Test Drive notes: Looking forward
We find ourselves caught between test cars, having turned in a 2016 Nissan Murano we reviewed last week with nothing scheduled in its place until the end of this week. So we'll fill the breach with some automotive potpourri:
- We genuinely enjoyed our 400-mile round trip to central Pennsylvania in the Murano. The ride, handling and interior comfort were exceptional. During the trip, we often used the car's optional Intelligent Cruise Control, which delivered smoother deceleration and acceleration than any we've experienced. But we couldn't help but wonder: Do people who become accustomed to technology like Intelligent Cruise Control sometimes plow into slower vehicles when driving a car with conventional cruise control?
- On two or three occasions, the Murano's satellite radio got stuck on one station and wouldn't budge. The only way to get it working again was to shut off the engine for a minute or two, then restart it. Luckily, the radio never got stuck on the Barbra Streisand or Disney channels, favored by one of our drivers.
- As promised a few months ago, here's an update on the Jeep Renegade we leased in February. It'll be a very short update. We've put almost 5,000 miles on the car and have not had cause to ask the dealer to fix anything. We did get a notice advising us to get a new lug wrench; the original “may ... break during use due to a non-compliant heat treatment process causing the material hardness to be out of specification.” We haven't used our lug wrench, so it's still intact, as far as we know. Otherwise, the car has performed flawlessly. Dealer services have been limited to an oil change and a quick once-over that identified no problems.
- Among the more interesting cars on our schedule of upcoming test drives are a BMW X1, a Cadillac XT5, GMC Acadia and Nissan Pathfinder. The X1, introduced in the 2015 model year, is a compact sports activity vehicle – that's BMW-speak for crossover – that starts at $33,100. The XT5 is a compact crossover, new for 2017, with a base price of $38,995. Having driven a number of impressive all-wheel-drive crossovers from South Korea and Japan recently, it'll be interesting to see how they compare with the premium models from BMW and Cadillac. The Acadia, a midsize SUV, has been around for quite a while, but it's been completely redesigned for 2017. The Pathfinder also has been upgraded for 2017. So we're looking forward to our time with all of these models.
No promises … but we'll try to get our hands on the revolutionary Chevrolet Bolt. Before this all-electric sedan's arrival, Tesla offered the only prescription for range anxiety – a car that will go 219 to 302 miles on a charge. And if you stop at a Tesla Supercharger station, of which there are seven in Connecticut, the battery pack will reach a half charge in fewer than 30 minutes at no cost to the car's owner. But Teslas cost $70,000 or more, and programs like CHEAPR (Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automatic Purchase Rebate) don't apply to expensive models. The all-electric Bolt, a small sedan, is said to have a range of 238 miles and is priced at $37,495 – before state and federal rebates that bring the price below $30,000. “An all-electric vehicle offering an EPA-estimated 238 miles of range per full charge for an affordable price – unheard of? Not anymore,” says Chevrolet's website. Meanwhile, the Tesla Model 3, with a range of 215 miles, is supposed to cost about $35,000. But the Bolt will arrive at dealerships this year, while the Model 3 won't be available until 2017.
Steven Macoy (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel, Conn.