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Thursday
Jun182015

A Suburban With Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive cruise control has been around for over 10 years in one form or another on a variety of vehicles.

If you have experienced adaptive cruise control or have followed a vehicle on adaptive cruise control some aspects of "how it works" surely captured your attention. Especially compared to the classic "old school" cruise control.

In our case it was "You can set the cruise at xxx kph, and the vehicle will slow by itself, if the flow no longer permits the set speed".

With all the talk on self driving vehicles adaptive cruise control evolves into a different thought process as being a component of "self driving"....a different perspective. Its not just the cruise control, but how the vehicle would possibly drive itself with the cruise control as a component.

Some of the stuff we see on TV is perhaps slightly idealised.

Through the years we have always had unique and memorable experiences with Suburbans, this time was no different, we had a 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ with adaptive cruise control, and a roas trip on the 401 heading east then west on the return.

We travelled at least 800 kilometers on with the adaptive cruise control dealing with a variety of traffic situations. As you probably know some of these systems are more refined than others.

From our perspective the system in the Suburban is leading hedge.

Our impressions in no particular order:

  • This Suburban is a supreme highway cruiser smooth, effortless, good passing power.
  • Fuel economy...not so bad considering the size and frontal area.
  • We set the cruise at xxx kph as expected the Suburban will scrub of speed, or accelerate.
  • It will brake quite aggressively if a vehicle pulls in to the space (distance).
  • Stepping of the gas overrides the braking feature.

How do you the driver and road reality interface with adaptive cruise control:

  • You set the speed and distance from the vehicle in front of you.
  • The vehicle in from will control your speed agenda...if you permit it to do so.
  • Passing must be done prior to reaching the set distance.
  • You will quickly scrub off speed and continue cursing at the speed of the vehicle in front.
  • You still have to make your way through lane congestion the cruise control has no understanding of alleviating lane congestion.
  • Accelerating with the gas pedal negates the braking feature.
  • If you accelerate to a higher rate of speed to improve your road position the cruise control will apply the brakes once you stop accelerating.

Its a new way of driving with the cruise control, once you grasp the operation of the adaptive cruise control in some ways its easier since the distance from the vehicle in front is set and the Suburban keeps the distance, even if a vehicle cuts in.

At the same time managing your speed requires constant attention, its very easy to scrub off speed due to the vehicle in front.

Are self driving vehicles around the corner:

  • From a technology perspective, yes they are.
  • Dealing with road reality still requires a good level of human involvement / intervention.
  • Self driving vehicles promote a higher level of distraction.

 

 

Wednesday
Jun172015

The Transparency Spin

Have you noticed that everyone is talking about clarity, transparency, especially when relating to consumers and customers.

Have you noticed how many apply a spin to the transparency. Which begs the question "How transparent is it?"

A few examples...

Yes or No

The simple transparent clear answer would be a yes or no. Simple...or not. How often does it get complex with qualified answers that are at times almost spun out of control.

Make It As You Go

This one is precious..."We don't have all the facts, details, but we are transparent and we make it as we go for the sake of transparency."

Surprising how adept humans are at making it as you go, subscribing to un informed platitudes, while remaining on a thought vector that is at best vague, and will continue to reinforce making it as you go.

Agreed..."making it as you go" is very close to "bulls@#t"

But its all transparent...

Narrow Band of Transparency

Its the "We are transparent within these parameters/guidelines." Outside of the parameters, its opaque, it obfuscates, its un informed, it wastes time.

We could keep on going, but you surely grasp our thoughts, as usual you have to be your own editor at all times, especially in an environment that promotes transparency.

What do you think...

 

 

 

Tuesday
Jun162015

The New BMW 7 Series

Take the time to watch this video that provides an overview of the new 7 Series...

 

Saturday
Jun132015

Kawasaki H2

Its Saturday go for a ride with Jay Leno...

 

 

Friday
Jun122015

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, come in enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

Have you noticed that when folks are in "prominent" positions they at times start believing their own "s**t" which often turns into a situation of not so good, and if you include a dollop of greediness on top it becomes even more interesting.

In Canada we have all sorts of examples of this stuff...

Ray Tanguay formerly of Toyota as the Canadian Auto Czar to attract auto business to Canada, that is a good thing, since lately its all headed south. Yes...Canada will continue to have to buy the business to keep it here.

As Cadillac "dares greatly" customers have no problem "regretting nothing" and opting for another make. Good thing the Slade is saving the day to show an increase in sales. Reminds us of a boastful press conference by some Cadillac folks at CIAS this year. Which begged the question, do they know something, or do we know something?

At times you get windows of smooth flowing traffic, a few days ago while returning the Ram pick up we hit an interesting early evening window in the flow of traffic. It just flows, everyone is on its best behavior, its a little faster too. Obvious that some folks with performance machines will attempt to take advantage of such a situation, or at least try something.

Agreed...smooth flowing traffic is an exception.

Tomorrow is the start of the Le Mans race, we are still Corvette fans, while keeping an eye for the GT-R LM.

Superlative photo gallery from the Modena Trackdays 2015 at Spa.

 

 

Thursday
Jun112015

The Deals

While the mainstream press, pundits, analysts, share their thoughts on a variety of automotive subjects and news worthy events.

Dealers

Warren Buffet acquires Van Tuyl, it was certainly a huge deal a few months ago. Not so much by the dollar amounts, simply that Warren Buffet made a decision to get in the car business. Also an exceptional exit strategy on the part of the Van Tuyl family.

Its was a great deal.

Then the speculation starts, that suddenly a myriad of other folks are also interested in the retail auto business, are dying to become "horse traders" and are on the cusp of making purchase decisions.

Everyone must have had second thoughts, since no deal has been announced, or is being talked about so far.

Yes...some folks own shares of the publicly traded dealers groups.

As the retail auto business is improving in the US, you can just imagine what "blue sky" amounts are being floated, discussed, mentioned.

Manufacturers

We all know that common platforms, and components save money. That thought vector has been going around for over a decade, and most manufacturers have dramatically reduced the number of platforms.

Along comes Sergio Marchionne trying to do another deal to secure the future prospects of the Agnelli/Elkan families. Its a great initiative, on a power point it makes a ton of sense with presumed billions in savings. In practice (reality) it seems that no one is interested.

The Fiat / Chrysler deal worked under unique circumstances which in 2015 cannot be replicated.

Consumers

Way back in the day of static prices and a wide spread between the MSRP and cost, reinforced by a lack of information the consumer always felt that he was not getting a good deal. An entire industry flourished around the deal in the showroom.

Today with dynamic pricing, a thinner spread between MSRP and cost, and monthly promotions the consumer is always getting a good deal. Although it seems that most folks are forgetting that simple fact.

Yes...the consumer continues to get the best deal in the auto business.

 

Tuesday
Jun092015

The Strada Walk 

Are we on to something new with a walk around, especially that one increasingly hears about having really important meetings while talking a walk...walking.

Lets see what is on our minds this morning.

Triple Crown

Yes we have an affinity for horsepower, and it was exciting to see American Pharaoh win the Triple Crown at Belmont on Saturday. Fascinating that Penny Chenery was in the stands. If you watched the previous 2 races, Espinosa the jockey changed strategy for Belmont, take the lead, and extend the lead in the stretch.

F1

Its surprising that no one has yet caught up to whatever advantage Mercedes has, all the talk about Ferrari having a additional horsepower. Agreed Montreal was buzzing all of last week with a ton of F1 activities.

Reviews

By now you know that we have a Ram Big Horn with an Eco Diesel. This pick up is very economical, surprisingly economical. The thought that crossed our minds "If Mercedes-Benz actually builds a pick up it will be a close to this Eco Diesel"

Behind Closed Doors

These past few days we have been reminded of all the activities that go on Behind Closed Doors, and how discreet everyone is about the decisions and out comes. You have to ask pointed questions and even then...

Driving

Way back in the days of "mechanical cars" being a good driver was an aspiration. Today with vehicles full of technology, driving is a required evil to get around. Yes...self driving cars might do a better job.

 

 

Monday
Jun082015

It Was A Ram Photo Shoot

Our usual photo shoot location notice the wet pavementIf you are a regular reader you have certainly grasped that most of the time we do our review photo shoots at the same location(s). For some reason photo shoots work well in those locations.

Usually mid morning on a Sunday its what fits best in our agenda.

We have the Ram, mid morning Sunday does not fit in the agenda, we have other priorities.

By the time we get around to the photo shoot, its early Sunday evening which is a good time of day to take photos, except its increasingly cloudy, and and it looks as if its going to rain.

Our standard photo shoot procedure is to hand wash the vehicle (when the weather permits). Agreed there is still a "zen thing" when you hand wash a vehicle, and you notice all sorts of interesting details. Yes...there is a lot of sheet metal on a Ram, the windshield and roof are high.

This Ram has plastic wheel covers that replicate an alloy wheel, not a bad thing if a wheel gets scraped replace the cover, from the other perspective its "imitation" alloys.

We get ambitious and decide to do a photo shoot under light rain just to see the outcome. Why in the rain, just for the fun of it, to see the outcome.

Under the tree notice the pavement is dryAt our photo shoot location, the rain is subdued, the natural light is not ideal, but lets try this. We are so focused on taking photos, then we notice that the pavement on the other side is dry. "Why is the pavement dry? Simple the tree is immense." Lets go under the tree too.

Its raining, now under the tree, you could call it call it a huge truck umbrella. This photo session is turning into fun, and interesting.

Different light conditions, and the auto focus on the Samsung camera is getting an extensive work out.

Lets give the technology a work out, and have a better understanding of how it all integrates together to take a photo.

The horse farm notice the pavement is wet its rainingStill raining, might as well go to our favorite horse farm and see how we can shoot there too.

Yes...there are horses in the pasture.

What initially started out as an almost "scrubbed" photo shoot. Morphed into a fun experience, under the rain, under a tree, and at our favorite horse farm.

 

 

 

Saturday
Jun062015

Nissan GT-R LM Nismo

Fascinating car, get a comprehensive walk around with Jay Leno.

 

Friday
Jun052015

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its a new month, its Friday, its the Vroom Room, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

Does climate change mean that we alternate from air conditioning, to heat, on a regular basis in the house? What do you think?

In case you missed it, we have done some vehicle reviews take a look...here. Really...how could you miss it.

You know that we don't follow, we lead, and we are not in the eyeball business either. Late last year we shared our thoughts on Premium Economy which was a continuation of The Merbimau Advantage. As you start hearing increased comments from a variety of individuals remember that you heard it here first.

In the world of business there is an ongoing constant, the population of Assholes does not diminish (perhaps its increasing). At times you have to wonder if the population would diminish, would we be in a better world. Agreed...its optimistic to say the least.

Canadian Sales for May:

Last year May was a record month, imagine trying to beat May 2014 this year. Its a done deal May 2015 is 1% ahead of 2014. As you can imagine with an increase of only 1% the month was a game of push and shove. With manufacturer bonuses based on sales objectives (usually surpassing them). There is a rumour that some manufacturers were calling dealers on an hourly basis on the last day.

Is there the possibility that some vehicles were called sold, and are still waiting for an owner? What do you think?

Still a huge accomplishment for the month...yes those guys again MerbimAu were way ahead of the game last month...

You will increasingly start reading and hearing about infotainment overload in vehicles. Where some or a lot of the technology in the centre of the dash (yes the screen) is not being used by customers. Do we still need a CD player in vehicles? Do we need voice recognition? Do we need a myriad of touch functionalities on the screen? What do you think?

Our usual old race cars impressive and extensive photo gallery of the Spa Classic 2015.