Designing a Strong DRG and Graphic Signature

Know how there’s those kind of cars, you see one from a distance, it’s features can’t be made out but you can just tell – it’s a Whatever.

Design Speak: this vehicle has a strong DownRoad Graphic,
its Graphic Signature is solid.

Speaking with Kevin George – Ford’s Exterior Design Manager – we learn about the DRG, and how when confronted with an advancing object, the mind goes through “3 reads”, and how that fits with vehicle design.

Read it online at Autonet.

Favourite line:

Everything described above – this “graphic signature” – is happening during the day, but the designers also have to pull this off at night. 


Back to ‘Keri on Driving’ – Index



The All-New 2015 Honda Fit

The all-new 2015 Honda Fit

This model year was refreshed from the ground up.

Starting at $14,495
This one $22, 968 (fully loaded, top trim: EX-L Navi)

It’s a 1.5 L 4-cylinder engine, outputting 130 hp and 114 lb.fts.

When you read reviews, the Fit is often called “fun to drive”, because it is.  Easy to toss around, small turning radius, does a good job keeping up on the highway, shines in a busy downtown, and get it in manual, it will help with the pep.

My tester was the top trim, EX-L Navi, but really, this car excels in the lower 2 trims, DX & LX.

Adding leather seats, automatic climate control and a moonroof is nice, but sends the price up too high and defeats the purpose of this vehicle, which is good value-for-money.

The refreshed exterior is its same, good-looking self…

… while the interior sees the most change.

Lots of new tech.

1 – a colour, 7″ screen, and the climate control panel is now all touch
2 – when you drive more fuel efficiently, those blue lights change to green
3 – power plugs and USB ports everywhere

And despite the double glovebox being deleted, there’s still plenty of storage, especially for a small car.

Notice it?

That’s not a backup camera, that’s the side-mirror camera. It’s Honda LaneWatch, a blind spot display.

When you signal to turn right, the camera mounted beneath the passenger mirror comes on, and is displayed on the dash screen. I found it a bit distracting at night.

What remained the same through the refresh, and this is good, is that the backseat is still massive.

The rear seat is actually a bench, and see how flat it folds? Massive cargo will slide right in, a rarity in a small car.  The proper name is Honda’s “60/40 2nd-Row Magic Seat”, okay that’s funny.

See, I’m seated with my legs crossed, and there’s still ample room.

Compare this all-new Fit with older models: 

2013 Fit here

2014 Fit here

This F2000 is powered by a stock Fit engine here




A Test: Use only Voice Recognition to Control a Car

This week I conduct an experiment:

Automakers are touting, “control the car using just Voice Recognition, so it’s hands on always!”

So for 1 week, try to drive without removing my hands from the steering wheel, ever.

Rely solely on the wheel’s buttons to operate the cabin controls, and infotainment system.

(Conclusion: can’t)

Read it online at Autonet.

Favourite line:

Regardless of how you’re operating the infotainment system, your focus and attention are still taken elsewhere. 

Test conducted in a 2015 Chrysler 200.

About pairing my phone to a car for the 1st time – here


Back to ‘Keri on Driving’ – Index



Chrysler’s 2015 All-new 200 Sedan

It’s Chrysler’s 2015 all-new 200 mid-size sedan.

Read my full review on

Short review:

With its upscale interior and exclusive 9- spd. transmission, in the mid-size sedan segment Chrysler just went from barely competing, to the one to compete against.

The launch was in Louisville, Kentucky.

Here’s the post about that, and what driving in Kentucky looks like [video].

It’s quite different from the model it’s replacing, which was known as a rental car (think of the Sebring), so therefore, not popular with the average consumer (because who wants to buy a car known for being a rental).

This new model ought to change that.

The interior is where Chrysler bests the competition, mainly because of the spacious, open centre console, thanks to the addition of an E-shift.

That E-shift is something we’ll start to see much more of, all automakers are moving to them.

It was a well executed launch, here’s a video still that wasn’t good enough to edit.

Not all launches have neat stuff, like this interior cutaway.

Engine/transmission: 2.4L 4-cylinder & 3.6L V6 / 9-spd automatic

Power/torque: 208 hp/ 258 lb-ft (4-cylinder) & 295 hp / 262 lb-ft (V6)

Starting at $22,495

Oh, and the 200 will not only parallel park itself, it’ll perpendicular park too.



Nissan’s All-new Micra – the Only Car under $10k

Nissan’s all-new Micra is the
lowest priced car in the country,
starting at $9,998

It’s a 1.6 L engine, outputting 109 hp and 107 lb-ft of toque, available in either 4-spd automatic or… manual. Nice.

As you expect, that’s the base model price, which means manual windows and doors.

But still, the rear seats fold 60/40, you can connect a device and play music, there’s a rear wiper with washer, and a Traction Control System (TCS).

The available features list includes all the en vogue stuff like: backup camera and colour screen; steering wheel controls; USB; A/C; Bluetooth hands-free phone; and remote keyless entry.

For such a low-priced car, I was hmm, the interior will feel chintzy, but I pawed it at the auto show, and it doesn’t. Nissan told me that because they buy parts in such massive bulk for both Nissan and Renault, they can get better quality finishings and materials.

Here’s the full spec sheet.

Make sure to order the below “Cargo Cover” (it’s an option). Security.

This car is specifically built for Canada.

Tim Franklin, head Product Planner at Nissan, is the gentleman behind customizing for our country, and I’ve interviewed him about that for my ‘Keri on Driving‘ column – How Nissan modifies cars for Canadians.

Tim conducts a “hockey stick test” ha (see also: the 6 Types of Features).

Didier Marsaud and I celebrated with cake.

Salut Monsieur, and bienvenue à ma blogue!

2015 Nissan Micra
Starting at $9,998

Arrives in dealerships this spring.