Saturday, September 22, 2018

Subaru gets bigger with the Ascent

The Subaru brand is again stepping up to the plate with a three row SUV. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at the Ascent which includes a lot of firsts for the brand.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Will a three row version make a difference for the Volkswagen Tiguan?

br>Volkswagen is trying to increase the appeal of the Tiguan by increasing its footprint and offering some increased seating. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at the larger version of a small suv

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Mazda6 is doing a creep into the premium car segment

The Signature edition of the Mazda6 is an attempt to take the mid size sedan into the fringe of near luxury vehicles. Does it work? Bumper2Bumpertv has an assessment.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The 2018 Ford Expedition

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2018 Ford Expedition Platinum 4X4
  • ENGINE: 3.6-liter Ecoboost V6 
  • TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic with Select Shift 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 375 hp @ 5,000 rpm/470 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm  (87 octane fuel
  • WHEELBASE: 122.5 in.
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 210.0 x 81.6 x 76.4 in.
  • TIRES: P285/45R22
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 20.9/57.5/104.6 cu. ft. (all rows up/3rd row down, 2nd and 3rd rows down)
  • ECONOMY: 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway/16.7 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 29.3 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 5,692 lbs. #/HP: 15.2 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 9,200 lbs. 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, Toyota Land Cruiser 
  • STICKER: $52,000-$80,000 (est.) 
  • BOTTOM LINE:  The Ford Expedition is big and comfortable, with a good ride and surprising ease of entry.

            The Expedition, Ford’s twin to the Lincoln Navigator, has just as much capability with slightly less luxury at a better price point.
            For example, the Expedition (compared with the Navigator) has a more traditional instrument panel, with a speedometer and tachometer and four accessory gauges running along the top of the instrument cluster. The transmission shifter is a rotary dial, as opposed to push buttons in the Nav. And while the Expedition is well appointed, it doesn’t match the luxury of the Navigator.
            But the utility is there. In 4X4 configuration, the Expedition can tow up to 9,300 pounds when properly equipped. Cargo capacity is there, as much as 104.6 cubic feet, slightly more than half that with the third row seats down. That means four golf bags with all the accoutrements (shoes, etc.) and room for the foursome in comfortable seats. In addition, with the second row seats lowered, there’s room for the traditional 4x8 sheet of plywood.
            I said the Expedition lacks the luxury of the Navigator, but it’s no slouch either. The Platinum trim level of our tester offers heated front and second row seats, power pedals, a running board that deploys when you unlock the doors, puddle lights, a hands-free lift gate, panoramic sun roof, back up camera with 360 degree view, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and - need I say more?
            Now, the Expedition is large, but Ford decided it wasn’t large enough, so they created the Expedition Plus, which is close to the former Excursion. Max is a foot longer on a 9-inch longer wheelbase. Where this extra length makes itself known is in cargo capacity (a maximum of 121.5 cubic feet in Max).
            Even though the Expedition is built on the F-150 platform, ride quality is very good. That’s one of the advantages of a long wheelbase and nearly three tons overall weight. The Expedition doesn’t handle like a small sports car, but over the highway it’s ideal, almost lulling you to sleep with comfort. You need the excellent sound system to keep you awake. Besides Sync3 with an eight-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen with AppLink, 911 Assist and two smart charging USB ports, the Wi-Fi hotspots can handle as many as 10 devices at once, and the available rear-seat entertainment system offers a next-generation video experience.
            Entry and exit are aided by running boards and assist handles on the A and B pillars. There are also assist handles over all the doors, except the driver’s.  There is good internal storage with a large center console/arm rest.
            The drive mode selector is located on the center console, allowing the driver to shift between 2WD high and 4WD, There’s also a manual shift mode to the transmission with + and - buttons on the console below the shifter.
            The Ford Expedition is nice package, if pricey.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

More trucks, fewer cars, Ford hopes it made the right decision.

Ford is literally shifting gears from cars to trucks and SUV’s in the North American market. Bumper2Bumpertv takes a look at the Expedition, one of those vehicles the company is pinning its hopes on.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Ford EcoSport

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2018 Ford EcoSport
  • ENGINE: 2.0-liter I-4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 166 hp @ 6,500 rpm/140 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 99.2 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 161.3 x 69.5 x 65.1 in. 
  • TIRES: P205/50R17 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 20.9/50.0 cu. ft. (rear seat up/down)
  • ECONOMY: 26.8 mpg (test) 
  • FUEL TANK: 13.6 gal.
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,325 lbs. #/HP: 20.0 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 2,000 lbs. 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Honda CR-V
  • STICKER: $20,000-$25,000 (est.) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: Ford’s newest vehicle is the EcoSport, based on the Fiesta, that is a small SUV with surprisingly decent performance.

            There’s a growing interest in smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, yet vehicles that are useful as well. We’ve all seen those little two-passenger sedans on the road, but they have little or no utility. Many utility vehicles, on the other hand, are less than economical.
            Ford’s answer to this conundrum is the new EcoSport, which is based on the small Fiesta sedan. EcoSport is a small sport utility vehicle, probably more of a crossover utility vehicle, or CUV. Our tester delivered 26.8 mpg in our test, admittedly in primarily local driving. 
            Officially classified as a small SUV, EcoSport is also a fun vehicle to drive. Take it along winding country roads and it reveals its true character. Handling is very good, and it almost feels like a small sports car. You can even shift the transmission into manual mode and use the paddles on the wheel, but I didn’t find that necessary. It was fun enough with the 10-speed automatic.
            On my way to the golf course, I first lowered the rear seat backs and placed my clubs in. Then the ride began, and I zipped over that back roads. I’ll admit I drove more sanely when my wife was in the EcoSport, but if she needed it, there was a grab handle on the dash if she got nervous.
            On the center stack is a larger infotainment screen that dominates the dash. During the day it has a clear, white background that turns black at night. The default screen is a map on the left and entertainment options on the right, with a menu along the bottom. The center stack has all the HVAC controls with a pair of USB outlets if you want to plug in.
            Front seats are comfortable even though side support is minimal. In keeping with the “small” theme, there’s a small cubby that’s ideal for keys on the console. The center console/arm rest is also small.
            Rear seats offer tight legroom, which was my one major complaint with the EcoSport. Indents in the backs of the front seats help with the knee room, but not much. However, there’s good rear seat headroom. And the rear head restraints fold forward to give the driver better rearward vision.
            There are clothes hangers above the rear doors, but not assist handles.
            Unique among the EcoSport’s features is a rear door that opens like a side-hinged door, rather than like a hatch. With the door open, the rear bumper offers a nice seat, which is convenient when you’re changing into golf shoes. Once you figure how to unlatch the door, it’s convenient.
            As a new entry into Ford’s stable of utility vehicles, the EcoSport could have been just an “eco” car/CUV, but it isn’t. The EcoSport ends up as a nice riding, nice driving vehicle, with the added practicality of utility vehicle styling for those times when you have to tote, but not that much. It’s more like a small - dare I say it? - station wagon that’s ideal for young families or empty nesters.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

RAV4 Adventure, a new look for a familiar small SUV

The RAV4 from Toyota has been positioned as everything from a small SUV to a city friendly crossover with cargo capability. Now the vehicle is also being touted as something that can do more than hit the paved roads. Bumper2Bumpertv thinks that claim may be taking things a little far.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 Nissan Leaf SL

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2018 Nissan Leaf SL
  • ENGINE: 110kW AC synchronous motor 
  • TRANSMISSION: Single speed reducer 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 147 hp @ 3,282-9,795 rpm/236 lb.-ft. @ 0-3,283 rpm  
  • WHEELBASE: 106.3 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 176.4 x 70.5 x 61.4 in.
  • TIRES: P215/50R17
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 23.6/30.0 cu. ft. (2nd row seat backs up/down) 
  • ECONOMY: 125 mpge city/100 mpge highway  
  • FUEL TANK: Not applicable  
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,508 lbs. #/HP: 23.9 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Spark, BMW i3 
  • STICKER: $38,510 (includes $885 delivery, $1,425 options) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Nissan Leaf has advanced from a fairly small to a mid-size sedan that can be a real player in the electric car market.

            Electric cars have been hampered fro years by range anxiety. Early electrics had ranges of less than 50 miles before requiring recharging. Tesla leapfrogged its competition by offering a claimed 250-300 mile range. The competition is now heating up.
            The Nissan Leaf was one of the first mass-market full electrics, and the first iteration forced drivers to be constantly aware of how much charge remained and how far they could go before running out of juice. The redesigned 2018 Leaf sports a larger 40Kwh battery that can allow the Leaf to travel up to 170 miles on a full charge. That should mean no range anxiety, except….
            We drove the Leaf for four days without recharging. I had reservations for dinner at a local winery that was 16 miles away (according to my GPS) and I had 50 miles of range left in the Leaf. I could have detoured slightly on the trip home if necessary to reach a charging station, but I decided to gut it out and we made it home with 10 miles to spare. Coasting down hills helped in power conservation.
            However, I charged the car overnight from a 110-volt outlet. In the morning, only 70 percent of power appeared on the meter. A second night brought it up to 100 percent and 170 miles, but I was still reluctant to try a 130-mile round trip.
            Simply charging the Leaf can be a challenge the first time. I looked in the owners manual and eventually discovered that the gas pump symbol on the dash actually released the cover to the charging port, which is located in front right over the “grille.” 
            On my normal “handling hill,” I used 5 miles in range climbing the hill, and none going downhill. It was the same on the return trip.
            Overall, I am impressed by the Leaf. Silent operation is a plus and can be addictive. True, there’s some tire noise that intrudes into the cabin, but it is slight.
            The electric motor delivers enough power to keep up with other vehicles on the road. There is no lack of power, thanks to the electric motor that delivers instant torque from 0 rpm. Handling is also very good for a small car. The suspension is firm, but not too firm. It seemed strange to have (almost) sports car handling from a small car and no sound.
            Among the new technologies in the Leaf is the e-Pedal, that allows the driver the simplicity of accelerating, decelerating and stopping the car by using the accelerator pedal alone. By releasing the accelerator, the Leaf will come to a smooth and complete stop without the need to press the brake pedal. 
            Front seats are comfortable and invite silent touring. Rear seats offer cozy legroom, and I hit my head on entering the back seats. There’s adequate cargo capacity, and with the rear seat backs folding easily, I could fit my golf clubs back there. In fact, with a little creative stowing, I could fit the clubs there without dropping the back seat backs.
            The driver faces a simple instrument panel that consists of a speedometer on the right and, most important, range details on the bottom (percent charge and range). 
            The navigation screen is clear, with Nissan’s reverse camera adding a 360-degree “overhead” view.
            There’s no gear selector per se. In the center of the console, right where your hand rests, is a  mouse-like tool. Like a good mouse, it is comfortable to use, and like some similar shifters with a stalk of some kind, it’s easy to use. Shift the “mouse” to the left and down to hit drive, shift it to the left and up for reverse. Park is a button in the middle. 
            Overall, the Nissan Leaf may not win the range wars, but it is a perfectly useable electric car with all the attributes you would expect. It is a big improvement over the previous generation in all areas.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate