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Driving Impressions & Test Drives



Driving Impressions and Car Test Drives - Photos and Stories.



Jaguar XE 2016 Test Drive

January 30, 2016
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Starting at the top, the Jaguar XE is listed at: Base MSRP from $34,900: We had a "35t" AWD 3.0 liter V6 340PS Supercharged Gas (Automatic) and All Wheel Drive. It had a Top Speed: 120mph and a 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds. Not bad for a 4 dr sport model. The supercharger really makes these car jump at the slightest prodding of the loud peddle. The XE is designed and market-placed to compete with the more performance sport sedans from the likes of BMW or Mercedes Benz.

I will offer my conclusions of the day up front as well as repeat at the end. The XE is: Hot, Sporty, Gadget laden. A showoff. And at this price point it should be a winner on the showroom floor.
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Scion FR S 2015

San Francisco, California
November 2014
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The test was real world driving, right out on the busy streets of San Francisco during mid day traffic.

My conclusion is that this is an ideal car for the young driver. It has all the spec. numbers, sound, features and styling.
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Jaguar F Type R Coupe 2015

Marin Luxury Cars, Corte Madera, California
May 2014
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This car has 3 things going for it. The lines. The power. The Sound.

The R has a 550 hp Supercharged V8 engine pushing a sleek 3,558 lb. aluminum bodied car from 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds using a 8-speed "QuickShift" ZF© automatic transmission to get the power to the rear wheels.

The overall sensation of commanding this piece of moving 'Art' through traffic is as thrilling as it is looking at this "Cat's" lines.
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Porsche 911/991 Turbo 2014

Carmel Valley, California
August, 2014
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The Specs on the 911 Turbo read like a Wish List from a day-dreaming automotive engineer:
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Tesla Model S 2014

Sunnyvale CA
March, 2014
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I went to Sunnyvale and saw the Future.
The Tesla Model S is a cruiser, roomy, and quiet with a great ride.
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Range Rover Sport 2014

Land Rover, Corte Madera, California
October 2013
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Moving the 5,000 Lb. Sport, with 4 people inside, out of the parking lot David stepped down hard on the right peddle. Head Rush! This 4 door, 4 wheel drive off-road capable vehicle will do 0 to 60 MPH in just 5.0 sec. Impressive! David explained that the new Sport was an all aluminum monocoque constructed

One feature that grabbed my attention was the 'parking-space-finder'. Select this feature as you drive along the crowed streets and the Sport would 'keep an eye out' for a parking space and position itself and park.
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Jaguar F Type 2014

Marin Luxury Cars, Corte Madera, California
April 2013
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The F Type is said to be the car to follow in the tire tracks of legendary E Type, and its successor. I have 2 lines of thought on that. First the E Type style wise, was completely over the top for its time, as was the XK 120. The F Type, although completely striking, is just one very beautiful car. Design wise, the details make the F Type.

The Driving Day at Marin Luxury Cars was a big deal and there were a lot of people wanting to have a go at the F Type. Our good friend Paige Casamento had created a real show to present the Stunning Jaguar and part of the show was a real Cheetah. Not the racecar from the 1960's but a real cat named Tango, from Project Survival's Cat Haven. I think that Tango is a real nice pussycat, although a large one. The Jaguar however is a beast. Especially the V8S.
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Volvo C30 K-PAX

Volvo Marin, Corte Madera, California
April 2013
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I had my choice of cars on the lot. "How about something exciting I suggested". "How about that?" asked the Sales manager, pointing to a smallish white 2 door hatch back setting in the middle of the showroom floor. "This is a C30 with a K-PAX Racing, 'Racing Edition Package' installed."

The K-PAX Racing, C30 is not your Uncles Volvo. Nor is it a car for the beginning driver.
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2013 Jaguar XK Test Drive

Marin Luxury Cars, Corte Madera, California
March 2013
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The XK moves easily and quietly through the back streets and allows good visibility and with the rear camera and parking guidelines showing on the screen makes it a nice urban car. The ample rear area will allow passengers but best for short distance or for easily reached storage. The large rear trunk or boot will solve any cargo needs. I would say this is a fantastic car for touring with 2 people. Roomy, powerful, and great looking. More...
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2013 Chevrolet Cruze LT Auto

December 2013
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We did a driving experience of the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze LT Auto over 7 days and found it to be a very capable car, in town and on the freeway.

On the freeway, the Cruze was easy to control, not experiencing any wind or buffeting from the larger trucks and had good power to move around the traffic.
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Silicon Valley Driving Charged and Connected

June 6, 2013
Palo Alto, California
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The day was filed with several discussion groups covering transportation and the alternate EV movement. In motivation there were basically 2 concepts being presented. All electric and the Hydrogen fuel-cell power.

It was very clear also that this is a worldwide effort. Also at no point did I hear the word "OIL". Natural gas, wind and solar generated electricity are the underlying external power sources that are used in the production of Hydrogen.
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Volvo S60 K-PAX

Volvo Marin, Corte Madera, California
April 2013
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Earlier All Car Central was invited by our friend Paige Casamento of "Volvo Marin" in Corte Madera, California to drive the 2013 Volvo C30 GT with a K-PAX Racing, 'Racing Edition Package'. At that time we were told the front wheel drive only C30 was being replace by the all wheel drive Volvo S60 in the K-PAX 'Racing Edition Package's". The AWD was said to be the ideal set up, as the power from the increased engine out-put was a bit too much for just the front wheels to handle properly.

This time Page set us up with the all wheel drive Volvo K-Pax S60 T6. The K-PAX 'Racing Edition Package's" are optional upgrades added to any Volvo of choice and the S60 we were testing was a very nice starting point.
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Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry 2012

November 2012
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All Car Central's comparison test 2013. Modern cars have all the fit, finish, performance, safety and reliability established and solidly engineered into them so the buyers choice mostly comes down to, personality of the car matching the personality of the buyer.
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2012 McLaren MP4-12C

San Francisco, California
August, 2012
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Most car manufactures make cars for running around town and across the country. Then for show or for engineering advancement they try out new ideas on the race track by building race cars. Bruce McLaren, back in the beginning, built race cars so that he could win races, which he did. Then he built other people race cars for the track. Now McLaren car company is building other people race cars for the street.

When spooled-up the twin turbos pushed the car as if going into launch speed heading for orbit. When the on-board computer determines that the car is braking hard from speed, the wing flips and becomes an 'air-brake'. I found the car simple to drive and easy to move around.This car is true to McLaren Read More...

2012 Porsche World Roadshow

San Francisco/Alameda Island, California
August 11, 2012
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The 'Roadshows' are the Porsche demonstration drive that we all want the dealers to give us, but the one that the dealers are a afraid to do.

The Certified Instructors from the North American Official Porsche driving school had set up a bunch of orange cones in a simulated road course that offered us over a 1 mile drive with 2 fast straight-aways rumored to give the maximum of 100MPH at the peak speed before braking.
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Fiat 500 2012

Fiat of Concord
Concord, California, June 2012
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Fiat Sport vs Abarth vs Porsche

Fiat USA sent All Car Central an invitation to do a test drive of their new 2012, 500 Series. So my co-test driver Clar and I hopped over to the San Francisco East Bay Area's dealership, "Fiat of Concord" to see what this new Italian invader was all about.
.... the reputation of Abarth being a superb "tuner" is very much intact.
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Jaguar XJL 2012

Cole European
April 2012
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Underway the XJL moves, (using the old cliché), with all the grace and quickness of it's name sake. This car is quite large but at 3,000 pounds the V8 makes the XJL respond quickly with a feeling of lightness. This was a normally aspirated V8 engine with no lag or supercharger kick, so the acceleration was predictable and straight-line for my stint at the wheel. There was no V8 roar like the US V8's offer, as after all, this was a Jaguar.
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Porsche 911 Carrera S 2012

Fremont, California
February 2012
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Moving off I left the gear selector in manual to experience the newest PDK wheel mounted paddle shifters. This was a great improvement fore me as I did not like the previous thumb-driven ones. On problem, which I did not like, but it did not really bother me during the drive was, the steering wheel control stocks were WAY too close to the shifting paddles. Old stocks used with new paddles? Shifting with the paddles up and down was great fun, as was enjoying the unbelievably quick gear change.
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Dodge Charger SXT 2012

Maui, Hawaii
January 2012
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The concept of the 'muscle car', is a light car with a large motor. Suspension upgrades were not necessarily part of the original muscle car formula.

New muscle cars have been reintroduced, one being the Dodge Challenger. Dodge also offers the Charger. The Charger is a 4-dr pony car want-a-be. With styling and other bits suggesting so, but it is still Dodge's 4-dr sedan and works well as such.
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Mikica Vesnić runs a 2012 Toyota GT86

February, 2014
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Mikica Vesnić, 2013 FIA Central European Zone Circuit Champion, runs a 2012 Toyota GT86 around the Serbian National Drivers Academy, NAVAK's track.
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Chevrolet Sonic 4 Dr 2012

Salt Lake City, Utah
December 2011
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On the freeway the Sonic was comfortable to drive keeping its place in traffic and make the lane changes easily, adding the proper burst of speed when asked for. The brakes brought the car to a quick strait stop when traffic shut down in front of us.

The challenge for the car came when I called on it to climb the Little Cotton Wood Canyon to Snow Bird ski resort. This is a steep climb of about 3000 vertical feet in 6 miles, more or less straight up along the side of a glaceral-cut canyon, with no switchbacks.
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Nissan Leaf 2012

Nissan Leaf 'electric tour'
SAN FRANCISCO, INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW November 2011
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The Leaf was started by pressing a button. I would think that some large toggle switch would be more fitting than a button. Many lights on the dash console came on but no other indication that anything had happened. The next step was to move a strange looking lever in between the seats to the side and back and then as it flipped back into the center position, the car was now ready to go. Pressing the floor mounted accelerator peddle moved the car forward in a strangely quite manner., but very smooth.
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Chevrolet Volt 2011

GM Main Street In Motion
San Jose/Great America, California, USA, 2011
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Chevrolet Camaro SS 2011

GM Main Street In Motion
San Jose/Great America, California, USA, 2011
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Porsche 911 Carrera 4S & Boxster 2010

Michael Stead Porsche
Walnut Creek, California, USA
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Hyundai Accent 2010

Las Vegas, Nevada to St. George, Utah, USA
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Porsche Cayman S 2011

Porsche Cars North America
Carmel, California, USA
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Spyker Aileron 2011

Spyker Automobielen
Carmel, California, USA
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Porsche 911 Carrera 4S 2010

Michael Stead Porsche
Walnut Creek, California, USA
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Lincoln MKS 2009

Future Auto Center of Concord, California, USA
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Ferrari California 2010

Ferrari of Silicon Valley
Redwood City, California, USA
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Ferrari 599 GTB Test Drive, Ferrari Racing Days 2009

Ferrari of San Francisco
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