Seat Time: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

September 4th, 2014 at 3:00pm

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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
Manufacturer: Mercedes-Benz
Make: Mercedes-Benz
Model: C-Class
Type: C300 Sedan; C300 4MATIC Sedan; C400 4MATIC sedan
Competitors: BMW 3 Series; Audi A4; Lexus IS; Cadillac ATS
Price: C300 — $38,400; C300 4MATIC — $40,400; C400 4MATIC — $48,590 (all prices do not include $925 d&d charges)
Made in: Mercedes-Benz Vance, Alabama factory for the Americas; Also built in Germany, China & South Africa
Drivetrain: C300 — 2.0L Turbo Inline-4 (RWD); C300 4MATIC — 2.0L Turbo Inline-4 (AWD); C400 4MATIC 3.0L Bi-Turbo V6 (AWD)
EPA Ratings: Not rated yet

Final Impression:

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-ClassCommunications and marketing teams try their best to find the perfect location to unveil a new car to the media. There’s a lot that goes into the deciding which city is chosen like the accessibility of its airports, whether or not it has good roads and of course nice hotels don’t hurt either. But then there’s the more cheeky question like the car’s aesthetic: does the environment work with the vehicle? Sometimes it does, many times it doesn’t and then there are times the teams just choose a spot so the box is checked. However, when city and car come together there’s a certain symmetry that works for both of them; and as as far as I’m concerned, that’s what happened when Mercedes brought the media and its new car to the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle, Washington is known at least throughout my world for a couple of important items: Coffee, the tech industry and the Grunge music movement of the ’90s. And what they’ve done for the city — in simplest of cultural terms — is help transform the city and area into a thriving metro scene. Just the kind of area that fits hand-in-glove with the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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Seat Time: 2015 Acura TLX

September 3rd, 2014 at 2:53pm

2015 Acura TLX

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.

Web-Watch-Video-Version

Reviewer: John McElroy
Manufacturer: Honda Motor Company
Make: Acura
Model: TLX
Type: 4-door sedan
Competitors: Lexus IS, Infiniti Q40, Cadillac ATS
Price: Base: $30,995. Top line: $42,500
Made in: East Liberty, Ohio
Drivetrain: 2.4 L I-4 w/8-spd automatic; 3.5 L V-6 w/9-spd automatic, AWD avail w/3.5 L
EPA Ratings: 2.4 = 24 city/35 hwy/28 combined; 3.5 2WD= 21 city/34 hwy/25 cobined; 3.5 AWD = 21 city/31 hwy/25 combined

Final Impression:

2015 Acura TLX InteriorAcura’s smaller cars have always suffered from what I call the “boy racer” syndrome. Their buzzy free-revving engines, knife-edge handling, and stark interiors were great for treating your daily commute as if it were a qualifying session, but unpleasant for everyday motoring. It’s as if they designed their cars for 20-year-olds even though most their buyers are over 40.That’s a key reason why the Acura brand never acquired a truly premium image. It never felt as if it were in the same league as Mercedes, BMW or Audi. But the new TLX could represent a turning point. It brings a level of refinement and sophistication we have not seen from the brand in this class of car.

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Seat Time: 2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Lux

September 2nd, 2014 at 12:29pm

2014 Volkswagen Touareg

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
Manufacturer: Volkswagen
Make: Volkswagen
Model: Touareg TDI Lux
Type: Premium SUV, 4-door and tailgate
Competitors: Mercedes-Benz M-Class; Infiniti QX70; BMW X5; Acura MDX
Price: As tested — $56, 785 (with $910 destination charge included)
Made in: Brataslava, Slovakia
Drivetrain: 3.0L, 240 horsepower 406 lbs-ft torque TDI Clean Diesel
EPA Ratings: 20city, 29highway, 23combined

Final Impression:

2014 Volkswagen TouaregWhat’s not to like about this vehicle? Yes, I’m asking you “what’s not to like about the 2014 VW Touareg TDI Lux” because for the life of me, I can’t find anything to complain about. I like the exterior styling as well as the Night Blue Metallic paint along with the 19-inch alloy wheels. It’s a nice looking stylish package. And did I mention the tailgate? It has a powered one that lifts efficiently with plenty of cargo room in back to haul the tons of donations we had to take to our local Goodwill/Salvation Army during the week I drove the vehicle. To say it’s a natural when moving items from one place to the other is obvious.

Yet it’s the other benefits of this SUV are the ones that really hit the mark for me. Let’s start with the luscious Saddle Brown interior and the comfort of the seats. I wouldn’t mind taking this sled on a drive to Alaska, especially with that 3.0-Liter, 240-horsepower turbocharged V6 clean diesel engine. I drove the vehicle for seven days around Metro Detroit going well over 450 miles only to find I had nearly a third of a tank left when I grudgingly turned it back in. And safe to say that if I’m willing to drive more than 14,000 miles round trip (to Juno and back), but more importantly with my wife as a passenger who is easily Ms. Best Ergonomic 2014, that you can be sure those 12-way power, heated front seats, 4MOTION AWD and its all-independent suspension are more than doing their jobs because there isn’t a fussier person on the planet when it comes to ride and comfort than my wife. I often wonder why no OEM has hired her as its own “tush tester.”

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