Saturday, March 16, 2019

Is the X2 a compact crossover that hits the marks?

BMW’s in between entry in the sport compact crossover segment comes with some strong brand DNA. But Bumper2Bumpertv also finds it has a few shortcomings.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

A van that is more major than mini, Toyota Sienna Limited.

Toyota continues to build minivans, a platform that was tried and abandoned by many of their competitors. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at what the top of the line Sienna can offer as a non luxury vehicle.

Monday, March 4, 2019

2019 GMC Sierra Denali

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2019 GMC Sierra Denali Crew Cab 4WD 
  • ENGINE: 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8
  • TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 420 hp @ 5,600 rpm/460 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 167.0 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 241.7 x 81.2 x 75.4 in. 
  • TIRES: P275/50R22 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 1,540 lbs. payload 
  • ECONOMY: 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway/12.7 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 24.0 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 7,100 lbs. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 9,100 lbs.  
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra  
  • STICKER: $67,735 (includes $1,495 delivery, $8,740 options) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: The GMC Sierra Denali is big and comfortable, sometimes too big, but ultimately practical.
            Then GMC Sierra Denali is big, oh is it big. Granted, I had a few issues with its size. First, despite the usual assortment of mirrors, a backup camera and a 360-degree “overhead” view, I still managed to knock down my mailbox and post. Later, I brushed up against a utility pole while parking at church. At least the pole survived. As did the Sierra.
            Side  mirrors fold easily, which made getting to an ATM and my favorite drive-up coffee shop a lot easier. 
            Under the hood is a powerful 6.2-liter V8 rated at 400 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. All this power is necessary to move the heavy Sierra and move it it does. There’s no lack of performance, but really, do you expect performance from a full-size pickup? The power enables you to carry almost any load that will fit in the 6-foot bed. 
            The other advantage is that the engine is low-revving and quiet under normal operation. Ride quality is very good and smooth. And there’s a lot to be said for the high riding position as you gaze out over all the little guys.
            Start-stop for the engine enhances economy, which was a decent 12.7 mpg in our test, and an estimated 20 mpg over the highway.
            Despite its size, the Sierra is relatively easy to enter, thanks to a running board that slides out with you open the doors and assist handles on the A- and B-pillars.
            Seats are comfortable for long rides. For most of our shopping excursions we put our “treasures” in the full back seat. Since we opened the rear doors, we were reminded to check back there every time we shut the engine off. This is a nice touch. Not only does it help remind the driver of packages that might be there, but also small children.
            The driver faces a full instrument panel with octagonal gauges, a different touch. A heads-up display keeps you within legal speed limits.
            On the road, we had blind spot monitor and lane assist to keep us out of trouble. When parking, the seat would vibrate whenever we got close to another vehicle. I guess my mailbox was too small, or I didn’t respond.
            Rear seats offer excellent legroom thanks to a 2019 redesign that lengthened the wheelbase and added three inches of rear legroom. Rear seat backs fold for additional interior storage and there is under seat storage as well. 
            The rear bumper has a step molded into the corners for easier access to the cargo bed. In addition, the tailgate has an easy lift feature that is an huge advantage if you’re constantly raising and lowering it on the job. 
            Even the 5-6 bed offers 63 cubic feet of cargo volume, much of which was created by widening the width of the bed by seven inches. 
            Even though I had some issues due to careless driving, the GMC Sierra Denali is a great truck, with substantial power and very good road manners. 

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Who’s the boss? The Silverado Trail Boss!!

A light duty truck is a lot more than just a work vehicle these days. Chevrolet’s Silverado is an example of what else it can do besides haul a load from point A to point B. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at how these platforms have changed.

Monday, February 18, 2019

2019 Nissan Altima

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2019 Nissan Altima SV
  • ENGINE: 2.5-liter DOHC I-4 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 188 hp @ 6,000 rpm/180 lb.-ft. @ 3,600 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 111.0 in.  
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 192.9 x 72.9 x 56.8 in. 
  • TIRES: P215/55R17  
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 15.4 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 28 mpg city/39 mpg highway/28.2 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 16.2 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,265 lbs.
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu 
  • STICKER: $29,020 (includes $885 delivery, $205 options)

            Nissan is rightly proud of the economy of the mid-size Altima. I remember when they introduced the previous version of the sedan, they bragged about the car’s 38 mpg highway economy. That has improved to 39 mpg, but overall our test figure was 28.2 mpg, a very good number. 

            You would think that with such decent economy figures - and our prime driving was local with almost no economy-boosting highway miles - the car would be an econobox, small and under powered. Nah! The Altima has more than enough power from the 2.5-liter inline four and CVT transmission. It’s rated at 188 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque. While it’s the same size as the previous engine, the 2.5-liter is a total redesign. the result offers adequate power for all occasions and good acceleration.

            Sadly, we weren’t able to take longer trips, because I’m certain the Altima would be comfortable on extended rides. The seats are comfortable, and legroom is good for front and rear passengers. Our tester had cloth-surfaced seats that were heated. Also, the flat-bottomed wheel was heated and we needed it in frigid weather. We found the Altima to be quiet over most road surfaces

            Exterior styling is updated and the Altima looks good heading down the road. The all-black interior, however, is rather bland. It could use some three dimensional styling and wood or mental trim highlights. Also, there was reflection from the top of the dash in bright sunlight. That’s a good location for a heads up display sender.

            Dimensionally, the new Altima is 1.1 inches lower, 1.0 inch longer and 0.9 inch wider than the previous version.

            The instrument panel is clear with the standard tachometer and speedometer and an information panel in between. We chose a digital speedometer from among the information panel choices.  In addition, there is a clear infotainment screen. The audio system  is good with the standard choices including standard Apple Carplay and Android Auto. 

            As with most mid-size sedans, there is a very good trunk. In addition, the rear seat back releases are in the trunk. I prefer this location because it’s easier to increase trunk capacity when you suddenly discover you need it.

            The Altima is equipped with standard blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and intelligent driver alert. Shift into reverse and you get the standard rear view camera view plus a 360 degree “overhead” view. The only option on our tester was splash guards ($250).

            Overall, the Nissan Altima is a strong competitor in its segment. Styling is very good, the ride is comfortable and quiet, and the economy is very good. 

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Defying the trend, the Kia Optima makes an argument for sedans.

At a time when some carmakers are moving away from mid size sedans KIA is standing its ground with the Optima. Bumper2Bumpertv looks at what this platform can offer in a business enamored with trucks and SUV’s

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2019 Jeep Renegade

John Heilig  

  • MODEL: 2019 Jeep Renegade  
  • ENGINE: 2.4-liter I-4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 180 hp @ 6,400 rpm/175 lb.-ft. @ 3,900 rpm
  • WHEELBASE: 101.2 in.
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 166.6 x 74.2 x 66.5 in.
  • TIRES: P225/55R18
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 18.5/50.8 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
  • ECONOMY: 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway/24 mpg overall 
  • FUEL TANK: 12.7 gal.
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,427 lbs.
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 2,000 lbs.
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Trax
  • STICKER: $33,670 ($1,495 delivery, $4,730 options)
  • BOTTOM LINE: It may carry the Jeep name, but the Renegade is really a Fiat 500X and as such serves only to detract from the classic Jeep name.

            The Jeep Renegade is a nice size for a compact SUV. And that may be one of the few positives for this unfortunate vehicle.
            Under the hood, the engine (American) is positively awful. It is noisy on acceleration (noisier than most sports cars but less intriguing) and noisy on general cruising. Inside the cabin you have the choice of listening to the sound system (a $1,245 UConnect option) at high volume or communicating with other passengers, but not both. 
            The noise is bad enough, but the engine runs out of poop at about 4,000 rpm, so if you’re expecting better performance at the top end of the rev range, it isn’t there. Fuel economy is also disappointing for a small engine.
            That’s the bad news. The worse news is that the optional engine is a 1.3-liter turbo four that I‘ll bet is an even poorer performer.
            Renegade is a twin to the Fiat 500X, but with Jeep styling rather than Fiat 500 styling. In theory, it could be a nice enclosed smaller Wrangler. The final assembly point for the Renegade is the Fiat plant in Melfi, Italy. Hence, the Renegade is also saddled with an enormous $1,495 destination charge. 
            Another bad option is the “dual pane panoramic power sunroof at $1,595. Okay, you want a Wrangler experience, so you get a sunroof to mimic the sides-and-top-off experience of the Wrangler. No. The good options are $995 for the Advanced Technology Group (automatic high beams, full speed collision warning, lane departure warning and a rear park assist system). The $895 Safety and Security Group includes the blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert plus high intensity headlamps among other things. Oh, and there’s no spare.
            Renegade’s ride is Jeep-like, meaning hard. Despite comfortable front seats and a heating system that did a good job against winter freeze, overall ride comfort wasn’t great.
            The fat wheel is heated, and the heat remains on the next time you start up. That was a pleasant surprise, since with many cars, simply finding the heated wheel switch every time is a chore. 
            Cargo capacity is good for a small SUV. We used the Renegade of a trip to Costco and had cargo room to spare. The rear hatch is easy to lift without being too light. 
            Renegade has a tight turning circle which made handling in tight spaces, such as parking lots, a pleasure.
            I have to confess I was disappointed with the Renegade. Styling is very Jeep-like with, for example, headlight and taillight designs mimicking each other. But the noisy and poor performing engine detracts from the few good features. 

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate