Acura RDX A-Spec AWD treat drive. And camping.

Published on July 27, 2019, by in Automobile.

Article Source: FendyBt2 Official Website

I did drive an Acura RDX last year. And Acura was kind enough to lend me another one.
This time, with the sporty A-Spec package.

The RDX, in my opinion, is one of the nicest looking SUVs around. It does look quite sporty and upscale.
But I have to say, the A-Spec color combo is not my favorite. As I am not a fan of black wheels and red seats.

The A-spec package is mostly a cosmetic one. Except for larger, 20-inch wheels.
Otherwise, it is very similar to the technology package. With a few more things.
The A-spec adds the larger wheels, special seats, 16 speakers and black trim.

The A-spec has the same excellent and roomy interior. Similar to all versions of the MDX.
Except for the seats and various trim.
The seats are very comfortable.
Everything feels very high quality. The doors feel really solid.

The trackpad still takes a bit of time to get used to. But once you personalize it, it becomes very quick and easy to use.
And of course, that sound system I praised in my previous review is still amazing.
One of the best at any price…

Suede inserts and red on silver dials are specific to the A-spec.
The dials are a bit harder to read in direct sunlight.

The ride is pretty much the same as the other versions. Even though it does have larger 20-inch wheels.
It is always solid and comfortable. The sport mode doesn’t really change things that much.
While the Sport + firms things up a bit more.

The steering is also the same. Which means pretty light and not that sporty. But always smooth and very precise.

The 2.0 liter Turbo/10 speed combo is still a delight.
The engine has a nice muted growl when you push it. Otherwise, it is always very smooth and super quiet.

The RDX A-Spec is rated at 21/26 MPG for the AWD version. (The non-A-spec is rated at 21/27)

Last time I was able to get 21/30.
For some reason, I was not able to get more than 19 around town this time.
And a little under 30 on the freeway.
So I guess the 20-inch wheels do make a difference after all…

Yes, I went beach camping with the RDX.
There is plenty of room for two with the rear seats folded flat.
Plus the sound insulation makes things very quiet inside.
And there is still a large cargo area under the cargo floor, for extra stuff.

While I really love the Acura RDX, I would not pick the A-spec package.
Ther is nothing wrong with it. But I do prefer the extra equipment that comes with the (more expensive) Advance package.
I would rather have a front and surround-view camera, a head-up display, etc.. than black wheels and red/black seats.
The real wood trim on that package is also pretty nice.
But that is all a matter of taste.

No matter what version you pick, the RDX is still one of the best deals around as a luxury SUV.
Starting at around $37500. Including the giant panoramic sunroof and many more features.
The loaded Advance package model is still around $45 000.
Which is really much less than its competition.
(and Audi Q5 starts at $43 000!)
This is really a great car at the right price.

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2019 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SE Technology Review & Test Drive

Published on July 25, 2019, by in Automobile.

Article Source: FendyBt2 Official Website

The SUV and crossover utility race has never been more competitive than it is right now. Automotive manufacturers clamor to stand out with innovative features and designs, and Volkswagen has been one to jump into the fray nearly two years ago with their Atlas as a larger crossover that fills a gap the brand once had between its two-row Touareg and new compact-sized three-row Tiguan.

Having larger-than-ever for Volkswagen interior, the new Atlas plays to serve up respected accommodations but without breaking the bank. The Atlas is more of a plebeian vehicle that does just what it is supposed to without any add-on frills or standout styling. Fundamentally, it’s a basic midsized three-row crossover that fits just what growing families need instead of settling for a comparable minivan.

>> Get the best price on the Volkswagen Atlas from a network of local dealers now. <<

The new 2019 VW Atlas has not changed much other than adding two new trim levels, and a few expanded feature sets not made available to additional trims. Having had a stab at reviewing the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas last year in its top trim level, it was refreshing to get the 2019 model in the middle-of-the-row SE V6 Technology trim that has a much lower price point than the Atlas V6 SEL Premium 4Motion. My current test vehicle, the Atlas V6 SE with a Technology Package, test out at a price of just $38,840, including a $995 destination charge. At such a price, it well undercuts its loaded-up sibling, which had an as-tested price of $49,415. The differences in the two were not extreme but one would want to opt for the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system for more of a balance where I keep experiencing unwanted front-wheel-spin in my current test car.

See Also: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL 4Motion Review & Test Drive

The VW Atlas in its standard front-wheel-drive form is somewhat of a handful when equipped with the 3.6-liter V6 engine that’s good for 276 horsepower and 266 ft-lbs of torque over the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder offering. Unfortunately, the handful isn’t the type that enthusiast crave, its more along the lines of being annoying and unsettling where the FWD Atlas doesn’t feel planted to the ground. In all, the hefty VW Atlas tends to feel uneasy leaving you guessing when you pull out in traffic. The power is there, but getting it to the ground is a different story. The narrow-angle V6 does all it can to muster out power through the direct-feeling 8-speed automatic transmission, but things start to get messy when near half throttle or more is applied. Zero to 60 mph takes about 7.6 seconds. The fuel consumption is somewhat dismal not even matching the EPA estimated 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined during my test drive. I averaged about 18 mpg and saw as high as 22.6 mpg on the highway.

The 2019 VW Atlas rides decent and has its merits for being decent transportation for a large family that requires three rows of seats, accommodating as many as seven in my test vehicle. The seating areas are large, and the second-row allows you to leave a child’s car seat in place while you fold the seat forward to gain entry to the third-row. The Atlas is one of only a few vehicles in this class that can do such an act. The ease of ingress and egress is a benefit for the Atlas to welcome passengers into its cavernous seating areas. The cabin is mostly dull and full of hard plastics. Soft-touch areas are very limited, mostly to the top dashboard and where your arms rest. Cargo room is respectable for the class with over 20 cubic feet behind the third-row and over 96 cubic feet of cargo with the second and third-row folded.

There are just enough features and amenities to satisfy with the middle-level V6 SE Technology trim in the new Atlas, which bundles up the active safety features with adaptive cruise control, blindspot monitor, lane keep assist, forward collision warning with emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. The latest infotainment system in the V6 SE Technology trim is welcomed with an 8-inch high-resolution touch screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, which are all part of the Technology trim selection.

The hard-chiseled lines of the VW Atlas’ exterior and boxy shape are somewhat unique but tend to get a little lost in the crowd of other suburbia crossovers and SUVs. Looking at the complete package of what the new Atlas offers, it’s one of the rare ones that give you spacious accommodations and a bevy of welcomed features at a respected price. In my previous review, I cover other aspects of the new Atlas that can be had for an additional price in the upper trim levels.

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2019 BMW X7 xDrive50i Review & Test Drive

Published on July 19, 2019, by in Automobile.

Article Source: FendyBt2 Official Website

After my first endeavor with the all-new BMW X7 earlier this year, I was intrigued and nearly convinced that BMW had conjured up something that’s been lacking in today’s crossover-craved world in America. Having already had some time with the BMW X7, it was exciting to get one to drive for a full week and finish the experiences that I started some time ago. After my time with the X7, I’m almost ready to buy one considering it is essentially the larger version of the X5 that’s been wanted to comfortably seat more than five people in the lap of luxury with the expected performance from BMW.

>> Get the best price on the new BMW X7 from a network of local dealers now. <<

The new BMW X7 comes to us as a 7-Series in crossover form but mostly builds upon what the X5 has to offer – abet larger and more accommodating in a true three-row crossover form. The new X7 gets two engine choices initially, either a turbocharged 6-cylinder with 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque in the X7 xDrive40i or a potent twin-turbo V8 with 456 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque in my X7 xDrive50i test vehicle. Both engine choices get mated to a direct-feeling 8-speed automatic transmission. Power is delivered to all four wheels and my loaded up X7 xDrive50i benefits from rear-wheel integral steering that virtually shortens the wheelbase to give better maneuverability and steering response at all speeds.

The new X7 has a unique character. The X7, fundamentally, is very different from the X5 but in a good way considering it has an extra heft to carry around and does so gracefully, especially with the turbocharged V8 power. The control of the body is kept in check from its adaptive dampers and air suspension system but feels to loft around a bit more for my tastes in the default Comfort drive mode. I found myself utilizing a customized Sport Individual drive mode most of the time to put the suspension into its sport mode that lowers the vehicle for a lower center of gravity and more of stable feel all without diminishing the ride quality. Surprisingly, the ride quality was still smooth in the sport suspension mode. The full-on Sport mode was a bit too much for the drive management where the transmission mapping was too aggressive for everyday driving.

The BMW X7’s demeanor is plush as is most of its driving character until you push the vehicle hard. The BMW X7 reacts well to being flogged – but not too much – for such a big crossover utility vehicle. At times, it seems to tackle tasks that you wouldn’t think it could, such as launching to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds or carve up twisty roads with confidence. While the X7 is undoubtedly big and heavy at 5,617 pounds, it hides some of that weight with a graceful driving attitude to keep it nicely planted on the road, where you want it to be. For those who like to go exploring, if they dare, the X7 has a few tricks to literally rise to the occasion with its air suspension system and crawl through rough terrain. Though, the X7 has its limitations considering trims like my test vehicle are shod with large 22-inch rollers wrapped in beefy run-flat performance tires with a 315-width out back and 275s up front.

Adding to what I experienced a few months ago with a quick spin of the new X7, it is apparent that BMW wanted to make a statement and they have done such in many ways with its largest vehicle yet. The new X7 exhibits an almost comically-large front kidney grille with active shutters. The grille demands attention visually as it acts to capture additional air to feed the thirsty twin-turbo V8 engine. The power surges strong without any apparent turbo lag. The only drama experienced from the drivetrain is utilizing the almost-useless launch mode, which brings about unwanted bucking and lumpy shifts, which don’t do much to improve upon its already-great acceleration.

Inside of the new BMW X7 is a plush interior adorned with plentiful luxury amenities, all that you would want up front with seat heating, ventilation, and massaging functions. The latest climate controls with a dedicated color display has several zones for passengers while the latest iDrive infotainment unit and wireless Apple CarPlay are welcomed changes. The recent change noticed was the wireless Apple CarPlay appears to have been updated to utilize only Bluetooth instead of Wi-Fi, which now allows your iPhone to access the Internet through your cell service without interruption. Before, in previous iterations of iDrive, the wireless Apple CarPlay would take up the Wi-Fi signal of your iPhone and interfere with apps having Internet access making apps like Waze nearly useless.

The new iDrive system, with a short learning curve, becomes a good companion in your journeys in the X7. There are many hidden features, such as the “Hey BMW” voice command that somewhat mimics the one found in new Mercedes vehicles. Other aspects of the iDrive system remain to be remarkably responsive and redundant in their control from either iDrive controller and physical buttons or the high-resolution touchscreen that is within easy reach.

Seating areas in the X7 are smartly designed with plentiful space for tall passengers and offer power adjustments in the second row to accommodate most. One disappointing fact is the second-row captain’s chairs do not offer seat ventilation, a feature that is now available on three-row crossovers half the price of the new X7. The third-row is decent for space, and you could get away sitting back there for a few hours without issue.

BMW’s new X7 is a good answer to Mercedes and their GLS. The two are close competitors in a landscape that closely critiques SUVs. Though, with new luxury three-row crossovers, you must pay to play and in the realm of Z-Germans, the BMW X7 isn’t cheap with a starting price of $92,600 and my nearly loaded test vehicle having a price of $117,945. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a better three-row crossover at such a price without moving to body-on-frame SUVs.

Get the best price on the new BMW X7 from a network of local dealers now. <<

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