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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Car Reviews

Review of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica: One Lucky Ride

On: Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 2:31PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Review of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica:  One Lucky Ride test 1-1

Sometimes, it is better to be lucky than good. We’ve all heard that in one area or another, whether it’s sports, testing, or battle. But that same saying goes for car companies as well. You don’t always have to have the best swing to hit a home run, sometimes, all you need to do is swing at the right time. When Chrysler decided to introduce the world to the concept of the “Minivan”, it came at such a perfect time in history that it’s almost uncanny. In 1984, the last of the world’s Baby Boomer population was just reaching family-raising age and all of those millions upon millions had a brand new way to haul their budding families to and from school, soccer practice, and the in-laws for the holidays. Fast forward thirty years and the minivan is still going strong. There have been dozens and dozens of competitors to the minivan, including, other minivans. But the original creator is still innovating and still at the top of their game, so for 2017 Chrysler has given us the new Pacifica.


Review of the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman: Smaller Package, Bigger Delivery

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 6:44PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Review of the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman:  Smaller Package, Bigger Delivery test 1-1

As big as the world is, it seems as though it is getting smaller and smaller every day. Not just because of things like the internet and smartphones, but car engines have been slowly shrinking over time as well. Back in the heyday of the muscle car era, it was all big blocks and “no replacement for displacement”. At the time, it was true.  Big engines crushed their smaller competitors like grapes beneath Shaquille O’Neal’s foot during a try out for a stomp routine. But, slowly, as technology got better, those big 454-, 440-, and 428-cubic inch engines were replaced by equally or in some cases, more powerful 350, 351, and 383 engines. Then, after some adjustment and increased R&D, those engines became even more powerful, and, in some cases smaller yet. Fast forward about 60 years and we are right in the middle of a second Golden Age of muscle cars, but these cars aren’t just from America, and they are all going through the same shrinkage as their predecessors did decades prior. But this time it’s engines like the big 6.2-liter Mercedes AMG V8, the Indy-inspired 5.0-liter V10 from BMW’s M division, and even the 7.0-liter monster in the Corvette ZO6. These engines have all dropped volume to become a twin-turbo 4.0-liter motor for AMG, a 4.4-liter twin-turbo motor for BMW, and a smaller-but-still-not-tiny 6.2-liter supercharged engine for the track-star ‘Vette. It seems this thinking has purveyed across all forms of engine, and it seems that for 2017 we now know that the 718 Porsche Cayman has become the newest recipient of downsizing.


Looking Back: The Audi R8 GT - Too Much Is Never Enough

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 2:45PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Looking Back:  The Audi R8 GT - Too Much Is Never Enough test 1-1

It's an age-old mantra most gear heads will recognize:  Run what ya brung, and hope it's enough!  Whether it's at the track, road course, or just the next traffic light, every hot rodder knows that feeling of getting beat out when you weren't expecting to lose. Watching taillights pull ahead of you when you're giving your own car everything its got is demoralizing, disheartening, and feels worse than watching your favorite team lose the Superbowl. After a loss, there are stages of rehabilitation:  Surprise, Anger, Denial, Sadness, Acceptance, and, in some cases, Resolve. Surprise that a car could beat a car that you believed was unbeatable; then anger, quickly on its heels, that you spent money on a car that isn't as fast as the car now humbling and/or humiliating you. The denial comes a little later. That usually stems from the transmission:  "Oh I missed a shift", or sometimes "He caught me in the wrong gear", or the ever popular "I need a new clutch, this one is slipping pretty badly, but next time..."  Each of these excuses, along with hundreds of others like it, all boil down to the same result:  You lost. Winners never make excuses for why they won.


Looking Back: The Ferrari 458 Spider -- Bucket List Worthy

On: Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 2:30PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Looking Back:  The Ferrari 458 Spider -- Bucket List Worthy test 1-1

If you have never had the good fortune to sit inside of a Ferrari while its driver rips off a couple redline shifts down an open freeway onramp, you seriously need to add that little soul-stirring experience to your bucket list. If you don't have a bucket list, may we suggest you go get a pen, some paper, and jot down at least one item on that list. There is simply nothing quite like it. There are few sounds in this world that can actually reach through you and excite your soul, but for an automotive enthusiast of any level, the banshee-like shriek of 40 valves fluttering wildly in a short-stroke V8 masterpiece at 9000 rpm is unparalleled in the physical realm.


 

Review of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S: Ready For A Title Fight!

On: Thu, Oct 6, 2016 at 11:01AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Review of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S:  Ready For A Title Fight! test 1-1

Throughout the annals of automotive history there have been few cars that last more than a few model cycles. But, the ones that do have proven to be something special indeed. Two examples of these ageless wonders would be the Chevrolet Corvette and the Porsche 911. Both have done battle for decades like Rocky and Apollo. The Porsche has always exhibited the Apollo-like grace and lightness on its feet. It is, and has been, a very nimble, agile, strong, and athletic example of engineering that sometimes, through its owners, or perhaps through its own company’s niche, has come across as condescending (in true Apollo Creed-fashion). Owners and fanatics cast aspersions on any and all challengers to the Porsche throne, and, for a time, they were right to question the efforts of its competitors.


Review of the 2016 Chevrolet Trax: The Better Buick?

On: Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 10:16AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


 2016 Chevrolet Trax test 2

In the ever expanding world of automotive sales, it seems that everyday there is another car or truck vying for a piece of the market. Some months it seems like there are new sports sedans every day, some times it's full-sized trucks, sometimes it seems like there're three more 600-horsepower sports cars on the market. This week, however, there is yet another contender in the very new, but very quickly expanding, mini-SUV segment. This class already includes such vehicles as the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke, and the Buick Encore. The newest edition comes from Buick's sister company, Chevrolet. It seems GM felt the Encore wasn't enough to represent the General, and perhaps they were right. Chevy has a bit more name recognition among younger buyers despite General Motor's recent attempts at renovating Buick's image with commercials starring a good-looking man partying it up at sophisticated locales with equally attractive young women commenting on the man and his exciting ride that they are surprised to find out is, in fact, a Buick. So as a little insurance, GM release what is essentially a rebadged Encore in a Chevy package, called the Trax.


Review of the 2016 Dodge Charger: Harder Chargin'

On: Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 9:05AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


 2016 Dodge Charger test 2

If we are being honest with ourselves, America, we haven't been very good at producing many sedans worth talking about. Sad to say, but unfortunately it's true. Over the past few decades, Chevy, Ford, and Chrysler have produced a very minimal number of four-door fantasy cars, and instead have come out with things like the Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, and the Chrysler 200, which all leave us simply wanting, and needing more from our domestic distributors. These cars are passable, sure, but they don't inspire us like some of their competitors from BMW, Audi, and even Acura.


Review of the 2017 Nissan Titan XD: Titan or Titanic?

On: Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 11:13AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


 2017 Nissan Titan XD test 2

If you haven’t already noticed by now, there is basically a car or truck for every walk of life, every facet of the imagination, every potential and possible need, desire, want, or passing idea. Carmakers are so eager to grab up market share that they will do literally almost anything they can to pique your interest, and then secure your money. Basically, the mantra has been:  If we build, they will come. Over the years, there has been literally one of everything:  You want a nine-passenger mini-bus that can carry your entire extended family? You got it—here’s the Ford Excursion. How about a two-door SUV that comes in a convertible? Try the Nissan Murano convertible. Or maybe you want an SUV that looks kind of like a truck, but drives more like a car, and can smoke anything this side of a ZO6 off the line? Please enjoy the X6 M. Seriously, anything you can think of, it has already been built, or someone is currently building it. But every so often, there just isn’t enough of a market share to warrant… well… a market… for something. Sometimes the 16 people that would buy a specific one-off car or truck don’t really justify the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars invested in researching and developing such a niche automobile. Perhaps, those 16 people would more than likely be okay finding something else, if their ideal car or truck was not available.


Review of the 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn: Lavish Excess at its Best

On: Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 12:58PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn test 2

Let’s face it: If you are one of the few people on earth who are lucky enough to be in the market for a new Rolls-Royce, you must have done something right at some point. Whether that’s making the right decision on which way to take your company, or make the decision to simply start a company in the first place and then make it successful. Or it could be just making the right call when it came to the stock market, knowing when to buy and when to sell… Or maybe it was the same case in real estate. Maybe, you were just lucky enough to be born into a family that already has its fortune, and all you need to do is not piss your parents off to the point of jeopardizing your trust fund. Any of these are potential possibilities, and of course there are dozens more. But for most people, even successful ones, getting to the point where you can afford a car that costs more than the median price of a home in a nice neighborhood takes time and effort in one way or another. But when you finally make it to that magical threshold where you can cut a check for that kind of money, what you get had better be well worth it.


Looking Back: The Ferrari F40 -- King of the World

On: Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 10:40AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


The Ferrari F40 test 2

If you sit back and think about just how many different model cars have come across the assembly lines, its amazing that we remember any of them at all.  Sure, you personally might remember your first car, but by-and-large, not too many of us are really emotionally vested in a 1987 Buick Skylark the way you might be.  But then there are cars that come along every once in a great while that we as a collective civilized world can appreciate.  Cars that are so striking, and so stunning that men and women that have no automotive knowledge whatsoever become awestruck and mesmerized by the mere sight of one of these mighty machines.  That list of cars is very short, but it can be argued that at the top of that very short list lies one car, and one car only -- the Ferrari F40.  


Review of the 2017 Volvo S90: Ready To Take On The Big Boys?

On: Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 8:54AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


 2017 Volvo S90 test 2

This just in: German carmakers are good at what they do. Very good, in fact. Over the last few decades, the big three Germans—BMW, Mercedes, and Audi have dominated the luxury sedan market with a convincing mix of style, poise, posh, attitude, and attention to detail. They took all of the complaints that consumers had about other luxury vehicles and made them into strengths. No longer were people forced to choose between a Cadillac boat, floating along down the highway, or a sorely underpowered Mitsubishi Galant that struggled to get up to the speed limit. Once the populous realized they actually had a choice, and could opt for a more refined, better engineered, and more agile vehicle, the monopoly began and the new Big Three left many cars and companies in their collective wake.