If you were going to test drive a new car, who would you want to take with you? Your spouse? A friend? Maybe an automotive journalist? Well take it from us: there's one of us riding shotgun just about every time we go to drive anything, and we're not all we're cracked up to be.
EV Automaker, Ridesharing Company Giving Away Free Rides Next Week
Is anyone surprised that Tesla Motors is ready to disrupt the status quo even in little ways? If you are, then here's one more example: Tesla is partnering with Uber (which taxi drivers around the world are not happy with) in Shanghai to both give people free, 15-minute rides in the electric car. Think of it as the free Supercharger miles for the don't-own-a-Tesla set.
Two men are wanted in the Houston area tonight after they stole an Audi RS5 from a local dealership. The brazen theft happened in the middle of the business day, when a salesperson stepped away after letting one of the men take the car for a test drive, while the other sat in the (getaway) car. He then swiped the keys and his license before running out to the lot and taking off in the 450-horsepower coupe.
You've got to love this brave new world we're in, where getting 120 miles per gallon can be considered a disappointment. That's the upshot of an Automobile magazine test drive of the Volkswagen XL1 plug-in hybrid diesel, which the German automaker has said can get as much as 261 miles per gallon, Hybrid Cars says.
To paraphrase the old Sally Field line from the Oscars: they liked 'em. They really liked 'em. With BMW set to unveil its first two plug-ins under its "i" badge within the next 12 months or so (the i3 is due in late 2013, the i8 in the first half of 2014), journalists from Car Magazine and UK's Autocar recently had the chance to go for some test drives.
Last month, Consumer Reports decidedly panned the Mitsubishi i after a test drive of the small electric vehicle. The magazine doesn't dislike everything little and battery powered, though, and was quite a bit kinder to the Fiat 500e, saying it is "actually kind of a cool little car."
Since too much information isn't exactly possible in some situations, BMW is continuing its electric vehicle user study in Leipzig, Germany. The automaker is working with TU Chemnitz (University of Technology) and Stadwerke Leipzig municipal utility to conduct an electromobility study with long-distance commuters in 15 BMW ActiveE EVs in the Leipzig area.
Actually, it's not Rick Wagoner all by himself, but the ex-GM chairman is working with a team of tech entrepreneurs who make up Tred, a new test drive concierge service. Tred is still in beta, but the idea is that you pick the cars you'd like to test drive, schedule delivery by concierges who are working to get positive feedback from folks like you and then try out the vehicles you're considering on the roads you know.
Mini Netherlands wanted to give its countrymen a good reason to test drive its cars, so it threw in a free cup of coffee with the spin – but not just any old cuppa joe. Cars were fitted with a sensor that analyzed the driver's style. The chip was then placed in a special coffeemaker that produced a blend to match the driving; middle-of-the-road test pilots would get a lungo (long) coffee, test-the-rollcage types were given a ristretto (short, and stronger).
As you can see from the screen grab above, some people get to have all the fun. Jay Leno, who owns more cars than you will ever drive in your lifetime, was graced with the presence of a Fiat 500 Abarth at his garage.
We drove 'em both at the 2011 Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin, Germany earlier this year, and now it's the rest of the world's turn to strap in behind the wheels of the Renault Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Z.E. electric vehicles in one of the largest and longest media events for a plug-in vehicle we've ever heard of.
If you're shopping for a vehicle near Naperville, Illinois, you may have a chance to put your possible purchases through the gauntlet on at a new facility. The town has joined forces with local dealers to create a driving course that would reduce the number of test drives on public streets and give buyers a better sense of the type of vehicle they were purchasing before they signed on the dotted line. The course features a variety of pavement types, a small parking area and even a sprinkler syst