Just Car Blog
|A Lotus Exige S, A Boxer And A Whole Lot Of Peyote||
We’ll be straight with you: none of us at Automotive Addicts are big into artsy concept videos. We have no idea what the latest video ad from Lotus, which features the new Exige S, a boxer and a whole lot of tire smoke, is supposed to mean. Is the Lotus nimble enough to dance around a pro boxer? Is the Lotus beefy enough to go round after round with the toughest competitors? Is the Lotus Exige S a good choice when you want to run over a guy who’s probably six foot three and 240 pounds? We don’t have answers to the first two questions, but we’re pretty sure the answer to the last one is “no.”
Here’s what you can take away from the ad: Lotus has a new Exige S for 2012, but it isn’t powered by a boxer engine. It is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6, mounted amidships, which sends its 345 horsepower to the rear wheels. Like all things Lotus (for now, at least), the Exige S is designed to be lightweight and to offer superior handling. As the YouTube video below (found on Autoblog) demonstrates, it’s perfectly capable of cranking out donuts and tire smoke all day long.
We understand the car, but the video just leaves us scratching our heads. To quote Shakespeare, “more matter and less art,” please.
|Will Tire Tread Scanners Keep Roads Safer?||
A few months back, Malcolm and I were headed north on I-95 after a Southern Automotive Media Association meeting in Miami. We were driving at around 75 miles per hour, in a steady rain and moderate traffic, when the minivan next to us spun.
The whole thing happened too fast to be puckering; one minute, the van was alongside us, and the next the driver was looking out his windshield at the side of my car. No one was hurt, and the van suffered only minor damage. Traffic was slowing ahead, and the minivan driver most likely tapped his brakes. What caused the spin? My guess is bald tires on a wet road.
Years ago, most states required annual vehicle inspections to certify that cars were safe to drive. Thanks to apathy, budget cuts or the idea that requiring repairs would put an “unfair financial burden” on drivers with limited income, annual inspections have largely been eliminated. The result is that many cars on the road today aren’t safe at 35 miles per hour, let alone double or triple that. Scope the tires of cars in a shopping mall parking lot, and you’ll see what I mean.
Motor Authority and AutoExpress report that a German company, ProContour, has developed a tire scanner, designed to spot unsafe tire tread depth. The scanner uses a series of high speed cameras and lasers to record and measure tread depth, at speeds up to 75 miles per hour. Tires that show wear to 1.6 millimeters, over the central 75 percent of the tread, would trigger an alarm at a nearby police checkpoint. Drivers would then be stopped and issued warnings or fines.
There’s no plans yet to implement them on this side of the pond, but officials in the U.K are currently debating the benefits and drawbacks of installing the $67,000 scanners. While the scanners have the potential of increasing road safety, they also have the ability to generate revenue for local governments. As with speed cameras, we suspect the technology will be more about money than about safety.
|Report: North Street Capital To Buy Spyker Cars||
When GM spun off Saab in the dark days of 2009-10, it was exotic car builder Spyker that stepped up to the plate to buy the Swedish automaker. Spyker, backed by cash from Russian billionaire Vladimir Antonov, seemed capable of turning Saab from a struggling division of GM into a profitable boutique automaker, but that never happened. Saab’s current struggles with bankruptcy and reorganization are well documented, and now both Reuters and Left Lane News are reporting the potential sale of Spyker to a U.S. investment group, North Street Capital.
The sale won’t affect Saab in any way, since Saab and Spyker are both under the umbrella of Swedish Automobile, their parent company. The sale of Spyker will generate much needed cash, cash that can be used to help restructure Saab and pay down supplier debt.
This isn’t the first deal to spin off Spyker; CPP Global Holdings, owned by none other than Vladimir Antonov, was in talks with Swedish Automobile to buy Spyker for an estimated 15 million Euros. That deal collapsed, so it appears that North Street Capital will now step in to acquire Spyker for an undisclosed amount of cash. Look for confirmation from both parties in the coming days.
|Top Gear USA Gets More Episodes For Season 2||
When Top Gear USA debuted in 2010, many Top Gear fans slammed the U.S. take on the popular British docudrama. Top Gear USA struggled for ratings in its first season, thanks in part to an odd dynamic between the show’s hosts. There was Tanner Foust, a pro driver with (seemingly) little sense of humor; Adam Ferrara, a genuinely funny guy with little ability to drive a car at speed; and Rutledge Wood, whose biggest claim to fame appeared to be the world’s most extensive flannel collection. How could these three guys compete with the likes of Clarkson, May and Hammond?
The correct answer is “they don’t need to,” since Top Gear USA is a completely different show than the British original. In season two, the hosts seem to have found a way to work together to produce entertaining television, and stacked up against Adam Carolla’s The Car Show, it’s readily apparent which one has the bigger budget (and the better writers). While Top Gear USA may not be the equal of its British counterpart, it’s pulling in solid (and increasing) ratings, which Inside Line says is good enough to score eight more episodes for season two. Production should begin soon, and the new episodes are expected to debut in early 2012.
As for the competition, The Car Show has shed former NBA great John Salley and cut the format from an hour to half an hour. While the elimination of Salley will help (he’s a great guy, but didn’t add a thing to a car-themed show), the show still needs less Carolla and more Farrah / Neil. Matt Farrah has a television-friendly personality and Dan Neil is arguably the smartest auto journalist on the planet. Carolla, on the other hand, doesn’t really seem to know much about cars, and pulls the show down with his cheap shots at hosts and guests, not to mention his odd rants. I say improve the writing and give more air time to Farrah and Neil, otherwise I’d call The Car Show’s long-term prospects bleak.
|2011 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited Review & Test Drive||
Over the better part of two decades, Subaru has managed to have a vehicle that breaks away from the traditional wagon and SUV segment. Today, the all-new 2011 Outback continues that conventional trail, even on the rugged off-road path.
I had the opportunity to review the new 2011 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited. My test vehicle featured a robust 3.6-liter boxer 6-cylinder engine pumping out 256 horsepower and 247 ft-lbs of torque to all four wheels through Subaru’s unique symmetrical all-wheel-drive system.
I can remember the days of Paul Hogan’s Subaru Outback commercials making it seem as if the Outback was not just a road-going wagon but more of a capable on and off-roader, that just happens to be a car. For 2011, Subaru’s Outback has not swayed too far from that perfect formula. The new 2011 Outback has 6 different trim levels either with a 2.5-liter boxer 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder boxer engine both with an all-wheel-drive configuration. The Outback line starts with the base 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and then gets a 6-cylinder in the 3.6R, 3.6R Premium, and 3.6R Limited trims.
My Outback 3.6R Limited was loaded up with a couple goodies such as a power moonroof and voice-activated navigation system. The 3.6R Outback gets a standard 5-speed automatic transmission while the 2.5 4-cylinder versions receive a rather lazy continuously variable auto. Having driven both the 2.5i Outback and my 3.6R Limited, I can easily say it is well worth the extra $1,000+ to step into the 3.6R over say a 2.5i Limited Outback. If you are like me and want to “explore” some off-road trails, then you want to have some extra oomph powering those four wheels.
Over the years, exterior styling on the Outback has been kept contemporary. The new 2011 Subaru Outback sports the same look from its redesign in 2010 with a front grill that is reminiscent from other current Subaru models. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance the handling suffers a bit on the road but is rather beneficial when you hit the off-road trails. The new 2011 Outback isn’t going to win any beauty pageant awards but I would not go as far as to call it ugly. What is good about the subtly-styled exterior is that you can fly under the radar, literally. Don’t ask me how I know, just go with it.
The new 2011 Subaru Outback has been stretched a bit to provide more interior room. Just like its exterior, the interior of the new 2011 Outback is somewhat bland with nothing to really excite you. Although, you could say the Outback’s interior is a bit more refined than its Forrester sibling. The dashboard cluster is bright and easy to read while the navigation system LCD screen, (also used for audio, climate, Bluetooth and integration controls), leaves a little to be wanted. For starters, the LCD could use a better resolution and the audio system is not very user-friendly or pleasing to the basic audiophile. Aside from those few shortcomings, the gadgetry does what it is supposed to even if the slow DVD-based navigation is not up to the standards of other hard drive-based systems.
A very large cabin, total of 139.7 cubic feet, gives all passengers ample headroom, legroom, and storage space. The large windows provide the driver with excellent visibility, while a comfortable seating position can easily be found. A towing capacity of 3000 pounds on my Outback 3.6R Limited is more than some small SUVs. The roof racks make sure you never run out of space for your “stuff” when making those long-haul road trips. The new Outback even has an under-floor rear cargo storage area big enough for several large laptops and other small items.
Just the name alone follows after the Australian Outback where you may meet the occasional Kangaroo on a rough terrain dirt-road. You want to have something that can get you to your destination and back in one piece.
After driving the new 2011 Outback on the road, it is safe to say the Outback is more of a crossover than a wagon. Not as rough around the edges as the smaller Subaru Forrester, the new 2011 Outback is much larger and worthy enough for treacherous terrain.
Gas mileage figures for my 2011 Outback 3.6R Limited came in at 18mpg city and 25mpg highway. I averaged about 22.5 mpg on my dirt-road and highway excursions.
Handling can be an issue especially with over 8 inches of ground clearance. The all-wheel-drive system combined with stability control kept things in check when the excessive body roll made the tires squeal going into sharp turns on pavement. A civilized driver should have no serious issues keeping the new Outback in line on the road.
The new Outback is not just for the “active lifestyle” folks; but for anyone who has a desire for a reliable, safe, roomy, and off-road capable car. The Outback is a great alterative to smaller SUV’s if you enjoy more of a car-factor. Moreover, anyone who lives in a snowy area can truly benefit from the new 2011 Subaru Outback. The as-tested price of my 2011 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited came in at $35,215. You can get a stripped base model Outback 2.5i for only $23,195.
Copyright: 2011 AutomotiveAddicts.com
- Price: Base Outback 2.5i $23,195 / As-Tested Outback 3.6R Limited $35,215
- Engine: 3.6-liter 6-cylinder boxer (horizontally opposed) 256 horsepower @ 6000 rpm / 247 ft-lbs. torque @ 4400 rpm
- Total length: 188.2in.
- Total width: 71.7in.
- Total height: 65.7
- Turning circle: 36.8ft.
- Curb weight: 3,658lbs. FWD
- Legroom: f/r-43.0/37.8in.
- Headroom: f/r-40.8/39.3in.
- EPA cargo: 71.3cu.ft.
- EPA interior volume: 139.7 cu.ft
- Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons
- Maximum towing: 3,000lbs.
- 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
|2012 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ Review & Test Drive||
‘FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY’
As the Chevy Traverse enters its fourth year in the market, it continues to be one of the most popular large crossovers, thanks to its balance of efficiency, versatility, spaciousness and safety. Sales were up more than 23% for the first four months of 2011, with an annual sales rate of more than 108,000 units.
Efficiency in the Traverse comes from a technically advanced 3.6 liter V6 with direct injection technology and continuously variable valve timing (VVT) which is matched with a smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission to help it deliver an EPA estimated 24mpg/highway (FWD models)-the best fuel economy of any eight-passenger utility vehicle.
Versatility in the Travers comes from it many different seating and cargo carrying capabilities. My test LTZ had dual captain’s chairs for the second row but you can also order a three-passenger bench seat. All second and third row seats, no matter the configuration, can be removed or folded to accommodate different passenger numbers and cargo loading needs.
Speciousness comes from seating up to eight, and with up to 116 cu.ft. of maximum cargo space (second-row seat folded and third-row seat/cargo management system removed), the Traverse offer the most storage capacity of any vehicle in its segment-besting the cargo capacity of the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer.
Traverse has a unique profile with a smooth and flowing design that characterizes the global face of Chevrolet. My LTZ model came with elements such as chrome-ringed grille inserts and large wheel-and-tire combinations, (my LTZ model came with 20X8 inch wheels/tires), highlight the vehicle’s attention to detail on the outside. Some unique details include deep-set grille inserts with chrome-ringed trim pieces, turn signals integrated in the outside mirrors, a rear spoiler integrated over the power liftgate window, dual, bright wide exhaust outlets, an available panoramic, power operated sunroof, (my model came with the rear DVD entertainment system instead), chrome door handles, outside heated/power-adjustable, power-folding body color sideview mirrors, a chrome strip below both doors, contrasting black full-perimeter bodykit to protect against rocks and other debris, low-profile roof rack rails, and aerodynamic protrusions below the bodykit to enhance airflow. The exterior styling leaves nothing and its fit and finish are superb.
The Traverse’s interior is spacious and comfortable and perfectly blends refined styling, technology, ergonomics, storage and attention to detail. The instrument panel has a dual-cockpit design that is a hallmark of Chevrolet’s heritage, while its ‘low and away’ position enhances outward visibility. I would like to have seen more ‘soft-touch’ materials on the dashboard to really give the Travers a true ‘luxury’ feel.
Three rows of seating is standard on all models, with the second row offered as a bench that seats up to three or a pair of captain bucket seats. Power-adjustable, perforated heated and cooled leather seating is standard on the LTZ, which is a luxury touch. Traverse’s second-row Smart Slide seat feature enables easy access to the third-row seats.
Standard interior features on the LTD model include Tri-Zone automatic climate control, AM-FM-CD stereo with MP3 playback capability and Bose 10-speaker sound, a navigation radio system with a USB port and a rear-view camera is optional, a rear entertainment system with USB port and includes a rear-seat DVD player with remote control, overhead display and two sets of wireless headphone, Sirius XM satellite radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity, remote keyless entry, remote vehicle start, a center console with sliding armrest and storage bin, a second-row console is optional, a storage bin on the dashboard shelf, power-windows with front express up/down and second row express down, power door locks, rear cargo storage system, cruise control, tilt/telescopic/leather wrapped steering wheel, grab handles at all passenger door, variable speed, intermittent wipers/washers with a rear wiper/washer, two-driver memory feature for the driver’s seat and outside mirrors, dual, light vanity mirrors, dual map pockets behind the front seatbacks, dual map lights, storage slots in each door, thick cut-pile carpeting and floor mats are what you will find in this LTZ model that I tested. These interior features on the LTZ model are competitive with any other full-size crossover utility vehicle on the market, but priced thousands of dollars less, another Chevy hallmark.
The Traverse’s 3.6 liter engine’s direct injection and VVT technology helps produce power similar to many V8 engines and uses regular unleaded gasoline. It is rated at 288hp at 6,300rpm and 270lb.ft. of torque at 3,400rpm with 90% of the engine’s peak torque available from approximately 2,500rpm to more than 6,000rpm. That’s plenty of power to quickly and safely merge onto fast-moving freeway traffic, easy maneuver around slower city traffic while returning an excellent EPA mileage rating of 17mpg/city and 24mpg/highway.
The 3.6 liter V6 engine is mated to the Hydra-Matic 6T75 six-speed automatic transmission, an advanced transmission with clutch-to-clutch shift operation for front-and all-wheel-drive models. It also offers automatic grade braking, shift stabilization and precise shift control. the available intelligent all-wheel-drive system provides increased traction on slippery roads by actively managing the torque distribution between the front and rear axles, based on factors such as wheel speed, throttle and surface conditions. There is no driver intervention, the system automatically decides how much torque to apply and delivers it to the wheels that have the best traction. I would recommend the AWD system to consumers who live in areas that get high levels of snow or rain to enhance their ability to safety drive their Traverse to and from home.
The Traverse rides on a long 118.9 inch wheelbase, with a wide 67.8 inch front track and a 67.4 inch rear track-a combination that lowers the center of gravity and enables a smooth, stable ride and handling characteristics much like driving a full-size sedan.
Up front is an independent MacPherson strut setup with a direct-acting stabilizer bar, aluminum knuckles, coil springs, and a full-perimeter isolated cradle to help reduce noise and vibration. The rear independent setup uses a compact, linked ‘H’ arm design with coil springs, twin-tube, gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar and an isolated mounting system to further reduce noise and vibration transmitted into the passenger compartment.
The power-assisted rack & pinion steering system is standard, with variable-effort optional. It gives a great feel for the road, has a very good on-center feel and transmits your steering inputs very quickly and precisely.
Quickly and safely slowing this large CUV down from speed are large, power-assisted steel disc brakes. Up front are 12.8 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers, while 13 inch vented discs in the rear are clamped with single-piston calipers. Standard ABS, Rear Brake Proportioning and BA further enhance your braking control and power.
Like I said earlier, my LTD test model came shod with 20X8 inch cast aluminum wheels wrapped with 255/55R20 inch all-season radial tires that enhance grip, traction and stability.
Out in the marketplace of full-size CUV’s you have a hard time topping the styling, interior and mechanical virtues mentioned above in the 2012 Chevy Travers LTZ. That also includes standard safety features that also make the new Chevy Traverse very safe for all passengers. Starting with a strong body structure to absorb crash energy and provide a protective ‘safety cage’ around all occupants because the structure is reinforced in numerous areas with high-strength steel, including a stiff cross-car beam welded across the floor between the B-pillars. It also uses dual-phase steel in select areas, such as the lower engine compartment rails. Dual-phase steel is strengthened in the paint oven and offers easier formability, reduced mass, greater strength and better crash energy absorption than most high-strength steels.
Other safety systems include 6-months OnStar with automatic crash response, driver/front passenger airbags, front side impact airbags, rear child security locks, tire pressure monitoring, 3-point safety belts for all passengers with front pretensioners/load limiters, stabilitrak stability control with traction control, and the Pass Key 3 engine immobilizer theft deterrent system.
The new 2012 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ crossover vehicle is truly one of the best on the market for all purposes of use with the highest degree of safety systems.
- Price: Base Traverse LS MSRP $29,430 / LTZ MSRP $38,805
- Engine: 3.6-liter V6 288 horsepower @ 6300 rpm / 270 ft-lbs. torque @ 3400 rpm
- Total length: 205in.
- Total width: 78.4in.
- Total height: 72.8 with roof rails
- Turning circle: 40.4ft.
- Curb weight: 4,720lbs. FWD
- Legroom: f/m/r-41.3/36.8/33.2in.
- Headroom: f/m/r-40.4/39.4/37.8in.
- EPA cargo: all-seats folded-153.1/second-row folded-68.8/behind third-row-24.4cu.ft.
- Fuel tank: 22-gallons
- Maximum towing: 5,200lbs.
- 0-60 mph: 8.6 seconds
|Cadillac Kills Plans For Drop-Top ATS||
Cadillac wants to pitch its upcoming ATS series against the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class. Original plans for the ATS called for a sedan, a coupe, a wagon and a convertible, which would have given Cadillac a counterpoint to every one of BMW’s offerings. It also would have given Cadillac a far broader range than Mercedes-Benz currently offers with the C-Class.
First, the ATS wagon fell victim to cost cutting, since projections didn’t show enough sales to justify design and production costs. Now GM Inside News reports that the ATS convertible has suffered the same fate, also a victim of insufficient demand to warrant production. That leaves a planned ATS sedan (which will appear first) and a planned ATS coupe, although the coupe is probably next on the chopping block.
Plans call for the ATS sedan to hit the market in the summer of 2012, powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder or a 3.6-liter V-6. Rear wheel drive will be standard, but all wheel drive is said to be an available option. If the coupe survives to see production, don’t expect it to hit Cadillac showrooms until 2014 or so.
There are still rumors of a V-Series variant for both the ATS sedan and coupe, but details are sketchy. There’s no word on which engine will power an ATS Type V, and it may be 2015 before we see the V-Series badge on any ATS model.
|About Face: OnStar Cancels Planned Changes To Terms And Conditions||
What an eventful few weeks it’s been for OnStar. Last week, a story broke that the telematics service would continue collecting customer data even after the service was cancelled by the user. Worse, OnStar was requesting the right to sell that data (in anonymous, aggregate form) to third party companies, which prompted a public outcry. New York Senator Chuck Schumer even got involved, asking the FTC to probe the legality of OnStar’s data harvesting.
As of yesterday, OnStar has reversed it’s position on changes to terms and conditions. As before, canceling the service will terminate the collection of data from a specific vehicle, without any additional opting out required from the former user. OnStar President Linda Marshall expressed her regrets at the confusion or concern caused by the proposed changes, saying that the proposed amendments “did not satisfy our subscribers.”
OnStar isn’t ruling out keeping a data connection if the service is terminated, but customers would need to opt-in for such a service. On the positive side, OnStar tells customers that such a feature could provide critical data about vehicle recalls, natural disasters and other urgent bits of information. Customers would also get to specify what happens with any data collected, which is a significant change from the previously proposed terms and conditions.
|Record Setting Dodge Viper ACR Nurburgring Video||
As promised, we are bringing you the official Viper ACR Nurburgring record setting video.
The 7:12.13 time set by a Dodge Viper ACR holds the record as the fastest production vehicle around the Green Hell and we have the video to prove it below. Enjoy!
|Do You Know The Story Behind Ferrari’s Logo?||
The Ferrari logo is among the most recognizable in the automotive world, featuring a prancing horse on a yellow background, topped by the colors of the Italian flag. As with most logos, it’s steeped in history, dating back to an Italian fighter ace from World War 1 named Francesco Baracca. Baracca, who racked up some 34 kills before being killed in action himself, chose a black prancing horse as the symbol of his airplane, originally a Nieuport 17. The horse was a tribute to the time Baracca spent in the cavalry, and Baracca believed it brought him good luck.
The video below, found on Left Lane News, explains the rest of the story, which Enzo Ferrari told just once. We’re not sure that the black prancing horse brought much luck to Baracca, but it certainly has helped Ferrari win races and customers over the past six decades.
|2013 Nissan GT-R To Get More Power||
There’s a saying that you can’t have too much of a good thing, and when it comes to horsepower we’re inclined to believe it. No one in their right mind would accuse the 2012 Nissan GT-R of being slow, but we seriously doubt buyers would object to Nissan building a faster GT-R. In case you’ve forgotten the specs on the current version, it’ll sprint from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in just under three seconds (2.93 to be exact), run to a top speed just shy of 200 miles per hour and embarrass cars costing twice as much when the road gets twisty.
Autoblog and the North American GT-R Owners Club are reporting that some fairly substantial changes are in the works for the 2013 model. The changes were discussed at a recent European press event, but have yet to be finalized; still, word is that the 2013 version will get a boost of “at least” 40 horsepower, which would bring Godzilla up to a minimum of 570 horsepower. While no one would buy a GT-R to be Green, the 2013 model will also crank out less carbon dioxide, so buying one is an ecologically sensible thing to do in our eyes.
Under the sheetmetal, the suspension and transmission shift logic have been revised for even better handling, and the underbody has been redesigned to improve airflow (add downforce, would be our guess) and aid cooling. Don’t look for any changes to styling or paint options, since the 2013 will be visually identical to the 2012 model. Pricing has not yet been set, but we’d expect a modest bump in price to justify the higher output.
|Nissan working on 520-horsepower GT-R Powered Juke on Steroids?||
The Nissan Juke undoubtedly has a funky design, which is safe to say appeals more to the teen and early 20’s generation rather than baby boomers. The latest news about the little-ute is that Nissan is working on a Juke that will be powered by the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 found in the GT-R.
Of course this “Super-Juke” will receive other treatment to match its new 520-hp powerplant such as tuned suspension, spoilers and a more aggressive over-all look. The interior will be stripped down for extra weight savings allowing the GT-R powered Juke to hit speeds close to 170mph and dash to 62mph in 4 seconds. That’s a big difference from the current 1.6-liter 4-banger powerplant found in the standard Juke making it to 60mph in about 8 seconds.
Nissan confirmed that the car is internally known as “Super Juke” and just a study at this stage. More details will come down the pipeline at a later date but for now you have to ask yourself, is a Juke on steroids really necessary? Of course it is; anything with over 500 horsepower is always necessary – if you can afford it!
|2011 Kia Forte EX 5-Door Review & Test Drive||
‘ADDING FLEXIBILITY AND FUNCTIONALITY’
The all-new 2011 Kia Forte EX 5-door hatchback adds more flexibility and functionality to the value, technology, safety features and comfort already found in the Kia Forte compact 4-door sedan. Joining the Forte line with the same sleek styling and multitude of features as its sedan sibling, the all-new 2011 Forte 5-door offers consumers an added level of flexibility for everyday needs with its functional hatchback.
With aggressive design cues, the Forte 5-door hatchback firmly establishes itself as a strong contender against the competition in this growing segment of the marketplace. Sporting a bold look set apart by crisp lines, swept-back headlamps, a sleek profile and rounded rear to increase cargo capacity, space and functionality, Forte’s wide stance conveys motion while cruising the highway or parked in the driveway.
From the front and side, the Forte 5-door hatchback projects a clean and assertive presence with sweeping window arches, smooth fender flares and body-color side mirrors and door handles. Turn signal indicators are integrated into the side mirrors adding to the upscale appearance. The tasteful design cues are effortlessly streamlined to the rear with angled wrapped tail lamps and an uncluttered rear fascia. The rear hatch glass comes standard with a top-mounted spoiler to enhance rear downforce and with a wiper and washer to help with rearward visibility while driving in the rain.
With a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, an overall width of 69.9 inches and an overall height of 57.5 inches, the Ford 5-door offers comfortable seating for up to five passengers. The Kia engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness giving the car taut, responsive handling, a smoother ride quality and greater refinement that its competitors, with specially tuned, Kia-developed suspension adjusted perfectly for responsive handling on S-turn roads. Additional refinements are fitted throughout to help ensure a comfortable ride with good noise, vibration and harshness reduction qualities.
These attributes are made possible because this front-wheel-drive unibody structure employs an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts, coil springs, monotube gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar. The rear suspension setup features a torsion beam, coil springs and monotube gas-charged shocks. This combination helps provide the optimal balance of handling and comfort. An engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack & pinion steering system adds the finishing touch for precise handling, feel for the road and by providing the most advantageous amount of assist for varying road conditions and speed.
Quickly and safely slowing the all-new Kia Forte hatchback EX down from speed are large power-assisted four-wheel steel disc brakes. Up front are 11 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 10.3 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear. Your braking control during severe stopping maneuvers are enhanced with standard ABS, EBD, BA, Traction Control, and Electronic Stability Control.
The Kia Forte hatchback EX rides on 16X6 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 205/55R16 inch all-season radial tires for a smooth ride and excellent grip on dry or wet pavement.
Moving inside, the all-new Forte hatchback boasts a spacious 97.5 of cubic feet of passenger volume. Driver and passengers have an impressive 40 inches of headroom and 43.3 inches of legroom in the front seats and 38.4 inches and 35 inches of legroom in the rear seats. The cargo space behind the rear seats in the hatchback is a generous 19.4 cu.ft., perfect for luggage and weekend getaways or around-town grocery shopping.
Capitalizing on the spacious interior, the Forte 5-door makes every effort to incorporate style and function, starting with a crisp, high-visibility center stack and a driver-oriented three-gauge cluster exuding a stylish red glow. Pampering owners further, the EX 5-door offer a host of standard interior features staring with comfortable, nicely appointed full cloth bucket seats, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, tilt steering wheel, rear defroster, dual 12-volt power outlets in the center console, power windows/door locks, remote keyless entry, A/C, dual map lights, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, tweeter speakers included with the AM-FM-CD/MP3 audio system with six-speakers, dual front and rear pull-down cupholders, Bluetooth wireless technology, USB/auxiliary input jacks, dual power sideview mirrors, center console with armrest and storage bin, outside temperature display, thick cut-pile carpeting with front/rear floor mats, grab handles above each passenger door, dual vanity mirrors, underfloor storage compartments in the cargo area, and storage slots in each door.
Options installed in my 5-door EX model included a power sunroof and the EX technology package with a navigation system, push button start/stop, automatic temperature control, foglamps, auto headlamps and chrome finished outside door handles.
The Forte 5-door EX is powered by a 2.0 liter DOHC four-cylinder engine producing a healthy 156hp at 6,200rpm and 144lb.ft. of torque at 4,300rpm, that features continuously variable valve timing (CVVT), and multi-port electronic fuel injection, both of which provide for greater performance and fuel economy. This small potent engine is matted to a six speed manual or six-speed automatic with Sportmatic manual shifting coming standard in the EX model. This six-speed automatic transmission is a propriety design for Kia Motors that was engineered and built specifically for Kia vehicles. It pulls strong and smooth at all shift points.
The all-new Kia Forte 5-door offers an exceptional level of standard safety features including front active headrests, dual advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, side impact door beams, front and rear crumple zones, 5-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The all-new 2011 Kia Forte EX 5-door is hard to beat in the growing compact 5-door sportwagon segment today. It is nicely styled, has a good amount of power and high ride quality with an exceptional interior that pays attention to detail with many standard features you would have to pay for in most of the competition. Most of all it is priced right with a base that starts at only $17,895.00.
- Price: Base Forte 5-door hatchback $16,895 / As-Tested $17,895
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 156 horsepower @ 6200 rpm / 144 ft-lbs. torque @ 4300 rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with Sportmatic manual shifting
- Wheelbase: 104.3in.
- Total length: 170.9in.
- Total width: 69.9in.
- Total height: 57.5in.
- Track: f/r-61.3/61.6in.
- Ground clearance: 5.9in.
- Headroom: f/r-40/38.4in.
- Legroom: f/r-43.3/35in.
- Interior volume: 97.5cu.ft.
- Cargo volume behind second-row-19.4cu.ft.
- Turning circle: 33.9ft.
- Curb weight: 2,340lbs. automatic
- EPA mileage: 26mpg/city, 36mpg/highway
|Dodge Charger Pursuit V8 Is Officially The Fastest Cop Car||
For the record, it’s always a bad idea to run from the police. Even if you’re tempted to mat the accelerator when you see that aging Crown Vic getting larger in your rear view mirror, just remember this: you can’t outrun a radio. Your odds of outrunning a police cruiser just got a bit smaller, too, since the 2012 Dodge Charger Pursuit V8 has set a new police car lap record at Grattan Raceway in Michigan State Police testing.
While I don’t have lap times for the Ford Interceptor or the Chevy Caprice Interceptor, the Dodge Charger Pursuit V8 lapped Grattan in 1:33.70. That’s just a few tenths of a second slower than a Shelby GT500 or a Nissan 370Z, and it’s faster than a Lotus Elise or a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X MR. It’s even faster than a Chevy Camaro SS, which weighs less and packs more horsepower.
The Dodge Charger Pursuit V8 comes with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, good for 370 horsepower and a 0 to 60 time of 5.8 seconds. It’s got a top speed of 151 miles per hour, and comes with heavy duty everything to ensure that high speed chases have as little drama as possible. It even returns up to 25 mpg on the highway, thanks to Chrysler’s cylinder deactivation system.
Dodge also offers the Charger Pursuit in a V-6 version, which still packs 292 horsepower and returns up to 27 mpg highway. That may be good enough for local municipalities, but we’re guessing the state police nationwide will be ordering a lot of Charger Pursuit V-8 models in the coming months. Be afraid when you see one in your rear view mirror.
|Is The 2012 Dodge Hornet The Anti-Caliber?||
If you’re a fan of the now-discontinued Dodge Caliber, be prepared to be offended. Perhaps the best example of what happens when accountants design cars, the Dodge Caliber gets my vote for the worst domestic car of the past decade. It was, in fact, the only rental car I ever returned before driving off the lot, and even the SRT guys apologized for the Caliber SRT4, saying essentially, “we did the best we could with what we had to work with.”
Those days at Dodge are gone, and there’s good news on the horizon for Mopar fans with a passion for compacts: the upcoming Dodge Hornet may be good enough to make us forget all about the Caliber. Based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta (which won’t be coming stateside until 2014), the 2012 Dodge Hornet will come in sedan and 5 door body styles, with engines ranging from frugal to fun. Want 40 mpg from your commuter car? Opt for the Hornet with the 1.4-liter four cylinder, good for 168 horsepower. Want a bit more grunt? Opt for the SRT4 version, which should come packing Alfa Romeo’s 1.8-liter four, good for 232 horsepower.
Left Lane News says to expect both manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions, and an interior the borrows heavily from the Alfa Romeo and Fiat parts bin. The Hornet’s handling should be “European inspired,” and we’re guessing that the Hornet SRT4 will be able to throw down against any other FWD offering with confidence.
Expect to see the 2012 Dodge Hornet introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.