On the eve of the Detroit Auto Show, Chevrolet is finally ready to reveal details about the second generation of its groundbreaking plug-in hybrid vehicle. The 2016 Volt is new in pretty much every way, with a refined exterior and interior design, plus improvements under the hood that offer 50 miles of EV range and a total driving range of more than 400 miles. GM claims that means owners can average 1,000 miles between fill-ups with regular charging. The dual-motor drive unit isn’t just more efficient; it’s also 100 pounds lighter (the battery dropped 20 pounds too). Despite putting out 149 hp (same as the previous unit), it’s also faster, with an 8.4-second 0-60 time that’s 7 percent faster, and a 19 percent improvement in its zero to 30 time, now down to 2.6 seconds. As promised, it even adjusts charging patterns if you’re at home or away based on GPS. The only question not answered yet is the price, which GM expects to reveal this summer (or any details about that rumored lower-price Bolt). (more…)
The Christmas holiday week was approaching. Children and grandchildren would be making their way ‘over the river and through the woods’ to Grandpa and Grandmother’s house. When I was told I would be test-driving a new Infiniti QX60 for those two weeks, I was excited. Heated seats, heated steering wheel, three rows of seating, rain-sensing wipers would be part of the package, so in spite of anticipated rainy and cold weather, my vehicle occupants and I would be safe and sound.
The 2015 Infiniti QX60 is referred to most often as a three-row luxury crossover utility vehicle. There are only a few competitors to this terrific Infiniti, including the Lincoln MKT, the Buick Enclave, and the Audi Q7. They are all great vehicles although there are some definite differences. This is an SUV-styled vehicle that is mounted on a car platform. As I slid behind the wheel the first time, I was immediately reminded of the Infiniti sedan QX70.
The overall looks of the QX60 is nice. The roof line slopes just enough to give a certain amount of elegance and distinctiveness. Inside, there are high quality materials throughout. The center console and the dashboard are very much like the QX70 sedan. There is, of course, a touchscreen display, but there are also sufficient buttons and knobs that can be easily accessed for those of us who are more traditional drivers (most often referred to as ‘experienced seniors.’) Bottom line on the array of features to be utilized is that they are all fairly easy to use and straightforward in understanding them.
It is not unique to the Infiniti QX60, but I especially liked the “Around View” camera system. It offered up a simple bird’s-eye view of the vehicle and all four sides when backing up. With the abundance of cars and children at our house for the holidays, this was a great feature, since I had to move my vehicle quite often to allow others accessibility for loading and unloading.
The third row of seating is not just a small, scrunched-up space for toddlers. It actually can seat adults and is easily accessible. Both the second and third row seats are split-folding, which can really be handy when carrying a combination of people and cargo. There is a toggle switch to turn on/off the powered lift-gate. This allows the driver to prevent little hands from poking the key fob and accidentally opening the back rear area.
The Infiniti QX60 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that offers 265 horsepower. The test model was Front-Wheel-Drive, but All-Wheel-Drive is available. A hybrid model QX60 is also available. There was a ‘Drive Mode’ selector that allowed the transmission to be operated in Standard, Sport, Snow, or Eco. Most of the time, I kept my vehicle in the Eco mode, which helped on the gas mileage. The vehicle was EPA rated for 27 mpg highway and 23 mpg overall. During the two week period, I actually averaged 24.5 mpg overall.
Heated front seats, leather upholstery, powered folding rear-view mirrors, front fog lights, a powered rear lift-gate, a powered sunroof, a rear-view camera system, USB ports, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are considered standard equipment. A number of packages are available that upgrade and add-on a multitude of extras. For example, the Deluxe Touring Package adds heated second row seats and powered folding third row seats as well as other items. The Premium Plus Package added that great Infiniti Hard-Drive Navigation system and rain-sensing wipers. The Infiniti navigation system has to be among the very best systems on the market. Another offering is the Theater Package that includes two seven-inch color monitors, remote control, and wireless headphones. The test model did not have this package added, which I had hoped for during a short road trip with a few grand-kids. Fortunately, they were more excited about getting more presents from other relatives than on watching video or playing games.
A luxury vehicle is especially nice because it makes driving so much easier and so much more comfortable. Such is the case for Infiniti vehicles. When there is a case for needing more people room or cargo room, this new QX60 certainly fills that need. The base MSRP was shown as $42,400. With all the additional packages and destination charges, the bottom sticker price came to $54,600.
Visit a Nissan-Infiniti dealership and check out this wonderful ‘Luxury Crossover Three-Row Seat’ utility vehicles. You just might fall in love as much as I did during the test drive.
Advices About Autos
If you’ve fueled up in the last few months, you know that gas prices are rising. According to AAA, national averages for a gallon of gas reached $3.60 at the end of March, and that price is expected to increase, with analysts predicting that gas might rise to five dollars per gallon by the end of 2012. Some say that it’s unlikely that prices will go that high that quickly, but we have to face the facts: Gas prices are completely out of our control..