Why the e-Golf is the Practical Man’s EV

May 5, 2017 lacarguy Volkswagen Tags: , , ,

With so many high-end electric vehicles being released onto the market by the likes of Tesla, Porsche, and quite a few others, it can be easy to overlook the smaller guys, or in this case the less exciting and more practical guys like the e-Golf from Volkswagen. That could be a big mistake to make though. Sure the e-Golf isn’t flashy, it doesn’t offer sports car performance and it won’t take you around the country on a single charge, but it is practical and relatively affordable as well.

2017 VW e-golf

Decent Range and Recharge Times

One of the most important considerations to make when shopping for an EV is how long it takes to charge, and how far it will take you once it is charged. These are two areas that the latest e-Golf does pretty well in. The range of the vehicle on a full charge is over 100 miles, and a standard 240V charger will refill the car in about 6 hours, while the more powerful charging system that costs extra can get the car 80% full in just an hour offering around 100 miles on that single fast charge. For the everyday commuter or town driver the e-Golf makes good sense, and according to Volkswagen, when paying $0.13 per Kilowatt of electricity, the average user will only spend about $550 to drive for the year. That works out to around  $46 a month, which is pretty darned good for the everyday commuter.

It’s Surprisingly Affordable

The e-Golf can be had for as little as $29,000 not including any tax credit, and it is available for as little as $21,495 including the $7,500 tax credit offered by the Federal government. That makes it awfully easy to build a case for the full electric vehicle. After all, it will get you where you need to go the same as any gas powered vehicle, and it will likely cost the same as any other efficient new car that you’ve been eyeing. When compared to Tesla’s current offerings, it’s easy to see how the e-Golf just makes sense.

Speedy and Fun to Drive

The e-Golf is also pretty fun to drive, though it’s not going to compare with a sports car. The car speeds up pretty quick, with 0 to 60 times in 9.6 seconds. It offers good driving dynamics with reliable braking and responsive steering. The only quirk that you have to deal with while driving is the pulsing of the regenerative brakes, but it’s not too bad, and it means that you’ll go through brake pads far more slowly than the average driver would.

Overall the e-Golf just makes good sense. It’s the most obvious EV choice for a buyer on a budget, and it has a lot to offer.

The Lexus RX Leads Canada Sales Surge for Good Reason

May 3, 2017 lacarguy Lexus Tags: , , ,

While many of Toyota’s vehicles are experiencing a decrease in sales in Canada, Lexus is actually experiencing a serious surge in sales. So much of a surge in fact that records are being set. During the month of April Lexus set the tenth consecutive monthly sales record and had the biggest month of sales to date with a total of 2,651 Lexus vehicles sold. Much of this is due to the latest RX SUV that’s selling like crazy all over Canada. Let’s dig into why that is.

2017 Lexus RX

Why is the RX Selling so Well?

Canada itself is well-known for having rough terrain that’s a bit more difficult to traverse than other countries, and that’s partly why SUVs are so popular in Canada, but that doesn’t explain why the RX is selling so well over other models. Lexus has an excellent reputation in Canada, but the RX is standing on its own in terms of quality and features offered. The SUV comes with an excellent selection of safety features that make driving more convenient and crashing much more difficult to do. The SUV is known for its reliability, it’s designed with a rugged platform that can stand up to harsh weather conditions such as snowy roads or mountain driving. The SUV is also highly luxurious.

Luxuriate While Off-Roading

While we don’t recommend taking the RX through tough off-road courses, there are likely some that it could handle just fine. It’s a pretty tough vehicle, but it also comes with all the comfort and aesthetic features that you would expect out of a Lexus. It’s fitted with carefully sculpted heated and cooled seats that are designed to make your drive as enjoyable as possible. The SUV itself looks stunning, and there’s ample space within for five passengers to ride around comfortably.

The 2017 RX is just a good solid vehicle to tackle the elements in style. That’s probably why 966 units were sold in April, a major increase of 11.2% over the previous April’s sales figures. That’s a significant increase and it shows that more people than ever before are interested in the RX and what it has to offer.

Canadian buyers are realizing the value of the RX, whether it’s the 350 or the 450h hybrid model, there’s a lot to like about the vehicle and how it handles in a variety of different driving conditions.

Porsche Cayenne Tows Jumbo Jet

May 2, 2017 lacarguy Porsche Tags: , , ,

There are some critics out there that talk about towing capacity and how it’s not always accurate. There are some companies that reportedly overstate the towing capacity of their vehicles to the displeasure of the vehicle owners, and then there are companies like Porsche, that are apparently quite conservative when it comes to the tow rating of their vehicles, or at least for the rating of the Porsche Cayenne. Just a few days ago Porsche made headlines all over the world, for doing something that seems impossible. The automaker used a couple different Porsche Cayenne’s to tow a 314-ton jumbo jet a total distance of 140 feet. That seems completely impossible when you consider the vehicle has a tow rating of a mere 7,700 pounds.

porsche cayenne jumbo jet

Setting a World Record

While towing the Airbus A380 jumbo jet down the tarmac, Porsche set a new world record exceeding the old production car tow record by a staggering 127 tons. The feat was accomplished at the Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport, and it’s going to be something that ever Porsche Cayenne owner takes pride in.

You Can Trust in that Tow Rating

With such a heft accomplishment under its belt, you shouldn’t have any trouble trusting in the pretty conservative 7,700 lb. tow rating put on the Porsche Cayenne. We’re not recommending that anyone go over that limit, but Porsche drove the two Cayenne’s away from the event and they both functioned fine, so owners that go above and beyond the rating occasionally probably won’t suffer from any issues as long as they are careful with how they drive. Either way, it’s an amazing feat, it’s something that every Porsche owner should be interested in, and it shows that good engineering makes it possible to accomplish much more than you think.

Not Just a Diesel Thing

First Porsche relied on a Cayenne S Diesel to complete the feat, but before you go ahead and say that it’s a diesel thing, Porsche also did the same exact thing using the Cayenne Turbo S, a gas-powered vehicle. It’s all in the Porsche engineering, not the type of fuel running the vehicle.

If you’ve been looking around for a rugged SUV to tow stuff with, it’s hard to argue against the stylish and well-equipped Porsche Cayenne. Just don’t expect to tow your jets with it, this was a carefully planned feat and probably isn’t that easy to reproduce by just anyone with a Cayenne and a jet sitting around.

The Audi 2017 Audi Q7 is a Mix of Luxury and Performance

May 2, 2017 lacarguy Audi Tags: , , ,

Audi has long been known as a luxury car manufacturer, but the Q7 makes a strong case for the company’s SUV division. It’s a supreme mix of power, style and comfort and the latest Q7 is arguably one of the best offerings by Audi today. Enough buildup though, let’s get into what makes the SUV special and what helps it stand out above other SUVs on the market, and believe me, there’s quite a bit to like about this smooth rolling crossover.

2017 audi q7

Smooth Powerful Performance

The SUV features a V6 that packs a total of 325 HP. It’s not the most overpowered engine that we’ve seen in an SUV, but it makes takeoff feel smooth and quick. The large SUV seems to absorb bumps as you go over them, and the ergonomically sculpted seats help with that effort even more while providing a supremely comfortable surface to sit on while riding around. The seats are cooled and heated, and they’re comfortable in all different climate types.

Paddle Shifting Precision

With the high quality automatic transmissions on the market today, most people are content letting their vehicles handle gear changes for them, but there’s something enjoyable about being able to do the job yourself, and with the Q7 you can have either or. It’s equipped with a set of paddle shifters that allow you to shift between the eight different gears as you see fit. This is especially helpful for hill driving where you can take advantage of low gears to cut down on braking. There’s also a standard drive and super drive setting, allowing you to be more efficient out on the highway.

Excellent Interior Space

The inside of the Q7 is massive with ample leg room for people in the first and second row of the vehicle. There’s seating for 7, with the third row being a bit more cramped. Not only is there plenty of seating space, but there’s ample cargo room at the back of the SUV for all your gear, groceries or whatever it is that you need to haul around.

Excellent Safety and Driving Aids

While driving the 2017 Q7 you’ll notice that there’s a speed guideline posted near the speedometer. The SUV can actually pick up the different speed limits as you drive around, letting you know exactly how fast you should be driving at all times without actually tampering in what you’re doing. The SUV also comes with advanced safety features, like collision braking to help you avoid crashing into objects in front of you.

The Audi Q7 was released right after the Denver Auto Show, and it shows a lot of promise. It’s refined, it looks nice, offers plenty of interior seating and is equipped with all the safety features that you could want out of a vehicle.

We Could See a Track Worthy Lexus LS in the Future

May 2, 2017 lacarguy Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

Lexus has long been a vehicle that focuses more on luxury features and comfort than it does performance. Lexus vehicles aren’t the first choice or even the third choice for most tuners or race track fanatics, but that could all be changing in the future. There hasn’t been an official announcement saying that Lexus is going to release a powerful track car, but there was a patent filed that indicates it’s possible. The LS-FC concept was shown off at the New York Auto Show last month, and that hints at a more performance focused Lexus, but it was the LS-F concept name patent filed by Lexus that showed the possibility for something more.

2017 Lexus LS

The LS-F

The LS-F seems like an unlikely release in the near future because Lexus already claimed that they were not going to come out with a LC-F vehicle, which would be the more obvious performance car, but that doesn’t mean that an LS-F is off the table either. There are some good reasons for making a high-performance variant of the LS before the LC, the most obvious of which is that it would be more affordable. Performance enthusiasts don’t mind spending more for their vehicles, but they don’t want to spend top-end prices either. Mid-range performance vehicles like the lower AMG variants are selling at high numbers, and this could be exactly what Lexus is trying to achieve as well. By tuning up its LS variant, buyers could pick up an affordable track-worthy vehicle to play with, and that could be just the thing to get Lexus recognized as a serious performance brand.

It Could Mean a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Variant Instead

While it’s possible that the LS sedan could receive a major performance variant, it’s also possible that the LS-F vehicle could actually be for a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. If that’s the case it would be the first hydrogen-powered luxury sedan, and it could be another major step in the right direction for Toyota while trying to get the tech out there and increase its popularity. If that’s the case it could be just the thing needed to increase widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cells.

Either way, it seems likely that Lexus is putting out a variant of its LS sedan, and that variant could be something pretty exciting if we’re interpreting the patent information properly. It’s also possible that Toyota is just covering itself and that no variation will be released for the LS at all. That’s why enthusiasts are encouraged to keep an eye over Lexus during the next few months to see what they are really up to.

Porsche Using Stickers to Censor 2018 Macan

May 1, 2017 lacarguy Porsche Tags: , , , , ,

The Porsche Macan went from being a strange idea that many Porsche fans rejected, to a popular mainstay of the brand. The Macan has already been through a few evolutions since being released, but Porsche is clearly trying out another one as we speak. The interesting thing isn’t the changes the Macan is receiving, but how Porsche has decided to mask the next vehicle, with stickers.

2018 Porsche Macan Spy

Sticker Covers

That’s right, Porsche has placed stickers over top of the 2018 Macan in order to make it look like a 2017 version of the vehicle. By looking where the stickers have been placed, it’s easy to see what changes are coming on the latest model and what you can expect from the automaker overall. The stickers are actually pretty difficult to notice in pictures, and they’re a brilliant way to block distinctive features on the latest Macan while still getting it out there for testing.

Only Minor Changes are Coming

On the front of the Macan the headlights are clearly being changed up in some way, but it’s tough to see exactly what the change is from a picture alone. It also looks like the Macan is getting a new bumper and fog lights, and it’s very likely that it’s going to have an LED across the entire back, or at least that’s what the full-sized rear sticker would suggest. Overall the cosmetic changes are all just speculation, but there are quite a few modifications coming.

Expect Interior and Engine Upgrades

Not only is the exterior of the 2018 Macan getting some changes here and there, but buyers should expect the interior to be notably changed, and for there to be different engine options than what is currently offered on the Macan. There could even be a plug-in hybrid version of the popular sports SUV offered by Porsche, which would be very interesting.

While the 2018 Porsche Macan doesn’t look like it will be a revolutionary vehicle, it will come with quite a few changes to its front and rear, and it will be interesting to see exactly what those are. Don’t expect to have to wait months to hear about them though, it’s likely that Porsche will put out an announcement and show off the vehicle before the end of summer.

Toyota is Considering Natural Gas Fuel Cells

April 25, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , ,

By now most people have heard of hydrogen fuel cells being used in vehicles like the Toyota Mirai to move them around the road without utilizing fossil fuels to do the job. This technology is pretty cool, and it works surprisingly well, but so far it isn’t’ all that practical on a wide-scale. That’s because hydrogen isn’t widely available just yet, and it could be quite a while before there are enough hydrogen refueling facilities to keep cars running all over the world. That’s one of the reasons that Toyota has been toying with the idea of a natural gas fuel cell instead.

Natural Gas Fuel Cell

A Natural Gas Fuel Cell

Just like the hydrogen fuel cell, a natural gas fuel cell would be used to generate electricity to drive a vehicle down the road. The main difference is that it will use natural gas rather than pure hydrogen. The natural gas would be split into hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and both substances would be used to generate electricity for the vehicle. The fuel cell stack on its own will generate electricity at around 53 percent efficiency, but by putting a heat reclaimer in the system Toyota is able to reach efficiency levels around 65 percent, which is better than its current hydrogen fuel cell.

Not as Helpful to Climate change

One of the major criticisms of this new technology is that burning natural gas is not as good for the environment as hydrogen fuel could be if it was produced using renewable resources, and that’s absolutely true. AT the moment hydrogen isn’t being produced with renewable resources though, and it’s being created with fossil fuels. In other words, relying on a natural gas fuel cell over a hydrogen fuel cell could actually be better for the environment currently. That’s because natural gas contributes less to climate change than gas or diesel fuel does. Making the switch to another fossil fuel might not seem like the right move to help mitigate climate change, but at the moment it’s a step that actually makes quite a bit of sense.

Maybe Not for Vehicle Use

While Toyota is experimenting with this new technology, at the moment it only seems like it’s destined for businesses and residential use to generate power for local energy needs. It isn’t being tested for vehicle use just yet, and it’s possible that the tech will never be used in vehicles. Even still, it’s interesting to look at different technologies and ways of doing things.

New Advanced Volkswagen Powertrain Options on the Horizon

April 24, 2017 lacarguy Volkswagen Tags: , , , ,

Volkswagen is hard at work trying to make more sustainable vehicles that drivers are going to want to operate in the future. To help create those high-tech vehicles that won’t release as many fossil fuels into the atmosphere, Volkswagen is working on advanced engine tech, like a costing internal combustion engine, they’re perfecting their hybrid technology and also trying out different fuel sources such as compressed natural gas to get around.

2017 volkswagen jetta

Driving without the Engine

One of the biggest wastes of fuel is running the engine when it’s not being utilized to drive the wheels down the road. Today most engines run even when they aren’t being used to drive the tires of the vehicle, and that burns up fuel just like driving does. That’s why most engines get significantly worse fuel efficiency in slow stop-and-go traffic than it does out on the highway where the engine is being fully engaged at all times.

To answer this issue Volkswagen developed an engine that does away with this problem. The engine relies on what it dubs as micro-hybrid technology to start and stop it depending on need. In other words, for situations where you are sitting in traffic and not moving, or where you are able to let off the gas to do something like coast down a hill, the engine would shut off entirely and save all that fuel that would otherwise be burnt. The small electric power system built into the engine would help it get started up again where it left off, and you would never even realize that it wasn’t running to begin with.

This advanced engine is going to be released in a few Volkswagen vehicles to start with and the overall offerings are due to expand over time. It’s a pretty cool idea though, and it’s more affordable to implement than say a full hybrid electric setup like you would find in the Prius.

A More Powerful Full Electric Setup

Volkswagen is working hard to make full-electric vehicles more capable. One of the major changes the automaker made to facilitate that is a new electric-architecture. The system will first show up in 2020 in the Budd-e5 and should offer an increased range with powerful and efficient driving mechanics. The more potent battery used in the vehicle will allow ranges up to 185 miles, which is pretty significant compared to most electric vehicles out on the road today.

Testing out Compressed Natural Gas

Volkswagen is also looking closely at compressed natural gas as a fuel source. The company wants to test out relying on this type of fuel to drive vehicles down the road because it’s a good way to reduce emissions over standard gasoline or diesel. Compressed natural gas produced by fossil fuels is more efficient and better for the environment than gasoline or diesel are. The fuel can be produced from biomethane though, and when the fuel is made in that manner it’s much better for the environment overall than the other fossil fuels are.

It’s a good time to be looking into alternative fuel sources, which is why it makes so much sense for Volkswagen to be experimenting with hybrid, full electric and natural gas technologies to make vehicles more efficient and sustainable.

The Differences Between the Prius and Prius Prime

April 21, 2017 lacarguy Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , ,

If you’re like many people shopping around for a hybrid car, you have to decide whether the Prius Prime or the standard Prius is the right vehicle for you. Both options offer some benefits and have some downsides. Ultimately, the one that’s best for you depends on what your priorities are and what you want out of a vehicle. That’s why we’re going to break down the differences between the two vehicles so you can make the decision for yourself.

Prius on the left Prius Prime on the right
Prius – Prius Prime pictured

Storage Space

If you value storage space and you frequently fill up the trunk of your vehicle currently, you probably won’t want to go for the Prius Prime, that is unless you can use the back seat of the vehicle for your storage needs. That’s because the Prius Prime has little trunk space. Toyota shoved all the batteries necessary for the extended full-electric driving range into the trunk of the vehicle, so it’s very shallow.

Fuel Efficiency

If you value fuel efficiency above all else, the Prius Prime is likely the vehicle for you. It comes equipped with battery packs that allow you to get up to 25 miles on a single charge before you start burning up gas at all. That means that you can charge up your car, head out on the trip and kick in the full-electric driving power whenever you hit a city portion of your trip. You can get over 100 MPG when using the full-electric mode to drive, and you’ll likely get over 70 or 80 MPG combined by the end of your trip if you aren’t travelling too far away. That’s a pretty big increase over the 50 to 60 MPG that you could expect from the standard Prius.

Sporty Handling

Neither Prius is known for very sporty handling, but the Prius Prime is even worse when it comes to driving mechanics. That’s because the batteries add around 300 pounds to the back of the vehicle and give it a heavy weighted feeling. This is especially obvious when going around corners and you’ll have a somewhat uninspired driving experience when taking the Prius Prime out for a spin. If driving mechanics are most important to you, the Prime is likely not the option for you, and the standard Prius is going to offer a slightly more satisfying experience overall.

Streamlined Media System

If you want a nice streamlined tech setup, the Prius is ahead of the Prius Prime. That’s because the new system used in the Prime is a bit overcomplicated and it can be difficult to learn to use. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get the hang of things, it just means you’ll have to spend some extra time mastering the features than you would have to if you were learning on the standard Prius. If you don’t mind taking the time, the media system works well, you’ll just be a bit more overwhelmed when starting out.

Tech and Features

If tech and features are important to you, the standard Prius Prime comes packed with quite a bit more than the standard Prius. You’ll enjoy a powerful adaptive cruise setup that works all the way down to start and stop traffic. The car also comes with parallel parking assist making it a bit easier to get into those tight spaces will parking in the city.

Overall both vehicles have a lot to offer. The Prius Prime offers more efficiency and more tech. The standard Prius offers more storage space, slightly better performance and a simpler tech experience. Both are highly efficient, but it’s up to you which one is the right fit for your needs.

Porsche is Planning a Different Kind of Self Driving Car

April 20, 2017 lacarguy Porsche Tags: ,

Autonomous driving is a feature that’s coming soon, or at least that’s what most of the experts in the auto industry are predicting. Most major car companies are hard at work trying to get a car to safely drive you around the road, and through extensive research tests are getting closer and closer to successfully doing just that. Many automakers want to make it so that drivers never have to drive again. So that they can lounge peacefully behind the wheel of the car, or even without a wheel at all, and get transported to the final destination. This isn’t want performance brands like Porsche or Mazda want though. They’re more interested in meeting somewhere in the middle.

2017 Porsche 911

Why Porsche Doesn’t Want Always on Auto Driving

Porsche isn’t interested in autonomous driving features that are always on for vehicle owners. That’s because Porsche is a performance brand and most Porsche owners have the vehicles for the driving experience. In other words, Porsche owners wouldn’t have a reason to buy a Porsche if they weren’t going to be driving it.

Instead Porsche wants to create vehicles with autonomous driving that you can switch on and off as you see fit. These systems would give you control over the auto features, but still make driving safer at the same time.

Autonomous Driving Standard in Every Porsche

According to Klaus Zellmer, the North American CEO of Porsche, autonomous driving will be like cruise control is today. It’s a tech that will soon be standard in every Porsche, but something that you’ll be able to pick and choose when you use it. This means that Porsche owners will have the option if they don’t feel like driving, but there’s no need to use an autonomous driving feature, just as there isn’t a need to use cruise control today.

A Behind the Scenes Nanny

Porsche understands that autonomous driving is a way to make driving safer, and Zellmer believes that the best answer is to create safety features that run in the background without taking away from the driving experience. In other words, a computer would be running with a series of sensors that detect any danger, and correct errors that the driver makes without even worrying the driver about the errors. You could safely enjoy the thrill of driving your Porsche, while operating it under much safer circumstances than is possible today with this tech.

Autonomous driving is exciting for car owners and it’s a feature nearly everyone wants to implement, Porsche just wants to make sure that the act of driving remains enjoyable and that aficionados can drive to their heart’s desire without being taxied around all the time.