In The Hopper

My column in the Tracy Press is supposed to be about once a month. Sometimes it's more often; sometimes less frequent. It's a small town weekly with all the attendant space limitations. With that in mind I thought I'd list the articles that have been submitted and awaiting publication. The editor gets to decide what to run so not all will end up in the Tracy Press.

2017 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Inscription

I can’t say that I’d buy a new Volvo. I simply can’t afford one. But I did like the XC60. I might prefer a V60 wagon, it’s more my style. If you want or need an SUV and you don’t want one of the truck based ones the XC60 is worth a look.

2017 Toyota Corolla iM

I’ll jump right in with two things I absolutely loved about the iM – the paint and the front seats. Toyota calls the paint color Electric Storm Blue; I call it gorgeous. I’m a sucker for a blue like this. The front seats are just about the most comfortable seats I’ve sat in. They’re nothing special; no zillion electric adjustments. But they fit my body perfectly. I thought about stealing them for my Ranchero but figured Toyota might notice them missing when I returned the iM.

2017 VW Tiguan 2.0T S

Okay it’s time to rant about the nanny features. Oh wait, there really weren’t any! VW evidently believes people should drive the car not the other way around. Yes there are safety features. The normal ones are all there – air bags everywhere, backup camera, ABS, Electronic Stability Control – but nothing that felt intrusive.

2017 Ford F250 Super Duty 4X4 Crew Cab

Now for a stunner – Although Ford doesn’t give fuel economy figures I can tell you that I saw 18 mpg on a drive to San Ramon through some rush-hour traffic. I have no doubt that at a steady 65-70 mph I could have easily seen 20 mpg!

2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland

The 2017 Cherokee is a perfect example of technology at its best. Even just ten years ago who would have believed that a 2-ton, 271-hp, 4WD vehicle would be capable of 28-mpg? That’s technology at work folks.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited

I admit it I’m not a prospective minivan customer. But if I think of the Pacifica as a tall station wagon I can envision myself in one. The driving position, sitting up relatively high with a short nose, is relaxing. The seats, except the most rearward ones, are easy to get in and out of. There are two normal front doors, two electric sliding side doors, and the power tailgate. The front seats are ventilated as well as heated, something that is appreciated on hot, sweaty days.

2017 Fiat 500e

All in all I am in favor of electric vehicles. They definitely have a place. When I was working, and my commute was just over 30 miles each way, I would have been a candidate for an electric vehicle like the 500e. If all I did was drive around Tracy a 500e would be great. But I venture further afield and I can’t afford to own a (or another) part-time car.


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