V.W. I.D. Crozz Concept Car: “the future is a little creepy”

Greg Fink reported on the new Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Concept Car for Car and Driver:

“If there’s one thing today’s cars are missing, it’s headlights that emulate the movements of the human eye. Volkswagen is working to change this, and its all-electric I.D. Crozz concept joins the brand’s I.D. and I.D. Buzz predecessor concepts by offering headlights that can wink, squint, and even stare at people and objects. The VW of the future is a little creepy.”

Fink suspects that the I.D. Crozz may be the concept for the electric vehicle V.W. plans to produce in 2020. Like its I.D. predecessors, the Crozz uses Volkswagen’s new, EV-specific MEB platform. It has approximately 109 inch wheelbase and is about 182 inches long. Similar to the Tiguan. An 83-kWh lithium-ion battery is located under the floor, and two electric motors, one at each axle, are contained within the front and rear subframes.

Fink states that:

“Passengers enter the I.D. Crozz through either the electrically opening front doors, which can swing out 90 degrees, or the electric sliding rear doors. Once seated, the driver can either take control of the wheel or waive driving duties by pressing the steering wheel’s VW logo for three seconds to activate the I.D. Pilot autonomous-driving mode. In that self-driving mode, the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard, the ambient cabin lighting switches from blue to violet, four laser scanners rise from the roof, and the headlights do their best imitation of a human eye by purposefully “looking” in the direction of travel or staring at pedestrians to make sure they’re thoroughly befuddled, made aware of the approaching VW, or both.”

While this concept car sounds a bit more like science fiction, than science fact if the specs of a production vehicle based off this concept come near the ballpark of the concept specs, V.W. may have a winner on their hands.

The Crozz has a 101-hop front motor and 201-hp in the rear motor. V.W. is claiming a top speed of 112mph and the driving range is listed at 311 miles. Volkswagen asserts that the crossover’s battery pack can be recharged to 80 percent full in only 30 minutes with a DC fast charger.

Fink reports that V.W. plans to sell a million EVs worldwide by 2025.

Volkswagen will defrost your windshield – with silver!

Autoweek reported that German automaker Volkswagen is rolling out a brand new windshield defrosting. This is just another iteration of the old “tiny wires in the glass” trick. Volkswagen has discovered a way to add a super-thin, conductive layer of invisible silver within glass used for windshields. The invisible silver layer can take between 400-500 watts of electricity, which is enough to improve defrost time. They are also offering customers an option that will keep their windshield wipers deiced as well. The technology is available for the following models: Golf, Golf Sportsvan, Tiguan, Sharan, Passat and its European variants.

This new invisible silver technology isn’t just for winter driving, however. The silver will also act as a passive heat shield to keep cars cooler in the summer. The silver, according to Volkswagen, will reflect up to 60 percent of summer heat. That is about 15 degrees more protection than conventional tinted windshields.

Prices for the new tech option will start at around $360.

Joe Victor

For the economy-minded: Here are the 10 Coolest Cars under $18,000

Kelly Blue Book has a list of the 10 Coolest cars under $18,000.

  1. 2013 Chevrolet Spark
  2. 2013 Honda Civic
  3. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta
  4. 2013 Fiat 500
  5. 2013 Mazda MAZDA3
  6. 2013 Dodge Dart
  7. 2013 Honda Fit
  8. 2013 Kia Soul
  9. 2013 Ford Focus
  10. 2013 Hyundai Veloster

(When you go the Kelly Blue Book site (link above) you will be asked for your zip code so you will get the current pricing for your area.)

~ The Victor crew

Hi Jody, Ever see a Volkswagen rolled into a ball?

This week I found a nifty little blog on the site www.popsci.com. Just a mish mosh of some pretty cool articles like:

  • A 495-Horsepower Monster From Jaguar
  • An electric motorcycle that recharges in 10 minutes
  • Self-driving cars
  • Happy 50th Birthday, Lamborghini!
  • As always more Flying Cars
  • And just more cool stuff!

See it all here http://www.popsci.com/cars

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 12 Best in Class Car Values, 2012

Kiplinger’s Best in Class winners top the msn.com rankings in each of 12 categories, based on performance, value and safety — plus driving impressions from road tests. Iasked Jody Victor to tell us about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor: All except one of the msn.com Best in Class winners are also Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Picks (no sports cars made that list this year). Her’s the first five.

CARS UNDER $20,000: CHEVROLET CRUZE

Sticker price: $19,995 (Eco, manual)
Invoice price: $19,225
TrueCar national average price: $19,889
3-year resale value: 57%, 5-year: 40%
City mpg: 28, Hwy: 42

Introduced last year to replace the Cobalt, the Cruze quickly shot to best-seller status. It’s wallet-friendly on many fronts, blending a low price with impressive fuel efficiency and high resale values. Its stylish and nearly silent interior, plus solid handling, push it to the front of the compact pack.

CARS $20,000-$25,000: VOLKSWAGEN JETTA TDI

Invoice price: $23,451
TrueCar national average price: $23,619
3-year resale value: 62%, 5-year: 46%
City mpg: 30, Hwy: 42

The Jetta offers German engineering at a budget price but without a budget feel. It’s as spacious inside as compacts come, and as nimble, whether you’re parallel parking or navigating city traffic. The diesel version gets top honors for its powerful, fuel-efficient engine and stellar resale values.

CARS $25,000-$30,000: KIA OPTIMA

Sticker price: $25,850 (2.0T EX)
Invoice price: $24,205
TrueCar national average price: $25,205
3-year resale value: 52%, 5-year: 36%
City mpg: 22, Hwy: 34

The Optima’s redesign last year shook off the bland styling, adding sharp creases and an aggressive front end complete with fog lights and wraparound headlamps; it also won Kiplinger’s Best New Car award for its category. The turbo-boosted four-cylinder engine puts out more horsepower (274) than most in its class, a difference you’ll feel on the road. Add value pricing and a five-year warranty and you’ve got serious swagger.

CARS $30,000-$40,000: FORD TAURUS

Sticker price: $38,950 (SHO)
Invoice price: $35,820
TrueCar national average price: $35,005
3-year resale value: 54%, 5-year: 39%
City mpg: 17, Hwy: 25

A Kiplinger’s top pick since its 2009 reintroduction, the Taurus earns its plaudits with a mix of fuel efficiency and power. The V6 EcoBoost engine gives it the power of a V8 without guzzling gas. The Super High Output (SHO) badge means it gets a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes and paddle shifters.

CARS $40,000-$50,000: BMW 5 SERIES

Sticker price: $47,575 (528i)
Invoice price: $43,840
TrueCar national average price: $44,838
3-year resale value: 54%, 5-year: 37%
City mpg: 23, Hwy: 34

Direct injection and turbocharging make the 528i one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class. An eight-speed automatic transmission also lends a hand, as does start/stop technology, which shuts the engine off when you’re stopped and automatically restarts it when you press the accelerator.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor

 

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Cars for Summer Sports II

Summer is just around the corner so if you have a favorite activity you like to do all summer long you may want to choose your vehicle to match your sport. I aksed Jody Victor  to tell us more about it from an article by Claire Martin of MSN Autos and msn.com.

Jody Victor: Hey Joe, it certainly makes your activities a lot more fun when the vehicle you use gets you there and back with ease. Here’s the last five that could make your weekend fun, even more fun!

Kayaking | Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen

The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is watertight, thanks to a special hot-wax treatment that fills in the tiniest nooks and crannies, which means no rust, even if you routinely expose your car to saltwater and sea air while traveling to your favorite kayaking destinations. Heavy-duty floor mats and a trunk liner keep your wetsuit and other gear from wetting down the fabric or carpeting after a paddling session. Roof rails accommodate an aftermarket kayak rack, and the panoramic sunroof lets your passengers keep an eye on your boat while you drive.

ATV Riding | Ford F-250 Super Duty

Few pickup trucks have beds long enough to accommodate an all-terrain vehicle without the tailgate down. The F-250 Super Duty, with an 8-foot bed, is one such vehicle. This allows you to load your ATV with several inches of room to spare. The F-250’s V8 engine also makes it well-qualified for towing, if that’s your preference. Telescopic rearview mirrors let you keep an eye on your trailer. A 6-speed automatic transmission helps you navigate the diciest of terrain as you make your way to sand dunes or desert flats.

Rock Climbing | Subaru Forester

The Forester has just the right amount of room for ropes, carabiners, shoes and a cooler to store après-climb refreshments. The extra ground clearance is essential for when you tackle dry riverbeds or seemingly vertical mountain roads to get to the best climbing spots. The car’s symmetrical all-wheel drive (as opposed to a front-wheel-drive car with added rear-wheel capabilities, or vice versa) provides peace of mind along the way.

Sailing | GMC Yukon Denali XL

When you’re hauling boats, you need the extra horsepower of a vehicle such as the Yukon Denali XL. With a 6.2-liter V8 engine that provides 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque, you won’t have to worry about whether it can handle your diminutive Sunfish sailboat or a bigger yacht. With a cargo area that’s 81 inches long and that boasts 109 cubic feet of storage space, you’ll have plenty of room for your sailing gear and other accessories. An integrated trailer-brake controller helps you apply the appropriate amount of brake force when you have a boat in tow.

Fishing | Ram 1500

Fishing is dirty business. You need some serious cargo space for rods, tackle, buckets, bait and all the other gear for a day out on the water, and you want it to be ventilated — fish stink. And if you’re going fly-fishing in some remote locale, you’ll need something pretty rugged to find the most productive fishing holes and tackle the dirt roads leading to them. The Ram 1500 is perfect. It is one of the most versatile half-ton pickups on the market, with plenty of power from the all-new 305-horsepower Pentastar V6, which is 20 percent more efficient than previous engines, a smooth ride on or off road, and slick styling. Plus, Ram offers some cool truck-bed storage options.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check them all out!

Joe Victor

 

 

Joe asks Jody Victor®: What Vehicle Is Best for Your City? II

Cities are cities, right? Not necessarily! While there are many similarities, the differences are what makes certain vehicles more useful to one area than another. I asked Jody Victor  to continue with the second part of the article by Erik Sofge of MSN Autos and msn.com.

Jody Victor: Hey, Joe, here they are, the rest of the vehicles best suited for cities around this great country of ours.

City: Phoenix | Vehicle: Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

The criterion for a vehicle in a desert city is pretty simple: heat-bouncing, lighter-hued interiors. There’s nowhere to tow your personal watercraft, no sane reason to go camping and no weather to sully the long stretches of blacktop carving through the dunes. So you can drive whatever boring thing you want, or you can channel your inner Mad Max with the Challenger SRT8. It’s pure, vintage muscle on 20-inch, 5-spoke aluminum wheels. Its only shortcoming is that the 6.4-liter 470-horsepower Hemi V8 engine doesn’t punch right through the racer-striped hood.

City: Jacksonville, Fla. | Vehicle: Jeep Wrangler

Miami might get the attention, but Jacksonville is the bigger city (with more than 800,000 residents, more than double Miami’s population), and it is surrounded by more diverse day or weekend destinations. So, for transitioning from open-air highway driving to powering through swampy conditions to rolling right onto the beach, the venerable Jeep Wrangler just makes sense. It’s the only 4×4 convertible, becomes the ultimate beachcomber with the doors fully removed, and it can ford up to 30 inches of water. But remember, this is gator country — don’t go fording with the doors and roof off.

City: Boston | Vehicle: Subaru Outback

The unpredictability of New England weather is so bad that it’s long been a point of pride for local residents. It’s also why Subaru, and the Outback, specifically, have always been so ubiquitous in the area. And so it goes for Boston, where the Outback and its symmetrical all-wheel drive is as adept at gripping rain-clogged streets as it is at forging through mud-spattered New Hampshire trails and snow-swept Maine roads. The 3.6R, with its 256-horsepower boxer engine, isn’t a necessary upgrade, but the rumors are true: Whether in rain, sleet or snow, Boston drivers go fast.

City: Seattle | Vehicle: Volkswagen Tiguan

For rainy Seattle, we could have just as easily picked the Subaru Outback again for its proven performance on wet roads, but the Volkswagen Tiguan is a capable all-weather traveler. VW’s power-juggling 4Motion all-wheel drive, and an off-road drive mode that’s exclusive to this model, provide more precise torque control, improved braking on loose surfaces and automatic speed adjustments during hill climbs and descents. The Tiguan has room to spare for outdoor gear, but it’s also a relatively luxe ride, with built-in iPod connectivity, leather two-toned interiors and a hipper overall look than its competition at Subaru.

City: Denver | Vehicle: Range Rover Evoque

The Evoque is a renaissance Range Rover, equally at home charging up and down the Rockies as it is cruising through downtown Denver’s LoDo neighborhood. This crossover won’t even ruffle the feathers of the famously environmentally active locals, with a fuel economy that is a rather commendable 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway. It’s not the rugged outdoors vehicle that other Range Rovers are, but it’s a snowy-weather road warrior, and the most stylish SUV on the market.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check these great vehicles out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 12 Best in Class Car Values For 2012

Based on performance, value and safety — plus driving impressions from road tests, these Best in Class winners rom Kiplingers will “Wow” you. I asked Jody Victor to explain.

Jody Victor: Well, Joe, here they are, 12 vehicles that should keep you happy no matter what, by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger, from msn.com , in 3 parts.

CARS UNDER $20,000: CHEVROLET CRUZE

Sticker price: $19,995 (Eco, manual)
Invoice price: $19,225
TrueCar national average price: $19,889
3-year resale value: 57%, 5-year: 40%
City mpg: 28, Hwy: 42

Introduced last year to replace the Cobalt, the Cruze quickly shot to best-seller status. It’s wallet-friendly on many fronts, blending a low price with impressive fuel efficiency and high resale values. Its stylish and nearly silent interior, plus solid handling, push it to the front of the compact pack.

CARS $20,000-$25,000: VOLKSWAGEN JETTA TDI

Invoice price: $23,451
TrueCar national average price: $23,619
3-year resale value: 62%, 5-year: 46%
City mpg: 30, Hwy: 42

The Jetta offers German engineering at a budget price but without a budget feel. It’s as spacious inside as compacts come, and as nimble, whether you’re parallel parking or navigating city traffic. The diesel version gets top honors for its powerful, fuel-efficient engine and stellar resale values.

CARS $25,000-$30,000: KIA OPTIMA

Sticker price: $25,850 (2.0T EX)
Invoice price: $24,205
TrueCar national average price: $25,205
3-year resale value: 52%, 5-year: 36%
City mpg: 22, Hwy: 34

The Optima’s redesign last year shook off the bland styling, adding sharp creases and an aggressive front end complete with fog lights and wraparound headlamps; it also won Kiplinger’s Best New Car award for its category. The turbo-boosted four-cylinder engine puts out more horsepower (274) than most in its class, a difference you’ll feel on the road. Add value pricing and a five-year warranty and you’ve got serious swagger.

CARS $30,000-$40,000: FORD TAURUS

Sticker price: $38,950 (SHO)
Invoice price: $35,820
TrueCar national average price: $35,005
3-year resale value: 54%, 5-year: 39%
City mpg: 17, Hwy: 25

A Kiplinger’s top pick since its 2009 reintroduction, the Taurus earns its plaudits with a mix of fuel efficiency and power. The V6 EcoBoost engine gives it the power of a V8 without guzzling gas. The Super High Output (SHO) badge means it gets a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes and paddle shifters.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor

 

Joe asks Jody Victor®: More Great Commuter Cars

Well, if that last bunch didn’t trip your trigger, try this next lineup. Here’s our own Jody Victor  with more info from the article by Evan Griffey of msn.com.

Jody Victor: Hey Joe, I know that last group was great but, here goes with the rest of the great commuter vehicles.

Kia Sportage – Price: $18,500 – The Sportage fills the commuting needs of SUV fans. You get that high-and-mighty seating position, plenty of room and a slew of standard amenities in a stylish package. It costs $3,800 to add all-wheel drive to the equation, but we’d recommend it if you regularly face bad weather. The Kia is a great call when you need a double-duty vehicle that can both commute and support an active lifestyle outside the office. Fuel efficiency: 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway.

Scion iQ – Price: $15,995 – There are all kinds of engineering tricks that explain how the iQ looks small on the outside, yet is relatively big inside. But that’s not why it appeals to us in this context; the asymmetrical dash and staggered seating are the standouts here. This arrangement, in which the front passenger sits farther forward in the cabin than the driver, gives three commuters regular, no-compromise room. The iQ’s impressive 37 mpg combined city and highway mileage is the best among the strictly gas-burners on this list.

Subaru Legacy – Price: $19,995 – The Legacy is the all-wheel-drive alternative on the list. As part of its 2009 redesign, Subaru’s midsized sedan got a more expansive, ergonomic interior that makes better use of the space. It is offered in seven model trims with three engine choices and numerous interior and connectivity features, so there is a flavor for every palate. The base 2.5i trim features a 170-horsepower engine and continuously variable transmission and generates the best mileage figures: 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway.

Toyota Prius V – Price: $26,400 – There is a lot to like in the versatile all-new-for-2012 Prius V. The traditional gas-electric hybrid has more of a minivan profile than other Prius offerings. Its bigger packaging means more room for the commute and more cargo potential for weekend getaways, all while enjoying hybrid-spec fuel efficiency at 44 mpg city/42 mpg highway. The Prius V comes in three trims; only the top trim offers access to the commuter-friendly, high-end technology option packages.

VW Jetta Diesel – Price: $22,525 – Diesels have been known for their high-mileage figures for decades; this one gets 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway. But many still perceive them as being loud, smoky and crude. Get a clue: Modern diesels are quiet and clean-burning and offer a refined ride and drive. They make an excellent commuter car. Diesels produce big torque; the Jetta’s 236 lb-ft of torque doubles that of the first four cars on our list, giving it more pep from a stoplight. VW’s 2.0-liter TDI drivetrain can be had in sedan or SportWagen versions of the Jetta, making it more flexible for post-commute activities.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check ’em out.

Joe Victor