The Truth About Cars » Limited http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 09 Dec 2014 23:28:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 » Limited http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Quick Look: 2015 Jeep Renegade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/quick-look-2015-jeep-renegade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/quick-look-2015-jeep-renegade/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 17:12:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889786 Chrysler has been on a steady upswing since the dark days of bankruptcy. Throughout its merger with Fiat, each model has been updated or completely replaced. Jeep has been the shining star of the core brands, selling every Grand Cherokee and Wrangler they can make. Even the controversially styled Cherokee has been fairly well receieved. […]

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2015 jeep renegade trailhawk

Chrysler has been on a steady upswing since the dark days of bankruptcy. Throughout its merger with Fiat, each model has been updated or completely replaced. Jeep has been the shining star of the core brands, selling every Grand Cherokee and Wrangler they can make. Even the controversially styled Cherokee has been fairly well receieved. The next  vehicle in the Jeep lineup will be the small Renegade, designed to attract “a new wave of youthful and adventurous customers around the world to the brand.” We concur.

2015 jeep renegade trailhawk side

I recently attended a local media event where Jeep brought two Renegade pre-production vehicles, which were previously seen on the auto show circuit; red Latitude and a gray Trailhawk. Because they’re such early builds, there was no driving allowed. What we did get was a close look at these early examples, and lots of face time with the people responsible for the Renegade.

When it goes on sale in the first quarter of 2015, the Renegade will be available in four flavors: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. All models will be available in either front or all wheel drive, with the exception of the Trailhawk which will be exclusively 4×4. Jeep is mum on two key factors: gas mileage and price, but expect over 30mpg on the highway.

2015 jeep renegade latitude muliair engine

Under the hood will be one of two familiar engines: the Sport and Latitude will come with a 1.4 liter turbo which produces 160hp and 184lb-ft of torque, and the Tigershark 2.4 liter, which makes 184hp and 177 lb-ft. The Tigershark engine will be standard on Limited and Trailhawk, but optional on other trim levels. The turbo engine will be available with a six-speed manual transmission in both 4×2 and 4×4 versions. The 2.4-liter engine will be available only with a 9-speed automatic. When properly equipped, this Italian-made Renegade will be able to tow 2000lbs.

Despite the front-drive bias, the full-time 4×4 mode can be manually engaged, and each Renegade has a Land Rover-like terrain response system, dubbed Selec-Terrain, with an available rock crawling mode. The Trailhawk adds increased ride height, skid plates, tow hooks, a full-size spare, hill-descent control, and unique fascias that sacrifice aerodynamics in favor of better approach and departure angles. There will also be a low-range mode with a 20:1 crawl ratio.

2015 jeep renegade latitude preproduction interior

Where every vehicle in this category looks like a different flavor of the same blob, the Renegade is very square, and its Fiat roots are covered up by a shrunken down Wrangler mold. Jeep says it “combines the Jeep brand’s heritage with fresh new styling” but everyone will say that looks cute. Despite the somewhat cartoony looks, I like it just because it is so square and so different looking.

Renegade’s most interesting exterior design is a roof which consists of two manually removable roof panels. Inspired by Wrangler’s hardtop, the My Sky roof will be available on all models. On all but the Sport model, the My Sky can be ordered with power retraceable glass sunroofs, a la BMW wagons, which are also manually removable.

2015 jeep renegade my sky sunroof panels

The interior is very similar to other new Chrysler vehicles. Front and center is the newest version of the familiar Uconnect system which has developed a reputation for being quick and easy to use.  Keeping it simple are three dials for climate control, with the minimum amount of buttons. Below that are aux and USB inputs, 12v receptacle, and the Selec-Terrain system knob. Interior materials on these pre-production vehicles were not the final molds, but expect something similar to what is on the Chrysler 200. Subtle Jeep design cues are also present throughout the interior.

The Renegade is a very interesting vehicle and a huge step up from the Patriot and the Compass. Like those two vehicles, it will be frowned upon by hardcore Jeep enthusiasts, but if the final product is a good mix of the two Cherokees and the Wrangler, there is no way it cannot succeed.

2015 jeep renegade rear seat room

 

 

 

2015 jeep renegade trailhawk side 2015 jeep renegade trunk 2015 jeep renegade details 2015 jeep renegade latitude muliair engine 2015 jeep renegade latitude preproduction interior 2015 jeep renegade my sky sunroof panels 2015 jeep renegade trailhawk 2015 jeep renegade rear seat room

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Vellum Venom Vignette: Ford Taurus X “LITIMED” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/vellum-venom-vignette-ford-taurus-x-litimed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/vellum-venom-vignette-ford-taurus-x-litimed/#comments Mon, 09 Jul 2012 12:27:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451755 TTAC Commentator SupremeBrougham starts us off: Hi Sajeev, I found this jem at my local Ford dealer the other day and I thought I’d share it with you so you can share it with the others. It’s a real one of a kind!!! Sajeev brings it home: What’s in a name? Let’s first marinate on […]

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TTAC Commentator SupremeBrougham starts us off:

Hi Sajeev,

I found this jem at my local Ford dealer the other day and I thought I’d share it with you so you can share it with the others. It’s a real one of a kind!!!

Sajeev brings it home:

What’s in a name? Let’s first marinate on the irony of someone named “Supreme Brougham”, one of the most imagery-evoking trim levels in automotive history, pointing out the fallibility of the bland “Limited” trim designation.  Well then!

I was quite thrilled to see both the Taurus and the Taurus Wagon (i.e. X) come back to market, yet that thrill was short lived.  The Taurus’ unique American value (and style, love it or leave it) faded almost the moment Ford installed the typical stick-on floating chrome emblems. First in 2000, then in 2008.  But I will spare you my thoughts on how and why I came to that conclusion. Let’s stick (get it?) with the little chrome bits: new age emblems that are too easy to deviate from the original design.

And there you have it: this hunk of dealer inventory enjoyed a quick re-spray for reasons unknown, complete with incorrect emblem adhesion.  It’s physically impossible for this to happen at the factory, anyone who’s been on a tour of one know what I’m talking about. So why make these badges?  Why not make the ones from yesteryear…over a decade ago?

I personally liked the one piece, somewhat stylish, script writing of the GEN III Taurus, or the original hunk of Taurean goodness.  Badges that can’t be screwed up are important, we need to bring them back. Don’t believe me?  Have a look at the difficult-to-deface Lexus emblem.

Best and Brightest: your thoughts?

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Review: 2012 Ford Edge Limited EcoBoost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/review-2012-ford-edge-limited-ecoboost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/review-2012-ford-edge-limited-ecoboost/#comments Fri, 06 Jul 2012 17:35:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=449592   Once upon a time, in a country known as America, SUVs roamed the land with large-displacement inline 6s, optional V8s, and locking axles. Nobody had heard of a “cute ute.” Of course, gasoline was also under a buck a gallon. Today the landscape is different. While the last energy crisis caused entire vehicles to […]

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Once upon a time, in a country known as America, SUVs roamed the land with large-displacement inline 6s, optional V8s, and locking axles. Nobody had heard of a “cute ute.” Of course, gasoline was also under a buck a gallon. Today the landscape is different. While the last energy crisis caused entire vehicles to downsize, the response to the latest energy “crisis” (and government pressure) has been to downsize engines while leaving the rest of the vehicle intact. Case in point? The Ford Edge EcoBoost. No, this isn’t the 3.5L fire-breathing twin-turbo you’ve heard about before, this is the all-new 2.0L engine that puts the Eco in EcoBoost.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

In 2007 Ford sold over 130,000 Edge CUVs, but sales slid slowly as the financial meltdown and high gasoline costs put shopper on notice. In order to keep things fresh, Ford face-lifted the Edge for 2011. While the proportions remain the same—a wide stance, slab sides, stubby schnozz and a raked windshield—Ford seems to have ditched their attempt at styling the Edge to look smaller. To that end, the formerly demure three-bar “Gillette” grill has been replaced with an Audi-esque billy-the-big-mouth-bass affair covered in all the chrome bling you could wish for. While some were offended by the large expanses of chrome-effect plastic, I think a bold front end is exactly what Ford needs to differentiate the Edge from the plethora of me-too CUVs on the road. That being said, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is still more visually exciting.

Interior

Our Edge tester was a “Limited” trim model. Starting at $34,940 and bringing standard goodies like dual-zone climate control, leather, 10-way power seats, an up-level Sony audio system and Ford’s MyFord Touch infotainment system, the  Limited sits at the top of the Edge food chain. If these goodies don’t piqué your interest, the Edge SEL crosses the infotainment upgrades off the equipment list for $31,400 and the base Edge SE EcoBoost starts at $28,845 with cloth seats and manual HVAC knobs. Regardless of trim level, the Edge’s parts quality and fit-and-finish are easily the best in its class. Even the Limited’s faux-wood trim is plausible in terms of realistic texture and tasteful distribution. The Edge seems to represent Ford’s continuing march toward premium interiors at premium price points. While this is no doubt a good direction for the brand, if you’re looking for a cheap, rough-and-tumble CUV replacement for your old Bronco II, this isn’t it. Strangely, the only real problem I have with the Edge’s interior is that it’s nice enough that I see little reason (aside from some real-wood) to upgrade to the Lincoln MKX. Thanks to the generous, corn-fed proportions, the cargo capacity of the Edge is a large 32 cubic feet expanding to 69 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Infotainment

Like the Android vs iPhone debate, infotainment systems spark fierce controversy. No system since iDrive has received as much bad press mixed with forum fan-boy rave reviews as MyFord Touch. Let’s cut to the chase. The 2012 Edge benefits from major software update designed to make the system more responsive and easier to use. During a previous week with the 2011 system, we experienced frequent freezing, random crashes, periodic reboots and the ever-so-popular “blue screen of death.” The 2012 version performed reliably. That’s not to say MyFord Touch is now perfect. The system is still dreadfully slow when compared to iDrive, UConnect 8.4 and Cadillac’s new CUE system. If slow interfaces bother you, just buy an Edge SEL, select every option except the Ford MyTouch system and you’ll essentially have a Limited without MyFord Touch. By doing so you can still get the backup camera and the voice activated SYNC system which work flawlessly. The downside? You won’t get the snazzy 4.2-inch LCDs on either side of the speedometer. Despite the sloth, my opinion is that MyFord Touch is one of the best systems on the market (after iDrive) in terms of functionality, aesthetics and ease of use. Yes the system is painfully slow at times, but I’d rather have a sluggish system that did everything MyFord Touch does than a snappy system that only covered the basics.

Drivetrain

Ah, the section you’ve all be waiting for. Aside from the revised MyFord Touch system, the reason we’re looking at the Edge is the new EcoBoost engine. No, this isn’t the fire-breathing 3.5L twin-turbo monster that Ford is jamming under as many hoods as possible, this is the engine that puts the “eco” in EcoBoost. Ford started out with a 2.0L four cylinder aluminum block, added twin cams with independent variable valve timing, bolted on a Borg Warner (KKK) K03 turbocharger and lathered on the direct-injection sauce. The K03 is good for 16psi of boost which yields 240HP, 270lb-ft of torque and a “claimed” 30MPG on the highway.The observant in the crowd will note that while this is a 45HP decrease from the 3.5L V6, there is an extra 17lb-ft of torque-on tap. Speaking of torque, all 270lb-ft come to the boil at 1750RPM and stay strong to 4,500RPM while the 3.5L V6 peaks at 4,000. As long as the turbos are spooled up, the engine produces more torque at a given RPM than the V6. It’s this broad torque curve that allows the EcooBoost Edge to scoot to 60 only 0.4 seconds slower than the 3.5L V6 despite the drop in HP and the slight delay in off-the-line acceleration. The cost for this gem? $995. Power is sent to the front wheels via Ford’s 6-speed automatic transmission. Why there is no AWD option for this engine is anyone’s guess. The EcoBoost engine idles as smoothly as BMW’s 2.0L DI turbo – in other words, it sounds like a quiet diesel engine.

Drive

Thanks to extensive sound insulation, the only way you would know the 2.0L turbo lurks under the hood is by the way the Edge drives and gulps gasoline. Unlike the fuel-efficient engine choices of the last century, I prefer the way the 2.0L turbo drives to V6. Why? It’s all in the way the power is delivered. With all that twist arriving at low RPMs, the fact that the transmission is programmed to be recalcitrant to shift (for fuel economy) is not only a non-issue, it makes maintaining speed on a mountain grade a smoother affair than the V6 Edge which constantly hunts for the right gear. As you would expect with 270lb-ft on tap, torque steer and one-wheel burnouts are a mere throttle stab away. If I hadn’t driven an EcoBoost and V6 Edge back-t0-back I would have thought the turbo was the faster vehicle to 60 which arrived in just under 7.6 seconds.

The suspension in the Edge is tuned toward the softer side of CUVs, delivering a ride that is compliant and composed over all the broken pavement we could throw at it. This is thanks to the tall 60-series tires standard on the Edge as well as the wide 65-inch track. While I wouldn’t ever call a two-ton crossover a “corner carver,” the Edge is in many ways a grossly overweight Mazda 6 and handles as such. Remind you of a CX-7? It should. On windy mountain roads it can pull up its support hose and feign some dance moves, but it is unlikely the average buyer will ever try.

If you’re shopping for a two wheel drive crossover and need the generous capacity the Edge offers, the EcoBoost model is hand-down Ford’s best offering. If however you’re looking for fuel efficiency in a 5-seat crossover the Edge EcoBoost becomes a less exciting proposition. During our 734-mile week with the Edge we averaged 24.2MPG with conservative driving and plenty of highway miles. While this does represent a nearly 5MPG improvement over the 3.5L V6 Edge on the same driving cycle and a break-even point of around 4 years for the $995 engine option, city dwellers and those with lead feet will find themselves averaging 19-20MPG. Despite the active shutters and a cool, A/C-free coastal California drive, the Edge struggled to average 29MPG with the cruise control set to 65MPH. Despite not living up to its EPA numbers, the EcoBoost delivered a superior driving experience and a true 20-25% improvement in fuel economy meaning. There is just one problem: the all-new Ford Escape. Despite being rated a very similar 22/30MPG, our short stint with the 2.0L EcoBoost Escape proves that its real world average is around 27MPG. While the Escape is smaller than the Edge, it’s also more nimble, handles better, lighter, faster, cheaper and AWD is an option.

 

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

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.73 Seconds

0-60: 7.59 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.95 Seconds @ 84.7 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 24.2 MPG over 734 miles

 

 

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Review: 2010 Ford Taurus http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/06/review-2010-ford-taurus/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/06/review-2010-ford-taurus/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2009 11:48:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=320567

Don’t believe the hype. The 1986 Taurus was not “the car that saved Ford.” Trucks saved Ford in the late Eighties and early Nineties, as consumer tastes moved away from the one-sedan-fits-nearly-all market in favor of the newly popular SUV. Nor can the 2010 Taurus save a Ford beset by problems on all sides. There are no longer enough potential mid-sized car buyers to make a huge impact on the company’s bottom line, and most of those buyers are really better candidates for the smaller, more affordable Fusion.

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Don’t believe the hype. The 1986 Taurus was not “the car that saved Ford.” Trucks saved Ford in the late Eighties and early Nineties, as consumer tastes moved away from the one-sedan-fits-nearly-all market in favor of the newly popular SUV. Nor can the 2010 Taurus save a Ford beset by problems on all sides. There are no longer enough potential mid-sized car buyers to make a huge impact on the company’s  bottom line, and most of those buyers are really better candidates for the smaller, more affordable Fusion.

No, the Taurus is neither Ford’s savior nor the vanguard of an American sedan renaissance. Instead, it’s a return to that quaintest of quaint American ideals: that of the premium Ford, primus inter pares in the millions of tract homes and leafy streets in that oft-derided “flyover country.” The original Taurus was notable for its unabashed futurism; the 1996 model, for a tragically ovoid miscalculation of the importance of price versus product in the market. This Taurus is something new and old at the same time. It’s intended to be a car that people want to own.

Our exposure to the 2010 Taurus took the form of a press introduction in Knoxville, Tennessee, followed by a long drive to Asheville, North Carolina, in conditions that could best be described as “forty percent chance of loading pairs of animals into a homebuilt ark.” The particular vehicle we drove was a white front-wheel-drive Taurus Limited with a reasonable but not comprehensive selection of the available options. Although the Taurus SE starts at $25,995, same as its predecessor, expect real-world stickers to range between twenty-eight and thirty-four grand for “popularly equipped” lot stock.

The alert reader will note that this price range is not really “Camcord” territory. The vast majority of the Japanese-brand mid-sizers sold are automatic-transmission four-bangers which leave the lot for a price well south of the base Taurus. This is fine with Ford; those buyers will be shown a Fusion. Instead, the Taurus is aimed upmarket. The media kit mentions the Audi A6, Lexus GS350, Chrysler 300, and Toyota Avalon. The first two comparisons can be dismissed as fantasy, the third is likely to be increasingly irrelevant, but the fourth is critical. There are plenty of older people in America who like the idea of buying a large sedan with a few gadgets on it, and those people are very fond of Toyota’s big Camry derivative.

Towards that end, Ford’s made no fewer than ten killer-app gadgets available on the Taurus, including radar cruise control, a surprisingly effective blind-spot warning system that can also notify the driver of cars approaching from the side in a parking lot, and the Orwellian “MyKey” that allows a top speed to be set for the valet key. Presumably this last feature is aimed at overprotective parents.

The MyKey setting on our car was turned off, so we headed for the hills to engage in a little bit of the old ultraviolence. Seated behind the Ford corporate steering wheel and fiddling with SYNC to our hearts’ content, we mercilessly tortured the charmless Duratec 3.5 for every last pony. This is not a fast car by any means—the SHO (in a forthcoming review) will address this—but it can be driven very hard in lousy weather. Stability is outstanding, steering feel is usable, and the chassis provides a sound ride while preserving a modest ability to be turned in on the brakes, should some irresponsible Boomer try it.

Over space and time, the new Taurus proved itself to be a quiet, comfortable vehicle with plenty of useful features. The exterior styling is up for debate, but the interior really does satisfy, providing ninety-five percent of the Lincoln MKS experience for about sixty percent of the price. Lon Zaback, Ford’s Interior Design Manager, waxed eloquent to us on the terribly complex process by which the absolutely convincing-looking faux-stitched leather doors were produced. The doors deserve a story all by themselves, but for now just consider it emblematic of the effort put into the Taurus by all hands.

The last Ford sedan to have this kind of whole-hearted effort devoted to it was the 1996 Taurus, and we all know what happened to that well-intended but ultimately star-crossed effort. It was a premium product and design statement masquerading as a family car, but the 2010 suffers from no such mission confusion. Comparing this very competent and interesting big sedan to the aging Impala or Chrysler 300 is bringing a gun to a knife fight. Against the Maxima, Avalon, and Azera, the Taurus offers size, styling, unique features and perhaps the most focus on the driver to be found in the segment. Don’t expect it to save Ford, but don’t expect it to fail, either.

[Ford provided the vehicle reviewed, gas, insurance, transportation, lodging and food.]

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