The 2016 Scion iM is the Hatchback You’ve Been Looking For

September 2, 2015 lacarguy Scion Tags: , , ,

The 2016 Scion iM is one of the automaker’s best hatchback models to date. It comes packed with modern features and it’s designed for top-level performance. Sure it’s not a race car, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel like you’re driving one while heading down the road!

Aggressive on the Outside

On the outside of the iM you’ll notice a variety of special little extras that you don’t typically see on vehicle in the price range the iM’s in. LED daytime running lights improve visibility, and LED turn signal indicators are featured on both of the fully retractable and heated mirrors of the vehicle. The iM comes with a standard boyd kit for a sportier look, and it has a color-matching fin antenna up top. It’s trimmed out with classy piano black around the vehicle, and the car comes with 17″ allow wheels with extra wide 225mm tires for added grip.

Surprisingly Powerful

The lightweight Scion iM packs just enough power to feel really good when you slam down on the accelerator. The 1.8 liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine packs 137 HP overall and it’s tied to a 6-speed manual tranny that shifts incredibly easily. If manuals aren’t your thing there is an option to switch to a CVT with 7 shift points instead. While the CVT improves fuel efficiency slightly, it just doesn’t offer the same kind of fun that the manual transmission does.

Either version of the iM is relatively efficient. The manual option gets approximately 31 MPG combined. If you opt for the CVT you’ll see even better efficiency levels with a combined MPG of 32. Either way you won’t spend much on gas, and that makes this little hatchback a solid everyday driver.

Smooth and Effective Handling

Compact cars usually aren’t outfitted with overly sophisticated suspensions because they simply don’t need them. The 2016 iM goes above and beyond when it comes to suspension design. It’s outfitted with Macpherson struts out front and a double wishbone setup at the back. All together you get a setup that handles the bumps and bruises confidently, but retains some of that tight steering quality as well. The car comes with disc brakes all around as standard, and it has electric power steering that offers highly accurate performance.

A Modern Interior

Climb inside the iM and you might be surprised at how upscale and modern it looks. The 7-inch touchscreen display is trimmed out with piano black. The dash shows off narrow sporty lines. The iM is also jam-packed with technology. The media system supports the most common apps, such as Pandora for music. It comes with built-in BlueTooth connectivity for streaming music or remote control using a compatible smartphone. The car has a single USB port, an AUX port and a 12V port for connecting most devices up. It has a quality six-speaker surround sound system, and comes with a backup camera system standard.

Buyers can opt for a GPS upgrade and the vehicle comes with dual-zone climate control so both the driver and the front passenger can get the heat just where they like it. A total of eight cupholders surround the interior, so you can keep more cups in place than there are passengers in the vehicle.

There’s plenty of storage in the iM as well. The hatchback provides ample room for luggage, camping gear or anything else. The vehicle also has a glovebox compartment as well as a center storage compartment for additional storage. Finally as a first for a compact Scion, the 2016 iM gets a modern multi-info display that shows things like a trip meter, vehicle information and fuel consumption levels.

The 2016 Scion iA is Surprisingly Good

September 1, 2015 lacarguy Scion Tags: , , , ,

While developing the Scion iA Toyota spared no expense putting all the pieces together and they created a surprisingly desirable package. Not only does the vehicle come with a lot of nice features that you wouldn’t expect in this price point, like a pre-collision system, a backup camera, LED turn indicators and 16 inch alloy wheels, but it’s designed to be a blast to drive as well.

Surprisingly Potent

The 4 cylinder DOHC engine isn’t loaded with power at 106 HP, but at just 2,385 lbs. in the manual and 2416 lbs. in the automatic version of the iA it has a lot of pickup and is very enjoyable to drive around. This little car comes standard with a six speed manual transmission and a small upgrade will put a 6 speed automatic transmission in with an available sport mode. The Sport Mode feature forces the vehicle to shift at higher RPMs and to downshift more frequently. Essentially it makes the car a whole lot more exciting to drive around.

The little car is relatively efficient, which is expected with such a light footprint. It manages between 31 and 33 MPG in the city with the automatic and manual versions respectively. While out on the highway the automatic gets 41 MPG and the manual gets 42 MPG.

Capable Suspension

In any sporty vehicle the suspension is vitally important. Not only does it shield the driver from any bumps or bruises in the road, but it helps the vehicle handle performance as well. The iA is fitted with durable Macpherson struts up front and a sport-tuned torsion beam suspension in the rear for competent performance in most conditions.

A Luxurious Interior

Inside the iA you get most of the features that you would expect from a much more upscale and expensive vehicle than the iA. You get a 7-inch touchscreen standard, with app functionality. It supports Pandora. Stitcher, HD radio, traffic predictions and it has BlueTooth connectivity. The vehicle also comes with an optional in-car navigation system to help you figure out where to go. The car comes standard with a rear backup camera and it has a surprisingly large amount of trunk space with 15.5 cubic feet available to hold groceries, luggage or anything else you need to get from one place to another. Passengers will enjoy the 2 available USB ports, the Aux port and the standard 12V port up front. The driver side window also comes with fully automatic up and down functionality.

Safety Features

Smaller vehicles aren’t exactly known for their safety, but the iA comes packed with enough safety features to make it one of the better options. It comes with 6 airbags, which is quite a bit for a compact car. It also has antilock brakes, dynamic stability control and a pre-collision system for low-speed driving conditions. That means the car will help you step when people suddenly slam on the brakes in low-speed situations like traffic jams. It’s a nice feature to have that could help keep rear end collisions from occurring.

Scion really nailed the 2016 iA during production and it looks to be one of the most enjoyable little cars to drive around in. If you’re looking for a fun little car for daily driving, or you want something that’s packed with most common tech features without being priced like a luxury vehicle, the iA is a good bet.

Volkswagen is Going to Great Lengths to Remain Environmentally Sustainable

August 31, 2015 lacarguy Volkswagen Tags: , , , , ,

It’s no surprise that the automotive industry isn’t great for the world, but we continue to purchase new vehicles and demand more powerful, more feature rich and largely more capable cars, trucks and SUVs to come out each and every year. Many people strive to improve the environment without even realizing the impact that their own purchases make on the environment. Needless to say that companies like Volkswagen are left to figure out how to meet those demands while also reducing their impact on the environment. Part of this is because of federal MPG and emission mandates, but that’s not all. Most automakers legitimately want to help improve the environment as well, and Volkswagen is working quite hard to do its part.

volkswagen egolf

Reducing Vehicle Emissions

Volkswagen has plans to reduce vehicle emissions and fuel consumption by as much as 40% between 2010 and 2020. While we’re already tipping past the halfway point to that goal at present the company is still working hard to meet the reduction goal and strives to make incremental improvements each and every year. IN order to meet these lofty goals the automaker works hard to make a between 10% and 15% efficiency improvement to each model vehicle every new model year. The automaker isn’t just stopping at its 2020 goal though, it also has an overarching goal to create a lineup that’s 90% more efficient by 2050. Sure that’s nearly 35 years out from now, but such a lofty goal is going to take time, and it’s much more aggressive than many other automakers today.

Electrifying its Vehicles

Another way that Volkswagen is working to improve its lineups efficiency is by making hybrid and full electric versions of its current vehicles. The automaker has plans to electrify at least 40 different models and is already actively working on making those changes. To help its electric vehicles succeed Volkswagen is also going to invest $10 million into charging infrastructure around the country so there are places to actually power up those vehicles.

Emission Credits

Volkswagen works with 3degrees, a carbon offset broker to help improve the environment in other ways to offset the carbon produced during production. So for instance, the automaker might help fund the planting of so many trees per automobile that they produce. This funding goes to the aid of forest conservation and reforesting other sections of the earth. The efforts are closely monitored by third parties to ensure that carbon offset claims are accurate. When all the efforts Volkswagen is making to meet efficiency demands can’t keep up entirely the automaker relies on these carbon credits to make up the difference and to help reduce their environmental impact as well.

Volkswagen is going above and beyond what many other automakers today are doing to reduce its overall environment impact. As long as the company, and other automakers around the world keep working to make these improvements personal transportation will have less of an effect on the environment over time.

The 2016 Lexus GS is More Menacing than Ever

August 30, 2015 lacarguy Lexus Tags: , , ,

Toyota recently unveiled the 2016 Lexus GS and showed off some new appearance modifications and some slight tech and powertrain improvements as well. The new exterior updates are something that everyone should see, and many buyers will be interested in the new customization options as well.

2016 Lexus GS 200t

Some Serious Changes Out Front

The 2016 Lexus GS  and GS 200t look absolutely menacing out front. It still has the signature spindle grille, but it’s modified slightly along with a number of other key features. Redefined headlights give the vehicle a glinting look, and the sharp creases surround the grille make it into an absolute scowl that’s intimidating and sexy all at once. There are many people exclaiming that Lexus went too far with this latest design, but many others think they went just far enough. It’s certainly a more aggressive take on the GS than we’ve seen before, and it could be a change that’s here to stay depending on consumer reactions to it.

Other than the major changes out in front, the 2016 Lexus GS doesn’t look much different around the rest of the exterior. Some minor updates were made to the rear lights and the wheels feature new designs, but other than that it’s pretty much business as usual.

Take a Look Inside

Once inside the Lexus GS you’ll see that the layout and design is pretty much the same, but you have some more customization options to choose from than before. There is now a Matte Walnut, laser cut wood, and Linear 3D textures to choose from for the vehicle.  If you decide you want the F Sport model you can also opt to have Naguri Aluminum used to accent the interior. There is also a new F Sport leather option, Rioja Red. One final change to note, the analog clock in the center comes with an aluminum housing now and a pair of LED indicators, but the new look is very similar to the old one.

Powertrain Adjustments

Lexus made power improvements to the vehicle, although quite minor, to match the more aggressive front end. The car now comes standard with 311 HP, up from 306 thanks to altered 3.5 liter V-6 engine. It also comes with an eight speed automatic transmission now to allow for smoother shifting and performance during hard driving.

The hybrid version of the GS has some improvements as well. IT got a water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor to go with the V6 and provide a powerful 338 HP overall. The car’s linked to a planetary CVT and Toyota claims the vehicle can go from 0 to 60 in just 5.6 seconds, a pretty impressive feat.

Other than those major front end adjustments and the new powertrain upgrades the 2016 Lexus GS is more of the same good stuff. It still offers all the tech goodies that you could want, and it drives smoothly enough to please even the pickiest of drivers. Sure it’s not the fastest sports car on the block, but the hybrid version is decidedly quick and both options should be a lot of fun to drive around, with or without the rest of the family.

The 2016 Toyota Prius Looks Surprisingly like the Mirai

August 29, 2015 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , , ,

The 2016 Toyota Prius is planned to debut in just a week from now, and it was expected that someone would leak photos before that date. Well now we have them, and what’s surprising about this new model isn’t that it’s pretty refreshing (though it is), it’s that the 2016 Prius looks a lot like the Mirai. That resemblance is really obvious out back of the Prius, but there are a few other similarities around the vehicle as well.

2016 Toyota Prius

What’s New Out Front?

The seemingly happy face of the 2015 Toyota Prius out front has been transformed into a more aggressive scowl on the 2016 version. The headlights are more swooped and angular, the grille is lower down and thinner and the fog lights go off at a more aggressive curve than before. The end result is a clearly more aggressive and sportier vehicle, and I’m really digging it.

Take a Look at the Rear

At the rear of the 2016 Prius you get a lot of styling cues taken straight from the Mirai. It’s got a very similar lighting setup with lights that curve and angle down toward the floor in close to a scythe shape. The car also has that same “floating” roof design, making use of black pillars to give the roof a floating look nearly identical to what the Mirai has going for it. The Prius has a higher tail in the back than the Mirai however, giving it that distinctly lifted look that everyone is familiar with on Prius’s now.

Bolstered Fuel Efficiency

While this post wasn’t originally meant to talk about much more than the look improvements to the 2016 Prius, it’s hard to go through a full post without at least mentioning how much more efficient this car is supposed to be. Toyota execs say that the car is supposed to be at least 10 percent more efficient than the outgoing Prius model. The old version managed 50 MPG combined, so it’s safe to say that we should expect somewhere around 55 MPG combined in the 2016 model. To achieve the efficiency improvements Toyota relied on a new engine with a higher thermal efficiency than the other model. Toyota also refined some of the electrical components around the vehicle to not only make it more affordable but more efficient.

If you’re into what Toyota did with the Mirai as far as looks is concerned, you’re sure to enjoy the 2016 Prius more than its predecessors. It certainly has a new edginess about it that it didn’t in the past, but it still has that unique styling that sets it apart from other vehicles. You won’t mistake the Prius for the Camry, or any other vehicle that Toyota has rolling around in its fleet, and that’s a good thing for the car.

The Cayman GT4 is a Serious Driver’s Vehicle

August 25, 2015 lacarguy Porsche Tags: , , , , , ,

Up until now Porsche hasn’t dared give its Cayman variant enough power to stand up against its flagship 911 for fear of overshadowing it, but that’s exactly what the automaker did with the Cayman GT4, and it’s now available in the USA for examination.

cayman gt4

The Power

The Cayman GT4 comes packed with 385 HP, all produced from a very capable 3.8 liter flat six that was taken straight out of a Carrera S. It’s got the full front end from the Porsche GT3 making it highly aerodynamic and responsive around the corners of any track you bring it on.

A Real Driver’s Vehicle

Unlike the 911, the Cayman has a nearly perfect weight distribution with weight heavily centralized in the center of the vehicle on this mid-engine car. That gives the Cayman superior handling around tight corners and other track features that the 911 might struggle on a bit thanks to the rear-engine design it relies on.  That’s what makes this Cayman GT4 so desirable and why drivers are practically climbing over one another to get their hands on it.

Is it Faster

Motor Trend took out both the 911 Carrera and the Cayman GT4 and compared the performance and times for 0 to 60 acceleration and over the ¼ mile and on both tests the Cayman GT4 came out ahead by quite a ways. That said, the Cayman GT4 is quite a bit faster than a Porsche 911 with the same power configuration, but it probably can’t keep up with every Porsche ever made, because it doesn’t have the power to compete with some.

Crushing the Figure Eight

On the figure eight track test, which is just a series of touch turns in a figure eight pattern, the Cayman S was able to post a faster speed than nearly every Porsche 911 taken around the same figure eight course with 23.8 seconds, and during their testing the Cayman GT4 manages the course in 23.5 seconds beating out many of the fastest 911 times, but still not overtaking the GT2 or GT3 times around the course.

The latest Cayman GT4 is a beast of a vehicle, and it’s something that every Porsche lover should try out at least one time. It’s not the right vehicle for everyone, but a driver looking for a race car experience each time he heads out onto the open road will be absolutely over the moon with this vehicle.

The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid Sees Some Tech and Aesthetic Improvements

August 24, 2015 lacarguy Volkswagen Tags: , , ,

2015 marks the final year for the Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid. It’s a highly powerful vehicle that offers impressive performance. Unfortunately the vehicle also comes along with a hefty price to go along with all that quality. The latest version benefits from several key improvements that should be taken into consideration when considering the 2015 model versus some of the others on the used market.

2015 touareg hybrid

A Spruced Up Interior

Inside the 2015 Touareg there are quite a few key improvements. The dash, console and side panels of the vehicle benefit from more silver accents than before. A richer leather is used throughout the cabin and a better fine-grained wood is relied upon for accenting the cabin. The end result is a much classier build overall that really stands out. The vehicle also has a more durable switch-gear that should hold up better over time.

A Snazzy Exterior

The latest Touareg Hybrid looks nicer from the outside thanks to many different improvements made to the vehicle. A four-bar grille and a variety of chrome trim accents brighten up the exterior while also giving a bit of an upscale touch. Restyled wheels offer a more modern appearance and

Enhanced Safety Features

To keep the Touareg competitive with the other SUVs in the market it received a bunch of new safety features in the 2015 model year. The vehicle comes with adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and pre-collision automatic braking. It also has a lane departure warning system to help keep drivers within the lines when driving tired or distracted.

Smooth Handling with Plenty of Power

The 2015 Touareg is surprisingly light on its feet with tight handling characteristics. It has an electronically assisted rack and pinion steering system. It feels much smaller than it is and accelerates effectively thanks to a powerful V6 with 333 HP and 325 lb.-ft. of torque.

While the hybrid Touareg isn’t completely revamped, and most of the changes it received are with the tech or the looks of the vehicle, it’s even more desirable than it was in the past. It’s a good solid SUV for people willing to pay for quality. It drives and looks like a luxury vehicle, but comes in at a lower price than most luxury SUV options. It’s clearly refined, and a true pleasure to ride around in.

Porsche Purists Won’t Like the New Turbocharged Change

August 23, 2015 lacarguy Porsche Tags: , , , ,

Conservative Porsche owners aren’t likely happy about the new changes that Porsche has planned for its entire lineup of vehicles. The automaker is planning on getting rid of naturally aspirated engines entirely in favor of turbo-charged models across the lineup. This change offers a lot of benefits to every vehicle owner, but it does come with some drawbacks as well. Whether Porsche owners like it or not, it’s a change that has to be made and one that Porsche seems very committed to starting next year.

porsche 911 carrera gts

The Positive Improvements

There are a few positive improvements that smaller turbocharged engines will offer to Porsche owners. The first, and most important is that the vehicles will be more efficient overall. Fuel economy figures will drop down and so will emissions. This is very important for Porsche, because the automaker has strict government efficiency levels it has to meet, and adjusting its lineup to meet those requirements is essentially to remain in business. Another benefit is that even though these engines are going to get smaller they will actually get more powerful as well. That means that they will be faster once up to speed, and drivers will have more to work with.

A good example of this is the Carrera 911. According to Car and Driver the turbo version of the vehicle coming next year will have 400 HP available, a 50 HP increase even though the engine is dropping from 3.4 down to 3.0 liters. The car will technically be more powerful, though it might experience turbo lag that keeps it from accelerating any faster.

Why Purists Don’t Like It

Purists don’t like turbocharged engines for one specific reason, and that’s throttle lag or turbo lag. This phenomenon occurs as the turbocharger begins to build up speed when the vehicle first begins accelerating. The vehicle experiences a bit of latency while it tries to build up speed and that makes it harder to precisely operate the throttle. It makes driving a bit more difficult and finicky and takes away from that smooth performance that Porsche vehicles are so known for.

Combating these Issues

There are a few different ways to handle this issue. By adding in a couple turbos instead of just one the lag can be reduced noticeably. Some automakers have also relied on electric turbo systems that rely on electricity to start spinning a turbocharger before it has a chance to do so naturally, and that also helps reduce turbo lag substantially. There’s no information about whether Porsche is going to rely on any of these techniques to improve driving dynamics of their vehicles, but it’s likely that they will do something to make a difference. This is likely to be the pattern that all Porsche vehicles follow in the future, and it wouldn’t be surprising for most of the lineup to get a slight power boost while becoming more efficient in the process.

Preserving the Manual

Even though Porsche is taking away the naturally aspirated engines that so many purists prefer, the automaker isn’t doing away with manual transmissions. There will still be plenty of models that offer a high quality seven speed manual transmission to enthusiasts who want a more traditional driving feel.

The New and Improved 2015 Volkswagen Golf

August 22, 2015 lacarguy Volkswagen Tags: , , , ,

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf has a bunch of nice improvements that make it more desirable than ever for a buyer looking for a compact vehicle. The new Golf looks very similar on the outside, but once you climb inside and start driving it around it’s easy to see some of those improvements coming into play.

2015 volkswagen golf

It’s Faster

After taking a long look at the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI there’s no denying that it’s a faster vehicle than its predecessors and it’s faster for two different reasons. The first reason is that it’s simply more powerful than before with an engine that offers 210 HP and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The vehicle’s also lighter, making that power boost more noticeable. It’s a full 82 lbs. lighter than the previous model, and it can travel from 0 to 60 in less than six seconds, which is pretty impressive for a compact car that’s not designed as a performance vehicle.

You’ll Hear it as You Drive

One downside with the latest Golf is that there’s quite a bit of road noise coming through. When you get up to top speeds you’ll hear the wind blazing past the car, and you’ll also hear the road beneath you and the engine. While it has several styling cues that look like they came straight out of an Audi, the vehicle doesn’t have the same level of sound proofing that you would expect from one of the luxury vehicles.

More Room to Sit and Haul

It’s no secret that the Volkswagen Golf isn’t a big vehicle, but with recent modifications there is room enough for two adults to sit in the back of the vehicle quite comfortable. The leg space is nearly the same as a Honda Civic sedan, and that’s pretty respectable for such a compact vehicle. There’s also more than enough space for storage at the rear of the vehicle. The trunk is larger than on previous models for slipping items inside more comfortably, and within that storage space there is a total of 22.8 cubic feet of storage. That’s enough room for several bags to travel around comfortably, or a full cart of groceries. No matter what you use the Golf for, there is going to be space to carry around reasonable loads.

Good Driving Ranges for Trips

When taking trips with the gasoline version of the Volkswagen Golf you’ll have around 400 miles of driving range available to you. Each fill up will give you an average of 400 miles that you can travel before running out of fuel. On a family trip that spans highways more than city driving conditions that range might go up as high as 480 miles before fuel has to be added to the vehicle.

Sure the Golf isn’t the right vehicle for everyone, but buyers who want something small, relatively quick and very efficient should at least take a look. With so many different variations to choose from, this compact vehicle has a lot to offer to a range of buyers.

EV Vehicles: Why They’ll Save You Over Time

August 20, 2015 lacarguy Volkswagen

Vehicles are expensive to maintain, and that’s one of the reasons that so many people decide to stick with one instead of two. Fortunately electric vehicles like the e-Golf could serve as a potential solution to this problem. Several recent studies show that electric vehicles are more affordable to maintain, and that difference only becomes more prominent as time goes on.

2015 VW egolf

There is Less Going on

In electric vehicles there’s simply less going on overall. There isn’t as much cooling and there is no oil to worry about. The sludge buildup problem isn’t present and electric motors run pretty reliably over time without needing much of any maintenance. A huge number of products rely on electric motors today, and most of those products can run for years and years without needing any maintenance at all. Since electric vehicles are so much simpler, it makes a lot of sense that they would be more affordable to maintain as well.

Cut down on Brakes and Repairs

With so much less going on in the vehicle it means that you won’t have to spend money on many of the maintenance tasks that you currently do. It won’t be necessary to change the oil any longer. it also won’t be necessary to worry about coolant levels or spark plugs like you used to. There are some other savings that you might not have been expecting though, and one of those is on brake equipment. When you drive an electric vehicle you are likely making use of regenerative braking. This is a technology that slows down the vehicle using a motor setup to recharge the batteries within the vehicle. The technology slows the vehicle before you even have to apply the brakes. What that means is that you’ll use your brakes considerably less than you otherwise would. This results in brake pads lasting longer and many times on rotors, calipers and all the other brake technology lasting longer as well. That’s a real bonus that most owners don’t even expect to see.

Save Money Over Time

Buying an electric vehicle to save on maintenance costs and fuel makes a lot of sense, but only if you are going to own the vehicle for quite some time. The first few years of owning the vehicle probably won’t make up the difference that you paid for the higher priced vehicle. With electric vehicles still being more expensive than gasoline vehicles you have to own them for as long as you can to save some money. That’s why you should only pick up one of the vehicles permanently if you’re planning on keeping it for many years. If you will be getting rid of the vehicle after a few years then leasing is probably the way to go for most people.