Here are some quick video tours of the brand new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport. These Youtube videos should give you a good idea of what the interior and exterior look like without actually having to go test drive a Ford Explorer Sport. I think the Ford Explorer is a slick looking SUV inside and out, but watch and decide for yourself. Please also checkout the video interview with Bill Gubing, the Chief Engineer on the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport, I posted since it's pretty fun.
What can you say about the new 2013 Ford Explorer? In a nutshell it is the new redesigned Ford Explorer and is the synthesis of an American SUV with European styling and handling. The interior was nice and well appointed which made me feel I was in a luxury Lincoln. Makes you wonder what Ford will do with the Lincoln version of it. The model I had was a beautiful black and pretty brown leather seats. The 2013 Explorer Sport has some nice features but the re-engineering is what won me.
Ford's head engineer on the 2013 Ford Explorer emphasized that have improved to make a stiffer body with reinforcements in key structural areas. Under the two fronts seats where they attached to the floor, there is a bar that stiffens the body, right across the transmission tunnel. There is another stiffening bar behind the front shocks that is also behind the engine.
What was interesting to hear is that Ford Explorer weight split is 60/40 vehicle but the drivetrain can go into pure 50/50. There is a convenient knob on the central console where you can select Desert, Forest and Ice mode, each giving you more or less torque if different driving conditions.
Although you sit high, as with any other SUV, it felt responsive and tight… at least tighter than any other SUV I've driven. I would imagine the Porsche and Maserati could easily out handle the 2013 Ford Explorer, but not its price. It's a SUV and has limits but more than a few BMWs on twisty roads were surprised by the powerful SUV keeping pace with their German vehicles. Worse case handling scenario, the rear has a hard time understanding what the front is doing but obliges willingly and follows the curve.
Purist will hate the paddle shifting mounted on the steering wheel instead of the column, but I suspect 90% of its clientele won't know or care what paddle shifters are or even bother to use them. I found myself a few times coming out of a curve wanting to shift but not being able to figure out which paddle was up or down. One very nice touch are the good looking 20-inch wheels with “Sport” engraved in them. The brakes have been generously upgraded for the Sport version for the extra power.
All in all, this is yet another Ford achievement as the company positions itself to compete with the more power and performance oriented SUV market, but at an affordable price. I found the SUV easy to drive in traffic and even fun to bounce around canyon roads. The engine comes alive at over 3,000 but not once will it intrude inside your plush felt cabin. The only thing you will hate on the road if you own a Sport version is to see an older Explorer in front of you heavily braking at every curves. This SUV is meant to go fast, cruise around town and everything in between.
Attention all you high performance enthusiasts and exotic car aficionados, here’s a chance to evaluate the new 2012 McLaren MP4-12C Spider. This is particularly exciting given the number of these cars in the United States. By the time you're done with this, you'll be calling transport companies for bids on importing one of these.
Unveiling the New Model
Just over a year ago Ron Dennis of McLaren replaced the F1 with the newly designed MP4-12C. Sales had increased to over 1,000 units worldwide. Now Dennis has included a hardtop convertible dubbed the “Spider.”
Jeremey Clarkson of Top Gear was on hand in Geneva for the unveiling. Immediately it becomes evident that this car is the ultimate in eye candy. The aesthetics are such that it generates an “I have to have that” response right out of the box.
The car appears to sit low, but the 20-inch wheels fit perfectly high in the body giving the car ample ground clearance. It has huge intake vents just forward of the rear wheels which are functional because the engine uses two radiators — one on each side of the car.
A retractable spoiler adorns the rear hatch and forward of that is a killer-looking glass engine cover exposing the engine and turbo runners. It looks amazing with the Lambo doors open. And those are just a few of the high points — wait until you see the interior.
The interior is space-aged with a custom dash and console unlike any other car. A horseshoe-shaped panel runs vertically from the console up and around the steering wheel and down the door panel narrowing as it drops down. This contains the air vents on both sides at the top and all the switches as it continues down. Right away you will notice something missing — the gearshift. The MP4-12C has a 7-speed transmission with paddle shifters only. The color combinations accentuate the interior perfectly and the quality of the seats and panels are top notch.
What It Can Do
Now things are getting really interesting. The part that makes this dog hunt is a mid-engine 3.8-liter V8 with double overhead cams, port fuel injection and twin turbochargers. It produces an amazing 592 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 443 pounds feet of torque. This was confirmed with a dyno test done by Straight Line.
Considering the size of the engine, it is quite an achievement. Anyone who builds racecars knows that all conventional engines have a fixed camshaft. The camshaft must be installed for either low-end torque or high rpm power. It requires a tradeoff. McLaren uses variable camshaft timing, however, to avoid trading anything. The camshafts run at low rpm to build torque. As the engine revs, a mechanism advances the camshaft to increase air and fuel flow.
The engine is also has a dry sump type oiling system. The oil is not contained in an oil pan but in an external oil tank. This allows the engine to sit lower in the cradle, effectively lowering the center of gravity. The MP4-12C goes from 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds and back to 0 in a mere 100 feet. Top speed on the Spider is 204 mph, 3 mph slower than the hard top due to the weight. And good thing too – you can't get them everywhere, so if you're not going to use car transport companies, speeds like that will make your drive across the United States a lot more efficient.
Watch Top Gear's Jeremey Clarkson’s amazing video as he pits the McLaren MP4-12C against the Ferrari 458 in a road course. As you can see in the Top Gear segment the McLaren out-handles the Ferrari 458 in the tight course due to its computer-controlled stabilization.
If you purchase a McLaren be sure to use car transport companies that specialize in hauling exotic cars. The McLaren MP4-12C is a car that competes well with the highest profile exotic cars today, and is readily recognizable as the exotic that it is.
With the unusually warm weather in January, I felt a bit odd posting a list of tips for winterizing your car. Now that there is actually snow on the ground in Baltimore, and it is cold, it makes more sense posting this list. No sense in posting a list in the Spring!
“Adam's 7 Tips for Winterizing Your Car.”
- Hey, Your Car is Dirty: This is something that is a good idea to do before it gets cold and there is snow on the ground. (Ok, maybe I should have posted this earlier.) It's good to clean your car of all the road grime and dirt, because during the winter cars tend to attract more dirt. Clean the interior of the car as well. If you don't have rubber floormats, I would consider buying them as it will help keep your car's interior cleaner. Most people don't clean their cars during the winter, so that is why I suggest this.
- Ohh, My Battery Is Dead: It is a very good idea to get your battery checked or take a look yourself. Low temperatures make it hard for the chemical reactions inside your battery to operate normally, meaning it has reduced power to get your car started. Most auto parts stores do Free battery checks using specialized testers, and they can usually test your whole electrical system too. If you have had trouble starting your car in the past due to the battery going dead or it has given you problems, you probably should just get a new battery. If it is more than 3-4 years old, replace it.
- Get Rid Of That Battery Corrosion: Even if your battery is not that old, servicing it might be a good idea. By that I mean making sure there is no corrosion on the terminals or cables. If you are comfortable cleaning the terminals and battery, it is a good idea to do that yourself. (Remember undo the negative cable first, then the positive cable.) A quick way to get all the corrosion off is to pour warm water on top of the battery, which quickly washes away all that white sulfate deposit. You can then take wire brush and clean the terminals and cables, ensuring you battery has a good connection.
- Can You See The Light?: Having a Headlight or Taillight bulb out is an easy thing to miss. Hey, I understand! Since the days are shorter and the nights longer in winter, it is good to make sure they are functioning properly. Turn on your cars lights and walk around to make sure all are in working order. Don't forgot to check those blinkers too! If any are out or very dim, replace it. Then you don't need to worry about it later.
- Keep Your Coolant: You want to make sure you have a 50:50 mix of anti-freeze and water inside your radiator. If there isn’t enough anti-freeze in the mix, it could potentially freeze in the cold weather. How do you know if you have a 50/50 coolant or anti-freeze mixture? There are test strips and special tools to test the mixture and pH level of coolant. I rarely see many shops using them, but you can buy them at auto parts stores. You might want to consider doing a coolant flush if you have never done it, or if it has been 4+ years since you have flushed your coolant. Don't forgot to also check your hoses. If they are bulging hard, brittle, deformed, squishy, or have hairline cracks, replace the hose.
- Is Your Tread Dead?: When is the last time you checked you tire pressure? Mmm… better check it, since tires lose about 1psi for every 10 degree change in temperature. You gas mileage will improve and your car will handle better. Also make sure you have adequate tread and your tires are not worn-out. If you live in climate that gets heavy snow, switching to snow tires for the winter might not be bad idea.
- Can You See the Road?: Wipers are very easy to overlook, but very important for inclement weather. Check your wipers are not streaking or has rubber falling off. If they are old and aren't doing the job, replace them. I recommend Bosch frame-less wipers, which last longer and work better. I have Bosch wipers installed on my Honda Accord. Remember to also make sure you have washer fluid.
I hope you enjoyed Adam's Auto Advice tips! If you have a suggestion or comment about winterizing your vehicle leave a comment below. Keep warm this winter and please drive safely. You never know what's on the road, so be prepared.
About 2 weeks ago I bought a set of floormats at Costco for my Accord. I had been looking and searching for a good set of floormats but had not been able to find anything. Every set I looked was thin rubber, or a good set with durable thick rubber was $40 or more. Even the sets I would bought for $40 had odd designs. It seemed for keeping dirt on the mat they would have been inadequate. Also lots of floormats have carpeting. Why do you need carpeting on a floormat? Doesn't make sense to me. I checked Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, auto parts stores…everywhere! All had floormats that would have worked, but not thick ones like I wanted for a reasonable price.
Costco's set of floormats are great! Thick, durable, and the brown-tan color blends in well with my Honda's interior. I expect to get a great use out of these mats especially with the bad and wet weather in Baltimore recently.
It was $15 for the set of 4 FloorMats, 2 for the front and 2 for the back. If you want or need a set of floormats, I would recommend these from Costco. They have been great for keeping my Honda's carpeting from grime and dirt. They will prove to be a good invest for a long time.
Going into the cold winter months, floormats are something that would be a wise item to get for your car. Since a lot of people want to get more mileage out of their cars in this economy. Obviously floormats won't help your car run better, but will keep it looking fresh and cleaner for longer.
Notice I like to leave as much rubber material on the mats as possible, even for my small 96 Honda Accord. That way they catch as much dirt and grime as possible, the whole point of the floormats.