Category Archives: AutoTips and Such

What’s Hot, What’s Not

*In late 2019, the top 5 most frequently stolen vehicles of the 2016-18 model years included Dodge Charger HEMI, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Infiniti QX50 4-door, Infiniti QX80, and QX80 4WD, GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab. Others on the most stolen list were Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew-cab, and 4WD model, Mercedes-Benz S-Class 4-door long-wheelbase 4WD, Dodge Charger 4WD, Dodge Durango 4WD, Land Rover Range Rover, Dodge Charger, Nissan Titan crew-cab.

The top 5 least frequently stolen vehicles of the 2016-18 model years included BMW 3-Series four-door, and 3-series 4WD, Tesla Model S-four-wheel-drive, Tesla Model X four-wheel-drive, Chevy Equinox four-wheel-drive, Buick Encore Four-wheel-drive. The other least stolen included Subaru Legacy with Eyesight, GMC Acadia, Subaru Forester with Eyesight, VW New Beetle, Subaru Outback with Eyesight, Subaru Crosstrek, BMW X5, Chevrolet Traverse, Subaru Crosstrek with Eyesight, Lexus RX 450h 4WD, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Honda Odyssey, Cadillac XT5ab short bed, Audi A7 4WD.

Will GM Revive the Hummer?

Is it true that General Motors Co. may revive the Hummer name to sell a new family of electric pickups and SUVs. Those watching the Super Bowl may want to look for the ad featuring NBA star LeBron James, according to those in the know.

If so, the vehicles will be sold under the GMC nameplate. Reuters reported in October of last year that GM is planning to build a new family of premium electric pickups at its Detroit Hamtramck plant, due late 2021.

The Wall Street Journal also reported GM’s decision to move forward earlier, though GM declined to comment. It’s said that GM is considering selling the battery-powered truck in existing dealerships under the marketing name “Hummer by GMC,” reported Bloomberg

GM also has a large SUV in the works for Hummer. It will be produced soon after the pickup truck if the brand relaunch proves successful, according to Bloomberg.

If the company follows through with that plan, it would address the two biggest problems that doomed Hummer 10 years ago: its gas-guzzling image and its costly network of stand-alone showrooms.r

This writer remembers and loved the Hummer well. Driving the Hummer 1 and 2 was folly, but once the Hummer 3 hit the road, it was just the right “BIG” vehicle I would have chosen. In fact, thoughts have often crossed my mind to find a pre-driven 3. It’s not a lot different than driving the Chevy Tahoe or Escalade extra-large SUV’s.

For those who remember, Hummer was a rugged, off-road brand with roots in the military. Dropped in 2010 after GM’s 2009 bankruptcy that also resulted in the demise of Pontiac, Saturn and Saab,GM eventually shuttered Hummer after a deal to sell the brand to an obscure Chinese machinery maker was blocked by Chinese regulators.

GM acquired the Hummer brand in 1998 and sales of the vehicle peaked in 2006 before declining precipitously at the end of that decade as gasoline prices soared, hurting demand for the 10-miles-per-gallon Hummer H2.

Rumor mill says GM plans to build four electric vehicles at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan by the end of 2023. (LMC Automotive told Automotive News, November 2019).

Detroit-Hamtramck was one of four U.S. plants slated to close last year as part of a sweeping restructuring plan, but it was spared by the new labor contract with the automaker that UAW members ratified in October. GM agreed to invest $3 billion to use the factory to build electric pickup trucks and vans.

GM’s involvement in Hummer started in the early ’90s, when it contracted with AM General to sell the civilian version of the HMMWV — High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle — or Humvee, which it called the H1. Then in 1999, GM bought the brand outright and launched the H2 and H3, smaller Hummers based on GM’s rear-wheel-drive platforms. Sales in the U.S. peaked at just over 71,000 in 2006.

Production of the rumored Hummer and another EV likely will start in 2021. It will be followed by electric Sierras and Escalades in 2023, LMC Automotive said.

The investment moves the automaker into a part of the EV market that is largely untested and where GM has a higher likelihood of turning a profit, analysts said. Not alone in EV products, GM is trailing behind Ford, Rivian and Tesla.

Electric versions of pickups and SUVs – the heart of the U.S. market – could help Ford and GM generate the significant sales of EVs they will need to meet tougher emission standards and electric vehicle mandates.

It’s been said if General Motors could have one do-over from its bankruptcy a decade ago, it wouldn’t be to bring back the Pontiac brand. Rather, it had to be Hummer.

Surprisingly, GM still makes money off Hummer. “We own the trademarks, rights, etc. for the Hummer brand. It is utilized today for parts, accessories and licensed products,” said spokesman Jim Cain.

After all that, GM says they have no plans to relaunch the brand. Several reporters have broached the subject with a variety of GM executives, who have quickly shrugged off that notion. But they know what they had and what they lost.

Guess we’ll wait and see.

(Richard Truett, Automotive News).


Roamwild Car Crack Vac

Susan Frissell, Editor

We had the chance recently to try out a new offering from Roamwild, maker of all things automotive, as well as gardening tools. The Roamwild Car Crack Vac is a swell little all-in-one tool that comes in handy when trying to keep your ride clean. Small debris pickup, pet hair removal, and retrieval of those items that have fallen into hard-to-reach places are all part of what this handy dandy tool offers.

The first product of its kind, the Car Crack Vac is small and easily stored in your car or trunk. We tried it on the daily driver, and it worked magic. I’m one of those drivers who is forever dropping something between the seats: Bingo, I now have a ‘tool’ to retrieve said items.  Advertised as the “unique tool to help with all accidents that occur inside the car,” the Car Crack Vac easily removes pet hair. Both sides of the tool are covered in velour lint-catching fabric. This is a must-have for this writer as she totes four dogs with her.

Also part of the Crack Vac are the magnetic crack retrieval tool extending 360 degrees and rotating. You can hook, push and flick objects like keys, coins and phones from the tight spots. Then there is the debris brush for tight places: bristles do the job! Ideal for cleaning is the soft brush for dusting off vents, dashboard and other hard-to-reach areas. Great for detailing. The bright LED light is very useful for covering those ‘dark’ places where things hide.

And finally, all buyers will receive a 100 percent SATISFIED guarantee, or your money back! And, you can keep this handy tool in your center console, trunk, back seat side door pockets, cupholder or glove box!

I may have missed a few of the features the Car Crack Vac offers, but you’ll discover them. I love this little tool and plan to purchase a couple for Christmas gifts. Look it up online or find the Roamwild products on Amazon.

All Straus’d Out

Dani Ben-Ari.

These days 21-year old Aurora Straus is not only busy running to classes at Harvard University, where she plans to study English with a minor in mechanical engineering, but continues to put her pedal to the metal as a professional race car driver on weekends competing in the Pirelli GT4 East races in the Blancpain World Challenge behind the wheel of Rennsport-One Team’s BMW M4GT4 with co-driver Connor Bloum. The pair have been partnered together since 2017. However, she did partner with, NASCAR’s Kaz Grala at Daytona to drive 2nd Bimmer World Racing M4 GT4 in January of this year.

Auora’s first experience behind the wheel came when she was just 13, when her father, Ari Straus enrolled her in a “safe driver lesson” at the Monticello Motor Club in the Catskills, NY, where he serves as its CEO.

While her dad’s intention was for her to learn car control skills, Aurora says that after the session with instructor Stevan McAleer, he let her continue to drive around for a few “fast laps,” just for fun, and “It was like a switch was tripped.”

“I will never forget the feeling of the machine under me. I was so small, and I had never experienced so much power. It was the first time I had ever gone into the triple digits,” said later stated in an interview with the Post.

After that, McAleer, 2015 Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge Champion, began to coach her in Go-Kart racing, and soon had her racing in several International Trophy Cup and Skip Barber Cup races. She then went semi-pro in the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup for two seasons before making her Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge (CTSC) debut at Watkins Glen in July 2016. At the time, the Cold Spring, NY native became the sole teenage girl to compete as a professional sportscar driver in the United States and Canada.

After graduating high school. Straus chose to “Gap Year” before starting Harvard to compete for a full World Challenge season in a BMW, ending the 2018 season, with 4 podiums, including 2 wins, and finishing 2nd overall for the season championship, earning “Rookie of the Year honors.

“Two percent of racing is getting behind the wheel. Ninety-eight percent is raising money with sponsors, testing the car, signing with a team,” she said. “It’s all time-consuming. It’s thousands of hours of work for a race that at any point could go badly. In racing, you don’t have the privilege to try things twice. You have one option and the stakes are extremely high. If you do badly, you’ve wasted tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she told the Harvard Gazette upon beginning the school year.

In the meantime Straus is seeking to help steer other young women towards success through her non-profit “Girls With Drive” Foundation.

“My long-term goal with racing is to use it as a platform for Girls With Drive,” she said. “What sold me on staying in racing was the young girls who came to watch me at the track. I amassed a small following, and they would drive from racetrack to racetrack and I realized I accidentally have an effect on girls. If I didn’t do this, who would be here for these girls?”

Boot it with Cookie

Dani Ben-Ari

The Driving Range

Louise Cook, aka “Cookie,” is actively seeking sponsors as she returns to the road for her World Rally Championship home event, the WRC Wales Rally GB, one of Britain’s largest sporting events. The event kicks off on October 3rd. In doing so, her team is offering supporters a special “Boot It” package giving businesses the chance to benefit from a combination of Rally Car Branding, Social Media content and eye-catching Action Shots from the whole event for £500 ($625.30)+VAT. Meanwhile, “petrol heads,” are being offered the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a rally car on a gravel forest stage for an additional £500+VAT with the Boot It 2 package.

Born May 14, 1987, Louise Cook began her official British rally driver career in the 2006 Rockingham Stages, piloting a Prugeot 205 alongside co-driver Stefan Davis. The youngest driver in the race, Cookie ended up with a rank of 51 out of 105 competitors. Although she later claimed the British Rally Championship Ladies’ title in 2010 and 2011, and became the first woman to win the FIA Production Car Cup for Drivers of 2WD in 2012.

Her subsequent career, however, has suffered several setbacks due to serious health problems including a broken collarbone, which forced her to withdraw from the season-ending Rally Catlunya. Then, just days before she was scheduled to compete in the 2015 Rally d’Italia, she suffered post-surgical problems preventing blood flow from an artery. Consequently, she was rushed to the hospital, unable to compete. Even so, her results throughout the season earned her the title of being the first woman to clinch a WRC title with the FIA Production Car Cup for Drivers of 2WD.

Cook’s greatest setback however, has been financial: Raising the money to compete. In 2017, she was forced to sell several of her trophies on E-bay to cover fees for WRC-3 season that year. Unfortunately, she was still unable to come up with the funding to take part in the fourth round of the season, despite being listed for the Tour de Corse. Yet, thanks to another bout of crowd-funding, Louise was able to drive Team Floral’s Ford Fiesta R2T for the Deutschland in 2018, placing third place, out of four. She then followed the race with a ninth-place finish in the season’s next round, rally Turkey.

If you’re interested in supporting Cookie continue her quest for success on the British World Rally Championship Round, you can donate to the cause by contacting her directly at  louise@rallyteamgb.com

Lexus LC (9260A) 500 Coupe

Introduced in 2018, the LC 500 although not officially a replacement for the SC 430, took a while to appear. Teasing with flashes of the RC coupes, the RC takes on a lot of high-end competitors; namely, Mercedes-Benz SL, BMW 6-Series. Minor updates have been made for 2019, the result is a beautiful iteration of a handsome sports car. Why, there is even room for four-although rear-seating is tight and reserved for those who are small, or under the age of ten. If one does nothing else but gaze at this piece of auto excellence, it sure adds class to any driveway.

Maneuvering Lexus’ 5.0-liter V8 engine is no small task.  Effortless might describe it, but it can be daunting. This writer put the petal to the metal when turning a corner (so passengers could feel what this is all about), not realizing an officer was headed the other direction, keeping an eye on me. Perhaps he was surprised to see a woman behind the wheel! With horsepower of 471, this car is decent and refined, shall we say?  As with all Lexus products, the LC has impeccable manners. Ride quality is as expected from Lexus, the adjustable suspension provides a good between a comfortable coupe ride and sportiness.  The interior is high-quality, the seating in top-of-the-line leather and simulated suede.

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Lexus’ infotainment system is clumsy and awkward. The touchpad interface is frustrating, and we just gave up when trying to find a decent channel. Lexus took aim at improving it by adding Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility, for those accustomed to operating them. The central display is 10-3-inches, including two USB ports, nav system and 12-speaker audio system with satellite radio. Dynamic voice control and in-car WI-FI are also standard. For safety, a forward collision warning with automatic braking and lane departure warning and intervention are standard equipment. A 12-speaker Premium audio system is standard. Would you expect less?

Available in only one trim level, the LC 500 is available in Hybrid, and offers a longlist of standard equipment. Our test LC came with a few options (listed below), bringing the final price to just under $97,000. For those who must have it all, Lexus offers several packages and stand-alone options.  Rear drive and a 10-speed automatic transmission make this a dream to drive. Steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles are also standard. Beginning this year, Lexus reprogrammed the shift logic of the transmission to offer a smoother driving feel.

Also standard are the 20-inch wheels, adjustable suspension, LED exterior lights, heated and auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, auto high-beam control, ambient interior lighting, power-adjustable tile-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise, heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats with driver-seat memory. This coupe is all luxury.

For those drivers navigating chillier temps, you may want to opt for the All-Weather package which includes heated steering wheel and windshield de-icer. And if you must, you can add the Convenience package with front/rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. A Touring package is also available and includes simulated suede headliner, upgraded leather upholstery and Mark Levinson audio.

We would have liked to have a tad more time in the LC, but at the same time, found it a little intimidating taking it anywhere. We got a kickout of starting it up. As with all sports cars, whichever is your favorite, you crave that throaty engine and exhaust tune. You can count on precise steering, handling and braking in the LC. Tuned more for comfort, Lexus didn’t scrimp on performance. Much like my Corvette, the LC is a fine cruising car. In fact, it may perform best out on the highway. Around town driving is also pleasurable as the LC’s suspension is excellent and absorbs all matter of road problems.

What may be a challenge for those in their upper years is navigating the in/out of the low seating. Also, the doors, as with most couples are very heavy and a bit awkward. The high doorsill is high so carefully turning one’s body and stepping out is indicated. The steering wheel swings away, which is another thoughtful help. But those are the prices you pay for a sporty coupe.

Visibility in the LC 500 is good, surprisingly, even with a swooping back window. And interior room is comfortable with two adults sitting up front.

SPECS

MSRP: $92,200; total vehicle price $95,915; delivery $1,025

Engine: 5.0-liter, V8 DOHC 32 valve, Dual  VVT-1 Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence, 471 HP., 398 lb.ft.torque

Transmission: 10-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic

Wheelbase: 113 in.

Length: 187.4 in.

Width: 75.6 in.

Height: 53 in.

0-60: 4.4 seconds

Top speed: 168 mph

Models: Hybrid 500h ($96,810); 500 Inspiration Series ($105,615)

EPA MPG: 16/25

Tank: 21.7 gal.

Seating: 4

Options: Convenience Package: Intuitive Park Assist ($1,000) and Head-up Display ($900); Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System ($1,220); Premium Paint ($595).

Years: 2018,2019, 2020

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2020 Kia Soul X-Line

Always a pleasure, the Kia Soul is a favorite. We have three in the family, one 2020 just purchased. This car just keeps getting better and better. The extended wheelbase adds to a smoother, more even ride. The Soul is quieter, more than accommodating and a pleasure to motor around. In a very crowded field, the Soul easily stands out and has since its inception. The competition includes the likes of the Fiat 500x, Ford EcoSport, Nissan Kicks, Toyota C-HR, Hyundai Kona and Jeep Renegade. We can’t imagine the Soul’s styling ever getting old.

More defined for 2020, the Soul is a tad edgier with sharper light fixtures, a grille that stands out and bigger and brighter “boomerang” taillights. Our test Soul was the x-line model, making it seems a bit more ‘rugged.’ Added are plastic fenders, additional cladding up front, silver accents and trim-exclusive 18-inch wheels. Feeling a little off-road, the 2020 Soul x-line adds new trim, rather than anything functional. Although there has been talk of adding all-wheel-drive to the Soul’s lineup, it hasn’t happened yet.

Matching the Soul’s exterior changes are some inside the car, including a silver trim panel on the front door. Triangular air vents are up-to-date, and the cloth seats are attractive, sturdy and two-tone black and grey texture.

The standard engine produces 147 horsepower which seems adequate for a car of this size. One can opt for the turbocharged engine of the GT-Line. Horsepower is increased to 201 hp. And torque at 195 lb.ft. The 2020 Soul LX trim level offers optional 6-speed manual, the EX trim gives you 17-inch wheels and the GT-Line, and GT-Line Turbo have the 18-inch wheels.

The standard engine in the 2020 Kia Soul provides 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, while the available turbocharged engine of the GT-Line adds some desired omph. Turbo trim increases horsepower to 201 and torque to 195 lb-ft.  The 2020 Soul LX trim has the option of a 6-Speed manual transmission or an Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) while all the other trim levels equipped with the standard 2.0L Inline 4-Cylinder engine work solely with the IVT.  The turbocharged engine option pairs with a 7-Speed Dual Clutch transmission for optimal fuel economy specs.

All trim levels of the 2020 Kia Soul have auto on/ off headlights and the top trim level gets loaded with LED headlights, LED taillights, LED positioning lights, and the EX and GT-Line Turbo trims have heated outside mirrors as well.  The LX and S trim levels have 16” wheels while the EX trim level has 17” wheels and the GT-Line, X-Line, and GT-Line Turbo have trim specific 18” wheels.

The interior has been somewhat updated and provides a 7-inch color touchscreen display (10.25 inch in top two trim levels). All offer Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity; the GT-Line Turbo trim adds Harman Kardon audio with subwoofer.  Wireless charging capability is offered on the GT-Line Turbo and EX trim, as well as automatic climate control, smart key with pushbutton start/stop and dual level cargo board for added cargo space.

As expected in today’s automobiles, safety equipment abounds, including dual front advanced airbags and seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, hill-start assist and tire-pressure monitoring. Auto on/of headlights are always helpful, a roof rack is standard for tose needing extra cargo carrying options. Power windows, A/C, AM/FM/MP3 , remote keyless entry, cruise, tilt/telescopic steering column and center console all standard.

Our test Kia came equipped with the X-Line package which includes Blind Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning, Lane Change Assist, X-Line Exterior Body Cladding, Front Fog Lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, Roof Trim and leather wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, at no charge.

One can’t miss with this little gem of a Kia product. From it’s distinctive styling, to pricing, to clever and comical advertising since 2010, the Soul is our favorite pick of all the available hatch’s on the market today.

SPECS

MSRP: $21,490; total vehicle price $22,615 X-line features included

Engine: 4-cylinder, 16-valve, 2.0-liter, multi-point fuel injection, 118 lb. ft. torque, 130 hp

Transmission: 6-speed automatic,CVT, FWD

Wheelbase: 101.2 in.

Height: 63.5 in.

Width: 70.9 in.

Length: 163 in.

Tires: 235.45/r18

Wheels: 16-inch Steel wheels (standard)

Weight: 2,942 lbs.

Tank Capacity: 14.2 gal.

Warranty: 5 yr/60,000-mile limited basic warranty; 5 yr/60,000-mile Roadside Assistance, 10 yr/100,000-miles limited powertrain

Trim levels: 1.6-L, 6 M/T ($16,490); 1.6L, 6 A/T (18,190); 2.0L+6 A/T ($20,490); 1.6T! 7 DCT ($22.990); EV ($33,950); EV+ ($35,950);

2019 Mazda3 Hatchback, w/Premium Package

There seem to be plenty of hatchbacks on the road these days; always a handy combination of pizzazz, spunk and space.

Included are the likes of Chevy Sonic, Chevy Cruze Hatch, Ford Focus, VW Golf GTI (a favorite), Hyundai Veloster, Kia Forte5, Buick Regal Sportback, Audi A3 Sportback 3-tron, Honda Fit, and BMW3, to name a few. Pricing varies as does the image one wants to portray. Our hatchback from the fleet was the 2019 Mazda3, with the Premium Package in the Polymetal Gray Mica with red interior. A different kind of gray, the Polymetal stands out, making its own statement rather than blending in with today’s popular gray and silver paints.

For the most part, we enjoyed driving the Mazda3 hatchback, except when first attempting to go somewhere. We found it necessary to pull out the manual to figure out how to undo the automatic parking brake: Start car…buckle seatbelt…put car in gear and tap accelerator. Doesn’t seem that hard, but it was frustrating. Not all vehicles today automatically throw on the parking brake. The need for it, we’re not just sure, unless you’re parking on a hill.

The other irritating feature was the sound system, operated from the center console (Multi-functional Commander Control), much like Lexus’ system. There were two preset stations (one religious, the other Far Right talk radio: neither one to our liking) we couldn’t get beyond. Never did I figure out how to find other available stations, how to set them or even find something else to listen to. I’m sure it’s much simpler than assumed, but I lost the patience needed, apparently, to get it right.

Somewhat modest, yet comfortable, the Mazda3 interior is small, but accommodating for 4-5. Not much legroom between the rear seats and the front seats for long-legged passengers. The remaining cargo space, with rear seats up, is limited. Nothing about the dash or interior of the Mazda3 stands out. Simple and functional, but nothing worth noting. Standard equipment is as usual including A/C, alloy wheels, AM/FM/Radio Bose (12 speakers), automatic headlights, cargo area light, cruise, daytime running lights, driver/front passenger climate controls, electric steering, interval wipers (we liked this), leather steering wheels, power adjustable exterior mirror, power door locks, power windows, rear window defogger, rear wiper, remote lock, speed sensing locks, steering mounted controls, telescoping steering tilt steering and tire inflation/pressure monitor. Front seats were heated, and sound system includes the Bose 12-speaker and 8.8 inch color display screen.

Options on our test Mazda3 hatchback included cargo mat ($90), floor mats, all-weather ($125), illuminated door sill trim plates ($425), frameless auto-dim mirror ($275), navigation so card ($450), and the Premium Package, including Active Driving Display (windshield), Adaptive front Lighting System, leather seats, black finish alloy wheels, front LED signature illumination, Rear LED Signature Illumination, Power sliding glass moonroof, and paddle shifters. Safety features include anti-theft engine immobilizer, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rearview backup mirror, advanced smart city brake support. Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control, Driver Attention Alert, ABS w/brake assist, front-side impact airbags, Advanced Dual front airbags, side impact and front/rear airbags, along with Lane Departure Warning System and Lane Keep Assist. We had to get used to the Smart Brake Support which let us know with a chime that both brake pedal and accelerator pedal were being applied simultaneously.

Mazda suffered an unexpected fall in sales of its core Mazda3 compact sedans and hatchback. Due to a remodel of their cars and revamped engines aiming to compete with premium European brands like BMW. However, the price increases that accompanied the changes backfired as U.S. drivers continue to prefer SUV’s and larger vehicles.

The Mazda3 is a fun car to drive and agile around turns. Rated by Popular Mechanics to be one of the best Hatch’s on the road, the Mazda hatch’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 186 horse is spunky and enough for the size and weight of the hatchback. Don’t expect to be overpowered. It’s peppy and might be able to compete with the VW GTI. What you will get though, is the Mazda promise of traditional “fun,” even if the price tag is a tad higher than choices like Kia Soul, Chevy Sonic, etc.

   

SPECS

MSRP: $28,900; total vehicle price $31,460, delivery $920, total $31,460, 5 seats

Engine: 2.5-liter, DOHC 4-cylinder, 186 hp, 186 lb. ft. torque.

Transmission: 6-speed automatic, FWD

Tires: 215/45/R18

Wheels: 18-inch alloy

EPA Fuel Economy: 24/32 mpg., up to 26/35

EPA fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gal.

Wheelbase:107.3 in.

Height: 56.70 in.

Width: 70.70 in.

Length: 175.60 in.

Weight: 3,082 lbs.

Cargo volume: 20, 1 cu.ft.

Trimlevels: AT4-door, SKYACTIV ($21,000), Select AT4-dr. SKYACTIV ($22,600), Select AT 4-Door SKYACTIV AWD ($24,000), Preferred AT 4-Door, SKYACTIV ($24,200),2.5 AT 5-Door SKYACTIV AWD ($25,000), Preferred 2.5 AT 5-Door SKYACTIV ($25,200), Preferred AT 4-Door SKYACTIVE AWD ($25,600), Premium AT 4-Door SKYACTIV ($26,500), Preferred 2.5 AT 5-Door SKYACTIV AWD ($26,600), Premium AT 5-Door, SKYACTIV ($27,500), Premium MT 5-Door SKYACTIV ($27,500), Premium AT 4-Door SKYACTIV AWD ($27,900), Premium 2.5 AT 5-Door SKYACTIV AWD ($28,900).

Warranty: 60 mth/60,000-mile powertrain, 36 mth/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper, 24-hour roadside assisstance

Editorial,Susan Frissell, Publisher

What was once very much a ‘rite of passage,’ obtaining a driver’s license was first on the list of most of my friends when we turned 16. Perhaps not so in other cultures, but very much so in American culture.  What was once so exciting, has become a nerve-wracking event for teens and parents alike. Motor-vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among drivers aged 16-19. This age group is also the group with the highest risk of crashes.

Hand in hand with this fact are the financial implications. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016 15- to 19-year-olds made up only 6.5% percent of the population. Yet, they were responsible for 8.4% percent of all costs resulting from motor-vehicle injuries. This percent does not include the costs of auto maintenance, insurance premiums, possible traffic citations and other vehicular incidents, big expenses that can increase over time.

To work on this reality, WalletHub analyzed the teen-driving environment in all 50 states using a collection of 23 key metrics. The data includes ranges from number of teen driver fatalities to average cost of car repairs to presence of impaired-driving laws.

Although teens are responsible for their own driving consequences, much of the emotional and financial burden goes to the parents. In those areas, the study determined, it is up to lawmakers to implement programs and policies to reduce the numbers of accidents, fatalities.  a panel of experts were asked to share their thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What tips do you have for parents of teen drivers?
  2. What is the biggest risk that teen drivers face?
  3. What tips do you have for minimizing the costs (insurance, etc.) associated with having a teen driver in the household?
  4. Should we increase the age at which an individual is eligible for a license to 18?
  5. What should policymakers do to increase the safety of teen drivers?

Among some of the findings of the WalletHub study were states with the most teen DUI’s: Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota and South. The states with the fewest DUI’s included Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. And those with the highest number of teen fatalities included South Dakota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama and Wyoming.

Those states providing the best teen driver’s graduated driver-licensing program laws include Delaware and New York. Those states with the worst programs were Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming.

Formula E Championship Shayk’n and stirred during Season Finale in Brooklyn

The Driving Range….Dani Ben-Ari

Bradley Cooper’s ex, Russian supermodel Irina Shayk certainly got motors racing  when she showed up for the ABB FIA Formula E season finale at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook Sunday July 14th. In fact, drivers and fans alike found her electrifying as she posed along side several drivers, as well as Formula E Founder and Chief Executive Officer Alejandro Agag after the pair took a spin together in a BMW i8 safety car.

“Driving the car with Alejandro was so exciting. It’s amazing to see how far Formula E has come in the 4 years since I was at the race in Los Angeles. The positive message Formula E brings regarding sustainability and renewable energy is commendable and I’m honored to be here for the final race of the season,” commented Irina .

While Shayk cheered on Nissan e-dams’ driver Sebatien Buemi, who won the first half of the double-header event on Saturday, and Robin Frijins of Envision Virgin Racing who captured the checkered flag on Sunday, neither driver was able to prevent last year’s Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne of the TECHEETAH team from taking his the championship title in the ABBA Formula Series for the second consecutive year. Vergne won the series thanks to the sport’s complicated points system.

Keeping Score

In addition to using the standard FIA 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1, three points are awarded to the driver who captures the pole position. Meanwhile the driver who sets the fastest lap (provided they finish in the top ten) receives another point. A driver’s end of season total comprised his best results.

Meanwhile, each of the 11 competing teams’ total is calculated by combining the scores for their two drivers throughout the season. As the this year’s finale, five teams still had a shot at winning the season’s two-day finale set on a temporary track along Brooklyn’s waterfront Races are run on temporary tracks from 1.2-2.1 miles long set up in cities around the world beginning the season at the Ad Diriyah Grand E-Prix in Saudi Arabia and continuing on in Santiago, Chile; Mexico City; Hong Kong; Rome; Seoul, Paris, Berlin, London; Los Angeles; and New York. An additional site is set to be announced for China for the 2019-2020 calendar year.

Each event commences with two practice sessions in the morning, an opening 45-minute session followed by a further 30-minute session. Qualifying sessions (lasting a total of one hour) are held later in the day. During that time, the racers are split into four groups of five or six, with each group having six minutes to set their best lap. Full power of 250 kW is available throughout. Since the second season, the six fastest drivers then go out again, one-by-one, in the Super Pole shoot-out to determine the top six grid positions.

Note: Founded in 2011, Formula E, is the first major battery-electric motor sports series. Formula E is similar to Formula 1. However, while E–race cars may appear to look like their Formula 1 counterparts they do not have their speed or endurance. Each team designs and builds its own drivetrain all Formula E cars which are now powered by an 800 lb electric battery capable of going from 0-60 in 2.6 seconds, but only have a top speed of 175 mph. Races, themselves, last only 45 minutes plus one lap.