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2013 Toyota Camry: Improved styling, fuel economy and cabin comforts
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
First launched in 1983, the Toyota Camry has been a winner from its beginning, as a modern mid-size that offered style, performance and comfort. To date, more than 15 million Camry models have been sold worldwide, and it has been America’s top-selling sedan for 14 of the past 15 years.
Redesigned last year, the seventh-generation Camry has improved on its cabin, materials, safety features, tech and infotainment. Gaining exterior styling points . . . read more
2013 Ford Fusion: An International flavor full of function and economy
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The third generation Fusion is poised to continue the model’s run as a top-10 seller, as the popular family midsize has added technology, plug-in powertrain options and a fresh new look.
The four-door sedan and its unitized steel body is built in two locations -- Hermosillo, Mexico and Flat Rock, Michigan and it keeps an international flavor by offering three engines built in three locations around the globe.
The 2013 Ford Fusion no longer . . . read more
2013 Kia Optima: Upscale and Aggressive
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
When Kia redesigned the Optima in 2010, it immediately brought the carmaker into the luxury and performance realm and the midsize sedan became a sales leader for the brand.
While the Optima will receive a major refreshening for 2014, with an updated design, new premium amenities and technological enhancements, the 2013 Optima improves on its current persona with a revised Kia badge on hood, trunk and steering wheel; a new SX Limited trim with . . . read more
2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Last of its generation lives up to tradition
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
While the Jeep brand heralds that it is the original sport-utility vehicle beginning in 1941, the American-built Jeep Grand Cherokee traces its origins back to American Motors Corp. in 1983, when the carbuilder sought to create a successor to the smaller Jeep Cherokee XJ. When Chrysler bought AMC in 1987, Grand Cherokee became the first Chrysler-badged Jeep product.
The current generation SUV went on sale in summer 2010 as a 2011 model and it . . . read more
2013 Volvo S60: A luxury sports coupe with four doors
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The Volvo S60 was introduced for the 2001 model year as the Swedish manufacturer’s new-generation luxury sports sedan. Build in Ghent, Belgium, the second generation S60 was launched for 2011 and its sculpting has moved past Volvo’s perceived boxiness to present rounded Euro-styling, a forward-leaning demeanor and a sportiness that encompasses luxury and the promise of performance.
New for 2013 are Volvo’s innovative Pedestrian Detection Syste . . . read more
2013 Volkswagen Jetta: Like an Elegant Wind
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
The Volkswagen Jetta debuted in 1979 as a small family car, but it was received as hip by college-age drivers in America, and in six generations, some 10 million Jettas have been sold worldwide.
The name Jetta is thought to be homage to the Atlantic jet stream, consistent with Volkswagen’s naming its vehicles after prominent winds. These breezy designations also included the Volkswagen Passat (after the German word for trade wind), Volkswagen . . . read more
2013 GMC Acadia: Distinguishing itself from the rest
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Back in the day, most American automobile manufacturers put out nearly identical vehicles under various badges within their line-ups. General Motors led the way by producing very similar cars under Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick and Oldsmobile brands and later put out very similar Saturn and Pontiac vehicles. In today’s lean-and-mean auto universe, that duplication seldom occurs, but in the GM full-size crossover world, the General has seen fit to pro . . . read more
2013 Honda CR-V: Family Crossover stays with what works
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Honda brought out its redesigned top-selling crossover, the CR-V, last year with upscale styling, improved fuel efficiency, and a carload of fun and functional electronic and comfort features. The combination won a treasure chest of awards and continued a run as the top-selling compact crossover in America.
The new model year has brought about few changes, but that brings two things to mind. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and even if a vehic . . . read more
2013 Ford F-150 XLT: No signs of slowing
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
For the past 36 years, Ford F-150 has been the top-selling truck in America, and the full-size pick-up is going on 31 years as America’s top-selling vehicle. Sales this year indicate that the streak has no signs of slowing.
Now, nearing the end of its 12th generation, with a new F-150 launch set for the 2015 model year, Ford’s 2013 version gets xenon headlights, hill-descent control and the MyFord Touch infotainment interface, as well as Sync . . . read more
2013 Buick Regal GS: Sporty, powerful and refined
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Long known as the badge that attracts older buyers, Buick continues its quest to draw in younger drivers with its sporty, powerful and luxurious 2013 Regal GS. Focusing on German styling, a sporty front and rear fascia and an exciting GS trim, Regal is a midsize luxury sport sedan that captures the imaginations of young and older drivers with its refinement, added power, dependable and comfortable ride, confident handling and pampering interior.
. . . read more
2012 Fiat 500c: Good things in a small package
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Now that Fiat is firmly back in the American market, thanks to its merger with the Chrysler Group, we U.S. drivers can enjoy Fiat’s cool styling and Italian personality again. That has never been more evident than with the 2013 Fiat 500. Known in Italian as the Cinquecento, the 500 may be small – a compact’s compact – but since it came back to life six years ago internationally, and three years ago in America, the 500 has been a hit with drivers . . . read more
2013 Nissan Pathfinder: Gains in dignity and refinement
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
In its first generation beginning in 1986, Pathfinder was derived from Nissan’s hardbody compact pickup truck platform. Now in its fourth generation, Pathfinder has moved away from body-on-frame construction and is now unibody with corrosion-resistant and high-strength steel. It is also now a crossover, rather than a generic sports-utility vehicle.
Along the way, Pathfinder has become less trucklike, more pampering and has gained dignity, a se . . . read more
2013 Chrysler 300C: A sedan with swagger
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Chrysler’s flagship sedan, the 300, delivers luxury and performance, and its C trim adds swagger to the mix with power, grace and safety. Re-imagined in 2004 as homage to the Chrysler C-300 of the 1950s that was the first modern American V-8-powered sedan to stampede out 300 horsepower, the 2013 Chrysler 300C I test drove, was outfitted with a 5.7-liter HEMI engine that produced 363hp and took command of the highway as I put it through its paces. . . . read more
2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT: A Workhorse with Benefits
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The Chevrolet Silverado, always comes up with compelling advertising to excite the truck-buying public, and this year, the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pick-up truck is billed as “A workhorse that’s also up for the getaway.” Its video image shows the truck pulling up a massive tree stump, while the driver makes off with the stump and the promise of a new end table made from the tree remnant.
Not fully redesigned since 2007, but refr . . . read more
2013 Mazda CX-5: Award-winning compact SUV is a fun and safe ride
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The Mazda CX-5 compact family crossover is a pleaser that has impressed experts and the buying public. The small sports-ute that replaced the Mazda Tribute and has carried on in the wake of the CX-7’s departure has been an award-winning darling this year, as it has been named among the top “green”, “safe” and utility/crossover vehicles.
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 has won top honors as the International Federation of Automotive Journalists (FIPA) “SUV . . . read more
2013 Lincoln MKS: Bigger, more powerful and more refined
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
As the reputation of the Lincoln MKS grows in stature, so has the MKS grown architecturally, technologically and muscularly.
Following a mid-generation refreshening, Lincoln’s flagship sedan, the 2013 MKS, has gained better handling dynamics, increased horsepower, a larger and sexier architectural design, improved fuel efficiency, additional standard equipment, more refinement and new technologies that help drivers reduce accident risks.
Th . . . read more
2013 Honda Crosstour EX-L V-6: Hatchback gains its own identity
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Honda considers its Crosstour to be a midsize crossover, but it may be misnamed or mispresented, as it is ostensibly a hatchback sedan that began life as the Accord Crosstour. Still based on Accord, with dimensions only a couple of inches larger than its sibling, this restyled hatch vehicle has left the Accord portion of its name behind and is out on its own, living on its own personality.
Exercising that new self image, Crosstour has been gi . . . read more
2013 Toyota Tundra: Hard-working, strong and luxurious
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
You may have seen the television commercial in which the Toyota Tundra tows the US Space Shuttle Endeavor. That was a 2012 model that transported the retired space vehicle from LA International Airport to the California Science Center across the Manchester Bridge. Endeavor weighed in at 292,500 lbs. and the Tundra workhorse was straight stock, a CrewMax with a 6.5-foot bed and the same standard 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8 that its sister Tundra . . . read more
2013 Infiniti QX56: Luxury Full-Sized SUV is Elegant and Powerful
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The 2013 Infiniti QX56 is in the third year of its third generation, and the luxury sports-ute continues as a monument to size, power, elegance, roominess and utility at a luxury price.
Built by Nissan’s luxury division (Infiniti), QX began as the QX4 mid-size SUV in 1996, when it was based on the unibody Nissan Pathfinder. At that time, it was also available in Japan as the Nissan Terrano Regulus. Generation two shared a platform with the Nis . . . read more
2013 Buick Verano: Quiet elegance in a compact
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Introduced in 2011 as Buick’s first compact since Skylark’s last run in 1997, Verano brought luxury and sophistication to the compact segment along with Buick’s signature quiet ride.
Built in Orion Township, Michigan, the four-door, 5-passenger, front engine, front-wheel-drive Verano has added a second engine choice this year -- a powerful, efficient 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine option. Verano has also added dual exhaust, sport pedals . . . read more
2013 Hyundai Genesis: Elegance at a Bargain
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Hyundai’s introduction of Genesis in 2009 signaled a move from econobox to mainstream and then some. The creation of Genesis proved that Hyundai could still do economy well, and that is could now also do luxury while keeping its badge priced well below comparable cars from other manufacturers.
Since that initial foray into luxury, Hyundai has also added muscle, and as Genesis nears the end of its first generation, it is an elegant sedan with . . . read more
Car of the Year: Lexus LFA – The New Supercar on the block
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
The year is drawing to a close and the automobile industry strutted its stuff well in 2012, both from a sales perspective and a design, innovation and re-imagination standpoint.
Nostalgia was king, as old badges returned and iconic vehicle designs were borrowed. While fuel-efficiency was a lynchpin, “more power” was the battle cry and tech-tech-tech was the cabin standard.
The added power and tech helped aver¬age trans¬ac¬tion prices reach . . . read more
Car Buy of the Year: Dodge Dart – Cool Blast from the Past
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
For the eighth consecutive year, ALL ABOUT CARS wraps up its yearly coverage and presents its picks for Car Buy of the Year and Car of the Year in late December. This week’s column is devoted to the vehicle with the best bang for the buck in 2012.
In a strong auto vehicle year in which the major car builders saw cars sales increase by 19 percent, light-duty trucks improve by 8.8 percent and SUV/Crossovers pop by 8.1 percent, pricing was aggres . . . read more
2013 Ram 1500 Crew Cab: New aesthetics, same power and performance
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Most people still call the muscular and attractive truck from Chrysler, the Dodge Ram. In reality, the rugged and popular pickup manufactured by Chrysler has been sold under the Ram Trucks brand since late 2010 and is more accurately called “The Ram”.
Introduced in 1981, and named for the hood ornament created by sculptor Avard T. Fairbanks that first adorned Dodge vehicles in 1933, the Ram Truck has been in its fourth generation since the 200 . . . read more
2013 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT: Redesigned family sedan steps up to entry-luxury status
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Redesigned for 2013, the all-new 2013 Malibu is a family sedan that has added refinement to its global midsize package.
Malibu started as a Chevelle trim in 1964, and drove off on its own in 1978 when it replaced Chevelle in the Chevy line-up. Malibu made two previous runs (1978-1983 and 1997-2003) before embarking on its third and current trip beginning in 2008.
Utilizing an expressive exterior design with a wide, athletic stance and an up . . . read more
2013 Toyota Avalon: New generation vehicle sculpted to look great and ride refined
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Redesigned to add younger sedan purchasers to its Baby Boomer buyers, Toyota has built an all-new 4th-Generation Avalon for 2013. The all-new 2013 Avalon shifts its generational appeal with more emotional styling, increased performance, upgraded luxury refinements and the latest advances in technology and infotainment.
Avalon’s elegant and athletic design incorporates a longer flowing roofline than the last generation, to create a sleek side s . . . read more
2013 Nissan Altima: New generation adds refinement and tech advancements
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The Nissan Altima is the second best-selling sedan in America and begins its fifth generation as an all-new mid-size with innovative body, engine, transmission, suspension and tech enhancements.
Nissan’s flagship is built and assembled at its Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee, and Canton, Mississippi manufacturing facilities and is available in seven models. The front-engine front-wheel-drive Coupe and Sedan employ unibody construction with a corr . . . read more
2013 Ford Escape: New look, engines and lavishness, same reliability
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
In 2000, for the 2001 model year, Ford debuted its “Baby Explorer,” called the Escape, and now in its third generation, the compact crossover has eclipsed its big brother as the top-selling sports-utility or crossover in America.
Sharing the same platform as the Ford Focus, Escape is all-new for 2013, bringing tech, economy and styling to the mix. Marketed as the Ford Kuga in Europe and China, Escape is assembled with a unitized welded steel b . . . read more
2013 Cadillac ATS: A Terrific Sedan in a Small Package
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Cadillac is thinking small again, and this time, they may have hit the right combination for success with the all-new Cadillac ATS compact luxury sports sedan.
Cadillac struck out in 1981 with the Cimarron, a leather-upholstered, front-drive J-car based on the Chevy Cavalier, and whiffed again with the Opel Omega-based Catera (ostensibly a small mid-size) in 1997.
The third time may be the charm, as the Cadillac ATS looks and feels as luxur . . . read more
2013 Kia Soul Plus: Trendy Urban Vehicle is Hip and Economical
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Kia’s hip, cool hatchback, the Soul, is back for 2013 with new exterior accents and interior upgrades, to build on its urban passenger vehicle appeal, punctuated with economy and versatility.
Employing its unique approach to trim levels by using punctuation, 2013 Soul is available in Base Soul, + (Plus) and ! (Exclaim) trims. Kia is also cutting-edge with its exterior color names, as available paint includes: red-hot Molten; Alien Green; Moss; . . . read more
2012 Buick LaCrosse: Mid-Size luxury sedan gains in power, economy and tech integration
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Now in the third year of its second generation, Buick’s flagship luxury car, the LaCrosse, continues its attention to elegance, detail and high-tech, and has added an all-new 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine with eAssist™ “light electrification” technology to the equation. LaCrosse also upgrades its optional direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 engine with an additional 23 hp and E85 ethanol FlexFuel capability. The 2.4 provides full-size performa . . . read more
2012 Hyundai Elantra: Fluid sculpture and 40mpg on the highway
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The Hyundai Elantra was redesigned last year, and in its fifth generation, it continues to build on its theme for 2012 with an increase in economy, better handling capabilities and enhanced comfort.
An award-winning vehicle, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra was recognized as a “Best Family Car of 2012” by Parents magazine and Edmunds.com in their annual list of family vehicles. The recognition stems from Elantra’s styling, fuel-efficient engine, long . . . read more
2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible: An Upscale, Open-air Experience
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Last year, Chrysler gave its mid-size a new name, new style and substance. Renaming its outgoing Sebring the Chrysler 200, the vehicle retained its platform, but added power, numerous cosmetic changes, stiffer body mounts for a more gentle driving experience, and upscaled the offering with premium interior features, a quiet demeanor through engineering advancements and high-tech upgrades.
Sales took off for the 200, which ranks at this writing . . . read more
2012 Kia Optima: Award Winner brings Style, Performance and Economy
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
When Kia launched its Optima, it sought to step it up and apart from its pedestrian reputation by instilling style, performance and trendiness while not losing its status as an economical buy. The 2012 Optima has succeeded and has gained award-winning status as well. The 2012 Optima ranked highest in a tie in the "Midsize Car" category in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study; was the Kiplinger . . . read more
2012 Infiniti G25 Journey: Any way you want it that’s the way you need it
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Infiniti’s G Series began as an entry-level luxury vehicle in the 1990s. Alpha-numerically, the G 20 was a front-wheel drive that played its number off its engine – a 2.0-liter plant. Launched in 1991, the G20 moved up to G25 with a 2.5-liter engine, G35 with a 3.5-liter powerplant and G37 with its 3.7.
Advertised in the 1990s as the vehicle that was: “Born in Japan. Educated in Europe. Now Available in America,” G20 was built in Oppama, Japan . . . read more
2012 MINI Cooper S Roadster: Fun Car with ’60s Appeal
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
When the British Motor Corporation launched the Morris Mini Minor in 1959, and developed a brand that included the Countryman, Moke and Clubman, they had no idea that the Mini would become an enduring symbol of its beginning era. It gained iconic status in the 1960s and its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout influenced a generation of car-makers. In 1999, the Mini was voted the second-most influential automobile of the 20th century, behind the . . . read more
2012 Chevrolet Impala LT: 300-horse full-size sedan stands the test of time
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The Chevrolet Impala firmly and successfully rides through its ninth generation as Chevrolet’s fan-pleasing full-size sedan. With its tenth generation expected to begin in 2014, the 2012 Impala is currently America’s top-selling large sedan (as this vehicle was being tested).
Launched in 1958 as the top trim in the Bel Air line, the muscle car powered up with 340 horses by 1962 and 409hp by the time it became its own line in 1965.
Impala re . . . read more
2012 Audi A6 3.0T: Elegance tweaked, performance increased, safety enhanced
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Audi’s executive luxury mid-size sedan, the A6, is the No.4-selling luxury vehicle in America, and has begun its fourth generation with the same liquid style, elegant lines, power, pampering and performance that epitomized the first three versions.
Beginning as a cloned Audi 5000 in 1994, the A6 fills the mid-size portion of Audi’s executive line, complimenting the full-size A8 and looking quite like its smaller sibling, the A4.
Manufacture . . . read more
2012 Lincoln MKX: Luxury Midsize Utility Speaks with Class
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The Lincoln MKX debuted in 2006 as a 2007 model, and at the time, many thought the luxury sports-utility-vehicle – we didn’t call them crossovers then – was called the Mark 10. We didn’t realize until later that Lincoln had gone all initialese and it was the “Em-Kay-Ex”.
A replacement for the truck-based Lincoln Aviator, which was derived from the Ford Explorer, MKX is car-based with Ford Edge underpinnings serving as its foundation. But MKX i . . . read more
2012 Toyota Highlander: Family friendly and comfortable
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Still considered by some to be a crossover SUV that is a taller and heavier version of the Camry, Toyota’s Highlander arrived in North America in 2001 as a five-seat ute and increased to seven seats in 2004. Marketed as an on-road comfort sports-utility vehicle with unit body construction and independent rear suspension, Highlander is six years into its second generation, which also includes a hybrid version.
A cool, comfortable, family-orient . . . read more
2012 Corvette: The fun and thrills continue … Now in Carlisle Blue
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
America’s premier sports car is 59 years old and nearing the end of its sixth generation, yet the Chevrolet Corvette remains as exciting and powerful as it has been at any time in its storied history.
While General Motors has announced that 2013 will be the final model year for the C6 (6th-generation) Corvette and it will be replaced by the C7 for 2014, the 2012 model has been upgraded with a new seat design providing greater driver lateral s . . . read more
2012 Kia Soul Plus: Punctuated with improvements
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Since entering the “hip hatchback” marketplace in 2009, the Kia Soul has been a hit with the public in the in the compact multi-purpose vehicle segment, and this year’s refreshed and improved version has also garnered praise from the media award committees that bestow honors and rankings in the genre.
Earning industry honors as a top-quality, top-economy, versatile and “cool” car under $20K, Soul punctuates its 2012 looks with distinct trim n . . . read more
2012 Toyota Tacoma: Refreshed truck is a capable performer
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The No.5-selling truck in America so far this year is the Toyota Tacoma, and while the Tundra may be Toyota’s truck icon, Tacoma is a bigger hit in total sales than the big truck.
Toyota began selling trucks in 1935, with its G1, a one-and-a-half-ton stake bed truck. In 1947, they introduced their first compact truck, the 27hp Toyopet Model SB. Toyota moved on to the 85hp Stout in 1964, their first pick-up sold in America, and then came its f . . . read more
2012 Chevrolet Avalanche: Versatile pick-up with SUV comfort
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Industry reports indicate that Chevrolet will phase out its Avalanche pick-up after the 2013 model year. The lifestyle truck is considered by General Motors as a 4-door sport utility vehicle/pick-up and perceived by the public as a sporty truck. The Avalanche was supported in the market for its unique lines and utility from its launch in 2001 as a 2002 model, and sold as many as 93,000 vehicles in 2003, but recent sales have dropped to about 20, . . . read more
2012 Honda CR-V: Redesigned crossover has comfort and utility in mind
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Honda’s CR-V is the top-selling compact crossover in America, comfortably resting in the Top 10 for total sales in 2012. Comfort may be a key word here as this compact crossy IS comfortable to drive and ride in and is designed and appointed with utility in mind.
Redesigned for 2012, and entering its fourth generation, the name CR-V is derived from the engineering objective to create a Comfortable Runabout Vehicle, or CR-V. Launched in Japan in . . . read more
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR: A Mid-size with elegance, performance and sportiness
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Nissan’s flagship, the Altima, is in its sixth year of a refined fourth generation, and the public continues to embrace the American-built vehicle with sustained strong sales. Assembled by Nissan at its Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee, and Canton, Mississippi manufacturing facilities, the 2012 Altima mid-size sedan combines quality fit and finish, capable performance and a sporty demeanor.
Altima continues to gain attentive looks with its stron . . . read more
2013 Dodge Dart: Blast from the past returns with ‘cool’ factor
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Automotive manufacturers are trending in bringing back nostalgic vehicles or their nameplates, and the public is enthusiastically buying into the marketing strategy.
Dodge has embraced the philosophy and has utilized it successfully with its reincarnations of Charger and Challenger. Exploiting another blast from the past, the Ram badge is back on the mid-size Dodge Dart, brought back now as an early 2013 model.
The original Dodge Dart was a . . . read more
2012 Dodge Charger SRT8: American Muscle … Built in Canada and Beckoning U.S. Performance Disciples
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
One of America’s storied muscle cars is enjoying a second run and this year, and it is running with more muscle than ever.
Charger began its brawny saga in 1965, as an option package for the Dart GT. Charger was mothballed in 1978 and returned in 2006 as a nostalgic re-imagining of its heyday. The inaugural ’65 Charger earned its rep by stampeding out 230 horses, and the 2012 SRT8 version more than doubles that original power output.
With t . . . read more
2012 Chevrolet Malibu: Third time’s the charm
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
What began as a Chevelle trim in 1964 became its own model 14 years later when it replaced Chevelle. The Chevrolet Malibu enjoyed a run through the 1983 model year when it was axed in favor of the Chevrolet Celebrity. After a second run from 1997 to 2003, Malibu went on hiatus again until 2008, and in this third incarnation, with healthy sales, it could be here to stay this time.
Malibu’s trendy Euro-styling imparts a muscular, rounded, classy . . . read more
2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: Super Musclecar Returns
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
In 1969, 69 regular production Camaros were created with ZL1 all-aluminum racing engines installed in them, and those 69 cars became the ultimate in Camaro performance. About 20 went into organized drag racing, a dozen saw their engines removed to sell separately for about $4160 apiece, and maybe a dozen were sold to the public, while some 25 to 30 unsold cars were returned to Chevy and sold in 1970.
The ’69 ZL1s sold for $7200 base and were o . . . read more
2012 Chevrolet Cruze: Sporty compact with the feel of a mid-size
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
The Chevrolet Cruze debuted last year as a replacement for both the Chevy Cobalt and Suzuki Forenza (sold in Asia as the Daewoo Lacetti). In one short year, Cruz became Chevrolet’s best-selling car around the world, filling the need for a compact economy car with good looks and attention to detail. Cruze’s first-year performance and public perception move it above the econobox realm and into the community of quality-built above-value automobiles. . . . read more
2012 Cadillac SRX: Call it an SUV, call it a crossover, call it luxury
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
When it was launched in 2004, the Cadillac SRX was considered by the industry as a truck and a luxury SUV, even winning several awards as such. Three years into its second generation – a restyling is in order for 2013 -- the 2012 SRX is designated by the EPA as a sport utility vehicle, however Cadillac considers Escalade its lone luxury ute, and lists SRX as its only crossover.
Many believe the initials SRX stand for “Sport-Cross Over” or “S- . . . read more
2012 Mustang Boss 302: A race car with a license plate
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Retro homages still work in the automotive industry when the vehicle retains the look, feel and excitement of the nostalgic car, while adding cool improvements such as tech, safety and power. Ford works that theme well with its 2012 take on its 1969 Muscle-Pony, the Mustang Boss 302, a car it calls, “a race car with a license plate”.
The 1969 Boss 302 Mustang, designed by legendary engineer Larry Shinoda, was notable visually with a reflective . . . read more
2012 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Legendary Style and Performance
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
When automotive icon Carroll Shelby passed away on May 10, he left a legacy of great automotive innovations, often under the umbrella of Ford Motor Co. Among those avant garde cars were the Mustang GT350, the Mustang GT500, GT-40 and Shelby Cobra.
The GT500 is back and this year there is even a 50th Anniversary Edition, commemorating Shelby’s 50 years of Ford vehicles, even though the big-block GT500, and its 355 horsepower didn’t really hit t . . . read more
2012 Lexus LFA: Luxury Super Car exhibits style, power and luxury
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
The concept of supercars is not a new one. Some Point To Mercedes, Jaguar, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, Corvette, Aston-Martin, McLaren, Bugatti and the like as true supercar manufacturers, though many car enthusiasts have others they would include on the list, and no list would satisfy everyone.
Many describe a supercar as an expensive high-end car that is fast, powerful and luxurious, while imbued with superior handling … a car i . . . read more
2012 Ford Fusion: Mid-Size Remains a Popular Choice
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
One of the top-selling vehicles since it was first introduced in 2005, the Ford Fusion continues to sell well in the United States due to its pricing, size, technology, safety and style. The popular mid-size set a full-year sales record of 219,219 in 2010 – the first time since 2004 a Ford car eclipsed the 200,000 milestone – and it remains a top-10-seller in 2012.
2012 Ford Fusion continues to offer four engine choices for mid-size car custom . . . read more
2012 Fiat 500 Abarth: Small but Wicked
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Ever since Fiat merged with Chrysler Group, I have been waiting for my chance to drive one of the Italian fuel-savers, as it has been decades since I last drove a Fiat. My opportunity came when I got behind the wheel of the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth.
The first Abarth, produced by Abarth & C, appeared in 1949, originated by Viennese champion motorcycle racer Karl Abarth. His 1949 Abarth 204A Roadster, derived from a Fiat 1100, won the Italian 1100 a . . . read more
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Muscle-Ute combines style and brawn
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Make way for the Muscle-Ute. Jeep® has been building the Grand Cherokee model since 1983, when American motors engineers came up with the XJC Project. Six years later, the Jeep Concept 1 show car debuted, and after some tweaks, Jeep Grand Cherokee was unveiled to the public marketplace in 1992 for the 1993 model year.
In the ensuing 20 years, Grand Cherokee has evolved into a refined, luxurious, capable vehicle, and now, the 2012 SRT8 model co . . . read more
2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE: Luxury Mid-size is lighter faster and more economical
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The Toyota Camry – America’s best-selling sedan for nine years running and 13 of the past 14 years – is now in its seventh generation, and this year’s model has been redesigned with bold, sophisticated styling, a roomier interior, improved driving dynamics and a quieter ride than gen-six.
Introduced in 1983, the midsize now sports luxury attributes and its hybrid version is tops in its class in fuel economy. A member of the extended range an . . . read more
2012 Ford F-150 XLT V-6 Turbo: Six cylinders of power and performance
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Ford F-150 has been the number-one selling truck in America for 34 straight years and is headed for its 35th win in a row as well as again being America’s top-selling vehicle for the 25th consecutive year. This year, something new has been added … two new V-6 engine choices.
The 6-cylinder engine has been a staple in many trucks over the years, but Ford’s F-150 has been known for its V-8 power since it was introduced in 1948 as the Ford Bonus- . . . read more
2012 Honda Civic LX: New design and engine equal a refined ride
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The ninth generation Honda Civic is all-new for 2012, and builds on the popular vehicle’s reputation as a sporty, stylish and economical car. The Civic began as a subcompact in 1972 for the 1973 model year, playing off its marketing as an economical vehicle that debuted at the right time to combat the U.S. oil crisis. The second generation Civic was larger (in 1980) and by the fourth generation in 1988, Civic had grown from subcompact to compact . . . read more
2012 Mazda 3: A Oneness between the car, the road and the driver
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Ever since the Mazda3 replaced the Familia/323/Protégé as Mazda’s sporty compact car for the 2004 model year, it has gained a reputation for being an economical small sports sedan that looks, feels and performs richer, en route to becoming Mazda’s top-selling vehicle.
Known as the Mazda Axelas in Japan, the vehicle’s second generation began in 2010 and has received a face lift for 2012 to achieve a better symbiosis between car, road and driver . . . read more
2012 Kia Rio: Eco-friendly and wallet friendly
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The Kia Rio has been redesigned for 2012, and the South Korean subcompact has emerged looking very European. Eco-friendly with prices starting at $13,400, the newly style-conscious Rio has received 40mpg estimates on the highway.
The Kia Rio began as a low-frills offering in August 2000 and now in its third generation, has added quality fit and finish, a sweet sculptured demeanor, and some upscale options and standard inclusions
First mark . . . read more
2012 Volkswagen Golf 2.5: Hopping around in style
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
The vehicle that is Volkswagen’s best-selling model has long been the Golf, though it was introduced to America in 1975 as the “Rabbit,” when it was launched to replace the “Beetle” as the VW standard bearer. Volkswagen has never made an official declaration as to why the Golf designation was not available to the United States until the 2010 model year, but as it entered its sixth generation, the Golf was updated that year with smoother exterior . . . read more
2012 Toyota Tundra Double Cab: Truck excels at work, play and family situations
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Seven years into its second generation (its first generation went seven years before a full makeover), the 2012 Toyota Tundra is a full-size half-ton pick-up that continues to capture an American look, feel and versatility.
Available in 2x4 and 4x4 set-ups in regular cab, Double Cab and CrewMax configurations combined with short bed (5.5 feet), regular bed (6.5 feet) and long 8-foot bed options based on cab size, Tundra also offers three power . . . read more
2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT: Tough, Durable and Versatile Survivor
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Perennially, the Chevrolet Silverado is the number-two selling vehicle in America, but according to their high production-value Super Bowl TV ad, “Chevy Apocalypse,” the rugged, hard-working and versatile half-ton pick-up truck will be the vehicle that survives all obstacles. To the tune of Barry Manilow's “Looks Like We Made It,” only Silverados and Twinkies will make it through total destruction, as four trucks rendezvous and their drivers lame . . . read more
2012 Audi TT RS: Top-Tier model delivers with performance and style
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The new standard bearer of Audi’s exciting high-performance TT model line is the 2012 TT RS. Propelled by a 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder TFSI engine that generates 360 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque, TT RS is powerful enough, fast enough, handles well enough and is elegantly designed enough to sit comfortably in the top gun seat for the line.
Audi S and RS sport performance models began with the S2 Coupe in 1990, and the Audi RS2 Avant ush . . . read more
2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec: Upscaled and More Powerful
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Since it was introduced to U.S dealerships for the 2009 model year, the Hyundai Genesis has joined the two automotive extremes of luxury and affordable. In the upscale sedan niche, Hyundai does luxury well and it has added muscle to its formula this year, with the launch of the R-Spec trim.
In the past, Genesis was outfitted with 3.3-liter and 3.6-liter V-6 engines and then moved on to a 4.6-liter V-8. Debuting on the 2012 Genesis R-Spec is Hy . . . read more
2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Express: Rugged, Safe, Strong and Upscale
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Dodge’s tough pick-ups have been hard-working staples of jobsites and America’s highways for nearly a century, having debuted in 1917. Known for delivering power options that include the HEMI engine, Dodge’s trucks are now known as the Ram.
The 2012 Ram 1500 is offered in regular cab, Quad Cab and Crew Cab models, with three box lengths: 8-foot (regular cab), 6-foot-4-inches (regular cab and Quad Cab), and 5-foot-7-inches (Ram 1500 Crew Cab). . . . read more
2012 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV: Refreshed flagship combines sportiness and luxury
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The full-size flagship for the Nissan line is its Maxima, marketed as a "four-door sports car". Debuting in 1976 as an upscale version of the Nissan Bluebird, Maxima evolved into its own line in 1981 and has been on its own ever since.
Begun as a Japan-built vehicle, constructed and assembled in Oppama, Japan until 2004, the current North American Maximas are assembled at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant.
Now in its seventh generation, Maxi . . . read more
2012 Ford Fiesta SE Hatchback: Subcompact is big on style and safety
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Ford began its Euro-styled Fiesta in 1976 marketed only in Europe. The vehicle finally reached American shores in 2010, and now in its sixth generation, produced in Mexico with some American tweaks and adaptation to conform to U.S. regs, has received full North American market status.
Built in Cuautitlán Izcalli, México, Fiesta is powered by a Brazilian-constructed aluminum-block 1.6-liter I-4 Ti-VCT engine that produces 120hp and 112 lb-ft of . . . read more
2012 Buick Regal GS: Returning with a sporty demeanor
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The Buick Regal enjoyed a 31-year-reign as a classy, quiet, upscale sedan, ending its production run in 2004. The Regal came back to North America last year (production and sales have been ongoing in China since 1999) and this year’s edition, within the fifth generation of the line, is highlighted by new front and rear fascia, performance brakes and calipers and a new sport GS trim that includes Buick’s first manual transmission and turbocharger . . . read more
2012 Scion iQ: Good things in the smallest package
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Scion has an intelligent way of naming their vehicles. Working on the concept and name of the Smart Car, they have upped the quotient and have created the premium micro-subcompact Scion iQ, “The World’s Smallest Four-Seater”. According to Toyota, Scion’s parent company, iQ does not stand for intelligent quotient; the i stands for "individuality" "innovation" and "intelligence", while the Q is for “quality” and points to the vehicle’s “cubic” shap . . . read more
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: Small in Stature, Big on Substance
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
A major player in the luxury sports-utility niche is Land Rover, the second oldest four-wheel-drive car brand in the world, behind only Jeep. First launched by the Rover Co. in 1948, Land Rover has earned a 64-year reputation for delivering tough, durable, go-anywhere, 4-wheel-drive utility vehicles without sparing comfort or tech. Now owned by Tata Motors of India, Land Rover continues to produce safe, sturdy, high-tech and high-ticket off-roade . . . read more
Car of the Year: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe – Upscale Package of Power, Luxury and Tech
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
All About Cars continues its custom of ending the year with a Top-10 list, celebrating the “Car of the Year”. Last week, we awarded our “Car Buy of the Year” crown to the Honda Fit, and this week we offer the best pure vehicle we tested in 2011, regardless of price.
To make this list, I must have test driven the car in calendar 2011 and it must have impressed me, passengers and onlookers as a stand-out vehicle to remember.
I test drove 57 . . . read more
Car Buy of the Year: Honda Fit Sport is a Perfect Fit
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
For the seventh consecutive year, All About Cars wraps up its yearly coverage and deals out its picks for “Car Buy of the Year” and “Car of the Year”. This week’s column is devoted to the vehicle with the best bang for the buck in 2011.
A low price does not necessarily mean a great deal. The key is price and economy within the vehicle’s own setting. You still have to feel good, look good and enjoy the driving experience to be worthy of the pri . . . read more
2012 Acura TL: Touring Luxury in a performance package
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
A quarter century ago, when cars were given alpha-numeric names that meant something rather than just being cool numbers and resonant letters, Acura launched the 1996 TL, which was short for “Touring Luxury.” Its 2.5 TL came with a 2.5-liter engine and replaced the Vigor in Acura’s line-up. The TL was also re-badged in Japan as the Honda Inspire until 2000, and as the Honda Saber until 2004.
Now in its fourth generation, the Acura TL has added . . . read more
2012 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback: All-New Compact is Economical, Safe and Sporty
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Chevrolet Aveo is gone after less than 10 years on the scene and taking its place is the new Sonic, with the promise of being better looking and more fun to drive. Now, Chevrolet does not want car buyers to consider the Sonic as just a rebadged Aveo, and while there are similarities, Sonic is an all-new build, produced in GM’s Orion Assembly Center in Orion Township, Michigan -- it is the only subcompact built in the United States
With an . . . read more
2012 Ford Focus: Playful and Sporty Compact Delivers Style and Economy
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
When Ford replaced the Escort with its new compact, the Focus, in 1999 for the 2000 model year in North America (it actually was introduced to European markets in 1998), the Blue Oval hit on a sales winner and it has been winning ever since. In fact, demand for the new 2012 Focus was so brisk that Ford had difficulty filling orders and keeping sufficient inventory in the early fall of 2011. Additionally, purchasers of Focus are getting younger a . . . read more
2012 Chrysler 300C SRT8: Muscling Up in Luxury
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Launched in 2004 as a new take on Chrysler’s legendary 300 “Letter Series” of cars from the 1950s and ’60s, the 300 was built as a high-end sedan, with the SRT8 version topping it off with high performance. SRT is Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology group that began as “Team Viper” with high performance as its focus. When applied to vehicles powered by Hemi V-8 engines, the trim suffix becomes SRT8. Tying that together, Chrysler’s 2012 300C S . . . read more
2012 Buick Verano: Luxury Compact with Summer Name is a Fit for All Seasons
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Winter is upon us and one of the exiting new cars for 2012 carries a summer name and a personality for all seasons. The Buick Verano is a four-door, five passenger compact luxury sedan whose name is the Spanish word for summer.
The front-engine, front-wheel drive Verano is the first compact from Buick since the Skylark ended its run in 1997. Sharing its Delta II platform with the Chevrolet Cruze, Verano was developed along with its sister, the . . . read more
2012 Hyundai Veloster: 3 Doors, Hip, Economical and Loaded
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
The name evokes images of speed and ferocious dinosaurs. What it delivers is economy, style, innovation and a hip attitude. The all-new Hyundai Veloster is a uniquely designed subcompact coupe with an innovative third door for easy rear-seat access. Its name, according to Hyundai, is a combination of the words "velocity" and "roadster", and while its original target was performance and style-oriented 20-somethings, the manufacturer is now marketi . . . read more
2011 BMW Z4: Roadster Appeal in a Luxury Package
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
There are many American dreams. For those who really enjoy driving, some envision revving up Detroit-iron and USA-made muscle cars. But there are many who desire cruising down the highways and country roads in foreign sports cars. If the latter is what brings a smile to your face, your automotive fantasies can come true with the 2011 BMW Z4, a luxury sports car filled with performance, elegance and comfort.
The rear-wheel drive BMW Z4 replaced . . . read more
2011 Honda CR-V: Compact Crossover Measures Up
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Filling the niche well in the popular compact crossover-SUV market, the Honda CR-V is currently the No. 14 best-selling vehicle in America. CR-V was one of the first vehicles to tackle the small SUV market when it was launched in 1996, and nearing the end of its third generation, made very few changes for 2011.
A popular family vehicle, CR-V is built in East Liberty, Ohio. It is a compact alternative to minivans, but much more attractive, wit . . . read more
2011 Cadillac SRX: Luxury Crossover that isn’t the Escalade
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
When one thinks of luxury sports-utility vehicles or crossovers, thoughts generally turn to the massive Cadillac Escalade at $65,000 to $85,000. But Cadillac serves out another Crossover, the mid-size SRX, at about $35,000 to $50,000, that more than doubles its big sister in terms of unit sales. Also, Cadillac thinks of Escalade as a truck-SUV and SRX is a car-crossover, but they both accomplish many of the same things and they both do it in luxu . . . read more
2011 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4x4: Tradition Upheld with a Sporty Flair
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Remember those World II movies in which the G.I.s traveled around battlefields and countrysides in Jeeps, or on M.A.S.H. when Radar O’Reilly mailed one of vehicles home to Iowa piece by piece? Well, the Jeep has come a long way since then. The Jeep Wrangler, which borrows from the original look and design of the battle-tested military Jeep, is a compact 4-wheel drive sport-utility and off-road vehicle manufactured by Chrysler, under its Jeep marq . . . read more
2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited: Versatile and roomy with a look all its own
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
When the Subaru Outback was launched by Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru) in 1995, the wagon/SUV was called the Legacy Outback and it was shown in Australia’s rugged back country with Aussie actor Paul “Crocodile Dundee” Hogan as its spokesman, the first version was essentially a Legacy wagon with suspension lift and strength and body cladding added.
Sixteen years later, a full year into its fourth generation, Outback remains a top-selling vehi . . . read more
2011 Ford Edge SEL: Freshened Crossover adds Power and Looks
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Ford launched its mid-size crossover, the Edge, in 2006, as a combination minivan sports-utility vehicle and immediately gained top status in its niche. Over the next five years, Edge watched other vehicles pass it by as it remained in its first generation.
For 2011, Edge seeks to recapture its initial first-gen glory with a bold refreshening that includes a major exterior redesign, improved materials and craftsmanship on the interior, reduced . . . read more
2011 Toyota Corolla: Top Seller Freshened, Low Price Remains
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
First introduced in 1966, the compact Toyota Corolla is currently the No. 5-selling vehicle in America (sales to date this year), and is the best selling nameplate in the world (since 1997), with more than 35 million sold. Over the past 45 years, one Corolla vehicle has been sold on average every 40 seconds.
Nearing the end of its 10th generation, the 2011 Corolla was freshened with new front and rear exterior styling, a few interior design ch . . . read more
2011 Audi A6 Premium: Still Forceful, Elegant and Smooth
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Last of its generation, the 2011 Audi A6 still exhibits style and performance. While an all-new incarnation of the luxury sedan begins with the 2012 model, there is lots of life left in this luxury mid-size’s 2011 version. The 2012s are already out and selling well, but taking a last look at the 2011 model shows that this generation deserves consideration and respect.
While few changes occurred for 2011, the tail end was restyled, the front wa . . . read more
2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Sport: Riding Home in a Winner
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Named for a legendary championship Thoroughbred, the Mitsubishi Eclipse has the horses to run with the sporty crowd and the looks to attract sporting car buyers.
The Eclipse was launched in 1989 for the 1990 model year and was named after the undefeated 18th-century racehorse (26 victories in 26 starts) remembered in the phrase "Eclipse first and the rest nowhere.” A phenomenal sire, some 95% of living Thoroughbreds can trace their direct tail . . . read more
2011 Corvette Convertible: Summer Car for All Seasons
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Since 1953, Chevrolet has graced the landscape with America’s Sports Car, the Corvette. From the beginning, Corvette has appealed to VIPs – John Wayne owned car original Corvette No. 51 -- and those with a thirst for life, and four-wheeled power, grace and excitement.
Spotlighted at this year’s 30th Anniversary Corvettes at Carlisle, at Carlisle Fairgrounds, PA, this weekend (August 26-28), the C6 (6th-Generation) Corvette is certainly a car . . . read more
2011 Chevrolet Equinox: Compact SUV is economical and sporty
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Billed as “The Crossover that fits your life,” the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox is a compact SUV that has improved its styling, ride and performance.
Initially introduced in 2004 for the 2005 model year, the Equinox became the first crossover SUV from Chevrolet, marketed by GM as a compact SUV. Built at GM’s Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada plant, the second-generation Equinox looks upscale, shows its versatility, has earned a solid safety rating and deli . . . read more
2011 Nissan Juke SV: A Crown Prince in Hatchback Clothing
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
It wasn’t so long ago that economy hatchback subcompacts were econoboxes – no frills, short on architecture and devoid of style and amenities. They promised low pricing and delivered with good fuel economy.
The 2011 Nissan Juke is one of the faces of the new generation of subcompact hatchbacks. Called an “urban compact” or “a sport crossover”, the Juke has unique styling that some have said resembles a frog. But make no mistake, this frog is a . . . read more
2011 Toyota Tundra Crew Max Platinum: Elegant Workhorse
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
The advertising slogan for the 2011 Toyota Tundra is: “Power and Efficiency. Like Steak and Eggs.” Spoken like a vehicle made in Texas, where is exactly where the Tundra is assembled – San Antonio.
Named for a vast, flat and treeless, permanently frozen region of the arctic, or the football turf at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, the Toyota Tundra is a massive full-size pick-up that is rugged enough to handle frigid subsoil, heavy payloads, and wo . . . read more
2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited 1.8: Creative Looking, Rich Feeling and Fuel Efficient
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The term “Fluidic sculpture” is what Hyundai uses to describe the architecture of the fully redesigned 2011 Hyundai Elantra. According to Hyundai: “Elantra exemplifies Hyundai’s emotional ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design principles. ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ considers the interplay of wind with rigid surfaces to create the illusion of constant motion. Elantra is an evolution of the design qualities found in Sonata”.
While the term might be a new concept . . . read more
2011 Honda Accord EX-L: Harmony, Sophistication, Power and Efficiency
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Honda Accord, launched in 1976 and the first Honda to be produced in the United States (in 1982), began as a compact hatchback, moved into the mid-size arena in 1990 and has been a full-size sedan since 2008. Nearing the end of its eighth generation, the vehicle was named Accord to define “Honda's desire for accord and harmony between people, society and the automobile.” That credo pays off in 2011 with increased fuel economy, enhanced exterior a . . . read more
2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible: Retro Muscle Recalls American Spirit
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
You can call it heritage-inspired design, retro, nostalgic, 21st century homage or a re-imagining of a muscle car, but whatever you call it, the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro is a Pony Car revisited … a car for the ages. And when you put on a ragtop and enjoy the 16 seconds it takes to lower and stow the cover, you get the Camaro Convertible, a summer car that makes you feel good all year long.
Following an eight-year hiatus, Camaro, one of the origin . . . read more
2011 Dodge Challenger R/T: It’s 1970 and more for American Muscle car
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
In 1969, Dodge fired a missile in the American “Muscle Car” Wars when it launched the 1970 Challenger.
The Chrysler “E-body” short-deck, long-hood, boulevard, dragstrip and oval track performer lasted five years in the line-up. Challenger ceased production as a line in 1973, but was nostalgically brought back in 2008 in full retro glory. The 2011 version is 1970 revisited, but with more power, more tech and safety and the same off-the-line tor . . . read more
2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe: Rocketlike Excitement in a Small Package
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Mercedes Benz has up-powered and up-teched its third generation of C-Class AMG coupes and has set the fall for launching the all-new C63 AMG.
The Mercedes-Benz C-class is its compact designation first introduced in 1993 as a replacement for the 190. At the time it was released, the segment gained the nickname “Baby-Benz”.
An off-shoot of that class is the AMG group. AMG was established in 1967 to develop high-performance racing engines and . . . read more
2011 Audi A8: All-Out Luxury
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Assembled in Neckarsulm, Germany, the A8, Audi’s four-door full-size luxury flagship, enters its fourth generation. The all-new A8 combines a dynamic exterior and luxurious interior design with athletic driving characteristics, while providing uplevel comfort and convenience equipment. The flagship sedan employs a unique combination of an aluminum space frame, MMI® (man-machine interface) user interface, interior craftsmanship, quattro all-wheel- . . . read more
2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD: Powerful workhorse perfect for tough jobs and easy driving
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Perennially the No.2-selling vehicle line in the United States is the Chevrolet Silverado family of trucks. The Silverado line runs the gamut from the 1500 ½-ton, to the hybrid, to the 2500HD and on to the 3500HD in long and short bed, regular cab, extended cab and crew cab configurations.
There are even military applications produced, including the MILCOTS (Militarized Commercial Off-The-Shelf), affectionately referred to as the “Milverado”, . . . read more
2011 Buick LaCrosse CXS: Elegant Mid-Size is Quiet, Safe and High-Tech
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
What began as a mid-size replacement for Buick’s Century and Regal sedans in 2004 (for the 2005 model year), the 2011 LaCrosse is riding high in the second year of its second generation as the company’s flagship luxury car.
Coming at you confidently with a waterfall grille, wraparound headlamps and a trendy, rounded look that combines today’s styling cues with a sweep-spear body-side architecture that borrows from classic 1954 Skylark and 1956 . . . read more
2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible: Cool Ride More Than a Simple Rebadging
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
All new, but with a familiar platform, the 2011 Chrysler 200 FWD mid-size is receiving lots of play at dealerships in both its sedan and convertible versions.
Based on the outgoing Chrysler Sebring, the 200 has undergone numerous cosmetic changes as well as a power upgrade to the optional 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine.
Built at Chrysler’s Sterling Heights, Michigan assembly plant, the renamed and refreshed 200 differs from the Sebring with . . . read more
2011 Lexus RX 350: Luxury Sports-ute is upscale, up-teched and up-powered
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The Lexus RX has been America’s best-selling luxury SUV since its introduction in 1998 and has increased its power and numerical name with each generation.
As with many alpha- numerically named vehicles, the number indicates engine size. The 1999 (brought out in March 1998) RX 300 was powered by a 3.0-liter engine; the 2004 RX 330 had a 3.3-liter engine and the 2007 RX 350, which has since been redesigned (in 2010), utilizes a 3.5-liter powerp . . . read more
2011 Toyota RAV4 Limited: Small, versatile economic and cool
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The hip, sporty. Small crossover from Toyota, the RAV4, was the first compact sports-ute. Introduced in Japan and Europe in 1994 and brought to America in 1996, RAV4 filled the bill for those who wanted an SUV, but also desired fuel economy, good maneuverability, solid sightlines, 4-wheel-drive and generous cargo space.
Its name stands for "Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive", although not all RAV4s have four wheel drive.
Neari . . . read more
2011 Ford F-150 XLT 5.0-liter V-8: Still tough and now even more powerful
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The perennial top-selling vehicle in America, the Ford F-150 has been King of the Road for 33 years. Now in its 12th generation, the pick-up that was introduced in 1948 on a quest to become “America’s Truck” is still Built Ford Tough, but this year, safety, tech and comfort are enhanced and power is the central focus.
The most extensive powertrain overhaul in the 63-year history of Ford’s F-Series highlights the 2011 Ford F-150. The engine lin . . . read more
2011 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR: Sporty Mid-Size Packed With Power, Safety and Refinement
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Assembled at the Nissan North America Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi Manufacturing plants, the 2011 Nissan Altima is the company’s standard bearer and No.1-selling vehicle.
Building on last year’s refinements, which included a restyled hood, grille, front bumper and aluminum-alloy wheel designs, the 2011 model has received interior enhancements, revised package content and three new exterior colors as well as two engine . . . read more
2011 Honda Odyssey EX: American-made Minivan is Safe, Comfortable and Kid-Worthy
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The Minivan segment in America is not as healthy as it once was, but those who purchase them continue to swear by them. Among the strongest players in the niche is Honda with its Odyssey. In 2010, Odyssey was the No.2-selling minivan in the United States and the 2011 version is starting strong again, with a “Made in the USA” stamp on it from its Alabama manufacturing facility.
Odyssey is the darling of testing bureaus and ratings editors. Kell . . . read more
2011 Ford Fusion Sport: Mid-Size With a Fun-to-Drive Attitude
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Initially brought out in 2005, Fusion has been a steady upward performer. Currently the No. 5-selling vehicle in America and the third-top-selling passenger car, Fusion was at No. 8 last year and the car keeps moving up the charts. Last year, Fusion received an extensive tweaking, so this year, it gets standard incorporated blind-spot mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and the MyKey system, while the Sport trim gets one-touch up/down front windows, HD . . . read more
2011 Mazda2: Concentrated Zoom-Zoom Hatchback?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Can “Zoom-Zoom” translate to a hatchback? Mazda thinks so, and its 2011 Mazda2 subcompact is its entry-level version of a fun, sporty 4-door family driver.
Mazda2 began life as the Mazda Demio in 1996 and has also been known as the Mazda 121 and Metro. Now nearing the end of its third generation, Mazda2 will get a refreshening next year, and in 2013 or 2014 should receive a complete overhaul, a new drive train, a SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter, direct-i . . . read more
2011 Toyota Camry XLE: Excellent, Luxurious and Economical
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
The Toyota Celica Camry was launched to the Japanese market as a narrow-body successor to the Carina in 1980 and became its own line in 1982. Introduced to America for 1983, it has been a success story in the U.S. from the beginning.
The top-selling passenger car in America for eight consecutive years – third in total vehicle sales behind only Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado -- Camry, an anglicized version of the Japanese word “Kan-Muri”, or “c . . . read more
2011 Chevrolet Volt: Electric Car Who’s Time has Come
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
With gasoline prices near $3.50 a gallon at some locations and seemingly headed for $4, and diesel fuel prices already higher than that at many service stations, electric cars are rapidly becoming a genuine American car-buying strategy.
While some electric vehicles boast home-charging capabilities, Roush Manufacturing, in Livonia, Michigan, has contracted with ECO-tality Corp. of San Francisco, California, to produce 8300 home charging station . . . read more
2011 Kia Optima Turbo: Powerful, Safe and Stylish
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
When Kia Motors first brought out the Optima in 2000, both the company and the vehicle were thought of as low-frills, workmanlike economy entities. Eleven years later, they have both come a long way. The economy factor still exists, but both exhibit style, substance, quality, premier safety attributes and upscale amenities.
The Kia Optima (also known in Canada and Europe as the Kia Megentis in 2002), now in its third generation, is sportier an . . . read more
2011 Suzuki Kizashi: A sign of the future, today
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Very seldom do we see a car line in America that carries a foreign model name. More often than not, cars that bear an ethic name in their land of origin are renamed something more Western-sounding, for American consumption.
But with the mid-size Suzuki Kizashi, you get a new all-wheel-drive sport sedan that delivers a blend of dynamic performance with trendy design aesthetics, and with its original Japanese name.
The Kizashi (pronounced “Ke . . . read more
2011 Toyota Highlander: Stalwart Warrior Exhibits Agility and Comfort
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
In the 1990s television show about immortal warriors, called “The Highlander,” the opening narration ended with the line: “In the end, there can be only one.” To Toyota, whose Highlander marketing campaign is aimed at parents, and proclaims: “Just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean you have to be lame,” there can be only one choice for those with young families, the 2011 Highlander SUV.
The Toyota Highlander began its life in late 2000, kn . . . read more
2011 Dodge Ram 1500 HD Outdoorsman: Rugged, Comfortable and Powerful
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Dodge has been selling trucks since 1917, but in 1981, when it named its new truck in honor of its Ram hood ornament, it created a tough vehicle that would endure. That first generation of pick-up lasted until 1993, and now in its fourth generation it has become synonymous with HEMI power, even though the HEMI engine is only offered as a top-of-the line power option.
Dodge originally used “150” to indicate a half-ton truck, “250” for a three-q . . . read more
2011 Ford Escape: Small SUV with Big Tech and Economy
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
What was once called, “The Baby Explorer,” took over proprietorship as Ford’s top-selling sports-utility vehicle, and continued to refine its genre as a smaller SUV, even adding a hybrid version to its mix.
Debuting for the 2001 model year, the Ford Escape is nearing the end of its second generation as it persists on its quest to add power, refinement, tech, safety and niceties in an affordable and fuel-efficient sports-ute package.
There a . . . read more
2011 Mazda6: Sporty Family Sedan is too much fun
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The Mazda6, known in Japan as the Mazda Atenza, has been a rapidly selling midsize since it came onto the automotive scene in 2002 as a replacement for the Mazda 626. With more than one million units sold worldwide since its launch, the Mazda 6 has captured the attention of drivers, carbuyers, onlookers and the racing world – a first-place finish in the SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge (GTS manufacturer’s class).
From the beginning, the Mazda6 . . . read more
2011 Honda Fit Sport: Trendy styling, versatility and drivability
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Honda has fit well into the sporty subcompact niche since it remade the Jazz into the Fit for its second generation in 2007. The fun, fashionable and multi-faceted Fit may be small in size but it looms large against its competition.
A gem in the affordable small car market, Fit has been a golden child with the public thanks to a combination of trendy styling, versatility, drivability, performance and handling, a high entertainment quotient and . . . read more
2011 Suzuki SX4 LE: Classy Compact
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Geared to attract young drivers, singles, couples, small families and the Performance and Style crowd who look for lower-cost vehicles that provide style, pop and a canvas to customize, the 2011 Suzuki SX4 compact sedan borrows the sporty character found in its European cousin, the Suzuki Swift, to provide boldness, sophistication and economical driving for under $18,000.
A compact car that began life in 2006, SX4 was conceived by Giorgetto Gi . . . read more
Carlisle Events Visits the 2011 PA Auto Show
Friday, January 28, 2011
Carlisle Events went to the 2011 Pennsylvania Auto Show at the State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg Thursday and we saw a slew of different automotive options, many of which you can see throughout our 2011 season. The show floor has everything from modern muscle to new and pre-owned cars, trucks and SUV’s from Ford, Chevy, Jeep, Lexus, Toyota, BMW, Jaguar and more. You’ll see imports and domestics as well as scooters, mopeds and Vespas. There . . . read more
2011 Dodge Avenger: Newest Version is Sporty and Economical
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Since Dodge re-introduced the Avenger to the market for the 2008 model year as a four-door sports sedan, replacing the same Dodge Status that had taken the place of the two-door Avenger in Dodge’s 2001 line-up, it has become a successful staple in the Ram auto line.
Marketing the new 2011 version, Chrysler has positioned it for the customer who wants an enthusiastic driving performance and excellent fuel economy. According to industry reports, . . . read more
2011 Kia Sorento EX: Versatile Crossover is Big in its Class
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Kia’s first CUV manufactured at its new state-of-the-art plant in West Point, Georgia, is a re-imagined SUV-Crossover that is envisioned as a fun, functional, versatile, economical and sporty drive.
The all-new second-generation 2011 Sorento has eliminated its former stiff truck-based ladder-frame platform and has gone to a more compliant steel unibody construction format that utilizes the badge’s signature design cues. This year’s edition al . . . read more
2011 Nissan Rogue: Compact SUV is Accommodating
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
As SUVs are making a comeback, it is the smaller sports-utes that are garnering the most attention on the road at the dealerships. Filling the role for Nissan in this area is the 2011 Rogue, a compact crossover that first hit the market in 2007 when it was known as the X-Trail in Canada, Xterra in Mexico, Qashgai in Europe and Dualis in Australia and its Japan home.
In its second generation, the redesigned Rogue sports enhancements and upgrade . . . read more
2011 Ford Explorer XLT: SUV Poised for Return Run at No. 1
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Explorer was first introduced as a trim package offered on Ford F-Series trucks from 1968 to 1986, but ever since the Ford Explorer became its own entity and replaced the Bronco II in the 1991 Blue Oval line-up, the mid-size SUV had been a top-seller and arguably was the vehicle that mainstreamed sports-utes. Through two decades and four generations, the Explorer was the No.1-selling SUV in America.
That winning streak came to an end last year . . . read more
2011 Chevrolet Cruze: Compact Cruises Large
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
In automotive vernacular, the word “cruise” means to drive around at a constant speed, usually to show off your car to other cruisers or to enjoy the driving experience. In the 21st century, with a different spelling, but the same pronunciation, “Cruze” means economy and style with a Chevy Bowtie badge on the grille.
Replacing both the Chevrolet Cobalt and the European and Asian-sold Daewoo-built Lacetti (known in America as the Suzuki Forenza . . . read more
Car of the Year: Corvette ZR-1 -- America’s Super Car
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
All About Cars traditionally ends its yearly coverage with two Top-10 lists. Last week, we awarded our Car Buy of the Year crown to the all-new Cadillac CTS Coupe. This week, we present our Car of the Year list, focusing on the best car, truck, crossover or SUV and what it delivers, regardless of price – just the pure vehicle.
To make this list, I must have test driven the car in calendar 2010 and it must have dazzled me as well as any passeng . . . read more
Car Buy of the Year: Cadillac CTS Returns Carmaker to Glory
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
For the sixth consecutive year, All About Cars ends its calendar in late December with its picks for Car Buy of the Year and Car of the Year. This week’s column spotlights the vehicles that demonstrated the best bang for the buck in 2010.
In the automotive world, according to sales figures at the time this column was written, Toyota’s Camry was once again the top-selling passenger car in America and third best-selling vehicle behind only the F . . . read more
2011 Toyota Sienna Minivan: Luxury Family Shuttle Lives
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
To those of you who thought the minivan -- a family shuttle that carries kids, hockey equipment, youthful soccer teams and diaper pails around the block or around the country -- was dead, recent figures tell a different story.
According to current statistics, minivan sales, which peaked in 2000 at 1.4 million and to 434,000 last year, have climbed to more than 600,000 vehicles sold in 2010.
Among those box-shaped passenger vans enjoying the . . . read more
2011 Kia Sportage LX: Hipness in a Compact CUV
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Gone are the days that Kia can be considered a small, econobox car manufacturer. Kia is big time, competing with the big boys by creating vehicles with solid quality, trendy styling and aggressive pricing. Kia might have been a no-frills, low-cost manufacturer 20 years ago, but they have moved into the realm of hipness with several of their offerings for 2011.
One such hip automobile is the third-generation 2011 Sportage, a compact crossover t . . . read more
2011 VW Jetta SportWagen TDI: Clean diesel drives VW toward its goal
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn recently said the company is on track to overtake Toyota Motor Company as the world's largest automaker. In the first nine months of 2010, VW did beat Toyota's full-year profit goal for the same period -- $5.23 billion vs. $4.16 billion – and the German executive said that with strong sales growth in China and the U.S., VW could surpass Toyota in worldwide sales and profitably by 2018.
One vehicle poised to he . . . read more
2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe: Magic on Wheels
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Sometimes a car can appear to be as magical as its surroundings. Once such vehicle is the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe I tested in Florida, to and from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando.
Cadillac, the luxury division of General Motors was founded in 1902 by master mechanic Henry Leland, who named his automobile company after French nobleman Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, Sieyr de Cadillac, founder of Detroit in 1703. The compan . . . read more
2010 Acura ZDX: 4-Door Luxury SUV with Coupe Appeal
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Assembled in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, Acura’s luxury take on crossovers is embodied in the 2010 ZDX. Manufacturer releases call it a “Luxury Four-Door Sports Coupe”, but neglect to mention it is an SUV/Crossover.
What ZDX is, is a new, style-driven midsize luxury crossover with dramatic styling; performance oriented with state-of-the-art advanced technology. The ZDX features innovative coupe-like styling, a panoramic glass roof, hidden rear . . . read more
2010 Audi A6 3.2: Luxury and Power in a Mid-Size
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
With its third generation nearing an end and a new version in the works, the 2010 Audi A6 liquidly moves down the highway with an assertive stance, sweeping lines and a fluid combination of elegance, sportiness and performance to position itself well in the mid-size executive car segment.
Some eight inches longer and an inch taller than its sibling, the A4, the A6 is one of the longest cars in its class, and while more conservative in aura tha . . . read more
2010 Lincoln MKZ: Entry-Luxury
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
When Henry M. Leland founded Lincoln Motor Car Works in 1917 and named it after his longtime hero Abraham Lincoln, he sought to create a luxury automobile. Ford purchased the company in 1922, and Leland and Henry Ford continued the practice of building luxury cars for the public under the Lincoln badge.
But neither man could have envisioned the niche, “entry-luxury”, and neither could have foreseen that the Lincoln MKZ fits the niche perfect . . . read more
2010 Nissan Altima Coupe: Definition of Cool
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The No.7 top-selling vehicle in the United States sports a name that has no real definition, but the Nissan Altima, named to sound like “Ultimate,” is the definition of a hip, stylish, sporty vehicle designed to appeal to drivers who seek a personal expression of individuality.
Beginning life as a mid-size sedan in 1993, Altima is an off-shoot of the Nissan Bluebird, which debuted in 1957. The name "Altima" originally referred to a trim line . . . read more
2010 Honda CR-V: Comfortable, Compact Softroader
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
When Honda chose the CR-V as its compact crossover SUV in 1996, it filled a niche in the soft-road utility market for the Japanese car builder. As to what CR-V stands for, some Honda sales literature has called it a "Compact Recreational Vehicle", but other official Honda material references the crossover as a "Comfortable Runabout Vehicle". Still others in Honda marketing say the initials mean nothing and are a marketable assortment of letters a . . . read more
2010 Toyota Camry SE: Top-Selling Royalty
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Once again, Toyota Camry is the top-selling passenger car in America and third best-selling vehicle behind only the Ford F Series and Chevrolet Silverado trucks. This marks the eighth consecutive year and twelfth of the last thirteen, that Camry has occupied the top spot in America.
Continuing in its seventh generation, the mid-size sedan began as a compact car within the Celica line in 1980, and fully replaced the Corona in 1983.
Deriving . . . read more
2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS: Appeal for the Ages
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The second-generation Buick LaCrosse … was once the badge’s entry-level sedan, but now, the four-door mid-size is seen as its premium sports sedan, and is the brand's flagship automobile.
An international vehicle with a push toward the Chinese market, the car that is bought by more septuagenarians in America than any other vehicle has been designed with a look and feel that should play well with its core older audience, but with its classic li . . . read more
2010 Chevrolet Impala LT: A Premier sedan at 52
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The Chevrolet Impala, thought by some to be the first American muscle car (though the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 and the 1964 Pontiac GTO have many more endorsers in musclemania), and which had a song written about it in 1962, enters its ninth generation as a full-size sedan that combines new technology and design tweaks with a strong tradition of Chevy high performance.
The Impala was introduced in 1958 as the premier coupe and convertible in . . . read more
2010 Range Rover Sport: Rugged Off-Roader in a Luxury Setting
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Land Rover may have begun as a safari vehicle 40 years ago, but it has evolved into a trendy, luxury off-road vehicle that seldom sees the off-road; one of those vehicles is the 2010 Range Rover Sport.
The original Range Rover began its conception in the early 1950s, but the project (the Road Rover) hit delays and was mothballed until 1966, when designers Spencer King and Gordon Bashford started building a prototype that was completed and twea . . . read more
2011 Nissan Murano SL: Mid-range SUV with luxury aspirations
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
The second-generation Nissan Murano continues as a near-luxury mid-size crossover and receives a freshening for 2011 with an exterior facelift and some increased standard interior electronics.
From its familiar trapezoidal grille center, to its new wide elongated headlights and lower bumper, the Murano looks slinkier than before and bolder and more confident than ever.
It doesn’t get a power upgrade this year and remains reliant on a 3.5-li . . . read more
2010 Jaguar XF: Tradition Upheld
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
When it was announced in 2008 that storied British carmaker Jaguar had been sold to Mumbai, India-based Tata Motors, a huge, private conglomerate with 98 operating companies in industries such as power generation, chemicals, telecommunications and engineering, it was met with some skepticism that The Cat’s reputation for fast, luxurious, classy, classic cars could be sustained.
On two counts, that skepticism has proven to be overblown: first, . . . read more
2011 Hyundai Sonata SE: Safe, Stylish, Sophisticated and Economical
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Hyundai’s Sonata began life in 1985 as a car built solely for use within Korea. It came to North America for the first time in 1988 as a second-generation mid-size, with an Italian design by Giorgetto Giugario. Following a refreshening in 1991, Sonata replaced the Stellar as the core family sedan in the Hyundai line-up.
Now in its 6th generation, re-focused with improved fuel economy, Hyundai's new "fluidic sculpture" design, increased perfor . . . read more
2011 Chevrolet Malibu LT: Third Life’s the Charm
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
From its beginnings as a mid-range trim in the Chevelle line in 1964, to its promotion as the car that replaced Chevelle in 1978, the Chevrolet Malibu has seen success in many guises. Malibu has appeared as a vinyl-topped two-tone sedan, station wagon, and coupe, while arguably gaining its most everlasting following as a muscle car. The down-sized marque ceased production after the 1983 model year when it was replaced by the front-wheel drive Che . . . read more
2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster: 41 years of enjoying the ride
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Nissan’s “Z-Car” has captured the imagination of musclecar and street sports car enthusiasts since its introduction in 1969.
The original Z began life in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady Z – named by Nissan/Datsun executives after the Broadway play, “My Fair Lady.” It was soon exported to the United States as the Datsun 240Z, as marketing chiefs advised that while the arts are a great selling tool in Japan, American drivers would not flock around . . . read more
2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid: Combining Natural Resource Consciousness and Luxury
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
First launched in 2002 as Porsche’s entry into the then-burgeoning luxury mid-size SUV niche, the Cayenne (pronounced KI-ehn, like the hot pepper), finished its initial generation as an upscale sports-ute with similar characteristics to those of its competition, but adding the Porsche badge and some power options.
With its second generation, come a facelift and some changes that should put it near the top of its class.
Generation two, begin . . . read more
2010 Toyota 4Runner: A true off-roader in a luxury package
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Since the Toyota 4Runner sports utility vehicle began life as the Toyota Hilux Surf with compact dimensions in 1984, it has been a trendy, hip vehicle of choice for young upwardly mobile professionals and style-conscious drivers of all ages.
Now, substantially larger, and considerably more lavish, the midsize body-on-frame SUV proudly bills itself as an upscale off-road middie while competition moves to crossover marketing campaigns. In its . . . read more
2010 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe: Big things in a small car
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
We have seen the Smart Car … actually the Smart ForTwo on the road (occasionally) and in magazines, but how many of us consider that the tiny 1808-lb. vehicle is built under the umbrella luxury car giant Mercedes-Benz (actually Daimler AG)?
The Smart story began in 1972, when Mercedes-Benz developed the concept of a super compact automobile measuring less than 100 inches. However, at that time technical implementation of the concept was not po . . . read more
2010 Corvette Grand Sport: Legendary car is back in 4 seconds and change
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The historic Corvette Grand Sport was a vision on wheels conceived by Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov as a light-weight, factory-built speed machine built to compete on domestic and foreign race tracks in 1963. Only five hand-assembled cars were built, as GM chose to refrain from participating in manufacturer-backed motorpsorts, and they were all driven by racing Hall of Famers including A.J. Foyt, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Bob Bondurant . . . read more
SNEAK PEAK: 2011 Dodge Charger – New, More Muscular and Exciting
Monday, July 05, 2010
While Chrysler is eager to show off a logo change for its Dodge line, it is secretive in its expected launching of the next generation of Charger, its signature muscle car that hearkens back to the Pony Car wars and street machines of the late 1960s and early ’70s.
Chrysler resurrected Charger in 2006, after a 28-year hiatus to pay homage to the marque which was first seen in 1965, as a Coronet-based muscle machine. The ’06 reincarnation was t . . . read more
2010 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 Crew cab: Classic look, increased fuel economy
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
On June 8, 2010, an official memo informed employees at General Motors' headquarters in Detroit to discontinue the use of the word "Chevy" in place of "Chevrolet." Employees are discouraged from saying "Chevy" when speaking with co-workers, dealers, customers and family and friends, so my recent pick-up truck test ride was not in a Chevy pick-up, it was behind the wheel of a 2010 Chevrolet Silverado LT Z71 Crew Cab.
Chevrolet has been selling . . . read more
2011 Infiniti M37: Performance and Luxury Niche Has Another Player
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Nissan’s luxury and performance arm, Infiniti, has reached adulthood. Now in its 21st year, Infiniti is an established player in the luxury niche, and it has the power to make it a worthy combatant in the performance sector as well. Created to provide opulent vehicles that didn’t otherwise fit the Nissan market chain, Infiniti in well-positioned in the segment against its Japanese counterparts, Lexus and Acura, and is poised to go head-to-head wi . . . read more
2010 Dodge Ram: Continuing the Tradition
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Dodge is rebranding itself, remarketing itself and re-sloganing itself, but one of the things that has remained strong in its arsenal since 1994 is the Dodge Ram.
Dodge began selling trucks in 1917, and for the past 16 years, the Ram has been its light-duty poster truck. The Ram continues to define itself as a truck leader in 2010-2011.
While Chrysler recently announced that it will begin featuring a new logo for Dodge -- a pair of red racing . . . read more
2010 Camaro Synergy: Limited Edition is Car of Another Color
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
When Chevrolet turned back the clock last year to re-issue the nostalgic muscle car Camaro, it created a hot retro vehicle with modern performance, combining nostalgia with modern and hip presentation. Based on the 1967-1969 Camaro, the car is both vintage and contemporary, with body-color bumpers and electronics inside.
Historically, Camaro has utilized dramatic and striking colors in its exterior palette. According to Camaro historian Scott . . . read more
2011 Ford Fiesta: A world car that’s a fun car
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
The commercials are starting to hit the popular TV shows … and that means Ford is joining the fun-car market with the 2011 Fiesta.
Taking a page out of the Euro and Asian tuner and fun car line-ups, Ford is aggressively going after the subcompact niche with European panache. In fact, Fiesta has Euro roots. Fiesta began from 1976 to 1983 in Europe and now in its 6th generation …with some American tweaks and adaptation to conform to U.S. regs, i . . . read more
2010 Corvette ZR-1: American Super Car is a blast to drive
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Anyone who maintains that all supercars originate in Europe probably hasn’t driven the Corvette ZR-1. Supercars are generally thought of as high-end exotic automobiles that are fast, luxurious and handle like race cars, with extraordinarily stylish looks and price tags that are extraordinarily high. One car that certainly fits the definition in all areas but price is built in Bowling Green, Kentucky -- the 2010 Corvette ZR-1.
With a sticker ab . . . read more
2011 Volvo C70: A luxury convertible with a retractable hardtop
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Since 1927, Swedish automaker Volvo has earned a lofty reputation for its consistency in creating safe, quality automobiles. Volvo takes its name from “Volvere” the infinitive form of the verb "roll" in Latin (Volvo translates to “I roll”), and from the time that its first car rolled off the assembly line – the "Jakob" in 1927 – the car with the symbol of Mars (also the ancient chemical icon for iron) complemented with a diagonal band running acr . . . read more
2010 Ford Focus SES: Improved sportiness, safety to top college car
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
When Ford focused on compact cars in 1999 for the 2000 model year, their engineers designed the Ford Focus to replace the Escort (and Mercury Tracer) and Contour (and Mercury Mystique) in the line-up. The North American version of Focus is expected to be discontinued after the 2012 model year, in favor of the international version – Generation III – but in all forms, it has generated more than 5 million units sold thus far.
Marketed as an econ . . . read more
2010 Dodge Challenger: 40 years of Mopar Muscle
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Forty years ago, Dodge entered the American “Muscle Car wars with the 1970 Challenger, debuting in fall 1969 with a Chrysler “E-body” short-deck, long-hood platform it shared with the Plymouth Barracuda.
In its five years of production, the original Challenger wowed them on the boulevards, down the drag strips and around the race tracks with its powertrain choices that ranged from a 145-hp 225-cubic-inch I-6, to a 426-ci HEMI V-8 that thundered . . . read more
2010 Porsche Panamera: Luxury and Speed for Four
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
From its early days, Porsche cars, founded by Ferdinand Porsche in Stuttgart in 1931, gained a well-earned reputation for creating stylish, well-built and fast vehicles, and there was no confusion in Europe. Since it began marketing in the United States in 1950, with the 356 Speedster coupe, Porsche has kept up its eminence for creating four-wheel excitement, but has suffered in American accuracy of pronunciation.
First was the confusion over th . . . read more
2010 Toyota Tundra 4x4 Double Cab: Dual-Purpose Truck is Brawny and Refined
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The monster, full-size pick-up with a Japanese pedigree and an American-built work and ethic, is a dual-purpose truck … strong enough for work and refined enough for daily and family use. The 2010 Toyota Tundra is built in San Antonio, Texas and is slightly redesigned for its second generation.
Available in three cab sizes –- Regular cab, Double Cab and CrewMax body styles –three bed lengths – 5.5-foot, 6.5-foot and an 8-foot bed – and three . . . read more
2011 Ford Mustang 5.0 GT: Nostalgia never looked so good
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
When Robert S. McNamara conceptualized the T-5 Project for Ford and turned it over to lee Iacocca, they never dreamed that 40 years later, the car would endure as the greatest-selling Pony Car of all-time.
The name Mustang was an after-thought. Chevy had some rights to the moniker and the names Cheetah, Puma, Cougar, Colt, Special Falcon and Torino were considered.
On April 17, 1964, the $2360 Mustang was unveiled as a 1964½ car though it car . . . read more
2010 Honda Civic Si: Sporty variation on the theme
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Honda’s top-selling Civic is offered for 2010 in a number of guises, from the Hybrid, to the natural-gas powered GX, to the high-tech sedan and coupes. But for those who seek performance with their economy and style, Honda has created the high-powered Si.
The Civic line has been rated as the number-2 affordable vehicle out of 29 Affordable Small Cars in a study that included some of America’s top auto journalists. The Si adds a carload of subs . . . read more
2010 Audi S4: Power, Performance and Style
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Audi’s performance version of the A4 is the S4, which began as a high-perf adaptation of Audi’s 1200 saloon sedan in 1991. After taking a year off, the S4 is back in 2010 with a more powerful engine and luxurious lines.
The all-wheel drive 6-speed manual has already gained a solid reputation for its performance and handling and the 2010 model adds impressive speed and high-tech electronics to its portfolio and it tests very well against power- . . . read more
2010 Scion tC: Attracting younger drivers with cool elegance
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
When Toyota created Project Genesis in 1999 in an effort to attract the younger generation of buyers, they introduced the Toyota Echo and spiffed-out Celica and MR2 models. Three years later they launched Project Exodus, an effort designed to separate the new-Gen cars from the Toyota marque.
That second plan evolved into the Scion badge and by 2005, the third member of the scion line, tC was born. The marketing approach has worked, as Scion's . . . read more
2010 VW GTI: Sporty icon is a fun drive
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Introduced 27 years ago, the Volkswagen GTI has become a VW icon as a vehicle that is sporty, economical, versatile, hip, aggressive and fun to drive. Now in its sixth generation, the GTI has added stylish and elegant design cues to its “hot hatch” reputation.
Car enthusiasts commonly believe GTI means either Grand Touring International or Grand Touring Injected, but VW has taken no stance on the meaning. The vehicle began as a trim level for t . . . read more
2010 Mazdaspeed3: Sporty 5-Door is hip, refined and fast
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Now in its fourth model year, the Mazdaspeed 3 has received a freshening for 2010 and it is hipper, more refined, more high-tech and faster in its current form.
A sportcompact or sportwagon hatchback, the Mazdaspeed 3 is known as the Mazdaspeed Axela in Japan. Under any name, this is a genuine car for the young generation and a perfect canvas for the performance and style crowd.
With a new, hot body design that adds 100 pounds to the car, . . . read more
2010 Cadillac CTS: America’s Luxury Car for Under $40,000
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
When Cadillac replaced the Catera with the CTS in 2002, the alphabetically named vehicle breathed new life into the line. Eight years later, CTS has completed a three-year run as a Top-10 luxury mid-size on many car-of-the-year lists.
Combining luxury, technology and power, the 2010 CTS has replaced its old 3.6-liter V-6 engine with a new a 3.0-liter direct-injected V-6, and also offers a muscular 6.2-liter supercharged engine that explodes out . . . read more
2010 Subaru Impreza WRX Premium: Continuing the Theme
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
With very little in the way of changes in 2010, this year’s Subaru Impreza WRX Premium is much like last year’s model except that the base price has dropped by $1000. Subaru argues … why change if your model was already impressive? They have a point.
The Subaru Impreza remains the only car in its segment to come standard with All-Wheel Drive – renowned Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive combined with standard Vehicle Dynamics Control and the v . . . read more
2010 Hyundai Accent GS: Accent is on economy
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Available as a 3-door hatchback or a 4-door sedan, the economical, fuel-efficient Hyundai Accent began life as the X3, the original name for the Accent, the successor to the Excel in Hyundai’s 1995 line-up. In France, the vehicle was known as the Hyundai Pony and in South Korea, the car has been called the Verna.
Now in its third generation and presented in four trims -- Blue, SE, GS and GLS -- the Accent is aggressively and affordably priced. . . . read more
2010 Scion xB: A Box of Automotive Fun
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Now in its sixth year and second generation, the Scion xB “box on wheels” is larger than in its original edition, and that added length – 12 inches on a wheelbase only 4 inches longer -- has reduced some of its squareness. The addition of rounded angles has also softened the box look a bit. The additional 2.8 inches xB has added in its width makes for better stability on the road and also lessens the harshness of the look.
Make no mistake, the . . . read more
2010 Honda Insight: Hybrid big on electronics and economy
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Already competing at the highest levels of the fuel economical automobile niche, Honda has gone hybrid with the second-generation Insight. The Hybrid Insight is Honda’s first production vehicle to feature the manufacturer’s Integrated Motor Assist system, and revamps the three-door hatchback Insight produced and sold until 2008 .
Base priced under $20,000, it is arguably the least-expensive hybrid vehicle sold in the United States.
The five- . . . read more
2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: The right car at the right time|
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
In 2005, Ford began production on a vehicle that was designed to be the new face of the Blue Oval. With a three-bar grille, the mid-size car was a lean-and-mean cost-saver and a hit with the public.
In its second generation, the 2010 Fusion has gained a bold and clean Euro look on the outside, entertainment appeal inside and is offering hybrid performance under the hood.
Ford 2010, Ford has installed new front and rear fascia, three economy . . . read more
2010 Toyota Avalon Limited: A Toyota with a Lexus Personality|
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Toyota’s flagship since 1994-’95 model year and known in early generations in Japan as the Pronard, Avalon is nearing the end of its third generation in America as the prime Toyota full-size sedan.
With no significant changes for 2010 from the 2009 model, the Avalon is refined … so refined in fact that its upscale trims (XLS and Limited) could proudly carry the Lexus badge and compete notably with its sister, the Lexus ES 350.
Looking fluid and . . . read more
2010 Dodge Journey SXT AWD: Mid-Size crossover worth the trip|
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Dodge’s mid-size crossover, the Journey, is not to be confused with the Infiniti EX35 Journey. For one thing, the Dodge Journey is base-priced at 26,280, some $11,000 less than the Infiniti; and Dodge’s mid-level crossover is longer, wider, higher and heavier than its luxury name-sharer. The Dodge is also marketed to young drivers and youthful moms (dads get to drive it as well), while the Infiniti’s niche is older professionals and established f . . . read more
2010 Chevrolet Aveo: GM Sub-compact looks Agile|
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Chevrolet's economy subcompact Aveo was introduced to the American market in 2004 and by 2006, the hatchback Aveo 5 joined it on the line. The original Aveo was a rebadged version of the Daewoo Kalos, and much of its engineering was based on the Pontiac Wave.
Marketed to those who valued fuel economy and a low sticker price, Aveo has been slow to gain a wide purchase base. To address flat sales, GM has increased horsepower for 2010 slightly (fro . . . read more
2010 Ford Taurus SEL AWD: Full-size and elegant|
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Ford’s Taurus, in its second go-round in the Blue Oval line-up, has added advanced tech and vanguard styling to its personality.
A solid hit in its first life with Ford through four generations from 1986 through 2006, the Taurus fell from grace and was discontinued after the 2006 production year (2007 model year). It was a short hiatus, though, as the nameplate returned only a year later.
To buoy sales for the Ford Five Hundred, that now-de . . . read more
Car of the Year: Chevrolet Camaro is a double-winner|
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
This past year, nostalgic Pony cars rekindled past glories with power, style and grace, a supercar was introduced and was on a par with its more-expensive European counterparts, luxury cars looked and acted the part and some were even outfitted with hybrid or diesel engines, sports cars were as powerful and sporty as ever, new players showed luxury and class and tried-and-true top-sellers continued to strive for perfection.
Architecturally, ae . . . read more
Car Buy of the Year: Camaro Returns as Best Bang for the Buck … tops 2 Hyundais for top spot|
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
For the fifth consecutive year, All About Cars wraps up its yearly coverage and issues its picks for Car Buy of the Year and Car of the Year in late December. This week’s column is devoted to the vehicle with the best bang for the buck in 2009.
In a year in which the major car builders saw sales down by more than 25 percent, we are optimistic for 2010, as Value Pricing Strategy will experience resurgence. Automakers aim to come up with more re . . . read more
2010 Kia Soul Sport: Rolling on to younger buyers|
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Kia has soul … the Soul Sport, packaged as an “Urban passenger vehicle,” created to attract young drivers and buyers.
Kia markets the Soul as “A new way to roll,” ensconced as the first of a line of next-generation Kia vehicles set to launch during the next two years.
The all-new Sport is an economical, yet sporty four-door hatchback, loaded with standard cool interior items and ripe to drive as-is or tricked out for the performance and st . . . read more
2010 Lexus RX 450h: Luxury Hybrid SUV Makes a Statement|
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Lexus has been synonymous with luxury since the badge came into existence (the
The LS 400 and ES 250 went on sale in September 1989). From the very beginning Lexus also meant quality -- Lexus was ranked as the No. 1 Carline in a J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study in 1990 – and the LS 400 was ranked as the Import Car of the Year by the Motoring Press Association in 1990.
In 1998, Lexus introduced new breed of SUV, the mid-sized, . . . read more
2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata: World’s Most Popular 2-Seater|
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
When the most popular sports cars in the world are discussed, very seldom does the conversation turn to the Far East. Normally, we think of the favorite two-seaters coming from the United States, Germany, England or Italy, but in terms of units sold, that thinking would be wrong. For more than 20 years, the MX-5 Miata, built by Mazda in Japan, has been a top-selling vehicle that has offered sports car enthusiasts a pure, simple, fun-focused roads . . . read more
2010 Kia Forte EX: Building a Reputation for Value, Quality and Respect|
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
After gaining a reputation for building inexpensive entry-level cars, Kia is now acquiring a new fan-base by replacing its econo-boxes with well-made, trendy vehicles for today’s cool crowd.
Kia’s previous top-selling vehicle in the compact segment was the Kia Spectra, a small sedan that was often ill-perceived by the public. The two-generation vehicle ended its run in 2009 and while it sold well, units purchased was diminishing due to a mains . . . read more
2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe: New player in the sports car arena|
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Last year, Hyundai made a splash and gained a ton of respect in the automotive community with its luxury Genesis. This year they have improved on the theme with the introduction of a luxury sports car, the Genesis Coupe.
Competing with current “Pony” cars, at the 300-hp level, and taking on the upscale luxury sports coupes as well, the Genesis Coupe is aggressively priced under $30,000,
Assembled in Ulsan, Korea, 86 percent of its parts ori . . . read more
2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS: Re-Imagining of an Old-School Muscle Car|
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Early last summer, I tested the 2010 Camaro 2LT RS Coupe, all 304 horses of it, and found it to be, at about $30,000, a sexy, powerful, sporty and versatile icon-ocar that should play well with nostalgic, muscle-oriented and mainstream car buyers alike. After getting behind the wheel of the SS version, I found that it might not garner as many unit sales because of its nicheability, but three letters can describe the SS … W-O-W.
Based on the 19 . . . read more
2010 Toyota Prius: Sportier, More Powerful and 51 MPG|
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The top-selling hybrid in the world has gotten sportier and more powerful, and that has not slowed down its attention to extreme mileage or its sales figures.
Celebrated as the benchmark for cars of the future, the Prius has delivered superior fuel economy and ultra-low emissions to more than 1.2 million owners worldwide for more than 10 years (700,000 units sold in America), and Toyota expects to sell 100,000 Prius cars in the United States a . . . read more
2009 Infiniti EX35 Journey: Crossover has drivers believing|
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
There is a Journey song they play at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit at the Red Wings games, titled, “Don’t Stop Believing,” and the Nissan-built Infiniti is making believers in Detroit and elsewhere, with its Journey, a luxury crossover with style, performance and grace.
The EX35 debuted as an all-new model in December 2007, with the task of combining sportiness with elegance with the cargo carrying flexibility of a crossover.
With handling . . . read more
2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab: One Rockin’ Truck|
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
According to auto industry lore, the original Dodge Ram logo was created by sculptor Avard T. Fairbanks, who designed the “Flying Lady” icon for Plymouth in 1929.
Fairbanks, who was head of the University of Michigan sculpting department, got an urgent call from the engineers at Dodge and was asked to meet them in 10 minutes. They explained that they had 10,000 cars that needed hood ornaments and that they wanted something as attractive as the o . . . read more
2009 Mercedes-Benz S550: A Special Class of Car|
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Quiet, elegant and with a back seat that is limo-worthy, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S550 looks, acts and feels as a luxury car is supposed to.
The S-Class of Mercedes dates back to the 1950s and is arguably the world’s best-selling flagship luxury sedan. The name “S-Class” comes from the German word “Sonderklasse,” or “Special Class,” and since the Mercedes W116 officially became known as an S-Class vehicle in 1973, five generations of the delinea . . . read more
2009 Lincoln MKS: Luxury Car Carries on the Tradition|
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Lincoln has been the luxury brand of Ford Motor Co. since Henry M. Leland’s company was acquired by Ford in 1922. Leland, who named his auto manufacturing firm after Abraham Lincoln, for whom he voted in 1860, strove to build quality cars, and the reputation has lasted for more than 90 years. With its diamond logo firmly in place on the grille, Lincoln has come to represent the highest levels of Ford lavishness and manufacturing.
With MKS, Lin . . . read more
2009 Dodge Avenger: Style and Economy in a Mid-Size|
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Dodge Avenger, which has no relationship to the original Hillman Avenger of the 1970s (often branded a Dodge), or the 1995-2000 Dodge Avenger Coupe of IROC (International Race of Champions fame), is a sedan that replaced the Dodge Stratus in Dodge’s 2008 line-up. Curiously, Stratus replaced the earlier Avenger for Dodge in 2001.
Assembled in Sterling Heights, Michigan, with 73 percent of its parts coming from the United States or Canada, t . . . read more
2009 Pontiac G8 GXP: The Last Chief Closes the Line in Style|
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
As an automotive journalist, I have always held Pontiac with reverence. For me, it all began with a 1958 Pontiac Chieftain, my first car, and the same model hall-of-fame drag racer Arnie Beswick, an honored guest lecturer at past Carlisle All-GM Nationals events, used to blaze down the dragstrips of America in ’58 and ’59. Mine was 10 years old, white with a red “cove”, weighed two tons and was powered by a muscular 370ci engine that produced abo . . . read more
2009 Ford Edge Sport: Crossover by definition|
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Looking for an edge in the highly competitive CUV market segment, Ford created the Edge in 2006 as a 2007 model as a choice for those who wanted a minivan layout and sports utility. While the 2009 Edge doesn’t offer a third row in true minivan fashion, it does provide excellent cross-over capabilities.
Featured in the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace,” Edge is not an edgy, extreme, secret-agent type vehicle. It is, however, a reliable, conse . . . read more
2009 Nissan Versa: Base Car Covers the Basics|
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Nissan is one of the champions of style; just look at the 370Z. But when it has a job to do, Nissan devotes itself to the job at hand, so when it chose to make an entry-level economy car, Nissan created a prosaic vehicle that fits all the parameters buyers have come to look for in an econo-car: low sticker; simple styling; good gas mileage and dependability. You get all of that with the 2009 Nissan Versa.
I don’t understand why sporty styling . . . read more
2009 Corvette ZR1: America’s Supercar is a fast, sexy dream ride|
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
For 56 years, Chevrolet has been putting out America’s sports car, and now, that production vehicle has evolved into something even greater, as it has attained supercar status – America’s supercar.
Well before the first Corvette was presented for sale in 1953, Harley J. Earl, GM's chief designer, came up with the concept of designing an open sports car that sold for about what mainstream sedans cost. The original Corvette, code named, "Opel”, . . . read more
2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid: Luxury SUV Hip, Upscale and Eco-Friendly|
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
A few months ago, I test drove and reviewed the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid in its “Base” trim, and at $72,000, I reported that it was an odd coupling of luxury with an attempt to be “green,” and that at that price, it was a deterrent to sales of a lavish vehicle that in its “green” form, it lost some of the interior niceties that one would expect from an upscale vehicle such as the Escalade.
General Motors and its press fleet reps took that . . . read more
2009 Toyota Yaris: 5-Door Liftback Begins the Line-Up With Style|
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Yaris has been Toyota’s answer to the econo-car segment since its arrival in 2007, the year it replaced the Echo as Toyota’s least-expensive vehicle in the line-up. What the Japanese manufacturer came up with was the perfect starter car or commuter car for high school students, college-age buyers, young marrieds and those families with small children. Along the way, Yaris has gained a reputation for being economical and dependable, and this year’ . . . read more
2009 Subaru Impreza WRX: Strengthened and Impressive|
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Assembled in Ota Gunma, Japan and and made entirely of Japanese parts, the symmetrical all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza WRX has strengthened its performance, power and appeal through a campaign known in Japanese as “Kyo-Ka” translated from Japanese as “strengthening”.
The Impreza impresses with a larger turbocharger that increases boost to 13.3 psi from 11.4 psi in the 2008 model, and a new larger-diameter exhaust uses a low-density catalyst for . . . read more
2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT RS Coupe: Thumbs Up for Nostalgic Icon-ocar|
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
After test driving Chevrolet’s new retro 2010 Camaro 2LT RS, it is clear that it is thumbs up for GM’s Icon-ocar. The vehicle represents a great balance between retro/nostalgia and modern/hip, and while based on the 1969 Camaro, the entire look is not completely vintage and blends yesterday’s world with today’s – right down to its Corvette-inspired rear and body-color bumpers.
Forty years ago, I cruised the “American Graffiti” auto showcases o . . . read more
2009 BMW 335d Sedan: German luxury in a diesel package|
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Looking every bit the part of an elegant sedan, the 2009 BMW 335d has added diesel to the mix with a new 3.0-liter inline-6 Advanced diesel engine that promises excellent fuel economy without sacrificing the expected BMW power, speed and response.
The 335d is the poster child for BMW’s freshening of its 3-Series vehicles, a classification BMW began some 33 years ago. According to the manufacturer, the 2009 3-Series has undergone some 2500 chan . . . read more
2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid 1500: Truck Icon Goes ‘Green’|
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Last winter, I test drove a very solid Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD full-size, the lynchpin of the Chevrolet truck line, and second best-selling vehicle in America last year. At $39,010 (mine was a very upscale model with all the bells and whistles GM was willing to pack into the package), and an average of 16.9mpg during my tests, this E85-capable pick-up (I used regular unleaded gasoline) was a refined work truck that offered pampered toughness . . . read more
2009 Toyota Venza: It’s versatile, but don’t call it an SUV|
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Toyota generally has its marketing plan in order when it refreshes an older member of its line or when it creates a new linemate, so the public eagerly awaited the arrival of the all-new Venza and the campaign that would accompany it.
The 2009 Venza was to begin its assault on one market segment, or maybe two … but which ones? Toyota clouded the issue when they announced that Venza was a 4-wheel-drive 5-door “vehicle”, and on the sticker, Toyo . . . read more
2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser: Last in the Line|
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Blending the retro look of the 1930s and 1940s with au current style, the Chrysler PT Cruiser has been the third top-selling product in the Chrysler line since its introduction in 2000. This nostalgic compact wagon has been discontinued by Chrysler but it is still available at local dealerships in a deal-and-steal scenario.
Based loosely on three concept vehicles – the 1994 Plymouth Expresso, 1997 Chrysler CCV and ’97 Plymouth Pronto – the PT . . . read more
2009 Hyundai Genesis: A Luxury Vehicle at an Average-Car Price|
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
A new player in the luxury car genre, Hyundai, the Korean car manufacturer that began with econo-box vehicles starting with the Cortina in 1968, has grown in stature and in quality and is making its assault on the upscale car market a successful reality with the Hyundai Genesis.
Noted for its slanted, stylized “H” logo, Hyundai executives say the icon symbolizes two people shaking hands. The name, Hyundai, is Korean language for “modernity” a . . . read more
2009 BMW M6 Convertible: Sports Car Mentality in a Luxury Skin|
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
BMW brands itself as builders of “America’s Driving Machine,” and its loyal following swears by the Bavarian company’s ability to make powerful, sexy, stylish, quality automobiles that utilize the most avant-garde electronics and comforts while sacrificing nothing in the driving experience.
Since 1983, when BMW took the engine from its M1 and modified it as the M88/3 and installed it in the Series 6, the M6 line has been acclaimed as a luxurio . . . read more
2009 Nissan 370Z: Passionate Performance Carries on the Excitement|
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Nissan’s exciting Z-Cars began life under the Datsun badge with the Fairlady Z in 1969. That sporty car was exported to America as the Datsun 240Z, while the original vehicle was named after the play, “My Fair Lady”. Featuring a 2.4-liter engine, the 240Z carried 150 horses and sold for $3526.
Subsequent Z-cars also utilized engine size in their alpha-numeric names, as the 2.6-liter 260Z (139hp) debuted in 1974; the 2.8-liter 280Z (149hp) came . . . read more
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan: A Tiger of a CUV|
Monday, June 08, 2009
Volkswagen’s newest offering may not be catlike in the sleekest sense, but it is versatile, and may have nine uses, if not nine lives. The allusion to cats is brought into mind due to the quizzical name given this new VW, a crossover called “Tiguan.” According to Volkswagen officials, the name Tiguan comes from a combination of tiger and iguana.
We’ve seen many cat-cars – Jaguar, Cougar, Cheetah and Wildcat come to mind – but I don’t recall . . . read more
2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart: Think of it as the Evo-Light|
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Mitsubishi has scored in America with its Lancer Evolution, or Evo. Coming to market after successes in the World Rally Championships in 1992, the Evo has had 10 generations of changes and has earned popularity as a modern-day muscle car that brings rally and track appeal to the streets.
The Evo, however, has limited mainstream appeal, and to broaden its potential market, Mitsubishi has developed a new sibling, the Lancer Ralliart, which is so . . . read more
2009 Mazda 6i Grand Touring: A sporty alternative to the family sedan|
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Mazda, which began business as Toyo Cork Kogyo, a machine manufacturer, in 1920, became an automobile maker in 1930 with the introduction of the Mazda-Go. All cars produced by Toyo Kogyo (the eventual name of the manufacturer) were called Mazdas, taking an anglicized version of its founder’s name, Jujiro Matsuda. The company officially became Mazda in 1984, to honor both its founder and the divinity within Zoroastrianism, Ahuru Mazda, also known . . . read more
2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4: Signature SUV shows plenty of life|
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Jeep Grand Cherokee began with a crash in 1992 when then-Chrysler president Robert Lutz made a grand entrance at the Detroit Auto Show by driving the vehicle, with Detroit Mayor Coleman Young in the passenger seat, through a plate glass window to debut the SUV.
With a new generation of Grand Cherokee planned for 2010 release – a 2011 model-year vehicle – powered by a fuel-efficient V-6 engine under hood, this mid-sized unibody sports ute stil . . . read more
2009 Mercedes-Benz CL550: Heavyweight Luxury, Comfort and Stature|
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The Third-generation Mercedes-Benz CL-class more than lives up to its alpha-iconic name, in fact it overpowers it. The German automaker chose the CL-class name for the Germanic slogan: “Comfort Leicht,” which translates to “Comfort Light” in English. After driving the lush and plush 4650-lb. 2009 CL550, it is obvious that neither the comfort level nor the curbweight are light … the Mercedes-Benz CL550 is a genuine heavyweight in luxury and statur . . . read more
2009 Chrysler Sebring Touring Sedan: Excitement in mid-size’s name and looks|
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The name Sebring evokes excitement in the automotive world, beginning with the 12-hour endurance race in Sebring, Florida that was begun in 1952, and which has been won by such legendary racing names as Mario Andretti, A. J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren, Briggs Cunningham, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jacky Ickx and Stirling Moss .
Exhilarating vehicles including Maserati Sebring 2-door convertibles and Austin-Healey Sebring Sprites carried the nam . . . read more
2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring: Economic Sportwagon built with quality and style|
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
When Hyundai redesigned its compact Elantra for the 2007 model year, the company dropped the hatchback body style, keeping only a four-door sedan. At the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai announced that a hatchback is returning to the lineup in the form of the 2009 Elantra Touring.
Essentially a sportwagon, the Elantra Touring is another show of proof that Hyundai has evolved from the econo-box car maker of the past to a full-fledged quality veh . . . read more
2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid: Status-Filling Luxury SUV Tries a Green Approach|
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The trendy choice for those who want what is arguably the highest level of sports utility luxury and who can afford it, is the Cadillac Escalade. Sitting at the top of the lavish SUV ladder for 10 years, the Escalade is a favorite among celebrities and performance and style aficionados who often trick out their vehicles with dubbed wheels, chrome, audio and video enhancements, more power, leather and airbrushed exteriors.
Celebrities including . . . read more
2009 Chevrolet Malibu LT: Mid-size changes over the decades|
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The Chevrolet Malibu story began in the 1960s. Named after a trendy beach colony in Southern California – I surfed there during my teen-age years, and several surf movies were filmed there – Malibu was a mid-sized subseries of Chevelle from 1964-1978. Some Malibu SS models galloped out 350 horses and were full-fledged muscle cars – the Chevy SS (Super Sport) era began in 1961 with its Impala 409, and Malibu followed Impala, Nova and Chevelle with . . . read more
2009 Ford F-150 Lariat 4x4 Supercrew: America’s Tough Truck in a Luxury Trim|
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
When Ford inaugurated its F-150 truck line in 1948 they believed they had developed a truck that would be competitive in the marketplace, but it is doubtful that they envisioned creating a pick-up that would become “America’s Truck” for more than three decades. They created a vehicle that was destined to be the top-selling line in the United States for more than a quarter-century.
Last year’s F-150 led Ford’s F-Series lineup to a 32nd straight . . . read more
2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: American Muscle 40 Years Later|
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Call it retro-muscle, the 2009 Dodge Challenger is true to its heritage; it looks feels and acts like an iconic 1960s-’70s muscle car.
One of the most head-turning vehicles I have driven this year, the Challenger evokes smiles, nods, double takes and knowing glances from those who saw the originals cruising the highways 40 years ago, and also those too young to have been around them, but who appreciate old-school American automotive power.
. . . read more
2009 Chevrolet Traverse: Large family crossover takes over for minvans|
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Chevy has joined its GM siblings in presenting a large car-based sports-utility crossover with three rows. Emulating the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook, the Chevrolet Traverse, which is built on the same Lambda platform and utilizes the same 3.6-liter V-6 powerplant as its clones, is ostensibly a modern minivan without the sliding doors. From the current marketing perspective, the Traverse is considered a large family crossover with . . . read more
2009 Saab 9-3 Aero Sportcombi: Scandinavian Manufacturer Stays Strong With Trendy Sport Wagon|
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Saab, the Swedish-based division of General Motors might have recently filed for bankruptcy (reorganization) protection, and it might be spun off into its own independent company or be purchased by another group, but it remains a solid manufacturer of well-built automobiles, and indications are that it will be around for a long time. The Saab Aero 9-3 SportCombi is one of those well-built vehicles.
An upscale sport wagon created to recoup lost . . . read more
2009 Chevrolet Cobalt XFE: Great mileage in a clean package|
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
When Chevrolet brought the 2005 Cobalt into its line to replace the Cavalier and Prizm as its compact car of choice, it began a new following with three trims that were essentially the same vehicle, but with cosmetic upgrades.
Five years into its history, Chevrolet has added some under-hood and personality changes that differentiate its different incarnations. Designed as an aggressively priced vehicle with gas-consciousness in its repertoire, . . . read more
2009 Toyota Corolla: For 43 years a car sold every 40 seconds|
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
A modern automotive success story, the Toyota Corolla enters its tenth generation as compact royalty.
Part of Toyota’s line of “crown” cars, Corolla is Latin for “small crown,” and is joined by Corona (Latin for “crown”) and Camry (Anglicized pronunciation of “kanmuri,” the Japanese term for “crown”) in a regal line-up.
Inaugurated in 1966, the Corolla, now in its tenth design stage, has sold close to 40 million cars, or about one every 40 . . . read more
2009 GMC Yukon 4WD: Full-size SUV provides power and spaciousness|
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
The GMC Yukon is a full-size body-on-frame SUV manufactured in Arlington, Texas, that is Texas big, while sporting a rugged Canadian name. The second-generation sports-ute is built on the third-generation GMT900 platform, with 65 percent of its parts coming from the United States and Canada and 27 percent of Mexican derivation.
The Yukon story began in 1992, when it supplanted the GMC Jimmy. Its current clones include the Holden Suburban (in Aus . . . read more
2009 Nissan Murano SL AWD: Aggressive, fluid and upscale SUV|
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
When Nissan introduced the Murano sports utility vehicle-crossover in 2003 for the 2004 model year, the vehicle gained an instant following for its aggressively fluid good looks, upscale interior and stylish demeanor. After sitting out 2008, the Murano is back in 2009 with its second generation, and after tweaking the original design with even greater exterior attractiveness and adding elevated performance and enhanced interior tech and comfort, . . . read more
2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Turbo: Sport compact is right on target|
Monday, February 16, 2009
The personification of Chevrolet’s stated commitment to the sport compact market is the Cobalt SS Turbo sedan, a performance and style canvas that can be upgraded with audio, video and interior enhancements or a tricked-out airbrush design on the hood and doors. But even right off the lot, and direct from the factory, Cobalt SS Turbo is a fun-to-drive economy-performance vehicle that can stand up quite nicely on its own.
Assembled in Lordstown . . . read more
2009 Infiniti FX50: Brawny SUV performs with style|
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
In the world of vehicle alpha-numerics, the letters in automotive models most often apply the “magic” letter combinations of GT, M, X, K, Z or F. These letters have been proven to hold marketing or psychological appeal to buyers. The accompanying numbers usually correspond to engine size or horsepower, so that an epilog of 50 of 500 either relates to a 5.0-liter engine or 500 horsepower and a 45 or 450 at the end of a model name is usually a take . . . read more
2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD: Adding refinement to a full-size truck package|
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
At one time, trucks were thought of only as work vehicles for those who lived on farms, owned horses, worked construction or towed boats. That’s no longer the case, as trucks have long since been mainstreamed and are the best-selling vehicles in America each year. To continue to compete in a car market, the top-sellers, including Chevrolet, with its Silverado, refine themselves annually to offer car niceties as well as truck toughness and capabil . . . read more
2009 Toyota Camry: Top-Seller Grabs the Crown with Style and Performance|
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Now in its seventh generation, Camry, the top-selling mid-size sedan from Toyota, continues to rake in sales as its 2009 model relies on what has worked before. However, for the final year of this decade, Toyota has added some refined exterior style and interior enhancements to its look in an effort to gain acceptance into the entry-luxury arena at mid-size prices.
The Camry began as a compact car in 1980, getting its name from the Japanese wo . . . read more
2009 Honda Fit Sport: A fine fit for the segment|
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Made entirely of Japanese parts, and built in Suzuka, Mie, Japan, the 5-door hatchback Honda Fit has been on the car scene since 2001, but was a secret to the United States market until 2006. Known around the world as the Fit (China) and the Jazz in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa, the Fit has undergone a new incarnation with an increased wheelbase, wider stance and altered profile (through a repositioning of the front windshield by 4.7 inches . . . read more
2009 Ford Escape: Standing on its own as a compact SUV|
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
In 2001, Ford Motor Company correctly assessed the SUV market and determined that a compact sports utility vehicle could develop a large following. Designed in tandem with a Mazda design team, the Ford Escape was first released for the 2001 model year, cloned in America as the Mercury Mariner and Mazda Tribute, and known in the UK as the Ford Maverick.
Often considered a baby Explorer, the Escape has its own personality, its own look and feel . . . read more
2009 Jaguar XK Coupe: Elegant Cat in an International Package|
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
The name Jaguar still reigns as a marque that inspires perceptions of elegance, speed and style. The XK badge has been part of that cognitive response for more than 60 years historically, but only about a dozen years in its current incarnation.
The original XK was developed as a sports car and bore the alpha-numeric XK 120 name beginning in 1948, quickly becoming a winner at the track and with auto design aficionados. The XK design lasted unt . . . read more
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X: Mainstreaming a crossover|
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Now in its third generation, the Subaru Forester has always been a sports utility ride for the granola-and-fresh water brigade. It has gained a following among those who genuinely love the “forest” portion of the name, despite the fact that very few Forester owners really take their vehicles off road or deep into the woods.
Beginning with its first incarnation in 1997, the Forester replaced the Impreza Gravel Express in Japan, which was market . . . read more
Car of the Year: The Lexus LS 600h shows that a hybrid can be luxurious|
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Even though automotive industry sales dropped by more than one-quarter over-all compared with 2007 sales, the vehicles produced and offered this year were by no means classically, architecturally, technically or aesthetically inferior. From a performance, style and quality perspective, 2008 was a triumphant year, and years from now, at car shows around the nation, I believe that the 2008 and 2009 models will be remembered nostalgically with rever . . . read more
Car Buy of the Year: Honda Civic Hybrid proves economy can look sporty|
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
As Auto industry sales sagged by about 27 percent in calendar 2008 with credit and cost-concerns tempering each car buy, it is timely to consider which vehicles offer buyers their best bang for the buck. To address this, and for the fourth consecutive year, All About Cars wraps up its yearly coverage with two Top-10 “Best” lists. This week’s Car Buy of the Year is followed by next week’s year-end Car of the Year list.
During the calendar year . . . read more
2009 Acura RL CMBS: The RL is becoming its own legend|
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
When Acura replaced its well-thought-of Legend with an alpha-numeric surrogate in 1996, the automobile-buying public took little note. The new 3.5 RL was a generic name that certainly didn’t evoke the emotional tie as a car named “Legend.” But in Acura’s attempt to build a brand, rather than a name, it continued to improve on the RL, and in some ways, created a new legend.
Now in its third generation, the RL has become Acura's flagship, and th . . . read more
2009 Suzuki Equator RMZ4 Extended: The pick-up world gains a new player|
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Few motorcycle, ATV, or marine product aficionados realize that Suzuki began in the textile business as Suzuki Loom Company in Hamamatsu, Japan in 1909. Building a solid machine-building reputation within Japan’s silk-weaving industry, the company embarked on a compact automobile project in 1937, but they were derailed by World War II and their commitment to the Japanese war effort. The company moved on to motor-powered bicycles in the early 1950 . . . read more
2009 Volkswagen Passat CC: Luxury sedan that calls itself a coupe|
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Volkswagen has come up with an interesting marketing tag for its new Passat version. In calling this luxury sedan the Passat CC, the initials stand for Comfort Coupe, but it’s really a 4-door, and by strict automotive definition, a coupe is a car with two doors, front seats and a luggage compartment, though Wikipedia allows that “a coupé or coupe is a closed-car body style, the precise definition of which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, . . . read more
2009 Audi A4 Sedan 3.2 quattro: Elegant driver’s car|
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Audi A4 sticker comes with the slogan: “Truth in Engineering”. After test-driving the 2009 A4 for a full week on short trips and long hauls that took me from the Civil War battlefields of Pennsylvania and Maryland, to the farm communities, capital cities and waterside getaways of the two states, it is apparent that 8th generation luxury sedan – known internally as a compact executive car – is a German-engineered delight.
Assembled in Necka . . . read more
2009 Mazda Speed3: Pocket Rocket with a Hatchback|
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
What happens when you take a cute, but unassuming sportwagon, hitch it up to a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, and add electronics and handling advances? You get a vehicle that can thrill the performance and style crowd, excite tuner enthusiasts and pump up the adrenaline in even the most sedate drivers. You also get the 2009 MazdaSpeed3: a hatchback with “zoom-zoom.”
A high-performance compact with enough styling to appeal to college-age driv . . . read more
2009 Dodge Journey R/T: Crossover built for the city|
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
The Dodge Journey Crossover is a sporty, small-sized CUV designed to be fun for young drivers, functional for married-with-children parents, easy to maneuver around town and attractive enough to take mom and dad and their friends out for a night on the town.
If Dodge pays attention to its own demographics, they’d realize that the Journey is also a Scout-mom car or a vehicle of choice for young women who want a vehicle that serves as a family h . . . read more
2009 Acura TSX Tech: Excellent fuel economy and high marks for style|
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The Acura TSX was first introduced in 2003 as an entry-level replacement for the under-selling Acura C and has filled the void created with the discontinuation of Integra in 2001. Apparently included in Acura’s plans for the future, TSX may survive the Acura RSX after that marque ceases production. Prior to this year, the TSX was only sold in North America, but it will travel South of the Border to Mexican dealerships this year.
The smallest . . . read more
2009 Chrysler Aspen Limited Hybrid 4x4: Hemi Power and Hybrid Fuel Economy|
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Chrysler has been an American automotive giant since Walter P. Chrysler founded the company in 1925 (the Chrysler 70 was put on display in 1924). After 83 years, its current foray into the SUV world is the Chrysler Aspen (some call it Chrysler’s first SUV, but the Pacifica predates it and some even consider the PT Cruiser a small SUV). While Aspen is a twin to its sister, the Dodge Durango, Aspen still represents a series of firsts for the Winged . . . read more
2009 Mercedes Benz CLS550: Subtle changes in a powerful luxury car|
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Mercedes Benz debuted its stunning CLS only three years ago, introducing the world to its first luxury four-door coupe. Barely in need of a freshening, Mercedes Benz has chosen not to mess with a good thing and has made only subtle changes in this exciting, lavish driver’s vehicle.
A sleek new nose and stunning 2-bar grille with a mesh background (replacing the outgoing 4-bar grille), larger exterior mirrors, built-in arrow-shaped turn signals . . . read more
2009 Honda Civic Hybrid: A History of Fuel-Efficiency|
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Gas-pump prices have made the automotive world “green” conscious. So much so that even cars with fuel-friendly histories have gone hybrid. One of those automobiles, the Honda Civic, has been a conservation car for 35 years, and it has evolved from being a no-frills transportation vehicle to a stylish, high-tech driving pleasure.
Many people believe the name Civic came from its CVCC (Controlled Vortex Combustion Chamber) engine, but that powerp . . . read more
2008 GMC Sierra 2500 HD: Tough work truck adds upscale interior|
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
The truck arm of the GM Empire is GMC, and a GMC truck generally means power, torque and ruggedness in a work-truck universe. Sometimes, however, GMC assembles vehicles that are essentially indistinguishable from its Chevrolet siblings with the exception of the proud GMC badge and a few options. In the 2008 GMC Sierra 2500 HD, the General has created a very good, tough, sturdy truck with some interior accouterments, but one that is fundamentally . . . read more
2008 Volvo C30 Hatchback: Swedish company’s First hatchback in 35 years is all Volvo, but with angular design cues|
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Historically, Volvo has been known as the Swedish car company that produces solid, dependable, reliable vehicles that don’t break down. But they also gained a reputation for building boxy cars with uninspired lines – the 1800S used in “The Saint” TV show from the 1960s, notwithstanding. Its cars were built with quality and were workmanlike, but generally were not considered to be “fun” cars.
The “quality”, “non-breakable” assertion still holds . . . read more
2008 Buick Lucerne Super: Luxury, Quietness and Portholes|
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The “Super” badge has been returned to the Buick stable for the first time in 50 years and it has been placed on the body of the 2008 Lucerne. Buick brought the Lucerne into the automotive world in 2006 as a replacement for the LeSabre and Park Avenue and it became the fourth Buick vehicle to begin with the letter “L”, joining LeSabre (1959-2005), Limited (1936-1942, 1958) and LaCrosse (2005 - Current). The Lucerne Super represents the third vers . . . read more
2008 Chevrolet HHR SS Turbo: Retro SUV Brings Past to the Present|
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The 1940s meets the 21st century with Chevrolet’s 2008 HHR SS Turbo, an homage to the past with a performance eye toward the present.
Listed in several surveys as one of the Top 10 “College Cars” on the market, the HHR is a retro celebration aimed at younger drivers. That marketing thrust is paying off to the tune of 100,000 units sold per year. Named for its “Heritage High Roof,” and looking like a like a modern version of the 1949 Chevy Subu . . . read more
2008 Lexus IS 350: Refined Sports Luxury Car is a Fun Ride|
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Now in its second generation, the Lexus IS luxury sport sedan tandem (the IS 250 and IS 350) have become more refined, more luxurious and have added increased sportiness and drivability. The suffix numbers relate to engine size, with the 250 driven by a 2.5-liter engine, and the 350 by a 3.5-liter powerplant.
A product of the Lexus L-finesse design program, the IS 350 is a rear-wheel-drive ride that emphasizes sporty athleticism. Displaying a . . . read more
2008 Corvette Hardtop Convertible: America’s Sports Car is Ageless|
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The Corvette, arguably the first American sports car, was introduced at the Motorama Car Show in 1953, and for 55 years, the ageless Chevrolet-badged head-turner has reigned supreme as the American car that has captured the imagination of automotive enthusiasts around the world. Last week, some 5,000 of them cruised in and around Central Pennsylvania to attend the annual Corvettes at Carlisle extravaganza. Among them were a group of 2008 Corvette . . . read more
2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid: Full-Size SUV with Fuel-Saving Aspirations|
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The 2008 GMC Yukon is a full-size sports-utility vehicle that puts the “full” in full-size. Akin to its sibling, the Chevrolet Tahoe, the Yukon is a truck-based SUV that shares its underpinnings with the GMC Sierra and the Chevrolet Silverado. Often, onlookers find it difficult to determine whether an SUV is car-based or truck-based, but with the Yukon, there is no doubt that this vehicle is designed on a truck platform.
Weighing in at a massi . . . read more
2008 Pontiac G8: Flagship Sedan Created Down Under|
Sunday, August 10, 2008
The Pontiac G8 is an all-new offering from the Chief that doesn’t replace the G6, it lives alongside it, and perhaps above it in terms of styling, luxury and status.
Often, vehicles with numbers attached to them, make engine sense. A car ending in 500 could have a 500hp engine or a 5.0-liter engine. A vehicle ending in 4 could have a 4-cylinder powerplant. But my test G8 was confusing, as my test vehicle sported only a V-6 engine, instead of t . . . read more
2008 Infiniti G37 Coupe: Carrying on the tradition with intensity|
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The traditional sports car on the American scene is the little red coupe with power to spare, an aggressive spirit and curves that turn heads. Nissan’s luxury-sports group, Infiniti, adds some size and luxury to the equation, but carries on the sports-driving legacy on U.S. roadways with the 2008 G37.
What was the G35, with a 3.5-liter engine, has now grown into the G37 and its 3.7-liter powerplant. The extra .2 liters also adds about 24 horse . . . read more
2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT: Road music in a two-seat package|
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Mazda’s slogan is: “Mazda, always the soul of a sports car.” Its zoom-zoom approach resonates with today’s young buyer as well as with those of us who remember and drove true muscle cars and genuine old-school roadsters that blazed down the drag strips and sauntered confidently around town on cruise nights.
Mazda’s sports car soul is exemplified in its Miata, a car that appeals to the high school-college-young adult niche as well as with those . . . read more
2008 Volvo V70 Hatchback: Station wagon with style and luxury|
Monday, July 21, 2008
The obvious line would be: If Ozzie and Harriet were Swedish, they’d drive a Volvo V70. Well, they’d drive one if Ozzie were status-conscious and wanted an up-market, luxury wagon to take David and Ricky on a family vacation. Or perhaps the Bradys could take a very Brady vacation in a V70.
OK, maybe today’s young families aren’t hip to old-school allusions, so suffice it to say that today’s soccer moms and Little League dads and those familie . . . read more
2008 Lexus RX 400h: Environmental friendliness in a luxury SUV|
Monday, July 14, 2008
The annual international summit meeting of governments, the Group of Eight, or G8, recently met in Hokkaido, Japan, with global hunger and the oil crisis receiving the most attention from the environment ministers.
With oil and gas consumption and the ecological damage caused by pollutants receiving so much international concern, the current automotive market focus couldn’t be more favorable for an inspired hybrid niche. And when the entrant h . . . read more
2008 Nissan Altima CPE 3.5S: Mid-size coupe with full-size qualities|
Monday, July 07, 2008
The Nissan Altima can trace its lineage back to the Datsun (Nissan) Bluebird in 1957. Sitting in the Nissan line-up between the Sentra and Maxima, the Altima began as a compact, but is now a mid-size that is as luxurious, quiet and upscale as many full-size flagships.
The name Altima was first employed as a trim line of the Nissan Laurel mid-size sedan sold in the Caribbean before 1992. In 1993, when Nissan ended its Stanza line, the U.S.-made . . . read more
2008 Range Rover Sport HSE: Luxury SUV is a true off-road king|
Monday, June 30, 2008
Celebrating 60 years as an off-road innovator, Land Rover has created a vehicle that will accept any terrain challenge and fulfill the driver’s need for adventure, while being adorned with all the luxury, electronic advancements and power worthy of an upscale vehicle. Those attributes embody the 2008 Range Rover Sport HSE, and if automotive enthusiasts believe that $4/gallon fuel is sounding a death knell for the SUV, consider recent sales result . . . read more
2008 Ford Focus: Ford focuses on young buyers|
Monday, June 23, 2008
The Ford Focus 2-door Coupe SES first introduced in 1998, has gained a slow, steady following, and its time might have come now, given the fuel and economic climate in America as well as the buying trends of its target market.
Built in Wayne, Michigan, the Focus is the hottest-selling vehicle in the Blue Oval arsenal, with sales rising by 44 percent in May and continuing at the same clip in June. The current market has turned Ford purchases ba . . . read more
2008 Jeep Liberty Limited 4 x 4: Mid-size SUV attracts new buyers to marque|
Monday, June 16, 2008
Jeep, arguably the first and oldest sports utility vehicle has become almost a generic term for any vehicle with the shape, style and function of a sports-ute. In fact, the term “jeeping” is a currently used verb employed to describe off-roading or driving an SUV in particularly tough conditions or environs.
But there really is only one proper use for the word “Jeep,” and that is as it pertains to any of the vehicles manufactured by the Jeep b . . . read more
2008 Acura MDX: High-Tech Luxury in an SUV package|
Monday, June 09, 2008
Billed as “The driver’s SUV,” Acura’ s flagship sports-ute, the MDX, blends functionality, technology and luxury in a package that is fun behind the wheel.
While driving the 2008 MDX for a week of testing, I heard more than a dozen positive comments about the car’s design, look and abilities and not a single negative retort, and I found that the crossover is a vehicle that begs to be driven.
Acura, Honda’s high-tech, luxury division, has s . . . read more
2008 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD: A heroic SUV|
Sunday, June 01, 2008
I was questioned recently by an automotive enthusiast who wanted my opinion on those smaller car manufacturers who don’t have the illustrious and storied pasts of the major carmakers. These lesser-known manufacturers typically build lower-cost vehicles and have reputations for creating low-frills cars with suspect quality and lots of plastic.
I gave the questioner my honest impression, after test driving hundreds of cars over the past four yea . . . read more
2008 Mazda RX-8: 40th Anniversary edition a tribute to the rotary engine|
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
When Mazda came out with its first rotary engine vehicle in 1967, the buzz was that the Wankel engine would revolutionize the auto industry. With fewer moving parts, better gas mileage, fewer contaminants dispersed and smooth power delivery from a compact, lightweight engine, the 4-stroke power plant first used by Mazda in its Cosmo Sport (known as the 110S overseas) was the innovation car-buyers were looking for. Mazda used the hype to propel it . . . read more
2008 Lexus LS 600h: All-out luxury with hybrid fuel-efficiency|
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Noted conservationist Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, was in the news recently for having his 2008 Lexus LS 600h Hybrid shipped to him by cargo plane rather than by ocean vessel. Environmentalists complained that he offset any ecological gains he would have made with the car, by using an airplane. Shipping aside, if this vehicle is good enough for a billionaire conservationist, it certainly is worthy of a strong look by the rest of us.
The . . . read more
2008 Bentley Continental GTC: James Bond’s real automotive love delivers pure passion|
Monday, May 12, 2008
As an influx of English cars parade through Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for the British-themed Import-Kit/Replicar show at the Fairgrounds, one car stood out from the rest, an ultra-luxury vehicle that carries the winged-B badge of James Bond’s first car.
Most 007 fans believe that the Bond car is an Aston-Martin, but before James Bond drove an Aston-Martin (in Ian Fleming’s books), he drove a Bentley. In fact (actually, in Fleming’s fiction), the . . . read more
2008 Suzuki SX4 Crossover: Affordable all-wheel-drive for all seasons|
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Almost everything on the asphalt today is marketed as a crossover, but when you look at the 2008 Suzuki SX4, you see a vehicle that seems to exemplify the genre.
Is it an SUV? Is it a crossover? Is it a small hatchback? The answer is “yes.” The SX4 is all of those things and it is priced to sell.
Assembled in Kosai, Japan, the SX4 is arguably the most affordable all-wheel-drive vehicle in America, as it is stickered under $17,000.
When . . . read more
2008 Dodge Nitro R/T 4x4: Exploding onto the mid-size SUV scene|
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Nitro is an explosive (nitroglycerin). It is also a rollercoaster at Six Flags, New Jersey that is 230 feet high, 5394 feet long and travels at 80mph …diving 215 feet. It is billed as “the most explosive coaster on the planet.”
So when Dodge chose to name its first mid-size SUV Nitro in 2007, it had to present a bold, aggressive, hearty vehicle with explosive performance to match.
Well, its features are certainly attractive enough to succ . . . read more
2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 LTZ Crew Cab: Heavy-duty truck in a luxury package|
Monday, April 28, 2008
People who are serious about their trucks and who see these vehicles as necessarily functional for work, but who also want to use them for play and for refined, upscale activities, are looking toward the 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 LTZ Crew Cab.
A full-size ¾-ton body-on-frame truck, the Silverado 2500 was created as a blend of power needed in a work truck with the ability to pull and carry cargo, the muscle and stability to take on off-road . . . read more
2008 Saab 9-3: Sport sedan sports an aggressive look and Euro-flair|
Monday, April 21, 2008
"SAAB," is an acronym for "Svenska Aeroplan AktieBolaget," which is Swedish for "Swedish Aircraft Company”. Established in 1937 – with roots hearkening back to 1911 with the merger of Swedish automobile company Scania and railroad car and automobile maker Vabis – Saab has endured several mergers and re-organizations, and in the 1940s, the company produced the Svenska B-17 dive bomber. In 1947, Saab Automobile began producing automobiles and gaine . . . read more
2008 GMC Acadia: Truck-based crossover built for work and play|
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Some SUVs and crossovers are car based and others are truck based. Often it is difficult to tell which are which. You have no such problem when seeing or driving the Acadia. Oh, and it weighs about 5,000 lbs. Take one look, or drive it around the block once and you’ll know --truck.
While it is not a traditional body-on-frame truck, GMC, the General Motors division that has spent the last century building its reputation as a truck-building gian . . . read more
2008 Dodge Charger SXT: Musclecar icon is a solid family flyer|
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Cerberus, the new corporate owner of Chrysler has indicated that it is considering cutting costs by re-branding some of its badges. If that comes to pass, loyal Dodge owners might have to reconcile driving Chrysler musclecars with the winged medallion replacing the stalwart Ram insignia.
A Chrysler Viper or Chrysler Charger might be seen on the streets in years to come, but for now, Dodge is still home to some of the most iconic and exciting v . . . read more
2008 Honda S2000 CR: Join the Club in this Roadster|
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Spring is here and that means it’s time to get out your convertible roadster, take the top down and drive like the wind, with fresh air flowing through your hair and in and around the topless cabin.
If you don’t already own a convertible, it’s time to check a few out. For my first press fleet car of the spring, I was fortunate enough to test drive the 2008 Honda S2000 CR in sunshine and 60-degree temperatures throughout central Pennsylvania an . . . read more
2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid: Luxurious and ‘Green’ in an SUV package|
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Mercury, the Roman god of commerce, was the winged messenger, known for his speed. In the 1930s, Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford, sought to increase the “Blue Oval’s” commerce by adding a brand in between the average-man’s car, The Ford Deluxe, and the luxury car of the rich-and-famous, the Lincoln Zephyr.
Designers came up with a new division, called Mercury, and its first vehicle, a distinctively styled and innovative car called the Mercury Ei . . . read more
2008 Saturn Astra 5-door: Family hatchback has untapped tuner potential|
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Saturn has developed a car that is built in Antwerp, Belgium and brought to market in America to replace the Ion as the GM Division’s smallest compact – the Astra. It is an international vehicle – a Euro-car filled with safety features and sportiness with econo-car performance.
Marketed in the United States and Canada as the Saturn Astra, and available in three- and five-door hatchback versions, the car is sold in Europe, the Republic of Irela . . . read more
2008 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4x4: New-School Style and Function|
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
If you are old-school, “Pathfinder” to you, is a novel by James Fenimore Cooper that is set in the Great Lakes of the 1750s and traces the adventures of the Leatherstocking Deerslayer, Natty Bumppo, a woodsman and champion of Native Americans.
If you are rocket-age and more likely to look skyward than in the pages of a book, then Pathfinder to you, relates to the Mars Pathfinder, launched December 4, 1966. It was equipped with an alpha proton . . . read more
2008 Chevrolet Malibu: Mid-size offers smooth lines, quiet ride and good acceleration|
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The Chevrolet Malibu, named for the trendy, Southern California beach community of the stars and beautiful people, began life as a mid-range Chevelle in 1964. By 1978, Malibu, which had become an FWD car, replaced Chevelle in the Chevy line-up, and in the years since, has had many incarnations as a vinyl-topped two-tone sedan, station wagon, coupe and muscle car.
Now in its sixth generation, the front-drive Malibu, built on a platform it share . . . read more
2008 Saturn Vue Greenline: International appeal with eyes focused on safety and economy|
Sunday, February 24, 2008
What is American and green-friendly, designed in Korea, styled in Europe and assembled in Mexico? It is the 2008 Saturn Vue Greenline Hybrid, an SUV without a sports-ute appetite or sticker price.
Considered a compact cross-over SUV, the Vue is part of Saturn’s line-up that shares styling cues with several of parent-GM’s European children. The Vue is Saturn’s top-selling vehicle in America and is similar in appearance to GM’s international Ant . . . read more
2008 Jaguar XKR Coupe: Lavish, Sleek and Muscular|
Monday, February 18, 2008
There’s something about the Jaguar that still makes the heart pound with excitement. From its early years as the Swallow, in the 1920s, to its days of domination on the tracks of Europe as a Jaguar in the 1950s, through its highway presence today, as a division of Ford Motor Company (which acquired the Coventry-based motorcar maker in 1989), the Jaguar has embodied the sleek powerful feline after which it is named.
I test drove the 2008 Jaguar . . . read more
2008 Hummer H3 Alpha: Latest in the evolution of an icon|
Monday, February 11, 2008
At Hummer, the division of GM devoted to refining and marketing the rugged civilian truck that was inspired by the military HumVee (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle), they continue to make the right moves. Creating an icon that is second only to Corvette in GM’s toy and accessory sales, the latest Hummer incarnation, the H3 Alpha, continues the line of vehicles that are made more user-friendly with each generation.
The original HumVe . . . read more
2008 Taurus: Old name, new car, new size, new power and safety|
Monday, February 04, 2008
No one can say that Ford doesn’t learn from its mistakes. When it canceled production on a once-popular nameplate and found that its successor didn’t fare much better in terms of sales, Ford also discovered that name recognition for the former badge still ranked high. So the Blue Oval reversed course and brought back the nostalgic name, benching the newer nameplate, and then improving the car in an effort to rejuvenate the line.
The nameplates . . . read more
2008 Toyota Prius: Green-friendly mid-size is constantly evolving|
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Toyota, the world leader in sales of gas-electric hybrid vehicles, will build its first plug-in hybrid by 2010. That puts Toyota head-to-head with General Motors in the plug-in arena, as GM has plans to sell its own plug-in, the Volt, in 2010.
To hit that deadline, Toyota is developing a fleet of plug-in hybrids that run on lithium-ion batteries, instead of the nickel-metal hydride batteries that currently power Toyota’s Prius and other models . . . read more
2008 Cadillac CTS: Two tons of award-winning, luxurious performance|
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The old adage from the 1950s, “…homerun hitters drive Cadillacs,” embodied America’s opinion of the Caddy in the mid-1900s. It was the epitome of American luxury, high-tech quality and gadgetry. It was a status symbol. Elvis Presley had one and gave some away as gifts. Sugar Ray Robinson drove one. So did Ike (that’s President Eisenhower, not Ike Turner).
By the 1980s, Cadillac had fallen out of favor with some of its audience and its quality . . . read more
2008 Toyota Highlander Sport 4x4: Mid-size SUV gains in style, power and economy|
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
While the mid-size sports utility vehicle market may not be on the meteoric upswing that it enjoyed in the 1990s, it is still a solid automotive market in the late-oughts despite rising fuel costs and environmental concerns.
Among car-based mid-size sports-utes, the Toyota Highlander, first launched in 2001, and fresh off a complete re-design, is the more family-friendly of Toyota’s three SUVs in the category, balancing the niche with the rug . . . read more
2008 Volvo S80 T6: Safety first, power and performance a close second|
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
For years, many car enthusiasts mused that Volvo must be the Scandinavian word for “boxy,” though just as many Volvo supporters would opt for a definition of “unbreakable.” Volvo, which began building cars in 1927, is actually Latin for "I roll.”
The “unbreakable” reputation still holds, as Volvo continues to produce solid, reliable transportation, but the rip for manufacturing boxy cars no longer holds true, as imagination, inspiration and . . . read more
2008 Scion xB: Thinking outside the box to attract older buyers|
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Scion is the vanguard-thinking, hip-marketing branch of Toyota that produces cars for the young. As a brand, Scion’s demographics are heavily into the 30-somethings, and many vehicles purchased by 50-plus buyers are really being bought for their teen-aged kids. The Scion age profile shows that 42 percent of their sales are to the 36-55 group and 38 percent are bought by the 16-35 demographic. An average age of around 30 puts the marque well unde . . . read more