NYC: Mercedes E-Class Debut

The new 2018 E-Class Cabriolet. Image courtesy of Mercedes Benz USA

When I was in high school, my best friend bought a convertible.  I can still remember our first drive with the top down in that car.  We got more honks, whistles, and hellos than you could even imagine.  We loved it.  We couldn’t stop laughing the entire time.  That first ride gave way to many up and down the PCH.  

There’s nothing quite like a convertible, especially when you live in a place like So Cal that gets 300+ convertible perfect days a year.  Just in time for the warmer weather Mercedes has unveiled its new 2018 E-Class Cabriolet and it is a beaut.  Offering a premium soft top, larger and more luxurious interior, and comfortable open air driving utilizing their AIRSCARF® technology, this new cabriolet is on point to become summer’s favorite new ride.  

The Cabriolet is the last new member to join the updated Mercedes E-Class family, which has seen a complete overhaul of the entire class over the last year.  This new model has a longer length, width and wheel base, along with a wider track, providing a more spacious interior.  All four occupants of the vehicle will now enjoy individually sculpted seats with the added touch of standard-fit automatic belt presenters in the front seat.  The acoustic soft top is equipped with insulation to protect against the elements, hot or cold.  Heat reflecting leather and individually folding rear seats are some of the options buyers will enjoy on this iteration.  4MATIC all-wheel drive rounds out some of the features available.

Look for this new E-Class Cabriolet in US dealerships later this year.

SUV Spotlight: 2017 Acura MDX


2017 Acura MDX ©Honda Motor Company

Hot off the presses!  Acura announced today they will unveil the all-new 2017 MDX at the New York International Auto Show on March 23.

The new model will come with loads of design enhancements, more features and new, advanced powertrain technology.  “We are sharpening our focus on the Precision Crafted Performance DNA of the Acura brand and the 2017 MDX will integrate new styling elements and powertrain technology that takes us another step in that direction,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

With the MDX owning the title of the best-selling three-row luxury SUV of all time, it’s not hard to imagine a new and improved model not continuing to hold the record. A good friend of mine drives a 2015 MDX and I loved it when she took me for a spin.  It’s size and functionality is very suitable to young families.  I personally can’t wait to see the latest generation when it debuts in late March.

The 2017 model was designed by the Acura Design Studio in Torrance, California.  The vehicle will be produced at the company’s Lincoln, Alabama auto plant.


Why Everyone Loves the SUV

2016 Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT

2016 Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

There is one type of vehicle I seem to see more frequently than any other on the road and that is the Sport Utility Vehicle.  Everywhere you go people are driving them.  Whether they are small, midsize or gigantic, consumers seem to be clamoring for this type of transportation.  So what makes the SUV such a desirable choice for consumers?

2016 CX-9

2016 Mazda CX-9 Interior Photo Credit: Mazda USA

The first reason that comes to mind is convenience.  Five doors, higher off the ground, and plenty of space all contribute to the convenience of driving a SUV.  These days even the more affordable models are packed with luxurious features including, but not limited to, leather seating, navigation, memory seats, heated seats, streaming bluetooth and music, and televisions neatly installed in the back of the front headrests.  Imagine being a kid now.  Those torturous road trips we suffered through in the 80’s and 90’s suddenly become quite bearable, if not fun in these new modern vehicles.

2016 Volve XC90

2016 Volvo XC90 Photo Credit: Volv0 Car Group

The second reason is versatility.  No matter what you’re looking for as a consumer, you can be assured at least one of the SUV models available will satisfy your needs.  Looking for something huge to transport your multiple kids and dogs?  Plenty of models come equipped with the sought after optional 3rd row, giving you choice as to how you would like your back seat and cargo area configured.  Is an environmentally responsible mode of transportation a must for you?  Several car companies make models with optional hybrid engines so you don’t have to feel as guilty about driving such a big, beasty car.

2016 Bentayga

Bentley Bentayga Photo Credit: Bentley Motors

The final obvious reason to own one of these is the cool factor.  Even if you have a ridiculously large family, you don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort to accommodate everyone.  You don’t even have to have a family to justify owning a SUV.  You can find purpose for your ride with rugged, outdoorsy activities or at least make it appear as if you enjoy that type of thing.  Once upon a time when I was in sales and had to schlep all over the greater Los Angeles area with sales materials and samples in my car, my SUV was my savior.  Yes it was bigger than it needed to be and got sub-par gas mileage, but it was so comfortable to drive, I didn’t mind stopping in to the gas station every two to three days.

With all this in mind, I will be dedicating the month of February on the blog to SUVs.  I will provide in-depth coverage of several different models and putting them to the test. Everything from the dream SUV (did someone say Bentley?!) to the more affordable models for those of us regular folk and everything in between.  Be sure to check back regularly for new posts, especially if you’re contemplating making the leap to SUV ownership.

2016 Chevy Camaro is on Its Way

The 2016 Camaro SS © General Motors

The 2016 Camaro SS
© General Motors

This past Monday, Chevrolet made an announcement that is sure to bring a tear of joy to Camaro enthusiasts’ eyes.  They will begin shipments of the all-new 2016 Camaro to dealerships later this week, and the new models should arrive for customer delivery by mid-November, just in time for the holidays.  “It is an exciting day for everyone involved in bringing the new Camaro from a concept to the assembly line,” said Mike Trevorrow, Lansing regional plant manager.  “As the transporters head out to dealerships across the country, the hard work and pride of everyone at Lansing Grand River Assembly goes with them.”  Understandably so.  The assembly facility in Lansing recently received a $175 million upgrade in tooling and equipment to support this model’s production.

The 2015 Camaro SS © General Motors

The 2016 Camaro SS
© General Motors

Just what can consumers expect from the all new Camaro?  For starters, higher levels of performance, technology and refinement. The 2016 Camaro offers six all-new powertrain combinations including a standard 2.0L Turbo, an available 3.6L V-6 in LT models, and a 455-hp LT1 6.2L V-8 in the SS, making it the most powerful SS ever made.  Each engine is available in a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto.

The 2016 Camaro SS © General Motors

The 2016 Camaro SS
© General Motors

The Gen Six also provides a faster, more nimble driving experience due to its lighter frame and larger range of powertrain options.  The vehicle mass has been reduced by 200 pounds or more, depending on the model, providing not only better handling, but better efficiency as well.  The new 2.0L Turbo will get more than 30mpg on the highway, while still delivering a 0-60 mph that comes in well under six seconds.   Magnetic Ride Control active suspension is also available for the first time on the SS.

© General Motors

© General Motors

Under the hood isn’t the only place this model has gotten an upgrade.  Chevy also took great care with the exterior and interior design details.  The exterior was given a more athletic, sculptured look, complimenting the leaner architecture.  More emphasis was also put on customer personalization including 10 exterior colors, five interior color combinations, new lighting options and many dealer available accessories, including wheels and striping packages.

2016 Camaro Interior © General Motors

2016 Camaro Interior
© General Motors

The interior receives an upgrade with a new shifter-focused center console, intuitive controls, flat-bottom steering wheel and the use of higher quality materials in general throughout.  Also missing are the conventional temperature and fan speed controls.  In their place, unique control rings around the air vents, giving it a cool futuristic vibe.  The tech gets an upgrade with standard connectivity features including Chevrolet MyLink with Apple CarPlay capability and an OnStar 4G LTE wifi hotspot.

2016 Camaro Interior © General Motors

2016 Camaro Interior
© General Motors

After checking out photos online, I have to say I wholeheartedly approve of the changes that have been made to the body and interior.  Add into the mix the six all-new powertrain combinations, and 2016 is looking like a sweet year for the Camaro consumer.  This new Gen Six looks to be best we’ve seen since the original burst onto the scene on September 29th, 1966.   It is also still heavily tied to its American roots, which I find refreshing.  “There has been a lot of excitement and anticipation around our community and throughout the world for the next-generation Camaro,” said UAW Local 652 President Mike Green. “We have received great products here because of the quality of work always performed by the Lansing autoworker, active and retired.”

If you’re looking to buy, the SS and LT models with the 3.6L V-6 will be the first to arrive at dealers, followed by the convertible and the 2.0L Turbo, which will begin shipping in early 2016.

Happy Driving.

*Information courtesy of the Chevrolet Pressroom*