Sunday, October 30, 2016

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The 2017 version of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport comes with a lot of good basic content. But Bumper2Bumpertv thinks it falls short in the area of advanced safety technology.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Lexus RX 450h

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: Lexus RX450h AWD F-Sport
  • ENGINE: 3.5-liter V6
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 259 hp @ 6,000 rpm/247 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 109.8 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 192.5 x 74.6 x 67.7 in. 
  • TIRES: P235/55R20  
  • CARGO: 18.8/55.9 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down) 
  • ECONOMY: 30 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25.5 mpg test  
  • FUEL TANK: 17.2 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 4,740 lbs. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 3,500 lbs (AWD), N/A FWD 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Lincoln MKT, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE 
  • STICKER:$60,995 (includes $940 delivery, $5,610 options) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: Combine luxury, hybrid economy, SUV practicality and Lexus F-Sport performance and you have the Lexus RX450h, a solid performer on all fronts.

            Driving the Lexus RX450h presents a few problems. They’re nice problems, but they’re problems nonetheless. First, it’s a Lexus, so you expect some degree of luxury, and you get it. The seats are leather-surfaced and offer very good support all over. In our tester they were red, but that didn’t detract from their comfort. 
            In addition, you’d expect some interesting features, and to my mind the most interesting is the multi-functional controller located on the center console. This joystick/mouse-like controller helps you to navigate through the infotainment screen. As you move through the screen you feel detents on the controller that help you “stop” where you want. Then you press the controller to select. There’s also an “enter” button on both sides of the controller that is accessible for both the driver and front passenger. 
            Since it’s also a hybrid, you keep an eye on the fuel economy gauge. We worked it up to around 26.2 mpg during our run, but finished with a test mpg of 25.5. As usual,it was lower than EPA estimates, but it’s still pretty impressive for the vehicle.
            Another expectation is decent power, and the RX450h delivers. The 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 259 horsepower, which is more than enough to get you from here to there quickly. Of course, the electric motor helps in initial acceleration, and Lexus quotes a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds. 
            Our tester was also part of Lexus’s F-Sport collection. In the RX450h this includes the addition of 20-inch F-Sport wheels, an adaptive variable suspension, badging, heated leather wheel (with 17 buttons for audio, phone and the information screen), meters, the heated and ventilated front seats, aluminum trim pedals and foot rest, and paddle shifters. With the F-Sport tuned front and rear suspensions you might expect a stiffer ride, but it wasn’t there. 
            There’s a Drive Mode Select system that allows the driver to choose among distinct drive settings to match road conditions. ECO moderated engine power output, throttle response and climate control for maximum fuel efficiency. NORMAL provides an even balance between engine performance and fuel economy, while in SPORT the driver gets enhanced throttle response and acceleration.
            Instrumentation is relatively simple. In front of the driver is a large digital speedometer. There is no tach. Ringing the speedometer is an indicator that shows charge or eco or power. To the left of the speedo is a mpg gauge, with fuel and water gauges to the right. 
            Rear legroom is very good. With optimized seating for five, the lowered floor section provides comfort for all three rear passengers. There’s a pull-down armrest with a console and a pair of cupholders. There is excellent rear headroom despite the rather severe slope of the roof. 
            Cargo capacity is excellent at 18.8 cubic feet. Fold the rear seat backs using the lever at the base of the seat and cargo capacity expends to nearly 56 cubic feet. You can fit at least one large golf bag in the back with the rear seats up. In addition, access to the cargo area is excellent. I would have e thought that with the shape of the roof it might be restricted, but a hatchback-style lift back solves the problem. It would be easy to fit a large dog crate in the back as well.
            You can tow with the RX450h, but only in AWD and to 3,500 pounds. In FWD, towing isn’t recommended. 
            While you might expect the Lexus RX450h to be focused on luxury, or economy, or performance, it’s really a very good combination of all three. You can adapt the small SUV to be whatever you want.

(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate

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