Rumination by Andy Lin
Sometimes, less is more. But other times, more is more. Not sure where this train of thought was going to go, but it’s a lazy kind of Saturday. So let’s just meander on, coffee in hand.
Speaking of less and more, Toyota revealed a mild refresh of the Sienna while Smart took the wraps off the daring new lines of the ForTwo and ForFour. Sweeping changes are occuring under the hood of two diametrically opposed vehicles: the Toyota Prius destined for lithium-ion batteries and all-wheel-drive, the Ford Mustang seeing a power boost in its V8 and turbocharged EcoBoost engines.
Fuel economy hit the headlines this week, with the EPA proposing new real-world testing procedures for manufacturers. The fine balance between performance and efficiency can be difficult to maintain. For your driving pleasure, Nissan is rolling out D-Step CVT transmissions in more of its vehicles, to better emulate a traditional automatic. Ford, on the other hand, is dropping the manual and the 1.6L EcoBoost in the Fusion to improve fuel economy figures.
Random tidbit: Hyundai is going brown. We blame Jalopnik. No word on whether their vehicle lineup will now consist entirely of manual diesel hatchbacks and wagons.
Google may be pioneering the self-driving car, but Ford has robots that will pilot production vehicles, the same ones you may be driving. Fear not, these robots are safely confined to a closed course used for durability testing, with Michael Bay shenanigans at an absolute minimum.
But if you were interested in having your world rocked, Peter Bleakney’s got you covered – with a report on the rapturous aural experience of high-end car audio systems.
First Drives & Previews
Vehicle launches this past week had the Autos.ca team flying all over. Jacob Black was in St. John’s, Newfoundland to check out the 2015 Subaru Outback, which is bigger and badder than ever, though remarkably composed over rough terrain.
Jonathan Yarkony attended the 2015 Audi A3 e-tron launch in Vienna – and strangely enough did not compare the superlative drive to the visceral thrill of biting into an expertly executed schnitzel (yes, it’s time for breakfast).
Meanwhile, my fingers flew over the keyboard and attended the Japanese launch site for the 2016 Mazda2; make sure you read the forum thread, details are still pouring in for the compact hatch.
A tale of two luxury sedans this week: the Audi S4, representing traditional German craftsmanship; and the Hyundai Genesis, the innovative Korean challenger. But if it’s a straight-up comparison you want, we’ve got a match-up between the very-difficult-to-categorize BMW 335i Gran Turismo and the Volvo V60, which, surprisingly, is not your dad’s wagon.
From there it’s hatchbacks galore: the Subaru WRX STI, Volkswagen GTI, Mini Cooper S, Fiat 500C, and rounding out the pack, the Nissan Micra. No need to go into details because everyone’s got their favourite, don’t deny it.
One of these things is not like the others: the Honda Odyssey is a minivan. And has a vacuum cleaner and rides like a dream.
Construction work aside, there’s no better time to take the car out. And no better time to catch a glimpse of a your next car. So, what car have you been obsessing about today? Or perhaps, like vantage007, you’ve been contemplating the best car names?
Or do you have a grand unifying conspiracy theory of the future of the automotive industry, perhaps kicking off with a possible merger/buyout between Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler? (Direct all theories to redman in the thread.)
And with that, we come to the end of another weekly digest. I just might take a nap. If you disagree, feel free to voice your dissent in the forums.