2016 Fiat 500X

2016 Fiat 500X

Episode 3450
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The Fiat brand has gotten off to an uneven and slower than expected restart in the US, despite having some of the most fun to drive cars out there. But, right now, the American market is less about cars and more about SUVs. That’s where this new Fiat 500X now comes to play, with hopes that the brand’s first all-wheel drive utility is the “x” that hits the spot.

Since Fiat returned to our shores with the diminutive 500, they’ve brought a splash of Italian style and a fair amount of substance to the small car ranks. Well, now they’re looking to do the same in the burgeoning subcompact crossover segment with the 2016 500X. 

Having Jeep as a corporate cousin is a great way to get a head start in that endeavor. And indeed the 500X shares a chassis with the Jeep Renegade. 

Base Pop trim is front-wheel-drive only, and comes with Fiat’s 160-horsepower 1.4-liter MultiAir I4 turbo, as well as a 6-speed manual transmission. A 2.4-liter Tigershark I4 powers all remaining trims. As in Renegade, horsepower is 180, torque at 175 lb-ft, with a standard 9-speed automatic.

We know most will opt for the 2.4 and its 9-speed, which continues to show improvement, but still drew some complaints of herky-jerkiness. Driving modes include Sport and Traction + for slippery conditions. 

Like many systems, the 500X’s optional all-wheel-drive setup leaves the rear wheels fully disconnected until called upon for traction assist. 

Ground clearance is a pretty generous 7.9-inches. Still, as is typical for this segment, occasional dirt road and all-weather capabilities are more the priorities than rock-crawling. 

From the looks of things, Fiat was able to get all of the style of the funky 500 to carry over into this larger, more pseudo-rugged shape. Wheelbase is 101.2-inches, an inch and a half less than the 500L which also shares this chassis. 16-inch steel wheels are standard; 17s and 18s optional. 

Fiat has done a great job on the interior, carrying over enough of the 500’s distinct elements; yet somehow making it appear less gimmicky in order to appeal to more mainstream crossover buyers. 

There’s lots of color plus lively seat trim to brighten things up. But, our 500X with its white painted concave dash reflected sunlight directly into the front passenger’s eyes. 

The front seats are also quite firm, and some occupants found it difficult to get comfortable. Ditto in the second row, at least for 6-foot adults, where head, leg, and shoulder room are a bit less than the shorter Renegade. For children and teens, however, it’s adequate for short and long hauls.

Standard niceties’ include dual glove boxes, a rear spoiler, and chrome exhaust tips. Lounge trim adds dual-zone climate, power driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, which is nice and thick, and a 6.5-inch UConnect touchscreen for nav and apps. 

Cargo volume is notably less than Renegade, perhaps due to the “X’s” stylish shape: 12.2 cubic-ft. of space behind the rear seats; 32.1 cubic-ft. with seats folded.

As for driving substance to go along with its style, at 3,278-pounds, weight is a little less than the Renegade, so the 500X is also a little lighter on its feet around town, though still plenty solid on the freeway. 

However, we did find the ride to be a bit more jostling than the Renegade. Loads of advanced safety systems are available; including blind spot monitoring. 

As for track numbers, with spirited throttle response and a good launch, expect about the same as the Jeep Renegade 2.4; 0 to 60 in a reasonable 8.5 seconds, and quarter mile in a solid if unspectacular 16.5 seconds at 83 miles per hour.

Dicing up the cones, there’s certainly more weight and size to deal with compared to the 500 Coupe, but the X wears its additional girth quite well. It feels as sporty as a Fiat should! 

More important than all of that perhaps, are the Government Fuel Economy Ratings, which are 21-City, 30-Highway, and 24-Combined for an all-wheel-drive 2.4. Our average exceeded expectations at 28.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular. 

500X prices are very reasonable, starting at $20,900 for a front-wheel-drive Pop. This Lounge AWD starts at $27,650. 

Admittedly, if we had to choose between the 500X and the Renegade, we’d go for Jeep’s practical ruggedness over Fiat’s form over function.

That said, we think as a first all-wheel-drive effort, the 2016 Fiat 500X has a lot of appeal, and will certainly bring a much needed all-weather option to Fiat studios. So, while this X may not precisely mark our tiny ute hot spot, it still left a very positive impression.

Specifications

  • Engine: 1.4 liter / 2.4 liter
  • Horsepower: 160 / 180
  • Torque: 184 lb-ft / 175 lb-ft
  • 0-60 mph: 8.5 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 16.5 seconds @ 83 mph
  • EPA: 21 mpg city/ 30 mpg highway
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 1

2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT

It’s An SUV On A Track, Deal With It

Episode 4325
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When we started testing cars 43-years ago, hot rod SUVs like this Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT were not on our radar. Back in those days, utility vehicles were trucks and Porsches were cars. But times have changed, and the only place to make sense of it all is at a racetrack, so hop in and join us for some high-performance haulin’.

Now, most would say the high-performance SUV is a relatively new phenomenon, but we’ve been testing them for over 30-years now, going back to the GMC Typhoon. If you don’t remember that one, we’d suggest Googling it, purely for the nostalgia of it, as this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is on a totally different level.

This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car… ah la the 911.

Starting with the Coupe version of Porsche’s largest SUV, which benefits from a mid-cycle styling refresh for ’24, the Turbo GT adds a carbon-fiber roof, big wing with side planes, rear diffuser, and a sport exhaust system with titanium tailpipes.

2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Front
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 1/4 Front
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Profile
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 3/4 Rear
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Rear
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Exhaust
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Carbon Fiber Roof
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Engine
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge 2
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Front2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 1/4 Front2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Profile2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 3/4 Rear2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Rear2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Exhaust2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Carbon Fiber Roof2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Engine2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge 2

Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control is also included, making body-roll almost non-existent; and with the help of a new two-valve air suspension setup it was all traction all the time through the high-speed turns of Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway. Though unlike last gen, if you’re aggressive enough with the throttle, you can get the rear to step out on you a little. Rear-axle steering is also included and the best praise we could heap on steering feel and feedback through corners is that it feels like a Porsche.

Tires are also wider than before: 315/35 Pirelli P Zeros in back, mounted on 22-inch GT Design wheels. The brakes behind are comprised of enormous carbon-ceramic composite discs with monster yellow calipers…

…and they truly were impressive on track, hauling this 5,000-pound, luxury-minded performance utility down from triple-digit speeds lap after lap without wavering.

This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car... ah la the 911.

Equally impressive is the powerplant that initiates those high speeds, Porsche’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 which cranks out 19 horsepower over last year for a total of 650; torque output remains the same, at 626 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is standard, as is an 8-speed automatic trans, which helps the Turbo GT get up to speed in a hurry; 3.1-seconds to 60, to be exact. That’s a couple of tenths slower than the first-gen Turbo GT we tested 2 years ago, but we’ll chalk that up to testing that one on a well-prepped drag strip versus this trip down Roebling Road’s slippery front straightaway on a 40-degree day. And it gained time back quickly, as our 11.3-second quarter-mile time was only a tenth slower, finishing at 124 mph.

Other notable changes for ’24 include a new dash and control layout for the interior. The highlight is a new 12.6-inch curved digital gauge display; it’s joined by a central touchscreen that sits higher up and is nestled into the dash more than before.

2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dash
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Front Seat
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Cluster
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Climate Controls
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Center Display
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Rear Seat
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Trunk
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dash2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Front Seat2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Cluster2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Climate Controls2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Center Display2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Rear Seat2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Trunk

No more actual shifter in the console, as it’s been replaced with Porsche’s toggle switch gear sector which resides on the dash to the left of the touchscreen. That means a new console layout with additional storage space and new controls. While none of that helps lower lap times, it all provides a much more useful and better overall environment than before, for that time spent behind the wheel commuting or just sitting in traffic.

Front and rear seats are comfortable yet sporty feeling; and while it does do a lot of SUV-like things pretty well, the coupe body shape does limit rear cargo capacity to 20.3 cubic feet, expanding to 52.4 with rear seatbacks folded; and the central-mounted exhaust does negate adding a tow hitch.

No matter how you look at it, the Cayenne Turbo GT is an insane vehicle, but it also comes with an insane price tag, starting at $197,950. So essentially, that’s six-figures worth of high-performance hardware jammed into an already impressively capable standard Cayenne… an SUV made much better with comprehensive updates front to back for all ’24 Porsche Cayennes.

It easily remains the standard bearer for luxury-minded utility vehicles, evidenced by recently earning our Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Luxury Utility. But it’s this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT that really impresses the most as the ultimate track-focused SUV money can buy. You may not need it, but you know you want it!

Specifications

  • Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8
  • Horsepower: 650
  • 0-60 mph: 3.1-seconds
  • Starting Price: $197,950
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 625 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 11.3-seconds at 124 mph
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 2

2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style

Episode 4324
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!

While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.

It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.

This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.

2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Front
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Rear
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Front Wide
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Front Close
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Fascia
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Wheel
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Profil
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Rear
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Badge
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Front2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Rear2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Front Wide2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Front Close2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Fascia2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Wheel2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Profil2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Rear2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Badge

It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.

But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.

That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.

It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.

With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.

Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.

We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.

Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.

The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.

2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dash
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Seats
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Shifter
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Frunk
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Engine
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dash2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Seats2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Shifter2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Frunk2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Engine

We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.

Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.

Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.

For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.

Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

Specifications

  • Engine: 5.5-liter V8
  • Horsepower: 670
  • 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
  • EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
  • Torque: 460 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph