This year we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at all the latest model debuts during press week at the 113th annual New York Auto Show. The show featured over 1,000 vehicles in a 900,000 square foot arena. From the unveiling of the Subaru WRX concept, to the roll out of 3 new Kia models, none of the brands left us disappointed. We are very excited to share this exclusive coverage with you and give you a little bit of insight into what goes on at one of the Nation’s largest auto shows.
A recent trip to the LA Auto show to see the unveiling of the all-new 2014 Mazda6, amongst many other exciting cars, triggered a trifecta of firsts for me. This was my first trip to a major auto show, my first (and second) time to an In-N-Out Burger and the first time I’ve driven a Mazda MX-5 Miata more than 100 yards. The latter came complements of Mazda USA, who graciously provided me and a colleague with a 2013 Mazda MX-5 Special Edition to drive during our stay in SoCal. The MX-5 proved to be a great car to drive up and down Pacific Coast Highway.
Perhaps it was the pre-trip excitement, a bad frame of reference or poor planning, but it wasn’t until we arrived at Mazda HQ in Irvine, California, that we realized that our car would be challenged in the cargo carrying department. You see, in addition to our regular luggage and briefcases, we were also hauling a full load of camera gear to get footage at the show. In a prior life I spent many years working for company that sold two-seat roadsters, that shall remain unnamed, offering substantial trunk space in a front and rear trunk. It was not until we had our rendezvous with the MX-5 in Mazda’s parking lot that it finally clicked that not all convertibles are adept at swallowing large pieces of luggage. Despite its Spartan trunk space, some creative packing allowed us to fit everything quite snugly in the car. So snug, in fact, that when it came time grab the camera to snap a picture of our packing prowess, I realized it was in the bottom of the trunk. So, you will have to envision a trunk overflowing with luggage and equipment.
It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in St. Louis Park, when Adam borrowed one of our 2013 Santa Fe Sport’s to do some shopping at Ridgedale Mall.
Adam’s mood, on the drive there, was not so sunny. A terrible anxiety griped him as his thoughts turned to the space assets of the vehicle. Adam had never tried to fit anything as large as the 52” TV and iMac, he was planning on picking up for his parents, into a Santa Fe.
Ahhhh Thanksgiving. A holiday to give thanks, stuff our faces with an embarrassingly array of calorie laden treats and for some, an opportunity to brave the crowds at the mall in hopes of getting a deal that’s too good to be true. I for one checked all the boxes in this trifecta and added one more. I spent the extended holiday weekend enjoying the all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder.
When it first debuted in 1986, the Nissan Pathfinder was a true body on frame 4-wheel drive truck that was arguably better suited for off-road hijinks than on-road comfort. Throughout the years, the Pathfinder has evolved away from its off-road, path finding roots, and more towards suburban errand running. Don’t take this as a bad thing, though. Just consider it a different kind of path finding that better aligns with consumer preference.
With over 10 brands to choose from within the Morrie’s Automotive group, one could easily find a number of cars that he or she would love to take on a road trip. Cars like the Nissan GT-R, Cadillac CTS-V and Bentley GT come to mind, but what would you think about spending 200 miles in a Nissan Sentra. Admittedly, the Nissan Sentra would not be my first choice for a half-day road trip, but I must say that after spending four-plus hours in a new Sentra I was pleasantly surprised. For a number of reasons, the Sentra easily complements any road trip. More >
Morrie’s Minnetonka Subaru is excited to bring you a sneak peek of the brand new 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek. While it will not be available at dealers until this fall we had the opportunity get up close and personal with an early production model that stopped by our store.
The adventure friendly Subaru XV Crosstrek was designed to get you in and out of all the places where you make life happen. On top of Subaru’s legendary symmetrical all-wheel drive system, the XV Crosstrek offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance to get you into places other cars cannot. Despite the added ruggedness the XV Crosstrek does not sacrifice fuel economy and is the most fuel efficient crossover on the market.
Check out the video to learn more about the XV Crosstrek.
Yesterday I made the trek out to our Mazda store in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin and thought it would be a great time for an extended road test and blog post highlighting one of the models we sell. In most cases I make the trip out to Chippewa Falls alone, but in this case I was joined by three colleagues, Brian, Kristen and Ali. Needless to say we needed a car that would provide a comfortable ride and adequate space for the four of us on our 220 mile journey. I was also hoping to avoid awkward road trip games so it was important that our car had a bevy of tech gadgets that could keep everyone entertained and muffle any spontaneous singalongs in the back seat. In the end we settled on a Kia Optima SX Turbo and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
By way of democratic vote I was nominated driver and can now add Corporate Chauffeur to my job description. Despite a few objections to my driving style (see photo of Brian shrieking below) I think it was a good choice.
You see, I was actually looking forward to driving the Kia Optima and seeing seeing what the car offered beyond it’s great looks. For anyone who has seen the new Kia Optima you have to admit that it is a good looking car, in fact the entire 2012 Kia lineup is marked by great styling, but I was really interested in the whole package. A car cannot get by on looks alone and after just a few miles in the car my impressions were positive.
Overall ergonomics are quite good with a multi-function steering wheel that puts a number of controls right at your fingertips, including shift paddles, controls for the cruise control, telephone and audio system. These controls came in handy when Brian selected the Sirius satellite radio techno channel, BPA, and tested the Infiniti audio system. I was quickly able to adjust the volume to more tolerable levels.
The integrated telephone bluetooth made phone calls easy and allowed us to have a couple of impromptu conference calls. This car was equipped with the premium package, which included the aforementioned audio system, as well a rear backup camera, navigation system, panoramic sunroof and push button ignition. Short of the photo op below I can’t say I really used the navigation system, but I am sure it would have come in handy for Brian and Kristen who both hail from New Jersey. Neither Brian nor Kristen have spent any time in Wisconsin and got a kick out of the regional offerings available at the gas station we stopped at on our way to Chippewa Falls. I suppose when you think of it, you don’t see to many gas stations that go above and the beyond basics like cheese curds and offer shoes, tanning, taxidermy, crystal collectables, deer lures, 96 ounce sodas and church services – all in one place!
The multi-way adjustable driver’s seat was quite comfortable, offering a good combination of support and comfort. Beyond being just heated the Optima seats are also ventilated, a nice feature that is more common on $60,000 luxury cruisers than on a $28,000 Kia sedan. Kristen and Ali, both sitting in back, indicated that there was more than enough legroom and that their seats were comfortable. In fact, there was enough room for them to repurpose the back seat as a mobile office, using their laptops to stay up to date on work.
The only complaint stemmed from a convenience feature integrated into the driver’s door. Every time I opened the door the seat moved back for easier egress, which worked out great for me, but tended to crush Ali’s legs in the back seat.
In terms of ride and performance, the Optima did it’s job flawlessly. The 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder, packing 274 horsepower, provided more than enough power to accelerate to the speed limit and beyond. Despite encountering a cross section of Wisconsin’s worst drivers and left lane hogs, I was able to maneuver out of their way with ease. The Optima is not positioned as a handling dynamo and our trip, predominately spent on I-94, did not provide many encounters to push its handling limits. Yet, it did a fine job taking on the handful of cloverleafs that we encountered providing a good combination of firmness and comfort. Steering wheel weighting felt good and the turning circle proved more than adequate when I missed a turnoff and had to pull a u-turn. The 6-speed automatic seamlessly adjusted the gearing as needed and never hunted for gears.
All in all, the Kia Optima SX Turbo worked great as our corporate commuter and I can say with confidence that the Optima is much more than just a pretty face. It’s looks are combined with sporty performance and a driver centric interior available with all the latest bells and whistles. As equipped at just a tick over $28,000 this Optima provides a ton of value and in my future travels to Chippewa Falls I’m sure that I’ll grab the keys to an Optima again.
The Winding Road has added two new Saab road tests to their online magazine – and they’re both worth a read. First up is the Saab 9-4X Aero, pictured here. There is the inevitable who\what is Saab storyline in both reviews, but once you get past that and on to the cars, they’re both quite good. More >