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Bill Could Banish Those Impossible Latch Anchors

Posted on 16. Aug, 2012 by .


A federal highway bill that Congress last month, could improve the safety of children in child car seats in a side impact crash – and make it easier for parents to install the child seats.

The bill calls for the demand to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration carmakers access to anchor latch to improve side impact protection for children in child seats and research technology that can alert the parents to improve children left behind the rear seat. Expect the final legislation on side impact improvements for child seats within two years and latch anchor developments within three years.

How will improve NHTSA latch access? A spokesman revealed little, saying only that the agency was responding to "the process". But the improvements are long overdue. The latch system in the late 1990s came to child seats easier to install than with safety belts, but to secure a lot of people still have their car seats with seatbelts, the safety advocate Joseph Colella said, runs the risk of compatibility issues.

"The intent was to make it so that car seats had a simple, universal way of installing them, and you did not find out, got the harness, you are not designed on adult safety security instead concerns the safety of children," said Colella, Head of Traffic Safety Projects near Washington, DC, and sat down on the plate, the latch system recommended in 1995.

"A seat booked before – or the crack in the car seat – it can not hold a car seat back," he said. "If it is anchored in front of the seat belt Belt path, you can not make, the car seat [fit] tight."

What's more, certain band technology not supported child seats. Some car manufacturers warn that inflatable seat belts will not hold, for example. Put it all together and Colella found that less than half of parents use car seats with latch properly. You can not blame them. A study published last April by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found only 21 of the top 98 best selling cars easy to use latch anchor had.

Our favorite anchors fall into three categories: exposed, covered under the flexible snap-off lid and those of hinge. The 2012 Audi Q5 and 2012 Suzuki Kizashi anchors are under plastic covers which snap off, facilitating access (not only lose). The access is a breeze in the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox (top) and 2013 Ford Escape, and their anchors are exposed and plenty of space around them. Finally, some new vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class 2013 dowels have hidden under flexible hinged lid, push through it to connect is simple.

Those on the naughty list fall into two camps. Cars with Latch anchors that booked too far down in the seat to fulfill where the back and bottom cushions, or those with a firm seat cushion, which buried the access to the anchor The Toyota Camry and Volvo XC60 (above) anchors are set too low and require some digging to connect them. The seat cushions in the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT and 2012 XC60 are so tight that. Many of the force that is required to be a part of it and look for the anchor

"Many parents who have difficulty with latch think somehow they are not just following the instructions, or there is something wrong with their ability," IIHS spokesman Russ Rader said. "Parents should be able to install a child restraint with less than 40 pounds of force. You should not go in there and put your knee and all your weight in."

After installing hundreds of car seats in cars today, we agree. Here are some additional recommendations:

  • To create specific standards for things like seat cushion stiffness and set the depth, the anchors are located in the bay would help to demystify the installation process.
  • The more latch anchor – a third group for the middle seating position and at least one set in the third row of a vehicle – would open more safe spaces for child safety seat installation.
  • Standardizing the placement of the anchor line would also help. Currently, they are on the back shelf, cargo floor, seat backs, ceiling and in the case of the 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible, the trunk found.

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2013 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman Unveiled

Posted on 15. Aug, 2012 by .


Ram Truck recently announced the continuation of the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman takes over with the new 2013 model year Ram Outdoorsman lineup.The all functions very useful to hunters, fishermen, campers and boaters, and packages them into one model. The outdoorsman road capability and trailer towing hardware in one package combines. Some of the features include:

• Standard Class IV receiver hitch
• Integrated trailer brake controller with driver adjustability
Offer and 7-pin wiring harness plug, the MultiTrailer adaptability – • Illuminated 4
• Heavy-duty cooling, including mechanical / electrical fan and transmission cooler
• Limited-slip differential for improved off-road and towing performance
• Available trailer-tow mirrors
• Available rearview camera
• Trailer Sway Control
• 3.92:1 axle ratio (4×4 models)
• Extra heavy duty rear shock absorbers (4×4 models), the Ram Outdoorsman was introduced two years ago and since then the packet is a popular part of the Ram lineup, and it has helped Ram. Continuous market share in the last two years "The Ram Outdoorsman makes both a practical and an emotional connection with outdoor enthusiasts," said Ram President and CEO Fred Diaz. "The Ram team shares our customer's passion for nature and the outdoors. We take the Ram Outdoorsman designed for the needs of sailors, campers, hunters and fishermen." With Ram truck models that are at wide range of customer needs, we were able to increase sales, gain market share and new buyers "to the brand, he added.

Ram engineers – many of whom count hunting, fishing, boating and other outdoor recreational activities among their hobbies – brought features that they believe best meet would the practical needs of owners who frequently use their Ram truck for towing and long remote trips.Standard is trailer-towing upgrades, interior and exterior lighting and comfort improvements, off-road-oriented tires and underbody protection are combined with a rugged exterior appearance of this next-gen Ram Outdoorsman mark. For 2013, the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman in two cab sizes (quad and crew) and two RamBox bed lengths (5 feet 7 inches and 6 feet 4 inches). The Outdoorsman is available with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, backed up with either the six-speed transmission carryover from last year, or the all-new eight-speed transmission. Other features we like are the 17-inch alloy wheels, 32-liter fuel tank, new 7-inch information screen and extra-skid coating. The 2013 Ram Outdoorsman will be available in black, Black Gold Pearl, bright silver metallic, bright white, Copperhead Pearl, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl, Flame Red, Maximum Steel Metallic, Mineral Gray Metallic, Prairie Pearl, True Blue Pearl and Western Brown Pearl exterior paint. Interior color choices are black / gray or diesel Canyon Brown / Light Frost. Buyers can opt for vinyl flooring for easier cleanup.

Pricing was not announced, but we expect it to. Near the predecessor We will ride the new Ram 1500 next week and should have more detailed videos and driving impressions of several new light-duty Rams from 24th August. Stay tuned.

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Comparison Review: 2013 Elantra GT vs. 2011 Elantra Touring

Posted on 15. Aug, 2012 by .


New exterior

Last year I recommended the Hyundai Elantra Touring for those who "want a simply designed car that's easy to see in the world, capable to drive toting a pile of stuff, solidly built, and fun." A replacement was on the horizon, and I wondered if it would keep the aliens less and less strength. Well, the 2013 Elantra GT here now, and it works well enough to rank above other new compact Hyundai. But what his predecessor?

Old foreign

The Elantra Touring styling was "subtle" and "clean" if we are charitable, "plain" and "generic" if we are not. Neither set of terms for the new Elantra GT, the latest Hyundai design language (XL hexagonal radiator grille, headlights that stretch much of the way, aggressively raked A-pillars, body wave sides) fits into a compact package hatch. Far more people will find the new car, and many will find it attractive (at least from the side). But fans of the old cars might think it an exaggeration.

New interior

The interior of the Elantra GT is more stylized than the Elantra Touring, with a "piano black" bezel on the center console and much more Acura-like silver plastic elsewhere, but it is more reserved than the Elantra sedan. The controls are not as close to the hand or as simple as that operate in the Touring, but that's partly because the 2013 car has far more infotainment features, including the new Hyundai "Blue Link" telematics system.

Old interior

The view from the front of the still comfortable driver's seat, all but guaranteed to change dramatically with the redesign has. The old car relatively upright windshield, compact instrument panel and large side windows are gone, gone, gone. The Elantra GT dashboard does not appear as deep as it is. Harrison Ford does not look like he just cracked 70th The view to the rear? Well, if you spring for the top option package you can find hides a rearview camera niftily under the emblem on the tailgate get. Not that this is worse than the current class standard. But I recommended the Elantra Touring specifically because it is not au courant. Instead, it was a throwback to the days of seeing a slightly compact hatches, were made and optically not have a lot of car between driver and road.

As the Elantra Touring, the Elantra GT is heavily based on the European market i30. The i30 is available in two lengths, a hatch and an estate (the Queen's English for "car") offered. Last time, we have the property. This time, there is not enough of you an Elantra Touring (yes, it's your fault) purchased, we get the hatch. Combined legroom shrinks by about three inches and cargo volume is 65 to 51 cubic feet. The rear seat is spacious enough and the basis of a healthy rel from the soil, more comfortable than most, but adults not to stretch more space. The freight volume is competitive with other hatches but no longer rivals. Of compact crossovers

The Elantra Touring's 138-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine won no straight line contests, but paired with a five-speed manual is supplied sufficient midrange grunt in day-to-day driving seem peppy. Despite ten peak performance with moving 200 fewer pounds (2,745 vs. 2,937) calculated feels the Elantra GT port-injected 1.8 downright cowardly. At one point my passenger turned to me and asked, "Have you any idea, I have planted my right foot on the floor in the last 5 seconds?" No, no, I did not. The manual shift lever engages a cog, and the automatic takes two, so that both have six now. But at least in the case of the stick the benefits fully benefit fuel consumption (from 23/31 to a much more competitive 27/39). Between the engine, the conditions and the elimination of the ET B & M Short Throw Shifter delivered, there is little grief, but also not much fun to have your own rowing gears in the Elantra GT.

Hyundai USA CEO John Krafcik promises we will be happy with a future engine upgrade. He provided some clues: no turbo and not 2.4. My money is on the 165-hp 2.0-liter four currently offered in the Tucson and Kia Soul. Hardly a lusty engine, but far better than the 1.8 that will not provide not remotely on the promise of "GT" appellation.

The Elantra sedan goes so busy and handles vague so that I can not fathom what Hyundai's chassis engineers were trying to optimize. The Elantra Touring Euro-tuned suspension provided much more athletic handling and ride together. Add firmly and well weighted (if less than quick) to maintain steering to the mix and the car. The Elantra GT delivered Sachs dampers are also better off than the standard Hyundai, and in purely technical terms, the new car probably handles better (although the Touring rear independent suspension has been replaced with a torsion bar). But the GT delivers the steering less a connection despite the new ability to vary the amount of support. The firmer "sport" setting does not feel solid … until you try the other two.

Hyundais are not really cheap, but they are still priced below the competition. The Elantra GT starts at $ 19,170. Add $ 2,750 for a Style package, the 17-inch wheels, a large panoramic sunroof, 10-way driver's seat (not available in a Genesis Coupe) includes heated and perforated leather. Add $ 2,350 includes a tech package that nav, reversing camera, and automatic climate control. The Elantra Touring for $ 1,650 less than a 2013 Style Pack listed. But for the new car, the additional functions (infotech, large sunroof, driver's seat) adapt with True Delta car price comparison tool and the result is a nearly $ 400 benefit. Similarly equipped Ford Focus SE, and lists for about $ 1,300 more than the Elantra GT with Style Package. Ask doubled for the remaining feature differences, and the Hyundai Advantage. A Mazda3 Grand Touring costs about $ 2,000 more than the Hyundai.

The Elantra GT is far more stylish than the Elantra Touring, and includes many additional features. But while there's more show there is less traveling. The suspension is well sorted, but the steering circuit and feel less direct and the driving position is less confidence-inspiring. Rear seat legroom and cargo space are both less generous. In sum, the new car will look better and better equipped, but less fun (apart from its superior fuel efficiency) less practical. I'd rather look at the new car, but I would rather take the old one.

But again, not many people bought the Elantra Touring, so Hyundai offset the amount. Therefore, the new car appeals to a potentially much larger group of buyers, but is much more direct competition for them. The Elantra GT is not as good as the Ford Focus drive, much less the aesthetically-challenged Mazda3, but it's close enough that a GT-worthy engine would significantly reduce the gap. Until then, it has most things pretty well and you get a lot of style and material for the price.

Hyundai provided the cars, fuel, insurance and two meals.

Michael Karesh operates, an online source for car reliability information.

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Capsule Review: 1993 Mazda RX-7

Posted on 14. Aug, 2012 by .


Bribery! While TTAC a Get Behind Me Satan approach to buffet table and the press banquet, we are still most vulnerable to kryptonite attract interesting cars.

So if Mazda would called me and asked if I like to try a little of their driving heritage in blatant PR move, I said huffily them that I did not help his in good conscience continue to polish their brand image complicit as manufacturers sporting products. I reminded her that I was the Mazda2 too slow, the Mazda3 too ugly thought the Mazdaspeed3 the poorer torque possessed as a one-legged unicyclist, the cabin draw the designed MX-5 for people with short legs and prehensile elbow, and that they do not once build a Wankel engine will not, so what was the point?

Of course I said all these things in my inner voice while before the 3.7 nanosecond pause, "OohyespleaseWhencanIpickitupHowaboutnow?"

Who's ready for some yellow journalism?

I was fifteen when the RX-7 bowed. Fifteen and up in the hills of Ryder Lake, a good half-hour's drive from most of my friends-locked countries. I had to drive the technical capability for years, just not legal, and the view from my learner's permit danced on the horizon, as alluring as the women in Playboy magazine Bzzt. Victoria's Secret Bzzt. Sears catalog- thing!

Meanwhile, the hard-working people of Nippon were building some of the hottest machines ever come from this country: the last samurai the twilight of the Japanese automotive empire.

The NSX Ferrari put on notice. The 300ZX Twin Turbo wanted to play hide and seek with the Corvette. The twin-turbo Supra MKIV strode the land like a colossus, and – you were a fan of Queen's "Fat-Bottomed Girls" – it was always the all-wheel-drive Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4.

The Japanese had all gone completely bonkers supercar: Rename a manufacturer and they had a heavyweight in the ring. And then came Mazda and a slight * pop * heard my fifteen-year-old brain exploded.

Even now, even in this somewhat lurid hue, this car is beautifully proportioned. It is old enough to drink (at least in this country is it), and yet, when the leaves had the first FT-86 concept to come to reveal this form would have cheered any strong. Followed by my could-care-less-about-cars woman him through the traffic as I stopped, she said: "I can not believe it's not a new car!"

Me neither, although this is an indication of is deleted. No surprise 90 Mazda owners, the color on my old MX-6 certainly pales by Testa Rossa to General Lee.

Apart from the color, it's brand new in the basic research, trim with the original lightweight 16 "alloys, and pop-up headlights. This car was sitting in the lobby of the Mazda headquarters in Ontario somnolent for some time and has only 20,000 miles on the clock . we show it some coastal hospitality.

Forget the modern exterior – the interior of the machine is pure 90s – it's Ace of Basic, if you will. Cloth seats cramped, and a lack of facilities: the steering wheel does not adjust and you get only the most basic teachings. Fortunately, I was easily able to install satellite navigation system and Internet connectivity …

Everything is ready! Apart from the mirror adjustment controller. And one of the speakers. And if you go around a corner too fast, fills the radio head unit resets itself and the cabin with scratchy static. "The air conditioning works!" As I was proudly told, when I picked up the car – it does, but only in a way Neville Chamberlain. However, they are only flesh wounds of time.

And nothing compared Power not work in this beautiful little temperamental machine. The explosive potential of what is under the hood is legendary makes the twin-turbo rotary engine, the fragility look Royal Doulton depleted uranium. I hope those who do not always this thing in front of me did from cheap and fill it with regular.

I enjoy the car through the first few miles, they could get up to operating temperature. It really smell the 90s here – an unidentifiable plastic miasma that is exactly like my old Mazda. There is a touch of the past, a techno version of horsehair and vinyl, which always fogged all the old fogies.

The needle on the temperature gauge reads 3/4s of "H" – Operating according to the instructions. It is 50 clicks to my house, I gas tank full, half a working stereo needs, it's sunny, and I have my sunglasses.

Hit it.

Listen children, not your hero. *
* – If you happen to come hero, all 31 flavors ass.

There's an old Monty Python sketch, John Cleese, who has taught a class called something like, Self-Defense Against Fresh Fruit. At one point, Cleese shouts "at me with that banana!" I'll be in Vancouver with this banana.

The FD RX-7 chassis is brittle, sequential turbo 13b has 255hp (at least at that time, as new), and the car weighs only 2800 pounds. It has designed a suspension with the help of the 1990s supercomputer (wow!), a limited slip differential, four-channel anti-lock brakes and traction control system in the form of four round black things called "tires", the traction. If they cry not too busy.

The low-end power from the smaller turbo provides slingshot torque has to ask me if I do. Bother dipping into the big push Oh go, then. The rotating noticeable pauses in front of the larger fan comes online – alarming in view of the reputation and the questionable origin of the fuel, but it pulls strongly, blitzing the driveway and howling through a tile-walled tunnel.

I sit deep, snugged in tight through the reinforced seats and steering wheel fixed. It feels very much like a long-nosed Miata with a quite satisfying engine (the start humming is absurd sci-fi), and it can and will hit the side when tossed in a corner in a way that would have the entire Initial D cast eat their improbable hairstyles envy.

It is raw and elemental and Whoopsy daisy-fast, and everything I had hoped it would be. Every chance I get, I'm there behind the wheel Unmellow yellow, attack on the wave-like asphalt with Christ in heaven, I'm out of gas AGAIN?

What killed the RX-7? Well, has the tendency to go by sealing strips can not be helped, nor the astronomical price (this cost about $ 45K new, the money is in the 1990s about 100 million billion dollars). What kills driving an order today is the fuel consumption. Actually, scratch that: You can argue that the RX-7 oil economy gets, but when it comes to the use of gasoline, you can not really the word "economy". It is fuel uneconomy.

In the short week I had it, this thing cost me about $ 20 to drive with a value of 94 octane gasoline for every 30 miles I did. The 'vette I currently have is doing much better. Solution: swap in an LS7 for fuel savings – that's the kind of hybrid I can behind!

Nevertheless, if the RX-7. A brief look at a lost time While the GT-R can be said to bear this world's best torch for Japan, it is the antithesis of the RX in many ways. It's a different kind of dream, a different group of engineers – you might as well compare a katana cruise missile.

To buy expensive, unreliable, own, expensive to keep on the road and borderline dangerous in the wet.

In other words, absolutely fantastic. I miss it.

Mazda provided the vehicle tested and insurance.

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Mercedes, Lexus and Audi Fail Latest IIHS Crash Tests

Posted on 13. Aug, 2012 by .


The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and two Lexus sedans – the IS 250/350 and the outgoing ES 350 – not the latest round of IIHS frontal tests.
As we reported Monday, simulates the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset of the new barrier test, a 40-mph collision with a rigid barrier that overlaps only 25% of the car. The test simulates a front-corner collision with a tree, a pole or another vehicle, a scenario. Responsible for almost 25% of prior crashes, injuring the seriously or kill someone before, says IIHS The new test will reinforce the existing agency frontal test, the crash a car at 40 mph against a deformable barrier that overlaps 40% of the front.
"Outside of some automakers' test site, such a test is not present anywhere else performed in the United States or Europe," IIHS said in a statement noting that, despite an increasing number of cars that perform well in frontal crash tests some 10,000 highway deaths or of frontal collisions every year.

The first batch of IIHS crash test results contain 11 luxury cars, the 2012s all. Only three – the Acura TL, Volvo S60 and Infiniti G – has Acceptable or Good. In addition to the C-Class, A4 and the two Lexus cars, the remaining four – the Acura TSX, BMW 3 Series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC – has Marginal or Poor. The C-Class, A4 and Lexus cars earned the worst IIHS designation, Poor. IIHS cited poor structural integrity for all four, but the S60 was the only car whose structure deserves a good review.
Although a major car crumple zones to protect the passenger cell, the so-called "small overlap crashes" impact, the front wheels, chassis and engine firewall, intrusion was substantial cabin. In some cases, forming the front wheel crunching the footwell. The S60 passenger compartment intrusion resisted the best, see his photo over the Lexus IS below. Lexus was not the only car manufacturer, cut the poor. IIHS says the crash test for Mercedes C-Class left the dummy foot wedged under the brake pedal, while the driver's door is opened to the A4 and the CC. The CC door fell completely – the first instance of this ever happened, IIHS noted.
Expanding the boundaries of the frontal crush structure and building safety cages that help impact resistance at its borders can, with IIHS. With the occupants is also important. Front air bag cover was difficult, though, as crash forces tend to move in the direction of the dummy's A-pillars. Side curtain airbags could alleviate the situation, but only six of the 11 cars put them – and four of them do not offer us enough coverage. In the MKZ, for example, missed the crash test dummy the steering wheel airbag total. Compare it with the TL (below), whose dummy hit the bag.

See the complete results below. IIHS expects the family sedans like the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion test next. Top Safety Picks will continue in 2013, but IIHS is "a higher award level, which will be announced later this year" for cars, to safeguard existing a top rating in the small overlap test and the Institute tests introduce.

Airbags and safety technology
More security news
More Automotive News

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Boomerang Basement Bolides – Zeroth Place: 2003 “Time Attack” Ford Mustang GT

Posted on 13. Aug, 2012 by .


When we won the Scion FR-S DFL in our three-way-affordable sportster test, many commentators have pointed out both TTAC and elsewhere that the FR-S was probably not meant to be a complete package from the factory. Rather, the new hachi-roku was intended to be a platform for individual development, you see. Wisely use the best aftermarket upgrades, the FR-S would be a very personal track scalpel.

Now, to paraphrase Katt Williams: "The Scion do look like an excellent platform on which to build his ideal line car … until an real excellent platform to pull on the line to build his ideal car. "As it turns out, one of our Best & Brightest his slightly modified cars" New Edge "Mustang GT to our test, and he was gracious enough to let you put your humble author's 20 or so laps.

How is it done?

Now, as part of the FR-S, Genesis and Miata, the weak Mustang, which can not be revised more valuable than a dozen grand managed – how shall I say – rip their throats from our delicate trio of Patrick Swayze handling business at the end of Roadhouse. Another publication was not racers play in the Hyundai and Scion while I was doing some rather cautious laps, which was at least a car that the owner was going to have to drive 50 miles back to his house that night. Measured in isolation, the Genesis feels quite fast and the FR-S feels treated fairly well. In addition to the Mustang, they might as well have been lacking a spark plug and running space saver tire. We're talking a simple three-or four-second per lap difference. Move over, ladies, Daddy's here.

What this old Mustang is so much better than running on the track three modern contender? Well, the weight and power. New Edge GT Mustangs an official curb weight of 3,237 kilograms. The area is Genesis, but it's nowhere near what weighs the new generation of pony cars. Push, Ford uses a 4.6-liter V-8 engine mod with 260hp/302lb-ft torque. Now add the following changes made, so the car would be competitive in Ontario Time Attack Series and reported by the owner something like this:

  • Strut
  • Subframe connectors
  • -2.5 degree camber
  • Short Throw Shifter (OEM springs were too soft)
  • Cobra brakes (Factory bolt on, running Hawk HP + with Motul RBF 600 fluid)
  • K & N Intake (up only because I thought it was really cheap on ebay, picked up used)
  • Magnaflow magna pack cat back exhaust (5whp probably worth about 100 hp acoustic)
  • Corbeau lying seat
  • 265-40-17 Dunlop Star Specs

As you can see, there are a few elements of the interior are removed to save an odd pound here and there. The important parts, in our opinion, are the Fall, the Subframe connectors, and the Star Spec tires. The Mustang also seems to have a fairly aggressive position than we were after them earlier in the Miata in the day, it's just came from on Sal (the owner) at about 60 mph. Way around Tokyo Drift area. When the paint had rags managed to get an FR-S that sideways, they would have used it for the cover shot. Sal caught it pretty easily, it turns out, TTAC has not only the best online personal driver in the biz are, ace our freakin 'readers also.

From the moment you turn the key and turn the traction control (on which your humble author takes some command despite a Ford salesman in the mid-nineties), the 'Stang feels like a serious matter. It does not have all the riding-down-the-road-on-metal bearings, what's going on, that is a real full-on racer has. Real racing cars are intensely uncomfortably tight and claustrophobic. Nope, that's just a hardcore street Mustang. There is no window net, no halo seat, no incomprehensible jumble of Dymo-labeled security-position switch to a steel sheet "Dashboard" ahead. It is not so different from what it was when it rolled out of the factory 10 years ago or so. But Sounds how the business.

Once on TMP front just released, the Mustang, the flat road swallows back to the first corner. The brakes are secure and trustworthy than our other testers, and we are not using them as much as the Star Specs halfway to R compositions and they barely squeak before catching the Ford's nose and threw it over her head.

Back in the choke and now we're grinning because we know what's coming: a twisty section. Fall is here and the King Mustang takes the right-left-right transitions with aplomb, the FR-S would have no doubt if you put decent tires on it. Oh, yes, and we can also simply the attitude with the throttle, but that's a trick you can only roughly twice play each round before the rear tires hot enough to get on the faster corners implausible.

It would be a nice credibility builder here to "suffer Na goes, the Ford of numb steering" something along the lines like, or say something like that, but honestly it's fine, especially with these tires and the suspension settings are . No, it can not compare to the Miata, in this context, but the rest of the package is so entertaining it less important.

The current generation Mustang physical incarnation as a long bonnet, Thunderbird-esque, Camry-sized product tends people forget that for the majority of the production lifetime, the nameplate is attached to a small cart. The "New Edge" Mustang has. Rooted in '79 Fox-based Telnack design and as a result, the seating position and the view over the hood is almost more like a Genesis as a 2013 Mustang GT

Speaking of this delightful modern Pony: The old 4.6 is not a two-valver Coyote 5.0. Heck, it is not even found the rambunctious three-valve mod motor in the 2005-2011 Mustangs. It is a Crown Vic engine in a lighter body and freed by the police or compulsory retirement-home it takes its (iron) Skirts and grabs the redline with a reasonable portion of enthusiasm. It's certainly enough to see the Genesis, which was until the moment I turned the key in the dark, ill-fitting the Ford steering column come from pretty much like the muscle car of the group. But you know, it just came off as the muscle car of the bunch … Pull up the muscle car of the series up.

Sal paid thirteen grand for the car a few years ago. It now has 120,000 km on it, which is in miles … not the same number. It could probably be duplicated in the United States for much less than fifteen grand now. , That the money you get a reliable, easily maintained vehicle with an aftermarket of intergalactic proportions and a resale value that is not less than half immerse the purchase price, as long as it starts and runs well. If you get tired of driving on the road, you can cage it and run it in the outstanding Camaro Mustang Challenge Series. (For a video of your humble author hackin 'it up to a podium finish in his first CMC race to fill with what was almost caused a massive crash by my stupidity, click!) If you want to personalize it, you can get everything what a Steeda IMSA body kit to a stitched-leather dashboard. Parts are readily available and if you blow the engine somehow a replacement will cost $ 900 at a junkyard.

Does that sound like the model of the modern "platform for individual expression"? There's only one problem. It's a Mustang and that means you do not have any credibility with the racers of the Internet that. Every vehicle at all on how it fits into their imagination to assess sold sixteen and again at a Japanese high school by their frazzled mothers Do not worry. You'll have a lot of credibility with the racers on the track.

Photography courtesy of Julie Hyde, who does not go back to that lousy Grossman's Tavern for some reason, even if her boyfriend has "whine" a chance in the open jam session.

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A 3,445-Mile Road Trip in the 2013 Ford Flex

Posted on 13. Aug, 2012 by .


It was an ambitious program for a summer vacation: Go from Chicago to the Twin Cities, Minnesota and Bismarck, ND, to Rapid City, SD, to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial to see, and then the Denver before returning to Chicago. It included Alpine sledding, white water rafting and a trip to the summit of Pikes Peak. All in a refreshed 2013 Ford Flex.

Now we have every version of the Flex before driven. Our first trip took us to the original version from Chicago to upstate New York. Two years ago, we drove an EcoBoost-equipped Flex from LA to Chicago. This time we had a new Flex with stronger than the original base engine.

Here are pieces such as the journey went.

By the numbers

Miles from start to finish: 3,445
Here are the two longest legs:

  • Chicago to Denver: 1,891 miles, 89.5 gallons of gasoline, and almost exactly 36 hours driving time. 21.1 mpg (on-board computer).
  • Denver to Chicago: 989 miles. 46 gallons of gas. Almost 16 hours of driving. 21.5 mpg (on-board computer).

Like the Flex Drove

For my family, the flex of the largest touring crossover remains available today. My wife and I have three young people who are very much adult size, but never on the trip was to argue about space and comfort. In fact, the children were about who could be the third row for the home have argued, usually, they hate sitting in the way back.

It is an incredibly smooth ride, whether on interstate or endless dirt roads in Montana (more on that later). Normally on most road trips we take, which are almost all much shorter than 3,000 miles, I is complaints about seat cushion or someone in a position to be adjusted their seat to hear a comfortable position. That was not the case with the Flex.

While the Flex has been updated, many of the changes were cosmetic. The new front end looks like something straight from the movie "Tron. Legacy" The rear end looks basically the same, with the blue Ford oval always rapped in size and location.

I should point out, that was not the EcoBoost Flex, a version that I drove from Los Angeles to Chicago two summers ago. That being said, was the 285-horsepower V-6 I drove this road trip is more than sufficient and has enough power when I needed them in mountain areas. Sure, it hummed over many crossings of its size, but I did, know that it is weird, like the exhaust note of a three-row crossover?

Our biggest Pet Peeve

While the Flex dynamics and super annoying were a usability aspect of the crossover us almost as much as MyFord Touch: the single-turn signal stalk. Ford has an approach to this piece of equipment that is found in BMWs and other makes adopted: slightly hit the stalk and get three of the indicator flashes on both sides. Hit it harder, and it remains flashing until the driver forced him off (think the difference between a quick lane change and waiting a turn of a left-turn lane to make).

Did it bug us? Because roads are never as smooth as engineers test areas, and more than once I hit the stalk hard enough to blink continuous signal when I meant to only initiate a lane change. More than a few times I had the signal flashes in the direction I'd just come out in a vain attempt to turn it off. Attention all car manufacturers: We do not need this level of nuance indicator. Hit it once to select it, and hit it again to turn it off. You are pondering this.

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Air Supply: Putting Today’s Fresheners to the Test

Posted on 13. Aug, 2012 by .


My car has a peculiar odor. There is a stench for those of us in our family prime, those of us whose cars were the scene of many crimes fragrance, subject of dirty diapers on a forgotten gym bag, a lot of spilled milk. But there's no need to cry. Since we live in a world with an attempt, superficially cover up all the problems possessed large and small, the market is full of automotive air fresheners, and they are no longer just a simple pine box.

When I see this scent-sational (sorry) began journalistic mission, I was surprised to discover how full the automotive air freshener market actually is. The abundance of possibilities almost rival the abundance of cereal choices these days. Obviously professionally required. I bought and thoroughly tested a number of air fresheners, so you can make an informed choice, you should start your car to smell at all like I am.

My rating system is as IIHS 'that each product gets a good, acceptable, marginal or poor rating based on my experience. Prices below may vary depending on where you live and where you buy.

Little Trees air fresheners
Price: $ 1.25 each
Rating: Good

The original. They have over 60 years for a reason. They are lightweight, inexpensive, easy to hang, in over 60 scents, and they emit a subtle but effective fragrance. Surprisingly, Little Trees last a long time if used properly. Not tear the packaging and attach the tree, but follow the instructions and tear only a small triangle at the top of the package and pull the tree piece by piece for seven weeks, which is the longest lasting results. I tested the relaxing scent, a soothing lavender vanilla, and it was lovely.

Febreze Car Vent Clips
Price: $ 5.35
Rating: Good / Acceptable

This clip entitled to car to eliminate odors rather than cover up. Total combustion would not be able to eliminate the odors in my car, but these clips have a decent job. They are small, plastic squares are filled with sweet-smelling liquid, and one you can dial the intensity. The clips easily to your car to install the vents and are easy enough that the vent is adjustable. Febreze says that the clips can be up to 30 days under the right conditions, and I found that to be true. Managing Editor David Thomas' wife put a car in her family, and he also took over a month with a few drops of liquid.

These clips lost a few points because the highest price tag of all I have tested fresheners. (Look for coupons, people.) Furthermore, the five available scents names like "thai fruit Dragon" and "meadows and rain", which are a bit of a pain in her forced extravagance.

Bahama & Co. Freshener
Price: $ 3.99
Review: Acceptable

These air fresheners are for those of you to buy things just to please your children or Jimmy Buffett is to find the right music for any occasion. This air freshener hanging on a string and come in the form of a miniature beach sandals, lei or palm-themed bag. I tested the sandal in a beautiful Tahitian vanilla scent. Other scents available include similar beach-themed Pina Colada, island sun and tropical breezes. The scent was strong for about 15 days, and then just a little shoe was on a string, thought that my children swell.

Yankee Candle Car Jar
Price: $ 2.99
Review: Acceptable / Marginal

They are similar to the tree, though not quite as satisfying. The Car Jar is a hanging piece of cardboard representation of a Yankee Candle in a glass, and it comes in about 25 scents. The ones I tested were strong initially were too sweet and fruity smelling altogether and disappeared too quickly. A Car Jar Ultimate is available but has not been tested. The Ultimate claims to offer up to four weeks lasting fragrance, and while that may be true, my guess is that you will not last four weeks is when the ultimate scent for any sweeter and stronger than the regular Car Jar.

Update Your Car Scented Oil Wick
Price: $ 3.49
Review: Marginal

This is from the same people who are the cute little Bahama & Co. Mini sandal. As the Febreze clip puts the oil Wick your car the vents. Unlike the Febreze clip, which is a. Glass and is so large and heavy that they jeopardized the benefits of ventilation and therefore can not function as well, since it is based on injecting air through the vent in order to spread the fragrance Also leak, creating a precarious combination of glass and oil in my car children.

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Off-Track Review: 2013 Scion FR-S

Posted on 13. Aug, 2012 by .


Editor's note: not rated TTAC cars do TTAC reviewers. The reviews can be as varied as the reviewers are, and they express their views independently. Received due to the high interest of the FR-S, we have a whole group of TTAC reviewers in the car, and we're not done yet.

Alex's first look at the pre-production Scion FR-S had a few feathers in the comments always disheveled. Then came Derek discussion of the hype around the car and drive his disappointing, and yet more feathers were bent wrong. Now Jack had a go in the decomposition of the FR-S on the track (its natural environment, if not the car), and it's basically like burning chicken was in a snow blower.

So while the small Toyobaru sits in the middle of the crossfire of angry verbiage, which is like so completely not what usually happens around here, I'll belly up to the bar. We had the launch event, we had comparo the track, I had the FR-S for a week, in order to evaluate it as a daily driver, and one thing immediately:

"Make no mistake, it is a good car." -Derek Kreindler
"First things first:. Way your humble author loves the FR-S" -Jack Baruth

Unlike my colleagues, I would like the error simply means that I like to avoid the car in the middle of a discussion of its weaknesses and shortcomings. This method seems to be wrong in a lot of attention, including allegations that TTAC anti-FR-S is led – we are not.

Instead, I put my general conclusion at the very beginning, in 72-point font, so you can not possibly miss. This is a good car, and I liked it …


First thoughts:
Five minutes or 50 feet: That's all it takes to fall head-over-heels for the MX-5. I loved her little red Mazda roadster so much I went right on craigslist and start hunting for used, temporarily forget that shopping for drop-tops should not be a priority, if your wife is 38 weeks pregnant. Oops.

Not so with the FR-S. Those of you in a position to test drive or a spin at a friend's buying new hooks and have walked away feeling quite disappointed you are not alone. My first reaction when winding from the 2.0L boxer, to paraphrase Katie Holmes on her wedding night, "Is this all?"

Twice the torque peak – and in between craters – makes the FR-S is a little weird to go stop and go. It has decent punch off the line, but then you're through a wasteland with little to encourage you to forward revving. Things pick up a little towards redline, but the 6-7/10ths mid-range (where the MX-5 is a pleasure) is something missing.

What's more, I could not really pay attention to fall for the engine either. It was loud and somewhat tasteless, like – oh, one example at random from: this. Frankly, the whole first five minutes was a bit of a disappointment. But I persevered.

Inner Space:
Things that make a good job? The seats are fantastic. The interior is very cheap, but it is also sparse and clear: no steering wheel buttons accidentally change radio stations during a peak.

The sizing feels right, not quite as small as a car chuck able bounceback MX-5, but cheap and easy, like an early integration or 240SX. What more, if you do not fit in a MX-5, you will probably fit in this car – it's big enough, and the roof rising high enough to accommodate a helmet.

Forward visibility is quite good, are low curbs, and the rear view is totally ok if your mirrors are properly adjusted and. 'Confidence in the brevity of your car And then there are those, kid-size back seats: think perfect for me, would you, with a little hellion on the way.

Family Values:
Not even close. First, pull up a pregnant woman in and out of the front passenger seat does not win you any points shopping. Second, rear-facing child seats are the size of Volkswagen Beetles these days: cramming one is behind the passenger seat Save your spouse needs in the glove compartment. Child seats will be fine, but that is not necessarily the ideal young second family car in the early stages of raising children.

Tofu Delivery Rating:
As food-getter, the FR-S is good. It has a trunk, not a hatchback for chassis stiffness reasons and only seven cubic meters, you'd better play Tetris. For larger objects, do the seats fold down, apparently the marketing department advertises its effectiveness in loading up a set of race tires and wheels for the track.

Unfortunately, there is a relative issue. Taking back the empties on a Thursday puzzle had left me I never make with my WRX: I could not shut the truck. Some careful reorganization did the trick, but there is certainly a limit to the FR-S's trunk volume: Nowhere near a major practical advantage over the Miata.

Sorry, I mean "MX-5". I know that currently the correct nomenclature for the small roadster Mazda scripted "Miata" was seen as too girly. Here is an advantage for the FR-S is then: in public, it is a dorifto machine, not some limp-wristed mincing mobile.

Granted, the Miata could minces through the corners very well, and I care less care about their supposed "Girl's car" image anyway. But then there are those who care about that sort of thing, so maybe the imaginary blemish was ever too much for you.

Downside to this is the V6 Mustang is currently the automotive industry catch-all du jour. "Why not a V6 Mustang?" Why not?

Here are two reasons: It is a Mustang, and it's a V6. Ford pony car will not work for everyone, and as good as the I-can't-believe-it-is-not-butter V6, it is still seen as a lite option. Someone will inevitably ask, why not buy the V8 version as well, if you go for the FR-S, will inevitably ask someone why not buy the V6 Mustang.

Either way, took place on Saturday evening my Canadian Tire, the purchase of a cordless weed eater for my small suburban lawn. The car park is open in the evenings and quite an impromptu car show had emerged: Oldsmobile 442s, some Mopar Iron, a Volvo 122s – a very mixed bag.

Just a couple of guys shooting the breeze about her definitely-non-machine hall. I walked through just admire, listen and nod, and found myself in a bit of humor to go for a ride.

I took the long way home after fiddling with the FR-S, the traction control system (Engage Sport mode, then press and hold the traction control button for another 2-3 seconds). The car was as it always was. I pushed harder. It got better.

Here, finally, caning the FR-S along the curve, things started to click. It's not the second coming of Christ sports car, but it sure works when you thrash out the bejesus out of him.

Find Greatness:
Part of the deal with the old AE-86 is that everyone forgets what a piece of junk that is indeed a lot of fun to flog car. Change it however, and things start getting interesting.

On the last track day, I have a FR-S owners on Dunlop Star Specs was pretty easy to hold with powerful machines. How? He had replaced a brake upgrade from an STI. Looked like fun. Did it look like more fun than MX-5, which was stacked with Hoosiers on a mini-trailer? Uh …

Click here to view the embedded video.

Oh, and there's this. Want to offer the power of the manufacturer is not the bat? No problemo. This turbo kit is a nice smooth power curve and still using stock injectors. No need to overnight parts from Japan either – these guys are in Ohio.

Buying a car the first year is always a bit of a crap-shoot. The Miata is buggered with early-nose crank issues. From leaky taillights to speed fitment problems to faulty panel gap idle, the FR-S, had what can charitably be called teething problems. Here's a list.

Even still, I would recommend this car? Let's see: There is not a better drive than the Miata, but it work and you'll find the rewards that it is bound to aftermarket support for most of the questions (the clutch shooting is terrible, but the community is very true be that a) there is enough space. just pip the practicality meter Add this to the quite reasonable fuel consumption – although premium is required – and sure, it's worth a good hard look.

But so is the 'Stang, and so is the MX-5, and then a' Speed3, and so is an Abarth, and so is the surprisingly good Genesis Coupe. No two ways about it: We are living in a golden age of cheap motoring. The FR-S is a good choice, but it's not easy. None of them are.

Scion Canada unless tested the car and insurance.

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Review: 2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury Series

Posted on 13. Aug, 2012 by .


The K-car saved Chrysler the company. The K-car almost destroyed the Chrysler brand. Lee Iaccoca and his team turned almost endless and very profitable iterations of the K-platform and components, including the company's market segment creating minivans. Beginning with the LeBaron in 1983, followed by the extended wheelbase E Class, the company also started the K-car basis for its premium brand Chrysler. Finally, almost every vehicle in the Chrysler showroom was based on the K-car. In the 1950s and 1960s, almost terminal decline at Chrysler in the late 1970s, Chrysler was indeed the premium brand. Plymouth she struggled with Ford and Chevy, the other members of the "cheap three ', and Dodge cared more middle-class offerings. The Chrysler brand was the volume. Chrysler, on the other hand, were larger and more luxurious. You can do something and components with the company more plebeian brands have shared, but they had striking plate and functions and were sold as luxury cars. Although the Chrysler K variants were not unattractive cars, and even though they sold quite well, there was no hiding their K-car heritage. For nearly a generation, "Chrysler" meant a K-car with suede padding on the inside and imitation wood on the outside.

Forget all this faux Chrysler front-drive K-car and genes. The Chrysler 300 Luxury Series is a genuine Chrysler (although some of their DNA is from Stuttgart, courtesy of the hapless Daimler-Chrysler hookup imported). It is a large, comfortable rear wheel drive car with almost all the amenities you could ask in a modern automobile packed. It has more than adequate power, the handling will never get you into trouble, it has some trick-tech features to improve the driving experience, and in general it is far truer to the Chrysler brand than most cars under this label sold the better part of the last three decades.

Let's start with the driving dynamics. The 300 was built with the latest drive Chrysler, consisting of the out 292 hp Pentastar V6 engine with new 8-speed Chrysler automatic transmission, that ZF supplies ("imported from Detroit", the 300 was assembled in Canada with an engine in Mexico and equipped), a German transmission. The combination works very well together, with more than enough power and the right gear for almost any real world driving conditions.

The Chrysler 300 Luxury Series takes this seriously later appellation. This is a car that has been tuned and body treatments, very quiet and very smooth. It is exceptionally quiet. Yes, the V6 a satisfying howl when you get over 5,000 RPM, but otherwise the car is nearly silent inside. At speed, the HVAC system is louder than what you hear from outside the vehicle. I can not say that the Jaguar XJ Portfolio, which I tested significantly quieter. The ride is very smooth, though I think I would have preferred 19 "wheels on the delivered twenties. The chassis has been tuned for comfort, not for handling, and I think 19s would have the ride smoother even without the cornering worse . This does not mean it is a lumbering behemoth that is difficult to control.

The suspension is well controlled, if not euro sports sedan company. Although the car will understeer when you really just try to get the rear end is moving, turn quickly, the steering is precise, and the car will go where you steer it, if you need more Castle. There's not a huge amount of steering feel, this is not a Lotus Elan, not even a Mazda3, the latest standard for good steering feel, but it's also far from the palm of the wheel overwhelmed steering by remote control of large sedans Chrysler was once . With independent suspension, the chassis is severely upset and I found myself looking for bad pavement to see how well the hardness was dumb. There is a section of concrete near the Northland Shopping Center, which was not leveled properly when it was poured. On the left side of the street is about a quarter mile from vibrations so bad that in some cars you might think that something is broken mechanically. The 300 does an admirable job of dealing with these vibrations. Irregularly washboarded asphalt not disturb much the 300 equanimity. Brakes are very good. The few times that I wanted to slow down or had been made quickly without any fuss. They are easily modulated although sometimes the brakes felt a little grabby just before it. To a complete stop The Rolls-Royce chauffeurs' school method of reducing the pedal pressure "six inches before you stop to" practically was.

In general, however, the car was very smooth and well composed. It is to live a very easy car.

Electronics has been working well. The 8.4-inch touchscreen with Chrysler UConnect worked very well, and I'm not on the review, as my phone couple RTFM. Remote audio controls are mounted on the back of the steering wheel, near the paddle shifters and function quite intuitive. The system is easily accessible, the music on my Android phone and phone integration works well with one exception, when the audio call on a cell phone, the phone was without telephone audio redirect to that call ever wanted. It is possible that a breakdown due to the telephone, the car is not caused. Speaking of electronic breakdowns, a time when I the car is turned on, started the HVAC system blows hot air and when on AC or ACC does not seem to do anything. Turning off the car and restarting made the problem go away. The smart key worked fine. They are convenient, but I'll be happy when the fobs be further miniaturized.

The audio system, a premium Alpine branded unit sounded great, although I was surprised that there was no louder than it did. There are enough regular knobs and switches for regularly used functions to be bothered by the touch screen. There is a power sunshade for the rear window, which is just across the touchscreen, since the controls for the heated seats and steering wheel, but if someone throws you the keys, you will not have to access to the infotainment system only car . go I suspect that if Fiat-Chrysler could money based on Fiat 500 save by deleting keyed locks on the small car passenger door and tailgate to figure people would not notice, because the "free" power locks, most Chrysler won 300 buyers also "t notice that power. sunscreen no dedicated switch.'s heated and cooled cup holders in the console by the way, do not have dedicated buttons, one for each cup holder

The other day, Steve Lang said, "What is a 'loaded' car these days?". With a reasonable measure these 300 was loaded Stickering at $ 44,855. He had the security Tec Package ($ 2,420), the Luxury Group ($ 3,250), the 300 Series Luxury Group ($ 3,500), a dual-pane panoramic sunroof ($ 1,495) and UConnect ($ 795). Leather with detail stitching on hard surfaces throughout the interior applied that touch the entire instrument panel and most of the other points that you would. A lot of what is not made of leather, real wood, including a nifty covered slatted roll-top lid for heated and cooled cup holders. I work with leather in my job, and I would say that's the equivalent of at least one cow gave the skin for this car.

Seats have perforated leather seat surfaces and are heated, the front and back side, the front seats also always ventilated. A nice touch is that in addition to the adjusted 8-way seats, the pedal cluster can also benefit. Since I have long arms and short legs, which is a nice feature. The vinyl is used on the seat backs and sides is of good quality. There are some hard plastics on the door panels used, and although it obviously hard plastic, it's a decent color and grain match with the leather.

Everything was working, there were no rattles. Other than the aforementioned disturbances, was the only glaring quality control problem on a car with 2940 miles on the odometer reads a piece of wood trim above the glove compartment, the double-sided tape failed, so that the trim was hanging a bit loose. Grell, because the rest of the interior fit and finish was very good.

I'm a bit of a multi-speed skeptics. When I bought my first nice bike, it had an 8-speed hub. Over the years, Shimano and Campagnolo nine, then have gone ten, and now. Eleven teeth on the rear, though most cyclists had to do most of their riding in only a handful of gear ratios My first car a two-speed Powerglide and I was wondering if you really need. More than six gears in a transmission I was a skeptic, now I'm a believer.

I was concerned that the ZF box, like a Car and Driver critics said would the late, unlamented Chrysler 604 gear, hunt like a Jack Russell terrier. That was not the case. It is the smooth gearbox that I have ever experienced. In quieter driving observe almost the tach to say that there is a shift-made. As with many modern cars that I programmed not with how the throttle'm ready for slow response directly to the idle excited yet I like gear for fuel economy, so that they start in as high a gear as possible, but other than that initial hesitation I find with a lot of today's slushbox cars, the drivetrain is silky smooth. I can lose car guy cred here, but at the end of the week that I had with the 300, I thought the need, with beautiful magnesium shift paddles (right in the air flow from the HVAC to play placed ventilation holes so that you know of Touch that they are real metal), and pretty much had the IF shift for themselves. I would bet that people at ZF know more about than I shift. Unlike downshift force, the paddle has to get used much. Switching back and forth manually eight steps seemed out of character with the car.

Speaking of moving, the shifter works electronically on the console and not using the conventional PRNDL sequence. PRNDL was made a standard before I got my driver's license so get used to it a little effort, but it becomes second nature, although I question the snow, like rocking the car between forward and reverse without damaging the transmission in the case. As modern as the gearbox, there was a behavior that reminds me of a vintage three-speed automatic transmission with a properly kick down control. With only three speeds, there was a lot of distance between the ratios, so if you wanted to, you put into it your foot and the transmission would downshift to consider where we would be today a much lower gear, as well as the carburetor secondaries began more fuel into the engine throw. Suppose you drove a big American land yacht with a V8, you would snap your head back as you accelerate. Big Fun on the highway. With ZF and the Pentastar, your feet into them at highway speeds the transmission will shift down by two or more figures and the car just goes.

Let the fun retro, but it's a modern benefit all those gear rations: improved fuel efficiency. This car is EPA rated at 19/31, which sounds about right from my experience. In a little over 300 miles, I

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