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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Car Reviews

Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts Of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 4:06PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Toyota Supra test 2

It could be argued that the Toyota Supra is in fact, the king of all performance imports. Not the entire line of them, mind you, but the Mark IV rendition available in the United States from 1993-1998. These cars were the perfect combination of sleek, stylish good looks, strong factory performance, and almost unlimited mod potential. The from-the-factory version was a stout sports car in its own right. Opting for the turbo model (and what self-respecting man wouldn't?), owners were privy to a very impressive list of performance pieces including a 2JZ-GTE twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that put down a lofty (and possibly underrated) 320-horsepower and 315-lb.-ft. of torque. The turbos on the Mark IV mimicked those on its rival RX-7, operating sequentially as opposed to simultaneously. Exhaust would first spin only one turbo in order to get the engine up and off its feet quickly so as to avoid the notorious "turbo lag" that so many imports were stigmatized with possessing. The first turbo would not only help produce low-end torque (below 2,000 rpm) that was comparable, if not better, than most rival American V8 engines, it would then feed the second turbo and help increase high RPM boost (above 4,000 rpm), making the Supra a force to be reckoned with at any speed, especially on the top end.


Classic Car Cultist: Subaru BRAT

On: Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 3:13PM | By: Chris Salamone


Subaru Brat test 2

Remember that insanely popular kid from high school? The one with the mullet and cigarette pack carefully rolled into his sleeve? What made him popular was not that outlandish haircut, and certainly not any strange ability to communicate better than the rest of us, nor was it the product of a highly confused and misguided generation. Instead, his claim to fame can only be attributed to the one universally recognized symbol of a ‘top of the food chain’ status. Say hello to the Subaru BRAT.

The BRAT, a clever acronym for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter, was a car which defied categorization. Part car, part utility truck, Subaru essentially chopped the rear top off of the company’s four-wheel drive station wagon and released the BRAT as a competitor for the then heavily popular Chevrolet El Camino and Ford Ranchero market.


2012 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS63

On: Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 11:06AM | By: Peter C Sessler


2012 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS63 test 2

When you do the latest review on a Benz, you are dealing with a comfortable four-door luxury sedan that is stacked with all the luxury items you can think of—and it’s also a ground-breaking hot car that will eat 99% of cars out there. It has incredible power, yet at the same time, it will just purr along—until you are ready to roll once again!

You may say, why should I buy such a car? Do I need it? The thing with power is that you get used to it awfully quickly, and I know this sounds silly with a car that does 0-60 in 4.4 secs, but after a short time, you’re almost ready for another dose. There isn’t a limit when you can have more.


Drop Top Dream Boat: 2012 Camaro ZL1 Convertible

On: Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 9:27AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


2012 Camaro ZL1 Convertible test 2

When it comes to performance cars, let's face it: Having a fixed roof sucks. You know it and I know it—when you're a car guy, you want to be involved with the driving experience. You want to shift the gears for yourself, listen to the engine roar, and become one with the car as you turn down one unknown road after another just to see where they go. But there is a big difference between rolling down the windows and dropping the entire roof. Anyone that has owned, or at least ridden in, a convertible on that first warm day in April or May knows that there is nothing like it. Anyone that believes otherwise more than likely has spent most of their life rationalizing their way away from every convertible option they have ever encountered, and are probably driving a very practical car this very minute. 

Thankfully, Chevy has learned a thing or two about the hearts and minds of their potential customers. They know that, sure, they have to make simple practical cars for the masses, but when it comes to the fun powerhouses, don't screw around—make them as fun and powerful as they can be. Having just introduced the most powerful Camaro to have ever been built to a brand new generation (and reintroduced it to an older one), Chevy really could have stopped there. But they didn't, and we couldn't be happier. Chevy has just announced that there will be a drop-top version of the sickest Camaro ever.


 

2012 Kia Soul Review

On: Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 12:42PM | By: Peter C Sessler


2012 Kia Soul test 2

If you got to have a foreign car with funky styling, then the Kia Soul has to be your choice. In the Kia Soul, introduced in 2009, the Korean manufacturer decided to inject some pizzazz into their rather staid lineup and, now, three year later, the whole car line is looking “Grand Funk(y).”

Is the new styling for you? Well, we’ll leave that up to you—you’ll know in about a few years if it holds up or not.


The Next Porsche: 911 Heaven!

On: Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 4:01PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


The Next Porsche: 911 Heaven! test 2

Goodbye 997, hello 991. Although it may not look like much of a change from the outside—sure, there are LED running lights (who doesn't have them these days?), longer and narrower tail lights, and a gas tank flap relocated to the right front fender, big deal right? Those minor changes hardly call for the clamor of an entirely new model designation, right? Wrong. If you're an avid enthusiast, stare at the new 911 long enough and slowly but surely, your eyes will start to insist that there is something different about this Porsche from ones you have already committed to memory, and your eyes would be right.  

It seems that Porsche has realized that their latest sports car creation, the Cayman, actually has much better design DNA than their perennial all-star 911 which has been flawed by physics since its inception decades ago. Basically, having the engine sitting out over the rear axle makes the car extremely difficult to deal with on the track, or even just when it's being driven hard. Trying to compare a rear-biased 911 to a mid-engine sports car like the Cayman actually proves there really is no comparison. The Cayman has nearly perfect weight distribution and is so predictable its driver will feel like Miss Cleo. Why do we bring up the Cayman while mentioning the new 991, you ask? Well, because Porsche knows this, and they are slowly modifying the 911 to make it more of a mid-engine car than staunchly holding on to their past design. Now, thankfully they are changing the car ever-so-slightly so as not to incite a riot among the German faithful.


Review: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

On: Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 11:23AM | By: Mary McRae


2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid test 2

On the subject of hybrids you are thought to simply have two options: You can buy a Toyota Prius - a hard-core, 50-mpg hybrid with trendy styling and a utilitarian interior - otherwise you will pay more and get less-spectacular mileage in a more leisurely sedan, like a Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry hybrid. Hyundai joins the second group with the first hybrid, which is based on the Sonata sedan.

So what is it that will make the Sonata Hybrid stand out from the Camry and Fusion hybrids? It features a more advanced battery pack, better mileage on the highway, a traditional six-speed automatic transmission … and it looks cool, too! Overall, the strategy works well. It's flashy enough to shout “hybrid,” additionally it provides a feeling of cool, not of smugness.


All-New S60, Most Dynamic Volvo Ever?

On: Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 12:58PM | By: Chris Salamone


All-New Volvo S60 test 2

“Dynamic” is one of these advertising words that incorporate lots of different meanings conveniently into one fancy sounding concept. But when Volvo says the all-new 2012 S60 is “the most dynamic Volvo ever”, suddenly a word without a concise definition becomes a bit clearer. The S60 is a car with a range of skills, a range of driving characteristics, and most certainly a flashy new exterior. By all accounts, the 2012 model is faster, more efficient, and better looking than the outgoing model, thus making this latest redesign a Volvo with many powerful attributes.

For starters, the 2012 S60 is best-in-class within a few different luxury sedan categories. The T5 model achieves an estimated 30 mpg and yet delivers a 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds. Also, Volvo provides best-in-class coverage with a 5-year/50,000-mile warranty on all components (maintenance, wear & tear, roadside assistance, etc.). Like previous models, this newest S60 comes with two chassis settings (instead of three) for driver comfort and optimum handling.


Audi TT RS: We Don't Need No Stinking R8!

On: Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 11:48AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Audi TT RS: We Don't Need No Stinking R8! test 2

So, if you're an Audi fanatic, then you already are aware of the big, bad R8 halo car. Sure, it's gorgeous, it's fast, and when it comes to four-ring badges it has no equal, right? Wrong. Enter the 2012 Audi TT RS. Sure, it's not as pretty as the R8, but it might be deserving a bit more respect than you might originally be willing to bestow upon it. 

For starters, you have to acknowledge that the new(er) styling of the TT is an extreme improvement over the original VW Bug-look. It's sportier, cleaner, and much, much more aggressive than ever before.  But, this TT RS has a bite to back up its bigger bark. Although it starts with half as many cylinders as the R8 V10, the TT RS utilizes a turbocharger to bolster its 2.5-liter inline five cylinder motor to produce a very impressive 360-horsepower and 343-lb-ft of torque. Yes, a straight-five, and yes, horsepower and torque in the mid-300 range. Not too shabby, huh? That wacky engine is backed up by a six-speed manual transmission—your only choice of shifting gears by the way, none of that silly dual-clutch semi-automatic whatever-the-heck. That traditional tranny sends power to all four wheels, thanks to Audi's ever-present Quattro all-wheel drive system, and gives the TT RS a ton of grip off the line and through the tightest of curves.


Long-Term Test: 2011 Subaru Outback

On: Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 12:02PM | By: Chris Salamone


2011 Subaru Outback test 2

A common hallmark of most car reviews is the invisible hand which gently guides the reviewer into a state of fluffy feedback-inducing euphoria: aka the manufacturer. All too often vehicles are lent to reviewers who receive inexplicable perks in exchange for a positive review. So what makes this long-term test any different? My tester Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium didn’t come from the manufacturer and, much to my chagrin, no perks were sent in my direction. Even without an exciting array of hidden incentives, I attempted to put this slightly-used beaut through its paces.

At 22,000 miles it’s fair to say that we have a pretty good picture of this vehicle’s stats.


The Case For Edmunds' Parody-DocuDrama Review

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 5:26PM | By: Chris Salamone


2012 Jeep Wrangler test 2

“Finding water is the first priority when trying to survive in the desert, but nature provides everything you need… if you know where to find it,” said Mike Monticello from Edmunds.com as he pulled open a seemingly abandoned Jeep Wrangler’s trunk hatch filled with water and Doritos. When trying to escape the wilderness, sometimes you get lucky and find civilization. Other times, a fellow adventurer saves you from disaster. And other, less frequent, times you find a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara stocked with delicious snacks and a handy set of keys—just waiting for a quick test review.

It just so happens that Road Test Editor Mike Monticello found himself without a functioning vehicle after several days in the Mojave Desert. To make matters worse, he was completely out of food, tired, and could self-rescue only on foot. And then, seemingly without warning, he stumbled upon Option 3.