Friday, April 20, 2018

Alfa Romeo Giulia

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti AWD
  • ENGINE/TRANSMISSION: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4/8-speed automatic
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 290 hp @ 5,200 rpm/306 lb.-ft. @ 2,000-4,800 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 111.0 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.6 x 73.7 x 56.5 in. 
  • TIRES: P225/40R19 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 12.0 cu. ft.
  • ECONOMY: 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway/24.8 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 15.3 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,695 lbs. #/HP: 12.7
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Acura TLX, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS
  • STICKER: $50,035 (includes $995 delivery, $9,045 options
  • BOTTOM LINE: In many ways the Alfa Romeo Giulia is as quirky as a Saab 900, but its primary assets are fantastic Italian looks and stirring performance. 

            The last time I drove an Alfa Romeo Giulia was back in Alfa’s previous iteration in the States. I remember that at that time pieces fell off the car and I couldn’t get the radio to work. No pieces fell off this version of the Giulia, but I still had radio problems. Tuning is a challenge, even after browsing through the owner’s manual several times. So we locked on to a SiriusXM channel that was preset and acceptable. Also, the on/off/volume control knob was located way back on the center console. It matched the engine start/stop button located on the steering wheel.
            I also recalled driving an Alfa Romeo Giulia for my navigator/owner Vic Wallder in New Jersey rallies back in the day. That was a fun car to drive, and Vic would never let me upshift, preferring to keep it in a lower gear to hear the engine whine. Hey, it was his car.
            This Giulia had a similar sound. It seems to want to go on forever when you’re accelerating. Alfa claims 0-60 mph times of less than 5.1 seconds and I won’t disagree. 
            Of course, this is an Alfa Romeo, and as such it wears great Italian styling behind its distinctive grille. The Giulia is low-slung with a pronounced wedge shape. My wife felt the entry was too low, but I enjoyed it. Entry and egress are aided by four assist handles over the doors.
            Once inside, the heated red leather seats ensconce you, gripping you nicely in the kidney area to make cornering more fun.  There’s also a great wheel to hold on to. The 8-speed automatic transmission has large column-mounted paddle shifters designed to shift gears in less than 100 milliseconds. However, the paddles are large and almost get in the way when you’re not using them. Hitting the turn signal stalk can be fun. There are also unique wiper controls on the right stalk that take some learning. 
            Instrumentation in the swoopy dash consists of clear analog dials with an information panel in between that we set for a digital speedometer. The infotainment screen is too small.
            On the center console are three knobs. The smaller one is the radio on/off/volume. The large center one works the menus, radio (supposedly) and navigation. On the left is once labeled dna, with settings for “d” for dynamic sports driving mode, “n” for normal driving mode, and “a” for advanced efficiency. A button in the middle of the knob adjusts the calibration of the suspensions in “d” mode.
            The Giulia has what I call a modern shifter. You park by pushing the “P” button. Pull the shifter toward you with your finger on a button to shift into drive and push it forward to hit reverse. You can’t go from park straight to reverse, but must go to drive or neutral first.
            While the front seats are comfortable, rear set legroom is tight. There’s also a high center hump to preclude thing a third passenger back there. However, the rear seats are comfortable. But, once seated, your feet are under the front seats and it can be difficult to extricate them. In fact, it can be danged dangerous in an emergency situation. Out back is a useful trunk, but the rear seat backs apparently don’t fold to increase cargo capacity.
            Overall, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is a performing mid-size sedan on the small end of the scale. It brought back both good and not-so-good memories of previous Giulia's I have driven.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate 

Monday, April 16, 2018

BMW X3 M40i, a crossover that moves the segment.

BMW has come out with an M edition of the X3 crossover or Sports Activity Vehicle, if you want to be particular. Check out what Bumper2Bumpertv thinks about the vehicle.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Genesis Essentia, a concept car that could become real.

While many automakers show off production models at the New York Auto Show, the Genesis brand tries to bring a bit of style to the event with some interesting concepts. At this years show the attraction was the Essentia and Bumper2Bumpertv had a chance to talk with the lead designer of what may be a car of the future.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

New car reveals at the 2018 New York Auto Show.

If you can make it in New York, then you can make it anywhere. Automakers from around the globe are hoping that was true for the models making their debut at the 2018 New York Auto Show. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at a few of the new offerings.

Friday, March 30, 2018

2018 New York Auto Show, an electrifying experience

Will horsepower or Kilowat hours determine the future of personal mobility? That was one of one of the questions Bumper2Bumpertv looked at during the 2018 New York International Auto Show.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

AMG E 43, a midsize with fire in the belly!

If you want performance and luxury in one vehicle then the AMG line from Mercedes Benz is definitely worth considering. Bumper2Bumertv has a look at the AMG version of the E Class sedan .

Monday, March 19, 2018

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Where is the Wow?

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWD
  • ENGINE: 2.4-liter four 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 168 hp @ 6,000 rpm/167 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm
  • WHEELBASE: 105.1 in.
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 171.5 x 71.3 x 64.8 in
  • TIRES: P225/55R18 
  • ECONOMY: 23 mpg city/28 mpg highway/15.8 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 15.8 gal.
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,285 lbs. #/HP: 19.6
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Jeep Compass, Subaru Outback, GMC Terrain, Toyota RAV4
  • STICKER: $29,110 (includes $940 delivery, $2,275 options) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a perfectly serviceable small SUV. It just lacks the Wow factor.

          The small sport utility segment is one of the more crowded among the various market groups. Therefore, in order to stand out, a vehicle has to have what I call the Wow factor. This is some feature that makes the individual vehicle stand out from the crowd.
          For example, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a nice small SUV. It has a 2.4-liter engine delivering 168 horsepower and a decent pounds-per-horsepower rating of less than 20, which doesn’t put it in the performance car segment, but doesn’t mean it’s a slug, either.
          The engine tends to be buzzy at all speeds, though. It isn’t an offensive fuzziness, but it’s still there. I was disappointed with our test economy of 15.5 mpg, far below the EPA estimated 25 mpg overall. I’m willing to attribute this to the time of year of our test drive (winter) and numerous short trips versus longer ones. 
          The Outlander Sport offers a firm ride without the benefit of good handling. Let’s face it, the vehicle is a sport utility and not the kind of vehicle you buy for its handling prowess. The suspension is a fairly conventional McPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear.
          While I decry then lack of Wow, the Outlander Sport does have its own redeeming qualities. Since our test vehicle wasn’t equipped with SiriusXM, my prime choice of entertainment, we had to resort to Bluetooth streaming from my phone. Audio quality was good when I could get the radio to listen to my phone. However, the phone connection to the 7-inch infotainment screen was good. The screen offered a GPS map function, but there was apparently no navigation function. 
          Front seats are comfortable and heated, which is an asset in cold weather. Rear seat legroom is tight with passengers’ knees butting up to the rear of the front seats. There’s good rear visibility. Between the rear seats is a fold-down armrest with a pair of cupholders. However, there is no room in the rear doors for water bottles as there is in the front doors.
          At the base of the center stack are two USB outlets, heated seat controls, the traction control switch and a 12-volt outlet. 
          The main center console is small, but inside it has a shelf plus a 12-volt outlet. The cargo area is good size at 21.7 cubic feet with the rear seat backs up. This expands to a functional 49.5 cubic feet with the seat backs down. 
          The Outlander Sport has a very good heater that not only kept us warm, it did a good job of defrosting the windshield. I like the three-knob HVAC controls - one for temperature, one for fan speed and one for air flow direction. 
          Our Outlander Sport was equipped with 4-wheel drive. The button to shift into 4WD is located on the console ahead of the shifter. It’s a good location and it’s clearly marked.
          Dimensionally, the Outlander Sport fits in with the competition. In fact, since I get to drive a variety of small SUVs, there were times I forgot exactly which vehicle I was driving.
          Overall, the Outlander Sport is a nice vehicle that fits well into its segment. Sadly, I failed to find the Wow factor.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

Friday, March 16, 2018

Mitsubishi Outlander GT, a step above the ordinary.

The Outlander GT tries to put more muscle into the crossover. But as Bumper2Bumpertv finds, there are still a few shortcomings with the platform.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

KIA Stinger GT, a first look.

Can a Kia challenge the likes of BMW, Porsche, and Audi for a piece of the sport sedan market? The Korean automaker thinks they have what it takes in the new Stinger GT. Bumper2Bumpertv has a first look.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Toyota C-HR, compact and competent.

Toyota has an entry in the small crossover or SUV segment. The C-HR is also a departure from the traditionally conservative visual approach of the brand. Bumper2Bumpertv has details.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cadillac CTS v Sport

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2017 Cadillac CTS-v Sport Performance Lux
  • ENGINE: 3.6-liter turbocharged V6
  • TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 420 hp @ 5,750 rpm/430 lb.-ft. @ 3,500-4,500 rpm
  • WHEELBASE: 114.6 in.
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 195.5 x 57.2 x 72.2 in.
  • TIRES: P255/35ZR19 (F)/P275/35ZR19 (R)
  • CARGO: 13.7 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway/16.4 mpg test
  • FUEL TANK: 19.0 gal.
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,992 lbs. #/HP: 9.50
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 1,000 lbs.
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: BMW 7-Series, Jaguar XJ, Ford Taurus
  • STICKER: $77,730v(includes $995 destination, $5,940 options)
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Cadillac CTS-v Sport is a very nice package, but it has issues.

            I was glad when they said unto me - no wait. Really, I was thrilled when I learned that I would be driving a Cadillac CTS-v this week. I was even more thrilled that is was the Sport version. The Sport is the middle of the “hot” CTS-v lineup, sandwiched between the “normal” 3.6-liter-powered base model and the monster 6.2-liter V8-powered model. Frankly, the Sport is as much as I can handle.
            I had driven the original CTS-v that had a turbo V6 a few years ago in California and enjoyed thrashing it about the hills north of LA and even on the contested freeways. The present-day Sport version has a twin turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that pumps out a very healthy 420 horsepower. And the first four days I drove the car were almost perfect, with dry roads and a couple of essentially empty roads to play with the car.
            But on Sunday morning it snowed. Not a lot of snow, but snow nonetheless. Our ride to church takes us up over a short inverted V stone bridge over a creek and then up a hill. The CTS-v struggled with the bridge, and found the hill impossible. What surprised me was that I had my foot on the floor and the rpms stayed below 1,000 and we had no sliding or anything.
            Eventually I maneuvered away from the hill to a flatter route to church, along which I discovered that there was a switch that would modulate transmission and engine performance. We switched from “Tour” to “Snow/Ice” and had little problems over the remainder of your journey. The snow melted on the way home so we didn’t have an opportunity to check the Snow/Ice mode in real action.
            Oddly, we checked the owner’s manual later and there was no mention in it that the engine would act as bizarre as it did. 
            We also discovered that on normal dry straight roads the steering wheel acts as if is in lane keeping assist mode even when you’re in the middle of the lane. Steering input if very loose. Again, the owner’s manual proved useless.
            Except for these driving issues, which are, let’s face it, serious, the CTS-v is a fine upscale large sedan. The exhaust roar on startup is very non-Cadillac, but it is interesting. Aren’t Cadillacs supposed to be whisper quiet?
            Exterior styling is excellent. I like the way Cadillac designers have used the vertical taillights to simulate the classic tail fins of historic Caddy’s. 
            Front seats are comfortable with side support worthy of a performance car. Rear seats are comfortable as well, although In would have expected more leg room. 
            The dash is pure luxury and shows some insight into its design. The central instrument panel, for example, can be configured to reflect the owner/driver’s choices. 
            Audio and HVAC controls appear to have “sliding bars” where you slide your finger along to get the desired result. However, all you have to do is touch above the bar to get the desired result. Also, I challenge you to get the glove box open in less than a minute, even though the push button is a good design.
            Our tester was equipped with Cadillac’s rear-facing camera. Unlike the back-up camera, which projects its image on the infotainment screen, this has the image projected on the rear view mirror. This is excellent when the snow covers the rear window and the excellent defroster hasn’t completed its job. It also gives a lower image than the mirror itself.
            We also had park assist with warnings via a vibrating seat and an “overhead” view, leaving the driver no excuses for messing up. 
            Of course, the CTS-v is equipped with all the goodies Cadillac could find in its parts bin, like blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, that pesky lane departure warning and lane keeping assist. Soft materials abound inside the cabin. I especially like the feel of the wheel, which is fat and covered in a suede-like material.
            Overall, the CTS-v Sport is a fun large sedan with the added bonus of performance. I had some issues that might have been avoided with a good lesson on how to drive the car or better familiarity with the owner’s manual.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate