About: Autolove

Joe Mavilia is a syndicated columnist with more than 35 years in the automotive industry. He is a member of the Motor Press Guild and Automotive Press Association. His reviews have been published in print media including the Los Angeles Times, The Golden Transcript - Colorado, La Feria News - Texas, The Pasadena Weekly - California, and others around the country, including www.theweekenddrive.com where he is the West Coast Editor. Reviews and Opinion Columns may also be seen in Sunnews.org and The Country Journal every week in the Antelope Valley, CA. I hope they are helpful

Recent Posts by Autolove

2018 Kia Cadenza Limited

2018 Kia Cadenza Limited

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Kia Cadenza Limited. This was one of the surprises out of the many reviews I’ve done over the past quarter century. Surprise in the sense a relatively recent newcomer to the auto marketplace. Kia and this Cadenza is up to the challenge of a seeming never end of competitors. The sedan simply fits the needs of most of the market for transportation. And although the SUV is the most popular option of design, gas prices, sure to rise, will put up a barrier to up to the larger ‘sleds’ and sedans will once again look to be a better solution.

Station wagons were popular in the 1950s through the 1970s, but utility is very important, and thus explains the popularity of SUV’s to cover most transportation needs.

My first car was a 1934 Chevrolet coupe two seat car, it was equipped with a rumble seat for two more it put that couple out in the cold…. Literally. We were in California, so the weather wasn’t as much of a problem to this ‘convertible-like’ top down condition where the wind through your hair on the way to the beach was just fine.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Hwasung, Korea; Parts- US/Canadian 1%, Korea 87%; Engine and transmission- Korea; Classification is- Large Cars; Cars from Kia- Cadenza, Forte, Forte 5, K900, Niro, Optima, Rio, Rio 5-door, Sedona, Sorento, Soul, Soul, Sportage and Stinger.

Opinion:

Inconsiderate drivers. It is no revelation to anyone that operating a car is a serious responsibility. Too many, however, put all drivers at risk and it should not be tolerated, and too often “Road Rage” is the unwanted response of those other drivers.

I believe it is the Responsibility of the DMV (department of motor vehicles) to be strict in testing one’s knowledge of ‘driving etiquette’.
Good Manners = Safety
Safety always comes first. But in many cases, actions that keep you safe are also courteous. Here are six important safety reminders:
1. Always wear your seat belt and insist that your passengers do.
2. Never drink and drive. These safeguards are the most thoughtful acts of all as they can save lives.
3. Driving a car requires your full attention. Distractions, such as putting on makeup, snacking, using your iPod, texting, or chatting on a cell phone, interfere with your ability to respond physically and mentally.
4. Signal your intentions. Using your turn signals before turning a corner or switching lanes is a must.
5. Drive at the speed limit. Driving too slowly can also cause accidents.
6. Keep some distance between you and the car ahead of you. Tailgating is both aggressive and a sure way to rear-end someone who stops suddenly.

Handling & Performance:

This Cadenza is really a comfortable ride, that is fast, handles the curves nicely, is good looking and doesn’t argue with every direction taken. Kinda like the list of things I look for in my search for a mate.

Styling:

Sleek and elegant design. My test car was painted Snow White Pearl – lovely.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

As expected for a car in this class.

Conveniences and comfort:

You’ll note it comes with an outstanding features list.

UVO eServices infotainment: With the UVO app on your smartphone, a few taps are all it takes to connect to your Kia at any time and from anywhere. From hands-free calling and texting, GPS, music on the road, to roadside assistance, vehicle diagnostics and parking minders off the road, UVO puts the convenience of connected driving right at your fingertips. The Parking Minder sends your parking location to your smartphone to help guide you back to your Kia.

Autonomous emergency braking: Radar sensors warn driver of an unexpected vehicle or pedestrian danger. A warning sound is engaged and if no response by the driver, the system will initiate braking.

Consumer Recommendations:

I always recommend consumers to include Kia in their car buying decision options. It is a proven competitor. I have and continue to ask everyone I meet what they think of the product and find there is a universal positive response.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Kia Cadenza 46,000 23 5 4 Korea Korea
Acura TLX 45,000 24 5 4 Japan USA
Audi A4 46,000 31 5 4 Germany Germany
BMW 3 Series 50,000 25 5 4 Germany Germany
Buick Regal 36,000 24 USA Germany
Cadillac ATS 46,000 24 5 4 USA USA
Chevrolet Impala 37,000 22 5 4 USA Canada
Lexus ES Series 40,000 24 5 4 Japan Japan
Lincoln Continental 46,000 20 5 4 USA USA
Nissan Maxima 39,000 25 5 4 Japan USA

Good News:

Elegant, full featured luxury car that is well priced.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

3.3 liter gas injected V6 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, 19” alloy wheels, front, side and full length side curtain airbags, 4-wheel ABS braking system, traction, stability and hill start controls, tire pressure monitor, dual zone climate control with rear vents, Nav system with 8” touch screen, rear camera, UVO eServices infotainment system, Android and Apple smartphone integration, Harmon Kardon Audio with Sirius XM, Bluetooth technology, Happa Leather seat trim, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, keyless entry and push button start, smart power trunk, Heads up display, power tilt and telescopic steering column with memory, power rear window and manual side sunshades, autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning system, smart blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert, land departure warning system, surround view monitor and rear parking assist system, LED headlights and fog lights, panoramic sunroof, auto rain sensing windshield wipers, power folding heated mirrors with turn signals.

Gas Stats:

$3.49-Gal avg. December 1, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

20 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $ 44,890.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

Driving a Manual Transmission

Driving a Manual Transmission

By Phil Shuyler

Automatic transmissions are king. Some may not like it, but it’s just a fact that most people prefer driving without a clutch. There are some however that LOVE a manual transmission. They enjoy the connection they feel with their car, the engagement they have when rowing through the gears, and the control they have over their transmission and thus the car as a whole.

No one is embracing this more than Honda. As a company, they realize how important it is to keep the manual transmission alive. They currently offer manual transmissions in 9 of their 18 vehicles, including the North American Car of the Year, the 2018 Accord. The other vehicles are the Civic Sedan, Civic Coupe, Civic Si Sedan, Civic Si Coupe, Civic Hatchback, Civic Type R, HR-V and Fit. Three cheers for Honda and their commitment to the manual.

Honda also has one of the easiest to use manual transmissions available. They’re great for learning and Honda actually held an event in Los Angeles earlier this year that was geared toward teaching people how to drive a manual. Most of the attendees had zero experience and after less than 2 hours, they were comfortable enough to leave the parking lot and hit the real streets of LA. That says a lot for how easy it can really be once you start to learn. A lot of people are intimidated by manual transmissions, and I can totally understand why, but once you take the plunge and give it a try, you’ll find it quickly becomes second nature.

One of the best features that’s now on nearly every manual car is “Brake Hold.” This alleviates most people’s biggest fear, which is when the car begins to roll before you have it in gear. This is especially terrifying if you’re going up a steep hill and have to stop and someone pulls right behind you. Someone less experienced will only be thinking “don’t roll back and hit that car, don’t roll back and hit that car.” And now with brake hold, you can take your foot off the brake and you have up to 5 seconds to begin moving forward, and once you do, the brake will be released. So you can look like a manual driving pro right from the start!

There are companies throughout the U.S. that specialize in teaching people how to drive a manual, and if you have any interest in learning, I’d encourage you to give it a try. Your passion for driving will thank you later.

2019 Nissan 370Z Roadster Review

2019 Nissan 370Z Roadster Review

By Phil Shuyler

There’s nothing like hitting the road in a roadster. Put on your sunglasses, lather up with sunscreen, drop that top, sit back, and relax. Add the optional Passion Red premium paint and a 2019 Nissan 370Z and you have a recipe for fun. The 370Z is the successor to the 350Z that began production in 2001. The 370Z was unveiled in Los Angeles in 2008 and began production in 2009.

PERFORMANCE

The 370Z Roadster is by no means a high performance machine, however it’s no slouch either. In the world of convertibles, it fits somewhere in the middle. All trims have a 3.7L V6 with 332 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Peak horsepower comes at 7,000 RPM and peak torque comes at 5,200 RPM, so you’ll have to rev up the engine to really feel the power. And redline is at 7,500 RPM, so you’ll really be pushing the limits of the car to achieve top performance. All trims also receive a 7-speed automatic transmission with downshift rev matching and big column mounted paddle shifters. For those wanting a manual transmission, you’ll have to opt for the 370Z Coupe – no stick in the roadster. The transmission is extremely responsive, especially when using the paddles. Keep those shifts smooth and the RPMs down and you’ll see fuel economy of 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

Handling is a strong point for the Z with its front and rear stabilizer bars, Nissan sport brakes, and vehicle speed-sensitive power steering. The feel of the wheel is good, however it does not telescope, so finding the right driving position might be challenging for some drivers.

INTERIOR

Inside there’s a 7” infotainment screen that includes your navigation (with live traffic), phone and audio. There are 23 buttons just below the screen, which seems a little excessive, however our only real complaint was that with all of those buttons, there’s no button to access your audio. You have to press one of the 3 source audio buttons (FM-AM, SAT, DISC-AUX) in order to display your audio on the screen.

One interesting feature is the RCA inputs in the center arm rest. This allows you to connect a video player that can be watched on your infotainment screen when you’re not moving. So, you could drive to a romantic lookout and watch the sunset with a video of a fireplace playing on the screen. Or, you could watch your favorite show while you’re waiting for your friend at the airport. Of course you could also just use your phone, but isn’t it nice to have a second option?

The seats are comfortable and higher trims have a mix of cloth and leather with heated and ventilated functionality. The gauges on the dash help create a sporty feel as do the analog speedometer and tachometer gauges. The top goes up or down in around 20 seconds, which feels extremely slow, however it is comparable to the competition. Also note that it only works when you’re stopped.

The interior materials are made up of both semi cheap looking plastics as well and premium feeling suede. Seems like an odd combination. And speaking of odd combinations, the Z is the first car I’ve ever seen with 2 backup camera screens. Put the car in reverse and you’ll see a backup camera on the infotainment screen AND on the rearview mirror. I guess you can never be too safe.

COMPETITION

Someone wanting a small, exhilarating convertible has a wide variety of choices. On the low end (both in price and performance) you have the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Fiat 124 Spider. Those rock around 155 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque and start right around $25,000. Then on the higher end (without going totally out of control), you have something like the Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster or Jaguar F-Type. The SL starts around $88,000 while the F-Type starts around $64,000.

Enter the 370Z. The base car starts at $41,820 and the Sport Touring trim starts at $49,400. Not too bad, however you then have to consider the Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster that starts at $48,000 and the new BMW Z4 that will probably start just over $50,000. So by spending a little more, people can get a “European sports car,” and to some that means a lot. If you can find a Z for under $40k, now you’re starting to get a good deal.

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Review

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Review

By Phil Shuyler

The Chevy Tahoe is currently in its third generation is America’s best-selling full-size SUV. I like to think it’s both a beauty and a beast. The styling is attractive, interior comfortable, and both V8’s roar like a lion. It’s easy to see why the Tahoe has done so well as it represents all that is good about full-size SUVs. It has tons of power, feels big and tough, and has the ability to go just about anywhere.

ENGINES

Lets jump right into the powertrains. You can choose between a 5.3L V8 or a 6.2L V8. Both are available in any of the 3 trim levels (LS, LT or Premier) and can be either 2 or 4-wheel drive. The 5.3L engine has 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque and the 6.2L has 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. Our test vehicle was fitted with the 6.2L, which had all the power you need and the growl to go along with it. Oddly enough, the 5.3L has a higher maximum towing capacity (8,600 lbs vs 8,400 lbs) than the 6.2L.

DRIVING

Fuel economy is 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for the 6.2L 4WD and 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for the 5.3L 2WD. Those are good numbers for such a powerful V8 that’s carrying well over 5,000 lbs when empty.

Out on the road, the ride is smooth and controlled with the Premium Smooth Ride suspension (standard on LS and LT) or the Magnetic Ride Control (standard on Premier). Both help make the truck based vehicle feel much more like a car than a stiff, rigid pickup. Those wanting an even more supple ride can opt for smaller wheels (18” standard on LS and LT, 20” standard on Premier). And if you prefer to make the suspension work a little harder, the Tahoe has 8, that’s right, 8 different 22” wheel designs available. In total, Chevrolet offers 14 different wheel options for the Tahoe.

Some of the available safety equipment includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, and Adaptive Cruise Control. There is also a Safety Alert Driver Seat that alerts the driver with vibrations in the seat rather than audible alerts. This is helpful when you don’t want to alarm your passengers that you’re not a very good driver.

INTERIOR

On the inside, the options list goes on and on. Some of the highlights include built-in 4G Wi-Fi, up to 7 total USB ports, available wireless phone charging, remote start (on all trims), tri-zone automatic climate control (on all trims), available rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray player, 110V power adapter in second row (on all trims), and a standard rear-view camera (on all trims).

In front of the driver, there’s an available head-up display and a standard 4.2” multi-color Driver Information Center between the gauges. For those wanting even more, there’s an 8” customizable enhanced display available on Premier models. All trims receive an 8” infotainment touch screen that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Music lovers will want to upgrade the standard 6-speaker sound system to the 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system.

If you have an enormous family or you decide to take the entire team to soccer practice, you’ll be pleased to know the Tahoe can seat up to 9 people. Keep in mind that capacity is only with the base LS model as it’s the only one with a bench seat available up front (bucket seats are also available on the LS). That base trim is also only available with cloth seats – no leather. In the second row, LS models can only have a 60/40 bench while the LT and Premier models can have either the bench or captains chairs. All models include a third row. They go up and down manually in the LS and LT trims and are powered in the Premier.

Total cargo capacity behind the front seats is 94.7 cu. ft., which could fit a small circus if needed. As a comparison, the Suburban (the Tahoe’s big brother) has 121.7 cu. ft. of total cargo capacity.

One cool feature we’re seeing more and more is communicating with your vehicle via your smartphone. The myChevrolet Mobile App allows you to lock and unlock the doors, start or stop the engine, set parking reminders, send destinations to your vehicle’s navigation system, and view a variety of vehicle diagnostic information. Pretty handy stuff for many people in their everyday lives.

The 2018 Chevy Tahoe starts at $47,900 and can push $80,000 if you check all the boxes. For those needing a lot of space for people and cargo, the Tahoe is king of the hill.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 T SEL Premium

2019 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 T SEL Premium

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 T SEL Premium. Now this is what I’m talking about. I like the attitude of the management of VW from what I’ve learned from Press Conferences at Auto Shows and published press releases. I have confidence in the brand generally and specifically in that I’ve owned 4 VW’s over the years. Very old to brand new. Nothing has changed my opinion of the product and can recommend it completely.

As to the Jetta, I’ve never owned one, but I have tested them over the past years they have been on the market and it is one of my favorites in the industry.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Puebla, Mexico; Parts- US/Canadian 10%, Mexico 28%; Germany 30%, Engine – Germany, Transmission – Japan; Classification is- Compact; Cars from Volkswagen- Atlas, Beetle, CC, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf Gti, Golf R, Golf Sportswagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan & Touareg.

Handling & Performance:

Excellent handling and performance for a car in this price range, and better than most in class.

Styling:

Styling is always on my preferred list.

Fit and Finish:

Very Good. I look back over more than half a century and recall most things made or built in Japan, China and Mexico were of poor quality. That was the early years but today those countries have matured to be undistinguishable from the US and Europe quality.

Cost:

Well priced in a world where quality of German engineered and built cars is first class.

Conveniences and comfort:

Great ride that is fast, comfortable and most all the required features in my bucket list.

Consumer Recommendations:

Although Jetta is at the higher end of pricing in class, look carefully at all options and I think you’ll find the Jetta is a bit more solid in feel

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Country of Origin Assembled
VW Jetta 28,000 34 5 Germany Mexico
Toyota Corolla 23,000 32 5 Japan USA
Honda Civic 24,000 36 5 Japan USA
Kia Forte 23,000 34 5 Korea Korea

Good News:

Solid ride, good features and very good fuel economy.

Bad News:

On the high side of pricing in this class.

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter Turbo 4-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, electro-mechanical power steering, 6-airbags, antilock disc brakes, anti-slip regulation, electronic brake distribution, stability control, intelligent crash response system, forward collision warning, LATCH child safety system, rear camera, tire pressure monitor, 17” Alloy wheels, auto headlights, heated power side mirrors, driver heated power adjustable seat, leather seating, 60/40 split folding rear seat, blind spot monitor and rear traffic alert, lane keep system, high beam control, adaptive cruise control (smart Cruise), keyless entry and push button start, touch screen navigation system, AM/FM/HD audio and CD player, USB, Bluetooth, Voice control, Sirius XM.

Gas Stats:

$3.65/ Gal avg. November 26, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

30 City and 40 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $26,945.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Kia Rio EX

2018 Kia Rio EX

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Kia Rio EX. I hadn’t reviewed a Kia since 2016 and always trumpet this company as price competitive and a reliable product. I haven’t heard anyone bad mouth the product including readers, consumer or any journalist colleague. On the contrary, at auto journalist gathering the talk is how good the product is.

Consumers have apparently experienced what I have and that is seen in the huge growing number of Kia products on our highways. It’s always nice to be validated in predicting based on my exposure to all manufacturers. In the case of Kia / Hyundai, I’ve had the opportunity of visiting their manufacturing facilities and meeting all levels of labor and management. I was encouraged by meeting those people and learning their policies to be noble.

Kia, in this class, is so well priced I can’t imagine anyone being without transportation in cities like Los Angeles. That is not true is places like New York City where parking is virtually an impossible obstacle to owning a car. Thus, it makes total sense to ride public transportation as they do.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Pesqueria, Mexico; Parts- US/Canadian 2%,Mexico43%, Korea55%; Engine and transmission- Mexico; Classification is- Compact; Cars from Kia- Cadenza, Forte, Forte5, K900, Niro,Optima, Rio, Rio 5-door, Sedona, Sorento, Soul, Soul, Sportage and Stinger.

Handling & Performance:

Well, it is light weight at about 2700 pounds and thus is a little light on its feet which you feel in high winds on the open highway. But it is a solid city-friendly and commuter compact sedan that handles well around town and to and from work, etc.

Its small 4-cylinder engine serves it well on city streets but a little light weight on those highway road trips. You will think twice about traveling slow behind a slow truck and then wanting to pass. But if you are moving with traffic it is not a problem passing other traffic.

On-the-whole the Rio is an unexpectedly comfortable ride, even on longer trips. One must keep the pros and cons in perspective when you look at its functionality in light on the cost to buy and operate as well.

Styling:

Simple clean lines. Well-appointed and nice look and feel inside.

Fit and Finish:

Good.

Cost:

Exceptional value.

Conveniences and comfort:

UVO eServices is a subscription-free OEM infotainment and telematics service offered in America on select vehicles. UVO is short for your voice and activates media such as the HD radio, CD player and built-in digital jukebox. It also can interface with your Bluetooth-enabled phone.

Good high-tech features for the money and competitive in class.

Consumer Recommendations:

This is a great young family car and especially when budget is important. This is a great value.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Kia Rio 19,000 32 5 4 Korea Mexico
Nissan Versa 17,000 34 5 4 Japan Mexico
Ford Fiesta 20,000 30 5 4 USA Mexico
Honda Fit 20,000 36 5 4 Japan Mexico

Good News:

Great value, good fuel economy, great company, good features listing.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

1.6 liter gas injection 4-cylinder 130 hp engine, 5-speed automatic transmission, 15” alloy wheels, 6 airbags, Latch child safety system, ABS braking system, traction and stability control systems, stability management, hill start assist, tire pressure monitor, air conditioning, power windows, heated mirrors and locks, AM/FM/MP3 with 7” touchscreen and rear camera, UVO eServices and Infotainment system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Sirius XM, USB and AUX input jacks, Bluetooth, cloth seating, 60/40 split folding rear seats, remote keyless entry, tilt and telescopic steering column, leather wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, steering wheel controls for audio, cruise and Bluetooth, automatic emergency brake, forward collision warning system and fog lights.

Gas Stats:

$3.79 Gal avg. October 23, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

28 City and 37Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $18,400.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0T SE

2018 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0T SE

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0T SE. I had heard the Beetle was going to be discontinued as a model. I was shocked. Can’t be, I thought. It is a lovely car with a rich history since the late 1930’s. I’ve owned several and they occupy a special place in my heart. They have indeed announced the line will be shut down in July 2019. Sad. One would have to assume it is because they are not being received well enough by consumers to continue them. Sad indeed, because it is impressive (not so small) car.

To me, if I were to give a car to my kids to go to college, I would consider a VW “Bug” or a Fiat 500 than most others. But I recognize that if sales are down and the consumer no longer supports this model, that is what counts in the final analysis. I’ll miss it and many others will not be able to experience the magic of the VW BUG.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Puebla, Mexico; Parts- US/Canadian 12%, Mexico 45%; Other 43%, Engine – Mexico, Transmission – Japan; Classification is- Compact; Cars from Volkswagen- Atlas, Beetle, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf Gti, Golf R, Golf Sportswagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan & Touareg.

Handling & Performance:

A solid ride that handles well in all highway conditions. It is FAST and fabulously fun to drive. Engine brake assist is an engineering feature to prevent possible skidding when downshifting.

Styling:

Classic Volkswagen look that is unmistakable.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent, but of course that wasn’t always true, as with all early automotive products.

Cost:

Priced very well.

Conveniences and comfort:

Very well equipped. A super comfy ride. Recent experience was on the highway to and from San Diego area (from LA) where high winds and high speed combined for an impressive ride. As some will recall that was a deadly combination for 1960s models of the Beetle. They were very light, and the undercarriage was like a sail that could launch you from lane to lane under windy conditions. The Carmen Ghia, I owned, was the exception in design to make it more wind resistant.

Consumer Recommendations:

All the competition listed here are very good inexpensive transportation. VW and MINI are arguably the most stable performers but I also like the Fiat a lot which is a tough price competitor.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Country of Origin Assembled
VW Beetle 25,000 29 4 Germany Mexico
MINI 26,000 26 4 Germany UK
Fiat 500 21,000 30 4 Italy Mexico
Ford Fiesta 22,000 29 4 USA Mexico

Good News:

German/American icon with a great track record, good fuel economy, powerful Turbo acceleration, competitively priced.

Bad News:

Discontinuing the model in 2019.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter turbo 4-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, 4-wheel independent suspension, front, side and side curtain airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, engine brake assist, anti-slip regulation (traction control), electronic brake force distribution, stability control, intelligent crash response system, LATCH system, tire pressure monitoring, 17” alloy wheels, auto halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated power mirrors, rain sensing intermittent wipers with heated washer nozzles, power tilt and slide sunroof, dual zone climate control, leather wrapped multi-function steering wheel, tilt / telescopic steering column, front heated 8-way manual adjusting seats, 2nd row 50/50 split folding seats, leatherette seating, rear view camera, blind spot monitor and rear traffic alert, keyless access with push-button start, composition media 6.3” touch screen, multi-band radio & CD player, dual USB inputs, 8-speaker sound system, Sirius XM satellite radio, Cruise control.

Gas Stats:

$3.55/ Gal avg. November 12, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

26 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $24,020.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Fiat 500 C POP Cabrio

2018 Fiat 500 C POP Cabrio

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Fiat 500 C that is what I refer to as a pea popper. But it is much more than that, and it comes to us from the largest car company in the world. Yep, Fiat must be doing something right.

Cost is just one of the reasons for you to check it out. The last Fiat I reviewed was a Fiat 124 Spider that I have loved since I had great experience with the Spider I owned in years past.

F I A T was an acronym for “Fix it Again Tony” that we’d kid about back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. That’s when I owned a Foreign car repair shop in La Canada, CA. Most of the time back then repairing and maintaining Fiat cars were small things that were annoying but not expensive to fix. Of course, over the past decades the entire industry has had the benefit of newer technology and all are light years apart from then to now. Today Fiat remains at the top of the list of quality reliable cars.

I traveled to Poland in the 1990’s where I found how Fiat was “The Car”. In Europe as in many parts of the world Fiat had a cult following. Like most places in the world gas is a very dear and expensive commodity. Thus, consumers are stingy with gas and demand more of manufacturers. I realized with small town streets driving and parking is friendlier to smaller cars like this Fiat 500.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Toluca, Mexico; Parts- US/Canadian 11%, Mexico 54%; Italy 16%; Engine – US; Transmission – Italy; Classification is- MiniCompact; Cars from Fiat- 124 Spider, 500, 500c, 500e, 500L and 500 X.

Handling & Performance:

It handles like a dream. It is Turbo fast, provides a solid ride and you’ll be impressed with how it corners. It was great on the ‘Crest Test’ mountain course where its performance is truly put to the test. Nice.

Styling:

It is Cute and attracts the eye of most I come in contact with.

Fit and Finish:

Very well put together.

Cost:

It is pretty hard to complain when the cost is surprisingly easy on the budget. You get a lot of bang for the buck and it blows my mind to think transportation can be so inexpensive.

Conveniences and comfort:

The standard features speak well of most of what I like to see on the car I’ll be driving for many years to come.

Consumer Recommendations:

Fairly small field of players so pretty easy to narrow down your preference. Budget will make a difference and considering 25% more for the MINI and VW Beetle these may be eliminated right off the bat. The Smart car is ALL electric and separates itself from the rest and surely is a real consideration as it may only apply to the less demanding transportation requirements. I’ve tested them all at one time or another so I’d rate them (for me) Fiat, Fiesta and Fit, one – two and three.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Fiat 500c 19,000 30 4 2 Italy Mexico FWD
Ford Fiesta 22,000 29 5 4 USA Mexico FWD
Honda Fit 19,000 31 5 4 Japan Mexico FWD
MINI Cooper 26,000 28 5 5 UK Germany FWD
VW Beetle 25,000 29 4 2 Germany Mexico FWD
Smart for two 19,000 35 2 2 Germany France RWD

Good News:

Fast, fun to drive, easy handling, comfortable ride and priced for most budgets.

Bad News:

Limited size in all cases. Need will dictate.

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter MultiAir 135 horsepower Turbo Engine, engine immobilizer, 5-speed manual transmission, rear park assist, ParkView rear back up camera, front, seat mounted side airbags, and side Curtain airbags, LATCH child seat anchor system, stability control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, sport tuned suspension, tire pressure monitor, hill start assist, power door locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, Uconnect, 5” touchscreen display, Bluetooth with integrated voice command, Media Hub for USB and Auxillary, USB port in glove box, 12 volt power outlet in center console, 7” color display, audio system, power windows, air conditioning, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, tilt steering column, driver and passenger seat memory settings, cloth seating, rear 50/50 split fold down seat, fog lights, 16” aluminum wheels and power heated mirrors.

Gas Stats:

$3.79/ Gal avg. November 4, 2018
About a buck a gallon more than last year.

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

28 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $17,740.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4

General Information:

It is assembled in- Detroit, Michigan, USA; Parts- US/Canada 61%, Mexico 27%, Engine – Mexico, Transmission – USA; Classification is- Standard SUV; Cars from Jeep- Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Renegade, Wrangler, Wrangler JK, Wrangler JK Unlimited and Wrangler Unlimited.

Handling & Performance:

Pretty when you want it, but off road capable when you need it. Powerful V6 engine when you need the highway power and handles like a comfortable dream on any journey.

Styling:

Jeep tradition.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent assembly beautifully presented.

Cost:

Competitive.

Conveniences and comfort:

All those features I would want.
Selec-Terrain is a system designed to calibrate the vehicle to provide the best on-road and off-road performance; depending on which terrain mode is selected. The modes are selected by a dial located near the center console and have five settings: “Auto”, “Snow”, “Sport”, “Sand/Mud” and “Rock”.

Consumer Recommendations:

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Jeep Grand Cherokee 40,000 21 5 4 USA USA 4WD
Dodge Durango 50,000 21 7 4 USA USA AWD
Land Rover Velar 65,000 UK UK AWD
Toyota 4Runner 46,000 20 5 4 Japan Japan 4WD
Chevrolet Tahoe 47,000 18 9 4 USA USA 4WD
GMC Yukon 49,000 18 9 4 USA USA 4WD
Volvo V90 50,000 N/A 5 4 Sweden Sweden AWD
Subaru Outback 40,000 22 5 4 Japan USA AWD

Good News:

Luxury SUV with Jeep capability, super smooth comfortable ride with open road power. Great features included with most additional options available.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter V6 24 valve VVT engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, front and side seat airbags, driver knee bolster airbag, Select Terrain system, Quadra Trac II 4-WD system, rear back up camera, park sense park assist with Stop, selectable steering modes, keyless enter and go, remote start, sentry key theft deterrent system, ready alert braking, cruise control, power liftgate, stability control, ABS 4-wheel disc brakes, hill start assist, trailer sway damping, Uconnect with 7” display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capable, Sirius XM satellite radio, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, Media Hub with 2 USB, Aux, heated front and second row seats, power 8-way driver and passenger seats, illuminated entry, leather wrapped heated steering wheel, dual zone climate control, exterior temperature and compass display, 18” aluminum wheels.

Gas Stats:

$3.95 / Gal avg. October 27, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $40,495.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

Ford Ranger now in production at Wayne plant, Bronco to follow

Ford Ranger has entered production after a long absence. Erik Williams, site manager, Michigan Assembly Plant, celebrates the start of production for the 2019 Ford Ranger at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. Photos by Ford Motor Company.

An Automotive Love Affair
By Vince Bodiford

Ford Ranger now in production at Wayne plant, Bronco to follow

Ford Motor Company has re-started production this week of the Ranger mid-size pickup truck, after being absent from the market for years. The truck is being built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne.

“We have been waiting for this day for a long time,” said Michigan Assembly Plant Manager Erik Williams. “The Ranger is back home in the U.S., and our employees at Michigan Assembly Plant are thrilled to be able to build it for our customers.”

The event marks a renaissance for a plant just outside of Detroit that has experienced the highs and lows of the American auto industry for the past six decades. The occasion also signals the rebirth of Ford Ranger, the mid-size pickup that will return to American roads early next year after an eight-year hiatus, fully modernized for today’s truck buyer.

The special celebration to mark the kickoff of Ranger production included leaders from Ford and the United Auto Workers. Plant employees, media and others had a chance to ride in the Ranger on a custom-built, off-road course in the parking lot of the plant.

“Ford truck fans demanded a midsize pickup that’s ‘Built Ford Tough,’ and we’re delivering with our all-new Ranger that’s specially designed and engineered for American truck customers,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations. “At the same time, we’re revitalizing our Michigan Assembly Plant and securing good-paying jobs for our hourly employees here in the U.S.”

Ford has invested $850 million to build exciting new vehicles at Michigan Assembly Plant, including the all-new Ranger for North America and the highly anticipated new Ford Bronco, scheduled to begin production in 2020.

For Michigan Assembly, a sprawling 369-acre plant in Wayne, Mich., which opened in 1957 building station wagons, the start of Ranger production marks a new era.

Beginning in 1966, the plant began a 30-year run of building Bronco, one of the original sport utility vehicles that gained popularity in post-War America. Michigan Assembly gained acclaim as being among the most important and profitable factories in the world when it made Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators from 1996 to 2008.

Early this year, Michigan Assembly ended production of the Focus small car to make way for a massive retooling in preparation for the Ranger launch.

The factory is set to build two high-profile vehicles again in the Ranger and all-new Bronco as American appetite for pickups and SUVs continues to grow.
“The revitalization of the Michigan Assembly Plant and renewed production of the Ford Ranger is another exciting chapter in our state’s comeback story,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said. “This is also an opportunity to look toward its promising future with production of the all-new Ford Bronco on the horizon. I thank our partners at Ford for investing in Michigan and contributing to the Motor City’s legacy as the automotive capital of the world.”

Ford is transforming its product lineup, building on truck, SUV and commercial vehicle strengths. Ranger is one of the first in an onslaught of all-new vehicles that will see Ford aim to replace more than 75 percent of its current North American portfolio by 2020.

“UAW-Ford members take pride in relaunching the all-new Ranger right here in Michigan,” said UAW-Ford Vice President Rory Gamble. “Our UAW brothers and sisters take great care in the quality and craftsmanship customers will discover when they experience the relaunch of this iconic nameplate.”

Ford says the Ranger is designed for today’s midsize truck buyer who blends city living with off-the-grid adventure. The midsize pickup promises to deliver utility, capability and technology Ford says those customers want and need.

Powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and 10-speed automatic transmission, Ranger will deliver driver-assist technologies and connectivity features as well as best-in-class payload, gas towing and gas torque.

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