Archive for April, 2012
At Consumer Guide HQ, we all have our little areas of expertise. Ed Piotrowski is always upgrading his electronic gadgets, and he understands better than anybody on the staff the good and bad qualities in every car’s connectivity options. I bet Ed even knows what Pandora is. Jack Stewart knows Jaguars. Rick Cotta can recall which cars have good outward visibility like nobody in the business. What’s my claim to fame? Somehow, it has ended up being fuel economy. I’m almost always the office gas-mileage champ.
Scion’s professional drift racer, Ken Gushi, was on hand during the Scion FR-S press preview to show us the capabilities of the company’s new rear-wheel-drive performance car. As part of the program, journalists were put in the passenger seat for a lesson in drifting as Gushi gracefully flung the car around a wet skidpad. I gotta tell you, Ken makes it look easy. Under his care, the FR-S carved wide arcs and made smooth transitions from one opposite-lock drift to the next as if it were grasped by the hand of God. During his slides, he made constant minor adjustments to the steering, accelerator, and brakes to keep the car on its magical sideways trajectory.
Most people don’t know that there is a unifying intersection in the metric system. Not by accident, one cubic centimeter of water weighs one gram. That’s probably mineral-free distilled water, but you get the point—there’s a connection between how we measure lines and how we measure mass.
Carmakers are no strangers to event sponsorships. Most luxury makers have reached out to golf enthusiasts by working with the PGA and LPGA, and Kia has rather famously embraced the NBA. Looking outside the box, some makers latch on to more peripheral activities. For 2012, Mini became the official sponsor of Table Tennis Canada (TTCAN).
Once again, Ferrari has outdone itself. Thanks to lighter materials and more power, the all-new 2014 F12 will be the fastest production Ferrari ever, with a claimed 0-62 mph time of 3.1 seconds! Chris Poole files a full report on the 2014 Ferrari F12.
I recently tested three versions of the 2012 Kia Optima, and I noticed in each one that the vehicle-information display, between the speedometer and tachometer, contains a little picture of the car. The image is always displayed and, curiously, varies with model: a profile view in one, a rear-three-quarter angle in another, a front aspect in the third.
At first I wondered what Kia was doing here, as these are still images that seem to serve only as space-fillers. Then the thought occurred to me that they might have a faintly insidious purpose akin to the theme of the Oscar Wilde novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, only in reverse. Consider that the actual car inevitably ages, becoming dingy and dinged, but the picture stays the same, always there to remind you of the vehicle in its original pristine condition. Perhaps Kia hopes that the ravages of time will generate feelings of discontent and embarrassment that will eventually drive the owner to trade his/her old ride for a brand-new Optima, which by then will probably be a brand-new design.