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

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Second City but not second class, the 2019 Chicago Auto Show.

The 2019 Chicago Auto Show confirms that carmakers are serious about shifting their emphasis away from passenger sedans. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at some of the new vehicles presented to the public at this Second City event.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Concepts and tech day at the Chicago Auto Show!!

When the general public visits the Chicago Auto Show they get a look at most of the latest vehicles with their technology. But what Bumper2Bumpertv gets to see before the public days is the equivalent of sending automotive journalists on a play date.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Before and after, what a difference a year makes for the Hyundai Santa Fe.

After trying to cover the entire midsize SUV/Crossover segment with one vehicle, the Santa Fe, Hyundai is reworking the lineup. Bumper2Bumpertv spent some seat time with the 2019 version and had a chance to compare it to the previous model.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

2019 Subaru Ascent

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2019 Subaru Ascent
  • ENGINE/TRANSMISSION: 2.4-liter turbocharged H-4/CVT with 8-speed manual mode
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 260 hp @ 5,600 rpm/277 lb.-ft. @ 2,000-4,800 rpm
  • WHEELBASE: 113.8 in.
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 196.8 x 76.0 x 71.6 in. 
  • TIRES: P245/50R20 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 17.8/47.5/86.5 cu. ft. (all seats up/3rd row down/2nd and 3rd rows down)
  • ECONOMY: 26 mpg city/20 mpg highway/14.5 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 19.3 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 4,603 lbs. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 5,000 lbs.
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander
  • STICKER: $45,670 (includes $975 delivery)  
  • BOTTOM LINE: Subaru’s venture into full-size SUVs with the Ascent seems to be a good idea, with very good cargo capacity combined with good performance.

            The Subaru Ascent is Subaru’s largest vehicle ever and puts the brand squarely in the middle of the highly competitive full-size SUV market. While to some it may make the Forester and Outback look like Tinkertoys, the Ascent has three rows of seating and, if preferred, a lot of cargo capacity.
            More importantly, the Ascent provides a comfortable ride with adequate power. In addition, good handling completes the positive side of the equation. 
            Another advantage is the heating system. We drove the Ascent in cold weather (it is winter in the Northeast remember), and we were completely comfortable with a great HVAC system and heated seats and wheel. I almost didn’t want to leave the Ascent.
            Front passengers face an interesting dash. There’s a fairly normal instrument panel, but two screens dominate the center. The main screen is for infotainment, and that’s fairly normal. On top of the dash is an economy gauge screen that tells you everything you’d want to know and more about the fuel, plus the outside temperature and a digital clock. Oddly, there’s a heads-up display (HUD) for the driver but it only warns about lane departure, nothing else. The dash includes many controls for functions that requires a study of the owner’s manual to figure them all out.
            For convenience there’s a shelf in the middle of the dash. On the driver’s side it’s good for a phone or keys. The shelf is longer on the passenger side. Additional storage includes a small cubby at the base of the center stack with two USB outlets and an AUX outlet. X-mode and AVH switches are there also. There’s a nice deep center console/arm rest for larger storage.
            The steering wheel is busy with manual shifter paddles behind. 
            Subaru has installed an all-new version of its legendary horizontally opposed four cylinder engine that is 2.4-liters in capacity and delivers a healthy 260 horsepower, enough to tow 5,000 pounds if you so choose. 
            While the third row seating offers the usual tight legroom, the second row has good legroom. Second row seats are heated, and the captain’s chairs have arm rests for comfort. Additionally, the Harmon Kardon sound system offers good sound quality in the second row. There’s also a large sunroof that extends back to the second row.
            Cargo capacity, which is what an SUV is all about, is excellent. I would love to have challenged it with larger items, but we didn’t have the opportunity.
            Safety is aided by blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning, as well as a “spy mirror” instead of a sunglass holder so you can check on the antics of the children in the third row.
            Ascent’s most important feature is the total of 19 cup and bottle holders scattered around the cabin.
            Subaru’s Ascent is a welcome addition to the full-size SUV segment. It offers performance and capability is an attractive package. The Boxer 4-cylinder engine lowers the center of gravity to make it a formidable challenge to those SUVs with taller 6-cylinder engines.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate