Author Topic: Random car impressions  (Read 753 times)

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Offline X Move (Tricky)

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Random car impressions
« on: Aug 30, 2014, 07:05 PM »
3 weeks ago I started a part time job transporting cars. Out of boredom I'll share some of my experiences with you. Occassionally I'll update with new platforms I drive. I'll try not to be biased here.
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2011 Acura TSX (FF) - The one I tested had a 5 spd automatic w/F1-style floppy paddle shifters. They weren't just for show either~ shifting was very responsive. Paired up with it's smooth acceleration this would make a great track car. I can see why the Acura Racing School uses this type platform. The 4 cyl engine had plenty of grunt, reminiscent of a 6 cyl output. Checked out the engine bay and it even comes with factory STB (hell yes!). Suspension had more damper than most of the cars I've ran. Firm, but suprisingly comfortable. There is a really rough section of road outside the lot you have to drive through and this car literally ate it. Cornered really well from what I noticed.

current Buick Regal - The car comes in (real) manual and automatic versions. Suspension is balanced for slight more comfort than sport with good reason, although the damper rates were pretty ok. I feel like the car is more aimed at those who want to retire, but still wanna pose a threat to young hotheads everywhere.

current Buick Verano (FF) - This felt like a mid-range VIP car. This is what the GM base level standard should be. Acceptable handling and acceleration. The car was a delight to drive. Can't recall the handling atm because it was a short run. I'll update later if i get into another one.

current Cadillac ATS (AWD) - Big boy luxury car. Has gobs of power and response for a daily driver. Merging and lane changes are not an issue here. Ride comfort is great (get what you pay for). Honestly this was the first time driving a Caddie, but as big as this car is it handles like a mid-size sports coupe--the curb weight is actually close to a Lancer Evo X. 6 speed auto with tapshifting. gear changes were good. this would make a fun car to drive on a road course.

2012 Chevy Malibu (FF) - Sloppy Epsilon platform didn't excite me, but the car handled fairly well. No suprises here. Acceleration was smooth, but bring the rpms up is a little disappointing. GM's idea of TAPshift for this car equates to a plus/minus button on the shifter. Handling was acceptable, but the car feels bulky--honestly it felt like moving a box truck. Once on the highway, merging in and out feels more natural. Steering is responsive, but starts to feel disconnected from the road in some cases. 2.4L Ecotec 4 cyl if i'm not mistaken--good engine, but no where near import territory.

2011 Chrysler 200 (FF) - From the moment I sat in the car to the moment I had to get out, the car was a satisying experience. Steering feels much like an older car which makes you feel connected to the road. A lot of newer cars make you feel alienated from the road because the suspensions are too soft and there is little feedback in the wheel. Throttle response felt great--didn't notice much if any lag. MPG was pretty good--even drove for an hour with the needle on Empty. Kudos! Visibility 8/10--perhaps it takes getting use to the C pillar view. Interior quality and layout is good. I've transported about 3 or 4 so far--This is a very driver friendly car.

2013 Chrysler Town & Country (FF) - Moved really well for a big bulky luxury van. Lots o' cabin space and leg room. Suspension felt like it may have incorporated airbags (haven't looked into this). It was very smooth and comfortable. Steering and turn-in was very good. Wasn't able to really test the range of acceleration, but on back roads I never really felt a lack.

current Ford Fiesta (FF) - Not a fun ride. The gearbox is wonky. Felt like I shifted through all the gears before hitting 40 mph reminiscent of the old adage "going fast nowhere". Not to mention there is this pause/hesitation tune from the factory--it's like you're in zero-G before the next gear change~ it's awkward! Suspension wasn't anything special. A little rough in my opinion. Steering was nice and responsive.

2011 Ford Focus (non-sport model) (FF) - Compared to the Fiesta I drove, this felt so much better! Steering still felt electronic, but the ride comfort was worlds better. Acceleration much smoother, of course lacks grunt when merging. Not a bad Eco car.

recent Honda CR-V (FF & AWD) - Vtec (Variable Valve Timing Electronic Control) equipped 4 cyl engine. No low end grunt, as with any vtec engine upper range is where the engine comes alive. It's way too easy to catch yourself speeding with the CR-V which may explain why I meet so many angry crv drivers. I didn't like the suspension setup. If it was lowered slightly there could be slight improvement. I felt there wasn't enough dampening available. Steering was fairly responsive. Interior layout was ok, but not eye catching. The AWD version feels much more planted than the FF version. The AWD version of course also feels heavier as I screeched the tires taking a corner. In short, engine/trans-ok, suspension-needs improvement.

recent Infiniti G37 S sedan (FR) - Awesome paddle shifters, lots of grunt, great suspension and handling. Felt like stepping into a Transformer because the seat automatically adjusts to you (How does it know?! XD jk). Performance is comparable to the Acura TSX, but with the VQ engine has a lot more power. This too would make an excellent track car plus comes with a limited slip diff. C-pillar and rearward visibilty kind of sucked, but who needs to go backward? lol

2013 Toyota Rav4 (AWD) - I'm seriously suprised how many heads I turned with this car in town. When I first walked up to it I thought "...the hell? This is a Rav4???". Interior is defintely nice and comfortable. Looked like decent faux carbon fiber on the door panels. The headrests actually support the head well--in many cars the headrests sit back. Handled great for it's size. Ride was very smooth, but not completely alienated from the road. Gearbox has a Sport and Eco mode. Automatic/manu-shift available--either 5 or 6 speed. The car is a nice improvement from the last version.
« Last Edit: Aug 30, 2014, 07:45 PM by X Move (Tricky) »
If you constantly bash FF platforms, but belong to a FF forum, you are an #$$####.
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Hayden aux cooler, Bilsteins, Yokohamas, chassis reinforcement, weight reduction, personal InTune, GP seats, Alpine/Kenwood audio. More mods in the works

Offline LS4 Racing

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Re: Random car impressions
« Reply #1 on: Sep 03, 2014, 09:49 AM »
Interesting insight!

I've driven a few of those cars, but the real standout to me is the Verano.  It's certainly not the fastest car around, nor is it the best handler, but if you look at the whole package, this is the best car GM builds relative to the segment in which it competes.  It's comfortable, has very good acceleration and is smooth, yet still has decent enough handling to be fun on the back roads.  The interior is extremely nice, befitting a much more expensive car, and it has plenty of room for a car its size.  Best of all, it's available with a turbo and 6-speed manual transmission, which is the model I drove.

In case you haven't figured it out, I'm a huge fan of this car, and if we weren't buying a Chevrolet SS next year to replace the Impala, this would be on the shopping list.
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Re: Random car impressions
« Reply #2 on: Sep 27, 2014, 10:23 PM »
Interesting insight!

I've driven a few of those cars, but the real standout to me is the Verano.  It's certainly not the fastest car around, nor is it the best handler, but if you look at the whole package, this is the best car GM builds relative to the segment in which it competes.  It's comfortable, has very good acceleration and is smooth, yet still has decent enough handling to be fun on the back roads.  The interior is extremely nice, befitting a much more expensive car, and it has plenty of room for a car its size.  Best of all, it's available with a turbo and 6-speed manual transmission, which is the model I drove.

In case you haven't figured it out, I'm a huge fan of this car, and if we weren't buying a Chevrolet SS next year to replace the Impala, this would be on the shopping list.

Thanks! The Verano is a really nice car. Good price too! Just looked at one on our lot for about $15k. I can't believe you can get that nice of a new car for closer to 10 grand and it's not a Fiat or a Smartcar.

Also something odd I've discovered--when driving the Cadillac CTS.. it felt so familiar I couldn't put my finger on it.. The ride comfort felt exactly like my Impala on GXP struts! So strange.

The Chevy SS aka "Tire Shredder" is pretty sweet. Very sleeperish yunno? You should get one in black to commemorate your old SS!
« Last Edit: Sep 27, 2014, 10:28 PM by X Move (Tricky) »
If you constantly bash FF platforms, but belong to a FF forum, you are an #$$####.
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Hayden aux cooler, Bilsteins, Yokohamas, chassis reinforcement, weight reduction, personal InTune, GP seats, Alpine/Kenwood audio. More mods in the works

Offline X Move (Tricky)

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Re: Random car impressions
« Reply #3 on: Sep 27, 2014, 11:16 PM »
2013 Ford Focus w/Sport mode (FF) -
This is a really fun car. Don't bother with Focus models without Sport mode. Suspension is set up really well, and I think it has electric steering--either way it was really responsive at any speed. This would be a fun car to track. The transmission shift points work well with the little 2 liter 4 cylinder engine. One big gripe with the car--the steering wheel and dash interface. I felt like I was stepping into the Concorde (as cool as that sounds I don't mean it in a good way). You'd have to spend a good half an hour familiarizing yourself with it. What appears to be paddle shifters are really for bluetooth and cruise control if I recall correctly. Radio interface was touchscreen supported--thank god, because aside from staying on the road in traffic there's not much time to glance at anything else.

2012 Hyundai Sonata (FF) -
very crisp turn in, smooth suspension. The dash is very tall and flat in a sense. the climate controls take getting use to. Cabin visibilty is fair. 6 speed Sport shift mode was very fun combined with the suspension. Never thought I could say this, but you could take this to track day and have a blast without spending on an actual sports car.

20XX Honda Crosstrail - Rear visibilty is much similar to the Prius (split), quarter panel visibilty is virtually zero. Sunroof is a plus. Radio interface is a joke. I'm not lying when I say it looks like a 2"x4" black and white screen running MS-DOS script. There are cheap aftermarket radios with more affection than this. Ride and handing are actually really good. Drives better than the CR-V in my opinion. The factory tint creates a nice cabin mood. Looking back in the rearview made me feel like I was in a movie. Haha

2013 Infinity G37X sedan (AWD) - really smooth handling and lots of power. Radio interface can be difficult and takes getting use to. Pretty much everything is laid out within reach though. The overall experience driving it was nothing short of delightful. Trying not to sound biased here--but if I could buy any car on the lot it would be this one.

2013 Subaru Legacy sedan (AWD) -
The car was sort of dissappointing. Although I'm sure it handles great in the snow, but on a warm sunny day it drove terrible at low speed--and this was in just in drive. Perhaps 1st gear is tall. It would just groan even in downshifting from 2nd. Once past 25-35 mph it felt better. Suspension is fair. Seating and cabin room was nice.
If you constantly bash FF platforms, but belong to a FF forum, you are an #$$####.
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2005 Chevy Impala LS4--W-Body Autox Development (PROJECT K)
Hayden aux cooler, Bilsteins, Yokohamas, chassis reinforcement, weight reduction, personal InTune, GP seats, Alpine/Kenwood audio. More mods in the works

Offline LS4 Racing

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Re: Random car impressions
« Reply #4 on: Oct 02, 2014, 01:35 PM »
Interesting insight!

I've driven a few of those cars, but the real standout to me is the Verano.  It's certainly not the fastest car around, nor is it the best handler, but if you look at the whole package, this is the best car GM builds relative to the segment in which it competes.  It's comfortable, has very good acceleration and is smooth, yet still has decent enough handling to be fun on the back roads.  The interior is extremely nice, befitting a much more expensive car, and it has plenty of room for a car its size.  Best of all, it's available with a turbo and 6-speed manual transmission, which is the model I drove.

In case you haven't figured it out, I'm a huge fan of this car, and if we weren't buying a Chevrolet SS next year to replace the Impala, this would be on the shopping list.

Thanks! The Verano is a really nice car. Good price too! Just looked at one on our lot for about $15k. I can't believe you can get that nice of a new car for closer to 10 grand and it's not a Fiat or a Smartcar.

Also something odd I've discovered--when driving the Cadillac CTS.. it felt so familiar I couldn't put my finger on it.. The ride comfort felt exactly like my Impala on GXP struts! So strange.

The Chevy SS aka "Tire Shredder" is pretty sweet. Very sleeperish yunno? You should get one in black to commemorate your old SS!

I can't wait to get behind the wheel and test out an Alpha-based car like the CTS or ATS.  The driving dynamics are supposed to be outstanding.

As for the Chevy SS, we're done with black cars.  Too hard to keep clean, and after owning this one for the past 5 1/2 years, we're ready for something a bit brighter.
Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
2006 Impala SS; 275 FWHP; DiabLew Tune|Big Ass Tranny Cooler|TEP valvebody|low-stall converter|TransGo Shift Kit|CAI|catless dp|3" catback w/Spintech mufflers|CSP Catch-Can|Morimoto HID projectors|Custom Brake Cooling Ducts|Rigid 30" LED Light bar|Optima Red Top|NGK TR6ix Plugs
2002 Camaro Z28 (M6) (Click for Info!); 486 RWHP/417 RWTQ|LQ4 block|LS3 heads/intake|Comp LSr 273 Camshaft|Hooker LT Headers|true-dual exhaust|LS7 clutch|HIDs & LEDs
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Re: Random car impressions
« Reply #5 on: Oct 31, 2014, 10:45 PM »
2014 Nissan Altima (FF) shifts like a boss in M mode. hell yeah! Power and torque feel a little weak, but the transmission feels solid. Aside from the Acura TSX, the Altima is one of the few cars from our lot you can feel good about downshifting (growl). Audio is great and seats were comfortable, but the dash felt a little akward. i think button and switch layout could have been better.

Last gen Kia Sedona (FF) - for a minivan this thing is super sensitive on the throttle. maintenance wise the vehicle is great--only brakes and a headlight bulb serviced within 70k miles. Pretty decent on gas, roomy interior. stereo is sub par and the front seats are cozy but lack traditional adjustment levers.
If you constantly bash FF platforms, but belong to a FF forum, you are an #$$####.
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Hayden aux cooler, Bilsteins, Yokohamas, chassis reinforcement, weight reduction, personal InTune, GP seats, Alpine/Kenwood audio. More mods in the works

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Re: Random car impressions
« Reply #6 on: Nov 25, 2014, 04:28 PM »
2014 Nissan Altima (FF) shifts like a boss in M mode. hell yeah! Power and torque feel a little weak, but the transmission feels solid. Aside from the Acura TSX, the Altima is one of the few cars from our lot you can feel good about downshifting (growl). Audio is great and seats were comfortable, but the dash felt a little akward. i think button and switch layout could have been better.

Funny that you like the Altima's shifting, since those are simulated shifts, as the Altima uses a CVT.
Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
2006 Impala SS; 275 FWHP; DiabLew Tune|Big Ass Tranny Cooler|TEP valvebody|low-stall converter|TransGo Shift Kit|CAI|catless dp|3" catback w/Spintech mufflers|CSP Catch-Can|Morimoto HID projectors|Custom Brake Cooling Ducts|Rigid 30" LED Light bar|Optima Red Top|NGK TR6ix Plugs
2002 Camaro Z28 (M6) (Click for Info!); 486 RWHP/417 RWTQ|LQ4 block|LS3 heads/intake|Comp LSr 273 Camshaft|Hooker LT Headers|true-dual exhaust|LS7 clutch|HIDs & LEDs
2012 Chevrolet Volt

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Re: Random car impressions
« Reply #7 on: Nov 26, 2014, 05:56 PM »
Yeah I dunno. It's wierd. I wouldn't hate CVTs so much if they all simulated shifts!
If you constantly bash FF platforms, but belong to a FF forum, you are an #$$####.
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2005 Chevy Impala LS4--W-Body Autox Development (PROJECT K)
Hayden aux cooler, Bilsteins, Yokohamas, chassis reinforcement, weight reduction, personal InTune, GP seats, Alpine/Kenwood audio. More mods in the works