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Tuesday
Jan132015

How Cars Drive

Over the past few years we have reviewed over 100 different vehicles, be it cars, SUV, CUV, pick ups.

They are all good vehicles, although we might find something that is not to our taste, other folks will find it to their liking, we are all different. They are all good...each vehicle in its own way is a good vehicle.

As individuals we all have our personal preferences on how a vehicle should drive, and we have our own preferences on what we appreciate in the way a vehicle drives.

This morning The Colonel is with us lets see if he will share his own personal preferences on how a vehicle should drive.

Q: Colonel, what do you expect from a vehicle, what do you like.

A: I like them all, and they all drive well. Incredible how vehicles are engineered today. Yes...you know that ABC will drive this way, and that XYZ will drive that way.

Q: We know...but what inspires you?

A: Guys you know that already, a sense of power, a V8 will inspire me the most, a V12 will fire up my imagination. Lately a V6 with a couple of turbos that feels like a V8 is very interesting.

Q: We know that you have a a preference for sedans.

A: Yes I do, they are practical. Although a sportier car is also fun.

Q: So it would be a V8, sedan, with an automatic, with a good feel...can you define good feel?

A: What do I understand as a good feel. They all drive well, the car with the V8 is usually a little heavier, its rear drive which makes it balanced, and it has a level of "waftability" not how fast it is in acceleration, but how much power it has when you need it for whatever reason.

Q: Its starting to sound like a luxury sedan or darn close to a luxury sedan.

A: Precisely

Q: You want to leasurely cruise down the highway with power to spare.

A: It must be totally effortless...I really mean effortless, comfortable, reassuring.

Q: What do you expect when you get in "apex" mode.

A: Being pragmatic "apex" mode last less than 60 seconds, the entire car must come together instantly and perform flawlessy.

Q: Its sounds like a tall order...

A: It is...but most cars will come together, and perform...agreed some better than other.

Q: You have a thing about brakes.

A: Simple...if there is X under the hood, the brakes have to be at least 2X, and must remain at 2X for a consistent period of time.

Q: As a personal preference you want a sedan with a V8, that is an effortless highway cruiser and becomes a good performer in apex mode.

A: Its that simple, and that complex.

Q: Are you impatient when a car does not perform.

A: What do you think, impatient, unforgiving too. While realising that they are my expectations, my preferences, what inspires me.

Q: Unforgiving...

A: A while back we had a 4 cylinder, turbo, performance sedan, with a manual transmission. The car that most enthusiasts rave about...it was a cool car. I had this feeling that the brakes were not 2X, the moment I confirmed that they were not 2X...you know the answer.

Q: You persist in saying that cars drive well.

A: Absolutely, a FWD 4 cylinder econobox drives well for what it is...would it make me happy...we know the answer. Surprisingly most cars also keep their composure on rough pavement.

Q: Is it the reason you endure Walter.

A: Put it this way...Walter has a V8, its real wheel drive, it has vented discs in the back, would love to cruise all day long at 2,600 RPM, has a great sound system too. Yes...it instantly gets in apex mode.

 

 

Monday
Jan122015

The Connected Car

Folks of a certain age vividly remember mechanical cars. Other folks have an understanding of cars with a higher degree of technology.

The center of the dash as evolved into a maze of technology that is often confusing, and counter intuitive.

Now we are seeking cars that are connected, self driving, and embody the internet of things.

This morning we have The Colonel enjoying a cappuccino with us, let's see what he has to say.

Q: Colonel, good morning, as usual you look refreshed and aggressive.

A: Thanks guys, I like the aggressive.

Q: You knew for some time that the mechanical car would be extinct.

A: Absolutely, the moment catalytic converters were installed in cars 40 years ago, leaded gas disappeared, and the mechanical controls could not deal with these 2 changes. The writing was on the wall.

Q: As of 1971 when compression ratios were lowered it was the start.

A: Precisely, and the downward HP slide, clunky lock ups on transmissions endured for almost 2 decades.

Q: Are you saying that for 20 years it was a backwards experience.

A: Yes...the technology was not ready, the mechanical controls could not deal with it, it was a dark moment for the entire industry. In the early 1980's Mercedes-Benz only offered diesels in North America...guess why.

Q: We could have a long conversation here, lets move forward to the center of the dash, and its evolution.

A: You mean what used to be the radio and the heater controls, and then the climate controls. The entire set up was generic and intuitive from one vehicle to the next.

Q: How did it evolve.

A: It started with sound systems, usually aftermaket, and radio faceplates that had digital displays. The climate control became automatic, again with digital displays.

Q: CD changers, telephones.

A: That stuff was bulky and resided in the trunk.

Q: Navigation systems.

A: That was in the dash, with a mapping CD. Specific CD's for geographical areas. Yes you had to change CD's if you travelled out of the area.

Q: There were music CD's for the changer, and mapping CD's for the navigation.

A: Yes, you ended out having a ton of CD's in a vehicle. Obvious the mapping CD's became outdated.

Q: Lets go to adaptive cruise control for a moment.

A: If its raining hard, snowing, and you are travelling at a good rate of speed, it will advise you that the adaptive feature is not working. The cruise works, not the adaptive.

Q: The center screen...

A: Computers run on Windows or Mac; smart devices run on iOs or Android, everyone uses Word, Excell, PowerPoint. Microsoft for Windows 10 reverted back to the start button. What does that tell you about humans interfacing with technology.

Q: Center screens are all over the place, and then some.

A: Precisely...its a mess (being polite)

Q: Good thing there's Bluetooth and folks use their smart devices.

A: Absolutely...

Q: How about back up cameras...

A: Simple, you will run into something with a back up camera, they are all different in measuring distances. Although most folks will get accustomed to the camera in their vehicle.

Q: The intuitive connected car...

A: Real simple..."the auto industry has adopted these standards for North America for the center screen". Until it happens it will remain in a state of confusion.

Q: How much of your life do you want to leave in a vehicle.

A: Excellent point...you can lock your PC, laptop, tablet, smart device. Locking a center screen is not an option.

Q: perhaps a cleaning service for the technology in the car.

A: Agreed...wipe it clean of your life.

 

 

Saturday
Jan102015

Porsche GT3 vs Camaro Z28

Fascinating Head 2 Head...enjoy!

 

Friday
Jan092015

Vroom Room

Good Morning!

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable with a cappuccino and biscotti.

Agreed its been chilly this week.

Stuff that caught our attention:

"Pick Up sales have exploded due to cheap gas" - Really?

"The Canadian consumer will save billions at the pumps" - Agreed, although CMS (Citizen Main Street) will pay up all over the place to compensate for the lower dollar.

"GM had a record year in Canada in 2014" - Really, a distant 3rd behind Ford and Chrysler in Canada. Its a record alright.

"Oil might reach $40 a barrel" - Everyone in the oil business will keep on pumping the stuff to uphold cash flow.

"Self Driving, connected cars" - Its inexorably moving in that direction, although with CES this week there is some hyperbole.

"Making a dent, leaving a mark" - This week we were quickly reminded how some folks prefer to leave a mark on the world...and its not love.

As if you needed a reminder, next week is the Detroit Auto Show (NAIS)...the start of the season.

Our usual old race cars from the Old Timer Grand Prix.

 

 

Wednesday
Jan072015

December Canadian Sales

Usually December in Canada is a slower auto sales month since at some point everyone starts competing with Santa Claus.

This past December from the activity in online, radio, TV, print advertising one could sense that most if not all manufacturers were motivated to generate a strong month. Literally break from recent tradition, especially in light of several events, the price of oil being one.

December concludes 16% ahead of the previous year, the strongest December in the past 10 years with 131.4K units for the month.

Think of this...1.85 Million vehicles were never sold in Canada in any year.

From our perspective its gratifying to see all manufacturers throttle up, get hyper competitive. We had not seen such competitiveness in several years.

How do you power sales?

New Product: Its still the major part of the equation.

Incentives: They are a compelling motivator to finalise decisions.

Free Flowing Money: What can you say...2014 was a watershed year in money powering sales.

Pick Ups: The love affair continues, not the cheap gas, the enduring love affair with pick ups.

Chrysler and Ford were trading paint to who would finish as number 1 in Canada. December was the deciding month with Ford winning by a bumper.

The Koreans and Japanese have their ongoing scrap for market space.

When everyone gets competitive, the incentives are strong, the money flows, fascinating to see how much iron can be moved in Canada.

Its a beautiful thing...