Category: Car Reviews

By on November 22, 2021

Jo Borras/TTAC.com

The Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC is the three-pointed star’s first real attempt at an all-electric flagship in its 100-plus year history, and its importance to the brand cannot be overstated. Simply put, Tesla is already beating Mercedes-Benz, and the upstart, 500-mile range Lucid Air isn’t going to pull any punches, either. The EQS must come out swinging, then, and it absolutely cannot fail to deliver on the promise of that “S”.

I recently had a chance to take an extended test drive in both the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ and 580 4MATIC models at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, and the experience was – let’s say “not what I expected”.

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By on November 17, 2021

Bradley Iger/TTAC.com

BMW has become a bit of a wild card. From confusing naming conventions to controversial styling decisions, the Bavarian automaker has become no stranger to various forms of ridicule lately, particularly from the enthusiast set. With a rich performance history on and off of the track, the company has amassed a fervent fanbase that’s somehow both stuck in the past and impatient for the future.

They cite classics like the E30 M3 and E39 M5 with rose-tinted nostalgia and wonder why BMW can’t capture lightning in a bottle again – while also adding the performance, technology, safety, and comfort that they’ve come to expect, of course. And never mind the fact that the BMW Group reported record-breaking sales numbers in the first quarter of this year while largely ignoring the peanut gallery.

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By on November 16, 2021

 

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

Jeep has one of the tougher challenges in the business, especially when it comes to its longest-running nameplates, such as Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.

That challenge is this – how to keep models that are based on an old-school formula, one that heavily involves off-road chops and, in this case, an optional V8 engine, modern.

Jeep has been up to the task so far with the Wrangler, even introducing a hybrid to the line. Now it’s the Grand Cherokee’s turn.

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By on November 12, 2021

2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI. Tim Healey/TTAC

The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI may be changed, but its character remains the same.

Just like with the heavily updated Golf GTI, that’s cause for a sigh of relief.

Perhaps even more so, since the Jetta GLI doesn’t get the same high-falutin’ interior treatment. Thank God for keeping it old school.

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By on November 9, 2021

2022 Vokswagen GTI. Tim Healey/TTAC

If you’re a Volkswagen Golf GTI fan, you were probably worried that Volkswagen would screw it up as they refreshed it for 2022.

Here’s the good news – the company (mostly) didn’t do that. Especially when it comes to the most important part of GTI ownership – on-road driving performance.

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By on November 5, 2021

 

Volkswagen Golf R. Tim Healey/TTAC

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R remains a potent backroad weapon – almost too potent.

I came to this conclusion while driving part of North Carolina’s famed Rattler highway. The Golf R, one of the hottest of hot hatches, was making me feel a bit like a superhero thanks to stout brakes, the ability to shorten straightaways, and firm and accurate steering that allowed me to place the wheels exactly where I wanted/needed them to be.

And all this while I was driving relatively conservatively because I was on a public road. Imagine this car unleashed on a track.

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By on November 2, 2021

For car freaks – and they don’t get any freakier than the B&B – a car is more than just a transportation appliance. We end up involved with our cars. We care for them. We worry about them. Some of us even name them.

My last car, a ‘15 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro, was Mitzi – petite, German, cute, fun … and not very easy to live with. If Mitzi had been a human female, she’d have been a blast in the sack and high-maintenance and kind of clueless the rest of the time. A great mistress and a lousy partner, if you will. The “it’s not you, it’s me” conversation had been coming for a while, and when used car prices went bonkers, it felt like the right time to kiss Mitzi on the forehead and say goodbye.

That’s how I ended up on a car-search journey that took several months and ended with one of the best hard decisions a car freak can be faced with: Choosing between a VW GTI or Jetta GLI. Which one won my heart? Read on.

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By on October 29, 2021

The Gamper

Country Squire for the Modern Era

Coming off my second consecutive Buick Enclave lease, I decided it was time to add a smidgen of efficiency to the primary goal simply being roomy enough for the family. This is a car for my wife and her driving is skewed heavily toward city driving in congested traffic situations. I have three children who are all involved in year-round sporting activities and these days the miles are piling up fast.

The family hauler is used quite extensively, racking up about 20k miles per year.  So, 15 mpg and 250 miles per fill-up just weren’t cutting it anymore.  Interior space for my family of five, which includes giant offspring, is of course job one.  My 14-year-old son is 6’2″ and my 11-year-old daughter is already 5’6″. They aren’t going to be shoehorned into the jump seats that some popular three-row vehicles pass off as being fit for human occupants … especially on multi-hour trips for travel sports, vacations, etc.

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By on October 28, 2021

Mercedes-BenzI’ve long struggled to understand the existence of four-door hatchbacks that are called “coupes” (to me, a coupe has two, not four, doors), have sloping rooflines, and are typically sold by import luxury brands.

I struggle a lot less when one is hopped up on the vehicular version of steroids.

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By on October 26, 2021

 

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

“You don’t need it, but you’ll want it.”

It’s a common refrain when discussing bonkers performance vehicles, particularly ones that are based on family haulers. I’ve said a version of that a time or two in reviews I’ve written here and elsewhere. But some cliches are cliches because they’re true.

On the other hand, sometimes just because you want something cool, it’s not the practical choice.

Enter the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat.

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By on October 20, 2021

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee LWhen the Grand Cherokee originally debuted back in 1993, Americans were just warming up to the idea of daily driven sport-utility vehicles. The idea was pretty straight-forward: Take the capability of the Cherokee XJ, tune it for real-world drivability, tweak the look, and add some creature comforts that shift the scales away from the utilitarian toward the premium.

Nearly three decades later the concept remains largely the same, but the all-new Grand Cherokee L is worlds apart from the first generation ZJ. Aside from the third row (a first for a Grand Cherokee), this decked-out SUV rolls around on decidedly massive 21-inch wheels, boasts massaging front seats covered in quilted Palermo leather and a 19-speaker McIntosh audio system, and floats on an adjustable air suspension with adaptive dampers – latter of which is also a first for the model.

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By on October 19, 2021

2021 Chrysler Pacifica HybridMinivans are rarely sexy, but that won’t stop companies from trying to make them attractive, with varying degrees of success.

The gang in Auburn Hills decided that eye-pleasing design might help the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid capture sales. With that whole “hybrid” thing thrown in for a good measure of green cred.

The approach mostly worked, at least within the limitations that the van shape imposes on creativity. The Pacifica Hybrid is, dare I say, stylish.

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By on October 12, 2021

In the beginning, someone created the buggy. Now the buggy was primitive and lacked more than a couple of horsepower, and darkness was over the surface of the automotive world because this buggy had leaf springs.

And some engineer said, “Let there be a functional suspension,” and there was a coil spring – and, if you liked Mopars, maybe a torsion bar. And this engineer called the coil spring good and the leaf spring crap. And so, there was day and night, buggy suspensions and a reasonable ride, and the engineer created cars in his own image, and old trucks were the serpent.

And so, trucks from time immemorial have been infested by poor-riding leaf springs because they could handle great loads. But these trucks, they did handle like the Leviathan, so some have moved to the proper coil spring, good and true, to hold up their cargo. The 2022 Toyota Tundra has been so blessed with coil springs, among many other improvements. But is it good?

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By on October 11, 2021

Image: Gabe Ets-Hokin

Remember that scene in the famed 1968 shoot-em-up Bullitt where Lieutenant Bullitt, after surviving a harrowing car chase up and down the streets of San Francisco, a chase that ended in the fiery deaths of some black-suited bad guys in a Dodge, went and picked up his Saint Bernards from the dog groomer and then took his daughter and her boyfriend to lacrosse practice in his four-door Mustang GT crossover electric vehicle?

You don’t remember it (unless you regularly attend Phish concerts) because Ford has never built a four-door ‘Stang before the Mach-E, and it certainly has never built an all-wheel drive pony car, and for the love of Pete, ‘ol Henry’s namesake most certainly has never built such a thing with the “GT” moniker, the label it reserves for its most throaty, hairy-chested, terrifying torque-monster of a street ‘n strip muscle car. 

Until now of course. I submit the Mustang Mach-E GT, pumping out a gajillion horsepower and a bazillion lb-ft. o’ torque, and what has two giant thumbs and got to drive such a device on his favorite Northern California backroads? This guy.

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By on October 5, 2021

2022 Ford MaverickThere are currently two small trucks on sale – the Hyundai Santa Cruz and the 2022 Ford Maverick. Only one really looks the part.

That would be the latter. And thankfully for Ford and its buyers, the Maverick more than acts the part, too.

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