Category Archives: road test

Polaris Slingshot Celebrates “National Stick Shift Day”

Only 18% of Americans know how to drive a manual trans, but Polaris – not without self-interest – wants to replace what it claims is an experience in an old, mundane vehicle with – guess what – a ~$21,000 to +$30,000 Slingshot. Each has a GM Ecotec 2.4L DOHC four-cylinder engine rated at 173 horsepower with a five-speed manual transmission. Continue reading

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Black Magic – Winter Tires Prove All-Seasons Are Anything But

The “snows” allowed faster stopping – consistently with much less slipping sliding. The all seasons were clearly mis-named with no discernible truth in marketing or advertising. Continue reading

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Ford Police Interceptors Quickest in Tests

Sheer speed – of course – is only one factor in vehicle selection, no matter the purchaser. Moreover, high speed police pursuits that sometimes injure or kill innocent parties are controversial, to put it mildly. Continue reading

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Test Drive – 2016 Honda HR-V, a Pint Sized CR-V

The new Honda HR-V is – technically – a subcompact, a notch down in size from the compact-sized CR-V (which Honda sells a bunch of). However, the difference between the two is mostly footprint-wise. The newest littlest Honda crossover is about a foot shorter overall than the CR-V. Inside, though, the subcompact HR-V actually has more backseat legroom than its, err, bigger brother. Almost ide Continue reading

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Driving the New “Cute-Ute” 2013 Buick Encore SUV

It’s hard to think of Buick on the cutting edge of anything, but its new Encore SUV seems poised to catch the wave of the growing cute-ute market in the U.S. Test drives of the mini SUV reveal a decent handling, refined version of GM’s Gamma II platform that is sold elsewhere in the world as Opel Mokka and Chevrolet Trax models. Continue reading

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Driving the 2013 Lexus LS 460, F Sport and 600hL Flagship Sedans

Lexus after decades of understated luxury has turned to relying on a “bold new grilles” and German-like performance models across the lineup to attract younger buyers. The latest example comes from its flagship LS sedan, which once upon a time (1989) catapulted Lexus to luxury car fame by being anti-German with its compliant ride without harshness and nosie, anti-German with a simple interior, anti-German with its limited maintenance requirements, anti-German with its much higher quality and durability, and decidedly anti-German with its much lower – by thousands and thousands of dollars lower – sticker prices. This formula has Lexus on track to sell 250,000 luxury vehicles in the U.S. this year, where it has dominated luxury sales for decades, except for natural disaster induced production losses that curbed sales during 2011. Continue reading

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First Drive: Honda’s 2013 Accord – a Comeback Car?

It looks good. It feels good. It sounds good. A day of test-driving the all-new Honda Accord shows that for the 2013 model year, Toyota Camry will once again face strong competition from one of the best selling family sedans in the U.S. So strong is the Accord brand that the outdated outgoing model is still the second best seller in the family car segment, behind Camry even with Accord’s 5-speed automatic transmission that was badly lagging in the fuel economy rating wars. Continue reading

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Toyota Opens a European Proving Ground in Belgium

The new Zaventem Proving Ground will play an important role for Toyota’s European vehicle development as part of the company’s plan to become Toyota’s global development center for the small and compact vehicle segments, the Japanese company said in a release. It’s hard to believe Toyota will move those jobs out of Japan where generations of Corolla and other small models have been developed. Continue reading

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Driving the 2012 Toyota Prius V – Another Hybrid Benchmark

Toyota has done it again. A day of test driving the newly enlarged Prius V – for versatile – model affirmed the claim that this hybrid station wagon can indeed return the expected EPA ratings of 44 mpg in the city, 40 highway and 42 mpg combined. On the road Prius V is comfortable, reasonably quick, and mostly quiet except for some pleasant hybrid drive whine and the inevitable tire noise on expansion joints and rough pavement that comes from the low rolling resistance rubber. Alas the electric steering is still vague and without usable feedback. Nonetheless Prius V is a delightful family car. Continue reading

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World Car – 2011 Buick Regal

Buick Regal sales since a late summer U.S. introduction – 9,000 to date- and 2,000 sales in November are a start, but honestly more time is needed to see if the sedan is an enduring success at the GM division that U.S. Treasury Department officials wanted to kill during GM’s forced and well earned bankruptcy. Continue reading

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2011 Honda Accord Freshening

The 2011 Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe models have changes that include improved fuel economy, modified exterior and interior styling and the addition of a new leather-Special Edition (SE) trim level at a relatively inexpensive $24,000 price. It’s a mild, … Continue reading

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Driving the Hyundai Sonata

Funny thing about incremental gains in automobiles, they eventually add to something big. Last year was something big for Hyundai Motor America as it picked up more than one percentage point of U.S. market share during the worst business climate … Continue reading

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Driving Impression – Chevrolet Cruze

Chevrolet is finally replacing its aging Cobalt with the Cruze sedan, which is already on sale in more than 60 countries in Asia and Europe since 2009. The new Cruze is a design hybrid since its engineering was done at Opel in Germany and Daewoo in Korea. North American versions went into production at Lordstown, Ohio this summer. Continue reading

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Driving a Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Toyota Camry hybrid is a technological triumph that produces significant increases in fuel economy, particularly during urban and suburban driving that many of us face. However to achieve this Camry hybrid employs a number of sophisticated systems that affect … Continue reading

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Books: Detroit Area Test Tracks

The move from street testing of automobiles to specialized facilities took place in the early decades of the 20th century. Because of what might be the first recall in the industry – copper cooled Chevrolets without radiators in 1923 – … Continue reading

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