When you think of Subaru, what are the first few words that come to mind? For us it is symmetrical all-wheel drive, reliability and safety just for starters.

When Subaru revealed their new concept of the Viziv, it left a bit of car enthusiasts a bit confused on their “future” direction.

The Viziv stands for Vision for Innovation, a phrase that Subaru hopes will stick with everyone who first catches a glimpse of this completely different crossover.

Subaru Viziv

A lot of people are likely to question if Subaru really needs to explore the idea of changing their designs? As the saying goes why fix which is not broken? The design cues are very different from the Subaru models we now see today, the closest comparison in designs wouldn’t even be to a Subaru model, but more comparable to the Nissan Rogue.

With growing popularity in the Crossover Segment, in all honesty there is no greater time for any automaker to take risks, and attempt to create a new innovative look for that segment. The Nissan Rogue has done incredibly well, as has the Mazda CX-5. So it would be safe to assume that with the Subaru name on a crossover like the Viziv it will be able to at least compete with these other models. Then again it would be hard to believe that Subaru would be able to get away with completely redesigning the Impreza, Legacy and even Forester. These are their bread and butter, there money makers. But who knows?

Truth is we can’t even be certain that this concept will even make it out of the concept phase, and will even make it to the manufacturing floor. Our opinion on the matter is that Subaru is just testing the reactions, and the limits of not just car critics and enthusiasts, but consumers. How will they react when they see this totally new look? What do you think? You should take the time to voice your opinion! You can either go to the Facebook page of Subaru, or just contact your local Subaru dealer, like Tindol Subaru.  Have them pass the word on.

The Ford Motor Company brand has been relatively quiet of late in terms of releasing new models at some of the recent automotive shows. At the Geneva Motor Show, this silence continues as they really didn’t splash on the scene a brand new Mustang model, or one of their top selling models, but instead they took this time to introduce the all new family of Tourneo vans which come in a variety of trim levels as follows: Courier, Connect, Grand Connect and Custom.

While Ford had already announced that they plan to reinvent the Transit Connect and drop their other van series, the Tourneo is the passenger version of the transit.

Ford-Tourneo-2013

It can see up to five passengers, but four comfortably.

The layout and design of the Tourneo reflects that of the new redesigned 2014 Transit models, it is also only three inches longer than the Fiesta Hatchback with the Courier model trim. The Tourneo also comes with three engine choices: the 1.0-liter EcoBoost, or two small diesels, all of which are very fuel-efficient.  Just like the Transit that was placed on display in France, the Tourneo Connect trim comes in a five passenger design, and the Grand Connect a size up, can fit seven passengers. Then there is the Custom which can be designed to seat up to nine passengers. The Custom is just a few inches shorter than the E-Series model which was retired with the announcement of the 2014 Transit redesign, and is also a foot longer than the ever popular Explorer model.

This vehicle will be ideal for families who have children, pets, or even have a small business of their own like pottery painting, flower shops and so forth. This Tourneo will be a great transition from those who are looking for a fuel-efficient means of delivering products to their customers, but also being able to bring their children places, such as soccer or baseball practice—even ice hockey with the scent! Either way the Transit the Tourneo is to become quite popular in the automotive industry, and other automakers like Nissan are joining the trend. To learn more about the Ford Tourneo or Transit models, you can check out the Transit Connect Inventory of Tindol Ford.

When Pepsi decided that they would take their marketing ploy to a whole new level, they decided to bring on Jeff Gordon, NASCAR champion and see what kind of ruckus they could cause. Ruckus is exactly what they caused when they showed up to an undisclosed car sales lot, and took a Camaro for a spin, NASCAR victory lap style.

Gordon showed up to the sales lot with a fake goatee and mustache, and a bit of makeup, also in hand a brand new unopened can of Pepsi Max, of course! Need to show who you are suppose to be advertising for, otherwise those who watched the video would think the video was intended to promote the Camaro. Which it sort of did, even without trying. “Mike” which was Gordon’s alter personality in this prank, showed up on the lot, and he seemed lost, perfect for a salesman.

The salesman saw Gordon looking over the Camaro, and he temps him to take it for a test drive. At first Gordon plays it off like he is just to timid for such a powerful vehicle, but the salesman convinces him, and hands him the keys.

Once he has the trust of the salesman, Gordon then pulls out all the stops as he shifts gears and blazes down the open roads. We then are taken on one of the most entertaining test drives ever recorded. We can feel the G-Force that the passenger is receiving and the slight bit of fear in his eyes. Gordon just pushes the medal down and rips down the roads, only slowing slightly as he drifts in and out of turns. It seems almost stages just how fluid Gordon handles the Camaro, but the argument could be made that the Camaro provided him with this sort of power and handling. Also helps when you are a professional driver, and you drive like this on a normal basis.

When they make their final turn back into the lot, and back up into the spot, the salesman is beyond upset. He storms out of the vehicle furiously, and threatens Gordon with calling the police. Gordon and his camera crew re quick to intercept the upset salesman, and tell him about the prank, revealing his true identity. At first it seems like the salesman, is undaunted and seems a bit upset still—but with time we can begin to see his face shape into disbelief and some laughter. Now we don’t recommend this type of driving, because it will likely do a bit of wear and tare on your vehicle, Camaro or not.  In which case you may need to replace some parts. You can find Chevy service in MD – at JBA Auto.

Let’s start with the fact that pickup trucks occupy a very different marketplace than standard passenger cars.  Truck buyers need their trucks for one primary thing –to carry and move stuff. Just picture, carpenters, plumbers, farmers, and you get the picture.  Frankly, secondary to this mission is fancy styling, fuel economy, and other non-commercial factors.

However, that being said, General Motors felt that there would be a market for a line of pickups trucks that had a hybrid technology incorporated.

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After all, environmental sensitivity is quite wide spread now and most American’s express a degree of concern for good old Planet Earth. So from this intuition (and probably tons of market research) was born the Chevrolet Silverado, the Hybrid edition.

It should serve as no surprise that the Silverado Hybrid shares the same technology as the hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Tahoe, Cadillac and GMC Yukon.  All three (actually four) are built using the same drivetrain technology platform. In particular, a 6.0 litre, 332 HP V8 gasoline engine with nickel-metal hydride battery packages and a two-mode EVT (Electronically Variable Transmisson). If you’re not familiar with it, the EVT is a real marvel in engineering. In the same space as an ordinary Chevy truck’s six-speed automatic are two electric motor/generators, planetary gearsets and four traditional hydraulic wet lock-up clutches.

So how does all this stuff work? In simple terms, the first mode is for  slow speeds when the truck operates solely on electric power, or a combination of the electric and gasoline power. When the truck comes to a stop, the gas engine shuts down. Electricity for the battery pack is supplied by capturing the energy that is normally wasted when the brakes are applied. Mode two operates at faster highway speeds. The electric motors work with the planetary gearsets, so the EVT is capable of an infinite range of gear ratios just like a continuously variable transmission. CVTs are known for optimizing fuel economy, but can’t handle heavy loads. GM’s version of the CVT does so by locking the planetary gearsets to let the four heavy-duty fixed gears take over when carrying heavy loads or towing trailers.

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The Silverado Hybrid is only available in a four-door “crew cab” body style with a short pickup box. There are, however, two trim levels and a choice of either two- or four-wheel drive. As the salespeople at Reedman-Toll Chevrolet in Langhorne, PA tell us the two-wheel drive version of the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid sports some nice stats for a full-size pickup. It can tow up to 6,100 pounds and the bed can haul a little more than 1,400 pounds and still deliver a strong 20 mpg city/23 highway. And, let’s be honest, 23 mpg may still seem terribly inferior to your average Toyota Prius economy but try hauling a load of sheetrock to a job site in a Prius hybrid.

Wow I really need to tell you guys that the 2014 Subaru Forester looks great.  The visual appeal a.k.a. the sexiness of it is so much better than the 2012 Forester.  It doesn’t look like a wagon anymore, and I just have to say thank you to the Subaru engineers because it looked very bad as a wagon.  It was shaped like a rectangle too much.  Now it has a square shape, but it looks good with its square shape.  People will appreciate the ride height but also they will appreciate the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.  Do you remember the times of the big V8 or V6 engines back in the last century and the early half of the last decade?  Well now this is the decade of four cylinder engines that get much better fuel economy.  It’s not unusual to see a vehicle of this size get low 20’s or mid 20’s when we are talking about miles per gallon.

Yes this vehicle probably would have been equipped with a V6 or even a V8 if we were back in the 1990’s or even the early 2000’s, but this is 2013 and gas prices are right near 4 dollars per gallon.  No wonder why this vehicle is equipped with a four cylinder.   Subaru is in touch with the people who want to save money on gas.  They know that people do not have much discretionary income and that people are getting squeezed because their salaries are staying the same and inflation is rampant, so they are doing everything they can to help people save money.

And of course with every year that passes, vehicles are getting more competitive, so the Forester has to keep its edge.  Since it was a 2012 top rated vehicle for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, I’m betting that the 2014 Forester will be in the same category, a top rated vehicle for the IIHS.  If you ask me what vehicle this crossover e=reminds me of, I would tell you a BMW X3.  Now of course I know the X3’s are much nicer because it is made from a luxury brand, but the outside shape of the vehicle kind of reminds me of the outside shape of that one.

Come down to Langhorne and visit Reedman Subaru in PA to see the Forester and our whole lineup of other cars.

Buying a used car such as a Mercedes 4×4 can be fraught with pitfalls for the unwary; whether it’s from a private seller or a registered dealer.

A few simple precautions should be borne in mind to avoid disappointment.

Even with registered dealers, unspotted faults that they should have warned about but didn’t disclose can leave you out of pocket after you’ve made the purchase, and this happens all too often.

Check the history

The first thing to check out is the car’s history. Make sure that it isn’t recorded as stolen, has any outstanding finance issues or was at any point written-off.For a nominal sum you can have the entire history of a car checked out by one of the many car history checking companies to put your mind at rest.

Consult price guides

To avoid getting charged more than the car is worth, look through a few price guides, either online or in print, for similar types of vehicle. You need to know the approximate market value of the vehicle you’re looking to buy to avoid being overcharged.

Arrange a viewing

If at all possible, arrange to view the car at the home of the vendor. Defects in a car’s body can be effectively hidden by rain and darkness, so choose a dry day and don’t go to look at it at night. Most cars look better when it rains, and dents and scratches magically disappear only to become painfully obvious later on. Be careful to thoroughly check under the bonnet and under the car itself for any signs of rust or evidence of an accident.

Ask to see documentation

Ask the vendor about the car’s service history and any MOT documentation, because if they don’t appear to know much about these it could be an indicator that the car has been stolen. Take a good look at the car registration document as well. This details previous owners and states who the current owner is supposed to be.

The car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be found at the bottom of the windscreen or underneath the bonnet and should be the same as the one in the car’s registration document.

Look at the mileage

If the mileage on the clock seems to be ridiculously low for the age of the car, this could indicate clocking, i.e. tampering with the odometer – a sure sign that the bad lads have been at work. The vendor will ask a much higher price for a car with low mileage, so make sure there’s not been any fiddling going on.

Bear these points in mind and you won’t go far wrong when purchasing a used car.

Photo credit : blog.usedcars.com

The Germans have done it again, they have gone above and beyond expectations to create one of the most interesting purely electric models to hit the North American market. The BMW i3 with its lightweight infrastructure allows a respectable range of 60-90 miles fully charged. Which for many who wish to utilize this vehicle is enough for their everyday urban trekking needs. But BMW wasn’t satisfied, and needed to best themselves when they announced recently they plan to integrate their motorcycle inline twin-cylinder to bring that range from 90 miles to almost 250. Almost tripling it!

With other automakers like Chevy and Nissan making large leaps in the electric car market, BMW felt it needed to up their game a bit to even compete within such a niche. This is why they decided to add the option for the smaller 600cc motorcycle twin-cylinder for consumers to purchase. On top of that BMW has already added to the i3 what could be one of the better achievements in the auto world in recent years. They have a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic chassis. This material is incredibly lightweight and it being plastic, still remarkably durable. This cut curb weight allows the i3 to accelerate like it should even if it has a motorcycle’s electric technology inserted. You shouldn’t expect top speeds equal to that of other BMW models, nor to match that sort of acceleration and power, but you can expect for its purpose (urban driving), it will surpass the needs of those who need it.

How does it stack up to the plug-in hybrids or gasoline only city vehicles already on the market like the Scion IQ? Even though the overall range of the i3 is in most cases lower than that of most plug-ins and cars like the IQ, there is still the counter argument that the non-reliance of fuel, and improved electric range with inline twin-cylinder will best both the plug-in and current gasoline powered city cars. Then there is the fact it is a BMW, and the BMW brand itself speaks volumes in comparison to many of the automakers out there today—no matter what they are looking to pitch to drivers.

So what sort of response from consumers should we expect initially and long-term? Well BMW admits they are uncertain on how receptive this i3 concept will be to the North American market, and city dwellers especially, but they do know one thing if they can sell some, some is better than none. They also expect because of the very little restriction that the smaller motorcycle electric will offer, that many will pay extra to opt for the improved range. To be exact they are expecting about 50% of the i3 sold early after its release will be purchased with the option for the extended range. Then shortly after it should slide to something along the 20% area. But in the eyes of BMW—as long as people are buying they know they can move forward with bettering their electric experiments.

As if that wasn’t enough to convince you to purchase the i3, the German engineers at BMW, and the Japanese automakers, Toyota are working together to come up with what they are currently calling lithium-air. It is a new battery technology that is anticipated to utilize the natural oxygen in the air to intake and utilize as a source of power to help the battery last longer—thus improving its overall range. So what if everyone buys one of these new cars with the lithium-air? Will it suck all the oxygen out of our atmosphere? Unlikely, we can be reassured that the BMW engineers and scientists aren’t expecting such a catastrophe—but if it did happen, wouldn’t that be incredibly ironic?

For everything else that is happening with BMW, or if you are interested in some of the other models in the lineup from BMW in North America, then you should check out your neighborhood BMW dealer…such as BMW of Rockville.

Have you though about getting a new vehicle?  If you have, you probably contemplated in your head what kind of vehicle you should get whether it be a car, SUV or truck.  You also probably wonder if it should be a coupe or four door.  While a four door is safer, a coupe is better if you are more concerned about the style you want to ride in. If you are even more concerned about safety, you should look into an SUV or a truck because the added mass is better in the event of a crash.  SUV’s and trucks also allow for much  better towing, but they are gas guzzlers because of the added mass that they have to carry. If you are thinking about going with an SUV, think about the 2013 Jeep Cherokee.

The ’13 Cherokee has a choice between a V-6 or V-8, so that its consumers can be satisfied about its sufficient horsepower or its good fuel economy numbers.  Of course if you want the fastest version of the ’13 Grand Cherokee, pull out all the big guns and spring for the SRT8 performance wagon.   This performance wagon can compete with very luxurious SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and X6 and Mercedes-Benz AMG utilities.  The SRT8 not only competes on the same level as luxurious SUVs but it also is the Grand Cherokee that gets the best amenities.

For 2013, the Cherokee has lowered aerodynamic drag and has made slightly better styling cues, and it also has put some more amenities in the top of the line Cherokee SRT8.  Underway, the Grand Cherokee cabin is very quiet, even with the throttle floored, even over rough pavement. There are three layers of noise insulation, adding to the weight but the quiet is impressive.

Come down to their dealership to find Jeeps in Durham, at Sport Durst Auto!

Love MINIs but need more trunk for your junk? Well, the folks at MINI have come through for you with their new MINI Cooper Clubman. Technically the idea isn’t new, the original Minis, as manufactured by Morris Motors in the 1960s had a station wagon-like model called the Traveler. The Travelers were quite popular at the time and Morris Motors sold quite a few of them.

Today’s version, the MINI Cooper Clubman however, is less utilitarian and can be described as a bit more like a “sports wagon”.  To start it is based on the wonderful styling of the standard MINI Cooper but has a longer wheelbase and a larger cargo area.  It is tempting to draw the conclusion that that the Clubman couldn’t have the handling of a standard MINI because of its larger size and weight but reviewers say it is just about as nimble and racy on the road as the standard MINI models.  Kudos to the engineers at MINI for making this a priority.  Another piece of good news, although the Clubman represents a fair amount more car than the standard MINI Cooper does, it is priced just above standard MINIs.

Like the Standard MINIs, the Clubman offers the standard-aspirated and turbocharged 1.6 liter engines with HP of 121 and 181 respectfully. Transmissions available are the six-speed manual and the optional six-speed automatic.  Both offer outstanding gas mileage in the 27 mpg (city) and 36 mpg (highway) range.

Drivers that actually use the rear seats will find the 2012 Clubman a welcome upgrade over the hatchback models. The extended size and extra wheelbase offers much-needed legroom, and the rear-hinged door on the passenger side makes access far easier. As the title of the article suggests, there is a lot more room for stuff in the back of the Clubman.

One of the most endearing features of the original Mini design was the centrally- mounted speedometer/instrument panel and tachometer mounted on the steering column.  Thankfully, 50 years later, this iconic dash layout remains the same.  Today’s versions look a fair amount more polished but still evoke the quirky look of the original Minis.

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have scored the 2012 MINI Clubman in crash test ratings, however the standard model has performed quite well in safety crash ratings.  It would be reasonable to expect that the Clubman version will do just as well.  According to MINI, standard features are anti-lock brakes, six airbags, stability control and hill-start assist while upgrade options like adaptive headlights and parking sensors can are available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like other MINIs, the Clubman can be extensively customized.  Owners can choose from: unique vinyl decals, a variety of paint colors, lots of technology upgrades and a wide range of performance options. MINI comments that all these options add up to more than 10 million possible combinations.  For those who want the Clubman in race trim, the folks at MINI of Baltimore (serving Washington DC) tell us that the Clubman is offered in John Cooper Works trim.  As the image above illustrates, the John Cooper Works models are very striking automobiles and are in high demand.

The electric vehicle industry is a quickly changing an increasingly competitive market. As more and more automakers join the race to produce the best vehicle powered by electricity, FIAT will officially join that race in the spring of 2013 with its brand new FIAT 500e. The FIAT model will offer drivers an impressive blend of performance with a battery-electric powertrain with a complete recharge in less than 4 hours. The 500e will be 100% battery operated, meaning it produces zero tailpipe emissions without compromising style.  Unlike vehicles powered by gasoline, electric vehicles like the 500e can be conveniently charged overnight at your home.  Charging can also be done using a public or workplace charging station. The FIAT 500e employs regenerative braking, converting vehicle energy and redirecting it to the lithium-ion battery. This special type of braking, often used in hybrids, recovers some of the kinetic energy that would otherwise be wasted and converts it into more electrical energy. The 500e’s powertrain is created by using three main components: an advanced high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack, a high-power electric-drive motor, and a Power Inverter Module (PIM) to manage power flow.

The 500e, like all other FIAT models, will be available in a large range of exterior paint colors, giving you the option to choose something that fits your style.  The FIAT 500e may have some family resemblance to the 500, but it is a car of its own. It features cast-aluminum wheels, larger rear wheels that allow for better rear handling, all-season tires that include low rolling resistance.  A vent, tilt, and slide power sunroof with one touch opening and closing is available as an option. Are you interested in learning more or preordering this model? Just contact your local FIAT dealer, such as Holt FIAT of Ft Worth Texas. They will be happy to answer any questions, and get you on a preorder list.

The available FIAT 500 e-Sport Package takes things to a new level of flair, with a Nero (Black) colored interior with Arancio Elettrico (Electric Orange) trim, Black front and rear fascias, dark wheels with Orange inserts, a body-color spoiler, Orange mirror caps, a body colored instrument panel bezel, unique e-Sport package side graphics, and dark tinted exterior light surrounds.

To help with increase efficiency and range FIAT gives the 500e special aerodynamic refinements. These include an aerodynamically-enhanced spoiler, a diffuser that carries on from the underbody, as well as a front fascia that has been lowered for increased aerodynamic efficiency and optimized for airflow. The special spoilers, side cladding and rear fascia also provide a substantial drag reduction.

Step inside the FIAT 500e and you will find a contemporary design with FIAT’s trademark Italian flair. Six high-performance speakers, 7-channel custom equalization, Series digital amplifier and SiriusXM Satellite Radio all come standard. Steering wheel-mounted audio controls make operation especially convenient.  The 500e instrument cluster features a modern design with a 7-Inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) and Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) display for improved lighting and location of features. The 2013 FIAT 500e seat materials feel like quality, and are available in leatherette with cloth inserts.  Rear fold-flat seating is divided in half to maximize passenger and cargo loading versatility.