How Does Driving A 2009 Scion Xb Test Drive Feels Like

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Younger is way better, right? Everybody wants to look younger, feel younger, be considered to be younger (unless we are younger, in which case the opposite applies). The 2009 Scion xB could qualify as instant youth potion for baby boomers. With a base price of $16,700 ($17,944 as tested), the 2009 Scion xB arrives with a 3 year/36,000 miles basic warranty, a 6 year/60,000 miles powertrain warranty and EPA fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway. Saddle up for the Fountain of Youth.

First, glance: Bigger is much better

The first generation xB started the Scion craze in 2004. A 2,399 lb box with unbelievable interior space, the original xB made a big splash featuring its low price and high fuel efficiency (26 mpg city/31 highway). The kids loved it, and relished the opportunity customize their xBs with a long list of factory-approved accessories along with a robust aftermarket.

For 2008, Toyota (Scion’s parent company) messed with success by providing xB a serious makeover, adding 12” long and 5” in width to the tiny terror and bumping the engine from 1.5 liters to 2.4 liters. During this process, the xB gained 631 lbs to a curb weight of 3,026 lbs, and lost 4 mpg city/3 mpg highway. But, as Aaron Gold mentioned in his review of the 2008 Scion xB, “With its new-found size, the xB has moved in the realm of proper family cars.”

xB still seems like xB, despite the increase in size. It looks like someone applied and to the old design, beefing up the details and adding some panache. The assertive front, with incised halogen projector headlamps, eccentric drilled grille and racy lower fascia, is clean and expressive. The flat hood leads directly into the shoulder line, as well as the thin, flat roof uses up very little visual space in profile. Blacked-out B-pillars offer the illusion of a single long daylight opening (“DLO” in designer-speak), which makes me wish for a convertible xB – wouldn’t that be cool? The 16” steel wheels wear plastic hubcaps, and can be my first target for customization. The Scion accessory catalog lists wheels approximately 19” for fitment to xB, so that’s what I’d get.

In the Driver’s Seat: Uh-oh, it’s magic

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2009 Scion xB interior

Photo © Jason Fogelson

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Stepping in the xB is sort of a David Copperfield illusion – so much space hiding behind such a tiny exterior. Having its high roofline, the cabin feels like a cathedral. Seating is rather upright, more dining area chair than low-slung racer. I had no issue getting comfortable and right into a good driving position with the tilt adjustable (no telescope) steering wheel and height-adjustable driver’s seat. One place where xB’s low priced betrays itself is in thin seat cushioning and cloth-only seat cover material. On longer drives, I craved more support as well as a suppler surface. Another cost control feature is the centrally-mounted instrument panel. Instead of manufacturing a left-hand drive, US-style dash along with a right-hand drive, Japan-style dashboard, Scion mounts the instrument panel in the middle of the dash, probably saving millions of yen. I never really liked it, although i was able to adjust to the gauge location. I felt like my eyes were away from the road longer reading the xB’s central gauge cluster than they could have been with a conventional, above-the-wheel cluster. At freeway speeds, every millisecond counts.

The xB’s back seat benefits from the vehicle’s increased wheelbase and length. In the old xB, it felt as if you were sitting directly on the rear axle, with every bump telegraphed to your spine. The existing xB supplies a more comfortable perch, and the increased width gives more elbow room for two or three passengers. The xB is now a real family car, especially when you factor in the 21.7 cubic feet of luggage space behind the seats.

On the Road: Floggable

I have to admit, I’ll trade a couple of miles per gallon for further driving excitement almost every time. xB offers a pretty good balance going on right out of the box. With a double-overhead cam 2.4 liter in-line 4-cylinder engine, xB produces 158 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. That doesn’t sound like much in these events of 300 hp sedans, but it’s good enough to make xB plenty of fun to drive, in spite of a 4-speed automatic transmission (a 5-speed manual is additionally available). Although the roofline is comparatively high, the xB feels as though it has a low center of gravity during cornering maneuvers. I’d explore some of the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) chassis and suspension enhancements to make the drive even sportier. I may even dip into my IRA to put some of the TRD engine and transmission parts in my xB – who needs retirement funds when you’ve got a supercharger as well as a quick shifter on your whip?

Pretty respectable considering how much I was enjoying its performance, though i drove my test vehicle just about everywhere during its week in my care, and yes it responded to my flogging by returning 20.8 mpg – lower than the EPA estimates.

I also enjoyed xB’s standard Pioneer 160-watt stereo system with iPod integration. A supplied iPod cable allowed me to regulate my tunes via the multi-function steering wheel buttons and read text information on the Pioneer’s display screen – exactly the kind of functionality that I want from my iPod and car stereo. The audio quality is quite good, too.

Journey’s End: Car or CUV?

2009 Scion xB left-rear view

2009 Scion xB

Photo © Jason Fogelson

My usual beat is SUVs, and I’m influenced to lobby for xB to be classified as a crossover sport utility vehicle rather than as a car. xB certainly qualifies in terms of utility, with its big hatchback, generous luggage capacity and 60/40 split folding second row. I’m content to consider it a wagon, like Scion does, although that term has lost its meaning. If I were shopping for a small SUV or family wagon, I’d certainly consider the xB as an affordable, stylish choice.

I’d look at the xB against other box-shaped vehicles: The Nissan Cube, Kia Soul and Honda Element in particular. I’d also measure it against other fun-to-drive hatchbacks, like the Mazda3, Suzuki SX4 and Volkswagen Rabbit. I’d even measure it against small crossover vehicles just like the Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Considering its good deal and great list of standard features, Scion’s xB represents a very good value. I’m not at all surprised that young drivers and first-time new car buyers flock to Scion showrooms, and therefore many older drivers have found xB too.

Despite the fact that many xBs are in the hands of baby boomers, I still believe that driving an xB got me to look younger. I even turned my baseball cap to the side and wore a big gold medallion, until my wife informed me I looked like an idiot. I guess the auto can only do it much.

Knowing The Best With The 2015 GMC Yukon

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General Motors introduced the Yukon, Yukon, Suburban and Tahoe XL in one massive event. Jason, our Help guide to SUVs, couldn’t possibly cover them all, so he enlisted my help. I wanted to protect the GMCs — after all, I own one, so that makes me a specialist, right? Regardless, this is my overview of the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, though maybe not.

Local Escapes In SoCal

I’m sick of people saying that there’s nothing to do. Los Angeles isn’t one of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations only for Hollywood Studio and Boulevard tours. There is a lot more to Southern California than most people know, and it’s time those antsy and stir crazy folk do some exploring. I’m here to help you. There’s a lot to see that’s so close. That is the thing about Los Angeles that makes it so special. Before we start up a conversation of what to see, it’s important to know (and any other Southern Californian will agree) that you’ll need the right car.

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The right car can be something comfortable, the one that gets excellent mileage, and something that offers you optimum safety. It also doesn’t hurt to become head turner, does it? That’s why the 2014 fleet of Dodge cars and trucks is incomparable. With inspired interpretations on beautiful designs and an array of standard safety features, this lineup of Dodges is the greatest ever! That’s saying a great deal, I know. The fresh new hybrid Dodge Durango is really a personal favorite of mine. It is comfortable and huge, with the power to take you anywhere you want to go. Combine that with hybrid technology that makes minimal impact on the environment and you have a vehicle that exemplifies all that you would need. To find the right Dodge, go online and search at either used cars costa mesa or http://mcpeeksdodge.com and get ready to perform some exploring.

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Wine country

While a great deal of the more famous places are up in Northern California, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez are mere hops, jumps and skips from downtown Los Angeles. Both of them offer exactly what you would like in wine country, with vast scenic vineyards and myriad choices for impeccable dining. Wine country is a great, local getaway to get a night of romance with that special person in your daily life. Having gone to many of the different California regions, my personal favorite is Santa Ynez. You will find fewer people and more selections for wine and food.

The beaches of Malibu

Malibu isn’t a household term for nothing. It is just a 30 minutes away from Hollywood and offers clean, beautiful beaches. Some are better than others, although malibu is home to dozens of beaches. There is food directly on the beach,. That’s zuma is a great place for people watching, and a nice thing about Zuma. Some of the other beaches don’t have restaurants within walking distance so when you decide which one you’ll visit, plan accordingly. My personal favorite is El Matador. That’s type of why it’s my favorite, even though it’s much smaller and consequently has far fewer people. If you’re exploring with youngsters, this may not be the best choice for you, It’s less accessible, and the currents certainly are a little stronger, so.

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These are merely a few ideas on what the greater Los Angeles area has to offer, but there are truly countless more.

A Few Long Beach Facts – Did You Know . . . .

Long Beach, California is basically one giant playground packed with fun things to do and great stuff to see. Here are a few interesting things about Long Beach which you may or may not know. Here goes:

Where is it?

Long Beach is right in the heart of glorious Southern California around 25 miles from LA along the fabulous Pacific Coastline.

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How big is it?

The City of Long Beach measures around 50 square miles with more than 460,000 inhabitants. Those facts and figures all add up to it being the 7th largest in California after Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno and Sacramento . . . then there’s Long Beach followed by Oakland, Bakersfield and Anaheim – thought I might as well complete the top ten.

How long has The Queen Mary Liner been at Long Beach . . . and does it ever move?

She’s been docked . . . and might I say a major attraction . . . at Long Beach Harbor since way back when in 1967. She is floating but doesn’t actually go anywhere these days – apart from up and down along with the tide. Unfortunately it isn’t used as a passenger cruise liner any more – those days are long gone.

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There are some incredible tales of ghost and haunting – they say that wet footprints can be often seen close to the location of the former swimming pool which has actually been dry for the last few decades. There have also been sightings of a worker who was crushed many years ago in one of the doors.

What’s the weather like?

Well, it is in the heart of the sunshine state so what do you think? The temperature has a year round average of 74 deg F and out of the 365 days each year you can expect sunshine on an average of 345 of them – that means there are only 20 days when the sun doesn’t shine.

Is Long Beach in the movies?

You betcha’ it is. What with 345 days of wall to wall sunshine, a delightful waterfront and pretty spectacular architecture why wouldn’t it be? Many movies and TV shows have been filmed in Long Beach including Knight and Day, the latest Star Trek, Iron Man, Transformers 2, Transformers 3. Another big advantage is the fact that the Hollywood Production Studios are only 30 miles away – no wonder Long Beach forms the back-drop of such shows as CSI Miami, Dexter, Criminal Minds and True Blood.

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Does Long Beach have a beach?

It sure does. The city was originally known as “Wilmore City” but that didn’t really catch on – it was renamed in 1888 after the incredibly long beach – more than 5 miles of golden sand just perfect for lazing, lounging, running, jogging, walking, swimming, biking, blading, kayaking, jet skiing and more. Well, some of those activities need the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and some of them are best left for the smooth, paved bicycle path with spans the entire length from Downtown all the way to Belmont Shore.

Which is the best car dealership?

Long beach fiat is certainly ranked as one of the best with a superb range of new and used vehicles perfect for cruising the waterfront at Long Beach. Check out the deals at www.ocfiat.com and see for yourself if you don’t believe me.
And here ends our first lesson about the fabulous city of Long Beach . . . a little background information can often help to get a real understanding about somewhere.

Part 01

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Tanaka spent some time working assembly-line shifts his entire career. Before moving on the process of preparing new models for production, he began his journey at Lexus in charge of the chassis. Within this role, Tanaka was in charge of deciding which parts will be assembled as to what order, to ensure the new model line would run as smoothly as you possibly can.

Tanaka now leads a crew that puts the finishing touches on the parts that have been completed by their colleagues at the press, painting and body stations, as the vehicle assembly takumi. They bolt on doors and wheels, attach headlights, insert the dashboard and connect electronic circuitry – all told there are actually 350 steps in this section. What they do requires artistry, speed, dedication and precision – enough of each to get the Lexus Skill Certification. They get only two minutes per car for each and every process. Nevertheless, all 2,800 parts must connect and align precisely – just as detailed on the original blueprints, and assembled to the strictest of standards. “”It is my responsibility to ensure that each worker maintains their skill set at the same level as when they first acquired their certification. To be certain of this, I check their work with my own, personal eyes each day, and give them personal advice and instruction,”” he says. This method of handing down knowledge from personal experience refines the process – ensuring Lexus vehicles are made with consistently high precision.

Peugeut Plans To Never Push Through Pension Packages

A man walks in front of a Peugeot automobile dealership in Paris

A person walks in front of a Peugeot automobile dealership in Paris December 13, 2013.

CREDIT: REUTERS/CHARLES PLATIAU

(Reuters) – French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA) is usually to cut how big its executive pension packages, French daily Les Echos reported, months after public criticism forced former chief executive Philippe Varin to transform down his pension.

The struggling carmaker’s supervisory board has approved new methodology that cuts the amount provisioned by the company for executive pension packages to 16 million euros ($22.26 million) for 2013 versus 70 million for 2012, Les Echos reported in a pre-released version of its Thursday edition.

A Peugeot spokesman confirmed that its rules for calculating pension packages were being changed but failed to comment on the figures cited by Les Echos. “”We will be publishing proposals to get put to shareholders for your implementation of a new methodology for pension packages,”” he explained.

Peugeot, which is raising 3 billion euros in a rescue deal with Chinese partner Dongfeng (0489.HK) and the French state, is in the midst of a 1.5 billion-euro savings drive beneath the leadership of brand new CEO Carlos Tavares and incoming chairman Louis Gallois.

Peugeot’s previous CEO Philippe Varin said in November he would turn down his pension package, for which the organization had set-aside 21 million euros, due to the public backlash it had sparked in France.

Value in Used Cars

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Everyone may have an opinion when it comes to used cars. Even though some people absolutely swear by them, always taking the used route and never buying a brand new car, some often look on buying used, thinking that you never get a quality car and that if you buy a used vehicle you happen to be simply inheriting someone else’s problems. There are many more pros to buying used vehicles than lots of people imagine, though in fact, you will find pros to purchasing both used and new cars.

The greatest pro to purchasing a used car is the value. There is absolutely no competition with a brand new car with regards to pricing goes if you find a preowned car in good shape. And while getting a used car might conjure up nightmares of greasy, used car salesmen and cars that turn out to be lemons, when you order from an affiliated dealership, you already know you are getting a vehicle that is in near top condition. If you’re searching for san juan capistrano dodge, you might check out www.ocauto.com. Alternatively, similar websites in other areas.

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Frequently people that purchase new cars every year or two will trade inside their lightly used vehicle for any newer model. So, you can get cars that are just a few years old on new car lots. It is common knowledge that whenever you drive a car from the lot, its’ worth quickly depreciates. So while the car may still remain in excellent shape, with no problems and few miles on the odometer, when it is resold, it is going to bring far less than when it was first bought. For that reason, you can more often than not get a good deal buying a used car, especially from an affiliated dealership.

BTS With The Production Of 2015 Ford Mustang

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A couple months ago, the globe eagerly awaited the unveiling of the all new 2015 Ford Mustang. Its throwback design and radically re-engineered powerplant had pony car fans around the globe drooling en-masse. But what they didn’t tell us was what proceeded behind the scenes for more than four years, to find the new Mustang from pipe dream to road reality.

At the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), we had the rare chance to peek behind the Blue Oval and see exactly how the Ford design team reimagined this iconic pony car. Here’s how they did it:

More than four years ago, the team started with countless concept sketches of the two exterior and interior. Everyone wanted to take part in the redesign.

While a lot of the early designs are pretty far available, the interior team had some “musts” to feature, like the Mustang’s big signature dual round gauges, a muscular brow line for the dash, and functional toggle switches. This helped guide the final designs, which took over 2 yrs to decide on.

Interior designs are then rendered in 3D on the pc, and in life size clay models. The 3D renderings have to be ultra precise-they are the actual files that can be sent to manufacturers to produce the final parts.

Clay models are also made as precisely as you possibly can. Senior Interior Designer Sewon Chun told us he prefers to do business with the clay models, while he can sit inside them and get an authentic feel for the design’s influence on drivers.

For the exterior design team, a retro feel by using a modern take was a must. Along with a wide, powerful stance.

Exterior sketches were narrowed down to 20-30 top choices, then are narrowed down again to three “themes” which are more fully developed. All pay homage to a 1968 concept by legendary auto designer, Caroll Shelby.

These are then sculpted out from hundreds of pounds of clay into 3 or 4 life size models so designers can feel and see the automobile. The models are painted. Real wheels are wear. The Ford team of executives and designers spend hours looking and discussing, attempting to decide which a person to take to market.

Theme A was ultimately picked. It possesses a low roofline, and is 50 millimeters wider at the rear with a dramatically lowered deck lid from the outgoing 2014 model. It features strong side lines with wide shoulders along with a narrow waist. In the nod to Shelby, the power dome in front is emphasized. One final clay model sculpted.

The clay model is scanned and digitized. Engineers compare this with actual dimensions, then the model is re-sculpted, millimeter by millimeter, perfectly, then re-scanned and re-digitized.

While all this sculpting is happening, the color team gets rolling with the paint and interior materials that will be available for the newest Mustang.

There are decisions about what paint colors will likely be available at the various trim lines, from base to premium. Along with special paint schemes, like the Triple Competition Yellow and Ruby Red, both of which require 3 coats of paint instead of the usual one coat. (We saw a lovely dark green that reminded us heavily of Bullitt’s Mustang. We’re anxious to see that one on the road.)

The Mustang interiors are all depending on black with little pops of color. Four different interior aluminums are chosen. It took three years to decide on the final exterior and interior colors.

Meanwhile, a new life-sized fiberglass model is milled from the data scanned from your clay model. This model is painted gray and so the team can evaluate exactly how the design looks under different lighting conditions. There is a cutaway on one side of the roof to expose the interior.

Once the final tweaks have already been made to this model, an incredibly exact model is made of the very last specs for the inside and outside. This-off takes modelers, other, painters and sculptors craftsmen roughly 4-5 weeks to perform.

The doors work. It is possible to sit inside it in the actual seats that will be used. It is possible to flip the toggle switches. Handmade, detailed lights are installed front and rear. The chrome badges are made by hand and fixed to the model. Since this is essentially the finished product for the team to review, the fit and finish needs to be perfect.

This model is eye-poppingly close the genuine article. Production Mustang, we walked past it a few times prior to being told it wasn’t a “real” working. (We made an offer making it a permanent fixture in the Crave Online office collection, however they didn’t go for it.)

By using these an unbelievable amount of craftsmanship, art and design that goes into every step of the process, it’s no surprise it took Ford 4 years to obtain the new 2015 Mustang on the highway.