Kia brings Soul to the EV world – 2015 Kia Soul EV review

This year, Kia Motors has an electric car zipping along the roads of California with the Kia Soul EV (electric vehicle). I got a chance to test drive the 2015 Kia Soul EV and was impressed with this eco friendly addition to the Kia Family.

Continue reading Kia brings Soul to the EV world – 2015 Kia Soul EV review

Gratuitous Car Gallery

Enjoy the gratuitous car gallery from this last weekend’s Seattle Auto Show! AON Media can’t wait for it to come around next year!

 

X-Marks the tailgate party with the 2015 Jeep Renegade

The Jeep Renegade at the Seattle Auto Show, going on now through Sunday, Oct. 19, at CenturyLink Field.
The Jeep Renegade at the Seattle Auto Show, going on now through Sunday, Oct. 19, at CenturyLink Field.

At the Seattle Auto Show, Jeep introduced Seattle to a new 4×4 vehicle to its outdoors lineup, but the addition doesn’t have the looks of your average Jeep.

Yes, the Jeep Renegade has that unmistakable Jeep front end and is said to have good off road capabilities when compared to other small SUVs, yet there’s something very quirky about the newest addition to the Jeep family.

And I like that.

The new tail lights are a bit different than your average car, but at least in Seattle traffic, that means people will actually be paying attention to your braking.
The new tail lights are a bit different than your average car…Does this mean Seattle drivers will finally pay attention to people’s braking? Probably not.

Take the back tail lights for instance – they’re X’s. That’s awesome! They’ll mark the spot for the best tailgate parties at CenturyLink Field this season or help you find your vehicle after a long day’s hike and you’re looking in the dark. “X marks the spot!”

Similar to the Wrangler, you can take the top off, but if you want to put the top back on in a hurry, you’ll want to carry the panels in the back. This is Seattle, after all, and rain comes whenever it deigns. But, it’s those sunny, or mostly sunny, days that the drop-top community looks forward to all year long, and with the Renegade, you’d have a car for the other three-quarters of the year, too.

If you don’t like the color of the bezels inside, don’t worry, you can change that and the trim surrounds to better suit your wardrobe. Because that’s totally what outdoorsy people do – that and check our coach bag or fedoras in the backcountry.

Even the Renegade’s preview booklet is fun and full of quirkiness – it reads like an adult’s kids-book, the pages are cut for multiple story lines. The “Choose your own adventure” Jeep-style with the likes of Moab, non-descript city, snow, and more.

Despite all the quirk, the Renegade is still an off-road machine. It has a 2,000 lb towing capacity from the 2.4L turbo engine and has best in class 4×4 capability when compared to other ‘small SUVs’, but people who buy this whimsical looking Jeep may not be the Moab-romping owners Jeep showcases in their booklet.

Though, I may be very wrong about that. We’ll have to see in a future review. Take a look at it in person at the Seattle Auto Show, going on now at CenturyLink Field.

America’s Car Museum more than just exhibits

Photos by Robert Isaacs

WEB56Ford1
This 1956 Ford F-150 is on display this weekend at the Seattle Auto Show, now at Century Link Field.

Located around 30 miles south of Seattle, in the city of Tacoma, flourishes North America’s largest auto museum, but LeMay – America’s Car Museum (ACM) is not just about showcasing the cars that have hit American streets – it’s about history and the future.

Currently the ACM is showcasing a select few items at the Seattle Auto Show, such as a beautiful Ford Mustang, part of the Masters’ of Mustang exhibit currently open in their Tacoma campus.

The museum can be a time capsule – showcasing the ways that auto design has been impacted by the needs of the people and how people have been impacted the industry.

“The F-Series is a bellwether of cultural change in the U.S.,” said Scot Keller, chief curator of ACM. “’The Truck That Grew Up with America’ tells the story of how the F-Series was originally designed to be a work tool and how it evolved into a family vehicle and luxury car for the working class.”

WEB56Ford2
While the exhibit “The Truck That Grew Up with America” doesn’t start until 2015, you can see some amazing classic vehicles at the Seattle Auto Show, this weekend at CenturyLink Field.

The exhibit “The Truck that Grew Up with America” will open in 2015, but you can look at the classic F-Series at the LeMay booth and the current F-Series at the Ford booth at the Seattle Auto Show.

Furthermore, the museum is a place of learning. Partnered with the Hagerty Education Foundation, the ACM enables young adults a hands-on learning experience for those students desiring to learn classic car restoration.

“Transmitting the skills necessary for the preservation, restoration, and maintenance of vintage vehicles is central to preserving our automotive heritage,” said David Madeira, president and CEO of LeMay – America’s Car Museum.

Since June 2012, the American Car Museum has been both a place for auto-enthusiasts to share their passions, but also a place of education. To learn about America’s past and to foster its future.

Take a sneak peak at what’s inside the ACM at this weekends Seattle Auto Show, going on now at CenturyLink Field.

A flock of Fiats at the Seattle Auto Show

Photos by Robert Isaacs

The Fiat 500 Abarth is a fierce looking hot hatch that will take you from zero to 60 in less than seven seconds. While it's fast, it's not the only Fiat 500 on display at the Seattle Auto Show, held at CenturyLink Field this weekend.
The Fiat 500 Abarth is a fierce looking hot hatch that will take you from zero to 60 in less than seven seconds. While it’s fast, it’s not the only Fiat 500 on display at the Seattle Auto Show, held at CenturyLink Field this weekend.

There are many cars to see at the Seattle Auto Show, held at CenturyLink Field this weekend, but not many with the spunk and attitude of the Fiat 500. And Seattle agrees – you see them rolling around the city all the time.

My personal fave may be the 500 Abarth, but that’s because I’m addicted to the sweet, sweet sound of turbo spool and the muscular looks. The 1.4L engine puts out a 160 hp with the manual transmission, taking this 2,500 pound car from zero to 60 in less than seven seconds.

But not everyone goes for the more aggressive looking kit and the limited choice in colors.

Those looking for less umph and more sweet Italian simplicity look no further than the original Fiat 500. This 2 door compact hatch can easily fit 4 people and the Cabrio model will make those sunny days in Seattle a treat to behold from behind the wheel.

For a bit more legroom in the back, take a peak at the 500L. The ‘L’ may have the same engine output as the 500 Abarth, but it boasts a lot more space both for passengers and for packages in the truck.

Now, if you’re one of the many eco-friendly Seattleites and you want all the 500 looks and none of the emissions – tough. The Fiat 500e, an all electric car with an approximate 100 MPGe in the city, is only available in our southern sisters of Oregon and California.

Looking like a throwback to yesteryear, this retro Fiat 500 is the '1957 Edition', on display at this weekend's Seattle Auto Show.
Looking like a throwback to yesteryear, this retro Fiat 500 is the ‘1957 Edition’, on display at this weekend’s Seattle Auto Show.

While you have the chance, head down to the Seattle Auto Show and take a peak around the Fiat booth – especially to catch the ‘1957 Edition’ in Celeste Blu, with its throwback rim styling, before it heads off to the next auto show.

2014 Seattle Auto Show rolls into CenturyLink Field

The 2014 Seattle Auto Show rolls into CenturyLink Field this weekend, Oct. 15-19.  (Image courtesy of the Seattle Auto Show)
The 2014 Seattle Auto Show rolls into CenturyLink Field this weekend, Oct. 15-19.
(Image courtesy of the Seattle Auto Show)

Photos by Robert Isaacs.

This weekend, the annual Seattle Auto Show will highlight almost 500 vehicles from car manufacturers around the globe, along with local auto-centered companies, engaging your gearhead nature and providing great entertainment for your friends or family (or both).

You'll have to come out to the show to see the 2015 Corvette Stingray. This piece of American Muscle can go from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds, but at the show, it'll be standing still so you can get a better look.
You’ll have to come out to the show to see the 2015 Corvette Stingray. This piece of American Muscle can go from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds, but at the show, it’ll be standing still so you can get a better look.

From Subaru, Honda, and more showcasing the latest in sedan, SUV, and Cross-over goodness, to Jeeps’ new Renegade and the Chevrolet Colorado, to high end cars you’ll only (usually) get to see on a showroom floor or on a movie screen, such as a McLaren MP4-12C or the Corvette Stingray.

Check out the many alternative fuel vehicles – from the Nissan Leaf to the Chevrolet Spark to Tesla’s Model S, and more – for the more eco-friendly car enthusiast in the PNW.

For those wanting a more hands on experience, about a dozen manufacturers will be offering free test drives of the latest models. After you’re done looking in and around names like Scion and Toyota, you can head out to the garage and sign up for a free roll around the block – trip comes with free, in-car auto-rep.

When you’re done looking at all the new cars and trying out your select few, head over to Tacoma’s very own LeMay America’s Car Museum exhibit to take a look at the custom rods, classic Fords, and cool cars from across the eras.

The Seattle Auto Show really has something for everyone – if cars isn’t your thing, let your gearhead friend drag you along so you can get your hands on some new Microsoft products at the Xbox One tour car, featuring the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 computers.

Tickets for the Seattle Auto Show are $14 for adults and $11 for seniors over 62, while children under 12 get in for free. E-tickets can be purchased online for easy admittance.

CenturyLink’s doors open for the Seattle Auto Show at:

Thursday from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Friday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While the Seattle Auto Show may not have the pomp and circumstance that Paris or New York auto shows may have, it will still get your gearhead heart pumping. Check it out this weekend only at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Note: Some Mazda fans may be disappointed to not see the ND Miata, however, since there’s only one or two in existence currently, it’s hard to blame anyone. The 2016 Miata is a hot commodity! (And by that we mean it looks amazing [in images].) You can still romp around in the roomy and beautiful 2015 Miata and check out the full ZoomZoom-fun Mazda lineup.

 

 

Tire legalities versus recommendations

Note: This article is intended to enlighten consumers to relevant terms and sales tactics. It is not legal advice. If you have legal issues and need to speak with someone about the laws in your state, please contact a licensed attorney. 

Any driver in Washington State has had to wonder about tire legalities at least once in their lifetime, but most likely much more than just once. When looking into tires, it is important to know the difference between the legal limit and the manufacturer recommendations for tire wear.

The tread on my front tire indicates that the tread is still good under state law – the top of Lincoln’s head is covered by tire tread. However, the inner part of my tire (not shown) is a little more worn down than I would like.

First off, in Washington State, there is a legal tire tread limit of 2/32 of an inch – or about the distance between the edge of a penny and Abe Lincoln’s head. If you can’t see the top of Abe’s head, you’re usually ok for tire tread, by state law, as taken from the “any two major tread grooves at three locations equally spaced around the circumference”.

One of the major differences between Washington’s RCW’s and the recommended guidelines from the manufacturers is where the measurement is taken from.

“A tread depth of less than 2/32 of an inch measured in any two major tread grooves at three locations equally spaced around the circumference of the tire, or for those tires with tread wear indicators…” as stated in RCW 46.37.425 of the Washington State Legislative Codes.

In Washington, that distance is legally from the tire’s two main tread grooves, whereas manufacturers recommend from the lowest tread point, even secondary tread grooves. You should also check for inner layers of rubber that indicate tire wear or the wear bars.

“If you can see all of [Pres. Lincoln’s head], you should buy a new tire,” states the RMA’s tire brochure. “Built in tread wear indicators, or wear bars, will appear on the tire when tread is down to 2/32 of an inch.”

Now, if your tire dealer tells you that your tires are under the ‘legal limit’ make sure that you talk to them about that, as not only are some tire dealers paid on commission (meaning they try to up-sell you to get more money in their pockets), but legal limits are different between states.

One of the helpful signs at a local Discount Tire Store about the differences in tire tread.
One of the helpful signs at a local Discount Tire Store about the differences in tire tread.

There may also be confusion between ‘legal limit’ and ‘manufacturer recommendation’.

The RCW actually states nothing about the tire being bald or bare of tread at non-tread areas, either, so long as the main two treads have the 2/32’s of an inch, you’re set. As long as you aren’t showing wear bars, part of your tire could (technically) be bald, so long as your tire’s treads have the 2/32 of an inch.

Of course, no one wants a partially bald tire, so monthly inspections of your tires will help you figure out if you are running low on tread overall, not just at the main grooves.

As I found out this week, while my tires still pass the state’s legal limit, but the outer edge is starting to go bald (seems I need an alignment, too). As per state laws, I’m good to go, but the recommendations from the manufacturers says differently.

For those who don’t quite have the money up front to pay for tires, check out other opportunities to ensure that you have safe tires for the road, such as working out a deal with your tire provider, financing for tires, used tires still in good repair, or rent-to-own tires (such as from RNR in Puyallup).

Another great way to ensure that your tires are safe is to just talk to the local tire dealer – after a quick conversation about tires from my local Discount Tires, I was given a quote for some Kumho’s (my fave) for less than online prices.

Local is better!

While most of our monthly checks are on our main treads of currently attached tires, don’t forget to check that spare – you never know when you’ll need it and you don’t want to be stuck with out a pressurized or working spare when your main tire gets toasted.

For more information, check out the Rubber Manufacturer Associations free guides about tire wear and care, many of which are free for digital download.

Be Tire Smart, Tire Safety Brochure
Tire Care and Safety Booklet

For more information about Washington State RCW’s concerning tires, head to RCW 46.37.425.

Where Autos, Outdoors, & News collide… But in a good way!!

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