Starting off as a muscle-y sport coupe in the 1970s and later dabbling in the mid-sized sedan market in the late ‘90s, the 2011 Buick Regal may have finally found its niche as a luxury sports sedan. Its modern aerodynamic lines, signature tail lamps, 18” painted alloy wheels and integral rear spoiler instill the car with a sporty character while still possessing a roomy, comfortable four-door interior lacking in most sport coupes. By adding all the standard interior bells and whistles—such as leather upholstery, lumbar seat adjustments, power everything, a fully-equipped electronic console ergonomically designed for the driver’s easy and efficient use—the Regal lives up to its luxury sports-sedan status in every way, save for the its four-cylinder engine (Drivers looking for a little more oomph may opt for the available manual transmission).
However, four cylinders is a small concession considering the standard MSRP of this modern-day luxury vehicle runs in the low $26,000s. Throw in the “Comfort & Convenience Package,” a power sunroof, a few extra safety features and a premium nine-speaker system and the price tops off at $31,030—still several thousand dollars less than many comparable cars in the same class.
 
 
2011 Buick Enclave CXL-2 FWD
Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Officially branded by Buick as a “luxury crossover,” an informed car buyers’ first encounter with the Enclave may lead them to wonder if General Motors had classed the car incorrectly. With its roomy, fully-equipped, seven-seating interior and ample rear storage volume equating to an exterior mass of cargo van-like proportion, then fixed atop Enclave’s standard 19-inch wheels, this “crossover” rides higher than most SUVs on the road. However, the 2011 model was built up from a sedan-framed auto platform nonetheless, its broad, wide and raised stature notwithstanding.


Undeniable however, is the validity of the Enclave’s luxury. A power lift-gate, wood accents, leather seating, tri-zone climate control, ultrasonic parking assist and a rear-view camera system are among the comprehensively long list of standard features. The console is completely tech-ed out too, equipped with a six-month OnStar package and XM radio along with  every plug, port and Bluetooth to accommodate practically every portable/mobile device currently on the market. And from the outside, the big and bold exterior fascia design is molded with strong lines across the side panels, jutted points in the grille and rounded corners wrapping around the tailgate. The overall evocation possesses a standout contemporary nouveau distinction without cheapening the upscale facade expected of luxury vehicles.

That aside, the Enclave may not be the best-suited for city driving. While the pick-up is efficiently swift, braking isn’t hard or stammered and the overall ride is level and smooth, the model’s design appears to lend itself to making wide turns. This renders the driver to awkwardly attempt to cut into the turn tighter which the steering seems to resist. Its ground clearance combined the narrow and curved back windows would make parallel parking impossible if not for the parking assist systems. And the FWD doesn’t always compensate for hauling the car’s large mass, as the front tires are apt to spin if making a hard advance from a stopped position.

Yet it may stand to reason that the Enclave wasn’t designed for city travel anyway. Affording complete comfort, class and personal accommodation to every passenger seat, the Enclave may have been intended for wide, open country roads where both the driver and the driven can just stretch out, relax and take it slow.

~$39-42,000 base; ~$49,000 fully equipped.
 
 
Range Rover/iPhone a Go-Go
Friday, October 22nd, 2010


LONDONOctober 22, 2010 – Land Rover today announced the launch of ‘Pulse of the City’, an iPhone app that anticipates the launch of the new Range Rover Evoque—Range Rover’s upcoming new small(er) and more-eco-friendly model. The ‘Pulse of the City’ app lets users create a unique and stunning data visualisation of their journeys across ten cities worldwide.

In a world first, the ‘Pulse of the City’ app, launches on iPhone (android available from mid November) and uses GPS tracking to record the collective movements of people within the ten cities. Users will be sent a graphical representation of their journey which they can display on the helloevoque.com website.

Users will be invited to download the app for free. City Shapers will be able to add comments about their favorite places, hot spots and journeys, creating a real time, evolving pulse of each city.

As the ‘Pulse of the City’ grows, Range Rover will be asking its ‘City Shapers’ and users of the app about their connection to their city.   Questions including ‘What inspires you about your city?’ and ‘What are people talking about in your city today? will be posed each month, with the information from each city gathered to build a portrait of each urban landscape.

The ‘Pulse of the City’ app uses the new IOS4+ operating system’s ability to run background applications, thereby allowing users to start the app and leave it running whilst using the phone to take calls or browse the web. It uses the enhanced GPS capabilities of the new OS to track each journey more accurately, making the final visualisation a true reflection of a user’s movement.  The app will let users come back to saved journeys, pause the journey they are viewing and then share their journey via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.

The app, launched in conjunction with the website www.helloevoque.com, is inspired by the new Range Rover Evoque and the cities that in turn inspired its design.

source: press release by way of Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC
 
 
Little Fiat 500 Coming Soon
Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Shortly after Chrysler Group was saved from bankruptcy by the foreign investment of Fiat last year, the Italian auto-making world power has been promising to make a Fiat model available to the U.S. by way of select Chrysler dealers. However, only those dealers who could afford to build separate service and sales offices to accommodate the Fiat additions would be considered to take on the brand (among other criteria) and, per www.fiatusa.com, no dealers have been named to date. Nevertheless, Chrysler/Fiat has confirmed the Fiat 500 will be the first model made available to U.S. buyers in 2011, adapted and redesigned to suit the North American Market.

Conceptualized as “style and fashion co-existing with function and practicality,” the 500, or Cinquecento, promises to offer “small-car buyers a stylish, high-value alternative.” This ultimately equates to sporty exterior/interior design powered by a 1.4-liter engine. The 500 Sport model (pictured above) is equipped with Fiat’s MultiAir™ technology which the company says, “significantly reduces emissions while improving fuel economy and power delivery by up to 10 percent when compared to similar engines.”

The Fiat 500’s U.S. debut will come  in three different trims, Sport, Pop, Lounge, and a convertible “Cabrio” version of the 500 is slated for release in the spring of 2011.

Future Fiat plans include the availability of four models available in the U.S. by 2014.