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

Monday, February 12, 2018

2018 Mazda CX-3, trying to stand out in a crowded field.

Mazda's entry in small crossover segment is upping the game with enhanced standard features. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at what the CX-3 brings for the 2018 model year.