Archive for the ‘Cars’ Category

That Toyota Highlander Commercial Cracks Me Up

I’ve seen this freaking Toyota Highlander commercial probably a hundred times already, yet I find myself laughing every time I watch it.

My two favorite quotes from the spot are “It’s got a bin for your chicken” (referring to the huge center console that can hold 53 juice boxes) and “A computer from the future” (aka the navigation system).

Toyota was smart to partner with The Muppets, as the typical Highlander driver grew up with them, so it hits that nostalgic nerve. And judging by how many new Highlanders I’ve seen on the road, it appears to be working!

What do you think of the Toyota Highlander commercial?

Just Saw My Dream Car At The Detroit Auto Show

2015 Audi S3

The Detroit Auto Show (NAIAS) is one of the biggest auto shows of the year, and my husband was out there for the media preview this year. While I would have loved to come along, I couldn’t get off of work, so I had to settle for his pictures instead.

While there were a lot of cool cars on display at the show (2015 Ford Mustang, Toyota FT-1 Concept, Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept, 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, etc), the one car that really caught my attention was the 2015 Audi S3.

I’ve always been an Audi fan, but I can’t afford the A5 or A7, and frankly the A4 is a little boring looking. The S3 looks to fit the bill with an affordable price (around $40K), amazing performance, great styling, and it’s limited production means I won’t see one everywhere I go. (Here in Yuppieville, luxury cars are a dime a dozen)

The S3 doesn’t come out until later this year, but you better believe that I’ll be at the dealership as soon as one comes in so I can test drive it for myself. And if all goes well, this might just be my new car!

My First Trip To Detroit: Go Further With Ford 2013

Further With Ford - Alan Mulally

Last week, I got to visit Ford’s HQ in Detroit as part of their Go Further with Ford trend conference. This was my first time visiting the Big D, and my first automotive media trip, so I was doubly excited!

The event started with dinner at the historic Henry Ford Museum, a remarkable museum that houses over 200 acres of invention, inspiration and innovation. 300 years of history. 26 million artifacts in an eye-opening and mind-blowing collection started by Henry Ford himself. I seriously could have spent all night there, there’s just so much to look at. If you’re ever passing through Michigan, make sure to visit The Henry Ford.

Here’s a picture of me sitting in the Rosa Parks bus, in the same seat she sat in!

Here’s a picture of me in the Rosa Parks bus, sitting in the same seat she sat in!

The following day, we were shuttled to Ford’s campus for a full day of activities. There were many components to the event. There were trend panel discussions on topics such as technology, design, and sustainability, with a group of amazing speakers flown in from Google, MIT, Stanford, and more. Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) was one of the featured speakers, and that was really neat. I should have asked him to sign my iPad. 🙂

Further With Ford - Steve Wozniak

We were granted VIP access at Ford and got to see lots of cool things like 3D printing (which lets engineers prototype parts far faster than they normally could) and VIRTTEX (Virtual Test Track Experiment), which as the name suggests, simulates real-world driving scenarios in a safe virtual environment.

What kind of trip would it be without some driving? I got to drive a 2014 Ford Fiesta around an autocross course. I was nervous at first, but I had the instructor ride along with me, and it was actually a lot of fun! The Fiesta is a cute little car with a lot of pep, and it handles quite nicely!

2014 Ford Fiesta

I also participated in an eco-challenge in the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi, which is Ford’s plug-in hybrid model. While the Fusion Hybrid gets an impressive 47MPG city/highway, the Energi gets a staggering 100eMPG! But for me, the biggest surprise was that you’re not forced to make any sacrifices. The Fusion is a full-size vehicle that drives like any other car. The only difference is that you’ve got to plug it in to recharge. And unlike those all-electric cars that have a limited range, the Fusion Energi will continue running on gasoline if/when you run out of power.

I’ll be posting a more detailed review of the Fusion Energi in the near future

I’ll be posting a more detailed review of the Fusion Energi in the near future

I’ve never been much of a green person, but the Fusion really had me looking at things in a different light. While the Energi isn’t a feasible option for me (no garage, no charging stations nearby, etc), the Fusion Hybrid is definitely going to get a second look when it’s time to replace my gas-guzzling Acura. It’s a GREAT looking car, and the technology this car packs is second to none.

All in all, it was a pretty amazing trip. I met some great new friends, drove some very cool cars, and learned a lot about Ford as a company and where they’re headed in the future. And the future’s looking bright!

Highlights From The 2013 New York Auto Show

Audi A5 Cabrio

On Thursday, I went up to New York City for the New York Auto Show media day. Last year I attended the Philadelphia Auto Show on media day, but couldn’t compared to the massive show that New York hosts!

I was especially excited about this year’s show, as there were quite a few new vehicles that I couldn’t wait to see in the flesh. But the two I was most excited to see were the new Lexus IS and the Mercedes-Benz CLA.

Unfortunately, the Lexus was roped off and could only be viewed from a distance. Still, I couldn’t get past those ugly DRLs that are integrated into the front bumper. It’s meant to be edgy, but it just looks terrible. Hopefully there’s enough negative feedback that Lexus decides to change the headlight/bumper treatment.

As for the Mercedes, it’s a design that really needs to be seen in person. I thought the rear styling was a little over-the-top, and the lack of a traditional shifter also bothered me. Euro-spec CLA’s have been shown with silver alloy wheels, but both cars on display in New York had black rims with chrome lips, which honestly looked a little cheap.

So what did catch my attention at the show? The Audi booth had a slew of great-looking cars, and I once again fell in love with the A4 sedan. Even though the A4 hasn’t changed since 2008, there’s something about it that keeps bringing me back! I also sat in the A5 Cabrio (as seen in the photo above), which was just stunning.

Jeep has an outdoor off-road course which you absolutely MUST take a ride in.. I was scared to death, but in a good way. There’s also an EV ride-along which shows you how cool electric cars are. This 30-second ride will have you look at electric cars differently.

We were also invited to drive a Ford Fusion Energi around the city, and it was a really impressive vehicle. It’s a plug-in hybrid that gets an EPA-rated 100MPGe, and drives like a regular car! I never used to be an eco-geek (my car averages 18MPG), but it’s pretty amazing seeing how fuel efficient some of these new hybrids are.

The New York Auto Show is always one of my favorites, and this year was no exception. There’s so much to see, so if you’re going, make sure you get an early start so you don’t miss out on anything!

Honda Launches Pink Car Designed For Women

Over in Japan, Honda’s rolling out a version of their Fit compact car specially designed for women! It’s called the Honda Fit She’s (talk about a strange name), and the first thing you’ll notice is how pink it is! The car has pink stitching in the seats, steering wheel and floor mats, as well as a heart that replaces the apostrophe in the She’s brand logo.

But wait, there’s more! The car’s windshield helps prevent wrinkles (by reducing UV rays by 99%), and their “plasmacluster” A/C system claims to improve your skin quality and prevents wrinkles. Sexist or not, that sounds like good feature..

This isn’t the first time automakers have tried to lure women with ladies-only models. In 2000, Ford showed off a concept Windstar minivan developed with Maytag that featuring a compact washer/dryer, microwave, and vacuum cleaner in the rear hatch.

I wish I could have seen the reactions from the ladies in those focus groups! 😀

My Thoughts On The 2013 Acura ILX

When I saw the 2013 Acura ILX Concept at the Philly Auto Show earlier this year, I fell in love with it. It has a more youthful look than my Acura TL, and the tail lights remind me of the Lexus IS. Could this be my next car?

My TL was at the dealership getting some warranty work done, and they gave me a new ILX as a loaner! I was excited to see how the car drove, but first I had to figure out how to start the car. (Never drove a car with push button start before)

At first, I was loving the ILX, intoxicated by that new car smell. But while the ILX had some nice features (like an awesome sound system), I noticed quite a few shortcomings with the car as well. Like a manual passenger seat that could only move forward and back, not up and down. And it was SLOW!

As my husband explained, the ILX is basically a bedazzled version of the Honda Civic, complete with an anemic 150HP 4-cylinder engine. Even a Ford Focus has more power than this! All show and no go. 🙁

The ILX reminds me of the old Mercedes-Benz C230 Sport Coupe, a car people really bought so they could say they drove a Benz. A really slow and ugly Benz.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get who’s going to spend $26-31K on the ILX, when they can get into a TSX (a MUCH nicer car) for a few bucks more.

Acura really missed the mark on this one.