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14 posts from February 2013

February 08, 2013

2013 Jaguar XJ & XF Buff Up with AWD

Quebec, Canada, December of 2012: We were invited to Quebec to drive a trio of 2013 vehicles from Jaguar and Land Rover: the company’s flagship Jaguar XJ, the smaller XF and the compact SUV Land Rover LR2. The driving conditions were perfect—snow, ice, rain and wind. Just the kind of weather we wanted to test the goods!

2013 Jaguar XF_AWD_6The news: With the addition of all-wheel drive, the XJ and XF are making themselves available to a new market, one that wants to be prepared for all types of weather conditions.
The drive: Our route started off in Mont Tremblant and took us over snowy back roads to Mecaglisse, a driving school and racetrack in the belly of the Laurentian Mountains and a 90 minute drive from Montreal.

I am one of those people who loves to drive on snow and ice. I got my wings after spending a couple of wild winters in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But in those days, I had an aging four-wheel drive Jeep. How my life has changed! This time, I was driving luxury sedans with AWD and feeling very confident! At the track, an instructor coached us in the art of dancing through cones, making quick stops and starts on the ice and drifting in circles around a track. One word: SUPERB.

But a real life test had me totally convinced. On the drive back, a huge snow machine veered into our path, spewing ice and mud. The lake was on our right, the truck on our left. When we lunged right and slipped minimally, the AWD system kicked in. The magic of this technology is what kept us from a potentially serious accident.

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February 06, 2013

Introducing Armor All Custom Shield Coating: Custom Vinyl In a Can, and More!

KG_AACS_2I recently had the opportunity to test a brand-new product from Armor All. The company that produces a wide variety of vehicle cleaners, protectants, and more has just introduced this all-new product which has more uses than I can hope to count in the span of one review, but suffice it to say this: the Armor All team has one heck of a versatile product here. This is a product whose aim is both cosmetic and utilitarian – it protects, while giving you a look similar to what you'd get at your local custom shop. Let's take a look at just what this stuff does, and how mind-bogglingly useful it could be.


KG_AACS_3First and foremost, this product is all about protecting your finish, and that's where I'll start. One of the samples I received was the clear variety, which may not look very impressive, but I sure had a perfect opportunity to use it. On the week I was to sample this stuff, we had a run of nasty weather in the mountains of Appalachia where I live. A week of flooding that culminated in a pretty climactic nine inch snowfall (more higher up – we lucked out there) effectively delayed my road test, but also presented an opportunity. Once this weather was passed, our roads were a mess of slush, salt, and generally nasty stuff. Now, I don't need to tell any of our regular readers of the importance of protecting your vehicle's finish from the damaging effects of road salt, but today I get the distinct privilege of showing you a great way to prevent it.

KG_AACS_5This stuff is truly the only thing in its class, I've never seen anything like it. Armor All Custom Shield Coating comes in a can that looks like any other aerosol can, except it's a little larger. This product, once sprayed onto your car, forms a solid coating shielding your car from everything outside. It's hard to see with the clear version, but I used it to coat my quarter-panels to protect them from all the muck on our roads after our bout of inclement weather. Once it's on, it will protect everything under it for three months. Here's the best part, and it's pretty unbelievable: once you decide you want to replace of remove the Custom Shield, it simply peels off, just like vinyl.

A word to the wise, here – make sure you follow instructions and apply four complete coats, letting each dry in between. If you don't, I could see with a test patch that peeling Armor All Custom Shield Coating off would be more like peeling a sunburn than peeling a sheet of vinyl. With four good, even coats everything works just fine.


There's another side to this product that is just amazing to me – it is a cosmetic product as well as a protectant. Available in several colors (clear, white, black, and grey), you can use this stuff to do a wide variety of custom work to your car in the comfort of your own driveway, and it's easy. I can't stress that enough. Armor All Custom Shield Coating, a wiping cloth, and a roll of painter's tape are all you really need, but if you're anything like me, a little strip of tape isn't much of a margin for error. Full disclosure, I used a sheet of posterboard for overspray, and had my trusty spouse hold it as I applied. I am certain that it saved me some frantic wiping, so you may want to plan on doing the same if you're not an experienced painter. I went with a classic racing stripe, but you can also do a sweet two-tone effect, a custom wheel treatment (to protect your wheels from road-grime) or, if you get really creative, you could stencil on any number of custom designs.

KG_AACS_8For ease of use, Armor All Custom Shield Coating gets top marks. Just spray onto a clean, dry surface 6-12 inches away using even, overlapping strokes (after taping off as necessary for your job), let it dry, and repeat. As above – to be sure, make sure you do four good coats, allowing time to dry in between. Before you remove the tape, spray the edges one last time – you want wet edges for clean tape removal, otherwise it tends to want to pull up what you've already put down. Once you're done, marvel at your own abilities as a custom shop artist, and drive with pride for up to 3 months – then re-apply, or change it up with a whole new look.

To learn more about the brand-new Armor All Custom Shield Coating, get ideas, see pictures and videos, or to buy a can for your own DIY custom project, visit and use promo code SPRAY1 (all caps) to qualify for FREE shipping for your order! The sky is really the limit with this stuff. AskPatty has spoken. Armor All Custom Shield Coating is Awesome!

Kaeli Gardner

February 04, 2013

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500: The General’s Next-Generation Pickups

IMG_0331General Motors says that today’s pickup truck buyers don’t just use their trucks from 9-5, but also from 5-9, too! They want trucks that have the DNA or core technology of toughness for work, carrying payload, and hauling trailers, but also comfort and room for taking their kids to ball games and ferrying their family around town, as well as connectivity and good gas mileage. Listening to their customers, who are also buying more extended cab models, GM has just taken the wraps off of its next generation Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 that have been updated and renovated for 2014.

Scheduled to go on sale later this year, the stablemates have a refreshed exterior, a completely redesigned interior and upgraded powertrains for more power—but also improved fuel economy. We took a ‘first look’ at the new models recently in Detroit; pricing has not been announced. While General Motors played it safe with this model year update, and kept some familiar exterior design cues and, in some areas made modest changes, there are also some significant improvements, particularly with some technology features – the improvements offer a welcome change and are clearly a sign of many new and good things to come from The General.

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February 01, 2013

Super Bowl Car Ad Trifecta: the Good, the Bad, the Terrifying

It's that time oCarscomf year again, the only time when non-sports-fans like myself will actually sit down to watch a football game - or rather, to watch the commercials that interrupt said football game.  Super Bowl Sunday is truly topsy-turvy day for me and many like me, and though I admit I had to Google who was actually playing in the Super Bowl (It's the Ravens and the 49ers, apparently), I have been keeping a close watch on the ads in development - particularly the car ads.  The BEST news is that the creepy guy with the second head will NOT be returning to haunt my nightmares this year.  Here's a roundup of what we can expect to see from and a few other auto makers, and look for a follow-up next week!   Head past the jump for the good stuff.

Continue reading "Super Bowl Car Ad Trifecta: the Good, the Bad, the Terrifying" »

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