3-Wheeled Wonders

We live in a great time today, where the startup culture is making life more interesting and shaking up the stodgy, entrenched establishment. Nowhere is this more evident than in the automotive industry.

The biggest player at this point is Tesla. The Model 3 is selling swiftly and the anticipation of them announcing a new, smaller SUV is growing every minute.

Elio

Another company looking to make a splash is Elio Motors. Their three-wheeled, two-person gasoline commuter vehicle was poised to make a huge impact but manufacturing setbacks have all but killed their momentum.

Elio Inside

Enter Electra Meccanica. What began in Italy as a company(Intermeccanica) built to deliver high-end custom cars(specifically Porsche 356s) has evolved into a Canadian manufacturer of electric vehicles.

Solo

Their first product is called the Solo and it’s strikingly similar to the Elio in concept but different in execution. Where the Elio has it two front wheels as open nacelles the Solo looks more like a traditional car, with the wheels under the main fenders.

Solo Inside

Another big difference is the use of electricity to propel the Solo. It’ll go an estimated 100 miles on a full charge where the Elio, with it’s small and efficient gasoline engine projected to get 84 miles per gallon. If the tank is 3 gallons, which has not been specified yet, then you can go around 250 miles on a tank. Of course, this is all theoretical since neither vehicle has made it to mass production mode as of this writing.

The other big design difference between the two is in the name…Solo. It’s a vehicle for exactly one person. The Elio sports two seats, in tandem, so you can take your bestie along for a fun time.

So what do they cost? Well, I’m glad you asked. The Elio is supposed to start at around $7500 US. Not bad for a commuter car and sometimes beach ride. The Solo, however, has a US MSRP of $15,500.

So let’s break this down…For half the price of the Solo, you can buy an Elio, have more fun because you won’t be waiting 3 hours to charge your battery, bring a friend, and use your savings to take some nice experience-minded trip.

The choice is yours.

Thanks for reading!

…See You Down The Road!

Advertisements

2020 Ford Explorer

Ford has done it again by enhancing their storied vehicle known as Explorer. The update brings some goodness back to the marque in the form of standard rear-wheel drive (RWD). This makes me happy and sad all at once. Happy because I’m a huge supporter of RWD. Sad because there are people out there who would rather have front-wheel drive. But I digress.

The 2020 Explorer has a slightly more aggressive look with its bolder styling and edgier lines but the overall shape hasn’t changed much. The front end is probably the most-changed, and most noticeable. A little more angular, a little more aggressive. It’s a subtle change that might put off some people.

Then there’s the profile…the creases and cuts are a striking departure from the old, more organic, styling. Think of this result as someone with six-pack abs; they worked hard to get them and want to show them off all the time.

The stance is a little more aggressive, which belies its new RWD architecture.  It’s another good change made to the vehicle.

Inside, the most noticeable  change is the addition of a tablet-looking display, not unlike the one found in the new Ram pickup. The biggest difference between Ford and Ram’s execution is the Ford tablet looks tacked on, whereas the Ram is integrated into the dash lie it was designed to go there from the beginning. An 8-inch version with SYNC 3 comes as part of the standard equipment and there’s an optional 10.1-incher in portrait (taller rather than wider) for more ways to see what you want to see. Think Navigation on top radio on bottom. There’s also Apple Car Play and Android Auto and Waze navigation. Nice.

Power delivery comes from either a 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline four cylinder (300 hp, 310 lb-ft), a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 (Platinum: 365 hp, 380 lb-ft; ST: 400 hp, 415 lb-ft), or a 3.3-liter V6 hybrid (318 hp combined output). All models come with a 10-speed automatic and either RWD or “intelligent four-wheel drive with front axle disconnect”.

On pricing, according to Ford, there are “more than a dozen new standard features for only $400 more over the previous model”. Sounds like a bargain.

Thanks for reading!

…See You Down The Road!

2019 Kia Niro

Kia has come a long way, baby. The new Nero is a cool little car that promises a lot of niceties in its hybrid packaging.

New in 2018, it carries over mostly unchanged for 2019. This means it’s a well-put-together hybrid will all the goodies you’d expect from Kia.

The nose is very Kia-esque, with the familiar, almost kidney-like grill, flanked by the headlights and turn signals. The profile is of a small hatchback, not an SUV as you might expect, with a prominent character line and lower rub strip. Out back there is a generously-sized hatch with large tail lights And a blacked-out license plate area. And don’t forget the large spoiler that finishes off the sporty look.

Inside is a comfy cabin will all the modern accoutrements you’d expect with almost any newer hybrid like a trick instrument cluster that can show you how much, or not, you are driving economically and saving the planet with bright green leaves, or barren twigs.

Pricing for the Niro starts just under $23,500 and goes up to over $32,000 for the top-of-the-line…without options.

2020 NAIAS

You may or may not have heard that the North American International Auto Show in Detroit will be moving to June in 2020!! With increasing completion from other shows and, let’s face it, Detroit in the middle of winter is no beach party, it’s about time they made this move. It’s for the betterment of the whole Detroit auto scene.

“Our show is undergoing its most significant transformation in the last three decades,” said Rod Alberts, Executive Director, NAIAS. “Detroit will continue to be a global stage for some of the world’s most significant and iconic vehicle reveals and host an unparalleled international audience of media and key industry influencers.”

Cobo Hall
Heart Plaza
Campus Martius

Check out all the info here!

2019 Ford Ranger Pricing

Announced back in January, the upcoming 2019 Ford Ranger is a stunner and the news keeps getting …better? Pricing was recently announced and it’s not great but could be a lot worse.

Base XL 4X2 models will start at $24,300, XLT at $27,940, and Lariat at $32,210. And, each comes with a $1,095 destination charge. Ouch.

These prices are a little more expensive than some of Ranger’s competitors, especially the lowest model. The Nissan Frontier, for example, starts at $18,990. The Chevy Colorado starts at $20,200. On the flip side, the Toyota Tacoma starts at $25,400 and the Honda Ridgeline, though not really a full-fledged pickup truck as we know it, starts at $29,990.

So, the new Ranger is not the least expensive option but is also not the most expensive, at least to start.

Top-end Lariat Rangers start at $32,210 and can top out above $45,000.

It’s a good-looking truck and anticipation is growing for its release.

For more information click here.

Thanks for reading!

…See You Down The Road!

Fiat 124 Spider

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth†It’s always a good day when you can get behind the wheel of a little convertible on a warm sunny day. it’s even better if that car is performance oriented, with good handling accompanying good power and great looks.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth†The FIAT 124 Spider Abarth is a fine automobile with a long history, but most here in the United States have no clue about it. FIAT pulled out of this market way back in the early 1980s so those born around that time and after have not heard of the brand or the poor quality and low sales that were the demise of FIAT in the US.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth†Thankfully, the brand is making a resurgence in the US in the early 21st century times we are in. The breakthrough model was the 500 and it now has three different variants; 500, 500L, and 500X. All three share components and a common look, with the 500 being the little car that could and the L and X models wearing larger clothes as they are small SUVs.

The odd duckling is the 124 Spider. It is a collaborative effort between FIAT and Mazda, which is a wonderful thing for you and me. With handling and all-around goodness of the MX-5 Miata and Italian styling based on the original 124, this new car has got a lot going for it.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider LussoPowering the 124 is a turbo-charged inline 4-cylinder making 160 horsepower and torque of 184 pound-feet. The Abarth gets a five horsepower boost and the same torque. Both versions get a choice between two 6-speed transmissions, one manual and one automatic.

Yes, it resembles the Miata, mostly in the side profile, but there’s only so much you can do to change the look. I think Fiat did a great job of differentiating the 124 from the Miata on the outside. Inside, you get Mazda, which is not a bad thing. Comfy seats and a tight cockpit make for an exhilarating ride!

Thanks for reading!

…See you down the road!

2018 Ford EcoSport

fordecosport_08_hr.jpg

As the decline of the sedan in the American market continues, automakers are scrambling to meet the demand for the fastest growing segment, the small SUV (AKA, CUV). Honda has the HR-V, Toyota has the CH-R, Chevy has the Traxx, and even Buick has the Encore, to name a few. One of the last car makers to offer a smaller SUV is Ford. They plan to fix that for 2018 with the EcoSport.

The first thing you notice about the EcoSport is its Ford-ness. The front is unmistakably Ford, with a version of the grill that’s found on most of Ford’s product line these days. That rear, however, is unlike almost everything currently for sale…it’s not the looks, it’s the rear hatch that is actually a side-hinged door. That door is hinged on the Driver’s side (in the US) and is quite large, the better for garages that have height issues according to Ford. Other than that big door, EcoSport keeps the family resemblance to the Escape, just a bit smaller.

fordecosport_10_hr.jpg

As with any new launch, EcoSport comes with a bevy of tech features that should keep all those millennials out there satiated for at least a four-hour road trip. One of the more interesting upgrades is an available B&O Play (by HARMAN) premium audio system. If you’ve ever heard their speakers then you know that this is a very good thing. There’s also Ford’s ubiquitous SYNC, currently in version 3, SiriusXM, and also Apple Car Play and Android Auto viewable on the standard 4.2-inch touch screen or the available 8-inch touchscreen!

Ford EcoSport

Powering EcoSport is a couple of smallish inline engines; a 1.0-liter EcoBoost® (123 horsepower/125 lb.-ft. of Torque) three-cylinder with Auto Start-Stop is standard with six-speed automatic transmission. Then there’s the available 2.0-liter Ti-VCT (166 horsepower/149 lb.-ft. of torque) four-cylinder with Auto Start-Stop which comes standard with all-wheel drive. The EPA expects EcoSport to get 27 city and 29 highway on the 1.0-liter. As of this writing, mileage figures for the 2.0-liter are not available but shouldn’t be too far off the 1.0-liter.

There are four EcoSport models to choose from in 2018. Here are the starting prices for each trim level: S ($19,995), SE ($22,905), Titanium ($25,740), and SES ($26,740)

 Thanks for reading!

…See you down the road!