Car Review: 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

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Honda didn’t hold back when redesigning the 2014 Odyssey, which would have been a safe play, but instead swung for the fences in design and function. We had the opportunity to test the striking 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite while taking a long road trip with six adult-sized passengers (including the driver) to find out what this people mover had to offer. Honda reinforced and expanded upon the vehicle’s already great features, including the exceptional value for money that already defines the Odyssey for its target buyer, which is Gen X and Gen Y families.

EXTERIOR

Refined and youthful, sporty and advanced, the Odyssey’s refreshed styling adds new premium elements for 2014. The 2014 Odyssey features sleeker, more sophisticated exterior styling with a new, more deeply sculpted aluminum hood, new aluminum front fenders, a new bolder twin-bar grille and a revised lower front fascia with integrated chrome-trimmed fog lights. New two-tone mirror housings, darker-finish projector-beam headlight housings, LED taillight bars and new badging add to the 2014 Odyssey’s premium look. Other notable exterior highlights include new black-trimmed headlights, new available fog lights and black-surround grille for an upscale appearance. New body-color matched side mirrors and additional bright chrome trim add to the premium appearance. New rear styling and LED taillights with clear lenses and eye-catching perimeter “light pipes” add to the polished look.

Weight savings come from the use of aluminum for the hood, front fenders and front suspension lower control arms. The 2014 Odyssey EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite models have a wiper-linked headlight system that automatically turns on the headlights when the front wipers are activated. In addition, new standard one-touch turn signals improve convenience for the driver when making routine lane changes. With this system, one flick of the turn-signal lever provides three blinks of the turn signals – ideal for changing lanes. Pressing the lever past the “click point” provides continuous blinking. A new keyless entry system with push button start on EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite allows the driver to approach the vehicle, open the door and start the engine, all without touching a key. The system only requires the driver have possession of the key fob. The system also simplifies opening the sliding side doors and tailgate; locking all doors when leaving the vehicle requires only touching the lock button on any door handle. We were also impressed with the Odyssey’s power moon roof with tilt feature, 18-inch x 7-inch alloy wheels, blind spot information system, front and rear parking sensors, dual power sliding doors, power tailgate, expanded view drivers mirror and heated power door mirrors with turn indicators. Together, the 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite has a look all to her own and really doesn’t reveal how much space is inside this modern machine because of the sleek skin and aerodynamic design.

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INTERIOR

There is that “wow’ factor when you first enter the 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite with the enormous amount of cabin space, including the untouchable storage area behind the third-row seating. Inside the 2014 Odyssey, new finishes brighten the cabin and an all-new center stack showcases a host of new features. Additional standard technology on the Odyssey Touring Elite brings new levels of ease and connectivity to owners, including keyless Smart Entry with Push Button Start, HD Radio, an SMS text messaging function and HondaLink featuring Aha Mobile interface. HondaLink, which debuted on the 2013 Honda Accord, enables Odyssey owners to connect quickly and easily to a wealth of cloud-based content. The free HondaLink smartphone app uses the owner’s favorite online content to create live, personalized radio stations, allowing drivers to put away their phones and hear updates and news feeds, as well as check out restaurant reviews.

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Car Review: 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR

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It’s not easy to pack the punch of a sports car into a four-door sedan while keeping the price reasonable for the general public. But Mitsubishi did just that with the 2014 Lancer Evolution GSR, and after a week of testing, there is no doubt that the Lancer Evolution can run the streets with the best of them out there!

EXTERIOR

The large, rear wing spoiler on the 2014 Lancer Evolution GSR is definitely old school and adds so much style with something so simple. But so much of what you see on the Lancer Evolution GSR isn’t just for looks, but for performance as well. Further aiding the tractability cause is a set of highly adhesive 245/40R18 low-profile Yokohama Advan asymmetrical performance tires clad to lightweight 18-in. x 8.5-in. wheels with the Lancer Evolution GSR model wearing Enkei cast-alloy rims. Also adding to the sleek exterior are flared fenders, aluminum roof panel, aluminum front fenders with vents and aluminum hood with hear extractor vents.

INTERIOR

The best way to describe the interior of the 2014 Lancer Evolution GSR is modern with no frills! That’s not to say that the latest technology and comfort features aren’t present, but even with all of those extras, there is no mistaken that this car is about performance. Our test model was loaded with recaro black leather seats, power glass sunroof, heated front seats, center console upgrade, sound dampening enhancement, auto A/C with micron filter, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, high contrast sport meter gauges, color multi-information display, steering wheel-mounted cruise control and audio switches, 6.1-inch touchscreen display audio and Fuse hands-free link system with USB port. The seats are strong, but being the larger person that I am, they felt a bit small and uncomfortable at times.

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Land Rover set to launch electric vehicles

If you’ve been impressed with the latest hybrid technologies from supercar manufacturers like McLaren, Porsche, and Ferrari, and the on-going electric efforts of Tesla, then you might be wondering why electric cars aren’t yet the norm. After all, they offer emission free driving, considerable savings in fuel, and a unique driving experience with maximum torque available from 0 rpm.

Well, the reason they’re not the norm yet is simple – charging points are not common enough, and even with a Government incentive, electric cars cost a lot of money. Even hybrids usually top the range.

All of that will change eventually, though, or rather, it has to, as our planet is running out of resources for us to use. Thankfully, almost all automotive manufacturers are investing in next-generation technologies, and Jaguar Land Rover is one of them.

Jaguar Land Rover will produce zero emission electric vehicles within the next decade, with power trains that will trickle down through the Land Rover and Range Rover brands. Currently, Jaguar Land Rover’s fleet emissions aren’t spectacular, as the engines that power their cars are above 2.0-litres and have a fair bit of weight to pull. The way Jaguar Land Rover sees it, hybrid vehicles will much more common across the next decade.

“This is an area that is especially important for manufacturers that do premium cars as in this class you can afford more sophisticated solutions that cost more money, but are not affordable in the mass market,” Dr Ziebart, group engineering director of Jaguar Land Rover, said last year at the Geneva Motor Show.

“And I personally think that the hybrid drive will become the dominant drive train in the upper vehicle classes,” he explained. “I cannot say too much but we are observing the market (electric vehicles) carefully. There is a market that is much more relevant to us as the second or third vehicle in the family, and it makes sense to have an alternative drive train or electric car to compliment the first car in the family.”

Farnell Land Rover is extremely excited about the future of motoring, and the technologies that the Jaguar Land Rover engineering department are working on.

The first electric Land Rover Defender placed at the Eden project in October 2013 is one such example of why Farnell are excited. This electric Defender effortlessly towed a 12-tonne road train and performed all of its tests fantastically. And, in recent tests, the Range Rover Hybrid scored extremely well, with reviewers praising the car for its refinement, pace, and off-road abilities. The hybrid Range Rover offers an 18% improvement in fuel consumption over regular models, which might not sound like much, but in a big car like a Range Rover, the savings soon add up.

The long-term future isn’t about hybrids though, it’s about electric vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover is working hard on developing this technology, but it is not a practical method of motoring just yet, except for motorists who travel very little.

  

Driving a Porsche from the Hertz Dream Collection

It had been yet another long week of cold 20-degree weather and snow. Spring and warm sunny days seemed to be a cruel fantasy. The cold had me stalking the house, grumbling and moody, to the point where the dogs just stayed out of my way. Then my savior came in the form of an email: “Hey, are you available to go to Florida for four days to attend Porsche and Hertz’s press trip to Sebring?” You’re damn right I was!

It was a system shock: leaving cold and snowy Cleveland, and two hours later deplaning in sunny Orlando. Hertz had provided a beautiful black 2014 Porsche Cayman coupe for my stay. It was my first time behind the wheel of the new Cayman. Like all Porsches, it was fast, drove like a slot car, and made me feel like a race car driver on holiday. I got several compliments on my car during my stay in Florida. I felt a bit guilty. After all, it wasn’t my car. Buy a shiny black Porsche if you want to be a mini-celebrity.

This highlights the Hertz’s Dream Car collection, where any citizen with a credit card can rent for the weekend a series of highly desirable super cars. Depending on the location, Porsches, Ferraris and even Lamborghinis are available for hire for the right price. Hertz has a long history of loaning out the era’s fastest cars. In the ‘60s, the famous Shelby GT350H “Rent-a-Racer” could be had for a weekend on the track. The Dream Car is a modern interpretation of that idea.

Of all the makes in the Dream Car collection, Porsche and Hertz seem to be the best-suited partnership. Porsches are driver’s cars that have a unique quality in supercars: they’re comfortable and practical, which make them great rental vehicles. Both Porsche and Hertz focus on the driver’s experience. Renting a Porsche for the weekend gives you a luxury car that’s designed to be driven, not coddled and babied like some of the Italian ilk.

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Car Review: 2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport

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The 2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport grabs your attention from the moment you first see it and kept our attention throughout the one-week test drive. The third-generation 2014 IS sport sedan features a bold design highlighted by the new dynamic signature spindle grille and for the first time separated LED Daytime Running Lights which are as cool as any on the road today. A combination of “aggressive elegance,” a more powerful road presence and a stronger brand identity help make the new IS models more alluring than ever.

EXTERIOR

The available F SPORT package as tested included unique 18-inch wheels with ultra-white paint that made a bonafied first impression on all that gave us feedback. Some notables that played key roles in the good-looking IS 250 F Sport was the further evolution of the spindle grille from the GS and LS models, featuring a more three-dimensional design with a chrome-plated frame and darker gray insert from top to bottom, standard HID low/high beam headlamps with LED DRLs and available twin projector LED low/ high beam headlamps, F SPORT exclusive colors (Ultra White, Ultrasonic Blue Mica, Obsidian and Matador Red Mica), and a wheelbase that has been increased by nearly three inches. Width has been increased by nearly half an inch for an aggressive stance.

INTERIOR

This isn’t your father’s Lexus, as the IS 250 AWD F Sport has the attitude of a premium sports car with the functionality of the smartest luxury sedan all wrapped into one superb interior space. The driver can appreciate improved seating position and headroom, while the rear seat offers significantly improved roominess, ingress and egress. Separating the shocks from the springs results in a larger trunk as well.

New luxuries abound in the 2014 Lexus IS. A high-efficiency dual-zone climate control system uses new, touch-sensitive electrostatic temperature switches. The IS offers two multimedia systems: a standard high-resolution Lexus Display Audio (LDA) with controller or the optional Lexus navigation system. The navigation system is operated via a second-generation Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) multi-function control device, which also allows control of the climate, audio, phone controls and more. New interior design with LFA-inspired, driver-focused cockpit and enhanced rear seat roominess and luggage capacity earned high marks from drivers and passengers alike.

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