Sunday, December 31, 2017

Looking Back at 2017

2017 has admittedly been a somewhat slow year for us. With lots going on in our personal lives, it's been hard to post regularly. Still, 2017 was still an eventful year for us in automotive terms. As East Brother is currently on vacation, I will share some of my favorite automotive moments from 2017.

Cadillac Truth + Dare 

Earlier this year, East Brother and I attended an event put on by Cadillac called the "Truth + Dare" driving event. It was an event put on to highlight some of the technological and performance aspects of Cadillac's newest crop of vehicles. This wasn't something we covered here on the blog, but ended up on our own personal Instagram accounts instead. Still, despite the coverage, we had a blast at the event. The highlights being getting to floor both an ATS-V and CTS-V down a 1/8 mile course, and getting to flog some cars through a small autocross course.


Speaking of Instagram, we finally have an Instagram account! I know, it only took us a few years to hop on the bandwagon. You can find us @eastwestbrothers.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

2017 marked the year Alfa Romeo was serious about returning to the mainstream American auto market with the Giulia mid-size luxury/sport sedan. East Brother and I managed to snag a test drive a few months after it hit the market at our local Rusnak Fiat/Maserati/Alfa Romeo dealership. While we both walked away impressed with how the car drove and looked, the interior was well below our expectations of a car costing north of $50k (as equipped). Of course, there was also Alfa's "legendary" reliability issues constantly nagging us in the back of our minds. 
A few months ago though, I had noticed that the dealer had vanished. Considering that at the time of testing, the Giulia was probably only doing about 2,000 units per month, it was really no surprise that Rusnak decided to abandon ship. It's a fantastic car, and I really want to like it and recommend it to people, but the reliability issue and company longevity issue really makes it hard to like and recommend. Damn shame too because it's such a fantastic driving and gorgeous looking car. 

East Brother's Chevy Bolt

East Brother acquired a new vehicle this year with a new Chevy Bolt EV. I was never a huge fan of his Ford Focus EV, but the Bolt, despite looking funny, impressed me with its performance and level of technology. Funny how we now have two cars in our fleet in a shade of  "pull me over" blue. I think we've agreed to stick with the theme and possibly get our next car in a similar shade of blue.

Vehicle Retirements

2017 also marks the year we sent two of our long term cars back to their respective manufacturers: our 2014 Acura RLX and 2014 Ford Focus EV. You can read about our respective final thoughts on both of these vehicles here and here.   
I hope that 2018 proves to be an even more exciting year for us. 

Stay safe everyone, and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Test Drive: 2017 Hyundai Elantra SEL

A few months ago, I wrote about how crowded the mid-size luxury sedan class was when I reviewed the Alfa Romeo Giulia. If you really want to talk about "overcrowded," take a look at the compact sedan class. Every single large volume manufacturer has a competing vehicle in this class (except for Chrysler, who abandoned that market - Ed.), so the number of choices can be...overwhelming, to say the least. There are a few standouts in this class though: the VW Golf, the Honda Civic, the Mazda 3, and the Ford Focus, to name a few. Hyundai's Elantra usually ranks relatively well when compared to other compact sedans, but just doesn't seem to sell quite as well. Heading out to Baltimore during Veteran's day weekend, I needed a rental car, and decided on an Elantra, as it was the most appealing vehicle available at National's "Emerald Aisle" lot at Baltimore/Washington International. Let's see if I can figure out why the Elantra ranks well in reviews, but lags its competition in sales.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Long Term Test: 2014 Ford Focus Electric wrap-up

One of our first pictures of the Ford Focus Electric
After three years and over 24k miles of service, it is finally time to bid farewell to our daily driven Ford Focus Electric. This was the first electric car that my wife and I have owned and was the start of what will likely be a legacy of electric car ownership going forward. While it was not a perfect car, the Focus Electric has quite a few charming characteristics that made it a fantastic daily driver and with a little bit of forethought, it became a perfect vehicle for how we live our lives. The ownership experience was largely a positive one, but also not without a few flaws. However, for a first generation electric vehicle, it served us well during its three years in our garage.