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Jun
26

Apple CarPlay is Coming to Buick and GMC, Android Auto to Follow

Author JoeC    Category Comparisons     Tags

Apple CarPlayGeneral Motors is finalizing the next steps necessary to get Apple CarPlay into the first GMC trucks for the 2016 model year. Coming close behind the new Google I/O system, auto integration with smart technology will be a fascinating race to watch, with success being determined both by initiative and quality. The Apple CarPlay will start with GMC trucks and then be integrated into some Buick models.

Leading Up to the Release of Apple CarPlay

In San Francisco last month, Chevrolet displayed what their Android auto and CarPlay tech could to for their upcoming models. According to them, 14 Chevrolet models will be equipped with the suite by 2016, complete with MyLink infotainment systems. And because of the similarities and shared technology between CarPlay and GM’s IntelliLink infotainment, other GM brands can be expected to see Google software and Apple software making their way into vehicles around the same time.

What to Expect From Apple CarPlay

The automaker in question revealed its intention to equip several of their upcoming models with this system. The 2016 versions of the GMC Canyon, the GMC Yukon, and the GMC Sierra will all be available with this infotainment program from Apple. An 8-inch IntelliLink infotainment system will house the Apple CarPlay software, with Android Auto being added to the unit by the end of the year.

One exception to this configuration is the GMC Sierra, which employs a 7-inch screen instead of an 8-inch one. The screen should be the only difference, however. After the GMC trucks receive their treatment, Buick is next. An 8-inch screen with Apple CarPlay will come standard on the 2016 Buick LaCrosse and the 2016 Buick Regal, while the Android support will be added later this year.

The system has been designed with the intention to perform seamlessly in concert with the driver. It will allow full access to navigation as well as audio application controls, and more, letting a driver focus on the road.

If you want to stay informed on the release and progress of the Apple CarPlay system and all things that car fans enjoy, bookmark our blog and check back frequently!

Jan
27

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette vs. The 2014 Porsche 911

Author JoeC    Category Comparisons     Tags

A battle of the performance superstars is at hand, and with such a rich history behind each vehicle, it’s not easy to determine which comes out on top. Both the 2014 Chevy 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 800pxCorvette Stingray and the 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S boast substantial performance specifications and hefty price tags, but even with the scale generally tipped in the Porsche 911’s favor, it looks like the new Corvette Stingray can certainly hold its own against the German engineering of its counterpart.

  • Side-by-Side Power Comparison: Under the hood of the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray is a Pushrod 6.2L V8 engine that is capable of 460 hp and a whopping 465 lb-ft of peak torque. The engine noise of the new Corvette Stingray is a pretty significant roar, which is a stark contrast to the silkier purr of the 3.8L flat-6 engine that moves the 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S. The Carrera S model’s powertrain puts out 400 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, but despite the torque deficit, the Porsche beats the Corvette by a tenth of a second in the quarter-mile.
  • Interior Space and Style: The 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray has the driver seated in a narrow well between the door panel and the vehicle’s center console. However, the red leather seats, dashboard, and carbon-fiber trim accents put the new Corvette above other cars in its class. The 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S beats the Chevy Corvette Stingray when it comes to space though. Its airy cabin is much less cramped-feeling than its competitor.
  • Price Point: Just under the six-figure price ceiling, the 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S has a starting MSRP of $99,850. For muscular performance at a discounted rate, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is the answer with its starting MSRP of $51,995.

The Ultimate Choice

While the new Chevy Corvette Stingray is much cheaper than the new Porsche 911 Carrera S, there is a reason for this. If you’re willing to shell out the extra money, the 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S delivers more responsive, agile handling, and hyper-efficient shifting thanks to its 7-speed manual transmission. The 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray is capable of higher speeds with a much larger engine, but its chassis and 6-speed manual are a bit stiffer when it comes to controlling the vehicle itself.

Nov
27

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is an Affordable Small Car That Packs a Big Punch

Author JoeC    Category Comparisons     Tags

Fiesta ST

For just over $21,000, drivers can experience a performance-inspired vehicle unlike any other. The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST may not look intimidating from the outside, but it manages to deliver a whopping 197 hp with its 1.6L EcoBoost I-4 engine and six-speed manual transmission.

With all of that power, the Fiesta ST hatchback still manages to earn excellent EPA fuel economy ratings. This model is expected to get 26 mpg for city driving, 35 mph on the highway, and a combined rating of 29 mpg.

Innovative Design

What’s under the hood is not the only reason that the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST impresses. It offers a sleek and sporty exterior design that serves a variety of purposes other than simply being attractive.

  • Twist-beam rear axle: This feature helps to minimize understeer as well as increase rear roll stiffness.
  • Low center of gravity: This eye-catching design element improves response and stability.
  • Unique sport suspension: The latest Fiesta ST offers Enhanced Torque Vectoring Control for better agility and stability. For even better road grip, there are effective springs and shock absorbers.

In addition to this car’s racing silhouette, there are plenty of styling touches that give this vehicle the look of a World Rally Championship competition vehicle. Dual chrome exhaust tips, wide wheel arches, and body-color side rocker moldings are just a few of the many reasons why this vehicle is sure to get noticed.

Drivers also have the option of selecting the ST Recaro Package, which is definitely worth the added cost. The low seating position of the leather trimmed front seats keep you completely comfortable when hitting the road at top speeds. When temperatures start to drop, the seats are also heated.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST Delivers a Smooth and Quick Ride

One of the best things about the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is how well all of the elements of this vehicle work together. Its remarkable torque and its finely tuned suspension do not stand out, but that is actually a positive. Every part of the vehicle operates cohesively for a highly enjoyable driving experience.

Sep
3

Chevy Suburban vs. Ford Expedition

Author JoeC    Category Comparisons     Tags

The full-size SUV market has dwindled recently, as many drivers have switched over to the smoother ride of crossover utility vehicles. However, for the driver who still 2013 Ford Expedition 2needs to carry a lot of cargo while still having plenty of room for a large family, the full-size SUV still makes a lot of sense. There aren’t a lot of these models left on the market, but both Ford and Chevy still manufacture the best you can find. Let’s take a look at how the 2014 Chevy Suburban compares to the 2014 Ford Expedition.

Price

Full-size SUVs are never cheap, but the Ford Expedition comes with the lower starting price than the Suburban. A new Expedition has an MSRP of $39,075 while the Suburban is priced at $45,065. The question then is it worth it to pay more for the Suburban? Let’s see exactly what you’ll be getting.

Power and Capacity

If you’re looking for a work horse, then this is probably the most important category. Both engines come with a V8; Chevy’s 5.3L is capable of 320 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque while Ford’s 5.4L has an output of 310 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. That extra torque translates to a larger towing capacity: the Expedition can tow up to 9200 pounds while the Suburban can do 8100 pounds.

Before you discount the Suburban though, it does spoil you with choice. Both vehicles are Flex Fuel compatible, but the Suburban is more fuel efficient. It’s rated at 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway (one better than the Expedition in both categories) and its gas tank holds three more gallons of gas, meaning fewer trips to the pump. The Suburban can also hold more cargo: 137.4 cubic feet vs. 108.3 cubic feet. That may make a big difference to some people.

Vehicle Features

That extra $6000 in the price tag does count for something as base Suburban models do offer a lot more features than the standard Expedition. You get Bluetooth, navigation, satellite radio, better seat materials, remote ignition, a rearview camera, and more. All of those are either optional or unavailable on the standard Expedition. If you’re very interested in features, then the Suburban may be the better buy.

Aug
15

How do Race Cars Stack up to Regular Street Legal Cars?

Author JoeC    Category Comparisons     Tags

Ever feel like you could go toe-to-toe with the monsters of the track? Ever think you could take your beat up ’98 Honda Civic onto the speedway and clean-up? Well you’re Formula 1. Sepang. April 2010wrong, but it’s not just because of skill. Race cars are packed full of high-tech and high-power. Take a look at how some famous race cars compare to each other and to your average street legal cars:

  1. NHRA Top Fuel Funny Cars are probably the most powerful – but not the most sophisticated – cars in the world. These monsters can generate around 10,000 hp and lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately there’s basically no dynometer that can handle that level of force, so it’s impossible to pin down exactly how much force these cars make. These cars use 8.19L V8 engines burning nitromethane and methanol – as much as 15 gallons in ¼ mile! – to hit speeds of 330 mph in less than 4 seconds.
  2. Formula One is one of the most sophisticated racing series on the road, and unlike drag racing, these cars have to both brake and turn. These cars use an incredible 2.4L turbocharged V6 that spins at up to 18,000 rpm – about 3 times what most drivers ever hit – that propels the single seat open wheeled cars at speeds up to 220 mph. Those engines can crank out 750 hp and around 300 lb-ft of torque.
  3. NASCAR, the biggest racing series in the United States, uses cars that are much closer to production vehicles. That doesn’t mean they don’t cost a few million to develop. These cars easily hit 220 mph and use a 5.9L V8 to crank out 850 hp and 530 lb-ft of torque.
  4. The World Rally Championship requires that cars be based on production vehicles. The engine must be a 1.6L direct injection turbocharged four-cylinder and four-wheel drive is required. The WRC includes mixed terrain like gravel, snow, and asphalt. The power is limited around 300 hp and torque will land somewhere near 440 lb-ft. These cars will hit 140 mph.
  5.  While engine technology has come a long way over the years, and many consumer vehicles share inherited performance oriented technology like turbochargers, your average compact, likely has somewhere in the neighborhood of 120-130 hp. The first generation Civic, introduced in 1973 cranked out a whopping 50 hp. Remember that race cars are also stripped down to only the basics, and are usually both safer and lighter than your average consumer car. What it really boils down to is: don’t try this at home.
Aug
12

Luxury Crossover Comparison

Author JoeC    Category Comparisons     Tags

If you’re lucky enough to be shopping for an ultra high-performance crossover, you’ve got some great options right now. Two of the premier choices in the segment are the 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG (2)2013 BMW X6 M SUV and the 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG. Both boast incredible performance, high-tech comfort and convenience features, and the high class workmanship that you expect from these premium German manufacturers. Here’s how they compare:

Performance

The two cars take similar approaches to performance: they both come with turbocharged V8 engines that send power to all wheels. The BMW gets a 4.4L mill good for 555 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. The Mercedes-Benz comes with a 5.5L V8 good for 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. There’s no way to you can go wrong with either of these machines, but if you need to break it down, the BMW might offer more top-speed with the horsepower advantage, and the Mercedes-Benz should give more shove off the line with the added torque.

Comfort and Convenience

Both of these cars feature all the expected luxury amenities like premium leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, the respective manufacturers’ concierge and telematics services, heated seats, and much more. Unfortunately the svelte BMW will only seat four, while the Mercedes-Benz will seat five. If that middle rear seat is a selling point, though, you might just want to look at a different class. The Mercedes-Benz again offers more space when it comes down to cargo: you can take 38.2 cubic feet of stuff with you with all seats up and 80.3 cubic feet with the rear row folded down. The BMW will only take 25.5 cubic feet and 59.7 cubic feet max. That extends to towing as well: the Mercedes-Benz can pull 7200 pounds while the BMW can tow up to 6,000.

The Verdict

Both of these luxury SUVs boast rubber burning performance – in reality they’re closer to sports cars than sport utility vehicles. Choose the Mercedes-Benz if you still want the capability to haul a little cargo or pull a trailer. While the BMW can do both of those things better than a sedan or a sports coupe, it’s certainly leans more toward the sport side, rather than the utility side of SUV. On the other hand, you get a sleek and undeniably stylish profile with the BMW. Neither are bad choices.

Jul
20

The Military Hummer vs. the Commercial Hummer

Author JoeC    Category Comparisons     Tags

The Hummer was released at the peak of the SUV craze when manufacturers were trying to top each other by building bigger and bigger cars. Among these was the imposing and powerful Hummer. Part of the appeal of owning Hummera Hummer is that it’s actually a light tank used by the United States Army. Well, sort of. The military Hummer and the commercial one in your driveway are a little bit different.

Vehicle Capability

The US military needs to be able to tackle all types of terrain, and the nice thing is that your H1 can do that too, to an extent. For instance, military models are capable of fording water up to 60 inches; in comparison, the H1 can tackle up to 30 inches. The driver compartment in the H1 is water proof, though. Both vehicles can tackled up to a 22-inch step and a 40% side slope with a 60% grade. Your H1 has a few things that the military one does not like antilock brakes, safety locks for doors, and an automatic traction system.

Vehicle Protection

If you were thinking about using your Hummer as a tank, you should probably think again. Here are a few military features that you aren’t going to find on the H1:
• Ballistic protection for when you encounter enemy combatants
• Vehicle camouflage with a coating to protect against chemical attacks
• Optional M16 rifle mounts and an optional turret for a machine gun
• A blackout lighting mode for secret operations (this definitely wouldn’t be street legal)

Comfort Features

What the military model doesn’t have, though, is a lot of comfort features that are found in the H1. In fact, the military model is so Spartan, it doesn’t even have many features found on bargain subcompact cars. The military model doesn’t have power windows, power locks, an audio system, glove box, power outside mirrors, cup holders, or even air conditioning, which you would think would be a must for missions in the Middle East.

While you’re not going to be capable of taking control of any hostile territories, I think most consumers are going to enjoy the H1 a bit more. Driving in the military model seems like a pretty unpleasant experience.

Dec
3

2013 Honda CR-V vs 2013 Ford Escape

Author Jim    Category Comparisons     Tags , , , , ,

Entry-level crossovers are quickly becoming a popular choice of car buyers and more often than not consumers are choosing between the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. These two small SUV’s dominate the market and for good reason. They both offer great design, well built and efficient engines and just enough room in the cockpit to fit the family and cargo. It’s fitting then that we compare the 2013 Honda CR-V and the 2013 Ford Escape.

We’ll start with Price, MPG and HP

Price:

2013 Honda CR-V – $22,695 msrp
2013 Ford Escape – $22,470 msrp
MPG:
2013 Honda CR-V – 23 city, 31 hwy
2013 Ford Escape – 23 city, 33 hwy
HP:
2013 Honda CR-V – 185
2013 Ford Escape – 168

2013 HONDA CR-V

The Honda CR-V was introduced in 1995 and to this today we are still trying to figure out what the heck CR-V stands for. Some say it stands for “Compact Recreational Vehicle” while others maintain that it stands for “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle”. Regardless of the meaning the CR-V is great Crossover and should be in your sights if you consider an SUV. With a stylish design Honda brings a balanced look to the 2013 CR-V. Available in many different colors and trims, it’s hard not to be happy with the appearance of the CR-V. If you’re wondering how the 2.4L four–cylinder engine performs; the answer is very nicely. So nice in fact that you will be pleased with the great gas mileage and 185 hp. Honda usually gets it right and they continue getting it right with the 2013 Honda CR-V.

2013 FORD ESCAPE

Over the last number of years the Ford Escape has offered some stiff competition to the CR-V. The 2013 Ford Escape has a more aerodynamic design that gives it a very sporty look. I’m personally a fan of the new design. You have a choice of 3 different engines, but since I chose the 2.5L Duratec the specs come in with a respectable 168 hp and very good gas mileage to boot. Capacity space is comparable to the CR-V so no issues there. Perhaps one of the coolest features of the new Escape is the hands-free lift gate which allows you to open the rear compartment by waving your foot under the bumper. That’s what I’m talking about!

THE VERDICT

This is a tough choice. I love everything about both of these cars. Here’s the deal, it’s a tie game and we’re going into overtime. What’s this? The Ford Escape busts out with the lift gate that opens up with your foot. That my friends is a tie breaker. Sometimes it’s the little things that matter. 

Nov
21

2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon vs 2012 Land Rover LR2

A friend of mine had a Jeep Wrangler in college and I have to tell you that it was love at first ride. There are some vehicles that gain a loyal following and the Jeep Wrangler is no exception. In most cases there are no true competitors to the Jeep Wrangler, but in recent weeks my attention has been drawn to the Land Rover. The Land Rover has a very loyal customer base and is gaining more recognition as an alternative choice to the Jeep Wrangler. I’m pretty excited to compare these two four-wheel drive beasts. For our comparison we will look at the 2012 Land Rover LR2 and the 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.

We’ll start with Price, MPG and HP

Price:

2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon – $34,095 msrp
2012 Land Rover LR2 – $36,550 msrp
MPG:
2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon – 17 city, 21 hwy
2012 Land Rover LR2 – 15 city, 22 hwy
HP:
2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon – 285
2012 Land Rover LR2 – 230

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is outright powerful! With 285 HP and 260 pound-feet torque traversing terrain and towing your toys is no problem. The fuel efficiency is what you would expect for Jeep, so no surprises there. Jeep changed their overall look a few years back, but they still kept the classic overall design, but with enough updates to keep it current. The Rubicon looks current and tough. The Rubicon also boasts the best traction of any other Jeep and features best in class water fording.

The Land Rover LR2 is a tough SUV with great style. It has great features like Terrain Response which delivers comfort, handling and refinement. The LR2 is available with a 3.2 liter, 230-horsepower, and inline six-cylinder engine. The look is tough and sporty with 18 inch sparkle finish alloy wheels with the option of  19-inch, 10 spoke sparkle finish alloy wheels. It has nearly the same MPG as the Rubicon and even though 230 HP is beefy, it’s nothing compared to the 285 HP that the Rubicon is packing.

This is an easy one for me. The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the way to go. More HP, slightly better MPG and $2,000 less; yeah, sign me up! Jeep is just bad ass. Put it this way, if Red Dawn ever really does happen do you want to be in a Land Rover or Jeep Wrangler Rubicon?

Nov
11

2013 Honda Accord LX vs 2013 Hyundai Sonata GLS

Author Jim    Category Comparisons     Tags , , ,

The Honda Accord has ruled the midsize sedan market, but lately Hyundai has been gaining more respect with the help of great design, good performance and a noteworthy warranty. Five years ago I would have chosen a Honda over a Hyundai hands down, but these days I’m not so sure. I thought it a good idea then to compare the Honda Accord LX and Hyundai Sonata GLS.

We’ll start with Price, MPG and HP

Price:

2013 Honda Accord LX – $21,680 msrp
2013 Hyundai Sonata GLS – $20,995 msrp
MPG:
2013 Honda Accord LX – 27 city, 36 hwy
2013 Hyundai Sonata GLS – 24 city, 35 hwy
HP:
2013 Honda Accord LX – 185
2013 Hyundai Sonata GLS – 198

Lose all your preconceived notions about the design of Hyundai’s. Today’s Hyundai’s look sleek and fresh thanks to Hyundai’s new Fluidic Sculpture design and the Hyundai Sonata GLS is no exception. Hyundai is probably best known for their great warranty. They call it “America’s Best Warranty”; 10-year/100,000 mile power train limited warranty. With a warranty like that you can drive with confidence. The performance of the Sonata GLS is satisfying. It offers plenty of power and great handling. It’s a great car for the price and competes very well against the likes of the Honda Accord.

The Honda Accord LX is like your favorite pair of jeans. You just can’t give it up. The Accord boasts a bold, sporty and sophisticated look. It fits well with all types of personalities, fun, casual, business. The design is well done and the minor tweaks added each year add to the elegance of the Accord. Though I don’t believe Honda has the same great warranty as Hyundai, Honda does have a record of building quality cars. The Accord LX has great acceleration and enough power to compete with the likes of the Sonata’s 198 HP. With the help of Honda’s Eco Assist, the Accord achieves great gas mileage.

It’s a tough decision, but I’d have to with the 2013 Hyundai Sonata GLS. It has more power with nearly the same gas mileage as the Accord LX. I’m also a fan of the new look of the Hyundai. Years ago, I’d probably be embarrassed to drive a Hyundai, but they’ve made enough right moves to make a believer out of me.