Letter from Europe this month

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By Andrew Frankl

Head of the European Office

The automatic channel

There could be flooding, there could be revolutions, there could be fires in the Sierras, but there is a place in the world where you would never know that there is something wrong with it. the world. Already. This place of course in Monaco, the tiny Principality of the Mediterranean.

There is of course the famous Grand Prix but even when there is no race the place is always buzzing. During a recent stationary tour, I found two Bugatti Veyrons from Dubai and a Rolls from Russia.


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There were too many Ferraris to count and there were more Porsches than VWs. The new Pagani, 7-time world champion, caused a stir, but with all that exoticism it was just another supercar.


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Coming back to Earth, I had a great time in the Cadillac CT5-V. Very well finished and with an excellent gearbox, it was and is a worthy competitor of BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

Just as I finished the road test came the explosive announcement: Caddy is releasing a 668 horsepower rocket with a manual gearbox! Having recently had the fastest time in the Caddy Corvette that has stopped traffic everywhere I’ve been, this new Caddy shows the company is very competitive and is doing something about it.


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The AMG and M series are what the boys in Detroit tested before they launched this automobile. I’m sure there is already a waiting list along the Mulsannes Straight so you better hurry if you want to get one. Quite possibly the most desirable four-seat Caddy ever. But you better practice your stick shift, I’m amazed how few young people know it. This Caddy is reserved for big boys and big girls.

Nothing could be more different from the Quick Caddy than Subaru’s recent offering called Wilderness. Or to give it its full name Subaru Outback Wilderness. But before I talk about Wilderness, I have to pay tribute to Subaru for being a very mature company. I gave them a hard time recently, but instead of preventing me from having test cars, they agreed to let me have the Wilderness.

The Outback dates back to 1994 but has improved considerably since then. For starters, it has a 9.3-inch ground clearance which helps considerably off-road. I was also very impressed with the security features. My personal scarecrow, the reflection in the mirror, has been corrected and something else that I very much approve of. Instead of tiny little warning signs inside the mirror, the Wilderness now has an impossible-to-miss solid yellow warning light. The Yokohama tests were specially designed to deal with off-road conditions, therefore I found them floating on the recently remade I-280. Nothing dramatic but noticeable.


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The 11.6-inch infotainment center isn’t too bright, frankly, I haven’t found a perfect one yet.

The price of the Wilderness is exceptional valued at 36 thousand dollars, highly recommended.

Just as I was writing about Subaru, an email from the company’s director of product PR Todd Hill told me that the much-criticized Forester Sport vents have been overhauled in black. Made my day, good to know that if the criticisms are correct, companies react. It’s good of Todd to let me know.


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The KIA carnival is a quirk. He tries to be everything for everyone and in a fun way he succeeds. You want your mother-in-law to sleep in the back, all you need to do is press a button and presto, you have a fully reclining bed in row 2. Do you want quiet children? You drop off mother-in-law at home, enter the children who will be completely silent because they will watch videos on the installed tablets.

The price range goes from up to 32,000 dollars and it has some amazing features. The KIA blind sports monitor is quite unique and must have saved hundreds of lives. I’m talking about cyclists who are always doing less well.


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The 12.3-inch navigation system is one of the best, but there is still a long way to go, although, to be fair, it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that you integrate. I love that the Carnival has 9 USB charging ports to avoid noisy rows between kids, when one kid charges while another can’t.


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290 horsepower is fine, albeit at full load – and there’s plenty of room – something around 350 would have been nice to have.

What always amazes me about KIA is their supreme confidence in offering a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty. The best in the industry without a doubt. Since the price range is 32-46, you go to a dealer to see what you need and what you don’t need. $ 14,000 is a lot to pay for things you won’t need. A great product, well worth a trip to the local dealer.

That’s all for this month’s letter in Europe … stay well, stay safe.


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