Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mini Cooper S Convertible

The Mini Cooper S Convertible could be described as a lot of fun in a small package. Bumper2Bumpertv checked out the latest version of the platform.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Dodge Durango

By John Heilig

MODEL: 2016 Dodge Durango Limited
ENGINE: 3.6-liter V6
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 295 hp @ 6,400 rpm/290 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
WHEELBASE: 119.8 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 201.2 x 75.8 x 72.7 in.
TIRES: P265/50R20
CARGO: 17.2/47.3/85.1 cu. ft. (3rd row seats up/3rd row seats down/2nd row seats down)
ECONOMY: 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/17.6 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 24.6 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,987 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Equinox, Jeep Grand Cherokee
STICKER: $39,595 (includes $995 delivery, $6,075 options)
BOTTOM LINE: As a “standard SUV” the Dodge Durango offers incredible cargo capacity along with excellent road manners.

            One of the first things you notice about the Dodge Durango is its size. No, it isn’t in the same class as the Chevrolet Suburban, for example, and it doesn’t look that big from the outside. But get in the Durango and you feel as if there is enough room for almost anything.
            As received, the Durango had all three rows of seats up. This results in a still healthy 17.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity, which was enough for most of what we needed the Durango for, including trips to our compost center to get some mulch. Drop those third row seats down and capacity increases to 47.3 cubic feet. If you are really carrying a lot of stuff, the second row captain’s chairs fold forward and tumble into the foot well area for an incredible 85.1 cubic feet. 
            All this cargo capacity does not sacrifice the Durango’s excellent road manners. It still fells like a large sedan most of the time. In fact, we set it up with the third row seats in place and the second row seats tumbled forward as a make-do limousine. Fortunately, the real limo came in time and we did ’t have to bring the bride to her wedding in an SUV.
            As a sport utility vehicle, the Durango us long on the utility. Along with the cargo, you can town up to 6,200 pounds, and a towing package and Class IV receiver hitch are included in the accessories as part of the $995 Trailer Tow group.
            As I said earlier, the Durango, while having the capabilities of a truck, is not truck like. The front bucket seats and second row captain’s chairs are comfortable for long and short rides. Second row legroom is very good and the third row legroom is also good, thanks in part to good design and a 10-foot wheelbase. 
            Our tester was equipped with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. A 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is also available and ups the towing capacity to 7,400 lbs. For normal driving, though, the V6, at 295 horsepower, is more than enough. Also, while the V6 has an EPA highway rating of 25 mpg, we were able to get 17.6 mpg in our generally local driving test. 
            Another unique feature of the Durango is its rotary shifter. This is a knurled knob on the console where all you have to do is turn it to select a gear. Since most shifting is electronic anyway, there’s no need for a stick sticking up out of the console or attached to the steering column. 
            Internal storage includes a nice cubby at the base of the center stack with 12-volt, AUX, USB and sD connections. There’s also a small “key” cubby behind the pair of cupholders. The center console/arm rest is busy with a CD changer and 12-volt connection, making storage minimal. 
            Instrumentation is white-on-black with red accents. The red background infotainment screen is clear, despite the different color scheme. There are infotainment screens located behind the headrests of the front seats for second row passengers to enjoy. The second row seats also have a permanent console between them which would make moving between the second and third rows difficult. However, with the tumble down feature of the second row, access to the third row is fairly easy.
            The rear cargo area is ideal for almost any size pet carrier, thanks to the versatility of being able to customize the seats. Families who need top carry wheelchairs with them can also find the cargo area easy to load, while the chair-bound person can enjoy the second row seats.
            While the Dodge Durango fits nicely into the “Standard SUV” class, it stands out because of its utility and less truck-like styling, as well as its road manners.

(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate 

Friday, October 14, 2016

2017 Nissan Rogue first look

In the small and midsize crossover segment the Nissan Rogue is trying to span the gap between entry level and near luxury in one vehicle. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at the latest version which is both people and pet friendly

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Passat may be passe'

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2016 Volkswagen Passat SEL
  • ENGINE: 1.8-liter turbocharged I-4 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 170 hp @ 6,200 rpm/184 lb.-ft. @ 1,500 rpm  
  • WHEELBASE: 110.4 in.  
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 191.9 x 72.2 x 58.5 in. 
  • TIRES: P235/45R18 
  • CARGO: 15.9 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 25 mpg city/38 mpg highway/23.8 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 18.5 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,263 lbs. 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion 
  • STICKER: $35,090 (includes $820 delivery) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Volkswagen Passat is a very nice mid-size sedan with few outstanding features, and at a premium price. 

            I found it hard to be enthusiastic about the Volkswagen Passat. It has all the attributes of a nice mid-size sedan. It is quiet at speed, except for some tire noise on concrete and worse road surfaces. It has good power from its 1.8-liter turbocharged four, although the engine is buzzy on acceleration. Handling is very good thanks to a front suspension that features damper struts with robust lower control arms, coil springs and an anti-roll bar; and a four-link independent rear suspension with telescopic shocks and an anti-roll bar. And it has a comfortable ride.
            I think it’s the styling that doesn’t turn me on. While it has a new front and rear design with a four-bar chrome grille, I still think it’s bland. There are no exciting lines. In a sense it reminds me of my ’01 Buick. It does the job well, but look at it took long and you might fall asleep. There is a horizontal character line that extends from the head- to tail lamp, but there is no panache.
            Front seats are very comfortable with good side support for the back and lower back. The support isn’t enough for racing, but it’s fine for spirited driving. 
            Rear seats, while nominally for three, really hold two passengers, albeit with very good legroom. The outboard seats are similar to the fronts with good side support and are heated. There’s also good rear seat visibility with wide windows in the doors. In addition, the rear seats have their own HVAC controls and a USB outlet. The pull-down armrest has a pair of cup holders and a small console.
            The driver sits behind a flat-bottomed steering wheel with all the controls. The Passat is equipped with a push button start and stop. The exterior mirrors fold in when the doors are locked. 
            There’s a clear instrument panel with a tachometer, information panel, and a speedometer. The infotainment screen is clear, and the navigation system is easy to program after a short learning curve. The audio system has the standard assortment of choices. We chose SXM and iPod.
            Interior storage consists of a nice fold-out cubby by the driver’s left knee with change slots; a cubby at the base of the center stack with outlets for 12-volt, USB and AUX; two cup holders and a small cubby to the rear of them. There’s a deep center console/arm rest with another 12-volt outlet. In addition, there is room for water bottles in all four doors. Four assist handles aid in entry and egress.
            As a mid-size, you need a good trunk, and the Passat doesn’t disappoint with 15.9 useful cubic feet. The rear seat backs also fold to increase trunk capacity,, with the releases in the trunk.
            With the rear seats folded, it is possible to fit a small- to medium-sized dog crate for animal transportation. Our tester had leather seating surfaces which would be fairly easy to clean in the event of accidents. There are also carpeted floor mats. 
            While our Passat had no options, it still came with a healthy $35,090 sticker price, which to me was exorbitant, maybe $7,000 over a reasonable price for the car. 
(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Prius Prime first look

Toyota has come up with a higher end variation on the Prius. The Prime comes loaded with a full suite of safety features and other high tech features. Bumper2Bumpertv has a first look.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Audi A4 S Line

The 2017 Audi A4 S Line comes with a wide range of technology in a compact sport sedan. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at what makes this more than a vehicle that can take a driver from point A to point B.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nissan Rogue, small but functional.


By John Heilig

  • ENGINE: 2.5-liter DOHC I-4
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 170 hp @ 6,000 rpm/175 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 106.5 in.
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.3 x 72.4 x 67.5 in. 
  • TIRES: P225/65 R17
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 9.4/32.0/70.0 cu. ft. (3rd row seats up/down/2nd row seats down
  • ECONOMY: 26 mpg city/33 mpg highway/25.6 mpg test
  • FUEL TANK: 14.5 gal.
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,422 lbs.
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Jeep Compass, Subaru Forester
  • STICKER: $28,465 (includes $900 delivery, $2,785 options)
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Nissan Rogue is a capable small SUV with decent power and very good cargo capacity.

            The first time I tried to load a package in the back of the Nissan Rogue I was surprised. The cargo area was minuscule at 9.4 cubic feet. My grocery bags would barely fit. That’s because the third row seats were up. I lowered them immediately, and suddenly had 31 cubic feet to use for my two bags. Eventually we would load up even the 31 cubic feet. A medium-sized dog carrier would fit nicely.

            What I’m trying to convey is that the third row in the Rogue is more a hindrance than useful. Sure, you can put a couple of legless adults back there or children if they are suitcases, but otherwise it’s a waste of space (and $940), at least in my mind. 

            I find that small SUVs like the Rogue are practical vehicles, in general, especially for empty nesters. They are big enough to carry all that’s needed when you go over the hills and through the woods to grandkids’ houses, yet small enough to offer decent economy. They also ride slightly higher than a sedan and give you a better view of the road. 

            Rogue doesn’t offer the dramatic styling of its bigger brother, the Murano. There is still a strong family resemblance in the front. Dimensionally, the Rogue is five inches shorter in wheelbase and ten inches shorter overall. Second-row-seats-down cargo capacity is surprisingly greater in the Rogue. Rogue’s sticker is also $16,000 less than Murano.

            Rogue was redesigned in 2014 and receives a freshening in 2017. The 2014 redesign results in a smoother package that makes the previous generation look old.

            Ride comfort is good, thanks to Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats that are similar to those in the Altima. The adjustable seats offer continuous support from the pelvis to the chest, helping reduce fatigue on longer trips. When the old back does get tired, the heat feature helps to ease the aches.

            Second row seats offer good leg room. In addition, the wide (and wide opening) rear doors have large windows for good visibility. Third row access is difficult, with minimal third row legroom.

            Rogue’s 2.5-liter inline four cylinder and CVT transmission are quiet at highway speeds. It also has a tendency to want to exceed the speed limit, which requires judicious use of cruise control to stay within bounds.

            Among the options is the SV Premium Package ($1,620) are Nissan Connect that offers voice recognition for navigation and audio, the Around View Monitor that gives an “overhead” view of the vehicle’s position, Blind Spot Monitor, Moving Object Detection, and heated seats and outside rear view mirrors. The AVM switches on automatically in reverse, but there is also a button that you can use to turn it on when you are parking, just to make sure you are within the lines.

            Moving Object Detection works with the AVM and alerts the driver if it detects a large moving object around the vehicle in dangerous situations as when pulling out of a parking space. It also detects pedestrians.

            Instruments are clear, with a tachometer, info panel and speedometer. We chose from the info panel’s host of options to read, from the top, digital clock and outside temperature, fuel economy - overall and instant - odometer and gear. 

            Interior storage consists of a large cubby at the base of the center stack that contains the USB and AUX plugs plus a 12-volt outlet. There are two cup holders up front with room for water bottles in all four doors. The deep center console/arm rest also has as 12-volt outlet. 

            I appreciate the wheel with its many controls. The switches have back lighting that turns on with the headlights so you can read them in the dark.

            There is a clear infotainment screen with a suite of options - SXM, FM, AM, CD, AUX, NAV and MAP. 

            While the Nissan Rogue might not attract as much attention as the Murano because of its more conservative styling, it still does its job with a minimum of fuss.

(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate