Vehicle Pick of the Week: This used minibus will wow all types of clients, from brides to wine tour connoisseurs.
The beginning of the year is a good time to start evaluating your fleet and making decisions as to whether it needs an update. Technology is changing so fast that sometimes it can be hard to keep up. With that, so are the needs and expectations of your passengers. In executive transportation, staying on the cutting edge of your clientele is imperative to getting their business. MP3 capabilities, DVD entertainment systems with wireless headphones, satellite radio, and other forms of multimedia are prominent features in this year’s models.
Sedans and SUVs are getting roomier and more comfortable too, with features like dual-zone climate control, and heated and cooled luxury and power fold seats for extra legroom. LCT also offers a selection of alternative-fuel vehicles for operators looking to go green. With high fuel prices, concerns about foreign oil dependency, and the environment, these vehicles give livery operators more options. Check out these new 2007 models to see if your fleet needs to be rejuvenated with some of this year’s innovative choices.
Lincoln Town Car L Series
Executive transportation doesn’t get more classic than the Lincoln Town Car L Series, the industry’s most visible chauffeured vehicle. A V8 engine, with 239 horsepower, surprisingly powers the silent ride in the Town Car. Speed-sensitive power steering makes driving the Town Car an effortless endeavor. With the L Series, comes seating for six with a wheelbase that’s six inches longer than other Town Car models. Wood and leather trimming comes standard in the L Series as well as optional heated rear seats and dual zone electronic temperature control. The Town Car is a vehicle that works overtime to cater to and protect its passengers, featuring all speed traction control and an antilock brake system. The Town Car doesn’t leave much to the imagination as Lincoln has thought of just about everything to keep passengers comfortable and safe.
The Cadillac DTS Luxury I sedan comes equipped with a 275 horsepower Northstar V8 engine for amazing response and control of the road. Four-wheel antilock brakes and independent suspension, as well as speed-sensitive steering, put the driver in ultimate control. The interior elements facilitate driver and passenger command with tri-zone automatic climate control, individual climate settings for driver, right-front passenger, and rear passengers, dual-zone front and auxiliary rear air and heat control as well as an air-filtration system. Cadillac leaves nothing overlooked with heated rear outboard seating with perforated inserts and rear seat four-way power lumbar control. Certain DTS packages include burled walnut on the center stack, console, instrument panel molding, shifter head, door-trim panels, and upper and lower portions of the steering wheel. Also included is remote keyless entry, start, defrost, and AC activation. With the DTS Luxury I package, you are in complete control.
With the updated S550, Mercedes has set out to create a sleeker and edgier image for its luxury S-Class. The S550 is visually arresting with enlarged wheel arches and stretched wheel-bases, which offer rear passengers increased seating room. The S550 offers a muscular 5.5-liter V8 engine with 382 horsepower. Not only has the drivetrain received a revamp, the car also features easier steering capabilities and handling along with the latest in safety and luxury technologies. And the bells and whistles don’t stop there. In true Mercedes style, the 550 is equipped with a Night View Assist infrared night vision system, a rear-parking camera, and a 14-speaker surround sound audio system. Driving in the Mercedes S550 isn’t just a ride, it’s an experience.
Chrysler and Accubuilt 300 Six-Inch Stretch
The Chrysler Executive Series 300 is a six-inch stretch designed for both black car livery service and retail customers. The six-inch stretch is achieved with new, longer, precision stamped steel rear doors that allow easier entry and exit to the rear seat where six inches of extra legroom awaits. The car features a new, die-stamped steel roof that does not require a vinyl top, for a more modern look. The series is offered in both V6 and Hemi V8 models that bridge the gap perfectly between economy and power without compromise. Plus, the 300 keeps its passengers entertained with a rear-seat DVD Video Entertainment System (VES) and an AM/FM stereo with integral six-disc CD/MP3 player and full-screen navigation system. In addition to being a great ride, the 300 puts safety first, as it comes equipped with safety cage architecture, recently earning the car five stars in the highest government frontal crash test rating.
This second generation of the S80 is a decidedly more elegant version of Volvo’s flagship sedan. The S80’s new look signifies Volvo’s arrival to a world of evolutionary Scandinavian design, resulting in a youthful and cutting edge look. Ironically, the new model also reaches a whole new level of safety, featuring a side impact airbag and protection system as well as a whiplash protection seating system — all standard. The vehicle comes with optional front and rear park assist and adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support. Premium leather seating awaits passengers who will be thrilled by the car’s optional dual screen rear-seat entertainment system and standard high performance sound system with MP3 capabilities. The S80 has a proportionately powerful 3.2-liter, V6 engine with 235 horsepower and is also available with a 4.4-liter, V8 engine for those who crave a little more muscle. The S80 has an optional Bluetooth cellular phone connectivity feature perfect for business on the road. With this sedan, Volvo redefines executive transportation.
Lincoln Navigator L Series
Safety is the name of the game for the Lincoln Navigator. The seven-passenger SUV has earned the government’s highest five-star front crash-test rating seven years in a row. The SUV also features Advance Trac with RSC (Roll Stability Control), a brake-based electronic stability control system that modifies engine power, and brakes to prevent vehicle rolls. The Navigator’s power train features a standard V8, 300 horsepower engine, delivering power and command at the touch of the gas pedal. Inside, the luxury SUV is accented with LED lighting, real wood and leather trim, a split-bench seat that can be pushed forward for 11 inches of added room, and first and second row low-back bucket seats. The vehicle also features an optional rear-seat entertainment system with DVD, CD, MP3, and gaming capabilities, and two sets of wireless headphones. While riding in the Navigator, passengers can easily forget that it is the one of the safest luxury cars in its class.
Ford Expedition EL Series
The Expedition carries on Ford’s mastery of creating spacious luxury SUVs, with an eight-passenger or more capacity and 24 additional cubic feet of cargo volume. The third row power fold feature does more than just create a little more room — the seats collapse right into the floor, creating more rear space than any other SUV in its class. A 5.4-liter 300 horsepower Triton V8 engine drives the SUV, along with exclusive safety features, such as, Advance Trac with RSC (Roll Stability Control). Passengers in the Expedition stay comfortable in front and optional second row, leather-trimmed captain’s chairs, with three-setting heating and cooling options make the back of the vehicle a pleasure. A wide array of multimedia, including a standard MP3 plug-and-play capability, optional DVD entertainment system, and SIRIUS radio, is also available in the SUV. The 2007 Expedition upgrades prove that sometimes changing a good thing might not be such a bad idea after all.
The Escalade is an event on wheels. Inside, is room enough for eight passengers who will enjoy standard XM satellite radio, a Bose digital surround sound and optional entertainment system with DVD and MP3 capabilities. The Escalade’s generous seating is complemented by power fold and tumble seats, which assist in passenger entry and exit. Supported by a 6.2-liter Vortec V8 engine, the Escalade is equipped to accelerate from 0-to-60 mph in seven seconds, while maintaining a quiet and comfortable interior. According to Cadillac, the Escalade is the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class. A detailed aerodynamic design affords the SUV maximum fuel efficiency as well as a bold sculpted look. A chrome grill and 22-inch wheels accent the Escalade and separate it from the crowd, making it ideal for passengers looking to remain low- key but still make a statement.
GMC Yukon Denali
The Denali line of GMC vehicles takes luxury, innovation, and sophistication to the next level. The all-new redesigned 2007 Yukon carries out the true Denali tradition of high expectations with a nine-passenger capacity, second row captain’s seats, and custom cloth interior. Power release seats, a power lift gate, and front bench or bucket seats make Denali’s seating accessible and easy to manage. The Denali is available with a 4.8-liter, 5.3-liter, or 5.3-liter flex fuel Vortec V8 engine and optional Active Fuel Management system, which allows the engine to switch from eight to four cylinders whenever less power is needed. The optional coil-over-shock front suspension makes the Yukon a smooth, comfortable ride. It is available with a DVD entertainment system with an eight-inch LCD screen for second and third row passengers. As if the specs weren’t enough on their own, Car and Driver calls the Yukon a refined ride.
According to Edmunds.com, the 2007 Suburban is competitive at nearly every level and especially with the 2006 model. Chevy is asking less and giving more with this 2007 SUV. More passenger room is key to the Suburban’s update. Chevy has dramatically increased the space in the SUV’s third row, with a lower floor and adjustable seats that create a center aisle while folded up and a bench when down. All three rows in the Suburban are also equipped with airbags as well as head-curtain side air bags for added passenger protection. The Suburban has standard side mounted black assist steps and grille inserts, stainless steel muffler and tailpipes, and Solar-Ray deep-tinted windows for added privacy. The standard Suburban is powered by a Vortec 6-liter, V8 engine, and is equipped with Chevy’s new Active Fuel Management Technology in the optional 5.3-liter V8. The Premium Smooth Ride Suspension Package insures a comfortable ride with front coil-over-shock design and stabilizer bar. The 2007 model has certainly outdone itself since last year.
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