What do you get when you outfit a Ford Mustang with a racetrack-ready chassis and a high-revving V-8 engine? The spectacular Shelby GT350, of course. Its muscular proportions are exaggerated by stretched scoops and special splitters to manipulate airflow. Out of the box, the track-focused GT350R is stripped of superfluous stuff such as a back seat and rigged with racing equipment (such as carbon-fiber wheels). Both Mustangs make glorious sounds and put power down with a standard 526-hp naturally aspirated V-8 and a six-speed manual gearbox. While the Shelby is outgunned at the drag strip by the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Ford has heavily transformed its twin snakes for hypnotic high performance.
These small indiscretions give the Micra a couple of big black marks against its otherwise impressive package. Don’t get me wrong, if you invested in one you would be getting a superb supermini that is well appointed and is better to drive than most in this class. But the Ibiza and the Fiesta have an added layer of polish that you would expect for a car priced as ours is.
Essentially a fancy term for leasing, these deals remove much of the hassle that comes with car ownership – although, unlike personal contract purchase deals, they don't give you the option to buy the car outright at the end of the term.
The Workhorse N-Gen sounds at first description like a Hollywood spy-movie cliché: a near silent electric powertrain within a white van with a rather frumpy, nondescript exterior—and a little drone aircraft deployed from the roof to make the final move to the target. Its reason for being is much more pragmatic, however; it’s the latest in a growing line of delivery vehicles from Workhorse of Ohio, positioned for the greening of corporate fleets while keeping ownership costs extremely low. The N-Gen is designed to replace a generation of small delivery vans powered by gasoline and diesel engines. Although final specs aren’t out yet, it’s expected to weigh hundreds of pounds less than those older vans, thanks to a lightweight composite body. Electric motors will provide about 100 miles of plug-in power, while a small onboard gasoline-fired range-extending engine will add another 75 miles of range. Workhorse claims up to 65 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) for the N-Gen. Although Workhorse has been teasing its W-15 range-extended electric pickup (pictured below), which we briefly drove earlier this year, for much longer, it’s the N-Gen that will reach the market first; production will start in the first quarter of next year. “It’s coming out first because regulatory-wise it’s just easier,” explained CEO Stephen Burns, explaining that it’s closely related to the vehicle that’s a finalist in the United States Postal Service Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) vetting process. Workhorse, in conjunction with truck outfitter VT Hackney, delivered its six prototype vehicles on time in September for evaluation. The USPS is expected to announce around March 1 what company gets the contract to build up to 180,000 vehicles over a time period of up to seven years.
A software update introduced the Chill Mode, which can be accessed via the on-board infotainment screen. In the software update notification, it says that Chill Mode is ‘ideal for smoother driving and a gentler ride for passengers’.
But what’s it like today?
The EPA rates the Accord 1.5T’s Sport and Touring trims with the CVT at 29 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined; the lower-spec LX, EX, and EX-L models achieve higher ratings of 30/38/33 mpg. While it was in our leadfooted possession for 590 miles, our Accord returned 30 mpg. Not shabby but not quite vicuña, either.
With it time to bid our long-term Nissan Micra a fond farewell, let's conclude whether this fifth generation car is more than just style over substance.
Those who want their very own theme-park ride can buy the Shelby GT350 for $58,045; that’s about $22,000 more than a regular Mustang GT without options. The track-focused GT350R costs an extra $7500 but adds aggressive aerodynamics, even more aggressive chassis tuning, and lightweight 19-inch carbon-fiber wheels with wider Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 near-race-spec tires. This stripped-down version saves weight by eliminating the back seat, air conditioning, audio system, and other equipment. The seats can be reinstalled by a dealer, and the rest can be optioned back in with the R Electronics package for $3000. While the GT350R is incredible on the racetrack, we’d prefer to drive the GT350 on a regular basis. It has standard equipment such as:
What's motivating him is this: He's 36 years old and is intent on becoming only the second driver, after Briton Graham Hill, to win motorsport's Triple Crown. That entails winning the Formula One title (or just the Monaco Grand Prix according to one interpretation) as well as Indianapolis and Le Mans.
Drivers will be able to tell when the ABS system on their car is activated because when they apply the brakes, brake pedal will pulse rapidly under their foot. Many modern cars have integrated safety systems that will also see the seatbelts tension and even the hazard warning lights activate when under extreme braking.