The Best 4 Wheel Drive Cars With Good Gas Mileage #car #body #panels

#4 wheel drive cars

The Best 4 Wheel Drive Cars With Good Gas Mileage

Pontiac Vibe

Mechanically identical to the Toyota Voltz, the Vibe is Pontiac’s all-purpose station wagon/crossover. The AWD (All Wheel Drive) Vibe has been produced by GM since 2003 and was at one point the company’s most efficient U.S. market vehicle. The 31-mpg Volt has been a hot seller for GM since its introduction and continues to share honors with the smallest of GM’s line as a low-emission’s hero. The Vibe’s AWD system is designed more for slippery driveways and winter roads than for mud-pits and rock-crawling.

Toyota Venza

The Venza is Toyota’s newest trump card in the versatility wars. This mid-sized crossover wagon has rakish good looks, sporty handling, seating for seven and gets an EPA estimated 28 mpg highway. This is no mean feat, considering the AWD Vibe can only be had with Toyota’s excellent 3.5L V6, which is essentially the same 268-horsepower beast found in the company’s Highlander pickup.

The Venza’s AWD system isn’t quite as sport-tuned as a Mitsubishi evolution’s, but isn’t far off of Subaru’s rally-car WRX Sti’s in terms of programming and power transfer.

Subaru Imprezza

Speaking of the WRX, the Impreza on which it is based certainly deserves to be mentioned. Subaru has been mass-producing AWD road cars since the Carter administration and knows a thing or two about combining economy and practicality. The Impreza’s 170-horsepower 2.5L flat-four is a legend in its own time, gets 28 mpg and is the engine used in the company’s 500-horsepower rally cars.

Benefiting from its rally-racing roots, Subaru’s AWD system is one of the best on the planet. Just as capable on wet gravel as on ice or snow, the Impreza is a jack of all trades and master of more than a few.

Audi A3 Quattro

Another rally legend, Audi’s Quattro AWD system is easily a match for Subaru’s. The A3 is a sport wagon like the Venza, but has a chassis more suited for high-speed touring than for fetching milk. The A3 gets 28 mpg highway and 20 mpg city. While these numbers are only middle-of-the road, rest assured that A3’s 268-horsepower 2.0L turbo four will more than make up for any feelings of inadequacy.

Why do I have to disengage 4-wheel drive? News and reviews. #ex #police #cars #for #sale

#4 wheel drive cars

Why do I have to disengage 4-wheel drive? Correspondent | 12.01.15 | 3:53 PM

Q. I have been leasing a 2014 Toyota 4Runner since June 2014. Now that winter is around the corner I would like to get your opinion about a problem I experienced last winter while driving with four-wheel-drive engaged (4H). When I would make turns or back up, I would have to disengage the four-wheel drive mechanism. It was as if the emergency brake was applied. There was no problem while driving straight ahead or when driving in 2-wheel drive. I only use 4-wheel drive when road conditions dictate. I brought the 4Runner to the dealership to have the problem checked and the mechanic told me there was nothing wrong. The technician said that is how 4 x 4 s work, power needs to be evenly distributed to all four wheels and that does not happen when making turns and/or backing up. I told him I never experienced this problem with my old 2003 and 2006 4Runners, which also required turning a dial to engage the 4-wheel drive mechanism. I have also owned other 4 x 4 makes/models and never experienced this issue with any of them. I thought maybe I was crazy, but when I mentioned the issue to friends who own 4 x 4 s, they all say it is not normal. I have read a few blogs from other Toyota 4Runner owners complaining about the same problem. Can you shed any light on this problem?

A. The repair tech is correct that there will be a drag when driving in reverse or turning but it shouldn t be as if the parking brake were on. I have driven many Toyota products off-road and there are many instances where the vehicle needs to be in four-wheel-drive and it is necessary to back-up or take tight turns. On a dry road in four-wheel-drive you will get a sensation of crab-walking or wheel-tripping and that sensation would be normal for most any traditional the four-wheel-drive. I recently drove the 2016 Tacoma off-road and although, I could feel the four-wheel drive system on turns or in reverse there was never a sense that I needed to switch out of four wheel drive to maneuver the truck. I would return to the dealer and go for a road test on a gravel road and demonstrate your concerns.

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Q. I have 2015 Lexus RX 350 and want to add a trailer hitch. I don t plan on towing a trailer at this time, but plan to use the trailer hitch for a bike rack or cargo rack. I have seen trailer hitches priced from $150.00 to more the $250.00 with labor to match. Is this something I can do myself?

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A. There are several companies that make custom trailer hitches (Reese, Valley, and Draw-Tite among a few). These hitches are all pre-assembled and in the case of your Lexus would just bolt to the frame. You will need to move one exhaust hanger temporarily before you bolt the hitch in place, but this is about as complicated as it gets. With the help of a friend, the installation shouldn t take more than 60 minutes.

Q. Last week I was driving my daughter s 2014 GM Arcadia, and I noticed it had a calibrated heat gauge, which I like. However, the engine ran at 210 degrees. My Toyota and Nissans have 180 degree thermostats and get plenty hot. I always thought that engine temperatures above 190 degrees, was the beginning of engine meltdown. Is there any issue with these high engine temperatures and engine longevity?

A. There was a time when 160 degrees was typical of a normal operating engine, but over the years engine temperatures have gone up. Today we see most engines operating at 185-205 degrees and even higher as in the case of your GMC. These higher temperatures are accomplished with a mixture of engine coolant and system pressure. A 50/50 mix of water and coolant raises the boiling point of water to 223 degrees and for each pound of system pressure raises the temperature by 2 degrees. A system running a 16 pound radiator cap and the proper mix of coolant would raise the boiling point to 255 degrees. Even at these temperatures there will be no damage to the engine.

Q. I have a question and a concern about driving my 2014 Toyota Camry. The first is, I worry about other drivers and how every accident seems to be a way for someone to make money. The second issue is I wish I ordered my car with navigation. Would it be possible to have an aftermarket dash cam installed to protect me if I was involved in a crash? The second question can a factory navigation system be installed in a car that didn t come with one?

A. Yes a skilled installer at a mobile audio store could certainly do the work and the end result would most likely look similar to the factory system. They could also easily put a dash cam in place, most likely mounted near the rear view mirror and essentially out of sight. A simpler solution might be a combination GPS and dash cam. Garmin has a new product- the NUVI Cam LMT. This unit replicates some of the best features found in new cars. It uses voice commands, real time traffic updates, forward collision warning and lane departure warning systems. There is a built in dash-cam that saves video files on an impact/crash. The maps are very good and when you are approaching your destination the display switches to a camera view to easily identify the destination in real time. My only complaint with this unit is it is big. The overall dimensions are 4 inches by 7 inches and takes up a fair amount of dash/windshield real estate.

Q. My 2005 Dodge Caravan did something weird the other day when I went to start it. After I turned the key, all the gages went to full range, fluctuated and then went back to normal. It did start and ran good the rest of the day. When I tried to start it the next day, it did the same thing. I also noticed that the red flashing security light went out and never came back on. It has been about a week now and the car starts and runs fine, what do you think caused this?

A. This type of problem is usually related to a poor electrical connection. I would look at the main battery cables and well as all the grounding points. Some of these older Caravans also had issues with the instrument clusters. If it is the instrument cluster there is no easy repair other than replacing the circuit board on the back of the gauge cluster.

25 Best Painters – San Diego CA #san #diego #hard #drive #recovery


Painting Contractors in San Diego, CA

San Diego Home Painters

Most homeowners already know the benefits of a fresh coat of paint. Inside, new paint can change a dull room into something you’ll want to show off; painting the outside of your home a new color can not only increase your curb appeal, but, when done well, can also protect the material underneath the paint from the elements. To truly get the most out of a new paint job, whether it’s inside or out, you not only need the right paint for the task, but it needs to be applied properly. Hiring a professional San Diego home painter is a step in the right direction to getting the kind of results you want in the amount of time you need them.

Exterior House Painters
Painting the outside of a house is an incredibly big job, which is why, for many southern California residents, hiring a pro is pretty much a no-brainer. Along with having the best equipment for the task, a San Diego house painter is likely to have a vast amount of knowledge about what paints (or even colors of paint) tend to hold up best in the environment. Additionally, exterior painting often involves a fair amount of sanding, stripping, and other prepping before the top coat can be applied. When you add in the hassle of getting to hard-to-reach spots, the fact that most do-it-yourselfers leave this project to the pros is easy to understand.

Interior Home Painters
Painting the inside of a house is a job that many homeowners like to tackle themselves. On the surface, it’s pretty straightforward: pick a color, and then paint the wall. If you want the kind of results that are possible with professional help, however, the process is a bit more involved.

When dealing with interiors, it’s possible that you won’t need to strip or sand away any existing paint, as it won’t have been exposed to the same kind of abuse as outside paint. On the other hand, existing cracks or chips don’t go away on their own, and unless you’re using textured paint (and applying it the right way), you might end up seeing these types of blemishes show up again sooner than you think. A professional San Diego home painter will know the tricks of the trade that will keep your interiors looking as good as possible for as long as possible.

Though less of an issue indoors, having the right paint for the job is still a huge factor in how the finished product will look, especially a year or two down the road. The fact is, most homeowners have neither the knowledge of what’s available, or access to the equipment needed to do the job best. San Diego home painters will not only explain your options to you and give you advice on what will work in your situation, but they’ll also show up at your home with the best equipment and a crew trained to do this project quickly, efficiently, and beautifully.

Cost of Hiring a Professional Home Painter in San Diego
When you consider how much effort and time it takes to get optimum results on your own, it’s no wonder why so many homeowners opt for hiring a professional home painter. San Diego residents looking to paint the interior of their house can expect a bill of around $3,000 on average, with specific jobs ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000. For exterior painting, the range is about the same, but the average is slightly higher.

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Onondaga Community College Housing Search Results

Onondaga Community College Housing

Housing on Uloop provides Onondaga Community College students with Houses, Condos, and Apartments for rent around campus for the year, for the semester, and sublets during the summer. The Housing category on Uloop also provides Roommate listings from Onondaga Community College students who are looking for roommates in Syracuse. You can find roommates at Onondaga Community College for the semester or quarter, for the school year, and for the summer. In the Uloop Housing category you can post and find 1 BR, 2 BR, 3 BR, and 4 BR Apartments for rent, Houses for rent, Condos for rent, and Sublets for rent to students at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse.

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Clicking Hard Drive Noise – What Causes It? #dropped #hard #drive #data #recovery


Clicking Hard Drive Noise – What Causes It?

Submitted by DataRecoveryGroup on Mon, 01/27/2014 – 12:41

Hard drives might be the most important part of your computer. They are where all of your valuable documents, pictures, music files, videos are stored on your computer. That’s why when you hear strange clicking noises coming from your hard drive, you should be concerned about all of that valuable information. It’s been called the click of death which is You may have heard it as the click of death. Whatever it is, it doesn’t really sound right, and you’ll likely find that the hard drive isn’t working. Understanding what’s happening in your hard drive can help you identify what the problem with your hard drive is, and what you should and should not do to make your hard drive functioning again, or at least recover the valuable data from it.

Why Does a Hard Drive Click?

To understand why a hard drive makes a clicking noise, you have to understand a disk read/write head. The read/write head hovers over a hard drive’s platters, and quickly scans across a platter either adding data to the platter or reading from it. In the event that damage is done to the platters, such as a head crash (the read/write head comes into contact with the platters, damaging them), the read/write head is unable to perform its tasks. This causes it to move back to its original position and try to locate the right position on the platters again – all in a very fast process. Occasionally, the read/write head will reach the end of the platter and hit a stop, resulting in the audible click sound that we recognize.

What Shouldn’t You Do?

While a non-functioning and clicking hard drive is annoying, the first thing that you should do is to make sure that you don’t do anything that might make data recovery impossible, even for a professional. There are a few things that you shouldn’t do on your own, and you should leave up to a data recovery professional. There are also a few things that no one should ever do while attempting to recover data from a hard drive.

On Your Own

Replacing the Control Boards

Many people with clicking hard drives think that switching out the control board might help their hard drive start working again. As the theory goes, if something short circuited in the control board of the hard drive, replacing the control board of the hard drive will do the trick and the owners hard drive will start working again. Many control boards for hard drives look identical from one another, but in fact do not function well with one another. That can lead to the data requiring a much more expensive procedure in order to become recoverable, or to not be recoverable at all. Additionally, the control board is likely not the source of the problem, and it’s not something that a data recovery professional would switch out often.

Taking the Cover Off

Under no circumstances should you take the cover off of your hard drive. Data recovery professionals will occasionally do this, but it is an expensive procedure and requires the specialists to operate in a class 100 cleanroom. If you take the cover off in an unfiltered air environment, you contaminate the hard drive and make data recovery more difficult or impossible for professionals. Additionally, unscrewing and re-screwing the screws of the hard drive misaligns the hard drive, and leaves it not functional. Only a trained data recovery professional with the proper screwdriver can make sure the screws are set to the proper torque in order for the hard drive to work again.

Install Software

There are plenty of data recovery software plans that can assist with recovering data from a hard drive. Unfortunately simply running them on your hard drive can alter the data and make it far more difficult to recover. Many software programs are simply not compatible with certain hard drives, and if you’re not sure what you’re doing, you can end up losing all of the data on your hard drive forever.

We’ve covered a few data recovery methods that don’t work, but we’ll go over a few of them again to reinforce the fact that you shouldn’t try these at home.

Never Ever

Freezing It

Hard drives are meant to operate under normal livable conditions, and inside of a freezer is not one of them. It can short out the electrical components of a hard drive, or lead to rotational scoring. Both of those make data recovery more unlikely and more expensive for you once you realize that freezing your hard drive did no good.

Bashing It

It should go without saying, but you should never apply physical force to a hard drive – no matter how angry you are at it. If you think the hard drive is clicking because you dropped it or the hard drive went through some sort of shock, doing it again won’t ever have any benefit.

Moving It While It’s Running

You can move a hard drive from one location to another, but only if the hard drive is not running! Hard drives are already sensitive to shocks and movements, and are super sensitive while the hard drive is running. If you need to reposition the hard drive, be sure that the hard drive is powered off, and take extreme care while moving it.

So… What Can I Do?

Now that we’ve told you all the things that you shouldn’t do with your clicking hard drive, we’ll tell you what you can do to ensure that you get your data back in the most cost effective way possible. Power it off! Unfortunately, once a hard drive starts clicking, there is some sort of mechanical issue with the hard drive, and it has to be taken to a data recovery professional. The longer you leave the drive running, the more likely damage will be done to the hard drive’s platters, making data recovery more difficult. You can also contact us and we can help you solve your problem. Describe the issue that you have, and one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives will get back to you within a business day.

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The Kia Soul Is the Best Subcompact SUV – 2017 10Best Trucks and SUVs

Marketing is a powerful tool. It can transform a Marlboro cigarette into a symbol of masculinity, an Apple computer into a futuristic fashion accessory, or, more recently, a small hatchback into a rugged, adventurous crossover. Or at least that’s how it’s perceived by the coldly rational confines of our head. But these sorts of perceptions—whether attached firmly to reality or not—are undeniably influential in terms of how people buy cars, and the crossover surge of the past few years is proof positive of this psychological phenomenon.

Marketing played a role in the initial success of the Kia Soul. too, even though the first-generation Soul wasn’t necessarily portrayed as a crossover. When it first arrived in 2009, it instead seemed late to the party started by boxy hatchbacks such as the Honda Element, the Scion xB, and the Nissan Cube. And yet, an ad campaign featuring the now-recognizable human-sized hamsters went viral and quickly helped put the practical and affordable Soul on the map. The strong-selling Soul now has outlasted that box-car trend, and its second generation arrived for 2014, just ahead of the wave of subcompact crossovers that broke in 2015.

The current Soul has maintained the funky charm of the first-generation model with design—inside and out—that manages to be both fresh and genuinely attractive, attributes that are often at odds. Kia also made some concessions to the crossover aesthetic by adding SUV-like touches such as extra body cladding and faux skid plates on some trim levels, and the automaker indeed now refers to the Soul as a crossover in its own marketing. But compared with the other shrunken SUVs in its class, the mature Soul seems more focused on substance and less desperate to conform to the sorts of superficial tropes thought up by focus groups and marketers.

We suspect that, to most people, a crossover’s true appeal is more deeply rooted in elements such as a raised seating position and increased interior space versus a car than in mostly pointless off-road ambitions. So while the Soul lacks an all-wheel-drive option, the goodness of its overall package more than makes up for that omission. Its cabin is richly trimmed and spacious—for example, its headroom and rear-seat legroom shame most of the competition—and it affords more cargo space than any competitor. As with many Kias, the Soul’s value equation is strong, with a base model starting below $17,000 and the well-equipped Exclaim (denoted as “!”) model starting under $24,000. Equivalent versions of competitors such as the Mazda CX-3 and the Jeep Renegade cost thousands more, and that’s without the added cost and weight of their optional all-wheel-drive systems.

The addition of a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine to the Soul’s top trim level for 2017 also has elevated the Kia’s fun factor. Its 201 horsepower delivers class-leading performance, and a sophisticated dual-clutch automatic and balanced suspension tuning make for a satisfying and energetic driving experience. The naturally aspirated 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter engines are not quite as spunky as the turbo, but they nonetheless deliver high levels of refinement and competitive acceleration numbers.

So while marketing is surely a factor in the Soul’s sales success, it’s the Kia’s purity of mission that impresses us most. Rather than settling for the mere image of capability and adventurous spirit, the Soul takes the small-crossover ideal a step further and backs up its outward appeal with a practical and enjoyable package that hits its target dead-on.

2017 Kia Soul

SOLVED Can t format hard drive #hard #drive #recovery #los #angeles


Hi there: going to give you guys a background first.

Alienware M14x Laptop

My stock HDD is the Samsung HM500jj 500 GB 7200 3.0 GB/s drive. I recently bought a Samsung 128 GB SSD and replaced the stock hard drive with the SSD. Installed Windows 7 Professional on the SSD by placing it in a caddy that I purchased from ebay.

Following directions from other users, I replaced my optical drive with the Samsung HM500jj stock hard drive. Fearing that I would have a boot conflict because of having the operating system installed on both hard drives, I wiped out everything on my HDD. The problem now is that my 500 GB drive is a RAW drive and it won’t allow me to format the drive back to NTFS. I’ve tried from disk management, command prompt, and even through the Windows 7 installation disc.

1. When I try to format using disk management, the Virtual Disk Manager gives me an error saying The format did not complete successfully. I check the event log, I get the error from atapi The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Ide\IdePort1.

2. When I try to format using the command prompt, upon typing Clean in DiskPart, I get the error: The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error. I then proceed anyway to format by typing format fs=ntfs quick, and the cmd says, DiskPart has encountered an error: The parameter is incorrect. See the system event log for more information. Except nothing is listed in the event log this time.

I know that the hard drive is not dead because I removed the SSD and put the HDD back in and I was able to do a fresh install of Windows 7 on the HDD.

Any thoughts? Right now I can see my primary hard drive in BIOS but not the secondary HDD. However, once my computer boots, both hard drives are detected. The problem is just that I can’t format the HDD. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

06:58 AM 04-16-2012

Your post wasn’t clear in the beginning. I wasn’t sure if you took the drive and placed it in a USB Enclosure (which is what I thought) or on the motherboard. So my suggestions were based on an enclosure.
The Bios error message is stating that the IDE port is not working.
This could be because of the IDE cable, or power plug plugged into the drive. Try swapping those out. Or try the drive on a USB Adapter as stated in the quote.

10:37 AM 04-17-2012

Choose your action:

Originally Posted by spunk.funk :
Your post wasn’t clear in the beginning. I wasn’t sure if you took the drive and placed it in a USB Enclosure (which is what I thought) or on the motherboard. So my suggestions were based on an enclosure.
The Bios error message is stating that the IDE port is not working.
This could be because of the IDE cable, or power plug plugged into the drive. Try swapping those out. Or try the drive on a USB Adapter as stated in the quote.

Thank you spunk.funk. I should’ve clarified in my first post. I do have to point out that my laptop motherboard and hard drive are SATA to SATA so is the IDE port involved here?

01:38 PM 04-17-2012

Choose your action:

Originally Posted by :
The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Ide\IdePort1. I can see my primary hard drive in BIOS but not the secondary HDD. However, once my computer boots, both hard drives are detected.

My head is still spinning reading over your post.
Do you have both the SSD drive and the SATA drive plugged in currently? In the Bios. are both drives showing up? (it would be impossible for the drives to show up once Windows loads if the drive is not showing in the Bios) In the Bios. what is in IDE Port1. If you can boot Windows, can you see each drive in Disk Management. Does it say a Drive’s file system is RAW. You cannot format a RAW drive, you must first Initialize it, by right clicking the drive (Drive 1 etc) and then choosing Initialize. Then you can right click the partition/volume and either Delete it and then create a New Simple Volume or just right click and Format NTFS.

08:44 PM 04-17-2012

Choose your action:

Originally Posted by spunk.funk :
My head is still spinning reading over your post.
Do you have both the SSD drive and the SATA drive plugged in currently? In the Bios. are both drives showing up? (it would be impossible for the drives to show up once Windows loads if the drive is not showing in the Bios) In the Bios. what is in IDE Port1. If you can boot Windows, can you see each drive in Disk Management. Does it say a Drive’s file system is RAW. You cannot format a RAW drive, you must first Initialize it, by right clicking the drive (Drive 1 etc) and then choosing Initialize. Then you can right click the partition/volume and either Delete it and then create a New Simple Volume or just right click and Format NTFS.

Hi spunk.funk, I do have both the SSD and SATA drive plugged in. In Bios, I only see Samsung 830 SSD but not the Samsung HM500jj. Yet when I load Windows, both the Samsung 830 SSD and the Samsung HM500jj shows up in My Computer, as well as device manager AND Disk Management. Since you said this case is impossible, I am very confused by it as well. I don’t see an IDE Port1 in my BIOS when I press F2 before Windows load, perhaps I am looking at the wrong place?

With regard to Disk Management, The 500 GB SATA drive is listed as RAW. I understand I can’t format a RAW drive so I’ve initiated it. Following your directions, I deleted the partition and then created a new Simple Volume. Except when I tried to Format NTFS, I had the same problem as my original post. Any thoughts?

12:05 AM 04-18-2012

Choose your action:

Press F2 to enter Setup (Bios) there should be a listing of the SATA ports (SATA port 0, port 1 etc) If you have IDE (PATA) port on the motherboard it would list that as well. On the First page of the Bios it should list the various drives by manufacturer and the port they are using. (If you can take a picture and post it would be most helpful)
The SATA port that the 500 Gb drive is plugged in, may be disabled. Make sure whatever port you plugged it into the motherboard is enabled in the bios. Try a different SATA port on the motherboard, try a different cable and power plug.
In Disk Management take a screen shot showing the 500 GB drive and attach it in your next post. Does it still say it is RAW ?

07:42 AM 04-18-2012

Choose your action:

Originally Posted by spunk.funk :
Press F2 to enter Setup (Bios) there should be a listing of the SATA ports (SATA port 0, port 1 etc) If you have IDE (PATA) port on the motherboard it would list that as well. On the First page of the Bios it should list the various drives by manufacturer and the port they are using. (If you can take a picture and post it would be most helpful)
The SATA port that the 500 Gb drive is plugged in, may be disabled. Make sure whatever port you plugged it into the motherboard is enabled in the bios. Try a different SATA port on the motherboard, try a different cable and power plug.
In Disk Management take a screen shot showing the 500 GB drive and attach it in your next post. Does it still say it is RAW ?

Thanks spunk. I will do that when I get the chance. I need to find my Camera. Will likely do that over the weekend and ask for your advise again. You are very helpful!

03:18 PM 04-18-2012

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2014 Volkswagen Passat First Drive – Review – Car and Driver #2014 #volkswagen #passat #1.8t, #vw, #s, #wolfsburg #edition, #se, #sel #premium, #four-door #sedan, #five-passenger, #four-cylinder, #turbo, #mid-size, #tsi, #review, #first #drive, #1.8-liter


2014 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T

Although Volkswagen’s U.S. CEO can boast that 75 percent of all diesel-powered cars sold in America wear the VW crest, the really big volume in the mid-size-sedan segment comes from four-cylinder gasoline engines—more than four out of five Camry. Accord. and Altima models, and all Sonatas and Fusions. pack gas-fired four-holers. Despite investing big in a new U.S. assembly plant and refocusing the Passat as a larger, value-oriented proposition, the VW mid-sizer hasn’t counted a mainstream gas four among its powertrain choices for a while. That changes for 2014.

New Base Engine

This year, a 1.8-liter turbo four replaces the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-five as the new base engine (the TDI and V-6 Passats will still be offered). The transformation begins with the line-topping SEL Premium and will eventually expand to cover the S, SE, and Wolfsburg Edition trims later in the year. The force-fed 1.8-liter is the same Mexican-built gen-three EA888 four-cylinder that finds its way into Golfs and Jettas for 2014. The engine features a thin-wall crankcase and fewer counterweights for reduced mass, as well as smaller main bearings and reduced oil pressure to minimize friction. The exhaust manifold is integral to the cylinder head to allow the engine to warm up more quickly, and the turbo is smaller and spools up faster.

We drove a well-equipped, $31,715 SEL Premium automatic. Even though the Passat is several hundred pounds heavier than the Jetta, the 1.8-liter turbo’s 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque move the mid-size sedan smartly enough, with something near half-throttle summoning the turbine for duty. Telling is the torque curve of the 1.8T, which rises quickly to mesa from 1500 rpm to near the 6200-rpm horsepower peak. Contrast that to the peaks and valleys of the outgoing 2.5L five-cylinder, which proffers its 177 lb-ft of max torque at a relatively rev-happy 4250 and its 170 horsepower peak at 5700, making for a narrow sweet spot.

Ready to Rumble

The fuel-economy-optimized calibration of the six-speed torque-converter automatic keeps the Passat at low revs in the upper gears when cruising, during which there’s much less rumbly powertrain noise than in the Jetta 1.8T we recently drove. We’ll attribute that to more soundproofing and the fact that the engine doesn’t stay at 1200 rpm very long if road load increases. Climb even a slight grade or barely breathe on the throttle, and the automatic transmission downshifts, banishing the rumbling sound. Of course, you can use your own gearbox programming by tipping through the gears manually or by simply opting for a Passat with a five-speed manual—yes, the car will still be available with a stick even after the 1.8T completes its creep across the lineup.

One side benefit of the switch from inline-five to turbo inline-four is less weight on the nose. The current Passat is a former comparison-test champ ; although it subsequently fell to three newer cars, it remains excellent to drive. Hustle the big, roomy sedan down a twisty back road, and you’ll appreciate its balanced handling, good body control, and capable brakes. Segueing to 1.8T also means shifting from hydraulic to electrically boosted power steering, a fuel-economy move that usually means some loss in feedback, but VW has maintained most of the previous system’s low friction and linear feel.

Midyear, VW will introduce a Passat Sport model with a long list of cosmetic baubles. The full rundown: a black roof, black mirror caps, a special Urano Gray color, front fog lamps, a rear spoiler, aluminum pedal caps, sport seats, stainless-steel kick plates, paddle shifters, and 19-inch aluminum wheels. No word yet if a sport suspension or other performance upgrades are also a part of Sport content.

Casting a Wider Car-Net

VW is also introducing an OnStar-like connectivity system dubbed Car-Net. After a six-month free trial, the Verizon-based system will be available across all 2014 model lines at $199 a year for the full suite of services. Accessed via overhead buttons, Car-Net’s skill set includes automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, manual emergency calling, and live destination assist. Additionally, a number of other services such as remote door unlocking, service appointment scheduling, family guardian speed alert, and others can be selected via an iOS app (an Android-based app will debut later).

The most significant item of note for most shoppers, however, is likely to be the improvement in EPA fuel-economy ratings—the 1.8T is up 2 mpg city and 3 mpg highway over those of last year’s base 2.5-liter engine. At 34–35 mpg highway, the Passat 1.8T still doesn’t match highway-label leaders such as the Nissan Altima, Mazda 6. and Ford Fusion 1.6 EcoBoost, but it’s in the hunt. Taken with its improved manners and drivability, the volume Passat now finds itself in a position to snag more mid-size market share.

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