Tag: AWD

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…)

By on June 24, 2019

1988 Toyota Tercel 4WD wagon in Colorado wrecking yard, RH view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Toyota Tercel 4WD Station Wagon, known in its homeland as the Sprinter Carib, sold very well in Colorado, where I live, and tended to be both reliable and well-loved by owners. I still see them in wrecking yards here, so many that I don’t photograph any but the most interesting. This one in a Denver yard had an impressive-even-by-Toyota-standards odometer reading, so it made the cut for a Junkyard Find. (Read More…)

By on May 16, 2019

In The Current Year, new car lots are filled with family-friendly adventure vehicles. They’ve got lots of seats, lots of cladding, and some sort of system to drive all four wheels (even if it’s a lousy system like on the CR-V). But our Rare Ride comes from a time when family 4×4 options were much fewer in number. 1989 was a very different time for the adventuresome family buyer.

Enter Quigley, and the Chevrolet Beauville.

(Read More…)

By on May 13, 2019

Amid splashy introductions like that of the resurrected Toyota Supra, the 2020 Hyundai Venue‘s debut at the New York Auto Show was a different kind of affair. It’s an entry-level vehicle, at least as far as crossovers are concerned, and its lack of all-wheel drive might have some saying it doesn’t even belong in the crossover camp.

In going smaller, slotting an A-segment vehicle below its still-new subcompact Kona, Hyundai says it’s staking a claim in a segment it expects other to populate. Not losing sight of what the Venue is supposed to be meant avoiding AWD like the plague. (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2019

Daimler’s performance arm, Mercedes-AMG, has entered a period of transition. In addition to placing a strengthened emphasis on all-wheel drive, the company will also begin manufacturing vehicles in China.

While the assembly locale isn’t equally important for all cars, AMG is famous for its one-man-one-engine philosophy. Part of the appeal, we assumed, was getting a rear-drive monster with a hand-built engine that some auto nerd from Affalterbach was proud enough of to lend their signature. That could change after the Mercedes-AMG A 45 moves to Beijing later this year.  (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2019

Mercedes-AMG, the German luxury marque’s performance sub-brand, might eliminate all rear-drive vehicles from its lineup, AMG CEO Tobias Moers suggested during a recent interview.

The company’s boss claims buyers, who already favored putting their AMG’s additional power to all four wheels, are increasingly leaving rear-drive driving behind. The customer, of course, is always right, and in 2019 non-conformists are less likely than ever to get what they want.  (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2019

2018 Mazda 6 Signature front quarter

It seems the idea of a sport-utility sedan just doesn’t resonate, despite automakers’ best efforts. Oh well, at least there’s still the prospect of greater traction and somewhat improved fuel economy coming to Mazda’s slinky 6 sedan.

During this week’s New York reveal of the much-delayed CX-5 diesel, the automaker mentioned that the 2.2-liter oil burner would also find a home in the company’s midsize sedan. More interestingly, Mazda confirmed that all-wheel drive will become available.

Want to take a guess on which feature Mazda fans actually want? (Read More…)

By on April 18, 2019

Image: Subaru

For 2020, Subaru’s revered Outback wagon undergoes a host of changes while remaining unmistakably an Outback. And, as New York is hardly the first locale that springs to mind when thinking “Outback,” Subaru decided to have the great outdoors accompany the next-generation wagon to this week’s auto show. The automaker brought both the Outback and an eye-catching display showcasing America’s national parks (as well as Subaru’s partnership with the National Park Foundation).

Yes, Outbacks look great with coniferous trees in the background. As for the car itself, we called it. As predicted, the turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer four that appeared in the Subaru stable for 2019 didn’t remain the sole property of the Ascent crossover for long. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2019

It’s strange how, after an automaker goes to the trouble of building a car aimed at the perpetually cranky enthusiast crowd, you can sometimes forget the vehicle exists. That’s the case with the Kia Stinger. Introduced in 2017, the liftback sedan — offered in turbo four-cylinder and V6 guise, rear- or all-wheel drive — still eludes some minds when thinking of modern sport sedans.

Well, Kia doesn’t want you to forget. To sucker-punch consumers back into coherence, the Korean brand brought a new, limited edition variant of the Stinger to the New York Auto Show, and the changes are more than paint deep. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2019

 

2020 Toyota Highlander

While you were sleeping, Toyota rolled out the fourth generation of its three-row Highlander crossover. It is an all-wheel drive box powered by a V6 engine, packed with gadgets, and offering an optional hybrid powertrain. Given the tastes of car buyers in this segment, none of these things are surprising.

What is surprising is that this nameplate has been around for 20 model years. Perhaps it’s because your author has never been in the market for a rig like the Highlander, or that the model’s ubiquity has caused the thing to fade into the background like proverbial wallflowers. Whatever the case, Highlander is nearly old enough to order its own drinks, and it’s put on a new set of clothes for the occasion.

(Read More…)

By on April 11, 2019

2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition

Deep within the wild jungle that is Ohio sits a facility in Marysville called the Performance Manufacturing Center. Right now, it’s responsible for crafting examples of Acura’s halo car, the NSX. Soon, however, it’ll also be hucking out hand-crafted copies of the company’s midsize TLX sedan.

As a limited-production car limited to 360 examples, the 2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition will be built by the same master technicians who assemble the NSX. Hey, everyone has to share their toys eventually, right?

(Read More…)

By on April 1, 2019

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e - Image: Toyota

Toyota opened up its Prius line to slightly more rugged buyers this year, introducing an AWD-e variant of its once very popular hybrid that uses a rear-mounted electric motor to lend a helpful shove when traction gives way up front.

The model introduction, accompanied by hints of wider availability of all-wheel drive in Toyota’s lineup, coincided with the announcement of a front-drive Corolla hybrid for 2020. Could rear, electrically powered axles one day become Toyota’s go-to recipe for four-wheel traction? Not exclusively, it seems. (Read More…)

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