Wednesday, March 30, 2016

2016 Western Automotive Journalists' Media Days

I just spent three days in and around Monterey, CA playing with cars. Below are pictures I took of some of the press cars available. I didn't get to drive them all and I didn't drive any on the track at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca thanks to a bum rotator cuff that severely limits the range of movement in my left shoulder. The cars I did drive on the road are starred, have a short synopsis of my thoughts and in most cases the suggested starting MSRP is given.

*2016 Nissan Titan XD Platinum Reserve (see comments further down)
Jaguar F-Type S Convertible - $82,200
2016 Shelby GT350 R - $61,295
2016 Cadillac CTS-V - $83,995
2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road - $30,765
*2016 Camaro 2SS - $41,300
*2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club - $28,600
2016 Corvette Z07 - $79,400
2016 Ram Rebel - $43,270
2016 Viper ACR & Viper - $120,895 & $89,995
2017 Acura NSX - $168,400
2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider - $65,900
*2016 Nissan Titan XD Reserve - One shouldn't judge a vehicle on a short drive but if the Titan XD is even close to this one Nissan has a hit on their hands. It has a 5.0-liter V8 Cummins Diesel. This specific truck was fully loaded and cost $63,270, just about $23,000 over the lowest MSRP. I am champing at the bit to get one for a full week.
*2016 VW Beetle Dune Convertible. Not too much information of this preproduction model. Nice driving car but it didn't excite me.
*2016 Ford Mustang GT Convertible. What can I say? It's a Mustang, it's got a V8 and a manual transmission. I'm not a big fan of convertibles and the color isn't to my liking but it's a V8 Ford. Base price is $41,895,
That's me smiling. 

*2016 Range Rover Sport HSETd6 - I'll be honest, I didn't even know this was a diesel until I looked at the specs provided. I have mixed feelings about Range Rovers and Land Rovers. On one hand they are excellent extreme weather and off-road vehicles. On the other hand quite often their owners are pompous asses. With a base of $71,450 and an out the door price of $84,260 this was one expensive off-roader.
 
*2016 Mazda X-5 Miata Club - Nadine's favorite and mine too. It's hardly the most powerful but it was just plain fun. Who can't use a car that puts a smile on your face? A base price of $28,600 and out the door of $32,820. But what price is happiness?
*2016 Honda Civic Coupe. Great fuel economy (38 highway), low starting price ($19,050) and traditional Honda reliability. But as forgettable as they come.  
*2016 Camaro 2SS - There is no doubt the car moves out. We were told that the new Camaro SS is 200 lbs lighter than last year. I didn't notice; it still feels heavy to me. Chevy fans will love it and the rivalry with Mustang is stuff of legends. The argument continues. $46,095 as it sits.
2017 Ram Power Wagon - Okay I didn't drive this. Because of my shoulder FCA spokesperson Scott Brown drove us through the Land Rover Off-Road Experience. The Power Wagon is a big truck and it felt tight when deep in the woods but it never even came close to getting stuck. No price yet but if you need a big truck with off-road capabilities this will do the trick.
*2016 Buick Cascada Premium - I think our least favorite car. It wasn't a bad car it just lacked pizzaz. At $36,990 it needs some excitment.
*2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - The RAV4 is the right size SUV if you ask me. Like most current Hybrids you'd never know it's a hybrid if no one told you. Not too pricey at $34,874.
*This is the last vehicle I drove, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. I'm not sure why Chrysler decided to use the Pacifica name but it's a nice mini-van. The nose has a family look. This up market version was really nice inside. Another vehicle I hope to get for a week when it's available.

All in all it was a good couple of days. A huge thanks to the auto makers who brought cars. Alphabetically they were Acura, Alfa Romeo, Buick, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ram, Subaru, Scion, Toyota, Volvo, and Volkswagen.

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