Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com

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So far Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com has created 30 blog entries.

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3 The claimed "Car of the Future" is finally here By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | August 2018 The Tesla Model 3 has been one of the most eagerly anticipated cars in recent memory. After steadily building demand (and excitement) for its high-dollar electric vehicles, like the Model S and Model X, Tesla is attempting to put into place the next step of Elon Musk's grand plan to electrify the automotive world, an "affordable" EV that can be had for less than the average transaction price for a new car in the U.S. market. That day has finally arrived...sort of. What is this vehicle? The 2018 Tesla Model 3 is the car that, in theory, finally gets us to the holy grail of EVs: an attractive, feature-filled car with long battery range and at a price accessible to the proletariat. The Model 3 takes many of the aspects that Model S and X owners love about their cars and packages them in a smaller wrapper, with innovations aimed at making it cheaper to build, but that still please most customers. The size and price of the Model 3 puts it in class with such compact luxury sedan stalwarts as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, stiff competition that has perfected the formula over several decades. But it also goes up against an array of electrified vehicles already on the [...]

2018-08-10T23:00:02+00:00 Aug 2018|Car Reviews|

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles: What You Need To Know

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles: What You Need To Know By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | July 2018 2011 Chevy Volt, photo credit: GM General Motors introduced a radical new idea into the marketplace with the debut of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. While some brands, like Nissan and Tesla, wanted to move forward with an all-electric future as quickly as possible, GM recognized that few consumers had full confidence that a pure EV would fit their lifestyles well. Electric vehicle range was still well below that of the typical gas car, and the charging infrastructure wasn't built out to support a fleet of electric cars, giving rise to the phenomenon termed "range anxiety." The solution for this was a car that would combine the advantages of both EVs and gas-powered cars: the plug-in hybrid. The idea behind the Volt was that it would act as a pure EV for the first 40 miles—GM's research had told them that nearly four out of five commuters had a round trip of under 40 miles—but then rely on a small gas engine, dubbed a "range extender," to allow the owner to keep driving even when there was no place to recharge. The final electric range turned out to be 38 miles, however. With the Volt's launch, GM created an entirely new sales category. The company had hoped to replicate the runaway success of the Toyota Prius, which [...]

2018-07-22T18:12:29+00:00 Jul 2018|News, Research|

The Art of the Sub-Brand: Performance

The Art of the Sub-Brand: Performance Performance sub-brands give buyers something special By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | July 2018 Carmakers love to produce "special" cars that appeal to an enthusiast audience. The market abounds with models that display a certain letter that indicates they're ready to take on some of the most high-performance machines out there, and come out a winner. Many of these vehicles have four doors, or even an SUV body, yet underneath lurks the equipment that can enable a super-fast lap time at one of the world's premier racetracks. Here we'll take a look at the history of this trend, and what's out there for enthusiasts in today's market. Where did the trend start? M535i, photo credit: BMW Most enthusiasts credit BMW with kicking off the trend with its Motorsport division, which was shortened to just M. While its origins were in racing, in the late-1970s M started developing cars for the road, the first being its famous M1 supercar. But the first car that really set the template for the models that abound today was the 1979 M535i, a pumped-up version of the first-generation 5 Series. The car pictured at right displays the M division's tri-color striping. E30 M3, photo credit: Rudolf Stricker From there BMW began tuning an increasing number of its models, with some particular versions achieving legendary status, like the M3 [...]

2018-07-14T01:30:24+00:00 Jul 2018|News, Research|

Brand Deep Dive: Alfa Romeo

Brand Deep Dive: Alfa Romeo Alfa's back, and they're ready to rumble By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 The Alfa Romeo brand–say “Alfa Ro-MAY-o”–has over 100 years of history, with a strong heritage of racing and sports cars. It’s the marque that gave Enzo Ferrari his big break before he started his own company. Jeremy Clarkson, the prominent BBC and Amazon automotive TV host, said, “you can’t be a true petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo.” And its badge was affixed to the hood of the flashy red convertible that Dustin Hoffman drove in The Graduate, cementing its identity in the minds of American consumers. What does this brand stand for? Image credit: FCA Alfa Romeo has always been about sportiness. From nearly the beginning, ALFA, which stands for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, was involved in auto racing, which helped to set its course through history. For most of that time it hewed to the performance car standard of rear-wheel drive, though more recently the brand’s offerings had been build with the more cost-effective front-wheel drive layout, particularly for its small hatchbacks. These were never sold in the U.S., however. Alfa has been owned by Fiat since 1986, being positioned as a step up from that more affordable Italian brand. The company’s Maserati marque competes in the higher reaches of the luxury market, while Ferrari represents the ultimate [...]

2018-07-02T18:51:03+00:00 Jun 2018|News, Research|

2019 RAM 1500 Rebel

2019 RAM 1500 Rebel RAM's budget answer to the Raptor By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 RAM has a bit of Raptor envy. The Ford F-150 Raptor is seen as many as the ultimate off-road truck, with its upgraded suspension dampers, wild engine and bold wide-body styling. But it's an expensive proposition, with an opening ante over 52 grand, and rising quickly from there with a few option groups. So RAM thought it had a better idea: take a basic RAM 1500–all-new for 2019–and give it uprated Bilstein monotube dampers, knobby tires, and a look that sets it apart from the standard truck, and save the customer a heap-load of money. As Fiat Chrysler spokesman Scott Brown put it, "Owners wanted the lift and look," but they didn't necessarily want to go full-bore if they're not racing their truck through the desert on the regular. We got a chance to try it out off road at Calamigos Ranch outside Malibu. What is this vehicle? The RAM 1500 is the brand's full-size pickup truck, a rugged workhorse that also provides creature comforts. The 1500 is the brand's lightest-duty truck, with heavy-duty variants starting at the 2500 level. But that doesn't mean it can't handle a ton of weight...literally. It can haul up to 2,300 lbs. of payload in the bed, and tow another 12,750 behind it if equipped right. The RAM 1500 [...]

2018-06-23T21:12:47+00:00 Jun 2018|Car Reviews|

2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Returning some sparkle to the triple-diamond By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 The compact utility segment–with well-known entries like the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape–is the best-selling in the industry, having leap-frogged the sedan segments as the family car of record for Americans. Mitsubishi wants to use its new entry in the segment as a basis for its climb back to relevance with U.S. consumers. The brand has had a tough slog, with a 10-year decline from 2002 to 2012, which saw the brand lose 83% of its sales volume. Over the past five years the tri-diamond has been growing, with 2017's sales nearly 80% above that of 2012. Nearly all of that increase has been owed to the brand's two existing crossovers, the Outlander and Outlander Sport. But to really kick up the momentum, and to introduce its new sense of design flair, Mitsubishi has resurrected the Eclipse name for a utility vehicle that tries to offer a distinct sense of sportiness in a field of crossovers that's more focused on utility and efficiency. What is this vehicle? The Eclipse Cross actually occupies the space in between the compact and subcompact segments, though Mitsubishi is positioning the vehicle against the compacts of the world. Its wheelbase and width suggest a vehicle right in the thick of competitors like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, but its [...]

2018-06-15T00:50:28+00:00 Jun 2018|Car Reviews|

Comparo: Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 vs. Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 vs. 2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Midsize off-road trucks battle for the rock-crawling crown By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 At the Motor Press Guild’s recent Droptops & Dirt event at Calamigos Ranch, near Malibu, CA, journalists had a chance to try out a unique mix of off-road focused trucks and utilities, as well as sporty convertible models. This is an intriguing time for those who like to play in the muck, as there are several different options within the pickup segments offering specially developed off-road editions straight from the factory. We got a chance to try two of these trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, side-by-side. What are these vehicles? These are trim levels of the popular Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma. Already highly capable trucks, the brands add special equipment that allows them to be used in extreme off-roading tasks, like special suspension pieces that allow for better articulation during rock crawling, powertrain components that allow torque to be precisely controlled for optimal traction, body protection that preserves the panels even among tough terrain, and appearance pieces that announce to the world that they’re trucks to be reckoned with. Who are these vehicle for? These trucks appeal most to outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom appreciate the ability of these highly refined pickups to serve as [...]

2018-06-11T21:55:53+00:00 Jun 2018|Car Reviews|

Infotainment: Industry Roundup

Infotainment: Industry Roundup By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | May 2018 New cars these days are being filled with screens, from the central infotainment systems that sit atop the dash, to rear entertainment systems in family haulers. And screens that had previously been the domain of only luxury vehicles—like virtual instrument clusters and head-up displays (HUDs) that project an image within the driver’s sightlines—are now coming down to the less rarified air of mainstream vehicles. All of these screens are increasingly well-integrated so that they work together as a cohesive unit. With the growing number of ways we distract ourselves in our vehicles, car companies get a competitive advantage not only from creating systems that are a pleasure to interact with, but also from the ability to display information while minimizing diversion from the task of driving. The Motor Press Guild, a West Coast-based journalist group, recently gathered a host of cars together to give journalists and industry experts a chance to really fiddle around with their infotainment interfaces, and figure out how these systems really stack up. The day offered a nice mix of both mainstream and luxury systems, with a variety of features and unique selling propositions. Here’s a rundown of the infotainment systems we got to sample, and how they compare, including the following systems: Subaru STARLINK on the 2018 Crosstrek Mitsubishi Smartphone Link Thin Display Audio System on the 2018 Eclipse [...]

2018-05-30T19:23:38+00:00 May 2018|News, Research|

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

2019 Jaguar I-Pace A Worthy Adversary? By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | May 2018 The new Jaguar I-Pace kicks off a flurry of all-electric crossovers from luxury brands. It’s an exciting preview of things to come. What is this vehicle? With the prestige of the Tesla brand building so swiftly, and on the back of a single model, the luxury sector has taken notice. While the Model X crossover has not lived up to the high expectations, due to issues like cost and compromised utility, the consensus in the industry is still largely that whoever manages to create a vehicle that would combine a high-end battery-electric vehicle execution with SUV styling and space could be the first traditional brand to really break through in the electrified mobility race. And there are few brands more “traditional” than Jaguar. That’s not stopping them from putting forth a vehicle they believe will challenge Tesla for the EV crown, offering bold, sporty styling, an impeccable interior, and the type of range and performance that gets people excited about the EV experience. And because it’s been designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, the I-Pace offers interior packaging that takes advantage of their inherent efficiencies, providing a bit more interior space and cargo room than similarly sized gas vehicles. Who is this vehicle for? The I-Pace is definitely aimed at the Tesla crowd, and other types [...]

2018-05-04T06:38:42+00:00 May 2018|Car Reviews, News|

Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester Staying a Successful Course By Randy Lioz, Editor, Car-ED.com | April 2018 Subaru unveiled its redesigned Forester at the New York International Auto Show recently. It's an important launch for a brand that seeks to continue its momentum in the hottest segment in the industry. What is this vehicle? The Forester is Subaru’s number-two selling nameplate, a compact crossover that is entering its fifth generation. Subaru is relying heavily on the Forester to keep its sales momentum going in the U.S. market, which have been growing for 10 years straight, so its redesign in the hottest segment is definitely something to watch. Subaru keeps the same formula, while making tweaks to size and specs to help its competitiveness against segment leaders like the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue, and especially the Toyota RAV4, which also debuted at the New York Auto Show. Who is this vehicle for? Compact SUVs are taking over as the default choice for families, and indeed for many different types of consumers. One of the biggest flows of consumers between segments involves midsize sedan drivers trading into compact utilities, which offer similar interior room and pricing, but with better cargo space, a higher view of traffic and available all-wheel drive. This segment may have one of the most diverse buyer groups out there, attracting everyone from young people with active lifestyles who want to load it up [...]

2018-04-19T16:20:47+00:00 Apr 2018|Car Reviews, News|
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