The Truth About Cars » Test Drives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:00:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 » Test Drives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Chevrolet Says Journalist’s Packed-up Corvette Z06 Had Dirty Oil http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chevrolet-says-journalists-packed-up-corvette-z06-had-dirty-oil/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chevrolet-says-journalists-packed-up-corvette-z06-had-dirty-oil/#comments Sat, 22 Aug 2015 14:02:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1150809 Last time we heard from Fox’s Gary Gastelu, he was reporting that his test Z06 gave up during his track run in a spectacular shower of oil and grease and bits and fun. Now, he says Chevrolet has told him what went wrong and it’s a familiar story: After bringing it back to Chevrolet HQ for […]

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Last time we heard from Fox’s Gary Gastelu, he was reporting that his test Z06 gave up during his track run in a spectacular shower of oil and grease and bits and fun.

Now, he says Chevrolet has told him what went wrong and it’s a familiar story:

After bringing it back to Chevrolet HQ for inspection, the engineers determined that the likely cause was a piston connecting rod bearing that was damaged by debris in the oil that was left behind after tapping the threads for the oil filter. Once a piece gets jammed in there, it starts creating more debris, which keeps making things worse until finally … kablooey. In this case, it took out a few more pistons with it.

Chevrolet says that the number of affected engines are in less than one percent (they all seem to be early engines, with contaminated oil and fewer than 2,000 miles) of all Z06 cars.

Gastelu said the tester Corvette he drove never received the oil change after 500 miles that Chevrolet recommends to keep the engine from catastrophic failure. The cause for the failure may be thread shavings for the oil filter that may have made their way into the engine and circulated through the engine.

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QOTD: How Do People Make Decisions On a Test Drive? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-how-do-people-make-decisions-on-a-test-drive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-how-do-people-make-decisions-on-a-test-drive/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 11:16:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124529 I recently had the opportunity to test drive an automobile, and I remembered why I hate it so much: because test drives are insanely short. They’re not just a little short. They’re wildly, absurdly, ridiculously short. Some test drives last for eight minutes, even though you will likely own the vehicle you’re driving for several […]

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I recently had the opportunity to test drive an automobile, and I remembered why I hate it so much: because test drives are insanely short.

They’re not just a little short. They’re wildly, absurdly, ridiculously short. Some test drives last for eight minutes, even though you will likely own the vehicle you’re driving for several years, you will pay tens of thousands of dollars for it, and you will spend several hours in it every day of your life.

Obviously, we know why this is: dealers don’t want to waste time with test drives. They want these things to go by quickly, so the cars don’t accumulate very many miles, and then they want you to get back into the showroom and start arguing over the price. This is how they get ya. The more time you spend arguing over the price, the more you want the car. “I don’t really want this car,” you think to yourself. “But I’ve already devoted six hours to arguing about the price. So I’d better get it.” This is how Chevrolet sold so many Cobalts.

But is the car buying public really content with these test drives?

The last test drive I took when I was buying a car for myself was in the summer of 2013. I was at a Cadillac dealer, and I was buying a CTS-V station wagon, and the guy allowed me to take the car about seven miles. “Just go up to the light and turn around,” the salesperson said. “That’ll show you how it handles.”

Yes, a U-Turn on a busy street shows me everything I need to know about handling.

Now, I bought that car anyway, because the truth is I didn’t really care how it drove. I had read all the magazine reviews, and watched all the videos, and I knew that I would probably love the car based on the fact that I heard it was excellent from a wide range of trusted journalistic sources, and also Road & Track.

But how does a normal person make a decision based on something as short as a test drive?

Here’s what I mean: you go to the Honda dealer and you’re interested in a Pilot. This is a family car you’ll have for the next five to eight years, until the moldy Doritos smell between the seats gets so bad that you trade it in on an MDX.

Now, when you’re buying a Pilot, you have a LOT of needs. For instance: it has to carry car seats. You have to be able to communicate with your kids in the third row. You have to be able to get grandma in and out of the back seat. You have to be able to store all your children’s accessories back there, like your diaper bag, and your clothes change bag, and your childproofing bag, and your large selection of wet wipes. You have to be able to fit it in your driveway, to pair it with your phone, to go over the bump near your house without too much drama. How the hell are you supposed to figure out all this stuff… from a ten minute test drive?

The funny thing is, I’ve never really seen anyone ask about a longer test drive. I sold cars for a while, and nobody really pushed me very hard to let them take the car out for an extended test. Once, a guy came in and said he would buy a used Pontiac Vibe if we let him take it home so we could see if his tuba fit in the back. So we let him take it home, his tuba fit in the back, and he bought the car. For me, that was the extent of the extended test drive market.

So here’s my question: is today’s society actually OK with the state of modern test drives? Do we find it acceptable that you buy a brand new car without taking it for more of a spin than a quick jaunt around the block? And more importantly: if you’ve ever taken an extended test drive, exactly how did you negotiate it? And what was the dealer’s response when you asked?

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Mazda Test Drive Ends in Crash Due to Automatic Brake Failure http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/mazda-test-drive-ends-in-crash-due-to-automatic-brake-failure/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/mazda-test-drive-ends-in-crash-due-to-automatic-brake-failure/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 07:58:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=648986 When the year 2025 comes around, and your sons and daughters purchase their autonomous commuter pod sans steering wheel, you may want to check the automatic brakes just to be sure they’re able to stop your children from smashing through the commuter pod in front of them, much like what happened to one customer during […]

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2013 Mazda CX-5. Picture courtesy motortrend.com

When the year 2025 comes around, and your sons and daughters purchase their autonomous commuter pod sans steering wheel, you may want to check the automatic brakes just to be sure they’re able to stop your children from smashing through the commuter pod in front of them, much like what happened to one customer during a test drive at a Mazda dealership in Japan over the weekend.

A customer and a dealership employee were putting a CX-5 equipped with the Smart City Brake Support through its paces when said braking system crashed through a urethane testing barrier, resulting in a severe neck injury for the hapless test driver, and a fractured arm for the employee. Normally, the braking system would have sounded an alert while applying the brakes and curbing engine power were the driver to approach a detected obstacle, all through automation.

The Smart City Brake Support was introduced in the automaker’s home market as an option for the crossover in 2012, only to become standard last month on all CX-5s in Japan for the 2014 model year.

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Viper Sales Slow, Inventory Grows, Production Cut. Gilles: Potential Buyers “Intimidated” By Car’s Reputation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/viper-sales-slow-inventory-grows-production-cut-gilles-potential-buyers-intimidated-by-cars-reputation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/viper-sales-slow-inventory-grows-production-cut-gilles-potential-buyers-intimidated-by-cars-reputation/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 16:46:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=593721 Citing increased inventory due to slower than expected sales, Chrysler will cut production of the SRT Viper from 9 cars a day to just six and reassign some of the workers at the Conner Avenue assembly facility that assembles Chrysler’s V10 powered sports car. Ralph Gilles, who runs the SRT brand in addition to being […]

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Citing increased inventory due to slower than expected sales, Chrysler will cut production of the SRT Viper from 9 cars a day to just six and reassign some of the workers at the Conner Avenue assembly facility that assembles Chrysler’s V10 powered sports car.

Ralph Gilles, who runs the SRT brand in addition to being in charge of styling for the Chrysler group, said that quality control issues slowed the new Viper’s deliveries to the 443 Chrysler dealers that are certified by SRT to sell the Viper.

The reintroduced and redesigned 2013 Viper was revealed at the New York Auto Show in April of 2012 but deliveries didn’t start until a year later.  “We got off to a late start. We had hoped to begin shipping vehicles late last year, but we shipped the first 67 units in April,” Gilles told Automotive News.

Priced at $104,480 for the 2014 model year, including destination charges and a day of professional driving instruction at a race track, production of the reintroduced Viper was initially slated to be limited to only 2,000 cars a year. Sales, though, have not even reached that figure, with only 426 units for the first eight months, leaving dealers with 565 Vipers in stock, which is equivalent to a 289 day supply at current sales rates.

“We’re really looking at the reality of this type of car in this economy, as well as us controlling the market and making sure that we don’t overbuild,” Gilles said, saying that interest in the Viper is strong and that the company booked 2,000 dealer and customer orders for the 2013 calendar year, which includes the new 2014 models that are now being built at the Conner plant.

Gilles also attributed slow sales to seasonal factors, saying, “We typically do very well with the Viper in early spring.” The Viper is somewhat notorious for its ability to break traction and while the new Viper now complies with U.S. federal standards that require electronic stability control, its high performance tires are not meant to be used in snow, so the car is not expected to sell well over the winter months.

To increase demand, Gilles said that SRT would organize a road show, visiting Viper dealers in the Southeast as part of a program to encourage potential buyers to take test drives. Part of the problem is the car’s reputation as a potentially dangerous car to drive. Some dealers have been reluctant to let consumers with unknown skills to test drive the Viper. “We really have to focus on putting butts in seats,” Gilles said. “A lot of people are unnecessarily intimidated by the car.” The test drive road show will be expanded to other markets early next year.

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Housekeeping: The Ethics Of Undercover Snooping http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/housekeeping-the-ethics-of-undercover-snooping/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/housekeeping-the-ethics-of-undercover-snooping/#comments Sat, 05 May 2012 17:33:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=442939 Since it seems to be Housekeeping Day, here an email from someone who hides behind a Gmail address, who does not sign his mail, and who calls us unethical . Mr Anonymous writes: “I’m writing this in response to Mr.Derek Kreindler method of acquiring the Aston Martin V8 Vantage for his recent review. Mr.Kreindler stated […]

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Since it seems to be Housekeeping Day, here an email from someone who hides behind a Gmail address, who does not sign his mail, and who calls us unethical .

Mr Anonymous writes:

“I’m writing this in response to Mr.Derek Kreindler method of acquiring the Aston Martin V8 Vantage for his recent review.

Mr.Kreindler stated while he was at the dealership, he pretended to be a well to do business man so that he can get his hand on the vehicle for a test drive. I won’t have a problem with this if he was actually comparing vehicles for his purchase. That’s how car buying goes, if you don’t like it, you don’t buy it. It’s quite obvious that this is not the case.

I know people do this all the time, but I don’t expect an editor from TTAC to do so. What he did is basically stealing a salesman time and hope. The time that he could have spent on other customers, and the hope of making a living. I just need to ask TTAC one question, how would you like it if you were the salesman? The fact that this article was published tells me that TTAC have no ethical standard in this arena.

Perhaps, you might think that I’m a salesman myself and took this personally. I have never been in the sales business, but I will call out an unethical conduct when I see one. “

Dear Mr. Anonymous:

I don’t call that unethical, I call that showing initiative. When I was young, I was in the investigative reporting business, and I operated as ethically as an undercover vice cop. Compared to that, what Derek did was benign.

If not buying a car after a test drive is stealing a salesman’s time and hope, then some 70 percent of people who ask for a test drive would be criminals. Last I looked, wasting someone’s time and robbing someone’s hope was not against the law. I wish it were, I could launch thousands of lawsuits. I see huge class action suits against politicians, corporations, presumptive employers, alleged lovers. The concept would make divorce proceedings very interesting:

“You cheated!”

“You wasted 25 years of my time and stole my hope for happiness. Let’s call it quits.”

I tell you what is unethical: Giving ringers to journalists. Carmakers who insist that only official press cars should be tested often have something to hide. A car for a test drive should show the best sides of the car.

Having said that, our first approach will always be to get a press car. If we don’t get one, dealers, friends, rental car agencies are fair game.

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