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ON-THE-MOVE TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT » MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2012

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Nissan unveils new Sentra

Revamped model is lighter, roomier than early model Associated Press

Nissan says its 2013 Sentra is 150 pounds lighter than the previous model, yet has more interior room. AP

DETROIT — Nissan is unveiling a more sophisti-

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cated version of the Sentra compact car. The company says the new car is 150 pounds lighter than the old one, yet has more interior room. It also has a smoother, quieter engine. The car goes on sale in the fall. It will compete

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against the top sellers in the segment, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. The 2013 Sentra looks similar to Nissan’s midsize Altima. It has a 130horsepower, a four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission that doesn’t shift

gears. It keeps the engine running at the optimal speed for fuel efficiency and performance. Nissan says the Sentra will get 34 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Most versions will get 39 mpg on the highway.

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Aluminum unibody helps Range Rover shed pounds

GM VIA WIECK MEDIA LAND ROVER

The Land Rover Range Rover SUV will weigh 926 pounds less for 2013.

The new frame is 39 percent lighter rom the outside, Land Rover’s than the steel one in the current vernew 2013 Range Rover won’t sion of Land Rover’s big, go-anywhere SUV, Land Rover look terribly different READ MORE AT says. from the one it replaces. With the new chassis But beneath its skin, comes a new four-corthere is a radical change Go to USA Today’s Drive On ner air suspension. afoot. at http://conEven the engine is The new, fourth-gen- community tent.usatoday.com/comlighter thanks to alueration Range Rover munities/driveon/index minum. The new 5-liter goes to an all-aluminum unibody construction that con- V-8 comes in at 700 pounds less tributes a large portion of the 926 than the one it replaces. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transpounds of total weight savings. The goal is better fuel economy. mission. USA TODAY

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Standard equipment on the Verano Turbo sedan includes rear parking assist.

Verano Turbo below $30K KICKINGTIRES.NET

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uick’s hopped-up 2013 Verano Turbo sedan with a 250-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder will start at $29,990 when it goes on sale this fall; pricing includes an $885 destination fee. Buick’s smallest sedan with big power comes with a standard six-speed automatic transmission while the six-speed manual transmission is a no-cost option. Fuel-economy estimates of the automatic transmission have yet to be released though we know the manual Verano Turbo is rated at an EPA-estimated 20/31 mpg city/highway. That’s

only a 1 mpg sacrifice in city, highway and combined ratings compared to the non-turbo Verano for an additional 70 hp and claimed performance of zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. The Turbo’s starting price includes a long list of standard equipment: leather seating with heated front seats, Buick’s IntelliLink multimedia system with 7inch touch-screen, heated steering wheel, Bose stereo system, rear parking assist, blind spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert as well as a backup camera, which is a standard feature on all 2013 Veranos.

Supply of auto mechanics is running on E Finding technicians becomes a worry

LOS ANGELES — Jonathan Hernandez figures if he is going to drive, he had better know how to fix cars. And he’s well on his way to earning his degree in auto repair from Los Angeles Trade Technical College. But the 23-year-old does not intend to put his community college cre-

dential to use as a career. He plans instead to become a tattoo artist. “I can do a tattoo in three hours and make $300,” explains Hernandez, who says he isn’t tattooed himself. “Tattoo money is a little easier.” Such are the challenges for auto dealers and repair shops looking

to recruit the repair technicians of tomorrow. A generation who grew up playing Xbox games instead of rebuilding carburetors doesn’t seem to have the fascination with auto repair as earlier generations who grew up as shade-tree mechanics. There is already competition among auto dealers in many parts of the nation to hire or retain

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good technicians. The bigger worry is whether there will be enough younger workers in a few years as a wave of midcareer mechanics hits retirement age. “We’re finding we’re going to run short of technicians in the very near future,” says Rich Orbain, manager for General Motors’ Service Technical College. “It’s al-

ready getting very difficult to get young people interested in this as a career.” Auto-repair educators say they are fighting misconceptions about the profession. They point out that fixing cars has gone high-tech. A laptop computer is becoming as important a repair tool as a set of socket wrenches. And, in a world of job un-

certainty, auto repair remains a career largely impervious to being outsourced abroad. The nation’s demand for auto mechanics is expected to have grown about 17 percent from 2010 to 2020, adding 124,800 jobs for a total of 848,200, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. AuSee SUPPLY » 6D


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All-important Honda Accord ready for its 2013 closeup Upscale touches and new technology grace the new Honda Accord sedan, at left, and coupe, below.

PHOTOS BY HONDA USA TODAY FORD MOTOR CO. VIA WIECK MEDIA

Sales of the Ford SVT Raptor are up 26 percent compared to last year.

Raptor continues climbing sible when the truck debuted. Other specialty power trucks, like s the auto industry stays cau- the Toyota Tacoma Baja, are protiously optimistic and pick- duced with a defined sales run, up truck sales incrementally making them something of a special-edition package. march on a soft upward The Baja will be limited trajectory, there are some to just under 5,000 units obvious bright spots, not this year, with approval the least of which is the for the model next year strong sales climb of For truck news and determined by the dealFord’s SVT Raptor. reviews, go to erships. Through July, sales for PickupTrucks.com It remains to be seen the all-terrain power whether or not these spetruck are up 26 percent compared with last year, and for the cial-edition four-wheeling option packages will get more popular. All month, Raptor is up 36 percent. This puts year-end Raptor sales, in we know now is that if Raptor sales just its third year of production, keep climbing, we’d assume more close to the 13,000-unit mark, some- manufacturers will try to squeeze thing that no one predicted was pos- into that market segment. By MARK WILLIAMS

PICKUPTRUCKS.COM

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onda is revealing the look of the next Accord, a sleeker, more-fuel-efficient sedan that faces tough rivals. Honda says the new look for 2013 is more sculpted. “It doesn’t scream and shout, but it’s sophisticated and refined,” says Vicki Poponi, an assistant vice president. The new Accord is 3 inches shorter than the one it replaces but retains about the same interior size. The trunk is a cubic-foot larger. Honda engineers have an “obsession with getting the most interior (space),” she says. When it goes on sale this fall, the ninth generation of Accord will compete in the big but ever-tougher midsize-car market. New products have poured into the segment. Besides the just year-old redone Camry and Volkswagen Passat and 2year-old Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, redone 2013 models newly on sale

or soon to be include Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion. Honda says it’s going to stay ahead of the competition by giving the new Accord more upscale touches and new technology. It will get LED headlights, taillights and running lights, a feature typically found in luxury cars. The four-cylinder base engine will be paired with a more gas-efficient continuously variable transmission, or CVT, rather than a conventional automatic transmission. Unlike many others, Accord still will offer a V-6, too. The new Accord is designed for extra-low wind drag, with flush-mounted window glass and wipers and a smoother underbody. Accord has the advantage of having an army of happy customers behind it, points out Joseph Phillippi of AutoTrends. “Maybe (the styling) is a little conservative, but there is a huge cadre of loyal owners out there,” he says.

ONTHEMOVE » TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT » MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2012 » 3


Ford Fiesta small, still versatile

Fares well in tests for fuel, crashes By Ann M. Job Associated Press

The Ford Fiesta is a versatile, budget-conscious small car with a stylish interior and upscale car options such as heated leather seats and voice-recognition controls. The Fiesta also has higher U.S. government fuel economy ratings than does a gasoline-powered Honda Fit. Best of all, the 2013 Fiesta earned five out of five stars in side crash testing by the U.S. government. It’s one of the few subcompacts with such a high score in side crash testing. Available as a fivedoor hatchback and a sedan, the Fiesta features the lowest starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of any newmodel Ford: $13,995 for a base S sedan with fivespeed manual transmission and $15,090 for a sedan with automatic. A base, 2013 Fiesta S hatchback with manual starts at $14,995. A Fiesta S hatchback with automatic, however, jumps in price, to $16,090. All 2013 Fiestas have the same, 120-horsepower, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder, gasoline engine, though the Fiesta is sold in other some countries with diesel engines and turbocharged power. In the United States, the Fiesta has a large number of small-car competitors. As an example, the starting Fiesta hatchback retail prices are $1,120 and $825 less, respectively, than those for the 2013 Honda Fit with 117-horsepowr, naturally aspirated four-cylinder and manual and automatic transmis-

All Fiesta models come equipped with Ford's leading safety and security features including driver knee airbag and anti-theft engine immobilizer. AP

sions. But the 2013 Kia Rio five-door hatchback with 138-horsepower, naturally aspirated four cylinder has starting MSRPs, including destination charge, that are lower than the Fiesta’s — $14,550 with manual transmission and $15,650 with automatic. Meantime, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic starts at $14,660 as a sedan with manual transmission and $15,730 as a sedan with automatic. As a hatchback, the 2012 Sonic has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $15,560 with manual transmission and $16,630 with automatic. Sonics are available with 138horsepower, naturally aspirated four cylinder and 138-horsepower, turbocharged four cylinder. The turbo four has higher peak torque and it comes on at a lower rpm. Not much has changed

for the U.S. Fiesta for the 2013 model year, though standard equipment and equipment packages are re-aligned. The test Fiesta SE hatchback looked good in its bright red paint with painted aluminum wheels. Fiestas have prominent indentations in their side bodies to add interest. Added-on trim pieces of silver or black are nonexistent, thus conveying a “clean” car that slices through the air. Front styling has a swanky European look — not exactly brawny and not exactly cute. Some buyers may prefer a different appearance, and Ford offers body stripes and different grille inserts as options. The test Fiesta fivedoor moved along in traffic and merged well, though the car didn’t have sporty acceleration. Gear shifts were no-

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ticeable at times. The transmission was the sixspeed PowerShift automatic that’s Ford’s dualclutch, semi-automatic mechanism. It was the subject of complaints from consumers last year, but Ford said it has installed new electronic programming to better manage the workings of the transmission. Torque in the Fiesta’s 1.6-liter, double overhead cam, Duratech four cylinder peaks at 112 footpounds at high 5,000 rpm. In comparison, the Sonic’s 1.8-liter, turbocharged four cylinder delivers 148 foot-pounds of torque at 2,500 rpm. Still, the test Fiesta easily averaged 29 miles per gallon in combined city and highway travel, for a total range of nearly 360 miles on a single tank of gas. This mileage is a bit lower than the combined 33-mpg rating given

to this Fiesta model by the U.S. government, which estimates city mileage at 29 mpg and highway mileage at 39 mpg. A Fiesta with extra-charge fuel efficiency package is rated at 40 mpg on the highway. The Honda Fit, in contrast, is rated at 27/33 mpg with automatic transmission and has no extra fuel efficiency package. The interior of the Fiesta test car had a snappylooking dashboard arranged with a nice array of controls and features that dispelled any thought that this was a Spartan, cheap vehicle. In fact, the sticker price was barely over $19,000, but the test Fiesta drove with surprising competency and nimbleness. The car absorbed a good number of road bumps without fuss, and while passengers felt vibrations from the road,

they weren’t overly intrusive. The driver, meantime, had a good feel for the road in the Fiesta SE hatchback, and found the car tracked accurately in curves. Front suspension is independent MacPherson strut, while a twisted beam and coil springs handle the rear. Rack-and-pinion steering was more precise than expected and added to the driver’s confidence. With conservatively sized, 15-inch wheels and tires, the test Fiesta had no feeling of unsprung, or heavy, weight at the corners, which helped explain the satisfactory, non-jarring ride. Yet, at more than 2,500 pounds, overall, for the test car with automatic transmission, the Fiesta didn’t feel overly lightweight or tinny, either. This stable feel was enhanced by standard AdvanceTrac electronic stability control. The Fiesta also has seven air bags, including one for the driver’s knee to help keep the driver properly positioned behind the steering wheel during a frontal crash. The five-star side government crash tests are impressive for the Fiesta, while frontal crash test results garnered four out of five stars. The Honda Fit earned four out of five stars in side crash testing. But the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic earned five out of five stars in both frontal and side crash testing. Note that Ford had auto journalists recently test drive one of its small, European, turbocharged engines. While Ford made no promises of which U.S. car might get the powerplant, there is speculation that the Fiesta would be a good candidate. Consumer Reports gives the Fiesta a below average reliability rating.


Ford rolls out Lincoln in China Plans to send model abroad kept under wraps By Dee-Ann Durbin Associated Press

BEIJING — Ford Motor Co., eager to grab a piece of China’s growing luxury market, plans to start selling its Lincoln luxury brand here in 2014. It will be the first time that the nearly 100-yearold brand will be sold in China. At an event at a converted 600-year-old temple in Beijing, CEO Alan Mulally and other Ford executives said they believe Chinese customers will appreciate Lincoln’s heritage as well as its new lineup of vehicles. Ford is introducing seven new Lincolns over the next three years. “Lincoln is well-known in China. Our opportunity is to fill in the blanks of what the brand is now,” Ford global marketing chief Jim Farley said. The announcement was a surprise for Ford, which had previously said it wanted to re-establish the struggling brand’s reputation in North America before taking it abroad. Lincoln was the best-selling luxury brand in the U.S. two decades ago but gradually fell to last place in the market because Ford failed to invest in new products. But Mulally said Ford has been plotting to bring Lincoln to China for the past two years and considered Chinese custom-

LUXURY CARS IN CHINA

Luxury cars make up 6 percent of Chinese sales, but they’re expected to rise to 10 percent by the end of this decade, Ford global marketing chief Jim Farley said. That’s comparable to the U.S., where luxury sales now make up 12 percent of the market. German luxury brands Audi, BMW and MercedesBenz were the top-selling luxury brands in China in the first six months of this year. German brands control about 80 percent of China’s luxury market, independent auto analyst Michael Dunne said.

ers’ tastes when it was designing the 2013 MKZ. The midsize MKZ, which goes on sale this fall in the U.S., is the first of Lincoln’s revamped products. The Lincolns sold in China will be made in North America, at least initially. They will be more expensive than in the U.S. because of luxury taxes, which are based on engine size, and import duties of 25 percent. The 2013 MKZ starts at $35,925. Ford will start meeting with interested dealers in China this fall. The company hopes to start reversing the Lincoln’s slide with the new MKZ, which has a wider and more luxurious look, a toned-down grille and a clean dashboard with flush buttons for controls instead of knobs. It also offers a panoramic glass roof that slides open to give passengers a convertiblelike ride.

Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln concept car is unveiled during a news conference Tuesday in Beijing. Ford, eager to grab a piece of China’s growing luxury market, plans to start selling its Lincoln luxury brand there in 2014. FORD MOTOR CO./AP

ONTHEMOVE » TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT » MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2012 » 5


Focus may be best-seller By Dee-Ann Durbin Associated Press

RAYONG,

Thailand

Ford Motor Co. says its Focus small car is on track to become the bestselling car in the world this year, trumping the Toyota Corolla. Ford sold 489,616 Focus sedans and hatchbacks worldwide in the first half of 2012. That was almost 27,000 more than the Corolla. Ford made the announcement at its assembly plant in Rayong, which opened in May to build the Focus. The Thailand plant, which is one of Ford’s most advanced, has the capacity to produce 150,000 cars per year for sale in Thailand, Vietnam,

Supply Continued » 2D

to technicians overall earned an average of $35,790, but 10 percent earned more than $59,590, in 2010, the most recent year for which the bureau has data.

Wanted: Master mechanics While high school graduates can land basic maintenance jobs such as changing engine oil, the real need will be for more highly trained technicians. It’s those at the top of the profession that the industry is most concerned about losing, the master mechanics who don’t just read troubleshooting data off a computer screen, but rather put their education and experience to use to interpret clues and pinpoint a problem.

Australia and other countries in the region. Ford’s recently revamped Focus is sold in more than 100 countries worldwide. It’s a strong seller in the U.S., where Focus sales were up 31 percent in the first half of the year compared with 2011. But the Corolla is still king in the U.S., where it outsold the Focus by nearly 27,500 in the first half of the year. The Corolla could still top the Focus worldwide, too. Last year at this time the Focus was ahead of the Corolla, but the Corolla pulled through in the end, outselling the Focus by around 100,000 vehicles, according to IHS Global Insight, an industry consulting firm. Faced with complexities of today’s cars, master mechanics are being asked to deal with issues that would have required an engineering degree in the past. That problem is being compounded by the multiple new powertrain technologies hitting the market, including hybrids, electrics and leandiesel engines. “You have paralegals and paramedics. You’re getting to the point in (auto repair) that you are going to have para-engineers,” says Frank Diertl, general manager of engineering services for Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. While in the past fixing cars was more about mechanical aptitude, electronics and computercontrolled systems rule today. A typical car may have 20 or more microprocessors working together, each running software with thousands of lines of code to control vital systems, whether it’s

Ford Motor Co. said Friday that its Focus small car is on track to become the best-selling car in the world this year, trumping the Toyota Corolla. AP

anti-lock brakes or the infotainment system. Many auto technicians are embracing how the job is evolving toward high-tech. A survey of 5,000 auto technicians conducted by consultant Carlisle & Co. on behalf of six automakers found that the second-biggest reason the technicians chose the profession was that they like working with technology — named by four out of 10. The only bigger reason, at six out of 10, remains having grown up working on cars. But the same survey also pointed up the challenge: Top mechanics are getting older. Mechanics at the dealerships of GM, Ford and Chrysler had an average age in the low 40s.

Programs cut It doesn’t help, as well, that more high school districts have whacked bud-

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gets for auto repair programs, a key source of recruits. Supporting the programs has become more expensive because of the test equipment now involved. “They are making hard decisions about what they can do,” says Tony Molla, vice president of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, an outfit commonly called ASE, which certifies auto technicians. Molla says some schools have had to limit enrollment in auto repair and specialized courses. “In some areas, there are more kids applying than they have seats for them,” he says. AAA says it reaches out to 900 vocational schools across the country to encourage stronger programs and more students. “Students are still interested, but you have to go out and actively pursue them at the high

schools,” says Mike Garblik, professor of automotive technology at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. “They are being pulled in so many different directions. There are so many opportunities.”

Jobs guaranteed Garblik reaches out to a wider student population, trying to make sure that students interested in information technology careers are aware of how much the auto industry now depends on computers. He has another lure: a nearly 100 percent job placement rate. Out at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, known to everyone as just “Trade Tech,” Automotive Department Chairman Rudy Serrato also reports finding jobs for most of his graduates. And despite the misconceptions about the

“grease monkey” image, “You can make good money,” he says. Serrato is a 1972 graduate of the program he now runs — and he hasn’t lost any enthusiasm for the subject. Launching into teaching a summer class on heating and air conditioning in cars, he notes the thrill of troubleshooting. “It’s the challenge of fixing something someone else can’t fix,” he says. And that’s where the skill comes in. Sure, a car’s computer may spit out a “trouble code” to report what system is malfunctioning. But that’s not enough. “It’s a matter of how to diagnose that trouble code,” says Jose Ramirez, an instructor. “You have to play around with it.” He adds that he tells the students “anyone can replace a part. I teach them how to troubleshoot. That’s where the money is,” he says.


TOP VEHICLES Small Car: Fiat 500 Hatchback Small Multi-Function: Volkswagen Golf Medium Car: Chevrolet Volt Medium Multi-Function: Honda Accord Crosstour Larger Car: Dodge Charger Near-Luxury Car: Audi A4 sedan Luxury Car: Audi A8 Specialty Coupe under $28,000: MINI Cooper coupe Premium Coupe over $28,000: BMW 1 Series coupe and Chevrolet Corvette coupe Convertible under $30,000: VW Eos Premium Convertible/Roadster over $30,000: BMW Z4 roadster Minivan: Honda Odyssey Small SUV: Volkswagen Tiguan Medium SUV: Jeep Grand Cherokee Medium Crossover: Ford Flex Large SUV: Nissan Armada Near-Luxury SUV: Land Rover Evoque 5-door Luxury SUV: BMW X6 Standard Pickup: Honda Ridgeline Full-Size Pickup: Ford F150 Heavy Duty Pickup: Ford F250/350

VW, Ford atop new-car total quality study By Alisa Priddle Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — Volkswagen, Ford and Chrysler topped the list in a quality study that gauges problems found by consumers, how they are addressed and also factors in passion for new vehicles and their features. On Monday, Strategic Vision released the results of its 2012 Total Quality Index study and found the industry as a whole continues to improve, with only 17 percent of consumers reporting problems with their new vehicles. Toyota had the fewest reported problems in terms of numbers, their severity and how they are dealt with. But that is just one aspect of the study. In terms of total quality,

which includes how well quality meets a customer’s expectations and delights them, VW was the winner with segment leaders including the Golf, Eos and Tiguan for the VW brand and the Audi A4 and A8. Ford and Chrysler tied for second place. The Flex and F-Series scored strongly for Ford. Chrysler, the most improved brand, scored well with the Dodge Charger, Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Fiat 500 as the small car segment winner for its styling and additional high marks for its sound system. Strategic Vision has released its Total Quality Awards since 1995. This latest quality index was calculated from 45,390 buyers who purchased 2012 models.

Range Rover still offers luxurious, rugged ride By Ann M. Job Associated Press

Well-heeled car buyers who haven’t had enough of all things British — last year’s royal wedding, this year’s queen’s jubilee and the recent Olympics in London — don’t need to be deprived. The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover, which is the quintessential, large British sport utility vehicle that has chauffeured Queen Elizabeth on occasion, remains a proper and luxurious expression of British transport. The Range Rover’s boxy exterior, amazingly adaptable suspension, tall perch for the seats and British-flavored interior make for a unique road experience. And off-road, the Range Rover’s prowess is legendary. While still headquartered in England and with British factories, the corporation now is owned by Tata Group of India, which bought Land Rover from Ford Motor Co. in 2008. A warning: The 2012 Range Rover, weighing more than 2 tons and with V-8 engines and full-time four-wheel drive, gulps down gasoline. U.S. government fuel economy ratings of12 miles per gallon in city driving and 18 mpg on the highway for the base Range Rover HSE are among the lowest for a 2012 passenger vehicle. The five-seat, 2012 Range Rover is the flagship of the Land Rover lineup and comes wellequipped. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $80,275 for a base HSE model with standard four-wheel drive and 385-horsepower, nat-

Land Rover unveils next generation all-new 2013 Range Rover, the most capable and most refined Range Rover ever. PR NEWSWIRE

urally aspirated V-8. Starting retail price, including destination charge, for a five-seat, 2012 Cadillac Escalade with all-wheel drive and 403-horsepower V-8 is $66,715, while a 2012 Infiniti QX56 with four-wheel drive starts at $64,090 with seats for five and 400-horsepower V-8. The 2012 Porsche Cayenne SUV has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $52,825 with all-wheel drive, five-passenger seating and 300horsepower V-6. Clearly, the Range Rover commands a premium price. Standard features on every model include air suspension, heated steering wheel, power sunroof, real leather and wood interior trim, Xenon headlights with headlamp washers, harman kardon surround sound audio system, an electronically adaptable terrain system for off-road or inclement ground conditions, electronically controlled hill descent control, lowrange transfer box for rugged off-road terrain, navigation system, rear camera and front and rear

parking sensors. But these items and others are put together and arranged in a way that makes a driver and passengers feel comfortable and secure both on the pavement and in the wilderness. It is no easy feat to be rugged and ready for the strenuous Rubicon Trail while maintaining a quiet, serene ride that’s fitting as a prelude to a candlelight dinner at the country club. And every now and then, a buyer will notice a few compromises. The high ride height with minimum ground clearance of 9.1 inches, for example, forces passengers to scramble up to get inside. Range Rovers typically are not equipped with running boards, but the tester sure could have used one to help smallerstature passengers climb inside. There are no grab handles at the Range Rover windshield edges, either, as there are in some other SUVs. So front-seat passengers must use awkward handles up by the ceiling, or grab hold of the steering wheel to help get inside. Once on the Range

Rover seats — it’s tempting to call the two separate seats in front “chairs” because of their fine appearance and carefully stitched leather trim — everyone sits high above the ground and above most other passenger vehicles. The test Range Rover HSE provided the driver with views way down the road, even above six cars and smaller SUVs that were ahead. The Range Rover steering wheel is noticeably large and the leatherwrapped circle feels silky smooth to the hands. It’s surprising how compactly the big Range Rover can make U-turns. The turning circle of some 41 feet on a vehicle with sizable, 19- or 20-inch tires is admirable and comes in handy both in the city and off-road. The base, 5-liter, naturally aspirated V-8 was in the tester, and its 385 horses provided the kind of strong, steady power needed for a pricey and heavy SUV that can tow up to 7,700 pounds. The test Range Rover moved with traffic easily and merged onto highways with some noisy bluster but without hesitation. The company says it takes 7.2 seconds to go from standstill to 60 miles an hour. Torque peaks at 380 foot-pounds at a usable 3,500 rpm and compares with 417 footpounds of torque at 4,300 rpm that Cadillac’s Escalade gets from its base, 6.2-liter, naturally aspirated V-8. The Range Rover HSE only has a six-speed automatic transmission, while Porsche’s Cayenne has a sophisticated eight-speed Tiptronic.

ONTHEMOVE » TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT » MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2012 » 7


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On the Move