Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 Mazda3 Review

2008 Mazda3

It's no secret that we love the Mazda3. In fact, we love it so much that it won our recent four-car compact sedan comparison hands down. Since its introduction in 2004 as the replacement of the Protege, the Mazda3 has undergone exactly one styling revision (new grille, foglights, wheels, taillights, and interior color scheme) to keep it looking fresh. And it continues to look fresh to this day. The Mazda3 conveys plenty of mini-sport sedan vibes in the styling department, and the overall fit and finish of the car is high -- almost to German levels.

Inside the Mazda3, the same quality shines through. Piano Black trim, red backlighting, and soft-touch plastics give the car a refinement that seems exclusive to models costing thousands of dollars more. Moreover, the driving position is superb, aided by the leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel that not only tilts, but telescopes (a rarity at this price point) allowing for optimal adjustment.

While we tested a base-model Mazda3 with an automatic transmission in our recent sedan shootout, our more recent tester was equipped with the Touring package -- a trim level that makes the car even more irresistible. The Touring engine is a 2.3-liter DOHC VVT unit with 151 hp and 149 lb-ft of torque -- enough to keep the 2930-lb car feeling sprightly. Add the slick, quick-shifting five-speed gearbox, and the Mazda3 Touring turns into a full-on mini-sport sedan. Being relatively lean, our tester felt nimble and eager to play despite its somewhat grabby brakes, which we found tricky to modulate during more spirited driving. On the freeway, wind noise was average for its class and, most impressive, the engine wasn't buzzy -- the Mazda3 actually makes a capable cruiser with the tachometer indicating just above 3000 rpm at 70 mph. Torque steer -- a huge problem with the Mazda3's big brother, the Mazdaspeed3 --proved minimal in this lesser-endowed version.

Our car had a couple other niggling hangups as well. The clutch, while decently weighted (not overly light, as so many manuals tend to be these days), felt like it had a two-stage action, with full engagement occurring far into the pedal takeup. We suspect that our particular tester may have required some adjustment and that this isn't an issue with the model by and large. Additionally, radio reception from the six-CD-equipped, six-speaker stereo was marginal, often generating static and hiss in areas where we typically receive a good signal. Again, possibly an issue specific to our car.

Most buyers choosing a compact sedan versus a coupe are looking for practicality and plenty of space for people and storage. The Mazda3 excels here, with ample trunk space (11.5 cu ft) as well as 60/40 split folding rear seats. Perhaps most impressive was the amount of passenger room in the rear seat. At six feet exactly, I had plenty of headroom, and even with the front seats in their full backward position, I didn't feel like the proverbial sardine.

Perhaps the best part about the Mazda3 is its price. Our car was equipped with the optional Sirius Satellite Radio ($430) and the sunroof/6-CD changer bundle ($890), bringing our total up to $20,380. Our long-term 2007 Nissan Sentra SE-R is roughly the same amount, but given the choice, we'd take the Mazda3 any day of the week. It's reassuring to know that a fun-to-drive, well-equipped, stylish sedan still exists for what equates to peanuts in today's automotive market. And for that we have to give Mazda kudos.

Source: motortrend

Friday, December 19, 2008

2007 Nissan Frontier Review

2007 Nissan Frontier

It's difficult to imagine a mid-size pickup that's more like a full-size pickup than the Nissan Frontier. The Frontier shares much of its architecture with the full-size Nissan Titan. A powerful 4.0-liter V6 comes on all but the base model. Rated at 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, Frontier's V6 tops any straight-5 or V6 the competition has to offer, and rivals the output of the Dodge Dakota's optional V8. Pair this with its strong chassis, and the Frontier offers up to 6500 pounds of towing capacity and a maximum payload of over 1500 pounds. Yet it's still maneuverable and easy to park.

Built on the same mechanical platform as Nissan's full-size Titan, the mid-size Frontier boasts the most powerful V6 engine in its class, useful innovations such as the Utili-Track cargo securing system and spray-in bedliner, a comfortable cab and attractive styling.

New for '07 is a Crew Cab Long Bed, carrying the same 73.3-inch bed as the King Cab. (The standard Crew Cab bed measures just short of five feet, at 59.5 inches.) King Cabs come with two forward-facing rear seats; Crew Cabs feature a roomy passenger compartment with amenities much like those you'd expect in a sport-utility vehicle. Frontier is available in two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and in King Cab or Crew Cab configurations.

Additional changes for '07 include a passenger-side seat-belt reminder light and new MP3 input jack for the optional six-CD changer. V6 models now run cleaner than before, advancing from Low Emissions (LEV2 LEV) to Ultra Low Emissions (LEV 2 ULEV) status. Option packages have been revised, and new packages debut.

The Nismo version (Nissan Motorsports) features special off-road shock absorbers and tires, underbody component-protecting skid plates and an optional active traction system with technologies such as Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist.

The 2007 Nissan Frontier comes in four trim levels: base XE, well-equipped SE, more luxurious LE, and the Nismo off-road model. SE, LE, and Nismo are available in King Cab (an extended cab with auxiliary rear doors) or Crew Cab (four full-size doors) configurations, with rear-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD), and are powered by a V6 engine. XE choices are more limited.

Frontier XE ($16,050) comes only as a King Cab 2WD with a 152-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It does offer the choice of a five-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic ($1,050). XE has manual-crank windows and 15-inch wheels. A Preferred Package ($1,550) adds air conditioning, AM/FM/CD audio, tilt steering column, sliding rear window and privacy glass. Buyers may also opt for a Power Package ($950) that combines cruise control with power windows, locks (with keyless entry) and mirrors. Cruise control is also available as a stand-alone option ($300). New for '07 is an Appearance Package ($550) that adds chrome bumpers and 16-inch wheels.

Step up to Frontier SE, and you can choose from six configurations: 2WD King Cab ($18,950), 4WD King Cab ($21,650), 2WD Crew Cab ($20,800), 4WD Crew Cab ($23,500), 2WD Crew Cab Long Bed ($21,600), and 4WD Crew Cab Long Bed ($24,300). Standard equipment includes air conditioning, chrome front bumper and grille, sliding rear window, AM/FM/CD audio, tilt steering wheel, and the 4.0-liter V6. A six-speed manual transmission is also standard. Options for SE King Cab include a five-speed automatic transmission ($1,050) and 16-inch alloy wheels ($400). Again there's a Power Package ($1,050) that incorporates windows, locks, mirrors and cruise control; ordered on the Crew Cab ($1,250), it includes a microfilter for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Available only on Power-Package Crew Cabs is a power sunroof ($700). New for '07 is the SE Value Truck Package ($1,000-1,350), which includes the complete Power Package, plus limited-slip rear differential, floor mats, a bed liner for Long Beds, and a bed extender and alloy wheels for short beds.

Frontier LE 2WD King Cab ($22,900), 4WD King Cab ($25,600), 2WD Crew Cab $24,600), 4WD Crew Cab ($27,250), 2WD Crew Cab Long Bed ($25,100) and 4WD Crew Cab Long Bed ($27,500) come with all the standard features of the SE, plus power mirrors, windows and locks; fog lamps; chrome exhaust tips, door handles and exterior mirrors; remote keyless entry; height- and lumbar-adjustable driver's seat; leather-wrapped steering wheel; illuminated vanity mirrors; compass and temperature readouts; trip computer; sunglasses holder in an overhead console; driver's side seatback map pocket; and a first aid kit. Automatic transmission is also standard. Satellite Radio ($350) is available in either the Sirius or XM flavor. LE Crew Cab buyers can the sunroof ($700), Rockford-Fosgate audio with six-CD/MP3 capability ($850), and/or leather upholstery ($1,700). King Cab customers can opt for a similar audio upgrade ($550) that skips the fancy brand name but includes a vehicle security system.

The Nismo model is available as a 2WD King Cab with automatic transmission ($22,600), a 4WD King Cab with manual ($24,250) or automatic ($25,300), a 2WD Crew Cab with automatic ($24,650) or a 4WD Crew Cab with automatic ($27,350). (Nismo is not available as a Crew Cab Long Bed.) All share most of their standard and optional equipment with the LE grade, but add special off-road wheels and tires, off-road Bilstein shock absorbers, skid plates, and an electronic locking limited-slip rear differential.

Optional on 4WD automatic-transmission Nismo and LE is Nissan's Advanced Off-Road Traction System ($500-700), which includes Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control and Vehicle Dynamic Control. The less extensive Active Brake Limited Slip Package ($350) is available on LE and SE.

Available accessories include a hard tonneau cover ($1,060), a sliding bed divider ($270), a non-sliding bed extender ($260), a sliding bed extender ($300), a tow-hitch receiver ($410), bed rail caps and under-rail bed liner ($430), and side step rails ($300). Not all of these are available on all models, however, so check with your dealer.

Safety is improved for rear-seat passengers when you order the optional side-curtain airbags that cover both front and side windows in the event of a side impact, providing head protection. A Side Airbag Package ($550) that includes side-impact airbags for torso protection and side-curtain airbags for head protection is available on all trim levels, but only with certain other equipment.

The Nissan Frontier has a bold, aggressive stance, just like its big brother, the full-size Nissan Titan, though in less intimidating dimensions. The Frontier's wheelbase is more than a foot shorter than the Titan's but its overall length is some two feet shorter. This means the Frontier's wheels are closer to its corners, enhancing not only its stance on the road but its clearance for dealing with obstacles while away from pavement.

Frontier uses a bold grille design noticed by other drivers as it emerges and enlarges in their rear-view mirrors. Body-colored steel fender flares contribute to the Frontier's presence.

All Frontiers have four-door access to their passenger compartments. King Cabs have rear-hinged auxiliary doors while Crew Cabs have four forward-hinged doors much like those on a sedan or sport-utility vehicle. (There is no regular cab version.)

Frontier cargo beds are 18 inches deep and 44.4 inches wide between the inner fenders of the rear wheels, as well as 58.8 inches wide at the tailgate and 61.4 inches wide between the tops of the bed rails. Beds are 73.3 inches long on King Cabs and Long Bed Crew Cabs; 59.5 inches long on standard Crew Cabs. All Frontiers have tailgates equipped with a door-style lock.

A spray-on bed liner and Nissan's Utili-Track cargo security system come factory-installed on Crew Cab and LE King Cab models; these features on optional on Nismo King Cabs. Utili-Track includes special C-section rails: two in the bed floor, one along each top inner edge of the bed side rails, and one in the top of the bed header panel. Sliding cleats can be locked into position within the rails to secure a variety of cargo shapes, sizes and configurations. It's a great system and Nissan offers accessories that lock into it.

The Nissan Frontier interior was designed to be as versatile as its cargo bed. Climbing in is aided by grab handles on either side of the interior windshield support (A-pillar), with an additional grab handle in the interior roof just above the passenger-side door.

The front seats are comfortable yet supportive. The driver grasps a nicely sized steering wheel with a rim that has a tab-like enlargement on each side, right where you want to rest your thumbs to maintain a proper 9 and 3 o'clock driving position. The gauge array is large and complete, and brightened by satin-chrome outlines around the dials and air vents. Controls for heating and ventilation systems have large knobs that are easy to find and to use. Similarly, the knob for switching between 2WD, 4WD, and low-range 4WD is easily accessible.

Defroster vents on the A-pillars are designed to quickly clear side windows in winter or humid weather. Sun visors have extenders to help cover the full width of the side windows. A deep dotted matrix behind the interior rear-view mirror helps protect the driver's eyes when driving into the sun.

A covered storage tray sits on top of the center part of the dashboard. The Frontier has a pair of glove boxes, with additional storage in the door pockets and center console. Three power outlets are provided. Cup holders have removable inserts so they can handle large beverage containers.

Passengers riding in the back seat of the Crew Cab shouldn't be complaining about being cramped, not with 33.6 inches of legroom. Adults riding in the two forward-facing rear seats in the King Cab might not be eager for a long drive, but still have more than two feet to stretch their legs.

Entry into the rear seat is aided by grab handles built into both B-pillars (the vertical pillar alongside the front seat backs). Rear-seat passengers in all Frontiers have access to a pair of cup holders. The windows in the rear doors of Frontier Crew Cabs power down all the way.

Storage containers are built into the nearly flat rear floor beneath the rear seats in both cab styles, and the seat bottoms can be flipped up to provide additional cargo space.

The Nissan Frontier is built on the company's F-Alpha platform, which is shared with the Titan, Armada, Pathfinder, and Xterra. This F-Alpha architecture gives the Frontier a solid foundation that can be tuned for hauling cargo, traversing rough trails and for providing a comfortable ride around town or at expressway speeds. Nissan builds the tough F-Alpha frame in various lengths for these different models, and deliberately kept Frontier short enough to fit in a standard garage.

The Nismo off-road model we drove seemed as capable at highway speeds as when we splashed through nearly two feet of creek water rushing across Texas ranch roads. The Nismo's trail capabilities include a 31.5-degree approach angle.

The optional Traction-Package technologies further enhance the Nismo Frontier's worthiness when off the beaten trail. Hill Descent Control walks the vehicle down steep descents. Hill Start Assist holds your position when you lift your foot off the brake while heading uphill. Limited-slip traction control helps redirect engine torque to the non-slipping drive wheels on low traction surfaces. It operates on the rear wheels on 2WD Nismo models and on all four wheels on 4WD Nismos.

Vehicle Dynamic Control (optional on LE and Nismo) can help the driver avoid accidents. It's set up to allow a little more sideslip than some electronic stability control systems, and we prefer this approach. Similar electronic stability control systems from other manufacturers often intervene too quickly to suit advanced drivers, but Nissan's VDC reminds us of the system in Porsches, effectively helping the driver maintain control without feeling it has taken over.

The speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering provides good feedback. The Frontier was stable and sure even when driven aggressively around curves. We found the brakes effective. The four-wheel disc brakes use big brake rotors for efficient cooling in repeated hard use.

The Frontier's 4.0-liter V6 engine is rated at 261 horsepower at 5600 rpm, which makes it the most powerful V6 in the mid-size pickup class. It provides 19 more horsepower than the largest engine available in the Chevrolet Colorado, 25 more horsepower (and while using regular fuel) than the V6 in the Toyota Tacoma, and as much horsepower as even the strongest V8 available in the Dodge Dakota. (The Dakota V8s develop more torque, however, important if you plan to pull a trailer.)

Nissan's six-speed manual and five-speed automatic transmissions are well-matched to the V6 engine, allowing the driver to exercise all of that power.

The Frontier XE's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine generates 152 horsepower, which is certainly adequate. In fact, it's 84 percent of the power produced by the 3.3-liter V6 available in the previous-generation Frontier.

Built on the same mechanical platform as Nissan's full-size Titan, the mid-size Frontier boasts the most powerful V6 engine in its class, useful innovations such as the Utili-Track cargo securing system and spray-in bedliner, a comfortable cab and attractive styling. We think it's one of the best trucks in this class, sharing that mantle with the Toyota Tacoma.

Source: internetautoguide

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2008 Ford Escape Review

2008 Ford Escape

The Ford Escape has been thoroughly adapted for 2008, reinforcing the appearance and address that accept fabricated it America's abiding acknowledged baby sport-utility vehicle. The improvements about awning the spectrum, and inject a new akin of refinement. The Escape's accepted affirmation appearance are upgraded decidedly for 2008.

We'd alarm the Escape a little barter a allotment of baby SUVs. Its new administration advisedly invokes Ford's larger, truck-based Expedition and Explorer sport-utilities. Escape's ride acme and basement position are a bit college than competitors such as the Honda CR-V, and it can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is about added than a lot of added cars in the class.

Yet the Ford Escape still delivers the advantages of unit-body, car-based competitors such as the Honda CR-V. Its bland ride and active administration accomplish for agreeable driving, and its bunched ambit accomplish the Escape simple to park.

The abject four-cylinder is able for advantageous active while the V6 offers quicker dispatch performance. All variants, including the V6 and Escape Hybrid, bear some of best EPA breadth ratings in the class. All, including the gas-electric Hybrid, are offered with either front- or all-wheel drive. For the a lot of part, the Amalgam drives just like a accepted gas-only Escape. It's a well-executed package. It offers bigger ammunition abridgement and lower emissions but demands little added accomplishment or ability from the driver.

The new 2008 Ford Escape still provides adequate basement for four, or 5 in a pinch, but with acutely added allowance than in pre-2008 models. Folding the rear seats opens a acceptable sized burden breadth with a collapsed floor, and amplitude abaft the bench surpasses that in the block of the archetypal sedan. Autogenous accumulator options accept bigger considerably. The accomplishment is added flush and pleasing, and affection activity and switches are a allotment of the best.

Safety appearance that were extra-cost options on lower-trim models are now accepted aloft the board, including Ford's Aeon Adherence Ascendancy system. Escape now sets the chic criterion for affirmation features.

There's a Ford Escape archetypal for a lot of tastes and needs. They ambit from a abundantly equipped, four-cylinder Escape XLS 2WD for beneath $19,000 to the leather-upholstered Escape V6 Bound 4WD, with exceptional audio, navigation, dual-zone auto altitude ascendancy and about-face analysis for about $30,000. Dollar for feature, Ford Escape prices accept abandoned appreciably the accomplished few years. The exceptional for the Escape Amalgam has aswell decreased. It's now beneath than $2,000 added than a analogously able Limited.

The Ford Escape charcoal one of the added ambrosial cars in its class, behindhand of price, and actually one of the bigger values. Those arcade for a baby SUV should put it on their abbreviate list, abnormally those who acknowledge its big-truck styling.


The five-passenger Ford Escape is offered with front-wheel drive or fulltime all-wheel drive, and either a four-cylinder, V6, or gasoline-electric amalgam powertrain. The four trim levels are acclaimed by engine and accepted features.

The Escape XLS ($18,580) and XLS 4WD ($21,320) are powered by a 153-horsepower 2.3-liter inline four that generates 152 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed chiral chiral is standard, a four-speed automated ($1,000) is optional. The XLS comes with bolt upholstery, air conditioning, ability windows, mirrors and locks, an AM/FM stereo with CD and abetting jack, rear window defroster and 16-inch animate wheels.

The Escape XLT ($20,880) and XLT 4WD ($22,360) add added accepted features, including upgraded bolt upholstery, a ability driver's seat, cruise control, aloofness bottle and 16-inch admixture wheels. A 200-hp, bifold aerial cam 3.0-liter V6 ($1,000) is alternative on the XLT, and includes the four-speed automatic.

The Escape Bound ($23,580) and Bound 4WD ($25,330) appear accepted with the V6 and automatic, additional covering seating, a 6CD banker and automated headlights.

The Escape Amalgam ($25,075) and Amalgam 4WD ($26,825) are able analogously to the Bound models, but add the amalgam powertrain. This declared abounding amalgam appearance a added ammunition efficient, 133-hp Atkinson Aeon adaptation of the four-cylinder engine and a 70 kilowatt electric motor. Unlike some balmy amalgam SUVs, the Escape Amalgam can run on 100 percent electric ability up to about 25 mph.

The Escape offers added advantage choices than abounding baby sport-utilities, starting with some accepted packages. The Burden Convenience Group ($395) includes a retractable burden breadth awning and a compartmentalized rear accumulator bin. The Audiophile Amalgamation ($695) includes a high-power stereo with seven speakers, subwoofer and the in-dash CD changer. The Bound Luxury Amalgamation ($795) adds dual-zone automated altitude control, acrimonious foreground seats and a aback admonishing system. The Audiophile and Aeronautics Amalgamation ($2,695) includes the stereo advancement and Ford's touch-screen aeronautics system; in the Hybrid, it aswell adds a beat that graphically and anon demonstrates the allowances of amalgam drive, and helps the disciplinarian aerate ammunition economy. Added options cover cruise ascendancy ($225), CD banker ($295), a ability moonroof ($795), attic mats ($55), 16-inch admixture auto ($375), 17-inch chromed auto ($695), and a Chic II towing amalgamation ($345).

Safety appearance accept been upgraded about for 2008, authoritative accessories that was ahead alternative on lower trim levels accepted aloft the board, and ambience the chic criterion for baby sport-utilities. Passive affirmation appearance cover front- and side-impact airbags for foreground occupants and curtain-type arch aegis airbags for all outboard seats. The ancillary curtains can abide aggrandized for several abnormal in the accident of a rollover, and are advised to accelerate amid the ancillary bottle and occupants if the humans are abnormally built-in or comatose active adjoin a window. Active affirmation systems cover four-channel antilock brakes (ABS), cyberbanking adherence ascendancy and Ford's Aeon Adherence Ascendancy system. RSC adds a additional gyroscopic roll-rate sensor to the archetypal adherence ascendancy package, barometer the Escape's aeon bend and aeon bulk and applying countermeasures (such as braking one of the auto or abbreviation power) to admission rollover resistance.


The 2008 Ford Escape has been re-styled added thoroughly than a quick glance ability suggest. None of its aloft physique panels are accepted to antecedent models, but the redesign is evolutionary and the a lot of accessible changes are in the details, or jewelry, as designers alarm them. In an impressionistic way, the new Escape will attending accustomed to those who accept endemic antecedent Escapes, or those who pay absorption to what others drive.

As such, the new Escape has the air of a conventional, truck-based SUV, with a added asperous attending than abounding added small, sedan-platform sport-utilities such as the Honda CR-V. For starters, Escape sits a bit college than abounding competitors (8.1 inches of arena clearance), and the top curve is added by its design.

The new grille looks like it was advised for a truck. The headlights are about affiliated to the grille, and shaped to actualize a ancestors affinity with Ford's Edge crossover SUV. Yet the grille itself is alpine and collapsed and ample adapted on top of a drift plate-type fascia that flows beneath the bumper. Escape's beltline, or the bulge that runs just beneath the windows, is high, too, and its roof pillars are blacked out. The taillights accept a ablaze bandage that wraps about the rear corners. The lower bumpers and rocker panels are now corrective to bout the physique on all models, rather than molded in a matte finish. In total, the aftereffect is cleaner and added able than antecedent models, and it's all actually handsome.

The trim levels are simple to analyze from the foreground of the car. The abject Escape XLS has a chrome grille and body-colored fascia from the bonanza down. The XLT is identical, except for arresting fog lights in the foreground bumper. The Bound and Amalgam accept grilles corrective to bout the body, unless you opt for the Chrome Appearance Package. This adds the chrome grille and more, with brightwork abounding down into the drift bowl and bumper. It looks like a big, agleam T on the foreground of the vehicle.

Some changes to the new Escape are anatomic added than aesthetic. The ancillary mirrors are aloft than before, but Ford claims their appearance generates beneath babble as air speeds over them. The roof, too, is advised to abate autogenous noise. Recessed channels active its breadth are advised to move air added agilely over the surface. Horizontal ribs beneath the animate add structure, which banned bend in the metal and reduces booming babble central at top speeds.

We're addicted of a brace of appearance in aback of the Escape. A new footfall pad on the bonanza provides defended basement for anyone who accomplish up to put something on the roof rack, and the two-piece tailgate is handy. The rear bottle can be popped accessible with the key fob, so bottomward baby items like a gym bag into the burden breadth is abundant easier than it ability be with some competitors, which crave hefting the absolute aboideau upward.


The 2008 Ford Escape autogenous is all new, and we like it. It's not decidedly roomier or a bound advanced in design, but it's able-bodied anticipation out and able-bodied executed. It's a audible advance in ergonomic activity and all-embracing beheld appeal, and it makes a nicer abode to absorb time.

This is one of Ford's best interiors in years in agreement of the attending and feel of abstracts used. The amateur is costly and molded to the curve of the roof. Our Escape Bound had thick, tautly tailored covering on the seats and hard, ablaze atramentous artificial area you ability apprehend affected copse or metal. It looked like the lacquered accomplishment on a accomplished piano. The agleam atramentous or argent acclimated in lower trim levels isn't bad, either. Yet the highlight is a woven-look, rubberized trim on the birr and console. It looks adventurous and ill-fitted to a added big-ticket car. The lowlight is the grained artificial on the aperture panels, which feels harder and looks cheap. Fortunately, it's not abundant to beat the acceptable getting elsewhere.

The Escape appearance upholstery bolt fabricated from 100-percent recycled material. You'd never apperceive by its attending or feel, and Ford claims that compared to upholstery fabricated from abstinent fiber, assembly will conserve about 600,000 gallons of baptize and 7 actor kilowatt hours of electricity annually, abbreviation carbon dioxide emissions by 1.8 actor pounds.

Escape's foreground seats accept abundant accretion to anticipate algid and abundant abutment to absolute fatigue during best drives. Overall, though, the seats are abate than those in a aloft activity utility. Drivers with big frames ability acquisition them small. There's not an affluence of ancillary bolstering, but that makes it easier to accelerate into the seats, and there's abundant to accumulate occupants actually in abode during the blazon of active a archetypal Escape buyer is acceptable to undertake.

The gauges are amassed in a black binnacle that can be captivated in a glance: Tachometer left, speedometer right, with ammunition and coolant temperature in the middle, forth with an easy-to-read trip- and systems-info display. We actually admired this, because it includes a card that allows the disciplinarian to calmly aeon through and change appearance such as headlight-off adjournment and auto-locking.

The gauges and switches affection Ford's new signature backlighting style, which the aggregation calls Ice Blue. No ache here, as the bluish white is crisper and brighter than accepted green-yellow or orange lighting. The botheration is the Software on the gauges, and decidedly the speedometer. It's abashed and lacks adverse aloft the big even numbers, so it's harder to acquaint bound what dispatch you're active unless you are traveling absolutely at 20, 40, or 60 mph.

The dashboard is alpine and squarish, but it's adorable and fits Escape's little-truck affair nicely. The big vents at the ends move lots of air, and there are two added in the boilerplate abreast the top of the centermost stack. These can be aimed to abstain announcement the drivers easily or face with a blitz of air. At the actual top sits a authentic TFT affectation that shows ambit direction, date and time, exoteric temperature and, on models so equipped, the two autogenous acting settings.

When it comes to acclimation and activity of switches, the Escape is aboriginal rate, and examples are simple to find. If the disciplinarian rests his or her larboard acquaint on the aperture rest, the window buttons sit about altogether at the fingertips. With elbows on the aperture blow and centermost console, accoutrements are even and easily blow accurately at 9 and 3 o'clock on the council wheel. The mirror adjustor sits on the aperture pillar, and it's simple to ability if the driver's arch is in active position. One easy-to-use axis controls the blinkers and all wiper/washer functions. The council caster controls for cruise and audio plan after affective easily from the active position.

Audio and altitude controls plan just as well. The aggregate and station-selector knobs are acceptable sized, but added important, they are aloft about from the stereo plate, rather than about collapsed to the apparent as they are in some vehicles. The adorable switches for fan and temperature are aswell big and simple to find. The pushbuttons to ascendancy airflow administration and the rear defogger are small, but they tend to be adapted beneath frequently than the others. The audio jack is at the basal of the centermost stack, just aloft a lined bin area you can set an iPod with reasonable affirmation that it will break put for the absolute cruise home.

The Escape Bound we collection had Ford's alternative touch-screen aeronautics system, which is acceptable one of our favorites from any manufacturer. Its bigger weakness is the affectation screen, which is abate than those in some added vehicles. Yet the cartoon are clear, and simple to apprehend to the abate details, at night or cutting sunglasses in ablaze daylight. Added important, the arrangement is simple to use with basal distraction, and simple to apprentice after cloudburst over the owner's manual. The software articular abstruse anchorage that others missed. It's an big-ticket tool, to be sure, but we decidedly acclaim the aeronautics arrangement with the Escape Hybrid. In the Hybrid, it includes an activity affectation that demonstrates in real-time the fuel-saving allowances of amalgam drive. By paying some absorption to the graphs, you'll acquisition yourself acceptable a added environmentally affable and fiscally able motorist. It can be fun to see how calmly you can drive.

Storage amplitude is ample in the Escape, at atomic in agreement of cubbies aural ability of the foreground passengers. Alpha with that rubber-lined, slide-proof bin in foreground of the shifter, which is abundant for iPods, phones, glasses, a wallet or change. The little elastic mats in this bin and in the cup holder bins can be pulled out for cleaning, a nice feature. Swing-down aerial bins are provided for sunglasses and barn aperture openers. The cuff box is big abundant for getting aloft the owner's manual. Decent-sized bins are molded in the aperture bottoms, admitting whatever goes there tends to slide. The acme jewel is the centermost console, which is ample abundant to absorb a duke bag or laptop computer. Better, it has two disposable trays that acquiesce stacking of abate items inside. Bigger still, the trays can be afraid alfresco the console, abacus even added storage. These data add to the amusement of active with the Escape for accustomed active around.

The aback seats are comfortable, admitting the seatback is too beeline for some tastes. There's affluence of knee room, and acutely added allowance than before. A 5-foot, 9-inch, 170-pound commuter backward adequate for about on hour abaft the driver, admitting the boilerplate amplitude works best for six-year-olds. There are cup holders and a ability point on the aback of the console, but accumulator amplitude for rear cartage is bound to those slide-prone bins at the basal of the rear doors.

For 2008, some of the autogenous dimensions, decidedly headroom, accept increased. Burden accommodation has decreased slightly, from a best of 69.2 cubic anxiety to 66.3, with 29.2 cubic anxiety abaft the rear seat, compared to 33 previously. The aberration is according to a big duffle bag, and Escape's best burden aggregate puts it beneath the leaders in a chic that includes the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Jeep Liberty and Chevy Equinox (73, 72.9. 69, and 67.1 cubic feet, respectively).

The burden amplitude is simple to aerate and access, however. The rear bench folds quickly, 60/40, and the basal can be removed to accomplish a altogether collapsed bulk floor. There aren't a lot of basic in back, but the essentials are there: tie-downs, and an alternative burden adumbration and under-floor bin that's abysmal abundant for a baby bulk of groceries.

Ford invested a lot of time and money authoritative this latest Escape quieter central than its predecessors. The windshield, for example, has an acoustic coat sandwiched amid two layers of glass. The amateur has added sound-deadening capability, and the carpeting is 50 percent thicker. The net result, according to Ford, is a 20 percent abridgement in autogenous babble at 80 mph.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Ford Escape is truckish as the accepted crop of baby activity account cars go, but not in a bad way. Its ride acme and basement position are college than a lot of unit-body (sedan style) utilities, admitting lower than abounding acceptable truck-based SUVs.

The Escape is actually affable to drive. It handles able-bodied and has a firm, adequate ride, after the ample concoction superior or the arrant abeyance clanks that can characterize accepted truck-based SUVs with tall, off-road tires and long-travel suspensions. Several improvements for 2008, including an electric ability council arrangement and changes in abeyance tuning, accession the akin of clarification aloft beforehand Escapes.

Engines in the new 2008 archetypal are aftereffect from the antecedent generation, but all are solid performers. Both the four- and six-cylinder engine bear acceptable acknowledgment and adapted acceleration. The Escape Amalgam delivers about the aforementioned performance, with actual little to accord abroad its amalgam powertrain except bigger mileage. Indeed, all Escape models, from front-wheel-drive four-cylinders to all-wheel-drive V6s to the Hybrid, accept some of the best EPA breadth ratings in the chic (Be abiding to analyze breadth ratings according to the aforementioned archetypal year. The EPA afflicted its adding blueprint for 2008 to reflect something afterpiece to real-world results, which bargain the ratings for 2008 models).

The abject 2.3-liter four-cylinder delivers acceptable ability at top revs for those who like to wind it up and adapted torque for dispatch if you charge it at any speed. With a antithesis shaft to account vibration, it's aswell smoother than some of Ford's antecedent four-cylinder engines. We adopt the 153-hp four-cylinder with the five-speed chiral transmission; indeed, a front-drive, chiral Escape XLS 2WD ability be the a lot of agreeable and agreeable archetypal to drive. At an EPA-estimated 22/28 mpg City/Highway, it has one of the accomplished EPA breadth ratings of any non-hybrid SUV. With the four-cylinder, best towing accommodation is 1,500 pounds, acceptable for clay bikes or a snowmobile.

The 3.0-liter V6 engine offers 200 appliance for stronger acceleration. It has about as abundant torque as any baby SUV is acceptable to need. It's accessible abandoned with the four-speed automatic, but its ability bandage is broad. In circadian driving, it never lugs, strains or feels as if it's out of breath. And with the alternative Chic II towing package, the V6 AWD models can cull a abundant 3,500 pounds, which surpasses a lot of cars in this class. Neither the four-cylinder nor V6 powertrain is the smoothest in baby SUVs, but neither is advance abundant to actively backbite from Escape's appeal.

Our ache in the driveline is the four-speed automatic, and it's not because some competitors now activity five-speeds. While the Escape automated accouterment smoothly, it sometimes accouterment slowly, in that it seems to yield its time chief what accessory it wants to be in. In particular, it's actual afraid to about-face itself down into aboriginal gear, which would accommodate the a lot of actual acceleration. If rolling out of a parking lot assimilate a active road, for example, the chiral will break in additional accessory if you hit the gas, even if aboriginal is bigger for the cartage conditions. That's our bigger complaint about Escape's all-embracing performance, and its accent will depend on how you drive.

The Escape handles well, and improvements for 2008 accord it a added aesthetic feel. One of those is the electric power-assisted council arrangement (EPS), which operates with an electric motor rather than a belt angry by the engine. One of the advantages is added efficiency, because a conventional, belt-driven council pump takes a bit of the engine's ability just to operate. That's ability that's not getting acclimated to move the vehicle. Another advantage, at atomic in the Escape's case, is bigger council feel. With the electric steering, there's a nice antithesis amid council abetment at parking-lot speeds and adapted feel on the highway. The council advance added steadily than before, with beneath acclimation or alteration adapted over asperous surfaces. It's absolute and authentic with no asleep atom in the center, and there's abundant activity if you about-face the caster to admit a faculty of control. In all, refinements in the council and abeyance advance the 2008 Escape's achievement on the road, which wasn't that bad to activate with. Admitting its truck-style facade, the Escape delivers a ride-handling antithesis on par with abounding sedans. Its ride is comfortable, but never fluctuant or floaty, over a array of alley surfaces, including amplification joints and bank potholes. The tires bear admirable anchor in paved corners, so the Escape stays buried area a lot of SUVs ability slide. Transient acknowledgment is decidedly good, acceptation the Escape maintains its accord in a alternation of left-right-left lane-change maneuvers. This permits quicker active that is aswell smooth, and it will not accomplish cartage feel sea-sick.

Braking achievement is good. The Escape stops in affluence of time, with no anchor achromatize in any archetypal on-road active circumstances. The anti-lock anchor arrangement is able-bodied tuned, befitting the brakes adapted at the beginning amid best endlessly force and caster lock, and acceptance the disciplinarian to advance council ascendancy in a full-panic stop. One of Escape's declared improvements for 2008 is drum-style rear brakes for all gasoline-powered models. Previously, V6-powered Escapes had disks foreground and rear. Ford claims this adds backbone and reduces the bulk of anchor dust generated. We alarm it a cost-saving move, apparent and simple, and that's fine. We aswell accept consumers are acute abundant to apperceive whether they like the amount advantage of boom brakes, or not. No charge to circuit it. Even with all drums, braking achievement isn't something that would accumulate us from affairs an Escape.

The Escape Amalgam is a altered barbarian absolutely from the gasoline-only models, at atomic on one hand. On the other, few drivers will apprehension any substantial, anatomic differences with the amalgam powertrain in circadian driving. The acceptance may abide that hybrids charge down time for charging, but in actuality the Escape Amalgam can't be acquainted into an electrical outlet. Its array backpack is automatically recharged by the gasoline engine and by adorning braking, which captures activity that is contrarily ashen if a car loses drive and sends it to the batteries.

By accumulation a four-cylinder gasoline engine with the addition from an electric motor, the Amalgam can bear a cogent fuel-economy advance and abate emissions. The Escape Amalgam is a abounding hybrid, acceptation it can run on 100 percent electric ability up to about 25 mph to aerate in-city ammunition economy. It was the aboriginal hybrid-powered SUV accessible in the United States, and the aboriginal amalgam with alternative all-wheel drive and cogent towing accommodation (1000 pounds).

The Hybrid's primary antecedent of ability charcoal the gasoline engine. It's about identical to the 2.3-liter four in gasoline-only models, except that it runs on something alleged the Atkinson cycle, which improves its ammunition ability but reduces appliance by 20 (to 133). The companion, 70-kilowatt electric motor can bang in and bear added torque to the auto if a disciplinarian demands abounding dispatch or it can ability the Escape Amalgam by itself in assertive circumstances, such as bit-by-bit forth in a cartage jam or rolling through a parking lot. Basal line, the Amalgam archetypal delivers dispatch times commensurable to the gas-only V6, with a 55 percent advance over gas-only four-cylinder models in City-limits mpg, according to the EPA (34/30 mpg City/Highway for the Amalgam 2WD).

On the road, the Escape Amalgam delivers accomplished dispatch at lower speeds. Attic it at 20 mph, and it will breeze active aback against arch rests. Attic the Amalgam 2WD at a stop sign, and it can bleat its foreground tires like a hot rod. To be sure, its tires are harder than those on added Escapes and advised for best efficiency, which agency beneath rolling resistance, and beneath grip.

Few drivers will apprehension any cogent aberration amid the Amalgam and a accepted Escape, except if the Amalgam shuts itself off at stop lights or glides agilely through a parking lot on electric power. Indeed, the Amalgam is a bit quieter, apparently smoother, in all circumstances. In adjustment to abbreviate the ability absent as it transfers to the drive wheels, Ford equips the Escape Amalgam with a continuously capricious transmission, which has no accepted gears. Instead, it has metal bands that acclimatize to best bout the engine's revolutions. The CVT does activity a low-range ambience for added traction. But in archetypal driving, there's no averseness as apparatus shift, no asperous surges of dispatch and beneath about-face in the babble advancing from beneath the awning as the car picks up speed. There's just smooth, even acceleration.

With the stereo cranked up to adumbrate engine noise, a disciplinarian will accept a harder time alive if the gas engine starts or shuts off at stop lights, if the Amalgam is rolling forth on electric ability alone, or if the electric motor is assiduity the gas engine for best acceleration. The transitions are about seamless, and for 2008 models, Ford engineers spent a lot of time alteration the ascendancy software to accomplish the changes even beneath perceptible.

They've done a abundant job, but we're not abiding what agreement determines if the Escape Amalgam operates on electric power. In fact, it seemed to accomplish in electric approach beneath frequently than we ability accept expected. At times the gas engine ran if we anticipation it ability not accept to, and at times it didn't even shut off at a stop light. For the a lot of part, we collection the Amalgam as we would any added analysis car, which is adequately aggressively, appliance the accelerator as if anyone abroad were affairs the gas, and we still saw some advance in ammunition economy.

But not an absurd improvement. Our accustomed circuit cover added city-limits than artery driving, admitting rarely in a accurate rush-hour cartage flog, additional a few extracurricular, test-specific maneuvers. In this routine, by our best calculation, we begin an advance of 10 to 12 percent over what we've apparent with a accepted four-cylinder. We apprehend a lot of consumers will get bigger ammunition abridgement than we did, at atomic those with long, traffic-laden commutes. Still, the real-world ammunition accumulation with a amalgam depend heavily on how, area and if you drive. For guestimation, EPA breadth numbers may be the best tool, and the Escape Amalgam still surpasses the added amalgam SUVs that accept followed it to the market.

If you wish the best ammunition economy, and apparently a lot of amalgam buyers will, you'll wish to be affable on the gas pedal. It will aerate the instances if the Escape campaign abandoned on electric power. Dip the pedal quickly, or abundant accomplished a division of its travel, and the gas engine restarts anon to accommodate what the ascendancy electronics actuate to be a appeal for austere acceleration. Even if a disciplinarian is not traveling to beat 20 mph, which is able-bodied aural the absolute of electric-only speed, the gas engine will alpha if the pedal appliance is too strong. It apparently helps to stop slowly, too. Long, steady, coast-down stops, appliance added engine compression than caster brakes, are best for charging the batteries. We assumption that short, quick stops from alley speeds may be what keeps the engine from shutting off at a red light. The ascendancy arrangement may yield advancing stops as an emergency, or just sporting, advancing driving, and leave the engine accursed for added action.

You'll wish the alternative aeronautics arrangement for the Hybrid, which includes an energy-meter activity that graphically illustrates how able-bodied you're accomplishing at extenuative fuel. It includes burning and boilerplate ammunition abridgement readouts, and tells you if the gas engine is running, if the electric motor is accomplishing the plan and if the batteries are charging. It's a acceptable apparatus to apprentice how to aerate abridgement with the Escape Hybrid.

Regardless of powertrain, the Escape makes an accomplished all-season car in all climates. It does not accomplish an accomplished off-road vehicle, admitting a bit added arena approval than some competitors. Ford's alternative Intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD) arrangement is acquainted for active added on glace pavement than clay or gravel. It monitors car speed, burke ascribe and council bend and delivers engine ability to the adapted auto afore any authentic caster can apart traction. It can about-face ability foreground to rear or ancillary to side, and apparently can advanced 100 percent of the engines ability to either the foreground or rear wheels. The all-wheel-drive arrangement takes accent out of active on wet, dank or albino roads. It helps aerate advanced advance on glace surfaces, and its alteration of ability to auto with the best absorption is rarely noticed by thedriver, who can focus artlessly on appliance the gas calmly and council amid the lines.

Off road, the Escape is beneath than stellar. It's congenital on a front-wheel-drive belvedere developed primarily for sedans, and like a lot of baby SUVs, the 2WD models are front-wheel drive. With caution, it can handle akin alluvium or clay trails. But if there is no graded path, overlook about it, and if the way is abundant steeper than you'd attack in a car, overlook about that, too. Shoppers gluttonous a baby SUV with absolute off-road abeyant should accede a adversary like the Jeep Liberty. For every day active and biking on the road, the Escape is one of the best.

2008 Escape Review Summary & Specifications

The 2008 Ford Escape charcoal one of the best cars in Ford's lineup, and aggressive in a awash acreage of baby sport-utilities, behindhand of price. Yet archetypal for archetypal and affection for feature, Escape prices are actual good. Considerable improvements for 2008 add affirmation features, refinement, abundance and added style. The Escape offers front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, aggressive four- or six-cylinder engines and the Amalgam package, which works about as the accepted models do. Ammunition breadth for all models, and towing capacity, rank with the best. For all-purpose, analytic able circadian carriage on the road, the Escape ante a allotment of the best abate SUVs.

Source: automotive

Saturday, December 13, 2008

2009 Lincoln MKS

2009 Lincoln MKS

When I was a tween, my beforehand brother had a late-1960s Ford LTD. It was gold, HUGE in a array of abstract way, and it had an old-school agreeableness and soulfulness about it that was unforgettable. I hadn't been in addition car with that array of vibe until I stepped into the 2009 Lincoln MKS.

Let me be clear: The MKS is far posher than my brother's car, but the MKS' vibe is the aloft for me. While active the 2009 MKS, I forewent my accepted NPR base and kept the Sirius Satellite Radio acquainted to Hip Hop Nation and The Heat channels so I could appropriately canal to the sounds of Kanye, Mary J. and Lil' Wayne. If you're apprehensive why I didn't go with the Soul Town approach with its 1960s and '70s hits, it's because the 2009 MKS - while soulful with an old-school agreeableness - is a absolutely avant-garde section of accouterment that deserves a avant-garde soundtrack.

The 2009 Lincoln MKS is comfy, safe and ample (in fact, it's HUGE, just like my bro's LTD), and it offers a bland ride. It has affluence of affluence amenities, and I enjoyed my time with it. But there are a few things preventing the MKS from getting the quintessential mom-mobile: The gas breadth isn't abundant (I averaged about 19 mpg); something as simple as alteration the clock's time isn't absolutely so simple; the doors are appealing heavy; and there's no auto-close button for the ample trunk. With all of that said, however, I had to face the actuality that this isn't a car that was advised with moms in mind. The MKS is geared against a hardly older, added affable demographic; so I choleric my mom-centric attitude and ultimately enjoyed my ride in what could eventually become an affable legend.

As far as looks are concerned, the MKS is handsome. The analysis car I collection had a sparkly brownish acrylic job in Tuxedo Black that glistened in the sunlight. It reminded me of a formally dressed man who's acquisitive to appearance off his adventurous looks. With its 19-inch casting aluminum auto and appalling facade, this car has a attendance that's due in allotment to its styling, but aswell in allotment to its arduous size. Accept I mentioned that the MKS is B-I-G? As a parent, you may be adage to yourself, "Big is good," but that's alone somewhat true.

The MKS' doors are heavy, but the trunklid is the heaviest, and it didn't accept an auto-shut button. Imagine, if you will, aggravating to backpack two accouchement (one of whom is in an infant-safety seat), grab some advantage from the block and, oh yeah, shut the car's foreground and aback doors and the trunklid. It's impossible. It takes both of your calmly and a lot of of your backbone just to shut the trunk. On the upside, the block is humongous, which fabricated me absolve it a bit for accepting such a abundant door. It swallowed my advantage with allowance to additional and could fit added babyish accessory than I even own.

A car with an exoteric breadth of 204.1 inches bigger accept a big block though, right? The MKS is a acceptable 2 anxiety best than the auto I commonly drive, and appropriately I acquainted like I was active a limo (which I've never done but can imagine). It about fit in my garage; I couldn't get things in and out of the block unless the barn aperture was open. I'm anyone who brand to abutting the barn appropriate afterwards I cull in - mostly for assurance affidavit - and the MKS fabricated that impossible.

There are a brace of exoteric features, however, that becoming my adulation. I admired the capless ammunition tank. This is something Ford/Lincoln/Mercury is putting on new models, and it takes bisected a additional to get acclimated to. There are no added absent or abandoned caps, and it's one beneath footfall for you at the pump. The acrimonious adeptness ancillary mirrors with anamnesis are aswell great; I've had issues in the accomplished with my mirrors getting algid over in the winter, and this would abate that completely.

SENSE AND STYLE Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair Fun-Factor (None, Some, Acceptable Times, Groove-On): Acceptable Times

Daylight-saving time occurred while I was testing the MKS. There's a avant-garde abnormality alleged affection creep, by which the admeasurement of abstruse appearance can overcomplicate things to the point at which the simplest designs and functions are lost. That's a circumlocutory way to acquaint you that I couldn't amount out how to set the time on the alarm on the actual avant-garde MKS. I aboriginal attempted it after apropos to the owner's chiral (in a absolute world, something as simple as ambience the alarm shouldn't crave literature); if I apparent that I couldn't amount it out on my own, I cozied up with the car's manual, which instructed me to columnist the "CLOCK" button, etc. But there wasn't a CLOCK button anywhere in the car. I anticipation about calling a manufacturer's rep or even bustling into a dealer, but I didn't on assumption because it's a alarm for advantage sake, and I don't accept time to go block down alarm info. Alas, I spent the anniversary accepting to decrease one hour from the alarm in adjustment to actuate the actual time. I was told there'd be no algebraic on this analysis (drive), so that stunk.

Have I mentioned that this is a big car? It's declared to bench 5 people, and assumption what? It in fact can fit 5 adults comfortably. I could even sit calmly in the aback amid my kids' car seats, which were simple to install with the accurately apparent Latch connectors, by the way. Furthermore, the 12-way adeptness adjustable seats were some of the a lot of adequate I've anytime had the amusement of using. They acclaim hugged me with cottony bland leather, and the accepted heating and cooling affection on the foreground seats was delectable. The backseat aswell comes accepted with acrimonious seats as well.

The cuff box is the best out of all of the MKS' autogenous accumulator options, and it can authority abundant added diapers and wipes to get you through the week. The added autogenous accumulator compartments aren't annihilation amazing (four cupholders and aperture pockets that are of boilerplate admeasurement and usability), except for one little ellipsoidal accommodation abreast the gearshift that's a absolute fit for your corpuscle buzz and/or MP3 amateur and even a lip gloss.

My analysis car came with the Ultimate Package. At $5,715, it adds aggregate you could achievement for in a affluence car (except for the adeptness to change the I complete absinthian yet?) and pushes the MKS into aloft urbane-legend category. This amalgamation includes voice-activated navigation, which turns the accepted Sync arrangement into a basic chantry of advice that can accord you not alone admonition to the abutting cine amphitheater or gas base but aswell cine times and gas prices. The Ultimate Amalgamation aswell has keyless access and ignition; a advanced sensor to acquaint of obstacles in foreground of you (which angry out to be actual advantageous if I pulled into my barn aback I had to "kiss" some accumulator cabinets to fit the car in, and after the sensor, I'd accept smushed the cabinets); and, the accomplishment de adroitness for my son, the dual-panel moonroof. He'd just arctic out in his car bench and acquaint me about all of the things he was seeing aloft him as we collection along. Acceptable times.

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT Accumulator Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair/Ample Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore

The association at Lincoln didn't skimp on assurance with the MKS. It comes accepted with foreground side-impact airbags as able-bodied as ancillary blind airbags for both the foreground and aback rows. The ancillary blind airbags even accept a sensor that can acquaint them to break aggrandized best should a rollover blow occur. Antilock brakes and adherence and absorption ascendancy are aswell standard.

The car that I collection was all-wheel drive, something a Colorado babe like me can absolutely appreciate, although you can get the MKS with front-wheel drive alone (for about $2,000 less). The headlights are aswell account mentioning: The adaptive headlights with auto top beam, which were included in the Ultimate Package, hinge as you about-face the council caster so you can see the aphotic corners and curves in the road. I'm not a huge fan of night driving, but honestly, this fabricated it about fun.

The advancement camera, allotment of the Ultimate Package, is fabulous; the screen's angel is bright clear and guidelines arise to let you apperceive area you're going, and there's an finer annoying beeping sound, which is standard. The foreground obstacle apprehension sensor, as mentioned beforehand in the review, aswell comes in handy, abnormally in a car this size!

FAMILY LIFESTAGE In Diapers: Not my aboriginal car choice, but it's do-able. In School: Sure, it would attending acceptable in the carpool lane. Teens: Yes, if your kids wish to drive about a big, safe car that's added complete than they are.

Source: cars

Friday, December 12, 2008

2009 Pontiac G5

2009 Pontiac G5

Pontiac has agitation chief what it wants to be if it grows up.

For decades it had been appointed the "excitement" analysis at General Motors, committed to the acceptance cars are added than just appliances. Pontiac with a basic P for performance.

But achievement can be abstinent in altered ways, allegedly including top mileage.

So for 2009, Pontiac gets a adaptation of the bunched Chevy Cobalt alleged the G5 to be abutting next bounce by a four-door auto acquired from the auto Chevy Aveo alleged the G3.

When G3 arrives, Pontiac will accept four cars able of 30-m.p.g. additional on the highway: Vibe at 32, G6 at 33, G3 at 34 and G5 XFE at 37.

Most don't accessory top breadth with excitement. Pontiac, however, credibility out the newfound affair over m.p.g., rather than m.p.h., and how high-mileage offerings cull humans into the showroom.

We activated the 2009 G5 in its appropriate XFE edition-for continued ammunition abridgement or added ammunition efficient. To be so, the 2.2-liter, Ecotech 4-cylinder comes with appropriate capricious valve timing calibrations to bear off-the-line backbone and optimum mileage. Low-rolling-resistance, 15-inch radials milk added breadth while a addle-brain adds a adventurous touch.

The XFE is offered alone with 5-speed manual, a glace bland assemblage with no asperous edges. Honda continued has offered the best manuals in agreement of bland operation and quiet. The XFE's takes it to a akin higher.

The G5 powered by the Ecotech is active admitting it stops abbreviate of lightning aback it is advised primarily for mileage. The 2.2-liter, 155-horsepower 4 is rated at 25 m.p.g. city/37 m.p.g. highway, so you get associates in to the 30 m.p.g. club after accepting to pay ample ante of the amalgam array premium.

To aerate mileage, a birr ablaze flashes to arresting if to shift, admitting a lot of motorists accept added things to do than attending for a reminder.

The G5 is offered alone as a two-door coupe, and, as we've noted, there's no automated for the XFE. The low-slung auto roofline banned developed allowance in back, area legroom aswell is tight. The block holds lots of accessory and looks added ample than the rear seat.

Econocars about apply on hammer-free ride at the amount of absolute handling. G5 follows that formula, admitting if bedevilled to the aback seat, you ability catechism how cautiously the abeyance is sprung.

The G5 XFE starts at $16,275 with side-curtain air bags, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with CD player, ability locks/windows/mirrors (not seats) and rear-window defroster. Anti-lock brakes run $400, and adherence and absorption ascendancy aren't available. Ability sunroof runs $750.

Source: cars

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2010 Ford Mustang

2010 Ford Mustang

Other than the roof panel, aggregate on the 2010 Ford Mustang will be new if it goes on auction this spring. Not just new, all of it will be bigger in some way compared to the 2004-2009 adaptation of America's admired adventurous car.

Ford credibility out that the Mustang has been in connected assembly for 45 beeline years, and that added than 9 actor Mustangs accept been congenital and awash so far. That makes the Mustang the a lot of continuously produced individual archetypal in Ford's history.

For 2010, there will be three physique styles, a coupe, a convertible, and a glass-roof coupe. All will be accessible in the V6 Deluxe archetypal and the V8-powered GT versions, with Shelby and added versions to follow.

The 2010 Mustang exoteric architecture is new from end to end. Among the highlights: chip multi-element headlights replacing the accompanying annular lamps of accomplished Mustangs, a power-dome awning that droops over the grille at its arch edge, absolutely new ancillary sculpting, and chamfered three-element taillights that abode consecutive about-face signals, blinking from the central lamp to the alfresco lamp (a technology aboriginal acclimated on the 1964 Thunderbird, reprised 46 years later).

Ford says the new Mustang physique yields 23 percent beneath aerodynamic lift at the front, and is 12 percent quieter in wind babble than the approachable car, 15 percent in the case of the convertible. Ford aswell credibility to a 33 percent abridgement in cheep and bang performance, and a 10 percent advance in accent accuracy due to autogenous babble reductions, abnormally in the convertible.

The 2010 Mustang auto and convertible will appear accepted with an upgraded 4.0-liter V6 engine rated at 210 application and 240 foot-pounds of torque, with accepted 17-inch tires and auto and alternative 18-inch tires and wheels. A rear balance bar has been fabricated accepted on V6 versions, and the absolute abeyance arrangement has been retuned for added achievement feel.

The 2010 Mustang GT gets an upgraded 4.6-liter 3-valve V8 engine that will be rated at 315 application and 325 foot-pounds of torque, hardly up from the accepted model. The redline has been aloft 250 rpm to 6500 rpm. The engine has two congenital calibrations for approved or exceptional fuel.

Both engines will be accessible with a best of a five-speed chiral or five-speed automated transmission.

The new V8 engine gets its algid assimilation air from a arrangement congenital into the grille, not beneath the hood, the lowest-restriction air assimilation arrangement anytime on the Mustang, with an air consecration complete aqueduct that goes appropriate into the cockpit to accomplish it added adorable to the driver. On the bankrupt side, the V8 adaptation gets 3.5-inch bankrupt pipes against 3.0-inch pipes on the endure Mustang, and the V6 adaptation gets 3.0-inch bankrupt pipes instead of 2.5-inch pipes. The accepted arbor arrangement is 3.31:1, with two alternative ratios, 3.55:1 or 3.73:1, which automatically comes with beyond brakes.

The GT anatomy has been upgraded and stiffened application locations and pieces from the 2009 Bullitt Mustang, which agency it rides tauter, turns in quicker and has beneath pitch, dive and physique cycle than any antecedent Mustang. Indeed, we were actual afflicted with the fine-tuning done to the Bullitt.

The 2010 Mustang will ride on 235/50R18 tires, with 245/45R19 tires optional, on several altered caster designs. If the 19-inch annoy and caster advantage is ordered, the car will automatically be congenital with a strut belfry brace beneath the awning to affix the two foreground struts for added backbone and better, added authentic handling. Anti-lock brakes, absorption ascendancy and AdvanceTrac yaw ascendancy are accepted on all models.

An alternative Clue Package will cover upgraded foreground brakes, a recalibrated AdvanceTrac arrangement and the 3.73:1 arbor ratio. Clue Package II will cover the Pirelli 19-inch tires and wheels, upgraded foreground and rear brakes and added springs, shock absorbers and brakes forth with recalibrated absorption and yaw ascendancy systems for weekend racing. That sounds like the hot bureaucracy for anyone who wants a dual-purpose car for artery and track. Buy one of these and you instantly accept a hobby. At the alpha of production, Ford will action a advanced arrangement of achievement and actualization options for the new Mustang, up to and including a complete bolt-on supercharger kit.

Inside, the 2010 Mustang has a absolutely new access to autogenous design, with bequest apparatus architecture complemented by softer-feeling surfaces throughout. Autogenous and axle bowl lighting colors can be afflicted through a ambit of 125 colors with the cast of a about-face with the new MyColor system. New appearance for Mustang cover a rear-facing video camera, the Sync hands-free arrangement for the aboriginal time in a Mustang, featuring Sirius digital radio and digital aeronautics with Sirius Travel Link information.

Source: newcartestdrive

Friday, December 5, 2008

2010 Kia Soul

2010 Kia SoulWhen the 2010 Kia Soul debuts in the bounce of 2009, Kia Motors will move into a bazaar bedeviled by Japanese manufacturers, aggressive anon with the Scion xB and xD, the Honda Element and to a bottom admeasurement the Honda Fit. The 2010 Soul is a value-priced, five-passenger five-door geared against trend-conscious, 20-something buyers. With the archetypal bulk advantage Korean brands offer, it promises a lot of youth-oriented busline for the money.

Like abounding of its accustomed competitors, the Soul is a aberration on basic, two-box automotive design, with a bit added beautification or physique adornment than either the Scion xB or Honda Element. It's actualization can change dramatically, depending on which wheels, blush combos and banker accessories an buyer chooses.

By a lot of exoteric dimensions, Soul comes aural an inch of both the xB and Element. It's congenital on the aforementioned basal underpinnings as the Kia Rio auto and hatchback, but it's packaged added like Kia's Rondo mini-minivan. It's abundant taller and bit added than the archetypal auto sedan, and it delivers an absorbing bulk of autogenous aggregate for the brand it makes in a parking space.

Soul's aback bench provides abounding allowance for six-foot passengers, even if the foreground seats are positioned for occupants of according stature. There's appropriate burden amplitude abaft the aback seat, too, and the bench folds collapsed bound for broadcast carriage capacity, attainable admitting both the rear ancillary doors and the rear hatch.

Overall, the autogenous is one of Soul's strengths. The dashboard appearance a arresting centermost pod with ample knobs for the altitude controls and audio system, and there are several accumulator spots accessible to front-seat passengers. The accomplishment doesn't assume cheap, either. In general, the plastics and fabrics attending good.

The Soul will be offered with two engines. The abject archetypal comes with a 1.6-liter inline four breeding 122 application and 115 pound-feet of torque, while three advancement trim levels affection a 2.0-liter four carrying 142 hp and 137 lb-ft. Both engines accept continuously capricious valve timing, and they appear accepted with a five-speed chiral transmission. An automated will be alternative with the 2.0-liter engine.

Soul's foreground abeyance applies an absolute strut design, like around every small, front-drive car congenital today, while the rear uses a solid, torsion-beam axle. This architecture keeps the rear abeyance mounts from actively advancing on autogenous space, but it about agency at atomic a slight abatement in ride abundance compared to an absolute rear suspension.

A analysis drive in a pre-production Soul provided some predictive impressions. The 2.0-liter engine is neither the smoothest nor the crudest four-cylinder currently sold. It delivers torque analogously beyond its rev ambit and pulls able up to its 6,000-rpm ability peak. The Soul accelerates with as abundant action as any of its competitors, at atomic with the chiral transmission, and Kia predicts class-leading EPA breadth ratings.

The analysis drive didn't cover an automatic-equipped Soul, but acquaintance does not augur well. The alternative automated is a four-speed, rather than the five-speed offered in some competitors, and it could plan to zap some of the engine's energy. It's no blow that the automated will not be offered with the abate Soul engine.

When in goes on auction in March 2009, the abject Soul will appear with 15-inch animate wheels, artificial caster covers, a accepted USB affiliation and ability credibility inside. Added big-ticket variants will action admixture auto up to 18 inches in diameter. Specific agreeable for the four trim levels is still getting sorted, but Kia says all but the abject archetypal will appear with appearance like Bluetooth connectivity and dark-tinted solar glass. The 325-watt audio advancement sounds like it belongs in a added big-ticket car.

Exact prices are accepted in December 2008. Meantime, Kia admiral say the Soul will alpha in the "low teens," and it "won't breach 20" with all the branch options. The aggregation promises a host of dealer-installed accessories, including physique kits, stick-on cartoon and snazzy, aftermarket-style wheels, as anon as the car debuts.

Nothing about the Soul suggests it can't authority its own with added accustomed competitors for even beneath cash. Considering Kia's diffuse warranty, Soul could hit spot-on its Gen-Y target.

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