Tag Archives: 2015

First Drive Review- 2015 Ford Mustang

Since 1964 the Ford Mustang has been the quintessential affordable American muscle car. 2015 marks the newest generation of Ford’s most muscular car and underneath the new sheet metal, and new sexy curves, lies some controversial working bits.

In addition to the spicy 5.0 V8 GT and the mild-sauce 3.7L V6, which have been offered in Mustangs for years, the new generation includes the option of a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder. This is where the controversy lies, most die-hard muscle car fans will scoff at the idea of a turbo four planted underneath the same body as their fire-breathing 5.0 V8. The move to a hot turbo four is not surprising, with C.A.F.E. (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations getting tighter and tighter, auto manufacturers have to find ways to satisfy the government, the environment, and the consumers- which all have different interests.

The previous body style began in 2010 and was a seemingly natural progression from years past. Interior quality was nothing too special, and saying the media interface was dated would be an understatement.

The new Mustang however, is a no-detail-overlooked, finely crafted, more mature interpretation of Ford’s muscle heritage. The interior, especially on Premium trim levels, showcases all of Ford’s current technology and high-quality materials. Each Mustang now features keyless push-button ignition, Premium trim levels get the huge touch-screen interface, which is much appreciated and really updates the cabin. All Mustangs get a backup camera as standard, which is something every car in this class should have, in my opinion. GT models have adjustable driver modes, which connect to the new Electric Power Assist steering, which replaces a hydraulic assist unit, which most will argue gives the steering a more hefty, and organic feel. The GT Performance Package adds Brembo 6-piston fixed calipers, unique Traction control tuning and chassis tuning, and special bracing and suspension components.

The leather is smooth, soft-grain and seems durable. Seats are bolstered adequately, but are comfortable.  Everything in the interior feels well put together, but the doors don’t create a supple yet solid thud I expect from every new car built this year.

The styling is a more modern interpretation of the Mustang form, but still calls heritage to many strong body lines. Ford design has been suspiciously Aston Martin-esque ever since the Fusion’s redesign a few years ago. In my opinion, it is a smart move on Ford’s part, it almost implies quality.

The 6-speed manual transmission may just be my new favorite manual transmission (previously 6-speed from the SRT Challenger). The clutch grabs low on the pedal travel, isn’t too limp nor too stiff, and the detents in the shifter make gear shifts feel confident and solid.

All in all, the new retro-muscle offering from Ford is a stellar competitor to the recently updated Challenger, and the Camaro. I expect the new model to outsell it’s cheaper predecessor, and outsell the competition.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned to see reviews of Acura’s lineup and some luxury offerings from Infiniti.

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First Drive Review- 2015 Acura TLX Advance

Acura has had a plethora of sedans in their lineup for years now, ranging from the TSX to the TL to the RLX. For the 2015 model year they chose to combine their two smaller sedans, the TSX and TL into one all-new model- the TLX. The new model is cleanly styled, packed with tech, trimmed with high-quality materials, and is surprisingly affordable. The base 4-cylinder model starts at just under $31k while the range topping 3.5L V6 SH-AWD Advance w/ P-AWS starts at just under $45k. There are seven exterior colors and four interior colors to choose from, as well as Technology and Advance packages available for both engine and transmission choices. Speaking of powertrains, Acura has refreshed their offerings by giving buyers the choice of either a 2.4L I4 mated to an 8-speed Dual-Clutch Automatic, or a 3.5L V6 paired to a 9-speed Automatic- thats right- NINE forward gears all of which are controlled through buttons in the dash as opposed to a more conventional lever, and power is fed to either the front wheels, or through Acura’s SH-AWD system to all four.

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The EPA rates the FWD 4-cylinder model at 24MPG city and 35MPG highway, while a SH-AWD V6 will net you 21 city and 31 highway.

At first glance, the exterior styling is very typical Acura- clean, modern, classy, and still sporting their controversial “beak” grille.

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The size is a good combination of it’s predecessors, and interior space is abundant for the average sized human. 10-way adjustable driver’s seat means the pilot can find the perfect position. Rear seat room is more than sufficient for long trips and offer 60-40 folding capabilities if you like to replace people with cargo.

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Interior appointments are high-quality and newly refreshed for 2015. As mentioned before, there are 4 different leather colors to choose from (some may be only available with specific exterior colors)

Ebony

 

 

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Parchment

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Espresso

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Graystone

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The Advance Package includes navigation, backup camera, ELS Surround Sound system, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and remote engine start (included in keyless fob) The engagement of remote start takes longer than other vehicles in it’s class.

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The steering feel is very organic, and feels very direct. The steering wheel is on the thicker side, and is wrapped in silky smooth soft grain leather. The suspension is tuned perfectly for this vehicle and feels very planted and reacts to bumps with complete control and adjustable dampeners do a stellar job at keeping the ride smooth and taut.

New for this class from Acura is the addition of P-AWS, or Precision-All Wheel Steer. P-AWS is a system that can allow the rear wheels to adjust toe angles independently, this adjustment allows the TLX to handle twisty roads with complete control. Available on Acuras for a few years now, IDS, or Integrated Dynamics System, allows the driver to choose from Economy, Normal, Sport, and Sport+. Each setting provides changes to transmission shift points, throttle response, suspension firmness, and steering feel.

If you’re in the market for a luxury mid-size sedan, have a driving enthusiast that lives somewhere in your heart, and enjoys more understated styling- the TLX is the sedan for you.

Feel free to ask me any questions about the TLX or anything in general. Thanks for reading.