Archive for the ‘Holly’s World’ Category
A recent drive in Manhattan in a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid with my buddy Sekou. At SimplyRides.com!
Another take on social media in the world of cars at JeanKnowsCars.com.
My first piece for Redbook! We give a list of the cars that fit your needs!
A drifting lesson in the new Jaguar XJ and XF on a snow track in Canada.
The woman behind the new Corvette’s interior!
This baby has bragging rights! 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish
By HOLLY REICH
Special to Bumper to Bumper
If you drive around in a 2013 Jeep Wrangler two-door with a canvas top you can expect to get a lot of second looks. The experts agree. For the third year in a row, the Wrangler was the ‘Hottest 4×4 SUV’ at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas.
Our test vehicle was a glossy black Wrangler Moab Edition. On the outside, the Moab is super confident looking. Features like the iconic round headlamps, a bold seven-slot grille, removable doors, exposed hinges, a fold-down windshield and 17.5-inch black painted aluminum wheels and flat black fender flares, are what separates the Jeep Wrangler from any other auto on the road.
Style carries into the simple but eye-catching cabin of the Wrangler. Our Moab edition had cushy black leather seats and high-end additions including a chrome and leather wrapped shift knob. As for the back seat— it was totally do-able if you don’t mind hauling yourself up and in. Obviously, the two-door version Wrangler is not your ride if you have kids with car seats.
This is a vehicle to have fun in. The three-section canvas top offers a choice of open-air experiences. Peel off the front portion and have a sunroof, or heft the whole top back to make your Jeep into a convertible.
While you can’t expect the Jeep Wrangler to ride like a luxury SUV, you can expect it to cover all kinds of ground, from crowded city streets to uncharted off-road areas. The Wrangler is not your sedan-like cushy ride. It would not be my choice if I wanted a low mileage ride (mpg is 17-mpg city and 21-mpg highway) and I drove long distances on a daily basis. So, it’s not my choice for a vehicle that I would drive long distances on a daily basis.
However, if you crave adventure, want a vehicle that is easy to load up with groceries or gear, and you desire the joy of a convertible with the heft of a Jeep, the Wrangler rules.
Pricing starts at $22,195 for the Sport and goes up to $30,495 for the Rubicon.
“Success is getting what you want, Happiness is liking what you get.”
Trevione Hudson quotes
By HOLLY REICH
Special to Bumper to Bumper
Trying to compare economy-priced compact cars is kind of like trying to wade through the mid-priced dress department at Macy’s. It’s overwhelming.
It comes down to this: Whether it’s cars or clothing, finding the product you like is based on packaging, presentation, quality (technology) and that major sense called intuition.
The 2013 Nissan Sentra sits in a hefty line-up of compacts that are vying for the same customer. It competes with (in alphabetical order): Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla. Being that the compact car segment is the 2nd biggest grouping in the industry and growing to over two million in sales per year, the sixth generation Sentra needed to stand out. True, the Sentra that launched in 1982 has evolved from a boxlike vehicle to a sophisticated coupe, but more changes were definitely in order.
“Nissan’s challenge was to make the Sentra roomier, lighter, more fuel efficient and pack in more amenities for the money,” explained John Curl, Senior Manager, Product Planning, at a recent launch in San Francisco. “One out of every three cars sold in the US is a compact. We want to sell the Sentra to everybody and we feel that good styling shouldn’t cost extra.”
To stand out, here’s how the 2013 Sentra has evolved:
To begin with, the vehicle has lost 150 pounds.
On the outside:
Honed aerodynamics for a Cd of 0.29 giving it a lower roofline with a wider and lower stance.
Amped up exterior styling with LED accents and taillights.
Increased rear legroom to 37.4” so that adults can be comfortable in the back seat.
Enlarged trunk space by 2.0 cubic feet (the size of a medium to large microwave).
On the inside:
Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control with white illuminated displays.
The blower sound has been reduced for more comfort.
Richer interior fabrics with a choice of leather-appointed seats, silver or maple wood-tone trim and soft to the touch armrests and other surfaces.
NissanConnect satellite Navigation – with speed curve warnings built in – has a hands free text message assistant that will read missives to you, Pandora radio capability, Bose Premium Audio System with eight speakers and an amplifier tuned for a cloth or leather interior.
We drove the 2013 Nissan Sentra from San Francisco to Napa Valley on a full range of highways, road surfaces, hills and twisters. The performance was confident, responsive and energetic enough to wind out of turns and climb up inclines. Truly, that’s really all one needs in a well-priced compact. The choice of driving modes: normal, eco or sport adds some spice to the transmission.
The new 1.8 4-cylinder engine with next generation Xtronic CVT offers competitive fuel economy of 30 mpg in the city and 39 highway.
To produce this kind of lean fuel efficiency the engineers revisited the shape of the valve springs thereby reducing friction of the CVT by 30% and weight of CVT by 13%. These seemingly small changes make a noticeable difference.
The model that spoke to me was the SR sports. It was tricked out with 17-inch five spoke alloy wheels, front and rear fascia, rear spoiler, chrome exhaust tip, sport silver interior trim and handsome cloth seats.
“It’s much harder to put tons of innovation in a car and bring the price down,” noted Fred DePerez, Director, CMM, explaining the pricing strategy.
The 2013 Nissan Sentra starts at $15,990 for Sentra S 6 MT ($440 less than the outgoing model) and ascends to $19,760 for Sentra SL.
By HOLLY REICH
Special to Bumper to Bumper
In 2007, the first smart electric drive pilot project used 100 cars that were tested in downtown London. It was the perfect place to try out this miniature vehicle. London has tons of traffic, limited parking, lots of noise and pollution. The pilot cars were equipped with high-temperature sodium-nickel-chloride batteries that work at about 600°F degrees, providing a range of about 60 miles. The batteries required pre-heating, and were housed in insulated cases similar to large double-wall thermos bottles.
The next generation, which started in 2009, expanded to 2,000 cars in 18 markets around the world. That included 250 electric drive vehicles for the United States. These cars used lithium-ion batteries, which were more efficient and operated at normal temperatures, with a range of about 63 miles on a full charge.
For 2013 the game has changed—considerably! While the smart has stayed the same size and shape (five feet tall and wide and a smidgen under nine feet long) the view has improved. The coupe has an expansive panoramic see-through panel of high-strength polycarbonate; the cabriolet has an automatic soft top that can be opened to any position and at any speed. Plus, the cabriolet has a heated glass rear window.
The third generation smart electric drive’s 55-kilowatt electric motor provides 35 kilowatts of continuous power (130 Nm of torque). Essentially, it boils down to this: the power provides acceleration from zero to 60 mph in less than 12 seconds, and a top speed of more than 78 mph. In other words it zooms…but quietly!
And charging is a no-brainer. The electric smart can be charged from any 110-volt household wall socket with the provided standard cable or a 240-volt socket (like the ones used for electric clothes dryers and kitchen ranges). Charging time can run as little as 3 ½ hours to charge from 20 to 80 percent and six hours to reach full charge from a depleted battery.
As for the cabin, because of its impressive headroom, sloping windshield, floating dash and open roof, even people well over six feet don’t feel cramped. Yes, it’s true! I drove with a tall Texan a few years back and he fit just fine.
There’s an offering of over 6,000 combos for customizing the smart with everything from personalized wraps and brilliant paint choices to AMG cladding or bespoke tailored interiors.
As to be expected, the smart electric drive is techno savvy. The vehicle can communicate with the smart vehicle homepage whenever the car is being charged. Real-time data provides information to owners about usage patterns, power draw and vehicle performance.
There is also a smart phone app that gives the user charging information, charge time remaining and expected completion time. When you are driving, the app’s map also highlights nearby charging connections with estimated distance.
Mercedes-Benz took over smart in July of 2011 and has added new muscle to the marketing campaigns. Expect to see more quirky ads on everything from twitter to TV. More importantly, it’s working. Tracey Matura, smart General Manager, explained, “The company has been riding high since last year. Sales have increased 120% month over month, and 95% year to date.”
And as for those rumors of a smartforfour? Matura quipped, “Stay tuned!”
PRICING: The 2013 smart electric drive will retail at $25,000. The cabriolet model will retail at $28,000 when both vehicles hit the U.S. market in the spring of 2013.
Customers may also be eligible for federal tax credits (which run up to $7,500) or state/local tax credits, further reducing the cost. Plus, some states offer a 50% parking discount.
~ holly reich