Tag: car review

By on September 13, 2018

2019 GMC Acadia Denali front quarter

Acadia. Denali. Two National Parks that connote wilderness adventure. Acadia — the easternmost National Park — covers much of an island off the coast of Maine. Denali, named after the eponymous mountain that was occasionally named for the best President to come from Ohio in the twentieth century — is a park larger than the state of New Hampshire. The names make you think of wide open spaces, which should be a desirable trait in a family-sized crossover.

Not even a month ago, Associate Editor Steph Willems professed his love for the 2018 edition of the Acadia Denali. And while Steph and I are of similar mind on certain features on this three-row crossover, he and I have diverging uses for such a vehicle. For many, I’m sure, the 2019 GMC Acadia Denali is ideal. Due to some space issues, however, it isn’t the perfect family hauler for me. It comes up a bit short.

(Read More…)

By on August 27, 2018

2019 Chevrolet Malibu RS front quarter

I thumbed the start button, adjusted the mirrors, and backed away from the coffee shop. A couple of miles later, my co-driver/navigator was distracted and we missed a turn on our route guide. I hustled around an unexpected roundabout, trying to make up time, and the mid-sized sedan dove into the corners like a much smaller car.

It’s remarkable how unremarkable the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu RS really is. I expected a dull car with dull responses and no power — which would provide ample opportunity for devastating snark. And yet, I can’t stop thinking about how surprisingly well this Chevy drives.

(Read More…)

By on August 22, 2018

2018 Cadillac ATS-V front quarter

Let’s not go too deep into history here. Until a decade and a half ago, Cadillac’s efforts at competing with European sports sedans have been lackluster at best, and positively shameful at worst. But in 2004, the wreath division of General Motors discovered the alphabet’s 22nd letter, and everything changed.

Those first CTS-V models harnessed Corvette power wrapped in a sinister Art and Science sedan body, immediately making enthusiasts take notice. Now the V is available in a more compact package. Though it doesn’t have majestic V8 goodness, the 2018 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe makes for a properly American alternative to the Teutonic stalwarts.

(Read More…)

By on August 14, 2018

2018 Hyundai Sonata front quarter

In 2011, Hyundai was flying high. No longer the butt of reliability jokes, and buoyed by the ten-year 100k mile warranty, Hyundais no longer needed to be sold as the “value” choice. Thus, the stunning 2011 Sonata, which flaunted eye-catching styling to generate plenty of showroom traffic.

Fast-forward seven years, and every midsize sedan has bold styling features. Big grilles and swoopy C-pillars are the name of the game as automakers try and eke out bigger slices of the ever-shrinking midsize sedan pie. Hyundai has, surprisingly, been conservative when restyling their entry. The 2018 Hyundai Sonata SEL may not be a big hit like its predecessor, but it’s no mere B-side.

(Read More…)

By on August 6, 2018

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen, Ford is reviving the special edition Bullitt Mustang. This is the third time Ford has modified a Mustang to honor McQueen’s ride in the movie.

For this Mustang, there are two important factors that determine if it will be successful. First, obviously, it has to be a good car. Second, it has to be a car that makes you feel like Steve McQueen, or at least Frank Bullitt, when you’re driving it.

We hit up the streets of San Francisco, which was where the movie and the iconic car-chase scene were filmed, to see if it really will make you feel like Bullitt McQueen.

(Read More…)

By on June 12, 2018

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander front quarter

Car enthusiasts love to argue about cars, and will debate generally anything related to the topic ad nauseum. My wife knows not to talk cars with me unless she’s prepared to engage in an multi-hour discussion with outlines, Powerpoints, and 8×10 glossy photos. Discussions like these have birthed countless internet forums and blogs, including the usually brilliant comment section here at TTAC.

A common topic: are there any truly BAD cars anymore? We may all hate various brands or models because of poor prior experiences, but it can generally be assumed that all cars sold new in the U.S. can at least perform the basic function of a car satisfactorily for roughly the length of the factory warranty.

*Does it move sentient bags of meat from one place to another without parts falling off? Then it qualifies as NOT BAD.

Through that lens, then, we can look at the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander. It’s not a bad looking vehicle, and it certainly does what it’s supposed to. Broaden the view a bit, however, and it’s clear that there are few compelling reasons to buy Mitsubishi’s biggest crossover.

(Read More…)

By on March 27, 2018

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport front quarter

I’m not joking. The Supertramp song in the title did indeed start playing on SiriusXM’s Classic Rewind station as I pressed the start button after another long day at the office. I’m sure “Take The Long Way Home” and Foghat’s “Slow Ride” are the most often-played afternoon drive time songs for classic rock stations nationwide, but it seemed serendipitous.

I didn’t have to be home right after work. It was a dry, sunny, albeit brisk afternoon. And I had a willing partner – the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport – fitted with a proper six-speed manual gearbox. Instead of turning south at the roundabout toward home, I turned north, dropped a gear, and followed the meander of the river. Magically, I’d forgotten about the day I’d spent glued to spreadsheets.

(Read More…)

By on February 12, 2018

Numerous proverbs and quotes, variously attributed to Colton, Wilde, Marcus Aurelius, and others, can be distilled into the familiar “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” The line has been cited by college plagiarists for ages.

Industry uses a better euphemism – benchmarking. Evaluating the competition to offer an alternative that’s remarkably similar to existing products, but with enough differentiation to compel converts, is the essence of product development, no matter what the widget might be.

It’s only natural that when Hyundai decided to build a midsize luxury sedan for its Genesis luxury sub-brand, it looked closely at the two German models that have consistently led this market. Whether buyers see the 2018 Genesis G80 as a legitimate contender is up for debate, as the biggest divergence from the standard – at least on the surface – is the price.

(Read More…)

By on January 9, 2018

2018 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Inscription front quarter

3.1 inches, and 4,529 miles. These two dimensions are what make this Volvo unique. If you’re not hip to the lingo, the “Inscription” label on this car has nothing to do with a scribbled authors’ note on the front page of a favorite book. Inscription means, oddly, an extended wheelbase. 3.1 inches, to be precise.

4,529 miles? That’s a bit more straightforward. This long-wheelbase Volvo S60 is built in a market where that extra rear passenger space is valued above all else: Chengdu, China – over four thousand miles away from the ancestral Volvo home in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Do these figures matter? Is the Sichuan-made S60 a credible competitor, or will the point of final assembly scare too many shoppers away?

(Read More…)

By on January 5, 2018

2017 Toyota 86 front quarterThe litmus test for defining a “proper” sports car has been a moving target ever since the first G.I. brought a rickety MG stateside, but the question has been argument fodder in bars and internet forums for nearly as long.

Some argued that the radical 1962 MGB wasn’t a sports car, due to its unibody construction and lack of folding windscreen. Others argued that the revolutionary 1963 Corvette wasn’t a sports car, as the coupe profile didn’t fit the roadster norm that had thus far defined Chevrolet’s fantastic plastic essence. Last year, McLaren sought to define a sports car with four characteristics which, by the miracles of marketing, eliminate basically every other car ever built, including some of its own.

One feature is particularly contentious: the manual transmission. For decades, “true” sports car enthusiasts eschewed anything with two pedals, as the act of manually selecting gears was surely essential to spirited driving. Yet a virtual stroll through the websites of most sports car makers shows a dearth of clutch pedals.

Surely the Toyota 86 would be an exception. It’s a real sports car, designed from a clean sheet with rear-wheel drive and compact packaging for supreme tossability. There’s no way it could be anything less than awful when burdened with an automatic transmission. Right?

(Read More…)

By on January 4, 2018

2017 Kia Soul ! Turbo lead image

Some years ago, product planners at Nissan, Honda, and Kia each decided to cut stylists out of the design process for a new car line and hand everything over to engineers. Those engineers, looking for the most practical and efficient shape to haul maximum cargo – fleshy or otherwise – each decided to use a cube for inspiration. Nissan didn’t stray far even for a name.

Each of those boxes was marketed toward the youth of the day – when they came out, I was part of that target demographic. Problem was, the kids didn’t have money to spend on a new car. That’s why many Elements, Cubes, and Souls tend to be driven by older, somewhat more affluent folks who appreciate the practicality, and can also afford it.

Well, I’m now approaching that second demographic. My forties are within sight. Is the 2017 Kia Soul right for me? In other words, is an old soul right for a new Soul?

(Read More…)

By on January 2, 2018

It’s nice to be born into good stock. Having the correct last name or access to a hefty trust fund certainly gives one a leg up on their competition. We see this in business, Hollywood … and car lines, too.

Not everyone makes the best of the hand they’re dealt. Plenty of famous sons and daughters have frittered away their chance at greatness assuming they can coast on the accomplishments of their forebears instead of doing, y’know, actual work.

The newly christened Audi Sport branch of the Haus der Ingolstadt trades upon its 80-year trail of success on motorsport. The R8, the RS5, and the fabulously bonkers RS7 all live up to family expectations with fabulous driving dynamics and a healthy dose of performance. Can their new little brother, the compact and slight manic RS3 do the same? Or has it simply been given a corner office without earning it?

(Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

2017-ford-f-350-super-duty-platinum

After introducing the Super Duty in 1998, Ford kept making upgrades to the same basic cab and frame all the way up to 2016. Multiple refreshes across three generations could not hide the fact that this truck rode on old bones, making the 2017 model year redesign a welcome change.

We had a chance test out the new design by borrowing a 2017 F-350 Platinum for a recent trip to West Virginia, which appropriately featured a Miata on trailer behind us. While our race car and trailer combo only made up a fraction of the maximum towing capacity of the diesel-powered behemoth, it gave us an appreciation of having a little extra room while towing.

Our schedule said we had to be on track at Summit Point for a drivers meeting at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, so we tried to pack as much as possible before the Super Duty arrived in order to hit the road quickly. When the truck arrived on Friday afternoon we ran over to the U-Haul store to pick up a trailer. Hooking up was a breeze — even in the tight confines of the back lot — as the backup camera, along with the birds eye view, quickly got us lined up with the trailer and on our way to load the race car. (Read More…)

By on September 1, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Habanero Orange - Image: © Timothy CainIt took Volkswagen forever. But finally, in 2008, more than a decade after the compact SUV craze began, the first-generation Tiguan landed on U.S. shores. The Tiguan was more premium-priced than it deserved to be and smaller than it needed to be, but with a potent powerplant and fun-loving on-road behavior, those who could afford it and fit in it were happy.

It took Volkswagen forever. But finally, in the summer of 2017, nearly a decade after the first Tiguan arrived and eventually watched the release of two new Honda CR-Vs, two new Hyundai Tucsons, countless rival redesigns, and a bevy of new competitors, the second-generation Tiguan landed on U.S. shores.

The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is now competitively priced. It’s properly sized — marginally larger than many rivals rather than distinctly smaller. This time, however, because of extra weight and an intransigent powertrain, the Tiguan doesn’t feel quite so punchy off the line. And in place of a dynamic repertoire vaguely reminiscent of an Mk5 Golf GTI — lively steering, quick turn-in, grippy cornering — the 2018 Tiguan is comfort-focused, keen on absorbing and mollifying and coddling.

Bigger, more comfortable, and arguably more attractive? The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan finally sounds like a Tiguan American crossover buyers might actually want. (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2017

2017 Audi Q7 blue front quarter

I was incredulous. My eyes must have been deceiving me. The number at the top of the page surely did not belong with the number at the bottom of the page. I rubbed my eyes, took another swig of the awful office coffee, and looked again at the window sticker that arrived in my inbox.

The price was indeed right. Audi would be delivering a $58,725 Q7 to my door the next day.

However, the 2.0T nomenclature at the top of the page was a shock. A three-row luxury SUV from a premier German manufacturer with a four-cylinder engine under the hood? Inconceivable. Can the two-liter turbo really move this big SUV with Teutonic aplomb?

(Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • Jeff S: Dude you seem to thrive on this and I didn’t see Syke’s comment as starting a political...
  • Art Vandelay: Except that EB didn’t start it…the first political comment was by Skye. Perhaps you skipped...
  • Jeff S: @Art Vandelay–EB is the one that starts these political discussions and whether we like or don’t...
  • Jeff S: Some of us just don’t need to drive large vehicles. At one time I drove just large cars with V8s which...
  • Jeff S: I did something similar to hypermilling during the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 with my parents 64 Impala wagon...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber