Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ford Balances Luxury and Performance with the 2016 Ford Explorer Sport - For Less

Love the 2016 Range Rover Supercharged, but hate the price that’s attached to it? I can’t believe I’m saying this… “Ford” has answered your prayers.

The 2016 Ford Explorer Sport may have a lot in common with the Range Rover, but it’ll cost you about $60,000 less to get in it.  Let’s start with the exterior. Ford has strategically placed the “Explorer” badge across the engine bonnet (yes I say engine bonnet, I’m from N.S.), quite similar to how “Range Rover” is displayed. Coincidence? I think not. The exterior shape of the Explorer is quite similar to the Range, only a little more classic, less curves. It’s quite nice, very appealing to the eye. It has sex appeal.

When I first opened the driver side door my eyes were immediately drawn to the black leather perforated seats, lined with red stitching. Very racy, classy and again, sexy. The over-the-top luxurious interior trim of the Range Rover was lacking – no leather detailed dash or side door panel, complete with perfect stitching – it’s all plastic here, except the door panels, there’s a bit of the red stitched leather continued throughout, but for the most part it still looks really good! Definitely didn’t have the cheaper North American feel.

You get the push start engine, paddle shifters, heated seats in the front and back, but the drive stick is still there, it hasn’t yet been replaced by a more modern dial. Beautiful full size, panoramic moon roof, intelligent 4WD with terrain management system, reverse sensing system and a universal garage door opener.

Here’s where Ford REALLY blew me away. There are two sets of back seats. At first glance you think there is only one. That’s because Ford has created a flawless design that tucks the second rear seating away, making it flush with the rest of the trunk space. And guess what? There’s no pulling or pushing to do this. A series of buttons in the trunk allows you to lay down, tuck away and upright the seats with ease. I’ve yet to see this system in any other vehicle. Love it!

Ford also is known for their foot activated tail gate. Another smart, useful invention. Hands full from shopping? No problem, wave your foot under the tail gate and the trunk “magically” opens. Well, not really magic, but you get the point.

I continue to have a beef with Ford’s side and front collision alerts. They’re just not consistent. Sometimes they worked, but not always. I’ve never seen this happen in any other manufacturer’s vehicles, but it’s been consistent with Ford… Lincoln being the exception.

You may not get 510 HP like you would with the Range Rover, but do you really need it in an SUV? Or a car for that matter… last I checked we didn’t have an Autobahn. The Explorer gives you 365 HP, I found that was plenty of pick up. It’s a V6 with an Eco-boost engine, the posted is 14.9 city and 10.7 hwy; it was excellent on gas.

I didn’t look into it, but I’d say Ford knew what they were doing by creating a cheaper version of the highly sought after Range Rover. In my opinion, they nailed it! I’d buy it. Nothing wrong with a lot of luxury on a moderate budget. (2016 Ford Explorer Sport sells for about $56,000)

Luxury, New Car Blogger - Amanda Risser

Monday, April 11, 2016

Nissan's Full-Size Sports Car

I’ve just dropped off the 2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum after a week of pure joy riding, and I think I left my jaw behind in the parking lot.
From the moment I laid eyes on this vehicle I was in love. The exterior is quite attractive, very curvy, very sexy. It really draws you in; it’s not what you’d expect to see from Nissan. Jaguar-yes, Nissan-no way.

The Maxima is a full-sized (4 door), luxurious sports car. I’ve never felt so much pick up from 300 hp. When you press the gas pedal this vehicle goes from 0 to fast, FAST! I find Jaguars purr when you accelerate hard, well the Maxima-it growls! This car sounds mean, but it handles so nice, like a coupe, in the city and on the highway. Switch from normal to sport mode to tighten up the steering, and weaving your way through vehicles is not a problem. Don’t let its V6 engine trick you into thinking it’s a gas guzzler, far from it. According to Nissan it gets 10.9 city and 7.8 highway; I found it was bang on.

Of course, much of what I write about is the luxuriousness of a vehicle, which for me, mostly comes from the interior. So let’s get to it. Again, when I first opened the door of the 2016 Nissan Maximum Platinum I was all smiles, enamored if you will. I thought to myself, “well done Nissan!” The front seats sit low, the driver and passenger sink into this vehicle like the cockpit of a racecar. High quality, black stitched leather quilted seats, leather stitched side paneling and dashboard, push start engine, sporty leather wrapped steering wheel, and a full-size panorama moonroof, that retreats from both sides simultaneously. Pure luxury. Sure, they used their signature faux wood trim that I despise, BUT they used less of it and changed the look to a more matte finish-I approve! I was disappointed to see the traditional drive stick, as opposed to the more modern dial in most new vehicles, but for this vehicle it made sense. It added to its sporty feel and look. 

If you’re in the market for a sports car take the 2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum for a test drive. It has all the same safety features and technology as most high-end vehicles. For around $45,000 all-in you can’t go wrong; treat yourself, you deserve a little luxury in life!

Luxury, New Car Blogger - Amanda Risser