August 11, 2013

Chris Harris totally gets me...

I was never a teenage girl, so I never got to experience having a school girl crush...

But now that I'm in my mid-30's, I think I'm starting to understand.

I discovered Chris Harris a couple of years ago while I was looking to fill the void in between Top Gear series.

This is a picture. Please don't try to "play" it!

I like his stuff a lot.  The quick attack missions where they only get 20 minutes with a car to the long term loaners that are with him for up to a year; he uses all of it to make good films.

He recently made a video that spoke right to the petrol head bone in my body.  He did a comparison test of Bat Crap Crazy estate cars; The Audi RS6 Avant and the Mercedes CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake!

I would buy the Merc just so I could say, "Let's take the Shooting Brake today..."  I probably have a better shot at getting a better deal on the Audi, but I'm not ever going to be able to afford either, so this is moot...

Watch the video.  You'll be able to see why I have a "man crush" on Chris.  Good name aside, he's good at what he does.

Subscribe to the /Drive network.  They make other great car videos and someday mine will get better too.  Everyone at /Drive has been working of car videos for close to a decade.  There's a reason they're good.  Enjoy!

Nobody can make good films without a really good editor. Chris has Neil Carey to make it all come together.  Without Neil, there is no Chris.

I need a Neil...

Edmunds Gets Their Audience

Edmunds posted on Facebook a poll asking their readers "Which car do you wish was sold in the States?" 

I clicked the link.  I'm a sucker.

Everything on the list is a hatchback, wagon, a couple of light duty pickup trucks, and a Land Rover Defender. 

It seems a little trite, but Edmunds understands that their readers are petrol head nerds.  And petrol head nerds love hatchbacks, station wagons, niche SUVs and light duty trucks.

I'm a little surprised that no one at Edmunds was able to slip a Brown diesel estate car onto the list...

The petrol heads so far have the Sirocco R in the lead, but I voted for the RS4 Avant.  Again, a little trite on my part, but I love an all-wheel drive, 450 horsepower station wagon!  Enough room for kids, dogs, luggage and a massive V8 that's good in the wet, dry, and even the snow!

Reminders me of a 470 horsepower SUV that I posted recently...

Click the link and go vote yourself!

What is the Best Mid-Life Crisis FAMILY Vehicle? Part 2

I started with the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and for Part 2 I've picked another one.

This one is a very special Jeep.  It's the brand new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.

This is a great vehicle, even though it is a little pricey.  My test vehicle came in just a little over $68,000.  

But the Grand Cherokee SRT is worth every penny.  It's powered by a 6.4L Hemi V8 that produces 470 horsepower and 465 ft-lbs. of torque.  The engine is really good, but the best part of the Grand Cherokee SRT is the suspension setup.

It is a large vehicle weighing in at 5150 lbs., but it does not handle like a five thousand pound monster.  The suspension and 295 width tires make the SRT feel like it handles like a large sport sedan.

I had it out on a slalom course with some local officers and we were all very impressed with its ability to turn in and rotate through the corners.  Its agility and the big horsepower numbers make the SRT a lot of fun.

I didn't want to give the Grand Cherokee back.  The interior was roomy with plenty of cargo space.  The UConnect system and one of the largest touch screen interfaces for media really make it a user friendly interior.

Watch the videos I made with the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT.  There's an overall look at why it's the best mid-life crisis family vehicle, a starts and revs video, and a launch control video.  Good stuff.  Enjoy!

Thank you for watching!

August 6, 2013

Ford is bringing CNG to a 1/2 Ton

Ford announced that they are going to be equipping half ton F-150's with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel systems.

I have some experience with CNG vehicles.  I drove a Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG for a week last year and liked it a lot.

Ford has a total of 8 commercial vehicles available with gaseous fuel systems.  That is the most of any major manufacturer.  

The tank will be located in the bed directly behind the cab.

The CNG fuel filler is located up on the side of the cover for the tank.  This is different than the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty which had its CNG filler located in the same door as the gasoline tank.  It was a good idea, but difficult to use on a chilly, windy day.

The cost of filling up with CNG is very affordable.  I filled both tanks of the Ram that I drove last year for $24...  Yes, that was filling both tanks.  That is a quarter of the price that I pay to fill my Denali.

Ford is equipping the 2014 F-150 with a 3.7L V6.  This engine will come with hardened valves, valve seats, pistons, and rings that will allow it to run on either natural gas or gasoline through two different fuel systems.  Ford is claiming a 750 mile range.  That range is estimated using the fuel in the 26 gallon gasoline tank and the 15.7 gallon CNG tank.  There is also a 36 gallon gasoline tank offered as an option.

I really like CNG fuel costs.  Most of the natural gas that is used in the US is produced locally.  The natural gas is cheap and better for the environment.

One of my favorite radio commercials of all time is, "Oklahoma Petroleum.  We've got gas!"  They are one of many producers of natural gas in the US.

I don't run a fleet of vehicles, but I do wish I did...  Fuel cost is always a concern and CNG is another helpful alternative.  As more CNG vehicles hit the road, then more CNG fuel stations will start appearing on the map.

Right now there is only one station in Kansas City... 

August 5, 2013

What do you think about (insert car name here)?

I recieved a text message from a friend this morning asking me what I thought about a lineup of cars.  I called my friend back instead of texting.

I love this question.  One hundred sixty characters is not enough room to answer, "What do you think about (insert car name here)?"

The important questions:
1.What is the car's main purpose?

2. How much are you willing to spend?

3. Is there a brand that you like more than others?

4. Sedan, Coupe, CUV, SUV, or Truck?

5. Does it need to be front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, or all wheel drive?

6.Are mpg's going to be very important, kind of important, or what does mpg mean?

There are more questions that I end up asking, but those listed above are the standard set.

The worst is when people purchase a car and then ask you about what you think.  They are not genuinely interested in what you have to say.  At that point they just want you to validate their purchase... 

All of today's questions and answers centered around Ford.  Basically my finally answer came down to the Escape or the Explorer.  Engine size, drivetrain, type of vehicle, number of seats, and cargo room got us down to these two models.

If price matters, I voted Escape.

 If price doesn't matter, I voted Explorer.
2014 Ford Explorer on the Test Track in Dearborn, MI
Both are very good cars.  I really like both, but I also suggested an Audi Q5.

Actually, I suggested a CTS-V Wagon, but since the car is for Grandma, we should probably avoid the 556 horsepower station wagon...

I do love it, though...
Grocery getter, my ass...
I'm always willing to throw my opinions in on any vehicle purchase and I'm not offended if you completely ignore my advice.  It's your money.  Buy what you want!  :)