The Truth About Cars » 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 02 Aug 2014 03:20:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Review: 2015 GMC Yukon SLT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/review-2015-gmc-yukon-slt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/review-2015-gmc-yukon-slt/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 22:15:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=853377 Until a decade or so, if you wanted a three-row SUV your choices were pretty much limited to body-on-frame offerings, most of which were related to a pickup truck. But now, even GM’s own GMT960s (Enclave, Acadia), provide similar amount of interior space to this Yukon. Furthermore, they are less expensive, more efficient, and easier […]

The post Review: 2015 GMC Yukon SLT appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 GMC Yukon SLE front 34 left

Until a decade or so, if you wanted a three-row SUV your choices were pretty much limited to body-on-frame offerings, most of which were related to a pickup truck. But now, even GM’s own GMT960s (Enclave, Acadia), provide similar amount of interior space to this Yukon. Furthermore, they are less expensive, more efficient, and easier to drive. It’s possible to argue that the biggest, if not the only, advantage of these body-on-frame V8-powered SUVs is their towing ability.

So why do GM, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota still bother with these dinosaurs?

2015 GMC Yukon SLE rear 34

The simple answer is because people are buying them. Spend time on this nation’s roads this summer and you’ll see full-size SUVs loaded up with summer essentials, often towing boats, campers, or project cars. The merits of three-row unibody “trucks” aside, a full-size V8-powered SUV still holds appeal for many consumers.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE interior dash

Climb into the driver’s seat of this Yukon SLT 4×4 and prepare to be overwhelmed. Surrounding you, the driver, are:

  • 37 dash buttons,
  • 8 dash knobs,
  • 13 steering wheel buttons,
  • 13 door buttons,
  • 6 gauges,
  • 2 screens,
  • 1 shifter with a button,
  • 1 multi-functional stalk,
  • 3 toggle switches
  • 8 roof buttons,
  • 2 12v receptacles,
  • 4 USB ports and

It’s not as bad as it sounds, since many of those buttons are for secondary controls. That said, many of those secondary buttons could be combined with others or simply eliminated. Even grouping them to one area that’s hidden from view (Lexus does that) would visually clean up the interior. In daily driving, however, where most drivers just switch between presets, drink coffee, occasionally input a destination, take a phone call, or vary the temperature setting by a few degrees, the interior layout will suit most people just fine. Perhaps the center screen could be positioned more toward the driver as opposed to being in the middle of the very wide dash.

Where the interior does fall a bit short is in the quality of materials used. Self-appointed plastics experts will rightfully complain about flimsy feeling panels and a lack of soft-touch materials. The leather, with its contrasting stitching, a mark of luxury de jour, also does not seem soft or of high quality. A GMC is supposed to feel better than a Chevy but not as good as a Caddy. In the case of this particular GMC, the interior still seems average at best.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE interior details

GM’s biggest challenge seemed to be designing the two rows of rear seats. To be safe and comfortable, the seats have to be big. Buyers also want the functionality of a flat cargo floor. Furthermore, no one wants to pull heavy seats out of vehicles anymore, therefore the seats have to fold flat. In addition to all that, the middle row had to provide easy access to the third row, making the final design both complicated and compromised.

The solution to this was to raise the floor in the rear section of the vehicle, creating a compartment in the back, and making it even with the level of the folded third row. The middle row, (captain’s chairs in this tester, but a bench is available), is even with the third row when folded. This makes for a flat loading floor but takes away from overall cargo volume. The third row folds and raises with a push of a button. The middle row folds down with a push of a button, or via a lever, but needs to be raised manually. The middle seats also fold and tumble forward for passenger access to the third row. Nissan has a much nicer solution in its Pathfinder that even allows a rear-facing baby seat to remain in place when the seat is folded forward.

The power hatch has two settings: fully open or three-quarters open, to avoid potential impact with a garage roof. The rear window also opens independently of the hatch which is handy for dropping small things into the cargo area. The problem with that window is that it is only fourteen inches high, a relatively small opening for such a big vehicle. With the third row seats folded, the cargo area is generous. 12v outlets, cubbies, covered storage bin, and cargo tie down hooks further increase the functionality, but there is no cargo cover.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE tailgate trunk cargo

Notice the raised floor from the bottom of the the tailgate opening. Ignore the crib.

This Yukon is one of the quietest SUVs I have ever driven; wind noise and engine noise are basically absent, surprising given its large surface area and upright design. Gone, too, is the V8 burble. The ride is very smooth and it takes a sizable pothole to jolt the passengers. One of Yukon’s drawbacks is visibility; both A- and D- pillars are very thick, windows are relatively short, side mirrors are small, and when the optional rear entertainment screen is opened it completely blocks the inside rear view mirror. There are blind spot sensors, parking sensors, and a backup camera, but no surround view display, which would be very beneficial.

The Yukon, when equipped with the Max Trailering Package (ref. code NHT), is rated to tow 8200lbs (8500lbs for 2WD models). The package includes a 3.42 axle ratio, trailer brake controller, a self-leveling suspension, and a 2” receiver with a 7-pin connector. The receiver is hidden behind a cover which is held by two wing nuts. Roof rails are standard on the SLT.

Despite the rugged looks and a 22” step-in-height, the ground clearance is only eight inches, but the front air dam looks even closer to the ground. The twenty inch polished wheels are wrapped around in 275/55-20 Continental all-season tires that say “EcoPlus Technology” on them. While they seemed great on the highway I would not venture too far off pavement.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE interior rear details

EcoTec3 is the new series of GM’s V6 and V8 engines. The Yukon is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 version which produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. The OHV engine is sporting new(-ish) technologies such as direct fuel injection, cylinder deactivation, and variable valve timing, and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Loaded up with my family and a day’s worth of kids’ stuff, the engine pushed the 5700lb vehicle effortlessly in all situations but struggled to achieve 15mpg in heavy-footed mixed city/highway driving, short of EPA’s rating of 16 city, 22 highway mpg. Those wishing for more power can step up to the Denali and its 6.2-liter 420hp/460tq engine.

For 2015, the Yukon SLE 2WD starts at $47,330. The starting price for this SLT 4WD is $57,735. The Sun and Entertainment Package which consists of a sunroof, nav system, and rear seat DVD player (component input but no HDMI) adds $3255, less a $500 credit. 20″ wheels add $1400, second row bucket seats  are $590. The Max Trailering Package is a bargain of the bunch at $650, and an alarm is $395. Total MSRP with destination charge for the reviewed Yukon is $64,520.

For comparison, an equally loaded up Nissan Armada Platinum is $56,395 and its fancier Infiniti QX80 cousin is $80,245. A Toyota Sequoia is $65,410 and a Ford Expedition Limited is $61,113, all more or less equally loaded.

Yikes! That’s a lot of money, particularly when compared to the Pilots and Highlanders of the world. How much do you really want one of these? Enough to pay 5 Series money? Not to worry; if you’re not interested, someone else will be, and they’ll be tailgating you on the freeway shortly.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE side

Kamil Kaluski is the east coast editor for Hooniverse.com. Read his ramblings on eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous car stuff there. 

General Motors provided the vehicle for this review.

The post Review: 2015 GMC Yukon SLT appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/review-2015-gmc-yukon-slt/feed/ 101
GAC Hopes Transformers Appearance Means US Sales Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gac-hopes-transformers-appearance-means-us-sales-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gac-hopes-transformers-appearance-means-us-sales-next-year/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 10:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855657 Aside from seeing another Hasbro IP cameo transform into a weapon of mass destruction, viewers at the weekend opening of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” may have also glimpsed the first Chinese vehicle to arrive in the United States in the near future. Autoblog reports director Michael Bay chose Chinese brand Trumpchi to be involved in […]

The post GAC Hopes Transformers Appearance Means US Sales Next Year appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
trumpchi-gs5-002-1

Aside from seeing another Hasbro IP cameo transform into a weapon of mass destruction, viewers at the weekend opening of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” may have also glimpsed the first Chinese vehicle to arrive in the United States in the near future.

Autoblog reports director Michael Bay chose Chinese brand Trumpchi to be involved in the latest film upon seeing its E-jet PHEV and asking if the PHEV could be used in said film. Parent automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd hopes the exposure will help them when (or if) they bring a few of its Trumpchis to the U.S. by 2015 at the earliest.

The first to be sent over via container ship is the GS5 SUV, which can be had in China for as low as ¥148,000 ($24,000 USD). Power comes from either a 2-liter four-pot providing 145 horses and 128 lb-ft of torque, or a 1.8-liter turbo-four delivering 174 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. The SUV can either be had with FWD or AWD, and power can be processed through a five-speed manual or automatic.

The post GAC Hopes Transformers Appearance Means US Sales Next Year appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gac-hopes-transformers-appearance-means-us-sales-next-year/feed/ 9
Capsule Review: 2015 Subaru WRX Premium http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/capsule-review-2015-subaru-wrx-premium/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/capsule-review-2015-subaru-wrx-premium/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 12:30:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=828394 Please welcome Hooniverse editor Kamil Kaluski for his first review for TTAC. Like much of the Playstation Generation, I spent much of the 90’s ogling over the forbidden fruit from the Land of the Rising Sun: Type Rs, EVOs, WRXs  – fun, reasonably priced, reliable, econobox-based sports cars with great potential. Naturally, I bought a […]

The post Capsule Review: 2015 Subaru WRX Premium appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 subaru wrx (1)

Please welcome Hooniverse editor Kamil Kaluski for his first review for TTAC.

Like much of the Playstation Generation, I spent much of the 90’s ogling over the forbidden fruit from the Land of the Rising Sun: Type Rs, EVOs, WRXs  – fun, reasonably priced, reliable, econobox-based sports cars with great potential. Naturally, I bought a WRX as one as soon they debuted in 2002. Six months later I promptly sold it.

I didn’t hate the original bug-eyed WRX – I was just disappointed by it. The chassis, even with a set of Eibach springs, still rolled and yawed in every direction. The engine had no power below 3500rpm, and then, out of nowhere, burst to life in a boost-filled fury. The gear ratios of the five speed manual transmission made accelerating fun, at the expense of any highway comfort.  The fuel economy would have been poor for a V8 – for an economy car four-cylinder (even a boosted one) it was abysmal.

2015 subaru wrx (5)

If you were to blindfold a past owner and put them behind the wheel of the newest WRX, they’d immediately know what car they were in. Little cues, like the seating position, the shift knob and of course, the unmistakable, off-beat boxer hum, all remind you that underneath the much improved skin, beats the same rambunctious heart. Then again, the window switches seem to be carried over from the year 2002.

Outside of its Corolla-on-steroids looks, the biggest difference in the WRX is the engine. The displacement is back to two thousand cc’s, but there’s now variable valve timing and direct injection. The result is 268hp, which in the days of 300hp+ V6 Mustangs does not sound like much.The real news is the 258lb.-ft. that is available between 2,000-5,200rpm. Now that there’s some torque being made as low as 1000 rpm, daily driving is a lot more pleasant, while cruising on the highway isn’t going to drive you into madness. And it still screams all the way from 3000 rpm up to redline.

2015 subaru wrx (2)

But wait! There is more! For the first time ever, the WRX also manages to get decent gas mileage. With a 6-speed manual transmission, the 2015 WRX  is EPA rated at 21mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway. My real-world heavy-footed trip down the New Jersey Turnpike resulted in a dash-computer calculated average of 27.7mpg, which I would say is pretty darn good. A CVT is a $1200 option, but really, why bother?

With the exception of a ride that is slightly rough over the worst of northeast’s post apocalyptic winter roads, Subaru has removed any objectionable behavior from the WRX that may be encountered during daily operation. Some may find it to be sprung too softly for serious at-the-limit driving, but Subaru really needed something more than a few horsepower and a big wing to justify the existence of the STI. Overall it’s a nice compromise for the enthusiasts and that incidental WRX buyer who just wanted an Impreza with more power.

2015 subaru wrx (4)

While remaining typical Subaru (that is to say, spartan if we’re being polite), the interior also received some updates. The biggest difference is one that you won’t see: road noise. The 2015 version is orders of magnitude quieter than the boomy, gusty examples previously sold here. More than the crappy fuel economy or the wonky gearing, this was my biggest annoyance when it came to driving long distances in my old WRX.

Head and leg room is abundant for all passengers, even on sunroof-equipped vehicles such as this one, and the manual seats are comfortable and supportive. All controls, with the exception of heated seat buttons, are logically located and easy to use. With small inoperable vent windows, door-mounted mirrors, and thinner than average A-pillars, the visibility all around is excellent.

The radio/infotainment system feels dated. The main display consists of segmented characters, and some information displayed on it may be incomplete. All controls are made via a bunch of small buttons and one knob. There are auxiliary controls on the left side of the steering wheel. There is also a secondary screen higher up on the dash which shares duties with the onboard computer, fuel economy gadget, and a boost gauge. Aux and USB inputs are located in the center console. The climate controls consist of three simple knobs – it might be the most efficient setup on the market, yet everyone else insists on more complex controls. It baffles me.

2015 subaru wrx (7)

Those unimpressed by its lack of evolution should be happy to know that Subaru has managed to refine the coarser elements of past examples, without eliminating any of its character or thrills. With a starting price of just $26,295, the WRX is one of the best performance car deals on the market. And if it looks a bit too sedate or Civic-esque for you, there’s always the hotter, sharper-edged STi.

2015 subaru wrx (9)

Subaru provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

The post Capsule Review: 2015 Subaru WRX Premium appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/capsule-review-2015-subaru-wrx-premium/feed/ 68
The 2015 Mustang Burnout Switch and Forbidden Buttons. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/the-2015-mustang-burnout-switch-and-forbidden-buttons/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/the-2015-mustang-burnout-switch-and-forbidden-buttons/#comments Sat, 03 May 2014 15:15:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=814594  Years ago, a coworker constructed a sinister device. Inside of a RadioShack project box he attached a capacitor, a battery, and a 120 decibel personal alarm. On the outside he attached a simple on/off switch, and a button he labeled “Do Not Press.”  He would leave this in conspicuous places, and invariably, someone would pick […]

The post The 2015 Mustang Burnout Switch and Forbidden Buttons. appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Do_not_press_button

 Years ago, a coworker constructed a sinister device. Inside of a RadioShack project box he attached a capacitor, a battery, and a 120 decibel personal alarm. On the outside he attached a simple on/off switch, and a button he labeled “Do Not Press.”  He would leave this in conspicuous places, and invariably, someone would pick it up, turn on the power, and press the button despite clear instructions to the contrary. The alarm would shriek and the capacitor ensured that once the power was applied, the alarm could not be turned off until you accessed a hidden reset port with a straightened paper clip to interrupt the circuit. As sinister of a prank as this was, it played upon a human trait; people, especially men, enjoy pressing a button that they’re told not to touch.

Nissan came to understand this with the GTR and Ford is showing clear understanding with the line lock feature on the 2015 Mustang GT.

Click here to view the embedded video.

 If you haven’t heard, in order to appeal to their demographic (save your snarky comments, I AM their demographic), the 2015 Ford Mustang will have a line lock switch available that will hold the front brakes and allow the rears to smoke the tires at will. Just typing that makes me giggle a little. The option is engaged through the track apps menu.

 

Click here to view the embedded video.

 Oh but as you are enjoying that video, take look at the small print that appears immediately at the bottom of the screen; “Professional driver on a closed course. Racing your vehicle will void your warranty.” The discussion in the video is pointing out this is for the Mustang owner who wants to run their car at the local drag strip. I.E, it is an intended feature for the Mustang GT owner who wants to race their car.

 When the E46 M3 debuted with the SMG, the Internet was abuzz with a super-secret code launch control, a series of switches and actions roughly akin to Mario Brothers cheat codes. The engine would rev, the brakes would hold and the clutch would drop. The owner was rewarded with a tire-smoking, neck-snapping, launch as the M3 hurled into the future. The internet spurred rumors of null warranties, technician shenanigans and dealer witch hunts. The conspiracy theory held the belief the computer inside the M3 would track how many times this it happened, and anything more than eight would void the warranty on your German super touring sedan.

 The theories were not without precedent. Mitsubishi dealers were accused of trolling SCCA results and voiding the warranties of Evo customer’s cars, and Subaru was also called out for doing the same with WRX buyers.  A close buddy was told by his service tech to pull the SCCA inspection sticker off his doorjamb before the senior manager saw it.

 Then Nissan introduced Godzilla, complete with what became known as the “void warranty” selection on the center console. A class action lawsuit later, and Nissan came revised to the launch control software and plaintiffs were rewarded with a free oil change.

 

From ridelust.com

From ridelust.com

 

 And now, Ford has their “burnout button.”

 When engaged locked the front brakes and allows the rear tires to break traction in order to dust them off and heat them up for a optimized drag launch. In the aforementioned fine print, engagement in racing will void your warranty.

From Ford

From Ford

Bait and switch? Shady practices? Hardly. Ford is merely engaging and the latest series of marketing that Nissan learned. The launch control button created mystique, added to the legend and probably moved some cars. Ford understands and it goes all the way back to my friend’s little cruel plastic Joke.

 It is mystery and magic. The “I wonder what will happen” factor. Invariably when the 2015 Mustang GT hits the market, the Internet will swell with stories of service technicians using the burnout button and rendering the warranties of customer’s cars useless. How many of these will actually be the customers blaming it on the service department and how many these will be real events?

 It doesn’t matter. Because all the talk is going to accomplish one primary goal for Ford, sell Mustangs. Heck, it will probably sell Fiesta’s.

 I would expect to see more of this kind of optioning, rather than less. Because running deeper than our love of bloated SUVs, the need for a leather seats, navigation systems and top notch stereos; is a primordial desire to press a button.

 Especially when we’re told not to.

 

 

The post The 2015 Mustang Burnout Switch and Forbidden Buttons. appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/the-2015-mustang-burnout-switch-and-forbidden-buttons/feed/ 63
Vellum Venom Vignette: 2015 Camry Regression Analysis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/vellum-venom-vignette-2015-camry-regression-analysis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/vellum-venom-vignette-2015-camry-regression-analysis/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:39:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=800242 As expected, TTAC’s Best and Brightest called it: the 2015 Camry has Chernobyl-grade DLO FAIL. Or maybe that’s heavily tinted glass? I consider myself lucky I’m not attending the NYIAS, this would make my head go explodey all over the show floor. No transportation designer, wannabe like me or otherwise, wants to see that gigantizoid […]

The post Vellum Venom Vignette: 2015 Camry Regression Analysis appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
051-2015-toyota-camry-1

As expected, TTAC’s Best and Brightest called it: the 2015 Camry has Chernobyl-grade DLO FAIL.

Or maybe that’s heavily tinted glass?

I consider myself lucky I’m not attending the NYIAS, this would make my head go explodey all over the show floor.

No transportation designer, wannabe like me or otherwise, wants to see that gigantizoid of a hunk of black plastic go into production.  The years of thankless hard work, the brutal cost of design school on your wallet/social life, etc shouldn’t turn into this.

There was nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with the 2014 Camry’s greenhouse: it was sleek-ish and a completely DLO FAIL free zone before the redesign.  It was a beautiful thing. And now it’s gone.

Thanks for reading, I hope you (can still) have a lovely week.

The post Vellum Venom Vignette: 2015 Camry Regression Analysis appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/vellum-venom-vignette-2015-camry-regression-analysis/feed/ 71
2015 Honda Fit Deep Dive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/2015-honda-fit-deep-dive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/2015-honda-fit-deep-dive/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 18:56:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=793874 By now, you’ve heard what driving the new 2015 Honda Fit is like. You’ve seen what riding in a new Fit is like, too- and, maybe, you’ve figured out how they got one into a tiny bar (I haven’t). Still, we haven’t spent much time actually talking about the nuts and bolts and whys and […]

The post 2015 Honda Fit Deep Dive appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Honda Fit - Red

By now, you’ve heard what driving the new 2015 Honda Fit is like. You’ve seen what riding in a new Fit is like, too- and, maybe, you’ve figured out how they got one into a tiny bar (I haven’t). Still, we haven’t spent much time actually talking about the nuts and bolts and whys and hows of the new Honda. Until now, that is.

2015 Honda Fit is SO New, it Has a New Home


Honda factory in Celaya, Mexico

For starters, just about everything on the 2015 Honda Fit is new or modified compared to its 2014 siblings- and that includes where it’s being made. Instead of a mostly Chinese-built product, the new Fit has North American roots, being built in Celaya, Mexico. The new production facility is supposed to separate North American demand from global demand, giving dealers better selection, more freedom in ordering, and (of course) cutting costs for Honda, itself.

The new plant in Celaya will also start building a Honda Fit-based mini-SUV to slot below the CR-V later this year, bringing total North American vehicle production capacity to over 1.9 million units. That bump in capacity from Celaya means that some 98% of Hondas sold in North America will be built in North America.

 

2015 Honda Fit Body + Chassis


fit_bar_4

The new Fit is 1.6″ shorter than the outgoing 2014 model, but thanks to Honda’s “packaging magic” design, the 2015 Honda Fit has more than 3″ of additional rear seat room, and 1.4″ of additional rear seat leg room. That’s a great distinction to make, by the way, for customers who’ll be stuffing baby seats- rather than adults- into the back of the thing. The new Fit also gives the front passengers more slide-adjustment in the front seats.

So, despite the reduced length of the Fit, it’s roomier. That happy mindf*** comes courtesy of a new, contortionist fuel tank that twists and turns around the Fit’s floor frames and contorts itself around the new, shorter, rear trailing arms more closely than the outgoing Fit’s tank. It’s a trick worthy of Gumby- just pray that you’re not the tech who has to replace one, because I imagine it would be a b***h to do without some advanced robotics.

The suspension that the tank wraps around is worth mentioning, as well- it’s all new, a rigid, torsion-beam style rear suspension and conventional-ish struts up front. It feels a lot more advanced than that, however, thanks in large part to the new Honda Fit’s electric power steering and a new VSA stability program that seems to serve to keep the car neutral. Whatever the actual reason is, the new Fit handles far better than anything with a glorified solid rear axle should.

 

2015 Honda Fit Earth Dreams Drivetrain


fit-engine

Back in 1989, Honda introduced the original, 1.6 liter, 160 HP B16A and B16A1 engines in Europe and Japan. 25 (twenty-five) years later, Honda’s newest 1.5 liter, direct-injection i-VTEC engine makes “just” 130 HP. Granted, that’s a huge improvement over the last Honda Fit’s 117 HP engine- but a 29 MPG combined EPA rating for the 6 speed and 31 MPG combined rating for the CVT version doesn’t exactly scream “25 years of progress!”

Still, the 2015 Honda Fit has more power, more torque, offers better fuel economy, and puts out fewer emissions than the 2014 model- so that’s a step in the right direction.

Sadly, Honda took a step in the wrong direction in terms of transmissions. For starters, the new 6 speed manual transmission might seem like an upgrade from the old 5 speed- but the “new” 6th gear is the same as the “old” 5th gear. So, while you might find snappier performance in the more closely-spaced 1-5 ratios, you’ll still have the same high-rpm buzz you had in the old Fit at highway speeds. At the 80-85 MPH cruising speeds common on Illinois’ I-90, the Fit’s 1.5 is revving at a positively raucous 4000-ish RPM. In this tester’s opinion, it’s a horrific experience- and one that makes the CVT option a no-brainer, no matter how much you like to row your own … which brings us to our next dubious transmission choice: the CVT’s “gears”.

Honda spent an awful lot of time and money developing a CVT that was capable of keeping the new Earth Dreams at its peak power and efficiency while infinitely adapting the gearing around it (between 2 hardware-determined limits, of course). That was good- then they lost the plot completely by setting 7 pre-determined “shift points” into the Fit’s S-mode, which can be manually selected via paddles on the steering wheel. If you understand the purpose and function of a CVT at all, you’ll immediately realize how stupid this is.

Left on its own, however, the 2015 Honda Fit’s CVT is more than capable of doing its job. Stay away from the paddles, in other words, and you’ll do just fine. More than fine, in fact, since Honda’s CVT is one of the best in the biz (the best CVT setup I’ve experienced, by the way, was also in a Honda).

 

2015 Honda Fit Earth Dreams Interior + Trim


2015 Honda Fit Interior

For 2015, Honda upgraded the plastics on the Fit- offering leather for the first time, as well. Gone are the old “Base”, “Sport”, and “Navi” trim levels, which are replaced with a more Honda-like LX, EX, EXL (for “leather”), and Navi versions. The infotainment system, too, is a major upgrade from before with a large, easy-to-read screen on all models, and a clever phone/nav integration on the EX that (despite a long boot/load time) works exactly as expected. Mostly (my pre-production tester had no “backspace”, so we had to back ALL THE WAY OUT of the Nav screen and start again if we mis-typed anything).

Still, the real magic of the 2015 Honda Fit interior isn’t in the upscale materials- it’s in the seats. The Honda Fit seats can be configured in a number of ways. There’s the standard “passenger mode”, as well as 4 other modes for carrying people and things. These being “Cargo Mode” (for cargo- spluh), “Long Mode” (for carrying long items with passengers sitting in tandem), “Tall Mode” (for carrying tall items like plants and big-screen TVs), and “Refresh Mode”, which was the highlight of my initial “passenging impressions” article.

Those different modes were part of the old Fit, as well- and looked like this here …

 

Honda Fit seat modes

… but I’d never seen or heard of a Honda Fit having “modes” (refreshing or otherwise), so it’s news to me. Judging by the amount of people currently looking at pictures of my limited-edition slip-on Converse, though, it’s probably news to a lot of people- and really one of the strongest selling points for considering the 2015 Honda Fit as a second car.

 

2015 Honda Fit Pricing


Honda’s product planners explained that the new 2015 Honda Fit would cost a bit more than the outgoing Base and Sport models, with the LX starting at $15,525 and the EX-L Navi topping out at $20,800. That’s not a huge bump from last year’s $15,425-$19,790 range- and that $19,790 didn’t get you 130 HP, leather, or a 7″ screen. So, yeah- the new 2015 Honda Fit is an objectively superior machine than the 2014 it replaces, but what do you think?

Did Honda do enough to place the new Fit in the premium compact class occupied by the Mini Coopers of the world, or is its move upmarket a step in the wrong direction? Let us know what you think, in the comments. Enjoy!

 

Sources | Photos: Honda, FitFreak. Originally published on Gas 2.

The post 2015 Honda Fit Deep Dive appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/2015-honda-fit-deep-dive/feed/ 127
Review: 2015 Honda Fit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/review-2015-honda-fit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/review-2015-honda-fit/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 15:01:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=791401 There’s really no way to lead into this, so I’ll just come out and say it: the 2015 Honda Fit is a fantastic car. Around town, at speed on Southern California’s twisty canyon roads, on the highway, stuck in traffic- there wasn’t a single situation we put our EX and EX-L testers into that it […]

The post Review: 2015 Honda Fit appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-honda-fit_main

There’s really no way to lead into this, so I’ll just come out and say it: the 2015 Honda Fit is a fantastic car. Around town, at speed on Southern California’s twisty canyon roads, on the highway, stuck in traffic- there wasn’t a single situation we put our EX and EX-L testers into that it didn’t handle with aplomb. Even some light off-roading didn’t twist up the Fit’s rigid frame.

Diving into corners at twice the posted advisory speed, the made-in-Mexico 2015 Honda Fit‘s electric steering does exactly what you’d expect it to. The new, 130 HP Earth Dreams engine pulls the car out the corner effectively enough, too- especially for a long-stroke 1.5 liter. The brakes are direct, drama-free, and the ABS kicks in right when you’d want it to.

After a quick lunch, Jeff (my co-driver for the day) and I decided to make some solo runs in the “comparison cars” Honda had on-hand for the event. These included a Chevy Sonic, a Toyota Yaris, and a Nissan Versa Note- all optioned up to about $17,000.

Simply put, the 2015 Honda Fit blew them all away. The Fit was a generation newer than the non-turbo Chevy Sonic, and it showed. The interior of the Nissan Versa was almost laughably cheap in comparison to the other cars, and the car, itself, got frighteningly squirrel-y under braking. The Toyota, alone, had an interior I’d call “comparable” to the Fit- but I certainly wouldn’t call it better and, on the canyon roads surrounding our Don Quixote-looking lunch stop …

windmill_1

… the Yaris was simply no match for the Honda.

It was such a one-sided Honda blowout, in fact, that I started to get a bit snarky about the whole event. “Do you think there’s much of a science to picking the comparison cars for these things?” I asked Jeff.

If you don’t know Jeff Palmer, trust me on this: he’s smart. You can tell. When you ask him a question, for example, he thinks about it for two or three seconds, then answers in complete, well-formed sentences. “I think Honda wants to its present competitor’s cars in a situation where they won’t perform as well as their car.”

Here’s where I (tried) to get snarky. “I dunno- I think all Honda’s really proven today is that they can build a $25,000 car better than other people can build a $17,000 car.”

I’d expected to get a giggle or a laugh out of Jeff, but he just looked confused. “How do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, this Honda- what’s it cost? There’s no sticker on it, so what’s it gonna cost? 22,000? 23?”

“No, this is an EX,” explained Jeff. “It’s replacing the old Fit Sport, which was about 17. It’s not going to be more than 17, $18,000.”

No way. There was no way that the 2015 Honda Fit EX (with an excellent 6-speed manual, I should add) we were driving was the same price as the cars we’d just driven. I refused to believe it, and the exchange that followed saw us pull over, open the trunk, and dig furiously through our notes to see just how far upmarket Honda had dragged its little hatchback.

$17,435.

The 2015 Honda Fit EX with a 6-speed manual transmission will sell for $17,435- and, if you’re shopping new subcompacts under $20K, you’d be a fool to spend your $17K on anything else. Really.

Properly chastened, I flipped and flopped the 2015 Honda Fit’s Magic Seats into Refresh Mode, kicked up my feet, and asked Jeff to drive me back to the hotel bar. When you’re a professional blogger (well- paid, anyway), and you can’t find any way to be snarky or s***ty about something, it’s time to pack it in for the day.

The new for 2015 Honda Fit should be arriving at dealerships soon, with 30+ MPG fuel economy and your choice of 6-speed manual or CVT. If I had to come up with a complaint, it would be that the 6 speed’s top gear is too short for American highways, and the engine buzzed at more than 3500 RPM at a 77 MPH cruise. If you drive 68, the buzz is gone- so, yeah. Small price to pay for the privilege of rowing your own, you know?

You can see how the new 2015 Honda Fit looks in red and yellow, below, and let us know what you think about the new Fit in the comments.

 

2015 Honda Fit in Red


red-fit_3 red-fit_2 red-fit_4 red-fit_1

 

2015 Honda Fit in Yellow


yellow-fit_2 yellow-fit_1 yellow-fit_3 yellow-fit_4

 

Originally published on Gas 2.

The post Review: 2015 Honda Fit appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/review-2015-honda-fit/feed/ 159
UK Diesels 21 Percent Cleaner Than A Decade Ago http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/uk-diesels-21-percent-cleaner-than-a-decade-ago/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/uk-diesels-21-percent-cleaner-than-a-decade-ago/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:30:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=782033 A study issued earlier this month by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has concluded that modern diesel engines in the United Kingdom are 21 percent cleaner than that were a decade earlier. Hybrid Cars reports the group’s New Car CO2 Report also found modern diesels to be 27 percent more economical than in […]

The post UK Diesels 21 Percent Cleaner Than A Decade Ago appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Peugeot_3008_HYbrid4_header

A study issued earlier this month by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has concluded that modern diesel engines in the United Kingdom are 21 percent cleaner than that were a decade earlier.

Hybrid Cars reports the group’s New Car CO2 Report also found modern diesels to be 27 percent more economical than in 2003, greatly aided by technologies — including stop-start and common-rail systems — in reducing emissions and running costs.

Average UK vehicle CO2 output fell 29.1 percent over the past 14 years to just 128.3g/km, achieving the 130g/km target set by the European Union for 2015.

For their part, Bosch — one of the manufacturers at the forefront of advancing diesel technology — says it will continue to move diesels forward in the march toward further cleanliness and efficiency, going so far as to include hybrids — such as the Bosch-augmented Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 — in order to meet the 2020 standard of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.

 

The post UK Diesels 21 Percent Cleaner Than A Decade Ago appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/uk-diesels-21-percent-cleaner-than-a-decade-ago/feed/ 19
2015 Mini Clubman to Get RWD Electric Boost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2015-mini-clubman-to-get-rwd-electric-boost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2015-mini-clubman-to-get-rwd-electric-boost/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:37:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=754281 You could make a case for Mini’s Clubman being an ideal small-business/delivery vehicle. It’s large enough to carry bulky office items, small enough to park, stylish enough to be seen in, and gets decent fuel economy. One of the biggest criticisms of the Clubman, though, has nothing to do with its practicality- it’s that the […]

The post 2015 Mini Clubman to Get RWD Electric Boost appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
mini

You could make a case for Mini’s Clubman being an ideal small-business/delivery vehicle. It’s large enough to carry bulky office items, small enough to park, stylish enough to be seen in, and gets decent fuel economy. One of the biggest criticisms of the Clubman, though, has nothing to do with its practicality- it’s that the bigger Mini doesn’t quite live up to the brand’s hard-earned performance heritage. That’s going to change, however, with the launch of the 2015 Mini Hybrid Clubman.

Using a system similar to the one used by Volvo in its XC60 and V60 hybrids, the electric power train in the 2015 Mini hybrid models is expected to send power directly to the rear wheels. The “modular” approach here would make tooling up easier, and allow the unit to be used in other BMW/Mini properties like the recently-released, front-wheel drive BMW X2.

Up front, the 2015 Mini hybrids will make use of the company’s existing 135 HP, 1.5-liter three cylinder turbo engine. According to LeftLane News, the new car “may, effectively, act as a rear-wheel-drive platform if driving in electric-only mode. Under hard acceleration the system would switch to all-wheel-drive mode.” If that’s true, the arrangement should make for a fun little runabout- especially with the expected 190 total HP!

What do you guys think? Is 190 HP and all-wheel drive enough to make the Clubman a Mini a worth successor to the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally winning Mini Cooper, or is all this just an excuse to ramp up economies of scale for BMW’s i Brand? Let us know!

 

Originally published on Gas 2.

The post 2015 Mini Clubman to Get RWD Electric Boost appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2015-mini-clubman-to-get-rwd-electric-boost/feed/ 13
Only Select Fiat Dealers Will Get Alfa Romeo Franchises http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/only-select-fiat-dealers-will-get-alfa-romeo-franchises/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/only-select-fiat-dealers-will-get-alfa-romeo-franchises/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=753569 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is set to bring Alfa Romeo back into the United States market after a two-decade absence with the 4C, but only the best-performing Fiat dealerships will be selected to sell the first new Alfas when the lighweight $60,000 sports car rolls off the dock in June. The Detroit News reports the majority […]

The post Only Select Fiat Dealers Will Get Alfa Romeo Franchises appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Alfa Romeo 4C

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is set to bring Alfa Romeo back into the United States market after a two-decade absence with the 4C, but only the best-performing Fiat dealerships will be selected to sell the first new Alfas when the lighweight $60,000 sports car rolls off the dock in June.

The Detroit News reports the majority of Fiat dealerships who were promised an Alfa wing will not be along for the ride in 2014. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne stated that his company would only allow “the best-performing Fiat dealers to participate” based on “simple dealer metrics” and efficacy in representing Fiat. Though he also added that said dealers knew who they were, FCA spokesman Rick Deneau countered his boss’s statement, saying that those dealers “have not been identified yet.”

While the 4C will be the only Alfa offering available this year, it will be joined in 2015 by the Giulia, Giulietta and a new Spider co-developed with Mazda, which will also underpin the latter’s new MX-5 roadster. The 4C is motivated by a turbocharged four-pot driving 240 horses out of the back gate, pushing the 1875-pound sports car from naught to 60 in 4.5 seconds.

However, follow-through hasn’t been FCA’s strong suit regarding Alfa’s return, with the brand originally promised to Fiat dealers in 2012, then last year before settling upon June 2014. The return was also promised to come with a full lineup to display in showrooms, but only the 4C will be setting the pace this year as it goes up against the Porsche Cayman and Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

According to IHS Automotive, selected Fiat dealers will move 500 4Cs in 2014, with 8,400 more in 2015 once more dealers join the fray. IHS also expects Alfa to move 28,000 units in the U.S. by the end of 2016.

The post Only Select Fiat Dealers Will Get Alfa Romeo Franchises appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/only-select-fiat-dealers-will-get-alfa-romeo-franchises/feed/ 31
Chicago 2014: 2015 Lincoln Navigator Stars In “2 Grilles, 2 Turbos” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-2015-lincoln-navigator-two-turbos-two-grilles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-2015-lincoln-navigator-two-turbos-two-grilles/#comments Sat, 08 Feb 2014 15:59:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=735609 Lincoln has debuted an updated version of its Navigator full-size SUV. Finally. The new Navigator is set to feature HID headlamps, LED accent lights and a front fascia design more in step with Lincoln’s other offerings. By kissing the chrome, Paul Wall-reminiscent grille goodbye, the 2015 Navigator has a much more stately split grille design […]

The post Chicago 2014: 2015 Lincoln Navigator Stars In “2 Grilles, 2 Turbos” appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-Lincoln-Navigator-02

Lincoln has debuted an updated version of its Navigator full-size SUV. Finally.

The new Navigator is set to feature HID headlamps, LED accent lights and a front fascia design more in step with Lincoln’s other offerings. By kissing the chrome, Paul Wall-reminiscent grille goodbye, the 2015 Navigator has a much more stately split grille design that makes for a classier mug.

Replacing the 5.4-liter V8 is Ford’s twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine putting out around 370 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. This powerplant puts the power down using a six-speed automatic transmission which, coupled with the available 4.10 final drive, will actually tug quite a bit.

The updated interior features a redesigned gauge cluster, a push-button start, SYNC with MyLincoln Touch and plenty of leather and wood paying homage to Lincoln’s brougham roots.

While pricing and other details have yet to be announced, you can expect these to begin hitting showroom floors this fall.

2015-Lincoln-Navigator-02 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-03 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-04 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-05 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-01 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-06 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-07 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-08 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-09 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-10 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-11 2015-Lincoln-Navigator-12

The post Chicago 2014: 2015 Lincoln Navigator Stars In “2 Grilles, 2 Turbos” appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-2015-lincoln-navigator-two-turbos-two-grilles/feed/ 52
Chicago 2014: Deep Dive with the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-deep-dive-with-the-2015-chevrolet-colorado/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-deep-dive-with-the-2015-chevrolet-colorado/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 10:54:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=734601 A few short hours ago, I was in McCormick Place with a handful of auto journalists and GM’s 2015 Chevy Colorado team. It was a lucky break- a last-minute invitation to meet with some GM brass before the hectic onslaught of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show’s press days and ask them the questions that my […]

The post Chicago 2014: Deep Dive with the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Chevy Colorado | Gas 2

A few short hours ago, I was in McCormick Place with a handful of auto journalists and GM’s 2015 Chevy Colorado team. It was a lucky break- a last-minute invitation to meet with some GM brass before the hectic onslaught of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show’s press days and ask them the questions that my fellow alt-fuel/cleantech gear heads wanted answers to.

So, here it is: the 2015 Chevy Colorado, in the 72 dpi digitized flesh and packed with some seriously trick goodies. Will this (and its GMC Canyon twin) be enough to reclaim the compact truck throne, however? You’d better believe it- the Colorado is that good!

 

2015 Chevy Colorado: the Look


Make no mistake, this is one seriously good-looking trucklet. Chevy’s 2015 Colorado is a true mid-sizer, but the look is more F-150-fighter than Nissan Frontier. Size-wise, more than one of my fellow deep-divers commented that “it’s the perfect size”, and I think it’s just short enough to make a reasonable case for having one in Chicago.

Chevy Colorado Z71

Chevy Colorado Z71

Chevy Colorado Z71

As you take a look at the photos of the Z71 off-roader version of the Colorado, look at the soft, velvety look of the black plastics and the crisp inner workings of the headlight. This is a far cry from the old S-10 EXtreme and its “generic level 2″ plastics.

Chevy Colorado Z71

Chevy Colorado Z71

 

2015 Chevy Colorado: the Cockpit


Inside, the truck’s 2015 MyLink infotainment system is decidedly more Chevy Sonic than Chevy Cruze, and that is a very good thing. All the buttons were logically labeled, there didn’t seem to be any of the convoluted “touch screen + button + more screen-touching” command sequences that made me loathe the Cruze’s MyLink. It had another neat trick, as well: a fully-functional Pandora app.

Is that game-changer? I’m much more excited about my Pandora stations than I am about XM/Sirius, so- yes? Just pretend you can already hear my blasting Shakira and Ke$ha as loud as the Chevy Colorado’s speakers will let me.

Chevy Colorado Interior

Chevy Colorado Interior

Chevy Colorado Interior

Chevy Colorado Interior

 

2015 Chevy Colorado: Seating


The biggest complaint anyone ever had about a compact pickup (think old Chevy S-10, 90s-00s Ford Ranger, etc.) wasn’t that they weren’t capable enough, it’s that getting in and out of the things was always a pain. It was a pain when I was 23, and it would be a bigger pain today, more than a decade later. I’d never climb over a front seat to get into a side-facing jumper again, and- in a truck that’s the size of the new 2015 Chevy Colorado, I won’t have to.

Ingress and egress seems straight-forward enough. You just open the solidly-mounted, triple-sealed doors, climb into the quality-feeling vinyl/cloth seats, and shut the door with a satisfying, Mercedes C-Class level “whooomp”. Actually, open the door and slam it shut a few more times. It is a hugely satisfying feeling that was totally absent in my 1991 GMC Jimmy, even with the rose-colored lenses of nostalgia firmly in place.

Colorado-DeepDive_25

Colorado-DeepDive_26

Colorado-DeepDive_15

Colorado-DeepDive_08

Colorado-DeepDive_12

The 2015 Chevy Colorado has a cleverly adjustable seatbelt that adjusts at the shoulder AND at the hip. More comfortable belts are more likely to be worn, so this is a huge step towards 100% adoption of belts- especially out in rural ‘Murica where the Big Gulp comes in more than one size of early-onset diabetes.

Colorado-DeepDive_13

 

2015 Chevy Colorado: the Tough Questions


I hate to tell you this, guys- but I didn’t get the scoop on the 2015 Chevy Colorado’s EPA fuel economy. I can’t tell you what the EPA numbers on the 2016 diesel will be, either. I also couldn’t tell you if the truck is E15 or E20 compatible, because the GM engineer on hand (a lovely, polite woman who I mistook for another journalist, despite the Riot Grrl leanings of my youth) didn’t know. I also couldn’t tell you if GM plans to include the Colorado in its CNG fleet plans, but I was told, wink-wink, nudge-nudge style, to expect a bi-fuel announcement from GM soon.

A few things I did find out? The upcoming V6 version of the 2015 Chevy Colorado- which uses the same 3.6 liter VVT V6 engine used in Cadillacs and Buicks …

Colorado-DeepDive_24

colorado_engine

… and that, in truck duty, the V6 is expected to be able to haul up to 6700 lbs (!?). That’s more than enough to safely haul any number of RVs, fishing boats, and (dare I say it?) race cars- and the Colorados will be available with fully integrated receiver hitches and easy-to-access wiring for 4 and 7 pin connectors.

So, that’s something- no? What do you guys think? Am I right in thinking Chevy’s hit a home run with this new 2015 Colorado, or do you think Nissan and Dodge will out-Darwin it with their 28 MPG full-size diesel half-tons? Let us know what you think in the comments, below. Enjoy!

 

Originally posted to Jo’s other site, Gas 2.

The post Chicago 2014: Deep Dive with the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-deep-dive-with-the-2015-chevrolet-colorado/feed/ 300
First Drive Review: 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/first-drive-review-2015-volvo-v60-t5-sport-wagon-with-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/first-drive-review-2015-volvo-v60-t5-sport-wagon-with-video/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=725274 There was a time when wagons roamed the interstates, ferrying families from one National Lampoon vacation to another. With the rise of the crossover, those looking for the original “looks practical but handles like a sedan” mode of transport have few options, and most of them live in the luxury segment. Let’s count them before […]

The post First Drive Review: 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon (With Video) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior

There was a time when wagons roamed the interstates, ferrying families from one National Lampoon vacation to another. With the rise of the crossover, those looking for the original “looks practical but handles like a sedan” mode of transport have few options, and most of them live in the luxury segment. Let’s count them before we go too far. We have the soon-to-be-cancelled Acura TSX, the last-generation Cadillac CTS , the Volkswagen Jetta, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 3-Series and the Toyota Prius V. Even if you expand things to include “off-road wagons”the list only grows by three (Audi Allroad, Subaru Outback and Volvo XC70.) Despite the shrinking market, Volvo’s brand has long been associated with practical wagons. It’s almost hard to believe it has been three full years since Volvo sold one in America. That’s about to change with the 2015 V60.

 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

Back in 2010 Volvo was selling two wagons in America. The V50 was based on the compact S40 sedan and the V70 shared its underpinings with Volvo’s 5-series competitor the S80. Although the V70 is still sold in Europe and the V40 (the replacement for the V50) splashed down in 2013, Americans will have to settle for Volvo’s middle child, the V60 wagon. Based on Volvo’s S60 sedan, the V60 competes internationally with wagon variants of the 3-Series, C-Class, Audi A4 and many others. But this is America and Volvo’s only direct competitor is the BWM 328i xDrive wagon. More on that later.

Despite ditching the boxy form years ago, Volvo’s style remains the automotive Birkenstock to BMW’s Prada. The entire Volvo lineup in America (except for the XC90) received a 2014 face lift with a more aggressive grille and more creases in the hood. Volvo has finally tucked their radar cruise control module behind a plastic panel that blends into the grille rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. Out back we get bumper cover integrated exhausts, a large black surround on the rear glass that made me wish it was separately hinged, and a continuation of those oh-so-sexy Swedish hips. Volvo’s engineers kept the V60′s roofline fairly high at the rear, but even the Swedes have given in to modern “coupé” styling cues, most notably in the greenhouse shape. The raked rear glass looks sexier, but takes a toll on cargo space.

2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-003

Interior

Birkenstocks are comfy. Prada? Hit and miss. (Or so I’m told.) And so it is with Volvo and BMW interiors. The S60 on which the V60 is based is now 5 years old.  Aside from massaging color and trim options, the only substantive changes to the interior since it was launched is Volvo’s LCD disco dash, a new steering wheel with shift paddles (optional) and a new gear shift knob. Despite its age, the Scandinavian chic cabin has what it takes to complete with BMW, especially now that the 3-Series has gone slightly down-market with more hard plastics in this generation. My only major gripe is the small 7-inch infotainment display that is clearly outclassed by BMW’s ginormous iDrive screen.

Despite lacking the range of motion that the competition affords, Volvo’s thrones continue to be the segment’s ergonomic benchmark. Volvo equips all V60 models headed to America with aggressively bolstered front seats and even more bolstering is available in a sport package.  If you’re a larger driver, you will find the sport seats confining and may even have issue with the standard seats as the bolstering seems to be designed for slim to average builds. Rear passengers are in for a mixed bag with less rear leg room than Acura’s TSX and quite a bit less than BMW’s 3-Series. Checking the numbers, the 2015 V60 actually slots in behind my old V70R, which wasn’t exactly spacious in the rear.

Wagons have long been about practicality and cargo capacity. The V60 scores points on the practicality front with a fold-flat front passenger seat and a standard 40/20/40 folding rear seat back. Volvo also tosses in a plethora of shopping bag holders, a built in cargo divider and additional cargo capacity below the load floor. Unfortunately the sexy profile cuts storage behind the rear seats to 43.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The pursuit of fuel economy has meant the loss of a spare tire which may be a tough pill for road trippers to swallow. Volvo says buyers can option up some form of spare tire but details were sketchy.

2015 Drive-E Engine, 2.0L Engine, Picture Courtesy of Volvo

Drivetrain

The V60 lands at the same time as Volvo’s new engine family. If you want to know more about Volvo’s four cylinder future, check out our deep dive from a few days ago. Volvo’s engine lineup is getting a bit confusing as they transition to their new engine family resulting in two totally different “T5″ models. Front wheel drive T5 models use a new four-cylinder direct-injection engine good for 240 HP and 258 lb-ft while T5 AWD models get the venerable 2.5L 5-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. This is the point where most companies would stop. Indeed, BMW is only offering the 3-Series with a 241 horsepower 2.0L turbo gas engine and a 180 horsepower diesel I4 in America. The TSX isn’t long for this world but is only available with the familiar 2.4L 4-cylider engine.

In an unexpected twist, Volvo confirmed that there  will be a third engine with two performance levels bound for America. The T6 AWD model will get a 3.0L twin-scroll turbo inline six cylinder engine cranking out 325 HP and 354 lb-ft. This engine takes the S60 sedan from 0-60 in 5.05 seconds and I expect the V60 to post similar numbers. If that isn’t enough, Volvo will go one step further and bring a 350 HP, 369 lb-ft Polestar tuned variant to America good for sub-5-second runs to Ikea.

The new 2.0L engine is mated exclusively to Aisin’s new 8-speed automatic transaxle, also found in the 2014 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport. The new cog swapper enables standard start/stop on the V60 along with a coasting mode (similar to ZF’s 8-speed) which essentially shifts into neutral when you let off the gas on a level road. Due to packaging constraints, 2.5 and 3.0 liter engines get an Aisin 6-speed automatic and standard Haldex AWD.

2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-012

Drive

The only V60 model Volvo had for us to play with was a front-wheel-drive T5 model with the new 2.0L turbo. Lacking the supercharger for low-end response (available in the S60), the T5 model felt very similar to BMW’s 2.0L N20 engine in the 3-Series with a hint of turbo lag to start and a broad power band. The German mill cranks out less torque, but is required to motivate less curb weight, so I suspect 0-60 times will be fairly similar. Because of the limited time I had behind the wheel we don’t have verified 0-60 numbers but Volvo says the V60 will do the sprint in 6.1 seconds, which is about 1.5 seconds faster than the TSX.

Despite the healthy torque numbers, the V60 presented relatively little torque steer. Volvo didn’t say what they had done to improve on things vs the last T5 FWD model I drove but they did say no suspension designs were changed. (This is a contrast to the S60 T6 FWD which had plenty of torque steer in first gear.) Volvo’s test fleet consisted of Sport Package models only, which are tuned toward the firmer side of the segment. The tuning is certainly firmer than BMW’s standard 3-Series suspension and on par with the Sport Line wagon.

The V60 handled winding roads with composure thanks to wide 235/45R19 (part of the sport package) tires all the way around but the lighter and better balanced 328 wagon feels more nimble out on the road. Meanwhile the TSX and Audi Allroad feel less connected. Since the BMW is only available in America in AWD trim, a comparison to the T5 AWD and T6 AWD may be more appropriate, so check back when we can get our hands on one.

2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-006

No Volvo would be complete without new safety tech and the V60 spearheads several improvements to existing systems. Volvo’s blind spot system has moved from a camera based system to radar. The switch improves accuracy, allows it to operate better in fog and inclement weather and increases the range. There’s also a new self parking system to parallel park the V60, but we didn’t have an opportunity to test it. City Safety, Volvo’s autonomous braking system, now operates at up to 31 MPH and can now detect cyclists in addition to cars and pedestrians (optional packages apply). Volvo tells us that they expect the system to provide autonomous braking for large animals like moose in the next 1-2 years.

The V60 has been priced aggressively for 2015 starting at $35,300,  an $800 upsell over then S60 and $6,150 less than a base 3-series wagon. Adjusting for feature content, the base V60 is still $5,000 less. If bargain wagons with premium badges are your thing, the TSX is king at $31,985, but the delta shrinks to less than two grand when you adjust for the V60′s feature set. The $36,800 might be the more appropriate competitor for the AWD-only 3-wagon, but a more interesting match up is the $44,300 V60 T6 AWD. Configuring a 3 or the CTS wagon with the same equipment you find on the Volvo will set you back at least $2,000 more. In addition to the value factor, the Volvo brings 35% more power to the fight. The extra power and AWD go a long way in compensating for the better weight balance in the BMW or the Caddy. Since GM hasn’t refreshed their wagon yet, the 3.0 and 3.6 liter V6 engined are outclassed in every metric by the Swede. Option your V60 with every conceivable option and you end up at $54,480.

As a former Volvo wagon owner, I’m probably biased, but all the reasons I opted for a Swedish cargo hauler in 2006 apply to the V60. Aside from the fact that “value” strikes a fire in my loins, the Volvo is the clear performance option in this segment. Want more shove than the $44,300 Volvo? Pony up $64,900 for the CTS-V wagon or $102,370 for an E63 AMG wagon. I’ll reserve my final judgement until I can get my hands on one for a more thorough evaluation, but in the mean time the V60 is quite simply the best performance and value option in this phone booth sized segment.

 

 Volvo provided travel, lodging, meals, the vehicle, insurance and gas for this review

2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-001 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-002 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-003 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-004 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-005 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-006 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-007 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-008 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-009 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-010 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-011 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-012 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-001 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-002 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-003 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-004 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-005 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-006 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-007 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-008 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-009 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-010 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-011 IMG_7343

The post First Drive Review: 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon (With Video) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/first-drive-review-2015-volvo-v60-t5-sport-wagon-with-video/feed/ 181
BYD Coming to America in 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/byd-coming-to-america-in-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/byd-coming-to-america-in-2015/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 05:41:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=693713 Backed by Warren Buffet and his investment company Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.,Automotive News is reporting that Chinese automaker BYD plans to deliver four models to the United States in late 2015. This move comes after BYD founder and chair Wang Chauanfu spent the past three years reorganizing his company, cutting the number of dealerships under the automaker’s […]

The post BYD Coming to America in 2015 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
BYD Qin

Backed by Warren Buffet and his investment company Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.,Automotive News is reporting that Chinese automaker BYD plans to deliver four models to the United States in late 2015.

This move comes after BYD founder and chair Wang Chauanfu spent the past three years reorganizing his company, cutting the number of dealerships under the automaker’s banner while narrowing losses with their solar business with help from state incentives.

In turn, investors rewarded the changes with a 63 percent surge in the share price — currently holding around $5 USD — though nowhere near the peak of $11 BYD saw in October 2008; Berkshire Hathaway paid around $1 per share for 9.9 percent ownership of the company back in that year.

Though BYD has yet to bring over any of their cars to the U.S., they will begin manufacturing of their K9 electric bus in March at its factory in Lancaster, Calif.; a plan to sell the e6 electric hatchback by the end of 2010 was postponed.

Leading the charge will be the Qin (pronounced Chin) plug-in hybrid, which already arrived in local market showrooms last month. The $31,400 (before state subsidies) sedan books it from nil to 60 in under 6 seconds, and possesses a 43-mile range in electric-only travel.

That said, the Qin, along with its electric brethren, may be a better sell in Los Angeles than in Beijing, as high prices, safety concerns, and a lack of supporting infrastructure have held back China’s goal of 5 million alternative-energy vehicles by 2020.

However, the state government unveiled a new program last September which is supposed to alleviate the issue through heavy promotion of new-energy vehicles in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou using subsidies through 2015, which should help BYD in local adoption of their plug-in and EV offerings.

The post BYD Coming to America in 2015 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/byd-coming-to-america-in-2015/feed/ 89
New Face of 2015 Ford Focus Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/new-face-of-2015-ford-focus-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/new-face-of-2015-ford-focus-revealed/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 15:07:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=693449 Three years ago, Ford unveiled the third-generation Focus to the excitement of American enthusiasts who thought the second-generation model lacked “zazz,” to say the least. Come 2015, the Focus will have a new face, and that’s only the beginning. Debuting at the Geneva Auto Show in March, the 2015 Focus not only has a new, […]

The post New Face of 2015 Ford Focus Revealed appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Ford Focus

Three years ago, Ford unveiled the third-generation Focus to the excitement of American enthusiasts who thought the second-generation model lacked “zazz,” to say the least. Come 2015, the Focus will have a new face, and that’s only the beginning.

Debuting at the Geneva Auto Show in March, the 2015 Focus not only has a new, more Aston-Martinesque mouth — bringing it in line with the Fiesta and Fusion — but also a reshaped hood, front spoiler, and rear bumper. Inside, the “mobile phone”-inspired morass of buttons on the current model will soon be replaced by a more sensible, conventional layout featuring updated climate controls.

For the big gun of the collection, the Focus ST is expected to have more aggressive bodywork than the rest of the Focus lineup, along with improvements to the suspension and steering for sharper handling.

Under the hood, however, engine options will be carried-over into the 2015 model year, ranging from the 1-liter EcoBoost pumping out a minimum of 98 horsepower at the low-end, to the 247-horsepower 2-liter monster under the ST. Russian, Chinese and Brazilian markets will see 1.5-liter gasoline and diesel compliance engines as part of their engine choices.

Green enthusiasts will be pleased to know that plug-in variant (in the vein of the C-Max Energi) is in the offing; thus, expect a similar total output of 192 horsepower from its combined electric/gasoline power with 20 miles of electric-only travel. The all-electric Focus will still be available, as well.

The price of admission should more or less hold for 2015, so expect to pay anywhere from around $17,000 to $35,000 depending on model of choice

The post New Face of 2015 Ford Focus Revealed appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/new-face-of-2015-ford-focus-revealed/feed/ 62
Mercedes-Benz Expands Alabama Facilities, Deals With Labor Issues Ahead of C-Class Introduction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/mercedes-benz-expands-alabama-facilities-deals-with-labor-issues-ahead-of-c-class-introduction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/mercedes-benz-expands-alabama-facilities-deals-with-labor-issues-ahead-of-c-class-introduction/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=685818 Mercedes-Benz has been making improvements to its manufacturing facility near Tuscaloosa, Alabama in anticipation of the introduction of the all-new 2015 C-Class.  On December 18, Mercedes held a grand opening ceremony for a new 900,000 square foot parts logistics center at the plant.  Mercedes claims the $70 million dollar facility will employ 600 people.   […]

The post Mercedes-Benz Expands Alabama Facilities, Deals With Labor Issues Ahead of C-Class Introduction appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Mercedes-Benz C250, AMG Line, Avantgarde, Diamantsilber metallic

Mercedes-Benz has been making improvements to its manufacturing facility near Tuscaloosa, Alabama in anticipation of the introduction of the all-new 2015 C-Class.  On December 18, Mercedes held a grand opening ceremony for a new 900,000 square foot parts logistics center at the plant.  Mercedes claims the $70 million dollar facility will employ 600 people.

 

Most of those new hires will be contract employees working for outside suppliers, but some will be directly employed by Mercedes as transfers from existing facilities. The facility will handle daily parts deliveries as part of the just-in-time production method. Governor Robert Bentley was in attendance, remarking that “Mercedes has been a great partner for Alabama” since the plant opened. Mercedes began production at the facility in 1997.

Mercedes says that the addition of C-Class production will add about 1,000 employees at the facility in total. That number may increase in 2015, when the company plans to add another SUV to the production line. Auto Evolution claims that new SUV will probably be the next-generation GLK. This is yet to be confirmed by Mercedes, but it seems likely given that the C-Class is built on the same platform. It would also make a logical replacement for the aged and slow-selling R-Class. Mercedes discontinued R-Class sales in the United States last year, but still produces the vehicle in Tuscaloosa for the world market.

The expansion of the Tuscaloosa facility, like the founding of VW’s Chattanooga plant, has created waves in labor relations around the globe. Building cars in Alabama is part of a global production strategy that has seen Mercedes parent company Daimler shift more capacity to America.  When Daimler announced plans to transfer C-Class production out of its Sindelfingen, Germany facility back in 2009, it led to mass protests by workers affiliated with the union IG Metall. IG Metall has since backed unionization efforts at both Daimler and VW’s American facilities by the United Auto Workers, out of fear of being undercut by cheaper American labor. The UAW has lobbied Tuscaloosa workers extensively with IG Metall’s assistance, but has had no success thus far. The continued expansion of the facility will undoubtedly focus ever-greater attention on labor relations and compensation at the plant.

The post Mercedes-Benz Expands Alabama Facilities, Deals With Labor Issues Ahead of C-Class Introduction appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/mercedes-benz-expands-alabama-facilities-deals-with-labor-issues-ahead-of-c-class-introduction/feed/ 7
PRI 2013: Ford Shows Off its Ecoboost Crate Engine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/pri-2013-ford-shows-off-its-ecoboost-crate-engine/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/pri-2013-ford-shows-off-its-ecoboost-crate-engine/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=682610 Ford Racing quietly began offering its advanced, 2.0 liter Ecoboost turbocharged 4 cylinder crate engine earlier this year, without much fanfare. All that changed at the 2013 PRI Show in Indianapolis, however, with Ford’s Ecoboost powered 2015 Mustang twirling away on a giant lazy Susan directly under the giant “Ford Racing” banner mere steps away […]

The post PRI 2013: Ford Shows Off its Ecoboost Crate Engine appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Ford Ecoboost Crate Engine

Ford Racing quietly began offering its advanced, 2.0 liter Ecoboost turbocharged 4 cylinder crate engine earlier this year, without much fanfare. All that changed at the 2013 PRI Show in Indianapolis, however, with Ford’s Ecoboost powered 2015 Mustang twirling away on a giant lazy Susan directly under the giant “Ford Racing” banner mere steps away from the small crate engine, displayed proudly with its (relatively hefty) $8,000 price tag.

This was the first PRI outing (that I’m aware of) for Ford’s turbo 4, and the buzz around it was genuinely positive, with plenty of guys who cut their teeth on DSMs and 2.2 L turbo Chryslers in the- ahem!- 1990s suddenly interested in Ford’s muscular pony. Maybe for the first time, even- all of which bodes well for Ford, who needs to keep the Mustang brand relevant to the Gen-X and Millenial generations of enthusiasts if it hopes to enjoy another few decades of success.

As for specs, Ford’s littlest Ecoboost (crate engine) packs a 252 HP punch served up with 270 LB-FT of torque at just 3000 rpm- not bad for a company that couldn’t get that out of a production 5.0 liter V8 just 20 short years ago. You can check out a few more pictures of Ford’s racy 4-banger, below, and check out Ford Racing’s official 2.0 L Ecoboost page here.

 

Ford Ecoboost Crate Engine

Ford Ecoboost Crate Engine

 

Originally published on Gas 2.

The post PRI 2013: Ford Shows Off its Ecoboost Crate Engine appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/pri-2013-ford-shows-off-its-ecoboost-crate-engine/feed/ 15
Shifting Becomes Variable For 2015 Subaru WRX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/shifting-becomes-variable-for-2015-subaru-wrx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/shifting-becomes-variable-for-2015-subaru-wrx/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=651970 While those who opt for the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX STi can still row their own, those who prefer to let the transmission do the work may (or may not) be disappointed to find a CVT in their new WRX. In a leaked dealer document, customers who opt for either the WRX Premium standard model […]

The post Shifting Becomes Variable For 2015 Subaru WRX appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Subaru WRX

While those who opt for the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX STi can still row their own, those who prefer to let the transmission do the work may (or may not) be disappointed to find a CVT in their new WRX.

In a leaked dealer document, customers who opt for either the WRX Premium standard model or the Limited with or without the sat nav/Harmon Kardon audio/keyless access triad can either row their own through a six-speed manual or Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT.

Sending the power through the CVT will be a turbocharged 2-liter flat-four, while the STi will utilize a 2.5-liter turbo flat-four and, for those who choose it, launch control.

More details to come when the WRX makes its debut at the LA Auto Show next week.

The post Shifting Becomes Variable For 2015 Subaru WRX appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/shifting-becomes-variable-for-2015-subaru-wrx/feed/ 69
VW Plays a Round of e-Golf Before LA Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/vw-plays-a-round-of-e-golf-before-la-auto-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/vw-plays-a-round-of-e-golf-before-la-auto-show/#comments Thu, 14 Nov 2013 16:30:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=651018 Much like the Kia Soul EV, Volkswagen has added a compliance-only EV to their lineup and dressed it up to resemble her diesel brothers and gasoline sisters. Behold the 2015 e-Golf, set to make its official debut at the LA Auto Show next week. Emerging from the starting gate are 115 electric horses pulling 199 […]

The post VW Plays a Round of e-Golf Before LA Auto Show appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 VW e-Golf

Much like the Kia Soul EV, Volkswagen has added a compliance-only EV to their lineup and dressed it up to resemble her diesel brothers and gasoline sisters. Behold the 2015 e-Golf, set to make its official debut at the LA Auto Show next week.

Emerging from the starting gate are 115 electric horses pulling 199 lb-ft of golf course-ready torque, all fueled by the 24.2 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack. Charging ranges from 20 hours through a standard 110v outlet to four hours through a dedicated 220v wattbox, with DC fast-charge bringing the pack up to 80 percent in half an hour.

Speaking of speed, zero to 60 is a leisurely 10.4 seconds, maxing out at 87 mph in Normal mode. At Eco mode, power is brought down to 94 horses and 162 lb-ft of torque (and the cabin becoming warmer through the AC being taken down a few notches). At that point, zero to 60 takes 13.1 seconds, and top speed is 72 mph. Finally, in Eco+ mode (a.k.a., city-only mode), your e-Golf will plod along to a top speed of 56 mph with only 74 horses and 129 lb-ft of weed-pulling power; in the last two modes, you can punch it like Chewbacca back to 87 mph by simply adding more lead to your foot, thus defeating the purpose of Eco and Eco+ mode in the first place.

Regarding range, expect to remain close to the city: VW says anywhere from 70 to 90 miles per charge. If, however, you find yourself stranded on the highway, the automaker’s Roadside Assistance Plan will offer to pay cab fare and bring your e-Golf to the nearest charging station as long as you’re within 100 miles of home; the plan covers unlimited events.

On the inside, you’ll be able to monitor range and energy flow alongside managing charging times, speed, navigation and the like through a new instrument cluster made specifically for the e-Golf. Outside, full LED headlamps — a first for VW — and aero all around come together to shine a path into the electric future, or at least get you from your bedroom community to the cubical and back, anyway.

Though Volkswagen has yet to say anything about the price of admission, you’ll be able to drive away to Pebble Beach for a round of 18 come the fourth quarter of 2014.

The post VW Plays a Round of e-Golf Before LA Auto Show appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/vw-plays-a-round-of-e-golf-before-la-auto-show/feed/ 7
Hamster Heart, Electric Soul http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/hamster-heart-electric-soul-kia-soul-ev-in-north-america-soon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/hamster-heart-electric-soul-kia-soul-ev-in-north-america-soon/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=648482 If you’re into EVs but find theTesla Model S too expensive, and the Leaf too jelly bean, then Kia would like to offer you something with a bit of soul. An electric Soul, that is. The Soul EV will be the first EV sold outside of South Korea, with experience gained from the development and […]

The post Hamster Heart, Electric Soul appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Kia Soul EV

If you’re into EVs but find theTesla Model S too expensive, and the Leaf too jelly bean, then Kia would like to offer you something with a bit of soul. An electric Soul, that is.

The Soul EV will be the first EV sold outside of South Korea, with experience gained from the development and limited introduction of the Ray EV to government and rental fleets in their native market. Though no specific date has been set for the Soul EV’s North American rollout, Kia says to expect the electric hamstermobile to arrive in showrooms sometime in the second half of 2014, possibly bearing a 2015 model year designation.

If you’re lucky enough to be introduced to the Soul EV next year, expect drive away in a vehicle made for the city without looking like an electric wizard. Under the hood will be an electric motor pushing 109 horses out through the front door while providing 210 square-pounds of Whole Foods Market-pulling torque. Zero to 60 takes about 12 seconds, and you’ll be able to go back to the future with the Soul EV’s top speed of 90 mph.

The Soul EV will utilize what Kia calls the Virtual Engine Sound System, or VESS. At 12 mph or less, or while backing out with those organic goodies, the VESS will emit an audio alert of some sort to warn those hipsters to move out of your way in an ironic manner.

As for range and charging, the Soul EV is definitely meant for commuting to and from the hip neighborhood you call a home, with a target range of 120 miles per charge. While putting in your time at that awesome startup that will revolutionize the way you play with running vicious candy farmers, the Soul’s 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack will take five hours to charge on a standard 240v outlet, or 25 minutes on fast-charging through a 100 kW outlet.

Finally, the Soul EV is not only eco-conscious on the road, but is totally granola on the inside as well: the materials used are composed of biomass, from the foam in the seats to the dashboard holding the instrument cluster and 8-inch display.

The price of admission to feel like an electric hamster? Unknown as of this time, though word on the street is that it might be sold for around $35,000 on our shores. Like the Fiat 500e, this is strictly a compliance car meant to appease regulators. Hyundai’s corporate direction for ZEVs will be based around fuel cells, not electric vehicles.

In the meantime, enjoy this brief spy shot gallery with some bonus meta-commentary on the idea of “exclusivity.”

Soul EV Spy Shot 01 Soul EV Spy Shot 02 Soul EV Spy Shot 03

The post Hamster Heart, Electric Soul appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/hamster-heart-electric-soul-kia-soul-ev-in-north-america-soon/feed/ 16
Toyota Will Launch 2015 Fuel Cell Car, Volkswagen Won’t http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/toyota-will-launch-2015-fuel-cell-car-volkswagen-wont/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/toyota-will-launch-2015-fuel-cell-car-volkswagen-wont/#comments Mon, 01 Jul 2013 12:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493871 We’ve been saying it for years that Toyota, along with several other automakers, will launch a hydrogen fuel cell car in 2015. Two years ago, you heard it from Toyota’s  Chief Engineer Satoishi Ogiso. A month ago, Toyota’s America-chief Jim Lentz promised that “the first fuel cell sedan is coming to the U.S. in 2015.” […]

The post Toyota Will Launch 2015 Fuel Cell Car, Volkswagen Won’t appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Fuel Cell - Picture courtesy tfl.gov.uk

We’ve been saying it for years that Toyota, along with several other automakers, will launch a hydrogen fuel cell car in 2015. Two years ago, you heard it from Toyota’s  Chief Engineer Satoishi Ogiso. A month ago, Toyota’s America-chief Jim Lentz promised that “the first fuel cell sedan is coming to the U.S. in 2015.” Now, Bloomberg says that “at the Tokyo Motor Show in November, Toyota plans to show a hydrogen-powered sedan that would be sold as a 2015 model.”

Bloomberg did not unearth anything you would not already know:  The 2015 fuel cell model will be expensive. Two years ago, amounts in the neighborhood of $100,000 had been mentioned, but Ogiso wanted to bring the price down. Now, Bloomberg says the fuel cell car “could be available in U.S. dealerships as soon next year for a price comparable to a mid-size BMW or Tesla Model S.”

Bloomberg says “a mass-market for hydrogen cars may be a decade or more away,” but Ogiso wanted to start going mainstream by 2020.

One company will miss the hydrogen year of 2015, and that’s Volkswagen,  R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg told TTAC last week in Wolfsburg:

“We are concentrating on diesel. Fuel cell technology faces an infrastructure problem.  The gas must be transported refrigerated. The total CO2 balance sheet is not so good, local emissions are quite nice. Range is also good.”

Hackenberg said that Volkswagen continues to work on fuel cell technologies, that MQB is ready is ready for it. Volkswagen focuses on diesel and thinks CNG has a future in Europe, and that hybrid seems the way to go in the U.S. and China.

The post Toyota Will Launch 2015 Fuel Cell Car, Volkswagen Won’t appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/toyota-will-launch-2015-fuel-cell-car-volkswagen-wont/feed/ 40
GM: No Volt Variations Until 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/gm-no-volt-variations-until-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/gm-no-volt-variations-until-2015/#comments Fri, 30 Sep 2011 22:47:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413090 From the “how did we miss that?” file comes this Automotive News [sub] story, filed at the beginning of the week, which asked GM Europe boss Nick Reilly about plans for Volt-based variants. Reilly replied We won’t do it with this generation, and that will run to 2015. You’d have to wait until after that […]

The post GM: No Volt Variations Until 2015 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
From the “how did we miss that?” file comes this Automotive News [sub] story, filed at the beginning of the week, which asked GM Europe boss Nick Reilly about plans for Volt-based variants. Reilly replied

We won’t do it with this generation, and that will run to 2015. You’d have to wait until after that until you see it.

Which is peculiar, considering GM just announced that it will build a Cadillac Converj-style Volt variant at some point. GM has also shown a near-production-look Volt MPV5 Concept, although that has never been confirmed as a future production model. But Reilly explains that current Volt’s slow ramp-up and “expensive technology” have doomed any possibility of a Volt family of vehicles before the next generation drivetrain launches.

The post GM: No Volt Variations Until 2015 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/gm-no-volt-variations-until-2015/feed/ 69
Daimler Plans Volume Production Of Hydrogen Cars In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/daimler-plans-volume-production-of-hydrogen-cars-in-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/daimler-plans-volume-production-of-hydrogen-cars-in-2014/#comments Fri, 03 Jun 2011 08:45:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=397234   The ominous Hydrogen Year 2015 is popping up again.  Last year, Byung Ki Ahn, general manager of Hyundai-Kia’s Fuel Cell Group said: “There are already agreements between car makers such as ourselves and legislators in Europe, North America and Japan to build up to the mass production of fuel cell cars by 2015.” Going […]

The post Daimler Plans Volume Production Of Hydrogen Cars In 2014 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

 

The ominous Hydrogen Year 2015 is popping up again.  Last year, Byung Ki Ahn, general manager of Hyundai-Kia’s Fuel Cell Group said: “There are already agreements between car makers such as ourselves and legislators in Europe, North America and Japan to build up to the mass production of fuel cell cars by 2015.” Going  through the many files produced in Brussels, you find that in Europe “car manufacturers are getting ready for the commercial production of hydrogen vehicles by 2015.”

Now Daimler will begin series production of hydrogen fuel cell cars in 2014. This is what Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told Das Autohaus. Together with Linde, a manufacturer of industry gases, Daimler wants to build a small network of hydrogen fuel stations. By 2014, the n umber of hydrogen stations in Germany will rise to 50. Germany alone would need around 1,000 hydrogen stations for a nationwide supply.  And then, motorists will complain that they won’t find any in Italy if they decide to drive to Italy.

 

The post Daimler Plans Volume Production Of Hydrogen Cars In 2014 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/daimler-plans-volume-production-of-hydrogen-cars-in-2014/feed/ 34
China In August 2010: Up 16 Percent. Wants To Build 30m Units By 2015. Wants To Export 5m http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/china-in-august-2010-up-16-percent-wants-to-build-30m-units-by-2015-wants-to-export-5m/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/china-in-august-2010-up-16-percent-wants-to-build-30m-units-by-2015-wants-to-export-5m/#comments Thu, 09 Sep 2010 11:23:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=365176 Throwing caution of top government officials in the wind, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) expects car production in China to reach 30 million by 2015, with 5 million units earmarked for exports, China’s Global Times reports. The CAAM calls the estimate “conservative.” China’s 21st Century Business Herald cited sources that are betting on […]

The post China In August 2010: Up 16 Percent. Wants To Build 30m Units By 2015. Wants To Export 5m appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Throwing caution of top government officials in the wind, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) expects car production in China to reach 30 million by 2015, with 5 million units earmarked for exports, China’s Global Times reports.

The CAAM calls the estimate “conservative.” China’s 21st Century Business Herald cited sources that are betting on 34 million annually in five years. The surprising part is not the total. 25m sold domestically by 2015 is lowballed. At the rate the world’s second largest economy is growing, anywhere between 30 to 40m units annually is doable.

What is surprising is the export number they have in  mind.

China’s car exports are nothing to write home about. From January to July 2010, China exported a paltry 288,900 units. This coming year, China expects to import more than one million cars. Getting Chinese whole car exports up by a factor of ten in 5 years takes serious work.

Now with the big picture drawn, let’s get back to the little picture: How about August auto sales in China? In the beginning of the month, China’s CATRC had everybody in a tizzy by reporting a 55.7 percent gain for August. We didn’t believe it. A look at the August sales numbers of GM, Toyota and Ford raised further suspicions. With GM only up by 19 percent, the country can’t be up 55.7 percent. As goes GM, as goes China (with a few points deducted.) TTAC therefore prognosticated a “sales increase of below 20 percent.” And that’s where the true number is.

Wholesale deliveries of passenger cars rose 18.7 percent to 1.02 million units in August the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) told Bloomberg. Vehicle sales including buses and trucks gained 16.1 percent in August to 1.3 million, CAAM said. The ever so cautious CAAM raised its outlook for 2010 to 16m.

In the first eight months of the year, China’s auto sales grew 39 percent to a total of 11.58m, said the CAAM via Xinhua.

The street number for expected Chinese auto sales in 2010 is at around 17m.

The difference between CATRC and CAAM numbers already gave cause to an article on the state-owned  Xinhua news network, (CATRC counts registrations, CAAM deliveries to dealers) which did not do much to explain the glaring disparities.

The post China In August 2010: Up 16 Percent. Wants To Build 30m Units By 2015. Wants To Export 5m appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/china-in-august-2010-up-16-percent-wants-to-build-30m-units-by-2015-wants-to-export-5m/feed/ 2