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  1. A few days ago we reported that the 2016 Buick Envision would be sold in All-Wheel drive format only. This was both true and false. After the reveal of the 2016 Buick Avista concept, I sat down with a Buick representative to discuss the Envision for a bit. It is true that the 2016 model year of the Buick Envision will only be available in all-wheel drive, 2.0T engines, and premium group packages. However, it will be a short model run. The 2017 updates will follow a few months after launch when an additional engine, front wheel drive, and additional packages will be made available. Even after those updates, the 2.0T will still only be available with all-wheel drive. In China, the Envision offered with a 1.6 liter turbo and front-wheel drive. The rep from Buick indicated that it was unlikely that this powertrain combination is going to make the swim across the Pacific, so expect something in between the 200 hp 1.6T and the 260hp 2.0T offerings. We'll note that GM currently does not have any 4-cylinder offering in between those two powerplants in terms of power, so it could end up being an engine that is not yet released. We will have more details for the 2016 and 2017 Envision closer to launch time. You can follow all of our 2016 Detroit Auto Show Reports here. Buick Press Release from November 18 is on Page 2 Buick Introduces Envision Luxury Crossover Clean-sheet approach yields luxury compact crossover designed for confident ride-and-handling performance Dynamic interior with high level of standard content, great attention to detail and latest technologies Strong, efficient performance includes stop/start feature on 2.0L turbo engine LOS ANGELES – Buick today introduced the 2016 Envision – an all-new, technology-infused luxury compact crossover that expands the brand’s portfolio with segment-challenging driving dynamics, advanced technology, connectivity and Buick’s trademark interior acoustics. It is a global vehicle, designed from the ground up as a Buick luxury compact crossover. It goes on sale in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2016. “The all-new Buick Envision is a modern, confident and responsive luxury compact crossover that combines the brand’s core characteristics with performance features never seen on a crossover,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “That dynamic experience behind the wheel is complemented by Buick’s signature luxury, whisper-quiet cabin and connectivity features that make it a crossover that customers are going to love as drivers and passengers.” Vehicle highlights include: LED daytime running lamps and rear LED accent lights Efficiency-enhancing features including upper grille shutters that open and close to enhance aerodynamics on the highway and a body structure incorporating mass-reducing high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels – and a lightweight aluminum hood Standard heated front seats and standard heated rear seat Sliding, 60/40-split rear seat, offering the flexibility of more legroom for second-row passengers Kneeling cushions in the second-row seat enable a flatter load floor when the seat is folded 252-horsepower (186 kW) 2.0L turbo engine with stop/start technology, matched with Buick’s first crossover vehicle application of HiPer Strut front suspension and Buick’s first active Twin Clutch AWD system Standard Safety Alert Seat and Lane Keep Assist, as well as available Advanced Active Park Assist, and Surround Vision 360-degree camera system IntelliLink with 8-inch color touch screen, Text Messaging Alerts and Siri Eyes Free Available OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot Programmable power liftgate with hands-free operation Active noise cancelation. · Nineteen-inch aluminum wheels are standard. The Envision is also designed to carry more than its competitors, with more rear cargo space than the Acura RDX and the Lincoln MKC. It’s also roomier for passengers, with more rear legroom, front and rear shoulder room, and overall Environmental Protection Agency-rated passenger volume than the MKC. “The Envision rounds out a lineup of crossovers that has helped change customer opinions about the brand,” said Aldred. “Enclave was the cornerstone of the brand’s renaissance, while the Encore was an early entry among small luxury crossovers and has been an unqualified hit for Buick since its introduction.” Design rewards with attention to detail Designers and engineers were given a clean slate to develop the Envision and they employed supercomputer technologies to help make the most of the architecture for strength, stiffness and quietness. Every aspect of the vehicle’s design and its effect on refinement was taken into consideration – even the available panoramic moonroof was designed for lower wind noise when open. “The Envision represents a compromise-free design that enabled the development team to do the things luxury customers appreciate,” said Judy Brennan, chief engineer. “Our attention to detail yielded tremendous strength and stiffness of the platform, which is evident in exceptional ride and handling characteristics.” The clean-sheet design and stiff structure helped eliminate an estimated 22 pounds (10 kg) of add-on material to create whisper-quiet interior acoustics. And while those attributes lie beneath the Envision’s skin, the skin itself is instantly recognizable as a Buick crossover with contemporary proportions, flowing lines and detailed surface features. “There is tension in the Envision’s design that reflects elegant athleticism, rendering a planted stance that enhances driver confidence,” says Bryan Nesbitt, global executive director, Buick design. “It’s dynamic and youthful, with features that support the vehicle’s technologically advanced ambience.” Those features include Buick’s signature winged headlamps and standard heated outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators. Articulating Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps are available. There’s also a rear spoiler atop the liftgate designed to improve aerodynamic performance. The liftgate features standard programmable power assist and touchless activation. The user simply waves his or her foot near a sensor beneath the fascia to activate the power-assisted liftgate. Dynamic passenger environment The Envision’s interior features a “floating,” wraparound instrument panel sweeps into the door panels, for a flowing, organic and inviting appearance that complements the exterior. It houses a bold gauge cluster featuring two large binnacles with analog instruments and a central digital display for the speedometer and readouts of additional information. “To put it simply, the Envision’s cabin combines beauty with innovation,” said Nesbitt. “It telegraphs dynamism like nothing else in the segment. Everywhere you touch is a stitched, soft surface,” said Nesbitt. “And everything you touch is designed for intuitive, effortless functionality.” The large center console storage bin features damped dual wing-type doors that provide easier, less-obstructed access and allow the driver or passengers – even those in the rear – to access the storage bin without disturbing the other. Also, the heating and air conditioning vents are positioned at the bottom of the center stack, moving the climate and infotainment controls – as well as the eight-inch diagonal color touch screen – higher for easier, more intuitive operation. Additional interior features include: Passive entry and push-button start with standard remote start Standard eight-way power-adjustable front seats and four-way-adjustable lumbar – including available adjustable thigh support on some models that enhances comfort for taller passengers Standard heated front seats and standard heated rear seat Available cooled front seats and standard heated steering wheel Standard eight-inch-diagonal, reconfigurable color driver information center and available full color head-up display Dual-zone climate control with console-mounted rear-seat vents; and standard tri-zone climate control with rear-seat controls Standard Bose premium sound system Available panoramic moonroof. Technology and connectivity The new Envision offers Buick IntelliLink with Text Messaging Alerts and Siri Eyes Free, as well as available OnStar with 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Text Messaging Alerts for smartphone users with compatible Bluetooth technology reads incoming texts through the vehicle’s speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhones running iOS6 or higher gives users enhanced connectivity and convenience. Each enables voice-controlled connectivity, to help keep phones in pockets and hands on the wheel. An eight-inch-diagonal IntelliLink color touch screen is the contact point for much of the Envision’s technology and connectivity. Itprovides intuitive operation of basic functions, yet is capable of linking up to 10 Bluetooth devices such as smartphones, as well as SD cards and MP3 players. Four USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and a 120-volt outlet are included. A new steering wheel for Buick debuts in the Envision, featuring thumb-operated toggle switches that make it easy to scroll through the IntelliLink menus and vehicle features in the driver information center. Powertrain and performance The 2016 Envision features a standard 2.0L turbo engine SAE certified at 252 horsepower (186 kW) and 260 lb-ft of torque (353 Nm), which is more standard horsepower and torque than an Audi Q5. It is paired with a third-generation six-speed automatic transmission with TAPShift revised to deliver more refined shift performance. Performance and efficiency is enhanced with Stop/Start technology – Buick’s first application on the 2.0L turbo engine. It seamlessly shuts down the engine when the Envision comes to a stop under certain driving conditions, such as a stoplight. The engine automatically restarts when the driver takes his or her foot off the brake. The 2.0L turbo engine is offered exclusively with AWD, giving the Envision performance consistent with vehicle’s ride and handling capabilities. The turbocharger features a twin-scroll design that helps the engine deliver a broad torque band, for a greater feeling of power on demand. Ninety percent of peak torque is available from 1,800 rpm to 5,500 rpm and the full 260 lb-ft of peak torque from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm. The engine is designed with refinement-enhancing features such as balance shafts and sound-attenuating components; and is isolated on a hydraulically damped substructure that helps quell noise and vibration. Four powertrain mounts are used rather than the conventional three. Ride and handling The Envision’s robust structure is the foundation for a balanced and confident driving experience. Buick’s HiPer Strut front suspension provides more linear and communicative steering through improved camber control and improved impact isolation on bumps and rough surfaces. It’s a feature inspired by the athletic Regal GS sedan and that is not currently offered on any crossover vehicle, including competitors such as the Audi Q5. A standard four-link independent rear suspension is designed to minimize unwanted toe and camber effects during spirited driving maneuvers, enhancing stability. Isolating hydraulic mounts are used front and rear to further reduce noise and vibration that could reach the passenger compartment. The Envision features Buick’s first active Twin Clutch AWD system designed to make the most of handling and stability in all driving conditions. It is a fully automatic, on-demand system engineered to deliver sure-footed handling in low-grip conditions, while also contributing to a quieter and smoother ride with minimal torque transferred to the rear wheels when all-wheel-drive traction isn’t needed. It uses a hydraulically actuated, pump-based system that provides clutch-clamping forces before the vehicle even begins to move. For example, on wet surfaces when the vehicle pulls away from a stop, the system will have already engaged the clutches by looking at torque to analyze the driver’s intentions. The technology allows the vehicle to respond before a slip occurs, rather than just reacting to slip. Additionally, a premium, variable-effort electric power rack-and-pinion steering gear from Bosch Automotive Steering Systems enables effortless low-speed maneuvers and a higher degree of steering feel at higher speeds. The system also includes crosswind stabilization road-shake compensation that enhances smoothness. Safety features The Envision offers 360 degrees of available passive and active safety technology, including 10 standard air bags, available Automatic Park Assist, available Surround Vision camera system and Buick’s first use of Lane Keep Assist, which is standard. They complement a body structure composed of 63 percent high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels, which forms a protective cage around the passenger compartment. Automatic Park Assist measures a suitable parallel or perpendicular parking spot and steers the vehicle into it, while Lane Keep Assist helps the driver keep the vehicle in the lane with an automatic steering adjustment when an inadvertent lane departure is detected. A rearview camera is standard, while the available Surround Vision provides an overhead view of the Envision that enhances the driver’s vision at low speeds, such as parking and reversing. Additional 2016 model year standard and available safety features include: Standard Side-curtain and knee air bags Standard Safety Alert Seat, which pulses to alert the driver about a possible crash Standard Front Park Assist, Lane Change Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Standard Following Distance Indicator Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control Standard Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution Standard Cornering brake control and brake assist. Available Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control Available Collision Mitigation Braking Safety and security features also include OnStar technology with Advanced Crash Response System, emergency assistance and more. 2016 BUICK ENVISION PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS Overview Model: 2016 Buick Envision Body style / driveline: four-door, five-passenger compact crossover; front engine transaxle, all-wheel drive Construction: steel body frame integral (unibody) with front and rear crumple zones; galvanized steel front fenders, roof, door panels, one-piece bodyside outer panel, aluminum hood, thermal plastic olefin (TPO) bumper fascias EPA vehicle class: SUV Manufacturing location: Yantai, China Key competitors: Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Lincoln MKC Engines Type: Ecotec 2.0L DOHC I-4 VVT DI Turbocharged Displacement (cu. in. / cc): 122 / 1998 Bore & stroke (in. / mm): 3.39 x 3.39 / 86 x 86 Block material: cast aluminum Cylinder head material: cast aluminum Valvetrain: DOHC, four-valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing Valve lifters: hydraulic roller finger follower Ignition system: coil-on-plug Fuel delivery: high-pressure direct injection and electronic throttle control Compression ratio: 9.5:1 Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm): 252 / 186 (est.) Torque (lb.-ft. / Nm @ rpm): 260 / 353 (est.) Recommended fuel: premium recommended but not required Max. engine speed (fuel cut-off): 6800 rpm Emissions controls: close-coupled, catalytic converter, positive crankcase ventilation; evaporative system Additional features: extended-life spark plugs; extended-life coolant EPA-estimated fuel economy (city / hwy) TBD Transmissions Hydra-Matic 6T70 Type: six-speed transverse, electronically controlled, automatic overdrive Application: standard Gear ratios (:1): First 4.48 Second 2.87 Third 1.84 Fourth 1.41 Fifth 1.00 Sixth 0.74 Reverse 2.88 Final Drive 3.17 Chassis / Suspension Front: Specifically tuned coil springs, direct-acting stabilizer bar (hollow); hydraulic ride bushings; HiPer Strut suspension Rear: Four-link independent rear with hollow stabilizer bar Traction control: all-speed using engine torque reduction and brake intervention Steering type: electric rack-and-pinion power-assisted with cross-wind stabilization and road-shake stabilization Steering wheel turns lock-to-lock: 2.67 Turning circle, curb-to-curb (ft / m): 39.5 / 12 Steering ratio: 15.6 to 1 Brakes Type: four-wheel disc w/ABS and electronic stability control Brake rotor diameter – front (in / mm): 12.6 /321 Brake rotor diameter – rear (in / mm): 12.4 / 315 Wheels / Tires Wheel size and type: 19-inch aluminum Tires: 235/50R19 AL3 Dimensions Exterior Wheelbase (in / mm) : 107.9 / 2740 Overall length (in / mm): 183.7 / 4666 Overall width (in / mm): 72.4 / 1839 Overall height (in / mm): 66.8 / 1697 Front track (in / mm): 1575 / 62 Rear track (in / mm): 1575 / 62 Interior Seating capacity (front / rear): 2 / 3 Headroom (in / mm): 39.96 / 1015 (front) 38.5 / 977 (rear) Legroom (in / mm): 40.9 / 1040 (front) 37.5 / 952 (rear) Shoulder room (in / mm): 57.0 / 1448 (front) 55.8 / 1417 (rear) Hip room (in / mm): 54.4 / 1381 (front) 53.1 / 1348 (rear) EPA passenger volume (cu ft / L) : 100.6 / 2849 EPA interior volume (cu ft / L): 127.5 / 3610.6 Cargo volume (cu ft / L): 26.9 / 761 (behind rear seat) 57.3 / 1622 (rear seat folded) Capacities Fuel tank (gal / L): 17.3 / 65.5 Engine oil (qt / L): 6.0 / 5.7 Curb weight (lb / kg): 4047 / 183 Trailering rating (lb / kg): 1500 / 680 Note: Information shown is current at time of publication. Please visit http://media.gm.com for updates.
  2. Buick will be unveiling the 2016 Buick Envision on Sunday at a preview event before the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. One piece of information we dug up is on the drive configuration. According to the VIN card for 2017, the U.S. market Envision will only be available in All-Wheel Drive while we already know that Chinese market vehicles can be configured with just front-wheel drive. Knowing that VIN cards can change as products are finalized, I e-mailed a Buick rep to confirm. He got back to me quickly, confirming that yes, the Envision will be available in only two trim lines, Premium Group 1 and Premium Group 2, both only available in All-Wheel drive. Looking at other Buick models, the Premium Groups are the top of the line, coming standard with leather and lots of luxury features. The 2015 Buick Lacrosse with the Premium Group 1 package is a $7,134 upgrade over the base model. An Enclave with Premium Group is an $8,450 upgrade over base. While pricing hasn't been announced yet, with only Premium Group models available, expect the Envision entry price to be a significant jump in base price over the smaller base Encore. Part of the reason for the limited options groups is that Buick is only expecting to import about 60,000 Envisions per year from China. With most other Buick models skewing heavily towards the upper end of their respective ranges, it makes sense for Buick to send only the best equipped models. Back to the power train, the Envision will be available only with a 2.0 liter, direct injected turbo 4-cylinder which produces 260 lb-ft of torque over a broad RPM range and 252 horsepower fed through GM's standard issue 6-speed auto. The AWD system will be the same as in the coming 2017 Buick LaCrosse. It is a dual-clutch system that can transfer power from side-to-side in the rear wheels and Buick promises to be as fast acting as it is efficient. Also standard GM's HiPer Strut front suspension which when combined with the AWD means there is no torque steer. We will have more Buick Envision information for you as we get closer to its official unveiling on January 10th. In the meantime, you can follow all 2016 Detroit Auto Show news here.
  3. Back in February, we reported that BMW was planning to stay the course with developing rear-wheel drive models. “If you also look at the M performance models we have added over the last three or four years they have rear-wheel drive as the standard setting and also have six cylinder engines. These are cars that attract new people to the M brand [and its core models] and that is very important,” said Carsten Pries, BMW M's head of product management. Pries also mentioned that this current strategy could change. “If the framework changes in the future, we have to look then at what we can do in terms of a [providing] a proper or decent M offer.” Jump ahead to late April, and BMW's M division CEO Frank van Meel said all-wheel drive is inevitable in the long run. van Meel told Autocar that M is sticking rear-wheel drive for philosophical reasons, despite the power outputs are reaching a point where all-wheel drive would make sense. Engineers are working hard to improve traction, stability control and torque vectoring systems, but there comes a point where these systems will be overwhelmed. van Meel also said that it is getting tougher to try and sell their 600-plus horsepower vehicles in certain markets such as Canada and Switzerland. Whenever M decides to offer all-wheel drive on their sedans and coupes, it will not use the xDrive nomenclature. van Meel suggested a name like 2+2WD or something similar could be used to emphasise the car’s rear-biased set-up. Source: Autocar
  4. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 5, 2013 Volkswagen has reportedly begun planning a competitor to the Subaru Outback. According to Automotive News, Volkswagen has given a green light to an AWD version of the next-gen Golf-based Jetta SportWagon. Sources say the company is deciding whether to make into Outback competitor with a higher ground clearance and body-cladding. Now Volkswagen currently sells something like this in parts of the world. The Passat Alltrack takes a Passat wagon and raises the ride height and adds body cladding. Volkswagen showed a concept version of the Passat Alltrack at the 2012 New York Auto Show. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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.
  5. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com April 30, 2013 The last time we reviewed a Cadillac SRX, it came with the choice of two different engines, an interior lifted from the Cadillac CTS, and coming close to being second in sales in the small luxury crossover arena. Fast forward two years and the SRX has undergone a bit of a change; there is now one engine, a revised exterior and interior, and coming very close to the Lexus RX in sales... (RX: 95,381 units. SRX: 57,485 units) A revisit it seemed was in order. That’s what happened a few weeks ago as a 2013 Cadillac SRX AWD Performance Collection was dropped off for a week’s evaluation. The overall design of the 2013 Cadillac SRX hasn’t changed much since its introduction back in 2010. The model wears the ‘Art & Science’ design language very well with a number of sharp angles and creases throughout the shape. The only real changes for 2013 include a new front grille and side vents with new LED lighting. Inside the 2013 SRX, Cadillac revised the interior greatly with a new dashboard layout and instrument cluster from the smaller ATS sedan. Materials are in tip-top shape with a mix of leather, wood trim, and black acrylic for the touch capactive touch buttons. Build quality was excellent on this low mileage tester. I had two disappointments with the SRX’s interior. One was the uncomfortable seats. Getting onto them for the first time, I felt like I was sitting on piece of concrete wrapped in leather. Not what I would call luxurious. The other problem was back seat room. While legroom is decent, headroom comes at cost thanks to a sloping roofline and the standard panoramic sunroof on the Performance Collection. Not disappointing is Cadillac’s CUE (Cadillac User Experience). Since we last tried CUE in a ATS back in December, Cadillac has issued an update to squash some of the bugs and improve the performance of the system. My test SRX came with the update and the system was noticeably smoother. Inputs on the screen and the capacitive touch buttons registered most of the time and moving around the system was snappy. Now Cadillac just needs to work on making the system somewhat less distracting. Powering the SRX is a 3.6L V6 engine with 308 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. That is mated to six-speed automatic transmission to either the front-wheels or all four wheels. Compared to the outgoing 3.0L and 2.8L turbocharged V6 engines, the 3.6L sits in the middle. Low-end power isn’t the 3.6L’s strong suit, but get above 2,000 RPM and the power comes smoothly in. The six-speed automatic provided smooth shifts and didn’t need to downshift as much when I stepped on the accelerator, something that couldn’t be said of the 3.0L. One place where I wished the 3.6L was better was fuel economy. The EPA rates the SRX 3.6L AWD at 16 City/24 Highway/18 Combined. During my week, I averaged 17.2 MPG in mostly suburban driving. Out on the highway, fuel economy rose to 24.2 MPG. Why the low MPG numbers? Part of the blame goes to AWD system in the SRX, but a good majority is to the 4,442 lb curb weight. Driving around in the SRX, my impressions were that Cadillac had focused more on the comfort than the sport. The FE2 suspension absorbs bumps and road imperfections with ease. A bit surprising since the SRX I was rolling in had twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment. Steering is very precise, despite the heavily boosted feeling I was getting. My biggest gripe dealt with the brake pedal. Whenever I put my foot on it to stop the SRX, it feels like I’m pushing through quicksand. This means you’re either not going slow down as fast as you like or come to a panic stop. Not pleasant at all. My test SRX AWD Performance Collection rings up at $49,085, which is a steal when you consider that includes CUE, a Bose surround sound system, keyless entry with push button start, twenty-inch wheels, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and a number other features as standard equipment. Its very easy to see why the 2013 Cadillac SRX is one of the best sellers in the segment. It offers the right blend of luxury, features, and value in a handsome package. While the SRX will not be coming anywhere close to toppling the Lexus RX in sales (so far in 2013, the RX current holds a 8,548 unit lead over the SRX), Cadillac should be very pleased that they have a very credible alternative. Disclaimer: General Motors provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline. Year - 2013 Make – Cadillac Model – SRX Trim – AWD Performance Collection Engine – 3.6L SIDI V6 Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM – 308 @ 6,800 RPM Torque @ RPM – 265 @ 2,400 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/23/18 Curb Weight – 4,442 lbs Location of Manufacture – Ramos Arizpe, CZ Mexico Base Price - $47,715.00 As Tested Price - $49,085.00* (Includes $875.00 destination charge) Options: Black Ice Metallic Paint - $495.00 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.
  6. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 5, 2013 This is how I think a conversation would go with someone about the 2013 Kia Sorento SX V6 I had in for review. “Hey William.” “Hey.” “So what are you reviewing this week?” “The 2013 Kia Sorento SX V6.” “Didn’t Kia introduce a refreshed Sorento?” “Yes at the LA Auto Show. It will be a 2014 model coming out sometime in the first quarter of 2013.” “Why are you reviewing the 2013 model if the 2014 model is coming soon?” “Well for two reasons. One: I have a point of comparison when I get the chance to check out the 2014 model. Two: I want to see if a person should wait to get the 2014 model or go ahead with the 2013 model.” “Ahh.” Shall we dive in? Since its introduction in 2009 as a 2011 model, the second-generation Kia Sorento’s design really hasn’t changed much. The front end features Kia’s signature grille and a set of unique headlights. The side profile has deeply chiseled door panels and windows that are pushed somewhat into the body. On the SX model you gain painted front and rear bumpers, a rear spoiler, and a set of eighteen-inch wheels to give it a very dramatic look. Inside the Sorento feels older than it should. Blame the hard plastics and some of equipment used up front, most notably the climate control system. Aside from this, the interior features very good build quality. Front and second row passengers will feel very comfortable thanks to the very good amount of head and legroom, and adjustments provided. The third row is best left for small kids or folded flat since that expands cargo room from a meager 9.1 cubic feet to 37 cubic feet of space. Equipment is very generous on the Sorento SX. Starting at $33,400, the SX model includes leather seats for all three rows, heated front seats, push-button start, rear ventilation, an Infinity sound system, USB and Aux jack, and Bluetooth as standard equipment. My test Sorento SX also came equipped with the Premium package which adds such items as navigation, heated steering wheel, a memory function for the driver’s seat and mirrors, and a panoramic sunroof. For the extra $3,200 the package adds onto the Sorento SX’s price tag, I find it to be a very good value since models from competitors would cost somewhat more to come close to matching the SX’s equipment level. The 2013 Sorento comes with three different engine choices. The base LX model gets a 2.4L four-cylinder engine. There is also a 2.4L four-cylinder with direct injection that is available on the LX and standard on the EX. Lastly, there is a 3.5L V6 that’s standard on the SX and optional on the LX and EX. The 3.5L V6 produces 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The power is fed through a six-speed automatic down to either the front wheels or optional all-wheel drive system. The V6 packs quite the punch for any situation you encounter. Whether its to merge onto a freeway or leaving a stop, the V6’s power is immediate and smooth. More surprisingly was how quiet the V6 engine was. The only way you knew the engine was doing anything besides dropping the hammer was watching the rev counter. The six-speed automatic was very smooth and quick to downshift at a moments notice. My only real disappointment with V6 was fuel economy. The EPA rates the Sorento SX V6 with AWD at 18 City/24 Highway/20 combined. During my week, I got an average of 20.5 MPG. However when I was driving the Sorento in the city, I saw my average MPG drop to around 15.8 MPG. If you’re planning to drive a lot in the city, you should consider the four-cylinder. The Sorento’s AWD system is a full-time unit that features a locking center differential. I found the system to be very capable when driving through the aftermath of a snowstorm. The system provided enough traction to get and keep the vehicle on the move, even in some unplowed roads. One oddity in the Sorento SX was a hill descent control system. Hill descent control uses the ABS to control each wheel's speed to get down a hill in rough terrain at a very slow speed. I’m not quite sure how many Sorento owners will utilize this feature, but it's there if you need it. The Sorento SX’s ride and drive can be best explained in three (or four) words; quiet and mostly comfortable. The suspension is tuned for comfort which provides a very smooth and stable ride. Steering is perfectly weighted for the intended application and is surprisingly quick to respond. Driving on the highway, the Sorento exhibits barely any noise from the suspension or the road, making this a very relaxing highway cruiser. The 2013 Kia Sorento SX with AWD starts $33,400.00. Add a few options and destination and you're looking at $37,575.00, the price of my tester. Now some people will argue that seems a bit much for a seven-seat crossover. However I would rebut that for price, the Sorento SX brings forth a number of features that the competition either doesn't have or you would need to tick a few more option boxes to come close. If you were to ask me before the showing of the 2014 Sorento would I recommend the current Sorento, the answer is yes. The 2013 Kia Sorento SX is a very capable and value oriented crossover; providing a good mix of looks, equipment, power, and comfort in one package. But with the 2014 Sorento around the corner, I would say wait and see. The 2014 model brings forth a number of improvements, including a new 3.3L V6 and a more modern interior. Disclaimer: Kia provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline. Album: 2013 Kia Sorento SX 21 images 0 comments Year - 2013 Make – Kia Model – Sorento Trim – SX AWD Engine – 3.5L DOHC CVVT V6 Driveline – All-Wheel Drive with Locking Center Differential, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM – 276 (@ 6,300 RPM) Torque @ RPM – 248 (@ 5,000 RPM) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/24/20 Curb Weight – 3,935 lbs Location of Manufacture – West Point, Georgia Base Price - $33,400.00 (SX with AWD) As Tested Price - $37,575.00 (Includes $800.00 Destination Charge) Options: Premium Package 3 - $3,200.00 Cargo Cover - $125.00 Cargo Net - $50.00 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.
  7. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 24, 2013 The letter R in the automotive world means an automaker has added a bit of spice to one of their vehicles. Examples include Acura Integra Type R and Volkswagen Golf R32 and R. The best example of the letter R being used by an automaker is Volvo. A brand known for safety and button-down styling would surprise the world when it introduced the 850 T-5 R sedan and wagon in 1995. Draped in some very wild colors, the 850 T-5 R was for its time one of fastest vehicles on the planet thanks to some major tweaks to the powertrain and suspension. Volvo would follow up with the 1999 V70R and the 2003 - 2006 S60R and V70R models, all of them proving improved performance over the base models. But since the S60R and V70R models left the Volvo lineup, there hasn’t quite been the craziness the R models brought forth. Instead Volvo fell back into its safety ritual, but with more distinctive designs. Two key things would happen to Volvo within the past couple of years to bring them back into the crazy fold. First would be Volvo strengthening and expanding its partnership with its racing and performance partner Polestar. Second would be the introduction of the R-Design trim for the S60 and XC60. R-Design brings some tweaks to exterior, engine, and chassis. That brings us to the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design. Does it show signs that craziness has entered Volvo once more? Subtlety? Where?! Volvo’s have been known to be very understated in their designs and the S60 R-Design is no exception to that rule, if you don’t decide to get your R-Design in what Volvo calls Rebel Blue. While I did like the bold color choice, some people weren’t so impressed with it. If you want to be fully understated with your S60 R-Design, go with another color. Aside from the color, there’s a lot to appreciate about the S60’s design. The new S60 is an evolution of the first-generation model with some coupe cues in the form of a short rear overhang and sloping roof. Volvo has also fitted a unique set of headlights with LEDs sitting right beside it. The R-Design package layers on a lower front spoiler, eighteen-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, rear diffuser with dual-exhaust pipes, and a little R-Design badge on the front denoting its status. A Lesson in Simplicity The S60 R-Design’s interior is one of simplicity. The dashboard is very clean in its design with a mixture of a soft-touch materials, metal accents around the vents and door pulls, and a unique metal center stack. Its a very handsome and and well-built interior. The front seats, draped in black leather, were some of the most comfortable seats I have sat in all year. Providing eight-way adjustments, heat, and the right amount of bolstering, the seats had the right of comfort and support for enthusiastic or long drives. Backseat passengers will appreciate the amount of headroom. Legroom can vary from good to none depending on how far the front seat is set. Simplicity is a good word to describe the infotainment system. Instead of going with a controller like BMW, Mercedes and Audi, or a touchscreen with capacitive touch buttons like Cadillac and Lincoln, Volvo went with using a center stack full of buttons and knobs for to move around and control the system which appears on a seven-inch non-touch color screen. Some will complain that the center stack has way too many buttons and is a distraction to see which button you need to press. I would agree that when you're first using it, but after a while, it becomes second nature. While its very easy to use the system, I found that doing certain functions like moving around the map was a pain in the butt. I hope Volvo keeps the idea of simplicity when working on the next generation of their infotainment system, but maybe adds a joystiq or something that makes certain functions easier to do. Those Crazy Swedes Under the S60 T6 AWD R-Design is Volvo’s T6 engine; a turbocharged straight-six. In the normal S60 T6, you’re looking at 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. In the R-Design model, you’re looking at 325 horsepower (@ 5,400 RPM) and 354 lb-ft of torque (@ 3,200 - 3,600 RPM). This is in part due to Polestar which increased the boost of the turbocharger and installed a new module which changes ignition, fuel mapping and throttle response. Power is sent to a six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission down to a Haldex-built AWD system. The engine has a Jekyll and Hyde personality. If you go about and drive the S60 R-Design normally, the engine is able to keep up with traffic very well with nary a hint of its performance cred. However if you decide to slam the pedal to the floor or throw the transmission into either sport or manual mode, the engine will throw you back into your seat and climb in speed at a very alarming rate. Plus, you get this amazing growl from the exhaust. The six-speed automatic does an amazing job of proving smooth and unobtrusive shifts whether I had my foot to the floor or moving along at a normal pace. I did wish the R-Design came with some paddles to have more fun with the engine. I did have an odd problem with this S60 R-Design’s gas pedal. If I put my foot on the pedal normally, about a quarter-way down, I found that I would going into hyperspace speed. But if maybe go an eighth of the way down on the pedal, the car accelerates normally. I’m not whether this is a programming issue or not, but reading through some other reviews of this car don’t mention this problem, so its just an issue with this particular vehicle. The Haldex-built AWD system was non-intrusive and provided a feeling of sure-footedness no matter the conditions outside. Combined with Volvo’s Corner Traction Control system, the AWD system made the vehicle feel small and nimble when going through corners. Fuel economy wise, S60 T6 R-Design is right in the middle of the pack in the compact luxury car class with the EPA rating it 18 City/25 Highway/21 Combined. For the week, I averaged 21.2 MPG with mostly suburban driving. A word of warning though; if you decide to stick your foot in the S60 T6 R-Design more often than not, be prepared to see your average MPG drop into the mid-teens. The R-Design’s suspension is mostly the same as the normal S60. There are MacPherson struts up front and a independent rear suspension setup with stabilizer bars at either end. For the R-Design model, Volvo adds a 15 millimeter drop to the suspension, stiffer springs and bushings, strut tower brace, and Mono-tube shocks in the rear. These changes give the S60 R-Design almost the same handling characteristics as those from Germany. As for driving on a day to day basis, the R-Design suspension was able to cope with road imperfections very well. The steering comes in the form of a rack and pinion setup with variable power assist. The steering hits the right balance of weight and feel whether you're attacking your favorite road or doing the daily drive. It gives the Germans and even the Cadillac ATS a run for their money. It's A Volvo After All Being a Volvo of course, the S60 R-Design is filled to the brim with safety technologies. Along with the AWD system and Corner Traction Control, the R-Design is fitted airbags all around the vehicle, Volvo’s Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) and Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), a rearview camera, and City Safety which uses a sensor mounted at the top of the windshield to monitor traffic ahead of you and put the brakes on if the vehicle senses an impending collision. One feature I wished was standard on the S60 R-Design was Volvo’s BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) which can tell you if a vehicle is in your blind spot. This would be really helpful since rear visibility is terrible thanks to some thick C-Pillars. BLIS is a $700 option on the R-Design, but I do hope Volvo makes it standard sometime in the S60’s lifecycle. Welcome To Crazy Town The 2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design shows signs of craziness returning to Volvo. The evidence for this includes the wild blue paint, body modifications that are subtle, the two-sidedness of the powertrain, and a very impressive chassis setup. While Volvo might not have the same cachet as a BMW or an Audi, the S60 R-Design can match them in other areas. If you’re the person who doesn't like to follow the leader, the S60 R-Design is worth a look. Disclaimer: Volvo Cars of North America provided the S60 R-Design, Insurance, and one tank of gas. Album: 2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design Year - 2013 Make – Volvo Model – S60 Trim – T6 AWD R-Design Engine – 3.0L Turbocharged Inline-Six Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM – 325 @ 5400 RPM Torque @ RPM – 354 @ 3000 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21 Curb Weight – 3,835 lbs Location of Manufacture – Ghent, Belgum Base Price - $43,900.00 As Tested Price - $48,195.00 (Includes $895.00 destination charge) Options: S60 Platinum Package - $2,700.00 Climate Package - $700.00 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.
  8. Its no secret that Acura has been struggling in the auto marketplace. Aside from the bright spots of the MDX and RDX, the brand has been seeing year-over-year sales drop. But the brand could have a idea that might reverse that. Automotive News recently spoke with Koichi Fukuo, Honda's senior managing director for Acura says the brand is looking into whether or not they should follow in the footsteps of Subaru and equip all of their vehicles with all-wheel drive. "The key is awd," said Fukuo, "As a premium brand, we need something different from the competition." Currently, Acura offers all-wheel drive in half of its lineup and the company is in the process of introducing a new all-wheel drive system that debuted in the new TLX sedan this year. But this change to an all-wheel drive exclusive lineup could take awhile. Also, Automotive News points out that this change might not help Acura at all. 90 percent of Audi's lineup came with all-wheel drive, while nearly 60 percent of BMW's lineup was equipped with all-wheel drive. Now this plan is currently only being talked about at this time. Fukuo presented this plan to the board last week. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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 December 15, 2012 I'm very excited with this week's vehicle at the Cheers & Gears' Detroit Garage since its a Volvo and very special one at that. This happens to be the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design. Now, the R-Design adds some performance goodies to a normal S60 T6 AWD in the form of some changes to the body giving it a more aggressive look, a R-Design sport chassis, and some performance tweaks to the 3.0L turbocharged six-cylinder engine. The pricetag on this S60 T6 AWD R-Design is $48,195.00 thanks in part to the S60 Platinum package which adds navigation, upgraded audio system, and a rear camera for $2,700, and the climate package which adds heated seats, an air quality system, and heated windshield nozzles for $700.00. First impressions are very positive. I like the looks and the interior. The engine moves the S60 at a very rapid pace. The AWD makes sure that power is getting onto the road and keeping the vehicle on there as well. Couple concerns I have so far with the S60. One: the back window is very small. This isn't helped with the back seat headrests that cause some big blind spots. Two: the gas has two positions. Lightly touch the pedal and you're moving at a normal pace. Touch the pedal like you normally would and you're entering hyperspace. There isn't a smooth increase of acceleration when you press on the pedal. Its either on or really on. I will have more thoughts on the S60 during this week. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this, drop them below. 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.
  10. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 2, 2012 Last month, we reported that Mercedes-Benz's performance branch, AMG is looking at using AWD in more of their models. "The traction is a little bit of a problem for us, and we can solve this problem with all-wheel-drive. It's a good idea to have all-wheel-drive. We just think about that because we won't bring the power and the torque to the road if you always lose the grip and the [traction control system] kills all the power and torque," said Friedrich Eichlers, the head of powertrains at AMG in a interview with Drive.com.au. This week, Inside Line is reporting that we could see the first model to use AWD at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show. A source says Mercedes-Benz will show a E63 AMG with AWD. Power will be the M157 twin-turbocharged 5.5L V8 currently used in the E63 producing either 518 HP and 516 lb-ft of torque, or 550 HP and 590 lb-ft with the optional AMG performance pack. No word if this is a production model or a concept. Source: Inside Line Related Stories: AMG Plans More AWD Models 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 Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 2, 2012 Jaguar's global brand director Adrian Hallmark said something very interesting at the launch of the XF and XJ all-wheel drive models. "I can't think of any model that wouldn't benefit from not having the option of it." There's one problem with that at the moment. Jaguar's current models weren't engineered to have a AWD system installed. The only reason Jaguar put one into the XF and XJ with the new supercharged V6 was that they could see a return on their investment when the two vehicles go sale in the U.S. and Canada. No other Jaguar engine will be mated to the all-wheel drive system for now. In future models though, that could change. "At the moment, we can't take the full grid of engines, models and drivetrains and tick every box and offer them all. We have to prioritise. In the future, we know what it takes to get all-wheel drive," said Hallmark. Source: Autocar 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.
  12. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 27, 2012 If there is one vehicle that has been talked about more than any other since I've been writing here at Cheers and Gears, that vehicle would be the new Cadillac ATS. There are a number of threads speculating, arguing, complaining, and talking about this compact luxury sedan. Well the day has come. We finally have an ATS in for an interactive review. This ATS comes equipped with the 3.6 DI V6 producing 321 HP and 275 lb-ft of torque, a six-speed automatic, and the optional AWD system. Anyone who was hoping this was the Performance Collection model will be somewhat disappointed as this is the base Luxury Collection model. But we do have CUE and a Cold Weather Package bringing the pricetag to $45,985 (includes $895.00 destination charge). I have the ATS till Monday and will be updating with thoughts during that time. If you have questions for the ATS, get them in. Update - Read the 2013 Cadillac ATS Full Review here and my Review of Cadillac's CUE system here. 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.
  13. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 19, 2012 Mercedes-Benz's performance arm, AMG is looking to using AWD in more of their vehicles. "We will not only have all-wheel-drive in the SUVs and the compact cars, we will also have that in the performance sedans," said Friedrich Eichlers, AMG's of engines and powertrains. The reasoning with going towards AWD is due to the amount of power the current crop of AMG vehicles is overwhelming the rear wheels. "If you want to be a member of the club with cars that have 0-100km/h times of around 3.0 seconds, then you need to have all-wheel-drive for your sports cars. The traction is a little bit of a problem for us, and we can solve this problem with all-wheel-drive. It's a good idea to have all-wheel-drive. We just think about that because we won't bring the power and the torque to the road if you always lose the grip and the [traction control system] kills all the power and torque," said Eichlers. Now AMG won't be moving all of their vehicles to AWD. There will be RWD models along with the AWD. "I think we will have both [rear- and all-wheel-drive models]," Eichlers says. "Some people like two-wheel-drive because the steering is a little bit lighter and you can have more fun, with drift, when the rear of the car comes around. Some people like that." Source: Drive.com.au 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 Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 15, 2012 Work on the next-generation Toyota Prius is already underway. A few weeks ago, we reported on Toyota considering a new design for the Prius. Now, we have gotten word on some mechanical changes. Auto Express is reporting that next-gen Prius and Prius Plug-In will come equipped with a e-4WD system. “The rear wheels will be driven by a motor in an e-4WD system. Targeting snowy areas, they will operate at up to 37mph,” a source tells the magazine. Also in the cards for the new Prius will be a weight drop of about 154 lbs thanks to a new platform. Other changes will include a more aerodynamic body, a modified 1.8L four-cylinder, and downsized inverter and electric motor. Those changes will make the Prius quicker and possibly deliver 90 MPG. One item that won't change are the nickel-metal hydride batteries. Toyota engineers still believe the nickel-metal hydride batteries are still the best at managing power delivery during intensive use and charging. Source: Auto Express 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. Related Stories: Rumorpile: Toyota To Change Design Of Next Prius?
  15. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 31, 2012 There are some big rumors coming out at this week’s Moscow Auto Show dealing with the new Mazda6. The first rumor comes to us from Autocar. They had the chance to sit down with Mazda’s chief designer, Akira Tamatani. Tamatani revealed that he would like to do a Mazda6 coupe. "There is no decision, but I would love to make one. The first job is to make the saloon and estate, but from this position a coupe is not so far away." If there is a coupe in the pipeline, we could get our first look sometime next year. Rumor two also comes from Autocar which says Mazda could be adding an AWD system for the new 6. “There are no set plans, but we are studying the possibility of introducing all-wheel drive – it would be a good weapon with which to establish the brand. It is my belief that there is a very strong opportunity for us if we bring it to market,” said Hiroshi Kajiyama, program manager for the 6. The final rumor comes from AutoExpress. Speaking with Hiroshi Kajiyama, it was revealed that the company is looking at a performance version of the 6. “There is a high potential for this, and it would be helpful to the brand,” Kajiyama said. The performance oriented 6 would likely weigh less than the regular model, come with AWD, and use a turbocharged diesel engine. Source: Autocar, AutoExpress 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.
  16. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 30, 2012 If there was an automaker who closely followed Mitsubishi’s story in the U.S. to a degree, that automaker would be Suzuki. Suzuki, much like Mitsubishi was a rising star in the 1990’s and early 2000’s with vehicles like the Swift, Sidekick, Grand Vitara, XL7, and SX4. However in the late 2000’s, Suzuki began a fast decline into obscurity. Magazine and television ads began to disappear slowly, dealers either closed up shop or turned to something else, and people began to think that Suzuki was gone. Well, Suzuki is still around and building vehicles for the U.S. The brand’s newest vehicle, the Kizashi, is its second-take on a midsize sedan. Suzuki’s first attempt was the 2004 Verona. A rebadged Daewoo Magnus, the Verona was very forgettable and was pulled off the market. Since going on sale in 2010, the Kizashi has received favorable reviews in the automotive press as it is often lauded as one of the best sedans currently on sale. The buying public on the other hand doesn’t even know it exists. Does the Kizashi deserve more attention or should it stay in obscurity just like its brand? Next: The Outside Look Exterior Designers for the Kizashi went for a muscular, bold look. That’s evident when you look at the Kizashi ‘s front end where there is a sculpted hood, two-tiered front grille arrangement, a set of projector headlights, and flared front fenders. The side has a set of body skirts along the doors and a set of eighteen-inch sport wheels, which are standard equipment on the Sport GTS model, which we evaluated. Around the back, Suzuki’s designers did their own interpretation of the “Bangle-Butt” and it has actually worked. Other design cues for the back include an integrated spoiler with stoplight on the trunk lid and a set of chrome surrounds hiding the exhausts. Suzuki mostly pulls off the look on the Kizashi except for one item: ahead of the front wheels, Suzuki slapped on some bright orange reflectors for the turn signals. This addition doesn’t make sense for a vehicle design in the 21st century. Next: Come On In Interior The Kizashi’s interior is really impressive for a Suzuki. That might sound like an underhanded compliment, but anyone who has sat in past Suzuki vehicles knows, the interiors left a lot to desire. Materials used throughout are a combination of soft- and hard-touch plastics, and metal trim. Build quality is very good with no apparent gaps or separation of materials on the 14,000 mile example we had for review. The Sport GTS model comes with set a of bolstered, cloth bucket seats for the front passengers. The driver gets a power seat with ten-way adjustment, lumbar, and memory function. Finding a comfortable position in the seat does take some time, but you can find one. Back seat passengers will find a cloth-covered bench seat and a surprising amount of head and legroom. The Kizashi Sport GTS comes well equipped for the pricetag. Standard equipment includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, trip computer, dual-zone climate controls, Rockford Fosgate sound system, USB input for your MP3 player, sunroof, and 60/40 folding rear seats. The only options on our Kizashi were a trunk mat, floor mats, first aid kit, and a Bluetooth system. Next: Under the Hood Powertrain All Kizashi models come with one engine choice; a 2.4L inline-four producing either 185 HP (@ 6500 RPM) if you go for the six-speed manual or 180 HP (@ 6000 RPM) if you pick the CVT. Torque is 170 lb-ft (@ 4000 RPM), no matter the transmission choice. You also have the choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive. If you do go for all-wheel drive like ours, you only transmission choice is the CVT. Leaving from a stop, the 2.4L is initially sluggish before it starts to build some speed at a quick rate, as the engine revs up. If you need to make a pass or merge onto a freeway, the 2.4 is able to perform without a sweat. The CVT makes sure to keep you in the power as best as it can and is very smooth. Also, Suzuki fitted steering wheel paddles to the Sport GTS to mimic a six-speed transmission. The paddles do work very well, giving you the feeling of total control when taking the Kizashi for an enthusiastic drive. The Kizashi’s AWD system is unique as you can turn the system on and off via a button next to the steering wheel. The only way you know when you have engaged the system is an AWD light turns on in the instrument cluster. The system will seamlessly kick on if the Kizashi has a loss of traction or if you decide to be aggressive. The sacrifice you make for the sure footedness of all-wheel drive is less than ideal fuel economy rating. The EPA rates the Kizashi Sport GTS AWD EPA at 22 City/29 Highway/25 Combined. This comes from the extra 292 lbs the AWD system adds to the Kizashi’s weight. Average for the week was 24.5 MPG. On the highway, the Kizashi did much better, recording an average of 32.3 MPG. Next: The Drive Ride & Drive The Kizashi’s suspension is made up of MacPherson struts up front and a five-point multilink setup in the rear. Steering comes in the form of an electric power steering system with a rack and pinion setup. The steering feels like something you would find in a sports car. Each turn of the Kizashi’s steering wheel is directly sent to front tires. In turn, the system provides a surprising amount of road feel for the driver. This combination makes the Kizashi a joy to drive on curvy roads. During normal driving, the Kizashi does a good job of proving a mostly comfortable and stable ride for passengers. Driving on rough surfaces, the Kizashi’s suspension does a decent job of minimizing the impacts. Noise from engine is mostly well-muted. The same cannot be said for road and wind noise as both are somewhat existent, but not to the point where you carry some ear plugs. Next: The Verdict Verdict I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel at the time of the Kizashi’s departure, after the week-long evaluation. When that time came, I felt surprised and amazed at Suzuki’s second mid-size effort. The muscular and sporty exterior hides one of the best suspension and all-wheel-drive setups in the class. Plus, the Kizashi has one of the better CVTs in the industry and comes with a nicely-equipped interior. However, the Kizashi isn’t the most fuel-efficient vehicle, despite being one of the smallest and lightest in its class. Plus, the 2.4L is very sluggish on initial acceleration. Those problems pale in comparison to the biggest drawback the Kizashi has, Suzuki itself. As I eluded in the introduction, Suzuki in the U.S. isn’t doing so hot. In a report back in April, we wondered whether the brand was preparing to the North American market leave because of certain developments. Some of those included cutting auto show appearances, saying goodbye to the top U.S. product planning and marketing executive, and suspending social media outreach. Since that report, the news for Suzuki hasn’t got any better. For 2012, sales are still down and the company is focusing on controlling its expenses. Add to the lack advertising and the silence any new products coming to U.S., and it’s easy to see why everyone is wondering what the future holds for Suzuki in the U.S. That leaves me in a tough spot with the Kizashi since I really liked it and would recommend it to anyone. However, the uncertainty of Suzuki in the States gives me some hesitation on recommending it. If you’re shopping for a new midsize sedan, you do at least need to give the Kizashi a chance. Vehicles like the Kizashi only appear once in a while and might be not be long before this disappears. Cheers: Exterior Styling Interior Equipment Interior Space CVT AWD System Handling during sporty and normal driving Jeers: Reflectors on front fenders Fuel economy of the AWD Model Suzuki going dark on everything Year - 2012 Make – Suzuki Model – Kizashi Trim – Sport GTS Engine – 2.4L Inline-Four Driveline – All Wheel Drive, CVT Horsepower @ RPM - 180 @ 6000 Torque @ RPM – 170 @ 4000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined – 22/29/25 Curb Weight – 3533 lbs Location of Manufacture – Sagara, Japan Base Price - $25,899.00 As Tested Price - $26,404.00* (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.
  17. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 17, 2012 This time at the Cheers & Gears Detroit Garage is a newcomer, the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport GTS AWD (takes breath). For $26,404 (the pricetag on the car) 2.4L inline-four, CVT Transmission, AWD, sunroof, dual-zone climate control, an appearance package, and a banging 425 watt Rockford Fosgate sound system. The Kizashi sits in a interesting position in the new car field. Its size and pricetag puts somewhere between a compact and a mid-size vehicle. Think the last generation Volkswagen Jetta. First impressions are mostly good. The interior is put together well, steering and handling is quite good, and the powertrain combo works well when you get above about 2000 RPMs. I'll have more thoughts as the week with Kizashi goes on. In the meantime, if you have any questions, post them and I will do my best to answer them. 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.
  18. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 16, 2012 Last month, we reported on Jaguar's move to a turbocharged-four and supercharged V6 engines for the XF and XJ models. Today, Jaguar officially announced the new engines and a AWD option for the XF and XJ. Starting off with the XF, the 2013 base model will have a 2.0L turbocharged-four from the Range Rover Evoque. The 2.0L is rated at 240 HP and 251 lb-ft of torque. Next up will be the 3.0L supercharged V6 which will take the place of the 5.0L naturally-aspirated V8 engine. The supercharged 3.0L is rated at 340 HP. The supercharged 5.0L V8 stays on. Next is the XJ which also gets the 3.0L Supercharged V6 in the XJ and long-wheelbase XJL. The 5.0L NA V8 will stay on the long wheelbase XJL Portfolio model. Both engines will come with a eight-speed automatic from ZF. AWD will also be an option on the XF and XJ, but only if you order the 3.0L Supercharged V6. Also available as an option is a stop-start system. Source: Jaguar 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.
  19. Back in February, we reported that BMW was planning to stay the course with developing rear-wheel drive models. “If you also look at the M performance models we have added over the last three or four years they have rear-wheel drive as the standard setting and also have six cylinder engines. These are cars that attract new people to the M brand [and its core models] and that is very important,” said Carsten Pries, BMW M's head of product management. Pries also mentioned that this current strategy could change. “If the framework changes in the future, we have to look then at what we can do in terms of a [providing] a proper or decent M offer.” Jump ahead to late April, and BMW's M division CEO Frank van Meel said all-wheel drive is inevitable in the long run. van Meel told Autocar that M is sticking rear-wheel drive for philosophical reasons, despite the power outputs are reaching a point where all-wheel drive would make sense. Engineers are working hard to improve traction, stability control and torque vectoring systems, but there comes a point where these systems will be overwhelmed. van Meel also said that it is getting tougher to try and sell their 600-plus horsepower vehicles in certain markets such as Canada and Switzerland. Whenever M decides to offer all-wheel drive on their sedans and coupes, it will not use the xDrive nomenclature. van Meel suggested a name like 2+2WD or something similar could be used to emphasise the car’s rear-biased set-up. Source: Autocar View full article
  20. A few days ago we reported that the 2016 Buick Envision would be sold in All-Wheel drive format only. This was both true and false. After the reveal of the 2016 Buick Avista concept, I sat down with a Buick representative to discuss the Envision for a bit. It is true that the 2016 model year of the Buick Envision will only be available in all-wheel drive, 2.0T engines, and premium group packages. However, it will be a short model run. The 2017 updates will follow a few months after launch when an additional engine, front wheel drive, and additional packages will be made available. Even after those updates, the 2.0T will still only be available with all-wheel drive. In China, the Envision offered with a 1.6 liter turbo and front-wheel drive. The rep from Buick indicated that it was unlikely that this powertrain combination is going to make the swim across the Pacific, so expect something in between the 200 hp 1.6T and the 260hp 2.0T offerings. We'll note that GM currently does not have any 4-cylinder offering in between those two powerplants in terms of power, so it could end up being an engine that is not yet released. We will have more details for the 2016 and 2017 Envision closer to launch time. You can follow all of our 2016 Detroit Auto Show Reports here. Buick Press Release from November 18 is on Page 2 Buick Introduces Envision Luxury Crossover Clean-sheet approach yields luxury compact crossover designed for confident ride-and-handling performance Dynamic interior with high level of standard content, great attention to detail and latest technologies Strong, efficient performance includes stop/start feature on 2.0L turbo engine LOS ANGELES – Buick today introduced the 2016 Envision – an all-new, technology-infused luxury compact crossover that expands the brand’s portfolio with segment-challenging driving dynamics, advanced technology, connectivity and Buick’s trademark interior acoustics. It is a global vehicle, designed from the ground up as a Buick luxury compact crossover. It goes on sale in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2016. “The all-new Buick Envision is a modern, confident and responsive luxury compact crossover that combines the brand’s core characteristics with performance features never seen on a crossover,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “That dynamic experience behind the wheel is complemented by Buick’s signature luxury, whisper-quiet cabin and connectivity features that make it a crossover that customers are going to love as drivers and passengers.” Vehicle highlights include: LED daytime running lamps and rear LED accent lights Efficiency-enhancing features including upper grille shutters that open and close to enhance aerodynamics on the highway and a body structure incorporating mass-reducing high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels – and a lightweight aluminum hood Standard heated front seats and standard heated rear seat Sliding, 60/40-split rear seat, offering the flexibility of more legroom for second-row passengers Kneeling cushions in the second-row seat enable a flatter load floor when the seat is folded 252-horsepower (186 kW) 2.0L turbo engine with stop/start technology, matched with Buick’s first crossover vehicle application of HiPer Strut front suspension and Buick’s first active Twin Clutch AWD system Standard Safety Alert Seat and Lane Keep Assist, as well as available Advanced Active Park Assist, and Surround Vision 360-degree camera system IntelliLink with 8-inch color touch screen, Text Messaging Alerts and Siri Eyes Free Available OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot Programmable power liftgate with hands-free operation Active noise cancelation. · Nineteen-inch aluminum wheels are standard. The Envision is also designed to carry more than its competitors, with more rear cargo space than the Acura RDX and the Lincoln MKC. It’s also roomier for passengers, with more rear legroom, front and rear shoulder room, and overall Environmental Protection Agency-rated passenger volume than the MKC. “The Envision rounds out a lineup of crossovers that has helped change customer opinions about the brand,” said Aldred. “Enclave was the cornerstone of the brand’s renaissance, while the Encore was an early entry among small luxury crossovers and has been an unqualified hit for Buick since its introduction.” Design rewards with attention to detail Designers and engineers were given a clean slate to develop the Envision and they employed supercomputer technologies to help make the most of the architecture for strength, stiffness and quietness. Every aspect of the vehicle’s design and its effect on refinement was taken into consideration – even the available panoramic moonroof was designed for lower wind noise when open. “The Envision represents a compromise-free design that enabled the development team to do the things luxury customers appreciate,” said Judy Brennan, chief engineer. “Our attention to detail yielded tremendous strength and stiffness of the platform, which is evident in exceptional ride and handling characteristics.” The clean-sheet design and stiff structure helped eliminate an estimated 22 pounds (10 kg) of add-on material to create whisper-quiet interior acoustics. And while those attributes lie beneath the Envision’s skin, the skin itself is instantly recognizable as a Buick crossover with contemporary proportions, flowing lines and detailed surface features. “There is tension in the Envision’s design that reflects elegant athleticism, rendering a planted stance that enhances driver confidence,” says Bryan Nesbitt, global executive director, Buick design. “It’s dynamic and youthful, with features that support the vehicle’s technologically advanced ambience.” Those features include Buick’s signature winged headlamps and standard heated outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators. Articulating Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps are available. There’s also a rear spoiler atop the liftgate designed to improve aerodynamic performance. The liftgate features standard programmable power assist and touchless activation. The user simply waves his or her foot near a sensor beneath the fascia to activate the power-assisted liftgate. Dynamic passenger environment The Envision’s interior features a “floating,” wraparound instrument panel sweeps into the door panels, for a flowing, organic and inviting appearance that complements the exterior. It houses a bold gauge cluster featuring two large binnacles with analog instruments and a central digital display for the speedometer and readouts of additional information. “To put it simply, the Envision’s cabin combines beauty with innovation,” said Nesbitt. “It telegraphs dynamism like nothing else in the segment. Everywhere you touch is a stitched, soft surface,” said Nesbitt. “And everything you touch is designed for intuitive, effortless functionality.” The large center console storage bin features damped dual wing-type doors that provide easier, less-obstructed access and allow the driver or passengers – even those in the rear – to access the storage bin without disturbing the other. Also, the heating and air conditioning vents are positioned at the bottom of the center stack, moving the climate and infotainment controls – as well as the eight-inch diagonal color touch screen – higher for easier, more intuitive operation. Additional interior features include: Passive entry and push-button start with standard remote start Standard eight-way power-adjustable front seats and four-way-adjustable lumbar – including available adjustable thigh support on some models that enhances comfort for taller passengers Standard heated front seats and standard heated rear seat Available cooled front seats and standard heated steering wheel Standard eight-inch-diagonal, reconfigurable color driver information center and available full color head-up display Dual-zone climate control with console-mounted rear-seat vents; and standard tri-zone climate control with rear-seat controls Standard Bose premium sound system Available panoramic moonroof. Technology and connectivity The new Envision offers Buick IntelliLink with Text Messaging Alerts and Siri Eyes Free, as well as available OnStar with 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Text Messaging Alerts for smartphone users with compatible Bluetooth technology reads incoming texts through the vehicle’s speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhones running iOS6 or higher gives users enhanced connectivity and convenience. Each enables voice-controlled connectivity, to help keep phones in pockets and hands on the wheel. An eight-inch-diagonal IntelliLink color touch screen is the contact point for much of the Envision’s technology and connectivity. Itprovides intuitive operation of basic functions, yet is capable of linking up to 10 Bluetooth devices such as smartphones, as well as SD cards and MP3 players. Four USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and a 120-volt outlet are included. A new steering wheel for Buick debuts in the Envision, featuring thumb-operated toggle switches that make it easy to scroll through the IntelliLink menus and vehicle features in the driver information center. Powertrain and performance The 2016 Envision features a standard 2.0L turbo engine SAE certified at 252 horsepower (186 kW) and 260 lb-ft of torque (353 Nm), which is more standard horsepower and torque than an Audi Q5. It is paired with a third-generation six-speed automatic transmission with TAPShift revised to deliver more refined shift performance. Performance and efficiency is enhanced with Stop/Start technology – Buick’s first application on the 2.0L turbo engine. It seamlessly shuts down the engine when the Envision comes to a stop under certain driving conditions, such as a stoplight. The engine automatically restarts when the driver takes his or her foot off the brake. The 2.0L turbo engine is offered exclusively with AWD, giving the Envision performance consistent with vehicle’s ride and handling capabilities. The turbocharger features a twin-scroll design that helps the engine deliver a broad torque band, for a greater feeling of power on demand. Ninety percent of peak torque is available from 1,800 rpm to 5,500 rpm and the full 260 lb-ft of peak torque from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm. The engine is designed with refinement-enhancing features such as balance shafts and sound-attenuating components; and is isolated on a hydraulically damped substructure that helps quell noise and vibration. Four powertrain mounts are used rather than the conventional three. Ride and handling The Envision’s robust structure is the foundation for a balanced and confident driving experience. Buick’s HiPer Strut front suspension provides more linear and communicative steering through improved camber control and improved impact isolation on bumps and rough surfaces. It’s a feature inspired by the athletic Regal GS sedan and that is not currently offered on any crossover vehicle, including competitors such as the Audi Q5. A standard four-link independent rear suspension is designed to minimize unwanted toe and camber effects during spirited driving maneuvers, enhancing stability. Isolating hydraulic mounts are used front and rear to further reduce noise and vibration that could reach the passenger compartment. The Envision features Buick’s first active Twin Clutch AWD system designed to make the most of handling and stability in all driving conditions. It is a fully automatic, on-demand system engineered to deliver sure-footed handling in low-grip conditions, while also contributing to a quieter and smoother ride with minimal torque transferred to the rear wheels when all-wheel-drive traction isn’t needed. It uses a hydraulically actuated, pump-based system that provides clutch-clamping forces before the vehicle even begins to move. For example, on wet surfaces when the vehicle pulls away from a stop, the system will have already engaged the clutches by looking at torque to analyze the driver’s intentions. The technology allows the vehicle to respond before a slip occurs, rather than just reacting to slip. Additionally, a premium, variable-effort electric power rack-and-pinion steering gear from Bosch Automotive Steering Systems enables effortless low-speed maneuvers and a higher degree of steering feel at higher speeds. The system also includes crosswind stabilization road-shake compensation that enhances smoothness. Safety features The Envision offers 360 degrees of available passive and active safety technology, including 10 standard air bags, available Automatic Park Assist, available Surround Vision camera system and Buick’s first use of Lane Keep Assist, which is standard. They complement a body structure composed of 63 percent high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels, which forms a protective cage around the passenger compartment. Automatic Park Assist measures a suitable parallel or perpendicular parking spot and steers the vehicle into it, while Lane Keep Assist helps the driver keep the vehicle in the lane with an automatic steering adjustment when an inadvertent lane departure is detected. A rearview camera is standard, while the available Surround Vision provides an overhead view of the Envision that enhances the driver’s vision at low speeds, such as parking and reversing. Additional 2016 model year standard and available safety features include: Standard Side-curtain and knee air bags Standard Safety Alert Seat, which pulses to alert the driver about a possible crash Standard Front Park Assist, Lane Change Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Standard Following Distance Indicator Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control Standard Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution Standard Cornering brake control and brake assist. Available Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control Available Collision Mitigation Braking Safety and security features also include OnStar technology with Advanced Crash Response System, emergency assistance and more. 2016 BUICK ENVISION PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS Overview Model: 2016 Buick Envision Body style / driveline: four-door, five-passenger compact crossover; front engine transaxle, all-wheel drive Construction: steel body frame integral (unibody) with front and rear crumple zones; galvanized steel front fenders, roof, door panels, one-piece bodyside outer panel, aluminum hood, thermal plastic olefin (TPO) bumper fascias EPA vehicle class: SUV Manufacturing location: Yantai, China Key competitors: Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Lincoln MKC Engines Type: Ecotec 2.0L DOHC I-4 VVT DI Turbocharged Displacement (cu. in. / cc): 122 / 1998 Bore & stroke (in. / mm): 3.39 x 3.39 / 86 x 86 Block material: cast aluminum Cylinder head material: cast aluminum Valvetrain: DOHC, four-valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing Valve lifters: hydraulic roller finger follower Ignition system: coil-on-plug Fuel delivery: high-pressure direct injection and electronic throttle control Compression ratio: 9.5:1 Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm): 252 / 186 (est.) Torque (lb.-ft. / Nm @ rpm): 260 / 353 (est.) Recommended fuel: premium recommended but not required Max. engine speed (fuel cut-off): 6800 rpm Emissions controls: close-coupled, catalytic converter, positive crankcase ventilation; evaporative system Additional features: extended-life spark plugs; extended-life coolant EPA-estimated fuel economy (city / hwy) TBD Transmissions Hydra-Matic 6T70 Type: six-speed transverse, electronically controlled, automatic overdrive Application: standard Gear ratios (:1): First 4.48 Second 2.87 Third 1.84 Fourth 1.41 Fifth 1.00 Sixth 0.74 Reverse 2.88 Final Drive 3.17 Chassis / Suspension Front: Specifically tuned coil springs, direct-acting stabilizer bar (hollow); hydraulic ride bushings; HiPer Strut suspension Rear: Four-link independent rear with hollow stabilizer bar Traction control: all-speed using engine torque reduction and brake intervention Steering type: electric rack-and-pinion power-assisted with cross-wind stabilization and road-shake stabilization Steering wheel turns lock-to-lock: 2.67 Turning circle, curb-to-curb (ft / m): 39.5 / 12 Steering ratio: 15.6 to 1 Brakes Type: four-wheel disc w/ABS and electronic stability control Brake rotor diameter – front (in / mm): 12.6 /321 Brake rotor diameter – rear (in / mm): 12.4 / 315 Wheels / Tires Wheel size and type: 19-inch aluminum Tires: 235/50R19 AL3 Dimensions Exterior Wheelbase (in / mm) : 107.9 / 2740 Overall length (in / mm): 183.7 / 4666 Overall width (in / mm): 72.4 / 1839 Overall height (in / mm): 66.8 / 1697 Front track (in / mm): 1575 / 62 Rear track (in / mm): 1575 / 62 Interior Seating capacity (front / rear): 2 / 3 Headroom (in / mm): 39.96 / 1015 (front) 38.5 / 977 (rear) Legroom (in / mm): 40.9 / 1040 (front) 37.5 / 952 (rear) Shoulder room (in / mm): 57.0 / 1448 (front) 55.8 / 1417 (rear) Hip room (in / mm): 54.4 / 1381 (front) 53.1 / 1348 (rear) EPA passenger volume (cu ft / L) : 100.6 / 2849 EPA interior volume (cu ft / L): 127.5 / 3610.6 Cargo volume (cu ft / L): 26.9 / 761 (behind rear seat) 57.3 / 1622 (rear seat folded) Capacities Fuel tank (gal / L): 17.3 / 65.5 Engine oil (qt / L): 6.0 / 5.7 Curb weight (lb / kg): 4047 / 183 Trailering rating (lb / kg): 1500 / 680 Note: Information shown is current at time of publication. Please visit http://media.gm.com for updates. View full article
  21. Buick will be unveiling the 2016 Buick Envision on Sunday at a preview event before the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. One piece of information we dug up is on the drive configuration. According to the VIN card for 2017, the U.S. market Envision will only be available in All-Wheel Drive while we already know that Chinese market vehicles can be configured with just front-wheel drive. Knowing that VIN cards can change as products are finalized, I e-mailed a Buick rep to confirm. He got back to me quickly, confirming that yes, the Envision will be available in only two trim lines, Premium Group 1 and Premium Group 2, both only available in All-Wheel drive. Looking at other Buick models, the Premium Groups are the top of the line, coming standard with leather and lots of luxury features. The 2015 Buick Lacrosse with the Premium Group 1 package is a $7,134 upgrade over the base model. An Enclave with Premium Group is an $8,450 upgrade over base. While pricing hasn't been announced yet, with only Premium Group models available, expect the Envision entry price to be a significant jump in base price over the smaller base Encore. Part of the reason for the limited options groups is that Buick is only expecting to import about 60,000 Envisions per year from China. With most other Buick models skewing heavily towards the upper end of their respective ranges, it makes sense for Buick to send only the best equipped models. Back to the power train, the Envision will be available only with a 2.0 liter, direct injected turbo 4-cylinder which produces 260 lb-ft of torque over a broad RPM range and 252 horsepower fed through GM's standard issue 6-speed auto. The AWD system will be the same as in the coming 2017 Buick LaCrosse. It is a dual-clutch system that can transfer power from side-to-side in the rear wheels and Buick promises to be as fast acting as it is efficient. Also standard GM's HiPer Strut front suspension which when combined with the AWD means there is no torque steer. We will have more Buick Envision information for you as we get closer to its official unveiling on January 10th. In the meantime, you can follow all 2016 Detroit Auto Show news here. View full article
  22. Its no secret that Acura has been struggling in the auto marketplace. Aside from the bright spots of the MDX and RDX, the brand has been seeing year-over-year sales drop. But the brand could have a idea that might reverse that. Automotive News recently spoke with Koichi Fukuo, Honda's senior managing director for Acura says the brand is looking into whether or not they should follow in the footsteps of Subaru and equip all of their vehicles with all-wheel drive. "The key is awd," said Fukuo, "As a premium brand, we need something different from the competition." Currently, Acura offers all-wheel drive in half of its lineup and the company is in the process of introducing a new all-wheel drive system that debuted in the new TLX sedan this year. But this change to an all-wheel drive exclusive lineup could take awhile. Also, Automotive News points out that this change might not help Acura at all. 90 percent of Audi's lineup came with all-wheel drive, while nearly 60 percent of BMW's lineup was equipped with all-wheel drive. Now this plan is currently only being talked about at this time. Fukuo presented this plan to the board last week. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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
  23. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com April 30, 2013 The last time we reviewed a Cadillac SRX, it came with the choice of two different engines, an interior lifted from the Cadillac CTS, and coming close to being second in sales in the small luxury crossover arena. Fast forward two years and the SRX has undergone a bit of a change; there is now one engine, a revised exterior and interior, and coming very close to the Lexus RX in sales... (RX: 95,381 units. SRX: 57,485 units) A revisit it seemed was in order. That’s what happened a few weeks ago as a 2013 Cadillac SRX AWD Performance Collection was dropped off for a week’s evaluation. The overall design of the 2013 Cadillac SRX hasn’t changed much since its introduction back in 2010. The model wears the ‘Art & Science’ design language very well with a number of sharp angles and creases throughout the shape. The only real changes for 2013 include a new front grille and side vents with new LED lighting. Inside the 2013 SRX, Cadillac revised the interior greatly with a new dashboard layout and instrument cluster from the smaller ATS sedan. Materials are in tip-top shape with a mix of leather, wood trim, and black acrylic for the touch capactive touch buttons. Build quality was excellent on this low mileage tester. I had two disappointments with the SRX’s interior. One was the uncomfortable seats. Getting onto them for the first time, I felt like I was sitting on piece of concrete wrapped in leather. Not what I would call luxurious. The other problem was back seat room. While legroom is decent, headroom comes at cost thanks to a sloping roofline and the standard panoramic sunroof on the Performance Collection. Not disappointing is Cadillac’s CUE (Cadillac User Experience). Since we last tried CUE in a ATS back in December, Cadillac has issued an update to squash some of the bugs and improve the performance of the system. My test SRX came with the update and the system was noticeably smoother. Inputs on the screen and the capacitive touch buttons registered most of the time and moving around the system was snappy. Now Cadillac just needs to work on making the system somewhat less distracting. Powering the SRX is a 3.6L V6 engine with 308 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. That is mated to six-speed automatic transmission to either the front-wheels or all four wheels. Compared to the outgoing 3.0L and 2.8L turbocharged V6 engines, the 3.6L sits in the middle. Low-end power isn’t the 3.6L’s strong suit, but get above 2,000 RPM and the power comes smoothly in. The six-speed automatic provided smooth shifts and didn’t need to downshift as much when I stepped on the accelerator, something that couldn’t be said of the 3.0L. One place where I wished the 3.6L was better was fuel economy. The EPA rates the SRX 3.6L AWD at 16 City/24 Highway/18 Combined. During my week, I averaged 17.2 MPG in mostly suburban driving. Out on the highway, fuel economy rose to 24.2 MPG. Why the low MPG numbers? Part of the blame goes to AWD system in the SRX, but a good majority is to the 4,442 lb curb weight. Driving around in the SRX, my impressions were that Cadillac had focused more on the comfort than the sport. The FE2 suspension absorbs bumps and road imperfections with ease. A bit surprising since the SRX I was rolling in had twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment. Steering is very precise, despite the heavily boosted feeling I was getting. My biggest gripe dealt with the brake pedal. Whenever I put my foot on it to stop the SRX, it feels like I’m pushing through quicksand. This means you’re either not going slow down as fast as you like or come to a panic stop. Not pleasant at all. My test SRX AWD Performance Collection rings up at $49,085, which is a steal when you consider that includes CUE, a Bose surround sound system, keyless entry with push button start, twenty-inch wheels, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and a number other features as standard equipment. Its very easy to see why the 2013 Cadillac SRX is one of the best sellers in the segment. It offers the right blend of luxury, features, and value in a handsome package. While the SRX will not be coming anywhere close to toppling the Lexus RX in sales (so far in 2013, the RX current holds a 8,548 unit lead over the SRX), Cadillac should be very pleased that they have a very credible alternative. Disclaimer: General Motors provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline. Year - 2013 Make – Cadillac Model – SRX Trim – AWD Performance Collection Engine – 3.6L SIDI V6 Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM – 308 @ 6,800 RPM Torque @ RPM – 265 @ 2,400 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/23/18 Curb Weight – 4,442 lbs Location of Manufacture – Ramos Arizpe, CZ Mexico Base Price - $47,715.00 As Tested Price - $49,085.00* (Includes $875.00 destination charge) Options: Black Ice Metallic Paint - $495.00 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
  24. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 5, 2013 Volkswagen has reportedly begun planning a competitor to the Subaru Outback. According to Automotive News, Volkswagen has given a green light to an AWD version of the next-gen Golf-based Jetta SportWagon. Sources say the company is deciding whether to make into Outback competitor with a higher ground clearance and body-cladding. Now Volkswagen currently sells something like this in parts of the world. The Passat Alltrack takes a Passat wagon and raises the ride height and adds body cladding. Volkswagen showed a concept version of the Passat Alltrack at the 2012 New York Auto Show. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 19, 2012 Mercedes-Benz's performance arm, AMG is looking to using AWD in more of their vehicles. "We will not only have all-wheel-drive in the SUVs and the compact cars, we will also have that in the performance sedans," said Friedrich Eichlers, AMG's of engines and powertrains. The reasoning with going towards AWD is due to the amount of power the current crop of AMG vehicles is overwhelming the rear wheels. "If you want to be a member of the club with cars that have 0-100km/h times of around 3.0 seconds, then you need to have all-wheel-drive for your sports cars. The traction is a little bit of a problem for us, and we can solve this problem with all-wheel-drive. It's a good idea to have all-wheel-drive. We just think about that because we won't bring the power and the torque to the road if you always lose the grip and the [traction control system] kills all the power and torque," said Eichlers. Now AMG won't be moving all of their vehicles to AWD. There will be RWD models along with the AWD. "I think we will have both [rear- and all-wheel-drive models]," Eichlers says. "Some people like two-wheel-drive because the steering is a little bit lighter and you can have more fun, with drift, when the rear of the car comes around. Some people like that." Source: Drive.com.au 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

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