.

Entries Tagged 'first drive' ↓

2015 Chrysler 200 Rated at 36 MPG Highway

While it might have been hard to image a Chrysler that could hit the 36 mile per gallon (MPG) mark just a few years back, the engineers have nailed the number with the 2015 Chrysler 200. But fuel efficiency is just the starting point for the completely redesigned model. The 2015 200 is new from the ground up, packed with technology, and brilliantly executed. It’s time to leave your impressions of the outgoing model (and the Sebring on which it was based) behind.

The 2015 puts Chrysler into the thick of the hotly contested mid-size sedan market.

Continue reading →

Chevy Spark EV: 5x the Tesla Model S at 1/5 the Price?

I had the opportunity to drive the 2014 Chevy Spark EV last month at a media event in Portland, Oregon. The drive route ran through the streets of the city, onto the highway, and out into the suburbs. This provided the Spark EV with an ideal setting for its virtues to shine.

It can be a trick to shoot media events like this. The schedule is extremely compressed and time behind the wheel is often limited. We set out from the garage of the Portland Kimpton hotel and headed to Electric Avenue. I hustled to get location shots and hung a pair of cameras on the car on our departure from the parking garage (although I only ended up using the external camera).

Spark EVs charging in the basement of the Portland Klimpton Hotel

Lets go out on a limb and call the Spark EV the first affordable electric hot hatch. Who could argue with 400 foot pounds of torque and a 0-60 MPH time of 7.5 seconds? With that much power, the engineers are clearly holding back its full potential, lest the front tires disintegrate into billows of smoke and shards of rubber.

Continue reading →

2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrid First Drive

With California the most important domestic market for electrified vehicles, it came as no surprise that Ford chose San Francisco and the Northern California coastline as the backdrop for the C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrid media drive.

The crossover-esque C-Max has been available in Europe since 2003 and comes to our shores for the first time. The C-Max rides on the Focus platform. It’s only available in America in hybrid or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) form.

The standard C-Max hybrid is rated at 47 city / 47 highway miles per gallon (MPG). The C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid uses a larger lithium ion battery to deliver up to 21 miles of pure electric driving, at speeds up to 85 miles per hour, before it switches to conventional hybrid mode.


Continue reading →

2013 VW Jetta Hybrid First Drive

I can hear what you’re thinking … Volkswagen, selling a hybrid sedan?

Aren’t VW’s fuel-efficient TDIs the best-selling passenger car diesels in America?

Indeed they are, but VW faced a dilemma.

The typical Toyota Prius owner, they say, rarely considers buying a diesel.

So Volkswagen decided to build a hybrid of their own. A very different hybrid. One with a turbocharged engine. Marketed to folks that love to drive.

Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid at the Gas Pump Museum in New Mexico
Continue reading →

2013 Ford Explorer Sport – NYC First Test Drive

Can America compete with the best of the European auto manufacturers when it comes to luxury sport utility vehicles that emphasize the Sport aspect of the SUV badge? The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport seeks to answer that question with a definitive “yes.” With the Range Rover Sport HSE as the primary target, Ford’s attack takes a three-pronged approach: price, performance, and fuel-efficiency.

2013 Ford Explorer Sport - front view - NYC
Continue reading →