new exterior and interior accents. Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product and Advanced Planning and Strategy, Nissan Americas said: "The 370Z NISMO, since its introduction as part of the original Nissan 350Z lineup, has embodied the spirit of NISMO – race-proven engineering that is attainable. With the enhancements for the 2014 model year and the addition of the new JUKE NISMO, we're unifying the look and feel of these distinctive NISMO models and paving the way for additional NISMO vehicles to follow." With the current 370Z NISMO setting the bar as a tuner-Z® enthusiast's dream straight from the factory and fully warranted – offering 350 horsepower, racing-inspired exterior and interior styling, a specially tuned suspension and unique super-lightweight forged alloy wheels – the enhancements for 2014 are designed to up the car's already strong visual impact. On the exterior, new dark gray coloring is added to the front and rear fascias, lower side sills, side mirrors and NISMO rear spoiler, with each element (except side sills) featuring NISMO-style red pinstripe accents. In addition, Solid Red replaces the previous Magma Red as one of four 370Z NISMO exterior color choices. Interior enhancements include the addition of a new steering wheel with Alcantara appointments and red accents, and a red NISMO tachometer. The 370Z NISMO's outstanding performance is anchored by an advanced Nissan FM (Front Midship) platform, refined 4-wheel independent suspension and 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control (VVEL) rated at 350 hp @ 7,400 rpm and 276 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm. The VVEL system helps optimize intake valve open/close movements, allowing the needed air to be sent promptly to the combustion chamber at the precisely optimized time. The 370Z NISMO's enhanced engine power and acceleration (versus non-NISMO 370Zs) is provided through use of an exclusive H-configured exhaust system design and muffler tuning, along with optimized ECM (Engine Control Module) calibration. Just one transmission is offered, a close-ratio 6-speed manual with Nissan's SynchroRev Match® synchronized downshift rev matching system. The SynchroRev Match® function automatically controls and adjusts engine speed when shifting to the speed of the next gear position, essentially "blipping" the throttle to smooth out any up/down shifts. This not only allows the driver to focus more on braking and steering, it improves the smoothness of gear shifts by reducing the typical "shock" when the clutch is engaged. The system can be deactivated with a button next to the shifter for drivers who prefer to shift on their own. The 370Z NISMO also features a tight, rigid body structure with a strut tower bar brace and a pair of performance dampers, which quickly and efficiently react to help control body vibrations from road input via the tires, contributing to the 370Z NISMO's outstanding handling and performance feel. The 370Z NISMO's double-wishbone front/4-link rear suspension design suspension is specially tuned for exceptional handling, including higher spring and stabilizer bar rates and increased roll stiffness and front and rear damping factors (compared to non-NISMO models). The 2014 370Z NISMO rides on unique 5-spoke Nissan-branded 19-inch RAYS forged aluminum-alloy wheels (19x9.5-inch front, 19x10.5-inch rear) with a Gun Metallic finish. The wheels are mounted with Bridgestone Potenza S001 Y-rated high-performance tires (245/40ZR19 front, 285/35ZR19 rear). Braking is provided by NISMO Sport Brakes with large diameter 14.0-inch front and 13.8-inch rear vented rotors with 4-piston front and 2-¬piston rear aluminum calipers. The braking system includes a variable ratio brake pedal, high-rigidity brake hoses, R35 Special II fluid and red-finish calipers. Along with the new color treatments, the 2014 370Z NISMO exterior includes an extended front nose design and a fully integrated chin spoiler – providing a sense of dynamic movement while enhancing airflow and downforce for enhanced aerodynamic performance. The 370Z NISMO is 6.2 inches longer than the standard 370Z Coupe. Special side sills and a unique rear bumper help control airflow under the vehicle, while the functional rear spoiler increases downforce. Four exterior colors are offered: Pearl White, Magnetic Black, Gun Metallic and Solid Red. Inside, the 370Z NISMO's driver-centric interior includes NISMO logo seats with black and red fabric and red stitching, a NISMO tachometer, steering wheel with Alcantara wrap and red parallel stitching, smooth leather-wrapped shift knob and aluminum-trimmed pedals. A special serialized plaque of authenticity, located on the vertical panel above the floor-mounted console, is matched to each 370Z NISMO identifying its unique serial and model year designation. The sporty woven cloth seats feature standard 8-way driver's/4-way passenger manual adjustments and adjustable front seat Active Head Restraints. Standard interior comfort and convenience features include Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Start, power windows with one-touch auto up/down feature, power door locks with auto-lock feature and automatic climate control. An AM/FM/CD/AUX 4-speaker audio system is standard. Also available is a Bose® Package featuring an in-dash 6CD changer, two additional speakers (six total), two subwoofers, Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, auto-dimming inside mirror and HomeLink® Universal Transceiver. There are no other options offered. Said Loing: "The great thing about the 370Z NISMO, like the JUKE NISMO, is that there is solid functionality behind every element – race-inspired but ready for the street – and with pure NISMO style." Along with the 370Z NISMO, the Nissan 370Z is available in 370Z Coupe and 370Z Roadster models. 2014 NISSAN GT-R ADDS NEW "TRACK EDITION" TO U.S. LINEUP; EXCLUSIVE TWO-SEAT SUPERCAR'S SALES BEGIN IN MAY • New Track Edition joins Premium and Black Edition models, allowing buyers to further specify their GT-R performance and equipment levels • Specialized Track Edition suspension developed at famed Nürburgring Circuit by GT-R development driver Toshio Suzuki • Driver-oriented interior features high-grip seating surfaces, deletion of rear seat • Body features include front spoiler with carbon fiber air ducts, brake cooling air guides The new Nissan GT-R Track Edition, which makes its U.S. debut at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, is the third and most exclusive model in the 2014 GT-R lineup. Designed to take Nissan's legendary 545-horsepower street supercar even closer to a pure motorsports competition machine, it features a specially tuned suspension, special brake cooling guides, front spoiler with carbon fiber air ducts and a lightweight quilted cloth mat where the rear seats usually reside. It is set to go on sale at select GT-R certified Nissan dealerships nationwide beginning in May 2013. Production will be limited to 150 cars for the U.S. market. Said Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product and Advanced Planning and Strategy, Nissan Americas: "The concept behind the GT-R Track Edition is to enable drivers who enjoy even more demanding high-performance driving than the GT-R Premium and Black Edition models' extreme performance, the chance to come closer to a competition spec vehicle – no back seat, stiffer suspension, higher grip seats, additional brake cooling – the works." Changes to the GT-R's sophisticated 4-wheel independent suspension for the Track Edition include specialized Bilstein DampTronic gas pressure shock absorbers and higher spring rates. Much of the 2014 GT-R's suspension development took place on the Nürburgring, one of the world's most challenging racing circuits, where the Track Edition damping force and handling benchmarks were further refined by GT-R development driver Toshio Suzuki. The Track Edition's air guides for the front and rear brakes were also refined through rigorous track testing. The Track Edition's performance enhancements are added to a significant number of upgrades to the GT-R for the 2014 model year, ranging from the adoption of new fuel injectors for enhanced torque response in the 4,500 – 6,000 rpm range and improved throttle and acceleration feel at mid- and high-rpm ranges, to the addition of an oil pan baffle to stabilize oil turbulence and oil pressure under high performance driving conditions. An aluminum nameplate is now added to each hand-assembled engine bearing the name of the specially trained "Takumi" craftsman who built that individual engine. In addition to developing 545 horsepower, the GT-R's standard VR38DETT V6 produces 463 lb-ft of torque. The engine is backed by an advanced paddle-shifted sequential 6-speed dual clutch transmission, which can be driver selected to shift at race car-like speeds (0.15 seconds). The sequential-shifting transaxle features separate wet clutches for the odd (1,3,5) and even (2,4,6) gears and pre-selects the next highest and next lowest gear for quick shifts. It also features Hill Start Assist for easy starts on uphill inclines. High performance differential oil, used in GT-R motorsports competition, is standard. The Nissan GT-R's unique Premium Midship platform, created expressly for use with the GT-R, enables the use of a world's first independent rear transaxle ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system, which optimizes weight distribution and handling capability. The rear drive-biased system can vary torque split from 0:100 to 50:50 depending on speed, lateral acceleration, steering angles, tire slip, road surface and yaw rate. In the interior, the new GT-R Track Edition includes special blue-trimmed high-grip front seats that use a special leather and fabric appointments. And, like all 2014 GT-Rs, the Track Edition's interior offers a cockpit-style instrument panel with a large center-mounted tachometer, a large metallic-framed center console with ergonomically designed shift lever, a red "engine start" button and carbon fiber interior trim. The centerpiece of the instrument panel is a video game-inspired multi-function display with 11 pages of available information, including mechanical and driving information, acceleration, brake pedal pressure, steering angle and a recording function with playback. Additional on-screen information includes a Navigation system and Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System. The navigation system includes NavTraffic Real-Time Traffic Information and NavWeather capabilities (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately). All 2014 GT-R models include a specially designed 11-speaker Bose® audio system that features two forward-facing woofers in the rear center armrest area. Rigid aluminum die cast panel-mounting of all speakers allowed Bose® engineers to perfect the acoustical performance of the GT-R sound system. Streaming Audio via Bluetooth® is also standard. Finishing off the GT-R Track Edition's special features are a handmade, lightweight dry carbon fiber rear spoiler and special metallic black six-spoke RAYS® forged lightweight wheels mounted with Dunlop® SP Sport Maxx GT 600 DSST CTT ultra high performance run-flat nitrogen-filled tires. (Both the wheels and spoiler are also offered on the Black Edition.) The rear spoiler's lightweight GT-R specific dry carbon fiber material* is also incredibly strong, contributing to increased aerodynamic downforce. The GT-R Track Edition is offered in five exterior colors: Deep Blue Pearl, Jet Black, Solid Red, Gun Metallic and Pearl White. Concluded Loing: "The new Track Edition sends the message that when it come to Nissan GT-R performance, there is no endpoint. We will continue to push its development and keep the competition in the rearview mirror. The legend continues." *Dry carbon fiber requires specific maintenance. Please see Owner's Manual for details.
  4. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 7, 2013 For the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, Nissan decided to show their performance wares. 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO First up is the 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO which features many modifications to give it more oomph. The exterior is more aerodynamic than the standard Juke and features red painted exterior rearview mirrors, smoked headlights, eighteen-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and blacked out B-Pillars. Under the skin, the 1.6L DOHC turbocharged four-cylinder engine has been reworked to increase horsepower and torque to 197 and 184. The suspension has been lowered to improve aerodynamics and tweaked to improve traction. A six-speed manual is available on front-wheel models while all-wheel drive models get a continuously variable transmission. Stepping inside the Juke NISMO, Nissan has fitted new seats that offers more lateral support and a alcantara steering wheel. Interested? You can pickup a Juke NISMO at your local Nissan dealer in March. 2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO Next up is the 2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO which still retains a 350 horsepower 3.7L V6 and six-speed manual. Other performance tweaks include a more aerodynamic front fascia and rear spoiler, nineteen-inch wheels with a sport suspension and a strut tower brace. The exterior gets new gray accents and red striping on the front and rear fascias, lower side sills, side mirrors and rear spoiler. Inside the 370Z NISMO, there is a Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and a new red Nismo tachometer. The 370Z NISMO arrives in the summer. 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition Rounding out the performance showings at the Chicago was the 2014 GT-R Track Edition. The Track Edition integrates a specially tuned suspension that features Bilstein DampTronic gas pressure shocks and higher spring rates, unique brake cooling system, a front spoiler with carbon-fiber air ducts, carbon-fiber rear spoiler, and new fuel injectors. The GT-R Track Edition's interior features blue-trimmed, high-grip leather and fabric front seats. The back seats found in other GT-R's has been removed and in its place is a lightweight quilted cloth mat. Only 150 GT-R Track Edition will be coming to the states and will be available in May. Album: 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo 6 images 0 comments Album: 2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo 5 images 0 comments Album: 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition 8 images 0 comments Album: Nissan's NISMO Showing At The 2013 Chicago Auto Show 8 images 0 comments Press Releases are on Pages 2, 3, 4 2013 JUKE NISMO OFFERS UNIQUE STYLE, ATTAINABLE PERFORMANCE BORN FROM MOTORSPORTS – Nissan Expands NISMO Line-up in the United States with Addition of New JUKE NISMO – • Kicks off new strategy to expand NISMO's presence in key markets • Race-inspired exterior provides enhanced aerodynamic performance • NISMO-tuned suspension, steering and transmission help deliver engaging driving dynamics • Fourth model in popular Nissan JUKE line-up, available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive NISMO, its vision and name derived from NISsan MOtorsports, is embarking on an aggressive journey to expand its presence beyond the racetrack in key markets around the world. Already a legendary brand among professional and grassroots racers, as well as performance enthusiasts everywhere, NISMO now is applying its near-50 years of engineering experience and expertise to an expanding range of affordable production vehicles such as the new 2013 JUKE NISMO model. The new JUKE NISMO, with its track-derived design, enhanced performance and engaging handling, gives JUKE buyers a distinct choice among the affordable S, well-equipped SV and premium SL grades of the popular crossover. Two configurations – front-wheel drive with a 6-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive with sport-tuned Xtronic CVT® – are available. Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product and Advanced Planning and Strategy, Nissan North America, Inc. said: "NISMO's unique motorsports DNA adds a new dimension to the pioneering JUKE's long list of attributes. With nearly 100 separate performance, exterior and interior modifications and solid functionality behind every element, JUKE NISMO adds a whole new dimension of sporty style and driving exhilaration – all within reach of performance buyers' budgets." Ultimate Sports Styling Far from being purely cosmetic, the modifications to the JUKE exterior are designed to enhance the JUKE NISMO's aerodynamics, resulting in a 37-percent improvement in downforce (versus non-NISMO models). Many of the aggressive sports-cross styling elements were influenced by NISMO's motorsport expertise, in particular using lessons learned from the styling and engineering of the Nissan GT-R racers that compete in the Super GT series in Japan. Compared to the standard Nissan JUKE, the most obvious visual change is to the front fascia and grille, which have been modified to better control airflow to the engine. The new front end features a lower and more aggressive design. JUKE's familiar integrated fog lights have been replaced by thin-strip LED accent lights, positioned at the top edge of new small vents to the side of the larger grille. On front-wheel drive versions these are blanked, but on all-wheel drive models the left-hand side vent allows air into the engine bay for the CVT oil cooler and the right-hand vent is styled to match. The prominent upper edge of the large lower grille features a red pinstripe, which drops dramatically to curve around the smaller vents and continues all the way to the front wheel arches. This distinctive NISMO cue gives the nose a visual width and presence while emphasising the Juke NISMO's athletic stance on the road. The signature Nissan V-strut grille is finished in a darker shade than other JUKE models. To the right of the grille is a NISMO badge with a red "O," stamping NISMO's distinctive motorsport heritage on JUKE for first time. The distinctive JUKE combination lights are smoked as part of the NISMO appearance treatment. The red pinstripe continues on the flanks of the car at the base of the doors. The sculpted side skirts have been reworked to enhance aerodynamic performance, directing airflow around the rear wheels and away from the car as quickly and efficiently as possible. To increase the JUKE NISMO's visual stance, the wheel arches are more muscular and are now finished entirely in the body color to give a truly premium feel. The door mirrors have been painted red to give a visual indication to the casual observer that this is not a standard Nissan JUKE. The B-pillars are now finished in gloss "piano black," also promoting a sleek and sporty image. In the rear, the bumper is deeper than on non-NISMO models and the red pinstripe is also visible on the black sill. A redesigned body-colored liftgate spoiler and rear fascia diffuser complete the body modifications. Also part of the stunning JUKE NISMO exterior appearance are the new 18-inch lightweight aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/45R18 Continental ContiSportContact5 summer tires, which help give drivers additional grip during cornering and further boost the JUKE NISMO's on-road presence. One inch larger than the standard JUKE wheels, the diamond-cut alloys feature a 10 twin-spoke design and are finished in dark anthracite. The 2013 Nissan JUKE NISMO is available in three exterior colors – Sapphire Black, Brilliant Silver and Pearl White. All come equipped with red outside door mirrors and the matching pinstripe around base of the vehicle. Sporty Interior Styling Focused on the Driver NISMO's core belief is that everything should be focused on the driver. It's about enhancing their experience, pure and simple. So the JUKE NISMO's seats, instrumentation, steering wheel, gear knob, pedals and door trims have all been redesigned to boost driver enjoyment by creating a more performance-oriented environment. The front seats have been redesigned to offer additional lateral support. Trimmed in suede, they sport vibrant red stitching – picking up the detail introduced by the red bodywork pinstripe. Red is also used as a background to the tachometer and also appears on the steering wheel stitching, which is finished in Alcantara and leather. The tactile steering wheel now includes a red marker to indicate "top dead center," another feature derived directly from racing. The rear seats also feature red stitching. Dark Smoke coloring is used throughout the interior to help allow the driver to focus entirely on the elements that are most important – the gauges, switchgear and controls. Consequently the headliner is black (no moonroof is available with the JUKE NISMO) and there is a gloss "piano black" finish around the ventilation and audio controls. There is also new smoked grey trim around the gear selector. In the footwell, the standard black rubber pedals have been upgraded to a metallic finish, and there is a NISMO badge visible on the dead pedal. The NISMO logo has also been precision-stitched into the seatbacks. Other standard content includes privacy glass, Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Start and the I-CON (Integrated Control) system with automatic air conditioning. Revised Powertrain for Improved Dynamics NISMO's spirit of innovation and determination, born on the racetrack in 1984, remains at the heart of the performance brand today. This DNA has been injected into the JUKE NISMO in the form of a reworked version of Nissan's advanced inline 4-cylinder 1.6-liter DOHC aluminium-alloy Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) turbocharged engine. Direct injection helps improve combustion, enhancing power, torque, economy and emissions. The use of the turbocharger and intercooler also help boost power, while the variable timing control for both intake and exhaust cycles improves low-end engine response. For use in the JUKE NISMO, both power and torque have been increased without compromising emissions and efficiency. The JUKE NISMO is rated at 197 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, versus the standard JUKE's 188-horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The front-wheel drive JUKE NISMO is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, while the all-wheel drive version comes with a sport-tuned version of Nissan's advanced Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission) with manual mode. Fuel economy is rated at 27 mpg City (est.) and 32 mpg Highway (est.) for JUKE NISMO FWD (6MT) model and 25 mpg City (est.) and 30 mpg Highway (est.) for JUKE NISMO AWD (CVT). Improved engine performance is only one element of Juke NISMO's dynamic enhancements. The suspension settings have been completely revised, leading to greater traction and improved body response and roll control. The suspension has also been lowered slightly versus non-NISMO JUKE settings, reducing the gap between the tires and wheelwells for a cleaner appearance and improved aerodynamics. An independent MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension is utilized on FWD models, while JUKE NISMO AWD model offers a multi-link rear suspension design. A cradle-type front subframe enhances lateral stiffness of the assembly. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard on all models. The JUKE NISMO's vehicle-speed-sensing electric power-assisted steering has been reworked for sportier and more direct handling. Thanks to increased resistance at the wheel, more feedback is evident at medium and high speeds. Braking is supplied by power-assisted 4-wheel disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Advanced Torque Vectoring AWD The JUKE NISMO's advanced torque vectoring AWD system – standard in all 2013 JUKE AWD models – offers performance technology often reserved for premium vehicles. The torque vectoring system is designed to limit understeer by increasing torque to the outside rear wheel, helping the car follow its intended course. It also enhances agility, giving the JUKE NISMO exceptional ride comfort and handling in spite of its higher ground clearance when compared to other compact cars. As well as splitting torque front to rear – up to a maximum of 50:50 – the torque can also be shifted from side-to-side across the rear axle. In total, up to 50 percent of the total available engine torque can be sent to either rear wheel. Information collected by various sources (measuring wheel speed, steering angle, yaw rate and lateral G-force) is interpreted to anticipate the driver's intention. System actions are relayed to the driver via a real-time graphic display on the instrument panel depicting the torque distribution under all conditions. Both FWD and AWD JUKE NISMO models include another example of advanced Nissan technology – the innovative Integrated Control (I-CON) system that combines control of the automatic A/C and the three-mode drive selector – Normal for everyday driving; Sport for a more intense performance feel; and Eco for maximum efficiency – adjusting throttle, transmission (CVT) and steering feel. The centrally mounted I-CON digital screen changes display, color and functions depending on the mode selected by the driver. Settings alter throttle maps, steering effort and CVT shift schedules on the AWD models. In the D-Mode Sport setting, the throttle map is retuned to deliver higher engine revs and sharper responses, while in the Eco setting, engine revs are reduced for more gentle progress. In the M-CVT version (AWD only), the Sport setting even introduces a "rhythmic" auto upshift that simulates manual gear changes at redline. In addition, steering effort in Sport is firmer and more responsive, while in Normal it's lighter and more linear. In the Eco setting, the quantity of cold air circulating in the cabin is optimized, reducing the load on the climate control and lowering the system's power consumption. Real time trip information can also be displayed giving average speed, fuel economy, journey times and engine torque and turbo boost as well as a daily fuel consumption history. The I-CON system even incorporates a G-Force indicator. Said Loing: "For a vehicle of its compact size and attainable price, JUKE NISMO packs a huge amount of advanced performance technology." A Range of Available Features and Amenities The 2013 JUKE NISMO is offered with a range of features that add a level of convenience equal to its sporty style, including an available Nissan Navigation System with 5-inch color touch screen display and NavTraffic capability (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Rockford Fosgate ecoPUNCH™ audio system, USB interface (iPod® compatible) and RearView Monitor. Standard features include dual front and rear beverage holders, speed-sensitive automatic door locks, storage under the rear cargo floor (FWD models only), Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Interface System for iPod®, and AM/FM/CD audio system with steering wheel controls. In the rear, a fold-down 60/40-split bench seat and flat load floor provide passenger and cargo hauling flexibility. Every JUKE NISMO comes equipped with the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage, dual-threshold front air bags and seat belt and occupant classification sensors, roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection, seat-mounted driver and front passenger side-impact supplemental air bags and front-seat Active Head Restraints. Other standard equipment includes LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system, Nissan Vehicle Immobilizer System, Vehicle Security System (VSS), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS). Said Loing: "The JUKE NISMO combines distinctive style, advanced technology and a fun-to-drive factor that is unlike anything in the segment – all at an attainable price. It optimizes the already innovative JUKE design, re-engineering it to NISMO standards and sets the stage for future NISMO-branded models to come." 2014 model previewed at the Chicago Auto Show Features new exterior color with dark grey accents and red stripes Continues to offer 350-horsepower 3.7-liter V6, close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission, sport-tuned suspension and brakes and 19-inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels Joins new JUKE NISMO in Nissan showrooms this summer In conjunction with the U.S. debut of the new 2013 Nissan JUKE NISMO – and the ongoing expansion of the NISMO brand worldwide – Nissan is giving attendees at the Chicago Auto Show a preview of the 2014 370Z NISMO. Set to go on sale at Nissan dealers nationwide this summer, the 370Z NISMO follows the new NISMO design theme with distinctive new exterior and interior accents. Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product and Advanced Planning and Strategy, Nissan Americas said: "The 370Z NISMO, since its introduction as part of the original Nissan 350Z lineup, has embodied the spirit of NISMO – race-proven engineering that is attainable. With the enhancements for the 2014 model year and the addition of the new JUKE NISMO, we're unifying the look and feel of these distinctive NISMO models and paving the way for additional NISMO vehicles to follow." With the current 370Z NISMO setting the bar as a tuner-Z® enthusiast's dream straight from the factory and fully warranted – offering 350 horsepower, racing-inspired exterior and interior styling, a specially tuned suspension and unique super-lightweight forged alloy wheels – the enhancements for 2014 are designed to up the car's already strong visual impact. On the exterior, new dark gray coloring is added to the front and rear fascias, lower side sills, side mirrors and NISMO rear spoiler, with each element (except side sills) featuring NISMO-style red pinstripe accents. In addition, Solid Red replaces the previous Magma Red as one of four 370Z NISMO exterior color choices. Interior enhancements include the addition of a new steering wheel with Alcantara appointments and red accents, and a red NISMO tachometer. The 370Z NISMO's outstanding performance is anchored by an advanced Nissan FM (Front Midship) platform, refined 4-wheel independent suspension and 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control (VVEL) rated at 350 hp @ 7,400 rpm and 276 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm. The VVEL system helps optimize intake valve open/close movements, allowing the needed air to be sent promptly to the combustion chamber at the precisely optimized time. The 370Z NISMO's enhanced engine power and acceleration (versus non-NISMO 370Zs) is provided through use of an exclusive H-configured exhaust system design and muffler tuning, along with optimized ECM (Engine Control Module) calibration. Just one transmission is offered, a close-ratio 6-speed manual with Nissan's SynchroRev Match® synchronized downshift rev matching system. The SynchroRev Match® function automatically controls and adjusts engine speed when shifting to the speed of the next gear position, essentially "blipping" the throttle to smooth out any up/down shifts. This not only allows the driver to focus more on braking and steering, it improves the smoothness of gear shifts by reducing the typical "shock" when the clutch is engaged. The system can be deactivated with a button next to the shifter for drivers who prefer to shift on their own. The 370Z NISMO also features a tight, rigid body structure with a strut tower bar brace and a pair of performance dampers, which quickly and efficiently react to help control body vibrations from road input via the tires, contributing to the 370Z NISMO's outstanding handling and performance feel. The 370Z NISMO's double-wishbone front/4-link rear suspension design suspension is specially tuned for exceptional handling, including higher spring and stabilizer bar rates and increased roll stiffness and front and rear damping factors (compared to non-NISMO models). The 2014 370Z NISMO rides on unique 5-spoke Nissan-branded 19-inch RAYS forged aluminum-alloy wheels (19x9.5-inch front, 19x10.5-inch rear) with a Gun Metallic finish. The wheels are mounted with Bridgestone Potenza S001 Y-rated high-performance tires (245/40ZR19 front, 285/35ZR19 rear). Braking is provided by NISMO Sport Brakes with large diameter 14.0-inch front and 13.8-inch rear vented rotors with 4-piston front and 2-¬piston rear aluminum calipers. The braking system includes a variable ratio brake pedal, high-rigidity brake hoses, R35 Special II fluid and red-finish calipers. Along with the new color treatments, the 2014 370Z NISMO exterior includes an extended front nose design and a fully integrated chin spoiler – providing a sense of dynamic movement while enhancing airflow and downforce for enhanced aerodynamic performance. The 370Z NISMO is 6.2 inches longer than the standard 370Z Coupe. Special side sills and a unique rear bumper help control airflow under the vehicle, while the functional rear spoiler increases downforce. Four exterior colors are offered: Pearl White, Magnetic Black, Gun Metallic and Solid Red. Inside, the 370Z NISMO's driver-centric interior includes NISMO logo seats with black and red fabric and red stitching, a NISMO tachometer, steering wheel with Alcantara wrap and red parallel stitching, smooth leather-wrapped shift knob and aluminum-trimmed pedals. A special serialized plaque of authenticity, located on the vertical panel above the floor-mounted console, is matched to each 370Z NISMO identifying its unique serial and model year designation. The sporty woven cloth seats feature standard 8-way driver's/4-way passenger manual adjustments and adjustable front seat Active Head Restraints. Standard interior comfort and convenience features include Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Start, power windows with one-touch auto up/down feature, power door locks with auto-lock feature and automatic climate control. An AM/FM/CD/AUX 4-speaker audio system is standard. Also available is a Bose® Package featuring an in-dash 6CD changer, two additional speakers (six total), two subwoofers, Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, auto-dimming inside mirror and HomeLink® Universal Transceiver. There are no other options offered. Said Loing: "The great thing about the 370Z NISMO, like the JUKE NISMO, is that there is solid functionality behind every element – race-inspired but ready for the street – and with pure NISMO style." Along with the 370Z NISMO, the Nissan 370Z is available in 370Z Coupe and 370Z Roadster models. 2014 NISSAN GT-R ADDS NEW "TRACK EDITION" TO U.S. LINEUP; EXCLUSIVE TWO-SEAT SUPERCAR'S SALES BEGIN IN MAY • New Track Edition joins Premium and Black Edition models, allowing buyers to further specify their GT-R performance and equipment levels • Specialized Track Edition suspension developed at famed Nürburgring Circuit by GT-R development driver Toshio Suzuki • Driver-oriented interior features high-grip seating surfaces, deletion of rear seat • Body features include front spoiler with carbon fiber air ducts, brake cooling air guides The new Nissan GT-R Track Edition, which makes its U.S. debut at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, is the third and most exclusive model in the 2014 GT-R lineup. Designed to take Nissan's legendary 545-horsepower street supercar even closer to a pure motorsports competition machine, it features a specially tuned suspension, special brake cooling guides, front spoiler with carbon fiber air ducts and a lightweight quilted cloth mat where the rear seats usually reside. It is set to go on sale at select GT-R certified Nissan dealerships nationwide beginning in May 2013. Production will be limited to 150 cars for the U.S. market. Said Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product and Advanced Planning and Strategy, Nissan Americas: "The concept behind the GT-R Track Edition is to enable drivers who enjoy even more demanding high-performance driving than the GT-R Premium and Black Edition models' extreme performance, the chance to come closer to a competition spec vehicle – no back seat, stiffer suspension, higher grip seats, additional brake cooling – the works." Changes to the GT-R's sophisticated 4-wheel independent suspension for the Track Edition include specialized Bilstein DampTronic gas pressure shock absorbers and higher spring rates. Much of the 2014 GT-R's suspension development took place on the Nürburgring, one of the world's most challenging racing circuits, where the Track Edition damping force and handling benchmarks were further refined by GT-R development driver Toshio Suzuki. The Track Edition's air guides for the front and rear brakes were also refined through rigorous track testing. The Track Edition's performance enhancements are added to a significant number of upgrades to the GT-R for the 2014 model year, ranging from the adoption of new fuel injectors for enhanced torque response in the 4,500 – 6,000 rpm range and improved throttle and acceleration feel at mid- and high-rpm ranges, to the addition of an oil pan baffle to stabilize oil turbulence and oil pressure under high performance driving conditions. An aluminum nameplate is now added to each hand-assembled engine bearing the name of the specially trained "Takumi" craftsman who built that individual engine. In addition to developing 545 horsepower, the GT-R's standard VR38DETT V6 produces 463 lb-ft of torque. The engine is backed by an advanced paddle-shifted sequential 6-speed dual clutch transmission, which can be driver selected to shift at race car-like speeds (0.15 seconds). The sequential-shifting transaxle features separate wet clutches for the odd (1,3,5) and even (2,4,6) gears and pre-selects the next highest and next lowest gear for quick shifts. It also features Hill Start Assist for easy starts on uphill inclines. High performance differential oil, used in GT-R motorsports competition, is standard. The Nissan GT-R's unique Premium Midship platform, created expressly for use with the GT-R, enables the use of a world's first independent rear transaxle ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system, which optimizes weight distribution and handling capability. The rear drive-biased system can vary torque split from 0:100 to 50:50 depending on speed, lateral acceleration, steering angles, tire slip, road surface and yaw rate. In the interior, the new GT-R Track Edition includes special blue-trimmed high-grip front seats that use a special leather and fabric appointments. And, like all 2014 GT-Rs, the Track Edition's interior offers a cockpit-style instrument panel with a large center-mounted tachometer, a large metallic-framed center console with ergonomically designed shift lever, a red "engine start" button and carbon fiber interior trim. The centerpiece of the instrument panel is a video game-inspired multi-function display with 11 pages of available information, including mechanical and driving information, acceleration, brake pedal pressure, steering angle and a recording function with playback. Additional on-screen information includes a Navigation system and Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System. The navigation system includes NavTraffic Real-Time Traffic Information and NavWeather capabilities (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately). All 2014 GT-R models include a specially designed 11-speaker Bose® audio system that features two forward-facing woofers in the rear center armrest area. Rigid aluminum die cast panel-mounting of all speakers allowed Bose® engineers to perfect the acoustical performance of the GT-R sound system. Streaming Audio via Bluetooth® is also standard. Finishing off the GT-R Track Edition's special features are a handmade, lightweight dry carbon fiber rear spoiler and special metallic black six-spoke RAYS® forged lightweight wheels mounted with Dunlop® SP Sport Maxx GT 600 DSST CTT ultra high performance run-flat nitrogen-filled tires. (Both the wheels and spoiler are also offered on the Black Edition.) The rear spoiler's lightweight GT-R specific dry carbon fiber material* is also incredibly strong, contributing to increased aerodynamic downforce. The GT-R Track Edition is offered in five exterior colors: Deep Blue Pearl, Jet Black, Solid Red, Gun Metallic and Pearl White. Concluded Loing: "The new Track Edition sends the message that when it come to Nissan GT-R performance, there is no endpoint. We will continue to push its development and keep the competition in the rearview mirror. The legend continues." *Dry carbon fiber requires specific maintenance. Please see Owner's Manual for details. View full article
  5. William Maley

    L.A. Auto Show: 2013 Jaguar XFR-S

    William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 28, 2012 Jaguar's XF lineup can now say they have to extremes of power pretty much covered. On one end is the XF with a 2.0L turbo-four and on the other end is the new XFR-S shown today at the L.A. Auto show. Starting with the exterior, Jaguar fitted a deeper front bumper sporting larger side intakes and a carbon fiber splitter. Along the side there aero blade molding behind the front wheels and sharper side sills. The back end features a deeper rear bumper with more pronounced side moldings, central diffuser, and the choice of two different spoilers. All of the changes are to help improve the aerodynamics of the XFR-S. Under the skin lies a slightly massaged 5.0L supercharged V8 producing 550 hp and 502 lb-ft going to a ZF eight-speed automatic. Performance numbers are 0-60 in 4.4 seconds a limited top speed of 186 MPH. If you need to know, the XFR-S gets the same 23 MPG highway as the normal XFR thanks to a stop-start system. Further changes underneath the skin include upgraded suspension bits for the front and rear, recalibrated electronic systems, and a set of twenty-inch lightweight wheels. The XFR-S goes on sale next summer with a pricetag of $99,000. Only 2,000 XFR-S models will becoming to the states though. William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached atwilliam.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 2014 JAGUAR XFR-S SEDAN UNVEILED AT THE 2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW At a glance • The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S is the second model in the ultra-high performance R-S range from Jaguar, following the 2012 XKR-S • Just 100 will be offered for the U.S. for the 2014 model year • The XFR-S is powered by the same 5-liter supercharged V8 as the XKR-S, producing 550hp and 502 lb-ft of torque • The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S is the fastest and most powerful sedan Jaguar has ever produced • The XFR-S will sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (1) (0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds) and on to an electronically limited top track speed of 186 mph (1) (300 km/h) • Fuel economy is equal to the XFR with 23 mpg highway. No gas guzzler tax applies • ZF® eight-speed transmission with Quickshift functionality enables optimal acceleration and efficiency • Comprehensive front and rear suspension upgrades maximize response with lateral stiffness increases of up to 30 percent • Electronic Active Differential and Dynamic Stability Control systems have been recalibrated to enhance handling characteristics • New, wider, 20-inch 'Varuna' forged alloy wheels and wider tires maximize grip • Aerodynamic changes, with extensive use of carbon fiber components, reduce lift by 68 percent and give the XFR-S an assertive appearance • Exclusive interior materials include carbon leather and contrasting highlight micro-piping and stitching • The XFR-S goes on sale in early summer, 2013, starting at $99,000 (3) "Sporting character is evident in all Jaguar sedans. In the XFR-S that character has been amplified, the result being a truly engaging car with a combination of technical innovation, assertive design and staggering performance that will satisfy the most demanding of drivers." Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, Jaguar (MAHWAH, N.J.) November 28, 2012 – The second model in the Jaguar ultra-high performance R-S range, the XFR-S Sedan joins its XKR-S sibling as a vivid expression of the carmaker's longstanding performance lineage. Just 100 of these ultra-performance sedans will be offered for the U.S. market, making it one of the most exclusive Jaguar models. Powertrain 5-Liter Supercharged V8 The 5-liter supercharged V8 engine provides electrifying performance from 550hp and 502 lb-ft of torque – up 40hp and 41 lb-ft, respectively, over the XFR. The increases have been achieved through revisions to the engine management system and improvements to the intake and exhaust flow. This all-new combination provides a visceral blend of vivid acceleration and driver involvement. The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds1 (0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds) and reach an electronically-limited maximum track speed of 186 mph1 (300km/h). The all-aluminum 32-valve quad-cam engine delivers not only extraordinary performance but also efficiency thanks to such technologies as spray-guided direct injection (SGDI) and dual independent variable cam timing (DIVCT). The high-pressure die-cast lightweight aluminum block is stiffened with cast iron liners and cross-bolted main bearing caps, providing refinement to match its power. Between the aluminum four-valve cylinder heads sits a Roots-type twin vortex supercharger fed by two intercoolers to reduce the temperature of the pressurized air to optimize power and efficiency. Each intercooler features its own water-cooling circuit. The XFR-S exhaust system replaces the central muffler with an X-piece and near straight-through rear pipes. The combination yields an enhanced exhaust note that "crackles" on deceleration. The intake system also features a symposer that channels some induction sounds into the cabin, adding to the auditory excitement of driving the XFR-S. A number of key driveline components have been uprated in order to both adapt the XFR-S for the greater power and torque outputs and stiffen the entire drivetrain to make its responses more immediate. These include uprated half-shafts, a larger central bearing on the driveshaft, and a new torque converter. These changes have allowed Jaguar engineers to tune the throttle response to suit the more focused nature of the XFR-S. The response to throttle inputs has been made significantly quicker. Engaging Dynamic Mode increases engine response for a given movement of the accelerator pedal. Eight-Speed Quickshift Transmission The eight-speed automatic transmission with Quickshift technology maximizes the benefit of the engine recalibration. Quickshift ideally suits the XFR-S model's track-tuned performance capability. When the driver shifts manually by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, the Quickshift strategy ensures the quickest, crispest shifts via rapid and precisely timed engine torque intervention. When downshifting (either manually or when in Sport mode), the engine management system automatically blips the throttle to ensure the XFR-S remains balanced, particularly important when entering a corner. This function also allows the transmission to perform multiple and very rapid downshifts during hard braking. When operating in automatic mode, the transmission can detect the manner in which the car is being driven by monitoring acceleration and braking, cornering forces, throttle and brake pedal activity, road load and kickdown request. On detecting a more enthusiastic driving style, the transmission will automatically make the gearshifts more aggressive and move the upshift point higher in the rev range. Corner Recognition senses when the car is negotiating a bend, the transmission holding the correct gear for the exit. The transmission will also recognize when the car is performing a series of overtaking maneuvers requiring rapid throttle position changes. Rather than upshift, it will remain in a lower gear, ready for the next demand for acceleration. The XFR-S comes equipped as standard with the Intelligent Stop/Start system, which automatically shuts down the engine when the car comes to a stop and the brake pedal is held. When the brake is released, the system will restart the engine in less time than it takes for the driver's foot to move to the accelerator. A twin solenoid system, Intelligent Stop/Start allows for 'change of mind' functionality, bringing the engine back up to speed even during its run-down phase if, for instance, the car is coming to a stop at a junction and the driver sees an opportunity to join the traffic flow. Dynamics "What we have given the XFR-S is greater handling capacity, greater precision and greater capability. It's a car for driving purists – it will feel engaging within the first 50 meters but remains accessible and confidence-inspiring at any speed." Mike Cross, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity, Jaguar Both front and rear suspension systems have been uprated and carefully tuned over tens of thousands of miles at the Jaguar testing center at Germany's renowned Nürburgring track, the high-speed bowl at Nardo in Italy and the engineers' favorite roads around the Welsh countryside. Overall lateral suspension stiffness has been increased by 30 percent front and rear, with front and rear spring rates increased by the same amount. Front suspension knuckles have been revised in line with those found on the XKR-S to achieve the increased camber and castor stiffness which, along with new wheel bearings, optimize steering and handling precision. At the rear, a new sub-frame enabled revisions to suspension geometry which, allied to stiffer bushings, new rear knuckles and working in tandem with the stiffer springs, increase stability and response. In order to achieve the maximum benefit from the suspension revisions, the XFR-S uses new lightweight, forged 20-inch Varuna alloy wheels. These are a half-inch wider at the front and an inch wider at the rear compared to the wheels on the XFR, but are no heavier thanks to their lightweight construction. The tires, developed in conjunction with Pirelli exclusively for the XFR-S, are 265/35R20 and 295/30R20 front/rear. The difference between the wheel rim and tire width increases has the effect of pre-loading the sidewall to improve handling and steering response without adversely affecting refinement. Working in concert with the uprated suspension, wheels and tires are revised electronic programs controlling the Adaptive Dynamics, active electronic differential and Dynamic Stability Control systems. The Jaguar Adaptive Dynamics system uses continuously variable dampers to actively control vertical body movement, roll and pitch rates. The system monitors driver inputs and the road conditions, adjusting damper rates in response up to 500 times a second to optimize stability and agility. The driver's selection of Dynamic Mode offers enhanced body control by moving the damping rates to the firmer end of the available range. The Jaguar active electronically controlled differential can apply full locking torque almost instantaneously when needed. The differential has been recalibrated to maximize the greater grip offered by the wider rear tires, the more precisely controlled suspension and the higher engine output. Working in parallel with the differential, the "Trac DSC" setting of the Dynamic Stability Control system allows the enthusiast driver greater opportunity to explore the handling envelope. The Jaguar High Performance Braking System offers a combination of stopping power, stability and fine modulation commensurate with the car's performance potential. The 380mm (14.96") front and 376mm (14.80") rear discs are internally ventilated for assured repeated stopping power. On the XFR-S, under-body air channeling provides additional cooling capacity. Design Reflecting the changes under the skin, the XFR-S is distinguished from the XFR by subtle design changes that give it a distinctively assertive appearance while also enhancing aerodynamic performance. "The Design Team was very conscious that it would be the aerodynamic solutions required to deliver the performance of the XFR-S that would dictate its aesthetics. This is a concentrated and focused car and the design revisions and the materials used all reflect that." Wayne Burgess, Studio Director, Jaguar Design The new, deeper front bumper incorporates larger lower central and side air intakes – the former framed in carbon fiber – in order to provide adequate airflow into the engine bay. Carbon fiber is also used to form the front splitter at the lower edge of the bumper, the first of a number of aerodynamic changes designed to smooth the passage of the car through the air at high track speeds. The extended side sills and aero blade molding behind the front wheels serve to create a sharp break-off point between the lower bodywork and the road surface in order to keep the airflow attached to the car's sides for as long as possible. The same thinking dictated the deeper side moldings behind the rear wheels. This extended rear bumper also incorporates a central, carbon fiber diffuser, deeper than the item found on the XFR and which travels further under the rear of the car to help reduce lift. Rear lift is also reduced through the fitment of a spoiler to manage the airflow coming off the top rear surface of the car. Two spoiler designs are available, both of which have been designed with the aid of computational fluid dynamics to provide optimally balanced aerodynamics. The larger of the two rear wings is constructed with a carbon fiber aero foil center section. The combined result of the bodywork revisions is a reduction in overall lift of 68 percent. The wider, six-spoke, lightweight Varuna forged alloy wheels provide the XFR-S with a purposeful, broad shouldered stance and feature a unique dual finish. A ceramic polish is applied to the outer surfaces, its eye-catching appearance contrasting with inner gloss black areas. As an option, the wheels can be ordered in either full gloss black or technical gray finish. Gloss black trim in place of chrome around the grille, within the side vent, around the front and rear screens, windows and across the trunk further enhance the car's bold appearance. The mesh in the front grilles is a matching gloss black. XFR-S customers can choose from five exterior colors: French Racing Blue, Ultimate Black, Stratus Gray, Polaris White and Italian Racing Red. Performance-Focused Interior The technical palette of interior materials used in the XFR-S underscores the car's high-performance intent. The selection includes carbon leather on the seat bolsters and armrests and a dark mesh aluminum fascia. Providing a further unique touch is the choice of contrasting color stitching and micro piping, which can be matched to the exterior paint scheme. This color palette is complemented inside the XFR-S with Warm Charcoal leather trim on the seats and doors enhanced through the use of carbon-effect leather. Exclusive to the Jaguar R-S cars, this is used on the seat bolsters and arm rests and reflects the use of carbon fiber on the aerodynamic elements of the car. The seats are embossed with the R-S logo and can be finished with a choice of contrast color micro-piping and stitching in either red, blue or ivory. The same subtle enhancement runs across the top of the dashboard, the fascia of which is finished in a Dark Mesh aluminum. Meridian™ Surround Sound System The XFR-S is fitted with a standard 825W, 18-speaker surround-sound system from British audio experts Meridian™, recognized by audiophiles as a leader in audio reproduction and fidelity. The system uses digital signal processing and the proprietary Meridian™ Trifield System to place every occupant at the center of an optimally focused surround-sound arena. JAGUAR XFR-S: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS* Engine 5-liter V8 supercharged with Intelligent Stop/Start Capacity (cc) 5,000 Bore/Stroke (mm) 92.5/93 Peak Power (hp@rpm) 550@6500 Peak Power (kW@rpm) 405@6500 Peak Torque (lb/ft @rpm) 502@2500-5500 Peak Torque (Nm@rpm) 680@2500-5500 Transmission ZF Eight-speed 'Quickshift' automatic 0-60 mph (seconds) 1 4.4 0-100km/h (seconds) 1 4.6 Top Speed (mph | km/h) 1 186 | 300 (electronically limited) Fuel Economy2 (US EPA Estimated mpg) 15 city / 23 highway / 18 combined (Same as XFR) CO2 Emissions (g/km) 270 *These figures are correct at time of going to press. All figures are manufacturer's estimates. 1 Always obey local speed limits. 2 All figures are EPA estimates. Actual mileage may vary. 3 Price shown is MSRP. Does not include destination and delivery. Excludes, tax, title, license, retailer fees and optional equipment. Dealer price, terms and vehicles availability may vary. See your local authorized Jaguar dealer for details. # # #
  6. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 28, 2012 Jaguar's XF lineup can now say they have to extremes of power pretty much covered. On one end is the XF with a 2.0L turbo-four and on the other end is the new XFR-S shown today at the L.A. Auto show. Starting with the exterior, Jaguar fitted a deeper front bumper sporting larger side intakes and a carbon fiber splitter. Along the side there aero blade molding behind the front wheels and sharper side sills. The back end features a deeper rear bumper with more pronounced side moldings, central diffuser, and the choice of two different spoilers. All of the changes are to help improve the aerodynamics of the XFR-S. Under the skin lies a slightly massaged 5.0L supercharged V8 producing 550 hp and 502 lb-ft going to a ZF eight-speed automatic. Performance numbers are 0-60 in 4.4 seconds a limited top speed of 186 MPH. If you need to know, the XFR-S gets the same 23 MPG highway as the normal XFR thanks to a stop-start system. Further changes underneath the skin include upgraded suspension bits for the front and rear, recalibrated electronic systems, and a set of twenty-inch lightweight wheels. The XFR-S goes on sale next summer with a pricetag of $99,000. Only 2,000 XFR-S models will becoming to the states though. William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached atwilliam.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 2014 JAGUAR XFR-S SEDAN UNVEILED AT THE 2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW At a glance • The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S is the second model in the ultra-high performance R-S range from Jaguar, following the 2012 XKR-S • Just 100 will be offered for the U.S. for the 2014 model year • The XFR-S is powered by the same 5-liter supercharged V8 as the XKR-S, producing 550hp and 502 lb-ft of torque • The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S is the fastest and most powerful sedan Jaguar has ever produced • The XFR-S will sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (1) (0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds) and on to an electronically limited top track speed of 186 mph (1) (300 km/h) • Fuel economy is equal to the XFR with 23 mpg highway. No gas guzzler tax applies • ZF® eight-speed transmission with Quickshift functionality enables optimal acceleration and efficiency • Comprehensive front and rear suspension upgrades maximize response with lateral stiffness increases of up to 30 percent • Electronic Active Differential and Dynamic Stability Control systems have been recalibrated to enhance handling characteristics • New, wider, 20-inch 'Varuna' forged alloy wheels and wider tires maximize grip • Aerodynamic changes, with extensive use of carbon fiber components, reduce lift by 68 percent and give the XFR-S an assertive appearance • Exclusive interior materials include carbon leather and contrasting highlight micro-piping and stitching • The XFR-S goes on sale in early summer, 2013, starting at $99,000 (3) "Sporting character is evident in all Jaguar sedans. In the XFR-S that character has been amplified, the result being a truly engaging car with a combination of technical innovation, assertive design and staggering performance that will satisfy the most demanding of drivers." Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, Jaguar (MAHWAH, N.J.) November 28, 2012 – The second model in the Jaguar ultra-high performance R-S range, the XFR-S Sedan joins its XKR-S sibling as a vivid expression of the carmaker's longstanding performance lineage. Just 100 of these ultra-performance sedans will be offered for the U.S. market, making it one of the most exclusive Jaguar models. Powertrain 5-Liter Supercharged V8 The 5-liter supercharged V8 engine provides electrifying performance from 550hp and 502 lb-ft of torque – up 40hp and 41 lb-ft, respectively, over the XFR. The increases have been achieved through revisions to the engine management system and improvements to the intake and exhaust flow. This all-new combination provides a visceral blend of vivid acceleration and driver involvement. The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds1 (0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds) and reach an electronically-limited maximum track speed of 186 mph1 (300km/h). The all-aluminum 32-valve quad-cam engine delivers not only extraordinary performance but also efficiency thanks to such technologies as spray-guided direct injection (SGDI) and dual independent variable cam timing (DIVCT). The high-pressure die-cast lightweight aluminum block is stiffened with cast iron liners and cross-bolted main bearing caps, providing refinement to match its power. Between the aluminum four-valve cylinder heads sits a Roots-type twin vortex supercharger fed by two intercoolers to reduce the temperature of the pressurized air to optimize power and efficiency. Each intercooler features its own water-cooling circuit. The XFR-S exhaust system replaces the central muffler with an X-piece and near straight-through rear pipes. The combination yields an enhanced exhaust note that "crackles" on deceleration. The intake system also features a symposer that channels some induction sounds into the cabin, adding to the auditory excitement of driving the XFR-S. A number of key driveline components have been uprated in order to both adapt the XFR-S for the greater power and torque outputs and stiffen the entire drivetrain to make its responses more immediate. These include uprated half-shafts, a larger central bearing on the driveshaft, and a new torque converter. These changes have allowed Jaguar engineers to tune the throttle response to suit the more focused nature of the XFR-S. The response to throttle inputs has been made significantly quicker. Engaging Dynamic Mode increases engine response for a given movement of the accelerator pedal. Eight-Speed Quickshift Transmission The eight-speed automatic transmission with Quickshift technology maximizes the benefit of the engine recalibration. Quickshift ideally suits the XFR-S model's track-tuned performance capability. When the driver shifts manually by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, the Quickshift strategy ensures the quickest, crispest shifts via rapid and precisely timed engine torque intervention. When downshifting (either manually or when in Sport mode), the engine management system automatically blips the throttle to ensure the XFR-S remains balanced, particularly important when entering a corner. This function also allows the transmission to perform multiple and very rapid downshifts during hard braking. When operating in automatic mode, the transmission can detect the manner in which the car is being driven by monitoring acceleration and braking, cornering forces, throttle and brake pedal activity, road load and kickdown request. On detecting a more enthusiastic driving style, the transmission will automatically make the gearshifts more aggressive and move the upshift point higher in the rev range. Corner Recognition senses when the car is negotiating a bend, the transmission holding the correct gear for the exit. The transmission will also recognize when the car is performing a series of overtaking maneuvers requiring rapid throttle position changes. Rather than upshift, it will remain in a lower gear, ready for the next demand for acceleration. The XFR-S comes equipped as standard with the Intelligent Stop/Start system, which automatically shuts down the engine when the car comes to a stop and the brake pedal is held. When the brake is released, the system will restart the engine in less time than it takes for the driver's foot to move to the accelerator. A twin solenoid system, Intelligent Stop/Start allows for 'change of mind' functionality, bringing the engine back up to speed even during its run-down phase if, for instance, the car is coming to a stop at a junction and the driver sees an opportunity to join the traffic flow. Dynamics "What we have given the XFR-S is greater handling capacity, greater precision and greater capability. It's a car for driving purists – it will feel engaging within the first 50 meters but remains accessible and confidence-inspiring at any speed." Mike Cross, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity, Jaguar Both front and rear suspension systems have been uprated and carefully tuned over tens of thousands of miles at the Jaguar testing center at Germany's renowned Nürburgring track, the high-speed bowl at Nardo in Italy and the engineers' favorite roads around the Welsh countryside. Overall lateral suspension stiffness has been increased by 30 percent front and rear, with front and rear spring rates increased by the same amount. Front suspension knuckles have been revised in line with those found on the XKR-S to achieve the increased camber and castor stiffness which, along with new wheel bearings, optimize steering and handling precision. At the rear, a new sub-frame enabled revisions to suspension geometry which, allied to stiffer bushings, new rear knuckles and working in tandem with the stiffer springs, increase stability and response. In order to achieve the maximum benefit from the suspension revisions, the XFR-S uses new lightweight, forged 20-inch Varuna alloy wheels. These are a half-inch wider at the front and an inch wider at the rear compared to the wheels on the XFR, but are no heavier thanks to their lightweight construction. The tires, developed in conjunction with Pirelli exclusively for the XFR-S, are 265/35R20 and 295/30R20 front/rear. The difference between the wheel rim and tire width increases has the effect of pre-loading the sidewall to improve handling and steering response without adversely affecting refinement. Working in concert with the uprated suspension, wheels and tires are revised electronic programs controlling the Adaptive Dynamics, active electronic differential and Dynamic Stability Control systems. The Jaguar Adaptive Dynamics system uses continuously variable dampers to actively control vertical body movement, roll and pitch rates. The system monitors driver inputs and the road conditions, adjusting damper rates in response up to 500 times a second to optimize stability and agility. The driver's selection of Dynamic Mode offers enhanced body control by moving the damping rates to the firmer end of the available range. The Jaguar active electronically controlled differential can apply full locking torque almost instantaneously when needed. The differential has been recalibrated to maximize the greater grip offered by the wider rear tires, the more precisely controlled suspension and the higher engine output. Working in parallel with the differential, the "Trac DSC" setting of the Dynamic Stability Control system allows the enthusiast driver greater opportunity to explore the handling envelope. The Jaguar High Performance Braking System offers a combination of stopping power, stability and fine modulation commensurate with the car's performance potential. The 380mm (14.96") front and 376mm (14.80") rear discs are internally ventilated for assured repeated stopping power. On the XFR-S, under-body air channeling provides additional cooling capacity. Design Reflecting the changes under the skin, the XFR-S is distinguished from the XFR by subtle design changes that give it a distinctively assertive appearance while also enhancing aerodynamic performance. "The Design Team was very conscious that it would be the aerodynamic solutions required to deliver the performance of the XFR-S that would dictate its aesthetics. This is a concentrated and focused car and the design revisions and the materials used all reflect that." Wayne Burgess, Studio Director, Jaguar Design The new, deeper front bumper incorporates larger lower central and side air intakes – the former framed in carbon fiber – in order to provide adequate airflow into the engine bay. Carbon fiber is also used to form the front splitter at the lower edge of the bumper, the first of a number of aerodynamic changes designed to smooth the passage of the car through the air at high track speeds. The extended side sills and aero blade molding behind the front wheels serve to create a sharp break-off point between the lower bodywork and the road surface in order to keep the airflow attached to the car's sides for as long as possible. The same thinking dictated the deeper side moldings behind the rear wheels. This extended rear bumper also incorporates a central, carbon fiber diffuser, deeper than the item found on the XFR and which travels further under the rear of the car to help reduce lift. Rear lift is also reduced through the fitment of a spoiler to manage the airflow coming off the top rear surface of the car. Two spoiler designs are available, both of which have been designed with the aid of computational fluid dynamics to provide optimally balanced aerodynamics. The larger of the two rear wings is constructed with a carbon fiber aero foil center section. The combined result of the bodywork revisions is a reduction in overall lift of 68 percent. The wider, six-spoke, lightweight Varuna forged alloy wheels provide the XFR-S with a purposeful, broad shouldered stance and feature a unique dual finish. A ceramic polish is applied to the outer surfaces, its eye-catching appearance contrasting with inner gloss black areas. As an option, the wheels can be ordered in either full gloss black or technical gray finish. Gloss black trim in place of chrome around the grille, within the side vent, around the front and rear screens, windows and across the trunk further enhance the car's bold appearance. The mesh in the front grilles is a matching gloss black. XFR-S customers can choose from five exterior colors: French Racing Blue, Ultimate Black, Stratus Gray, Polaris White and Italian Racing Red. Performance-Focused Interior The technical palette of interior materials used in the XFR-S underscores the car's high-performance intent. The selection includes carbon leather on the seat bolsters and armrests and a dark mesh aluminum fascia. Providing a further unique touch is the choice of contrasting color stitching and micro piping, which can be matched to the exterior paint scheme. This color palette is complemented inside the XFR-S with Warm Charcoal leather trim on the seats and doors enhanced through the use of carbon-effect leather. Exclusive to the Jaguar R-S cars, this is used on the seat bolsters and arm rests and reflects the use of carbon fiber on the aerodynamic elements of the car. The seats are embossed with the R-S logo and can be finished with a choice of contrast color micro-piping and stitching in either red, blue or ivory. The same subtle enhancement runs across the top of the dashboard, the fascia of which is finished in a Dark Mesh aluminum. Meridian™ Surround Sound System The XFR-S is fitted with a standard 825W, 18-speaker surround-sound system from British audio experts Meridian™, recognized by audiophiles as a leader in audio reproduction and fidelity. The system uses digital signal processing and the proprietary Meridian™ Trifield System to place every occupant at the center of an optimally focused surround-sound arena. JAGUAR XFR-S: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS* Engine 5-liter V8 supercharged with Intelligent Stop/Start Capacity (cc) 5,000 Bore/Stroke (mm) 92.5/93 Peak Power (hp@rpm) 550@6500 Peak Power (kW@rpm) 405@6500 Peak Torque (lb/ft @rpm) 502@2500-5500 Peak Torque (Nm@rpm) 680@2500-5500 Transmission ZF Eight-speed 'Quickshift' automatic 0-60 mph (seconds) 1 4.4 0-100km/h (seconds) 1 4.6 Top Speed (mph | km/h) 1 186 | 300 (electronically limited) Fuel Economy2 (US EPA Estimated mpg) 15 city / 23 highway / 18 combined (Same as XFR) CO2 Emissions (g/km) 270 *These figures are correct at time of going to press. All figures are manufacturer's estimates. 1 Always obey local speed limits. 2 All figures are EPA estimates. Actual mileage may vary. 3 Price shown is MSRP. Does not include destination and delivery. Excludes, tax, title, license, retailer fees and optional equipment. Dealer price, terms and vehicles availability may vary. See your local authorized Jaguar dealer for details. # # # View full article
  7. dfelt

    2016 J.D. Powers VDS SUVs

    G. David Felt Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.CheersandGears.com 2016 J.D. Powers VDS SUVs JD powers has their 2016 vehicle dependability study out. VDS Study You can review it for all other segments, but being a dedicated SUV / CUV buyer, I was curious to know after 3 years who was top dog. Small SUV - Buick Encore Compact SUV - Chevrolet Equinox Compact Premium SUV - Mercedes-Benz GLK Midsize SUV - Nissan Murano Midsize Premium SUV - Lexus GX Large SUV - GMC Yukon I have to say that having 3 of the 6 segments covered by a GM product is pretty damn impressive!
  8. William Maley

    2013 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ Black Diamond

    William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com June 14, 2013 Monday: Chevrolet Malibu Turbo Wednesday: GMC Acadia Denali Friday: Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ Black Diamond How do you write a review on a vehicle that will be going away after this year? This thought had been rolling around in my mind since the 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ Black Diamond Edition arrived for a few days of evaluation. You can’t suggest any improvements since they will never be implemented, nor give a clear indication of whether you would recommend a vehicle or not. It seems like a futile exercise. But after giving it some serious thought, I felt the best way to do this review is to figure out what went wrong and determine the Avalanche’s legacy. Let’s dive in shall we? The current Avalanche, which was introduced back in 2006 as a 2007 model still looks as fresh as the day it was first shown. You have to give General Motors a round of applause for designing such a handsome group of machines that are a part of the GMT900 platform family. Draped in black paint, the Avalanche’s exterior shows that a simple design with minor touches such as a chrome grille, twenty-inch aluminum wheels, and chrome trim pieces works very well. The only real exterior design change to make note of is the Black Diamond emblem next to back doors, denoting that this is final year of the Avalanche. Stepping inside the Avalanche, the simple design theme continues. While other truck manufacturers are going with many shapes, buttons, and screens, the Avalanche’s dash is very clean and logically laid out. Gauges and controls are within easy reach and can be read at a quick glance. Passenger comfort in the Avalanche is excellent. Front passengers are treated to very supportive seats that are power adjustable and provide heat and cooling. Back seat passengers will find enormous amount of head and legroom. One downside the to the Avalanche’s cabin is the materials. I’ve complained about this before in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra Denali HD reviews, and will be doing it again with the Avalanche. For a vehicle with an as-tested pricetag of $51,295, using hard plastics and glossy, plastic wood is a massive no-no. Now, I have sat in the new GM trucks and it seems GM has learned its lesson. I just wished they learned it sooner. The big selling point on the Avalanche was its unique midgate. Basically, there is a tailgate that sits between the bed and cab. Flip the tailgate down and you expand the standard 5’3” bed to a whopping 8’2” bed. You can expand the space even more by removing the bed lid and rear window. The process of expanding the bed is very easy; just flip the seats down, turn a couple of knobs to unlock the midgate, and turn a latch. Well done, GM. The Avalanche is powered by GM’s familiar 5.3L Vortec V8 engine, which produces 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. While on paper the engine sounds perfect for the vehicle, on the road it’s a bit of a different story. Step on the accelerator and the V8 makes a lovely noise that makes you think you’re really moving. It’s only when you look down at the speedometer that you realize you’re really not. This is thanks to the Avalanche’s 5,803 lb curb weight, which makes the 5.3L V8 somewhat overmatched. Thankfully, the six-speed automatic in the Avalanche is a high point. The transmission shifts very smoothly and is quick to go down a couple gears when passing power is needed. Fuel economy on the Avalanche is rated at 15 City/21 Highway/17 Combined. During my six day evaluation of the Avalanche, I recorded an average around 15.2 MPG. On the highway, I saw my fuel economy rise to about 20 MPG. One place that the Avalanche really surprised me is with its ride. I was expecting the ride to be bouncy and too firm. But taking the Avalanche out for the first time, I was shocked on how smooth the ride was. The suspension seemed to smooth out the imperfections and potholes that dot the roads of the Metro Detroit area. Much of this can be traced to Avalanche having the same suspension tuning as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and not the Silverado. At the end of the six days that I had the Avalanche, I found it to be a very capable and impressive truck. The capability the midgate offers can’t be matched by any other truck, nor can any other truck match the comfort and space of the Avalanche. It seems to be a jack of all trades that works. If you’re interested in an Avalanche, you should head over to your Chevrolet dealer...Right now. Going back to beginning of the review, I left two questions unanswered. First, what went wrong with the Avalanche? Well, nothing went wrong with the Avalanche per se. Sales began to plummet at a steady rate after 2003, when the truck recorded its best sales of 93,482. Over time, truck manufacturers introduced four-door versions of their light-duty trucks that ultimately caused the downfall of the Avalanche. Second, what will be the Avalanche’s legacy? That’s a tougher question to answer right now. It could just fall to the wayside in automotive history or it could have a spot in it. It seems GM is hoping the latter happens since all of Avalanche models for 2013 are Black Diamond Edition to mark the end. GM should be proud with what they accomplished with the Avalanche. It might not have been a success in the sales chart, but it was a true success as trying to be something different in the class. Disclaimer: General Motors provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline. Year - 2013 Make – Chevrolet Model – Avalanche Trim – Black Diamond LTZ Engine – Vortec 5.3L SFI V8 Driveline – Four-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM – 320 @ 5,400 RPM Torque @ RPM – 335 @ 4,000 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/21/17 Curb Weight – 5,803 lbs Location of Manufacture – Silao, GJ Mexico Base Price - $47,885.00 As Tested Price - $51,745.00 (Includes $995.00 destination charge) Options: Sun & Entertainment Package - $2,435.00 Heavy Duty Trailering Package - $230.00 Trailer Brake Controller - $200.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  9. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com June 14, 2013 Monday: Chevrolet Malibu Turbo Wednesday: GMC Acadia Denali Friday: Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ Black Diamond How do you write a review on a vehicle that will be going away after this year? This thought had been rolling around in my mind since the 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ Black Diamond Edition arrived for a few days of evaluation. You can’t suggest any improvements since they will never be implemented, nor give a clear indication of whether you would recommend a vehicle or not. It seems like a futile exercise. But after giving it some serious thought, I felt the best way to do this review is to figure out what went wrong and determine the Avalanche’s legacy. Let’s dive in shall we? The current Avalanche, which was introduced back in 2006 as a 2007 model still looks as fresh as the day it was first shown. You have to give General Motors a round of applause for designing such a handsome group of machines that are a part of the GMT900 platform family. Draped in black paint, the Avalanche’s exterior shows that a simple design with minor touches such as a chrome grille, twenty-inch aluminum wheels, and chrome trim pieces works very well. The only real exterior design change to make note of is the Black Diamond emblem next to back doors, denoting that this is final year of the Avalanche. Stepping inside the Avalanche, the simple design theme continues. While other truck manufacturers are going with many shapes, buttons, and screens, the Avalanche’s dash is very clean and logically laid out. Gauges and controls are within easy reach and can be read at a quick glance. Passenger comfort in the Avalanche is excellent. Front passengers are treated to very supportive seats that are power adjustable and provide heat and cooling. Back seat passengers will find enormous amount of head and legroom. One downside the to the Avalanche’s cabin is the materials. I’ve complained about this before in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra Denali HD reviews, and will be doing it again with the Avalanche. For a vehicle with an as-tested pricetag of $51,295, using hard plastics and glossy, plastic wood is a massive no-no. Now, I have sat in the new GM trucks and it seems GM has learned its lesson. I just wished they learned it sooner. The big selling point on the Avalanche was its unique midgate. Basically, there is a tailgate that sits between the bed and cab. Flip the tailgate down and you expand the standard 5’3” bed to a whopping 8’2” bed. You can expand the space even more by removing the bed lid and rear window. The process of expanding the bed is very easy; just flip the seats down, turn a couple of knobs to unlock the midgate, and turn a latch. Well done, GM. The Avalanche is powered by GM’s familiar 5.3L Vortec V8 engine, which produces 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. While on paper the engine sounds perfect for the vehicle, on the road it’s a bit of a different story. Step on the accelerator and the V8 makes a lovely noise that makes you think you’re really moving. It’s only when you look down at the speedometer that you realize you’re really not. This is thanks to the Avalanche’s 5,803 lb curb weight, which makes the 5.3L V8 somewhat overmatched. Thankfully, the six-speed automatic in the Avalanche is a high point. The transmission shifts very smoothly and is quick to go down a couple gears when passing power is needed. Fuel economy on the Avalanche is rated at 15 City/21 Highway/17 Combined. During my six day evaluation of the Avalanche, I recorded an average around 15.2 MPG. On the highway, I saw my fuel economy rise to about 20 MPG. One place that the Avalanche really surprised me is with its ride. I was expecting the ride to be bouncy and too firm. But taking the Avalanche out for the first time, I was shocked on how smooth the ride was. The suspension seemed to smooth out the imperfections and potholes that dot the roads of the Metro Detroit area. Much of this can be traced to Avalanche having the same suspension tuning as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and not the Silverado. At the end of the six days that I had the Avalanche, I found it to be a very capable and impressive truck. The capability the midgate offers can’t be matched by any other truck, nor can any other truck match the comfort and space of the Avalanche. It seems to be a jack of all trades that works. If you’re interested in an Avalanche, you should head over to your Chevrolet dealer...Right now. Going back to beginning of the review, I left two questions unanswered. First, what went wrong with the Avalanche? Well, nothing went wrong with the Avalanche per se. Sales began to plummet at a steady rate after 2003, when the truck recorded its best sales of 93,482. Over time, truck manufacturers introduced four-door versions of their light-duty trucks that ultimately caused the downfall of the Avalanche. Second, what will be the Avalanche’s legacy? That’s a tougher question to answer right now. It could just fall to the wayside in automotive history or it could have a spot in it. It seems GM is hoping the latter happens since all of Avalanche models for 2013 are Black Diamond Edition to mark the end. GM should be proud with what they accomplished with the Avalanche. It might not have been a success in the sales chart, but it was a true success as trying to be something different in the class. Disclaimer: General Motors provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline. Year - 2013 Make – Chevrolet Model – Avalanche Trim – Black Diamond LTZ Engine – Vortec 5.3L SFI V8 Driveline – Four-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM – 320 @ 5,400 RPM Torque @ RPM – 335 @ 4,000 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/21/17 Curb Weight – 5,803 lbs Location of Manufacture – Silao, GJ Mexico Base Price - $47,885.00 As Tested Price - $51,745.00 (Includes $995.00 destination charge) Options: Sun & Entertainment Package - $2,435.00 Heavy Duty Trailering Package - $230.00 Trailer Brake Controller - $200.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  10. William Maley

    2013 Suzuki SX4 Crossover

    William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 9, 2012 In 2004, if you wanted a subcompact vehicle with the ability to go off the beaten path, you would have to leave the U.S. and head to Europe to pick up a Fiat Panda 4x4. Then in 2006, Suzuki unveiled the SX4 crossover which came with the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. It was billed as the least expensive vehicle equipped with AWD in the U.S. with a base price of $14,999. Since its introduction, the SX4 hasn’t changed much and has drifted into obscurity. Even with Suzuki adding a FWD SX4 sportback and sedan to the lineup, there aren’t that many SX4s on the road. Now for the 2013 model year, Suzuki has made some small changes inside and out, and raised the base price to $16,999. The SX4’s exterior looks to be a modern interpretation of the first-generation Geo Metro 5-Door hatchback. Both have low and angular fronts before transitioning to tall, rounded rooflines and sloping rear ends. This shape allows Suzuki to put in a larger area of glass which makes for better visibility and makes the interior feel larger. Other design cues to take note is a revised front end with a larger grille, sixteen-inch alloy wheels, black body cladding, rear bumper skidplate, and a new Plasma Yellow Metallic paint color. The SX4’s interior is a textbook example of a no-nonsense environment. You won’t find any contrasting interior pieces or many luxuries. There are hard plastics used on the dash and door panels, but they look and feel solid. Build quality is high with no panel gaps or rattling noises. Front seat passengers get cloth-covered seats that are very comfortable and feature a decent amount of adjustments. On this particular SX4, the front seats were also heated. Backseat passengers will appreciate the large amount of headroom thanks to the high roofline. What they won’t appreciate is the lack of legroom, especially to those who are tall. This particular SX4 was equipped with a new 6.1-inch touchscreen system which provides navigation, traffic, AM/FM radio, CD, USB, SD Card, Bluetooth, and Pandora streaming. The system is very intuitive and feels responsive. The navigation data and maps for the system are provided by Garmin. While the graphics look like something you would find in the mid-2000’s, the system provided good data and was able to get me where I needed to go. The Pandora streaming works by plugging your smartphone via USB to play your stations. I found the system wouldn’t play the station I had listened to last on the phone. I found that if I switched to another station and then changing back, the station would begin playing. I’m not sure if this if a problem with the system, Pandora, my phone (iPhone 4S), or a combination of the pieces. Next: Power, AWD, Driving, and Verdict Powering the SX4 Crossover is a 2.0L DOHC inline-four producing 148 HP and 140 lb-ft of torque. The power is sent through a CVT and down to either the front-wheels or to all four-wheels via Suzuki’s i-AWD system. The 2.0L engine is satisfactory in this application. Most times, you’ll find the engine provides enough power to get you around town with ease. There are times though where you do wish the car had a bit more torque when merging onto an expressway, though the CVT does an excellent job of keeping you right in the engine’s power band. Much like the Kizashi that I had in for review back in August, the SX4 Crossover has a switch to turn the AWD system on and off. There are three different settings for the AWD system, Off: Leaves the AWD system off, power is sent to front-wheels Auto: AWD system kicks on when the system detects a loss of traction Lock: AWD system is always on I had the opportunity to test the SX4's AWD system through some of the terrible storms that Hurricane Sandy pushed into my area, and I'm happy to say the SX4 and I pulled through. Fuel economy was a huge disappointment for such a small vehicle. The EPA rates the 2013 SX4 Crossover at 23 City/29 Highway/25 Combined. My week’s average was around 24 MPG on mostly suburban and rural roads. On the freeway, I got around 27.1 MPG. The SX4 crossover’s suspension is made up of Macpherson struts up front and a torsion-beam setup in the back. For steering, Suzuki employs a hydraulic power-assisted rack and pinion system. This combination makes the SX4 a good partner when you have the urge to take a spirited drive as it keeps the vehicle stable and the steering provides enough feel and weight. But what about the daily grind? How does the SX4 crossover fare? Very well. The suspension provides enough damping to minimize bumps and imperfections on the road. Also, there isn’t that much wind noise entering the cabin. There is a good amount of road noise though. Finishing up my time with the Suzuki SX4, I realized there are many similarities to it and the Kizashi I had in for review back in August. Both vehicles make excellent cases for themselves, but have a few nagging problems. In the SX4’s case, the positives are a unique AWD system, fun and comfortable handling, decent CVT, and simplistic interior design. Problem areas are the poor fuel economy, rearseat legroom, and Suzuki itself. Which is pretty sad since the Suzuki SX4 crossover deserves more attention than its been getting. Now with the recent news of American Suzuki Motor Corporation filling for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closing down its automotive branch, it brings attention the SX4 has been longing for. The SX4 is no-nonsense hatchback crossover that has AWD traction and a low price-tag. Combine it with Suzuki's promise to honor warranties on vehicles and you have one of the best values on road. If this interests you, you should head out shortly since it might not be long before the SX4 crossover is gone forever. Cheers: AWD System Price No-nonsense interior Handling during spirited and normal driving CVT Suzuki honoring warrenties Jeers: Fuel Economy with the 2.0L Rear Legroom Suzuki saying farewell to the American car market Disclaimer: Suzuki provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline. Year - 2013 Make – Suzuki Model – SX4 Crossover Trim – AWD Tech Value Package (Nav) Engine – 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, CVT Horsepower @ RPM – 148 HP (@ 6,000 RPM) Torque @ RPM – 140 lb-ft (@ 4,000 RPM) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/29/25 Curb Weight – 2,954 lbs Location of Manufacture – Sagara, Japan Base Price - $20,449.00 As Tested Price - $20,704.00* (Doesn’t include Destination Charge) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  11. William Maley

    2013 Suzuki SX4 Crossover

    William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 9, 2012 In 2004, if you wanted a subcompact vehicle with the ability to go off the beaten path, you would have to leave the U.S. and head to Europe to pick up a Fiat Panda 4x4. Then in 2006, Suzuki unveiled the SX4 crossover which came with the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. It was billed as the least expensive vehicle equipped with AWD in the U.S. with a base price of $14,999. Since its introduction, the SX4 hasn’t changed much and has drifted into obscurity. Even with Suzuki adding a FWD SX4 sportback and sedan to the lineup, there aren’t that many SX4s on the road. Now for the 2013 model year, Suzuki has made some small changes inside and out, and raised the base price to $16,999. The SX4’s exterior looks to be a modern interpretation of the first-generation Geo Metro 5-Door hatchback. Both have low and angular fronts before transitioning to tall, rounded rooflines and sloping rear ends. This shape allows Suzuki to put in a larger area of glass which makes for better visibility and makes the interior feel larger. Other design cues to take note is a revised front end with a larger grille, sixteen-inch alloy wheels, black body cladding, rear bumper skidplate, and a new Plasma Yellow Metallic paint color. The SX4’s interior is a textbook example of a no-nonsense environment. You won’t find any contrasting interior pieces or many luxuries. There are hard plastics used on the dash and door panels, but they look and feel solid. Build quality is high with no panel gaps or rattling noises. Front seat passengers get cloth-covered seats that are very comfortable and feature a decent amount of adjustments. On this particular SX4, the front seats were also heated. Backseat passengers will appreciate the large amount of headroom thanks to the high roofline. What they won’t appreciate is the lack of legroom, especially to those who are tall. This particular SX4 was equipped with a new 6.1-inch touchscreen system which provides navigation, traffic, AM/FM radio, CD, USB, SD Card, Bluetooth, and Pandora streaming. The system is very intuitive and feels responsive. The navigation data and maps for the system are provided by Garmin. While the graphics look like something you would find in the mid-2000’s, the system provided good data and was able to get me where I needed to go. The Pandora streaming works by plugging your smartphone via USB to play your stations. I found the system wouldn’t play the station I had listened to last on the phone. I found that if I switched to another station and then changing back, the station would begin playing. I’m not sure if this if a problem with the system, Pandora, my phone (iPhone 4S), or a combination of the pieces. Next: Power, AWD, Driving, and Verdict Powering the SX4 Crossover is a 2.0L DOHC inline-four producing 148 HP and 140 lb-ft of torque. The power is sent through a CVT and down to either the front-wheels or to all four-wheels via Suzuki’s i-AWD system. The 2.0L engine is satisfactory in this application. Most times, you’ll find the engine provides enough power to get you around town with ease. There are times though where you do wish the car had a bit more torque when merging onto an expressway, though the CVT does an excellent job of keeping you right in the engine’s power band. Much like the Kizashi that I had in for review back in August, the SX4 Crossover has a switch to turn the AWD system on and off. There are three different settings for the AWD system, Off: Leaves the AWD system off, power is sent to front-wheels Auto: AWD system kicks on when the system detects a loss of traction Lock: AWD system is always on I had the opportunity to test the SX4's AWD system through some of the terrible storms that Hurricane Sandy pushed into my area, and I'm happy to say the SX4 and I pulled through. Fuel economy was a huge disappointment for such a small vehicle. The EPA rates the 2013 SX4 Crossover at 23 City/29 Highway/25 Combined. My week’s average was around 24 MPG on mostly suburban and rural roads. On the freeway, I got around 27.1 MPG. The SX4 crossover’s suspension is made up of Macpherson struts up front and a torsion-beam setup in the back. For steering, Suzuki employs a hydraulic power-assisted rack and pinion system. This combination makes the SX4 a good partner when you have the urge to take a spirited drive as it keeps the vehicle stable and the steering provides enough feel and weight. But what about the daily grind? How does the SX4 crossover fare? Very well. The suspension provides enough damping to minimize bumps and imperfections on the road. Also, there isn’t that much wind noise entering the cabin. There is a good amount of road noise though. Finishing up my time with the Suzuki SX4, I realized there are many similarities to it and the Kizashi I had in for review back in August. Both vehicles make excellent cases for themselves, but have a few nagging problems. In the SX4’s case, the positives are a unique AWD system, fun and comfortable handling, decent CVT, and simplistic interior design. Problem areas are the poor fuel economy, rearseat legroom, and Suzuki itself. Which is pretty sad since the Suzuki SX4 crossover deserves more attention than its been getting. Now with the recent news of American Suzuki Motor Corporation filling for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closing down its automotive branch, it brings attention the SX4 has been longing for. The SX4 is no-nonsense hatchback crossover that has AWD traction and a low price-tag. Combine it with Suzuki's promise to honor warranties on vehicles and you have one of the best values on road. If this interests you, you should head out shortly since it might not be long before the SX4 crossover is gone forever. Cheers: AWD System Price No-nonsense interior Handling during spirited and normal driving CVT Suzuki honoring warrenties Jeers: Fuel Economy with the 2.0L Rear Legroom Suzuki saying farewell to the American car market Disclaimer: Suzuki provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline. Year - 2013 Make – Suzuki Model – SX4 Crossover Trim – AWD Tech Value Package (Nav) Engine – 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, CVT Horsepower @ RPM – 148 HP (@ 6,000 RPM) Torque @ RPM – 140 lb-ft (@ 4,000 RPM) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/29/25 Curb Weight – 2,954 lbs Location of Manufacture – Sagara, Japan Base Price - $20,449.00 As Tested Price - $20,704.00* (Doesn’t include Destination Charge) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  12. William Maley

    2013 Kia Rio SX Sedan

    By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 28, 2013 We all have that story of that one person we know that underwent a massive transformation. It starts off with the person who dumpy, bit nerdy, either really skinny or fat, or a number of items. Then maybe a few years on, you run into that same person and almost don’t recognize them. They’re dressed up in some nice clothing, loss some weight, built up some strength, and a few other things here and there. The same is true for vehicles. When the first-generation Kia Rio was introduced back in 2000, it became the cheapest vehicle you could buy in the U.S. It also earned the dubious honor of the ‘cheap and cheerful’ label since everything else about the vehicle wasn’t that good. The second-generation Rio brought forth a more aggressive look, but it was a vehicle you would recommend only to your worst enemy. The third-generation Rio, introduced back in 2012, surprised everyone. Here was a vehicle that had sexy styling, a very impressive interior, and some clever tricks. But underneath of that skin, has Kia made a subcompact vehicle that can put its past life to rest? I had a 2013 Kia Rio SX sedan for a week to try and answer this question. There is a golden rule concerning subcompact designs: Most of time, the hatchback is better looking than the sedan. In the case of the Rio sedan, it’s just as good or slightly better looking than the hatchback. Design elements of Kia’s design chief, Peter Schreyer are very evident in the Rio’s design. Starting up front, a smaller version of Kia’s tiger mouth grille makes an appearance and is flanked by a set of swept-up headlights. From the side, the doors feature two distinct character lines; one running along the bottom edge to the rear wheel well and the other running through the door handles to the trunk. There is also a set of seventeen-inch machine-finished alloy wheels that really help finish off the Rio. The Rio’s interior is a nice place to sit. The design is very handsome and puts the controls within easy reach of the driver and passenger. Surprisingly, Kia put a good amount of soft touch materials on the dashboard and door sills which give it an aire of luxury. As for space, the Rio is surprisingly roomy. You can fit four passengers in comfort, if they are all under six-feet. Seats are very supportive for both front and rear passengers. Also helping helping with the luxury aura is the amount of standard equipment. You get a trip computer, Kia’s UVO infotainment system, USB and aux jacks, Bluetooth, side curtain airbags, heated and folding sideview mirrors, and a backup camera. You can increase the luxuries in the Rio by adding the Premium package which includes navigation, leather seats with heat, a proximity key with push-button start, and a sunroof. With a pricetag of $2,350 for the package, I highly recommend it. Powering the Rio is a 1.6L GDI four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. That is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Power in the Rio SX sedan is adequate. It does take a moment or so for the engine to build up some steam. Plus when you’re trying to make a pass, you’re wishing just for a little bit more power. But once the engine is up to speed, it displays a surprising amount of refinement. However, the 1.6L GDI excels at fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2013 Kia Rio SX Sedan 28 City/36 Highway/31 Combined. During my week, I averaged 31.0 MPG. The Rio SX differs from other Rios by coming equipped with sport-tuned suspension and it's a mostly fun car to drive. The part that lets the Rio SX down is its steering. While it has a surprising amount of feel, those who are expected a bit of weight will be disappointed since it's pretty light. Where the steering falls in one area, it exceeds in another area. In this case it's the urban environment and parking lots. The Rio’s steering shines here as its ability to dart around traffic is excellent and can fit into tight parking spots with no problem. As for the sport-tuned suspension, it's firm but not to the point where you’ll be crying uncle. There is one area I wish Kia would address in the refresh or the next Rio; road noise. Driving on the highway, I would have the radio cranked up to try and drown out the excessive road noise in the cabin. I know that most Rio buyers will drive the vehicle in town or out in the burbs, but be prepared for the amount of road noise coming inside if you decide to venture out onto the highway. Kia has a real winner on their hands with the 2013 Rio SX sedan. It raises the bar on what a subcompact vehicle could be in terms of design, features, and powertrain. Kia still needs to work on keeping road noise out and trying to find a balance with the steering weight. For many buyers though, the Rio offers the right combination. From a vehicle that wore the ‘cheap and cheerful’ tag to something that is in contention for being best in class; that's quite the transformation. Disclaimer: Kia provided the Rio SX Sedan, Insurance, and one tank of gas. Year - 2013 Make – Kia Model – Rio Sedan Trim – SX Engine – 1.6L GDI Four-Cylinder Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM – 138 @ 6,300 RPM Torque @ RPM – 123 @ 4,850 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/36/31 Curb Weight – 2,483 lbs Location of Manufacture – Gwangmyeong, South Korea Base Price - $17,700.00 As Tested Price - $21,340.00* (Includes $750.00 destination charge) Options: Premium Package - $2,350 EC Mirror w/ Compass & Homelink - $350.00 Carpeted Floor Mats - $115.00 Rear Bumper Applique - $75.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  13. William Maley

    2013 Kia Rio SX Sedan

    By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 28, 2013 We all have that story of that one person we know that underwent a massive transformation. It starts off with the person who dumpy, bit nerdy, either really skinny or fat, or a number of items. Then maybe a few years on, you run into that same person and almost don’t recognize them. They’re dressed up in some nice clothing, loss some weight, built up some strength, and a few other things here and there. The same is true for vehicles. When the first-generation Kia Rio was introduced back in 2000, it became the cheapest vehicle you could buy in the U.S. It also earned the dubious honor of the ‘cheap and cheerful’ label since everything else about the vehicle wasn’t that good. The second-generation Rio brought forth a more aggressive look, but it was a vehicle you would recommend only to your worst enemy. The third-generation Rio, introduced back in 2012, surprised everyone. Here was a vehicle that had sexy styling, a very impressive interior, and some clever tricks. But underneath of that skin, has Kia made a subcompact vehicle that can put its past life to rest? I had a 2013 Kia Rio SX sedan for a week to try and answer this question. There is a golden rule concerning subcompact designs: Most of time, the hatchback is better looking than the sedan. In the case of the Rio sedan, it’s just as good or slightly better looking than the hatchback. Design elements of Kia’s design chief, Peter Schreyer are very evident in the Rio’s design. Starting up front, a smaller version of Kia’s tiger mouth grille makes an appearance and is flanked by a set of swept-up headlights. From the side, the doors feature two distinct character lines; one running along the bottom edge to the rear wheel well and the other running through the door handles to the trunk. There is also a set of seventeen-inch machine-finished alloy wheels that really help finish off the Rio. The Rio’s interior is a nice place to sit. The design is very handsome and puts the controls within easy reach of the driver and passenger. Surprisingly, Kia put a good amount of soft touch materials on the dashboard and door sills which give it an aire of luxury. As for space, the Rio is surprisingly roomy. You can fit four passengers in comfort, if they are all under six-feet. Seats are very supportive for both front and rear passengers. Also helping helping with the luxury aura is the amount of standard equipment. You get a trip computer, Kia’s UVO infotainment system, USB and aux jacks, Bluetooth, side curtain airbags, heated and folding sideview mirrors, and a backup camera. You can increase the luxuries in the Rio by adding the Premium package which includes navigation, leather seats with heat, a proximity key with push-button start, and a sunroof. With a pricetag of $2,350 for the package, I highly recommend it. Powering the Rio is a 1.6L GDI four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. That is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Power in the Rio SX sedan is adequate. It does take a moment or so for the engine to build up some steam. Plus when you’re trying to make a pass, you’re wishing just for a little bit more power. But once the engine is up to speed, it displays a surprising amount of refinement. However, the 1.6L GDI excels at fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2013 Kia Rio SX Sedan 28 City/36 Highway/31 Combined. During my week, I averaged 31.0 MPG. The Rio SX differs from other Rios by coming equipped with sport-tuned suspension and it's a mostly fun car to drive. The part that lets the Rio SX down is its steering. While it has a surprising amount of feel, those who are expected a bit of weight will be disappointed since it's pretty light. Where the steering falls in one area, it exceeds in another area. In this case it's the urban environment and parking lots. The Rio’s steering shines here as its ability to dart around traffic is excellent and can fit into tight parking spots with no problem. As for the sport-tuned suspension, it's firm but not to the point where you’ll be crying uncle. There is one area I wish Kia would address in the refresh or the next Rio; road noise. Driving on the highway, I would have the radio cranked up to try and drown out the excessive road noise in the cabin. I know that most Rio buyers will drive the vehicle in town or out in the burbs, but be prepared for the amount of road noise coming inside if you decide to venture out onto the highway. Kia has a real winner on their hands with the 2013 Rio SX sedan. It raises the bar on what a subcompact vehicle could be in terms of design, features, and powertrain. Kia still needs to work on keeping road noise out and trying to find a balance with the steering weight. For many buyers though, the Rio offers the right combination. From a vehicle that wore the ‘cheap and cheerful’ tag to something that is in contention for being best in class; that's quite the transformation. Disclaimer: Kia provided the Rio SX Sedan, Insurance, and one tank of gas. Year - 2013 Make – Kia Model – Rio Sedan Trim – SX Engine – 1.6L GDI Four-Cylinder Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM – 138 @ 6,300 RPM Torque @ RPM – 123 @ 4,850 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/36/31 Curb Weight – 2,483 lbs Location of Manufacture – Gwangmyeong, South Korea Base Price - $17,700.00 As Tested Price - $21,340.00* (Includes $750.00 destination charge) Options: Premium Package - $2,350 EC Mirror w/ Compass & Homelink - $350.00 Carpeted Floor Mats - $115.00 Rear Bumper Applique - $75.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  14. William Maley

    2013 Cadillac XTS Platinum

    William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 24, 2013 Stopgap. Standby. Stand-In. Makeshift. Temporary. Interim. Placeholder. All of these words in one way or another have been used to describe Cadillac's current flagship, the XTS. When the XTS was introduced back in 2012, it filled the gap left by the DTS and STS. It also became a vehicle to serve as the flagship until the long-rumored rear-wheel drive flagship appears. But do all these words hurt the XTS? Is it something more than a placeholder in the Cadillac lineup? I recently spent a week with a 2013 XTS Platinum AWD to answer this question. The XTS might be my favorite Cadillac design to date. The overall shape makes a callback to current crop of Cadillac vehicles, most notably the ATS and SRX. Up front is massive front grille with the distinct satin-chrome grille insert for Platinum models. On either side is a set of sweptback HID headlights that move when you turn the steering wheel. The headlights also feature LED lighting along the outer edge and another set of LEDs underneath. The side profile shows off a set of twenty-inch aluminum wheels, chrome trim along the door sills and windows, and illuminated door handles. The back features vertical taillights with some fin action to give homage to the late-fifties' Cadillacs and a stoplamp that doubles as a spoiler. Moving inside, the XTS is General Motors most ambitious effort on adding technologies to a vehicle. The driver faces a color display that offers four different gauge layouts and abundance of information screens that you can throw on to the screen. I found the display easy to read and very informative. Also new is a color heads-up display which displays your speed and other key information. Cadillac's CUE infotainment system is standard on the XTS Platinum and much like the SRX I had back in March, the system has been getting better. CUE is much smoother and the responsiveness is quick when you press the screen or capacitive buttons. Still, the distraction problem is very evident and it does take some time to fully understand how to use the system. Luxuries abound in the XTS Platinum's interior. You have leather lining the door panels, dashboard, and plush seats. Driver and front passenger get power adjustments, heat, and ventilated seats. In the back, you'll find an abundance of legroom, decent headroom, manual sunshades for the windows, rear climate control, and heated seats. Powering this big Cadillac is the venerable 3.6L Direct Injected V6 with 304 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic routes the power to either the front wheels or all four wheels. The 3.6L is not the right engine for the XTS. When you think back to the big Cadillacs of yesteryear, all of them used a big V8 engine with the torque arriving on the low end of the RPM spectrum. The XTS' 3.6L is the complete opposite. With torque arriving at 5,200 RPM, you really have to work the engine if you want to get moving. Add on a curb weight of 4,215 pounds for the XTS Platinum with AWD, and you're in for a world of hurt. Now General Motors has announced a new twin-turbo 3.6L Direct Injected V6 with 410 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque for the 2014 XTS. Lets hope this is the engine to give it some needed kick. As for the other parts of the drivetrain, the six-speed automatic works perfectly by delivering very smooth shifts. The Haldex all-wheel drive system was very unobtrusive whenever it worked its magic. Fuel economy is another disappointment for the XTS. The EPA rates the 2013 XTS Platinum AWD at 17 City/26 Highway/20 Combined. During my week, I averaged 19 MPG in mixed conditions. What does the XTS does uphold in big Cadillac tradition is excellent ride and comfort. General Motors went all out on the XTS' suspension by equipping Magnetic Ride Control and a rear air suspension system. These two systems paired together provided one of the smoothest rides I have ever experienced. Bumps and road imperfections seem to be ironed out. Steering also follows big Cadillac tradition; light and really no road feel. This is ok since it’s a big luxury sedan, not a small, sports sedan. One other feature I should mention is Cadillac's Safety Seat Alert. This system is tied in with a number of safety systems in the vehicle such as the lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert. If one the safety systems detect an obstacle or the car going over the lane, it will activate the safety seat alert and vibrate the bottom cushion to alert the driver. When I first experienced it, it made me jump. I wasn't sure what was happening until I looked at the window sticker and realized my tester was equipped with it. After that, I found the system to be a unique way to alert a driver what’s going on without using any buzzers or beeps. If you're wondering, you can turn the system off. So does the XTS deserve the placeholder sticker? The answer isn't that simple. On one hand, the XTS appears to be a stand in for the long-rumored Cadillac flagship that is reportedly coming out in either 2016 or 2017. Plus, the XTS doesn't follow the current convention that Cadillacs are supposed to attack the roads like their German counter parts. But the XTS is very much an old school Cadillac in many ways. The number of luxury appointments and tech will make you feel that you're in a very special car and the suspension setup provides one of the smoothest rides around. The only thing missing is an engine that can provide the smooth low-end power needed for it. It might be a placeholder, but it is one that is very deserving of the wreath and crest badge. Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the XTS, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year - 2013 Make – Cadillac Model – XTS4 Trim – Platinum Engine – 3.6L VVT SIDI V6 Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM – 304 @ 6,800 RPM Torque @ RPM – 264 @ 5,200 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/26/20 Curb Weight – 4,215 lbs Location of Manufacture – Oshawa, Ontario Base Price - $60,385.00 As Tested Price - $64,695.00* (Includes $920.00 destination charge) Options: Driver Assist Package - $2,395.00 Crystal Red Tintcoat Paint - $995.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  15. William Maley

    2013 Cadillac XTS Platinum

    William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 24, 2013 Stopgap. Standby. Stand-In. Makeshift. Temporary. Interim. Placeholder. All of these words in one way or another have been used to describe Cadillac's current flagship, the XTS. When the XTS was introduced back in 2012, it filled the gap left by the DTS and STS. It also became a vehicle to serve as the flagship until the long-rumored rear-wheel drive flagship appears. But do all these words hurt the XTS? Is it something more than a placeholder in the Cadillac lineup? I recently spent a week with a 2013 XTS Platinum AWD to answer this question. The XTS might be my favorite Cadillac design to date. The overall shape makes a callback to current crop of Cadillac vehicles, most notably the ATS and SRX. Up front is massive front grille with the distinct satin-chrome grille insert for Platinum models. On either side is a set of sweptback HID headlights that move when you turn the steering wheel. The headlights also feature LED lighting along the outer edge and another set of LEDs underneath. The side profile shows off a set of twenty-inch aluminum wheels, chrome trim along the door sills and windows, and illuminated door handles. The back features vertical taillights with some fin action to give homage to the late-fifties' Cadillacs and a stoplamp that doubles as a spoiler. Moving inside, the XTS is General Motors most ambitious effort on adding technologies to a vehicle. The driver faces a color display that offers four different gauge layouts and abundance of information screens that you can throw on to the screen. I found the display easy to read and very informative. Also new is a color heads-up display which displays your speed and other key information. Cadillac's CUE infotainment system is standard on the XTS Platinum and much like the SRX I had back in March, the system has been getting better. CUE is much smoother and the responsiveness is quick when you press the screen or capacitive buttons. Still, the distraction problem is very evident and it does take some time to fully understand how to use the system. Luxuries abound in the XTS Platinum's interior. You have leather lining the door panels, dashboard, and plush seats. Driver and front passenger get power adjustments, heat, and ventilated seats. In the back, you'll find an abundance of legroom, decent headroom, manual sunshades for the windows, rear climate control, and heated seats. Powering this big Cadillac is the venerable 3.6L Direct Injected V6 with 304 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic routes the power to either the front wheels or all four wheels. The 3.6L is not the right engine for the XTS. When you think back to the big Cadillacs of yesteryear, all of them used a big V8 engine with the torque arriving on the low end of the RPM spectrum. The XTS' 3.6L is the complete opposite. With torque arriving at 5,200 RPM, you really have to work the engine if you want to get moving. Add on a curb weight of 4,215 pounds for the XTS Platinum with AWD, and you're in for a world of hurt. Now General Motors has announced a new twin-turbo 3.6L Direct Injected V6 with 410 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque for the 2014 XTS. Lets hope this is the engine to give it some needed kick. As for the other parts of the drivetrain, the six-speed automatic works perfectly by delivering very smooth shifts. The Haldex all-wheel drive system was very unobtrusive whenever it worked its magic. Fuel economy is another disappointment for the XTS. The EPA rates the 2013 XTS Platinum AWD at 17 City/26 Highway/20 Combined. During my week, I averaged 19 MPG in mixed conditions. What does the XTS does uphold in big Cadillac tradition is excellent ride and comfort. General Motors went all out on the XTS' suspension by equipping Magnetic Ride Control and a rear air suspension system. These two systems paired together provided one of the smoothest rides I have ever experienced. Bumps and road imperfections seem to be ironed out. Steering also follows big Cadillac tradition; light and really no road feel. This is ok since it’s a big luxury sedan, not a small, sports sedan. One other feature I should mention is Cadillac's Safety Seat Alert. This system is tied in with a number of safety systems in the vehicle such as the lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert. If one the safety systems detect an obstacle or the car going over the lane, it will activate the safety seat alert and vibrate the bottom cushion to alert the driver. When I first experienced it, it made me jump. I wasn't sure what was happening until I looked at the window sticker and realized my tester was equipped with it. After that, I found the system to be a unique way to alert a driver what’s going on without using any buzzers or beeps. If you're wondering, you can turn the system off. So does the XTS deserve the placeholder sticker? The answer isn't that simple. On one hand, the XTS appears to be a stand in for the long-rumored Cadillac flagship that is reportedly coming out in either 2016 or 2017. Plus, the XTS doesn't follow the current convention that Cadillacs are supposed to attack the roads like their German counter parts. But the XTS is very much an old school Cadillac in many ways. The number of luxury appointments and tech will make you feel that you're in a very special car and the suspension setup provides one of the smoothest rides around. The only thing missing is an engine that can provide the smooth low-end power needed for it. It might be a placeholder, but it is one that is very deserving of the wreath and crest badge. Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the XTS, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year - 2013 Make – Cadillac Model – XTS4 Trim – Platinum Engine – 3.6L VVT SIDI V6 Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM – 304 @ 6,800 RPM Torque @ RPM – 264 @ 5,200 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/26/20 Curb Weight – 4,215 lbs Location of Manufacture – Oshawa, Ontario Base Price - $60,385.00 As Tested Price - $64,695.00* (Includes $920.00 destination charge) Options: Driver Assist Package - $2,395.00 Crystal Red Tintcoat Paint - $995.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  16. William Maley

    2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T

    William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 2, 2013 To say the current crop of mid-size sedans is downright impressive would be massive understatement. We have sedans that can be compared with more expensive models in styling, are fun to drive, and get fuel economy numbers that only compacts and subcompacts were getting a few years ago. It's hard to place where the starting point is for this current group of mid-size sedans, but I have a possible answer. The year is 2010. Hyundai introduced the next-generation Sonata to the marketplace and it was a suckerpunch to the midsize marketplace. Here was a mid-size sedan that brought forth amazing styling, impressive powertrain tech, and value for money that no one else could match. Everyone knew that a new, credible challenger had arrived and it was time to step up. After four years since its introduction, the Sonata is beginning to show its age when compared to its competitors. Sales though haven't slowed down at all. Can the current Sonata still stand tall or is it time for the curtain to fall on this sedan? The Sonata is still an impressive looking sedan. Despite going on almost four years in the marketplace, the Sonata looks like it was just released. You can tell that Hyundai's designers were influenced by the first-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS as the two share a similar shape. Other details to take note are dual exhausts and a set of eighteen-inch wheels. The interior is a whole another story as it looks and feels very old. Someone at Hyundai must have been going through a dark period since there are large swaths of black throughout. There is black plastic and soft-touch materials on the dash and door panels. The seats are draped in black leather and mesh fabric. The only bright spot inside is the contrasting silver trim pieces along the center stack. So far, the Sonata SE ties with the Nissan Rogue SL for the most depressing interior of 2013. Another problem for the Sonata, at least for me, was the front seat adjustment. When I first got into the it, I felt like I was sitting too high. But when I tried to lower the seat, I was at the lowest position. Now I happen to be 5'7" tall and usually can find a comfortable position in a vehicle, not in the Sonata. After a couple days of driving around, I got used to the position. It does make me wonder if someone taller than me would have the same problem. As for back seat space, headroom comes at a premium due to the sloping coupe roofline. Legroom though is decent. Hyundai still has the value argument down to a T. SE models come standard with a proximity key, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, and Hyundai's BlueLink telematic system. For an extra $2,900, you can order the SE Navigation and Sunroof package which includes navigation, sunroof, a Dimension Premium Audio System, and backup camera. It's an option package I highly recommend. With the outside and inside stories done, lets look at the Sonata's powertrain. Hyundai was the first automaker to drop the V6 engine and replace it with a turbo-four in the midsize class. The 2.0L turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder packs 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0T only comes with a six-speed automatic transmission with paddles on the wheel. The 2.0L turbo is quite peachy. Imagine a bottle rocket being shot off and not slowing down, that's Hyundai's 2.0L turbo in a nutshell. The 269 pound-feet of torque spans from 1,750 rpm to 4,500 rpm (torque peaks at 3,500 rpm), meaning the Sonata 2.0T doesn't suffer from turbo lag and pulls off the illusion of being a bigger engine than it really is. Even more surprising: the 2.0T doesn't exhibit the thrashiness or buzzing that you would expect in a four-cylinder. The six-speed automatic works excellent as the computer puts the vehicle in the right gear at the right time. There are paddles but I didn't use them due to the reluctant nature of the automatic. Just leave it in drive and let the transmission do its thing. Fuel economy wise, I was on the low-end of the Sonata 2.0T's ratings. My average for the week landed around 22.0 MPG which happens to be the same as the 2.0T's City rating. If you have a lighter foot, you will likely be closer to the combined rating of 26 MPG. Out on the highway, I got close to 34 MPG rating with an average of 32. The Sonata SE model differs from the base GLS and top trim Limited in its suspension as it gets sport-tuned springs and dampers. Out on a curvy road, the Sonata SE does feel somewhat sporty. The revised springs and dampers helps the SE model feel much more planted and reduce body roll. Don't think it's in the same league as the 2014 Mazda6 though. The Sonata SE's steering doesn't feel like its connected to the vehicle. I know that I'm turning the steering wheel and the vehicle is moving, but there isn't that feedback coming through the steering wheel. Plus, if you push the Sonata hard, it begins to show signs of body roll. Moving off the twisty roads and onward to the freeway and streets, the Sonata SE shines here. The suspension copes very well when driven over rutted roads. Road and wind noise are mostly kept in check. Close to four years on, the Sonata is still a very impressive sedan. Sure, the interior is darker than Alaska during the winter solstice and provides one of the oddest seating positions that I have ever experienced. But Hyundai got the fundamentals right with the Sonata; a handsome design, punchy engine that gets decent fuel economy, comfortable ride, and pricetag that cannot be beat. The current Sonata started a revolution in the midsize sedan and the fact it's still selling so well means the next-generation model has a tough act to follow. Disclaimer: Hyundai provided the Sonata 2.0T, insurance, and one tank of gas. Year: 2013 Make: Hyundai Model: Sonata Trim: SE 2.0T Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM: 274 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 269 @ 1,400 - 4,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/34/26 Curb Weight: 3,452 lbs Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, Alabama Base Price: $25,895.00 As Tested Price: $29,205.00* (Includes $775.00 destination charge) Options: SE Navigation and Sunroof Package - $2,900.00 Rear Spoiler - $250.00 Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror with HomeLink and Compass - $250.00 Carpeted Floor Mats - $100.00 iPod Cable - $35.00 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.
  17. William Maley

    2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T

    William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 2, 2013 To say the current crop of mid-size sedans is downright impressive would be massive understatement. We have sedans that can be compared with more expensive models in styling, are fun to drive, and get fuel economy numbers that only compacts and subcompacts were getting a few years ago. It's hard to place where the starting point is for this current group of mid-size sedans, but I have a possible answer. The year is 2010. Hyundai introduced the next-generation Sonata to the marketplace and it was a suckerpunch to the midsize marketplace. Here was a mid-size sedan that brought forth amazing styling, impressive powertrain tech, and value for money that no one else could match. Everyone knew that a new, credible challenger had arrived and it was time to step up. After four years since its introduction, the Sonata is beginning to show its age when compared to its competitors. Sales though haven't slowed down at all. Can the current Sonata still stand tall or is it time for the curtain to fall on this sedan? The Sonata is still an impressive looking sedan. Despite going on almost four years in the marketplace, the Sonata looks like it was just released. You can tell that Hyundai's designers were influenced by the first-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS as the two share a similar shape. Other details to take note are dual exhausts and a set of eighteen-inch wheels. The interior is a whole another story as it looks and feels very old. Someone at Hyundai must have been going through a dark period since there are large swaths of black throughout. There is black plastic and soft-touch materials on the dash and door panels. The seats are draped in black leather and mesh fabric. The only bright spot inside is the contrasting silver trim pieces along the center stack. So far, the Sonata SE ties with the Nissan Rogue SL for the most depressing interior of 2013. Another problem for the Sonata, at least for me, was the front seat adjustment. When I first got into the it, I felt like I was sitting too high. But when I tried to lower the seat, I was at the lowest position. Now I happen to be 5'7" tall and usually can find a comfortable position in a vehicle, not in the Sonata. After a couple days of driving around, I got used to the position. It does make me wonder if someone taller than me would have the same problem. As for back seat space, headroom comes at a premium due to the sloping coupe roofline. Legroom though is decent. Hyundai still has the value argument down to a T. SE models come standard with a proximity key, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, and Hyundai's BlueLink telematic system. For an extra $2,900, you can order the SE Navigation and Sunroof package which includes navigation, sunroof, a Dimension Premium Audio System, and backup camera. It's an option package I highly recommend. With the outside and inside stories done, lets look at the Sonata's powertrain. Hyundai was the first automaker to drop the V6 engine and replace it with a turbo-four in the midsize class. The 2.0L turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder packs 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0T only comes with a six-speed automatic transmission with paddles on the wheel. The 2.0L turbo is quite peachy. Imagine a bottle rocket being shot off and not slowing down, that's Hyundai's 2.0L turbo in a nutshell. The 269 pound-feet of torque spans from 1,750 rpm to 4,500 rpm (torque peaks at 3,500 rpm), meaning the Sonata 2.0T doesn't suffer from turbo lag and pulls off the illusion of being a bigger engine than it really is. Even more surprising: the 2.0T doesn't exhibit the thrashiness or buzzing that you would expect in a four-cylinder. The six-speed automatic works excellent as the computer puts the vehicle in the right gear at the right time. There are paddles but I didn't use them due to the reluctant nature of the automatic. Just leave it in drive and let the transmission do its thing. Fuel economy wise, I was on the low-end of the Sonata 2.0T's ratings. My average for the week landed around 22.0 MPG which happens to be the same as the 2.0T's City rating. If you have a lighter foot, you will likely be closer to the combined rating of 26 MPG. Out on the highway, I got close to 34 MPG rating with an average of 32. The Sonata SE model differs from the base GLS and top trim Limited in its suspension as it gets sport-tuned springs and dampers. Out on a curvy road, the Sonata SE does feel somewhat sporty. The revised springs and dampers helps the SE model feel much more planted and reduce body roll. Don't think it's in the same league as the 2014 Mazda6 though. The Sonata SE's steering doesn't feel like its connected to the vehicle. I know that I'm turning the steering wheel and the vehicle is moving, but there isn't that feedback coming through the steering wheel. Plus, if you push the Sonata hard, it begins to show signs of body roll. Moving off the twisty roads and onward to the freeway and streets, the Sonata SE shines here. The suspension copes very well when driven over rutted roads. Road and wind noise are mostly kept in check. Close to four years on, the Sonata is still a very impressive sedan. Sure, the interior is darker than Alaska during the winter solstice and provides one of the oddest seating positions that I have ever experienced. But Hyundai got the fundamentals right with the Sonata; a handsome design, punchy engine that gets decent fuel economy, comfortable ride, and pricetag that cannot be beat. The current Sonata started a revolution in the midsize sedan and the fact it's still selling so well means the next-generation model has a tough act to follow. Disclaimer: Hyundai provided the Sonata 2.0T, insurance, and one tank of gas. Year: 2013 Make: Hyundai Model: Sonata Trim: SE 2.0T Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM: 274 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 269 @ 1,400 - 4,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/34/26 Curb Weight: 3,452 lbs Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, Alabama Base Price: $25,895.00 As Tested Price: $29,205.00* (Includes $775.00 destination charge) Options: SE Navigation and Sunroof Package - $2,900.00 Rear Spoiler - $250.00 Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror with HomeLink and Compass - $250.00 Carpeted Floor Mats - $100.00 iPod Cable - $35.00 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. View full article
  18. William Maley

    Review: 2013 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD

    William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 17, 2013 Author's Note: With 2013 coming to a close in a couple of weeks, we've decided to clear out the remaining 2013 vehicle reviews this week. Everyday a new review will appear on the front page. If you miss one day, don't worry, we'll have links to the previous reviews just below. -WM Monday: Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV Wednesday: Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD Thursday: Toyota Land Cruiser Friday: Lexus LS 600h L The compact crossover marketplace has become one of the most crowded and contested in the automotive world. It seems a month doesn't go by without news of a new or redesigned compact crossover. Automakers are trying to differentiate their crossovers by going somewhat daring with their designs, making them fun to drive, filling them with tech, and other items. But there is one thing some automakers can play to their advantage, name recognition. No one is more apparent of this than Toyota. The automaker is patient zero of the compact crossover marketplace with the RAV4, first introduced back in 1996. For the past three-generations, the RAV4 has been one of the best selling compact crossovers in the U.S. This past year saw Toyota introduce the latest-generation of the RAV4. The question of course is whether in light of fresh competition, can the RAV4 retain its title of being one of the best sellers? With the fourth-generation RAV4, Toyota made drastic changes to the design. The most notable one is around back with Toyota retiring the swing-out tailgate and spare-tire carrier. Instead, the 2013 RAV4 features a standard liftgate with large taillights and a rear spoiler sitting on top. Moving to the front, the RAV4 has a new front clip with a split grille layout and chrome accent bars running into the headlights. Along the side, designers did some sculpting and added a bit of a downward slope to the roofline. A final touch for the RAV4's design is body cladding along the bottom of the entire vehicle. Much like C&G's Managing Editor Drew Dowdell said in his quick drive of the RAV4, I wasn't too keen on the design at first, but it has grown on me since then.Moving inside, the RAV4 features a mix of good and bad ideas. The good ideas start with an improved dashboard that features a leather-like material and stitching. There's also a color touchscreen radio that is standard across the range and can be equipped with the user-friendly Entune infotainment system with navigation on the XLE and Limited. While the graphics look somewhat dated compared to competitors, the interface is very intuitive. Other good ideas for the RAV4 include in airy cabin thanks to large amount of glass in the vehicle. The back seat provides comfortable seating for two people despite them being somewhat firmer than the ones up front. Cargo Space in the RAV4 is best in class with 38.4 Cubic Feet with the rear seats up and 73.4 Cubic Feet with the rear seats down. The bad ideas in the RAV4 begin with other materials used inside. Hard plastics are very noticeable all around the interior from the door panels to the center console. Certain pieces of interior are finished faux 'carbon fiber' looking trim which looks completely out of place. That trim also appears to have issues with quality as it looked pretty scratched up in this 10,000 mile example. Also, I wish Toyota would give the navigation system a dedicated button on the radio and not have it buried in the Apps section of the system. No Toyota. Just No. To find out how the RAV4's powertrain and suspension fared, see the next page. Only one engine is available, a 2.5L four-cylinder with 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic comes standard, while the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive is available. My tester came with the all-wheel drive system. Despite having the lowest numbers powertrain-wise in the class, the RAV4 doesn't feel like it at all. This is due to the six-speed automatic which is smart enough to keep the four-cylinder right in the sweet spot of the power band. You also have the choice of two different drive modes. ECO dulls the throttle response and limits the output of the climate control system. I only tried this setting a couple of times and didn't particular like it at all since it makes the four-cylinder feel very sluggish, like it's trying to move a vehicle that's three times heavier than the RAV4. Then there is Sport which improves the throttle response and quickens the shifts from the six-speed automatic. It does improve the performance and driving fun of the RAV4 somewhat.Fuel economy-wise, the EPA rates the 2013 RAV4 AWD at 22 City/29 Highway/25 Combined. My average for the week landed around 22 MPG. On the ride-and-handling front, the RAV4 sits right in the middle. The suspension is comprised of a MacPherson strut setup in the front and a double wishbone coil spring setup in the back that provided a very comfortable ride which was able to absorb bumps and imperfections. In the corners, the RAV4 feels confident around the corners and body roll is kept in check. While it's no match for the Mazda CX-5 in driving fun, the RAV4 should fill the role of being a crossover that gets you from point a to b with no problem. One area I wish Toyota would work on is minimizing the amount of road and engine noise coming into the cabin. Much like Drew in his conclusion of the RAV4, I have to say the RAV4 is just right. The total package from the powertrain to the list of standard equipment should help keep the RAV4 up there in the best selling compact crossovers. But I have to wonder this: What if Toyota gave the RAV4 a bit more time in development? Would it look somewhat like the Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5?Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the RAV4, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas. Year: 2013 Make: Toyota Model: RAV4 Trim: XLE AWD Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder with VTT-i Driveline: All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM: 176 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 172 @ 4,100 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/29/25 Curb Weight: 3,585 lbs Location of Manufacture: Woodstock, Ontario Base Price: $25,690.00 As Tested Price: $28,552.00 (Includes $845.00 Destination Charge) Options: Display Audio with Navigation and Entune - $1,030.00 Running Boards - $549.00 Roof Rack Cross Bars - $229.00 Body Side Molding - $209.00 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. View full article
  19. William Maley

    Review: 2013 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD

    William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 17, 2013 Author's Note: With 2013 coming to a close in a couple of weeks, we've decided to clear out the remaining 2013 vehicle reviews this week. Everyday a new review will appear on the front page. If you miss one day, don't worry, we'll have links to the previous reviews just below. -WM Monday: Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV Wednesday: Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD Thursday: Toyota Land Cruiser Friday: Lexus LS 600h L The compact crossover marketplace has become one of the most crowded and contested in the automotive world. It seems a month doesn't go by without news of a new or redesigned compact crossover. Automakers are trying to differentiate their crossovers by going somewhat daring with their designs, making them fun to drive, filling them with tech, and other items. But there is one thing some automakers can play to their advantage, name recognition. No one is more apparent of this than Toyota. The automaker is patient zero of the compact crossover marketplace with the RAV4, first introduced back in 1996. For the past three-generations, the RAV4 has been one of the best selling compact crossovers in the U.S. This past year saw Toyota introduce the latest-generation of the RAV4. The question of course is whether in light of fresh competition, can the RAV4 retain its title of being one of the best sellers? With the fourth-generation RAV4, Toyota made drastic changes to the design. The most notable one is around back with Toyota retiring the swing-out tailgate and spare-tire carrier. Instead, the 2013 RAV4 features a standard liftgate with large taillights and a rear spoiler sitting on top. Moving to the front, the RAV4 has a new front clip with a split grille layout and chrome accent bars running into the headlights. Along the side, designers did some sculpting and added a bit of a downward slope to the roofline. A final touch for the RAV4's design is body cladding along the bottom of the entire vehicle. Much like C&G's Managing Editor Drew Dowdell said in his quick drive of the RAV4, I wasn't too keen on the design at first, but it has grown on me since then.Moving inside, the RAV4 features a mix of good and bad ideas. The good ideas start with an improved dashboard that features a leather-like material and stitching. There's also a color touchscreen radio that is standard across the range and can be equipped with the user-friendly Entune infotainment system with navigation on the XLE and Limited. While the graphics look somewhat dated compared to competitors, the interface is very intuitive. Other good ideas for the RAV4 include in airy cabin thanks to large amount of glass in the vehicle. The back seat provides comfortable seating for two people despite them being somewhat firmer than the ones up front. Cargo Space in the RAV4 is best in class with 38.4 Cubic Feet with the rear seats up and 73.4 Cubic Feet with the rear seats down. The bad ideas in the RAV4 begin with other materials used inside. Hard plastics are very noticeable all around the interior from the door panels to the center console. Certain pieces of interior are finished faux 'carbon fiber' looking trim which looks completely out of place. That trim also appears to have issues with quality as it looked pretty scratched up in this 10,000 mile example. Also, I wish Toyota would give the navigation system a dedicated button on the radio and not have it buried in the Apps section of the system. No Toyota. Just No. To find out how the RAV4's powertrain and suspension fared, see the next page. Only one engine is available, a 2.5L four-cylinder with 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic comes standard, while the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive is available. My tester came with the all-wheel drive system. Despite having the lowest numbers powertrain-wise in the class, the RAV4 doesn't feel like it at all. This is due to the six-speed automatic which is smart enough to keep the four-cylinder right in the sweet spot of the power band. You also have the choice of two different drive modes. ECO dulls the throttle response and limits the output of the climate control system. I only tried this setting a couple of times and didn't particular like it at all since it makes the four-cylinder feel very sluggish, like it's trying to move a vehicle that's three times heavier than the RAV4. Then there is Sport which improves the throttle response and quickens the shifts from the six-speed automatic. It does improve the performance and driving fun of the RAV4 somewhat.Fuel economy-wise, the EPA rates the 2013 RAV4 AWD at 22 City/29 Highway/25 Combined. My average for the week landed around 22 MPG. On the ride-and-handling front, the RAV4 sits right in the middle. The suspension is comprised of a MacPherson strut setup in the front and a double wishbone coil spring setup in the back that provided a very comfortable ride which was able to absorb bumps and imperfections. In the corners, the RAV4 feels confident around the corners and body roll is kept in check. While it's no match for the Mazda CX-5 in driving fun, the RAV4 should fill the role of being a crossover that gets you from point a to b with no problem. One area I wish Toyota would work on is minimizing the amount of road and engine noise coming into the cabin. Much like Drew in his conclusion of the RAV4, I have to say the RAV4 is just right. The total package from the powertrain to the list of standard equipment should help keep the RAV4 up there in the best selling compact crossovers. But I have to wonder this: What if Toyota gave the RAV4 a bit more time in development? Would it look somewhat like the Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5?Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the RAV4, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas. Year: 2013 Make: Toyota Model: RAV4 Trim: XLE AWD Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder with VTT-i Driveline: All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM: 176 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 172 @ 4,100 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/29/25 Curb Weight: 3,585 lbs Location of Manufacture: Woodstock, Ontario Base Price: $25,690.00 As Tested Price: $28,552.00 (Includes $845.00 Destination Charge) Options: Display Audio with Navigation and Entune - $1,030.00 Running Boards - $549.00 Roof Rack Cross Bars - $229.00 Body Side Molding - $209.00 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.
  20. William Maley

    Review: 2013 Lexus LS 600h L

    Author's Note: With 2013 coming to a close in a couple of weeks, we've decided to clear out the remaining 2013 vehicle reviews this week. Everyday a new review will appear on the front page. If you miss one day, don't worry, we'll have links to the previous reviews just below. -WM Monday: Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV Tuesday: Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD Wednesday: Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD Thursday: Toyota Land Cruiser Toyota's hybrid lineup here in the U.S. covers both extremes. On one end is the Toyota Prius c, the cheapest and most fuel efficient hybrid model in the lineup. On the other end is the Lexus LS 600h L, the pinnacle of Toyota and Lexus engineering. Here is a model that is the most powerful hybrid that is on sale and the most expensive one as well. The 2013 LS 600h L starts off at $119,910. Let's dive into an alternate reality and figure out whether or not LS 600h L is worth the coin or not. 2013 saw Lexus giving the LS lineup a bit of a facelift to make it look more dynamic. Up front, the now common spindle grille has been fitted and features a metal slat insert with chrome trim running along the outer edge. A new set of LED headlights sit on either side of the grille. The side profile retains the greenhouse as seen on the 2006 model, but now features chrome trim along the sills and a set of nineteen-inch wheels. The back end gets a bit of a nip and tuck, along with a set of LED lights. Now the L in the LS 600h L means that this model is a long-wheelbase. A standard LS has a length of 200 inches and rides on a wheelbase of 116.9 inches. The LS 600h L has a length of 205 inches and rides on a wheelbase of 121.7 inches, increases of 5 and 4.8 inches respectively. The only way you can tell that you're looking at the long-wheelbase LS besides parking it next to a standard LS is looking at the longer rear door. The LS 600h L's interior is a lesson in how to build one that is very luxurious and elegant. Materials are all high-quality choices ranging from cream leather on the seats and dash to real wood trim along the door panels and dash board. The front seats have to be the most comfortable I have ever sat in with the balance between comfort and firmness being just right. There are a number of adjustments available via the sixteen-way power seat and power adjustable seatbelt to make yourself fit right in. The center stack features a high-resolution 12.3 inch screen and houses Lexus' Enform infotainment system. Much like the GS 350 F-Sport I drove earlier this year, the LS 600h L's screen is divided into two parts. The majority of the screen is dedicated to navigation, media, climate, and trip information. The remaining part is dedicated to what's playing and climate. I really like this setup and hope more automakers who put bigger screens into vehicles consider this. What I don't like about the infotainment system is Lexus' Remote Touch. As I have said before in the RX 350 and GS 350 reviews, the system is good in theory, but in the real world it falls flat. The joystick controller is finicky to use, and you have to pay close attention to make sure the cursor is over the item you want and not something else. On the move, the problems are exacerbated since you have to take your eyes off the road to make sure you are going into the selection you want. There is some hope though as Lexus revealed a new Remote Touch system in the upcoming RC coupe that features a touchpad and not a joystick. I can only hope that this version makes its way into other Lexus vehicles. If you think the front is impressive, you haven't seen what's in store for the back seat passengers. For starters, the extra length gives you loads of legroom to stretch out and relax. This particular tester came equipped with the Executive-Class Seating Package. For the asking price of $7,555.00 , the LS 600h L becomes a vehicle you want to be driven in and not drive. This package nets you the following: Adjustable Rear Seats (Backseat passenger gets an ottoman) Heated, Cooled, and Massaging Seats Blu-Ray Entertainment system Controls for media and climate control system Electric Sun Shades Pop-Up Table Cool Box With this package, it's a fight of who gets to sit back here. Anyone can find a comfortable position in the back thanks to the number of adjustments on offer. The ottoman is more of a gimmick than something you'll actually use since there isn't enough space to fully have it up, even with the front passenger seat moved all the way forward. Other features such as the sun shades and blue-ray player are nice and make the experience of riding in this car magical. Your Seat is Waiting See the next page for powertrain and driving impressions. Under the hood of the LS 600h L is the most powerful version of Lexus' Hybrid Synergy Drive system. A 5.0L V8 engine with 389 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque is paired with a 165 kW electric motor. Total output stands at 438 horsepower. A Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack provides the power to the electric motor. Lexus employs a CVT to get the power down to all four wheels. Despite the LS 600h L weighing 5,202 pounds, the powertrain is more than capable of getting this off the line quickly. As I was told at the launch of the 2013 LS, the hybrid powertrain has the power delivery of a V12 engine and I can attest that it does. Power comes on very smooth and effortless. If you decide to floor the pedal, you're rewarded with the LS 600h L moving like a bat of out of hell. As for the CVT, it is very smooth and unobtrusive. For a few times, I thought I was driving an automatic and not a CVT. The only giveaway that you are driving a CVT is the pitch of the transmission getting louder and louder if you floor the pedal. Being a hybrid vehicle, you would expect amazing fuel economy coming from this big sedan. But in the case of the the LS 600h L, that isn't true at all. The EPA rates the 2013 LS 600h L at 19 City/23 Highway/20 Combined. To put that into perspective, the the 2013 LS 460 L with AWD is rated at 16 City/23 Highway/18 Combined. Not that much improvement compared to the standard gas model. Somehow I was able to get an average of 22 MPG for the week. Ride and handling duties are done with an air suspension and Lexus' Drive Mode Selector. For the LS 600h L, you have the choice of six different modes: Normal: Standard throttle mapping and suspension tuning, gearshifts tuned for comfort. Comfort: Softens Suspension Tuning Eco: Slower throttle mapping, reduced operation of the climate control EV Mode: Allows a vehicle to travel on electric power for a short distance Sport: Quicker throttle mapping, stiffer suspension tuning Sport+: Much quicker throttle mapping, even stiffer suspension tuning, heavier steering, number of powertrain enhancements Now I only tried Sport and Sport+ briefly in the LS 600h L and wondered why these setting were even put in. There is a noticeable difference in the stiffness of the suspension and throttle response, but trying to push around a vehicle that has an overall length of 205 inches isn't a good idea at all. The passengers in the back seat who are getting flung around would agree with this. Where's the Rinse Cycle? Instead, I found myself switching between Normal, Comfort, and Eco for the week and being surprised at how comfortable this vehicle can be. In Normal or Eco, the air suspension isolates bumps and kinks on the road. In Comfort, the suspension takes that a step further, proving a ride that feels like you're driving on glass. Wind and road noise in the cabin are non-existent. As for the LS 600h L's steering, it has a surprising amount of weight and feel. I was expecting the steering to be light and have no feel. Not so in the LS and I appreciated that very much. After spending a week in the alternate-reality field of the LS 600h L, I have come to this conclusion: most reviews of the LS 600h L focus on the hybrid part and say that for fuel economy improvements the hybrid system offers, the LS 600h L doesn't make any real sense and you would better off with the standard LS 460 L or a competitor. I would agree with this, but I think the LS 600h L needs to be looked in a different light. The LS 600h L wasn't built for to be driven in. It was built for those who want be driven and not have everyone notice you. That's where the LS 600h L succeeds. I just wonder how many people who fit this classification exist. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the LS 600h L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2013 Make: Lexus Model: LS 600h L Trim: N/A Engine: Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive: 5.0L 32-Valve V8 with VVT-iE, 650 Volt Electric Motor, Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) Battery Pack Driveline: All-Wheel Drive, CVT Horsepower @ RPM: (Gas) 389 @ 6,400; (Electric) 221 @ 0; (Combined) 434 Torque @ RPM: (Gas) 385 @ 4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/23/20 Curb Weight: 5,202 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $119,110.00 As Tested Price: $135,029.00 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Executive-Class Seating Package - $7,555.00 Advance Pre-Collision System - $6,500.00 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. View full article
  21. William Maley

    Review: 2013 Lexus LS 600h L

    Author's Note: With 2013 coming to a close in a couple of weeks, we've decided to clear out the remaining 2013 vehicle reviews this week. Everyday a new review will appear on the front page. If you miss one day, don't worry, we'll have links to the previous reviews just below. -WM Monday: Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV Tuesday: Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD Wednesday: Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD Thursday: Toyota Land Cruiser Toyota's hybrid lineup here in the U.S. covers both extremes. On one end is the Toyota Prius c, the cheapest and most fuel efficient hybrid model in the lineup. On the other end is the Lexus LS 600h L, the pinnacle of Toyota and Lexus engineering. Here is a model that is the most powerful hybrid that is on sale and the most expensive one as well. The 2013 LS 600h L starts off at $119,910. Let's dive into an alternate reality and figure out whether or not LS 600h L is worth the coin or not. 2013 saw Lexus giving the LS lineup a bit of a facelift to make it look more dynamic. Up front, the now common spindle grille has been fitted and features a metal slat insert with chrome trim running along the outer edge. A new set of LED headlights sit on either side of the grille. The side profile retains the greenhouse as seen on the 2006 model, but now features chrome trim along the sills and a set of nineteen-inch wheels. The back end gets a bit of a nip and tuck, along with a set of LED lights. Now the L in the LS 600h L means that this model is a long-wheelbase. A standard LS has a length of 200 inches and rides on a wheelbase of 116.9 inches. The LS 600h L has a length of 205 inches and rides on a wheelbase of 121.7 inches, increases of 5 and 4.8 inches respectively. The only way you can tell that you're looking at the long-wheelbase LS besides parking it next to a standard LS is looking at the longer rear door. The LS 600h L's interior is a lesson in how to build one that is very luxurious and elegant. Materials are all high-quality choices ranging from cream leather on the seats and dash to real wood trim along the door panels and dash board. The front seats have to be the most comfortable I have ever sat in with the balance between comfort and firmness being just right. There are a number of adjustments available via the sixteen-way power seat and power adjustable seatbelt to make yourself fit right in. The center stack features a high-resolution 12.3 inch screen and houses Lexus' Enform infotainment system. Much like the GS 350 F-Sport I drove earlier this year, the LS 600h L's screen is divided into two parts. The majority of the screen is dedicated to navigation, media, climate, and trip information. The remaining part is dedicated to what's playing and climate. I really like this setup and hope more automakers who put bigger screens into vehicles consider this. What I don't like about the infotainment system is Lexus' Remote Touch. As I have said before in the RX 350 and GS 350 reviews, the system is good in theory, but in the real world it falls flat. The joystick controller is finicky to use, and you have to pay close attention to make sure the cursor is over the item you want and not something else. On the move, the problems are exacerbated since you have to take your eyes off the road to make sure you are going into the selection you want. There is some hope though as Lexus revealed a new Remote Touch system in the upcoming RC coupe that features a touchpad and not a joystick. I can only hope that this version makes its way into other Lexus vehicles. If you think the front is impressive, you haven't seen what's in store for the back seat passengers. For starters, the extra length gives you loads of legroom to stretch out and relax. This particular tester came equipped with the Executive-Class Seating Package. For the asking price of $7,555.00 , the LS 600h L becomes a vehicle you want to be driven in and not drive. This package nets you the following: Adjustable Rear Seats (Backseat passenger gets an ottoman) Heated, Cooled, and Massaging Seats Blu-Ray Entertainment system Controls for media and climate control system Electric Sun Shades Pop-Up Table Cool Box With this package, it's a fight of who gets to sit back here. Anyone can find a comfortable position in the back thanks to the number of adjustments on offer. The ottoman is more of a gimmick than something you'll actually use since there isn't enough space to fully have it up, even with the front passenger seat moved all the way forward. Other features such as the sun shades and blue-ray player are nice and make the experience of riding in this car magical. Your Seat is Waiting See the next page for powertrain and driving impressions. Under the hood of the LS 600h L is the most powerful version of Lexus' Hybrid Synergy Drive system. A 5.0L V8 engine with 389 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque is paired with a 165 kW electric motor. Total output stands at 438 horsepower. A Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack provides the power to the electric motor. Lexus employs a CVT to get the power down to all four wheels. Despite the LS 600h L weighing 5,202 pounds, the powertrain is more than capable of getting this off the line quickly. As I was told at the launch of the 2013 LS, the hybrid powertrain has the power delivery of a V12 engine and I can attest that it does. Power comes on very smooth and effortless. If you decide to floor the pedal, you're rewarded with the LS 600h L moving like a bat of out of hell. As for the CVT, it is very smooth and unobtrusive. For a few times, I thought I was driving an automatic and not a CVT. The only giveaway that you are driving a CVT is the pitch of the transmission getting louder and louder if you floor the pedal. Being a hybrid vehicle, you would expect amazing fuel economy coming from this big sedan. But in the case of the the LS 600h L, that isn't true at all. The EPA rates the 2013 LS 600h L at 19 City/23 Highway/20 Combined. To put that into perspective, the the 2013 LS 460 L with AWD is rated at 16 City/23 Highway/18 Combined. Not that much improvement compared to the standard gas model. Somehow I was able to get an average of 22 MPG for the week. Ride and handling duties are done with an air suspension and Lexus' Drive Mode Selector. For the LS 600h L, you have the choice of six different modes: Normal: Standard throttle mapping and suspension tuning, gearshifts tuned for comfort. Comfort: Softens Suspension Tuning Eco: Slower throttle mapping, reduced operation of the climate control EV Mode: Allows a vehicle to travel on electric power for a short distance Sport: Quicker throttle mapping, stiffer suspension tuning Sport+: Much quicker throttle mapping, even stiffer suspension tuning, heavier steering, number of powertrain enhancements Now I only tried Sport and Sport+ briefly in the LS 600h L and wondered why these setting were even put in. There is a noticeable difference in the stiffness of the suspension and throttle response, but trying to push around a vehicle that has an overall length of 205 inches isn't a good idea at all. The passengers in the back seat who are getting flung around would agree with this. Where's the Rinse Cycle? Instead, I found myself switching between Normal, Comfort, and Eco for the week and being surprised at how comfortable this vehicle can be. In Normal or Eco, the air suspension isolates bumps and kinks on the road. In Comfort, the suspension takes that a step further, proving a ride that feels like you're driving on glass. Wind and road noise in the cabin are non-existent. As for the LS 600h L's steering, it has a surprising amount of weight and feel. I was expecting the steering to be light and have no feel. Not so in the LS and I appreciated that very much. After spending a week in the alternate-reality field of the LS 600h L, I have come to this conclusion: most reviews of the LS 600h L focus on the hybrid part and say that for fuel economy improvements the hybrid system offers, the LS 600h L doesn't make any real sense and you would better off with the standard LS 460 L or a competitor. I would agree with this, but I think the LS 600h L needs to be looked in a different light. The LS 600h L wasn't built for to be driven in. It was built for those who want be driven and not have everyone notice you. That's where the LS 600h L succeeds. I just wonder how many people who fit this classification exist. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the LS 600h L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2013 Make: Lexus Model: LS 600h L Trim: N/A Engine: Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive: 5.0L 32-Valve V8 with VVT-iE, 650 Volt Electric Motor, Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) Battery Pack Driveline: All-Wheel Drive, CVT Horsepower @ RPM: (Gas) 389 @ 6,400; (Electric) 221 @ 0; (Combined) 434 Torque @ RPM: (Gas) 385 @ 4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/23/20 Curb Weight: 5,202 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $119,110.00 As Tested Price: $135,029.00 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Executive-Class Seating Package - $7,555.00 Advance Pre-Collision System - $6,500.00 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.
  22. William Maley

    Review: 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser

    Author's Note: With 2013 coming to a close in a couple of weeks, we've decided to clear out the remaining 2013 vehicle reviews this week. Everyday a new review will appear on the front page. If you miss one day, don't worry, we'll have links to the previous reviews just below. -WM Monday: Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV Tuesday: Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD Wednesday: Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD Friday: Lexus LS 600h L In this age of crossovers, the Toyota Land Cruiser is a bit of dinosaur. It rides on a ladder-frame and not a uni-body platform. Power comes from a big V8 engine and not a downsized V6 with turbochargers. It features a full-time four-wheel drive system with a load of off-road technologies but not an all-wheel drive system. There has to be a reason why the Land Cruiser exists. After spending a week in one, I might have the reason. The Land Cruiser's exterior can trace its roots back to the 1998 model as the two models share an overall profile. The front end is slightly angled and features a large grille and headlights with LEDs. Along the side are embellished front and rear fenders that have a set of five-spoke eighteen-inch wheels wrapped in meaty off-road tires sitting underneath. There is also a large glass area and chrome trim along the door panels. The back end has a split opening tailgate and more chrome trim pieces. Compared to its contemporaries (Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GL), the Land Cruiser is somewhat plain looking.Inside, the decision was made to have durability as the priority, followed by luxury. This is very clear when looking at the materials used as most can be classified as hard and plastic. The wood trim seen in the photos is described by Toyota as "wood-grain-style trim". Now for what the Land Cruiser costs ($79,728 as tested), I was expecting a bit more luxury. But after giving it some thought and taking into account what the Land Cruiser is built for (tackling the Amazon rainforest for example), I'm ok with the decisions since the materials will last a long time and are easy to clean up. The seating arrangement in the Land Cruiser is for eight people which is somewhat surprising since it is smaller than the largest Toyota SUV, the Sequoia. Compared to the Sequoia, the Land Cruiser rides on a wheelbase that 9.8 inches shorter and overall length is 10.2 inches shorter. The front features two bucket seats with power adjustments and heat. I found the seats mostly comfortable, though I was wishing for more thigh support. The second row features seating for three people via a bench seat. Head and legroom is excellent and there is heat for the seats. The third row is a different story. To begin, the seats are folded up like jump seats that you might find in a military airplane. Once the seats are folded down and put yourself back there, you find out that legroom is non-existent and the seating position isn't comfortable at all. One of the saving graces of the Land Cruiser has to be the amount of equipment that comes standard. There is four-zone climate control, six-inch touchscreen with Toyota's Entune infotainment system, navigation, 14-speaker JBL premium sound system, privacy glass, auto-dimming mirrors, and smart key access. How do I get the seats down? For impressions on the powertrain and ride, see the next page. Under the hood is a 5.7L V8 engine that is also used in the Lexus LX 570 (sister SUV), Toyota Sequoia, and Tundra pickup. This engine produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic gets the power to all four wheels via full-time four-wheel drive system. To say I was bit concerned about how the engine would fare is a understatement. The Land Cruiser tips the scales at 5,730 pounds and I was thinking that the V8 wouldn't have the oomph to move it. I shouldn't have thought that as the V8 is more than capable of moving it. Acceleration is very brisk and I never had the feeling that more power was needed at all. As an added bonus, the 5.7L is muted when at idle and utters a murmured growled when climbing the rev range. The six-speed automatic is smooth going through the gears and didn't show any signs of gear hunting. For the 2013 model year, Toyota decided to ante up the Land Cruiser's off-road credentials. First is the introduction of the Multi-Terrain Select system that modulates the amount of wheelspin to help get the vehicle though varying terrain conditions. The other addition is CRAWL Control with an Off-Road Turn Assist. This system allows the driver to choose from five different settings that regulates acceleration (going forward or backwards) and braking to let a driver focus on getting the vehicle through rough or steep grades. This system also utilizes the hill decent control and accent control. Sadly I didn't get the chance to try any of these systems out during my time with the Land Crusier.Now with a big V8 engine and a full-time four-wheel drive system, the Land Cruiser has no problem sucking down gas. The EPA rates the Land Cruiser at 13 City/18 Highway/15 Combined. My average for the week landed at 15 MPG. For the suspension, Toyota employs a double-wishbone setup with gas shocks and a hollow stabilizer bar for the front, and a four-link, coil-spring with lateral-rod setup in the rear. Toyota also employs a system called Kinetic Dynamic Suspension which uses hydraulic cylinders to put pressure on the swaybars to increase or decrease the stiffness. On-road, the system increases pressure to help reduce body roll when cornering. Off-road, the system reduces pressure to increase wheel travel. The Land Cruiser's on-road ride is better than I was expecting. On smooth and rough surfaces, the Land Cruise glides along effortlessly. Road noise is non-existent and wind noise is kept at a decent level. Show the Land Cruiser a corner and you'll have a feeling of motion sickness. There is noticeable body roll and lean when going around corners. All large SUVs exhibit this, but most competitors do a much better job of reducing roll. Look Mom, I'm off-roading! The 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser is very old school in many ways, but there is a reason for it. The Land Cruiser has a reputation of being a vehicle that can take you anywhere. In that regard, it makes sense why Toyota made certain decisions for this model. If you are looking for a vehicle to get you across the Sahara desert or the Rocky Mountains, there is no better choice than the Land Cruiser. But if you're looking for a SUV to just drive around and not go off-road, the Land Cruiser is just too much 'SUV' for that. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Land Cruiser, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2013 Make: Toyota Model: Land Cruiser Trim: N/A Engine: 5.7L, 32-valve DOHC V8 with dual independent VVT-i Driveline: Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM: 381 @ 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 401 @ 3,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15 Curb Weight: 5,730 lbs Location of Manufacture: Toyota City, Japan Base Price: $78,555.00 As Tested Price: $79,728.00 (Includes $845.00 Destination Charge) Options: All-Weather Floor & Cargo Mats - $250.00 Cargo Net - $49.00 First Aid Kit - $29.00 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. View full article
  23. William Maley

    Review: 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser

    Author's Note: With 2013 coming to a close in a couple of weeks, we've decided to clear out the remaining 2013 vehicle reviews this week. Everyday a new review will appear on the front page. If you miss one day, don't worry, we'll have links to the previous reviews just below. -WM Monday: Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV Tuesday: Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD Wednesday: Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD Friday: Lexus LS 600h L In this age of crossovers, the Toyota Land Cruiser is a bit of dinosaur. It rides on a ladder-frame and not a uni-body platform. Power comes from a big V8 engine and not a downsized V6 with turbochargers. It features a full-time four-wheel drive system with a load of off-road technologies but not an all-wheel drive system. There has to be a reason why the Land Cruiser exists. After spending a week in one, I might have the reason. The Land Cruiser's exterior can trace its roots back to the 1998 model as the two models share an overall profile. The front end is slightly angled and features a large grille and headlights with LEDs. Along the side are embellished front and rear fenders that have a set of five-spoke eighteen-inch wheels wrapped in meaty off-road tires sitting underneath. There is also a large glass area and chrome trim along the door panels. The back end has a split opening tailgate and more chrome trim pieces. Compared to its contemporaries (Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GL), the Land Cruiser is somewhat plain looking.Inside, the decision was made to have durability as the priority, followed by luxury. This is very clear when looking at the materials used as most can be classified as hard and plastic. The wood trim seen in the photos is described by Toyota as "wood-grain-style trim". Now for what the Land Cruiser costs ($79,728 as tested), I was expecting a bit more luxury. But after giving it some thought and taking into account what the Land Cruiser is built for (tackling the Amazon rainforest for example), I'm ok with the decisions since the materials will last a long time and are easy to clean up. The seating arrangement in the Land Cruiser is for eight people which is somewhat surprising since it is smaller than the largest Toyota SUV, the Sequoia. Compared to the Sequoia, the Land Cruiser rides on a wheelbase that 9.8 inches shorter and overall length is 10.2 inches shorter. The front features two bucket seats with power adjustments and heat. I found the seats mostly comfortable, though I was wishing for more thigh support. The second row features seating for three people via a bench seat. Head and legroom is excellent and there is heat for the seats. The third row is a different story. To begin, the seats are folded up like jump seats that you might find in a military airplane. Once the seats are folded down and put yourself back there, you find out that legroom is non-existent and the seating position isn't comfortable at all. One of the saving graces of the Land Cruiser has to be the amount of equipment that comes standard. There is four-zone climate control, six-inch touchscreen with Toyota's Entune infotainment system, navigation, 14-speaker JBL premium sound system, privacy glass, auto-dimming mirrors, and smart key access. How do I get the seats down? For impressions on the powertrain and ride, see the next page. Under the hood is a 5.7L V8 engine that is also used in the Lexus LX 570 (sister SUV), Toyota Sequoia, and Tundra pickup. This engine produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic gets the power to all four wheels via full-time four-wheel drive system. To say I was bit concerned about how the engine would fare is a understatement. The Land Cruiser tips the scales at 5,730 pounds and I was thinking that the V8 wouldn't have the oomph to move it. I shouldn't have thought that as the V8 is more than capable of moving it. Acceleration is very brisk and I never had the feeling that more power was needed at all. As an added bonus, the 5.7L is muted when at idle and utters a murmured growled when climbing the rev range. The six-speed automatic is smooth going through the gears and didn't show any signs of gear hunting. For the 2013 model year, Toyota decided to ante up the Land Cruiser's off-road credentials. First is the introduction of the Multi-Terrain Select system that modulates the amount of wheelspin to help get the vehicle though varying terrain conditions. The other addition is CRAWL Control with an Off-Road Turn Assist. This system allows the driver to choose from five different settings that regulates acceleration (going forward or backwards) and braking to let a driver focus on getting the vehicle through rough or steep grades. This system also utilizes the hill decent control and accent control. Sadly I didn't get the chance to try any of these systems out during my time with the Land Crusier.Now with a big V8 engine and a full-time four-wheel drive system, the Land Cruiser has no problem sucking down gas. The EPA rates the Land Cruiser at 13 City/18 Highway/15 Combined. My average for the week landed at 15 MPG. For the suspension, Toyota employs a double-wishbone setup with gas shocks and a hollow stabilizer bar for the front, and a four-link, coil-spring with lateral-rod setup in the rear. Toyota also employs a system called Kinetic Dynamic Suspension which uses hydraulic cylinders to put pressure on the swaybars to increase or decrease the stiffness. On-road, the system increases pressure to help reduce body roll when cornering. Off-road, the system reduces pressure to increase wheel travel. The Land Cruiser's on-road ride is better than I was expecting. On smooth and rough surfaces, the Land Cruise glides along effortlessly. Road noise is non-existent and wind noise is kept at a decent level. Show the Land Cruiser a corner and you'll have a feeling of motion sickness. There is noticeable body roll and lean when going around corners. All large SUVs exhibit this, but most competitors do a much better job of reducing roll. Look Mom, I'm off-roading! The 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser is very old school in many ways, but there is a reason for it. The Land Cruiser has a reputation of being a vehicle that can take you anywhere. In that regard, it makes sense why Toyota made certain decisions for this model. If you are looking for a vehicle to get you across the Sahara desert or the Rocky Mountains, there is no better choice than the Land Cruiser. But if you're looking for a SUV to just drive around and not go off-road, the Land Cruiser is just too much 'SUV' for that. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Land Cruiser, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2013 Make: Toyota Model: Land Cruiser Trim: N/A Engine: 5.7L, 32-valve DOHC V8 with dual independent VVT-i Driveline: Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM: 381 @ 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 401 @ 3,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15 Curb Weight: 5,730 lbs Location of Manufacture: Toyota City, Japan Base Price: $78,555.00 As Tested Price: $79,728.00 (Includes $845.00 Destination Charge) Options: All-Weather Floor & Cargo Mats - $250.00 Cargo Net - $49.00 First Aid Kit - $29.00 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.
  24. Even though electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles are still outliers in the automotive marketplace, 2013 saw a massive increase in sales. The Detroit News reports that the sales of electrics and plug-in hybrid vehicles increased 84 percent to just over 96,000 vehicles according to data from Wards Automotive. Of that total, 47,600 were electric vehicles, representing a 241 percent increase when compared to 2012. The remainder was plug-in hybrids, up 27 percent. Some of the increase can be attributed to improving battery technology and the massive increase of sales for the Tesla Model S. But what really helped sales of electric and plug-in vehicles was price cuts. Nearly every automaker who sells one has cut the price tag and most have seen increases in sales. The Detroit News also points out electrics and plug-in vehicles could have hard time this year with gas prices projected to be lower than in past years. Source: The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  25. Even though electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles are still outliers in the automotive marketplace, 2013 saw a massive increase in sales. The Detroit News reports that the sales of electrics and plug-in hybrid vehicles increased 84 percent to just over 96,000 vehicles according to data from Wards Automotive. Of that total, 47,600 were electric vehicles, representing a 241 percent increase when compared to 2012. The remainder was plug-in hybrids, up 27 percent. Some of the increase can be attributed to improving battery technology and the massive increase of sales for the Tesla Model S. But what really helped sales of electric and plug-in vehicles was price cuts. Nearly every automaker who sells one has cut the price tag and most have seen increases in sales. The Detroit News also points out electrics and plug-in vehicles could have hard time this year with gas prices projected to be lower than in past years. Source: The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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