Talking Cars: What about EcoBoost?
QUESTION: I own a 2008 Ford Explorer and saw a new 2013 Explorer and what a difference. What can you tell me about it the 3.5 EcoBoost twin turbo V/6?
ANSWER: I had a 2013 Explorer Sport with the 3.5 EcoBoost all wheel drive. It took a couple of days to figure out the whole electronic info system, but after understanding all the features it is amazing. I was able to control heat, a/c, climate control, all audio feature and navigation and of course the hands-free Bluetooth connecting blue cell phone. Our test Explorer had all the creature comforts of a high-line car. The bold new look adds a muscle and performance look. The look was complemented by black chrome rims and large summer tread tires. One needs to be careful of curbsides with parking not to rub the rim to the curb. Seating is comfortable with multi-adjustable fronts with both heat and ventilation. The third row seating is tight, as one would expect. One simple feature that should be in all vehicles is the sliding, extending sun visors that can block out the sun beating onto your face for both driver and passenger when removed from the resting position. The twin turbo V/6 has more power than the outgoing V/8 and gets better gas mileage. Our test Explorer had a retail sticker price of $46,670 plus $825 delivery. EPA 16 city, 22 highway. This Explorer rivals many more expensive SUVs for less money and is a Ford product.
QUESTION: I am opening a three-bay repair shop the first of the year and would like your opinion on companies that provide service repair information and help with problem vehicles.
ANSWER: Congratulations on your new venture. The first step is to listen to the customer and understand they are in your shop because they have a vehicle problem or just need routine service. I rely on both Identifix and Alldata information services. The initial cost my scare you but keep in mind both will save a lot of time, which equals to a lot of money saved. The same will hold true for your office management system. You cannot do a professional job without the professional tools needed to make your new shop stand out.
QUESTION: I commute just under 100 miles a day, 90 percent highway driving. I prefer a manual versus automatic. Being a GM guy, my personal car is a 2011 Corvette ZR1. I have looked into the Chevrolet Spark. It looks like decent transportation for $15,000. What are your thoughts on the new 2013 Chevrolet Spark?
ANSWER: The 2013 Chevrolet Spark I had for a week evaluation was a manual finished in green. GM calls the color “jalapeno.” Our test car had the 2LT package, which includes options such as heated front seats, power windows and locks, steering hub controls, navigation, etc. Our test car had a window sticker price of $15,795 with delivery included. My commute is just under an hour each way, 75 percent highway. I found the Spark to have ample power under all driving conditions, with the 1.2-liter four-cylinder mated to a five-speed manual. The fit and finish were good, seating for four was ample and there are no blind spots. The electric power steering gave good feedback, and for a small car it was forgiving over rough pavement. Front heated seats are firm and multi-adjustable. Take one for a road test and see if the Spark is for you.
Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360.