Seat Time Potpourri: Rear, Phone and Hatch

June 24th, 2016 at 10:12am

(Spotlighting a feature, product or function on a combination of cars)


Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake

Final Impression:



2016 Range Rover HSE Td6
$106,675.00 (as tested)

Range Rover has multiple parking systems on the HSE called, simply enough, “Front and Rear Parking Aids.” The company says the front, rear and side sensors monitor four feet around the vehicle while “inner” rear sensors monitor six feet behind the SUV. They come standard on this luxury SUV and let me tell you from personal experience, they sure work!

As I backed out of my driveway, my ears were accosted by a warning tone that was about as aggressive as the alarm on the nuclear sub in “The Hunt for Red October.” The sound was so loud reverberating throughout the entire vehicle it caused me to stop; I thought I was about to hit something. In reality, the rear sensors on the SUV were actually reading two medium-sized rocks my neighbor uses to decorate his driveway. There was no way that this vehicle, being as high off the ground as it is, would have ever come close to hitting them, but then that’s the benefit of having a system like this on your Range Rover. But I do have to say that alarm is just a tad loud.


2017 Audi Q7 3.0T quattro tiptronic
$68,925.00 (as tested)

Audi’s large SUV has a number of Infotainment & Technology features including Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. But in spite of the smartphone integration, the MMI navigation and voice control system and unlimited WiFi, what impressed me the most was Audi’s basic smartphone interface. What I mean is the first time I entered the car my phone practically jumped out of my hand to connect with the bluetooth system. The Q7 immediately began asking me questions and making the process so simple that in seconds my phone was linked with the car. That might not mean a lot to readers out there, but having used several systems in a variety of cars, from compact to ultra luxury, I’ve never had such an easy time linking a phone to an auto’s system. So thanks Audi.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Touring AWD
$26,050.00 (as tested)

There’s plenty to love about Mazda’s small CUV with its SKYACTIV suite of technologies. The ride and handling is all Mazda meaning it’s a darn fun-to-drive car with a snappy good-looking interior to boot. There are a few drawbacks though.

Let me start with 5-passenger seating. Really? Now I’m sure there are 5 people that fit comfortably in this vehicle but I don’t know them.

Then there’s the road noise. I know this is an inexpensive vehicle as CUVs go, but I really thought there was far too much of the outside coming inside for my liking.

Finally, my last issue with CX-3 might not even be the car’s fault; allow me to explain. The first time I had to get into the rear hatch it was raining. In between the significant pelting, I tried to open the rear but couldn’t find the latch. After several attempts running my hand on the tailgate where I thought it was: nothing, nada, zilch. I even popped back into the car to look for a button in the cockpit with no luck. Frustrated, I stuffed everything in the back seat and drove home. It wasn’t until the next day — with no rain — that I discovered the location of the latch release. And where do you think it was? Right in the middle of the tailgate just where the engineers put it. So I guess I’ll take the hit on this one.


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