Wrap Up

9 Dec

Going up I-35 to Dallas

Going up I-35 to Dallas


Over the course of the semester in Fundamentals of Digital and Online Media, I maintained this blog about cars. Personally I like the idea of having a blog and posting, but in retrospect it was hard for me to sit down and type of a car review. I like cars, but I think I like talking about them more than writing about them. The blogging itself was easy enough thanks to WordPress, which makes having a blog very simple. The tools they provide are great and easy to use. I enjoyed checking the analytics section of WordPress because it gave me useful insight about  my posts and the people who read them. The parts I didn’t like about WordPress was the navigation of the site. The dashboard can be tricky to pull up because you have to dig around in menus to find a way to dash. In the future, I could see myself using WordPress professionally because of all the tools and widgets they give you. The ability to tweak everything about your blog is intuitive and simple. A company could very easily use WordPress for a site because they have the option to pay for the domain and that allows even more changes to be made.

That’s all for my blog. I would like to thank everyone for reading and thank those who let me review their cars. I will leave you with a video of a Ferrari Enzo being treated like a rally car.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-4v4I7Gzk0&list=TLSEefmsPV5ftjby4_BboYpXjXTYl3shHc

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2012 Audi A7

8 Dec

IMG_9253The 2012 Audi A7 is a fashion statement. This car represents a trend to create sedans that look like coupes. Most recently this is a move by Audi and BMW to counter the Mercedes Benz CLS. These cars exist only to fill a gap in the market to for buyers who want something more stylish than a traditional sedan. However what the A7 gains in looks, it loses in space. I stand about 6’4, which is not small to any stretch of the imagination, but I would think I could fit in the A7’s backseat. I can, but my head is bent over trying to fit in the tiny backseat. The roofline style has sacrificed headroom in a full size car. Even people shorter have to duck inside the car. The front seat is not so much of an issue as it allows the driver and passenger can spread out more. The interior is one of the best looking interiors I’ve ever seen. The material they use is beautiful, from the wood inlays to the quality of the stitching of the leather. Audi has excellent taste of how to appoint their interiors. If only the backseats had more room..

IMG_4896 (1)The A7 has a Supercharged 3.0L V6 under the hood, which is not heard over the sound damping. The only time I could even remotely hear the engine was when I floored it and had the radio off. The car just starts to pull hard and gain speed rather impressively. The Quattro all-wheel drive system should all be mentioned for it is responsible for its good handling and in helping with the acceleration. The transmission is smooth and shifts quickly. Even under hard acceleration, the transmission quickly finds the right gear without so much as a hiccup. Overall the A7 is a coupe for people who think they still want a sedan. The backseats are for small people or children, which a shame because of how well the rest of the A7 is put together. I like this car, but if it was my choice I would get the larger, but equally as nice A8.

2012 Scion Tc

1 Dec

IMG_9528The Scion Tc, a car that is suppose to be a sporty offering from Scion, but stops short at a true sports coupe. The main issue of the Tc is the engine. The car utilizes the 2.5L 4 cylinder from the Camry, which would not be a problem for a car like the Corolla. However, the Tc was suppose to be a sporty car and instead they placed an anemic engine that produces ample power on paper, but in use does not provide any significant thrust. Will it get where it needs to go? Yes, but that’s not the point. The point the car is suppose to be a fun and quick offering from Scion. In order to do this, Scion should have taken the 3.5 L 6 cylinder from the Camry and used that to power this car. With over 200 HP it would have had an abundance of power to play with. The 4 cylinder is boring and the moment you mash your foot on the throttle, the engine whines and revs up, but does not have any sweet spots where the power flows in. This is disappointing because the Tc is a good looking car with the clean lines and cool looking dash. The rear seats even have enough room for full sized adults to sit comfortably. the Tc has all the offerings of a good sports coupe, but does not deliver the power.

IMG_7937This is truly a shame because I enjoyed driving the Tc. The car rides nicely with a sporty feel to the suspension without sacrificing comfort. The visibility is good for a car with such a small windshield.  The steering wheel is flat bottomed and feels good to hold and compliments the actual steering feel. The trunk is actually a large hatch that opens up and gives a large amount of space to fill. This car could have been perfect for a 20 something who wanted something fun, fast, and practical. The Tc missed its mark to stand out from the rest of Toyota’s offerings and been a good addition to Scion. Instead, we get a car that is good, but ultimately forgettable.

2009 BMW 750Li

20 Nov

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The 2009 BMW 750Li is all about blending in. This is not a car for other people to enjoy, such a Jaguar XJ or an Aston Martin Rapide. No, this BMW is made for its occupants to enjoy. The technology is oozing out of this car, from the massaging seats to the night vision camera up front. BMW made sure that person who purchased this car would be as comfortable as this could afford to be. The options list on this car is extensive and can drive the price through the roof. Features such as cameras that are on either side of the bumper and allow the driver to not move the car out in the intersection to see. Instead he/she can just glance onto the infonav and see what is coming from both directions. The heads up display is another cool feature that displays the car’s speed and show the turn by turn GPS directions in full color. The driver never has to look down to figure out where they are headed and how fast. The only time the driver will have to look down will be to operate the nightmare that is BMW iDrive. iDrive is what controls the radio, AC, GPS, and any other setting. This sounds nice in theory, but the system is riddled with menus and submenus that require you to scroll through and click each one. The tendency is for settings to become buried in a menu with an unrelated name.

285This 750Li is powered by a 4.4L V8 that pushes this 4,600 pound sled around at decent speeds. This BMW is not racing inspired however and does not give the driver much confidence to push it to the limit. The rear end is easy to break loose, but not in a fun way because the artificial steering is too light and vague in order to control the car once the tail is out. Regardless of the lack of sporting credentials this car receives, BMW decided to put a toggle switch that allows you to  decide how sporty to make the car. From “Comfort” mode which is like riding on a cloud to “Sport Plus” which lowers the car and makes the throttle quicker to respond. The need for such a switch in a car like this is unnecessary and could have been used for more driver aids or other cool tech. Overall, the 750Li is the ultimate cruiser who is looking to blend in, but enjoy all the comforts and technology of an expensive car.

2002 Honda CR-V

8 Nov

345This is the 2002 Honda CR-V. The Honda CR-V is typically heralded as the go to CUV to compare against for other manufactures. The reason is simple; this Honda is well rounded. From the engine to the trunk space, from the AWD to the comfortable interior. This CUV was what was desired in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This car was powered by a respectable 2.4L 4 cylinder which propelled this car with about 180 horsepower. This car was in no means fast, but the engine was lively and revy and made for a much more interesting drive then other cars in this segment. The trunk was low and flat and allowed for easy loading, with the opening starting just below waist level. The seats folded down to provide even more room if needed and the windows on the rear door could be left open. The car had a simple 4 speed automatic transmission that stayed out of the way and let the power down. The AWD was a passive system that would engage if the car computers felt like more grip was needed.

The CR-V was not without its flaws though. This specific CR-V had to have its AC replaced twice because both times, the compressor blew apart and shredded the hoses that fed the car AC. Another problem was a lack of sound insulation throughout the car. At highway speeds, the people seated in the back had to practically yell in order to be heard by the driver. This is more of a problem for all cars of this era. This CR-V makes up for its downfalls in just being a dead reliable vehicle. The transmission and engine are bulletproof and would probably keeping going long after all the other components failed. the reliability alone is what set this car apart from its competitors in this segment.

2003 Jeep Liberty

1 Oct

The 2003 Jeep Liberty is like a horse. Not because of its reliability or that it enjoys apples, but because of how rough the ride is. The car just goes over everything on the road with as little grace as possible. Every bump treats the passengers to being thrown around the cabin, as the body of the car pitches and rolls. The person unlucky enough to sit in the passenger seat will hit their knees multiple times on the dash every time the car comes to a stop. The strange part is that you will not really care how rough the ride is because it feels oddly appropriate for a Jeep.
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This Liberty is the Limited Edition package, which adds pleather seats and a thirsty 3.7 V6. The engine is one of my favorite parts of the car because of how it sounds. It has a throaty rumble and create ample power at low revs. If floor the accelerator you will be treated to a slight hesitation as the transmission scurries to find the right gear. When it does hook up though, the car lurches forward quickly and with a roar that is very impressive for a V6. This car is great about providing the illusion of speed. The car always feels as if you’re going much faster than the speed limit. However when you glance down, you’ll usually notice that you are only going about 5 over. This is due to several factors: the airiness of the cabin, how loose the suspension is, and the lack of sound insulation. This car does not really hide any of its unrefined points and oddly that is what I like most about the LIberty. It knows that it wears a Jeep badge on its hood and it wears it proudly.
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Sadly the Jeep Liberty was discontinued in 2012 and will be replaced with a quirky looking Jeep Cherokee that will debut for the 2014 model year. You can read the first drive review here: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2014-jeep-cherokee-24l-first-drive-review

2009 Mini Cooper S

25 Sep

The name of the paint color is Chili Red and there couldn’t be a more fitting description to the personality of this car.  The 2009 Mini Cooper S is the equivalent of a Go-Kart for the road. It is not the fastest car ever and far from it with a 0-60 of a little under 6 seconds, but it is the pure sensation of acceleration as the turbo four cylinder kicks you in the behind. The sound is intoxicating as you accelerate and the car encourages you to misbehave. The rest of the chassis is more than capable to keep up with whatever you can throw at it. The car corners flat and hugs the road. Thank goodness for the bolstered seats because this car loves to eat corners. Off the line, the car stutters as the turbo spools up before releasing the power. When the turbo hit however, you better hold on because the torque steer will try and take the wheel out of your hands. This is not a car to drag race, but if you want to race someone already at speed and through twisty parts of the road, you’ve got your car.
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The Mini Cooper S is simply a fun car. The large, cartoonish speedometer is stuck in the middle of the dash and the window switches are like toggles from a plane. It is funny to think that this a car made by the Germans, but still keeps the spirit that made the older British Minis so great. BMW is actually the parent company of Mini so the performance pedigree is there, but they allow Mini the freedom to be different and unique. Just visit the dealership network itself to see how much you can make a Mini unique to you. The Mini Cooper is great for someone who just wants to have fun while driving. The car is still a hatchback so it is practical enough to haul things around. The Cooper S is a car that is very much alive and a visceral driving experience. If you get the chance to drive one, I recommend it.
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The Mini Cooper is set to go into its 3rd generation under BMW and is expected to grow a little larger. The full car has not been revealed yet, but here are some spy shots of the production mule: http://wot.motortrend.com/spied-next-gen-mini-cooper-3-cylinder-power-132669.html