Monday, August 27, 2012

Hyundai Halts Sales of 2011 Sonata Review

Hyundai Halts Sales of 2011 Sonata Review

 Moving Intelligence (you can register for withdraw) reports that Hyundai is suspending sales of the just-introduced 2011 Sonata because advance door bosom modules can put. 5,000 of the vehicles, which arrived in showrooms 2 weeks ago, are in the U.S. and so far, exclusive active 1,300 in buyers' hands. Parts module tug dealers origin tomorrow and Hyundai says the sales hold present end as shortly as repairs to models in hold are prefab.
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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie Crew Cab Review

Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie Crew Cab Review

What you see is the new Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie Crew Cab in its natural environment. The 3500 is a one-ton pickup...the kind of thing best suited for hauling huge horse trailers (or Brahma bull trailers) around. The ideal rodeo vehicle.

In fact, I would have said that the market for this was pretty well limited to the horses for business and/or pleasure set until I drove it.

You see, as civilized as trucks have become over the years, there's a sliding scale and it has to do with towing/hauling capacity and heavy duty status.  It applies across Chevy, Ford, GMC and Dodge pickups. A 1500 is a half-ton pickup...light duty. These have become pretty comfy cruisers.

2500? That's a 3/4-ton. Now we're on the entry end of heavy climb up to get in and you'd better hang on, because the ride is usually noticeably rougher than the 1500.

And the 3500? Well, unless you're going commercial hauling, that's the big boy. One ton, riding high and....well, like a truck.

It's tough to tame a one-ton, but somehow, Dodge has done it. The 3500 Laramie Crew Cab I drove for a week was not only luxurious, but actually comfortable to drive. Parking? Not so much. I've had smaller apartments.

Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie Crew Cab Review

The key to the livability here seems to be the Laramie trim level. You can get a 3500 for as little as $35,630, but it's a 2-door, bare bones beast. At the base ST trim, a Crew Cab like ours begins at $39,200.

So pop an extra $10,745 (total base $49,945) into the calculator and the transformation is amazing. Suddenly, leather trimmed bucket seats are part of the package, along with heated second row seats, ventilated front seats, an AM/FM/Sirius/CD/mp3/DVD audio system (506 watt Alpine Premium Sound with 9 speakers and a subwoofer), 17 inch aluminum wheels and a bunch of brightwork to make it look...can you say this about a one-ton?....pretty.

The beautification continued on our tester with extra-cost paint...the Deep Water Blue Pearl Coat adds $225 to the sticker...and by the time the Dodge PR deparment finished with the six-speed automatic transmission, power sunroof, a further upgraded audio system (with a 30 gig hard drive and navigation) and Sirius Backseat TV, the price (with destination charge) was $56,820.

Now, that, cowboys and cowgirls, is steep...but it's a testament to just how good the all-new Ram 3500 is that at no point did I think it wasn't worth it.  And a big part of that is the engine. The 6.7 liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine is a marvel...quiet, smooth and powerful. 350 horsepower, but as always with diesel, the story is in the torque...and it's very nearly impossible to beat 650 pounds per foot of torque at just 1,500 RPM.

The word is that the 2011 Ford Super Duty is an amazing truck. It needs to be. Until it arrives, the Dodge Ram 3500 is king of the mountain.
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Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon Review manual

Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon Review manual

For a country that invented the station wagon and pretty much couldn't live without it for 30 years after World War II, America has shunned the concept...while Europe has bought in big, producing some wonderfully useful, sporty wagons.

Now, Cadillac, never a station wagon builder in the glory days (unless you count ambulances and hearses),  has decided to get in the game by taking its most European vehicle, the CTS sedan, and making a wagon version.

Competition? BMW sells wagons in their 3 and 5 series in the U.S. and.....well, that's about it.

                          Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon Review manual

There's no denying it's a slick looking piece. And it drives almost as well as the CTS sedan, with the usual 304 horsepower V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Prices start just south of $40,000, but the one I drove for a week was the "Premium Collection" model. It takes almost everything on the option list, converts it to standard and jacks the price of admission up to $51,720.

Even then, Cadillac found one way to add to the bottom line: The 19" Summer Tire Performance Package. You get 19 inch wheels instead of the standard 18s, summer-only tires instead of the all-season radials, a sport suspension system, steering wheel mounted shift controls, a performance cooling system and performance disc brakes. $2,000. Bringing the total, with destination charges, to $54,635.

You couldn't quite get to that price by loading a 3-series wagon with everything available, and 5-series wagons start at $55, it's possible that Cadillac has found the sweet spot least in the target market.

But just how big a market is that? Not very. To be a success, Cadillac will have to win converts...get people to step out of SUVs and crossovers into a smaller package...always a tough sell in America, even in tough times.  But grading purely on the product, Cadillac has scored yet again.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Volvo S60 Pedestrian Detection User Manual

Volvo S60 Pedestrian Detection

before I have mixed feelings on this one, part of me thinking that the driver should determine when to brake (having assessed what's around him) and the other part acknowledging the intent and likely reduction of car-pedestrian accidents.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Volvo S60 Pedestrian Detection download here manual and information
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2010 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4X4 Review

 Monumental. The exact gear promise that struck me as I walked up to the 2010 Toyota 4Runner the day it was dropped off. What was erst the paradigm for concentrated SUVs has packed on the pounds and the new styling is same putting enarthrosis pads on top of all that mass. No, it's not conscionable me. Turns out Sajeev Mehta over at The Feminist Roughly Cars content the selfsame thing...he writes "It's variety of like Fat Elvis, on foursome wheels." All that number goes person to the dynamic live. As Casey Kasem said in his most famous outtake, "Ponderous, man...ponderous". 270 h.p. feels no much than enough in overcoming the inertia of this 4400 confine machine...and the EPA cipher of 17 city/22 highway? Let me bang when you see that, okay? Here at TireKicker, we get astonishingly cease to, and on opportunity exceed EPA estimates...but the superfine this one would do for us was 16 in a mix of urban streets and freeways. Without the freeways, 13-point-something or 14 would acquire been nearly it. Flush the upcountry is set up to communicate filler, ponderosity, swell...nearly as though the aim were to transform the 4Runner into a lower edition of the Ground Motorcar. But we suchlike the Business Machine....mainly because it is what it's questionable to be.

Oh, and its EPA is 13 city/18 route...which is most all the 4Runner testament do, based on our period's experimentation. Ours was the SR5 4X4...foot terms a levelheaded $30,915...optioned with an frequence grouping delegate ($585), approval camera (a essential in this vehicle at $525), a facility bundle including moonroof plus lie and back AC cause outlets ($1050), leather and commonwealth sliding nurture seats with histrion airbags ($3570) and floor mats and consignment mats ($204). With $800 for instruction charges, the turn series was $37,649. Not outrageous for this rase of equipment. If it had been on the '09 4Runner, I wouldn't fuck batted an eye. But this strikes me as a accumulate of locomote for a object that appears to be leaving the evil itinerary at the misconduct dimension.
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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mazda CX-9 Review

Mazda CX-9 Review
Mazda CX-9 Review
As the tide turns from traditional truck-based SUVs, a lot of people are discovering the larger crossovers (sport-utes based on car, rather than truck, platforms). It's turning into a crowded field (including four from General Motors alone)...but there are standouts, and one is the Mazda CX-9.

As noted in previous entries here at TireKicker, Mazda doesn't make bad cars. And the CX-9, based on the very good previous-generation Mazda 6, is a strong contender.

The CX-9 is big enough for three rows of seats accomodating seven passengers. The weight of the vehicle, people and stuff is pulled (yep, front-wheel drive) along by a 273 horsepower 3.7 liter V6 with a six-speed automatic transmission. The six speed helps nudge the EPA estimated mileage into respectable territory...16 city, 22 highway.
Mazda CX-9 Review

Ordered in Grand Touring trim, as the test vehicle I drove was, the CX-9 shows up with 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels, automatic Xenon headlights, leather-trimmed seats (including an 8-way power heated driver's seat), Bluetooth hands-free capability for your cell phone, a three-zone climate control and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system. Price: $33,355.

Options on the tester included Sirius Satellite Radio, a blind spot monitoring system, a package including a moonroof and a 277-watt, 10-speaker Bose surround sound sytem with a six-disc changer in the dash, a towing package and a GT Assist package...including navigation, rear view camera and power rear hatch. That propels the bottom line (with delivery charges) to $39,405. ..which puts it right in the hunt with a similarly loaded GMC Acadia.

Safety's a plus here, too, with the CX-9 getting a five-star rating from the government for frontal and side crashes for the driver and passenger, and a four-star rollover rating.
As a smaller manufacturer, Mazda often gets overlooked. In this case, that would be a big mistake.

UPDATE: Just finishing a week and a few days in the base-level CX-9 without any options whatsoever. And it's brilliant. How? Because the basic goodness of the CX-9 as above is there...but the lower standard equipment level (not lower by much) and lack of options keeps the price just a nick under $30,000 as tested. That's ten grand below the sticker price above....for the same basic vehicle. Go. Drive. One. Now.
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Volkswagen CC Sport Review

Volkswagen CC Sport Review
I wonder if Volkswagen appreciates the irony of the new CC.

Six years ago, the company introduced the Phaeton, a big luxury sedan with a price tag starting around $65,000 and running all the way up to $95,000 (a hundred grand with tax) for a 12-cylinder model.

It was a monumental flop, yanked summarily from the U.S. market after only a couple of seasons (it is still sold in Europe and is on the verge of a third facelift for 2011 that has die-hard fans hoping for a return to America)

Part of the problem was that for all that money, it looked like a Passat, only bigger. And from a block away, with no perspective to judge size, it looked like a Passat, period.

So now, VW creates a truly desirable car...and it really is a Passat...but with a sleek roofline and some other styling tricks.

Volkswagen CC Sport ReviewVolkswagen CC Sport Review's the good carries a price tag lower than the Passat...base price for the Sport model I drove is $27,100...$1,200 below the least-expensive Passat.

The current-generation Passat is a bit of an awkward child...not Teutonically purposeful as the ones before, but without actually achieving elegance or desirability. Attempts to soften the Passat have resulted in it coming off as lukewarm.

But the CC turns up the heat by appealing to the emotions with fluid, sensuous lines.

Volkswagen CC Sport Review

And the best part is that, through artful use of colors, details and materials, Volkswagen makes the CC's interior feel special, you the impression that you're driving something a rung or two above the Passat.

The CC gets these impressions so right that driving the base model (the Sport), with only two options (a six-speed automatic transmission and Sirius Satellite radio), feels like the lap of luxury...and keeps the price tag, including destination charges, under $30,000.

You can go hog-wild with the VR6 4Motion and break $40,000 without a sweat....but why, when the Sport is so good?

EPA estimate (with automatic): 19 city/29 highway. Manual transmission 21 city/31 highway.

UPDATE: Just ended a week in another CC Sport. Everything above applies...apart from a base price increase to $27,760. Still, this one bottom-lined at $29,660...with the only option being a six-speed automatic.

And about that...the gas mileage estimate improves to 22 city/31 highway. In my even mix of city streets and freeways, I got 24 for the week...and the range estimate when I took delivery of 450 miles seems plausible. I handed it back this morning with just under half a tank of gas remaining.
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