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An Auto Industry Insider’s View…From A Woman’s Perspective

Archive for November, 2013

Evoque-ing a New Appreciation for Land Rover

Posted by carsdiva on November 26, 2013

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the Winter Drive Event at the Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, WA, hosted by Land Rover Bellevue & Seattle, part of the AutoCenter NorthWest group.

LR_At SuncadiaDid you ever wonder about the true performance ability of a Land Rover–  particularly in instances they showcase in their commercials?  I did.  However, I’ll be honest, I didn’t initially get my Evoque solely for this purpose– i.e. off-roading.  I love the design in it’s compact form, and it still provides me with SUV-capability. (That’s what crossovers are supposed to do, right?)

Fast-forward a few months and I find myself at Land Rover Bellevue, where I met Service Manager, Rahim Sheikh.  He enthusiastically explained to me about the off-roading ability of a Land Rover, and then he went on to invite me to their upcoming Winter Drive Event.  As Rahim said, “why own one of these vehicles if you can’t experience what it really can do?  You can’t really appreciate a Land Rover unless you put it to the test.”  And after this event, I have to say I agree, Rahim.  Well said.LR_Evoque wheels up

Despite the inclement weather (which added to the experience), I joined the crew in setting up the course on Saturday.  The sneak preview was a nice precursor to the event the next morning.  As a passenger I got a chance to appreciate the breathtaking scenery, and furthermore, experience the drive from a different perspective.  I hopped in my Evoque the next day, along with a variety of about 30 other Land Rovers— from the full-size Range Rover to the Sport, LR2‘s and LR4’s, as well as several other Evoques. The off-roading course included driving through rough terrain up and down hills, crawling over logs and rocks, splashing through water, and plenty of pot holes.  I felt like I was in a commercial, but eh, should anything go awry, this was for real.  (Ok, ok, I felt slightly more at ease knowing that several people from the service department where with us…just in case.)  If anyone had any doubts about the capability of their vehicle at the onset, they were quickly diminished by the end of the course.  Would I do this again?  Absolutely! I can honestly say I have a whole new appreciation for my vehicle…. and the brand.

Thank you to Land Rover Bellevue, first and foremost for extending the invitation, and to both stores and their awesome staff for their superb hospitality and putting on a fun and fabulous event.

And now, without further adieu, here are some of the photos:

LR_Seattle BellevueLR_sidewaysLR_Approaching rocksLR_RocksLR_3 LRsLR_Nice ViewLR_LogsLR_ME


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Driving in A Winter Wonderland….Part 2

Posted by carsdiva on November 18, 2013

Tis’ the season for winterizing your car! I covered this topic last year, right about this time, but it’s always good to be reminded of what to do to prepare your car for cold weather.  I’m delighted to say that this year’s rendition is from a “guest” author.  (Special thank you to Doug Climenhaga!)  And now, without further adieu……

As the holidays approach we all know it is “that time of year” to get the coats, hats and gloves ready. And while we prepare ourselves to compensate for the colder temperatures we must remember to prepare our vehicles for sub-freezing temperatures as well. Your safety on the road from December to February can be greatly increased with only a few steps.

winter wonderlandYou don’t need a garage full of tools or grease under your fingernails to prepare your car for colder weather. Follow these simple tips to winterize your car for three months of warm and safe winter driving.

Check Windshield Wipers and Wiper Fluid

Remember that time you were driving and couldn’t see through the salt, slush, and grime on your windshield? What saved you? Pressing the wiper fluid button. Too many people forget how important wiper fluid is for safe winter driving, so be sure your reservoir is full every two weeks.

Checking your wipers is easy, too. Look for cracks in the rubber coating and make sure they glide easily over the glass with no hopping or bumping. If you need to replace them, simply remove the blade from the wiper arm and take it into an automotive store. The clerk will find you a new set and you will be ready to wipe away anything winter throws at you.

Check Antifreeze Levels and Mixture

Although radiator fluid is important year-round to regulate engine temperature, the name “antifreeze” clearly signifies its importance in the winter. A 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze ensures your engine starts and runs smoothly in subzero temperatures.

Every vehicle has an antifreeze reservoir in the engine. There will be a fill line for you to reference and your family mechanic will most likely check your antifreeze mixture for free. Your mechanic may also recommend a coolant flush to drain the old antifreeze, clean out the system and add a new mixture. Old coolant is full of dirt and rust particles that can damage your cooling system.

Inspect Tire Pressure and Tread Depth

Sleet, slush and ice are no match for a quality set of tires. Before winter starts be sure to check the tire pressure and tread depth to ensure optimal performance.  Under-inflated or bald tires offer no help on slick and dangerous roads.

Check the inside of your driver’s door or your owner’s manual for the correct tire pressure. You can find a tire gauge at any automotive store. The “penny test” is an easy way to check the tread. Place the penny upside down into several areas of the tread. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. If you don’t, you should be good to go.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Nobody expects his or her vehicle to break down, slide off the road or get in an accident. Things just happen. But when you find yourself on the side of the road with no warm vehicle to sit inside of, how do you protect yourself from the winter driving elements?

It’s always wise to prepare for the worst and a Winter Emergency Kit can easily fit in the corner of your trunk. Buy a plastic container with a lid and fill it with the following items: First Aid kit, blankets, gloves, hats, water, energy bars, a flashlight, reflective markers, matches, an ice scraper and jumper cables.

Keep Gas Tank Half Full

Nobody wants to run out of gas during the winter but the reason for keeping a half tank goes far beyond inconvenience. Shifting temperatures in the winter cause condensation to form on the walls of the gas tank that eventually drip down into the gas. And since water is heavier than gas it sinks to the bottom of your tank.

The more water-to-gas ratio in your tank the higher chances you have of introducing water to your fuel lines, and if they reach 32° or below they will freeze and block your engine of the fuel it needs to start and run properly. By keeping at least half a tank you will always have a dominant gas-to-water condensation ratio. Fill your tank now and refill when you get to half a tank—it’s that easy.

About the guest author:

Doug Climenhaga is president of SVI International, Inc. (, a leading supplier of parts for industrial lift equipment. With more than 20 years experience in the hydraulic and automotive lift industries, he holds two patents and has designed scores of problem-solving products.

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Land Rover North America: #IAmDriven Contest

Posted by carsdiva on November 6, 2013

Are you driven?  Ambitious?  Passionate? Do you push yourself to the next level?  If so, then here’s your chance to enter Land Rover North America’s #IAmDriven social media contest, as part of their launch of the 2014 Range Rover Sport.  Beginning November 5, 2013 and ending December 15, 2013, the contest will recognize five runners up and one overall winner. The chosen few will be profiled by Land Rover North America each week, beginning on January 15, 2014.

RangeRoverSportSo how do you participate? Those who feel they’re up to the challenge are encouraged to post four photos or videos on Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtags #IAmDriven and #Contest.  The photos/videos should tell a story and express how you are driven, and essentially, how you push yourself to the next level.  A select panel will choose the winner and runners up based on creativity, nature of the challenge, and visual fulfillment of the theme.

Like the new Range Rover Sport, if you’re dedicated to achieving top performance, then you have the opportunity to win an unparalleled driving experience at The Land Rover Experience Driving School at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, CA.  The all-expenses-paid trip includes accommodations for two nights for the winner (and guest), as well as three smartphone camera lenses to capture the driving experience.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.  And may the tweeting begin!

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