Category: Car Reviews

By on October 14, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 Rebel

FCA, and Ram in particular, is not exactly known for its subtlety. Witness the Rebel TRX Concept unveiled at the State Fair of Texas, yet another salvo in the continuing effort by the mad scientists in Auburn Hills to Hellcat all the things.

This pleased me greatly, as my own outspoken personality gives the thumbs-up to any machine exhibiting the raw utility of a woodsman’s axe. A hint of smoky-burnout lairiness and jump-the-creek attitude doesn’t hurt either. The Ram 1500 Rebel, decked out with 33-inch Toyos and a handlebar moustache grille, has more than enough lead in its pencil to make Crocodile Dundee look like Liberace. It comes standard with a case of fireworks and is equipped with a beard in the glovebox.

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By on October 7, 2016

2016 Ford Focus RS Long-Term Test, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Surprise! It’s a Ford hatchback!

As many of you correctly guessed yesterday, the new long-term tester (and this one’s gonna be loooooooong) is a 2016 Focus RS in Nitrous Blue. And, man, is this thing glorious.

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By on October 7, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD, Image: © 2016 Matthew Guy/The Truth About Cars

At the end of September, some of my auto journo colleagues busied themselves with the French delights of Paris, covering new reveals at the Paris Auto Show.

Me? I was somewhere much more in line with my personality, surrounded by heavy-duty trucks at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. With both Ford and Ram cresting the 900 lb-ft of torque mark, the General needed to play catch-up.

Enter Chevy’s new 6.6-liter Duramax Diesel.

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By on September 26, 2016


I’ve told epic tales before. Specifically, I’ve told you a story or two about the times I’ve spent at EPIC Hotel in Miami. In your author’s humble opinion, it’s the best hotel in America. The combination of the brilliant customer service, the enormous suites overlooking Biscayne Bay, the rooftop pool, the jazz club, and the best Japanese steakhouse anywhere makes EPIC, well, epic, even before all the kids were saying it.

I stayed at EPIC this past week while working in Miami, and there was only one thing about my week that didn’t fit the description: my rental car — a 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk.

In a place where everything about the experience is finely crafted and authentically brilliant, the Trailhawk is that awkward kid who’s trying too hard to fit in.

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By on September 16, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Toyota, and Honda produce nine out of every ten minivans sold in the United States. In a category little more than half the size now than it was a decade ago and with an ever-shrinking number of competitors, the dawn of a truly new people-carrying, grocery-getting, pickup-truck-aping van has the potential to upset the apple cart.

Two years ago, the Kia Sedona shook things up. Although the Sedona remains a relatively small player, Kia’s share of the minivan market is nearly seven times stronger now than it was two years ago.

Next year will be the turn of the Honda Odyssey, as the van with which we’re so familiar follows its Pilot and Ridgeline platform partners to market. Better than one in five minivans sold in America are Odysseys.

This year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dramatically altered its minivan strategy by confirming the top-selling Dodge Grand Caravan’s departure and by launching the supremely stylish, Town & Country-replacing Chrysler Pacifica.

The new Pacifica, a successor to the alleged minivan originator, is by most measurements the best minivan you can drive today. But a few glaring faults leave a large window open for Chrysler’s two key competitors, both of which suffer from advanced age. Read More >

By on September 13, 2016


In 1988, Nissan released the third-generation Maxima with a bold tagline — “Four-Door Sports Car.” A year later, American TV viewers were introduced to Nissan’s Infiniti brand with commercials that showed a pond.

You win some, you lose some.

That Maxima was indeed a brilliant car. And Nissan finally decided that showing luxury cars was a good way to sell luxury cars. That said, part of me wishes the Infiniti brand had failed, as the Q50 might now be a Maxima. Certainly, I don’t wish anyone at Infiniti to lose their jobs, but I have a love for the Maxima that is unfulfilled by the current model. I never expected to find my ideal sports sedan wearing an Infiniti badge.

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By on September 9, 2016

Jeep Comanche

Each year, Jeep builds a few concept vehicles and takes to the Easter Jeep Safari through off-road trails in Moab, Utah. Jeep uses the nine day trek to show off the off-road capabilities of its vehicles while celebrating its storied past. Maybe our invitation was lost in the mail.

Fortunately, Jeep did invite us to a different Jeep Safari, which took place during the week of Metro Detroit’s Dream Cruise. All the vehicles involved in this event have completed the Jeep Easter Safari in Moab. The Detroit Jeep Safari route may have been be a much shorter and less treacherous than Moab’s trails, but electronic locking differentials are helpful traversing the craters Detroiters refer to as roads.

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By on September 9, 2016

2017 Audi A4 Technik QuattroIt’s the new version of an always desirable German luxury sports sedan.

Shocker: it’s good.

Though the 2017 Audi A4 looks like a carbon copy of the 2016 model, it’s a new car with a new platform, new dimensions, new interior, and a revamped powertrain.

The A4’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is more powerful than before. Horsepower is up from 220 to 252. Torque jumps by 15 pounds-feet to 273, and it all comes on strong at 1,600 rpm. The new car is about an inch longer than before and nearly an inch wider. U.S. pricing for Quattro models begins at $40,350. Equipped similarly to our Audi Canada-supplied model ($60,285 in heavily optioned Technik trim north of the border), the 2017 Audi A4 Quattro Prestige would be $54,025, a 33-percent leap beyond the basic A4 Quattro’s price.

Yup, it’s good. At $54,025 it oughta be. Audi will tell you it how good it is. So too will your Audi dealer’s sales consultant. In fact, potential Audi A4 buyer that you are, you are able to tell yourself how good the 2017 A4 is.

I can join in the fun. But as TTAC’s own Bark. M explained yesterday, that’s easy. Read More >

By on September 6, 2016

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune front quarter, Image: © 2016 Chris Tonn/The Truth About Cars

The youthful squealing could be heard down the long driveway and through several panes of glass. When I told my daughters that I’d be picking them up from the babysitter’s house in something different, they had no idea what chariot would ferry them to softball and cheerleading practice that eventing.

My girls aren’t gearheads by most definitions. While I’m not necessarily brainwashing their preteen skulls with minutiae and data about every car on the road, I’m not letting them become numb to the wonder that is the modern car. My youngest, soon to be eight, ran screaming from the door: “BEETLE!” That’s the power of an iconic brand.

However, I’m thinking the girls reacted most viscerally to the searing yellow paint.

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By on September 1, 2016

2017 Cadillac XT5, Image: © 2016 Matthew Guy/The Truth About Cars

When the original Cadillac SRX appeared for the 2004 model year, it rode atop a rear-wheel-drive unibody platform, offered three rows of seats, and asked a question rarely asked today: “V8 with that?”

Six years later, General Motors saw fit to yank the SRX out of that class and plunge it into the murderously competitive front-wheel drive, two-row luxury crossover field, shoving it in direct competition with the segment’s dominant sales king, the Lexus RX. Hand-wringing ensued, yet that iteration of the SRX sold nearly 100,000 copies globally in 2015. Not bad for a five-year-old model on the outs.

For 2017, Cadillac — drunk on the New York City skyline and “image spaces” in SoHo — introduced its CT6 sedan before turning its attention to updating its best seller.

Will Cadillac’s new utility, now christened XT5 and built in Saturn’s old Spring Hill digs in Tennessee, follow the brand’s relentless path to Audi-ization?
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