Friday, June 22, 2018

2019 Ram Laramie 4x4, a first drive.

The battle for supremacy in the light truck segment is heating up with the 2019 Ram 1500 series. Bumper2Bumpertv has a first look and drive with the unit which offers equal amounts of performance and technology.

Monday, June 18, 2018

BMW 330e iPerformance

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2018 BMW 330e iPerformance
  • ENGINE: 2.0-liter twin turbo 4  
  • TRANSMISSION: 8-speed Steptronic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 180 hp @ 5,000 rpm (248 system hp)/215 lb.-ft. @ 1,350-4,250 rpm(310 lb.-ft. system torque)  
  • WHEELBASE: 110.6 in.  
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.8 x 71.3 x 56.3 in.  
  • TIRES: P225/50R17  
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 13.0 cu. ft.  
  • ECONOMY: 30 combined mpg/70 mpg fuel plus electric/23.7 mpg test  
  • FUEL TANK: 10.8 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 2,900 lbs. #/HP: 16.1 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended  
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Audi A4, Cadillac ATS, Nissan Leaf 
  • STICKER: $44,695 (base price, includes destination) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: The BMW 330e is a typical BMW 3-Series with a plug-in hybrid feature. However, the electric range is minuscule and almost useless.

            Every manufacturer, it seems, is getting on the electric bandwagon. BMW is no exception. The Bavarian manufacturer has a couple of electric vehicles in the i3 and i8, but they also offer the hybrid electric 330e, our tester.
            While the 87 horsepower electric engine adds important horsepower and torque, especially for acceleration, plugging it in every night really seems a waster. It takes 6-7 hours to fully recharge from empty using a house 110-volt outlet, and that only yields 14 miles of pure electric driving. Other pure electric cars can exceed 200 miles range, and compared to them, 14 miles is a pittance. But it is a start.
            Of course, the batteries in the 330e also have another function. The twin turbo 2.0-liter four in the 330 produces 180 horsepower. However, if the need arises, you can punch the accelerator and gain additional horsepower and torque for stirring acceleration, and that’s fun.
            Handling is BMW good. We took the 330e over our favorite twisty hill climb route and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In fact, we were enjoying it too much when I noticed I was getting to close to a car in front, that I never even saw at the bottom of the hill. I had to back off.
            The suspension is compliant. The 330e handles curves well without subjecting the passengers to kidney-jarring firmness. This is a BMW hallmark. Overall ride quality is very good. 
            We were aided by shifting to the Steptronic (manual) side of the 8-speed automatic and used the wheel-mounted paddles to up- and downshift. 
            Front seats are comfortable with good support in the kidney area. There are also seat extensions to support your thighs. Rear seat legroom is tight. Rear passengers have their own HVAC controls and a pair of cupholders in the pull-down armrest. 
            Drivers can choose from three BMW eDrive-specific programs - AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDrive and SAVE BATTERY - by using the eDrive button in the center console. These settings allow the plug-in hybrid drive system to be adapted to the way the car is being used at any point in time.
            There’s a clear instrument panel with round gauges. The default for the infotainment screen has three mini-screens - media/radio, communication and navigation. This way the passengers can have the music they enjoy and still know where they’re going. 
            Along with the excellent HVAC system there is good entertainment with the main selector knob in the center console controlling all functions. 
            The pair of cupholders at the base of the center stack is sometimes inconvenient, especially for taller cups. There’s also a very good trunk for a small car.
            With the silent engine and start/stop technology, it can be confusing when you shut down. Sometimes you don’t know whether the engine is on or off. Fortunately, lights illuminate on the instrument panel to direct you
            Overall, the BMW 330e is a very nice car. Being a BMW defines that part. I was disappointed with the all-electric range, though.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

Sunday, June 17, 2018

2018 Hyundai Accent, going against the trend.

Why would anyone want a small subcompact sedan these days? Hyundai thinks there is a place for such a vehicle not only in North America but around the globe. Bumper2Bumpertv kept that in mind when checking out the latest version of the Accent.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Red and ready to run, the 2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400.

A sport coupe with some serious performance chops, is the best way to describe the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400. Bumper2Bumpertv got some seat time in one and enjoyed every minute of the experience.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium with 4Motion  
  • ENGINE: 3.6-liter V6 
  • TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 276 hp @ 6,200 rpm/266 lb.-ft. @ 2,750 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 117.3 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 198.3 x 78.3 x 70.0 in. 
  • TIRES: P255/50R20 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 20.6/55.5/96.8 cu. ft. (all seats up/3rd row seats down/2nd row seats down) 
  • ECONOMY: 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway/18.2 mpg test  
  • FUEL TANK: 18.6 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 4,502 lbs. #/HP: 16.3
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 2,000-5,000 lbs. 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford Edge, GMC Terrain, Toyota Highlander 
  • STICKER: $50,275 (includes $925 delivery, $860 options) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: The all-new Volkswagen Atlas is smooth-riding and relatively quiet for a good-sized sport utility.

            Recently introduced, the Volkswagen Atlas is the big boy of VW’s SUV family, joining the Tiguan. Of course, there are several Audi SUVs as well, making for a lot of utility coming out of Germany, or Chattanooga in the case of the Atlas.
            Once I got over the initial shock of the color, the Atlas proved itself to be capable, quiet and good-handling. But the color. It was a love-hate choice among all the people we spoke with. VW calls it Kurkuma Yellow metallic. Before you start rushing to your dictionary, Kurkuma is a yellow-barked tree and VW decided to emulate it. At least it was easy to find in a parking lot.
            Atlas is powered by VW’s narrow-angle V6 engine, driving all the wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The engine is peacefully quiet and gives more than adequate performance. Economy is modest, however, but one usually doesn’t buy an SUV expecting great economy.
            There are three transmission modes - snow, normal, hills and hills with snow. That last is a subset of “hills.”
            Atlas is a nice package overall. There’s tons of room for passengers and cargo. The third row lowers easily for additional cargo space, but when it’s up it offers decent legroom. There’s very good legroom in the second row as well, and access to the third row is easy.
            We had issues with the HVAC system. It’s fine when it’s really hot outside and you need maximum air. However, the fan is noisy, even at low speed, and getting the system to settle in at a comfortable temperature is a challenge. We would find a comfort level, then have to turn it off and repeat. In fact, the fan is noisier than the engine.
            I’m a bug about utility in SUVs, and the Atlas passes the test. For example, there’s a huge arm rest/console, and a large cubby at the base the center stack. There’s large storage in the doors. And there’s a good-sized tray at the top of the dash. Unfortunately, this tray has a slippery surface that reduces its utility.
            In the tastefully designed dash there is a clear instrument panel with a lot of information. Among the information I especially liked is the overhead view when backing up and parking. It gives a great idea of where your vehicle is relative to other vehicles, concrete curbs and other “invisible” obstacles.
            Another issue we had was with the panels on the doors that hold the window and mirror controls. This panel tends to get wet in the rain (when you open doors, etc.) and ends up with water spots on it after drying. It’s not a serious problem, just an aesthetic issue.
            Front seats are comfortable and in our tester were heated and cooled. Second row seats offer, as I said, excellent legroom plus outside visibility. There are fold-down arm rests toward the center of the car in the second row seats, with cupholders in the doors. There are a pair of USB outlets plus a 115-volt outlet at the rear of the center console. Second row seats have pull-up window shades that my granddaughters loved.
            Atlas is a new SUV for Volkswagen and it is a good size with good features. Our tester had a couple of quirks, but overall it was  a good ride.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Making the sausage, how GAAMA chooses the best family car.

If it is spring then it i time for the annual Family Car Challenge. The event sponsored by the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association demonstrates how winners and losers are chosen in the family car segment. Bumper2Bumpertv has a peek into the process.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Chrysler Pacifica

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
  • ENGINE/TRANSMISSION: 3.6-liter V6/9-speed automatic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 287 hp @ 6,400 rpm/262 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 121.6 in.  
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 203.8 x 79.6 x 69.9 in. 
  • TIRES: P245/50R20 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 32.2/87.5/140.5 (all seats up, 3rd row seats down, 2nd row seats down) 
  • ECONOMY: 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway/17.9 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 19.0 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 4,330 lbs. #/HP: 16.2 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 3,600 lbs. 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, Toyota Sienna 
  • STICKER: $49,665 (includes $1,095 delivery, $4,875 options)
  • BOTTOM LINE: Chrysler, which invented the minivan way back when, has re-invented the minivan with the Pacifica, that makes the old Town & Country look like a truck.

            Constant readers of these scribblings will note that the Heilig family is a van family. We owned a full-size van before minivans were invented and drove it for many years as our girls grew from Brownies through college. So while others may prefer sedans or pickup trucks, vans are not summarily rejected here. In fact, two of our daughters own minivans.
            Our big van was built on a truck chassis (in fact it was a 2500, making it slightly truckier than normal. The ride was rough, but it did the job.
            Minivans, on the other hand, generally are built on car platforms, and the unibody construction leads to a better ride. Still, I was surprised by how quiet the Chrysler Pacifica is. Very little external noise is transmitted to the cabin, and most of road imperfections are eliminated. To complete the equation, the ride quality is excellent.
            Under the short hood is a 3.6-liter V6 that is rated at 287 horsepower. This is enough for the Pacifica. I remember that our old (brand name deleted) had trouble climbing the Continental Divide and had to stop for a breather.
            The only disadvantage to a softer ride came up in our hill climb test. In this, the roads wind and some of the turns are tight. The Pacifica exhibited a tendency to lean in most corners and showed boat-like qualities. On most roads this isn’t a problem, but you should be aware of it if you normally encounter winding roads.
            Even more than  SUVs or CUVs, minivans must have utility, and the Pacifica has utility in spades. For example, interior storage is excellent. It has excellent cargo capacity - for example, there’s a deep well in the rear where the third row stow and go seats go that is useful for most anything you carry, from groceries to garden plants to golf clubs. Here, the Pacifica again outdoes our (BND) that took our family of five on a cross-country tent-camping trip.
            Doors.There are bottoms to the door pulls that I find useful. There’s a small cubby just beneath the door pull and a dual cubby underneath that with room for water. In addition, there’s a deep cubby at the base of the center console with 12-volt and USB outlets. This cubby also has a curved bottom that helps retain stuff.
            There’s a large drawer at the base of the center stack with a change holder. Additionally, there’s a slot in the center stack that’s ideal for holding a cell phone. Inside the center console/arm rest is a storage area with a shaped bottom.
            I’m stressing these small cubbies because on our long trip (and I’m sure, yours) you’re always looking for places to put stuff - snacks, maps, phones, games, etc.
            Unlike our BND there is no access from the front bucket seats to the rear of the van because of the console. However, the console is more valuable.
            Front seats are comfortable with fold-down arm rests in the center. Second row seats have assist handles on the B pillars to aid in entry. There’s a pull-up shade on each side window in the second and third rows. My granddaughters love these. Second and third row seats have excellent leg room.
            Chrysler’s UConnect audio system offers excellent sound quality. There are also two video screens in the headrests of the front seats for second row passengers to enjoy. The girls also noticed that there are pre-loaded games and they were playing checkers within minutes.
            Overall, the Chrysler Pacifica has shown how far minivans have developed over the years. Personally, I would choose a Pacifica over most of the SUVs, but I am prejudiced.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate