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Autoblog New Car Reviews
Autoblog New Car Reviews
Updated: 1 day 9 min ago
For one reason or another, this is a car people stare at. They might be drawn to its curvaceous shape riding on immense wheels. They could be intrigued by its gaping, blacked-out grille which houses an equally outsized trident logo, or doing quick calculations about the last time they saw a car wearing the name Maserati. It may be its sports-car-like proportions mixed with achingly long, four-door bodywork that draws their eye.
Or, and I urge you to consider this theory carefully, the people taking notice of this Maserati Ghibli S Q4 might simply be newly alert after hearing the sound of its exhaust ricocheting off any solid thing nearby as I drive past grinning like a certified asshat. Did you hear an Italianate engine song careening through your Ann Arbor, MI neighborhood, in the black of the early morning, just a few weeks previous? Sorry, guy, that was probably me.
I spent a week hammering this all-wheel-drive Ghibli as hard as I dared in the last truly miserable stretch of the God Awful Winter of 2014. I can honestly say that I enjoyed myself, shocked at both the frank way this new challenger luxury car went down the road as well as the attention it garnered in the process.
Since the Ghibli left my charge, I've also spent a lot of time thinking about how significantly flawed the newest Maserati is, just how I'd explain that to all of you, and how I almost love it despite its failings. A story of desire and conflict - how Italian.Permalink | Email this | Comments
America's midsize sedan segment is one of the most crowded and fiercely competitive in the business. The Toyota Camry has long been our nation's best seller, while the Honda Accord has dutifully come in second place, like some sort of codependent Cal Naughton Jr. riding Ricky Bobby's back bumper.
There was that one year, 2001, when the Accord briefly broke the Camry's streak, marring what would today have been a 17-year-long run of best-selling car titles. The Accord pulled the opposite move in 2011, letting sales slip far enough to let not only the Toyota by, but the Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion, as well. Aside from those anomalies, the Camry and Accord have been first and second in this segment since before many of you readers could even drive.
It's 2014, and these frenemies have never before faced a threat to their world order as strong as today's class of family sedans. The aforementioned Altima and Fusion are perhaps the most capable challengers, but the Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Volkswagen Passat and Mazda6 are all capable of convincing new buyers to walk their way.Permalink | Email this | Comments
"This is just silly," I said as I laughed my way sideways around the icy track at Circuit ICAR, a racecourse, drag strip and kart track at the Montreal-Mirabel International Airport in Quebec. It wasn't the activity that had me cracking up, though. After all, winter driving experiences aren't uncommon in this business.
No, in this particular case, it was the car that had me chuckling. I wasn't in a mad hot hatch or a rally-derived rocket - I was in a Buick. The 2014 Regal GS, to be more precise. Somehow, despite its recent product renaissance (not to mention its distant - yet storied - history of performance models), I was having a hard time believing that this attractive, turbocharged, all-wheel-drive sedan sliding around the Great White North could possibly be wearing a Tri-Shield badge on its nose.
But it was, and slide about it did. While having access to a vehicle in this setting is fairly rare, what's rarer is the fact that I've had so much exposure to it. In Mr. Ewing's recent Volkswagen Golf R drive story, for instance, his ice capades were his first experience with the new model. In my case, though, I was lucky enough to first test the refreshed Regal GS for a week back in December before flying to Quebec to drive it on the snowy, icy, winding roads of Canada's most fiercely independent province and on the track at Mirabel.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Toyota Tundra is the automotive version of off-brand Cheerios: it doesn't dominate the market, and it's not the first model people think of when they hear the term "pickup truck."
Ford, General Motors and Ram dominate the segment with vehicles that offer ridiculous levels of towing and payload capacities and models loaded with luxury items and primed with tech-rich engines. The off-brands, meanwhile, are led by the Tundra, which while still accounting for six-figure sales (112,732 units in 2013, up from 101,621 in 2012), sits well behind the F-150s and Silverados of the world. After our first drive of the revamped 2014 Tundra, we came away thinking this truck is a total underachiever, aimed at placating Toyota loyalists and doing little to win over new customers.
But everybody deserves a second chance, and we thought a week's drive in a different environment might lead to a different - or at least a more fully realized - opinion. While the Tundra might not be an industry leader, it still makes it on many truck buyers' shopping lists. So, should you consider this off-brand pickup truck? To find out, we borrowed a top-of-the-line Tundra Platinum for a week. Read on to see what we found.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Most cardiologists and physiologists maintain that a human's maximum heart rate is calculated with a mathematical formula: subtract a person's age from 220. But some leading doctors are now questioning the established academics, which trace their origins back to 1970, claiming that a simple formula isn't accurate for people of all ages, in particular those who are older. Rather than endorse the time accepted calculation, this progressive group argues that maximum heart rate equals 208 minus 0.7 times age.
While medical science continues its debate, I recently discovered a more elementary approach that disregards age and physical condition, and it requires no math.
To reveal a human's true maximum heart rate, I propose strapping test subjects into the driver's seat of a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and then firing up its ferocious V12.Permalink | Email this | Comments
For most new car shoppers, three-row crossovers are little more than a way for the family-minded to avoid succumbing to the minivan stigma. Admit it - the only things that differentiate most larger CUVs from minivans are their lack of sliding side doors and - on most of them - the option of all-wheel drive. Having blossomed into a popular segment with thicker profit margins, though, automakers have plenty of incentive to keep their offerings fresh, and that's exactly why Kia is presenting its 2014 Sorento so soon.
At first glance, the crisply styled utility vehicle seen here appears to be nothing more than a mid-cycle refresh - and not a particularly extensive one, at that. But that's not the case at all. Despite looking very similar to the second-generation vehicle that came on the scene for the 2010 model year, this is an all-new Sorento. Or, more precisely, it's about 80-percent new. Kia says less than 20 percent of the parts have been carried over from the 2013 Sorento, and that's a pretty typical amount for an 'all-new' vehicle generation.
Since we've yet to spend quality time with the "Made in the USA" Sorento for more than a short First Drive in Arizona last February, we snagged the keys to a 2014 model in the all-new SX Limited trim level for a lengthy backroad meander from Florida to South Carolina.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Long regarded as one of the best driver's cars of all time, the BMW 3 Series has always been targeted by luxury automakers trying to create their own exciting, bang-for-the-buck sport sedan. For years, BMW has managed to ward off would-be rivals to its iconic 3 Series, but the combination of a softened F30 and solid, hard-hitting competitors could soon relieve the car of its crown. While the all-new Cadillac ATS has received the most publicity in this segment since its introduction, the 2014 Lexus IS has come on strong in its third generation to put plenty of heat on the 3 Series as the current-best luxury sport sedan.
The IS might be Lexus' most important launch in some time, as a new, strong attempt to draw younger buyers into showrooms. Rather than taking the same conservative path as the preceding IS, Lexus attacked the new car's design with enthusiasm. Exaggerated exterior styling, while certainly polarizing, definitely gets this car noticed.
We've certainly noticed the 2014 IS, with a couple of first drives (for the IS 250 prototype and the IS 350 F Sport) and a Quick Spin so far. This time around we had a chance to get a little more intimate with a staple of the new IS lineup: the non-F Sport, rear-wheel-drive IS 350.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ten years ago, nearly to the day, I took delivery of a brand-new 2004 Infiniti G35 6MT. The sporty rear-wheel drive sedan, equipped with its throaty 260-horsepower V6, slick manual gearbox and limited-slip differential replaced my 2001 BMW 330i because the Japanese competitor touted a product that was roomier, better equipped, quicker and lower priced. The G35 trumped the German in nearly every measurable category - at least on paper.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 is the direct descendant, albeit two generations later, of the car I owned a decade ago. It is dimensionally about the same size, but it has gained more than 300 pounds of mass thanks to numerous safety upgrades and technical innovations. The additional weight is largely dismissed by a larger and more efficient powerplant that delivers an additional 68 horsepower, a welcome arrival, but the manual gearbox that charmed enthusiasts has been pushed out of the picture by a mandatory seven-speed automatic transmission.
As it has in the past, Infiniti touts its all-new Q50 as a luxury sport sedan worthy of the title. Decades ago, impressive performance statistics may have sealed the deal. Yet there is much more to the assignment today, as the model must offer premium appointments, sophistication and engaging driving dynamics if it's going to entice and capture the next-generation of young, premium buyers - much like the G35 did for me ten years ago.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Almost by definition, affordable compact cars aren't supposed to be fun. Sure, hot hatches get our blood pumping, but not long ago, the terms "compact car" and "economy car" could safely be used interchangeably. A key exception for the last decade has been the Mazda3, a car that has consistently delivered more dynamic thrills and tactile feedback than its contemporaries. Competitors have picked up their game significantly in recent years, however, leaving the Mazda3 wanting in several areas, including overall refinement, in-car technology and cabin appointments, so Mazda went back to the drawing board to create this all-new third-gen model for 2014.
Including this redesigned 2014 model, Mazda's recent crop of new products have targeted North America's hottest non-truck segments - compact car, midsize sedan and compact crossover/SUV. Yet it might be fair to call this launch the most important of them all, as the 3 remains the Japanese marque's best-selling vehicle. While America's pool of compact hatchbacks isn't exactly deep, the 2014 Mazda3 still has a challenging road ahead of it competing against two-box compacts that include the popular Ford Focus and recent additions like the all-new Kia Forte and the still-new Hyundai Elantra GT.Permalink | Email this | Comments
If working from home these past few years has taught me anything, it's that I genuinely miss commuting. Yeah, you heard me. Maybe it's because, historically, my commutes have always been pretty enjoyable - not like the opening scene from Office Space, one of those stop-and-go-until-the-end-of-time grinds. When I had to drive to an office every day, I always managed to find routes that didn't involve the highway, or at the very least, they incorporated a fun on-ramp or two. In my more recent, working-from-home years, I've made a point of spending my lunch hour on the road. Not only does doing so allow me to put miles on test cars, it's a nice break from the nine-to-five - especially when there's a particularly interesting car in my care.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG arrived late on a Tuesday morning, just before I would normally sign off and take lunch. The CLA has always intrigued me, and to say I've been particularly hot on the 45 AMG would be a gross understatement. So it was with enthusiasm that day that I shut my laptop just as the clock struck noon. There was a CLA45 sitting outside, the keys were in my pocket and I had some time to kill.
Following my quick lunchtime spin, I spent the rest of the afternoon gazing fondly at the CLA sitting outside, its menacing face trying to coerce me to fake some sort of illness ("no, really, I'm soooo sick") and spend the rest of the day flogging it out on the road. The CLA45 is one heck of tempting siren.Permalink | Email this | Comments