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15
Sep

The 2015 Subaru Outback

Subaru is well-known for making some thrilling vehicles that are a blast to drive, recently the WRX STI has been getting plenty of coverage, but the Outback isn’t one of the vehicles among that list. So why are consumers getting so excited about the release of the all-new 2015 Subaru Outback? Easy, it’s an incredibly useful vehicle that doesn’t focus on flashy looks or impressive performance figures, and instead works on being the vehicle that you can always count on, whether you go camping or on a family trip.

2015 subaru outback

Slightly Enhanced Looks

Set the 2015 Outback next to the 2014 Outback and you’d be hard-pressed to point out many of the differences. They exterior looks cleaner and seems a bit more put together but it’s essentially the same on the outside. Some potential buyers will say the styling is too tame, but the vehicle manages to look nice without being flashy.

A More Refined Interior

Once you get into the cabin you’ll notice some nice improvements to both features and looks. The interior features more soft-touch materials than before and they are set off nicely by faux-wood accents. The cabin’s quieter than before thanks to improved insulation. This version of the Outback is very spacious and up to five riders can travel comfortably. Plenty of leg room is available front and back in this crossover, although riders with large feet, or big boots may be a bit uncomfortable in the back. A massive hatch in the back provides space for camping gear, groceries or anything else that needs hauling. Overall the interior is nice to look at and very comfortable without being cluttered with features.

Reliable Performance

The Subaru Outback can’t compete with a full-sized truck but the version with the larger engine can tow up to 3,000 lbs. It comes with two engine types. A four-cylinder with 175 HP and a six-cylinder with 256 HP. Both features a low-profile flat boxer engine and they are both connected to a CVT transmission, though you get paddle shifters making it feel like a six speed.  It takes the vehicle approximately 7.5 seconds to climb to 60MPH making it far from quick, but the 8.7 inches of ground clearance do make it pretty capable at going over rough terrain. The vehicle doesn’t offer exceptional fuel efficiency, but it isn’t bad either with 25 in the city and 33 on the highway with the smaller engine, or 20 in the city and 27 on the highway with the V6. The vehicle packs enough power to haul with and comes with an additional roof rack for added storage but it’s not a powerhouse by any means.

Handling Enhancements

One area that the Outback really excels in is its supreme handling. It glides over rougher roads smoothly and even manages to swing around corners nimbly for as large as it is. The new transmission takes away the rubbery feel of older versions. Thanks to the symmetrical all-wheel drive system the crossover can manage its way over dirt, sand and snow quite capably. When the going gets really rough you can switch to X-Mode and enjoy enhanced all-wheel drive as well as the advanced Hill-Descent mode that will keep your driving experience a safe one. Standard symmetrical all wheel

All-New Features

Not too many new tech features have been added into the vehicle but riders can enjoy heated seats in both the front and back of the vehicle now. The media system has also received an upgrade with a simpler navigation experience and more features than before. The screen still suffers from glare, but overall it’s much easier to use than before.

If you enjoyed the 2014 Subaru Outback you’ll love the 2015 version. You get a lot of the same features with plenty of added benefits. It’s much more fuel efficient, offers improved handling, more features and a better look overall. What’s not to like?

12
Sep

The All New Lexus RC F

Lexus recently came out with an all-new sports car the RC-F. This pulse-pounding sports car comes in at just a bit over $60,000 at its base level and offers a massive amount of performance that any adrenaline junky will appreciate. It’s meant to go up against vehicles like the Audi RS5 and the BMW M4 and it does so quite capably, but there are a few cons to this car that are worth knowing before you decide your sold on it.

lexus rc f

Combining Body Types

One of the main reasons that this latest Lexus car weighs so much is because of the different body parts combined together to make it. This vehicle essentially takes its front from a GS, the middle from the last IS-C and the rear from the current IS model. Although this is an odd way to put together a new vehicle it was the best solution the engineers had available and it offers excellent features at the expense of a bit more weight than normal.

Because this car combines three different vehicles into one you get the best from each of them. You’re getting enhanced rigidity, wider and more stable tires, and a shorter overhang for better driving dynamics and decreased body size. All this comes together to offer an excellent driving experience, even if the vehicle is a bit slower than some of its lighter competitors such as the BMW M4.

The Powerhouse under the Hood

In a time when most manufacturers are switching to smaller engines using forced-induction turbo to up the power Lexus decided to stick with a massive V8 engine that sounds great and looks intimidating when you raise the hood. This powerhouse runs smoothly and puts out a whopping 467 HP and 389 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine converted from the standard Lexus 5.0 liter V8 but has been transformed so dramatically that nothing much more than the aluminum block remains the same.

In order to give this engine a fighting chance at respectable fuel efficiency figures Lexus has it setup to switch between the Otto and Atkinson cycle during operation. The Atkinson cycle will run when the engine is under heavy load and extra power is needed, but during more relaxed moments the Otto cycle kicks in cutting down fuel consumption. Lexus chose to avoid going with cylinder deactivation like other automakers because they are worried the engine will wear unevenly which will lead to serious issues after 100,000 miles. This is something to consider before picking up one of those cars that currently uses cylinder deactivation.

Performance

The RC F gets to 60 MPH in 4.4 seconds according to Lexus and MotorTrend managed the feat in 4.5 seconds during their testing. This sports car comes with a variety of different dynamic driving modes giving you different levels of computer assistance depending on how you want to drive. Switch between four different driving modes going from a standard mode meant for casual city driving to track mode opening up the full capabilities of the car and taking away most of the hand-holding electronics.

Stomp on the pedal and you’re greated with a throaty growl fit for a sports car. You’ll enjoy the adrenaline-packed acceleration and the tight way the car takes corners. The car’s a blast to drive and it’s designed for comfort over extended periods.

Interior

The inside of the Lexus RF C looks like the cockpit of an airplane. The seats are tall and ergonomicly designed for maximum comfort. All the important controls are easily in reach of the driver and the center stack stretches up to just below the windshield itself providing a high amount of control and displaying a large amount of information.

Overall the Lexus RC F is a fun sports car that’s fit for the track, but it’s a bit slower than the M4, one of its main competitors. This is due in large part to the fact that it’s over 400 lbs. heavier. The Lexus still manages to offer a great driving experience, looks great and is a terrific sports car.

12
Sep

Existing AT&T Owners Can Now Add Audi Connect as Part of Their Family Plan

Audi connect has long been one of the more advanced Infotainment systems on the market, but it’s about to get more affordable to supply a high-speed data network to Audi vehicles in the future. AT&T came up with a few original plans for the automaker that were a bit pricey, and now they are working out a more affordable plan for existing AT&T customers.

audi a3 mmi

Original Data Setup

When plans for the A3 to have a 4G LTE connection were unveiled Audi already had a data partnership with AT&T but original owners were subjected to a $99 a month payment for the data that they desired if they wanted a short-term 6-month plan with 5GB of data each month. If they were willing to stick with the program for 30 months they could lock in a price of $499 and 30 GB of data for the period. While it was nice having these options they were a bit rigid and left something to be desired. Now AT&T has worked out a more flexible solution.

A Flexible Alternative

After releasing the car AT&T came up with a more flexible and more affordable option for families looking to only purchase data for their immediate needs every month. Instead of paying a monthly fee Audi owners can purchase 1GB of data at a time for $20 from the company.

The Family Plan

Instead of treating the Audi Autos like devices on entirely different plans AT&T will now incorporate them into a standard family plan, just like they would with an additional phone line. Owners who pay $10 a month can get data for the AT&T Mobile Share Value Plan discounted price and share their data between their devices. This could be a very economical alternative for customers who don’t use that much data and would like to consolidate it further. The new setup also means customers will have one less account to worry about.

Getting New Customers

This move is likely to attract new customers to AT&T for their cell phone plans as well. Before, there was no reason to buy a family plan with the company if you owned an Audi vehicle, because they could be maintained separate from one another. Now you’ll save money by doing so, which could be just the thing to get new customers over at the Telecom.

Any consumer with a 2015 Audi A3 or newer, an S3 or a Q3 can all benefit from this program, so make sure to take a look and see if it will save you money.

11
Sep

The BMW X4 against the Porsche Macan

With the release of the Porsche Macan auto enthusiasts are no doubt comparing it to some of the other luxury SUVs on the market today. None stand out as a contender more than the BMW X4, and that’s why we’ve taken the time to compare these two fine utility vehicles to see which is the better option. After taking a close look at both vehicles it’s easy to see how the Macan comes out ahead in some areas, but it doesn’t entirely best the BMW X4.

porsche macan

Styling

When you first compare the styling of these two vehicles with one another you’ll notice that they look pretty similar. The Macan is a bit more rounded while the BMW is a bit taller and edgier.  The X4 ends up looking bulkier and a little less-refined that the slightly more compact Macan. Both vehicles have essentially the same dimensions with the same length and wheelbase giving them subtle differences.

Storage

It’s remarkable how similar the storage boot of the X4 and the Macan look. Both provide 500 liters or around 17.6 cubic feet of storage but the space provided by the Macan is a bit more square and wider open for easier, more effective storage. That being said, the back of the X4 is lower to the ground making loading heavy objects easier to do.

Power

Just like with the rest of the vehicle there isn’t too much difference between the power output of either of these SUVs. The BMW X4 offers 255 HP while the Macan puts out 254 HP. The X4 goes from 0 to 62 in 5.8 seconds while the Macan only makes it from 0 to 60 in that time period. While the X4 is slightly more powerful than the Macan and accelerates a twinge faster, the vehicles essentially offer the same level of power.

Handling

When looking at the handling of both vehicles the Porsche slowly starts to take the lead. With all-wheel drive the X4 doesn’t handle poorly by any means, but compared to the dynamic control offered by the Porsche it feels a bit stiff. You can’t feel the road through the wheel very effectively and going around corners feels clumsy. While the X4 feels like a large SUV while going around windy roads the Macan feels more like a sports car. It hugs corners tight and provides plenty of feedback to the driver making driving feel like second nature. All the careful designing comes together into a flawless performance that gives the Macan a natural flow as it curves through bends. After test driving both vehicles the Macan just feels better and immediately becomes the more desirable of the two.

Both SUVs are very similar to one another and it’s no surprise that they fall in the same price range either. You can obtain the Macan for slightly less than the X4, but the X4 comes with more base features and fewer expensive upgrades than the Macan. The Porsche feels better while driving, and has a slightly more refined look, but in the end it comes down to personal preference more than anything else. Test out both vehicles and decide which you enjoy driving the most. There is no clear winner when you look at the features included with each vehicle, and that makes choosing the one you like the best a lot of fun since it all comes down to looks and the feel while driving.

10
Sep

A Look at the Toyota Urban Vehicle Concept

With the growing commercial market in the United States all of the major car manufacturers are starting to develop vehicles to the market and with the release of the Urban Utility concept Toyota has joined the fun. This quirky little SUV provides an impressive level of utility in a fun little package that’s perfect for city driving conditions.

toyota urban utility concept

Highly Functional

The Toyota Urban Utility vehicle is designed to be highly functional in a commercial environment. It’s built to drive like a car while providing cargo space like a van and it even manages to throw in a few pickup truck features for added utility.

This vehicle is closed in the back with seats that fold down and are completely removable for a high amount of cargo space. Floor and wall rail systems are setup in this vehicle for added tool storage options.

The side windows flip up allowing easy access to the inside of the vehicle from the road, the roof glass retracts and the rear glass slides easily into the tailgate providing access from all angles of the vehicle.

Easy Urban Loading and Unloading

One of the main purposes of an urban vehicle is to load and unload cargo in different locaitons. This concept vehicle would be perfect for those tasks thanks to its compact footprint and the tailgate that folds down to the ground. Easily roll appliances and other heavy objects up the ramp to the inside of this cargo SUV and you can transport them where they have to go. The compact size of the vehicle makes it easy to drive around in the city and easier to park when it’s time to unload as well.

Improved Fuel Economy

One of the main benefits of a system such as Toyota’s is that they can offer improved fuel economy to most of the companies looking for something more efficient. The Urban Utility concept is smaller and more lightweight than most commercial vans or trucks and that puts them in a unique position in the market. They still offer most of the commercial features, while providing a vehicle that’s more enjoyable to drive and more efficient as well.

Smaller Footprint

The one upside of this model will undoubtedly be seen as a negative as well and that’s its compact footprint. This utility vehicle fits in the footprint of a compact car but has a high roofline offering an impressive amount of interior space for its size. The only issue is that the vehicle simply won’t be large enough for some companies.

If you’re looking for the largest cargo vehicle you can find for hauling equipment, lumber or other items this vehicle probably isn’t for you. However if your business is in need of a more compact vehicle, that still offers a respectable amount of storage space and a high level of utility the Toyota Urban Concept sounds like a perfect fit. It’s not right for everyone, but it’s worth considering for some cases.

6
Sep

Scion Shakes Things up With Some Major Changes Including the Possible Introduction of a Micro SUV

Scions making some major changes in the coming years. Not only are they getting rid of one of their vehicles, but they are altering quite a few of them and possibly bringing in a few new options as well to try to spice up their lineup. If you’ve grown tired of the Scion lineup they could be shaking things up just enough to make it good again.

scion iq

Down with the iQ

The Scion iQ hasn’t been one of their most popular offerings and Toyota finally decided that enough is enough. They are removing the iQ permanently and don’t have plans to replace it with anything else at this point. They are also taking out the xB but will be replacing it with a rebadged and modified Auris. The Auris is a popular sedan sold overseas in the UK currently and it is based largely off the Corolla architecture.  This four-door hatchback should show up in spring of 2015 with a new more aggressive look, an exciting new name and a luxury interior that will attract customers. The move aims to transfer some of the Corolla reliability into a luxury format that buyers can get excited about.

The Next xD

The next generation of the Scion xD is set to be released in 2016 and it will be based very closely on the Mazda 2. This pint-sized sedan is going to be produced in Mexico where the Mazda 2 and the next generation of the Yaris are also made.

New Compact SUV

The executives at the Japanese company are considering making a pint-sized SUV smaller than the RAV4 and more aggressive. This SUV would be designed to attract a younger audience and offer something exciting to hold their interest. It’s reasonable to expect it to have a decent level of power but not enough to compromise high fuel efficiency levels.

The FR-S and TC

Both the Scion FR-S and the tC will stay close to the same until at least 2016. That’s when the next generation of the tC is destined to come out and the next FR-S won’t be released until 2017 at the earliest.

Scion clearly realizes that they need to make a few changes to keep buyers interested. Sure their vehicles feature exciting designs and many of them perform very well, but they aren’t doing enough new to inspire new buyers to try out their vehicles. The FR-S sports car was a good start toward shaking up their lineup, but Scion is clearly determined to do more. Keep an eye on their offerings over the next few years because there should be some promising changes worth taking note of.

5
Sep

The 2015 Volkswagen Eos Final Edition Special Edition Vehicle

Volkswagen will soon be removing the Eos convertible from their lineup, but before they do they are releasing one final special edition to send the car off with. This vehicle is appropriately named the 2015 EOS Final Edition and is set to be sold at the base price level of $39,165.

2015 VW Eos Final Edition

Special Edition Features

When you decide to purchase the Final Edition of the Eos you get a set of special features that other Eos models don’t get. You’ll have 18-inch Vicenza wheels with an attractive V-style. A mixture of silver and cornsilk decorations adorn the interior of this vehicle. Cornsilk Beige upholstery with dark stitching and silver trim panels are used throughout the vehicle giving it a very unique interior. It also comes with rain-sensing wipers for more convenient driving and a rear-view camera for easily backing out of driveways and parking spots. Enjoy views out of the panoramic sunroof and the improved highway visibility offered by powerful bi-xenon headlamps.

Base Features

Many of the features included in this special edition were brought over from the Sport edition of the Eos. The intuitive infotainment system comes with a clear 5-inch LCD screen. This package supports in-car navigation and offers a Bluetooth connection that you can stream media or phone calls over. The vehicle also comes with dual-zone climate control that is automatically regulated. The incredibly comfortable seat is 12-way power adjustable and is heated for added comfort.

Special Performance

You won’t find the standard engine inside the Final Edition of the EOS and instead it comes equipped with an exclusive 2.0 liter four cylinder engine that pumps out a whopping 200 HP and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. Not only is this engine quite powerful for its size, but it manages to achieve most of its torque rating at a mere 1,700 RPM allowing it to accelerate very effectively even at low speeds.

This edition of the vehicle can go from a standing position to 60 miles-per-hour in just 7.3 seconds. It relies on a smooth six-speed dual-clutch transmission and shifts very quickly and evenly through the gears.

It’s no surprise that the Eos is no longer going to be with Volkswagen because it didn’t sell very well. Buyers have been steering clear of the hard top convertible and experts don’t expect another generation of the vehicle to be released. Instead VW is going to release a convertible option for their more successful Golf and GTI vehicles. Both are likely to rely on soft tops instead, and will help fill in the gap for this missing convertible. The Eos wasn’t necessarily a bad car, just not a popular one. Any fans of hard topped convertibles should look into the Final Edition of the Eos convertible and own a piece of history.

4
Sep

Lexus Releases The Crafted Line 2015 Special Edition Lineup

It isn’t too often that Lexus puts out special editions of their vehicles and usually buyers are happy to stick with the standard versions of these luxury cars. It looks like that trend is about to change with the recent announcement of a lineup of special edition vehicles of every model Lexus. They recently announced the release of “The Crafted Line” special edition F-Sport vehicles. These special editions come with an exclusive look that will stand out from among the standard Lexus vehicles. They focus on a subdued styling that contrasts the ferocious performance offered by the F-Sport vehicle within.

2015 Lexus GS Crafted Line

Suit and Tie Exterior

Although each of the F-sport vehicles has the same basic body structure the Crafted Line special edition vehicles all come with an Ultra White and deep black Obsidian exterior. The brilliant white body panels are heavily contrasted by the deep black wheels, grills, windows and even mirrors. This gives each of the vehicles a classy look and forces them to stand out while out on the road.

2015_Lexus_Crafted_Line_LS_005

A Fiery Interior

While the Exterior seems somewhat mild and subdued the opposite is true for the interior. IT comes with a black interior mixed with dark lava red accents that warming up the interior with a fiery atmosphere. The two toned seats and colored door panels either come in Scarlet or Cabernet and breathe life into this dark car.

Custom Luggage to Match

Each car comes with to custom deep black Tumi duffle bags and buyers are offered the option to expand the set to include all four pieces of luggage. This carefully crafted luggage set is designed to mirror the black and white color scheme of these special edition Lexus vehicles and they offer top quality performance while travelling.

Covering the Whole Lineup

If you like the way the Crafted Line special edition vehicles look you can get each of the major Lexus models with these customizations. This includes the LS, GS, RX, ES and IS cars.

Highly customized special edition vehicles are often being offered by luxury brands, but few are as classy as the black on white Crafted Line offerings. If you like what you see the base price for these special edition luxury vehicles starts at $42,000. They can be obtained from most Lexus dealerships but you will probably have to special request them because there is a limited supply. These special vehicles are set to launch in November and you should see them showing up in dealerships soon after.

3
Sep

Every One of the 2014 Subaru Lineup Received an IIHS Top Safety Pick Rating

If your searching for a safe vehicle for you and your family it would be a good idea to take a look at one of the vehicles from the Subaru lineup. This automaker has seven different vehicles, their whole lineup, that all received a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS in 2014 with several Top Safety Pick Pluses as well. Subaru was able to achieve this impressive feat through careful design and an array of powerful safety features that help mitigate damage during an accident.

Subaru Has Remained Committed to Safety After all these Years

Subaru was performing safety tests on their vehicles long before safety tests were the standard thing to do. They’ve always been committed to making excellent vehicles that stand up to abuse while keeping the driver safe, and that commitment shows.

Excellent Safety with Every Vehicle

It’s very rare for an automaker to have every one of their vehicles be an IIHS Top Safety Pick. On top of this Subaru has three vehicles, the Forester, the Outback and the Legacy that achieved the highest Top Safety Pick+ status.

Ring Reinforcement

Each of the Subaru vehicles rely on a ring-style frame that utilizes durable materials in a ring shape around the exterior of the vehicle. The unique ring shape distributes the load of an impact throughout the edges of the vehicle helping to minimize damage overall.

Careful Testing Before Designing the Vehicles

Subaru values safety so much that they test and adjust their vehicle designs early on until they are able to meet their safety goals. Only after continual virtual testing does Subaru design the rest of their vehicle and then make a series of prototypes. With the prototypes created Subaru begins conducting physical crashes to help improve their designs further before they ever make it to production. They set more rigorous standards for themselves than the safety institutes do and that’s why their vehicles are able to excel so much on each safety test.

Improving Their Highly Rated Vehicles

Subaru doesn’t accept good ratings as good enough when it comes to the safety of their vehicles. Even though the Subaru Legacy achieved a Top Safety Pick+ rating in 2013 they decided that it still had some weaknesses and went ahead and made improvements to the frame making it more rigid and enhancing the strength to improve performance in the frontal-overlap test.

Subaru vehicles are well-known for being very safe to ride in and now you know why. You would be hard-pressed to find a manufacturer more concerned with safety than Subaru and that’s why they have some of the most highly-rated vehicles out there when it comes to crash testing.

2
Sep

Toyota Announces the Pricing for the 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD

Toyota recently announced the pricing and a more details about their TRD package for the 2015 Toyota Tundra as well as their other performance vehicles (the Tacoma and the 4Runner) for all you off-roaders out there. The package provides a range of performance and aesthetic enhancements that make this rugged truck a whole lot more fun to take out on trails and into the woods. This rugged pack was designed by the expert engineers who work at Toyota Racing Development and it’s built using the same technology that goes into many of the tough off-roading race cars the team competes with regularly.

2015 toyota tundra trd

Getting the Package

If you decide that you want this off-roading package you need to purchase the four-wheel drive version of the Tundra and have it added on. The package will also be available with the Tacoma and the 4Runner later on. Getting this package is essentially the same as getting one of the specialty trim packages of the Tundra and you have to special request it at the time of ordering.

What All the Vehicles Get

Each of the TRD performance vehicles in the Toyota lineup will receive advanced Bilstein shocks, TRD-tuned front springs, a unique TOYOTA badged front grill, special TRD floor mats, TRD shift knobs and black TRD alloy wheels. The Bilstein shocks come equipped with a remote reservoir allowing them to hold more oil which increases the total suspension travel possible making the vehicles more effective in very rough conditions.

Exclusive Tundra Features

Although each of the TRD models come with many beefed up features some of the nicest features are exclusive to the Tundra model. The vehicle is equipped with a TRD badged front skid plate to help protect against rocks and debris. It also comes with specially tuned springs that provide two inches of lift to the front of the vehicle for added clearance. The all-black wheels come with Michelin off-road tires designed specifically for the Tundra making them highly effective while off-roading.

On top of all the performance enhancements this special Tundra also comes with some aesthetic upgrades to enjoy. It’s equipped with PRO stamping on the bed of the truck, a special interior seat color and a TRD Pro custom instrument panel. This truck has halogen headlights fitted with black sport bezels, and it comes with a TRD dual exhaust system making the truck more audible and aggressive sounding.

The Tundra TRD pricing was announced as starting at $41,285 at the double cab level and $43,900 if you decide you want the CrewMax cab instead. It isn’t available at the lower cab levels.

If you decide that you want a more rugged version of the Tundra the TRD package offers a lot of performance value for the price. Sure you could pay for an aftermarket kit to enhance your truck yourself, but it makes sense to leave it in the hands of the company that created the original vehicle to enhance it as well. The resulting vehicle is more rugged, more capable and more fun to drive around.