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Archive for the ‘fullsize cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon BMW’s 8 Series Concept Looks Dead Sexy

Hot on the heels of a leak recently published online, BMW has revealed its latest 8 Series Concept car in a succession of official photos and video. The design study is scheduled to make its full public debut at the Concoso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este show in Italy this weekend, a venue where BMW has a history of revealing awesome concepts (last year, the automaker offered up the slick 2002 Hommage Concept). The 8 Series Concept is framed as a modern sports coupe worthy of flagship status, and previews an upcoming production model arriving sometime next year. BMW hopes this sleek sports coupe will manage to rekindle consumer interest in large luxury two-doors with a dollop of sporting intent under the hood.

“The number 8 has always represented the pinnacle of sports performance and exclusivity at BMW,” said Harald Kruger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “The forthcoming BMW 8 Series Coupe will demonstrate that razor-sharp dynamics and modern luxury can go hand-in-hand. This will be the next model in the expansion of our luxury-car offering and will raise the benchmark for coupes in the segment. In the process, we will strengthen our claim to leadership in the luxury class.” The 8 Series Concept will replace the 6 Series Coupe in BMW’s lineup, surpassing the outgoing model in terms of exterior dimensions. Built on the same platform as the 7 Series, the 8 Series is also rumored to receive a turbo V-12 powerplant for motivation.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Audi A8

It was just a month ago that Audi confirmed that a new Audi A8 would grace showrooms for the 2018 model year. Now, the brand with four rings has been caught testing that next-gen A8 at the Nürburgring, and it looks like there is going to be at least one dramatic change. The car itself looks to retain the same size and overall shape of the current model, but the new model will have an emphasis on its look of overall width – especially with the evolution of Audi’s “Singleframe” grille that is now much wider and stretched out compared to anything we’ve seen in Audi’s current lineup. At first, it seems kind of goofy, but after taking a closer look, a wider, more pronounced grille is actually beneficial to the A8.

The new A8 is still sports some pretty heavy camo, so there is only so much we can make out of these spy shots. We do know that the new A8 will ride on the new MLB Evo platform that also underpins the Audi Q7, so there should be a significant drop in weight to go with the potential for alternative powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid model. With that said, I still think Audi has some suspension tuning to do, as the A8 in these pictures seems to be experiencing excessive body roll on the corners as it maneuvers around the Nürburgring.

Now that we’ve talked a little about it, let’s grab the wheel and take a closer look at what the next A8 might bring to the table when it makes its debut later this year.

Updated 04/11/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi A8 out for a new testing session and wearing less camouflage than previous times. The new A8 will be making its official debut in July.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Audi A8.


PostHeaderIcon The 2017 Kia Cadenza is Impressively Swanky

Kia isn’t known for its luxury sedans, but that might be changing soon. The automaker’s new-for-2017, second-generation Cadenza moves the bar well beyond anything previously found in its lineup. Even the range-topping K900 lacks some of the niceties found inside this BMW 5 Series competitor. Just look at that quilted leather!

I’ve been driving the 2017 Cadenza for the last week. The car has not only impressed my cynical, jaded journalist self, but also everyone who’s sat inside. Aside from the quilted bolsters, the leather seats are butter soft, not to mention heated and cooled up front. Rear passengers enjoy tons of legroom, while a padded center armrest makes elbows happy. A suede headliner frames the massive panoramic moonroof. Even the detailing around the switches and trim work is outstandingly posh. Sure, its no S-Class Maybach, but you’d be forgiven to mistake its fit and finish for a standard E-Class.

Real metal accents are placed where it counts – at high-touch areas like the gearshifter and steering wheel controls. These contrast well with the leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, too. Oh, and that steering wheel is heated as well.

Now the Cadenza isn’t perfect. The piano black plastic along the center console shows the smallest specks of dust and even signs of scratches, despite the car’s young odometer reading. This might be the telltale wear point for pre-owned Cadenza shoppers. Nevertheless, the interior – as a whole – is genuinely striking. Even more so considering the price. Kia charges right at $45,000 for the range-topping Limited trim, like my tester. You’d pay $6,000 more just to have a base-trimmed 5 Series. A highly equipped Lexus ES costs nearly $49,000. So needless to say, the Kia represents value.

Of course, what the Cadenza provides in luxury, the Kia name still represents bargain vehicles. That will continue to change, just as it has over the last 15 years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kia finally shake its econobox stigma by the decade’s end.


PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet Traverse Redline Edition

Unveiled for the 2018 model year, the second-generation Chevrolet Traverse is as fresh as it gets in 2017. Built around the new C1XX platform, which is shared with the Cadillac XT5 and replaces the old GM Lambda underpinnings, the redesigned Traverse is actually a tad shorter than its predecessor but, at the same time, it’s slightly wider and has a longer wheelbase. The new, fresh design is backed by a roomier interior with state-of-the-art technology, while the 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes the entry-level version an attractive proposition to those concerned about fuel economy. At the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, the Traverse gained its first-ever special edition, called the Redline Edition.

Part of a bigger effort that includes Redline Edition versions of the Cruze, Malibu, Camaro, Trax, Equinox, Colorado, and Silverado, the limited-edition Traverse stands out by means of blacked-out exterior features. It’s also based on the range-topping Premium model, which means it comes with plenty of standard equipment. On the flipside, it’s also the most expensive model in the lineup.

The Redline Edition is based on a couple of concepts that Chevy unveiled at SEMA Show events in 2015 and 2016 and will go on sale by the end of 2017.

“Redline is another example of Chevrolet bringing SEMA concepts to showrooms,” said Brian Sweeney, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet. “The SEMA show has proven to be a great way to identify customization trends in the industry, and quickly apply those trends to our most popular Chevrolet models. Based on the strong interest Redline attracted at the show, we believe they will be very popular with customers looking for standout cars, trucks, and crossovers.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Traverse Redline Edition.


PostHeaderIcon Infiniti QX80 Signature Edition

The second-generation QX80 came to be in 2010, when it still had its original name, the QX56. The company’s largest crossover yet was renamed in 2013, when it also gained a significant facelift. Seven years old as of 2017, the QX80 is living its final years on the market, but Infiniti is putting a great deal of effort into keeping it relevant against the competition. At the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, the luxury brand launched a new special-edition model, called the Signature Edition.

Essentially a reheated soup – a Signature Edition version was also offered in 2016 – the limited-edition model aims to offer a blend of “popular equipment and unique design features.” While there aren’t many unique design features to talk about, the Signature Edition is indeed equipped with many tech features that are optional on most QX80 trims. The reasons why Infiniti brought it back are very simple. Not only the Signature Edition was a big success in 2016, it also helped the QX80 set an all-time U.S. sales record of more than 16,700 units last year.

“Infiniti’s Signature Editions signify something special for our customers and deliver on our promise to provide an unparalleled level of sophistication with exclusive new content,” said Randy Parker, vice president of Infiniti Americas. “This year, these unique models feature the most sought-after selections to enhance the driver’s experience for our ever-popular Q50 sport sedan and QX80 full-size luxury SUV.

Milking it for all it’s worth is the way to go in today’s industry and I can’t really blame Infiniti for doing this. Let’s see what this “new” Signature Edition is all about.

Continue reading to learn more about the Infiniti QX80 Signature Edition.


PostHeaderIcon Volvo S90 Inscription – Driven

Volvo has been around for 90 years and made some pretty impressive vehicles. I’d dare to say the S90 Inscription has eclipsed them all. Let me back up. Volvo’s new quest for dominance in the luxury segment has yielded two very impressive results – the second-generation XC90 SUV that debuted for the 2015 model year and the new-for-2017 S90 sedan. They both share a number on components, from the T5 and T6 four-cylinder engines to the chassis architecture. Best of all, they both share a similar design style that exudes a sense of reserved affluence.

I recently spent a week with the 2017 Volvo S90 fitted with the range-topping Inscription package and several high-end options. Though the S90 carries a base price in the mid $40,000 range, my tester felt like it cost double that, though somehow it didn’t. A rich interior is key in this positive deception, with padded leather, open pour wood accents, and aluminum trim pieces covering every inch of touchable space inside the cabin. What little plastic remains is high-quality and coated in a piano black finish.

Technology also abounds in this machine. An impressive infotainment system and digital gauge cluster further perpetuate the feeling of luxury and its merger with technology. The T6 powertrain is a marvel of modern internal-combustion engine design. And of course, a slew of active and passive safety systems continue proving Volvo remains a leader in vehicle safety.

So what’s it like to live with the S90? Keep reading for the full details.

Continue reading for the full driven review.


PostHeaderIcon The Impeccable Interior of the 2017 Volvo S90

It might not come as a surprise, but Volvo has been producing some of the finest automotive interiors in the last couple of years. Both the new XC90 SUV and S90 sedan have astoundingly beautiful cabins with the impressive levels of craftsmanship and quality. Well, this week I’ve gotten to experience the S90 Inscription’s interior first hand.

My tester comes decked out with hoards of features and passenger comforts thanks to the optional Inscription package. The Blonde Perforated Nappa Leather seating with charcoal accents throughout the cabin, along with the Linear Walnut wood trim give the Volvo a highbrow, yet not ostentatious feel that’s not often replicated in the industry. What’s more, the impressive fit and finish of the cabin is impeccable. The detailing and tight panel gaps greatly further the feeling of futuristic artisanry. The metallic trim work covering the Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system’s speakers and following the curvature of the Walnut is purely tasteful. It perfectly fits within the dash and door panels as if the entire assembly was machined from a single piece. In reality, the metal piece that spans from the steering wheel to the passenger’s door is a single piece, bent to curve under the infotainment system.

Everything is covered in soft-touch leather, and what isn’t is Walnut or metal. Barely any plastics make it to the driver’s fingertips. The leather along the armrests is padded for extra comfort. And speaking of padding, the front seats are incredibly well designed with adjustable side bolsters, lumbar, and front leg support. Of course, the standard fore and aft, height, and backrest are power-adjustable, as well. All the leather bits are stitched together with the contrasting thread for a savory appearance.

Adding to the air of luxury and refinement are the in-dash electronics. The driver’s gauge cluster is fully digital and allows for personalization of visible information. It also features an analog and digital style speedometer. The head-up display also gives a speed reading. Then there is the center infotainment system. It appears that Volvo simply installed an Apple iPad into the dash. That’s not a bad thing, of course, as the screen boasts a high resolution and responds to all the usual fingertip commands – and with a familiar light touch of an iPad or iPhone. Normally I don’t like HVAC controls included within the infotainment system, but Volvo’s dedicated placement of the dual-zone climate controls across the bottom of the screen makes for a good user experience.

The rear seats aren’t quite Mercedes-Maybach in comfort, but they are close. More than ample legroom lets even NBA-sized folks get comfy. A center armrest provides a padded platform on par with those up front. Manual window shades help keep the sun and paparazzi away from those riding in back.

All told, the 2017 Volvo S90 is incredibly comfortable and outstandingly well put together. This new chapter in Volvo’s illustrious history is sure to be fondly remembered.

Stick around for more on the 2017 Volvo S90 in the days to come.


PostHeaderIcon TopSpeed's Top 5 Premium Wagons – 2017 Edition

At this point, it should be more than obvious that if you want a car with utility and space for at least five people, but don’t wanna join the crowd of crossovers you see crammed onto the roads, your best option is to get your hands on a wagon. Once a steadfast bastion of the practical, wagons have seen a sharp decline in popularity over the last few decades, the result of an all-out assault from the tall-bodied insanity of the current SUV craze. But fear not – the wagon hasn’t gone gently into that good night, at least not yet, and we’ve assembled five top-shelf options right here for your perusal and approval.

Rather than limiting ourselves to what’s currently available, we decided to look ahead in anticipation of what’ll be in dealers in the next year or so, including both existing offerings and those that have yet to be released. As it turns out, there are a few very strong entries barreling down the pipeline right now, which means buyers will have a nice selection of premium wagons when shopping in 2017.

So what’s topping the menu? Read on to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s Top 5 Premium Wagons for 2017.


PostHeaderIcon Ford Cortina "Green Goddess"

Originally revealed in October of 1962, just a couple weeks away from the London Motor Show, Ford brought the Cortina to the masses as an affordable, cheap-to-produce, and cheap-to-run compact. Ford produced the Cortina for two decades, between 1962 and 1982, putting out five generations in that timespan. Thanks to its easily accessible pricing and promotion in films like Carry on Cabby, the Cortina was immensely popular, becoming England’s best-selling car in the ‘70s. The first generation alone sold over a million units, and the Cortina still enjoys a widespread enthusiast movement in the U.K. Now, there’s an outrageously well-maintained first-gen Cortina going up for auction, and it’s got less than 20,000 miles on the odometer, original everything, and looks like it just rolled out from the factory this morning.

This green old-school four-door comes in the top-spec 1500 GT trim from the 1963 model year, and it’s going under the hammer at the Historics at Brooklands classic car auction, near Weybridge, England, later next month. On average, the “Green Goddess” has traveled just a mile a day in the 53 years it’s been on the road, and should tempt any collector looking to get his hands on a British Ford classic.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Cortina “Green Goddess.”


PostHeaderIcon Audi A8

It was just a month ago that Audi confirmed that a new Audi A8 would grace showrooms for the 2017 model year. Now, the brand with four rings has been caught testing that next-gen A8 at the Nürburgring, and it looks like there is going to be at least one dramatic change. The car itself looks to retain the same size and overall shape of the current model, but the new model will have an emphasis on its look of overall width – especially with the evolution of Audi’s “Singleframe” grille that is now much wider and stretched out compared to anything we’ve seen in Audi’s current lineup. At first, it seems kind of goofy, but after taking a closer look, a wider, more pronounced grille is actually beneficial to the A8.

The new A8 is still sports some pretty heavy camo, so there is only so much we can make out of these spy shots. We do know that the new A8 will ride on the new MLB Evo platform that also underpins the Audi Q7, so there should be a significant drop in weight to go with the potential for alternative powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid model. With that said, I still think Audi has some suspension tuning to do, as the A8 in these pictures seems to be experiencing excessive body roll on the corners as it maneuvers around the Nürburgring.

Now that we’ve talked a little about it, let’s grab the wheel and take a closer look at what the next A8 might bring to the table when it makes its debut later this year.

Updated 06/14/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi A8 out for a new testing session around Nurburgring.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Audi A8.


PostHeaderIcon Audi A8

It was just a month ago that Audi confirmed that a new Audi A8 would grace showrooms for the 2017 model year. Now, the brand with four rings has been caught testing that next-gen A8 at the Nürburgring, and it looks like there is going to be at least one dramatic change. The car itself looks to retain the same size and overall shape of the current model, but the new model will have an emphasis on its look of overall width – especially with the evolution of Audi’s “Singleframe” grille that is now much wider and stretched out compared to anything we’ve seen in Audi’s current lineup. At first, it seems kind of goofy, but after taking a closer look, a wider, more pronounced grille is actually beneficial to the A8.

The new A8 is still sports some pretty heavy camo, so there is only so much we can make out of these spy shots. We do know that the new A8 will ride on the new MLB Evo platform that also underpins the Audi Q7, so there should be a significant drop in weight to go with the potential for alternative powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid model. With that said, I still think Audi has some suspension tuning to do, as the A8 in these pictures seems to be experiencing excessive body roll on the corners as it maneuvers around the Nürburgring.

Now that we’ve talked a little about it, let’s grab the wheel and take a closer look at what the next A8 might bring to the table when it makes its debut later this year.

Update 7-25-2016: We’ve composed a rendering of what the 2017 Audi A8 might look like based on the most recent spy shots. Check out the Rendering section below to read all about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Audi A8.


PostHeaderIcon Nissan Maxima

The eighth-generation Nissan Maxima comes 40 years after the name was launched as a trim level for the 1976 Bluebird. It was first unveiled to the public during a surprise impression during Nissan’s 2015 Super Bowl ad, which was then followed by a couple of pictures to hold us off until it officially debuted at the New York Auto Show. In short, it was a revolutionary design that brought more sports DNA to the car than was had in all the previous generations combined. Outside, the car a very sculpted body profile, a longer and wider footprint, and a very bold front end. The inside, just like the outside, was heavily inspired by Nissan’s Sport Sedan Concept. The center console is crowded but functional, and the two-tone coloration of the interior is more than inviting. The large infotainment screen in the center stack is angled toward the driver, and the overall feel is comparable to that of more expensive full-size sedans on the market.

After a total of 24 years and six redesigns, the Maxima is finally the car it was always meant to be. It’s got the room for hauling the family around and the looks to make just about any man who is stuck driving a sedan happy. On top of the new looks, that revised 3.5-liter V-6 under the hood packs a decent 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque, which isn’t bad for a car that starts out below $32,500. Of course, it does have some strong competition from models like the Chevy Impala and the Toyota Avalon, so it should come as no surprise that Nissan went the extra mile to bring us something truly magnificent.

The funny thing is, over all the generations, the Maxima has progressively gotten better. If you position a picture of each generation in order from oldest to newest, it shows an evolution similar to that shown in evolutionary charts derived from Darwin’s theory of evolution. It’s a good thing, so check out our full review on the all-new Maxima before it evolves into something else.

Updated 6/10/2016: Nissan has announced pricing and a couple of new personalization packages for 2017. Check out the Exterior, Interior, and Pricing sections below for all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Nissan Maxima.


PostHeaderIcon SsangYong Tivoli XLV

Launched in 2015, the SsangYong Tivoli is a mini SUV built to compete with the likes of the Nissan Juke and Kia Soul. Based on the popular Korando as far as design is concerned, the Tivoli is SsangYong’s first new model under Mahindra & Mahindra ownership and it is named after the Italian town of Tivoli, which can be read as “I love it” in reverse. Under development for three years, the crossover was introduced in South Korea in early 2015 with a choice of small-displacement, gasoline and diesel engines. Built in its home country, the Tivoli is exported in several markets in Asia and Europe.

In 2016, SsangYong has expanded the Tivoli family by offering a longer version of the mini SUV. Called the Tivoli XLV, it features a longer body, a roomier interior, and the enhanced practicality that enables it to compete against larger crossovers. Previewed by the XLV Air concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, the production model is set to go on sale in Europe and the United Kingdom this summer. SsangYong hopes to sell more than 100,000 Tivoli crossovers by the end of 2016.

“Tivoli has been praised universally for meeting a number of customer requirements, not least its ability to carry five adults in comfort and with one of the largest boot capacities, while many other cars in the sector are regarded as being a ‘down-size’ too far,” said Paul Williams, CEO of SsangYong Motor U.K. “Now SsangYong has gone a step further by launching an extended car to provide even more carrying capacity and practicality. This was shown as the XLV Air concept at the IAA motor show in Frankfurt last year, and from the extremely favorable feedback received, took the decision to put the car into production.”

Continue reading to learn more about the SsangYong Tivoli XLV.


PostHeaderIcon Toyota Sienna – Driven

The minivan segment might not be the most glamorous vehicle category, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more functional, practical, and economical ride when it comes to transporting seven of your closest friends and family. Yep, the minivan can haul people and their stuff in glorious comfort while making most SUV crossovers look cramped and poorly designed. Sadly, the minivan gets a bad rap. It’s pigeon holed as the mommy-mobile on it way between soccer and ballet, filled with Cheerio crumbs and at least one soured formula bottle lost in one of the dozens of cup holders.

Looking past that stereotype reveals a rather competitive segment, with hot players from Honda, Kia, Nissan, and of course Toyota. While each of these automakers have respectable offerings, it’s the all-new Chrysler Pacifica that has the minivan segment on fire in 2016. In light of this, we wanted a closer look at Toyota’s offering.

The Sienna has been around since 1998, undergoing three generational changes since then, with its most recent change being a mid-cycle refresh in 2014. Not much has changed since then, but the Sienna still provides a great place for seven or eight passengers (depending on seating configuration), decent fuel economy, and most of the modern tech folks expect these days.

Let’s dive in and see what the 2016 Toyota Sienna has to offer.

Continue reading for the full review


PostHeaderIcon Nissan Maxima – Driven

The Maxima has been around since 1981, but never has it been so focused on performance and driver engagement. All new for 2016, the eighth generation Maxima pushes the limits of what Nissan has ever done with its family sedan, making it far more appealing to those who refuse to sacrifice driving pleasure with the addition of kids. It might not be a four-door GT-R, but the Maxima has its sights squarely on the being BMW 5 Series for the everyman.

Much of that spunk comes from the 3.5-liter V-6. Naturally aspirated, the all-aluminum engine kicks out 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque. Ironically, a CVT sends power to the front wheels, though Nissan says it tirelessly worked to make the CVT behave less like a rubber band gun. The attention pays off, though nobody will mistake the gearbox for a traditional automatic.

Of course, power and performance are only half the story. The overall design screams to be looked at – the long nose, aggressive grille, sweeping beltline, and coupe-like rear roof make the Maxima one of the best-looking sedans on the market. Or at least one of the most stylized. The story continues inside. Out Platinum tester packed quilted leather atop Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats, contrast stitching along the center console and dash, and modern in-dash technology.

So how does all this translate into the real world? We spent a week with the Maxima to find out. Keep reading for the full run-down.

Continue reading for the full driven review


PostHeaderIcon FCA Boss Hints At Front-Wheel-Drive System For The Next-Gen Chrysler 300

Intentional or not, FCA chief executive Sergio Marchionne has hinted on a significant change for the next-generation Chrysler 300, one that involves a shift to front-wheel drive for the traditionally rear-wheel drive full-sized luxury sedan. Marchionne made the comments during the Chrysler Pacifica’s launch in Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario production facility.

The FCA boss stopped short of confirming his comments when asked to clarify on them. He likely realized that his words could be taken out of context so instead, he clarified that the Windsor facility is “capable” of making a production run since it’s possible to use the underpinnings of the Pacifica for the next-generation 300. The facility in Ontario will be the production base of the new minivan and while it would be interesting to see a front-wheel drive 300, Chrysler signing off on such a proposal could entail moving the production of the 300 from its current facility in Brampton, Ontario. The proximity between the two facilities – around 217 miles – could make for an easy transition and would see the 300 leave behind the Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger in the Brampton facility.

That said, Marchionne’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt considering that he set the record straight, saying his comments shouldn’t be treated as a commitment to a dramatic shift in production strategy. But it does open the possibility of seeing the next-generation 300 come with a front-wheel-drive configuration. Having that should equate to a more refined driving experience, improved fuel economy, and a bigger and more efficient use of interior space, three characteristics that are likely to be high on the checklist of prospective customers for the next-generation 300.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Texas Auto Writers Association Names the 2016 Car of Texas & Family Car of Texas

Every spring, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the U.S. gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Car of Texas” competition. The hard-fought award comes from the Texas Auto Writers Association as a result from its Springtime Auto Roundup, signifying the winner’s importance to the Texas people. On top of that, several other vehicles walked away with segment awards, including TAWA’s “Family Car of Texas” award.

As a member of TAWA, I traveled to Fort Worth, home of the Texas Motor Speedway, for some seat time in 51 cars and crossovers before evaluating each one on its performance of intended function and how it stacks up against its competition.

The list of competitors was certainly thick, with each category having multiple entries, some of which are new or heavily revised for the 2016 or 2017 model years. The compact car category had the largest number of contenders, with eight entries, followed by both the performance sedan and activity vehicle segments, each having six entries. There was one loner, the 2016 Dodge Viper GTC, holding down the supercar category.

Beyond the categories, there were also competitions for the best new feature and best new interior. Presiding above them all were the top honors – the Car of Texas and the Family Car of Texas. What vehicles were crowned? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the results break-down


PostHeaderIcon Dodge Charger

The Dodge Charger got its start in 1966 and was a two-door, fastback coupe that offered room for four. Generations came and went quickly in those days, and for 1968, the second generation Charger debuted. The third generation came along in 1971 and lasted till the 1974 model year. Sadly for 1975, the Charger morphed from an American muscle car to your granddad’s “personal luxury car.” The fourth generation Charger lasted through 1978 and was eventually discontinued.

The Charger name was resurrected again for the 1981 model year, as a Fox-body Ford Mustang look-alike. However, this subcompact hatchback coupe hardly measured up to the Ford. Its FWD configuration and mostly forgettable powertrains didn’t resonate with buyers. There was a turbocharged, 2.2-liter four-cylinder available in a Shelby Edition, which many would argue isn’t worthy of Carroll’s last name. Chrysler killed the car after the 1987 model year.

Fast-forward two decades, and Chrysler’s partnership with Daimler has brought forth a four-door sedan with a longitudinal powertrain configuration and room enough for a V-8. The sixth-generation Charger debuted for the 2006 model year and broke the two-door coupe mold set forth by previous Chargers. Nevertheless, the sixth generation is by far the most successful in terms of sales and longevity.

Chrysler’s partnership with Daimler afforded the automaker access to parts and engineering from Mercedes, and after raiding the parts bens, the Charger sprang forth. The front control arms were borrowed from the W220 S-Class sedan while the five-link rear suspension, firewall, and floor plan came from the W211 E-Class. Chrysler called it the LX platform.

Of course, Chrysler, the parent company of Dodge, badge-engineered itself the Chrysler 300 sedan, which shared nearly every part with the Charger, along with the LX underpinnings. Nevertheless, we’re here about the Charger, so let’s dive into the details.

Continue reading for the full review


PostHeaderIcon Dodge Charger Pursuit

When Ford decided to finally lay to rest the 2007 Ford Crown Victoria, a huge void was left in the lucrative police vehicle market. In the resulting scramble to provide cruisers to fill that void, Dodge ended up with a much bigger share of this market than it had had in some time, with the 2014 Dodge Charger Pursuit. Dodge knows that it will have to keep updating the car if it wants to keep its contracts. The 2016 Dodge Charger Pursuit is better than ever.

Keen students of the automotive industry will notice that there isn’t a new generation of the Charger for 2016, so the car isn’t entirely new for the model year. Indeed, the updates for 2016 primarily focus on the redesigned Uconnect system. This is really a big thing, but we’ll get into that in a bit. It is worth a look at the car in general though, even the parts that aren’t new, if for no other reason than to see just how different and utilitarian the police version of the car is. The differences between it and the civilian model are striking.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Dodge Charger Pursuit.


PostHeaderIcon Lexus LS460 F Sport – Driven

Being Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus is tasked with making high-end vehicles that compete with Germany’s best and Cadillac’s finest. Sitting atop the Lexus lineup is this, the LS sedan. It’s longer, wider, and more luxurious (obviously) than any other Lexus, giving it the role as the flagship sedan. Though its main rivals, the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class, have been around much longer and have larger customer bases, the underdog Lexus comes out swinging.

The LS sedan comes in a variety of flavors, including the “base” LS460, the extended LS460 L, the LS460 F Sport, and the hybrid LS600h L. Most models come standard with RWD but offer AWD as an option. The hybrid is the exception, having AWD only. Power ratings range from 386 horsepower in the LS460 up to 438 horsepower in the LS600h L. That might not compete with AMG, but the 4.6-liter V-8 holds its own.

To put the LS sedan to the test, Lexus sent me a well-equipped LS460 dressed in the F Sport package. The car came decked out with the Comfort Package and Mark Levinson audio system, which added heated and vented front seats, a power-operated rear sunshade, power-operated trunk, and 19 speakers.

Initial impressions reminded me of the 2014 Lexus GS 450h, a sedan I tested previously, though with the hybrid powertrain. While there are huge differences between the two sedans, their unassuming characters of luxury and serenity are similar. Still, the LS460 rises above in terms of comfort, features, and of course, cost.

Continue reading for the full driven review


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