Tag: 2015

By on November 26, 2015

2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude side

Editor’s note: This review originally ran February 27th, 2015. It’s the most read review of the last 12 months. You should read it again.

The current Grand Cherokee has been a huge success for the Jeep brand. The handsome vehicle is available with four engines, five drivelines, and in many trims, best of which can give the Range Rover a run for its money. The Altitude, introduced for 2014, is an interesting model, where Jeep takes many desirable features, wraps them in a monotone exterior with sporty black wheels, and prices the package well.

In the past I have reviewed Grand Cherokees with V8 and diesel engines. The Overland V8 felt like a hot-rod with tons of instant power but the fuel economy was predictably poor. The EcoDiesel is a smooth operator with a ton of torque and great gas mileage, but it comes at a high price. Could this nicely optioned V6 model be the happy medium?

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2015


Like Randy Newman, automakers love Los Angeles this week as the industry descends on Southern California for two days (really, one-and-a-half days) to showcase their latest and greatest.

Automakers are lining up to show off their wares Wednesday (Cadillac is a lone exception for Thursday) so we’ll reuse our tuxes without dry cleaning for two days, we guess. We’re animals.

We’ll be on the floor live Wednesday to cover everything we can, but in the meantime, here’s a primer to whet your appetites for the show.  (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2015


Under the best circumstances for the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, I could find a half-dozen reasons not to drive it: It’s too big. Too heavy. Too slab-sided. Too thirsty. Too tall. Too long. Too unwieldy. Too gaudy. Too powerful.

But I kept driving it. Like a salmon driven upstream through bear-infested waters, the Escalade kept calling me to ignore the challenges and instinctually clamber up the power retractable running boards, loosen my belt and start the motor. Who wants to procreate in here?

It’s antithetic to my person. I’m not interested by big, heavy SUVs that cost $89,360 and return mileage firmly rooted in the teens — but somehow I am drawn to them.

Which makes me wonder: why? (Read More…)

By on November 6, 2015


There are myriad ways to improve SUVs and Jeep won’t do any of them to the Wrangler.

Instead, the Wrangler remains hopelessly impractical, wonderfully unapologetic and, to own, like living with a Libertarian: there are no compromises and everything is wonderful when you play by their rules.

Thankfully for the rest of us, who welcome a little compromise, there are other Jeeps. A crowd of SUVs — and soon to be pickup — will sport the seven-slot grille for mountains of money to keep FCA running well into the black at the moment. When it’s convenient, those cars are compared to the Wrangler to tout their capabilities. When it’s not, well, let’s remember the Compass.

Like Robert Hunter said (kind of): The problem with the 2015 Jeep Renegade is the problem with me.

(Read More…)

By on October 30, 2015


* A cautionary tale. 

Traversing the great state of Wyoming with hundreds of pounds of men, gear (including a Chairman Mao stencil) and snacks needs no fewer than 14 cupholders.

(Two cupholders were used for drinks, the rest were used for toy cars and various empty wrappers.)

Building a family car isn’t a trick. Rather, it’s a compromise between size and economy, comfort and capability, familiar and futuristic. Anyone can build a battleship, but moving it down the road at 25 miles per gallon requires some finesse.

This isn’t a story about the Littoral combat ship. Instead, it’s a story about three overweight men, eight hours to wonder aloud in a van in Wyoming about Nixon, road noise and absolutely no legal marijuana from Colorado crossing interstate lines. (Sorry to get your hopes up.) (Read More…)

By on October 28, 2015


Lexus took the wraps off its LS Concept in Tokyo on Tuesday to showcase the automaker’s big plans for its flagship sedan.

The car — which is about as long as a 1995 Cadillac DeVille Concours — boasts a hydrogen power plant to drive all of its wheels, an “advanced human interface” to recognize hand gestures, and a spindle grille the size of Rhode Island.

The concept shows the direction Lexus designers may take for its future full-size sedan, including floating L-shaped lights in front and back.  (Read More…)

By on October 28, 2015


At least we know that Subaru is planning on keeping the five-door through 2017.

Subaru showed off it’s cleverly named Impreza Concept in Tokyo on Tuesday. (Or was it Wednesday? With the international time travel line, I always get mixed up.) It will preview the next-generation Impreza when it arrives — probably around 2017.

The car sports a more angular face and rear end, alongside shoulder and hip flares that are connected through the car’s high belt line. If you place your hands over the front and rear wheels in the side profile picture, you’ll probably get a good look at Subaru’s next Impreza, I’m betting.

(Read More…)

By on October 28, 2015


Well, what we mean is less information is more frustrating. Or less exterior styling is more attractive. Or the less we know, the more we want to know. You get the gist.

Unveiled in Tokyo alongside its legendary 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport, the RX-Vision “represents a vision of the future that Mazda hopes to one day make into reality,” according to the automaker.

Mazda was pretty mum on the details, including how it plans to update its next-generation rotary engine, dubbed Skyactiv-R, to comply with modern fuel economy standards. Will it be a range extender for hydrogen power? Will it be boosted? Will it blend? These are all important questions, people. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2015



Back in 2014, Volkswagen of America and Volkswagen Canada announced that 2015 would be the final year of the Eos. In the U.S. that meant the Final Edition trim replaced the Sport trim between the Komfort and Executive trims. In Canada, a Wolfsburg Edition was the only trim offered — effectively a Highline at the price of a Comfortline.

So, why is there now a 2016 Volkswagen Eos being offered in the U.S. for $4,000 less than before?

(Read More…)

By on October 8, 2015

Volkswagen Beetle 1.8 TSI

This will likely come as a bit of a surprise to those of you who get your news through glass bottles tossed into the ocean and carried by persistent currents to the remote island on which you’ve been stranded by the crash of your FedEx plane, but Volkswagen is in a little bit of trouble due to some questions about diesel emissions. I think it’s a safe bet that the fellow I saw on Route 71 the other day with “TDI LOVE” as the license plate on his Jetta isn’t feelin’ it.

While the New New Beetle — now called just Beetle — was available as a TDI prior to the current kerfuffle, the version that I rented on Monday is powered by the same turbocharged gasoline engine that I liked in the Jetta TSI earlier this year. As tested, it’s $22,615.

So, should you buy one?

(Read More…)

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