Pinnacle Auto Appraisers' Blog
Keeping the auto appraising industry up to date with important auto industry and appraiser information.
Published June 12, 2012
Greyhound may be named after a fast dog, but it’s got nothing on this puppy.
A high speed electric Superbus built in The Netherlands is now street legal after the government there issued a license plate for the radical form of mass transportation.
The 23-passenger vehicle is being developed by a program at the Delft Institute of Technology headed up by physicist and former astronaut Wubbo Ockels, who in 1985 became the first Dutch citizen to travel into space on the last successful flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
The sleek, 50-foot-long six-wheel vehicle looks more like a stretch limo version of an exotic sports car than a typical bus, and features 16 gullwing doors and a central seating position for the driver.
Powered by lithium-ion batteries it has a theoretical range of 134 miles per charge and a top speed of 155 mph.
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500 Vehicles On Display
DENVER -- Fuel efficiency will be on the minds of visitors to Denver’s auto show this week.The auto industry is changing deeply and quickly, partly to accommodate fuel economy regulations but also to confront changing attitudes toward environmental responsibility and higher gas prices.Energy analysts predict fuel prices will continue to rise as demand grows from developing countries, and that will encourage future auto buyers to focus on fuel economy.
They’ll find plenty of options at the auto show at the Colorado Convention Center.Auto-show officials estimate that one of every five cars on display features a hybrid, electric or alternative-fuel power system.Those are things car companies talk about when showing off cars such as the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid or the Acura NSX hybrid performance car concept.
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Published May 29, 2012
Toyota considers its Scion brand an incubator for new ideas. It’s a place for the company to toe into new segments that the mother ship wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole, let alone a 10-foot car.
The Scion iQ is just that: An otherworldly city car with an edgy design that gives it the appearance of a probe recently arrived from Saturn, if not Uranus.
It’s not the first of its kind to explore these shores in recent years, that dubious honor goes to the even smaller Smart Fortwo. But just as the U.S. was second into the great beyond, Scion has its thrusters on full and is hoping to do both better and bigger than the competition from Europe.
To the latter point, the iQ is a four-seat car. Well, Scion likes to say 3+1, because the spot behind the driver is little more than trompe l’oeil, but two six-footers can fit in tandem on the shotgun side. (Note: I didn’t say comfortably.) If you ever wondered what the smallest family car is, question answered.
Behind everyone is a claimed 3.5 cubic feet of cargo space, much of which must exist in another dimension. You’d have a hard time fitting the owner’s manual back there, which you’ll need to find room for because there is no standard glove compartment. Fold down the rear seats, however, and you end up with a two-seater that has more luggage room than a Toyota Camry.
Front seat passengers are well taken care of and the iQ's enormous doors offer easy entry and an unexpectedly satisfying thunk when you close them. Thirsty? Feel free to fill one or all of the the five cup and bottle holders scattered about.
Like the geometric exterior, the cabin is done up in a sci-fi motif, complete with lots of glossy black plastic, a triangle-topped center stack and a deeply-sculpted steering wheel with controls for the standard HD radio, which sits in a pod on top of the dash. It’s hard to imagine that the Scion designers didn’t have a lot ton fun working on this little guy.
Hidden on board are 11 airbags -- including one that covers the rear window -- which help it achieve an astonishingly good four-star crash test rating. I still wouldn’t want to find myself in the middle of a Suburban sandwich behind the wheel of an iQ, but four stars, that’s good, right?
Under the hood – look closely, it’s there - the iQ has a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine with 94 hp and a CVT automatic transmission driving the front wheels. It’s not the slowest car in America, and I’ll leave it at that.
Actually, around town it’s zippy enough and, if you don’t mind driving a car that sounds like a power tool, entirely adequate. The only time it truly disappoints is when you try to merge onto a highway and head out of town, at which point its lackluster effort comes across as the iQ trying to remind you that it doesn’t like to leave the nest.
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