Transnasional Review: Forget Your Comfort

 

I was on Transnasional bus trip from Putrajaya to a northern state last night. Overall experience was not a good one though. The bus is supposed to depart at 10:00 PM but the driver begin the journey 2 minutes before scheduled time. While passengers are reminded to be at boarding platform 20 minutes before departure time, I think it is not right for a bus company to depart before its scheduled time.

The bus is from their newest fleet, with 2+1 seating. In-seat USB port is available. Therefore, you do not have to worry about charging your smartphone during long (and tiring) journey.

At the bus counter, the bus service is advertised as having speed limiter. It is a nice addition, considering the fact that many accidents happen due to excessive speed. However, the bus was too fast in city area, sometimes getting to almost 90 km/h in KL roads. This can be very dangerous to vehicles around it as well as the bus itself.

Konsortium Transnasional Berhad (KTB) has been operating Transnasional since a long time ago and this is not supposed to happen. Many other bus companies provide better riding experience.

We look forward to have continued improvement effort by Transnasional.

Ford Taurus 2014 Driving Experience

I have always been waiting for a good chance to drive a Ford Taurus after quite some time living my life without, er, driving it. Since I only get to try different cars while renting it, whatever options are being made available at rental locations are the only choice that I have.

Some time ago, AVIS changed Ford Taurus from “Full Size” category to “Premium”. Apparently, Ford Fusion has been bumped from “Standard” to “Full Size”. The thing about Ford is their cars look huge. I have read some people complaining how Taurus can appear huge and have limited space inside. Nevertheless, I like driving Fusion/Taurus because they give me the impression of stability due to their apparent size.

 

Appearance

Ford Taurus 2014 Interior at Night 2014-04-27 21.29.58
Ford Taurus 2014 Interior at Night 2014-04-27 21.29.58

The model that I drove is the “Limited” variant, meaning that it has most high-end features like the upscale SHO counterpart. The 2014 model does not change much compared to 2013 ones. For some reasons, American cars (including Asian cars marketed for American market) tend to have minor changes every year.

The car has perforated leather seats with heating and cooling function and adequate 12V power outlets available for use. I saw at least three of them in the car and they are reasonably positioned; one at the front, one in the middle and one for backseat passengers. Power output capacity for most recent car models should be able to accommodate even the power-hungry HP Elitebook Mobile Workstations.

 

In-car Interface

Microsoft-designed SYNC with MyFord Touch in-vehicle communication and entertainment system 2014-04-27 21.31.02
Microsoft-designed SYNC with MyFord Touch in-vehicle communication and entertainment system 2014-04-27 21.31.02

The in-car touchscreen interface does not offer much improvement over the 2013 model. It also feels similar to Ford Fusion MySYNC interface. Consumers complained on the internet regarding the usability of in-car interface that does not do much progress compared to other aspects of technology. I find this to be hard to disagree with because even with the high-end Taurus 2014 interface, it still feels flimsy and not so user-friendly.

 

Driving Experience

What is the most similar characteristic of Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Charger, and Ford Taurus? 3.5/3.6 L of power! With enormous engine power under the hood, accelerating at certain parts of the highway seems like a breeze. There are times when I need to accelerate rapidly after stopping, such as when I want to enter Route 495 Westbound from Hoboken. Short merging lanes and highway ramps require us to have precise and swift driving skills and having these engines will surely help with the driving.

Although Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) is an optional feature for Limited variant of Ford Taurus, my rental car model has this one, making the driving experience better. If another car happens to be at your blind spot, the light indicators lit up and the side mirror and it will give you audible warning if you are trying to turn to the respective car’s laneĀ (activating turn signal). I have tried the BLIS feature on Mazda CX-9 Crossover SUV and I find the feature to be really helpful, given the high number of accidents that are caused by being in the blind spot. As a personal anecdote, I was involved with an accident about one year ago due to my presence at a truck’s blind spot, causing it to hit me while merging into my lane.

Ford Taurus 2014 Tripmeter 2014-04-27 21.31.58
Ford Taurus 2014 Tripmeter 2014-04-27 21.31.58

Ford Taurus has almost never been a good friend with people who look forward to improve their gas mileage. My 75-mile trip on a combined environment (highway, suburban and city roads) only yields 0.1 point shy of 23 miles per gallon. Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima (both have ~2.4 liter engines) are better in their miles per gallon performance with only slightly less enjoyable driving experience.

 

Conclusion

Ford Taurus 2014 has again won my heart as the best sedan to drive in its category. Obviously this car should not be compared to their luxury counterparts such as Mercedes-Benz or BMW. I drove the car under various road conditions and it manages to run well even on rough roads while smooth ones definitely provide undisputed excellent driving experience. Besides, the car’s size and weight should give you more confidence to navigate sharp corners at a higher speed (NOTE: it is strongly recommended that you abide with speed limits and consider slippery road conditions when driving).

For those of you who rent cars frequently, try the Taurus whenever you can. Taurus, along with Fusion and Edge (SUV) will give you exceptional “Ford” driving experience that you can never get with other manufacturers.

 

 

p/s: I did not have the chance to visit the New York Auto Show this year.