The Car Geek: June 2007

The Car Geek

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Who Topped The J.D Power & Associates 2007 APEAL Awards?

The results were released yesterday for the 2007 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudyTM. According to J.D Powers and Associates, Honda earned most of the awards more than any other vehicle brands with four model category honors this year. The study is being applied for 12 years now which evaluates the owner’s pleasure with the design, content, layout and performance of their new cars.

J.D. Powers and Associates’ Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) is being harmonized with the APEAL study which concentrates more on the problems encountered by car owners during the first three months of ownership. The study assesses the satisfaction of car owners with their brand new vehicle and how rewarding it is to own and drive these vehicles.

The four top cars from Honda are the Honda Fit, CR-V, Ridgeline Truck and the Odyssey. Mercedes-Bens and BMW got three segment awards apiece. Ford earned two awards together with Nissan and Volkswagen. The Series, 6 Series and the X5 models for BMW; the Mustang and Edge for Ford; the E-Class, S-Class and the GL-Class for Mercedes Benz; the Jetta and the GTI for VW; and the Altima Sedan and the Armada for Nissan Motors.

“Vehicle models with strong customer appeal tend to be in higher demand, which diminishes the need for dealers to incentivize to boost sales,” said Neal Oddes, the director of product research and analysis at J.D. Power and Associates. “Offering larger incentives decreases the profitability of vehicles, so it’s important for manufacturers to incorporate those ‘must-have’ features and design elements that will entice buyers, which also reduces the need for large customer cash rebates.”

The Nissan Armada tops in its segment for four years in a row. A number of models, including the Ford Mustang, Honda Ridgeline and the Honda Odyssey, ranked highest in their particular division for their third consecutive year. On the other hand, the Hyundai Azera and the Porsche Cayman earned awards for the second straight year. The Mustang and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class topped in their category in both the APEAL study and the IQS.

“Whether due to fresh designs or innovative features, APEAL scores tend to be highest for models when they are first introduced,” said Oddes. “It’s essential for manufacturers to get new-vehicle launches right, since vehicles with high appeal scores generally command a higher gross profit and sell more quickly. Two of the redesigned models - the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (in a tie) and Honda CR-V - also earned awards in the 2007 Initial Quality Study, and are examples of how manufacturers can learn from preceding models to improve in both initial quality and appeal.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

2007 Concept Vehicle of the Year Award Goes To…

The 2007 North American Specialty Concept Vehicle of the Year was given to the Chevrolet Volt concept car. It also won the Most Significant Concept Vehicle of the Year while the Holden EFIJY was awarded the 2007 North American Concept Car of the Year. The celebrated event took place at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn.

The South East Automotive Media Organization or SEAMO have organized the sixth annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards. The committee recognizes the vehicles that virtually demonstrate the face of the future and the future of the auto industry. In behalf of GM, Bob Boniface, the director for the GM Advanced design, received the award for the Chevrolet Volt Concept.

"We appreciate this recognition from such a prestigious group of automotive journalists," said Boniface. "The Volt is an important vehicle for GM and for the world. Whether your concern is energy security, CO2 emissions or reducing our dependence on oil, it all leads to energy diversity. GM wants to be a part of the solution, that's why we designed the Chevrolet Volt concept."

There were 33 concept vehicles and 11 production preview vehicles that had their North American debut, and from these cars, the winners were selected by a jury consisting of professional automotive journalists. We were all familiar with the Chevrolet Volt when it was unveiled at the Shanghai auto show as an electric battery-powered vehicle.

Meanwhile, the EFIJY is the wild hot rod concept of Holden that first appeared in North America in January. EFIJY is a sweeping conventional coupe that comes with a shape showing off the traits of a V8 Supercar. Cue Design displays the iconic 1953 FJ Holden. History was once again repeated! Other nominees from GM included the Chevrolet Beat, Chevrolet Groove, Chevrolet T2X, Chevrolet Trax, Chevrolet WTCC, Saturn Vue Plug-In Hybrid, and the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible.

"It is particularly gratifying for the car to be recognised in this way in the US which is historically the home of flamboyant automotive design," Ferlazzo said. "It's nice to know that there is still a place in the concept car arena for a purely expressive design."

Real-Life Pirate Adventure Setback Volvo Treasure Retrieval

The world’s most popular treasure hunt was done earlier this year with $50,000 and a brand new Volvo that comes with enormous parts like the Volvo power steering pump and Volvo heater core as the first prize. They had a successful year last 2006 together with Disney, so they are strong-willed to do it again.

The hunt was a collaboration of Volvo and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean. They placed 50,000 dollars worth of gold and a key to a Volvo car into a casket waiting for someone out there in the world to win the prize.

For this edition, there were 22 countries that battled up for the said event as compared to last year with only 5 countries competing for the prize. It was a four week online escapade on the “high seas” where the contenders answered a series of puzzles online.

One of the requirements for them was to go over a global retailer for the special decoder. That special decoder assisted the consumers to go online and solve the puzzles. And Alena Zvereva from Russia won the treasure.

It has been said that the treasure hunt, aside from it was their way of helping out for the promotion of the recent movie of Johnny Depp and Disney (The Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End), was also for the protection of life and conservation of life. It is also one way for the company to let people be attached with the vehicle. It’s about marketing but more of letting customers relate with the vehicle and understand the brand better.

For this year, the hunt became bigger, more fun, more global, and more adventurous and exciting. And what a total spice for it really turned out to be a real-life adventure!

Eureka! Odyssey Marine Exploration, Volvo's Hunt partner found real-life wealth under the waves that led to the delay of the retrieval of the Zvereva treasure. Odyssey was in charge of submerging the treasure and make it a genuine and thrilling hunt. They planned to take Zvereva to the location when they met this exceptional hitch - FORTUNE! But it all turned to be a misfortune when the media followed it up.

The real treasure was discovered somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean with a code name 'Black Swan’. The treasure has an estimated amount of $500 million worth of coins. But Odyssey doesn’t want to make public the exact site of the Black Swan for security purposes and, at the same time, due to the agreement they have with Volvo as per not revealing any piece of information.

There are reports that a Spanish court ordered the Spanish Guardia Civil to arrest every Odyssey ship setting Volvo's recovery plans. But then The Hunt winner will be given the same price as promised but then Volvo is determined to retrieve the treasure that truly belongs to the company.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Review: 2007 Suzuki XL7

You’re not mistaken, Suzuki is not fooling around here, we’re just going to have a simple review over this vehicle. If you’re looking for best and unique appearance that somewhat can compete against one coming with the Saturn body kit, shorter than SUV but a bit taller than a wagon, the 2007 Suzuki XL7 will fit into you.

Some said that the 2007 XL7 is better in every aspect compared from the previous vehicle of the same brand. To those fanatics of mid-sized cars, no need to worry because the 2007 Suzuki XL7 remains to be of the same kind. It can handle almost seven passengers and at first glance you will be captivated by its contemporary and fashionable appeal.

If the previous XL7 has a body-on-frame truck that is based on the Grand Vitara and comes with a rear- or dual-range four-wheel drive and a solid rear axle powered by 2.7-liter, 185-horsepower V6; the new model XL7 is a unibody crossover vehicle with a fully-independent suspension, an in front- or part-time all-wheel drive form and is powered by V6 engine with 252 horsepower. Of course, it is important to note that this vehicle also comes with such features without compromising fuel economy.

Aside from that, when we say comfort and alteration levels, no one can question that the vehicle has been modified far greater than before. No wonder why some consider this as one of the most fashionable four-wheeled Suzuki units ever offered that is intended to meet the taste of American buyers.

Other features that are absolutely appealing are its four doors and a tailgate for easy access, and the lift over height is not much greater than into a sedan's trunk. It has bright diamond-shaped unique headlights, silvery "skid plates" front and rear, fender flares, and standard roof rack with crossbars.

When it comes to comfort and entertainment, you’ll never get bored since there is no shortage of space, well-equipped with leather seating, heated front seats, a power driver's seat and power windows, mirrors with close resemblance to Saturn mirrors, and locks, and a leather-rimmed tilt steering wheel with cruise and auxiliary audio controls, with an easy-to-read instrumentation, climate control system, standard audio system, with AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3CD and auxiliary jack modes.

Safety also has been prioritized by this model - it has safety cage that surrounds occupants, four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and traction, along with the ESP electronic stability control system, front and side airbags and a rollover protection system.

Other specifications are as follows:

  • Engine Type: twin overhead cam, 24-valve, aluminum alloy V6
  • Engine Size: 3.6 liters / 217 cu. in.
  • Transmission: 5-speed automatic with manual-shift mode
  • Wheelbase / Length: 112.4 in. / 197.2 in
  • Curb Weigh: 3886 lbs
  • Fuel Capacity: 18.6 gal
  • Fuel Requirement: 87 octane unleaded regular gasoline
  • Tires: P235/60 SR17 Bridgestone Dueler H/T
  • Brakes, front/rear: vented disc / solid disc, ABS, traction control and ESP stability control standard
  • Suspension, front/rear: independent MacPherson strut / independent multilink
  • Drive train: transverse front engine, front-wheel drive
  • EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon city / highway / observed: 18 / 24 / 17
  • 0 to 60 mph: 7.7 sec
  • Towing capability: 3500 lbs

Friday, June 22, 2007

June Best Car Deals

Actually I was looking for the latest options and discounts for a Volvo distributor cap and a Volvo distributor rotor online when I landed on this site featuring the best car deals for the month of June. Uhmmm… seems interesting!

Since it really caught my attention, I want to share what I’ve found to all car enthusiasts out there. is the chief leader when it comes as to the primary source for automotive ownership cost and value analysis and they have just announced their “Best Car Deals of the Month”.

They usually do this to help out and empower consumers to make good decisions. So every now and then, they provide information to automotive issues and the most up-to-date analysis. Through their website, consumers are aided when they are doing their research on some vehicles. You see, the website offers important information on these automotive products.

The list below identifies new cars, trucks and SUVs with the best ownership cost values in 33 respective classes. These cars were selected based on current car pricing, market conditions and the lowest national manufacturer consumer new car rebates. So dig in!

Subcompact Car
MINI Cooper

Compact Car over $16000
Honda Civic Hybrids

Compact Car under $16000
Honda Civic Sedan

Midsize Car over $21000
Toyota Prius

Midsize Car under $21000
Toyota Prius

MINI Cooper

Luxury Convertible
Audi A4 Convertible

Near Luxury Car
Lexus IS

Luxury Car
Lexus ES

Large Car
Toyota Avalon

Base Sport Car
Honda Civic Si Coupe

Sport Car
Chevrolet Corvette

Sport Sedan/Wagon over $38000
Lexus GS

Sport Sedan/Wagon under $38000
Infiniti G35 Sport Sedan

Compact Utility/Crossover
Ford Escape Hybrid

Midsize Crossover
Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Luxury Crossover
Lexus RX 400h

Small Wagon
Toyota Matrix

Midsize/Large Wagon
Subaru Outback Wagon

Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)
GMC Yukon

Intermediate Utility
Hummer H3

Luxury SUV
Lexus GX

Compact Pickup Truck 2WD
Toyota Tacoma Regular Cab 2WD

Compact Pickup Truck 4WD
Toyota Tacoma Regular Cab 4WD

Full-Size Pickup Truck 2WD 1/2 Ton
GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 2WD

Full-Size Pickup Truck 2WD 3/4 Ton
Ford F250 Super Duty Super Cab 2WD

Full-Size Pickup Truck 2WD One Ton
Dodge Ram 3500 Quad Cab 2WD

Full-Size Pickup Truck 4WD 1/2 Ton
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab 4WD

Full-Size Pickup Truck 4WD 3/4 Ton
GMC Sierra 2500 HD Crew Cab 4WD

Full-Size Pickup Truck 4WD One Ton
Dodge Ram 3500 Quad Cab 4WD

Honda Odyssey Passenger Van

Full-Size Van
Chevrolet Express 1500 Passenger Van

Cargo Van
Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van

If you want to know more of the most up-to-date issues on the automotive world just log in to

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The All-New Opel Corsa GSi

“More substance than show”. This is what the new Opel Corsa GSi is all about! This new ride exhibits the character of refined sportiness rather than the unbending high-performance character that was featured in the Opel Corsa OPC which was launched earlier this year. The new Corsa was introduced at the Barcelona Motor Show which started last June 7, 2007 and will end on the seventeenth day of June. If we were to compare the Corsa GSi from the OPC and the Corsa Sport, the latest model is packed with a powerful 1.6 ECOTEC turbo engine that boosts 110 kW/150 horsepower at 5000 rpm. It situates the latest sporty model between the 1.7 CDTI of Corsa Sport with 125 horsepower and the Corsa OPC with a high-performance of 192 horsepower.

“We’re pleased to launch another model, with the legendary GSi heritage. Opel fans know just what the three letters GSi stand for: plenty of fun, good value for money and no compromises in everyday use or driving conditions,” explains Alain Visser, the Executive Director of European Marketing for Opel. “The Corsa GSi combines the virtues of its compact dimensions with impressive performance over the entire rpm range, which actually positions the model in the next higher car class.” The addition of the GSi to the Corsa model line expands the range to five gasoline and three diesel variants with a performance spectrum of 60 to 192 hp. Over 320,000 new Corsas have been sold across Europe since the fourth-generation’s launch in October 2006.

The Corsa GSi is available in a five-door or a three-door variant of your choice. It is boosted by a 1.6-liter turbo gasoline engine with a top speed of 210 kph and zooms from zero to 100 kph in 8.1 seconds.

Highlights of the life of the Opel Corsa

  • First production car with integrated rear carrier system Flex-Fix
  • First vehicle in its class with optional halogen curve and cornering light
  • First vehicle in its class with active head restraints
  • First vehicle in its class with heated steering wheel
  • Sport variant is first vehicle in its segment with variable progressive power steering
  • October 2006: Automotive journalists voted Corsa “Car of the Year” in Denmark
  • October 2006: Comparison test victories in “Auto Zeitung” and “auto motor und sport” magazines
  • November 2006: Automotive journalists elect Corsa “Topauto 2007”
  • December 2006: Journalists from Eastern and Central Europe voted Corsa “Autobest 2007”
  • December 2006/January 2007: Corsa voted “Car of the year” in Belgium, United Kingdom, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia
  • Most popular equipment variant in Germany in 2006: Edition
  • Most popular engine in Germany in 2006: 1.2 TWINPORT

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Saturn’s Aura

All you need to know about Saturn cars can be seen on the Aura. The North American Car of the Year has proven the quality that everyone needs for a premium car, and the Saturn Aura delivered the goodies to us especially to North America. The jury, composed of 49 prominent automotive journalists from different groups, was totally impressed by the Aura and that’s why they never thought twice on giving the North American Car of the Year award to this premium vehicle. New customers and buyers will probably go for this car without much hesitation.

Body parts - from the Saturn wheels to the Saturn taillights - are definitely the coolest stuff ever. The Saturn Aura styling includes a set of 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, 17-inch painted fascia-spoke steel wheels with wheel trim and P225/50R17 all-season steel-belted radial tires, chrome exterior door handles, sunroof, chrome body side moldings, halogen headlamps and LED tail lamps.

A promising interior convenience is packed as well in the Saturn Aura - with CD/MP3 player with AM/FM stereo and six speakers, XM Satellite radio, console, cruise control, defoggers, power door locks, premium floor mats, auto-dimming mirror with compass, power-adjustable pedals and the awesome Morocco brown leather-appointed front bucket and rear seats. When it comes to performance, you have three different engine types to choose from; a 164-horsepower, 2.4-liter, 4 cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing, a 224-horsepower 3.5-liter, 12-valve V6 engine with Variable Valve Timing and a 252-horsepower 3.6-liter, DOHC 24 valve V6 engine with Variable Valve timing. It goes with a Driver information center, Oil-life monitor, engine block heater, independent McPherson-strut front suspension with hallow stabilizer bar, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and dynamic rear proportioning, electronic throttle control, laminated steer dash, warning chimes, power rack-and-pinion steering and the StabilitiTrak Stability Control.

For everyone’s security, the Aura is equipped with the advanced safety system that includes automatic halogen headlamps, child security locks, daytime running lamps, dual-stage driver and passenger airbags with the Passenger Sensing System, head curtain side airbags, emergency trunk release handle, energy-absorbing instrumental panel, energy-absorbing steering column, front and rear crumple zones, Front safety belts with pretensioners and energy absorbing retractors, maintenance-free battery, OnStar® System with one year Sound and Safe Service Plan, Lower Anchorages and Top Tethers for Children (LATCH) in second row seating position, the Traction Control System and side impact door beams.

Now how about that for a premium quality car? The Saturn Aura is now available in different showrooms in the US and Canada. What are you waiting for? Go and grab an Aura for a new phase in your driving experience!

Friday, June 08, 2007

New Website Aims Safe and Secured Driving for Riders

Of course, we all need to drive safely and securely, right? And a new website is aiming to make Britain’s road the safest track for car drivers. The website is targeting riders’ and drivers’ behavior to improve and this site was launched by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)., the website for the RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders, will not only provide different comprehensive information about driving safety but will also give pieces of advice to motorists about secured driving and advance driving techniques.

"Whatever the weather, whatever the conditions, know you are in control."

This is the tagline of the new website. It aims to increase all the road users’ awareness and to also educate them on how to be a member of the local RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders group in their area. The group will be performing advanced tests that will be held for all the road drivers. Participants would be given knowledge on how to stay safe and secure on the road while driving.

According to the latest study, 66% of the on-road accidents on Britain’s roads are coming from errors and reactions of both drivers and riders as well as the inability to swing over and to look over properly. Over speeding and going too fast on hazardous conditions also causes 28% of the accidents. While 25% of the whole lot come from inexperienced driving malpractices.

RoSPA’s Head of Road Safety, Kevin Clinton, said, "In 2005, 3,201 lives were lost on Britain's roads. RoSPA believes a greater focus on safer driving is key to reducing this toll.”

He added, "Most motorists think they are both safer and more skilful than the average road user, yet the statistics show that human error is a major cause of accidents."

RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders’s Development Officer, Emma Middleton, said, "It is all too easy to develop poor driving or riding habits without realising. For this reason, RoSPA encourages all road users to consider some kind of refresher training. RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders groups, which exist across the country, provide a valuable opportunity for motorists to develop their skills. They help people prepare for an advanced driving test, whether it has been many years since they passed their original test or just a matter of months. We hope the new website will inspire and assist existing group members as well as others who are looking to increase their safety and enjoyment on Britain's roads."

And just to find good parts like the GMC pickup alignment kit and the Mercedes fuel pump online, members of the group also will have special discounts and offers to fully satisfy their driving needs. Visit now and find out what you can get.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The 2007 Pontiac Vibe: Feel the Energy

Can you feel it? I’m talking about the 2007 Pontiac Vibe! This awesome SUV has it all - especially good vibes! From the interior, exterior and down to the safety features, the Vibe has nothing more to offer but the best performance and quality that a premium vehicle should have. You can find it all here!

When I discovered the Vibe last week when I was looking for GMC pickup alignment kit and GMC pickup bed cap, I was astonished on what it truly provides for new car buyers. You know what it is? Quality, class and fun-driving! What more to ask, right? So I hurriedly gathered some of the 2007 Vibe’s cool features from Pontiac’s website particularly here for you to discover the greatness of this vehicle as well.


  • Air bags - frontal, driver and right-front passenger and also includes the Passenger Sensing System
  • Air bags - dual-stage frontal and side-impact, driver and right-front passenger includes head curtain side-impact airbags with the Passenger Sensing System
  • Air conditioning - front manual with an air filtration system
  • Audio system - AM/FM stereo with CD player, includes Radio Data System, digital clock, TheftLock, programmable equalizer, and a 4 speaker system
  • Audio system - AM/FM stereo with CD player and MP3 playback, includes digital clock, Radio Data System, TheftLock, and programmable equalizer. Also includes a 286-watt Monsoon 7-speaker premium sound system with integrated subwoofer.
  • Audio system - AM/FM stereo with 6-disc in-dash CD changer, includes seek-and-scan, digital clock, Radio Data System, TheftLock, programmable equalizer. Includes 286-watt Monsoon 7-speaker premium sound system with integrated subwoofer.
  • Audio system feature - a 4-speaker system
  • Audio system feature - 286-watt Monsoon 7-speaker premium sound system, with integrated subwoofer
  • Audio system feature - XM Radio AN AM/FM stereo with CD player (shown above) comes standard, and available XM Radio. Whether you want to be entertained or informed, to laugh, think or sing, XM has the perfect channel for you-coast-to-coast, and in digital-quality sound. An available in-dash 6-disc CD player is also available (not available with XM Radio). Service fees apply. XM Radio is available in the 48 contiguous states only.
  • Assist handles - front passenger and rear outboard with coat hooks
  • Keyless entry - remote
  • OnStar Fuel Station Location - if you are running low on gas, OnStar can provide you with directions to the nearest fueling station
  • OnStar Hands-Free Calling - allows you to make and receive voice-activated phone calls in your vehicle
  • OnStar Information/Convenience Services - get service recommendations and directory information from an Advisor
  • OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation - simple, audio-based directions to safely get you to your destination
  • Power outlet - 2-prong, household-style on instrument panel, 115 volt, 100 watt, 1-amp
  • Safety belts - 3-point, driver and front passenger, height-adjustable with pretensioners and load limiters on front seats
  • Storage - includes 3 rear cargo bins, driver side pull down (left of instrument panel and below shifter), interior rear-track accessory system with 8 tie-downs and 8 chrome tie-down hooks in rear cargo area to secure loose gear

Friday, June 01, 2007

Get to Know the New VW 122 PS TSI Engine

Last night was quite a busy evening for me. Imagine, I’ve been doing a lot of write-ups about the Volkswagen cold air intake and those VW PIAA bulbs the whole night long. But the good thing is I have something to share with you - something that will make car enthusiasts especially Volkswagen fanatics be definitely interested. Volkswagen has unveiled their new VW 122 PS TSI engine!

This is the latest addition to the existing 170hp and 140hp TSI engine lineup with the turbo plus turbocharger. It maintains the similar 1.4 liter iron crankcase as the bigger TSI engines. It keeps the turbo but it’s not twincharged anymore. The engine is prepared to replace the present 1.6 FSI engine. This new breed has 200Nm of torque, with an increase of 30 percent as compared to the 1.6 FSI with a reduced fuel consumption of 6 percent. It achieves an excellent 80 percent maximum of torque at 1250 rpm - and from 1500 to 3500, it reaches a 100 percent increase in raging torque!

Key facts about the new VW 122 PS TSI engine:

  • Utilized in models up to the Passat.
  • 90 kW / 122 PS power between 5,000 and 6,400 rpm.
  • 200 Nm maximum torque from 1,500 to 3,500 rpm.
  • 80 percent of maximum torque starting at 1,250 rpm
  • Maximum torque 30 percent greater than in the 1.6 FSI.
  • 66 percent more torque at 1,500 rpm.
  • Fuel consumption is about six percent lower.
  • Specific torque of 144 Nm per liter.
  • 16V in-line four cylinder of the EA111 engine series.
  • 1,390 cm3 displacement.
  • Cylinder spacing: 82 millimeters.
  • Bore and stroke: 76.5 and 75.6 millimeters.
  • Compression 10:1.
  • Electronic gasoline direct injection.
  • Electronic-map ignition with cylinder-selective anti-knock control.
  • Advanced combustion process.
  • New intake port without charge movement flaps.
  • Turbocharger (max. 1.8 bar)
  • 220,000 rpm as maximum rpm of the turbocharger.
  • Electrically-controlled divert-air valve for turbocharger.
  • Water-cooled charge air in intake port.
  • Fuel: Super unleaded (95 ROZ).
  • Reduced friction losses.
  • Total engine weight per DIN: 131 kilograms.