Sunday, October 29, 2017

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
  • ENGINE: 3.6-liter V6 
  • TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with sequential shift 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 278 hp @ 6,000 rpm/265 lb.-ft. @ 4,600 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 127.4 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 212.3 x 75.2 x 71.6 in. 
  • TIRES: P265/70R16 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 1,175 lbs. payload 
  • ECONOMY: 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway/17.8 mpg test  
  • FUEL TANK: 21.1 gal. 
  • CURB WEIGHT: 4,445 lbs. #/HP: 16.0 gal. 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 6,400 lbs.  
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier
  • STICKER: $44,814 (includes $940 delivery, $1,114 options)

  • BOTTOM LINE: Then Toyota Tacoma is almost a perfect size for a pickup, with decent power and good ride quality.

          Toyota introduced an all-new mid-size Tacoma pickup in 2016, joining a niche in the market that only Chevrolet and GMC fill on the domestic side and Nissan and Honda on the import side. For 2017, there’s a new Tacoma option, the TRD Pro, aimed at, as Toyota says, “The most dedicated adventure-seeking, off-road-loving, work-hard-play-hard enthusiasts.”
          Well, constant readers will realize that in urban Eastern Pennsylvania, off-roading locations are a challenge to find, so what you’re going to get here is an on-road “adventure" review.
          We took the Tacoma to get lawn mower parts while it was in my driveway. First, the man who owns the Cub Cadet store said the Tacoma was just what he wanted. He could tow his trailer with his ATV and still use the truck for work. 
          We had a slight problem with the cargo bed, though. It was equipped with a bed extender, which is normally a great feature. However, our lawn mower parts were in a large heavy box, and two older men (me included) couldn’t lift the box over the extender, so we had to remove it, load the box, then re-install it. 
          The TRD Pro looks tough. Again, according to Toyota, “its heritage-inspired ‘TOYOTA’ front grille with color-keyed surround, blacked-out hood scoop and graphic, color-keyed power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, color-keyed door handles, black overfenders, and color-keyed rear bumper” serve to separate it from more pedestrian Tacomas. 
          Yes, it looks tough, almost like a super duty US truck. With its double cab (pseudo rear door handle) and short bed, the TRD Pro has all the off-road goodies one would want. To the base TRD Off-Road model, the TRD Pro adds18-inch black alloy wheels, Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain tires, TRD-tuned front springs, TRD-tuned rear suspension, FOX 2.5-inch Internal Bypass shocks, TRD Pro aluminum front skid pad, standard V6 tow package, and all the visual goodies you’d want. 
          Overall, the TRD Pro is a nice package, not just a souped-up Tacoma with a hard ride. The 3.6-liter V6 engine offers good power at 278 horsepower. Acceleration is good, even from 50 mph up. The engine is relatively quiet. It does get noisy on hard acceleration, but what engine doesn’t?, but in general the engine is quiet. 
          Road feel is good. The Tacoma has good ride comfort. Parallel parking can be a challenge thanks to the long wheelbase, but in general handling is good. Rough road surfaces don’t get into the cabin. For example, we have a road we travel often that has been grooved for repaving for at least a year. That section felt like a normal road.
          Entry is relatively easy. There’s an assist handle on the A Pillar for the front passenger, while the driver has to make do with grabbing the wheel. One problem I had was that the wheel seemed to be positioned low and couldn’t be raised any higher. I had to squeeze under it every time I entered. 
          While the transmission is automatic, the shifter has a nice feel.This is good for when you decide to use the sequential manual shift. 
          At the base of the center stack is array of optional switches and outlets - Blind Spot Monitor, ECT power, Park Assist, USB, 12-volt. 
          Rear legroom is cozy. On my wife’s side, where she likes her seat positioned further back, it’s almost non-existent. For rear entry, there are assist handles mounted over the rear semi-doors. The rear seat backs fold to make it possible to use the rear as an added cargo area. Folding the seats reveals a “secret” storage area behind the seats. 
          As I said earlier, the cargo bed is a good size, but then I don’t use a truck for work. The bed extender helps for longer loads, and it’s easy to remove and re-install. The tailgate lowers and raises easily. The bed has inserts to place 2x4 planks with a 4x8 sheet of plywood over them to create a double cargo space. The cargo bed has numerous tie-downs, and there’s a light that goes on when you unlock the doors, handy at night. In addition, there are 12-volt DC and 110-volt AC outlets in the cargo bed.
          While the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is designed for hard-core off-road enthusiasts, it also serves well as a standard mid-size pickup truck with a bit of styling panache.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page

Saturday, October 28, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey, it's come a long way!!!

Can a mini van be high tech, fun to drive and functional? Honda thinks the 2018 Odyssey does that and more. Bumper2Bumpertv has a first look at the latest generation of the "soccer mom mobile."

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A sneak preview of the the 2018 and beyond, Land Rover.

Land Rover, the brand known for its go anywhere capabilities will be venturing into new territory in the next two model years. Bumper2Bumpertv has a peek at what the future might hold.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Kia Optima Hybrid, keeps plugging away!!

The Optima Hybrid PHEV occupies a special segment in the auto world. Is it a gas electric vehicle? Is it a pure electric vehicle? Bumper2Bumpertv thinks it falls somewhere in the middle.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ford F150 Raptor

By John Heilig

  • MODEL:  2017 Ford F-150 Raptor 4X4 Super Cab
  • ENGINE: 3.5-liter V6
  • TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 450 hp @ 5,100 rpm/510 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm
  • WHEELBASE: 134.2 in.
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 220.0 x 86.3 x 75.8 in.
  • TIRES: P315/70R17
  • CARGO CAPACITY: Bed - 52.8 cu. ft.; Max payload 3,720 lbs.
  • ECONOMY: 15 mpg city/18 mpg highway/11.7 mpg test
  • FUEL TANK: 26.0 gal.
  • CURB WEIGHT: 5,525 lbs. #/HP: 12.3
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 13,200 lbs.
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra
  • STICKER: $61,685 (includes $1,195 delivery, $12,165 options)
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Ford F-150 Raptor is the truck side of Ford’s Performance Group. As such, it offers power and handling enhancements over the base F-150, with few of the disadvantages of souped up other vehicles.

          The vehicles coming out of Ford Performance have dual personalities. Yes, they are performance cars and perform well on the race track and off-road. In the case of the Mustang GT350, on-road performance is shadowed by the car’s impressive on-track performance. In the case of the Ford F-150 Raptor, the truck performs just as well as a “normal” truck as it does in the SCORE Baja 100 and Best in the Desert races.
          Raptor equipment is a $9,345 option package that includes a bunch of nice features that you would probably want in any truck. Additional optional equipment ($2,820) includes much more important features, like cast aluminum 17-inch wheels. the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, LT315/70R17 tires, the 6,600-lb. GVWR package, tailgate step and a spray-in bedliner.
          The engine is at the heart of the Raptor. The 3.5-liter Eco Boost V6 is rated at a healthy 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. Hooked to a segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission, the Raptor delivers 12.3 pounds per horsepower. And yet it can be docile.
          The same week we drove the Raptor we had another performance car in the driveway that was loud and raucous, and really had no civilized manners. The Raptor, on the other had manners, and the neighbors didn’t complain about the noise.
          Raptor isn’t all about the engine, just as the Mustang GT350 isn’t all about its engine. Underneath the average height of the Raptor increased two inches, primarily due to custom-engineered Fox shocks that are upsized to three inches in diameter. Meeting the road are LT315/70R17 tires that help smooth out the bumps. 
          Ride quality is actually very good in the Raptor. Even though this is essentially the same street legal truck that completed the Baja 1000, you could use it around town with no problems.
          Front seats are deep bolstered and even though they say “Raptor” on the embroidery instead of “Recaro,” they offer similar great support. The rear seats are entered via a pseudo door that cannot be opened without the front door being opened. Rear legroom is compromised somewhat. Between the front seats is a huge console/arm rest that seems big enough to hold a small child (not really). There are assist handles on the A pillars for the front passengers, but the rear passengers get no assist in entering or exiting. 
          Behind the cabin is a 5.5-foot box (in SuperCab configuration) with a spray-on bedliner that not only protects the bed, it keeps objects from sliding around. The same spray-on material is on the running boards and the rear bumper that includes a tailgate step. Raptor’s shorter overall length (than the bigger F-150s) makes handling (especially backing up) better. The tailgate lowers automatically, but you have to lift it up. 
          Styling reveals the Raptor’s true identity. The truck wears a hood scoop, exhaust pipes that looks as if they can hide a smart car, and the engine boosts. However, the performance doesn’t quite live up to the image. Acceleration is very good, but not neck-snapping. Handling is very good omg tight roads. 
          The driver faces a clear instrument panel as well as a clear infotainment screen. The Raptor contains a full compliment of gauges. The infotainment screen has a white background that seems to make it clearer. And, as with the GT350, there’s a centering stripe on the wheel to let you know when you’re headed in the right direction.
          Overall, the Raptor is well-equipped with lots of power.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Jeep Compass

By John Heilig

  • MODEL: Jeep Compass Latitude 4X4 
  • ENGINE: 2.4-liter I-4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 180 hp @ 6,400 rpm/175 lb.-ft. @ 3,900 rpm
  • WHEELBASE: 103.8 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 173.0 x 73.8 x 64.8 in.
  • TIRES: P225/45R17 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 27.2/59.8 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
  • ECONOMY: 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25.2 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 13.5 gal.
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,327 lbs. #/HP: 18.5
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 2,000 lbs. 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford Escape, Buick Encore, Honda CR-V 
  • STICKER: $32,505 (includes $1,095 delivery, $5,625 options) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: One of the smallest of many Jeep models, the Compass still offers legendary Jeep offload capability and Jeep design.

          There’s no mistaking the Compass for anything but a Jeep, despite its diminutive size. The classic seven-slot grille is there, with a new interpretation having each of the seven chrome slots set in a gloss black field. And with the flared front and rear fenders and its short size, there’s almost a Coke bottle look to the sides that brought back memories of 1970s-era race cars.
          Sadly though, the Compass isn’t a race car. The 2.4-liter engine has good power at 180 horses, compared to 160 in the similarly equipped Fiat 500X. In the Fiat the engine was noisy and had a persistent buzziness, while in the Compass it’s relatively quiet. The engine does complain a bit on hard acceleration, and sometimes you have your right foot hard on the floor coming onto a highway and you wonder if you’re going to merge with no problems. We had no problems, but I did look anxiously in the rearview mirror just to be safe.
          The engine transmits power to the wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission, which is a first in the small SUV segment. The tranny was smooth, as one would expect. 
          The center console has several features, besides the shifter. There are Selec-Terrain controls, that allow you to set the Compass up for off-roading or on-roading, an electronic parking brake, engine start-stop controls, and climate and volume control knobs. Selec-Terrain provides up to five modes (Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud, plus an exclusive Rock mode on Trailhawk models) for Jeep four-wheel drive performance on any surface in any weather. 
          Between the front seats is a small console/arm rest and a pair of cupholders besides all the features mentioned above. There is room for water bottles in all the doors.
          I didn’t like the seats in our tester. While they were comfortable and offered some side support for cornering, they were white with black inserts that looked as if there was something on the seat all the time. The rear seats continued this theme. 
          There’s good rear seat visibility. There’s a small window behind the C-pillar that from the inside looks like an add-on, but from the outside it breaks up what would be a large flat panel. 
          Cargo capacity is good, but I had to lower the rear seat backs to get my golf bag in. There’s a nice rubber mat on the cargo floor that would help protect the floor from any mud that might get tracked in there. In addition, there are small compartments on the sides that are great for objects you don’t want to spill. Additional extras in the cargo bay are four tie-downs, a 12-volt outlet and hooks to handle grocery bags. 
          Our tester did not have a power hatch, but it is very well balanced with good struts and raises and lowers easily. Power almost isn’t necessary. 
          There is a clear instrument panel in a well-designed dash with soft surfaces. White-on-black dials with an information panel in between give tachometer and speedometer information. There is a clear, 7-inch square infotainment screen in the center of the dash. The screen has a full menu for radio, media, climate, apps, settings, navigation and phone. The infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 
          The Jeep Compass is a serious player in the small SUV segment. The fact that it’s a Jeep sets it apart, stressing the Utility part of SUV.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate