It Could Have Been Better

I’ve always said that every car looks better in maroon. This Kia Forte is definitely included in the list. Recently had this as a rental, and as cheap 4 door car, it wasn’t horrible. The interior had a good layout that wasn’t too cheap. The tech was better than you would expect from a sub-$18,000 car. It had backup camera and bluetooth. The stereo wasn’t great, but you wouldn’t expect it to be. Also, for an inexpensive car, it was not horrible looking. And it was comfortable.

And, it wasn’t completely horrible to drive.

No, that’s not quite true.

Sure, it drove ok. For an automatic transmission on a baby 4 banger, it went pretty decent. I would say the handling also wasn’t too bad. But, and this is a huge but…

waiting for the giggle to stop…

The sound this thing made. Dear god, it was awful. At least it was when you gave the car too much right foot. I can’t even describe to you the sound this car made when getting over 3K RPM, but trust me when I say it was really bad. Really.

To be fair, my MINI is a cheap car. Come on, it’s an R56. Premium skipped this version, but that’s for another post. But, when I drop into third and get on it (even before I upgraded to a K&N air filter), the sound is actually pretty amazing. With the K&N, it’s even more amazing.

If the cheap car makers were to take a minute or 3 to add some decent sound to their engines, the experience would be so much better. And this car could have been better.

2013 Ford Fusion

Recently, I had the chance to spend some quality time with the 2013 Ford Fusion. If you squint (as Mr. Donovan Resh says), it looks a little bit like an Aston Martin Rapide. 1200 miles in the front seats, I thought I would jot down a few notes.

This is not a performance car. EcoBoost’d 4 cylinder attached to a 6-speed slush box puts this squarely in the ‘car for the masses’ category, but to be honest, it wasn’t that bad. Sure it’s big and long (too long for my garage), but that’s what this car is supposed to be. Quiet and confortable too, with enough guts to get out of it’s own way and then some. And definitely tons of room for passengers, which made up for the small-ish boot. Top notch Grand Tourer it ain’t, but as a car to spend 10+ hours in, it did pretty ok. And, priced at about 25k is a definite bonus. If you are in the market for a car that is bigger than a MINI, you would be well served by checking this one out.

But, before you do, let’s take a minute to pick out one of it’s most serious shortcomings; Ford Sync. Continue reading →

Tales from AMVIV X: #1

So. Did I happen to mention to you guys that I drove a Ferrari?

I was as awesome as you can imagine. No, it was way awesomer than that! I also got to drive a Lambo and a Jag on this same day. I was also asked “what’s it like to be you” later this night, but that’s for a later post.

In Vegas, you want to check out World Class Driving. Those guys are pretty damned awesome and offer you, the regular Joe, the opportunity to drive several different kinds of cars that you normally wouldn’t get the opportunity to drive. On the day I went out, the choices were Jag, Lambo, Ferrari, Corvette Z-06, Shelby Mustang or an SRT Charger.

The Super Car tour costs about $500. You get the chance to drive up to 3 different cars (that do change, you would want to call for availability) in the Nevada desert. Keep in mind, this will be at the posted speed limit and you are escorted with a lead and a chase car. They don’t just hand you the keys to a $US1,000,000 sports car and say have it.

The guides were super friendly and knowledgeable about the cars. They want to make sure that you are having a great time and it shows. I know I had a brilliant time driving these cars and would recommend it to anyone.

If you are heading to Vegas and looking to do something that’s a little different and have the cash, check out World Class Driving. You won’t be sorry!

The BMW 328i. Again

328i

Over the course of the last week or two I have had the chance to drive some very interesting cars. And, the BMW 328i. You’ll recall that I spent a few days in this particular model back in 2009 and I wasn’t a huge fan (the term “BWM for your Mom” comes to mind). And, I’m here to report that, not only is it still a total snooze fest, it has also become one of the most limp-wristed cars I have ever driven.

Besides the feeling of disconnectedness and an overly cushy ride, there are 3 new things that I have to question.

  1. This car makes a very pronounced ‘DING’ at speeds above 80mph and displays a warning until the speed is reduced to under 80MPH.
  2. The automatic transmission control is overly complicated. And a button has to be pushed.
  3. Auto stop/start is jerky and un gives an unsettling feeling when stopped

The speed warning is just ridiculous. Have we, as a society, become so stupid as to not realize how fast we are driving while we are driving? I mean, the BMW drives quiet and soft, but it’s no Cadillac Sevelle. You get the feeling of speed in this car. Or, are we overly distracted and no longer paying attention to what is happening around us as we drive around in a vehicle that weighs close to 2 tons? Continue reading →

I drove this

lexus-gs-450-hybrid-exterior-with-copy

On the odd occassion, I do get access to cars you wouldn’t expect me to be able to drive. Case in point is the car you see above, the Lexus GS450h. It wasn’t much more than a test drive, but I did drive it. Car and Driver had a chance at it too, and my thoughts echo theirs.

Well, in this case, the GS450h may be the most powerful member of the GS lineup, but it is also the least sporty of the bunch. The GS450h wafts itself over the road with the same sort of tranquillity as its big brother, the LS460. There’s a complete absence of road or engine noise, the ride is plush, and the seats are as soft as buttery mashed potatoes. This sort of luxury is Lexus’s trademark, and it’s a delight, provided you aren’t expecting a sports sedan. We didn’t love the mouselike control for the Lexus infotainment system, but the rest of the interior is a soothing cocoon.

via. Continue reading →