Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Finding the best ride for your family!!

Automotive journalists routinely are asked what car someone should buy. The answer can sometimes be complicated based on family size, needs, income and desires. To sort through some of those questions Bumper2Bumpertv is part of a group of journalists in Atlanta who consider that question every year.

Monday, May 20, 2019

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid 
  • ENGINE: 2.0-liter Boxer 4 
  • TRANSMISSION: Lineartonic CVT 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 123 hp @ 5,600 rpm (148 combined horsepower)/134 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 104.9 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 175.8 x 71.0 x 62.8 in. 
  • TIRES: P225/55R18 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 15.9/43.1 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
  • ECONOMY: 90 mpge/29.5 mpg test
  • FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 13.2 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,726 lbs.
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 1,000 lbs.  
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Tucson, Ford EcoSport
  • STICKER: $38,470 (includes $975 delivery, $2,500 options) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: While the Subaru Crosstrek has possibilities for being a good small SUV, the plug-in hybrid version simply has too many negative issues.

            I was looking forward to driving the Subaru Crosstrek because one of my daughters indicated that she might be interested in buying one when her current Subaru dies. While the Crosstrek has possibilities, the plug-in hybrid version has simply to many deficiencies. 
            First and foremost, the engine/transmission combination is noisy, too noisy. I recall the first time I drove a vehicle with a CVT transmission it was also a Subaru, a Justy. Like the Justy, the Crosstrek’s transmission whines when the car slows and whines when you accelerated back up to speed. I know CVTs have improved over the years, so I was concerned about this one. My daughter, however, said she has Crosstrek owners in her office and that haven’t indicated noisy transmissions.
            Besides the transmission, the engine is noisy all the time. Usually, engines that are noisy on acceleration aren’t too bad when cruising the highway. And Subaru boxer engines aren’t usually bad. This one was. 
            The deficiencies are disappointing, because the Crosstrek is an ideal entry into Subaru’s family of SUVs that includes the Forester and Outback. I just hope the standard version is less noisy.
            Plug-in hybrids just don’t cut it for me. In the case of the Crosstrek, you have a cargo area full of battery pack (plus the plug-in connector) all for an EV range of a mere 17 miles. Charging time is two hours at 240 volts and five hours at 120 volts. Sure, there are tax credits and a minimal effect on the environment, but one of the main reasons for an SUV is defeated by the severe reduction in cargo volume. For example, I had to lower a rear seat back just to get my golf clubs in. The bag might have made it without the battery pack.
            Complaining over, the Crosstrek is a nice small SUV, although it’s closer to a sedan/wagon. I like the size.
            One of the first things you notice is the color, of course. We had several comments, mostly positive about Lagoon Blue Pearl. The exterior color is reflected by matte blue interior accents.
            Instrumentation is clear, with an eco gauge, information panel and speedometer. You can adjust the information panel to have a digital speedometer at the top.
            The Crosstrek has two center screens. The top one is for fuel economy and all the variations. It also includes a digital clock and outside temperature gauge.
            The main infotainment screen below it is fairly standard with all the normal functions.
            Heating, ventilation and air conditioning are accomplished well. The system did a good job of heating us in the early morning, then cooling us as the day warmed up.
            Interior storage consists of a deep cubby at the base of the center stack, a useful arm rest/console that has two USB and an AUX outlet plus 12-volt access.
            Four assist handles ease entry and exit. The visors have extensions for sun blockage. 
            Handling is good. We had fun on our favorite hillclimb. There wasn’t a tendency to speed, and the Crosstrek handled corners well. 
            Rear legroom is good. There’s a fold-down armrest between the outside seats that has a pair of cupholders. The fairly tall center hump makes seating in the middle difficult. The seat backs fold easily and the cargo capacity is good without the battery pack.
            All in all, the Subaru Crosstrek could be very good, but I would not recommend the plug-in hybrid version.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The KIA K900, continuing to break down barriers.

Kia is taking a different approach to their full sized luxury sedan the K900. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at the vehicle which got a makeover both inside and out.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

2019 Lexus 0 to 60 Celebrity Racing Series

Now for somethinga little different from our friend Kimatni Rawlins! Welcome to the world famous WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the third season of “Lexus 0 to 60” featuring some of your favorite celebrities ripping runways with authority in the latest ensemble of high-flying Japanese coupes and sedans. The driving action matched up two teams of three drivers through adrenaline pumping motorsports drills utilizing the GS F, RC F, LC 500 and the RC F Track Edition super coupe for a chance to win a new Lexus for a year.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Stylish and capable. The Mercedes E450 4matic.

In the luxury segment there are plenty of SUV’s , crossovers and well appointed sedans. But there are only a few true wagons for the niche and Bumper2Bumpertv came to appreciate how the Mercedes E 450 manages to stand out in that group.

Lexus UX

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2019 Lexus UX200
  • ENGINE: 2.0-liter DIHC I-4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 10-speed CVT 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 169 hp @ 6,600 rpm/151 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 103.9 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 177.0 x 72.4 x 60.6 in 
  • TIRES: P225/50RF18 run flat 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 21.7 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway/32.4 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 12.4 gal. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: BW X1, Infiniti QX30, Mercedes-Benz GLA 
  • STICKER: $35,875 
  • BOTTOM LINE: As an upgraded version of the Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the Lexus UX200 is a good luxury entry level sport utility vehicle.

            Take the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback, throw in a couple of Lexus touches to dress it up and add a couple of grand to the sticker, and you have the Lexus UX200. A hybrid version, the UX250h is also available. I’m not a big fan of the name; it leads to so many bad variations, but other than that, this is a nice package. 
            Powered by the same 2.0-liter DOHC four as in the Corolla and several other Toyota vehicles, the UX has enough power with 169 horses. Yes, it makes noise on hard acceleration, but otherwise it’s fairly quiet. 
            An aside: Several years ago it seemed as if every manufacturer was using 3.0-liter V6 engines in their vehicles. With the move toward better economy, that trend has drifted down to 2.0-liter fours, and I’ve seen them all over the place. Economy has improved, and I haven’t suffered any by the slight reduction in power. 
            That said, the UX gave very good fuel economy. The UX will keep you from making too many visits to fuel pumps.
            I confess it was the controls that grabbed my initial attention. First, sticking out horizontally from the instrument pod are two knobs; traction control on the left and on the right to switch among sport, normal, and eco drive modes. Instruments consist of a large digital speedometer with a tachometer encircling it. Fuel and water gauges are on the right and economy on the left. The cluster is informative at a quick glance. In the center is a standard infotainment screen. HVAC controls arrayed in the middle of the center stack with heated seat controls below.
            The dash is nicely designed overall. However, a navy blue top just doesn’t go with the rest of the black and grey interior. Granted, there’s no reflection in the windshield, but it’s a bad choice of color, and we had several people comment on this. 
            Audio controls are unique and located on the center console in ideal reach of your (or the passenger’s) hand. Two turn wheels control tuning and volume/on-off. There are hidden pushbuttons on the left and right for radio and media sources. These are totally unique and so easy to use. The designers don’t sacrifice utility for uniqueness. In addition, there’s a “mouse pad” to navigate the infotainment screen.
            There’s a small but deep arm rest/console with a pair of USB outlets inside.
            As is to be expected from a compact vehicle, rear seats offer tight legroom. However, there’s a small center hump for middle passengers, and I noticed the seat belts are easy to connect. I recently was a rear passenger on a long ride and had difficulty connecting the seat belts. 
            The cargo area is good, and probably all you’d ever need. The rear seat backs fold easily to increase cargo capacity from the base 21.7 cubic feet.
            Except for the oddly colored dash, the Lexus UX200 is a nice entry level SUV.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate