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    Originally posted by 93Flareside View Post
    The camera is an unnecessary feature for someone like me who was taught to turn and look behind you when backing up.
    Doing that (while reversing and turning) is a good way of not noticing when you're about to hit something with your front corner. I prefer to use the mirrors, personally.

    I don't have a camera, but I do have rear parking sensors. They came with the car, I didn't spec it. I thought it was an unnecessary option until I got used to having them.
    2014 Opel Insignia Country Tourer Biturbo CDTI 4x4
    For once I don't have the same car as everyone else.

    Comment


      Reverse camera is something I didn't believe in until I tried it. It's quite useful.

      Comment


        Originally posted by thevictor390 View Post
        Reverse camera is something I didn't believe in until I tried it. It's quite useful.
        This. All of my coworkers have cars with reversing cameras and I could see how they'd be useful.
        "The way I see it a car enthusiast is somebody who is enthusiastic and interested about the motor car in all its various shapes and forms from supercars to East German 2-strokes made of cardboard. Everyone else is merely a car elitist IMO." ~ Captain 70's

        Get out of my way! I have photocopiers to sell! ~ Perc

        "A computer is a Lite-Brite for bad fucking ideas."

        FinalGear's Dash-Stroking Whore

        Comment


          I have no problem parallel parking and reversing without any kind of aids but having the beeper is still damn handy. I bet I would get used to having a camera really quickly too, but I always just use the mirrors. This, in turn, is why I hate cars with tiny mirrors. Can't see shit.
          2014 Opel Insignia Country Tourer Biturbo CDTI 4x4
          For once I don't have the same car as everyone else.

          Comment


            Is backing a car up so difficult that a camera is needed?
            1993 Ford F-150 Flareside - July 2010 - August 2013
            2004 Ford Mustang - September 2013 - February 2018
            1987 Mercury Colony Park GS - August 2015 - Present
            2003 EZGO TXT - March 2015 - Present (it's road legal!)
            2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI 6-Speed (February 2018 - Present)

            Comment


              Not in a normal car, no... but I'm all for having things that make life easier. It's not like a backup camera takes anything away from the driving experience, or whatever it is that manual transmission advocates like to point out every time the discussion is brought up.
              2014 Opel Insignia Country Tourer Biturbo CDTI 4x4
              For once I don't have the same car as everyone else.

              Comment


                Yes it does. It forces you to have a full color display on the dash that has to be shut off at night. But! If you need to adjust the radio, the display has to be turned back on.
                1993 Ford F-150 Flareside - July 2010 - August 2013
                2004 Ford Mustang - September 2013 - February 2018
                1987 Mercury Colony Park GS - August 2015 - Present
                2003 EZGO TXT - March 2015 - Present (it's road legal!)
                2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI 6-Speed (February 2018 - Present)

                Comment


                  I had a loaner Toyota Auris with a backup cam for a week and the display didn't bother me.
                  And I adjust the radio via buttons on the steering wheel, for that matter.
                  2014 Opel Insignia Country Tourer Biturbo CDTI 4x4
                  For once I don't have the same car as everyone else.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by 93Flareside View Post
                    Yes it does. It forces you to have a full color display on the dash that has to be shut off at night. But! If you need to adjust the radio, the display has to be turned back on.
                    My coworker's outback places the camera in the rearview mirror. It doesn't have a color radio display at all.

                    There's also cars with annoying rear windows. They're either too small or poorly shaped.

                    Sedans with swoopy rooflines and high decklids mean you're looking up at the sky and maybe the upper half of CUV's across the parking lot while reversing. The original "Cloud Cars" were some of the first that I noticed this in, having driven a Chrysler Cirrus before.
                    Last edited by rickhamilton620; July 17th, 2015, 7:39 PM.
                    "The way I see it a car enthusiast is somebody who is enthusiastic and interested about the motor car in all its various shapes and forms from supercars to East German 2-strokes made of cardboard. Everyone else is merely a car elitist IMO." ~ Captain 70's

                    Get out of my way! I have photocopiers to sell! ~ Perc

                    "A computer is a Lite-Brite for bad fucking ideas."

                    FinalGear's Dash-Stroking Whore

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by 93Flareside View Post
                      Is backing a car up so difficult that a camera is needed?

                      For somebody like me that has neck and back problems, it sure is nice. Plus, when hitching up a trailer, I get it spot on every time.
                      "I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating" -Boss Tweed

                      We’ve gone from 'Hope and Change' to 'Hope and Change Your Story.' -Bill Maher

                      Comment


                        My dad's 2014 Silverado has a backup camera. It's very handy for hitching up to a trailer, not much else though.

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by CraigB View Post
                          My dad's 2014 Silverado has a backup camera. It's very handy for hitching up to a trailer, not much else though.
                          Not much else?! If you can't see where the tow bar ends when reversing to a trailer, how do you know where it ends when parking? I couldn't reverse park my Hilux against another car unless the space was massive until I got a camera, now I can squeeze in to tiny spots (for the car) and I know exactly how far I can go back. Maybe car parks are tighter here but I use it every day in situations which would otherwise leave me doing eleven-teen point turns or not attempting to park in smaller spaces.

                          If it's not something as tall as the truck, the front of the car behind disappears very early into the reversing process. Especially if it's a low car I can't tell from the drivers seat whether I'm two metres from the car behind or two centimetres.

                          Comment


                            Parking here isn't that difficult. There's always an open spot and parallel parking is not usually required, even in a city center.

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by CraigB View Post
                              Parking here isn't that difficult. There's always an open spot and parallel parking is not usually required, even in a city center.
                              Yeah, where I live its parallel street parking among other people who can't use space efficiently, or paying through the nose to use a multi storey car park.

                              Comment


                                2015 Ford Escape (Kuga) SE 1.6L EcoBoost AWD








                                In short, it's just a tall Ford Focus.

                                Details?

                                Well...it is more versatile than a Focus.






                                Being a crossover, it offers more interior space thanks to the higher roof line. This means there is room for a more upright/office-chair like seating position. The result is that the front seats are usually set up a little closer to the dashboard/firewall than in a (relatively) low-slung car. This frees up some leg space for the rear seats to use. Throwing some numbers into this, despite being about 0.4" shorter than a Focus sedan, the Escape offers better rear legroom (33.2" vs 37.3") while still having more cargo space. And if you need to carry even more cargo, the rear seats fold (almost) completely flat. As a bonus, you don't actually have to remove the rear headrests to fold the seats down, unlike in the Focus. Just push the little button on the side and they fold down, then you pull the lever on the side of the seat cushion and the rear seat goes down. Rear seat is also split 60/40.





                                So as much as I knock crossovers, I can see why they're popular with families. Hatchbacks can't really compete when it comes to carrying 5 full-size adults and their luggage. That said, comparing a small hatchback to a crossover and see who wins in people/cargo carrying abilities is not exactly fair. A better comparison would be with the Focus wagon/estate (sadly we don't get it here) or, even better, Transit Connect Wagon (another Focus sibling). PelicanHazard and I got to poke around one at the Ford EcoBoost challenge a little while back. In terms of versatility, the Transit definitely wins against the Escape. Sadly, part of the reason why crossovers like the Escape still win the sales numbers is because there's an image issue. Americans are generally still stuck in the 1990s and see minivans/MPVs and wagons as lame, soccer-mom mobiles, even though the crossover/SUV REALLY owns that title these days.

                                And there's also the "But I need four-wheel-drive!" excuse some people hide behind when purchasing the family school bus...


                                Anways, what is the Ess-Kah-Pay (sorry, I had to) like to drive?

                                Well, as I said at the beginning, it feels like a tall Focus.


                                WARNING: Comparisons with my very own Focus lie beyond this point! There might be some bias and poorly-placed assumptions.

                                You've been warned...





                                As far as ride comfort and road manners are concerned, it's almost exactly the same as my Focus. Suspension is somewhat firm ("sporty"), so you do feel all the bumps, but it's not uncomfortable or painful in anyway, unless you hit a massive pot hole. "Informative" would probably be how Top Gear would (have) described it. Now, the suspension may not be entirely at fault here, as this particular Escape came with Continental ContiProContact tires which I previously had on my Focus as well. These tires are known to be somewhat firm. Still, being a vehicle that sits higher off the ground, I would have expected the suspension to be just a bit softer. The seats were also a bit on the firm side and didn't do much to absorb the impacts the suspension couldn't.

                                On the plus side, the firm suspension does mean that the Escape handles body roll rather well for being a tall-ish vehicle. It doesn't take corners as flat and level as a Focus, but by no means does it roll around like a truck either. You can drive it a bit enthusiastically if you're in the mood, but don't get too enthusiastic or you might roll it over. Brakes stop the vehicle in a respectable distance, though the pedal itself is a bit soft and didn't offer much feedback. Steering is also a bit numb, but not entirely detached. You can get some vague idea of what the front wheels are up to when cornering.

                                If driving dynamics are high up on your priority list, you might want to look elsewhere.

                                At highway speed, there is noticeable tire roar, though again the tires are likely the culprit here. Nothing deafening, though. It's roughly the same levels of noise I experience on my own car with the same tires. You can easily do a multi-hour trip in this thing without your ears bleeding, though with the firm suspension and seats, you might still want to take rest stops.

                                I will say that wind noise was very well managed.




                                To move this vehicle along, under the hood there is...plastic. Somewhere underneath that plastic is a turbocharged 1.6L 4-banger. Other engine options are a NA 2.5L and a turbo 2.0L. All engines are coupled to a 6-speed slush-box automatic. On the SE, the engine powers the front wheels only in its standard configuration, though all-wheel-drive is an available option which this one had. The EcoBoost 1.6 is rated at 178 hp and 184 ft-lb. of torque...when filled with premium 93 octane anyways. This being a rental, it had 87 in the tank. Not exactly sure what the power impact of running it on 87 is, but I would hazard a guess at maybe 170 hp tops (maybe 165?) Might explain why the fuel economy wasn't all that great. The 1.6 wth AWD is rated for 22 City and 29 Highway. Best I ever got out of it on the highway, according to the trip computer anyways, was 26.1MPG.




                                Despite the less-than-stellar fuel economy and the likely loss of power, the engine still felt pretty peppy. Felt pretty content and smooth at 3-4K RPM. Not much turbo lag either, though the gearbox might have helped as it would not hesitate to kick down a gear or two if you flexed your right foot. Gearbox itself did a fairly good job of picking the correct gear, though if you feel you should control what gear the car should be in, it does offer a Sport mode. Annoyingly, like the Mustang I had a few months ago, you are stuck having to pick gears with a toggle switch rather than with steering wheel paddles or the gear lever itself.

                                I still think that toggle switch is unnatural!




                                As for power delivery, while it does come with all-wheel-drive, like most crossovers, it is completely front-wheel-drive most of the time. Some of the power does get sent to the back wheels while accelerating in the lower gears (usually 1st and 2nd only) or if you mash your foot hard down, though according to the "Intelligent 4WD" on the instrument cluster information screen, there's still a front-wheel bias. That said, you still have to try really hard to get the tires to chirp as the system manages power distribution rather well.








                                I did complain about the seats being firm earlier, but that's really the only big gripe I have with the interior. The dashboard is almost the same as what you get in the Focus, if a bit stretched out. Materials were a mix of hard and soft-touch plastics, as can be expected of a vehicle in this price segment. Yes, some of the plastics are a little on the cheap side, but not bad. The fit and finish was pretty good with fairly small panel gaps here and there.

                                As for toys, there were a fair few. This Escape came with 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, power windows all around (auto-down driver's only, but no auto-up), power mirrors, cruise control, instrument information screen, steering wheel BlueTooth/infotainment controls, automatic headlights, SYNC with MyFord (non-touch), satellite radio, manual HVAC controls, and backup camera. Like the Focus sister car, the design of the infotainment system control is a bit unusual, though fit in with the overall funky design of the interior and add a bit of flair. I will admit, though, the design might be a bit confusing and a turn-off for some people. Volume knob could be a little bigger and the four buttons on either side of the hazard lights which correlate to certain features displayed on the bottom of the information screen should probably be right under said information screen*, but other than that I liked it.

                                ...though I might be biased since I own its sister car.

                                *Issue has been addressed on the recently-updated 2015 Focus, so it might be applied to the Escape as well whenever it gets updated maybe next year.


                                Overall, I quite liked the Escape. It's not exactly my cup of tea (I still prefer cars that sit low down and feel stable under "enthusiastic" - *coughaggressivecough* - driving style) and the numbness of the controls, though not that bad, was a bit of a turn off. However, I can see why others like it. Still think a Transit Connect is the better option for the family bus (especially since most crossovers almost never leave tarmac), but to each their own. And of course, people change, and I'm no exception. Who know, maybe down the road I would like to have a vehicle that I can carry a fair amount of stuff/people in, but also offers decent ground clearance and AWD/4WD for some soft-roading. At which point, the Escape may pop up as an option...

                                My Car(s):
                                2006 Nissan Sentra 1.8S sedan - 1.8L I4, 4-speed automatic - work commuter (PYC coming soon)
                                2012 Ford Focus SE hatchback - 2.0L I4, 5-speed manual - weekend/road trip warrior
                                1999 Chevrolet Cavalier sedan - 2.2L I4, 3-speed automatic, crap-ton of rust and not much else (first car) - SOLD!

                                Comment


                                  This is my rental for the next week while I'm traveling for work: a 2015 Chrysler 200.



                                  Love the color and the car generally looks pretty good, imho. The trunk is predictably massive and the back seat is pretty roomy, as well. It's not very fast and it doesn't handle all that well but overall it's actually pretty pleasant to drive. Climate control, satellite radio, lots of storage space up front, pleasant blue lighting around the somewhat confusing gauges (lots of small numbers and has marks with little contrast), and intuitive menu controls. The ride is pretty comfortable.



                                  Two annoyances: 1) the round-knob-for-everything controls:



                                  I went to turn the fan down at a red light without looking down and put the transmission into neutral

                                  2) The gearbox - very slow and takes a while to figure out wtf it's doing.

                                  Honestly, overall I'm pleasantly surprised and impressed. This is a pretty nice entry-level car that I'd recommend to anyone in the market for a Corolla or something. I'm looking forward to driving it for a week.



                                  After picking up the Chrysler, I went to test-drive a couple of cars that I've been considering buying (in case you haven't followed the RT thread). First up, an Infiniti FX35. This was a 2004 car with under 50k miles on it.



                                  I think it looks good for what it is, though I'm not a fan of the 20" wheels. The trunk is a decent size, which you wouldn't expect given the bizarre shape of the car, but the back seats are cramped.

                                  The interior layout is a big unusual but I feel like I could get used to it.



                                  The seats aren't very supportive and feel like something out of a 70s Cadillac - you sink down into the soft leather. The seat controls are all over the place - some on the side of the seat as usual and others along side the center console. The classic Infiniti clock is useless because of how low it sits; and the dash is full of small buttons that I did not find intuitive. Still, this isn't a bad place to spend time. On the road the ride is very firm, which is actually my preference when it comes to comfort (I'd rather have a sharp bump than a soft oscillating suspension). The FX isn't fast but, as someone who typically dislikes the exhaust note of Infinitis (remember Clarkson's "drone" review of the 350Z?), I actually thought this engine sounded nice from inside. The steering felt artificially heavy though - as if they took an SUV and decided to make it "sporty!". The car also feels tall and very wide, which isn't very confidence-inspiring.



                                  Next, I drove a 2006 Acura TL with a bit under 80k miles. Sadly there were no manuals available so I drove an automatic.



                                  Where do I begin... First off, the old familiar feeling of quality that my old Accord had is here in spades. Everything feels well put together and well thought out. The interior is very intuitive and you feel right at home - comfortable supportive seats, good control layout, and ample space. The gauges are very clear and easy to read, the buttons and knobs are very obvious, and, unlike in the Infiniti, it didn't take me a minute to figure out how to adjust the seat. The TL has stock HIDs too, which the FX35 lacked - I'm a sucker for good headlights. The back seat is very spacious and comfortable, and the trunk is voluminous, although I don't think the rear seats fold down, sadly.

                                  On the road, the difference between the FX and the TL is huge. In the latter you sit much lower of course but the whole car just feels small and... intimate, I guess. It's very confidence inspiring. I didn't get to flog either car really but the TL was certainly a lot more fun to drive on twisty streets - where in the Infiniti I mostly drove in the middle lane, in the TL I was passing everyone without even really noticing. Very easy car to go fast in. Being lighter and more powerful than the FX, the Acura is also much quicker. The engine sounds good and the car can really get out of its way in a hurry. It also gets better gas mileage, is likely more reliable, costs less, is easier to find, and comes with three pedals - all advantages over the FX35.



                                  TL;DR
                                  1) Chrysler 200 is a great rental.
                                  2) Infiniti FX35 is not bad.
                                  3) Acura TL is the best. It's the winner, hands down. I want one.
                                  "Men with guts attack those corners!" - Keiichi Tsuchiya
                                  2006 Acura TL and 1999 Mazda Miata

                                  Comment


                                    Originally posted by LeVeL View Post
                                    2) The gearbox - very slow and takes a while to figure out wtf it's doing.
                                    The calibration on that 9-speed was tuned by marginally trained chimps. Its bad in the Cherokee. Its bad in this. It has no idea what gear to be in when, so it goes for all of them all the time.

                                    •1997 Audi A6 Avant 2.8 quattro - 12/2006-04/2007 - Totaled
                                    •2005 Audi TT 1.8T quattro - 07/2012-11/2012 - Traded
                                    •2013 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 - 11/2012-
                                    •1992 Mazda Miata 1.6 - 03/2013-07/2017 - Sold
                                    •1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0 - 12/2014-



                                    Twitter/Instagram: @SeenOnWoodward

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                                      They do great when you floor it everywhere.
                                      1993 Ford F-150 Flareside - July 2010 - August 2013
                                      2004 Ford Mustang - September 2013 - February 2018
                                      1987 Mercury Colony Park GS - August 2015 - Present
                                      2003 EZGO TXT - March 2015 - Present (it's road legal!)
                                      2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI 6-Speed (February 2018 - Present)

                                      Comment


                                        The 200 is great looking but when I was in one that my brother's partner rented, I immediately noticed the lack of rear seat headroom.

                                        It may look roomy but if you're 5'8 or above, you'll struggle.
                                        "The way I see it a car enthusiast is somebody who is enthusiastic and interested about the motor car in all its various shapes and forms from supercars to East German 2-strokes made of cardboard. Everyone else is merely a car elitist IMO." ~ Captain 70's

                                        Get out of my way! I have photocopiers to sell! ~ Perc

                                        "A computer is a Lite-Brite for bad fucking ideas."

                                        FinalGear's Dash-Stroking Whore

                                        Comment


                                          Originally posted by rickhamilton620 View Post
                                          The 200 is great looking but when I was in one that my brother's partner rented, I immediately noticed the lack of rear seat headroom.

                                          It may look roomy but if you're 5'8 or above, you'll struggle.
                                          This plagues a lot of new cars. There is no reason that a Taurus should have so little headroom that I hit the roof unless I crunch my spine. It's a full-size car, damnit.
                                          2013 Dodge Dart 1.4T Limited 6spd First car! 12/2012 -
                                          2013 FIAT 500 Pop Second/Girlfriend's Car! 03/2014 -
                                          2003 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab 10/2016 -

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