MotorWeek

As the Emmy® Award-winning host, executive producer and creator of MotorWeek, television's longest running automotive series, John Davis is seen by millions of viewers on PBS, SPEED and V-me Spanish-language network. One of the most trusted and recognized automotive journalists in the nation, Davis has been featured on CNN, Weekend Today, Live with Regis and Kelly, PARADE magazine and The Baltimore Sun, as well as local media throughout the country. He has also written regularly on automotive industry topics for The Washington Post. As MotorWeek's host and executive producer since the series debuted in 1981, Davis oversees all editorial content, and has put every new car and truck model manufactured in the last 30 years through extensive road tests to judge their practicality for buyers. He recognizes that as the second biggest purchase Americans make, car buyers must be well-informed before they enter a dealer showroom. That's why MotorWeek's focus is on helping consumers make smart choices based on their lifestyles and finances, as well as safety considerations and the vehicle's impact on the environment. As one of the first mainstream media outlets to provide regular coverage of alternative fuels and "green" vehicle technology, Davis and MotorWeek have worked with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to promote public awareness about the impact renewable fuels can have on petroleum dependence and the environment. He has been a speaker at DOE's "Clean Cities" conferences and makes presentations to industry leaders and federal officials. Davis has also been involved in raising public awareness about other important automotive-related issues. In 2004 and 2005, he served as a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Transportation's program promoting annual automotive emissions inspections. In 2002, Davis was spokesperson for the "Smooth Operator" initiative to combat aggressive driving in the Washington Metro region. Davis is one of the founders of the North American Car & Truck of The Year Awards, the only independent journalistic automotive award in North America. He served on its executive board from 1994 to 2008. He is also one of the organizers and an original member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. Davis is a former president of the International Motor Press Association, the oldest and most prestigious organization of automotive journalists in North America. Davis has received some of the highest awards in automotive journalism and television, including two Emmy® Awards. In 2007, he won an Emmy® Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) National Capital Chesapeake Bay Region, and in 1998 from the NATAS Chicago-Midwest Chapter. Davis also received an International Automotive Media Award in 2005 from the International Society for Vehicle Preservation. He was honored with International Wheel Awards in 2004 and 2003, and two Golden Wheel Awards in 1999, including the grand award, from the Detroit Press Foundation which recognizes the best in automotive journalism. A 1970 mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate of North Carolina State University, Davis also holds a master of business administration degree from the University of North Carolina. He was the 1969-1970 recipient of the W.D. Cartwright Memorial Engineering Scholarship and a member of the Pi Tau Sigma honorary scholastic fraternity. Prior to joining Maryland Public Television, Davis worked for the Wall Street brokerage firm of Kidder, Peabody and Company as a transportation analyst. He has owned a variety of high performance cars, including a vintage Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette and deTomaso Pantera.

From MotorWeek

  • This Just In: Volvo Tease, Mitsubishi Concept, & Toyota Racing
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">We&rsquo;re just hours away from seeing the new Volvo XC40.&nbsp; The first model of the new 40 series will be built on the newly developed Compact Modular Architecture.&nbsp; Volvo plans to launch the small premium SUV later this year. We&rsquo;ll see what it looks like early tomorrow.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="480" src="/images/Volvo_XC40_front.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">With Frankfurt in the rearview mirror, Mitsubishi is now looking ahead to the Tokyo Motor Show.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s where the company plans the world premiere of the Mitsubishi e-EVOLUTION concept.&nbsp; The coupe shaped SUV will feature an electric powertrain, 4-wheel drive, and what the company calls &ldquo;advanced Artificial Intelligence technology&rdquo;.&nbsp; The 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017 runs from October 27 through November 5, 2017.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="640" src="/images/Mitsubishi_e-EVOLUTION_concept.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">Toyota is bringing racing performance to their daily drivers. The company has announced a new "GR" Sports Car Series.&nbsp; The enhanced vehicles are based on GAZOO Racing technology developed during the company&rsquo;s motor sports activities.&nbsp; Right now the race inspired Toyotas will just be for the Japanese market, but the company plans to eventually offer them in other markets.</h4> <p><img height="379" src="/images/Toyota_GR_series.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="853" /></p>
  • This Just In: Accord Assembly, Mercedes Plug-In, &amp; Mitsubishi Herittage
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">Honda is making a big investment in Ohio to bring the 2018 Honda Accord to showrooms.&nbsp; Production is now underway on the 10th generation sedan. The company has announced its investing $267 million to increase manufacturing at the Marysville Auto Plant.&nbsp; That means 300 new jobs. The 2018 Honda Accord is scheduled to be launched this fall.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="569" src="/images/2018_Honda_Accord_Manufacturing_Start.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">We&rsquo;re learning more about the new plug-in hybrid Mercedes-Benz S560e.&nbsp; MotorWeek saw it last week on the floor of the 2017 Frankfurt International Motor Show.&nbsp; The company says an on-board 7.2-kW charger will allow for fast charging.&nbsp; They say the approximate all-electric range is 25 miles.&nbsp; The Mercedes-Benz S560e is expected to go on sale in the U.S. in 2019.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="569" src="/images/Mercedes_S560e.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">Mitsubishi is preserving memories of the company&rsquo;s past.&nbsp; They showed employees a completed Mitsubishi Re-Model A.&nbsp; In 1917 the Model-A was the brand&rsquo;s first production vehicle.&nbsp; The project is in honor of Mitsubishi&rsquo;s 100th anniversary.&nbsp; The public will get a chance to see it at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December.</h4> <p><img height="450" src="/images/Mitsubishi_Re_Model_A_Headquarters_Reveal.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="853" /></p>
  • This Just In: GM Strategy, Mazda Dealers, &amp; Special McLaren
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">General Motors sees the future with more electric vehicles in the line-up.&nbsp; GM CEO Mary Barra discussed the company&rsquo;s plans with the media on Friday.&nbsp; She says nearly all models from GM&rsquo;s global brands in China will offer electrification technology by 2025.&nbsp;</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="480" src="/images/gm_logo_16x9.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">Mazda is hoping changes in their dealerships will lead to more sales.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.autonews.com/article/20170918/RETAIL07/170919769/mazda-retail-network-upgrade">Automotive News</a> is reporting the company plans to overhaul 130 dealerships.&nbsp; About twenty-six have gone through the process so far.&nbsp; The project is expected to take about 3-years.&nbsp; The goal is to reach 2-percent market share in the U.S.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img height="553" src="/images/2014-Mazda6-Sport-31-1.jpg" width="853" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">A few people with deep pockets will get something special from McLaren.&nbsp; McLaren Special Operations is producing special editions of the McLaren 570GT for six customers in the U.K. and Europe.&nbsp; The sports cars offer the same &lsquo;XP Green&rsquo; color as the F1 XP GT &lsquo;Longtail&rsquo; homologation model built in 1997.&nbsp; The 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 will produce 562 horsepower. The price for this performance and luxury: $255,000.</h4> <p><img height="569" src="/images/MSO_McLaren_570GT_XP_Green.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="853" /></p>
  • Episodes: Episode 3702
    <p>Debut 9.15.2017</p> <p class="quick_listing">Description</p> <p>Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid</p> <p>Clean Cities: Rhode Island</p> <p>Goss' Garage: Radio Restoration</p> <p>Motor News: Mazda Engine</p> <p>Long Term Update: VW GTI | BMW X1</p> <p>Road Test: 2017 Aston Martin DB11</p> <a href="https://mpt-shop.myshopify.com/collections/motorweek" target="_blank" class="dvd_purchase"></a> <div class="shadow_holder"> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> <div class="shadow_right_small"><!-- --></div><!-- .shadow_right_small --> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> </div><!-- .shadow_holder --> <div class="shadow_holder"> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> <div class="shadow_right_small"><!-- --></div><!-- .shadow_right_small --> <div class="clear"><!-- --></div><!-- .clear --> </div><!-- .shadow_holder -->
  • Goss’ Garage: Resto Radio
    <p>So you have a classic or collectible car and you would like to listen to the radio but it doesn&rsquo;t work or it doesn&rsquo;t have the features you would like. What can you do?</p> <p>We have Mike Frenchek from Retro Radio Restoration. Mike, Welcome to Goss&rsquo; Garage.</p> <p><strong>MIKE FRENCHEK:</strong> Thanks for having me here.</p> <p><strong><img class="img_left" height="195" src="/images/goss_garage/3702_goss_1.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />PAT GOSS</strong>: Alright, now. What in the world do we have here?</p> <p><strong>MIKE FRENCHEK:</strong> This is an old AM radio out of a 1939 Plymouth. It&rsquo;s an old radio made by Philco.</p> <p><strong>PAT GOSS</strong>: Ok, now suppose we have that car, we have this radio, we want to make everything bone stock&hellip; can you make it work?</p> <p><strong>MIKE FRENCHEK: </strong>Absolutely. Any radio can be restored. The tubes are available, the component parts are available, it could be brought back to original looking, as well as to the performance.</p> <p><strong>PAT GOSS</strong>: Alright, but a lot of the people that I know, they want the original look, but they want modern features. What can you do there?</p> <p><strong><img class="img_right" height="174" src="/images/goss_garage/3702_goss_2.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />MIKE FRENCHEK: </strong>Oh yeah, many people want to have their latest tunes in the cars when they&rsquo;re driving. What we can do is upgrade the electronics. We use an Aurora board that&rsquo;s manufactured here in the states. It&rsquo;s an AM/FM board, 45 watts per channel, the original radio was only 3. It provides the input for an auxiliary, if you want to hook up an MP3 player or an I-Pod directly. We can add Bluetooth to it, as well as a USB port to it if you want to use a flash drive.</p> <p><strong>PAT GOSS</strong>: OK</p> <p><strong>MIKE FRENCHEK: </strong>You can put your music on a stick.</p> <p><strong>PAT GOSS: </strong>You mention Bluetooth, and a lot of Bluetooth stuff we can control from our smartphones.</p> <p><strong><img class="img_left" height="172" src="/images/goss_garage/3702_goss_3.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />MIKE FRENCHEK:</strong> Absolutely. You can take your smartphone, tie it in, connect to the radio and all you do is push the screen and instantly you start to have your music playing on your radio.</p> <p><strong>PAT GOSS</strong>: Ok, I like that. Now, you mentioned 3 watts to 45 watts. That means we&rsquo;ve got to do something with the old antique speakers.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>MIKE FRENCHEK: </strong>These speakers won&rsquo;t handle it.<strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>Pat Goss: </strong>That one won&rsquo;t handle anything.</p> <p><strong>MIKE FRENCHEK: </strong>Not at all. But you should upgrade your speakers.<strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>PAT GOSS:</strong> Ok, that&rsquo;s going to make your package complete. Mike, Thank you very much.</p> <p>&hellip; And if you have a question, or a comment, drop me a line. Right here, at <em>MotorWeek</em>.</p>
  • FYI: Full Service Gas Station
    <p>A stop at most gas stations today means little to no real customer service; you just swipe your card, fill up, and drive off. But like me, you might remember when a refueling stop meant being greeted by a gas station attendant, who not only did the fill up, but checked under the hood, and even washed the windows. Today such full-service stations are few and far between, but they&rsquo;re still out there, and our FYI reporter Lauren Morrison found one just around the corner from <em>MotorWeek</em>.</p> <p><strong>LAUREN MORRISION</strong>: &ldquo;A 1954 Hudson Super Jet, an outfit like this, and a full service gas station. Yes, you&rsquo;re still in the 21st century.&rdquo;</p> <p>But at Charlies Service Station in Randallstown, Maryland</p> <p>a piece of the past&hellip;.</p> <p><strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: &ldquo;Yes sir, can we help you?&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>LAUREN MORRISION</strong>: Manages to put the present in perspective.</p> <p><strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: &ldquo;Everybody is in such a fast pace. Here, there, home, work, home, work.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><img class="img_left" height="169" src="/images/fyi/3702_fyi_1.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />LAUREN MORRISION</strong>: Chris Brocato has been pushing petrol for as long as he can remember. His father opened up shop in 1971.</p> <p><strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: &ldquo;It was an ESSO, then it turned Exxon, and then Exxon pulled out of their little stations and we became independent.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>LAUREN MORRISION:</strong> When his father passed away, Chris took over.</p> <p><strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: &ldquo;I figured he raised his family on it, I could raise my family on it. Sometimes it&rsquo;s been tough, but sometimes its&rsquo; been good.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>LAUREN MORRISION</strong>: With the years, have come changes&hellip;.</p> <p><strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: &ldquo;I mean cash now is something that you don&rsquo;t see very much anymore. Everybody&rsquo;s credit cards. Everybody lives off credit cards.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><strong><img height="170" src="/images/fyi/3702_fyi_3.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" /></strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: &ldquo;18 and a quarter today.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>LAUREN MORRISION</strong>: Whether it&rsquo;s cash or credit, full service seems to come down to one thing&hellip;</p> <p>&ldquo;Chris, what is the most important part about running a full service gas station? Customer service, it&rsquo;s the most important. So, it&rsquo;s not the outfit?? Probably not. I can probably get out of this? It&rsquo;s pretty hot.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: &ldquo;Here, we still talk to people. We know about their families, their histories. You just move on and grow with the families that come in here. You know them all.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: Yes dear, how are you?</p> <p><strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: &ldquo;What their lives are doing, changing, how their kids are growing up, going different places, moving on.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><strong><img class="img_left" height="170" src="/images/fyi/3702_fyi_2.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" /></strong>LAUREN MORRISION</strong>: As the traffic speeds by, Chris&rsquo; customers know that for a look back&hellip;</p> <p>&ldquo;Does it kind of take you back&hellip;yes&hellip;(laughing) yes, way back!&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>LAUREN MORRISION</strong>: Or a time out, they only need to pull in.</p> <p><strong>STEPHANIE PROUKOU</strong>: &ldquo;I love the fact that I can roll up in the midst of a hectic day, or the beginning of that I know will be a hectic day, full of appointments and deadlines and things I have to take care of and someone just takes care of this for me.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>LAUREN MORRISION</strong>: The U.S. Census Bureau puts the number of gas stations across the country at a little less than 115,000, a number that&rsquo;s been on the decline for decades. While there are no breakdowns on full service figures, except for a few places where there are restrictions on pumping your own gas, it&rsquo;s not hard to see on your daily drive that full service has fallen to the way side.</p> <p><strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: &ldquo;When they see full service, a lot of people don&rsquo;t know what that is, especially younger generation, they don&rsquo;t know what it is.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>LAUREN MORRISION</strong>: Today&rsquo;s gas and go world does make it hard to pump the brakes&hellip;</p> <p><strong>CHRISTOPHER BROCATO</strong>: &ldquo;Yeah, that&rsquo;s all our lives are about anymore, work, work, work. Alright, you take care now.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>LAUREN MORRISION</strong>:&nbsp; But with willing customers&hellip;</p> <p>&ldquo;I love that you pump my gas for me, are you kidding me?!&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>LAUREN MORRISION</strong>: There&rsquo;s no hanging up the full service station just yet.</p>
  • Road Tests: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq
    <p class="review_title">Vital Statistics</p> <p><span>Engine:</span> 1.6 liter</p> <p><span>Horsepower:</span> 104</p> <p><span>Torque:</span> 109 lb-ft.</p> <p><span>0-60 mph:</span> 9.6 seconds</p> <p><span>1/4 mile:</span> 17.4 seconds @ 81 mph</p> <p><span>EPA:</span> 55 mpg city / 54 mpg highway</p> <p><span>Energy Impact:</span> 6.0 barrels of oil/yr</p> <p><span>CO2 Emissions:</span> 2.7 tons/yr</p> <p>Gasoline-electric hybrids have been on our streets for almost two decades now; but not one has been quite up to going head-to-head with the benchmark Toyota Prius. Well, Hyundai means to change that with an all-new Ioniq hybrid. A compact five-door that is clearly designed to out-Prius Prius. So, let&rsquo;s crank it up and see.</p> <p>Despite a wealth of contenders over the years, the Toyota Prius has retained its spot as the pinnacle of hybrids. This 2017 Hyundai Ioniq, isn&rsquo;t exactly a Prius copy, but it&rsquo;s pretty darn close.</p> <p>There will actually be three Ioniq versions, as this traditional hybrid will be joined by a plug-in variant as well as a full EV in the near future; all based on a dedicated hybrid platform shared with the Kia Niro wagon. Though thankfully, unlike Niro, the Ioniq doesn&rsquo;t portray itself as an SUV.</p> <p>The hybrid powertrain starts with a 1.6-liter I4 gas engine rated at 104&ndash;horsepower and 109 lb-ft. of torque. Combined with a 32kW electric motor, total output is 139-horsepower.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="197" src="/images/road_tests/2017_hyundai_ioniq_hybrid_3.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />A small 1.6-kWh battery resides under the rear seat, avoiding any loss of cargo space.&nbsp;</p> <p>While eco-friendliness is still important to many people, with fuel prices staying relatively low; the Ioniq will need to appeal to more than just the greenies, in order for it to be successful.&nbsp;</p> <p>Well, its DCT transmission really aids in that regard, helping it feel sportier than rival hybrids, and Prius in particular; delivering quick shifts and allowing you to hold gears when spiritly cornering. And it will do that, although ride quality was clearly still a priority.</p> <p>Overall hybrid system operation and engine engagement is not quite as seamless as the Prius; it has great pickup however, and the seats are far more comfortable.</p> <p>And indeed it has a sporty feel inside as well, all in an attempt to make you forget you&rsquo;re actually in a hybrid; though there are plenty of displays to remind you otherwise.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_right" height="176" src="/images/road_tests/2017_hyundai_ioniq_hybrid_2.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />As far as interior room goes, numbers put it very similar to the Prius; a little more here, a little less there. Most notably, the rear seats feel much roomier to us.&nbsp;</p> <p>Tech interface is easy to master, and plenty of knobs and buttons remain.&nbsp;</p> <p>Much like the Prius, its hatchback cargo area provides a good amount of space and folding seatback versatility. Capacity is slightly higher here, at 26.5 cu-ft.&nbsp;</p> <p>Proportions and 5-door style are also very similar, including the exact same 106.3-inch wheelbase. Yet the slick-looking Ioniq doesn&rsquo;t seem to scream eco at all.</p> <p>It proved fairly slick at our test track as well. Through the cones, there&rsquo;s plenty of understeer, but the trip was much quicker than we expected. There&rsquo;s a manageable amount of body roll, good weight to the steering, and decent balance; all allowing you to easily find a comfortable groove and push pretty hard.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="173" src="/images/road_tests/2017_hyundai_ioniq_hybrid_4.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Acceleration was a bit less thrilling, but again, better than expected. Power is best at the high end of revs; as we managed a 0-60 of 9.6-seconds, and a &frac14;-mile of 17.4 at 81 miles-per-hour.&nbsp;</p> <p>Government Fuel Economy Ratings, at 55-City, 54-Highway, and 55-Combined, best the Prius&rsquo; 52-Combined. But our average of 53.1 on regular didn&rsquo;t quite match those numbers. Much like the Prius, there is a more efficient de-contented version, the Ioniq Blue, which ups the Combined rating to 58.</p> <p>The Energy Impact Score is naturally a very good one; just 6.0-barrels of oil used and 2.7 tons of CO2 emissions yearly.&nbsp;</p> <p>Pricing starts at $23,085, just under the Prius&rsquo; base. Look at paying closer to $30,000 for Limited trim.&nbsp;</p> <p>The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq is not just a very nice and efficient hybrid, but a very useful car as well. And despite current fuel prices, we see a healthy market for this hybrid. The upcoming, pricier PHEV and EV will be a tougher sell, no doubt. But the fact that Hyundai is unleashing all three, is proof they have a long-range strategy in place. In many ways, Hyundai has beaten the Prius at their own game; now they just need to have buyers notice.&nbsp;</p>
  • Road Tests: 2017 Aston-Martin DB11
    <p class="review_title">Vital Statistics</p> <p><span>Engine:</span> 5.2 liter</p> <p><span>Horsepower:</span> 600</p> <p><span>Torque:</span> 516 lb-ft.</p> <p>While other luxury brands may be all about seeking attention with pomp and circumstance, weekly press releases, and celebrity endorsements; Aston Martin just keeps plugging away and doing their own thing, on their own terms. That means all-new cars are few and far between, and worthy of celebration all on their own. So let&rsquo;s get the party started with this all-new DB11!</p> <p>People seem to forget that the Aston-Martin brand has been in the biz for over a hundred years, and while they aren&rsquo;t necessarily changing the way they do things, there are now more new products in the pipeline than at any time in recent memory. And, this 2017 DB11 kicks it off in style.</p> <p>While there is still a legendary V12 under the hood, and the proportions remain similar to recent Astons, the look is certainly a quick step towards the future. With a modern take on the classic Aston grille, it&rsquo;s simply a gorgeous car; some staffers even remarking it&rsquo;s the most beautiful rolling stock they&rsquo;re eyes have ever seen.</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="180" src="/images/road_tests/2017_aston_martin_DB11_3.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />It has the paint finish of a high dollar custom hot rod, simply flawless; and no exterior badging to distract you from its beautiful lines.&nbsp;</p> <p>What looks to be just trim tacked on to create a floating roof, is actually an Aeroblade that funnels air through the C-pillar for added downforce. There&rsquo;s no doubt this car looks fantastic from any angle.&nbsp;</p> <p>And lurking beneath all of those curves is an all-new aluminum chassis; using a mix of pressings, extrusions, and castings, to achieve a new level of stiffness without increasing weight.</p> <p>Going further &ldquo;next level&rdquo; is a new 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12 replacing the DB9&rsquo;s 5.9-liter naturally-aspirated unit. It&rsquo;s not only a first for the brand, but the engine is their own design. This twelve delivers 600&ndash;horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque and can sound as nasty or as quiet as you want it to be. It&rsquo;s tucked behind the front wheels to help keep weight more centered.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>If things in the center stack look familiar, it&rsquo;s because they were sourced from Mercedes-Benz. The leather and wood surfaces all around it however, are clearly a step above, exuding hand-crafted individuality.</p> <p><img class="img_right" height="194" src="/images/road_tests/2017_aston_martin_DB11_4.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />Nestling our commoner hindquarters in those luxurious front seats had us feeling like real high rollers. We didn&rsquo;t even attempt to cram into the back ones.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>You won&rsquo;t find a shifter in here, rather P, R, N, and D buttons bookending the start button in the center stack.&nbsp;</p> <p>A full-color 12-inch TFT gauge panel, features unique virtual instruments; but between the big tach right in the center of it, and the large shift paddles behind the wheel, you get a sense that there&rsquo;s a lot more here than just posh and circumstance.&nbsp;</p> <p>It may not be the fastest car on the road, but it sure feels like it when you punch the gas. It delivers everything it has right from the get-go, and the 8-speed automatic transmission swiftly puts it to good use. Yet it all happens in an incredibly refined way.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>It does feel big behind the wheel, not so much a nimble toss-around toy; but very much like a large, smooth, and very posh mile-eating machine. Aston gives you plenty of options for finding your comfort zone, as you can adjust the suspension independent of the dynamic driving modes.&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="img_left" height="146" src="/images/road_tests/2017_aston_martin_DB11_2.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Even if we don&rsquo;t really have the roads in this country to get the full appreciation of what the DB11 has to offer, you&rsquo;ll enjoy the experience no matter what road you find yourself on. It oozes upper crust, but in an inclusive way that makes you want to be a member of whatever club it takes to own one of these.&nbsp;</p> <p>Priced at $214,820 to start, this kind of luxury motoring costs dearly. But dare we say, it feels very much worth it, feeling more prestigious and a step up from rivals at that price point.&nbsp;</p> <p>That&rsquo;s because Aston Martin considers themselves more than just a car company, but a maker of luxury goods. And like any true indulgence item, they&rsquo;re not necessarily going out of their way to attract new customers; rather keeping those accustomed to breathing this rarified air coming back for more.</p> <p>The 2017 DB11 is a supremely luxurious and competent product for those who know what to look for in a Grand Touring automobile. A fitting car to usher in a whole new era for a brand that we can&rsquo;t wait to experience again and again.</p>
  • Motor News: Compression Ignition &amp; Seatbelts in the Back
    <p><img class="img_left" height="183" src="/images/motor_news/3702_motornews_1.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />While most automakers are feverishly pursuing electric drive technologies&hellip;One manufacturer has announced what may be a breakthrough for traditional gasoline engines.</p> <p>Mazda says they&rsquo;re ready to mass produce a &ldquo;gasoline&rdquo; engine using compression ignition. Pure compression ignition does not need spark plugs. Instead, the piston compresses the fuel and air mixture until it heats up and ignites spontaneously. Diesel engines do it, but the technology has eluded engineers trying to bring it to gasoline engines. That is of course, until now. However, the new Mazda engine&hellip; called SKYACTIV-X&hellip; will still have spark plugs for some high stress conditions like &ndash;passing on the road. Mazda says their Spark Controlled Compression Ignition engine will deliver &ldquo;diesel-like&rdquo; economy and torque when it arrives for 2019.</p> <p>You&rsquo;re probably used to buckling up in the front seat&hellip; but in the back seat, maybe not so much.</p> <p><img class="img_right" height="173" src="/images/motor_news/3702_motornews_2.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />Well, a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows only 72-percent of adults use seatbelts in the back, compared to 91% in the front. They&rsquo;re most likely to be forgotten on short trips&hellip; and when using ride-hailing services. Experts agree an audible warning would help&hellip; but few vehicles have them. The IIHS also points out that buckling up in the back seat is the law in 29 states and the District of Columbia.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s it for this week&rsquo;s Motor News.</p>
  • Book Reviews: Mercer Magic
    <p><img class="img_left" height="170" src="/images/book_reviews/3702_mercer_magic.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Everyone knows that racing improves the breed. But, it seems like no other American car brand embraced that more in the industry&rsquo;s infancy than the Mercer Automobile Company. Founded in 1909 by the Roebling family of Brooklyn Bridge fame, out of what was left of the Walter Automobile Company, they quickly began assembling cars.</p> <p>But it was their Raceabout that truly put the brand on the map, as they began racing all over the country with much success; becoming what many consider to be America&rsquo;s first sports car. Clifford W. Zink does a wonderfully thorough job of telling the Mercer story in his book <em>Mercer Magic.</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a great Must Read of a brand that may not have lasted that long, but certainly made its mark in automotive history.&nbsp;</p>

FirstChoice eNewsletter