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2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost | Reviewed

Better than expected, in Eco or Boost.

[gallery ids="542378,542379,542380,542377"] Story: Will Sabel Courtney “The engine’s got a few miles on her, but she runs like a sweetheart,” the Ford fleet driver said as he handed me the keys to the maraschino red Mustang parked halfway up my block. Or something to that effect. His exact words elude me—it was first thing in the morning, I’d only been out of bed for approximately 18 minutes, and I hadn’t showered yet, let alone sucked up any coffee. But Ford was dropping off a new Mustang, so there I was, on my stoop, wearing gym shorts and the well-worn Hollister T-shirt I usually loan out to girls when they spend the night. (I bought it in high school, okay? Hence the well-worn part. It’s not like I’m shopping at Hollister now.) So as the kind and strangely-peppy-for-so-early-in-the-day Ford driver walked down the block to catch his ride, I headed over to the ‘Stang. Partly to check it out—simple human curiosity. Partly to move it before the street sweeper arrived—simple logic. And partly to drive over to the Dunkin’ Donuts and pick up a large iced coffee—simple biology. Opened the loooooong door, plopped into the loooooooow cream-colored seat. Shut the door behind me. And glanced at the odometer: 17,500 miles. My jaw actually dropped. This “new” Mustang had more miles than most would after a year. My new Mustang test car was more like a CPO Mustang test car. But the Mustang wore its miles well. There was a slight paint scuff on the front bumper (but in New York, that's as regular an occurrence as a street vendor selling stale pretzels—not necessarily a sign of age). The driver's seat sagged a tiny bit—not surprising, given the number of giant journalist butts that had been in and out of it—and the interior had the faint but distinct odor of Used Ford. I'm not passing judgement here, merely making a statement. Used Fords smelly differently inside than Used Chevys, Used BMWs, or Used Anything Else. Not better, not worse, just distinctly different. Maybe it's the plastics. All those miles seem to have only done good things for the Mustang’s powertrain, though. The EcoBoost ‘Stang (EcoStang?)’s trip computer showed it pulling down 33.5 miles per gallon on the 336 mile trip from Stowe, Vermont to Brooklyn. To save you the trouble of pulling up the calculator, that’s an average speed of 62.6 mph. (The EPA highway cycle, for what it’s worth, averages 48.3 mph. And simple physics says that fuel economy is going to be worse at higher speeds, given the increase in drag. Long and short of it is, the EcoStang beat its own highway fuel economy projections—at 14.3 mph higher than the EPA tests cars at.) Which was a bit of a shock, considering my past experiences with EcoBoost engines have been a little, uh, underwhelming. On the same trip, a 2.0L EcoBoost Lincoln MKZ I drove only got about 25 miles per gallon. Could be because the EcoStang’s larger-displacement engine doesn’t have to dip into the turbo quite as readily as smaller EcoBoost motors in order to maintain highway speed. But my spider-sense tells me it was in part because the EcoStang’s engine was extremely well broken-in at this point. And that was with the automatic. The EPA rates the auto-box EcoBoost Mustang at 32 mpg on the highway, the stick shift at 33. Maybe my car knew I wished it were a stick and tried its best to make up for it. The automatic in the Mustang may be one of the best-programmed slush boxes on the market…or at least the most in tune with my driving style. Left in automatic, it hops up to high gear ASAP, but that’s pretty much par for the course with autos these days. Yank the lever back to Sport, though, and the transmission gives a McConnaghy-esque “alrite, alrite,” then starts holding its revs higher and firing off quick, sharp shifts. Still, buying the Mustang with a stick saves you $1,195, and it's well worth it. That savings puts you about 60 percent of the way towards buying the $1,995 EcoBoost Performance Package, which brings a slate of tasty goodies like a 3.55 limited slip rear axle, sport suspension and chassis tuning, and 19-inch wheels wearing 255/40 summer tires. But even without the Performance Pack—which I shall forevermore refer to as the “P.P.” because I am five years old—the EcoStang proved to be a grand ol’ time. The boost comes on smooth and strong, and once you’re into it, the Mustang rips down back roads with honest-to-God sports car verve. The 2.3L turbo makes more than enough power to light up the tires, and while the 0-60 times might not be the equal of the ones from the raw-boned Coyote V8, both engines feel close to equal in the midrange—which means they feel similarly powerful during everyday driving. The EcoBoost may not be my favorite, but it’s a damn good choice—especially considering it saves you $7,000 over the V8 model. It feels like 85 percent of the performance for 78 percent of the price. That’s a bargain in my book. That’s if you go easy on the options, though. Whoever specced out my EcoStang tester laughed at that idea, apparently; between the Premium trim and all the options, this four-cylinder Mustang wound up with a price tag of around $36,000. Yowza. Still, forget about the cylinder count for a second, and think about what that money buys: an entry-level gran turismo—with two-tone leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats and a 12-speaker stereo—making more power than a BMW 335i. Sure, the interior may be a step down from the Bimmer, but (most of) the materials are every bit as fine as the ones you’d find in an entry-level Lincoln. (Check out our previous reviews of the 2015 Ford Mustang for more details about the interior.) And neither Lincoln nor the 3 Series family offers a car with half the style and charisma of the Mustang’s rockin’ bod. Great looks. Incredible real-world performance. And economy car fuel mileage. If the future of muscle cars includes more turbocharged fours like this…well, alrite alrite. Price as Tested: $36,120 (approx.) 0-60: 5.2 secs Power: 310 hp, 320 lb.-ft. Gas Cash: 21 city, 32 hwy Miles Driven: 900
September 17, 2015 at 06:12 PM

2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 | Reviewed

[gallery ids="542372,542371,542370,542369,542368"] Story: Will Sabel Courtney Pity the poor Hyundai Genesis. Like a Polish immigrant passing through Ellis Island or a Mumbai call-center operator, it has to change its family name to be taken seriously. Look the car over, stem to stern, and the only logos you’ll find are wings extending from a black shield—a logo Hyundai made up just for this car. The only Hyundai logo you’ll find is the one stamped on the engine cover beneath the hood When you see the Genesis, Hyundai wants you to think elegance. Or the Bible. Or Phil Collins’s old band. Really, anything but “Hyundai.” Now, the Hyundai badge isn’t the scarlet letter of cheapness it once was; these days, Hyundai’s cars and sport-utes tend to be among the most reliable, well-contented, and, yes, even best-looking vehicles in their segments, and people seem to be more accepting of the idea of them as something other than “the cheaper brand with an H on the hood.” But the idea of a $40,000-plus Hyundai is just a bridge too far for Americans. So the Genesis thrice denies its heritage—once on its hood, once on its trunk, and once on its steering wheel. Some people might consider it a smart business decision. I think it’s tragic that we have to live in a world where people can’t accept a car on its own merits, where a car must be concerned that it will be judged by the shape of its badge and not the content of its options sheet. Because, you know what? Who cares what it’s called. The Hyundai Genesis is a hell of a car, and it’s got nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, Hyundai ought to slather a contrasting Day-Glo version of their logo on each example that rolls out of the factory, to say, “That’s right, bitches, we’re Hyundai, and we make one hell of a luxury car.” For starters, it’s gorgeous. The second-generation Genesis, introduced last year, has the sort of clean, modern design that’ll look good a decade or eight from now. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the Lagonda super-sedan Aston Martin built for a hundred of the Middle East’s wealthiest…but the Genesis actually looks better. In fact, it could pass pretty easily for an Aston Martin; it already has the horizontal chrome bars on the grille and the winged emblem. I’ve seen at least one person make that mistake, and I’m sure she wasn’t the last. It’s a hell of a lot better built than an Aston Martin, too. In fact, it’s better made than most cars, regardless of where they land on the socioeconomic ladder. Hyundai’s been offering their “world’s best warranty” so long now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their cars are well made—but even so, the fit and finish in the Genesis comes as a surprise. It’s Lexus-grade—no exaggeration. Squeaks and rattles are nary to be found; every surface that falls under your fingertips is a delight to touch. The leather is soft, the wood elegant, the gauges simple and well-designed. The controls sit right where your hands want them, and move with a weight that makes them feel expensive. All that adds up to an interior that’s one hell of a nice place to log away a few hundred miles of highway cruising. The Genesis excels on the open road; sure, the suspension was tuned by Lotus, and sure, it can be coaxed to blast hard and fast through the turns, but this big sedan was made to do what big sedans are best at—knocking back mile after mile of open road. I stuffed it full of tall folks and fired it across Indiana, and it lapped up the miles like a cat who’s learned how to pour his own milk. And the seats! Oh, are those seats comfortable. Three hours in them flew by without complaint or ass-ache—either from me or either of my passengers, who shall remain nameless, but have both been known to make their opinions heard. Well-bolstered and covered in soft leather, they’re perfect for long slogs. (The seats, not my passengers.) Though the rear bench’s middle seat is best reserved for emergencies…and combatants not protected by the Geneva Convention. Best to think of the Genesis as a four-seater with a jump seat built into the rear armrest. A surprising treat on those long haul drives, by the way: the 5.0 liter V8 snuggled under that Hyundai-badged engine cover. It’s a throwback of an engine, a naturally-aspirated eight-pot in an era when (and a class where) almost everyone else has switched over to forced induction engines. Compared with those turbocharged and supercharged mills, the Tau V8’s power delivery feels delightfully smooth. It’s the difference between sipping Macallan and shooting Jack Daniels—both’ll get you where you want to go, but one does it with a lot more class. The V8 purrs in near-silence on the open road, but punch the gas, and it spins up quickly with a husky growl. It’s a hell of an engine, and to be honest, it’s a shame this (and the Hyundai Equus/Kia K900 twins) are the only places you can find it. (Having tested the V6 model in the past, I can testify that it’s no slouch—it works fine for daily use, and the lighter nose gives it a bit more handling prowess than the eight-cylinder. But it’s not nearly the old-school treat that the naturally-aspirated V8 is…and if you’re deciding which Genesis to buy based on which one handles better, you’re probably considering the wrong car to begin with.) And as the world’s come to expect from Hyundais, the Genesis is packed to the gunwales with features. You want automatic HID headlights, keyless entry-slash-pushbutton start, and a smart trunk that opens on its own when you stand near it so you don’t have to put down your assorted crap? You got ‘em. Heated-and-cooled front seats, a 14-speaker stereo, navigation, adaptive cruise control, aluminum trim? All standard on the 5.0. There’s only one option—the beautifully hyperbolic “Ultimate Package”—which adds on adjustable dampers, a head-up display, a bigger nav screen, a better stereo and a power trunk for $3,250. Which means a fully loaded Genesis 5.0 rolls off the lot at $55,700. A BMW 550i starts at $65,895—and doesn’t come with heated seats for that price, let alone active cruise or a HUD. And you can’t even buy an eight-cylinder A6, E-Class or GS anymore, unless you want to go whole hog and buy one of the high-performance models like the E63 AMG or the S6. No, the Genesis isn’t a sport sedan. It’s a luxury sedan that stays in shape. It looks sharp, it’s well-made, comfortable, and it’s more fun to drive than you’d expect. And it’s inexpensive enough that you could probably buy it and a used Miata for the price of one of its competitors. And if you’re worried people will still judge you because its made by the same people who build Elantras and Accents…well, just tell folks it’s an Aston Martin. Most people won’t know you’re lying. Hell, you might even forget that it’s a Hyundai. Price as Tested: $55,700 0-60: 5.2 secs Power: 420 hp, 383 lb-ft Gas Cash: 15 city, 23 hwy Miles Driven: 500
August 19, 2015 at 01:19 PM

Hoonigan 1972 Chevrolet: Napalm Nova

0-60 founder, and current Chief Brand Officer of Hoonigan, Brian Scotto built himself one extreme Chevy Nova.

[gallery ids="542364,542363,542362,542361,542360,542359,542358,542357,542356,542355,542354,542353,542352,542351,542350,542349,542348,542347,542346,542345,542344,542343,542342,542341,542340,542339,542338,542337,542336,542335,542334,542333,542332,542331,542330"] Story by: Michael Spinelli Photography by: Luke Munnell Years ago, Brian Scotto wouldn’t have considered a muscle-car project like the Napalm Nova. An Audi 80 rally car? Maybe. A Hayabusa-powered Smart ForTwo? Definitely. Rescuing an old, unsophisticated shambles from the crusher? Not bloody likely. All the same, Scotto’s blacked-out 1972 Nova with the massive cowl hood has recently entered the pantheon of other famously sinister Novas — like the “Murder Nova” seen on the Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws, and Stuntman Mike’s car from Quentin Tarantino’s half of the movie Death Proof. Obviously, something happened along the way to change Scotto’s point of view from favoring German and Japanese metal to “building a muscle car that wasn’t welcome inside the car show,” he said. But what? Rewinding. Ten years ago, Scotto founded a car magazine called 0-60. It had a young audience and a zero-tolerance rule: No muscle cars. “We were all into weird cars from the ’80s like the Mitsubishi Starion and the E30 M3,” Scotto says now. “I felt like the audience that was into muscle cars was so different than the audience we were trying to speak to,” he said. “Muscle cars were what our dads did.” But the one guarantee in life is that attitudes can shift with a change in the scenery. Scotto, now chief brand officer of Hoonigan, a motorsport apparel company he and Gymkhana legend Ken Block founded in 2011, says he caught the Chevy Nova bug after moving from New York to Los Angeles. There, he says, the typical automotive prejudices don’t apply. “You definitely get a different perspective of car culture [in L.A.]. I just kept seeing Novas over and over and over again, and in the course of about three or four weeks, I got it in my head that maybe I want to build one of those.” The Nova has always been a strong platform for muscle-car projects. Small and light, cheap, adaptable to large powerplants and — well, they’re literally freaking everywhere. The Nova is the most plentiful of GM’s X-body cars, and the third generation, of which the Napalm Nova is a proud member, is the most attractive (to Scotto’s eyes) and the most popular of them all. Between 1968 and 1974, Chevy sold 1.7 million Novas. The company offered 15 choices of powertrain, from a 2.5-liter four to the 6.6-liter 396 (402 ci) big-block V8. Most cars rolled off the lot with either a 250ci inline six or some variation of a small-block V8. Chevrolet offered its most potent factory Nova during the 1969 and 1970 model years. It was the SS 396, an option level that combined the SS performance package with one of two versions of the mighty big-block V8, topping out at 375hp. The SS 396 burnished the Nova’s image as a stout performer. It was the most powerful small car Chevy offered, it could run low 13s from the showroom (very few remained factory-stock for long), and it was a relative bargain at $3,600. But from 1971 on, the Nova — like all of Detroit’s muscle cars — was neutered by low-compression engines that met smog and new unleaded-fuel requirements. And by 1973, a slight face-lift in all the wrong places de-sinisterized the body styling. As such, Scotto crossed the ’73-’74 Nova right off his list. “There’s just something tough about the [early third-gen] Nova. It’s a car that, when it’s sitting still, it just looks scary. When you see that car, you assume the owner is not someone to mess with — not saying that’s me, but that’s the attitude. Like he’s got a shank under his seat. Not even like a normal weapon; it’s like he’s got a mace, like a ball and chain with studs on it that he fashioned at the junkyard. It has a little bit of that Mad Max feel to it.” And it was that primer-grey, antiheroic ethos that got his creative wheels spinning. When it came time to buy the car, he knew he wanted something with good bones, as Martha Stewart might say — something he could tear down and rebuild in the image he wanted. That is, a tough-looking bastard he could drive every day. Finding the car was easy. “I knew that I didn’t want something pretty. I didn’t care what the paint looked like or what the chrome work looked like,” he said. He found what he wanted — a ’68-’72 car — on eBay and crossed the desert to pick it up in Arizona. It was a ’72, formerly canary yellow, now blue with flaking clear coat. As with so many Novas, a previous owner had tossed aside the six in favor of an eight. In this case, the eight was a mildly worked 454. That engine, producing around 400hp, would remain in the car through the build, with the addition of an MSD Atomic EFI kit, a nod to drivability, and a Tremec T56 six-speed manual. “It does what I need it to do,” Scotto says. “It’s quick, it’s fun. Maybe we’ll put in something a little more fire breathing next year.” The Nova stayed as is in Scotto’s charge for almost two years before he got serious about transforming it into the Napalm Nova. His self-direction was simple: He wanted to retain the car’s scary side, and he insisted on pegging its new look to the latter part of the decade in which it was built. That meant diverting from current trends. “Pro touring had become kind of the new thing, and everyone in the muscle-car scene seemed to have moved over there, at least from a technology point of view,” he says. “One of the biggest pet peeves I had was big wheels on old cars. It just seemed wrong to see a set of 18s on an old car. When I set out to build the [Nova], I wanted something that looked like I could have built this in the late ’70s or early ’80s. I knew I wanted a 15-inch wheel [American Racing steelies], and that, oddly enough, made everything really difficult.” Just as Scotto wanted a particularly throwback look, he wanted a much more modern suspension, one that struck a better balance between drivability and period correctness. “I called Craig Morrison [at Art Morrison Enterprises] and said I wanted to build a muscle car that could do all the things 1980s movies and TV shows said they could do: pull wheelies, jump shit, drift and other cool things. ‘It has to be really rugged and really take some abuse. You want to be part of the project?’ He just replied, ‘Hell yeah.’” Morrison’s bolt-on subframe and suspension kit was the answer. Loosely based on the Corvette’s suspension, the kit would improve the Nova’s handling for day-to-day driving and also stand up to whatever stuntwork Scotto’s media-production mind could dream up (he’s also the creative director behind Block’s hugely popular “Gymkhana” videos), while some custom modifications, including a set of Wilwood Ultralite brakes, would let Scotto keep that small-wheel look and corresponding back-in-the-day appeal. “They really tried to convince me to go with 17-inch wheels for better braking and performance numbers, but I was steadfast on keeping it a 15-inch format. All these other guys building pro-touring cars were drawing inspiration from other modern cars out there, but I was drawing inspiration from Trans Am racing and old circle-track stuff.” Other compromises were made in the name of feel and style over performance, including a more classic-sounding H-pipe exhaust (Magnaflow) rather than a higher-performance X-pipe design. Once all the custom-tweaked underpinnings were finalized, installing all that kit in the Nova was an uphill battle as well. “The Nova’s a unibody, and the front [Morrison subframe] was a pretty easy job,” Scotto says. “It just bolted on.” But for the rear, it needed some extreme futzing with. To make matters worse, the build would coincide with Hot Rod magazine’s 2015 Power Tour. That meant Scotto would have a few days north of two months to get the car from its relatively natural state to its finalized form. Scotto and pickup crew of his girlfriend, Ashley Baker, and friends and helpers spent two months’ worth of late nights getting medieval with a cutting torch to make room for a new transmission and rear subframe. They did all that, plus installed a Ford 9-inch rear from Currie Enterprises, under an extremely tight deadline, and while holding down day jobs. “The scary thing was that we only had 69 nights to get everything done before the Power Tour. It was like a bad reality TV show. We made stupid mistakes — at one point we lowered the car on the door — all because we were rushing.” But unlike some other show-car builds, where the car just has to look good enough to appease the shuffling crowds, the Napalm Nova had to go from the garage to a road trip, traveling hundreds of miles a day. No pressure there. But despite the intense heat of a southern road trip in June, which spiked the heat in the cabin to over 130 degrees Fahrenheit, the Napalm Nova held up well enough to make the trip, and even performed countless tire-shredding displays on demand. And of course, as is Scotto’s modus operandi, now the Napalm Nova has to do all those things 1980s TV promised, likely with Hoonigan video cameras rolling. “Maybe I’ll be jumping a closed bridge sometime in the future.” [Shout-out to RxSpeed!]
August 04, 2015 at 01:45 PM

BMW i8

Gratuitous BMW i8 shots to get you over the hump.

[gallery ids="542326,542325,542324,542323,542322,542321,542320,542319,542318,542317"]
July 29, 2015 at 05:43 PM

2015 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG | Reviewed

While in Miami, we took this timeless classic for a luxurious test run.

[gallery ids="542309,542310,542311,542312,542313,542314"] Story: Evan ‘Evo’ Yates Photos: Evan ‘Evo’ Yates / Mercedes-Benz / Jordan Krate Exterior: The fact that the G-Wagen’s exterior has been virtually unaltered for nearly 40 years may be frowned upon, yet I believe the G’s vintage appearance is the foundation of its appeal. I actually tend to judge a vehicle’s appearance based on its ability to stand the test of time – if it still looks cool in ten years, it’s a winner. To be brutally honest, the G63 looks like a German tank and a fancy toaster had a love child and that’s quite refreshing to me. The fact that there is still a vehicle such as this produced in the era of futuristic crossovers flooding the expressways is quite admirable. To put it in muscle-car-guy terms, it’s as if Chevy were still making second-gen Camaros in 2015 but with updated interiors and drivetrains. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Anyway, the G63’s exterior is simultaneously bold, ferocious and charming and although it’s dated, its looks are immortal. Yes, it’s covered in chrome and even though I’ve lost my taste for the bling, somehow it works on the G63. And although its aesthetics are classic in nature, the G63 still brings some new-school charm to the table with its front LED lights, blacked-out wheels and massive red brake calipers. The best thing about the exterior? You’re the strangest, coolest most unique thing on the road and that has to count for something. Interior: One of the things I love about the G-Wagen is that it sports the signature vintage exterior while maintaining a refined interior. However, if you compare the G to other current Mercedes models, it’s actually a few years behind and can even be viewed as ‘economy’ as a couple items such as the LCD screen look aftermarket. That being said, the interior has plenty of plush amenities such as seats that are actually quite comfortable wrapped in supple, yet durable designo Black Nappa leather. And although the interior cabin takes a bit of getting used to with its vertical windows that create some interesting reflections, the interior of the G63 makes you feel like you’re the lead vehicle in some sort of combat procession or mob fleet as its militant, yet elegant at the same time. A/V: If you’ve driven a Benz in the last few years, the electronics in the G63 are on-par with the entry-level Mercedes vehicles and nothing really jumps out as outstanding, yet everything is certainly functional. I found that the radio was very easy to operate and the harman/kardonn LOGIC7 surround sound system did quite well with the bass-laden tunes we were blasting while cruising South Beach. And again, in a vehicle such as this you aren’t expecting to be floored by a plethora of a gadgets and I actually appreciate the G more with its electronic simplicity. Performance: To further my comparisons to an old muscle car, the G63 is a brute that hauls some serious ass in a straight line and is a little scary around curves. And like driving a muscle car, you fall in love with the acceleration and throaty exhaust so much that you put up with any driving annoyances you may experience. On city streets, the G63 can get quite bouncy at times but for the most part it drives as expected and is just fine on the highway. It would be ludicrous for anyone to discredit the G63 for its truck-like ride when there are tens of thousands of people driving around lifted trucks and loving every minute of it. Speaking of that, even though I didn’t have a chance to take it off-road (I would have loved to but I was in Miami where things are pretty flat) I think the G63 could use a little extra meat on the tires. To me, this would accomplish a few things but mainly it would look more capable and less pretty and also aid those who want to get some real use out of it. Do I think anyone out there will be spending $140k to go off-road? Not one bit, but with its three locking differentials, 560 lb-ft of torque and 4-wheel electronic traction system, the G63 certainly could. Floss Factor: The attention a bone stock G-Wagen attracts is off the charts, even on South Beach as we experienced on every cruise. The G63 just has an aura of opulence about it while still having that hard-edge, capable presence. The G63 would have been at home parked in front of Wet Willies on Ocean Drive or traversing through the sand on the beach and somehow it looks the part regardless. I can’t reitterate enough that the G63 turns EVERY head, even in a sea of Lambos, Ferraris and Rolls. It’s just that one rare vehicle that commands your attention – or else. And as we illustrated in the last picture of our gallery from our Forgiato Fest coverage, when customizing these vehicles it can boost the appeal exponentially. With the fact that the G isn’t exactly practical, this is THE ride you cop to floss. Damage: $138,075.00 Power: 536 hp / 560 lb-ft 0-60: 5.3 sec Gas Cash: 13 MPG (Combined)
July 23, 2015 at 02:14 PM

Ford Builds Apollo Edition Mustang

To infinity and beyond!

[gallery ids="542304,542299,542298,542303,542297,542296,542295,542302,542301,542300,542294,542293"] Via Ford: As far as special edition Mustangs go, this one is out of this world. For the eighth straight year, Ford Motor Company has created a unique, aviation-inspired Ford Mustang to benefit Experimental Aircraft Association youth education programs, including the Young Eagles. The Apollo Edition Mustang will be donated and sold via auction at the Gathering of Eagles charity event, July 23, at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 – the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration. All proceeds from the sale of the car will benefit EAA youth education programs, including the Young Eagles, which has provided free introductory flights to more than 1.9 million young people since 1992, helping grow the next generation of aviators. Ford serves as exclusive automotive sponsor of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, held July 20-26 this year at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. “The Apollo program delivered astonishing innovations in technology and achieved a national goal of landing the first human on the moon,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford board of directors. “The entire program was extraordinary – one of our nation’s greatest technological achievements. With this year’s stunning Apollo Edition Mustang, we salute that spirit of American ingenuity with the quintessential American automobile – Ford Mustang.” Based on a 2015 fastback Ford Mustang GT, Ford design and engineering teams transformed the 5.0-liter pony car into the Apollo Edition Mustang – a truly unique and highly valued vehicle that will excite enthusiasts and collectors alike. Led by Ford Design Manager Melvin Betancourt, the exterior features a one-of-a-kind glossy pure white and pure black non-production paint scheme that delivers a creative connection with the NASA Apollo program. The Apollo Edition Mustang features a carbon fiber front splitter, rear diffuser, rocker moldings and accent treatments, along with unique LED underbody lighting to symbolize atmospheric re-entry. Performance enhancements include a performance package, Ford Performance supercharger and shifter, X-pipe with side and rear exhaust, sport-tuned suspension, six-piston Brembo brakes and custom Forgiato 21-inch performance wheels. This Mustang will deliver a heart-pounding 627 horsepower and 540 lb.-ft. of torque to provide an exhilarating, controlled launch for its new owner. The theme carries into the cabin with exclusive interior details, including performance gauges, modified instrument cluster, unique sill plates and embroidered elements in seats, trim panels and floor mats. The auction of the Apollo Edition Mustang will be the pinnacle of the EAA Gathering of Eagles gala. The event annually draws more than 1,000 aviation enthusiasts in support of EAA youth education programs, which inspire young people to become engineers, aviators, astronauts, scientists and innovators – the aviation pioneers of tomorrow. “Ford has been a committed sponsor of EAA and AirVenture for more than 15 years – bringing incredible value to those who make Oshkosh the highlight of their aviation year,” said Jack Pelton, EAA chairman of the board. “With its eighth Mustang donation, Ford continues to excite with its specialty vehicles, which reflect the depth of the company’s commitment and which allow EAA to provide support to its valuable programs and dedicated members in helping us grow the next generation of aviators.” The Apollo Edition Mustang joins seven other one-of-a-kind Mustangs created by the Ford design and engineering teams for the auction in support of EAA youth education. Ford vehicles donated at EAA AirVenture events have collectively raised nearly $3 million.
July 16, 2015 at 06:13 PM

2015 Buick Encore | Review

Buick's cutest vehicle, ever, but does that equal quality?

[gallery ids="542290,542287,542288,542289"] Photos & Words: Evan ‘Evo’ Yates Exterior: The commercials are spot-on. Tell someone, ‘It’s the Buick over there’ and they literally can’t locate it. But in this case, it’s not necessarily because the Encore oozes new-age luxury, more so because it’s a tiny luxury crossover SUV and most would never imagine Buick producing a vehicle such as this. That being said, the exterior is quite charming. Most notably,  the front faschia is attractive and definitely demands some attention with its vertical chrome grille and blue halo-style headlight rings. Quicksilver Metallic, the hue my test vehicle adorned, is more than likely the best option for the Encore as the body lines are properly accentuated. All things considered, the aesthetic is what would potentially boost the Encore above its competitors. Interior: One attribute Buick has always been known for are plush, comfortable interiors but inside the Encore, there’s not much ‘Buick’ to be found – more like Saturn. Clearly they had to keep costs down but the the bland plastics and the ‘leather appointed’ seats fall short of the Buick standard. The interior was also a bit cramped in the rear and there wasn’t much cargo room but this was kind of assumed ahead of time. However, in this particular genre of vehicles, it’s not uncommon for the interiors to be pretty basic so it was almost to be expected. Just know that if you’re looking for BUICK in this interior, you won’t find it. A/V: Our test vehicle was equipped with a BOSE premium audio system which was fine for certain types of music and certainly a step above the base model. My iPhone seemed to work pretty well with the system via bluetooth or connected via cable (my preferred method). The 7-inch color screen was bright, easy on the eyes and added the techy-luxury vibe needed in a vehicle such as this as it’s assumed a younger person would be purchasing it. Performance: The ECOTEC Turbo 1.4L four-cylinder motor does its job but don’t expect much out of it. The Encore struggled at times with multiple passengers and/or with the air conditioning on but performs pretty well otherwise. Floss Factor: This little luxury nugget is cute and certainly a step above its competition in the looks category. Damage: $29,965.00 Power: 138 hp, 148 lb-ft 0-60: 9.3 sec Gas Cash: 28 MPG (combined)
July 13, 2015 at 05:28 PM

Yokohama Tire Wants To Send You To A Yankees Game

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Yokohama Yankees Promo

Yokohama Tire Corporation (YTC) has teamed up with Major League Baseball’s most successful franchise – the New York Yankees – to bring fans the “VIP Experience.” From now until July 31, Yokohama will be running an online sweepstakes for fans and, at the end, one lucky winner and three guests will get to go to Yankee Stadium to watch the 27-time World Champion Yankees take on the Chicago White Sox on September 26.

Baseball fans can enter by visiting www.yankees.com/ytcvip or by texting YTC2WIN to 89269. “Yokohama’s partnership with the Yankees has been a big hit with fans,” said Alan Holtschneider, YTC director of marketing. “The grand prize includes four Field Level MVP tickets, a chance to watch batting practice from behind home plate and a limited-edition New York Yankees gift bag.” The VIP Experience prize package includes roundtrip airfare to New York and hotel accommodations for the winner and guests. The winner will be picked on August 3, and the contest is open to all United States residents, 18 years of age or older. Contest rules can be found at: www.yankees.com/ytcvip.
July 09, 2015 at 12:33 PM
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