Tag: AWD

By on June 8, 2020

fca

Seating, fuel economy, and traction: these are the three areas in which the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica and all-new Toyota Sienna will do battle, though neither of these vehicles is a direct match for the other.

In the shrinking minivan segment, the urge to offer everything a buyer might want has led us to this point. Orders opened for the all-wheel drive Pacifica on Friday — a product that Chrysler hopes will give would-be crossover buyers food for thought. In the Toyota corner, standard hybrid power and available AWD greets buyers for 2021. Similar beasts, but not at all identical.

Will seating decide the victor? (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2020

Long overdue for a revamp, the fourth-generation Toyota Sienna bowed today, ditching the previous model’s 3.5-liter V6 engine in favor of a more fuel-conscious alternative.

Before, the long-running minivan offered buyers the option of braving wintry weather or semi-rugged excursions with the confidence of all-wheel drive. That option remains — but it’s coupled with a standard feature previous Sienna buyers couldn’t get their hands on: a hybrid powertrain. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2020

Once upon a time, it was expected to find the driven wheels of a car aft of the rear seat. In this writer’s recollection, the coming of winter would see the addition of a few bags of concrete mix or sidewalk salt added to the trunk for extra traction. Most pickups, usually of the wholesome regular cab variety, boasted the same setup.

Eventually, front-wheel drive replaced RWD as the go-to way to put power down, while in the background four-wheel drive gathered steam.

Would it surprise you to learn that the majority of 2020 model-year vehicles sold in the U.S. thus far eschewed front- or rear-drive? (Read More…)

By on April 22, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride is an example of a vehicle that was fairly common in the early Nineties. However, the passage of time is never kind to low-value and oft-forgotten economy cars, so survivors like this little blue Tempo are quite a find.

(Read More…)

By on March 9, 2020

Denis Le Not 2019 Nissan Altima unveil - Image: Nissan

The new-for-2019 Nissan Altima, arriving in the fall of 2018, marked a significant departure from the previous model. For starters, there was no V6 on offer; a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with variable compression technology set up shop as the uplevel option. Also different was the appearance of all-wheel drive.

In Chris’ review of an attractive AWD Altima, he made note of Nissan’s enthusiasm for the technology, with the automaker’s U.S. brass claiming a significant take rate for Altimas with four driven wheels. That may be true in the U.S., but how does a traditionally front-drive model fare when it’s only available in AWD? Canada has the answer. (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2020

vw

Refreshed for the 2021 model year, the successful Volkswagen Atlas doesn’t change what consumers already like — and part of that strategy means keep its entry price static. Donning a revamped front and rear fascia that mimics its slightly shorter two-row sibling, the Atlas Cross Sport, the midsize crossover again starts at $32,656 after destination.

That price gets you into a front-drive S powered by a carryover 2.0-liter turbo four. Should your wishes include all-wheel drive, expect to find a lot more choice. (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2020

2020 Toyota Camry AWD 2 - Image: Toyota

In a shrinking U.S. midsize sedan market, Toyota’s slice of the pie is the biggest. In fact, despite its own year-over-year decline in 2019, the Toyota Camry’s slice of the U.S. midsize market actually increased to 25 percent last year because its decline was comparatively modest.

Now Toyota has its sights set on a corner of the midsize car market the brand has left uncontested for nearly three decades. Not since the Gulf War (no, not that one; this one) has Toyota fielded an all-wheel-drive Camry in the United States. And just as Toyota exerts its control in the overarching midsize car segment with a heavy hand, the automaker expects to do the same in the all-wheel-drive sub-segment of the same category.

Toyota has designs on 50,000 annual Camry AWD sales in the United States.

Oh, Subaru Legacy, where doth Toyota’s success leave thee? In the shadows. (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2020

An all-wheel-drive vehicle will reappear early this spring after a decades-long absence, tempting those who demand a sure-footed sedan with untold amounts of badge and nameplate loyalty.

While the Toyota Camry AWD might arrive too late to tackle our current winter, the future is a blank slate, ready to be filled with instances of snow-flinging fun. Perhaps a dirt road race against a Subaru Legacy driver is in the cards.

As the Camry AWD heads to dealerships, Toyota has revealed pricing and fuel economy for the intriguing model. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

2002 BMW X5 in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Now that I’ve been doing these Junkyard Finds for 13 years and having just written my annual 10 Best Junkyard Cars post, I’m taking a look back to see what historically significant vehicles I’ve neglected as I pursue weird examples of badge engineering and triviaquestion AWD versions. I’ve been working on filling in the blanks with junked BMW 3 and 5 Series cars lately, along with 21stcentury econoboxes, and now I will be trying to shoot more German luxury SUVs.

We’ll start off with this clean-looking ’02 X5, which I found in a yard just south of Denver. (Read More…)

By on December 30, 2019

Earlier this year, when rumors of a forthcoming all-wheel drive Chrysler Pacifica arose, the minivan segment seemed ready to birth a rival to Toyota’s AWD Sienna. Instead, Chrysler ended up debuting a stripped-down version of the FWD Pacifica called the Voyager.

AWD isn’t off the table, it seems, but the traditional form of all-wheel traction is. A new report claims the coming year will bring an electrified AWD minivan from Windsor Assembly. (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2019

There was a time when no one out-weirded Subaru. Gonzo digital gauges, windows within windows, and a general Birkenstock image cemented them as the choice of the grains-n-granola crowd. These days, the cars still march to a different beat but appeal to a much wider audience. The company’s winning sales streak stands as proof.

For 2020, the Pleiades brand has tweaked its Impreza sedan ever so slightly … but that’s not why it stands as today’s pick. It is, so far as our research shows, the cheapest way to buy a brand-new all-wheel drive car in America.

(Read More…)

By on November 13, 2019

There was a flurry of speculation earlier this year about a traditional people hauler, with whispering voices claiming that, in a bid to boost demand, Fiat Chrysler was prepared to offer an all-wheel drive version of its Pacifica minivan. Minivan sales aren’t doing too hot, as you know. Crossovers and the like…

While the automaker’s minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario did get a funding top-up in April, thus far the only byproduct of that $355 million cash dump was the creation of a new/old nameplate — Voyager — to stand in for lower-trimmed Pacificas. A new bit of evidence, however, does point to an eventual AWD Pacifica. (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2019

Depending on where you live, the newest variants of the Toyota Camry and its big brother, the Avalon, may arrive too late to help you conquer any wintry weather. This winter, anyway. Slated to arrive in North American markets starting early next spring, the two sedans boast something unfamiliar to owners of these long-running models: All-wheel drive.

In an announcement that took many by surprise, the automaker claims these new AWD sedans can thank the new-for-2019 RAV4 for their existence. A little engineering work later, and here we are. The 29-year drought of AWD Camrys has ended. (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2019

2019 Mazda Mazda3 front quarter

With Labor Day in the rearview, the grim prospect of winter now rears its ugly head. For many of you, it’s no big deal. It might rain. You’ll have to put on a light jacket before leaving the house. For others, Mother Nature awaits with several gigatons of snow and ice.

Suddenly, that two-wheel drive vehicle that served your needs just fine throughout the summer is no longer king of the road. Sufficient, sure, but not ideal. Bringing all wheels online would improve your car’s winter prowess and boost driver confidence (possibly by too much of a degree), yet few passenger car makers think of adding it to models lacking boxy, cargo-happy bodies.

If AWD is something you covet, would its presence sway you away from a crossover and into a normal car? (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2019

1994 Mazda Navajo in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Mazda and Ford go way back when it comes to the badge-engineering game, what with all those Mazda-built Ford Couriers, Mazda-based Ford Escorts, Mazda-badged Ford Rangers, and so on. Since I love weird examples of badge engineering in the junkyard, I’m always on the lookout for the likes of a Saab-badged Chevy or Acura-badged Isuzu, and so I have been keeping my eyes open for a rare Mazda-ized Ford Explorer for quite a while. Most of them got crushed long ago, as the early Explorer has very little value today (due to its laughably small size and lack of luxury features, by 21st-century American-market suburban commuter-truck standards), but this ’94 just showed up in a Denver self-service yard.  (Read More…)

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