What can be the perfect Mobility Car for Your Family

Ford C-MAX

 

In today’s modern world the technology has become so omnipotent that it is extremely hard to survive without a smartphone, a computer and a car. The times are such that in a family gathering or let us say even at dinner table, interactions have become few and far. Relatives and family members talk less among each other and post statuses more on Facebook. The ‘nocialite’ is growing because of the ‘socialite’. In between such scenarios there are only a few situations when the whole family comes together and has a discussion. One such topic is choosing the car you want to buy. There are varied opinions and every single member of the family has his/her own requirement to be fulfilled. So we are going to make this decision a bit easier for you!.

A specially adapted mobility car is absolutely essential for a family on the go. Normal cars just don’t cut it when you need to be able to get your disabled child in and out of a car comfortably and safely. Fortunately, car manufacturers have a great range of modified vehicles to suit your needs, many of which are available under the fantastic Motability scheme.

 

Choosing a new car can be very exciting, but choosing a new mobility car requires some careful consideration that doesn’t apply to regular vehicles.

 

These are some of the things you should consider in your new mobility car:

  • Access – This is one of the most important aspects of a new mobility vehicle. It’s no good if you can’t get your child in and out as you need to. Many providers are happy to allow demonstrations, so make sure you check that you are comfortable with how the access system works. This can vary from car to car, and also depends on whether your child will be travelling in the wheelchair or a passenger seat.

  • Safety – As a parent, your child’s safety is paramount, so it’s always a good idea to find out how the car is rated in safety tests. Generally, mobility cars are chosen for their excellent safety ratings.

  • Size – Just as with all other cars, motability cars come in a great many shapes and sizes. You should consider what you need your car to do. If you might need to get an electric scooter in the back of the car, then ensure there is enough space to stow it. Similarly, if you are likely to carry several passengers, there needs to be enough seats for everyone. Some cars are converted from a standard model, which means they lose the back seats that you might expect to be there. Other cars however, have very flexible seating systems to suit whatever configuration you might need.

  • Visibility – If your child is going to remain in their wheelchair whilst in the car, then it is of course essential that they can see out. Some cars only have a van-like compartment at the back to store the wheelchair rather than a person. This might be fine if your child is going to transfer to a passenger seat, but it’s always a good idea to check.

  • Specification – Remember that this is still a car that you may have to drive and use every day, so all of the things that you’d consider in a normal car should be looked at too. You might need air conditioning, good storage space or an automatic gearbox. Providers will be happy to let you know what the car is equipped with.

How good is Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 2015

 

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In a weekly test of the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum, we found a revelation – a speedy, silent, smooth,  very spacious, efficient, and unlike any previous Pathfinder 4X4. This doesn’t mean that dislike previous Pathfinders at all.

It was back in 1985 when Nissan Pathfinder established itself as a popular SUV. It was similar in  its good looks and toughness with Nissan’s Hardbody pickup. It had everything one would expect from a traditional off roader.

This is what SUVs used to be; go-anywhere trucks suitable for both off-road fun and load-hauling utility, with some nascent ability to serve as a family passenger vehicle in a pinch. First generation Pathfinder can carry people and cargo, but the compromises forced by its genuine toughness and off-road ability mean it’s cramped, noisy, and jouncy compared to, say, a Nissan Maxima from the same time period. An early Pathfinder relegated to in-town duties is like Davy Crockett trying to hold down an office job.

But the Pathfinder has moved on pretty well since then. In the 2013 redesign, the tough truck-like body-on-frame construction has given way to a car-like unibody construction. Rear-wheel-drive with part-time 4X4 has been replaced with front-wheel-drive and electronically selectable AWD. The off-road-friendly low range has been replaced by electronic ascent and descent modes. As a result, the new Pathfinder is less well-suited than its predecessors for actually finding paths, but much improved at hauling families comfortably along those paths once found and paved.

Let’s discuss a few points of this new Pathfinder:

Exterior
Rear 34 OpenI can’t remember noticing a new-gen Pathfinder on the road before this test, but considering the design constraints involved in accommodating three rows of passengers, the overall design is actually remarkably distinctive. It’s less chunky and cubish than SUVs like the Honda Pilot, with longer and lower proportions. It’s an inch narrower and an inch shorter in height than the Pilot, but six inches longer.

Generally speaking I think the Pathfinder is clean and handsome compared to other SUVs, with Nissan’s corporate grille giving it a pleasant face without the overaggressiveness that plagues some of today’s SUVs. My fully loaded Platinum example wore 20-inch wheels and a pretty dark metallic blue (officially named Arctic Blue Metallic) that really brought out the character lines along the hood and sides. The use of chrome in the grille and along the rocker panels makes the Pathfinder look special without going overboard.

Dashboard Interior
The Pathfinder is handsome for a big people-hauler, but the interior needs no such qualification–it’s unquestionably excellent and a really nice place to be. The dashboard is nicely styled and made from high-quality materials. The buttons and switchgear have great tactile feel, and the push-button start is a novelty that quickly feels natural. There’s a multi-function LCD screen in the instrument panel that shows trip computer data, power split between front and rear axles, and a variety of other data. There’s a bright 8-inch nav/entertainment screen in the center of the dashboard that responds to both touch and presses of the big, clearly marked buttons. As a result, the Pathfinder avoids the pitfall of excessive complexity with confusing control common to luxury cars.

Second row

The Platinum trim includes a 13-speaker Bose audio system with streaming Bluetooth audio and USB input. It also includes an AC plug as well as at least five 12-volt DC plugs scattered throughout the interior. Dash switches control the heated steering wheel and toggle towing mode (the Pathfinder has a 5,000-pound towing capacity). A rotating dial on the console selects 2WD, automatic 4WD (electronic shifting of power from front to rear based on available traction, and 4WD locked (power split 50/50 front to rear). The knob is flanked by the hill start and descent control buttons.

The Platinum’s front leather seats are supportive, comfortable, made from high-quality leather, and can be both heated and ventilated. I love that they included both a heated steering wheel, ventilated seats–you haven’t lived until you’ve cruised with toasty hands and a cool backside.

The rear rows are very nice as well; the second row has plenty of legroom for adults (if not much bolstering and sculpting), and those seats are heatable as well. Nissan chose to design the Pathfinder’s third row to accommodate two adults rather than three children, which limits total passenger capacity but results in much more comfortable seating. Both rows fold and slide easily, and the Platinum’s dual panorama sunroof provides fresh air for all three rows. Unlike many three-row vehicles, the Pathfinder has reasonable cargo space behind the third row (16 cubic feet). The cargo space gets commodious when the third row is folded (47.8 cubic feet) and voluminous when both are folded (79.8 cubic feet).

Third row

Overall, the Pathfinder’s interior is comfortable, classy, and highly useful. There’s no pretension–no brushed metal, no avant-garde details, no attempts to redefine the art of instrument panel design. Instead, it’s simple, comfortable, and well-featured. In fact, the Pathfinder Platinum is so nice that I can’t imagine why anybody would need Infiniti’s ostensibly more luxurious twin, the QX60.

Driving Impressions

The Pathfinder does drive very well, particularly if driven in a style that is in sync with its purpose. We have no idea how it does at the limits of adhesion. The reason being, it is not exactly a tossable sports car meant for canyon carving. In normal driving, though, the Pathfinder drives with the smoothness and silkiness of a luxury car. The ride is pretty smooth and well damped without being very choppy. The structure is stiff, and the steering is correctly weighted. Everything has the feel of well engineered and well executed work. In all, the Pathfinder generally drive like a million dollars.

Engine

If at all there is any criticism with the dynamics of the Pathfinder dynamics is aimed at the engine. Nissan’s 3.5 liter VQ engine is a gutsy and torquey engine for sure. That provides sports car power in most settings, but its 260-horsepower is tested by the loaded Platinum 4,600-pound curb weight. Due to the weight or the Continuously Variable Transmission, the Pathfinder feels a little more hesitant off the line than expected. It is not at all slow though, low 7-second 0-60 times were sports sedan territory not long ago. The VQ pulls strongly, so we may be tempted to blame the CVT’s bias for fuel efficiency for the flat spot off the line.

Nissan’s CVT acted like a normal automatic in most circumstances, and we have heard that Nissan has toughened the CVT up after an early reputation of being fragile.

Cameras

The other irritant is visibility. The Pathfinder is bulky, which is correct foe a three row people hauler, and visibility is poor at the corners and at the rear. As a result, parking and manoeuvring in narrow spaces is dicey, and the Pathfinder feels less wieldy in my corporate parking garage.

It is worth noting, though, that Nissan combats this lack of visibility with an impressive array of technology, including certain amber visual indicators that illuminate if a vehicle is in your blind spot and it also beeps loudly if your turn signal indicates an imminent lane change in that direction.

The best thing in this though, is Nissan’s Around View camera, a 360 degree camera system that provides a top down view of the vehicle’s surroundings.

Front Bowl Overall

This Pathfinder is softer and less rugged than others, but that does not make it just a bit different. Station wagons and minivans are fantastic at what they do, and a 260 horsepower AWD station wagon with three rows is genuine cause for excitement. If a name and look borrowed from SUVs help people accept wagon utility without the stigma, it is still okay.

At an MSRP of $44K delivered, the Platinum Pathfinder is not exactly cheap. Using Honda as an example, the Pathfinder slots between a similarly optioned Honda Pilot and Acura MDX, and almost identically priced with the Honda Odyssey minivan.

2016 Audi TT Roadster

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The TT roadster’s exterior design is indeed mind blowing and at the very same time evolutionary. It also, to mention a trivia,  shares its proportions with the two preceding generations. The sheetmetal is slightly more chiseled and angular, and with the Audi rings moved to the hood, R8-style, the grille becomes even more dominant and aggressive than before. At the rear, the third brake light spans the entire width of the vehicle, connecting the taillamps. The Audi is still compact overall. There is no hint of a behemoth body and is quite sleek for its functionality. This feature gives many  a consumer a sigh of relief and is a welcome trait in congested places like New York City and San Francisco.

 

There are some subtle modifications which should be brought to the table. Firstly, greater changes have taken place under the skin, which is stretched over the Volkswagen Group’s weight-saving MQB architecture. There is an impressive range of assistance and telematics systems, but the show-stealer is the new dashboard, which reduces clutter to a minimum (although this cannot be established and guaranteed as of yet and we suspect distraction may increase). The 12.3-inch TFT display in front of the driver renders a central screen superfluous, and with the controls on the steering wheel, even the MMI controller and touchpad on the center console are redundant. (Audi has retained the knob and pad for the benefit of the front-seat passenger.)

 

Under the hood, Audi has packed two versions of the ubiquitous EA888 2.0-liter TFSI engine. In the TT roadster, it makes 220 horsepower; the TTS roadster gets 292 horsepower, but don’t get too excited, as only the regular drop top TT is coming to the U.S. market. The 2.0-liter is paired with the VW Group’s DQ250 “wet” six-speed dual-clutch automatic. It provides ultra quick and seamless shifts, and the powertrain is tuned to bark delightfully when shifting at full throttle. In normal operation, the TT’s soundtrack is pleasantly silky and free of unwanted vibrations.

 

The average customer would be contented and would generally give a satisfactory feedback we presume. This is solely the result since a majority of  customers will be served perfectly well by the 220-hp engine. We expect it will zip from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, with the top speed governed at 155 mph. Now that is something really fast and would be a catch point and a underscored bullet in the brochure of Audi. This being said, we must not forget Audi has always been a big gun in the automotive industry as far as speed is concerned and in terms of accelerating from a null point to a certain numeric velocity. Although it’s not yet EPA-rated, we predict the TT’s window sticker will trumpet fuel-economy figures of 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

The MQB architecture is front-drive-based, but the TT comes standard with all-wheel drive and the car eagerly rotates in corners. The electromechanical power steering is on the light side, but it offers sufficient feedback, and driving the roadster fast is absolutely effortless. It is as playful as it is forgiving—in marked contrast to the first-generation TT, which was prone to lift-off oversteer at high speeds.

The TT roadster loses the virtually unusable rear seats of the coupe, instead using the space for the folded fabric top, which opens and closes in a scant 10 seconds. Even with the top lowered, the trunk retains a capacity of 9.9 cubic feet. The interior is protected from excessive wind buffeting, and you will find yourself lowering the top a lot, even in cool weather. The driver and passenger enjoy sufficient space and plenty of comfort; as you’d expect from Audi, the cabin materials and workmanship are impeccable.

When it reaches U.S. shores, and sources hint towards the timeline being sometime this summer, the TT roadster will definitely face stiff competition from the likes of the BMW Z4, the Mercedes-Benz SLK, thePorsche Boxster, and the Nissan 370Z. If it’s sheer power you’re after, you might even want to cross-shop the new Corvette. But the TT roadster continues to masterfully blend style and sophistication, refinement and sportiness in ways many of its competitors don’t—even if Audi seems to prefer the car in coupe form.

 

Car Warning Lights – Part I

Let’s consider a few of the warning lights of the car

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The check engine light.
Every new car now comes with OBD-II – On Board Diagnostics 2. This is a fault-registering system connected to sensors all over the car, engine, fuel and emissions system. When the check engine light comes on, it can mean many things. There are something like 4,000 unique OBD2 codes that can be stored. Handheld OBD2 diagnostic tools can be plugged in to the OBD2 port which is normally under the dash on the driver’s side. These tools can read out the fault code and/or reset the system to contain no codes. Codes are split into two categories – historical/inactive, and active. The historical codes are lists of things that have been detected in the past but are no longer an issue, whilst the active codes are things that are a problem right now. Codes are subdivided into B-codes (body), C-codes (chassis) and the biggest list of all – P-codes.
P0440 OBD-II code is the most common code you will find and it is the first thing you should check. P0440 is the code for Evaporative Emission Control System Malfunction which covers a multitude of sins. The one thing it covers that you can check is your gas cap (petrol cap). Most new cars have a pressurised fuel system and vapour recovery loop. If you’ve filled up with petrol and not twisted the gas cap until it clicks, you’ve not sealed the fuel system. It won’t pressurise and the OBD2 system will log a P0440 code. In fact, on a lot of cars, that code is so common they’ll actually have some way of telling you to check the gas cap. In the Honda Element, for example, if a P0440 code is logged, the dash scrolls “CHECK GAS CAP” across the odometer display. So if you get a check engine light, check the gas cap first and see if the light goes off. Note : even if the light does go off, the code will likely still be stored in the OBD system and will show up next time it is checked.
If tightening the gas cap didn’t do it, you’ll need to find someone with an OBD2 diagnostics tool or reader. Some garages will charge you just for plugging the device in and reading the code. If they do, walk away. They’re ripping you off. Better to find a garage or mechanic that will read the code and actually give you a diagnosis rather than just making you pay to find out a number. Smaller garages and local mechanics will normally do this for you for a small fee, and being independent, the diagnosis won’t be predicated on you buying some expensive parts from a corporate chain.
If you’re a do-it-yourself type used to working from shop manuals, then a lot of places that will give you the diagnostic code for free. In America specifically, the Schuck’s chain do free diagnostics checks (Checker, Kragen, Murray’s, Advance) as well as AutoZone. Drop in – don’t phone up and ask. A lot of times if you phone up they’ll tell you it’s $40. If you just turn up, more often than not they’ll do it for nothing. In the UK I’m not sure who does – if you know, drop me a line. The alternative, if you’re into maintaining your own vehicles, is to buy a reader and do it yourself.

The service engine light / Maint Reqd light.

This might indicate “Service”, “Service Engine” or “Maint Reqd”. It’s an indicator that you’re getting close to a scheduled maintenance interval. On some cars it’s as simple as counting miles before it comes on, whilst on others it maps engine temperatures, oil temperatures, air temperatures and other indicators of probable stress to tell you when it might be time for new oil or a service. In most cars this can be overridden or reset by you, the owner. Your handbook will tell you if this is the case. If you take your car for a service, the garage should reset it for you.
Typically this light will come on when you start your car, and then turn off again as part of the self-check. If it stays on for 10 seconds then turns off, it normally means you’re within 500 miles of needing a service. If it flashes for 10 seconds, it normally means you’ve exceeded a recommended service interval.

Battery warning light    

This warning light is different in every car but normally it looks like a picture of a battery, similar to the picture on the left here. You’ll see it come on and go off when you start your engine as part of the car’s self-test, but if this light comes on and stays on, it means the electrical charging system is no longer working properly. Think of it like a cellphone battery. If the cellphone is plugged into the charger, you can use it indefinitely, but when you disconnect it from the charger, there’s a limited amount of time before your battery runs out. It’s exactly the same in your car, only bigger. Every car has an alternator – the charger – and a 12v battery used to supply power to the electrical system. If the alternator becomes faulty or the drive belt to it snaps, then it will not be able to do its job. The longer you drive, the more your car will use up the remaining juice in the battery and eventually the engine will die. This almost always requires a new or refurbished alternator.

Six tips to take care of your vehicle in winter

 

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Come winter and you start worrying about your winter car care. A lot of motorists think that antifreeze and batteries would help the cause, but that is not the case. In reality, vehicles need much more attention when temperatures keep on dropping below zero. Here are six quick and important tips to help your vehicle perform at its best during cold weather months.

1)    Maintain the Gas tank level: Keep the gas tank at least half full; this will decrease the chance of moisture forming in the gas lines and would prevent them from possible freezing.

2)    Keep the tire pressure in check: Keep a close eye on the tire pressure, including the spare one. This is applicable at all times but especially in winters because the tires can lose pressure when temperatures drop. Snow and ice a problem in your are? – You should consider special tires in that case.

3)    Check the exhaust system: Have your exhaust system checked frequently for carbon monoxide leaks. The carbon monoxide leaks can be especially dangerous in the cold weather driving when windows of your car are closed.

4)    Correctly warm up your car: If you are not trying to defrost the windshield or warm the interior, modern day cars are probably ready to be driven right away. Idling longer than a minute in most cases is unnecessary for the sake of warming up the engine. The best way to warm up your car is to drive gently at the start.

5)    Use correct oil: Viscosity of the oil you are using for your vehicle is an important thing. Change to low viscosity oil in winter.  The low viscosity oils will flow more easily between moving parts even when it is cold. Drivers in sub zero temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30.  The reason behind this is thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.

6)    Use correct wind shield blades: You should probably consider using cold weather washer fluid and special winter windshield blades if you live in a place with especially harsh winter conditions.

Sub zero temperatures can have a real impact on your vehicle. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance and rough idling, and very cold temperatures reduce battery power. If you have not had your vehicle checked recently, a thorough and neat vehicle inspection is probably a good idea so that you can avoid the aggravation and the unexpected cost of a breakdown in freezing weather

As a precaution, motorists must always be sure that their vehicle is stocked with an emergency kit containing an ice scraper and a snow brush, cables, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication – at least the first aid. Take care of thee little things and enjoy your ride.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD Review

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The few terms and entities in this world which have a completely different and their own world altogether comprises of a word called Sport. It makes you think about Sir Roger Bannister and Yelena Isinbayeva and Sachin Tendulkar at the same time. Thought the games, rules and fields might be different still the values like sportsman spirit, team game, athleticism and fitness are common. These terms are applicable even to  automotive industry and Sport is a word that’s affixed to a lot of unlikely iron, particularly in the world of SUVs. But the latest Sante Fe Sport may just be worthy of the designation.

Perspective: This Hyundai comes in two sizes, the two-row, five-passenger Sport and the three-row, seven-seat model, which is badged simply Santa Fe. Riding a 106.3-inch wheelbase, the Sport is, predictably, lighter and handier than its bigger cousin, which has 3.9 additional inches between its axles.

However, the word “lighter” merits an asterisk. Hyundai lists curb weight for this particular Santa Fe as 3706 pounds, not too porky for an all-wheel-drive crossover in this class. However, our test unit weighed in at a rather pudgy 4021, partially thanks to a substantial load of optional features. Mass, of course, is the implacable foe of performance, but the Santa Fe surprised us with a zero-to-60-mph sprint of 6.6 seconds.

That’s pretty close to tops in this class, a tribute to the power traits of the optional 2.0-liter turbo. At 264 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, its output is robust by compact-SUV standards. But its most endearing virtue is midrange response. The turbocharger comes online almost instantaneously, delivering a habit-forming surge, and if the six-speed automatic isn’t particularly gratifying in manual mode, its programming makes it intuitively responsive when it’s operating in full automatic.

Fuel economy for the 2.0T is so-so by class standards at 18 mpg city and 24 highway, per the EPA. We averaged 18 mpg in mixed driving.

SURPRISINGLY NIMBLE

If one question you put out there for all the car crazy people asking ‘ What is the first feature you would like to have in your?’ The answer, almost always, will be speed. This factor of accelerating to a substantial speed in a iota of time, means a world of difference from both commercial as well as consumer point of view. hence, most of the car companies make this as their point of distinction from others. The competition heavily relies on speed. It’s always easier to enjoy a vehicle that’s quicker than most of its ilk, but it’s easier still when its responses aren’t reminiscent of a dinghy struggling through a riptide. Hyundai has made a few subtle tweaks to the Santa Fe’s suspension for 2015—firmer bushings, revised rear geometry—that lend a little more urgency to its zigs and zags.

The chassis team also enhanced the electric power steering system with a new microprocessor that lends a little more sense of connection when the driver switches to the Sport setting of the program. The ratio could be a little quicker—it’s three turns lock-to-lock—but its accuracy stacks up well versus competing crossovers.

Downsides? The damping could benefit from some attention and it is one factor that yells out for some work to be done upon it. It is not  a rocket science to figure out what needs the more ressurection. Furthermore,  a little more compliance would be helpful on lumpy pavement and freeway expansion joints. Braking performance is respectable at 168 feet from 70 to zero mph, albeit with hints of fade after repeated stops. But both braking and grip would improve with a more aggressive tire than the all-season rubber worn by our test example.

On the other hand, the 235/55-19 Continental CrossContact LX Sports made the most of the Santa Fe’s all-wheel-drive system and were remarkably effective during a Michigan snowstorm that put many SUVs into the ditch (and also kept us off of our test-track skidpad).

Back to that “Sport” label. Does the Santa Fe measure up to the unerring footwork of the Mazda CX-5? Not quite, but the distinction isn’t huge, and the Santa Fe is quicker. In this teeming segment, the Santa Fe exhibits more sport than most, and it doesn’t give away much, if anything, on the overall agility index.

Typical of Hyundai, the Santa Fe offers good value for the money, provided the buyer exercises some restraint. A basic front-drive Santa Fe, with the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four, starts at $25,825. Base price for a 2.0T with AWD is $33,875, which includes a lot of cool standard features—a power rear liftgate, leather, heated front seats, electroluminescent gauges, and driver-selectable steering modes among them. Not to mention handsome interior decor and lots of interior volume—enough to swallow a snow blower, important during an upper-Midwest winter.

Our Santa Fe was equipped with the Ultimate package, which added, among other goodies, 19-inch aluminum wheels, navigation with an 8.0-inch touch screen, a panoramic sunroof, a 12-speaker Infinity audio system, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel, which is as welcome to cold-weather dwellers as heated seats.

The package also added $4350 to the bottom line, and at $38,350, it’s a little harder to perceive the Santa Fe as a bargain. However, To conclude, the overall judgement can be thought of as expected, up to the mark and at par with the competition. Thereby, it’s still easy to perceive it as one of the more desirable entries in the compact-crossover derby.

 

Keep Calm Drive On

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If the summer heat drives you to distraction, the last thing you need is a malfunctioning air conditioning (A/C) system when you are on the road. It will surely drive you crazy. Checking your vehicle’s A/C periodically or at least annually will help you keep your cool when temperatures soar high.

Getting stuck in traffic is as stressful enough as anything, but getting stuck in traffic during the heat of summer without a functioning A/C is absolutely bad. It is very important to always have the A/C system properly maintained to keep it in a proper tip top shape and avoid costly repairs down the road.

A vehicle’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system (HVAC) keeps the interior cabin comfortable in any season by providing the right temperature and humidity level. A thorough inspection should be performed annually and a typical A/C service consists of the following steps:

Check Pressures: A service technician checks pressures to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures.

Leak Test: If the system is found to be low on refrigerant, a leak test is performed to find the source of the leak. Keep in mind that if your vehicle is leaking refrigerant, it is damaging the ozone layer.

Check Refrigerant: Refrigerant may be added if necessary to “top off” the system, although some states do not allow “topping off.”

Refrigerant Cross Contamination: A technician may also check for evidence of refrigerant cross contamination, which is the mixing of refrigerants.

Check compressor’s drive belt : A/C service should also include a check of the compressor’s drive belt and tension.

Checking the A/C at least once a year is an important key to making sure your cooling system is running efficiently all year long. A properly running HVAC system will help improve your gas mileage as well which makes it even more important. It is more environment friendly and will keep you calm as you drive on.

You may also use the Personalized Schedule and reminder service as a simple way to take better care of your car.

2016 Volvo XC90 Review

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The Swedes don’t know luxury in the American sense.Well, to put in a better way it is basically dependent on the culture and the upbringing environment. The idea of luxury may differ from Country to Country and Culture to Culture and it is pretty understandable. Scandinavian culture shuns overt displays of wealth and indulgent lifestyles. The impressions of their ‘ down to earth’ and humble attitude is so prevalent that you can almost come across it in day to day interactions, regular path crossing, language used, products so on and so forth. To encapsulate, Swedes would be nothing but for their selfless attitude and omnipotent benevolence.  The notion of modesty and humility is so engrained in Swedish society that there’s a word, Jantelagen, to describe the scorn reserved for those who flaunt personal success. Of course, a $55,000, seven-passenger luxury crossover is hardly the people’s car. But relative to the status and image that come standard with a German SUV, the self-conscious Swedish influence makes the 2016 Volvo XC90 as humble as they come in this segment.

If nothing else, the Swedish way of thinking creates a luxury crossover that’s pleasingly, intriguingly different from anything the German competition sells. the Volkswagen’s, Audi’s, BMW’s and all the major powerhouses of the automotive industry come along with the similar kind of brochures. There is not much difference in what they would have to offer in terms of technology, style and performance. They could be easily gauged into a single cast. However, when we talk about Volvo, it brings along with it an entire new dimension and a sense of freshness. The offerings they have in sections like style and technology are vastly different from the regular off the shelf attributes. Is it for the better or is it for the worse, that is totally dependent on the end user and the consumer. All we can say is that it is definitely novel.  The XC90’s engine fires to life with the twist of a knob rather than the press of a button. Volvo’s new Sensus infotainment system eschews an iDrive-like control knob for a vertically oriented touch screen that’s as close as it gets to factory-installing an iPad in the dashboard without being sued by Apple (or buying a Tesla Model S). There’s an Off-Road setting in the drive selector, but Volvo buyers are more likely to be interested in the company’s “Run-off Road Protection” crash test, which highlights the new “Safe Positioning” function by pulling the vehicle down into a drainage ditch before launching it airborne off the embankment of an intersecting driveway.

Volvo’s new Drive-E engine family tops out with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which isn’t much motor when you consider that the XC90 weighs between 4600 and 5200 pounds. To make two liters feel like three and a half, a turbocharger and a supercharger inflate the so-called T6 engine’s peak power and low-end responsiveness for a total output of 316 horsepower and a zero-to-60 run in the low six seconds. Married to a polished eight-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive, the T6 delivers the no-drama, easygoing authority that you’d expect from a brand that’s more closely aligned with comfort than sport.

The only shortcomings are the same ones that plague all modern, boost-dependent engines with an abundance of gear ratios. There’s no in-gear passing power, so even modest acceleration starts with a pause as the gearbox shifts down and boost builds. Pressure chargers also make for thirsty engines, and the indicated 17-mpg average seen during our test drive is likely closer to an owner’s reality than Volvo’s claim that the XC90 will deliver best-in-class fuel economy when the EPA numbers come in.

The uplevel T8 Twin Engine is the no-compromise upgrade that allows you to have your fuel and burn it, too, assuming the estimated $5000 premium doesn’t compromise your ability to make the payments. This plug-in hybrid makes 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque and earns a 59-MPGe combined rating from the EPA.

The T8 uses the same dual-boost four-cylinder as the T6 but removes the driveshaft connecting the front and rear axles so the central tunnel can accommodate a 9.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. An 80-hp electric motor at the rear returns all-wheel-drive capability, while a smaller electric machine between the transmission and the block starts the engine, captures electricity during braking, and provides additional power during acceleration. A full battery charge should deliver about 20 miles of pure electric driving range. In our hands, the XC90 T8 reported an average of 27 mpg over a 90-mile drive that began with a full battery.

The electric motors smooth power delivery and enliven off-idle response compared with the gas-only T6. The T8 offers extra dollops of everything you want in a range-topping engine: refinement, power, and efficiency. The downside of this through-the-road hybrid system is that the engine’s 295 lb-ft of torque (plus that of the small front motor) is routed entirely through the front wheels. Goosing the throttle from a standstill invokes a slight wiggle of torque steer and a subtle scramble for traction that’s evocative of a front-wheel-drive vehicle.

 

The XC90 offers our first taste of Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) that will ultimately underpin everything from the next S60 mid-size sedan to a possible flagship sedan above the S80. Development of SPA began in the days of Ford ownership, so it’s not surprising that the XC90 employs a multilink rear suspension with an integral link similar to the designs used in the Ford Fusion and Mustang, the Jaguar XE, and the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Volvo’s design differs in that it uses a single composite leaf spring transversely spanning the two control arms instead of a pair of coil springs.

Unfortunately, we can’t comment on how that setup rides or handles because our test cars were fitted with $1800 worth of air springs and adaptive dampers that eliminate the rear leaf spring. Thus equipped, the XC90 delivers a compliant ride with competent handling. The selectable Dynamic mode cinches down a slight side-to-side rocking we experienced with no noticeable effect on ride quality, while accurate, nicely weighted steering makes the XC90 drive smaller than it is. Our only grievance with the chassis is a slight metallic clatter over big inputs such as speed bumps that suggests too much compliance in some of the bushings.

The Sensus infotainment system is quite clever, in part because millions of Americans will be familiar with the basic controls before ever using it. Also , one more interesting feature given out of the box is this; there’s an Apple-like home button just below the 9.0-inch touch screen, and below that is a volume knob and just seven buttons, three of which are required by law. On the map, you can pinch or double tap to zoom. From the home screen you swipe left for a panel of vehicle settings or swipe right to cycle through the audio sources and open apps such as weather or an efficiency monitor. Furthermore, the home screen is specifically designed to display four informational tabs—navigation, audio, phone, and the most recently used app—that expand for full functionality when tapped. Climate controls occupy the lower edge of the display regardless of which screen you’re viewing.

Yet the smartest aspect of Sensus is not the user interface, but the hardware. By providing enough processing power to keep up with your swipes and taps, Volvo excels where several have failed. This was tired and tested by many other automotive giants but the results did not occur as expected. The implementation techniques, with the thorough detailing of niches and intricacies, Volvo grabs the top spot leaving behind many a big name. Special message : Pay attention, Cadillac.

This was all about our experience and primary interactions with the giant Swede variant of Volvo. To sum up there are a few highlights and underlinings. Based upon these observations we could certainly come up with some solid conclusions. Perhaps the most significant distinguishing trait between the Volvo XC90 and the German competition is that the Swedes apparently missed the memo on bilking customers with a laundry list of options. (We recently spec’d a particularly sporty and desirable XC90 R-Design with just a few add-ons for $59,755.) Starting at $49,895, the XC90 includes a panoramic sunroof, passive entry, four-zone automatic climate control, lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert, and rear park assist as standard equipment. All cars are also equipped with the complete Sensus system and divinely comfortable 10-way power-adjustable front seats wrapped in real leather. So while the Volvo XC90 isn’t the best way to tell your neighbors that you’ve made it, it might be the best way to reward yourself sensibly if you have.

How to save extra gas with Vehicle Maintenance?

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Gas prices are continuing to drop day by day. This allows motorists to take advantage of their savings at the pump and they may invest it back into their vehicles. You can spend a little more now to increase fuel efficiency, and then you can multiply your fuel savings and save more money at the pump; it is possible.

The approximate average of the cost of a gallon of gas has been a bit more than $3 since 2010. The way global trends suggest right now, the rate is expected to dip further below that mark this year. The recent forecast by energy information service GasBuddy suggests the same.

“Gas prices are expected to fall below $3 per gallon on average, and that means motorists can think on fairly significant savings at the pump,” said an expert. “A small investment in simple and not so expensive auto care will add up to improve your fuel economy and add even more to your savings.”

The experts would always encourage the motorists to be aware of the car care and perform a few simple steps to improve fuel efficiency and save some more money.

Below listed are a few points to be considered that would help in your cause:

Engine Performance: Keep an on whether your car is properly tuned in. This would improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.

Tire Pressure: Keep tires properly inflated at all times. This would help improve the gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent.

Motor Oil: Improve gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent by using the high grade of the motor oil. But be sure that you get it recommended by the manufacturer before.

Air Filters: Check if your air filters are clogged. Replacing clogged air filters on older vehicles can surely improve fuel economy. The added advantage with this is, it will improve performance and acceleration on all vehicles.

Gas Cap: If the gas caps are damaged, loose or even missing, they allow the gas to vaporize into the air.

Fix It: It is very important to keep an eye on any maintenance related problem and address it as quickly as possible. Addressing a serious maintenance problem, like for an instance, a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve mileage by as much as 40 percent. Now this is a huge number. This tells you how important it is to address the issues instantly.

In addition to vehicle maintenance, there are a few more To Dos that help in fuel efficiency.  Modifying driving habits, such as observing the speed limit and avoiding quick stops and starts, can also increase fuel efficiency a great deal. Consolidating trips, avoiding excessive idling and removing unnecessary items from the trunk are also some of the easy ways to lower fuel consumption.

German Brand Borgward – As good as it was?

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The story of Preston Tucker and his car is as well known to us as the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp: Better-looking and technologically superior to the competition, the “game-changing” 48 (née Torpedo) was brought down by a combination of an obtuse and hostile press and mean-spirited competitors and government officials. Germany has an equivalent if not a superior brand to Tucker: Borgward. But while the Chicago-based American carmaker folded after just 51 units were completed, Borgward was the fourth-largest car company in Germany and employed more than 20,000 people in its heyday. Quite an achievement for any major competitor. Though, it would hardly seem that they were one of the top runners in the yester years, it is absolutely true.  They were sold under the Lloyd, Hansa, Goliath, and Borgward brands.

Conceived and named after  the charismatic industrialist who had a multi faceted personality,  Carl F. W. Borgward, the cars were stylish and brimming with cutting-edge technology. The Isabella is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful cars of its era as if it were the Marilyn Monroe of the automobile Hollywood; the Borgward 2400 was an early fastback sedan, available with an in-house automatic transmission; its successor, the P100, was one of the fastest cars in its segment and fitted with an air suspension, including an innovative anti-roll and anti-dive system. Some models were exported to the U.S.

The engineering passion that drove Borgward contributed to its downfall. It can be considered like the story of Narcissus who fell in love with the reflection of himself in water. The energy and enthusiasm which was a pillar and a major contributor in the company’s success; became the nemesis. Each brand had its own engineering and purchasing departments; there was little commonality among the cars and each model and variant was distinct from the other cohorts, and sometimes but more often than not, the company found itself short on cash.

In December 1960, a cover story in the magazine Der Spiegel ridiculed Borgward’s engineering-driven and impulsive style and highlighted the company’s financial travails. The senate of the city-state of Bremen, where Borgward was headquartered, seized the opportunity to renege on a pledge to vouch for a credit that Borgward needed to move forward. The move was informed by emotions as much as facts: The ruling Social Democrat Party in Bremen hated Carl Borgward, a feeling that the old-school industrialist reciprocated.

Given the alternative to close down immediately or hand over his company to the state, Borgward chose to give up his assets to Bremen; the senate put in charge Johannes Semler, a manager who simultaneously headed BMW’s supervisory board.

BMW, of course, was a direct competitor of Borgward and no need to mention it always has been a big name in the automotive industry. Semler’s half-baked attempts to save Borgward came to an end less than a year later. But after the company closed its doors, all creditors were paid off, casting severe doubt over the claims that Borgward was in desperate financial shape.

As a result of its moment of triumph and subsequent meddling with the company, the city-state of Bremen lost almost 20,000 jobs and millions in tax revenue; on a larger scale, Borgward’s downfall became the first ominous crack in the German postwar Wirtschaftswunder, or “economic miracle.”

Many assets were shipped to Mexico, and the P100 was assembled there until 1970. A late-1970s attempt to resurrect Borgward with a new car that put carry-over technology under the skin of an AMC Hornet never came to fruition.

Now Borgward is back. In 2008, the founder’s grandson, Christian Borgward, teamed up with former Saab and Daimler PR executive Karlheinz Knöss; last year, they sold the rights to the brand to Beiqi Foton Motor in China. At the Geneva auto show, Foton will give a glimpse of its future plans—which include launching a Borgward-badged premium model before the end of the year.

It’s good to see the great, if largely forgotten, Borgward nameplate back on the market. The older generations might remember the name or even some of them might still own it. The nostalgia beckons as the long lost name surges back into media. To live up to the company’s heritage, the new models—the first teaser for the Geneva car is pictured below—need to offer style and cutting-edge technology. Let’s hope Foton can pull it off and launch a few cars that Carl F. W. Borgward would be proud of.