Tag Archives: review

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.

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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

2006 Hyundai Santa Fe

18 Sep
2006 Hyundai Santa Fe

2006 Hyundai Santa Fe

Rice. A food that is a staple in diets around the world. Rice is nutritious and is a grain that is part of a balanced diet, but it’s not something you get really excited to eat everyday. Just because it’s good for you, doesn’t mean that you enjoy it. This brings us to the 2006 Santa Fe, a car that is the equivalent of rice. Its a Compact Utility Vehicle (CUV) that is inoffensive, besides the love-it or hate-it styling. The car does exactly what you ask of it, without standing too far from the crowd of other CUVs it shares the spotlight with, like the Honda CR-V or Ford Escape. This was the last year of the first generation Santa Fe before the redesign in the 2007 model year. This car is motivated by a 3.5 V6 that produces a modest 200 HP that propels the car to 60 MPH in about 9 and a half seconds. When you step on the gas, the car produces quite a bit of noise and goes nowhere. This observation is confirmed when you glance down at the speedometer.

Engine of the Santa Fe

Engine of the Santa Fe

The ride quality is smooth and the cabin noise is decent for a car at this price range. The steering has an artificial feeling, but is not unpleasant and makes turning at low speeds easy. The seats are comfortable enough for long drives with proper support to make driving less taxing. Driving position isn’t ideal for 6’4″ frame, but for the average American it seats you up high and gives a more commanding view point of the road. I like the trunk in this car because it loads so easily and has a nice flat surface to pack. It may not have the depth of some cars, but a flat loading surface without much interference from wheel wells is appreciated. The back seat is one of my favorite parts of the car because of how much room the back occupants have. I can comfortably sit in the back for extended periods and be able to stretch my legs out, which is rare in most cars. When comparing the back seats to the front, you realize how cramped everything is. This is largely because the center console eats into the front passenger’s area.

Steering Wheel of the 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe

Steering Wheel of the 2006 Santa Fe

Drivers Seat of the Santa Fe

Drivers Seat of the Santa Fe

That being said, I have to say I like this car. Its just the relaxed nature of this car makes it easy to drive and willing to go. The one part of the car that I didn’t initially like was the styling that Hyundai chose for this car. The headlights are the main culprit that throw off an otherwise shapely front end. This car is like a sweet, ugly dog that has a “go anywhere” spirit. Even with its quirks and polarizing style, it wins you over with a general sense of good intentions and a solid powertrain. I’m not the only one who likes this car however, because the Santa Fe is largely credited for securing Hyundai’s future here in America. The Santa Fe is now entering it’s 3rd generation and much of Hyundai’s continued success rests on the Santa Fe. The 3rd generation is more aggressively styled and has optional seating for 7. I have a feeling that the Santa Fe will continue to be a very profitable platform for Hyundai. The Hyundai Santa Fe is indeed very much like rice in that it fulfills basic needs without adding too much spice into the mix.

For anyone who is interested more in the 3rd generation Hyundai Santa Fe, here is the review from Car and Driver of the Long Wheelbase and the Short Wheelbase 2013 Santa Fe. http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2013-hyundai-santa-fe-limited-fwd-awd-test-review

1995 BMW 325i Review

9 Sep

Okay this is my first review and I decided to review my own car. Being my car, I am quite partial, but I will try to be as unbiased as possible. My 325i has around 135,000 miles on the odometer, which for a car that is 18 years old isn’t half bad. BMW has always been known for creating sports cars and the E36 generation (1992-1999) is considered the last generation of 3 series that was sporty and lightweight before the heavier, but more powerful next generation. It has all the requirements for a fun, sport ride; rear-wheel drive, good road feel, and a smooth straight 6 cylinder engine. The engine only put out around 190 horsepower when new, but it has the ability to move the car around at a brisk pace. The engine feels rather weak until you get past 3000 RPM and then you find a wide band of torque and horsepower and you really feel the pull.

My 325i parked in the driveway

My 325i parked in the driveway

Alright, let’s get down to the specifics of this car. My BMW has its fair share of issues. The engine and transmission thankfully have no major problems, besides that the automatic fitted on this car is pretty lazy with its shifts. This car reaches 60 in a little under 8 seconds which means drag racing is out of the question. Most of the issues with the car are suspension and cosmetically related. The suspension needs a major overhaul that will requires new struts, shocks, control arms, and shock towers. The suspension rattles in the back and has quite a bit of give in the front suspension. The paint job has some nicks and the hood of the car has started to yellow, which looks horrible on the Alpine White paint job. The seats and “leather” have started to give stain and the color is rubbing out. Overall this car has a healthy drivetrain minus the suspension, and it still fun to drive around on the streets.

Driver's side of the 325i

Driver’s side of the 325i

Despite how old this BMW is, the combination of the silky engine and responsive chassis cause this car to still thrill after all these years. The way the car communicates the road to you inspires confidence and asks for spirited driving whenever possible. There are not many cars left that still feel so natural to drive. It is sad that today our society as a whole is more interested in relinquishing control of the wheel and focus on something else. I think that a car, like the 325i, have the ability to make people fall back in love with driving or maybe fall in love with driving for the first time. I began driving with this BMW and this car is what I credit for fostering my love cars and driving. I know that this is my car, but I believe that people are so disinterested in driving because they have never had a car that was more than just a way to get to point A to point B. When you’re driving a fun car, driving no longer become a chore, but is something that you look forward to. It’s not always about the destination, but the journey.

If you would like to see what the current 3-Series looks like I would suggest taking a look at the link for the review by Car and Driver: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2012-bmw-328i-3-series-sedan-first-drive-review

Welcome to Cars Without Coffee!

28 Aug

Hey everyone! Cars Without Coffee is a blog dedicated to reviewing all kind of cars. I will focus mostly on actual individual used cars and review different types of vehicles. I’m excited to share my experiences of these cars with you so keep checking the site for posts. See you on the road!