Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack


By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2016 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack
  • ENGINE:6.4-liter HEMI V8
  • TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 485 hp @ 6,000 rpm/475 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 120.2 in.
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 198.4 x 75.0 x 58.3 in. 
  • TIRES: P245/45ZR20 
  • CARGO: 16.5 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 15 mpg city/25 mpg highway/15.1 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 16.5 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 4,395 lbs.
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, Lexus LS 
  • STICKER: $42,860 (includes $995 delivery, $1,690 options ($995 Beats audio, $695 Uconnect
  • BOTTOM LINE: Dodge Charger is a full-size sedan with the performance of a two-seater, four doors with the soul of two. It’s impossible to sneak by with the garish Plum Perfect purple paint job and the loud exhaust note. It’s a fun car to drive.

            Push the start/stop button on the Dodge Charger and the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 roars (literally) to life. It scares the neighborhood dogs. Punch the accelerator pedal and the Charger leaps to life. Any gravel on the road is sure to thrown behind you on take off. 

            There’s no secret to the Charger’s credentials as a performance car. Not only has Dodge been faithful to the design of the 1960s Charger in a more modernized version, it has also been faithful to its spirit. The only obvious changes are the addition of LED daytime running lights and brake lights and projector beam headlamps. 

            Handling is superb. While the suspension is firm, it isn’t harsh. Cornering is very flat for what is a large car. You can use the paddle shifters for even more performance on winding roads or hill climbs. A Brembo high performance brake package insures that the Charger will stop as quickly as it goes. And these are good stopping brakes, not tacky.

            But the Charger can also be docile. You can drive it down Main Street and the only thing that pedestrians will see is the Plum Crazy (purple) paint. That does attract attention, assuring that even in docile mode the authorities will notice you.

            Front seats are very comfortable with good side support. Just as a reminder, there is “Scat Pack” stitching on the backs of the seats. There is good rear seat legroom with a tall center hump. The sloping roof restricts rear seat visibility to a degree, but it isn’t bad. The rear seat backs fold to increase the already substantial cargo space.

            While the Charger qualifies as a large car, there is a lot of coupe in its DNA. For example, the front doors are what I would call “coupe large,” meaning that when they are fully opened, you have to stretch to reach them to shut them. 

            At startup, a “6.4 L” with a bee shows up quickly on the instrument panel. In general, the instrument panel is clear. The information panel between the large tachometer and speedometer is easily configurable with buttons on the wheel. I used the digital speedometer, but you can also have, among others, messages, audio settings, trip information, fuel economy, performance (including top speed), and vehicle information. Permanent are fuel and water gauges, mileage range and outside temperature.

            One “performance” feature is the relatively low front splitter, or air dam. It scraped the ground often during our ride, most frequently entering or exiting my driveway.

            A “large car” feature we did enjoy were the extensions to the sun visors. While they were most useful when the visors were turned to use on side windows, the extensions offer more protection from the sun.

            I think my wife will be commenting on the Plum Perfect paint job on the Dodge Charger for weeks to come. For me, the most memorable feature of the Charger was its performance when we wanted it and its docility when we wanted it. For even if the teenagers who drive by my house in their little buzz bombs want noisy exhausts, at my more mature age, the noise is fine for a while, but a calmer, more peaceful ride experience is preferable. The Charger delivered.

(c) The Auto Page Syndicate

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Volvo XC60, a first look.

The XC60 from Volvo is more than a shrunken down version of the full sized XC90. Bumper2Bumpertv finds it does a lot of things very well in the luxury segment.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

VW Beetle Dune Edition

The Volkswagen Beetle Dune Edition is trying to use appearance to cover up some short comings. After spending some time in one, Bumper2Bumpertv thinks it is lacking in terms of technology.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
  • ENGINE: 2.4-liter DOHC I-4
  • 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 64.2 in. 
  • TIRES: P225/55R18 
  • CARGO: 21.7/49.5 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down) 
  • ECONOMY: 22 mpg city/27 mpg highway/19.8 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 15.8 gal.  
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,285 lbs.  
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Mini Cooper Countryman, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape 
  • STICKER: $28,245 (includes $850 destination)  
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (not to be confused with the larger Outlander) makes the most of its small size with very good cargo capacity. The engine does tend to buzz, though.

            Deceptive is a good word to describe the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It seems so small on the outside, but when you’re inside, or when you want to carry a hassle of goodies, it suddenly transforms itself into something larger.
            Now I’m not suggesting that the Outlander Sport can compete with something like the Chevrolet Suburban, but in its class it does a good job. For example, we have friends who like to take their three grandchildren on excursions. The Outlander Sport is large enough to carry all the passengers, while still having enough cargo capacity behind the second row to bring back souvenirs. 
            The Outlander Sport still suffers from one big small car/vehicle problem. The ride quality is on the rough side, thanks to a short wheelbase and light weight. Compare it, for example again, to the Suburban whose ride is like a big boat sailing down the highway.
            Also, the Outlander Sport’s 2.4-liter engine tends to be buzzy all the time, making conversation difficult at times. Combine the engine with road noise emanating from Pennsylvania’s traditionally rough roads and my wife and I almost had to shout at each other, especially when the radio was on. 
            But even with the Outlander Sport’s compact exterior, cargo capacity is impressive. It lists at 21.7 cubic feet with the rear seat backs up and more than double that - 49.5 cubic feet - when the rear seat backs are folded. I was impressed by the width. While golf season is over, we did carry three-foot long rolls of Christmas wrapping paper easily from side to side in the back.
            The rear seats backs fold easily (60/40) to increase cargo capacity. Rear seat comfort is decent, but legroom is cozy. I found my knees pushing up against the back of the front seat when I had it in my normal position. There is a fairly low center hump which would make carrying three passengers in the back easier. While there is no room for water bottles in the rear doors, the pull-down armrest has a pair of cupholders.
            Front seats are comfortable with decent side support. The driver grasps a busy steering wheel after using the start/stop button to fire up the engine. We enjoyed the Rockford-Fosgate sound system as well as the efficient HVAC system. Only three knobs are needed to work the HVAC and get it to do anything you want. Sequential manual shifting is possible with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. 
            Instruments are white-on-black dials with a tachometer, information panel and speedometer. The information panel has water and fuel gauges plus gear. I chose trip odometer and fuel economy from among the choices. 
            For interior storage, there is room for water bottles in the front doors, three cupholders between the front seats and a small center console/arm rest that has 12-volt and USB outlets. 
            The Outlander Sport design was freshened for the 2016 model year, and sports a grille that could almost make it part of the Lexus family with its wasp-waisted spindle shape, called Dynamic Shield in Mitsubishi-speak. I was also impressed that in a vehicle in this price class the exterior mirrors fold when you leave the Sport and lock it.
            So the Outlander Sport is deceptive, in its carrying capacity, its four-wheel drive capability, and some of its near-luxury features.

(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2017 Green Car of the Year.

The 2017 Green Car of the year shows that alternative fuel vehicles are coming into their own. The winner was announced at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hyundai Elantra Limited

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited
  • ENGINE: 2.0-liter I-4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 147 hp @ 6,000 rpm/132 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 106.3 in.  
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 179.9 x 70.9 x 56.5 in. 
  • TIRES: P225/45R17  
  • CARGO: 14.4 cu. ft. 
  • ECONOMY: 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway/28.8 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 14.0 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,109-3,131 lbs. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Acura ILX, Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra  
  • STICKER: $27,710 (includes $825 delivery, $4,325 options) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: While officially classified as a mid-size, the Hyundai Elantra is, in fact, a largish compact car, with a host of amenities and decent interior space.

            The Hyundai Elantra is one of those “tweener” cars; it isn’t a compact and according to the EPA it’s a mid-size. It really slots somewhere in between. 
            For example, one of my personal criteria in determining a car’s segment is to check rear seat legroom. It it’s good, then I’ll probably accept the car as a mid-size or larger. If it’s cozy but you can still move your legs around and your knees aren’t bumping against the back of the seat in front of you, then it’s a compact. So I call the Elantra a compact, even though it is an inch longer than last year’s model.
            For 2017 there are two Elantra models, the Elantra and Elantra Sport. Our tester is the base Elantra, but with Limited trim that includes $4,325 in options.
            Styling is neat. The Elantra resembles the previous generation Sonata with its strong side character line. The grille could have been lifted from wither Ford or Aston Martin. Interior surfaces are all soft touch, although there is a brushed aluminum strip that connects the front and rear.
            But the Elantra is a nice compact, sitting on the cusp between compact and mid-size. Ride quality is good, enhancing the mid-size claim. Power from the 2.0-liter line four is good at 147 horsepower and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. Since the Elantra only weight 3100 pounds, there isn’t a lot for the engine to pull around (front wheel drive) and so there’s enough to satisfy almost all power junkies. And with that light weight and power rating, economy is very good. The EPA claims 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway with a 32 mpg overall rating. We achieved 28.8 mpg in our test.
            In addition, you can change shift points among normal, sport and eco modes that change shift points on acceleration.
            A signature feature of the Elantra for years has been the controls that are all within easy reach of the driver. The 2017 version does not disappoint. There are essential features such as space in the doors for water bottles (plus the requisite pair of cupholders in the center), and bottoms to the door pulls to hold keys or cell phones. 
            Controls on the wheel for audio volume and mode and cruise control have a good feel where you can toggle to increase or decrease. Phone controls are simple buttons. 
            Other internal storage areas include a nice cubby at the base of the center stack with two 12-volt outlets and a USB and AUX connection. There are also USB and AUX connections in the small center console/arm rest. 
            The instrument panel is clear with white-on-black dials. There is an information screen between the tachometer and speedometer. Among the four choices you can toggle through are a digital speedometer, trip information and fuel economy.  
            There’s a nice infotainment screen dominating the center of the dash. It’s fairly standard with the usual audio choices. The navigation system is easy to program and it saves several destinations if you travel among different locations. For example, my home was pre-programmed into the system. After my wife and I had toured somewhere, we could easily find our home and just set that as our destination. 
            The trunk has decent capacity at 14.4 cubic feet, and they are useful cubic feet. The rear seats fold down (releases are located in the trunk) to increase cargo capacity with a flat floor. The rear seat backs fold 60/40.
            All in all, the Hyundai Elantra is a very nice compact car. As a compact, it has a little more room than the competition. As a mid-size, it suffers a bit.

(c) The Auto Page Syndicate