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2015 Honda Fit – Why Jeff is Wrong

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Most auto journalists, and Jeff, just love the 2015 Honda Fit, as they should. After all, it is an economical, affordable, reliable, and highly utilitarian vehicle. Completely redesigned for this year, the Fit is extremely important as its buyers are likely to become the future buyers of pricier Honda cars. But after I spent some time with it, I wasn’t so in love with the Fit.

Allow me to explain.

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The 2015 Honda Fit is Biggie Smalls

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A good compact car is capable of magic. It needs to pretend to be quite small on the outside, but reveal a large interior space once the doors are opened. The 2015 Honda Fit should be named David Copperfield then there’s some serious prestidigitation going on here. By the way, I spelled prestidigitation right the first time I typed this out… which is some sort of black magic.

Honda engineers have managed to create a interior world that’s deceptively vast. Fold down the rear seats and you basically have the cargo space of a crossover. You have the fuel economy of Honda Fit, however, and that’s a wonderful thing.

[Disclaimer: Honda tossed me the keys to the Fit for a week, and included a tank of gas. I am pretty sure I never needed to fill it up despite putting a good amount of mileage on the tires.]

Quick Spin- VW e-up! Are Friends Electric?

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As any curious, hands-on non-affiliate of PETA will confirm, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Every car manufacturer on our collective radar seems to have at least murmured something about Electric Cars, and every attempt at replacing combustion with conduction as our favoured motivational fuel seems to end up with a very different product.

Recently I reported on the unsettlingly expensive i3, the quasi sci-fi imaginings of BMW which have translated into production without neutering from the original design concept, as a statement of “can-do” from the Bavarian powerhouse. Now, as something of a contrast, lets take a look at the way they do things electrically in Wolfsburg. … Continue Reading

Dodge Viper: More charm needed for this snake?

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The Dodge Viper returned to the world in 2013 and everyone… kind of went, huh. That’s a bit of a surprise considering the styling is excellent, the V10 makes amazing noise, and the performance capability of the car is higher than that of most drivers that will climb behind the wheel.

Still, it’s priced a bit high in its 2013 and 2014 model years, and the sales are sluggish. Dodge has decided to fix that for 2015 with a massive price drop and a minor power bump.

We’re curious what would make the car sales figures so flat though, as this seems like something that fans of the well-to-do fans of the brand would be snapping up. Is it simply a matter of a car being priced too high?

Pretty much… yes.

[Disclaimer: Dodge loaned us the Viper for a few days, and included a tank of gas. I believe I used one tank for each day I drove the car... worth it.]

Quick Spin- 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

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This past week a number of your humble hosts attended the Motor Press Guild’s 2014 Track Days event, where we got to wrap our hands around the wheels of some of the coolest cars debuting at the moment. One of the most sought-after rides – one that literally had a waiting list to drive – was the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C, the car that relaunches the venerated Italian brand here in the U.S..

I managed to get on that list and take the car out on the track at the Streets of Willow and I’m now back, with a crazy grin still stuck on my face, to tell you what it was like. … Continue Reading

BMW i3 and i3 Range Extender: Existential Review

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Have you ever wondered how arts reviewers manage to get away with saying what they do? Every time I pick up one of the London newspapers I spend time reviewing the reviews section, purely because I’m fascinated by opinion. What on Earth gives a person, particularly a non-artist, the right to judge on “how good” a new art installation, performance or recording is? Who’s to say that one idea is any more valid than another?

Of course, cars are a lot less subjective than art. For anybody who has ever taken an interest in driving it should be painfully obvious when a car fails, wholly or in part, to do its job competently. Or indeed when it excels. But sometimes the line between car and art becomes blurred. The BMW i3 has come along and established itself in a hitherto unoccupied slot in the vehicle-roadspace continuum. It’s a new idea, and I found it kind of tricky to get my head around.

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Review: All-New Porsche Macan S and Macan Turbo

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Going into this event, I was at the same time excited and disappointed. Excited because I’d be driving a brand new front-engine turbocharged Porsche, disappointed because it was another sport utility vehicle. As a P-car nut job, it was hard to contain my concern for the company I’d grown to love, fearing that their current trajectory would see them making pickups and people movers in no time flat. To make matters worse, this new Porsche Macan uses a chassis developed by Volkswagen and Audi (Tiguan and Q5 respectively), rather than the Cayenne’s chassis, which was developed by Porsche. The Macan is the first Porsche since 1983 to wear anything other than a 5X130 bolt pattern, using instead VAG’s traditional 5X112.

Could it possibly live up to the Porsche brand name? Click through to find out my thoughts on the subject.

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Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG: Ballin’ on a budget or the real AMG deal?

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For many years now, AMG have been churning out ballistic machines with hand-built engines. The cars sole purpose has been to generate power, noise, and tire smoke. Now though, there’s a new generation of AMG vehicles and one of the interesting spots in the lineup is occupied by the CLA45 AMG.

It’s a compact sedan that’s shaped a bit like a coupe and offers up turbocharged four-cylinder goodness. That doesn’t sound like something that the mad minds at AMG would cook up… until you realize that this is one of the most powerful four-cylinder engines ever created.

Still, is it the real AMG experience or is it merely a budget pretender? Let’s watch…

Review: 2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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I triple-checked the parking brake and glanced ahead through the narrow windshield—almost more of a viewing port—at the “ZL1″ affixed to the hood scoop’s side. I heard Jeff Glucker, Hooniverse’s executive editor, in my head.

Don’t f— it up.

Well, he hadn’t said those words, but he’d typed them in an email to let me know what I’d be driving for my short weekend visit to California to serve as a member of the austere and somber 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court. Nevertheless, I heard his voice when I first read those words and I heard it again as my thumb pinched the ignition key against my index finger.

Don’t f— it up.

My foot floored the stiff clutch pedal and I rolled my wrist forward. The Chevrolet Camaro’s supercharged 6.2-liter V8 sprang to burbling life and the whole chassis oscillated with the cam’s lope, a mighty American bear awakened. Ready to pounce.

I chanced a grin before those words popped up again in a buttery smooth podcast voice.

Don’t f— it up.

I furrowed my brow. This brand-new Camaro was about to see the easiest 330 journalist miles of its service life.

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First Drive: 2015 Ford F-150
An aluminum game changer?

2015 Ford F-150

[Friend of Hooniverse Ben Wohja Woodzila W. recently got some seat time in the brand new, aluminum bodied Ford F-150. He posted about it on Facebook, and I asked if we could repost his thoughts on the new truck here. So here you go, enjoy! -- J.G.]

1) At a 20,000 ft level, it’s a truck. Yes, it has an aluminum body and as a result has a higher payload and trailer rating, but at the end of the day, it’s a truck. At no point in the day and a half that I spent with a variety of models did I think “This really changes the game.” I know from a materials and manufacturing process that it does indeed change the game, but to the end user, it doesn’t cure cancer, it doesn’t blow skirts up. It’s a good, solid truck, much like you can buy at a GM or Ram dealer.

Aside from not being able to stick magnets to it, the average Joe would have a REALLY hard time determining why it’s special. Out the door pricing will be very important because the competition among the three main players will be pretty stiff.

2) Exterior styling works well. Trucks are hard, in that they’re three boxes period, no options. The grille works, the body lines flow, the tailgate distinguishes the truck from its predecessors in traffic. Fancy ambient lighting in the headlights looks cool as do the optional all LED headlights. Ford has done well to eliminate the protruding blue ovals used to hide various cameras. The truck looks clean.

3) As far as features go, the F-150 is leading the pack. The improved man step in the tail gate is great. The LED spot lights on the wing mirrors seem hokey at first, but they’re pretty neat in real life. The side steps are carry-over and only necessary because the bed side around about a foot too high. The LED light on the tail gate is great. The power release tail gate… kind of silly. The optional E-track mounts in the bed sides are genius and should be copied by everyone else. Borrowing a page from Nissan’s Around View playbook with the 360 view is nice if over due.

[Jump past the break for more...]

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