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Road Tests: 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 3.6 liter

Horsepower: 310

Torque: 266 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds

1/4 mile: 15.6 seconds @ 91 mph

EPA: 15 mpg city / 22 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 7.4 tons/yr

Not only is there an all-new Buick Enclave three-row crossover on the streets, but there’s a new luxury sub-brand from Buick as well, called Avenir. So, consider this a two-fer as we see what happens when the two come together in the 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir.

The 2018 Buick Enclave is the 3rd vehicle to arrive based on GM’s latest full-size C1 chassis; following the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia.

And with it, comes Buick’s new up-level sub-brand Avenir. First used on a 2015 concept flagship sedan, Avenir adds to this 3-row utility high quality interior materials that look and feel worthy of the name. The leather-covered front seats are especially nice, some of the most comfortable we’ve seen from G.M.  

Most things inside the cabin, including Buick’s latest infotainment system, work really well; the exception being the clumsy shifter, similar to the one found in the Cadillac XT5.  We wish Cadillac would have kept that one for themselves.

Though not too many complaints were lodged about the operation of the new 9-speed automatic transmission that it controls. We found it both smooth and decisive.  

Unlike at GMC and Chevrolet, there’s no choice when it comes to the engine; only a revised 3.6-liter V6. Horsepower is now 310, with 266 lb-ft. of torque. Auto stop/start is included, and fortunately it’s very smooth in operation, as it can’t be switched off.

You can stick with front-wheel-drive or add one of two all-wheel-drive systems.

The basic full-time arrangement is available with Essence trim; while Premium and Avenir models get Buick’s Intelligent all-wheel-drive system with active twin-clutch rear differential. 

Thanks to weight loss of about 300-lbs., more power coming from the engine, and three additional gears in the transmission; the new Enclave feels much quicker than ever before. And indeed we did get to 60 a full two seconds sooner than we did in the original, at 7.2-seconds. 

It doesn’t feel exceptionally powerful, but that’s probably due the good all-wheel-drive grip at launch, and its overall smoothness as we moved down the track. The Enclave completed the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.

We quickly forgot how big the Enclave is, after a few runs through our cone course. It turns in very quickly and weight transfer is held well in check. The top tier all-wheel-drive system, with its rear torque vectoring, definitely helps it rotate into turns, as well as keep understeer minimal. 

We were impressed even more when it came to our braking test. The Enclave came to a halt from 60 in just 103-feet. Stops were consistently straight, smooth, and confidence inspiring.  

But the Enclave is clearly not a track animal; and in its natural environment, ride and handling quality truly is exceptional. Between Buick’s Quiet Tuning keeping interior noise levels library quiet, and the well sorted out suspension, there’s great comfort behind the wheel; making it an outstanding interstate cruiser. 

The new chassis allows for a longer wheelbase, giving the Enclave more presence; while a steeper rake to the windshield provides a sleeker profile.

Avenir adds a unique mesh grille, nickel-finish trim, and 20-inch wheels to a package that looks much tidier than before, despite growing by over 2.0-inches in length from last year. 

That carries over inside where you’ll find more space and a noticeably roomier feel throughout the cabin. Captain’s chairs only for the 2nd row, with a rear bench for three, standard. 

With the 2nd row SmartSlide seat, access to that 3rd row is quite good for the large crossover class, and there’s adult size room for settling in; though we wouldn’t recommend it for extended periods of time. 

Cargo capacity behind the 3rd row is up slightly, to 23.6 cubic-ft. Folding those seats expands the space to 58.0 cubic-ft.; maxing out at 97.6 with all seats folded. 

If you can’t fit it inside, you can tow up to 5,000-lbs. of it on a trailer behind you; that’s 500-lbs. more than last year. 

All-wheel-drive Government Fuel Economy Ratings improve pretty significantly as well, going from 15-City, 22-Highway, and 17-Combined to 17-City, 25-Highway, and 20-Combined. Front-wheel-drive is better still, at 18-City, 26-Highway, and 21-Combined. There’s also a big improvement for the Energy Impact Score, with 16.5-barrels of annual oil consumption and CO2 emissions of 7.4-tons. 

Base pricing does sneak up a little over last year to $40,990. Passing through Essence and Premium trims, you’ll arrive at the Avenir at $54,410. Adding all-wheel-drive varies with trim level, but plan on at least 2-grand. 

With all of the leather-clad SUVs out there, you’d think the 2018 Buick Enclave might have a hard time of it.  But, the 3-row near-luxury crossover segment is actually pretty wide open, with plenty of space for a family hauler that’s not too pretentious and doesn’t come with a high-buck badge. Attainable luxury is Buick’s new theme and you’ll find plenty of it in the Enclave Avenir.

Categories: Syndicated

Goss’ Garage: Meals on Wheels

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 7:00am

There’s a problem with cars that has become almost epidemic lately. It’s something that most people would never think about. That’s rodents that eat the wire harnesses in our cars. It disables the car, does all kinds of damage. We’ve seen some where it’s actually totaled the car it was that bad.

One of the reasons behind this is for several years now – various manufacturers have been using wire where the insulation in it is made out of a soy based product. So it looks like food to the rodents. What are some of the things you can do to prevent these sorts of problems?

Number one is to make sure there are no food sources around the car. What you have in many cases, you may have dog food, you may have grass seed, or any number of different things that are around your garage or some place near the car and these are food sources for the rodents. They come toward the car. Once they get in the general vicinity then they discover this soy based material on the wires and they have a feast.

We want the food source done away with so you may find that you have to plug various parts of the car to keep them from getting inside. One of the ways to do that is steel wool. But a better way is bronze wool. The steel wool gets wet and it rusts. The bronze wool will not rust. You buy that  typically at a marine supply store because it’s used on boats.

There are various chemicals that you can buy and various devices that you can buy. Not all of these work, not all of them fail, but you have to try to find a solution. Now here’s something that’s relatively new, and it seems to work. It’s going to take a little work on your part. That’s tape you can wrap the wire harness with that is impregnated with Capsaicin. The thing that you have to remember here is that when you’re working with this stuff you’re certainly going to want to wear rubber gloves in order to protect yourself. And after you’ve done it, do not wipe your eyes until you’ve thoroughly washed your hands.

Another part of that is that if you take your car in for service, make sure you tell the technician that you have this coating on the wire harness. If you don’t they may get involved with it and rub their eyes or something and it’s not going to be fun for them.

There’s no one fool proof solution for this but if you explore these items you can probably get it under control.

If you have a question or a comment, drop me a line. Right here at MotorWeek.

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2018 Ford F-150

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 2.7 liter

Horsepower: 325

Torque: 375 lbs.-ft.

0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds

1/4 mile: 14.3 seconds @ 99 mph

EPA: 19 mpg city / 24 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 15.7 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 7.0 tons/yr

You’d think that after bringing an aluminum body to the full-size pickup ranks just 3 years ago, ford would be done with the F-150 for a while. But the light duty f-series didn’t become America’s long time number one selling vehicle by staying the same year after year. So, it’s no real surprise that ford has unleashed an updated F-150 for 2018.

To be fair, as far as updates go, the 2018 Ford F-150 is far from comprehensive; but Ford is out to give you many more choices when you go in to buy one. 

Having already brought a lot new to the full-size truck segment over the last few years, with a choice of EcoBoost engines and features such as trailer back-up assist…

…this year, Ford brings a new 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine to replace the 3.5-liter, as well as a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, and an updated 5.0-liter V8; along with wider availability of their 10-speed automatic transmission, and making auto stop/start standard with all engines. 

But bigger than all of that is a first-time 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke diesel option that will be arriving soon, with 250-horsepower and 440 lb.-ft. of torque. It will also achieve 30 mpgs on the highway, according to Ford; and will pull 11,400-lbs. of trailer. 

We just got back from sampling the new Power Stroke in Colorado. First impressions? It’s a quiet oil burner for sure, both outside the vehicle and inside. 

With tow mode engaged, it had no problems towing a 3-ton horse trailer. Uphill grades still require a downshift or two from the 10-speed automatic, but we were steadily increasing our speed as we were climbing. 

It felt even better around town without the trailer, instant torque is always a good thing as far as we’re concerned; and this little Power Stroke delivers plenty of it, in a very refined fashion. 

Regardless of powertrain, all ‘18s get an updated exterior with a new billet-look grille, revised front and rear bumpers, new tailgate, and upgraded lighting; as well as fresh trim and wheel options.  All keeping it arguably the toughest looking rig among the big-3. 

For testing here at home, our Lariat Sport SuperCrew was sporting the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, and it packs a serious performance punch. Horsepower stays the same as last year at 325, but torque takes a healthy leap from 375 lbs.-ft. to 400; with all of it delivered well below 3,000 RPM… 

…and delivering us to 60 in just 5.7-seconds. There’s explosive power off the line; so much, that we had much better success launching in four-wheel-drive to get traction. 

Shifts are quick and tidy, with power delivery staying consistent throughout the 14.3-seconds it took us to complete the ¼-mile at 99 miles-per-hour. Those times are just a few tenths off the last SVT Lighting we tested back in 2001. Such numbers were crazy for a pickup truck at that time, now they’re just commonplace.  

Handling has changed a lot in a little time as well. The clunky disconnected feel you expect in a pickup has been replaced with blazingly fast steering, confidence inspiring grip, and minimal body roll.  

Braking performance is excellent as well; just 108-feet is all it took to bring this heavyweight hauler to a stop from 60. 

Away from the track, the ride has gotten smoother, but not quite to Ram-level of plushness. Here, the F-150 still feels like a truck, just a very comfortable one. 

Capabilities continue to escalate in the ongoing battle for pickup supremacy. As of right now, the F-150 is tops in towing at 13,200-lbs., thought that’s with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and 2-wheel-drive.

Changes inside for ’18 are relatively minor, just some new seat and trim materials for most trims including our Lariat.

Bigger updates for available safety systems, now including adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go functionality and Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost are 19-City, 24-Highway, and 21-Combined. That’s only slightly worse than average for all vehicles, with an Energy Impact Score of 15.7-barrels of yearly oil use combined with 7.0-tons of CO2 emissions.

As for pricing, you can spend as little as $29,100 for a base Regular Cab XL, though most people will spend somewhere in the 40’s for their F-150. Our 4X4 SuperCrew Lariat Sport stickered for just over $50,000; and for the really big spenders, King Ranch and Platinum trims are higher still. 

While the Ford F-150 has maintained its place as the number one selling vehicle in the U.S. for 35 years, 2018 looks to be a year where they’ll face their toughest competition ever. All-new trucks from Chevrolet, GMC, and Ram are clearly designed with the express purpose of challenging Ford’s supremacy. Not to mention the increasing presence from import branded rigs Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan. It will be an interesting sales year for sure; but ultimately, one that we think will continue to see the Ford F-150 riding high.  

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Volvo Charging Away From Diesel

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 11:53am
Backing up its intent to electrify all new models after 2019, Volvo has announced that it will not develop any new diesel engines and will phase them out of its lineup worldwide. The new S60 sedan, to be built exclusively in South Carolina for all world markets beginning later this year, will be the first Volvo not to offer a diesel option. Diesel engines accounted for 70% of Volvo sales last year in Europe.  Volvo announced at last month’s Beijing Auto Show that they expect full-electric cars to make up 50 per cent of its global sales by 2025.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Tesla Restructuring Operations to Meet Profit Goals

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 9:06am
In a memo to employees sent early Monday morning, Tesla CEO Elon Musk provided details on the plan to restructure their operation. “We are flattening the management structure to improve communication, combining functions where sensible and trimming activities that are not vital to the success of our mission.”  The management shakeup was likely prompted at least in part by the departure of several key executives in recent months. During a conference call with business journalists last week, Musk also stated that streamlining its production process  —  with humans, not robots — will play a key role in cost-cutting: “we've also found that there are some things that are very well suited to manual operation and some things that are very well suited to automated operation, and the two should not be confused. So, I should be clear that the vast majority of the Tesla production system is automated. However, as I've mentioned in a tweet a few months ago, we did go too far on the automation front and automated some pretty silly things.”
Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Subaru Commences Ascent SUV Production

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 9:00am
Subaru began production last week of the all-new Ascent; a three-row SUV with seating for up to eight.  Ascent will be the largest vehicle in Subaru’s model lineup, and joins three other Subaru models produced at the Lafayette, Indiana factory: Outback, Legacy and Impreza.  Subaru of Indiana Automotive has invested nearly $1.5 billion and added 2,000 associates over the past five years to increase the plant’s capacity in anticipation of building this new model.  We'll be in Portland, Oregon this week for the Ascent press drive so stay tuned!


Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Japanese Car Culture on Display

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 1:28pm
Fans of Japanese car culture will want to check out two new exhibits set to run concurrently at L.A.’s Petersen Auto Museum over the next 11 months.  “The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking,” will explore Japanese innovations in engineering and manufacturing.  Featured vehicles will include 1936 Toyoda AA (replica), a 1966 Nissan Silvia, a 1967 Toyota 2000GT, a 1968 Honda N600, and a 1969 Mazda Cosmo.  “Fine Tuning: Japanese-American Customs” will focus on Japanese car culture and customization in both Japan and the United States and will spotlight a 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GTX “Kenmeri,” a 1991 Toyota Cresta “Kaido” Racer, a 1998 Honda Civic Hatchback Drag Racer, and a 1974 Mazda RX-3, among others. Check out our latest trip to the Petersen Automotive Museum here!


Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3736

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 12:24pm

Debut 5.11.2018


Road Test: 2018 Tesla Model 3

Goss' Garage: Oil Viscosity

Over the Edge: East Coast Defender

Long Term Update: 2018 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

Quick Spin: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Road Test: 2018 Volvo XC60

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: 2018 Dodge Durango Pursuit

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 9:06am
Speeders beware:  Dodge has announced that a Police Pursuit version of its Durango SUV is now available for order by law enforcement agencies.  The 2018 Dodge Durango Pursuit is powered by the same 360 horsepower 5.7L Hemi V-8 coupled with full-time active all-wheel drive as found in the Dodge Charger Pursuit, the most popular police sedan in the U.S. market. The Durango Pursuit is further beefed up for rigorous police duty with larger brakes and a 2-speed transfer case for low-range off-roading.  It is also pre-wired for spot lamps, while a rear backup camera and ParkSense alert will make it easier to hide in those sneaky speed trap locations.


Categories: Syndicated

Podcasts: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Long Term Updates

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 9:00am

Podcast #181

In Podcast 181, Dave Scrivener talks about his latest two trips, driving the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrofoglio, and traveling to the Nurburgring to drive the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Next, the MotorWeek crew recaps what's been happening with all the long-term test cars. Then, the panel discusses Ford's decision to end production of its sedan models and they answer a viewer question about what happens to cars after MotorWeek tests them.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: REVEALED: Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 1:00pm
The desire to give its customers “unbounded access in ultimate luxury” to the world’s most adventurous destinations has led to the 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan, quite literally the - um -  Rolls-Royce of SUVs, or more precisely: The Rolls-Royce of all-terrain high-bodied cars. This ultra-posh all-roader is named after the largest diamond ever discovered (a fist-sized 1.3 pounds), now part of the British Crown Jewels collection.  The Cullinan’s 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 engine delivers 563 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque to an all-wheel drive, all-wheel steer system that has been “tested to destruction all over the planet” to back up its “Effortless, Everywhere” tagline.  If you’re interested, base price is around $325,000. 


Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Cadillac to Axe ATS Sedan, Still Committed to Cars

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 11:00am
Cadillac has announced plans to discontinue production of their ATS compact sedan after the 2018 model year, though ATS coupes will stay in production at least through 2019. Cadillac sells roughly twice as many SUVs as it does cars these days, yet remains committed to keeping sedans in its lineup. ATS production is being halted so that production plants can be to re-tooled and upgraded for a new generation of sedans, though no timetable has been given for their debut.  Cadillac’s next new product offering will be the XT4 compact SUV coming this fall.  


Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: All-Electric Winnebago

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 9:14am
Winnebago’s Specialty Vehicles Division is now offering an all-electric commercial RV shell with up to 125 miles of zero-emission range. Designed as an RV chassis with a customizable interior, these vehicles are often used for short-range, fixed base operations like mobile health clinics, classrooms or sales offices. Available on 33' and 38' Class A platforms, the 100% Battery Electric Vehicle uses Ford’s F53 ZEV truck chassis modified with an electric drivetrain from Motiv Power Systems. Find out more here.

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2018 Tesla Model 3

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Horsepower: 271

0-60 mph: 5 seconds

EPA: 136 MPGe city / 123 MPGe highway

Energy Impact: 2/10 of a barrel of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: Zero

Tesla is a car company unlike any other; doing business more like a tech startup than an automotive brand. That’s served them well for their high priced S sedan and X utility. But, things have not gone smoothly for the entry-level Model 3. Still, they are coming out of the factory in decent numbers now, so its high time to find out if it’s a must have gadget, or truly the car of tomorrow…today. 

It’s fitting that Tesla chose Model 3 as the name for their entry-level EV, as they are looking to do for battery electric sedans what the BMW 3 Series has done for sport sedans, become the new benchmark for others to follow. 

Other than lacking an upper grille slot, the compact Model 3 bares a strong resemblance to the larger Model S. Its slick front end leads to a very big windshield; where the arching roofline flows hatchback-like to a very short rear deck and tall back end. 

Body panel fitment is not as great as what you’d find in the typical luxury car, let alone a Hyundai Elantra; but we hear improvements are being made as production continues to ramp up. 

The interior is surprisingly pleasant; new era minimalism at its finest. Just a long linear dash with air vents, a steering wheel with two stalks, and a horizontal touch screen jutting out of that IP. No buttons, dials, knobs, to be found, save for some programmable scroll wheels on the steering wheel.

All info is displayed on that 15-inch center video panel, and there’s a wealth of it; however, it is fixed and cannot be tilted towards the driver, requiring you to take your eyes off the road a lot. Making things worse, there’s quite often a glare on the screen that keeps you from seeing it clearly. 

All seating positions are rather comfortable; and both rear and front trunks offer plenty of space for storage. 

On the road, the ride is well composed, with a solidly tight but not jarring ride. It indeed drives much like a European sport sedan.

Our test car came courtesy of local owner Bill Clarke, and the excellent driving experience is his favorite aspect of the car.

BILL CLARKE: “The Model 3 is a great vehicle as a driving vehicle; it feels tight, responsive, very powerful. The handling is similar to a BMW in my opinion; I like that nice, tight German feel to a car. The power is almost as much as the Model S that I had previously, so a nice quick responsive car.” 

JOHN DAVIS: There is a somewhat noisy rear suspension, mostly noticeable because of the lack of engine noise. But, Bill’s right on; with an output of 271-horsepower the Model 3 is quite fast. A typical 0-60 run takes about 5.0-seconds. 

There’s also lots of windshield to look through, giving you a wide angle view of all that lies ahead. And, with our car’s Premium Package, the full length glass roof means everyone on board can sight see.

This rear-driver also had the Long Range battery pack, which is the only one available right now. Tesla doesn’t provide exact specs, but it is rated in the neighborhood of 70-kWh. Base 50-kWh models, as well as twin-motor all-wheel-drive versions, will be added into the production mix later this year.

There’s 310 miles of range with the bigger battery, so we’d go with that. Range for the base model is 220-miles. 

Just as in its larger kin, the Model 3’s charging port is integrated into the driver’s side tail light cluster. Still cool, no matter how many times we see it. 

We are definitely not sold however, on the no key aspect. We actually had an app snafu with our test car, and even the backup proximity card wouldn’t let us get the car started quickly. 

The government gives the Model 3 MPGe Ratings of 136-City, 123-Highway, and 130-Combined. For a near perfect Energy Impact Score, responsible for just 2/10 of a barrel of oil use annually and zero CO2 emissions. 

The $35,000 mass market Model 3 that garnered all of the original hype and down payments has yet to emerge. Only the bigger battery model is available right now. That means with other extras like the Premium Package and Auto Pilot, this “3” can easily top $50,000. So, it’s still mostly an early adopter proposition.  

Still, the 2018 Tesla Model 3 is the best convergence of high technology and the practical automobile that we’ve yet seen. And, it does drive great! Yet, it remains to be seen if it truly is the game changing car of the future. But, one thing is for sure; it is here right now, and will be the populous EV benchmark for years to come.   

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2018 Volvo XC60

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 2.0 liter

Horsepower: 400

Torque: 472 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds

1/4 mile: 13.9 seconds @ 99 mph

EPA: 59 MPGe

Energy Impact: 7.3 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emisiions: 3.3 tons/yr

After reenergizing the brand with the 2016 XC90 crossover, and following up with an all-new S90 luxury sedan and V90 wagon, Volvo turned their sights to the midsize arena with an all-new XC60 utility. Most of what you see here looks familiar. So, let’s see if that XC90’s brilliance survives a bit of downsizing.

Volvo didn’t think too far outside of the box for their midsize 2018 XC60 crossover. Rather, they just took the wonderful package that is the XC90 and downsized it. Well, like most things, it’s not quite that simple.  

It does ride on the same platform, which means you also have the same powertrains; starting with a 2.0-liter turbo I4, which at 250-horsepower is more than enough for most, add a supercharger and it bumps up to 316-horsepower. Finally, tack on some electric assist, and output for our T8, jumps to 400-horsepower and 472 lb-ft. of torque.

No matter which version you choose, all-wheel-drive is standard, and all have an 8-speed automatic transmission. 

Nothing drastically different underneath, just a revised version of the double wishbone front and transverse leaf spring rear suspension. So, street handling is sound; making the XC60 reasonably entertaining as a daily driver. 

Power is plentiful at all times and smoothly delivered; whether merging on the highway, coming out of curves, or leaving a stop light. Our only driveline quibble is some clunky downshifts at low speed, and a very unrefined feel to this plug-in hybrid’s regenerative braking.  

Inside, you’ll find the high-end expert-level handcraftsmanship of the 90, but with a modified layout and approach. The overall feel is still high on luxury; and perhaps more impressive, many interior measurements are barely different than the XC90. 

In fact, rear seat room actually feels more plentiful, since the 5-passenger XC60 doesn’t need to create access for a 3rd row like the XC90.

Much less cargo space than the 90 of course, but still plentiful for a midsize; at 29.7 cubic-ft. worth of gear in the back; expanding to 63.3 with rear seatbacks folded. 

A “love it or hate it” central control tablet dominates the center stack. Mounted in the dash, glare was not a big problem. It’s very easy to do basic things too, but more involved demands require a few menus to go through and taking your eyes off the road more than we’d like. 

Seats are very comfortable in a way that only Volvo seems to have mastered, and near perfect seat height makes getting in almost like sliding into your favorite recliner. 

Now, your recliner probably can’t get you to 60 in less than six seconds, however; and this XC60 T8 has no problem doing that.

It’s not so much a launch off the line, as it is an explosion of energy. We’re still not sure how this little 4-banger manages to hold together with a turbo and a supercharger feeding in boost, but it’s quickly becoming a favorite of ours. The added electric assist is just positively charged ionic icing on this 3-layer cake.  

We hit 60 in 5.4-seconds. The automatic transmission shifts quickly and aggressively, and this power unit even sounds pretty good. 13.9 was our ¼-mile time at 99 miles-per-hour. 

With less wheelbase, we were surprised it didn’t feel quite as agile, or for that matter refined, as the XC90 through our cone course. But, there was decent feedback and only mild understeer. 

Where the XC60 mirrors its larger sibling the most is exterior design. It’s not quite an exact copy, but pretty darn close.  And that’s just fine by us, why re-engineer a good thing. The front end is a little more rounded, and greenhouse chopped a little.  

The government gives the T8 a Combined MPGe Rating of 59, with an overall Combined rating of 26; which we couldn’t quite match with our average of 24.2 miles-per-gallon of Premium. For a very good Energy Impact Score with yearly consumption of just 7.3-barrels of oil, with CO2 emissions of 3.3-tons. 

And lest we forget, this plug-in also has an EV-only range of 18-miles. 

It may not be quite the value that the XC90 was when it first came out, but the base XC60 is still very reasonable, priced at $43,895.

So, the 2018 Volvo XC60 may be just a scaled down XC90. But that also means it is yet another fantastic product from the new Volvo. One that should have no problem standing out in a crowded field of great luxury utilities. 

Categories: Syndicated

Goss’ Garage: Oil Viscosity

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 7:00am

One of the most common questions that I get is that, well, I took my care in for an oil change and the technician told me that instead of that thin, watery, 0-20, 5-20 or 5-30 that the manufacturer recommends, you need something this is seriously going to protect your engine.

You need 20-50, 10-40, some of these really thick oils. Don’t believe it. Modern engines are different than older engines and going to a thicker oil, it can lead to all kinds of problems. Number one, it can lead to poor circulation in the engine because it’s too thick.

That poor circulation can lead to problems that we see here. We cut a valve cover apart. This area in here that’s all clogged up – that is part of the breather system for the crank case. We had to put new valve covers in the engine because of this crud.

We can see over there that we have another valve cover all gunked  up with sludge and so on. Why does this happen?

Back in the day when these oils were really popular, engines were made very differently. The clearance between bearings and so on inside the engine, between the cam shaft and cam bearing, or the crank shaft and connecting rods bearings, we could probably have measured them using an old fashioned feeler gauge.

But today, engines are built using modern technology, computer controlled machining, lasers to measure things and so on. So the net result is that these modern engines are much more precise. They fit better. The object of oil, the number one things is to move between moving parts and keep those parts from touching one another.

When we have smaller spaces, we need thinner oil to fit through those smaller spaces. Suppose you put a thicker oil in a modern engine. One of the things that’s going to do is increase oil pressure. Variable valve timing works off oil pressure so you might wind up with a check engine light and a code for the variable valve timing, which could lead to some expensive repairs.

The other thing is that oil is the oil thing that cools bearing inside the engine. Anything that’s lubricated is cooled by the oil. And when we increase oil viscosity, what we do is slow down the movement of the oil and that means that the parts inside the engine are going to run hotter because there’s less oil flow and that means more wear.

My recommendation, stick with what the vehicle manufacturer recommends. They spend millions of dollars figuring out what was right for your engine.

If you have a question of a comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.

Categories: Syndicated

Over The Edge: East Coast Defender

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 7:00am

A boxy SUV from Britain was the first car over half the world ever laid eyes on. The iconic Land Rover is loved by many, including farmers and even the Queen. One company state side is keeping those trucks alive, and beyond today’s standards. Time to go Over the Edge with Zach Maskell as he takes command of a Chevy powered… Defender!

ZACH MASKELL: The Land Rover Defender’s roots date back to 1948 with the Series One. Introduced in 1983… under the Defender name… the light ute is used for military operations, fighting fires, camping, and much more. It was only offered in the US of A for four years. Production ended in 1997, but E.C.D Automotive Design in Kissimmee, Florida is refusing to let them die.

SCOTT WALLACE: Although we didn’t meet until 5 years ago, our upbringing was very similar. We were from pretty poor backgrounds in working towns in the U.K.

ZACH MASKELL: After moving to the U.S. and quickly selling the two Rovers Tom imported, a light bulb went off. The bread and butter of the show… a Defender 90, and 110.

ELLIOT HUMBLE: Just like restoring any old Corvette, any old Toyota FJ. You want to start with that actual vehicle. We don’t want to build kit cars. We want to restore Land Rovers.”

ZACH MASKELL: Salt, sun, and rain work together to breakdown the aluminum body and steel chassis parts on these UK imports. Rusty and corroded– point of no return parts are scrapped here at the acclaimed “Rover Dome”… during step one.

This is a good time for the buyer’s door hinge to be removed and framed for memorabilia.

ELLIOT HUMBLE: It’s like Grahm’s truck. I mean that’s got 30 years of history. We have a folder this big and the guy kept every single MOT test from England, every service, every little repair that was done. He kept every one of them.

Unlike a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon or Cadillac Escalade, these trucks are not generics off of an assembly line.

SCOTT WALLACE: The base truck has still got that story. That’s what we’re selling. I don’t think we’re selling just the vehicle. We’re selling a journey of how you custom build your own vehicle.

NICHOLAS YEARICKS: These are our mood boards. These basically lay out the description of the customers exact preferences on their individual build. What makes their truck custom is all on this sheet. They’re custom tailored to their specifications.

ZACH MASKELL: Apart of ECD, East Coast Overhaul. Let’s say you’ve already got a Defender and you want to put a new engine in it. Come in here, you can do a LS3 Corvette engine, you can do the same 5.3 liter that you can find in my Chevy Silverado truck and you can probably do just about anything else that you want to.

RYAN LEAVERTON: The original engines in these were anemic at best. You had a 4 cylinder turbo diesel, which made like 80 horsepower or something like that or you had a 3.5 liter v8 which still made about, nothing. So it doesn’t really suit people’s needs on American roads and trying to get up to highway speeds so what we do is we swap out to reliable Chevrolet products.”

ZACH MASKELL: ECD did $200,000 in sales their first year… now they’re at 8 million.

So here it is fresh out of the factory, this 110 is an NBA players, Kent Bazemore, and we’re driving it before he even takes delivery. He wanted carbon fiber trim, with a very modern two tone, and of course there is the honey comb stitching on the seats.

Everything is up to date like this touch screen infotainment system, a backup camera and wireless charging for your cellphone. Under the hood is the heart of a Corvette. 565 horsepower LS3.

For 180 up to 300-thousand dollars… you get rid of the cold, metal interior, and into something bespoke. But you won’t forget what you’re driving… with heavy steering and off-road ready suspension. Considering what these three British best-friends set out to build, these Defenders deliver.

Categories: Syndicated

Book Reviews: The Complete Book of Classic Volkswagens

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 4:34pm

The name pretty much says it all for this Must Read. It’s The Complete Book of Classic Volkswagens: Beetles, Microbuses, Things, Karmann Ghias, and More by John Gunnell. If it’s air-cooled and built by Volkswagen in the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s; you’ll read about it here. Accompanying the wealth of facts and figures, are plenty of technical drawings and period advertising. It’s a great resource for the VW faithful, as well as just an enjoyable read for any car enthusiast.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Ford Ranger Testing Video

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 1:23pm
Fans of the Ford Ranger pickup will have to wait until early 2019 until an all-new Ranger hits the street, but Ford has released a teaser video showing prototypes for the new truck undergoing trials -- from grueling lab tests to robotic testing too harsh for humans to endure, from jagged trails in the Australian Outback to the Arizona desert, all to ensure the Ranger lives up to the company’s “Built Ford tough” mantra.  Packed with adventure-ready features like a Terrain Management System, Trail Control and blind spot monitoring with trailer support, it looks like this mini-Raptor is almost ready to leave the nest.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: One Lap of America

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 9:26am
The 35th running of the Tire Rack One Lap of America road/track rally is underway, with more than 70 teams competing in this spiritual (and street-legal) successor to the legendary Cannonball Run.  Teams started with timed wet skidpad runs at Tire Rack headquarters in South Bend, IN on Saturday and moved on to track events in Illinois and Missouri over the remainder of the weekend.  The rally continued on Monday at the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Tulsa, OK before moving on to track events in Colorado, Texas, Louisiana and Kentucky throughout this week, ultimately finishing up with dry skidpad runs at Tire Rack HQ on Saturday May 12th. Events are free for spectators, so check out the schedule and follow the results at http://www.onelapofamerica.com/Home.do


Categories: Syndicated