Tag Archives: turbocharged

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription

Volvo XC90 not mainstream, not good with detailsvolvo3

Volvo has never been mainstream and it’s not about to start now.

Its new XC90 crossover that replaces a quite dated crossover of the same name is a high-end luxury vehicle that offers typical Volvo safety and substance, but drops the ball on a variety of details.

First, know that Volvos are still made in Sweden, but the company now is owned by Geely, a Chinese carmaker. That hasn’t seemed to hurt, or help, Volvo, which continues to do things its own unique way. For instance, the keyless start system is a switch you rotate on the console, sort of like you would turn a key. Most folks now offer a push button.

Different can be better, and the giant (12.3-inch) iPad-like navigation/radio/information screen mid-dash would be one of those ways. It’s large and you slide the screen to other settings with your finger. That’s where you can adjust many of the crossover’s individualized functions, plus the radio and navigation screen.

Good also is the high-powered Drive-E engine, which is the first engine I’ve ever encountered that is both supercharged AND turbocharged. The result is a hefty 316 horsepower and equally peppy torque rating. Continue reading 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription

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2015 Audi S3 2.0T quattro S tronic

Audi’s S3 sportier than A3, but much costlier and turbo still lags audiS3a

I drove and enjoyed the Audi A3 with a turbo diesel a few weeks back and told myself I’d be ecstatic with the sportier looking and driving S3 this week. I wasn’t wrong, I still liked the S3, but I was less enthusiastic than I’d imagined. Here’s why.

First, the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine has the same major turbo lag as the diesel. I thought it would be much smoother, but no, it still takes 2-3 seconds from pressing the accelerator hard until the turbo spools up enough to give the small Audi a kick in the tail end. When it does, the S3 is a little driver-guided missile. Torque is a massive 280 ft.-lbs., and horsepower is an equally impressive 292.

You’d think that would kick your fuel mileage in the gas, but I got a very reasonable 27.6 mpg in about 60% city driving and 40% highway. Sadly the S3 drinks premium fuel, but the car is rated 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

audiS3 front Ride was on the stiff side in the A3, but this Premium Plus model with the Prestige package ($5,900) and 19-inch performance tire package ($1,500) was no better and weighed 275 lbs. more than the A3. Ride was sporty, but could be pretty abrupt over crumbling area cement street surfaces. It was calm and fine on the highways. Continue reading 2015 Audi S3 2.0T quattro S tronic

2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI S 4-Door

New VW Golf looks old, feels newgolf2

There’s a saying about everything old being new again, and the reworked 2015 Volkswagen Golf is a sterling example.

The Golf and Rabbit hatchbacks have been sold by VW since 1974, this latest iteration being the seventh generation. Toyota’s Corolla is one of the few competitors to be around longer, it launching in 1966.

Still, the essence, the useful four-door hatchback that’s fun to drive remains the same for Golf. And while its lines have been tweaked a bit and the car stretched by 2.1 inches, you’ll have no trouble picking out of a crowd. Golf looks like a Golf, for better or worse.

That’s a matter of taste, but from a performance standpoint, the Golf is easily one of the more fun compacts on the road. Handling and ride are as good as, or better, than most of its competitors, and it has a lot of worthy competitors, such as the Mazda3, which also is a delight.

Golf is just flat out fun to drive. Its steering is light and easy, helped by the car’s modest 2,963 lbs., about 79 lbs. lighter than the previous Golf. The car also is responsive so you can toss this hatch into a corner at speed and feel good about it.

There is precious little body roll and Golf’s front-drive layout helps it track well through a corner, while the electrically assisted steering is speed variable, so firms as you hit the highway. Naturally we’re not racing these, but you feel sporty in the Golf and more importantly on Wisconsin’s deteriorating roads, the car handles and rides well over bumps. This is what surprised me most. Continue reading 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI S 4-Door

2013 Lincoln MKZ AWD

New Lincoln MKZ‘s crisp style shows flair, staying power

More than three years have passed since I last tested a Lincoln, which tells you a lot about how stagnant Lincoln’s lineup has been.

The Lincoln at least has a nose you might recognize again when you see it.
The Lincoln at least has a nose you might recognize again when you see it.

Lincolns have been little more that gussied up Fords for some time, but that may be changing as Lincoln gets serious about competing with a surging Cadillac and the bevy of luxury makes from Lexus to Mercedes-Benz.

The new dark metallic blue gray (smoke quartz) Lincoln MKZ AWD I just tested is a big step forward. It looks and feels luxurious and is about two light years more refined than any Town Car or Continental of bygone days.

Styling is crisp with a wingspread grille and thin taillights that deliver a flair that sets the Lincoln apart from other makes. Once you’ve seen one, you’ll recognize its looks, and there are a lot of luxury cars that blend in these days. This one has some styling staying power.

Riding on a 112.2-inch wheelbase it also has some interior room and comfort. Four adults fit easily and the trunk is a generous 15.0 cubic feet.

What got me is how much fun this 2.0-liter, direct-injected, intercooled turbocharged I4 engine is. It develops 240 horsepower and you feel it every time you mash the gas pedal. Cruising around town the car delivers silky smooth power and barely noticeable shifts from the 6-speed automatic. Decide to pass on the highway, or demand some ponies to hit highway speeds and the MKZ responds with vigor. Continue reading 2013 Lincoln MKZ AWD

2013 Ford Escape Titanium 4WD

Titanium edition pricy as a near premium small ute

Let’s start with the shocking part, the price. The tested Ford Escape listed at $34,735.2013 Ford Escape

Granted this IS the top-of-the-line 2013 Escape Titanium 4WD, but that price is near premium small-ute territory, one where you expect a luxury nameplate. By adding the Titanium moniker it means you get a LOAD of tech features and the horsy 2.0-liter GTDI I4 EcoBoost engine that cranks an impressive 237 hp.

EcoBoost is a turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers monster power and normally delivers better gas mileage than a V6 with equivalent power. That may be, much of the time, but I got a ho-hum 20.5 mpg in about 60% city driving. The EPA has rated this model at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, so I expected better. Continue reading 2013 Ford Escape Titanium 4WD