BIG MAN RIDES: 2018 Chevy Cruze (3800 mile supertest)


When you are a large person, your always aware of space.  Can I fit in that chair is it strong? When it comes to size the rule of thumb, is a large exterior equals a large interior.  In the past, I would typically rent a full size car or larger. One year, a rental car company substituted the last generation Toyota Corolla.  It was torture, even with the seat reclined so far back I could reach into the trunk.

If this your first time reading Big Man Rides, I’m 6.4 and 350 pounds.  Big man, Right!

My introduction to then First Generation (2011) Chevrolet Cruze was at the San Francisco Auto Show. After pushing the seat back as far as it go I squeezed in and escaped before I lost consciousness .

A friend and auto blogger told me to test drive the Cruze, he thought it was roomy. (of course, he did, he’s 5.10 and one hundred seventy pounds) .    I went to a local dealership who lent me a top of the line Cruze LTZ.  Where I discovered the seat could be lowered.

It was a Game Changer, with the seat lowered, it was a different car.  With acres of  big man room.  The Cruze was the only vehicle, I could actually fully extends my legs. A feat couldn’t be duplicated by Escalade, F-150 and other large vehicles.  I became a fan, back then I called the Cruze “The Caddy of small cars”

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https://sacratomatovillepost.com/2011/04/16/2011-chevy-cruze-the-caddy-of-small-cars-sac-gas-4-16/

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This is the second generation of the Chevy Cruze, introduced in 2016.  I liked the squared body style of the first generation of the Cruze.  The second generation is larger and lighter and it has more rear legroom than the first.    The 1.4 turbocharged engine at 153hp and 177 lb-ft or torque is more powerful than the first generation and General Motors continues to give us (horns blowing) a traditional six speed transmission.  The Cruze is the only small car in America  that offers a diesel engine 52mpg.

Please GM, PLEASE, don’t give us one of those noise producing, Continuously Variable Transmissions,that most automakers (Honda, Toyota, Nissan )are putting into their cars for fuel economy.  

The Cruze comes in a sedan and a handsome hatchback.

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Unlike, the first generation, every Cruze comes with a touchscreen and has Apple Carplay and Android Auto standard.

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Pairing my phone with Chevy’s My Link infotainment system was easy, however, I struggled with Android Auto.   The overall sound was just okay. Note: GM, like many car companies do not offer CD players.   As in other GM cars the Cruze can be optioned with 4G Wi Fi hot spot.

3800 Miles in the Chevrolet Cruze 

Round trip from Sacramento to Central Texas and beyond.  Like the first generation, I still have to pinch myself, that this an “American” car?    I love the Ford Focus, its fun to drive and the hatchback has aged well.  What hasn’t is Ford’s Automatic Transmission, its been a disaster and after 7 years they haven’t worked the bugs out of the tranny and after 7 years, they only offer a 5 speed stick.

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The interior of the Cruze remains a nice place to be and the front seat comfort is as good or better than the last generation.  Inside there weren’t any gaps or squeaks or rattles.

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I left Sacramento at 11pm to avoid LA’s notorious rush hour traffic, my first stop was Phoenix. At 75 miles an hour, my mpg was 43.    It took a while to adjust to the front and rear controls on the steering wheel.

While the fit and finish inside, seemed perfect. In the light of the day in Phoenix, the Cruze’s build quality wasn’t close, body panels were misaligned.    At 14 cubic feet the trunk is average for the class.

 

Through the mountains and some rough roads in New Mexico, the Cruze never lost its composure. It was quiet and rode like a much bigger car.

Red car or bad luck

On the Interstate 10 between between Phoenix and El Paso.  In New Mexico, I was stopped for speeding (87 in an 85 mph) and again in Texas three miles over the speed limit in Texas   In Texas or at least West Texas, few people drove over the speed limit.

If I had one nagging complaint about the Cruze it be the ingress. (at least for me) With the seats positioned for me, I had to lower the seats to get out or the car.   I didn’t notice this with the first generation Cruze.   I’m not fan of the auto stop feature,found in many cars where the engine shuts off at a stop light or anytime the car is not moving to save fuel.  Its effective, but I’m not a fan.

Handling was good Cruze.  Not once did it run out of steam in the mountains.  Or lose its composure in the worse of thunder storms.    The Cruze isn’t as fun to drive as the Honda Civic, Mazda 3 or Ford Focus.  It never embarrasses itself  The Hyundai Elantra sedan and the Toyota Corolla have more room overall, but neither has the power or can match the quiet and ride of the Cruze.

The Chevrolet Cruze may be the car for a small family, a commuter or an urban dweller.

If you are a tall or extra large, the Chevy Cruze is worth a look.  The 2018 models are  available with a six speed manual. (the six speed is not offered in the 2019 model year)

Sales for nearly all sedans are down.  The Cruze’s sales are down over 30% from 2017. Deep discounts are available.  As of this date GM is offering a $3200 rebate.

 

CityFella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Something old and different for Friday 9-28-2018 (yes, there’s video)


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Spotted on the streets of Sacramento 

A vintage 1955 Buick Century Cailfornia Highway Patrol Car 20180914_073145-353455096.jpg

These cars were specificly built for the CHP.

They had the Special 48 coupe body, Century engines and Roadmaster brakes  (This was back in the day when GM built different engines and parts for each divison) They were among the first cars (Code name: Century 68) built specifically for police use. The half of cars were equipped with a three speed column shift manual transmission.  The other half was built with a less reliable Dynaflow automatic transmisson.

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Like all, 1955 Buicks, the (Century 68) featured updated styling with “tower” tailights and a large “widescreen” front grile.  Century models carried, like the top-of-the-line Roadmaster, four portholes alongside their front fenders to denote the high-output of their V-8s.  The Century series was Buick’s performer, combining the Special’s lightweight bodies with the Roadmaster’s 322-cubic-inch OHV V-8.   The 9.0:1-compression-ratio engine inhaled through a Carter four-barrel carburetor and produced a gross-rated 236 horsepower at 4600 rpm.

“A Beast”

According to the April 1955 issue of Highway Patrolman Magazine, “During dynamometer tests, the car developed 148 horsepower at the rear wheels and reached a wheel speed if 108 mph against the 4-horsepower drag of the machine.  At this point, the test was terminated abruptly when the rubber tread spun off the tires of one of the rear wheels that was being tested.

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A Star is Born! 

Highway Patrol: Best of Season 2 (2-DVD)

“Highway Patrol” was on the air for four seasons from 1955 to 1959.  It still airs in syndication.
 It is said, there are only a couple of the Century 68 on the road, one wonders if the car spotted in Saramento is one of the two?

This Episode “Lady Bandit’s doesn’t feature the Century’s with the exception of the opening. 

Enjoy!!

CityFella
Sources: MotorTrend, Wikipeda

 

Tesla shows how (5th best selling car in the USA)


 

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   While drivers are abandoning cars for SUV’s  Tesla has quietly become the best selling Luxury car company in America.  Selling more cars than BMW, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, and Lexus.

Last month, Tesla’s Model 3 was the 5th best selling car in the US.   This is not a misprint

1. Toyota Camry
30,141
2. Honda Civic
27,677
3. Honda Accord
26,725
4. Toyota Corolla
26,155
5. Tesla Model 3 (est.)
17,000
6. Hyundai Elantra
15,475
7. Nissan Altima
14,925
8. Nissan Sentra
13,314
9. Ford Fusion
11,286
10. Kia Optima
11,074

This follows reports we’ve written after discovering that Tesla production appears to be passing up Jaguar production globallyPorsche sales globallyBMW sales in the USA, and combined brand sales of all models in or near the Model 3 class in the USA. (cleantechnica.com)

Tesla is the only electric automaker with a supercharger network that extends from coast to coast.

In order to help move cars during its end of the quarter delivery rush, Tesla is bringing back free unlimited Supercharging to inventory cars and Model 3 vehicles until the end of the month, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Tesla has apparently made a lot of inventory cars unmatched to custom orders that the automaker is now trying to move by the end of the quarter.

Tesla was the first mainstream electric automaker to build stylish cars and the first electric automaker building powerful cars with driving range.

The model S at nearly 100K is one of the best selling Luxury cars in the world

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CityFella

Hanging on to HIS Mercedes


Just another day on Florida’s I-95

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Love is 4 EVA, until it isn’t! 

When Junior Francis and Patresha Isidore bought their C class, they knew their love was forever, after all they share a daughter.   Forever meant a joint title.

On Sunday, forever wasn’t home.  Patresha message was simple  my car, MY car, MY CAR, talkin bout MY CARR.

Men are very attached to their wheels and Junior Francis attached himself to the hood of the Mercedes.

With his former Boo inside the car and him outside the car,there wasn’t much  of a real meeting of the minds.

Petresha wasn’t feeling a chat anyway as she drove through the streets of Lauderhill Florida with her Boo on the hood their car.

She couldn’t shake Junior on the streets, so she headed to Interstate 95.  With Junior on the hood, Petresha qualified for the Express Lane, where baby girl was going to see how aerodynamic Junior was.

Junior was some kinda man. As his baby mama was trying to knock him off the car. Home cheese was holding on with one hand and calling 911 with the other,telling the police operator that his baby mama was “swerving the car and he was on top of the car.” I really need help.” 

His nineteen mile terror ride ended at an intersection, where they intercepted by Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

The Sheriffs department said Patresha Isidore   had “multiple opportunities” to stop the car and call 911 and willfully put her baby daddy in danger.

Francis, didn’t want to prosecute his ex , because they have a five-year-old daughter. and refused to provide a sworn recorded statement.  But she was arrested and charged with negligence (risk injury or death) .    Patresha,bonded out of custody on the misdemeanor charge.

The Mercedes is now, his car, His car, His CARR ! They talking about his carr.

It’s clear, they haven’t watched Judge Judy.   Never, evah, evah, EVAH, share a bank account, co-sign, or buy a car with someone until your married.   The future of the Mercedes is in question.  Someone will have to buy someone out.

*This was a dramatization for my pleasure.  I’m in Sacramento and they are in South Florida.

CityFella

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Space X” Elon Musk is an immigrant from one of Trumps S***hole Countries


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On Tuesday, the nation was temporarily distracted from the State of our union and watched the successful launch of Falcon Heavy, the world most powerful rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp (Space X) wants the reduce the cost of space travel. One day it hopes transport humans to other planets.

The Founder and CEO of the company is Elon Musk is an immigrant from South Africa. He is also the CEO of Tesla, the company that single handedly made electric cars cool.  On the top of Falcon Heavy was a Tesla Roadster.

The 46 year old billionaire became a US Citizen in 2002

CityFella

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Man Rides 2018 Kia Nero


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With gasoline prices being what they are, one would question why would Kia bring a small hybrid to market, when Toyota can’t give the Prius away?    However, this is the same company that has just introduced the Kia Stinger at a time when the public are buying SUVs.

Nearly two decades ago I rented the first generations Toyota Prius.  The first generation looked like a regular Toyota.

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It was roomy, and very fuel efficient.   One week I commuted between Sacramento and San Francisco with a trip to Reno and Lake Tahoe.  I was impressed with the room, power and  fuel economy.   On one trip to San Francisco I ran completely out of gas on busy I-80 in Richmond and I was able to take the Hilltop exit and drive to the Chevron station on electric power, Very impressive.  Through the years, I have driven Prius with all those eccentricities the weird dashboards and joystick transmission levers’

The second and subsequent Prius’s were uniquely styled style inside and out.    Perhaps its a badge of honor for some owners, that says I care about the planet .  In the affluent areas on California its not usual seeing a Toyota Prius on every block.   The current Prius Prime is unattractive to my eye.   It looks like an overwrought 1960’s science project inside and out.

In contrast, the Kia Nero is modern and trendy, it looks like one of the small crossovers. a segment that is currently very hot.

The Genesis of this test.  A friend was returning to Sacramento from Sweden and asked if I would test the Nero for him.  He has owned four Toyota Prius’s and recently sold his Prius V.   The styling of the current Prius was too over the top for him and he wanted a small hybrid.

While the Prius screams hybrid, the Nero whispers, with one small hybrid badge in the lower right corner.    The styling is handsome, that suggests crossover.    Inside the whispering continues., the interior is well done, the fit and finish is excellent.

 

The Nero comes in four flavors , The Base FE, mid level LX, upper level EX and the top of the line Touring.    I briefly drove the Touring.  Standard with the Touring is Automatic Climate Control, Heated and Cooled Front Seats, Power Front Seats with Memory Control, Navigation, Leather Seats,  Sunroof, Heated Mirrors,  18 inch Alloy Wheels and a host of conveniences    Kia’s UVO interface is one of the best in the industry.  Its very intuitive and  response is very quick.. Unlike other systems there is a host of button and knobs.

Standard in all models is Apple Car Play and Android Auto. All have Independent suspensions and are powered by 1.6 liter 109 horsepower engine and 43 horsepower electric motor for a combined 139 hp with 241 pound feet of Torque.   The torque moves the Nero briskly off the line in the city.

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All Nero’s come standard with 6 speed dual clutch transmission.  This is significant as most hybrids have a Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) which by design are more fuel efficient but significantly nosier and slower reacting than a traditional transmission.

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What is a CVT?

 This design does away with gears entirely. Instead of two gears, there’s two pulleys connected by a belt. The engine turns one pulley, and the other one is connected to the rest of transmission to the wheels. The magic of CVT is that the size of the pulleys can change from small to large, and infinite sizes in between.

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On the Road

If you new to Big Man Rides,  I’m  6.4 and over 350 pounds. (soon to be under).   This giant had descent leg and hip room.  The head room was good with the Sunroof.   Anyone under six feet tall would find the back seat a good place to be. 2018KiaNero (27)

I briefly drove the Touring.   Both the FE and Touring were quiet, and the electric steering was good.  I didn’t feel the shift between electric and gas.  The wider tires and the extra equipment (like the power leather seats) made in the Touring for enjoyable surroundings.  They say, its hard to return to the  farm after seeing Paris..  There is nearly ten thousand between the FE and the Touring .

I spent more time in the FE (which was a 2017).   The  transmission hunted quite a bit on the climb up the mountains on I-80.  It was the only time I experienced it.  It took the curves like a pro and despite the long 7000 feet climb and a full of equipment, we averaged 41 miles a gallon.  I was concerned about break feel on the long downhill portion of I-80, but not overly so.  While the FE handled the curves,   I think the Touring with its wider tires would have added a bit more fun.  Overall on the entire trip we averaged a very impressive 51mpg.

Storage in the Nero was fairly impressive.

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The FE with its smaller wheels is the fuel economy champ.  The EPA says the Nero FE gets 52 in the City, 49 on the highway and 50 miles combined.   The Touring model takes a hit due to its weight and larger tires.  (46/40/43).

One thing I didn’t like, which is becoming a trend in many cars is the absence of a spare tire.  There is room underneath the floor is large enough for a spare and a jack, but we shouldn’t pay for it.

The Kia Nero competitors.  Ford C-Max handles better, The Prius V is roomier.  None has the Kia 10 year warranty.     The Nero has a corporate twin, the Hyundai Ioniq is similar however it design is more sedan.

Consumer Reports says, the 2018 Kia Nero is the best built car in 2018.   Not just Hybrids or small cars, all cars .  Its score of 92 is one point above an eighty thousand dollar  Lexus.  Impressive, I think so.

My Swedish friend loved the Kia Nero, touring.  He loved the handling, the ride and the amenities.  However, he bought the ugly Prius Prime. I think he still needs to make the statement.   You shouldn’t.    The Prius is and will always be a good car.  I simply think the Nero is a better car.

Special Thanks to Elk Grove Kia (Jose)  Steve Miller of Cameron Park

 

 

 

 

Genesis: The Beginning


 

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Twenty Seven years ago a Japanese Company Toyota, entered the Luxury Car market to compete with the likes of BMW, Mercedes Benz and Cadillac .   Their first model the Lexus LS400 was an instant hit and immediately established Lexus as a player.  Within months Nissan and Honda entered the market.   Today, Lexus and Acura are solid premium players. Image result for 1989 lexus ls400

1989 Lexus LS400

 Hyundai entered the US market in 1985 offering ultra low priced cars the Excel. Americans quickly snapped them up. The quality of these cars was sup par, but that was so 1985.

Today, the worlds fifth largest automaker quality ranks in the top 10.

In 2009, Hyundai introduced the Genesis, it was Hyundai’s Flagship vehicle. It was the 2009 North American Car of the Year as well as the 2009 Canadian Car of the Year.  Like the Lexus, many automotive journalist called the Genesis a solid effort and few thought it competed with the Mercedes and BMW, few.

For some time there has been talk about Hyundai starting a Luxury Division. Last November Hyundai officially introduced Genesis Motors to the world. The Hyundai Genesis was renamed the G80 and is currently sold at Hyundai dealerships. The flagship g90 is sold at select Hyundai dealerships.  As of this writing the nearest g90 is in Antioch California.

Plans for Genesis is very ambitious. Hyundai plans to have six Genesis models by 2020.  A smaller (think BMW 3 series) sedan ,a sports coupe, and two SUVs . In the next few years there will be Genesis Stores nationwide.   Currently the Genesis is being marketed in Korea, China, the Middle East and the United States.

G90 was one of the few Hits at the Sacramento Auto Show

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Everything !

G90 buyers have a choice of a turbo charged six cylinder or an eight cylinder with either real wheel drive or all wheel drive.   Everything else is standard.

SILENCE IS GOLDEN

The rear seats recline heat,cool and massage you.

For the first three years of ownership, all maintenance is included.  Genesis will simply pick up your car and leave you with a loaner.  Roadside Assistance is included as well as monthly health reports of your vehicle.   Owners can make appointments via a smartphone and the warranty is 10 years or 100,000 miles.

Playing for Keeps

Manfred Fitzgerald, former director of brand and design at Lamborghini, is senior vice president.  Luc Donckerwolke, former design director of Volkswagen Groups (Bentley, Lamborghini and Audi divisions)  led the design brand since early 2016, and works alongside Hyundai-Kia’s chief designer Peter Schreyer (who is also from Audi) . Albert Biermann, former head of BMW’s M performance division, oversees tuning and performance.  (source Wiki)

I have driven the G80 and look forward to an extensive test the G90 with its massive interior room.

 (Call me Hyundai call me!)

The G90 starts at 69K and tops off at 73K.  It competes with Lexus LS 460, BMW 7 series and Mercedes S class at thousands less and a much stronger warranty.

Looks and Value. Hyundai looks like they’re planning to shake up the Luxury Segment. Smart shoppers for a luxuty car should look beyond the pedigree and take the Genesis for a test drive.

 

CityFella