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January 12, 2017



• Arctic Cat: Easier handling • Auto Show: Chevy Bolt on top • Ford Fusion Energi: New for 2017 • Infiniti Q60: Re-engineered


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Already GAINING daylight?!


ello again Wheels readers!

Are you kidding me? We can’t already be nearly three weeks post winter solstice — wow! REALLY time to take full advantage of each and every additional minute of sunlight we are accruing. Much thanks to the many readers who have shared with our circulation staff that they have started looking especially forward to the Thursday edition of the News-Miner to check out what’s in the biweekly Wheels section. We appreciate it and look forward to continuing to provide all of Fairbanks with insightful car, truck, snowmachine, ATV and motorcycle information and all the great businesses available to you to purchase, service and support them. We haven’t forgotten about the potentially upcoming “Dealer’s Corner” mentioned a couple of editions ago. I am hopeful — our editor Rod Boyce monitors my promises — we will have the first installment of it in our next issue. Enjoy the snow and be safe. Vince E. Parker Sales and Marketing Director 907-459-7516

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Thursday, January 12, 2017


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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2016 Arctic Cat M 6000 Sno Pro 141

Photo by Stephen W. Clark









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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Updates to geometry, steering make this Cat easy to handle Thursday, January 12, 2017



love surprises, and from the first time I threw the new Arctic Cat M onto its edge to cut a sidehill line, I was surprised at how this sled handled so much differently than any other ProClimb M that preceded it. From a distance, the 2016 Arctic Cat looks similar to previous years, but taking a closer look reveals a host of changes to both ends of the suspension.

Predictable stability

Arctic Cat ruled the trees from 2005 to 2011 with the previous generation M-series that offered a really stable and predictable chassis. Since the ProClimb came along, things haven’t been quite the same. The rider-forward ProClimb chassis has proved to be quirky when on edge, and during this time the other OEMs have significantly improved their offerings. Things are looking up now for Cat though. The changes to the 2016 model were huge steps forward, and word on the street is that more changes are coming soon. Cat is entering a new era with a new CEO at the helm shaking things up. So far, everything seems positive, and don’t be surprised to see a lot of good new things coming from Cat in the next few years. Led by Troy Halverson and a crew of dedicated mountain test riders working out of its facility in Island Park, Idaho, Arctic Cat has made a ton of changes to the M sleds for 2016. The front end of the machine has been completely redesigned to save weight and improve sidehill handling.

The suspension and spindle have been designed to be as close to the bodywork as possible to allow the sled to go through deep snow better. The A-arms are sucked into the bodywork, creating a very narrow 34.5-38.5-inch adjustable ski stance, and a new, 27-degree angled dog-bone spindle allows the ski to move at an optimal angle when sidehilling. The ProClimb-7 ski is also new and features a wider profile with deeper keel for improved steering. Another welcomed change to the 2016 model is the fixed riser block that replaces the adjustable riser from years past. Plus, there are new clutches from TEAM Industries. The rear suspension is also refined with revised geometry for overall improved performance. This new geometry reduces the tendency that the old skid had to stretch the track under certain impacts.


Engine: 599cc C-TEC2 liquid 2-stroke HP: 124.6 -- AmSnow tested Exhaust: APV with tuned pipe, pipe sensor and stainless steel muffler Drive: TEAM Rapid Response primary, TEAM Rapid Reaction BOSS secondary Ski Stance: 34.5-38.5 in. adj. Front. Susp.: AMS w/ FOX Float 3 shocks (7-in. travel) Rear Susp.: Float-Action w/ Arctic Cat Gas IFP front shock and FOX Float 3 rear shock (14.5-in. travel) Track: 15x141x2.6 in. Power Claw Fuel Tank: 11.7 gal. Rec. Fuel: 91 octane Skis: ProClimb-7 Dry Weight: NA Price: $11,499 US / $12,799 CA (Elec. Start +$400) Pluses: Easy to initiate a sidehill, shorter track makes for easy maneuvering in tight spots, quick reacting track. Quirks: EFI mapping issue.

Testing time

We had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time on a variety of 2016 M sleds last spring during private test sessions, and then with a loan of a 141inch M 6000 in the later part of the season. With the smallest engine and track length of the line, the M 6000 was the perfect machine for the low-snow conditions we experienced last season. The 141-inch track length was really quick to react, and in a market dominated by long tracks, it was still surprisingly capable. The 600cc Arctic Cat engine pulls strongly on the top end, but the fuel injection was a little quirky. It would load up on downhills, and if parked on a downhill incline, it was really hard to start. We think it’s likely that Cat has a different EFI map that would resolve these problems come full production time, but that was never confirmed. We can’t say enough positive things ARCTIC CAT » 10


By Stephen W Clark


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Thursday, January 12, 2017

North American International Auto Show

Chevy Bolt gets top car award; Pacifica is top utility vehicle

General Motors Executive Chief Engineer Autonomous & Electrified Vehicles and New Technology Pam Fletcher, left, and Bolt Chief Engineer Josh Tavel stand next to a Chevy Bolt after being named top car in the North America at the North American International Auto show Jan. 9 in Detroit. AP PHOTO/CARLOS OSORIO


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Thursday, January 12, 2017

“We hit on all cylinders on this, so to speak, even though there’s not any in the car.”

North American International Auto Show

- Mark Reuss, GM head of global product development



ETROIT — The Che vy Bolt has been named top car in North America, an important milestone for a car General Motors hopes will finally get Americans hooked on electric vehicles.

The Honda Ridgeline grabbed the honor for top truck. Utility vehicles were honored separately for the first time, with the Pacifica minivan from Fiat Chrysler snagging that award. The honors were announced Monday morning at Detroit’s Cobo Center as the North American International Auto Show’s press preview days kicked into high gear. The Bolt beat out the Genesis G90 and Volvo S90 for the car award. The electric car from Chevrolet went on sale late last year. It gets more than 200 miles per battery charge, which is more than the average American drives in a day. The Bolt also sells for around $30,000 when a federal tax credit is included. Electric vehicles have failed to catch on with most American consumers, but General Motors hopes the improved range and price help shift opinions. Mark Reuss, GM’s head of global product development, described the Bolt as a “moon shot.” “We didn’t have all the answers when we started the program — in terms of how far we were going to get range-wise, how light are we going to get the car and ... sell price,” he said. “We hit on all cylinders on this, so to

speak, even though there’s not any in the car.” The Ridgeline scored the truck award over Ford F-Series Super Duty and the Nissan Titan. Pacifica got the nod for the utility award over the Jaguar F-Pace and Mazda X-9. Timothy Kuniskis, Fiat Chrysler’s car chief, said he’s “amazingly proud” that a minivan scored the utility honor. The award recognizes the automaker’s commitment to the foundation it established for the family hauler while reinventing it some three decades later, he said. “This is really all-new from the ground up,” Kuniskis said of the Pacifica, a sleeker, swept-back minivan that hit showrooms last spring as a replacement for the Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. Among its firsts: hands-free sliding doors that open when the driver sticks a foot under them. “We love minivans — we sold a quarter-million minivans this last year that just ended,” he added. “Our designers just did an amazing job of taking something that has to be very functional and making it look very beautiful at the same time.” About 60 automotive journalists serve as judges for North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards. Eligible vehicles must be new or substantially changed. Organizers accept no advertising, though automakers try to capitalize on the marketing value of the awards, in their 24th year. The awards program launched in 1993, and patterned itself after the European Car of the Year. Organizers accept no advertising, though carmakers try to capitalize on the marketing value of the honors.

A newly unveiled Kia Stinger sports sedan is on display at the North American International Auto Show Jan. 9, in Detroit. (AP PHOTO/TONY DING)

Wheels to watch: BMW 5 Series, Kia sports car, Mercedes GLA The Associated Press DETROIT — From hot-selling SUVs of all sizes to the a redesign for the Toyota Camry, the top-selling car in the U.S., the 2017 North American International Auto Show has a diverse lineup of new vehicles. The show opens to the public on Saturday, and automakers gave the media a sneak peek at their newest cars and trucks on Sunday and Monday. Here are some of the buzz-worthy new cars and trucks at the show:

BMW 5-Series

BMW boasts luxury and power in its 2017 BMW 5 Series. The cars’ advanced personal driver connectivity features an optional gesture control, latest generation head-up display and remote 3D viewing. The 5-series also has remote control parking and advanced driver assistance systems. The BMW 540i xDrive goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. The M550i xDrive runs on an 8-cylinder gasoline engine and produces 456 horsepower.

There is also a 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid. BMW says the vehicles are expected to begin arriving in showrooms next month.

Lexus LS

Lexus introduced its LS flagship at the Detroit auto show in 1989. On Monday, it unveiled the latest version. The 2018 LS is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor. It also weighs 200 pounds less, thanks to greater use of lightweight materials. Under the hood is a new, 415-horsepower turbocharged V6. Other new features include a system that will automatically brake and steer away from obstacles and seats that provide passengers with Shiatsu massages. The LS goes on sale at the end of 2017.

Audi Concept SUV

Audi unveiled a concept version of the Q8 SUV hybrid, which it says will roll out WHEELS » 8


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The new Honda Odyssey minivan is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show Jan. 9 in Detroit.


Continued from 7 in 2018. Audi officials said it will open a new segment for the brand. The Q8 is sleek, features a downward sloping front end and has as sporty yet elegant look. The concept was created under Audi Chief Designer Marc Lichte’s direction. His description of the vehicle also can be applied to an Olympic athlete or world-class race horse. “ ... the waistline is very lean and the muscles extremely powerfully defined,” Lichte said in an interview in Audi’s technology magazine.

Mercededs GLA

The 2018 model year will kick off the redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLA compact SUV. Mercedes says the GLA will offer LED high-performance headlamps characterized by a color temperature similar to daylight, and new seat covers and trim parts as well as chromed control panels in the

interior. It also features a 360-degree camera that records the direct surroundings of the SUV. The GLA also offers autonomous braking and is standard-equipped with an “attention assist” features that can detect typical signs of drowsy behavior.

KIA Stinger

Kia Motors heads into new territory with the Stinger sports sedan. Designed in Germany and based on Kia 2011 GT concept, the Stinger has the elegant looks of a European fastback. Engines are still in development, but Kia says a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder will produce 255 horsepower; an optional 3.3-liter V6 pushes that up to 365 horsepower. Kia is targeting a 0-to-62 mph speed in 5.1 seconds. The Stinger goes on sale in late 2017. Pricing g hasn’t been announced.

GMC Terrain Chevrolet Traverse

General Motors went small when it


started revamping its aging midsize people-hauling SUVs last year with the GMC Acadia. But it going bigger with the e Acadia sibling, the Chevy Traverse. The company says Chevrolet buyers want more space, so the Traverse will seat up to eight and have more cargo room. It comes standard with a new 3.6-liter V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission. A 2-liter turbo four is available. There also a new GMC Terrain small SUV with sleeker looks and smaller engines including 1.5-liter and 2-liter turbocharged four cylinders with ninespeed transmissions. . There’s also a diesel option.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen stretches out its Tiguan SUV by 11 inches to meet American demand for more space. The 2018 Tiguan also has more cargo space, sliding second-row seats and an optional third row. New safety options include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and a lane depar-

ture warning system. Under the hood is an updated 2.0-liter turbrocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower. The bigger Tiguan goes on sale in the U.S. this summer. Europe will offer both short and long versions.

Toyota Camry

Toyota unveiled the eighth-generation Camry at the Detroit auto show Monday, at a time when car buyers in the U.S. are flocking to SUVs. The 2018 Camry has a more rounded look, new engines and transmissions with sportier handling.

Honda Odyssey

The minivan segment has gotten smaller, but is still hotly contested. Honda is giving the Odyssey its first extensive makeover since 2011, adding high-tech innovations such as an intercom and a system that allows the driver and front passenger to monitor backseat passengers via display audio screen.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Ford Fusion Energi is more fuel-efficient, cheaper for 2017



ord managed to make its plug-in Fusion Energi gasoline-electric hybrid more fuel efficient for 2017, even while lowering the base price.

Federal government fuel economy ratings for this mid-size sedan are increased from last year and now are 42 mpg in combined city/highway travel on gasoline power, with up to 21 miles of travel available on electric power alone. The 2016 model got 38 mpg. The result is an impressive travel range of just over 600 miles on a tank of gas, enough to drive nonstop from Chicago to Kansas City, Mo., and to have enough fuel left over to tour the town. The 2017 Fusion Energi has a lower starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $31,995, compared to last year’s $34,775. Those prices include the destination charge. The new model looks good, too, maintaining its Aston Martin-type looks and

For longer trips, it can operate as a regular gas-electric hybrid, meaning the four-cylinder engine and lithium ion battery pack combine to propel the front-wheel drive car. Working together, the two power sources deliver 195 horsepower. adding a subtly restyled grille, freshened rear-end treatment and a rotary dial gear-shifter to give drivers have easier access to storage spots. The upgraded Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system responds faster to driver commands to adjust ventilation and audio and access apps. A new top-end model, the Fusion Energi Platinum, adds luxury features such as leather-wrapped and stitched instrument panel and an upscale 12-speaker Sony audio system, plus new standard safety features such as front pedestrian detection and blind spot monitor. It retails for $39,995. The 2017 Fusion is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine, with a reliability rating of better than average. The Fusion Energi is versatile and

can make trips of no more than 21 miles on electric power only. The driver just presses an EV button inside the car to activate this mode, which allows speeds of up to 85 miles per hour on electric power. For longer trips, it can operate as a regular gas-electric hybrid, meaning the four-cylinder engine and lithium ion battery pack combine to propel the front-wheel drive car. Working together, the two power sources deliver 195 horsepower. The lithium ion battery pack can be charged by plugging the car into a regular wall outlet or a 240-volt charging station. It takes 2.5 hours to fully charge the battery pack using a 240volt charger. Regenerative braking also helps replenish the battery pack as the car

travels. The test-driven Fusion Energi Platinum was comfortable to drive, with its premium leather seats. The front seats can be quickly heated or cooled and comfortably positioned, with 10-way power adjustments. A standard moonroof gave the cabin an airy feel, and front-seat legroom of 44.3 inches is unexpectedly generous and more than what’s in a 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid. The Ford’s back-seat legroom is good, too, at 38.3 inches, which is just 0.6 inch less than a 2017 Camry Hybrid’s back seat. The Fusion Energi’s trunk space, however, is restricted to only 8.2 cubic feet by the sizable battery pack that’s behind the rear seatbacks. The car is also heavy, weighing some 4,000 pounds, and the weight of the battery pack at the back can be noticeable. Still, the instant torque of the electric power and the 2-liter Atkinson-cycle four cylinder, supplemented by the electric power, worked well to help the tester feel responsive, in an albeit artificial-feeling way. The test-driven model’s brakes also felt a bit underwhelming and were difficult to modulate for smooth stops.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2017 Infiniti Q60 is re-engineered for power and style FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


nfiniti has re-engineered its Q60 coupe for 2017, giving it more sculpted and sexy styling, three turbocharged engines and more features than ever, including various selectable steering modes.

The top engine in the rear-wheel drive Q60 is now a twin-turbocharged V-6 that generates as much as 400 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque, which is more than the higher-priced Audi S5 and Lexus RC coupes with six-cylinder engines. But a new base engine — a 208-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder — helped reduce the new


Continued from 5

about the sidehilling improvement of the 2016 models. The previous generation ProClimb was a bit unpredictable when sidehilling, and the tall spindle had a tendency to catch in the snow, hindering forward movement and causing the track to wash out. We found on the new sled that this quirky handling trait had been resolved. With an overall narrower ski stance, the sled is a lot easier to roll up onto its edge than ever before. The new skis offer much more flotation and are a lot more predictable than the old skis. The

Q60’s starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price to $39,855, which includes the destination charge. This base 2017 Q60 includes leatherette-covered seats, push-button start, dual-zone, automatic climate control, eight-way, power-adjustable front seats, two display screens in the dashboard, two USB connection ports and rear-view camera. The lowest starting MSRP, with destination charge, for a 2017 Q60 with all-wheel drive is $41,855. The lowest starting MSRP for the version with the 400-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 engine is $52,205. A manual transmission no longer is offered, as all new Q60s have a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode. INFINITI » 11

new fixed steering block takes away the slop from the previous adjustable riser, making for much tighter feedback and an overall more refined feel of the sled. Kudos to the Mountain Engineering team at Cat for all the work they’ve done to improve this machine. It’s common for manufacturers to make updates midway through the model cycle, but it’s not often that the updates result in as big a handling change as Cat has done on this 2016 model. Big changes on the business side will hopefully lead to even more improvements in coming years at Arctic Cat. For more snowmobile reviews, videos, photos and products, visit American Snowmobiler magazine’s website,


Ann M. Job

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Thursday, January 12, 2017


FACT SHEET: 2017 Infiniti Q60 BASE PRICE: $38,950 for 2.0t; $40,950 for 2.0t all-wheel drive; $41,300 for 2.0t Premium; $43,300 for 2.0t Premium all-wheel drive; $44,300 for 3.0t Premium; $46,300 for 3.0t Premium all-wheel drive; $48,300 for 3.0t Sport; $50,300 for 3.0t Sport all-wheel drive; $51,300 for Red Sport 400. PRICE AS TESTED: $60,355. TYPE: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, four-passenger, luxury sports coupe. ENGINE: 3-liter, double overhead cam, twin-turbocharged, direct injected V-6. MILEAGE: 20 mpg (city), 27 mpg (highway). TOP SPEED: 155 mph. LENGTH: 184.4 inches. WHEELBASE: 112.2 inches. CURB WEIGHT: 3,862 pounds. BUILT AT: Japan.


Continued from 10 Redesigned inside and out for 2017, the Q60 is Infiniti’s only coupe and its smallest model in terms of passenger room. The Q60 carries seats for just four people, and back-seat room is pinched for adults, with 32.4 inches of legroom and 34.5 inches of headroom in the back. Passengers also sit rather low to the pavement. The big appeal is the Q60’s sporty appearance and handling. This twodoor model hugs the road, maneuvers easily, accelerates quickly and is eye-catching, especially when painted the $800-optional Dynamic Sunstone Red. With three trim levels and a half dozen equipment packages, the 2017 Q60 can be outfitted as a luxurious gran tourer or a sport-focused coupe. In the test-driven Q60 Red Sport 400, the front semi-aniline leather seats were among the most comfortable in a car and kept the driver and passenger securely in place, though head restraints sat quite close to the backs of heads. Controls were easy to understand and use. Even the arrangement of two display screens atop the center of the Q60 dashboard was well conceived. The top screen could keep a street map visible at full size while the driver adjusted radio stations via the second screen. And while there’s no knob to tune the radio in the Q60, at least the “tune”

button on the dashboard is sizable to allow for quick up-and-down station changes. The lack of gimmickry continues to the gearshift lever, which is in a familiar place in the middle of the center console and easy to use. That said, the Q60’s interior feels a bit small when considering the car’s exterior proportions — 15.4 feet long and 6.1 feet across. The Q60 also can feel a bit heavy. The test-driven model weighed 3,862 pounds, which is more than a Chevrolet Impala full-size sedan. Fortunately, it had the Q60’s most powerful engine, which responded quickly to propel the coupe through traffic. The power came on smoothly for the most part, though the driver can select different drive modes, such as Sport and Sport Plus, to get more strident acceleration. Peak torque of 350 footpounds comes on by 1,600 rpm. The Q60 also has a $1,000 option of Direct Adaptive Steering, which offers a mind-boggling choice of steering ratios. The ride, even in Standard drive mode, was a bit busy, with road bumps and imperfections perceptible nearly always. Features for the Q60 this year expand to include a 13-speaker, Bose, premium sound system tailored just for the interior of this car, which makes the car’s interior feel like the perfect music studio. Fuel economy with the twin-turbo V-6, however, is on par with that of some SUVs and is rated at an average of 22 miles per gallon.

OPTIONS: Premium Plus package (includes navigation system, heated steering wheel, power driver torso boosters, heated front seats) $2,250; driver assistance package (includes forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rain-sensing wipers, around-view monitor, blind spot warning) $2,250; technology package (includes adaptive headlights, intelligent cruise control, distance control assist, eco pedal) $1,850; Direct Adaptive Steering $1,000; Dynamic Sunstone Red exterior paint $800. DESTINATION CHARGE: $905.

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Thursday, January 12, 2017



Wheels - Jan. 12, 2017  

Fairbanks' automotive guide, published bi-weekly in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

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