Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GTI am in love

I mentioned in my welcome post that one of the things I wanted to do on this blog was post some car reviews. In honor of that my fellow car enthusiast friend and I test drove the 2012 Volkswagen GTI yesterday. The original goal was to compare the new GTI to the Mazda Speed3 but we ended up only being able to test out the GTI. I can’t say I’m too upset about that though. I’ve heard time and time again that the GTI is the best “hot hatch” on the market. I mean heck, these things basically have a cult following. I realized this even more when the salesman we were working with got all serious before the drive and warned us that once we had driven a GTI we would never want to drive anything else ever again. That seemed a little dramatic to me but hey maybe he was right. The one we chose was a white, four-door, six- speed manual. Even this base model came standard with all sorts of goodies including I-pod and aux hookups, one touch automatic windows, heated seats (which worked incredibly well) and some cool digital readout features on the dash. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the interior too. The plaid seats were a nice touch and so was the red stitching on the shifter and steering wheel. As this was my first “GTI experience” I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was definitely excited though and the second I hit the freeway onramp I let her loose and pounded through 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5th gear. The 200hp turbocharged engine came to life and got me up to 80 mph a lot quicker than expected. There seemed to be plenty of power through the entire range of every gear too. Even at 2000 revs in fifth gear I could put the pedal to the metal and almost instantly the turbo would kick in and once again I would be well above the speed limit. While we weren’t able to take it on a track we could both feel the very capable handling of the car which was due to the sport tuned suspension standard on all GTI’s. After a good cruise on the freeway and through the city we were both extremely satisfied to say the least. Our salesman's creepy warning seemed to be coming true as neither of us wanted to stop driving it. At a base price of about $26k this really does seem like one of the best cars if you're a "bang for your buck" type of guy, or girl. So for those “family men” out there who still dream of being racecar drivers the Volkswagen GTI is the perfect blend of sports car and practical family hauler. Just be careful because once you get in the driver’s seat, you may never get out.  

Check out this Fifth Gear video and this Car and Driver video to see the GTI in action!

Anyone ever driven a GTI and a Speed3?? Let me know which one you think is better below!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dart or Dud?

Bursting onto the new car scene this summer will be the newly redesigned Dodge Dart. Redesigning old models seems to be all the rage these days and it’s worked surprisingly well for Dodge in recent years. The Charger has been one of the top selling sedans since its debut in 2006 and the Challenger has increased in sells yearly since its release in 2008. So what makes the Dart so important for Dodge? Maybe you haven’t noticed but since the economy crashed and gas prices skyrocketed the “compact car” market has exploded. It seems like every other car you see driving down the road these days is either a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic. To battle the foreign brands in this ever increasing market Chevy recently introduced the Cruise and Ford has once again updated the Focus. Not surprisingly then, Dodge realized they needed something more impressive than their previous attempt (the Dodge Caliber) to compete.  The new dart will have the somewhat altered chassis of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta giving it “Alfa Romeo DNA”. Dodge has been quick to use this as a selling point for the car. As for styling they’ve fitted it with an aggressive front end and a smooth sleek body. To finish it out they added the led tail lights similar to those they use on the new charger. It will be available in three engine options including a 2.0 liter, a 1.4 liter turbo, and the R/T which gets a 2.4 liter turbo. You’ll also have the choice between a six speed auto or manual. While Dodge has been behind the competition in this area the new Dart seems somewhat promising. It has all the qualities of a good compact car while maintaining the edgy styling and performance of a Dodge. All that’s left to do now is wait and see what happens. Good luck Dodge, hopefully it turns out better than the Caliber. 

What do you guys think? Dart or Dud? Shoot me a comment and let me know!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Korean Comeback

My wife and I own a 2007 Hyundai Elantra. It's the car she bought in high school and the car we now both use to commute back and forth to school. When I first drove it I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. It seemed like it was put together well and it had that solid reliable feeling to it. I have always been a Toyota owner and am completely converted to their simple design, good gas mileage, and famous reliability. In fact I've owned three different Corolla's in the past year which were all great cars. But when I began driving my wife's Elantra almost on a daily basis I began to appreciate what the Korean's were doing. It seemed as though they were finally starting to catch on to what Honda and Toyota have been doing for so many years. Then one day I saw the completely redesigned 2010 Hyundai Sonata. I was blown away! It was beautiful. It looked like a 50 or 60 thousand dollar mercedes but sure enough it had that slanted H on the front reassuring me that it was a Hyundai. I was amazed at the aggressive yet graceful look they were able to pull off with the new design. 

Then Hyundai came out with the new Elantra and the new Accent and they too had those graceful yet aggressive lines that have become signature on their vehicles. I don't know what happened but it seems like they had a complete turnaround overnight. The Hyundai Elantra took home North America's coveted Car of the Year award for 2012 and I have no doubt that many more awards lie in the future for this booming company. Now don't get me wrong I'm still a die hard Toyota lover at heart, but Hyundai has a good thing going here and I'm excited to see what other good things lie ahead for them. Oh did I mention the Hyundai Veloster? Yet another sweet example of what Hyundai is all about these days. So if you’re looking to buy a car soon maybe you should stop by the Hyundai dealership and just see what they have. You might be pleasantly, or shockingly, surprised.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Supercars for the normal guy

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Cranks the Dyno Needle to 580 HP
The muscle car war that began 50 years ago is back in full force today. It all started (or rather, began again) in 2005 when Ford decided to redesign the original Mustang for a more modern era. Soon after that Dodge began reproducing the Challenger and last but not least Chevy introduced their new version of the Camaro. I wish I could say that it’s still a battle between all three of these beasts but it seem as though the Mustang and Camaro have taken center stage in this battle royale. In response to the Shelby GT 500 Mustang, Chevy recently introduced the ZL1 Camaro. This monster of a car has been dyno tested at an insane 580 hp! That’s more than a Ferrari 458! This new Camaro isn’t just a beefed up version of the SS either. This is basically a new car. The motor comes from the Cadillac CTS-V, the brakes are bigger and the wheels are wider. The suspension uses Magneto-Rheological fluid technology that changes firmness depending on the road you’re driving on. Rather than a beefed up SS this seems more like a somewhat toned down ZR1. The sub 4 second 0-60 time is even more evidence of that. So it seems like Chevy has finally won the 50 year muscle car slugfest right? Well, maybe not. Ford’s new version of the Shelby GT-500 produces a ridiculous 650 hp! Are you kidding me!! It’s beginning to sound like the “supercar” rumors are true. Maybe these new American powerhouses really will compete with those rare supercars only celebrities and internet moguls can afford.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime I’m just happy that Chevy and Ford are staying true to their muscle car roots by putting as much power as possible in a two door car and slapping a reasonable price tag on it.

Photo: Picture 4 - 2012 Ford Shelby GT500

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

That's a Scion??

So after thinking about what the first "official" post should be on this blog, I figured it might as well start with a bang. Introduce: The 2013 Scion FR-S!! Also known as the Toyota FT-86 or the Suburu BRZ depending on what country you live in. But the name that we will most definitely become familiar with here in the states is Scion FR-S. That stands for Front-Engine, Rear Wheel Drive, Sport. Sounds good already:)

Toyota and Suburu came together to create this awesome 2.0 liter boxer engine that puts out a decent 200 hp. From what it sounds like though that 200 hp is more than enough to zip this thing around a track. They will offer a 6 speed manual or 6 speed auto with paddle shifters. While all of those stats sound nice and all, probably the most incredible thing about this car is the way it looks. It’s gorgeous! It looks like a Lexus LFA that got swallowed by a Scion. Now you might be wondering why I brought this car up in the very first post on this blog. Funny enough this is the car my wife wants as her daily driver, how sick is that! She originally wanted a Civic SI and then we saw the FR-S and it was love at first sight. If we were to purchase one of these in the future I'm pretty sure I'd steal it from her every day. This beauty is set to go on sale this spring and will likely be a common sight on the road soon after. Check out this Test Drive video that gives you an idea of what this FR-S is capable of.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012



Hey everyone welcome to Acceleration. This is just a little blog I decided to start to share my passion for cars, or anything with an engine mounted to it, with other people.

So who am I? A car expert? A mechanic? A car salesman? Actually, I’m none of the above. I’m a newly married college student who spends way too much time dreaming about the ridiculous ZR1 Corvette I’ll hopefully own one day which I’ll hopefully park in my beautiful two story garage/shop. I’m a guy who loves driving anything with wheels and a motor. I love the open road, the off-road, and everything in between. While some people dream of going to Europe to visit  the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe, I wanna go so I can drive as fast as I want on the Autobahn. So while I may not be an expert on cars, I love everything about them and I hope to share some of that passion with anyone else who has dreams about Ferrari 458’s and Boss 302 Mustangs. So for those of you who share my feelings for engines that make your heart skip a beat and cars that makes you drool, welcome to Acceleration. 

 I hope to make this blog a place where people can experience many different aspects of the auto industry. While I do love extreme automobiles I also love the everyday automobile that most of us drive. So expect a little bit of everything from this blog, from simple informational posts, to how-to videos, to car reviews and the latest and greatest news from the auto world. Since I enjoy every aspect of the auto world this blog will reflect that.