Archive for September, 2013
2013 Volkswagen CC R-Line
Miles driven: 106
Real-world fuel economy: 22.0
Driving mix: 80 percent city, 20 percent highway
Base price: $33,260 (not including $865 destination fee)
Price as Tested: $34,125
The great: Comfortable, attractive interior
The good: Sporty handling
The not so good: Low roof line seriously compromises entering and exiting
The V6 engine has played a funny role in American automotive history. For domestic product, the V6 represented–at least for a time–a response to high fuel prices and and, on a grander scale, the passing of an era. For import products, V6 engines meant stepping up into the mainstream, and competing head on with domestic makers in the massive midsize sedan market, and later the burgeoning SUV/crossover segment. What we have here are five ads openly celebrating the charms of V6 motoring. It’s worth noting that the V6 engine that once seemed like so much of a compromise is now being replaced by even more-efficient small-displacement turbocharged 4-cylinder mills. In fact, neither the Chevrolet Malibu nor the Ford Fusion is available with a V6 engine anymore.
2013 Toyota Avalalon Hybrid
Dates tested: 8/29/2013-9/12/2013
Real-world fuel economy: 31.2 mpg
Driving mix: 100% city
Base price: $35,555 (not including $810 destination fee)
The great: Impressive fuel economy
The good: Reasonable hybrid price premium
The not so good: Somewhat complicated audio and climate controls
2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
Dates tested: 8/29/2013-9/12/2013
Miles driven: 200
Real-world fuel economy: 18.9 mpg
Driving mix: 65 percent city, 35 percent highway
Base price: $26,695 (not including $995 destination fee)
Optional Equipment: Customer Preferred Package ($515), Security Group ($395), Dual-DVD Entertainment ($2490), Power Driver Seat ($295), Navigation System ($1490)
Price as Tested: $32,875
The great: Strong, responsive drivetrain, luxury-level ride quality
The good: Quiet cabin, lots of space, decent fuel economy
The not so good: Limited headroom–especially with available sunroof
By Don Sikora II
At first glance, Volkswagen’s 2014 U.S. line doesn’t look all that different than it did in ’13. There’s big news just below the surface, though. Specifically, there’s significant changes hiding under the hood of many of the company’s best-selling models.
According to Merriam-Webster, a landau is “a four-wheel carriage with a top divided into two sections that can be folded away or removed and with a raised seat outside for the driver.”
I would argue that, except for a tiny fraction of the population using the word, “landau” is more closely associated with a vinyl or fabric roof adornment once found on higher-end versions of certain automobile models.
In the hugely high-volume full-size pickup class that hosts just six main competitors, Toyota’s Tundra ranks … fifth. That’s an uncustomarily low sales position for any vehicle offered by the world’s largest automaker.
It’s hardly unexpected, however. Full-size pickups are one of the last bastions of American dominance, and cracking that market with a foreign nameplate has been a tough row to hoe. Just ask Nissan. Its Titan was introduced about the same time as the Tundra (1999), has perennially ranked a distant sixth (dead last) in volume, and during 2012, sold at a pace of about one Titan for every five Tundras. And for every five Tundras, Ford sold about 18 F-150s.
2013 Lexus RX 350 AWD
Dates tested: 8/22/2013-9/05/2013
Miles driven: 311
Real-world fuel economy: 19.1 mpg
Driving mix: 60 percent city, 40 percent highway
Base price: $41,060 (not including $895 destination fee)
Optional Equipment: Heated and ventilated seats ($640), Mark Levinson audio ($995), Navigation Package ($2775), Premium Package ($2260)
The great: Silky drivetrain, luxurious ride
The good: Classy cabin, comfortable seats
The not so good: Less fun to drive than other vehicles in class
You see it in all types of advertising. The approving look, often from some tough critic, that validates a purchase decision. We know from advertising, for example, that really cool moms stock the fridge with Sunny D. We know this, because their kids told us so.
Note: This article is reprinted from the August 2013 issue of Collectible Automobile.
By Jack Stewart
By the mid Sixties, Jeep’s dominance of the then-small four-wheel-drive market was being challenged by the International Scout and the Ford Bronco. To retaliate, Kaiser Jeep Corporation went Commando.