Thursday, September 12, 2019

Curiosity may lead to answers for future mobility.

There is a new player on the scene to develop and test the latest technology for the next generation of cars and trucks. And as Bumper2Bumpertv tells us it is located thousands of miles away from the usual suspects on the west coast.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

2019 Hyundai KONA

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2019 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD
  • ENGINE: 1.6-liter turbocharged 4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic Ecoshift 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 175 hp @ 6,500 rpm/195 lb.-ft. @ 1,500-4,500 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 102 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 164 x 71 x 61 in. 
  • TIRES: P235/45R18  
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 22.5 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 26 mpg city/29 mpg highway/23.4 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 15.0 gal. (est.) 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,145 lbs. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Buick Encore 
  • STICKER: $30,005 (includes $980 delivery, $125 options (carpeted floor mats) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: While the Hyundai Kona may seem like a small SUV/CUV, it is in reality a compact car with issues.

            When I approached my test Hyundai Kona, I couldn’t avoid a sticker on the side window that proclaimed it the “2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.” I wonder who voted and how desperate were they to select this vehicle. Kona is a decent compact car, but utility vehicle, no! 
            First, the Kona is subcompact, so utility is compromised. Second, although it has a locking differential, 4WD, or even AWD capability is questionable. So I wonder….
            Our tester wore a “Lime Twist” exterior, which is by itself worth a visit to your local Hyundai dealer. It’s great for finding the Kona in a crowded parking lot. The color does make for striking interior accents, however.
            The 1.6-liter turbocharged four under the hood offers decent power, but you can hear or feel every transmission shift. The engine is noisy anyway, but the shifting gets old fast. The engine is bad enough in normal mode, but in sport mode it’s even noisier.
            On Kona’s plus side is that it is filled with useful features. I mentioned the locking differential, but it also has a blind spot monitor, lane assist, and a heads up display that consists of a glass panel that rises from the top of the dash. 
            The driver faces clear white-on-black instruments. In the center of the dash is a standard infotainment screen with the usual options. 
            Front seats are comfortable and heated with the lime stitching and trim. In our tester, the driver’s seat was powered but the passenger’s wasn’t, and my wife couldn’t figure out how to raise it to a decent height. Rear seat legroom is very tight. Four assist handles aid in entry and exit.
            Interior storage consists of a small center console/arm rest and a cubby at the base of the center stack with two 12-volt outlets, AUX and USB. All doors have room for water bottles.
            Cargo capacity is okay, but really not in the “utility vehicle” class. Besides, I had to lower a rear seat back to fit my golf clubs. There are four tie-downs in the cargo area. An interesting nod to relationships was the Kia-branded ice scraper under the cargo floor. 
            The Hyundai Kona is touted as a utility vehicle (it even has the award to show for it) but it’s severely lacking in my estimation. It is, however, okay as a subcompact sedan.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Ford Ranger, back on the scene with some chops.

What do the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, GMC Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado have in common? The answer is the revival of the Ford Ranger which Bumper2Bumpertv had a chance to experience.

Friday, August 30, 2019

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

John Heilig

·         MODEL: 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT
·         ENGINE: 2.0-liter MiVEC with twin electric motors
·         TRANSMISSION: 1-speed
·         HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 117 hp @ 4,500 rpm (190 hp with electric)/137 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm
·         WHEELBASE: 105.1 in.
·         LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 184.8 x 70.9 x 67.3 in.
·         TIRES: P225/55R18
·         CARGO CAPACITY: 30.4/66.6 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
·         ECONOMY: 74 mpge/25 mpg fuel
·         FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 11.3 gal. 
·         CURB WEIGHT: 4,178 lbs.
·         TOWING CAPACITY: 1,500 lbs.
·         COMPETITIVE CLASS: Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4, Ford EcoSport
·         STICKER: $43,920 (includes $995 delivery, $430 options)
·         BOTTOM LINE: The Mitsubishi Outlander is a good SUV, but the electric range of only 22 miles seems like much ado about nothing.

            I know that manufacturers are doing their best to comply with Federal guidelines for overall fuel economy, and I appreciate their efforts. However, the much-touted Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT is a disappointment insofar as the electric power aspect. You can get a “basic” gasoline Outlander for around $25,000. Yet, for an additional $18,000 you get a whopping 22 miles electric before it switches back to gasoline. Why?
            The 2.0-liter 4 under the hood is an under impressive 117 horsepower. The two electric motors boost that to 190 horsepower for reasonable performance through the one-speed (yes!) transmission. The tranny does have a manual shift mode, but even on our hill climb it was a “why bother?” situation.
            Obviously, there’s a lot to be desired from the performance perspective. 
            There’s an interesting shift pattern to the automatic that I’ve seen before. Push the lever left and up for reverse, left and down for drive. When you’re in drive, tap it down and you get B, which hooks up the manual mode. Paddles behind the wheel are large and not connected to the wheel.
            On the plus side, front seats are comfortable and heated. Rear seats offer good legroom. Rear passengers also have their own heating and cooling controls, plus USB and 110-volt outlets at the rear of the center console. 
            We enjoyed the proprietary Rockford Fosgate sound system.  The centrally mounted infotainment screen has the standard menu of options - FM, AM, Bluetooth, Phone, SiriusXM, Apps, iPod, settings, plus 11 more on secondary screens. 
            Cargo capacity is very good. In addition, there’s a 110-volt AC plug in the cargo area, EV plug-in connectors stow below the cargo floor.
            Overall, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, because of its electric limitations, is just another ho-hum SUV with the questionable feature of electric drive.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate