Chevy Cruze presents fun, economical driving basics

 

 

Getting my drive-on, Chevy style.

 

It’s that ‘crap-shoot’ that is the online pick of an “intermediate” rental car. Much like a stripper jumping out of a birthday cake, Chevy Cruze proves to be a bit surprising for this unabashed Honda fan.

True enough, I was raised in and behind the wheel of Detroit iron.

My first project car was a 1949 Chevrolet sedan, rusted, derelict, and not running. But that didn’t stop me and my younger brother Pat from cutting our auto-loving teeth on it. I, like many Americans, fell away from the Chevrolet brand during the T.A.R.P. funded transition years of the great recession. It’s not so much that I disliked the mark, I no longer trusted its assumed life-time longevity in the auto market.

Much like a long forgotten lover, Chevrolet came to mind from time to time, but I kept my distance, perhaps missing an affordable opportunity to renew my past life Chevy love fest.

Sure, I’ve caught the new Corvette or occasional Malibu SS blowing down the hardtop out of the corner of my eye, or, in the rear-view mirror of my transportation of choice. But truthfully, I lost track of the evolution of the brand, while dedicating my auto-writer intent on mostly import brands — although mostly “Made in America” at this stage of the game. The compact Chevy Cruz would prove to be noteworthy. “

In-fact, the more I drove Cruze on a recent 8 hour, 375 road trip to Eureka, California, more value I found in it.

Let’s get back to the headline

Last week while my import daily driver resided in a transmission shop, I jumped online and reserved a rental car. Par for the course, Enterprise didn’t disclose the make and model of the car waiting for me at the airport. All I knew was that it would be a rather bare-bones, fuel efficient compact, and afford care-free relatively new car, unlimited mileage driving. That night I’d take delivery of a 2016 black on gray Chevrolet Cruze LT, nothing too fancy, yet eye catching just the same.

Nothing fancy here, but I appreciated the no-nonsense layout of this compact Chevy

Dropping into the cloth covered manual adjusted driver’s seat, I noted the relative comfort of driver to wheel positioning, instrumentation, and center stack convenience feature placement. No, this Cruze did not feature a key-less entrance or ignition fob, self dimming convenience lighting, or a warm welcoming verbal recognition from that electronic girl in the dash. But, what it did present was impressive acceleration, responsive steering wheel to road feel, and reasonable road handling.  The suspension is tuned for the highway long haul – a  mid-firm controlled float. I like it!

I was caught by surprise as to how quiet and user friendly Chevy’s entry level compact sedan is. While one doesn’t find a plethora of active safety features in the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze LT Sedan, the stereo is decent, climate control and seating  more than adequate, with combined fuel efficiency and on tap torque approaching the best in class.

Sure, I’d change a detail or two.

Our 2016 Cruze LT came off the lot for $21,700, a bargain in the sub-premium compact sedan segment. However, the dash mounted back-up cam resolution is sub standard, as is the cloth covered seat construction.  Unfortunately Chevy found this price point at the expense of substantial, near premium trim components, and standard feature safety, as demonstrated by Honda Civic Touring and other contenders in the near premium compact sedan segment.

There are few if any active safety features available at this trim level. But for those drivers wishing to up the accident avoidance level, while enjoying power adjusted, heated seats, You’ll find those options available in Cruze for under $25,000. Chevy’s 1.4 Liter turbocharged gasoline 4 cylinder engine produced impressive, on demand torque, while sipping regular gasoline. On this 800 mile run, we averaged 42 MPG combined, outstanding fuel efficiency in any segment.

I found the no-nonsense 6-speed automatic to perform flawlessly in this front-wheel-drive compact, brake pressure and resulting stopping power was dead on, yet not jarring. Cruze, while exhibiting mild torque steer when launched off of the light, proved to be manageable, and down right civilized when driven at lawful speeds, under mixed weather conditions.

In closing, while Chevy Cruze may not be the end all be all…

Cruze LT is a good value as priced. I recommend a test drive to anyone considering the purchase of an economy compact 4 door sedan. Chevy Cruze presents fun, economical driving basics, housed in a class act of a compact sedan. It’s a no ensconce daily commuter, that can be dressed up and taken out on the town. I like that.

MOTO RACER 4 Comes To North America January 24 (Video)

MOTOR RACER 4 may be the most realistic hands-on off and on road motorcycle racing Video game of all time. It’s fun, fast, furious, realistic and debuts in North America January 24.

The MOTOR RACER franchise is looking for your feedback on its latest edition of the over-the-top, action packed on and off-road motorcycle racing thriller. MOTO RACE 4 puts you on the bike, while capturing forward, side, and rear view shots of the action — way cool, and butt sore cool! The detail and life-like imagery all the way down to the dust cloud is just a bit mind-boggling — it’s that real — it’s like you’re sitting on the seat, air bound. 

From road racing to handlebar-hanging aerial suicide jumps, MOTO RACER 4 puts you in the action without having to leave the comfy confines of your favorite chair.  Here’s where it gets interesting.

To celebrate the North American launch of MOTO RACER 4, the maker is giving away 2 PS4 and  1 Xbox 1 digital access codes. Here’s how it works: Watch the YouTube demo video, comment below, and we’ll randomly pick 3 winners based on their sincere, detailed feedback. Make it good! Like it, don’t like it? Bring it on.

 

Acura injects ‘Precision Performance’ throughout the 2017 linup

Acura_NSX
New Acura NSX in Nouvelle Blue

 

Despite the market arrival of 2017 Acura NSX, North America’s only gasoline/electric hybrid supercar, car sales were a bit flat for Honda’s luxury division as consumers opted for crossover/SUV offerings. No worries!

Acura’s MDX and RDX premium SUV variants remain the #1 and #2  best-selling vehicles in Acura’s lineup, and the best-selling premium SUVs available to North America. For 2017 Acura will present a 1 engine, (3 liter V6 motivated) 7 speed duel clutch shifted smart handling all-wheel-drive MDX — the only 3-row midsize hybrid SUV available in North America.

Read today’s Acura-Torque News article here. What does the future hold for Acura’s sedan offerings? Good question. I look to Acura Precision Concept, first revealed to the automotive press at the New York International Car Show early in 2016. Stunning! is the short description here — as one views Acura’s unique slant on a near future drive and ride experience centering around the driver.

Looking to “Acura Precision Concept’s” body design one notes a coupe-like sculpted 4-door sedan inspired by the reinvented second generation NSX supercar with a twist or two. At first look, due to invisible rear door handles, I truly believed the concept a two door coupe. Completing the futuristic yet very doable concept is Acura’s patented diamond grill design, centered 3-D-like- monogram and 22 inch machine cut alloy wheels. Awesome!

While viewing Precision Concept’s interior one discovers Acura’s near autonomous driver centered cockpit and office lounge-like passenger seating, precision integrated soft and hard molded surfaces, eye pleasing color combinations, and a control center akin to that of a modern private jet. What’s not to like?Acura_Precission_Concept

2017 MDX Hybrid arrival slated for Spring 2017

I’ve driven NSX and RDX. Both share a hybrid system similar to the one that will set MDX far a part from am ever-growing field of premium 3-row SUVs. The icing on the cake for me and others that prefer a light truck based drive and ride platform is greater horsepower,(+35) and much improved city fuel efficiency.(+7) At the end of the day while not the highest output SUV in the 3-row segment. MDX will be the most fuel-efficient, best road handling, and least expensive premium midsize 3-row in North America.

As to Acura’s car side: With Honda’s 10th generation Civic comes the opportunity to essential reinvent Acura’s portal sedan ILX. And, with that reinvention will inevitably come turbocharging to Acura’s car lineup. The manufactured in Japan RLX will remain unchanged.

As to TLX: Looking to the timeline we’re a mere 3 years into TLX. And, although with sales not as brisk as originally anticipated, 3,000 + TLX sedans drove off  the lot per month in 2016. I don’t anticipate a major TLX redo prior to model year 2018.

 

American Honda Motors presents exceptional motivation in 2017

On the road with 2016 Civic Coupe
Honda Civic Coupe on the back roads of San Diego, California

American Honda Motors presents exceptional personal transportation, segment topping standard active safety and accident prevention in 2017 with a unique design and flair, not always associated with the Japanese owned car company that first introduced economy-class personal transpiration to North America 44 years ago with the unveiling of Honda Civic.

American Honda carries the reinvention of its entire car, SUV and light truck lineup into 2017. Coming off of the unprecedented sales success of the 10th generation Honda Civic Sedan — the first turbocharged Civic in the brands history, American Honda now holds 4 segment – topping sales leaders with Accord, Civic, CR-V and Odyssey selling more retail units than any other brand offering in their respective segments. Read my latest slant on Honda Civic Hatchback Touring here.

I predict the buzz to continue in 2017 with Civic Coupe Si, CR-V, Odyssey and Accord.

Today in Honda Torque News I expand a bit on the future of American Honda Motors and how advent cars like the Clarity FCV and the reinvented 2018 Odyssey minivan will propel Honda to new sales records in 2017.  Read my latest Honda-Torque News article here.  According to our sources in Torrance, California, when Honda Odyssey debuts January 10 at the Detroit International Auto Show, the auto industry will take notice.2018_Odyssey

Honda tells us to expect an even more aerodynamic Odyssey with much improved ride quality, road handling, a quieter cabin, advanced driver and passenger seat design — greater interior passenger and cargo space, as well as increased engine power and fuel efficiency. Where will Odyssey’s 2017 MSRP land? Well, while that’s anybody’s guess at this time, I anticipate a minor price bump at the entry trim level with the edition of a premier touring edition-Honda style!

Following the expanded model lineup of America’s best selling compact car brand, Odyssey will come to market in 2017 as a 2018 model offering greater performance, safety, person to car connectivity and near intuitive ease of operation.

In short; Honda will present exceptional personal auto-motivation in 2017. at an attainable price point.