November 2015

Porsche Macan SUV: A Practical Family Sports Car
by The Car Family
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Unless you drive a Porsche Macan S you may never understand what all the buzz is about. Here is an SUV that handles, accelerator, and stops as well as a sports car. but can carry five adults, tow a trailer, and be equipped with a top rack. To say this vehicle is a wonder is an understatement. Consumer Reports and US News and World Report both selected it as the best vehicle in its category. So what is it that makes this vehicle so desirable that it is sold out in some countries for nearly a year and there is probably a waiting list at your local dealer for one built to your liking? Well, it is registers on the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. It is playful, practical, fast, and, yes, expensive. The Macan starts at around $51,000, but don’t expect to leave the dealership without another ten thousand dollars in options. porsideleaf

Mom’s view: This is the best vehicle we have ever tested regardless of price. Its easy to park, zips through traffic and its performance during freeway driving can only be described as amazing. From a practical standpoint it is difficult to justify such an expensive daily driver. That is until you drive one. At that point it is challenging not to rationalize why you don’t need one. Ladies, this is an agile, engaging SUV with a surprising cushy ride and the interior is stunning. With optional heated and cooled seats, quality interior materials, and ample storage this is definitely going to be your home away from home. Standard safety features and options include an all wheel drive system, airbags everywhere, tire pressure monitor, remote key, ABS, stability and traction control, blind spot monitor, and lane departure warning among others. Fit and finish are splendid. There is a small indentation on the exterior door handle that, when pushed, locks the doors and swivels the side mirrors inward if you desire. I could go on forever, but this is the SUV I would choose for a trip, to shop, or drop the brood of at school. If I get lost the GPS map can show on the central monitor and the instrument panel. Ladies, you can have it all.


Dad’s view: First, it is a hoot to drive. Quiet, unassuming, and comforting, the Macan is just your mild mannered Clark Kent. That is until you press the “sport” button. The result is supercar. This 4300 pound SUV changes its character. The exhaust sound is deepened and the acceleration sharpened as the 340 horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 engine makes it fly. Porsche’s PDK 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission shifts immediately and the all wheel drive system sends power to where it is needed. It takes a super human effort not to have the sports mode on all the time. Nevertheless, there are some drawbacks. Tall people will find a lack of rear headroom and the electronics aren’t as world class as one would expect. Readers with a passion for driving, love the outdoors, enjoy unplanned trips, this is your feisty, family friendly SUV.


Young unemployed male’s view: Being unemployed puts this car into the realm of unattainable. So much for that expensive degree and Microsoft training certification. Back to business. The 2016 Macan comes with an 11-speaker stereo with a 7-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth, a USB port, and fairly good quality sound. You can opt for a 14-speaker Bose sound, a 16-speaker Burmester system, a PCM infotainment system, and Porsche Car Connect. The latter is interesting as it enables you to find your Macan using your smartphone. I can’t comment on the upgraded $1400 Bose or the$5700 Burmester with its 1000 watt units, but I found the base unit adequate. The Macan’s stunning sport steering wheel is from the 918 Spyder. Interestingly, the tachometer is positioned in the center of the dash where one would expect to see the speedometer. Along side that unit is a 4.8-inch color screen that displays messages from the on-board computer and, if needed, a GPS map. The main monitor is a 7-inch touchscreen. Now if I can just find work.


Young woman’s view: The tailgate is devoid of a handle. The opener is located under the wiper stalk. One press and it opens to any height you desire. Low garage, just a quick click on the lowering button and it is set. So very nice. In fact, if you enjoy driving, are a poser, or just want to see what a Porsche is all about, this is, believe if or not, one of the least expensive ways to find out. The doors have large storage bins that can even accommodate large bottles. The luggage compartment offers 17.7 cu. ft. of space and the rear bench seat when folded down increases capacity to 53 cu. ft. This is small for its class, but it could carry my bike without any problem.


The Macan is totally female friendly with easy to reach controls and exceptional interior lighting. In fact, the guttural sound of the exhaust, the brisk acceleration, and subdued ride are addicting. There is a lot to love here. The hold feature keeps the Macan in place when stopped on grades, the firm brakes provide confidence, and the high quality ratings add luster. Gas mileage was about 20 mpg. This Porsche bedevils one’s brokerage accounts.


Family conference: Robert Browning said it best, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” I believe he foresaw the Macan.

Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition: Perfect for El Nino
by The Car Family

With El Nino’s inclement weather predicted for the area one can never be too well prepared, and that is where Chevrolet’s Silverado 1500 4WD LTZ Crew Z71 Midnight Edition could well come in very handy. This all black beauty, and we man all black, is ready for bad weather with the Z71 off-road package, 4WD, locking rear differential, hill decent control, locking rear differential, skid plates, tow hooks, trailering package. Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac all-terrain tires, spray-in bedliner, rear park assist, and heated, power adjusted outside rear-view mirrors all could come in handy and there is plenty of room for a family with the cavernous cabin.

Chevrolet priced the Midnight Edition package for $1300 and is limiting this model to a production run of 5000. The truck is named for its paint package that includes black 18-inch rims, side moldings, drill, bumper, headlight bezels, tow hoods and fog lamps. Our fully loaded test vehicle came with the potent 6.2 liter Ecotec3 engine and eight speed transmission. Other options included a power sunroof, driver alert package, headed and cooled seats, Bose stereo system, Chevrolet’s Mylink Audio System, and a few smaller options adding about ten thousand dollars to the base $46,200 price.

Mom’s view: Thank goodness for the side tubular assist steps that made it easy to enter and leave. The Crew Cab option provided ample room for four adults, but limited the cargo bed to 5’8” meaning that hauling plywood sheets would require leaving the tail gate down. By the way, the tailgate is extremely easy to lower and raise. I found it difficult to get used to parking the Silverado due to its length, but eventually got mastered it. On the other hand, I found that people tended to give me the right of way when they saw this large pick-up approaching. When I drive a small car I frequently find drivers feel that your lane is their land. Not so with the Silverado. It also has such safety features as six air bags including a curtain side air bags, rear-vision camera, stability control, rollover mitigation, trailer sway control, and we had the option that vibrated the seat when the Chevrolet detected a car approaching as you were backing up. Chevrolet calls it the safety alert seat. There was also front and rear park assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert, among others. If you drive a pick-up you will find this Silverado easy to master. I liked the elevated ride height, reassuring feel of the Silverado in the rain, and the steps in the rear bumper that made it possible to climb into the bed without embarrassing myself.

Dad’s view: The large 6.2 liter engine provided exceptional torque and made freeway merging easy. The brake pedal feel, steering and ride are all above average, but the real treat for me was how enjoyable it was to drive in all situations. The interior is truly well done for work or play. The seats are power adjustable and the heating element works well. The large monitor is easy to master and you can change the instrument panel layout to suit your needs. The ride is smooth, but speed bumps and rough roads were a different story. The transmission works well and the Silverado wasn’t difficult to maneuver despite it size. A lot of pick-up owners commented favorably about the Midnight’s unique tire and rim package and exterior look. Overall, this is an excellent pick-up truck that provides a secure feeling whether going to work, taking the family on an outing or stopping El Nino in its tracks.

Young working woman’s view: This isn’t a sports truck and I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to keep clean, but it was easy to use even for me. I could see it being the only vehicle for a family with two kids and a dog in the rear seats and the latest garage sale items in the bed. The interior has two glove compartment, and abundance of storage areas in the doors and a center console that can swallow up the largest purse or laptop. Visibility is excellent in all directions and the power sunroof and rear window are convenient and simply to master. However, living in the city finding a parking place for the Silverado wouldn’t be easy. I would much prefer the smaller and niftier Colorado.

Young working male’s view: There are power outlets everywhere. The center console is the size of a small desk, and you have OnStar, 4G LTE Wi-Fi and an above average stereo. The Silverado also offers a Bose audio system, Chevrolet MyLink audio system, a very clear 8-inch touch and navigation monitor, and even USB ports, LED lighting, and an option I found very rare in a truck, a power sunroof. This is a truck that is well suited to tow a trailer, take the family skiing, or just drive on the beach sand with equal aplomb. It is a tough truck and the all black of the Midnight edition suits it well.

Family conference: An excellent family truck with a great many special features that make it handy. The 17 mpg average is fairly typical for all wheel drive trucks, but the 26 gallon fuel tanks means a range of over 400 miles and on the highway it could go to over 500 miles with an EPA 21 mpg average. This isn’t your average pick-up truck. It is loaded with features and offers buyers to have an extremely popular and handy vehicle that would be ideal for the El Nino season ahead. inclement weather ahead.

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