Category: Car Reviews

By on August 11, 2016

2016 Fiat 500X, Image: © 2016 Rebecca Turrell/The Truth About Cars

Fiat is marketing its new crossover as bigger, more powerful, and ready for action.

If you caught Fiat’s Super Bowl ad for the 500X, it relies heavily on sex appeal. The implication: that the 500X is more … erm … “excited” than the 500. So I was intrigued when a rental car branch recently told me the only SUV they had left was the 2016 Fiat 500X.

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By on August 10, 2016

2017 Buick LaCrosse, Image: © 2016 Matthew Guy/The Truth About Cars

I’m going to wager you’ve gorged yourself at a sprawling Chinese buffet at least once. Back in my college days, Emerald Palace was a favourite: big portions, ample choices, reasonable prices. Sometimes, the proprietors would limit choice, holding back the good stuff for busier, higher-profit nights. It was annoying because you knew — knew! — a few scrumptious menu items were locked away in the kitchen walk-in, just out of reach.

The previous-generation Buick LaCrosse debuted in the dark recesses of 2009, when the domestic auto industry — hemorrhaging red ink and tottering towards bankruptcy — cried and shovelled back tub loads of Ben & Jerry’s. Buick was on the minds of Chinese buyers for a few years by this time. This played a large part in the brand escaping the executioner’s axe seven years ago. The second-generation LaCrosse was Buick’s all-in gambit on The Red Dragon.

Domestically, Buick’s been making a splash lately, and some of that swagger is apparent in the team that worked on the LaCrosse. Not content to simply chase its existing customers, the tri-shield brand plans to make the LaCrosse one of its “conquest models,” drawing buyers’ attention out from behind the wheels of competing marques. To this extent, the LaCrosse is actually two very different cars, depending on how you tick the option boxes.

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By on August 9, 2016

2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo, Image: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Recognize this Kia?

TTAC’s Matthew Guy drove and reviewed this particular 2017 Sportage SX Turbo in early July. Readers need not an ability to read between the lines to locate Guy’s disappointment in the turbocharged 2.0 liter’s responsiveness, or the nearly complete and total lack thereof.

“Kia’s intent is to offer V6 power with four-banger economy. Unfortunately, I found little of either in this Coke-bottle-sized engine,” he wrote at the time.

The Sportage SX, rated at 237 horsepower and 260 lbs-ft of torque, shuffles its power through all four wheels in a 3,997-pound package. In a 2016 Kia Sorento weighing 4,303 pounds, I said the same powerplant’s mid-range “is as punchy as the Sorento’s available 3.3-liter V6,” and “passing power is plentiful as you ride a 260-lb-ft wave across a plateau of torque.”

Yet in the smaller and lighter Sportage, Matthew says, “Outside Sport Mode, it didn’t even feel like 137 hp, let alone 100 more.” In TTAC’s hyperactive Slack chat at the end of July, he continued, “It drove like cold molasses going backward uphill.”

But Guy was the first auto writer to get seat time in this specific 2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo. Unbeknownst to him, and to the Kia Sportage’s instrument cluster, the Kia was wounded before getting to the battlefield. Read More >

By on August 5, 2016


I rented a Jeep last week, and let me tell you, this thing was a Jeep. It defiantly looked like a Jeep. I could tell it was a Jeep because it said “Jeep” in many places, including right on the hood, which is just so Jeep. It wasn’t a Wrangler or a Grand Cherokee but it was a Jeep, to be sure.

To read about all the cool, wondrous, amazing, and super things this Jeep did, click the Jeep.

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By on August 4, 2016

2015 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

After scoring a stellar deal on our ’15 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost, thanks to the advice of those who know more about the car buying process than I do, my girlfriend and I have put just over 3,000 miles on our diminutive hatchback.

In those 3,000 miles, the Fiesta has patiently allowed Jenn to hone her manual-transmission skills, been to the dealer once (more on that in a bit), carted us and our furry dependents around the province, and not once been close to an autocross course — though not due to my lack of trying.

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By on August 3, 2016

Tesla Model S 85D, Image: © 2016 David Marek/The Truth About Cars

The Tesla Model S is neither new nor surprising anymore. When the electric sedan entered the market in 2012, it shattered perceptions of electric cars and proved electric motoring viable.

Since then, Tesla has established itself as the go-to brand for geeks and early adopters. We’ve driven the Tesla Model S before, so there’s no need to talk about its most obvious features. But recent events make this a great time to talk about its second-most-important feature: Autopilot.

Is Tesla’s autonomous system any good? Can it be dangerous? How far is it from being truly autonomous? And, besides that, how did the Model S improve over the last few years?
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By on August 2, 2016

2017 Nissan Armada at Nissan Adventure Drive in Carmel, California, Image: © 2016 Josh Burns/

Wherever roads fade to tracks, bridges give way to fords, and addresses become coordinates, an intense internecine war is under way. Since the Land Cruiser and Patrol were born in 1951, Nissan and Toyota have battled over which automaker produces the best large, go-anywhere, do-anything SUV. It’s a competition that has spawned battle wagons of ever increasing size, off-road capability, passenger comfort, and refinement.

Unfortunately, American consumers have been sidelined.

Sure, Toyota will sell you a Land Cruiser, but the average Toyota store sells fewer than three Land Cruisers a year. It’s the Tundra-derived Sequoia that leads Toyota’s full-size SUV campaign in North America. Likewise, Nissan began offering the Titan-based Armada in 2004. Although the Nissan has consistently outsold its Indiana-built rival, it has long been a battle for third and fourth place.

Nissan is now taking aim at loftier objectives.

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By on August 1, 2016

2016 Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Montero, Image: © 2016 Bozi Tatarevic/The Truth About Cars

My 2016 Subaru WRX crossed over the 15,000 mile mark after only nine months of ownership. While some of its new car smell has worn off, my affection for it only continues to grow.

The WRX has received scheduled maintenance and begun a journey into competitive driving to bring out its full character. I also gave in to the urge to modify the WRX with some small tweaks.

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By on July 29, 2016

2016 Lexus RX 350, Image: © 2016 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

“I hope someone’s watching.”

That thought ran through my head on my first night in the 2016 Lexus RX 350. No, I wasn’t doing something the cops should know about. This is TTAC, not Vice.

See, night had just fallen, and Lexus’s stalwart midsize luxury crossover was taking me home. I pulled up to the last stop sign and signaled for a right turn. Well, didn’t the RX 350’s yet-unnoticed LED cornering lamps light up that street corner like a baseball diamond. Nice — this is what people pay for, I thought. I hope someone’s watching. 

It’s fickle, but it’s the little things that make you feel special. For my mother, it was the fender-mounted turn signal lamps that got her into her first new car — a ’76 Plymouth Volare (a decision she rightfully laments to this day.)

Cobble together enough feel-good features — ideally paired with a reliable powertrain (side-eye to the former Chrysler Corp.) — and you’ve got a pretty compelling package to dangle in front of buyers.

That’s assuming they like the face. Read More >

By on July 26, 2016

2014 Honda Accord V6 Coupe 6MT, Image: © 2016 Jack Baruth/The Truth About Cars

Just slightly over twenty-nine months since taking delivery of my 2014 Accord V6 Coupe 6MT and I’m already out of warranty. That’s not strictly true; there’s still powertrain coverage until the 50,000-mile mark. Certain items, like seatbelts and airbags and catalytic converters, will be replaced on Honda’s time for the rest of this decade, if not longer. But that 3/36,000 bumper-to-bumper honeymoon period of being able to take the car to the dealer for noises and clunks and little broken parts? As my future third wife, Este, would say — those days are gone.

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