Citroen CX celebrates 40th

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Let us begin with some short instances. Do you remember the time you were in College, bunking classes and hanging out with friends? do you remember the time your daughter was 10 and was spilling food all over her dress? Do you memorize your friend from school? Well, now you are no longer in college, you daughter is about to have a kid of her own and that friend from school recently celebrated his 50th birthday anniversary! To come back to context, you see that Citroen CX parked across the street? it is indeed hard to believe, but Citroen’s ground-breaking CX is 40 years old this year. Time has flown by and left us with golden memories.

Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 1974 and produced until 1991, the Citroën CX has reached a landmark birthday.

Bold and stylish, the CX was advanced for its time featuring a turbocharged diesel engine, a GTi version, updated hydropneumatic suspension for new standards of comfort and it was the first French car to be fitted with ABS brakes in 1985

It quickly established a reputation for exceptional comfort, advanced ergonomics and impeccable road holding, claiming the ‘Car of the Year’ award, ‘Safety Prize’ and ‘Award Auto Style’ in its first year on sale.

A rare sight on the roads of today, the CX was a huge success, selling more than 1.2 million globally up to 1991.

Designed by Robert Opron, the CX was a two-box saloon, measuring 4.63m in length. The aerodynamics of the CX played a key role in achieving its impressive levels of fuel efficiency and the acronym CX in itself illustrated the vehicle’s low drag coefficient – Cx being French for the aerodynamic coefficient Cd.

Over the next few years, Citroën continued to upgrade the CX with further technological improvements, including an estate version in 1975, a 2400 GTi electronic injection sports version in 1977 – considered as the fastest French tourer of its time – and a Prestige version in 1978, which was 28cm longer than the original car.

The CX was also very comfortable, inheriting the constant-height hydropneumatic suspension of the DS as well as the power-operated self-centring steering system seen on the SM in 1970.

 

How to take care of the car batteries in summer?

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The heat of the summer takes its toll on your car battery the same way it does on you. A lot of people believe that the winter lows damage the battery more than summer highs. But that is not correct. Summer highs rather than winter lows pose the greater threat to battery life.

All batteries have a certain life and after that they have to be replaced. A lot of heat and overcharging are the two important reasons for shortened battery life. Heat is the most important reasons that cause the battery fluid to evaporate. This helps in damaging the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, which usually is the voltage regulator, allows a very high a charging rate, leading to the slow death for a battery.

When most motorists think of dead batteries that cause starting failure, they think of severe winter weather, but summer heat is the real culprit. Many battery problems actually start much before the temperatures drop. Heat, more than cold, shortens battery life.

Colder temperatures increase the thickness of the engine oil. This makes the engine harder to turn over. So in order to get it started, the battery has to have to work more. These factors lead to harder starting.

To get the most life out of a battery, we suggest the following simple steps:

Charge the battery correctly: Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate. Overcharging the battery can damage it as quickly as undercharging.

Keep it regularly checked: If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary.

Correctly replace the batteries: Always replace a battery with one that is rated at least as high as the one originally specified.

Keep the battery clean: Try to keep the top of the battery as clean as possible. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further when the corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator. This leads to inhibiting current flow which of course is not good for its life.

Maintain correct Driving Habits: Driving habits such as frequent engine on off cycles, applying undue breaks will cause more problem to the starter than a simple back and forth to work.

Other than this, there are factors such as bad driving and weather conditions, mileage, vehicle age and excessive electrical draws like in vehicle entertainment systems.
One also needs to understand the factors that keep on indicating to your battery’s condition. Check the battery if you notice headlights dim or even the interior lights dim, accessories that fail to operate. You also need to keep an eye on the check engine light and also battery light if illuminated.

Honda CR-V EX FWD Review

 

 

Most of the automakers have pretty much moved on from the production of Baja 1000–ready SUVs. It is not that there is no romance left in the adventure of crashing over boulders at high speed and getting caked in the dust of desert competition. It is just that modern car-based crossover SUVs like the Honda CR-V, with its elevated driving position; 70-plus cubic feet of cargo space (with the rear seats down); friendly fuel economy, ride, and handling; and available four-wheel drive is ready to offer pretty much everything a buyer of recent time needs in such a vehicle.

Without a doubt, when the CR-V first broke cover in 1997 as a Civic-based high-roof wagon, Honda was rebadging Isuzu Rodeos as Passports and the number-one-selling SUV in the States was the truculent body-on-frame Ford Explorer. But Americans, extremely indifferent of hatchbacks, have embraced the SUV cum wagon cum crossover by the freeway load, and such vehicles are now the dominant, bestselling body style—way better than compact sedans, mid-size sedans, and even pickup trucks. And at the top of that heap is the CR-V, which was the highest-selling crossover/SUV in the U.S. in 2014.

To help in keeping its market position intact, the 2015 CR-V received a minor visual freshening, having been updated with new sweeping projector-beam headlights and LED daytime running lamps outside and a slew of bright trim, newer versions of materials, and electronics in the cabin.

The changes that came under the hood are bigger and better. The 2015 CR-V has the Accord’s direct-injected 185-hp “Earth Dreams” 2.4-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable automatic transmission. Even if the new mill has no more power than last year’s port-injected four-holer of the same displacement, it wins in reaching its power peak 600-rpm lower (now 6400) and it has more low-end torque (up from 163 to 181 lb-ft). The latter makes it feel much livelier and more responsive than before. And the numbers back up that perception, with the 2015 front-drive EX version tested here moving off the dime quicker by a long way than the 165-pound-heavier CR-V EX-L AWD we reviewed in 2012, reaching 60 mph 1.1 seconds quicker (7.5 seconds in the 2015 model) and clearing the quarter-mile traps 0.6 second ahead of the older model (15.9 seconds).

 

CVT TLC?

As CVTs go, Honda’s is one of the best, but it still will, without more ado, swing the engine to its 6400-rpm power peak at wide-open throttle and stay there for the duration of the acceleration run. That is what CVTs do in that situation, but in the outgoing tide and flow of real traffic, when the 2.4-liter does not pass in screaming to the finish line, the Honda CVT’s conventional-automatic-mimicking programming allows near instantaneous ratio changes without the pauses between shifts of a traditional step-gear transmission. That is the reason why the CR-V is never caught flat-footed in the wrong “gear.”

The new engine does not need to rev quite as high to make peak power, but NVH takes a turn for the worse when the in normal case the sweet-sounding engine rumbles along at a fuel-saving 1200 rpm cruising with light throttle. At that engine speed, the steering wheel, floor, and seat thrum slightly, as if the bass on a subwoofer got raised up. If not the CR-V is one of the quietest-running crossovers in the compact class, but it would benefit in a great amount from a Honda Odyssey–like noise-cancellation system. Dropping the CVT into Sport mode raises revs and quells the rumble but does not help fuel economy, which, by the way, was a somewhat disappointing 24 mpg—same as the 2012 AWD model—even though it must be noted that you have a tendency of driving harder than your typical CR-V owner.

 

Every other thing is quite cheery. The CR-V’s kind and comfortable front caster and rack-mounted electric power steering deliver a naturally weighted feel that is never bad for the driver. The vehicle feels planted in its lane with decent self-centering and aligning torque for confident highway cruising, yet with an organic effort build-up as steering angle raises its bar.  The ride quality is everyday quite firm but never harsh over impacts. The CR-V’s front seats have good torso support, and the bottom cushions comfortably accommodate a variety of body shapes including fat and slim.

We think the $26,425 front-wheel-drive CR-V EX provides a pretty good value in the segment. Our test vehicle came standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels, a sunroof, fog lamps, a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated cloth front seats, proximity entry with push-button start, Honda LaneWatch (a passenger-side blind-spot camera), and a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system. The single detraction from the infotainment’s user-friendliness is a thin row of tiny hard buttons that are a little hard to see and hit while driving.

The EX is one of the CR-V’s more basic trims—and in that sense is truer to the crossover’s inner Civic than fancier versions. This particular model has no leather, no navigation, and certainly no semi autonomous systems to excuse inattentive driving. Never mind that the no-longer-wee CR-V SUV is really a hatchback on stilts—people seem to like it, and so do we.

2015 BMW i8 vs Angeles Crest Highway

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There are many cons of the ever growing development and industrialisation. One such major variant occurs and can be seen in the metro cities of the world. In these towns the technology has reached each and every common person and an average Joe of such a locality now a days can easily own a car, Tv his house and so on. The underlying point made here is that more the number of people access and use cars, the more traffic it creates. Plus, on busy weekends and office timings on weekdays it is next to impossible to drive smoothly and shift the transmission to fifth gear for a long time. Let us take a case study of Los Angeles. Los Angeles might have the weather of Eden, but instead of being home to two naked people, there are nearly 4 million here, only some of whom are naked. Those 4 million individuals create traffic so dense and soul-crushing, it gets end-of-times nicknames such as Carmageddon. Traffic never sleeps in the City of Angels. You would have to be really lucky if you could reach your intended destination, in prime time and not the wee hours, within the estimated duration. Google maps has a feature of showing the analysis of required time taken for a journey with and without traffic. You could evidently see the vast difference between the two versions.  Even the countless planes that are lined up to land at LAX are stuck in traffic. Elevated freeways crisscross the city and ensure that there’s literally traffic on top of traffic. If you enjoy driving and are in something resembling a sports car, it’s perdition. At best, it’s a waste of gas.

Freedom from L.A.’s congestion isn’t far. Just a few miles north of downtown are the San Gabriel Mountains and the desolate road that tattoos the peaks with blacktop. Begun in 1929 but not completed until 1956, the Angeles Crest Highway rides the face of the San Gabriels as it twists through the Angeles National Forest for 66 miles. There’s no better place near L.A. to burn fuel.

There is a dark cloud adjacent to every silver lining. Similarly, even this road is not immune to commuters. Yes it is one of those obscure ways where you would not imagine the traffic as much as you would on a street in the heart of the city. However, Los Angeles has always been full of surprises; is it for the good or for the bad, well, we are not saying! Here, every weekday morning a stream of cars pours over the mountain and into the city from suburbs in the high desert. But if you’re escaping L.A. in the day’s early hours where many a percentage of people are still in their beds, day dreaming, rest assured nobody will bother you.

L.A. is famously two-faced. For something in the light vein, you may like to call it the Harvey Dent of the United States of America.  Considering this fact and putting in the primary context, BMW’s i8 is a car seemingly built for the city’s duality. An electric car when stuck in traffic and a gas-burning supercar on canyon roads such as Angeles Crest, the i8’s styling is even a perfect match for the town. Angelenos love attention-grabbing cars, and the i8 is an instant celebrity. Floating catwalks sprout from the roofline and arc over the rear fenders. From behind, the i8 appears to be a smaller car shedding its skin. From other angles, it has the folded-paper elements of a Frank Gehry building. Dihedral doors hinged at the A-pillars add to the drama but make getting in and out a chore. This is consistent with the Los Angeles mantra that it’s better to look good than to feel good.

Falling inside over the carbon-fiber sill and through the door slits might not be easy, but the leather-filled interior is a comforting place to land. Lighted accents glow at night and the design is futuristic in a Blade Runner way, but there’s nothing here that we haven’t seen on other BMWs. All controls are easy to find, provided you’re familiar with the latest from Munich. Tiny rear seats that even kids would have to squeeze into are seemingly there to lower insurance premiums and to make sure that people see this as a Porsche 911 competitor.

To test the i8’s split personality, we leave downtown L.A. in morning traffic and set the i8 in eDrive mode to make the 15-mile drive to the base of Angeles Crest under electric power. In EV mode, the i8 is hushed. Removing sound and vibration when you’re impeded by commuters brings some peace to the whole experience. The 129-hp motor between the front wheels tugs the i8 along with 184 pound-feet of torque up to 75 mph. A lithium-ion battery pack that looks like a giant Lego block sits between the seats in the carbon-fiber structure. Acceleration in EV mode isn’t quick; 60 mph arrives in 9.2 seconds, but it’s good enough for comfortable use in heavy traffic.

As we climb out of town, traffic begins to release its hold. It is pretty coherent with the experience of coming out of the fog; after a ride in the dense smog you enter a patch where it starts receding and after that the visibility quotient suddenly begins to rise.  After 13 miles, we’re just short of the entrance to Angeles National Forest before eDrive switches off and we enter comfort mode. In comfort or eco-pro modes, the gas engine switches on and off depending on acceleration demands. If you hit the throttle hard, there is a slight delay before the gas engine comes online.

With Angeles Crest before us, we push the gear selector into sport mode to call upon the full 357 horsepower, changing the character of the i8. In sport, the gauges glow red, a tachometer appears in the cluster, and the 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo aided by an 11-hp electric motor kicks to life, stays lit, and remains at the ready. If you never plug the i8 in to recharge, keeping the engine in sport mode replenishes the battery pack. Engine sounds, or at least sounds from what we perceive to be the engine, fill the leather-lined cabin. The ­stereo speakers play a rumbling, intake-rich engine song that mimics an angry Acura NSX and peaks at 87 decibels at full throttle. A rip and a snort accompany each shift of the six-speed automatic. Nothing tells you that this isn’t real. We’re torn; fake shouldn’t be this good. Well, not much in L.A. is real, either, and yet everyone seems so happy.

Hit the stability-control button with the transmission in sport and the car will let you do a launch-control start. Hold both pedals, watch the revs climb to 2500 rpm, release the brake, and the i8 will jump to 60 mph in a more price-appropriate 3.6 seconds. Without launch control activated, the i8 will do the 5-to-60 run in 4.6 seconds.

As long as the three-cylinder is running, the car’s two electric motors, two transmissions, and one engine work together in harmony. There’s no surging, no turbo lag, just uninterrupted, linear thrust. It’s magic when a tiny 1.5-liter eating 22 psi of boost behaves like an engine three times its size. The 3394-pound i8 moves through the quarter-mile in 12.1 seconds at 116 mph. Tinseltown’s other darling, the dual-clutch–equipped Porsche 911 in GT3 guise, weighs 197 pounds less, does 60 in 3.0 seconds, and passes the quarter in 11.2 seconds at 126 mph. Yes, this town does keep score.

Rolling back and forth up the cambered mountain road, the i8 exhibits good balance and lively steering, but narrow 215/45R-20 Bridgestone Potenza S001 front tires start slipping earlier than we expect. On the skidpad, the i8 holds on at 0.93 g, but with Chevy Corvettes and 911s regularly posting 1.00 g, 0.93 doesn’t feel like much grip. Stability born of the long, 110.2-inch wheelbase and the low-slung battery pack makes using the available adhesion a safe exercise. BMW’s tire choice also keeps the i8 from stopping from 70 mph in less than 166 feet.

Lift off the accelerator and the front electric motor generates electricity during deceleration. Pushing the brake pedal adds more regenerative braking; keep pressing and the friction brakes begin to bite. The transition between the electric and disc brakes is abrupt and difficult to modulate smoothly. If there was a comparison between Edison and Tesla we always would vouch for Tesla’s technology. The Mad Scientist, was the guy who changed the world and selflessly devoted all his learnings to the society. We prefer Tesla, in all ways even in technology and automotive innovations. We, in the similar context,  prefer Tesla’s strategy of allowing for maximum regeneration when you lift off the accelerator, which frees up the left pedal for actuating the rear brakes.

Even after running in sport mode, the i8 manages to return 26 mpg. It might have done better if we’d been able to plug in, but BMW did not send a charger. Strafing Angeles Crest, though, nearly refills the battery pack, preparing us for the return to congestion.

Like-priced sports cars can’t match the i8’s efficiency, nor do they offer the multiple personalities of the i8. You’d have to look to the Porsche 918 Spyderto find something analogous; while the Porsche far surpasses the performance of the i8, its carbon-fiber structure, hybrid drivetrain, and EV capability make it conceptually similar to this BMW. Think of the $148,250 i8 as the working rich man’s 918 Spyder. In L.A., that’s exactly what it will be.