By Charles Krome
Getting into one of the General’s big body-on-frame dual-mode hybrid trucks has been high on my list for some time, and the automaker recently obliged me with the ne ultra of the breed, this year’s Cadillac Escalade Hybrid with both four-wheel drive and the brand’s ultimate Platinum package of goodies. It’s the most expensive model in the Cadillac lineup(!), sporting an MSRP of $88,140—a tidy $24,685 over the price of admission to the base Escalade—but hey, it’s also the only one capable of an EPA city rating of 20 mpg, which goes with marks of 23 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.
By Kevin Gordon
After having the chance to spend two weeks with the new EcoBoost motor in a Ford F-150, we were left wanting more. After coming to the conclusion that this engine and truck are something special, we have added our first long term test car to the Techshake Garage. We are pleased to introduce a 2011 Ford F-150 FX4 EcoBoost 4×4 145″ SuperCrew that we will be driving, testing, and documenting for the next two years. We plan to provide a full view into daily life with this truck. Additionally, we hope to use it as a test bed for some select after market items.
By Chris Haak
Gadget blog Gizmodo had a post yesterday entitled, “.” As a lover of both cars and gadgets, as well as cars with gadgets, I took interest in the article. In it, author Mat Honan discusses a recent that dinged US automakers for high-tech, hard to use navigation systems that consumers called a “design defect,” and therefore lowered IQS scores according to Power.
Gadgets, if done well, are excellent and improve the experience and customer satisfaction. JD Power is not really a reliable gauge of quality, because it lets car buyers ding their cars for “quality problems” even though the things are working as designed. The issue is that the design is poor – like MyFord Touch. MyFord Touch is a cool concept, but a capacitive touch interface without any tactile feedback means you have to take your attention off the road and look at the location of the button, aim your finger carefully, then wait for Ford’s laggy, bug-filled processor to catch up to you. The reality of MyFord Touch doesn’t live up to its hype, and Ford knows it – and is hopefully addressing it post-haste.
By Carl Malek
In an effort to promote the brand and also lure prospective customers away from the new Honda Civic Si, Scion has officially taken the wraps off the 2012 Scion TC Release Series 7.0. In the past, the companies previous Release Series versions of the tC, XB, and XD were usually updated with an exclusive paint color, color matching interior, a set of stylish wheels, a body kit, and not much else. However the 2012 Scion tC Release Series 7.0 takes things one step further by introducing some new cabin technology enhancements to the tC.
By Carl Malek
BMW has released the official details on its newest special edition M3 the 2012 BMW M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technologies). First introduced earlier this year as the BMW M3 GTS Sedan Concept, this featherweight M3 can be considered a four door version of the M3 GTS Coupe – a car considered by many to be perhaps the most radical factory car ever built on the current generation E92 platform. Of course, the addition of the sedan’s rear doors does increase weight by 198 lbs over the M3 GTS Coupe. Despite this slight weight increase, the M3 CRT manages to achieve a curb weight of 3,483 lbs which is a full 100 lbs lighter than a typical M3 sedan.
By Kevin Gordon
I have heard that the first step to beating an addiction is admitting that you have one. Automotive sales prove that Americans have an addiction to full size pickup trucks. Recent fuel prices have pushed some potential truck buyers into withdrawal as they make more fuel efficient choices. Since full size pickups still drive enormous sales numbers even with gas above $4.00 a gallon (in the US) the challenge is to keep sales high as gas prices continue to rise. As a result, manufacturers have attempted a number of strategies to push up their MPG numbers. Some use packages that push up their economy numbers and others have gone so far to deploy hybrid drivetrains. Ford took a new approach and put a small displacement direct injected V6 with two turbos into the 2011 F-150 and have branded it the F-150 EcoBoost.
During my time with the truck I found myself describing the engine to people who knew nothing about the motor as a diesel design that runs on gasoline. I was shocked at how many well informed “car guys” had no clue what this motor was. I have know about it since it was a very early rumor on the Internet and have spent an unhealthy amount of time watching it progress into a mass produced product. This includes all of and also their seemly relentless advertising during televised auto races. While it might strange to say that this engine is using diesel technology, with direct injection, water cooled turbos, and a slight whistle while boost builds, it isn’t a giant leap. So has Ford changed the truck game and allowed buyers to fulfill their jones for a full size pickup without the pump penalty? Hit the jump to find out.
By Charles Krome
Toyota hosted a media launch event for the Prius v this week, and yours truly was on hand to get up close and personal with what will be a key part of the automaker’s lineup when it goes on sale this fall. The vehicle represents Toyota’s effort to expand sales of its hybrid offerings by offering an expanded hybrid, in this case one that delivers 50 percent more cargo room than the Prius proper. Naturally, that requires increased dimensions all around, so the Prius v sits on a wheelbase that is 3 inches longer, while also being 3.3 inches wider, 6 inches longer, 1 inch taller and 232 lbs. heavier.
By Charles Krome
Okay, the first thing you should know about the 2012 Acura TL—outside of the fact that it was provided to me by Acura with a full tank of gas—is that this is one good-looking car. Rarely have I gotten as many compliments on a vehicle’s appearance as I did with this one, and they came from a wide range of people, from middle schoolers to mothers-in-law.