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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Car Reviews

Forbes lists "The Worst Cars on the Road." Sort of.

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 11:49AM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photo illustration by author test 2

Want to know what the Smart ForTwo coupes and Mercedes’ flagship S550 have in common? [Yes, they’re from the same company. And both have engines and wheels. But this is NOT what I meant.] Forbes.com—in cahoots with Consumer Reports—has named both to its “The Worst Cars on the Road” list.

Nope. Not kidding.

Those are two of the three foreign vehicles on the list—the U.S.-built Nissan Titan truck is the other—of twelve listed, broken down (ha!) into five SUVs, three trucks, three cars, and one minivan.

Chrysler took the biggest hit, with five vehicles named: Chrysler’s Town & Country minivan; Dodge’s Dakota pickup, and Nitro SLT SUV; and Jeep’s Liberty/Liberty Sport and Wrangler Unlimited off-roaders.

The GM contingent is led by Cadillac’s Escalade SUV, though in its “Base” trim level. Chevrolet swept the rest, with its Aveo/Aveo5 economy car, Colorado pickup, and Tahoe Hybrid SUV.

But things aren't as they seem...


VW Golf R: The Hotter Hatch

On: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 11:48AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Volkswagen Golf R test 2

Fans of the Volkswagen GTI have seen their prized steed come a long way in its time. It wasn’t long ago that those three letters brought about an image of a 20-year old with a shaved head and bad attitude behind the wheel of a stripped down hatch with fuel-rich burst of exhaust buzzing down the highway, held in place by a racing harness beneath a roll cage and a 10,000-watt stereo system.

Those were interesting days, to say the least. But it seems that Volkswagen, its drivers, and its GTI have all matured together, realizing that speed can be synergistically combined with modern creature comforts, technology, and style to create a car that is more than the sum of its trade-show parts. 


2012 Acura TL: Less Is More!

On: Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 3:42PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


2012 Acura TL test 2

If you are in the market for a new car, and can afford it, you are pretty lucky. With that said, given all of the unsteady state of the economy, people are looking for value more than ever. So, if we said that you could have a legitimate five-passenger sedan for less than the price of comparable four-passenger sedans, your ears might perk up a bit wouldn’t they?  Well, listen up… Acura is simply the best luxury car value on the planet, bar none. For less than the price of a similarly equipped 3-Series BMW or Audi A4 you can get your hands on a brand new 2012 Acura TL.  

When it debuted as the TL (sans any numerical prefixes) eight years ago, the car was a conservatively styled success. But, when the 2009 redesign showed up, even with its bigger interior, all-wheel drive, and more powerful engine, it was received with harsh criticism for being far too over the top, essentially going from a shirt and tie to glowing red leather suit. It was a better car, but most people couldn’t get past the exterior to find the quality inside.


Silverado HD Slays Competition

On: Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 5:02PM | By: Chris Salamone


Head-to-head comparison test 2

Everyone knows the Silverado HD was recently named Motor Trend’s 2011 Truck of the Year. Yet, competitors like Ford and Dodge still offer quality trucks and The General needs to ensure consumers know which brand reigns supreme. GM’s global vehicle line executive for full size trucks, Rick Spina, recently stated that the company “wanted to get away from spec-sheet comparisons and show how these trucks perform in the real world." Perhaps the best way to do so is by a head-to-head comparison pitting the best against the best: HD vs. HD.

In so doing, Chevrolet created a heavy-duty pickup cage match in seven short videos, appropriately named HD to HD. Spina actually hosts with sidekick—Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long—instant credibility points here. But wait, you’re concerned this is a fluff piece meant to taint your completely unbiased opinion about pickup truck brands? Think again. GM employed AMCI to independently test the Silverado HD against the Ford Superduty and Ram HD.


 

Buick Enclave Delivers Where It Counts

On: Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 11:14AM | By: Chuck Arehart


2011 Buick Enclave test 2

When Buick first launched the Enclave nearly four years ago, it was nearly a watershed moment for General Motors. This third vehicle of the then all-new Lambda platform (preceded by the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia) was the best looking and most luxurious of the GM cross-over vehicle trio and set a tone for Buick design.

Enclave continues to deliver where it counts. The CXL-2 with all-wheel drive test vehicle was loaded with the usual barrage of luxury equipment that included heated and air-conditioned front seats, rear-view camera, remote start, Bose sound system, power liftgate, articulating headlamps (with standard high-intensity discharge lighting), and leather seating. Yet, for a sticker price just a couple hundred bucks south of $50k, you would expect power adjustable pedals and some kind of blind spot warning system or at least an integrated blind spot mirror, but those items are MIA.


The Sound of Savings; The Cruze Eco

On: Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 2:29PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Chevrolet Cruze Eco test 2

So, if you are anything like me, even during this heightened fossil fuel, ‘go green or go home’  paradigm shift that has all but taken hold of the planet, you still are not quite willing to surrender your gas-powered engine for some electrical half-gas, half-battery, silent-synergy science project… At least not yet. Plus with companies like Toyota, you can’t help but wonder about potential recalls at this point. Not to mention batteries that still need a bit more time to really prove themselves totally reliable, there are a lot of reasons to not jump on that electric band wagon.


The Volvo XC70 and MacGyver

On: Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 11:07AM | By: Chris Salamone


Volvo XC70 test 2

The Volvo XC70 and MacGyver are perfect for each other. Like MacGyver, the 2011 Volvo XC70 is a true Jack-of-all-trades with no apparent weaknesses. The vehicle is considered a crossover, but has strong wagon elements with a few crossover twists. Indeed, with ample ground clearance and monstrous AWD capability the XC70 definitely blends the storage and aerodynamic practicalities of a wagon with the obstacle-defiant features of an off-roader. Additionally, even though many car enthusiasts expressed concern over Volvo’s future because of Geely’s takeover, the company has received a number of significant awards in 2011, notably for Best Value from Vincentric and Fourth in Reliability from Consumer Reports. Putting enthusiast concerns aside, the XC70 is a car with loads of handy features and ruggedly handsome aesthetics, a vehicle most people would be proud to own or discuss over a glass of grog at the local ice tavern.


Six Appeal; The New BMW 6 Series

On: Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 11:02AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


BMW 6-series test 2

Last time around, famous, or perhaps infamous, designer Chris Bangle penned a 6-series; the car became a hit… For a while. But that eye-catching yet controversial patchwork has not stood the test of time, and has become extremely dated and, to some, even unappealing. But new chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk has taken the essence of what originally made the 6-series appealing and sanitized the scary out of it. 

The new Six has kept the long hood/short deck profile that helps any sporty car look sportier, and actually made it slightly more dramatic. The 6-series was never posing as a Miata, and the newest generation keeps that theme by measuring in at 54 inches high, 75 inches wide, and 193 inches long, with more than a few inches of that length coming from the extended nose of the new car. The wheelbase has been extended three inches to 112 for improved interior room and handling capabilities.


The Unfortunate Case of The Nissan Juke

On: Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 11:34AM | By: Chris Salamone


2011 Nissan Juke test 2

The Nissan Juke is a vehicle your brain can’t comprehend, much like a bizarrely disturbing scene from a Phillip K. Dick novel. Although you may try to rationalize the Juke, the shape, size, and downright strange design do not ascribe to any popular notions of functional carmaking—excluding the hilarious Suzuki X-90 which hardly qualifies as popular… or functional. Although the Juke comes with loads of interior gadgets, a smooth Continuously Variable Transmission, and lots of personalization packages, the car’s functionality and aesthetics fall short.


Family Haulin' With The Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

On: Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 12:43PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


CTS-V Wagon test 2

To all of the single men out there, if you haven't had to make the choice yet, your time is coming.  It has long been one of the key indicators that your youth and "fun" are officially over for good, and a new, more mature (read:  devoid of road going excitement) you will now have to trade in fast, sweeping, adrenaline-laced on-ramps for slow, lazy, commutes to and from the grocery store. Sure, you may have the flashy two-seat Corvette or Porsche now, but when the wife has decided it's time for kids, suddenly that once indispensable car of yours will suddenly become a lot more expendable than you could have ever imagined, whether by your choice or otherwise.

That is the way it has been. Men making sacrifices for their children before they are even born and trying to bury the pain of cars gone by year after year, but those memories never really go away, do they? Well, with the invention of the new Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, those days of ritualized martyrdom could just be over for good. Forget your old Nomads, forget your Woodies, and forget even your modern day Magnum SRT8s or BMW Grand Turismos. This is the baddest wagon you're ever going to lay your eyes on, or put your kids in.


Brand New Jeep, Same Old Jeep.

On: Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 2:57PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Jeep Wrangler test 2

If there is another car or truck out there that is as instantly recognizable as the Jeep Wrangler, we don’t know it. Since it was relieved from active duty for the Army and began its life as a fun-loving, do anything, and go anywhere truck, the Wrangler has had very, very few changes in the course of its 70-year nameplate run. In recent years, the Jeep went through perhaps its most dramatic changes to date, adding a sixth gear to the manual transmission and then adding an optional extra two doors to let the whole family join in the forest-romping, mud-stomping fun.

For 2011, Jeep has kept true to that mantra. The big changes aren’t so big, although Jeep owners are probably going to be pleased. With the Sahara model, you can now order your roof in the same color as the rest of the body of your Jeep instead of the ever-old, ever-new, black-colored top that has been around about as long as television. Don’t worry; it is still removable, as are the doors. How Jeep can manage that feat with such increasing safety regulations is quite the engineering accomplishment.