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

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Longer Range Nissan Leaf

Nissan is taking the long view with the all electric Leaf in 2018. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at the latest version of the platform which has evolved from an experimental vehicle to something that is pretty mainstream.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The 2019 Kia Sorento claims its place.

The 2019 Kia Sorento is the brands latest attempt to make a name and space for the company in the full sized suv or crossover segment. Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at the seven passenger unit which has some good points and some bad.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Lincoln Navigator

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2018 Lincoln Navigator
  • ENGINE: 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 
  • TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 450 hp @ 5,500 rpm/510 lb.-ft. @ 3,000 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 122.5 in 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 210.0 x 93.8 x 76.3 in. 
  • TIRES: P285/45R22 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 34.3/73.3/120.2 cu. ft. (3rd row up/3rd row down/2nd and 3rd rows down) 
  • ECONOMY: 15.5 mpg test 
  • FUEL TANK: 23.0 gal.  
  • CURB WEIGHT: 5,926 lbs. #/HP: 13.2 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 8,400 lbs. 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, Toyota Sequoia 
  • STICKER: $87,930 (includes $1,195 delivery, $5,530 options)
  • BOTTOM LINE: The Lincoln Navigator is large, very large, but it is extremely comfortable and practical, as long as you don’t have to refuel it.

            “Ohmygod is that big,” was my wife’s initial comment when she saw the Lincoln Navigator. And it is big - 17.5 feet long on a 10-foot wheelbase, and nearly six and a half feet tall. But, while you have room to move around inside, the Navigator is also a very nice vehicle to drive and ride in. 
            Front seats are comfortable with armchair comfort and adjust to almost anyone’s preferences. Let’s face it, you can’t please everyone.  The head restraints are almost pillow-soft and I couldn’t keep from bouncing my head off mine.
            Second-row seats are equally wide with a similar console/arm rest with an underneath tray. For third row access, the second row seat powers forward.
            Visibility is awesome all around. In reverse, you have a standard reversing camera plus a 360-degree ”overhead” view that can be turned on even in forward mode. 
            A huge vehicle like the Navigator should have a huge engine. Nope. A 3.5-liter twin turbocharged V6 resides under the hood. It develops a healthy 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. Floor the accelerator and the Navigator perks up like a smaller vehicle.
            The 10-speed automatic transmission is operated with a pushbutton shifter located at the base of the center stack on the dash. I felt this was not practical. I had to stop and think every time I chose a gear.
            I like the simple instrument panel with a tachometer and speedometer that only displays the vicinity you’re in. For example, if you’re running at 60 mph, you only see roughly 50-70 mph displayed plus the pointer. Same with the tachometer. Nothing else. We spoiled the view by adding fuel economy, but this is a nice simple IP.
            The Heads-Up Display (HUD) is something else. It is the most informative HUD I have seen. It not only displays speed, but it also has the local speed limit, turn signals, time, outside temperature, miles to empty, gear and lane departure warning guidelines. 
            The huge iPad-size infotainment screen is primarily a map display. If you can figure out how to choose audio selection, it doesn’t display on the screen. There is a one-line indication of what is playing at the top of the instrument panel. Make changes to the HVAC (temperature or fan speed) and this takes over the map screen for a few seconds.
            Big SUVs are traditionally hard for entry and egress. The Navigator has running boards that extend when you unlock the doors. Plus, assist handles on the A pillars (both sides) help. 
            Cargo capacity is excellent. With the third-row seats down I was able to put my golf bag in longitudinally. We could have put several more in there. A big plus is that the seats are powered, so all you have to do is push a button to get the third-row seat backs to fold.
            With interior space galore you can make use of innovations. For example, beneath the console by the center stack there is a large shelf that works for purses, etc. It has a smaller partner that extends beneath the console. 
            Six cupholders should be sufficient for the front passengers (the standard two in the middle and two each in the doors). The very large console/arm rest is probably big enough for a six pack (of soda, of course). Second row passengers must make do with only four cupholders.
            While its size dwarfs most other vehicles, the Lincoln Navigator atones for its size with good performance and comfort.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Checking the boxes, 2018 VW Passat

It was not that long ago that the Volkswagen brand was focused on restoring its good name follow a diesel emission cheating scandal. But now the company is back to building well thought out cars and suv’s.Bumper2Bumpertv has a look at the mid size entry, the Passat.

Monday, August 6, 2018

New faces covering the new face of Ford.

Ford Motor Company is undergoing a major change in direction for the North American market. Bumper2Bumpertv also notes that the company is also trying to reach out to some different kinds of journalists to tell their story.