Driving in NYC – Nissan’s Twizzy, a Battery Powered Mobility Concept Vehicle

Driving the Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle in New York City

The Nissan "Twizzy" or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a small battery powered people transporter.
The Nissan “Twizzy” or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a small battery powered people transporter.
Nissan’s Mobility Concept Vehicles NMC in New York City.

We were welcomed to New York City prior to the New York International Auto Show by Nissan to take a drive in their Mobility Concept Vehicle (NMC), an ultra-compact, all electric, four-wheel runabout. This was an informal meet and greet with the #NissanFutureLab Team.

Nissan invited journalists to experience a new mobility concept vehicle.
The Nissan “Twizzy” or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a small battery powered people transporter.
Nissan held an informal gathering prior to The New York International Auto Show
to drive their Mobility Concept Vehicle.

Prior to our taking this little quad out for an exciting drive in New York City’s crazy traffic, we sat down with Nissan’s Josh Westerhold, an Urban Planner by training and mobility guru by profession, to hear all about this vehicle.

The Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle relies on mirrors to see out the back.
The Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle relies on mirrors to see out the back.
No rear window on the Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle.

The NMC is all electric with a top speed of 45 mph and a range of 40 miles on a single charge. Designed for the sole purpose of transporting one or two people from place to place. The NMC vehicle has a rugged look with outboard fenders, exposed wheels and struts.

While it has a cabin with a windshield and scissor-like doors that swing forward. It is open to the elements with no side windows.

Looking inside the cockpit of the Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle. A very simple dashboard with basic controls.
Looking inside the cockpit of the Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle. A very simple dashboard with basic controls.

The interior is clean and simple, with a single driver’s seat. It can either be fitted with a tandem rear seat, or a package tray, to carry a second person or a small cargo of items. The NMC is without HVAC, but has an instrument cluster that tells you speed and battery life.

#NissanFutureLab's Mobility Concept Vehicle instruments are basic.
#NissanFutureLab’s Mobility Concept Vehicle instruments are basic.
#NissanFutureLab’s Mobility Concept Vehicle is a single/tandem seat, open air vehicle .

Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle has exposed fenders, headlights and a mono-blade windshield wiper.
The Nissan “Twizzy” or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a small battery powered people transporter.
Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle has exposed fenders, headlights and a mono-blade windshield wiper.

Outside it has the basics of a road vehicle, a mono-blade windshield wiper and turn signals, headlights and rear view mirrors, as there is no back window.

Segway Expericmental Vehicle
Segway Expericmental Vehicle
Segway showed this single passenger, two wheeled, self-balancing experimental vehicle at the New York Auto Show in 2008.

 

This little runabout is more like a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle or a Golf Cart that you would see in private suburban gated communities. It reminded me of the Segway/GM experimental vehicle shown at NYIAS about ten years ago.

Indeed the NMC is on the tiny side of compact, smaller than the NYC Pedi-cabs, and a Nissan Leaf is a behemoth in comparison. So wrangling for space on NYC’s crowded streets with taxicabs and black car limousines was like flying an RC plane alongside 747’s.

The view of the streets of New York City from inside Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle.
The view of the streets of New York City from inside Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle.
Cars appear bigger while driving a small vehicle.

Driving on NYC streets in any vehicle is a testimate to your metal. Driving the NMC reminded me of when I was a kid, hot-rodding the riding lawnmower at full speed. While the NMC does have a suspension, you did get to feel every bump, and driving over rattling manhole covers, made you wonder if they were going to swallow you before a bus ran over you!

Charging port on the front of the NMC.
Charging port on the front of the NMC.
Charging port and windshield washer fluid resivor located on the front of the NMC.

But size has its advantages in the jungle of NYC, the NMC slipped into small openings in traffic, pulling into the space between vehicles, that the drivers of larger vehicles thought were already tight. The NMC was nimble enough to slip in, and the battery powered electric motors were powerful enough for you to speed off when you had the chance.

The Nissan Twizzy seemed strangely at home on the crowded streets of New York City.
The Nissan Twizzy seemed strangely at home on the crowded streets of New York City.

Nissan, Innovation that excites.
Nissan, Innovation that excites.
#NissanFutureLab

The Nissan Mobility Concept is a product of the joint partnership between France’s Renault and Japan’s Nissan, known as theTwizy, debuting a concept vehicle in 2009, and has been on the market in Europe since 2012.

Nissan Twizzy Electric Mobility Vehicles got a lot of attention, even from street-wise New Yorkers.
Nissan Twizzy Electric Mobility Vehicles got a lot of attention, even from street-wise New Yorkers.

This little Electric Vehicle is already in use in European cities, and here in the USA, it is part of a test fleet in San Francisco’sScoot Network, (a scooter rental service) and labeled the Scoot Quad.

 

While not planned for the consumer market, other than a few urban test fleets, you can find out more about this vehicle on Nissan’s website.  #NissanFutureLab

Photos and article by: William West Hopper

Posted by William Hopper at 5:32 PM No comments:

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Labels: Mobility Concept Vehicle, Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, New York City, New York International Auto Show, Nissan, NissanFutureLab, NYIAS, Renault, Scoot, Scoot Quad, Twizy

Location: Pennsylvania Station, New York, NY 10119, USA

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Infiniti QX60 Is Better Than an a Luxury SUV or Crossover, Much Better!

We had a chance to put 1800 miles on a 2015 Infiniti QX60 out of the Mid-Atlantic press fleet for a trip to Florida, it arrived with just shy of 25K on the odometer.

Infiniti’s QX60 the luxurious modern full-size Station Wagon.

While the PR Staff from Infiniti apologized about the high miles, and that it was last year’s model, for me, it is good to see how a car holds up after the initial new car smell is gone.

The inside of the Infiniti QX60 features wheat colored leather
and maple wood trim accents.

This one was doing just fine! Its bright wheat beige leather seats and black carpeting were not heading to the rough trade of being a press car that gets a new driver every week. Hint, press fleet cars have a rougher life than rental fleet cars.

The long muscular hood of the Infiniti QX60.

The first thing I noticed getting into it, was the size of the and muscular look of the hood, not unlike that of a Porsche Cayenne.

The dash of the QX60 lacks the iconic Infiniti oval analog clock.

While the inside was clearly an obsessively designed Japanese dash with plenty of buttons and controls to manage everything from the headlights, to the heated seats. The only thing I felt was missing was the oval analog clock that Infiniti was chastised for when it came to market in the 1990’s.

Infiniti’s 3.5 6-cylinder engine under the muscular hood.

What I enjoyed while driving it, was the power from 265 hp, 248-pounds of ft.-torque, 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder engine and intelligent all-wheel drive with continuously variable transmission. The good fuel economy (in excess of 24 mpg on this trip.) And the wide range of active safety features, such as forward and rear collision warning systems, blind spot warning and prevention, intelligent cruise control with distance cruise assist, which kept an eye on the vehicle in front, and matched its speed without running up onto its tail.

Infiniti’s Active Safety Display
features lane departure and
blind spot warning systems.

Lane departure warning and prevention system was helpful during the long drive, especially in the dark, (where it continued to work, even though visual distances were impaired by rain.)

Blind Spot Warning light on each door.

Blind Spot Detection was especially helpful in heavy traffic on the interstate, when drivers appear out of nowhere, though the rear view mirrors were ample in size, it was great to have the assistance of this technology.

 

The Caravan of cars to Florida featured a BMW Z3,
a rare Marcos GT, the Infiniti QX60, Ford Roush Performance
Mustang with Track Package and a Jaguar XKE Coupe.

The intelligent cruise control and distance control assist was especially handy as we were part of a multi-car caravan of classic, and vintage cars heading to theAmelia Island Concours, made up of a diverse group of vehicles from a 2016 Roush Performance Mustang with Track Pack to a 1960 Jaguar XKE, from a BMW M Series to a rare Marcos_GT. AModel A Boat Tail open roadster that had recently gone on a race from New York City USA to Paris France recreation of one done a century ago, joined the group during the trip.

 

The QX60 sporting the Amelia or Bust sign at a lunch stop.

While one would think that our Infiniti QX60 would not seem to be in step with this Caravan of classic and exotic vehicles, organized by a Hagerty Insurance. The Infiniti QX60 took it all in stride, holding its own, being the car that passengers from other cars wanted to ride in, when they were being overwhelmed by the journey, or just tired of riding in an old classic.

 

Wonder where does this the QX60 fit in, in this modern world of vehicles? Without sliding side doors, it can’t be a minivan! Without big tires and a discernible 4X4 drive train, it is more refined than an SUV. And its size and stature make it a hard fit for a crossover. In reality it is a little bit of all three.

2nd & 3rd row rear seats fold down to extend the cargo area.

The QX60 succeeds as a luxurious and capable mover of people and cargo. Like a classic full sizestation wagon of yesteryear, with plenty of room, comfort and luxury. Passengers who jumped in after riding in the vintage classics, enjoyed the infinitely adjustable, heated and cooled seats, and the quietness of the cabin. And as the QX60 had plenty of cargo room with the rear seats down, it ended up carrying luggage and other large items.

Around View® monitor gives a new meaning to backup camera.

The QX60’s luxury appointments seemed almost like the standard features you need. It remembered the driver’s seating position, and provided a great view of the road, fore, and aft, as well as with the Around View® monitor with moving object detection and front and rear sonar, which made a simple backup camera seem like an outdated polaroid photograph, as this system gave you an aerial view of the vehicle’s surroundings.

The QX60 features plenty of glass roof as well as interior space.

Our 2015 model stickers at $56,090 with options of Roof Rails, $95. Infiniti’s Technology Package, $2,800 (included much of the safety features we really benefited from on a long trip like backup collision intervention, intelligent brake assist, forward collision warning, blind spot and lane departure warning, intelligent cruise control and distance control assist.) Deluxe Touring Package, $3,450 (20-Inch alloy wheels, Bose ® cabin surround sound, advanced climate control, climate-controlled front seats, heated second row seats, power moon roof and maple interior accents, that did not appear to be fake plastic.)   Premium Package, $1,550 (Bose® 13-speaker premium sound system, dual occupant memory system heated steering wheel and enhanced intelligent key, and remote engine start.) And Premium Plus Package, $3K, (Infiniti Connection™ and hard drive navigation, 8-Inch VGA Color touch screen, voice recognition, Sirius XM’s NavTraffic &NavWeather, Around View® monitor and moving object detection, rain-sensing windshield wipers.) That brought the price up from a base of $43,800. As I used all of those packages and options on this trip, except for the remote start, I would say they were an essential part of my positive Infiniti experience.

Hagerty Classic Car Insurance’s Motto
“Life is too short to drive Boring Cars.”

My overall impression of this vehicle is it is a great if you travel long distances or have people and cargo to haul. It will work as a great family mover, or as a vehicle for a traveling business person who needs to carry thing with them. The safety features made me feel secure and the luxury features made the drive comfortable and enjoyable, especially on such a long trip.

Infiniti Logo on the grill of the QX60.

Nissan’s Infiniti line debuted in the 1990’s bringing together what American automobile manufacturers were not providing consumers at the time, dependability in a luxurious vehicle. Since then, they have evolved as the American drivers looked for carry-all vehicles with luxurious touches. At a mid-fifty’s price, this QX60 is a vehicle that gives the buyer a lot of value for the money. The 2016 model, has been refreshed with new Infiniti design language, the chassis dynamics have been returned for a more engaging and comfortable drive, and the interior has been enhanced luxury for up to 7 passengers. An augmented suite of safety and driving assistance technology which include predictive forward collision warning and emergency braking with pedestrian detection. All of which are perfect for this or any other model.

Build your own Infiniti QX60. We built a 2016 model to the specs of the 2015 QX60 Infiniti provide us with, and came out with a price less than the 2015 model. Price includes the $995 destination & handling fee. As a prudent buyer, make use of your membership in a credit union, AAA, Costco, or similar organization. Often they have connections to local dealers which result in a lower price.

Take a test drive today at your neighborhood Infiniti dealer of the QX60, and also check out the new Infiniti Q50 Sedan, which is also a pretty nice ride.

The new Infiniti Q50 Sedan, a pocket rocket dressed in a nice suit.

Remember buying from a dealer for a lower price, miles away, may not be the most prudent purchase decision. Supporting local businesses within your community is important to everyone.

Enjoy the Drive – William West Hopper

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The Infiniti QX60 Better Than the Rest!

The Infiniti QX60, a perfect road car, for those long trips or commutes.
The Infiniti QX60, a perfect road car, for those long trips or commutes.

The Infiniti QX60 Is Better Than an a Luxury SUV or Crossover, Much Better!

We had a chance to put 1800 miles on a 2015 Infiniti QX60 out of the Mid-Atlantic press fleet for a trip to Florida, it arrived with just shy of 25K on the odometer.

Infiniti's QX60 the luxurious modern full-size Station Wagon.
Infiniti’s QX60 the luxurious modern full-size Station Wagon.

While the PR Staff from Infiniti apologized about the high miles, and that it was last year’s model, for me, it is good to see how a car holds up after the initial new car smell is gone.

The inside of the Infiniti QX60 features wheat colored leather and maple wood trim accents.
The inside of the Infiniti QX60 features wheat colored leather and maple wood trim accents.

This one was doing just fine! Its bright wheat beige leather seats and black carpeting were not heading to the rough trade of being a press car that gets a new driver every week. Hint, press fleet cars have a rougher life than rental fleet cars.

The long muscular hood of the Infiniti QX60.
The long muscular hood of the Infiniti QX60.

The first thing I noticed getting into it, was the size of the and muscular look of the hood, not unlike that of a Porsche Cayenne.

The dash of the QX60 lacks the iconic Infiniti oval analog clock.
The dash of the QX60 lacks the iconic Infiniti oval analog clock.

While the inside was clearly an obsessively designed Japanese dash with plenty of buttons and controls to manage everything from the headlights, to the heated seats. The only thing I felt was missing was the oval analog clock that Infiniti was chastised for when it came to market in the 1990’s.

What I enjoyed while driving it, was the power from 265 hp, 248-pounds of ft.-torque, 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder engine and intelligent all-wheel drive with continuously variable transmission. The good fuel economy (in excess of 24 mpg on this trip.) And the wide range of active safety features, such as forward and rear collision warning systems, blind spot warning and prevention, intelligent cruise control with distance cruise assist, which kept an eye on the vehicle in front, and matched its speed without running up onto its tail.

Infiniti's Active Safety Display features lane departure and blind spot warning systems.
Infiniti’s Active Safety Display features lane departure and blind spot warning systems.

Lane departure warning and prevention system was helpful during the long drive, especially in the dark, (where it continued to work, even though visual distances were impaired by rain.)

Infiniti's Active Safety Display features Blind Spot Warning light on each door.
Infiniti’s Active Safety Display features Blind Spot Warning light on each door.

Blind Spot Detection was especially helpful in heavy traffic on the interstate, when drivers appear out of nowhere, though the rear view mirrors were ample in size, it was great to have the assistance of this technology.

 

The Caravan of cars to Florida featured a BMW Z3, a rare Marcos GT, the Infiniti QX60, Ford Roush Performance Mustang with Track Package and a Jaguar XKE Coupe.
The Caravan of cars to Florida featured a BMW Z3, a rare Marcos GT, the Infiniti QX60, Ford Roush Performance Mustang with Track Package and a Jaguar XKE Coupe.

The intelligent cruise control and distance control assist was especially handy as we were part of a multi-car caravan of classic, and vintage cars heading to theAmelia Island Concours, made up of a diverse group of vehicles from a 2016 Roush Performance Mustang with Track Pack to a 1960 Jaguar XKE, from a BMW M Series to a rare Marcos_GT. AModel A Boat Tail open roadster that had recently gone on a race from New York City USA to Paris France recreation of one done a century ago, joined the group during the trip.

 

The QX60 sporting the Amelia or Bust sign at a lunch stop.
The QX60 sporting the Amelia or Bust sign at a lunch stop.

While one would think that our Infiniti QX60 would not seem to be in step with this Caravan of classic and exotic vehicles, organized by a Hagerty Insurance. The Infiniti QX60 took it all in stride, holding its own, being the car that passengers from other cars wanted to ride in, when they were being overwhelmed by the journey, or just tired of riding in an old classic.

Wonder where does this the QX60 fit in, in this modern world of vehicles? Without sliding side doors, it can’t be a minivan! Without big tires and a discernible 4X4 drive train, it is more refined than an SUV. And its size and stature make it a hard fit for a crossover. In reality it is a little bit of all three.

2nd & 3rd row rear seats fold down to extend the cargo area.
2nd & 3rd row rear seats fold down to extend the cargo area.

The QX60 succeeds as a luxurious and capable mover of people and cargo. Like a classic full sizestation wagon of yesteryear, with plenty of room, comfort and luxury. Passengers who jumped in after riding in the vintage classics, enjoyed the infinitely adjustable, heated and cooled seats, and the quietness of the cabin. And as the QX60 had plenty of cargo room with the rear seats down, it ended up carrying luggage and other large items.

Around View® monitor gives a new meaning to backup camera.
Around View® monitor gives a new meaning to backup camera.

The QX60’s luxury appointments seemed almost like the standard features you need. It remembered the driver’s seating position, and provided a great view of the road, fore, and aft, as well as with the Around View® monitor with moving object detection and front and rear sonar, which made a simple backup camera seem like an outdated polaroid photograph, as this system gave you an aerial view of the vehicle’s surroundings.

The QX60 features plenty of glass roof as well as interior space.
The QX60 features plenty of glass roof as well as interior space.

Our 2015 model stickers at $56,090 with options of Roof Rails, $95. Infiniti’s Technology Package, $2,800 (included much of the safety features we really benefited from on a long trip like backup collision intervention, intelligent brake assist, forward collision warning, blind spot and lane departure warning, intelligent cruise control and distance control assist.) Deluxe Touring Package, $3,450 (20-Inch alloy wheels, Bose ® cabin surround sound, advanced climate control, climate-controlled front seats, heated second row seats, power moon roof and maple interior accents, that did not appear to be fake plastic.)   Premium Package, $1,550 (Bose® 13-speaker premium sound system, dual occupant memory system heated steering wheel and enhanced intelligent key, and remote engine start.) And Premium Plus Package, $3K, (Infiniti Connection™ and hard drive navigation, 8-Inch VGA Color touch screen, voice recognition, Sirius XM’s NavTraffic &NavWeather, Around View® monitor and moving object detection, rain-sensing windshield wipers.) That brought the price up from a base of $43,800. As I used all of those packages and options on this trip, except for the remote start, I would say they were an essential part of my positive Infiniti experience.

Hagerty Classic Car Insurance's Motto "Life is too short to drive Boring Cars."
Hagerty Classic Car Insurance’s Motto “Life is too short to drive Boring Cars.”

My overall impression of this vehicle is it is a great if you travel long distances or have people and cargo to haul. It will work as a great family mover, or as a vehicle for a traveling business person who needs to carry thing with them. The safety features made me feel secure and the luxury features made the drive comfortable and enjoyable, especially on such a long trip.

Infiniti Logo on the grill of the QX60.
Infiniti Logo on the grill of the QX60.

Nissan’s Infiniti line debuted in the 1990’s bringing together what American automobile manufacturers were not providing consumers at the time, dependability in a luxurious vehicle. Since then, they have evolved as the American drivers looked for carry-all vehicles with luxurious touches. At a mid-fifty’s price, this QX60 is a vehicle that gives the buyer a lot of value for the money. The 2016 model, has been refreshed with new Infiniti design language, the chassis dynamics have been returned for a more engaging and comfortable drive, and the interior has been enhanced luxury for up to 7 passengers. An augmented suite of safety and driving assistance technology which include predictive forward collision warning and emergency braking with pedestrian detection. All of which are perfect for this or any other model.

Build your own Infiniti QX60. We built a 2016 model to the specs of the 2015 QX60 Infiniti provide us with, and came out with a price less than the 2015 model. Price includes the $995 destination & handling fee. As a prudent buyer, make use of your membership in a credit union, AAA, Costco, or similar organization. Often they have connections to local dealers which result in a lower price.

Take a test drive today at your neighborhood Infiniti dealer of the QX60, and also check out the new Infiniti Q50 Sedan, which is also a pretty nice ride.

The new Infiniti Q50 Sedan, a pocket rocket dressed in a nice suit.
The new Infiniti Q50 Sedan, a pocket rocket dressed in a nice suit.

Remember buying from a dealer for a lower price, miles away, may not be the most prudent purchase decision. Supporting local businesses within your community is important to everyone.

Enjoy the Drive   –     Photos and article by:      William West Hopper

 

What Happened in Detroit at #NAIAS 2016

What IS Happening at the #NAIAS, Detroit Auto Show This Week?

Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz Concept Autonomous Vehicle
VW BUDD-E Electric Autonomous Vehicle
VW BUDD-e at #CES2016

As we settle back after a week of Consumer Electronics Show reports, and prepare for the excitement of the North American International Auto Show #NAIAS held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, here are a couple of live links to follow, so you can keep up on all the latest from the German Automakers.

We will be reporting on more, as we tour the halls of the Cobo Center, and attend the #NAIAS2016 parties, so stop in regularly for updates.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz Dash and Interior

Check out the latest from Mercedes-Benz LIVE at their New Year’s Reception held on Sunday January 10 2016, from 7:30 to 8:05 pm Eastern Time.

Click on this link to attend online:

Mercedes-Benz will revel the new 2017 E-Class Sedan, with lots of cool tech. as well as the renamed sports coupe the SLC (which we have known since 1998 as the SLK.)
This link will be live on January 11 at 5 am and then at 6 am with more info on the SLC

Mercedes-Benz Video already available on the new 2017 E-Class

Volkswagen

VW BUDD-e Concept Electric Vehicle
VW BUDD-e
VW Beetle Dune Convertible
VW Beetle Dune Convertible

We saw the Bettle Dune and the BUDD-e highlighted in Las Vegas at 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Now what is in store for the 2016 North American International Auto Show?

Check out the latest from Volkswagen LIVE as they hold a Press Conference at the North American International Autoshow in Detroit on Monday January 11 2016, at 9:05 am Eastern Time.

Click on this link to attend online:

Volkswagen Live Press Conference at the Detroit Auto Show

We will be on the ground in Detroit to bring you all that #NAIAS2016 has to offer. So join us on Google Plus  +Queer 4 Cars, Twitter @Queer4Cars, and our Facebook page as well. Oh Yes, we plan on attending a few parties with our favorite Queer4Cars Celebrities, so….

Hold on Tight, it may be a Bumpy Night!

2015 On Four Wheels, a Q4C Review

A Queer4Cars Year in Review – 2015 On Four Wheels

The wienermobile, while we did
not drive one, who would not want
to drive one?

Thinking back to this past year, I got to “Hot-Dog” around in 2015 spending quality time behind the wheel driving various cars and trucks. It just seemed right to do a year in review and come up with the ones I liked best. So go-ahead and get right in!

Mercedes-Benz Metris in rural Michigan.
Mercedes-Benz Metris in rural Michigan.
Nothing like the hospitality of  Michiganders. We were invited to Stop N’ Rest at this barn and see the little town that is inside.

 

Shoes on display, welcome to the 1950's!
Shoes on display, welcome to the 1950’s!
Shoes in a replica shoe shop in a Michigan barn.

It was an eventful and interesting year out on the Queer4Cars road, from getting a warning ticket for speeding in a Mitsubishi Outlander, to having a wild animal take out the front of a Mazda 3 rental. And fun meeting new people on the back roads of Michigan testing out the new mid-sized van from Mercedes-Benz, the Metris and being given a private barn tour of Michiganders own version of the Henry Ford Museum, to spending a few days with Motor Trend’s Zack Gale driving AMG’s in Tennessee. It was a great year to be on the road with some very cool cars in some fun places like the Rocky Mountains or the twisty roads of Eastern Tennessee and North Carolina on the Tail of the Dragon. Cruising around the Summit Point Raceway and Monticello race tracks. Or the streets of Indianapolis IN or at home in Washington DC.

Motor Trend’s Zach Gale,
AMGing it up on the road!
Speeding warning ticket in a crossover,
The embarrassment of it all!

 

Posting on social media that I was going to do a rides review for 2015, a number of friends chimed in, I was amazed at the interest there was in pickup trucks. So we will start off with a review of what a High School boyfriend used to call “PickEMUPs.” We took the Ford F250, RAM 1500, RAM Rebel, GMC Denali, GMC Canyon diesel, and Chevrolet Z71 2500, out for spins.

2016 Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab 4x4
2016 Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab 4×4

GMC Denali Pickup
GMC Denali Pickup

Customized JEEP Rubicon
Customized JEEP Rubicon

 

Honda celebrates diversity in color as well as lifestyle.
Honda celebrates diversity in color as well as lifestyle.

One asked what would be good to pull a horse trailer, so I have to say, it is a tossup, between the Ford and The RAM. Not because all of the big mighty American Pickups could not do the job, with right drive train, and you can outfit the inside with everything or pretty basic, your choice. I would go with the larger gasoline or the diesel engines in the heavy duty 2500 models. While the RAM, GMC, and the Chevy all had some of the nicest, and toughest hard working interiors with leather seating, nice work surfaces and plenty of power outlets and entertainment options, making them the perfect rolling work station. You can haul horses, and anything else in a lot of style and comfort. The winner there for me, knowing horse people, was the basic work truck, the Ford F250, equipped for the job, with nothing fancy, but a hard working drivetrain and a basic though comfortable interior.

GMC Canyon’s interior is not over done.
GMC’s DURAMAX Diesel powered drive train.

For those who may be  looking for a hard working truck, but may not need all the hauling power of the big rigs. Then, no question the GMC Canyon Diesel is a great choice, and for all the right reasons too!Here we found a very well equipped and very stylish truck, while not full size, it was hard to tell it was smaller than the big pickups. The diesel engine was powerful, quiet and pulled down some good fuel economy for a truck. Not to mention you can feel comfortable driving it anywhere, be it the lumber yard, or the country club. To school to pick up the kids, or out to the local “pickemup” up place of your preference!  Gay, or Lesbian, Trans or Straight, it’s a nice truck, and it will fit any lifestyle.

The four-door GMC Canyon rolling in from a road trip.

 

RAM ProMaster City, a small city van.

While we are on the subject of hard working vehicles, there is nothing more handi than a van. A fully enclosed truck for protecting the stuff you haul, and being able to haul just about anything. We drove a fleet of van, including: Ford Transit (full-size), Tranist Connect (small size), RAM ProMaster (full-size), ProMaster City (small – this is not the old Dodge minivan), and the Mercedes-Benz / Freightliner Sprinter (full-size) as well as a US and Euro Spec Metris (mid-size) vans.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Full-Size Vans
Ford Transit Full-Size Vans
RAM ProMaster Full-Sized Van

 

Mercedes-Benz Westfalia Camper Outfitted V-Class Vans

The new mid-sized Mercedes-Benz Metris wins out here, new to the USA, though it has been in Europe as the V-Class for some time. While here it only comes as a gasoline powered with an automatic transmission. We were take with the European CDI, diesel powered, with the manual tranny in Westfalia Camper drag. While you may think of Westfalia and think of an old school VW Camper Van. Mercedes-Benz has bought into the outfitter and has it turning V-Class vans into campers for the European market. What was nice about the Metris was the size, small and easy to park, which also comes with good handling, much like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans. We expect to see a camper version here in the USA in the next few years.

Airstream Upfitted Sprinter Camper

When that happens you can pop the top, and throw a party no matter where you go. If you want to throw bigger more lavish parties there is always the Airstream Interstate, built on the Sprinter Chassis. Cub Scout Camping in the Metris or Glamping in full sized in style, with the Sprinter, you have your choice.

 

Nissan Maxima Sedan
The C450 AMG has all the goodies, just not the handcrafted
one-man-one-engine, that the AMG line is known for.

Mainstream sedans; nothing says it better than those that we took out for a spin! We settled into the BMW i3 (the electric vehicle for the upscale crowd,) enjoyed driving a Nissan Maxima, who can resist a four-door sports car; as well as the lux rides, the Mercedes-Benz C450, and the C63 and a few others, that we will cover in the Rental Car Rodeo. While we lust after, and I use that word totally litterly, let me change my shorts, kind of lust, the Mercedes-Benz C63S AMG, though the M-B C450 is almost all that, just without the massive AMG engine, the Nissan Maxima made the list for the most sensible four door sedan. The BMW i3, was cute, but not that practical, and in our eyes nothing more than an uppity Prius. Though nothing wrong with EV’s we love them!  So Give me a new pair of shorts, and a pre-loaded gas card, I gotta go with Mercedes-Benz’s C63 AMG!

C63 Handmade One-Man-One Engine
is what makes you change your shorts.
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Cockpit,
Let me slip in and DRIVE!
The BMW i3 Electric Vehicle
has gone upscale.

Real Sports Cars! Though I spent seat time in just two classic drop top sports cars, the Audi TT, and the Mazda MX5 Miata, no need to look any further than the iconic Miata! Yep, had to cheer for this little rear-drive roadster, it has just been redesigned, being taken back to its roots as a pure sports car, not a muscle car, Just a fun-to-drive car for a driver, passenger and a few small bags out on a weekend trip, or to make running errands all the more fun. The Miata is different from what it has been in recent generations, but so much more like what it was originally designed to be.  Pop the top or button it up, it is a fun drive, top up or top down.

Audi TT is a great drop top sports car.
The new Mazda MX5 Miata

 

The Jeep after a muddy off-road adventure.

SUV’s, we took a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen as well as the JEEP Cherokee out on some very muddy, sloppy, off- road trails. Drove the huge Infinity QX80, and the always classy, Range Rover, as well as the new GLE Coupe from Mercedes-Benz. Only the Mercedes made us want to bring it home to meet the family. As odd as the GLE 4-door coupe styling is to look at, a four door hatchback SUV on steroids, it was the most comfortable and handled the best, making us feel great on the city streets or on the twisty roads of Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Range Rover is an ever classic SUV.

 

The Mitsubishi Outlander, classic crossover or is it an SUV?

Crossovers, we took out the Mitsubishi and promptly got a warning from the police for speeding, so since it was the only one we got behind the wheel of this year, and it got us the attention of two men in uniform! It wins our vote, hey getting pulled over by the cops must count for something. Nothing out of the ordinary, but then a crossover is not supposed to be anything special, it is there to haul people and stuff in the way that station wagons once did. And who gets excited about a station wagon?

Super Cars: My heart is still pounding: Dodge Viper, Mercedes-Benz AMG GTS and the McLaren, while all were pretty amazing, ALL are so out of my stratosphere that I did not take any of them seriously. Taking the Viper out on the Racetrack was pretty wild, and the McLaren, just oozed sex appeal. The AMG GTS seemed to be the most sensible of the bunch, but not something you would take home to Mom, though Dad on the other hand, why NOT, he would like some German muscle with a nice butt and pretty guns to boot!

The Mercedes-Benz AMG GTS – An Affordable Supercar.
The Dodge SRT Viper, don’t worry it’s not
small, and it has plenty of RAW Power!

 

SRT Challenger HellCat, This one will bit you in the ass.

American Muscle Cars, the Dodge SRT Challenger, and the Ford Mustang. It came down to the Challenger Hellcat or Scat Pack, since we took the Scat Pack to the track and it had something hard to put in our hand, as it was a manual, it wins our love in this category. Though the Hellcat was pretty darn cool, even though you just knew it could bite your ass if you hit the throttle the wrong way. But sometimes that can be fun too, you just have to be in the right mood for that kind of action.

Challenger Scat Pack at the Track
The Iconic Ford Mustang Convertible

 

 

The AMEX Card Rental Car Insurance
Program saved a road trip!

A Mitsubishi Lancer, Chevrolet Captiva, Mazda 3, and Chevrolet Impala, were in our 2015 Rental Car Rodeo,

For 2015 the winner this year… IS… The AMEX Card and their built-in as well as the extra option, rental car insurance. In 30 plus years of renting cars, never having an issue out on the road in a rental car, there are those times you wonder if spending the money for the extra insurance or for carrying an special metallic colored card is worth the fees.

Well let me tell you AMEX and the extra rental car coverage through the card that I pay a per rental fee, took care of the issues (and the cost) of having an accident in a car rented using the card. And it did just fine, thank you! With caring representatives who walked me through the whole process and showed they cared for me, their customer. From the initial phone call, the weekly emailed updates, right down to the final report four months later.  So it is the AMEX Platinum Card which ends up being the total winner of 2015.

Rental Mazda 3 after the bumper was ripped off

Late at night in the middle of nowhere Georgia a wild animal darted across the highway. With no time to react, the bumper of the Mazda 3 took the impact and was destroyed, in the middle of the highway, in the middle of NOWHERE! Pulling over in utter darkness to rip off the plastic bumper was not on the 2015 bucket list.

Kudos to AMEX and their rental car insurance! With all the paperwork handled over the phone and via email, there never was any out of pocket charges or any additional cost for the repairs that came to over $2500, not to mention waiving of the loss of use fees, that can really add up.

Back to the rental cars, the Chevrolet Captiva had no understanding of the Michigan snow, though it managed to drive through it, lighting up idiot lights, clearly stating that sub-freezing temperatures, snow and ice was not the thing a car with a

Old School Chevrolet Impala, still had a great ride
and good fuel economy for a long highway drive.

Florida name could deal with.

Both the Mazda and the Mitsubishi were base models. They felt cheap, rode hard, were good on gas, and did the job of providing transportation.

So the winner for 2015 in the Rental Car Rodeo is the old-body style, 2015 Chevrolet Impala. I felt like I should be looking for my next meal at a senior buffet while driving it. The full size Bow Tie ride provided a comfortable ride for a long boring road trip up I95 from Florida to DC, To top it off it provided good fuel economy in the upper 20’s for a car of that size.

GMC Canyon 4-door Pickup Truck.

So which would be the choice to put in my driveway for the new year?  The hardest part is to name just one!

If I had to, it would be the GMC Canyon Diesel.

Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Coupe

Followed by the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Coupe, and to be totally tragically boring and practical, the Mercedes-Benz Metris Van, camper van, passenger van, or cargo van, they were all good.

Oh, and what I would put in the Garage, where no-one would see me lusting over it would be the Mercedes-Benz C63S AMG!      Let me change my Shorts.

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG – Photo by MBUSA

Cheers to the New Year, let 2016 be a great road year as well for you and yours.