Car Review: 2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT Wagon

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Ford hasn’t been in the minivan business for a few years now, but the 2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT Wagon wants your attention if you’re looking for a people mover. Dubbed the #unminivan, there is a lot of value in a vehicle that looks good, drives great and can haul the family from A to B and back again! We drove the 2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT Wagon Review and found a sweet ride that doubles as a commercial gem.

EXTERIOR

There is a very distinct look about the 2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT Wagon, and we discovered that folks either love or hate the exterior design. One has to remember that the Transit Connect was originally built for commercial use but has now styled up the skin to fit right in with the traditional SUV or minivan. The vehicle was introduced in Europe in 2002, and now, the 2014 Transit Connect van has been named International Van of the Year by a panel of European auto media. It debuted in North America in 2009, quickly becoming a fleet favorite for its size and capability as a hauler of people and cargo. Now, with the arrival of the all-new Transit Connect Wagon, retail buyers have a fresh alternative to the traditional people mover.

The 17-inch alloy wheels looked smooth along with body color side moldings, body color door handles, fog lamps with body color bezel, halogen headlamps, integrated spotter mirrors, power heated exterior mirrors and privacy glass.

INTERIOR

The Transit Connect Wagon and Transit Connect van offer spacious interiors and customization options that allow owners to personalize the vehicle to their lifestyle. The short-wheelbase, five-passenger wagon model, as tested, allows for the second row to flip, fold or be removed entirely. It features 77.1 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the first row with the second-row seats flipped forward, and 46.9 cubic feet of volume behind the second row. The long-wheelbase, seven-passenger wagon model has second- and third-row seats that fold flat. It has 104.2 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the first row with the second and third row folded flat; with passengers in the second row, cargo volume reaches nearly 60 cubic feet. The wagon model’s interior roominess is especially notable for its headroom, which bests many other seven-seat vehicles. Available headroom in the first row is 46.8 inches, with 45.1 inches in the second row. The long-wheelbase model has 41.3 inches of headroom in the third row.

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Car Review: 2015 Ford F350 4X4 King Ranch Lariat Crew Cab

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The stakes keeping getting higher in the Super Duty Truck segment and there is no doubt that the 2015 Ford F350 4X4 King Ranch Lariat Crew Cab will make her mark both on and off the road. We drove this nimble but very large truck for a week and grew more and more enamored with the vehicle every day that passed. The 2015 Ford F350 4X4 King Ranch Lariat Crew Cab is a very important launch for Ford, and from early indications, they should be just fine.

EXTERIOR

There is no mistaking the 2015 Ford F350 4X4 King Ranch Lariat Crew Cab when you see one on the road, from the King Ranch badging, to the unique ruby red paint with caribou accent. The sheer size and good looks compliment, including the fog lamps, body painted grille, locking removable tail gate with lift assist, pick up box with tie down hooks, bodyside protection moldings and skid plates. The premium cast 20-inch wheels are just awesome and deliver on both looks and functionality.

INTERIOR

It’s amazing how far the cabin of trucks have come along, but there is a whole new step up when you step inside the 2015 Ford F350 4X4 King Ranch Lariat Crew Cab. The attention to detail is admired and the feel inside this truck can build confidence in a man that is sometimes not even warranted! Some of the upgraded interior options on the 2015 Ford F350 4X4 King Ranch Lariat Crew Cab as tested include King Ranch floor mats, cab steps with lights, navigation system, memory group, remote start system and heated/cooled front seats.

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Car Review: 2014 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 4X4

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The midsize truck segment has started to draw more entries as of late, but when it comes to the King of the Hill, the 2014 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 4X4 is still on top. We drove a blue ribbon Tacoma recently and walked away more impressed with this truck and more convinced that this segment has a very bright future.

EXTERIOR

The 2014 Tacoma configurations are based on three cab types: Regular Cab, Access Cab with rear seating, and the four-door Double Cab as tested. The rear-opening doors on Access Cab models open to 80 degrees to give passengers easy ingress and egress. Bold overfenders distinguish PreRunner and 4×4 models. PreRunner models combine the 4×2 drivetrain with the 4×4’s raised riding stance and styling. Double Cab models offer a roof rack system with crossbars that deploy from the roof rails. The Double Cab is offered with a 60.3-inch bed on the 127.4-inch wheelbase or with the 73.5-inch-long bed on a 140.6-inch wheelbase chassis.

On all models, the composite inner bed is made from a sheet-molded composite (SMC) deck and tough, durable walls that are 10 percent lighter than steel. The bed deck features two-tier loading and an integrated deck-rail utility with four standard adjustable tie-down cleats. The rails are compatible with Genuine Toyota Accessories, including cargo bed cross bars, a fork-mount bike rack and diamond-plate storage boxes. An available 115V/400W power point further extends the bed’s utility. The 16-inch alloy wheels were thick and confident looking, as this truck means business even from the exterior!

INTERIOR

As good as the skin looks on the 2014 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 4X4, the cabin space is what really leaves an impression with the toughness and refinement that reaches a heightened mark. Tacoma’s instrument gauge panel lends a sporty look in all models. The center console (standard on Access Cab and Double Cab models) flows into the instrument panel for a unified appearance. The console integrates three cup holders, two of which can accommodate extra-large containers. Tacoma’s interior provides durability and comfort with high-grade fabric and generous standard equipment. Sound absorption material in the headliner and behind the rear seats, along with insulating carpeting, help to provide a quiet cabin. All Tacoma models provide dual bottle holders in driver- and passenger-side doors. Audio controls are mounted high for easy access.

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Car Review: 2015 Kia K900

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Kia is now officially in the luxury car business. With one fell swoop, they have launched the K900, a modern and elegant sedan that signals a new era for Kia and advances the brand to new levels sophistication. We drove the all-new 2015 Kia K900 and had to keep reminding ourselves that this car was a Kia! Things change so fast in the car business, and I’m sure some rivals keep wondering what the folks at Kia will come up with next.

EXTERIOR

When you first take a look at the 2015 Kia K900, you know that this car is for real, and a serious attempt by Kia to be a player in the luxury car segment. The long 119.9-inch wheelbase and wide 63.8-inch front and 64.1-inch rear track of the V8 translate to considerable road presence. In profile, the swept rake of the greenhouse, subdued cut lines along the doors and high rear deck lid lend a muscular tension to the sheet metal. The K900 V8’s standard 19-inch multi-spoke chrome wheels are shod with 245/45R-19 tires up front and 275/40R-19 tires at the rear.

Kia’s signature grille resides nearly vertically in the smoothly contoured front fascia. A chrome halo surrounds the dark chrome inner elements, which hints at the power and potential behind it. Airflow-smoothing underbody panels mounted beneath the nose, engine bay and cabin help reduce drag and improve efficiency. Standard on the V8 as tested are adaptive LED headlights. With 16 LED bulbs providing powerful, natural light for enhanced luminosity, the beams, which adjust to follow the bends in the road, shimmer beneath crystal clear lenses that pull back deeply into the front fenders. Soft-glow LEDs frame the multi-faceted headlights. Mounted low and at the far corners of the nose are sleek LED daytime running lamps and LED fog lights. Similar use of LED technology can be found at the rear of the K900. The trapezoid taillights offer defused LEDs for the brakes and bright LEDs for the turn signals. A tasteful chrome bezel cuts high across the K900’s standard powered rear deck lid, adding elegance and lending visual width. The standard power and heated rearview mirrors integrate auto dimming, LED turn signal indicators and Blind Spot Detection System (BSD) in a smooth, aerodynamic form that helps reduce wind noise. The rear bumper is accented with fully integrated, dual chrome-tipped exhaust ports that mimic the shape of the taillights.

INTERIOR

Open the door to the all-new K900 and the same sense of elegant sophistication can be found within the luxuriously appointed cabin. The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel is substantial and features controls for audio, cruise control, entertainment and vehicle information. A heated wheel is available on the V6 and standard on the V8. Standard high-grade leather is found throughout the cabin on the V6, which can also be optioned with soft Nappa leather in black or white with contrasting piping. The V8 K900 arrives with standard Nappa leather. Soft-hue LED interior illumination is standard across the K900 line. Genuine walnut (with black Nappa leather) or poplar (with white Nappa leather) wood trim sweeps across the dash and door panels, beautifully complementing the richness of the interior and is available on the V6 and standard on the V8. A 12-way adjustable driver’s seat, including power lumbar support, is standard on both the V6 Premium and V8 Luxury models, and a 16-way power adjusted driver’s seat features power headrests and cushion extender for added thigh support as part of the V6 Technology Package and the V8 VIP Package. The front seats feature standard multi-stage heating and ventilation for individualized comfort in all climates.

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Car Review: 2014 Lexus IS 250 F-Sport Convertible

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When you have a sleek luxury coupe with a hardtop that transforms it into a convertible in 20 seconds, a choice of 204-hp or 306-hp V6 engines, F-SPORT Package with 18-inch wheels and tuned suspension and Lexus Enform multimedia and Mark Levinson audio, all you can do is say “bring it on.” We drove a 2014 Lexus IS 250 F-Sport Convertible in beautiful September weather in Northeast Ohio and the days all got just a little brighter!

EXTERIOR

The IS 250 C model cuts a sharp profile, which looks sharper still with the addition of the available F-SPORT package as tested. This package’s combination of sport-tuned suspension, F-SPORT 18-inch wheels, exclusive interior trim and aerodynamic body features give the IS C models a decidedly sporty stance, with enhanced agility to match. Additional F-SPORT Performance Accessories available for the IS C models include 19-inch forged alloy wheels, suspension and brake upgrades, air intake, exhaust systems and more.

Just 20 seconds separates coupe from convertible worlds in the 2014 Lexus IS C models. That’s how long it takes for the three-panel aluminum roof to lower once the driver has pushed the switch. The coupe’s retractable hardtop disappears beneath a locking panel, with no need for the driver to secure a tonneau cover or hold-down snaps. Constructed primarily of lightweight aluminum, the retractable hardtop features an automatic front lock assembly that provides the interior security not found in most soft-top convertibles. When the top is stowed, a lock assembly engages to keep the panel in a fixed, stable position. Lexus ensured smooth, low-noise roof operation by using a lightweight aluminum four-link design. The roof even closes quietly, thanks to a roof-speed brake system that slows the roof as it approaches the end of the closing operation.

When the IS C is equipped with the available Intuitive Park Assist (IPA), roof operation will stop if an obstacle that might interfere with operation is detected behind the car. The driver will get an audible warning, and a warning light illuminates in the instrument panel. This is a sight to see and guaranteed you’ll have folks that will want to see it open and close in awe! When the hardtop drops, this car becomes one of the most attention-getting vehicles we drove this year!

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