The Truth About Cars » S http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 04 Dec 2014 19:13:59 +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 » S http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Capsule Review: 2015 Ford Escape Titanium http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-ford-escape-titanium/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-ford-escape-titanium/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=914362 Today’s cute compact crossovers are slowly replacing mid-size sedans as the most popular vehicle on the market, and with good reason too. They have smaller footprints, are easier to drive, are more versatile, more economical, and AWD systems provide a piece of mind during foul weather. Is the Escape a…wait for it…game changer?   The […]

The post Capsule Review: 2015 Ford Escape Titanium appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 ford escape titanium ecoboost side

Today’s cute compact crossovers are slowly replacing mid-size sedans as the most popular vehicle on the market, and with good reason too. They have smaller footprints, are easier to drive, are more versatile, more economical, and AWD systems provide a piece of mind during foul weather. Is the Escape a…wait for it…game changer?

 

2015 ford escape titanium ecoboost dash interior

The interior is unmistakably Ford, with clear analog gauges and the MyFord Touch system high and center. The seats are very comfortable, heated in the front, and the angle of the headrests is adjustable so they will not press against the back of your head like some other Fords. The rear seat is best for two passengers but three adult butts or three booster seats will fit. The rear bench folds flat and is split 60:40. The dash is made of at least four different types of materials which do not always complement one another or match up perfectly, such as where the A-pillar meets the dash. HVAC controls and other buttons are small, low in the dash, and obscured by the shifter. At night the interior ambiance lighting can be adjusted in color and intensity to match your mood.

The MyFord Touch system received a slew of upgrades over the years and is now actually usable by a novice. Some of the touch-screen buttons are small and shorter drivers may need to stretch to touch the screen. Those truly adventurous can opt to shout at the system to get it to do what they want. The system easily connected to my phone and offers a ton of options and features which will likely go unused by most buyers. An Audi or Lexus-like knob would make this one of the best systems on the market.

2015 ford escape titanium ecoboost interior details

The previous generation had large square windows but this one, like the rest of the auto industry, has smaller windows all around. Despite that, visibility in all directions remains surprisingly good. Doors are large and open wide, making the chore of loading kids into the car a task that won’t break your back. Auto up and down on all windows, as opposed to just the driver’s window, is a nice touch. The rear bumper height is low, making loading and unloading easy. The big rear power hatch can be opened by waving your foot under the bumper, but it is slower in operation than other cars.

The top engine choice is a 240hp and 270lb-ft 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder which is very nicely matched to the vehicle; smooth, quick, and responsive. The six-speed automatic has two driving modes, D and S. In S it downshifts sooner and holds the gears longer, but not too long, where it becomes annoying. The ride is smooth and when tossed into a highway ramp, the Escpape remains neutral and composed, if a bit top-heavy. In this 4WD configuration, the EPA rates the Escape at 21mpg city and 28mpg on the highway. When equipped with a Class II trailer tow package, the little Escape can tow a 3500lb trailer.

2015 ford escape titanium ecoboost exterior details

The 2015 Ford Escape starts at $22,610 for the base SE model with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine and 2WD. Those wanting 4WD need to step up to the SE with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine (178hp/184tq) which starts at $26,810. Our Titanium model, with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost ($1195 over the 1.6-liter), starts at $31,965. Equipment Group 301A adds HID headlights, blind-spot detection, automatic wipers, and parking sensors for $1735. Navigation system is $795 and destination charges are $895 for a total MSRP of $35,150. At the time of this writing there was a $750 factory incentive.

The Escape is a nice vehicle overall, but aside from the peppy engine it does not bring anything new to the market. While none of its competitors feel more exciting in any comparable way, it feels like Ford decided to make just another vehicle to fill the market niche. The powerful engine is nice, but this is a price driven category where competitors offer one engine at a much lower overall price.

2015 ford escape titanium ecoboost rear side

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. 

Ford provided the vehicle for this review.

The post Capsule Review: 2015 Ford Escape Titanium appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-ford-escape-titanium/feed/ 136
Volvo Restructuring To Three Families, Configurations By 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-restructuring-three-families-configurations-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-restructuring-three-families-configurations-2019/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903194 By 2019, the face of Volvo will change as the Sino-Swedish automaker begins restructuring its offerings, with the new XC90 leading the way. Autoblog reports Volvo will align its lineup portfolio around three families (40, 60, 90) and three designations/configurations (S sedan, V wagon, XC crossover). In turn, the 40 family will share a platform […]

The post Volvo Restructuring To Three Families, Configurations By 2019 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Volvo-XC90-2015-119

By 2019, the face of Volvo will change as the Sino-Swedish automaker begins restructuring its offerings, with the new XC90 leading the way.

Autoblog reports Volvo will align its lineup portfolio around three families (40, 60, 90) and three designations/configurations (S sedan, V wagon, XC crossover). In turn, the 40 family will share a platform with parent company Geely’s offerings, while the 60 and 90 families will use Volvo’s SPA modular platform.

Additionally, the V40/V60/V90 wagons will have a Cross Country variant, matching up with Audi’s and Subaru’s offroad formula for their respective non-rugged base offerings. Meanwhile, R-Design and Polestar will apply their magic performance touches to a few of the new vehicles, going up against similar efforts from BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

All of the above are expected to come online within the next four years, but no coupes or convertibles are in the plans, citing a lack of a case for either at this time. Volvo will instead focus on boosting its volume, with a goal of 800,000 units for 2014 alone.

The post Volvo Restructuring To Three Families, Configurations By 2019 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-restructuring-three-families-configurations-2019/feed/ 25
Software Update Barely Makes Dent In Tesla Model S “Vampire” Issue http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/software-update-barely-makes-dent-in-tesla-model-s-vampire-issue/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/software-update-barely-makes-dent-in-tesla-model-s-vampire-issue/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 16:02:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=664186 Standby power — or vampire draw — allows consumer goods such as smartphones, cloud-enabled laptops and PS4s to wake up immediately to do whatever it is you need them to do. There are drawbacks, of course, such as the wasting of resources (money, electricity, the things that make electricity happen) and fires. Speaking of fires, […]

The post Software Update Barely Makes Dent In Tesla Model S “Vampire” Issue appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Tesla S at Seattle Auto Show 2013

Standby power — or vampire draw — allows consumer goods such as smartphones, cloud-enabled laptops and PS4s to wake up immediately to do whatever it is you need them to do. There are drawbacks, of course, such as the wasting of resources (money, electricity, the things that make electricity happen) and fires.

Speaking of fires, Tesla may need to cast more sunlight upon the S’s vampire draw issues, as it would appear their latest software update hasn’t done much to drive the stake into its heart if one owner’s experience is to be believed.

The cause for the vampire drain overall was a software update that fixed a number of issues found in the original version of the sedan’s operating system when the latter was put into sleep mode. By “fixed,” of course, the automaker merely disabled sleeping altogether.

What happened next? The standby power went from 1 percent every 24 hours to as much as 8 percent in the same time period, depending on what model one owned.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk addressed this issue in March of this year, promising a new sleep mode update in July would bring the draw down to a much more reasonable 0.2 percent.

While the update would ultimately arrive in late fall, the owner found his S drained 15 miles of indicated range every 24 hours, down from a peak of 23 miles when the S was first tested earlier this year. Not quite 0.2 percent, though the Best & Brightest are questioning the owner’s methodology in the comments.

The post Software Update Barely Makes Dent In Tesla Model S “Vampire” Issue appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/software-update-barely-makes-dent-in-tesla-model-s-vampire-issue/feed/ 18
Review: 2010 Porsche Cayman S PDK http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/review-2010-porsche-cayman-s-pdk/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/review-2010-porsche-cayman-s-pdk/#comments Mon, 07 Jun 2010 19:40:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=358382 300 plus horsepower, mid-engine sportscars are a rare breed. It stands to reason then, that they should be reviewed by someone who can put them into their rarefied context. The kind of reviewer who can tell you the subtle handling differences between each generation of the 911, and whose keyboard is stained with the oil […]

The post Review: 2010 Porsche Cayman S PDK appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

300 plus horsepower, mid-engine sportscars are a rare breed. It stands to reason then, that they should be reviewed by someone who can put them into their rarefied context. The kind of reviewer who can tell you the subtle handling differences between each generation of the 911, and whose keyboard is stained with the oil of a hundred home-rebuilt crankcases. At the very least, they should be reviewed by the kind of people who get regular seat time in the unjustifiably potent mid-engined supercars that you’d have to purchase to one-up a mid-engine Porsche’s considerable capabilities. So what happens when a Porsche Cayman S ends up in the hands of someone who is used to getting their motoring kicks with a mass-market hatchback?

The obvious answer isn’t complicated [Ed: watch out for garage doors?]. Without a thorough knowledge of the Cayman’s competition, the only impression that lasts is a lingering soreness around the muscles that were forced to spend several days clenched into a shit-eating grin. If that’s good enough for you, then by all means, grab your checkbook and prepare to lighten it of the Cayman S’s $61,500 price of admission. After all, it’s just money.

Of course, that’s not how things work around here. Luckily, some of TTAC’s most experienced writers have already put the Cayman S through its paces, and can cogently compare the crocodilian coupe to its competition from within Zuffenhausen, and beyond. Their sage verdicts confirm what is fast becoming gospel for sportscar fans: the Cayman S is the Porsche for enthusiasts looking for more poise and less pose.

But here’s the catch: by gaining accolades from those in the know, the Cayman has developed its own brand of snob appeal. And luckily for Porsche, there are plenty of buyers who want to cash in on its enthusiast halo, whether they regularly drive past 7/10ths or not. Are these uninitiated post-posers in for the kind of nasty surprises that once made Porsche infamous for killing its clientele, and still keeps Lotus Elise ownership in the domain of hard-core anoraks?

Entering the low-slung coupe provides the first hint that Porsche’s junior coupe doesn’t ask as much from the driver as other “pure” enthusiast choices. Not only are entry and egress easily accomplished, but once seated, the Cayman is as intimidating as dachshund puppy. Sure, it’s low to the ground, but visibility is surprisingly unimpeded by its sloping fastback. The effect is a confidence-inspiring user-friendliness that makes the Cayman feel like it’s wrapped itself around before you even leave the lot.

Unfortunately, this intuitive, confidence-building impression is severely let down by the Cayman’s cockpit. Driving your first Porsche? You will instantly be aware of how little of your $60k+ went towards the interior materials. Of course, the Porsche is plush where it matters, namely in the seat and steering wheel departments. Otherwise, you’ll quickly start craving the aluminum simplicity of an Elise. Especially when you realize that your expensive navigation option is no more functional or appealing than the dour plastic that surrounds it.

Never mind the bollocks: you didn’t just snag the fastest mid-engine sportscar under $100k to be swathed in creature comforts. There are plenty of front-engine GT cars that can haul ass and keep you feeling wealthy without having to stare at the steering wheel’s Porsche badge (or, if you’re actually truly wealthy, paying Porsche to pimp your Cayman’s interior). What these cars won’t do, however, is inspire complete confidence from the moment you step into the heavily-weighted gas pedal, and trundle the thing out onto the road.

Around town, the Cayman’s compact stance and brilliant packaging make a surprisingly strong argument for the Cayman S as a daily driver. Not only does it hold more cargo than you’d ever guess (more, for example, than the Lexus IS250C we traded in for it), but it’s also handy in the tight car parks that fluster so many sexily-styled sportscars. In this era of high beltlines and ubiquitous back-up cameras, knowing where your corners are at all times is the ultimate luxury.

Of course, the Cayman S isn’t the perfect city car. The 320 horsies hanging out behind your back must be managed with a subtle right foot to keep the dual-clutch transmission from confusing your request for additional shove with the desire for a woofing visit to the 7200 RPM redline. The steering, though precise and ultimately well-weighted, will come off as a bit heavy and pointy to wannabe-enthusiasts raised on the overboosted helms of mass-market Americana.

The freeway onramp is the first chance to test the real reason you sprang for a Cayman S. With the transmission in drive, the first few gears clunk somewhat heavily into action, as 3.4 liters of flat-six grab the ground and throw it backwards, leaving the rapidly disappearing traffic to deal with the consequences. Entering a cloverleaf onramp faster than expected, the instincts tell you to ease up on the throttle as the suspension begins to load up.

Screw your instincts, you have more grip than you know what to do with. In fact, the scariest moment I ever experienced in my time with the Cayman S was on my first onramp, when adrenalin and self-preservation instincts quietly whispered that I should back off the throttle, which I did with all the grace of a newbie handling 300 horses. The PDK grabbed its accelerating gear, and lurched sickeningly. Lesson learned: never stop powering through that corner. I take a moment to thank my lucky stars that my first Porsche experience did not take place in the era of epic lift-off oversteer.

On the freeway, the Cayman S remains firmly planted and remarkably refined. Oh yes, and fast too. Speeds that I’d previously reached over long, straight distances in empty Eastern Oregon were suddenly possible in the short gaps between waves of Southern California traffic. And when another clot of Prii starts to fill the Cayman’s fishbowl windscreen, the brakes haul it back to legal speeds with equal nonchalance. If you’re a speed freak with a high tolerance, you might want to consider an extra several hundred horsepower. Or you could just read a good biography of James Dean.

After all, 320 hp is likely to be enough for most Cayman owners for the same reasons that keep most of them snorting their cocaine instead of cooking it into crack. The sad truth about cars like the Cayman S (and recreational drugs like cocaine) is that you typically find your limits long before you find the outer limits of their potent capabilities. And exploring those limits usually ends up more closely resembling work than any kind of actual recreation.

And that doesn’t just mean pushing the Cayman’s epic grip to the point where the ass-end slides so subtly that you’re not sure if you just imagined it. For one thing, try finding an empty, winding road in the Southern California area. After a few hours, you’ll be feeling the toothless desperation of a sidewalk spare-change hustler. And once you do find a tight ribbon of tarmac, you’ll be an invincible, king-of-the-road, canyon-carving hero… until you come up on another NSFWing Prius.

For those brief moments when the road is curving and empty, you’ll reach a level of connectedness to a machine that most people never feel. In fact, you’ll be so intoxicated by the experience, you won’t even realize how terrifying your pace was until you reluctantly let your passenger take the wheel. Suddenly disconnected from the telepathic steering, chortling oomph and effortless brakes, the experience couldn’t be more different. And terrifying. Like having someone clap their hands over your eyes while you’re driving a “normal” car. What more do you say about a car’s ability to communicate with the driver?

But then, I’d already read the paeans to the Cayman’s communication skills. I’d read about the crazed cornering speeds, the flattering flatness of the Cayman’s roadholding, the potent shove from its flat-six. And to be perfectly honest, it feels exactly how you’d imagine. Which is to say, lovely. More surprising: the fact that this car can turn a entertaining mountain blast into white-knuckle work without ever scaring you, and then trundle down the freeway in quiet comfort and park effortlessly in the tightest, tiniest structure.

In short, the Cayman S is a gateway drug. It seems like everything you’ll ever want and more than you’ll ever really need. But each time you go out driving, you’ll be pushed to push a little bit harder. It’s undiscovered limits will tease you that much. You’ll want more… and then, just a little bit more. Before you know it, you’ll end up like Dean. Or worse still, you’ll end buying an even more potent supercar.

Budget of Beverly Hills, an independently owned-and-operated franchise of Budget Rent-A-Car gave us a discounted rental rate on the vehicle for this review. And having endured a nightmare experience with other, non-independent Budget shops in the area, we feel obligated to note that, in addition to offering a wide variety of luxury and exotic cars as well as “regular” rentals, Budget of Beverly Hills also provides a very un-Budget-like level of customer service.


The post Review: 2010 Porsche Cayman S PDK appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/review-2010-porsche-cayman-s-pdk/feed/ 65