The Third Annual LTR Truck Guide

 Features  Comments Off on The Third Annual LTR Truck Guide
Mar 042020
 
Chevy Silverado

For the last two years, Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has produced a truck guide, recognizing the appeal pickups hold, not just in the state of Texas, the number-one truck market, but also among Latinos. For 2020, we present our third installment. This guide includes models test-driven for at least a week by LTR and offers an overview, not a ranking, of what they offer or lack. For additional truck info or to compare and contrast, check out last year’s guide as well as the original.

Nissan Frontier

Coasting on a redesign that’s fifteen years old, the Nissan Frontier continues to offer utility and off-road capability, plus the lowest starting price in its segment.

Rumors of a redesign for the Frontier had been circulating for years but nothing definitive was announced, until this year at the Chicago Auto Show. According to Tiago Castro, director, Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Nissan North America, Inc., there will be an all-new Frontier in 2021 and while 2020 will be the final year of this generation, it will include the 2021’s powertrain, an all-new 3.8-liter V6 engine matched to a nine-speed transmission.

Last year the Frontier was the most-affordable pickup in its class, with a starting price of $18,990, excluding destination fees, but the test model, Frontier SV Crew Cab SWB 4×4, sat well above the base.

The list of optional features included on the test model began with the powertrain, namely the 4.0-liter V6 with 261 horsepower and 281 lb.­–ft. of torque. It will be replaced later this year by the previously mentioned V6. It was matched to a five-speed automatic transmission and included a two-speed transfer case with 4Hi and 4Lo options for off-road capability.

Functionality sells trucks and the test model offered a maximum towing capacity of 6,380 lbs. as well as 60/40 split rear seats that flipped up, as well as down, to reveal added storage.

On the drive, however, the Frontier was capable but clearly outdated, especially on the inside. The Value Truck Package ($1,890) added upgrades like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rear sonar for parking, a factory-applied spray on bed liner, and sliding bed extender, among several features, bringing the as-tested price to $33,560. But it lacked basic new technology like a blind spot monitor or navigation.

The 2020 Frontier will go on sale this spring.

Ford Ranger

Like the Frontier, the Ranger remained unchanged for many years before it disappeared in 2011. But in 2019, Ford also decided to re-enter the midsize truck segment by bringing back its venerated “little” truck. The new version, however, joins its enlarged competition, measuring 210.8 inches in length.

Toyota Tacoma

On the outside, it appeared to borrow design cues from the Toyota Tacoma. Can you tell which is which? While it borrowed some design cues from the Tacoma, it didn’t adopt one of its best, a dampened tailgate.

When LTR last tested the Ranger, before the redesign, it too suffered from being dated as well as guzzling gas. The new model, however, included the 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline four-cylinder with 270 horsepower and 310 lb.–ft. of torque matched to a ten-speed automatic transmission, giving it an improved EPA estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway. The as-tested fuel economy came to an average of 22 mpg.

The Ranger has a maximum towing of 7,500 on all trims but payload varies and the test model had the lowest figure of 1,560 lbs.

Priced above the Frontier, the test model also included popular technology that its competitor did not, like a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, a digital TFT in the instrument cluster with an average fuel economy calculator among other features, and an eight-inch touch screen in the center stack to display navigation or audio information, or both with a split screen option.

Like the Frontier the test model included heated front seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio, a spray-in bed liner, and dual-zone climate control but the Ranger added leather seating.

Pricing for the 2020 Ranger starts at $25,605. The as-tested price, including the FX4 Off-Road Package ($1,295) came to $44,960.

Chevrolet Silverado

For 2019 Chevrolet completely redesigned, the Silverado and entered the market with a range of eight models and six engine/transmission choices. The test model was the two-wheel drive double cab RST trim, powered by the turbocharged 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder (I4).

The real competition for trucks happens under the hood and Chevy’s range of engines, from the four-cylinder to a diesel, gives it a definite advantage.

Matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the I4 should produce 310 horsepower and 348 lb.­–ft. of torque. Maximum tow rating for the Silverado is 13,400 lbs. with the V8 but maximum towing for the test model came to 7,000 lbs.

Body-color trim, full LED lighting (foglamps, headlamps and taillamps) and up to 22-inch wheels distinguish the RST trim from the others. The test model, however, included 18-inch bright silver painted aluminum wheels.

With redesigns, the focus begins with the exterior and in the case of the new Silverado, at first glance, its features can be polarizing compared to the clean lines of its predecessor, but it does improve on closer inspection. The new pickup is also 1.6 inches longer and has a bed that’s seven inches wider giving it a best-in-class cargo volume starting with the short box’s 63 cubic feet. Maximum payload on the test model came to 2,190 lbs.

The test model also included Active Fuel management to give it an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 20/23 mpg respectively. During the test drive, it achieved an average range of 23.2 in the city and up to 32.4 mpg on the highway.

The test model did include signature GM technology like Stabilitrak, OnStar, Teen Driver, a rear seat reminder to encourage drivers to check the back seat before locking the vehicle, and a dampened tailgate that releases with the push of a button.

Pricing for the 2020 Silverado starts at $29,795. The as-tested pricing included multiple packages from Convenience with Bucket Seats ($1,655) to Safety ($890), which brought the price up to $47,795.

Ford F-250

The Ford’s F-Series has held the top-selling vehicle title for 42 years. The F-150 has made-up the bulk of these sales but it’s bulkier super duty siblings, the F-250, F-350, and F-450 provide the utility that work truck buyers demand. LTR recently drove the F-250 SRW 4×4 Crew Cab Limited.

Best in class achievements help super duties stand out in this highly competitive segment. For 2020, the F-250 will offer a choice of three engines including an all-new 7.3-liter V8 with best-in-class 430 horsepower and best-in-class 475 lbs.–ft. of torque. The third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 powered the test model. For 2020 it has been upgraded to deliver best-in-class 475 horsepower and best-in-class 1,050 ft.–lbs. of torque. A 6.2-liter V8 is the F-250’s standard gas engine. While the 6.7-liter diesel on the test model was matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, an all-new ten-speed heavy-duty TorqShift automatic transmission is standard with the 7.3-liter V8 and 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 for 2020.

Technology on a work truck is essential and as a Limited trim level, the test model added FordPass Connect, embedded 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi access for up to ten devices and charge up with wireless charging and USB-C ports as well as the Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera. The test model also included a tailgate step, ambient lighting, voice activated navigation, and adaptive cruise control. Capacity specs for the F-250 test model maxed out at 19,100 1bs. towing and 3,470 lbs. payload.

While fuel efficiency ratings are not required for super duties, the text model achieved an average fuel economy of 15.5–16.6 mpg during the drive.

Pricing for the 2020 F250 starts at $35,300. The as-tested price came to $84,500, including extra charges for a gooseneck hitch kit, 3.55 electronic locking axle, a fifth-wheel hitch prep package and a bed spray-in bed liner.

Deadline Approaches for Chevy’s Latino Family Road Trip Contest

 Destinations  Comments Off on Deadline Approaches for Chevy’s Latino Family Road Trip Contest
Dec 282019
 

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Chevrolet recently launched its Mi Familia, My Chevy, a national online contest that celebrates Hispanic families. Chevy is calling on Hispanic families to submit their unique stories for the chance to be selected and awarded the road trip of a lifetime, complete with personal chauffeurs and the latest Chevy vehicles for up to nine family members.

The online contest is open for submissions through December 31. Families must submit a photo that highlights a special family moment or milestone, then write a short response explaining more about their family and what a road trip would mean to them.

“At Chevrolet, we understand the importance of road trips for families and are excited to kick off this inaugural contest,” said Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet marketing. “Family is at the fabric of Hispanic culture and we want Chevrolet to play a contributing role in building road trip memories.”

Among Hispanic customers, Chevy is the third best-selling automotive brand, making vehicles that meet the unique needs of today’s Hispanic families and helping to keep them safe on the road. Hispanic vehicles sales account for 14 percent of all Chevy sales.

Chevrolet Blazer

As part of the program, Chevrolet has enlisted three Hispanic influencers to capture and share their own Chevy family road trip experiences through their social and digital channels.  Each influencer will drive one of Chevrolet’s latest products, including the All-New 2020 Silverado, 2020 Blazer, and the 2020 Traverse. These brand ambassadors will also encourage Hispanic audiences to submit their unique contest entries.

The winning family will be selected and announced in January, 2020. The grand prize road trip will take place in Spring 2020 and includes a five day, five night adventure which begins in Miami, Florida, where the winning family will make stops in their Chevy to enjoy the culture of Miami and experience a baseball fan’s dream in West Palm Beach, before ending in a magical vacation at Walt Disney World Resort, where it only takes a moment together to create memories that last a lifetime.

To learn more about the Mi Familia, My Chevy contest, please visit http://www.chevyfamilia.com/. Follow the conversation on social by using the hashtag #MiFamiliaMyChevy.

SUV Review: 2018 Chevy Traverse

 Chevrolet, Reviews  Comments Off on SUV Review: 2018 Chevy Traverse
Aug 272018
 

They may not be sexy, but safety features matter to consumers. According to a 2017 tech study by Autotrader, technology ranks as the top priority for car buyers, specifically, safety tech.

“Consumers say they are becoming increasingly comfortable with advanced safety technology. Seventy percent of respondents noted they would consider paying more for driver-assist technology, such as blind-spot monitoring or adaptive cruise control, in their next vehicle purchase,” according to autotrader.com.

Latino Traffic Report recently tested the 2018 Chevy Traverse Premier AWD and it came loaded with technology that consumers want, plus unique safety features that they may want to get to know.

Safety First

General Motors collaborated with two electronics companies in 1985 to create OnStar telematics, now available on all GM brands. The latest version of OnStar now includes a 4G LTE and available WiFi hotspot.

Every Traverse also comes equipped with new safety technology like Teen Driver, introduced on the Malibu in 2016, and the Rear Seat Reminder that pings after the vehicle is turned off to remind the driver to check the back seat for children or other precious cargo. Teen Driver allows parents to program a vehicle to monitor their teen’s driving habits.

As a Premier trim level equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD), standard safety features on the test model included Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert (left), a rear view camera with Surround Vision bird’s-eye view, rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and front pedestrian braking.

Chevrolet also partnered with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to warn parents about the 100 deadliest days of summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and to showcase technology like Teen Driver and the Rear Seat Reminder. According to AAA, during this time, the average number of deadly teen driver crashes climbs by 15 percent compared to the rest of the year. NoHeatStroke.org also notes that for the past 20 years, Texas has led the country in child deaths from being left in a vehicle.

Driving Impressions

On the test drive, the Traverse produced impressive power from the 3.6-liter V6 engine with 310 horses and 266 lb.-ft. of torque and a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. With AWD and matched to the nine-speed automatic transmission, it had an EPA estimated fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. It averaged 18.1 mpg on the test drive.

It had a seating capacity of seven (properly equipped the Traverse can seat up to eight) plus the second- and third-row seats folded to expose 98.2 cubic feet of cargo room. In previous tests, Chevy seats were heavy, spring loaded, and slammed down when deployed, but that has been addressed on the new Traverse.

Creature comforts on the Traverse included the MyLink infotainment system with navigation and an eight-inch touch screen (a seven-inch screen is standard), leather seating, heated second row seats and heated and ventilated front seats, a hands-free power liftgate, Bose stereo with XM satellite radio, and tri-zone air conditioning.

Pricing for the Traverse starts at $30,875. The as-tested price, including the optional dual panoramic sunroof ($1,400), came to $50,065.

Sí: Safety innovations like Teen Safety and the Rear Seat Reminder set the Traverse apart in a crowded segment.

No: Features like adaptive cruise control and the GM Safety Alert Seat were obvious omissions in the list of available safety features on the Traverse, especially at this trim level.

 

 

Super SUVs and CUVs for Summer Travel

 Features  Comments Off on Super SUVs and CUVs for Summer Travel
Aug 092018
 

2018 BMW X3

Summer’s heating up as families hit the road for vacation. There’s no question that sport and crossover utility vehicles (SUVs and CUVs) have claimed the family car market, but happily, the supply and variety from which to choose is incredibly healthy. Here’s an overview of some of the models tested by Latino Traffic Report (LTR).

Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

Mazda’s best-selling vehicle in the United States, the CX-5, stands out in a crowded segment with its design, including the signature Soul Red Crystal premium exterior paint ($595) on the test model. For 2018, this compact CUV moves ahead of the pack by making the blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert a standard feature on all CX-5s, something even premium compact CUVs and SUVs don’t do. Also added to the standard features list for 2018 are a leather-wrapped steering wheel and new cylinder-deactivation technology; Mazda is the only automaker to offer this technology on a four-cylinder engine in North America.
The test model, CX-5 Grand Touring AWD, also included the i-ACTIVSENSE suite with High Beam Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane-Keep Assist, and Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go function.
Powered by a 2.5-liter engine that delivers 187 horsepower and 186 lb.–ft. of torque with cylinder deactivation for better fuel economy and matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, the CX-5 should achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. It averaged 28.5 mpg on the test drive.
On road trips, entertainment features come in handy and Mazda’s infotainment system centers around Mazda CONNECT with a seven-inch touch screen, Bluetooth audio streaming, and phone pairing. While it took four steps to set presets, there appeared to be no limit to the number allowed, from AM to SiriusXM Satellite radio.
With seating for five and 59.6 cubic feet (cu. ft.) of cargo room with the second-row seats folded, the 2018 Mazda CX-5 has a starting price of $25,125. The as-tested price came to $34,685.

Chevy Equinox

Chevy MyLink

Since its launch in 2005, the Equinox has been Chevrolet’s second-best selling vehicle overall, after the Silverado. It includes what families want, convenience and versatility, plus a few other features that other small SUVs don’t.
Under the hood, the Equinox offers three engine choices, all turbos—a 1.5-liter, 2.0-liter, and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel (a segment exclusive). LTR drove the 2.0-liter with 252 horsepower and 260 lb.–ft. of torque. The Equinox test model had an EPA city/highway estimated fuel rating of 22/28 mpg. It averaged 26.7 mpg on the test drive.
Inside, the Equinox there’s up to 63.5 cu. ft. of maximum cargo space with the second row folded flat. During the test, the seats were heavy and slammed down when deployed.
Certain brands may have created a reputation for safety but Chevy offers its own signature safety technology, starting with Teen Driver (standard) that allows parents to set controls and review driving history in order to encourage safe driving habits, even when they are not in the vehicle. The available Rear Seat Reminder, also on the test model, pings when the ignition is turned off to remind the driver to check the back seat before locking the SUV.
The standard MyLink infotainment system on the Equinox that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, can be matched to a standard seven- or an available eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen.
Available in four trim levels, and front wheel or all wheel drive (FWD or AWD) combinations, pricing for the next-generation 2018 Equinox starts at $24,525. The as-tested price came to $43,050.

Lexus NX 300h

For road trips, fuel economy, comfort, and cargo carrying matter. The Lexus NX 300h hybrid competes handily in these areas. The test model also included the Lexus navigation package ($1,815), another road trip essential.
Lexus excels at comfort and luxury and the NX 300h test model was no exception. Enhanced by the Luxury Package ($4,545), it included buttery beige leather seating with heated and ventilated seats in the front. The second row also included a power button ($400) for folding the seats flat and exposing 53.7 cu. ft. of cargo room.
Powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a small high-torque electric motor through its electronically controlled continuously variable transmission, it has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 33 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. It averaged 28.4 mpg on the test drive. The engine lacked a little power but the Sport mode, part of the standard Drive Mode Select system, gave it some oomph. Normal and Eco modes are also available as well as an EV mode for full electric power at speeds below 25 miles per hour (mph). Regenerative braking charges the electric motor to a generator that captures the kinetic energy of the wheels when the brake is applied, storing it in the nickel-metal hydride hybrid battery pack.
Semi-autonomous features like adaptive cruise control are standard but the blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert was added to the test model ($660).
Other standard features included a backup camera, dual-zone climate control, Lexus Enform safety connect, and a power tilt and telescopic steering column.
For 2018 it gets a refreshed exterior and improved handling.
Pricing for the 2018 NX 300h starts at $39,330. The as-tested pricing came to $51,683.*

BMW X3 xDrive30i

All new for 2018, the BMW X3 brings a sporty element to the premium compact SUV segment (or Sports Activity Vehicle according to BMW), making it a bit more fun to drive than its competitors. Like its siblings, the X4, X5, and X6, the X3 is built at BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, SC where 70 percent of BMW vehicles exported to 140 markets worldwide are produced.
The third-generation sports new fascia features including a three-dimensional kidney grille and fog lights featuring a hexagonal design. It’s also the first X3 to offer a factory installed trailer hitch.
A twin-power turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder inline gasoline engine that produces 248 horses and 258 lb.–ft. of torque powered the X3 xDrive30i test model, matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles and xDrive all-wheel drive (AWD). It had an EPA estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. It earned 24.1 mpg on the test drive.
Four drive modes, Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+, helped customize the ride and handling and overcome a slight turbo lag.

orange ambient lighting

Adding to that was the new 50:50 weight distribution between the front and rear axle.
Standard features on the test model included tri-zone climate control, a 40/20/40 split folding rear seat that can be released from the rear to expose 62.7 cu. ft. of cargo room, WiFi hotspot, and power tailgate. The test model, X3 also included multiple packages—Convenience ($2,850), Driving Assistance ($900), Dynamic Handling ($1,400), Parking Assistance ($1,300), and Premium ($3,300)—that added features like a panoramic sunroof, variable sport steering, and oddly, a rearview camera—it’s standard on most vehicles these days.
Pricing for the 2018 BMW X3 starts at $42,450. The as-tested pricing came to $57,470.

Volvo XC60 T6 Inscription

Safety is paramount to Volvo so it’s no wonder that the redesigned 2018 version of the XC60 adds Oncoming Lane Mitigation to its list of standard collision avoidance safety features, plus advancements to two available features—the Blind Spot Information System with steering assistance, part of the Vision Package ($1,100), and Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous feature from Volvo, included on the test model with the Convenience Package ($2,000). It helped with steering, braking, and acceleration on roads at speeds up to 80 mph, like adaptive cruise control but without needing a car in front of it to follow.
Two remarkable four-cylinder engines power the new XC60, a turbo 2.0-liter with 250 horsepower and 258 ft.–lb. of torque on the T5 base and a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter with 315 horsepower and 295 lb.–ft. of torque on the T6 Inscription test model. It had an EPA estimated fuel economy of 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. It averaged 22.1 mpg during the test drive.
Blessed with Scandinavian design, inside and out, the T6 test model standard creature comforts included leather seats, a beautiful dash intricately trimmed with driftwood-inspired wood accents, a nine-inch Sensus Connect touch screen that provided a clear vantage when utilizing the standard backup camera, a panoramic sunroof, multi-zone climate control, and 4G LTE connectivity with in-car Wi-Fi hotspot. It offered seating for five and 63.3 cu. ft. of cargo with the rear seats folded, a loss of about four inches from the previous XC60.
The Luxury Package ($3,000) added heated and ventilated Nappa leather seats and the Advanced Package ($1,900) added a 360-degree backup camera, among other features.
Representing 30 percent of Volvo’s global sales, the 2018 XC60 has a starting price of $42,495. The as-tested pricing was $63,290.

Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium

Built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the seven-passenger Atlas is a new entry into the midsize SUV market for Volkswagen. It offers utility with three rows of seats, including second and third rows that can fold flat to provide a maximum cargo volume of 96.8 cu. ft. behind the front-row seats. The seats on the test model, however, were heavy and slammed down when deployed.
The digital 12.3-inch TFT display in the instrument panel can also be customized, a feature usually reserved for premium vehicles.
While a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 235 horsepower and 258 lb.–ft. of torque is available, the test model, Atlas SEL Premium, is only powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that delivers 276 horses and 266 lb.–ft. of torque and is matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The maximum towing for the V6 is 5,000 lbs. with a factory-installed hitch.
The standard Start/Stop technology that cuts the engine off at a stop also helps conserve gas and while noticeable, it was less jarring than other systems. That said, the test model had an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy rating of 17/23 mpg. The test model, equipped with 4Motion all-wheel drive, averaged 17.2 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Four Motion also included Active Control with Eco, Individual, Normal, and Sport driving modes but power was noticeably lost in the Eco mode.
The test model also had three-zone climate control, leather seating with heated and ventilated seats in the front, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, a front and rear parking monitor, blind spot monitor, Fender audio, and eight-inch touch screen with navigation, and a CD player.
Pricing for the 2018 Atlas starts at $31,745. The as-tested pricing came to $49,415.

Ranger Rover Sport HSE

Some SUVs stand out for plushness, others for their off-road capability, and some, like the Ranger Rover Sport, for both. The test model, Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 doubled down on these attributes.
Piling tons of off-road capability onto a fancy SUV may seem at cross-purposes but the Land Rover’s brand legacy demands it. While most owners will keep their nearly six-figure SUV on the road, if they want to climb rocks, they can in the Range Rover Sport. Rather than drive modes, the Sport included off-road modes via the Terrain Response System—General, Snow, Mud and Sand.
The test model, however, stayed on the road, powered by the available 3.0-liter V6 diesel that produced 254 horsepower and 443 lb.–ft. of torque. Matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission, it had an EPA city/highway estimated fuel economy of 22/28 mpg. It surpassed expectations during the test drive, achieving an average of 32.7 mpg.
Additional features affecting performance included Intelligent Stop/Start and full-time four-wheel drive (4WD). While the Sport version is supposed to be the more nimble Range Rover, it still felt heavy and at times, difficult to maneuver.
Of the multiple interior tech features, the stand out was the 10.2-inch InControl Touch Pro infotainment four-panel display for selecting navigation, entertainment, climate control, and Bluetooth functions. Other posh features on the test model included a panoramic sunroof, Oxford perforated leather seats (heated and ventilated in the front), a TFT virtual instrument panel, Head-up Display, and a heated steering wheel. For 2018, the Range Rover Sport gets a refreshed exterior and new version of the InControl Touch Pro.
The test model was also equipped with advanced safety features like a blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, and parking assistance. Pricing for the 2018 Range Rover Sport starts at $67,745. The as-tested price came to $73,645.*


Infiniti QX80 4WD

It takes special needs to step up to the big boys in the SUV segment, e.g. lots of capacity and versatility. Luxury and comfort also enhance a vessel like the 2018 Infiniti QX80 full-size premium SUV, or as Infiniti’s press release says: “It will appeal to a buyer that wants for nothing.”
A 5.6-liter V8 engine with 400 horses and 413 lb.–ft. of torque matched to a seven-speed automatic transmission propelled the massive seven-seater (or eight-seater with the second-row bench instead of captain’s chairs) along the highway. The test model, equipped with computer-controlled 4WD and Drive Mode Selector (Snow and Tow), had an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 13/19 mpg and a maximum towing capacity of 8,500 lbs. It averaged 15.3 mpg on the test drive.
Interior features on the test model testified to its unique craftsmanship, like real wood accents, illuminated doorsills, Infiniti’s InTouch eight-inch touch screen, and the Bose premium audio system with SiriusXM Satellite radio and two USB ports. While all QX80s come with leather seating, the test model stepped it up a notch with the semi-aniline leather (made from the most desirable portion of the animal’s hide) with contrasting stitching and piping, part of the Deluxe Technology Package ($5,700).
Additional features on the test model included the Theater Package ($2,450) with eight-inch monitors in the front headrests and heated second-row seats, and the Driver Assistance Package ($2,900) that included advanced safety technology like the blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, and back-up collision warning, among other features.
Pricing for the 2018 QX80 starts at $66,045. The as-tested pricing came to $84,660.

Toyota Land Cruiser

In 1957 the Toyota Land Cruiser was among the first Toyota vehicles sold in the U.S. Toyota’s oldest SUV currently on the market has evolved into a premium full-size SUV with refined good looks and advanced off-road capability.
The number eight figures prominently in the 2018 Land Cruiser, with seating for eight and a powertrain that includes a 5.7-liter V8 matched to an eight-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The V8 produces 381 horsepower and 401 lb.–ft. of torque and has a maximum towing capacity of 8,100 pounds.
It has an EPA city/highway estimated fuel economy of 13/18 mpg. It averaged 15.2 mpg on the test drive.
Safety advancements on this family vehicle include the standard Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) system, with a pre-collision warning system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, and automatic high beams among other features. Stepping up to the 4WD version, like the as-tested model, brought technology like a blind spot monitor, a front and rear parking sensor, and rear cross traffic alert.
While the seats are split 60/40 in the second-row and 50/50 in the third-row, they were heavy and a little awkward to deploy. Once folded flat, however, the cargo room expanded to 81.7 cu. ft.
Entertainment and convenience features on the test model included four-zone climate control, JBL audio with navigation and a CD player, a nine-inch touchscreen, and a cooler box in the center console.
Toyota has reserved its premium products for Lexus, but the Land Cruiser is an exception. Pricing for the 2018 Land Cruiser starts at $84,960. The as-tested price, with the rear entertainment system ($2,220) came to $87,180.

*Driving impressions based on a 2017 model.

SUV Review: Chevy Equinox vs. Nissan Rogue

 Chevrolet, Nissan, Reviews  Comments Off on SUV Review: Chevy Equinox vs. Nissan Rogue
Nov 242017
 

At Latino Traffic Report (LTR), the chance for a back-to-back comparison of automotive competitors is rare, but sometimes, lightning strikes. Such was the case with the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2017 Nissan Rogue. Sharing a similar shade of exterior paint (Cajun Red and Palatial Ruby, respectively), they looked like brothers from another mother, but they were not. They were rivals that distinguished themselves in several ways.

Testaments to the increasing popularity of the small SUV segment, both models are top sellers for their brands. Equinox sales have reached nearly two million units since its launch and it is Chevrolet’s second-best selling vehicle overall, after the Silverado. Similarly, new sales records designate the Rogue as Nissan’s top-selling vehicle in the United States.

The two were nimble for city driving but the redesigned Equinox, also lighter by 400 pounds, felt much smaller compared to the outgoing model. It arrived in the mid-range LT trim as opposed to the Rogue, which came in the top-of-the-line SL AWD trim.

Under the hood, the Equinox offers three engine choices, all turbos—a 1.5-liter, 2.0-liter, and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel (a segment exclusive). I drove the 2.0-liter with 252 horsepower and 260 lb.–ft. of torque.

Rogue SL seats

The Rogue can be equipped with a choice of two four-cylinder engines, a 2.0-liter on the hybrid or a 2.5-liter matched to the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission with Sport and Eco mode switches. I drove the latter that produced 170 horses and 175 lb.–ft. of torque, giving the Equinox the power advantage. The Rogue, however, should have been more fuel efficient, with an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy rating of 25/32 mpg compared to the Equinox’s 22/29 mpg rating. But I averaged 25.4 mpg with the Rogue and 26.7 mpg with the Equinox.

Equinox LT seats.

An SUV earns its stripes with utility, beginning with seating and cargo capacity. Both offer seating for five but the Rogue can also seat seven on lower trim levels with an optional third row. On the test model, the heated, two-tone leather seats elevated the Rogue’s interior, while the Equinox had quilted cloth seats. Both have 60/40 split second-row seats that fold flat. Inside, the Equinox there’s up to 63.5 cubic feet of maximum cargo space with the second row folded but the advantage goes to the Rogue with 70 cu. ft. of cargo room.

These family vehicles are not without safety innovations. Both SUVs equip all trim levels with rearview cameras but the Rogue tops that with its optional and innovative around view monitor on the SL trim. For the 2018 model year, a blind spot monitor will be standard on the Rogue but not on current models.

Rogue dash.

Chevy, however, offers its own signature safety technology, starting with Teen Driver (standard) that allows parents to set controls in order to encourage safe driving habits, even when they are not in the vehicle. The optional and improved Safety Alert seat on the test Equinox buzzed the left or right upper thigh as a warning and the available Rear Seat Reminder, also on the test model, pinged when the ignition was turned off to remind me to check the back seat before locking the SUV.

Equinox dash.

The standard MyLink infotainment system on the Equinox that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, can be matched to a standard seven- or an available eight-inch-diagonal color touchscreen, included on the test model via the Sun and Infotainment Package ($1,995). Other convenience features included cruise control, air conditioning, and keyless start. The Confidence and Convenience Package ($1,945) added a power liftgate, heated front seats, and side blind zone alert.

Nissan Connect with Navigation was included on the Rogue SL along with a seven-inch display, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, and a motion activated tailgate. The SL Premium Package ($2,020) added a panoramic sunroof, and the Platinum Package ($770) added intelligent cruise control, among other features.

Available in four trim levels, and FWD or all wheel drive (AWD) combinations, pricing for the next-generation 2018 Equinox starts at $24,525. The as-tested price came to $34,375. The Rogue comes with three trims as well as a hybrid and the all-new Rogue Sport and a choice of FWD or AWD. Pricing starts at $24,795. The as-tested pricing came to $31,365.

Sí The Equinox included innovative safety technology like Teen Safety, OnStar, and Rear Seat Reminder.

The Rogue offered better value, with seating versatility, five or seven, as well as convenience technology like a power liftgate, plus a blind spot monitor that will soon be standard.

No: Important safety technology, like a blind spot monitor, was unavailable on the base trim levels of the Equinox.

The Rogue was less fuel-efficient than expected.

 

 

SUV Launch: 2018 Chevy Equinox

 Launches  Comments Off on SUV Launch: 2018 Chevy Equinox
Aug 072017
 

Believe it or not, the battle of the bulge (the war with the scale not the German counteroffensive in 1944) affects cars too. Dropping pounds can produce certain challenges for vehicles but in the search for better fuel economy, it’s worth it. Chevrolet took 400 pounds off of the all-new 2018 Equinox and Latino Traffic Report recently attended the launch in Asheville, North Carolina to test drive the redesigned compact sport utility vehicle (SUV). Turns out it has more to brag about than just being lean.

“In a word, crossover customers want one thing, everything. From comfort and connectivity to efficient performance and safety, the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox delivers on all counts,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers.

Turbos have been at the heart of Chevy’s approach to fuel economy and it really ramps up with the Equinox, which offers a choice of three—a 1.5-liter, 2.0-liter, and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel (a segment first). This makes the Equinox the first Chevrolet model in North America to use an all-turbocharged, multi-engine powertrain lineup. The 1.5-liter and diesel are matched to a six-speed automatic and the 2.0-liter is matched to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

GM estimates that the highway fuel economy on front wheel drive (FWD) models equipped with the 1.5-liter will reach 32 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway, 29 mpg with the 2.0-liter, and 40 mpg with the diesel.

For many manufacturers, the compact SUV market is the new sweet spot and Chevrolet is no exception. Equinox sales have reached nearly two million units since its launch and it’s Chevrolet’s top selling SUV and second-best selling vehicle overall, after the Silverado.

An elegant interior complements the new exterior design, particularly on the top trim levels that offer striking color combinations for the leather seating and accents.

Inside, there’s also 3.5 cubic feet of interior volume for a total of up to 63.5 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, this despite a reduction in overall length of 4.7 inches, making it easier to park and maneuver.

This family vehicle is not without safety innovations. A rearview camera is standard on all trims, as well as Teen Driver that allows parents to set controls and review in order to encourage driving habits, even when they are not in the vehicle. The optional and improved Safety Alert seat buzzes the driver’s left or right upper thigh as a warning and the available Rear Seat Reminder pings when the ignition is turned off to remind drivers to check the back seat for children. These and other safety features like a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert are available although only on higher-end trim levels.

The MyLink infotainment system designed to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, can be matched to a standard seven- or an available eight-inch-diagonal color touchscreen. Other convenience features include cruise control, air conditioning, and keyless start.

Available in L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels, and FWD or all wheel drive combinations, pricing for the next-generation 2018 Equinox will start at $24,525.

 

Super Sedans Improve Regular Commutes

 Features  Comments Off on Super Sedans Improve Regular Commutes
Mar 142017
 

Chevy Cruze

Available at all ends of the price spectrum, the ubiquitous sedan comes in an assortment of incarnations, from a comfortable, affordable commuter to a sumptuous performance machine. Here’s an overview of the sedans tested by Latino Traffic Report (LTR) and what makes them stand out in a crowded field.

Chevy Cruze

Redesigned in 2016, the Chevy Cruze compact sedan continues to compete in one of the toughest automotive segments by ramping up both its style and amenities.

For starters, the new version is larger and lighter, increasing its EPA estimated fuel economy to 30 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

The new 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder turbo engine with 153 horses is matched to a six-speed manual or available six-speed automatic transmission (North America). I drove the automatic and earned an average 35 mpg. A diesel engine becomes available in the spring of 2017.

As mentioned, it comes with a healthy list of standard features including keyless entry, XM Satellite radio (three months), OnStar (six months), OnStar Basic Plan (five years), and a rearview camera. New available features include wireless phone charging, heated rear seats and heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Happily, I drove the Premier or top-of-the-line model that included the available OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot and keyless start plus all the above via the Enhanced Convenience Package ($865), as well as the Driver Convenience Package ($790) that added essentials like rear park assist, forward collision, rear cross traffic, and lane change alert with a blind zone warning. Oddly, neither a sunroof nor leather seats are available.

Still, the fit and finish inside this model was quite impressive, definitely a step up from the outgoing model.

The as-tested pricing for the Cruze Premier came to $26,045.

 

Toyota Camry

The Camry is a top seller among Latinos as well as the nation. It’s been a leader in the midsize segment for the last 14 years. So if it ain’t broke, perhaps the task for Toyota is just to make more versions? The LTR test drive featured the Camry SE Special Edition. While many manufacturers have joined the darkened trend for special editions, Toyota chose to go blue.

Powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder matched to six-speed automatic transmission, it should achieve an impressive EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 25/35 mpg. I averaged 26.3 mpg. A 3.5-liter V6 is available on other Camrys.

Toyota applied the Special Edition to the SE trim as it’s already distinguished by a sporty design, from the grille to the suspension. On the inside, the sport fabric Softex seats featured blue accent stitching and blue seat inserts. Blue accents were also included in the gauge cluster, as well as a power moonroof.

Specific technology on this trim included a Smart Key System and Qi wireless charging for compatible smart phones, enabling navigation from a smart phone.

Exclusive design features include a smoked treatment on the taillights and 18-inch alloy wheels in a machined finish and gloss black-painted accents. For a mere $525, the Camry also included a ramped up Entune premium audio with navigation, a seven-inch high-resolution touch screen with split-screen display, and a CD player.

While a redesigned 2018 version of the Camry is currently touring auto shows, there’s still time to grab the current generation.

The as-tested Camry Special Edition pricing came to $27,075.

 

 

Kia Optima

Kia ramped up the 2016 version of the Optima with a redesign, giving its top-selling nameplate a more refined exterior look, new technology, and creature comforts offered at the same starting price as the outgoing model. The 2017 model receives a few tweaks and upgraded trims.

Optima rear view camera with multiple angles.

There are three available four-cylinder engines to power the Optima, distributed among five trim levels. The test model, Optima SX Turbo, came equipped with 2.0-liter turbo-powered four-cylinder engine matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. A seven-speed dual clutch transmission is also available.

All three engines include the Active Eco System and Driver Mode Select with an Eco option to conserve gas. The EPA estimated fuel economy for the test model is 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. I averaged 31 mpg.

As a midsize sedan, Kia competes in a tough segment. It has an edge, however, with an exceptional bumper-to-bumper warranty (five years or 60,000 miles) and with a healthy list of standard features. Situated near the top of the line, second to the Optima SXL, the test model included extra technology and creature comforts. Standard features on the test model included dual-zone air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM/MP3 audio unit with satellite radio, an eight-inch LCD rear-camera display, and Bluetooth.

Additionally, the test model added the SXT Premium Technology Package ($4,800) brought a slew of features like a panoramic sunroof, Harman Kardon Surround Sound system, heated and cooled front seats, Blind spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The as-tested price for the Optima, built in West Point, GA, was $35,315.

Acura ILX

Considered a gateway to the Acura brand, the ILX is the most affordable Acura model available. The test model, ILX Tech Plus A-SPEC, however, included multiple packages that ramped up its appeal and price.

The sporty ILX gets its oomph from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower and 180 lb.–ft. of torque. Matched to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, the powertrain should achieve an EPA city/highway estimated fuel economy of 25/36 mpg. I averaged 29.9 mpg.

Expect to feel the road with the ILX which lacks adjustable drive mode select technology to adjust ride and handling.

With refreshed looks on the outside for 2016, including restyled front and rear fasciae, front grille, and rear LED combination lights, the A-SPEC package also added sporty side sill garnishes, a trunk spoiler, front fog lights, new 18-inch, ten-spoke machined alloy wheels, sport pedals, and sport seats with suede inserts.

As the name implied, the ILX Tech Plus A-SPEC was packed with packages that brought a long list of features starting with the Premium Package that included XM Satellite radio, a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic monitor among other features. The Tech Package added navigation, multi-view rear camera, and the Acura ELS AM/FM/CD sound system. Finally, the Acura Watch Plus Package completed the picture with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and braking among other features.

As tested pricing for the top-of-the-line ILX Tech Plus A-SPEC came to $35,810.

 

Volkswagen Passat

Passat 1.8T SE

With a base price of $23,260, the Passat is more affordable than expected for a European mid-size sedan, one that happens to be built at VW’s Chattanooga, TN plant. LTR tested two Passat trim levels, the sporty 1.8T SE with Technology and the SEL Premium.

Updated inside and out for 2016, the Passat remains understated but sophisticated in appearance.

Powered by the four-cylinder 1.8-liter turbocharged engine matched to a six-speed automatic transmission should help the Passat SE achieve an impressive EPA city/highway estimated fuel economy of 25/38 mpg. I averaged 27.4 mpg.

Passat SEL Premium

The more affordable trim level of the two I drove included important technology like the intelligent crash response system, but also comfort features like heated front seats and MIB II, the new generation of Volkswagen’s infotainment system, adaptive cruise control and a rearview camera for added convenience.

As the name implies the SEL Premium is the higher-end version of the Passat and replete with more bells and whistles that do come at a high price, nearly $10,000 more.

Powered by a 3.6-liter V6 and a six-speed transmission, it has an EPA city/highway estimated fuel economy of 20/28 mpg. I averaged 24.3 mpg.

It had heated front and rear leather seats, a Fender premium audio system, a power sunroof, parking sensor, and a blind spot monitor.

Both models had a massive truck with 15.9 cubic feet of storage and 60/40-split rear seat that easily deploys to expand cargo room inside.

As-tested pricing for the SE and SEL came to $28,195 and $37,655 respectively.

 

Audi A3

Audi A3 Sedan

Believe it or not, there’s actually an entry-level Audi and it’s called the A3. On this test for LTR, there were two models for review, the Sedan and the Cabriolet (convertible).

The Sedan offers three engine options and the Cabriolet two. Both test models shared the same one, a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produced 220 horsepower and 258 lb.–ft. of torque matched to a six-speed S tronic transmission. Both also came with quattro all-wheel drive, but the sedan should manage to achieve one more mile per gallon in the city and highway, with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 24/33 mpg. I averaged 23.7 mpg with the Sedan and 21.4 mpg with the Cabriolet.

What the Cabriolet did excel at was fun, starting with the canvas top that deployed with the push of a button at speeds of up to 31 mph and, ideally, in 18 seconds—it took 24 seconds when I tried.

Audi A3 Cabriolet

Standard safety technology on all A3s includes, a rear view camera, and parking system. To get advanced systems like Audi Side Assist (blind spot warning) requires purchasing the Technology Package ($2,700), which also adds a CD/DVD player, Audi MMI touch, and navigation, among other features.

The A3 may be considered “entry level” but it’s still an Audi, and as such, standard creature comforts include dual-zone climate control, leather seating, and SiriusXM Satellite radio. The sedan also came with a panoramic sunroof.

Both added extra packages to get features like heated front seats, Audi advanced Key, and Audi music interface with iPod cable.

As tested pricing for the Sedan came to $41,325 and $46,500 for the Cabriolet.

 

Lexus GS F

Lexus’s new design DNA, including the signature spindle grille, signaled a new focus on sportiness. The manufacturer even created a special performance lineup under the F brand. New for 2016, the GS F performance sedan leaves little doubt that it’s a Lexus, particularly with its premium appointments on the inside, but its sportiness is certainly sets it apart.

Exterior design features get bolder on F models, including the fascia with race-inspired functional air inlets, triple-beam headlamps, low-slung wide stance, large brake calipers, carbon-fiber rear spoiler, and quad exhaust rear diffuser.

To show it means business, Lexus powers the GS F with a 5.0-liter V8 with 467 horses and 389 lb.–ft. of torque. It’s matched to an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift Automatic Transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

Fuel economy will not be its strongest feature but it is respectable. The EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy is 16/24 mpg. I averaged 17.7 mpg.

For better performance and handling, the GS F sits on a double-wishbone in the front and rear multi-link suspension. Lexus adds Brembo disc brakes and Active Sound Control, to increase throatiness and rumble to the engine and exhaust notes. Drive Mode Select control further enhances performance by giving the driver the following options—NORMAL, ECO, SPORT S, SPORT S+—while Torque Vectoring Differential helps the GS F hug the road.

All new for 2016, improvements in 2017, like a new Linear Adaptive Variable Suspension, accentuate the positive, with more power and better responsiveness.

All this performance and power doesn’t come cheap. The as-tested pricing for the GS F was $87,175.

 

NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity Scholarship Winners Announced

 Noticias  Comments Off on NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity Scholarship Winners Announced
Dec 282016
 

Chevy press conference during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. L to R: NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy; Florida A&M University Senior Michael Sanchez; Brigham Young University Senior Joy Kaseke; University of Houston Junior Nicole Dequina; James Madison University Sophomore Rachel Frost; and Chevrolet Program Manager Alba Colon. (HHP/Gregg Ellman)

Latino Traffic Report has learned that the second annual NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity Scholarship Contest winners were recently announced at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Four undergraduate students from across the country were awarded a total of $20,000 in scholarships and treated to a VIP experience at today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the AAA Texas 500.

The contest challenged students to identify a technology or innovation within NASCAR, then explain how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals came to its design in 90-second videos. Video submissions were judged on technical accuracy, creativity and production quality.

Florida A&M University Senior Michael Sanchez autographed the start/finish line on Pit Road at Texas Motor Speedway.

Through this initiative, NASCAR and Chevrolet continue their longstanding commitment to STEM education and promoting opportunities for college students pursuing technology related careers. “This was a pretty eye-opening experience that gave me a different perspective of everything involved in racing … it’s pretty amazing,” said Florida A&M senior and scholarship recipient Michael Sanchez.

“There’s never been a more exciting time to be in the STEM field,” said Ken Barrett, chief diversity officer for General Motors. “At GM, we know diversity is our strength, and having diverse talent in the STEM pipeline keeps both the automotive and racing industries on the cutting edge of innovation.”

Before taking in the AAA Texas 500, the students had the chance to meet with Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott and Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman, who graduated from Purdue University with an engineering degree. The VIP experience also included: pace car rides, garage and pit road tour, and a meet-and-greet with Chevrolet’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Program Manager Alba Colon.

“Together with Chevrolet, we’re proud to support great talent and recognize these students with a unique, behind-the-scenes NASCAR experience,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “We received several impressive submissions and we’re thrilled to see so many students interested in the science and technology behind the sport.”

For more information on the NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity Scholarship Contest, please visit http://chevyscholarship.nascardiversity.com/.

Auto Reviews: 2016 Chevy Trax LTZ

 Chevrolet, Reviews  Comments Off on Auto Reviews: 2016 Chevy Trax LTZ
Jul 142016
 

2016-07-05 20.17.53 HDR

To successfully compete in a popular automotive segment, manufacturers sometimes resort to adding  bling. For 2016, Chevrolet does just that with the the Trax, its small sport utility vehicle (SUV), and the new Midnight Edition package. On a recent weeklong test drive for Latino Traffic Report, the 2016 Trax LTZ displayed continued fuel efficiency and some nice 18-inch black rims. Black Granite Metallic exterior paint complemented those rims, in fact the only changes for 2016 include more exterior colors.2016-07-05 20.16.37-1

Introduced last year, the Trax entered the growing small SUV segment and brought a fuel efficient and versatile option to the Chevy lineup. Powered by an Ecotec 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Trax should achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy of 26 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. I averaged 28.5 mpg. The engine’s 138 horses and 148 lb.–ft. of torque proved sufficient but its wheeziness could be overheard above the stereo.

The test model with front-wheel drive is situated one level below the top-of-the-line LTZ with all-wheel drive (AWD). For an extra $1,500, all Trax models can be equipped with AWD.

2016-07-05 20.14.57Inside, the Midnight Edition adds extra design touches like two-tone (gray/black) leatherette seats, carpeted floor mats, and skid and sill plates. A segment leader when it comes to interior stowage, the Trax has 15 interior compartments including a hidden drawer under the passenger front seat and upper and lower glove boxes. For added convenience, the upper glove box has a USB port for concealing a phone or MP3 player while charging.

For a maximum cargo space of 48.4 cubic feet, the 60/40-split rear row of seats deploys easily to fold flat, with a nylon loop to lift the seat up and a red button located near the headrest to flatten the seat back.

Chevrolet’s MyLink Infotainment with a seven-inch-diagonal color touch screen is one of the easiest for programming radio and XM stations, offering a total of 35 channels. Included as standard features OnStar (six-month subscription) and the 4G LTE built-in Wi-Fi hotspot really set the Trax apart from the competition. The Wi-Fi comes with a three-month/three gigabyte data trial (whichever comes first). The LTZ added the Bose premium seven-speaker system with an amplifianer and subwoofer.2016-07-05 20.15.52

Standard safety features include ten air bags, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, remote keyless entry, and a rear vision camera. The LTZ added cruise control, a remote vehicle starter, and rear park assist. More sophisticated safety systems, like a blind spot warning, are not available on the Trax.

Air conditioning, power locks and windows, and programmable door locks are standard. Additional standard features on the LTZ included a six-way power adjust on the driver’s seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

2016-07-05 trax.licPricing for the 2016 Trax starts at $21,195. The as-tested price with the Midnight Edition package ($500) came to $27,525.

Sí: The Midnight Edition ramps up the Trax’s exterior appeal and standard features like OnStar and 4G LTE Wi-Fi really set it apart.

No: The engine is a bit wheezy and safety features like a blind spot monitor are not available.

 

Review: 2015 Chevy Trax LT

 Chevrolet, Reviews  Comments Off on Review: 2015 Chevy Trax LT
Nov 212015
 

2015-06-03 0Chevytrax

For 2015, Chevrolet opted to add yet another model to its lineup of small sport utility vehicles (SUVs), the 2015 Trax, its seventh small vehicle launch in four years. On a recent week-long test drive for Latino Traffic Report, the Trax put the “f” in functional and fuel-efficient.

Entering one of the fastest growing automobile segments, the Trax joins the Equinox, its slightly larger sibling that shares a platform with the Chevy Cruze. The Trax is built on the smaller Sonic platform, improving fuel efficiency and urban driving compatibility.

2015-06-03 trax.seatsWith seating for five, it has a 60/40 split rear row of seats that fold flat to create up to 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space. It’s a segment leader when it comes to interior functionality with 15 interior storage compartments including upper and lower storage in each door, and upper and lower glove boxes.

Powered by an Ecotec 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Trax should achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy of 26 miles per gallon (mpg) city and 34 mpg highway. I averaged 30.3 mpg. Unlike its competitors, the Trax doesn’t offer a manual transmission.2015-06-03 trax.dash

Available in three trim levels, the test model was the Trax LT, one step up from the base LS and below the LTZ. While I drove a front-wheel-drive version, all-wheel drive is available on all models for an extra $1,500.

Additional functionality comes with standard remote keyless entry, programmable door locks, and a cargo storage tray.

Chevrolet MyLink Infotainment with a seven-inch-diagonal color touch screen is standard but the real standout is that OnStar, with 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, is too, offering even greater appeal to the always intriguing millennial population. On whenever the vehicle is on, the Wi-Fi comes with a three-month/three gigabyte data trial (whichever comes first). The Trax is also the first in its class to offer Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6, iOS 7 and iOS 8 users.

2015-06-03 trax.screenBecause of its appeal to a population whose parents will probably purchase the Trax for them, it will be a comfort to know that it comes with ten standard air bags, StabiliTrak stability control, and a rear view camera. The test model also included the LT Plus Package ($670) that added a parking sensor, among other features.

Additional convenience features on the Trax include front-passenger fold-flat seats, a USB port for MP3s and iPods, air conditioning, power locks and windows, and an AM/FM stereo (the test model added XM Satellite Radio).

2015-06-03 trax.licPricing for the 2015 Trax starts at $21,195, a little above its competitors. The as-tested price came to $23,815.

Sí: The Trax offers nice functionality, advanced technology unique to its segment, and the security of OnStar.

No: I wish it came with a manual transmission option to improve fuel efficiency even more.