BY TODD BURLAGE
Bob Trowbridge considered himself about
the luckiest man in Michigan as he made the easy half-hour drive east from Lavonia to the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. The 51-year-old father of three wasn’t in the market to buy the new 2014 Corvette Stingray. But sure as horsepower, Trowbridge wasn’t going to miss a perfect chance for a photo with the star of the North American International Auto Show. “Us gear heads, we have waited a long time for this car,” said Trowbridge, a regular at the show. “We’ve heard (the new Corvette) was coming for years now. It’s finally here, and it really is a beautiful car.” With a “Torch Red” full-size Stingray hanging from the wall above, and the “Cyber Gray” car rotating 360 degrees on a circular stage below, Chevrolet spared no expense to celebrate the 60th birthday and a new seventh generation of this iconic American ride.
Nearly 800,000 folks stopped by for two straight weeks to marvel, photograph, and share space with a vehicle few will ever own, but all had to see. “It’s not the most practical car, not exactly great for little league parents,” Trowbridge quipped from a group of about 200 around the expo stage. “But everybody here would sure love to have one.” In an automotive climate that’s focused on simple, green and affordable, Chevy is betting millions that this new Corvette is much more than a mid-life-crisis option for younger Baby Boomers and older Generation Xers. Parent company General Motors doled out $131 million to gut and retool its assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kent., for the new Corvette. Squarely aimed at the middle-aged and upper-class, Chevy resurrected the Stingray name for the first time since 1976 and about 50 years after the first Sting Ray (two words, then), arrived for the 1963 model year.
Only time and performance will show if a new Corvette with an old nameplate creates any vibe with a young demographic that’s placing a decreasing emphasis on owning a car at all. But even with an estimated base price of $50,000, the new Corvette fits budgets better than any top European makes. With a new aluminum frame, updated chassis and a far more refined look inside and out, GM hopes to buck some eco consciousness, and deliver a “hobby” vehicle that performs right alongside high-speed heavyweights such as Porsche and Ferrari, at about half the price or, in some cases, considerably less. The Corvette’s new 6.3-liter V8 engine delivers an estimated 450 horsepower that propels the car to 60 mph from a standing start in less than four seconds, yet still provides 26 mpg on the highway. Part of that comes from direct fuel injection that can severely taper the fuel load under cruising conditions while a new seven-speed manual transmission keeps the engine in its ideal rev range more of the time.
“The 2014 Corvette redefines modern performance,” said Mary Barra, GM senior vice president of product development. “… This is everyone’s vehicle.” All of which sounds great in theory, but who exactly is going to buy the new Corvette when it goes on sale during the third quarter of this year? And was the two-week buzz swirling the Cobo Center stage a sign of future sales, or just consumer curiosity? GM has yet to release any sales projections for its headliner, but USA Today and other industry analysts report that 30,000 would be a satisfying first-year sales figure for the Stingray, and a 54-percent increase from 2012 when anticipation for the new-gen model helped drop Corvette sales 14,000. For comparison sake, GM sells about 30,000 full-size Silverado and Sierra pickups every three weeks. It could be case where sales really don’t tell the whole story. GM North American president Mark Reuss said that developing and launching the Stingray under misty market projections is a feather in GM’s cap. “Through good times and bad, there’s always been a Corvette.”
Don Funk, 78, worked 15 years in the auto industry and watched as Chevy transformed its ill-prepared 1953 Corvette into a symbol of American performance, all the while being financially supported by a narrow consumer demographic. According to a research study in 2009 by Specialty Equipment Market Association, most Corvette owners in the United States are between the ages of 40 and 69. “It’s amazing how old guys are driving Corvettes, the old sports car guys,” Funk said. “They’re not driving it anywhere near its potential, but he’s got one, so everybody can drool over it.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.” And perhaps social status is the root that holds the Corvette brand so tightly to North American drivers such as Bob Trowbridge from Lavonia, and the other 800,000 folks who stopped by for a visit and a pic with the beauty in Detroit.
“The Corvette is the American sports car,” said Trowbridge, “And all of these people waiting around just to stand close to it, that shows what a big deal this car is.”
Todd Burlage is a feature writer with Wheelbase Media’s. He can be reached on the Web at www.wheelbasemedia.com by clicking the contact link. Wheelbase supplies automotive news and features to newspapers across North America.
C7 Stingray – A car that so few people will own, yet everyone has an opinion about. It’s just the kind of buzz Chevrolet is looking for.February 4th, 2013
A custom vehicle has many components that
make it just that-custom. Usually incredible, eye catching paint jobs, large horse powered engines under the hood, intricate gauge clusters on the dash and a myriad of other possible modifications. But the one thing that brings it all together, completes the entire project is a high quality, creative and aesthetically pleasing interior. The interior of a custom build can elevate it to show ready level, or send it down in a ball of flames.
We are very fortunate to have one of North America’s top interior shops located here in Salt Lake City, Utah. JS Custom Interiors has been meticulously sewing works of art for builders and clients for over 15 years. And the story of its founder, Justin Stephens is just as fantastic as the interiors he produces. Justin learned the trade from his father when he was thirteen years old. Justin’s dad had 30 plus years’ experience in automotive interior work. And as many young teenagers will do, Justin watched and he learned and he excelled! He worked on anything he could, from seats to stools and even gym bags, remembering brining a bag he had sewn to class which outdid his 8th grade Home Economics teachers.
JS Custom Interiors was born in Justin’s garage where his tools consisted of a bench, sewing machine, an air compressor and a heater to keep warm on long nights finishing projects for clients. After three years, Justin took a job at an interior shop during the day while working in the evenings for his personal clientele at night. And when he outgrew all of those environments, Justin took the plunge and opened his own shop which now consists of three employees and himself. Justin conducts his business with a hands on approach, even to this day. Justin speaks to all prospective clients, reviews and sets up budgets and is their constant point of communication during the entire process. And if you stop by the shop for a visit, you will most likely see Justin at his sewing machine working diligently to meet a build deadline.
What makes JS Custom Interiors so incredible? Is it just the true skill involved with taking quality leather and sewing it to a seat frame or a door panel? The answer to this question is an emphatic no! Justin and his dedicated team take each job to the next custom level. The interior of a beautiful 1932 Ford Roadster, built by Kindig-It Design is a great example. Justin engraved hundreds of bullet head casings with “Wild Bill’s32” and placed them throughout the entire interior. When presented with a tuxedo theme for another Kindig-It Build, a 1956 Chevy Bel-Air, Justin searched for the perfect authentic tuxedo buttons, because anything less would compromise his attention to detail and be unacceptable. His efforts have not gone unnoticed, winning JS Custom Interiors the coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Interior in 2008, many Utah’s Finest Interior awards and the interior of America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod in 2011. JS Customs even outfitted the 1964 Cadillac Coupe Deville convertible built for Apolo Ohno, by Kindig-It Design with gold medal worthy interior, which took over 10 hides of leather.
When asked what the best part of his trade is, Justin says “I get to work with some of the best builders in the country on high end vehicles that really are works of art.” And what does Stephens find to be the least compelling part of the industry? “The long hours and deadlines can be tough, be we all know they come with the territory.”
Justin is very gracious in recognizing those who produce high quality interiors like himself. Paul Atkins Interiors, Interior by Shannon, and Sid Chavers are among those that he calls craftsman like himself. He respects their work and feels that they all contribute many positive attributes to their skill specific, custom industry.
At the end of the day, it isn’t just about long hours at a sewing machine meeting client deadlines. Justin is a passionate family man and recognizes that JS Customs would not exist if it were not for his beautiful wife and business partner, Shanie. Shanie and Justin have been married for 16 years and have two incredible sons, 11 year old Kaden and 8 year old Karson. “I have worked on many luxurious and expensive cars, boats, helicopters and even aircraft, but the only reason I go to work every day is for my family. And it is the same reason I am so happy to leave the shop each night.”
JS Customs is located at 130 East Hill Avenue, SLC, Ut and for more information you can visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/JS-Custom-Interiors.
BY TOM AND RAY MAGLIOZZI
Dear Tom and Ray:
I have two things: a son who is a shade-tree
mechanic and does a good business out of his backyard, and a 2003 Honda Civic that keeps overheating. The car runs fine and never overheats — unless I am in the drive-thru line at fast-food restaurants! Even when I turn off the air conditioner, the needle continues to rise up to the HOT level. My son checked it out and found the radiator cap to be leaking, then replaced it and thought that solved the problem. He ruled out the fan, as it was running the entire time he left the car running. However, the next time I was in the drive-thru, the needle started rising — again! It didn’t get as high as it had before the new cap, but nevertheless, it was on the way up. Once I get back out on the road, the needle slowly drops back to normal. What could be the cause of this? When my son checked it out, he drove it and let it idle for an hour, and it never heated up for him! I threatened to take him with me next time I went to a drive-thru, so he could see what I am talking about, because I know he doesn’t believe me! Do you have any idea what is going on? I really enjoy your radio show and column. Your humor is helpful in relieving the stress that goes along with car trouble. Thank you! — Marlene
TOM: I think this is a cleverly disguised message from Michelle Obama to get you to cut down on the Big Macs, Marlene. This wouldn’t happen if you were at the drive-thru at Organic Beet Puree King.
RAY: There may be nothing wrong with the car, Marlene. You say that after the radiator cap was replaced and you stopped at the drive-thru, the needle started to go up again. The question is: How far did it go?
TOM: Right. After you drive the car, particularly on the highway or at higher speeds, when you come to a stop, the engine WILL get hotter temporarily. There’s a lot less air being pushed through the radiator when you’re stopped, so the engine heats up some before it cools back down.
RAY: So if the needle simply went up to the red mark, and soon came down, there may be nothing wrong with the car. And that may be why it didn’t overheat for your son after idling for an hour.
TOM: On the other hand, if the needle went way up, near the hot zone, then there IS still something wrong, and it requires further investigation.
RAY: In that case, it could be something as simple as a bad thermostat. It could be a water pump with a loose impeller. Or it could be the ever-popular and dreaded leaky head gasket.
TOM: Either the failing water pump or the bad head gasket could work fine when the car is idling, but could cause trouble after hard driving. That may be why the car doesn’t overheat for your son.
RAY: So I’d suggest that you DO take him with you to the drive-thru. Tell him the burger and fries are on you. Then drive the way you normally drive, and let him see where the needle ends up. He may confirm that there’s no problem.
TOM: Or he may realize that he hasn’t fixed it, and that he has to check out our other theories. Or he may just enjoy the free lunch and want to repeat this test-drive experiment 10 or 15 more times. Good luck, Marlene.
* * *
Auto repairs can be costly! Save money by ordering Tom and Ray’s pamphlet “Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It!” Send $4.75 (check or money order) to Ruin, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
Get more Click and Clack in their new book, “Ask Click and Clack: Answers from Car Talk.” Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or email them by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.
(c) 2013 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
By AARON COLE
Adding to your flock is no easy feat.
Converting the masses to a new way of doing things is always a bit tricky.
There’s always the Scientology method — a bit scary maybe, but without Tom Cruise, who’s your face man? Chick-fil-A has a faithful following. But then again they also have delicious chicken sandwiches.
Then there’s the Subaru method. Although the automaker is known best for its quirky wagons, the Forester accounts for nearly 25 percent of their sales nowadays, second only to the Outback. Sales horse that it is, the Forester is really the Subaru with the most potential to sway new buyers to the brand. It’s front and center in Fuji Heavy’s plans for world domination. After all, the compact crossover segment overall attracts roughly one-bazillion buyers worldwide. Approximately.
I imagine that’s why, during the height of the third-generation Forester’s popularity in 2012, Subaru offered an evolutionary step with the new 2014 Subaru Forester. Why mess up a good thing already?
Then when engineers start talking about reflections off the hood distracting drivers’ eyes, you know you’re in for some seriously nerdy stuff. Subaru took the fanatical approach of opening up the Forester’s cabin like the Popemobile for better visibility, inside out. Besides the aforementioned hood reflection, Subaru moved the A-pillar forward nearly nine inches (for better outward visibility and smoother aerodynamics) added a quarter window to the driver and passenger’s windows (a la Impreza) and bumped the front seats up 1.4 inches for a taller riding position. In fact the Forester’s new optional power lift gate in the back was designed without sacrificing any portion of the rear D-pillar by beefing it up for the gate’s motor in the back. The effect is greater visibility around the car — engineers said they wanted a driver to notice a small child standing outside the car, all the way around — and a welcome departure from other automaker’s designs that focus on sleeker body panels on the exterior at the cost of some visibility.
A common refrain for Subaru owners has long been the trade-off between fuel economy and all-wheel drive capability. For 2012, the Forester was the first beneficiary of the newest boxer engine in over a decade, which returns again this year. That engine, a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder produces 170 horsepower, was hamstrung by a four-speed automatic transmission that was outdated the day it was announced. This year, the 2.5i model is mated to a CVT gearbox that wrings mileage out of the new mill, 24/32 mpg, or a new six-speed manual that returns slightly less in base models only. Keeping with tradition, Subaru is also rolling out for the first time its newest turbocharged engine in the Forester XT, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that bumps the horsepower figure to 250 horsepower and 258 ft.-lbs. of torque at 2,000 rpm. The application is exciting for enthusiasts because it’s likely the same engine to appear in the coming Impreza WRX and perhaps a variant in the BRZ. (Subaru officials said it couldn’t be the exact same engine as the XT’s as the bottom of the engine would drag on the ground in the BRZ. We can only dream.) The XT also receives bigger brakes and a suspension upgrade to add more value to the 5 percent of Forester buyers Subaru projects will pick the turbo over the base engine option.
Both models come with Subaru’s new 1990s-named X-Mode that tempers throttle input and adds a hill-descent control option. The XT also receives SI Drive, a carryover from WRX STI programming that allows drivers to select Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp modes with varying degree of suspension hardness and throttle response.
Outside, the exterior of the new Forester should be instantly recognizable to anyone with mildly operational eyesight. The 2014 model retains most of its boxy characteristics that were introduced when the car came stateside almost 15 years ago and unique to the Forester only — and barn doors. The newest Forester bags the old front fascia in favor of a newer more aggressive mug this time around however, and the XT gets special treatment with front inlets that give the Subie more menacing jowls, further distancing the turbo models from its base brethren. The grille gets new treatment as well, ditching the metal grid for a single solid metal bar across the top. (The barn door thing is just a joke, the car’s coefficient of drag is lower this year, a slippery .33 compared to .37 last year.)
Forester is bigger this year, albeit incrementally, to bring it more in line with the expanding offerings of its competition, the Honda CR-V and Toyota Rav-4. This year’s model is 1.4 inches longer, with one inch added to the wheelbase, a half-inch for the width, and 1.4 inches added to the overall height. Ground clearance remains the same, 8.7 inches, which is good enough to tackle 99.9 percent of anything that a normal Forester buyer would throw at it. To prove that point, Subaru’s staff threw miles of dirt driving in Tucson, Ariz., and an abbreviated off-road dipsy-do course to prove that point. Although the dirt drive was prolonged at points, it was effective at showing that the Forester should appeal to buyers eager to recreate their own Bio-dome 50 miles outside of the nearest paved road. What exactly fertilizes the basil there?
For kicks, or to prove that Subaru owners are willing to track any car they buy, we were offered a small sample of what the Forester could prove on a track — if you should ever find one between the store and home. Helmet on, tires screeching, we now know it’s possible to whip the family ‘ute around the bends at high-speed; considering the tall Forester’s body roll, however, it’s advisable to stock the front seatback pockets with plenty of air sickness bags if that’s the route you pick. Note: Acceleration in the XT model (the only one we could take on the track) was surprising, even if you forced the Forester into a higher gear to seek out lower revs. Low-range power is useful in mountain passing, especially considering the CVT’s bane has been kicking down gears and finding higher revs in high-altitude driving. That process has hardly been fixed in the 2.5i model, however the noise-reduction process undertaken by engineers this year seems to have flattened the traditional CVT whine during prolonged high revs. The turbo model remedies this transmission niggle by responding with plenty of pedal when you ask for it.
The base, 2.5i will appeal to most buyers, especially at $21,295 to start. Handsomely equipped, you can easily slide in under $27,000, a feat when considering how costly some small crossovers can be. (Range Rover, I’m looking at you.)
Models will start hitting dealers later this month, but advertisements are already hitting the airways, complete with cute puppies and heartwarming stories.
Maybe Scientology would do better with an ad campaign.
Aaron Cole is a syndicated auto columnist. He knows he’s wrong, but he’d rather hear it from you. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at @ColeMeetsCars on Twitter.
By Andy Stonehouse
The inimitable Mazda has worked hard
to cultivate a solid reputation for its offerings, though – like Subaru – it’s had to struggle as a little brother compared to Japanese biggies like Toyota, Nissan and Honda.
So, like Subaru, it has put its efforts into crafting vehicles that are definitely a whole different ball of wax than those Far Eastern mega-builders.
And while the bulk of Mazda’s creations fall into the smaller-sized end of the spectrum – the super-long-lasting MX-5 Miata, the small but cool Mazda2 and even the newish CX-5 crossover – there’s also the CX-9.
Which looks like a Kenworth compared to its other family members. It’s like the sibling who’s so large you wonder if he might have been adopted.
CX-9, which has been on the market since 2009, is in fact so large that it seems like two CX-5s stuck together. You might be able to park a Mazda2 in the back.
But if you’re looking for both full-family comfort and a modicum of Mazda’s sporty heritage – that Zoom-Zoom they keep talking about – CX-9 is a much more car-like, ground-centered offering than one of those domestic SUV galoots.
In fact, even getting into the CX-9 is easy. No leaping, clambering or crawling involved. And second-row passengers get so much leg room (the 60/40 split seats slide an obscenely long distance, giving you up to 39.8 inches) that you’ll never look at a regular car again.
You can also have a reasonably good time driving the car. Power is provided by a naturally aspirated 24-valve 3.7-liter V6 and that’s good for a decent whallop of 273 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque.
Even with optional all-wheel drive, the CX-9 is still rated for 22 highway MPG, meaning it’s not bad, considering the size and scope of the vehicle.
If you upgrade to the top-of-the-heap Grand Touring model, you can also roll around on some impressive 20-inch alloy wheels that look like they were forged out of Katana swords, giving the car an even grander look.
I set out to see if the Zoom-Zoom business was true or horse-hockey and, believe it or not, the CX-9 still has a reasonably playful character, despite its size. You can customize your gear changes using a fast-acting six-speed automatic sequential shifter – car racers always like to note that the up-and-down nature of the Mazda’s shifting is more natural than most automobiles.
And being lower to the ground than many of its competitors means it doesn’t toss around like an old pirate ship when you’re rambling along at Interstate speed.
The leather seats even come with suede inserts to hold you and the family’s bottoms in place when you head out autocrossing on the weekend. As I’m sure you will do.
Two dedicated, fold-flat third-row seats do provide extra room for smaller passengers; alternately, the CX-9 offers 100.7 cubic feet when you flatten all the seats, so the most ambitious of Costco trips will be no problem.
I mostly marveled to the absolutely gigantic porthole windows in the third row – some crossover SUVs seem like they’ve set out to make things claustrophobic for rear passengers, but Mazda seems to have been very generous.
Mazda’s 2013 makeover for the CX-9 has given the car a considerably more aggressive look – a nose that’s so angular and headlamps that are flattened enough to make them seem like they came off the RX-8 sports car – plus a new black plastic grille and foglamps like giant eyeballs.
Tail lamps also wrap around the body and … when you look at it, the car’s now got the detail points to make you think you’re looking at an Acura MDX or even a Volvo XC60, which is quite the accomplishment for little ol’ Mazda.
The inside details have also received some new attention, though the predominant theme here is definitely black on black. My tester had some dramatic vertical slashes of wood-colored trim to help offset that blackness, plus a small dose of aluminum-colored plastic to brighten things up a bit.
The deep-set instruments also get the aluminum-esque treatment and have been updated with blockier, easier-to-read numbers.
Somewhat problematic is a super-gigantic center console that’s extraordinarily tall and wide – not quite like a Porsche Panamera’s, but getting there – though it does provide full second-row heating and cooling, as a result
Mazda has adopted a new navigation system that partners with aftermarket favorite TomTom, though unlike the Fiat 500 and others, it isn’t just simply Velcro’d to the dash. TomTom’s flexibility – live speed limit information, speed camera locations and a more organic direction input – makes the system pretty easy to learn.
The premium head unit also allows HD Radio and XM satellite stations, tied in with an optional 11-speaker Bose audio setup (the whole package also includes a vast power moonroof, as well). You techies (or those with unlimited data plans) can also stream Pandora radio via Bluetooth; incoming text messages can also be set to read out on the screen, versus fiddling around with your phone.
2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD
MSRP: $36,375: As tested: $40,030 Powertrain: 273-HP 3.7-liter V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission
EPA figures: 18 combined MPG: 16 city, 22 highway
Most Americans know texting and driving is
dangerous but it continues to be a problem, especially for young drivers. While 97 percent of teens agree that texting and driving is dangerous, 43 percent still admitted to continuing to do it, according to a recent survey.
The 2012 AT&T survey of teen drivers also found 75 percent of teens say texting while driving is common among their friends and the majority of respondents said they have texted when stopped at a red light and often glance at their phones while driving. While teens might be the worst offenders when it comes to texting and driving, plenty of adults are guilty too. As the evidence continues to mount concerning the dangers of texting while driving, 39 states have made it illegal. Whether it’s legal or not in your state, here are three good reasons to quit once and for all:
* Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research.
* Texting while driving is distracted driving. Distracted driving is a factor in 15 to 25 percent of all crashes, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
* Each day, an average of more than 15 people are killed in crashes that result from distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
How to stop texting while driving
To help people break the perilous habit of texting and driving, technology companies are coming up with unique and practical solutions for drivers. For instance, Xperia SmartTags by Sony give you the ability to turn off all distractions from your smartphone with just a simple touch. These small tags can be put on a dashboard or a set of car keys and allow you to change your phone’s settings for driving by simply touching your NFC-enabled smartphone to the tag.
Smartphone applications can make this process even easier. When paired with AT&T’s free Drive Mode app, you can automatically disable your phone’s texting and calling capability. The app can also be programmed to include an automatic message that’s sent to anyone who texts you while you’re behind the wheel, letting that person know that you’ll respond when you are finished driving. You can program this app to run when you tap your phone to your SmartTag, while also setting your phone up to automatically run GPS programs and engage your car’s Bluetooth system for both safety and convenience.
While messages from your friends and family are important, nothing should take precedence over safely getting yourself and your passengers to your destination. To help make your driving experience safer, outfit your car with tools such as SmartTags, which you can learn more about at www.sonymobile.com, and don’t forget to take the pledge to never text and drive again at www.itcanwait.com.
BY TOM AND RAY MAGLIOZZI
Dear Tom and Ray:
For the past four to six weeks, when
I start my Chevy Trailblazer (2004) first thing in the morning, the smell of gas and sometimes oil comes out of the air-conditioning vents. Once the car has run for five minutes or so, the smell dissipates and does not come back for the rest of the day. We typically keep the car in the garage overnight. My husband does not think this is a big deal, since I have taken it to the mechanic twice and they didn’t find a problem. The first time I took it in, they replaced the thermostat in the coolant system. The second time, they conducted a fuel-pressure test and an evaporative smoke test. The results did not show any problems. I am still driving it with the gas smell in the morning. I drive my two young girls (5 and 2) around daily. Is my husband right that I should not worry? Or should I be concerned, take it to a different mechanic and ask them to do … what? Thank you. — Shannon
RAY: I’d be concerned but not alarmed, Shannon. Let’s assume that what you’re smelling is gas, rather than oil. What do you need to be concerned about when you smell gas?
TOM: Fire usually is at the top of my list. And to the great thrill of every hungry liability lawyer in the country, I’m going to suggest that the risk of a gasoline fire due to your particular problem, Shannon, is relatively low (not nonexistent, but low). Why? Because it’s been examined carefully by mechanics twice, and they’ve found no leak.
RAY: It takes very little gasoline to make a lot of gasoline smell. And if your gasoline smell is dissipating after five minutes and not coming back for the rest of the day, it’s probably being caused by a very small amount of seepage.
TOM: That said, breathing gasoline fumes is not good for the old brain cells — especially the brain cells of little kids. So, for that reason, I would ignore your husband, and push to get this fixed.
RAY: When you park the car at night, the fuel system is still under tremendous pressure. My guess is that as the engine cools down, some small fitting or hose shrinks a little and allows a little bit of gasoline to seep out.
TOM: And the next day, when you turn on the car, the smell of that gasoline wafts right into the cowl at the bottom of the windshield, and comes into the passenger compartment through your vents. Then, as the engine heats back up, the gasoline evaporates and the leak seals itself up, and everything is fine for the rest of the day.
RAY: The best way to find this kind of small leak is with an old-fashioned emissions wand. Before everything was centralized in the car’s data port, we used to stick a wand in the tailpipe to test a car’s emissions system. That wand was designed to pick up microscopic amounts of unburned gasoline — which were supposed to be combusted or catalyzed before they got to the tailpipe.
TOM: So if you can find a mechanic who still has an emissions wand, he can probe around the engine compartment and use it to detect a very small amount of gasoline anywhere.
RAY: What you want to do is leave the car with that mechanic overnight. Try to simulate the exact conditions under which it misbehaves. So drive the car over one evening, park it and leave the key. Then let the mechanic use that very sensitive wand to pinpoint the leak in the morning, before the engine heats up and the leak disappears.
TOM: And in the meantime, keep the 2- and 5-year-old from smoking cigars in the car first thing in the morning, just to be on the safe side. Good luck, Shannon.
* * *
In their pamphlet “Should I Buy, Lease, or Steal My Next Car?” Tom and Ray break down the strategies for buying a car, so you can make the most of your money. Send $4.75 (check or money order) to Next Car, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
Get more Click and Clack in their new book, “Ask Click and Clack: Answers from Car Talk.” Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or email them by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.
(c) 2013 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
By JORDAN JOLLEY
When Hyundai first introduced the redesigned
Sonata in 2010, the press was blown away. They dubbed it “fluidic sculpture”. No one had ever seen a Hyundai look so… well, ridiculously attractive. Suddenly, Camrys and Accords were shaking in their sheet metal everytime the in-your-face-styled car pulled up. The Sonata made a massive dent in the midsize sedan class that no one saw coming. In fact, the Sonata went from one of the lower-volume selling midsize sedans, to the top five in its first year and has stayed there ever since.
Whether you decide the base GLS model is for you or the top-of-the-line Limited model, both embodying the fluidic sculpture inside and out. The showstopper exterior styling is exceptionally sleek and fluid. Its sleek exterior design is synonymous with its interior features and controls. The smoothly flowing center stack and vertical vents are adorned with attractive, rich materials all encompassed in its Y-shape.
It’s easy to see that Hyundai doesn’t mess around when it comes to properly equipping each model, including the base model. The GLS is still packed with all sorts of goodies like cruise control, keyless entry, power locks and windows, adjustable steering wheel with audio controls, CD and MP3 player, a plethora of airbags, traction control, ABS, Electronic Stability Control and goes on. The GLS engine is a 2.4 direct injected inline 4-cylinder that produces a healthy 200 horsepower and 186 lb. ft. of torque all pushing power smoothly through a six speed manual or automatic transmission.
Thanks to the Sonata’s 35 highway mpg rating, road trips are no longer a thing of the past– due to gas prices of course. All of this starts around $20,999. For just under $3,000 more, the next option is the SE trim, which includes navigation and a sunroof.
For more eco-conscious drivers there is the Sonata Hybrid. The hybrid still features the beautiful body of its siblings, yet can achieve an even more impressive 40 highway mpg rating with pricing starting at $25,850.
And then there is the Limited, which I had the extreme pleasure of driving for nearly a week. If the standard list of equipment isn’t enough, this bad boy has all of the bells and whistles. It handles extremely well in the snow, which is pretty important if you’re going to live in Utah, where we not only have snow storms, but apparently ice storms now too. Oh, and did I mention that the Sonata’s four heated front and rear leather seats was a favorite feature for all passengers in the car. Sonata owners don’t have to suffer through Utah’s subzero temperatures with just the touch of a button.
Along with heated seats, the Limited model also includes Hyundai’s Bluelink, voice controls, paddle shifters, and infinity sound system. The Limited 2.0 turbo engine is so quick that I almost forgot I was in a sedan. Every time I punched the throttle I found myself with a grin from ear to ear. It feels like a V6, but has the fuel economy of a 4 cylinder– 34 highway mpg rating to be exact. To make things even better, Hyundai priced the Limited model starting at an affordable $27,595. Who would have ever guessed fast, fun, safe, affordable, and fuel-efficient could all go together?
A special thank you to Ken Garff Hyundai for giving me the opportunity to become a believer in Korean cars, especially in the Hyundai Sonata. Ask for Andy at Ken Garff Hyundai to show you exactly what I am talking about. He can help you get into this lean machine with qualifying discounts of up to $5,000 dollars. Tell him Jordan sent you.
South Towne Expo Center
9575 South Sttae Street, Sandy
Friday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Monday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Stop by the Utah Rides booth and enter to win a $100 gift card, a Rockwell watch, and learn how you can enter to win an ATV!
By MALCOLM GUNN
Well, there’s nothing like a verbally poke in the eye to get your undivided attention.
Not all that long ago, Honda announced the mid-2011 arrival of its 2012-model-year Civic. Fans of the brand seemed pleased, as evidenced by the upwardly pointing sales charts. However, the press and a certain advertising-free consumer magazine gave Honda a rough ride, reporting that the Civic had an uninspired look, unexciting handling and plasticky interior.
Now, most automakers would have simply ignored those comments. Not so, Honda. Whether motivated by its competitive instincts or by a desire to simply do better (or both), it’s introducing a heavily revised 2013 Civic sedan well ahead of schedule. What a difference just a single model year makes. Although the lower-volume Civic coupe has been generally left alone, the sedan’s adjustments include completely new front and rear bodywork encompassing a more prominent grille, restyled hood and new fog and corner lights.
At the opposite end, a reshaped trunk lid and bumper are flanked by a fresh set of taillights. Additionally, all trim levels feature new wheel designs. The alterations don’t dramatically change the sedan’s appearance, but they do give it an unmistakably classier look, which is a good thing when competing for the hearts and wallets of compact car-customers. Structurally, changes have been initiated to improve the Civic’s front-end collision protection, especially at each corner, which should help it meet new partial front-end crash-test standards.
There’s high-strength steel in the A-pillars (that flank the windshield) and in the side sills below the doors. Changes have also been made to the suspension, steering and soundproofing materials to improve ride comfort, reduce cabin noise and create a sportier driving experience. Sedans and coupes equipped with the optional automatic transmission have also been fitted with larger front brake rotors. Honda has addressed concerns regarding the Civic’s interior by giving the dashboard a major makeover.
There are now fewer visually irritating creases and angles and most plastic surfaces have been covered with richer-looking soft-touch materials. If it wasn’t for its carry-over powertrains, the 2013 Civic might have earned itself totally new-model status. Back again is the standard 140-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with the optional 201-horsepower four-cylinder repeating in the performance-oriented Si.
The 110-horse 1.8 continues to power the natural-gas-fueled sedan, while the gas-electric Civic Hybrid’s powertrain (also 110 horsepower) is unaltered. That model now comes standard with accident-mitigating forward-collision-warning and accidental-lane-departure warning systems (both are options on other Civic models). As before, the base powerplant can be mated to a five-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic. A six-speed manual gearbox is used exclusively for the Si while a continuously variable unit transmits the Hybrid’s torque to the front wheels. Fuel economy stats remain at 28 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway for automatic-transmission models (28/36 for manual-gearbox Civics and 29/41 for the extra fuel-efficient HF).
The more potent Si is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 31 highway. One other significant change is the deletion of the price-leading DX from the lineup, which means that least-expensive Civic LX sedan now lists for $19,000, including destination charges, but that includes more content such as air conditioning, rearview camera plus numerous power-operated accessories. The EX adds climate control, premium audio system and a power moonroof while the EX-L offers leather seats (heated in front). Ordering the EX and EX-L also allows you to add voice-activated navigation at extra cost.
It could be argued that the newly energized Civic sedan is the car that Honda should have introduced for 2012, but at least the quick response in addressing concerns will impress the legions of Civic supporters and prove the automaker’s ability to make rapid change. What you should know: 2013 Honda Civic sedan Type: Four-door, front-wheel-drive compact sedan Engines (hp): 1.8-liter SOHC I4 (140); 2.4-liter DOHC I4 (201) Transmissions: Five-speed manual; five-speed automatic (opt.) Market position: The Civic remains a top-ranked vehicle in a highly competitive market. In this league, content is becoming as important as fuel economy since many buyers are downsizing out of larger cars with abundant features.
Points: Rapid makeover yields a more desirable car; Civic now positioned as premium compact model with higher base price than most competitors; Suspension improvements should increase overall sportiness; High-output Si model should offer an automatic-transmission; Look for competitors to match Honda’s fast-fix strategy.
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control. MPG (city/hwy) 22/39 (AT); Base price (incl. destination) $19,000
Base price: $17,800
Stylish sedan can also be had in coupe and hatchback formats.
Base price: $16,800
All-new model offers lots of room plus choice of three engines.
Base price: $16,800
Compact car makes fuel economy and passenger space major priorities.