Category: Car Reviews

By on August 3, 2021

2021 Honda OdysseyLife circumstances force some folks to buy minivans. Others do so for the utility – coolness be damned.

Regardless of why one buys a minivan, he or she probably anticipates that the driving experience will be far from fun. But that’s not always the case – Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid (review forthcoming) isn’t a chore to drive. And Honda’s Odyssey is more engaging than the Chrysler.

Relative to the class, of course. We’ll get to that.

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By on July 26, 2021

On paper, the 2021 Nissan Kicks doesn’t seem all that different.

And really, it isn’t – most changes involve the addition of new features, though the exterior is also refreshed, getting a new grille and available LED headlights.

The only real mechanical change is the addition of rear disc brakes for the SV and SR trims.

Yet when Nissan loaned me a Kicks some months back (the snow in some of these pics is a giveaway), I immediately noticed a difference, in terms of ride and handling, between the 2021 model and previous versions I’ve piloted.

The difference was slight but nonetheless noticeable.

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By on July 21, 2021

Bentley Bentayga Speed. Credit: Brad Iger

For those of typical means, ultra-luxury automakers like Bentley exist in a vacuum. We see an M3’s worth of options on a Flying Spur and scoff at something so preposterous, so alien to our understanding of a dollar’s value.

It’s true enough that the law of diminishing returns tends to really kick in when MSRPs soar into six-figure territory and beyond: Is a Bugatti Chiron 50 times better than a C8 Corvette? Probably not. But years ago, when I was handed the keys to my first Bentley press car, I approached the prospect with a similar mindset and came away a changed man.

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By on June 28, 2021

It’s Bronco Day.

Today is the day that you, the reader, can finally read the reviews of the much-hyped 2021 Ford Bronco.

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By on June 28, 2021

2021 Ford Bronco

Few new-vehicle launches in recent years have generated as much hype or been as anticipated as that of the Ford Bronco.

Bronco has been a big story for us and our peers since last summer. We’ve ridden in one already, and now it was our turn to finally drive it. So I dutifully packed a bag and headed to the Texas Hill Country outside of Austin to see if the big Bronco would live up to the hype – and be a strong challenger to Jeep’s venerable Wrangler.

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By on June 21, 2021

2021 Nissan Rogue. Tim Healey/TTAC

The word “rogue” has several meanings, and one of those meanings relates to someone who goes their own way – someone who has “gone rogue.” This is why it’s long been ironic that Nissan slaps the moniker on a conformist crossover.

I am sure I am not the first to point this out, but it bears repeating, especially as the 2021 Nissan Rogue conforms to Nissan’s newest design identity.

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By on June 17, 2021

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. Tim Healey/TTAC

Jeep has offered all sorts of different utility vehicles over the years – it’s sort of the brand’s thing – but it hasn’t recently offered a three-row crossover. The last one it sold was the Commander, which left the market a decade ago.

I quite honestly forgot the Commander even existed – and I started in automotive journalism in 2007. While it was still on the market. I suspect most Jeep faithful have also memory holed that model.

That’s unlikely to happen with the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, for better or for worse.

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By on June 9, 2021

 

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

The last-generation Nissan Pathfinder became the forgotten three-row crossover, in part because it went from a rugged-looking rig to a soft-roading crossover. Nissan is apparently quite well aware of why the Pathfinder moved to the back of mind for a lot of shoppers, and the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is meant to, if not be actually rugged, to project a rugged image.

So, for 2022, you get what the brand calls “bold, rugged design”. And it is bolder than before, with a bit more masculinity to its style, but it’s still blandly conservative enough to fit fine in the PTA line. As if Nissan’s designers felt they could only go so far in terms of being “rugged.”

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By on May 28, 2021

Today’s review is brought to you by water: Water! It’s moist. The other day when I handed over the keys to the Golf Sportwagen, my dealer’s service department loaned me this base model 2021 Tiguan S 4Motion. There’s no glass on the roof so it’s almost certain not to leak water, but what about its other characteristics?

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By on May 26, 2021

2022 Volkswagen Taos

Standing outside a building that typically hosts weddings in downtown Chelsea, Michigan, a fellow auto journalist and I chatted through our masks about how it’s getting harder and harder to write about crossovers, because so many of them are just in that happy middle – not particularly great, and certainly not bad.

Add the 2022 Volkswagen Taos to that list.

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By on May 25, 2021

2020 Land Rover Defender

Like many folks, I was excited to hear that Land Rover was resurrecting the Defender nameplate. I grew up admiring the boxy go-anywhere Defenders of days gone by, and I was hoping Jaguar Land Rover could recreate that magic.

Imagine my consternation when instead the brand came up with an SUV that seemed to be quite the departure from the old-school Defender. Still, after seeing it up close at auto shows, I became cautiously optimistic about this modern-day interpretation of the Defender. After driving it, I came away mostly impressed – but the usual British reliability issues complicated things.

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By on May 24, 2021

2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0

As the 911 has continued to expand in size and skillset over recent years, the line between its sporting and grand touring intentions has started to blur.

Versatility is certainly a virtue for any road-going performance vehicle, but for those looking for a dyed-in-the-wool sportscar, the platform shared between the Boxster and Cayman has always made more sense, offering better weight distribution thanks to its mid-engined layout and dimensions that harken back to the 911’s air-cooled days.

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By on May 21, 2021

2021 Kia K5

I am not, in general, one to fret too much when an automaker messes with car nomenclature. Even if, in the case of the formerly named Kia Optima, the brand switches to an alphanumeric structure.

That’s not to say I never get upset – I was pretty harsh on Infiniti when it switched to its current naming convention, because I found and still find it confusing. And sometimes, yeah, I get annoyed when a cool name is dropped for alphabet soup.

The Optima moniker wasn’t quite great, but it was good enough, and at least people, especially folks who know little about cars, knew, or at least vaguely knew, that it referred to a mid-size Kia sedan.

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By on May 19, 2021

2020 Subaru WRX STI

Most people slow down a bit, in terms of being the life of the party, as they approach their dotage. Others keep rocking straight into the retirement home.

Count the Subaru WRX STI among that latter group.

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By on May 13, 2021

2020 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Premium

Let’s say you’re in the market for a Ford Mustang. Let’s say you like to drive fast and like cars that handle well, so the venerable pony car is on your radar. Let’s also say that when you sit down at your laptop and start playing with the consumer website’s build and price feature and you see that a well-equipped GT quickly busts your budget, you trudge off to the fridge to drown your sorrows in adult beverages while you question every life decision you’ve ever made that left you in such a financial state that a V8 pony car is unattainable.

Well, you can cheer up, at least a little. The V8 experience is available to you for less money IF you can sacrifice the soundtrack and live with half the cylinders.

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