Tag: car review

By on September 26, 2016

IMG_3128

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.

(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.

(Read More…)

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?
(Read More…)

By on August 26, 2016

2016 BMW M3 Competition Package, Image: © 2016 Danger Girl/The Truth About Cars

Welcome to the $82,470 “small” BMW.

I suppose it’s not that outrageous; correct the $34,810 MSRP of the original 1988 M3 to modern Bernankified pesos, and it’s just over seventy grand for a car that had less than half the power of this 2016 M3 Competition/Executive Package and absolutely none of the luxury accoutrements.

But here’s the crazy part: for Brayden, the car’s owner, this is the cheaper of the two 2016 M3s that he just bought.
(Read More…)

By on August 24, 2016

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

I’m sitting on the pit lane of my local track — Atlantic Motorsports Park in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia — surveying the empty course. My helmet is on the seat beside me, my hands are gripping the leather-wrapped wheel, and I can hear the low growl of three-cylinders idling as they wait for me.

But before I get to that, a bit about what I’m driving.

This is the Mitsubishi Mirage G4. It’s what happens when the oft-cheapest new hatchback in Canada (depending on who is offering what cash on the hood that month) grows a trunk. Under the hood: a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that has 78 horses in there somewhere. Connected to that is a continuously variable transmission, the only transmission available on this SEL trim tester.

I do a quick check of the course to make sure it’s still empty. My foot hits the floor.

(Read More…)

By on August 22, 2016

2017 Mirage G4, Image: Mitsubishi

A funny thing has happened on Canada’s Atlantic Coast — and maybe in Canada as a whole.

You see, we have a fairly small automotive press corps on Canada’s eastern coast (and I say we because I just moved from Atlantic Canada). As such, we have an equally small press fleet.

Each week, a very nice man moves all the press cars around for us journalists as if we’re important in some way. This very nice man probably logs somewhere near 500 kilometers each week moving cars around for us. It’s a ton of driving — specifically, a ton of driving that Tim and I and other journalists don’t need to do, making this a pretty sweet deal for us. We sit on our respective buttocks (buttockses?) and the very nice man shows up at our home with a brand new car. In return, we do basically nothing and give the very nice man the keys to the previous car, which we are thoroughly bored of by that time anyway.

However, when the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 came to our fleet, it stopped neither at Tim’s house nor mine.

(Read More…)

By on August 17, 2016

2017 Ford Explorer Limited, Image: © 2016 Jack Baruth/The Truth About Cars

I’ve long since given up on the idea that it’s possible to have a truly unbiased review of an automobile — or anything else, for that matter. Nevertheless, we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. In the service of that, I’m going to say up front that I completely despise this generation of Explorer. I didn’t like it when I reviewed an early model five and a half years ago, and I like it even less now that alternatives like the refreshed Grand Cherokee exist.

The worst thing about the Explorer is that it’s fundamentally a crappy version of the Ford Flex. The Flex is a thinking person’s station wagon. The Explorer is an idiot’s SUV. Perhaps a kinder, and more accurate, way to put it is this: the Explorer is a Flex remixed to appeal to women. I’ve yet to meet a woman who likes the Flex. In order to stop this from being a 1,200-word combo-diss-fest-and-Flex-hagiography, I’ve hired the infamous Danger Girl to offer some balance in my review of this brand-spanking-new-with-24-miles, $44,065, front-wheel-drive SUV.

Let’s do this.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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…)

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