2015 Chevrolet Trax LT

November 13th, 2015 No comments

Chevy’s Tiny Crossover Aims for Average

The Bow-Tie marketers would have you believe the Trax is a custom-built small SUV they’ve gifted to modern urbanites to conquer the rigors of big living in tight spaces. We’re here to tell you it’s actually just a high(er) roof Chevy Sonic that will appeal to average car buyers both young and old that have proven again and again that when given the choice they’d rather sit higher in their vehicle. There’s nothing wrong with that and indeed a whole new class of tiny crossovers are entering the fight for buyers’ attention. We spent a week living with a mid-range Trax LT to see if it could earn our recommendation. Read more…

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Video Review: 2015 Audi A3

August 12th, 2015 No comments

Because the A4 has Grown Up

Automakers, especially the luxury marques, are downsizing in a big way. Their once compact “entry”-level sedans have all grown up. And now they are introducing a new breed of “compacts” to fill the voids. As we’ve discussed before, this sort of activity can sometimes dilute a brand’s pedigree. Nevertheless, these compacts have proven themselves to be lucrative assets time and again. Enter the A3, Audi’s response to the A4 ballooning in all directions. This latest generation loses the hatchback (unless you wait for the plug-in hybrid variant of course) body in favor of America’s more traditional preference: the sedan. Compare the A3 to the A4 of ten years ago and you’ll find a car that fills the vacancy within a mere 100 lbs and with similar size and equipment. Even the engines are familiar; the base engine being a 1.8T and the upgraded 2.0T standing in for the old A4′s V6 with matching horsepower and more torque. Watch and tell us if you agree. Read more…

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2015 GMC Canyon 4WD SLT Crew Cab Short Box

August 11th, 2015 No comments

“All New!  Sensibly Sized!” 

It happens to nearly every automaker. It begins by offering a successful car in a relatively standard package. When it comes time to replace that model in the automaker’s lineup the call goes out to make the next model have more interior space, more cargo room and more power. That newer model becomes more successful than the first. Subsequent generations continue the pursuit of ‘more is better’. Then, gradually and almost without notice, buyers start to wonder “what if there were a vehicle just a bit smaller, more nimble, more compact, and more efficient than this?” The automaker responds with an “All New!  Sensibly Sized!” new model that slots in where the original model was once targeted. This is the story of the 2015 GMC Canyon and its near twin, the Chevrolet Colorado.  Read more…

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Video Review: 2015 Audi S5

June 5th, 2015 No comments

The Audi S5 has been a success since debuting way back in 2007, and Audi has done nothing but polish the edges each year since, so it’s no surprise that any contender in the large Sports Coupe segment will have to dethrone the S5 first. Considering the design is holding up so well even eight years on, we’re not sure anybody can beat the slinky two-door on looks. Read more…

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Video Review: 2015 Kia Sedona SX Limited

May 16th, 2015 No comments

Minivans do not garner much favor around the Automotive Trends garage. We will agree that they serve a very practical purpose shuttling around that which is most important to us: our families. But the fact of the matter is the minivan was the first vehicle to supplant and displace our dearly beloved station wagons. And that is a sin to which there is just no atonement for. Read more…

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Video Review: 2015 Volkswagen GTI S Performance Pack

April 12th, 2015 No comments

The GTI has been rewarding drivers with a hard-to-beat combination of performance and practicality since day one and we are thrilled to report that the new seventh-generation polishes the package to near perfection. The turbo four now makes 258 lb-ft of torque starting at just 1,500 rpm so the car provides a smooth and refined punch away from every stop. Add in the Performance Pack hardware like a trick electronically controlled differential and larger brakes and the GTI is a very willing dance partner when the back road traffic disappears. The interior has been bumped up a level to shame anything else in the sub-$30k class and you can still order your hot hatch with a true clutch pedal six-speed manual. Volkswagen truly has the GTI formula figured out. We’re hoping they never change it.

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Just Talking About Cars 0001: Jeremy Clarkson, Ford Focus RS, VW Beetle, Mazda3, Chevrolet Malibu

March 29th, 2015 No comments

Three blokes just talking about cars. And tonight we talk about one other bloke in particular…Jeremy Clarkson. Jeremy, YOU BIG OAF!! We are saddened for all that took place and saddened that it appears to be the end of an era with regards to the great British motoring show: Top Gear. But the show must go on. Read more…

2015 NAIAS: 2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats

February 8th, 2015 No comments

 The big news for the Challenger is the 2015 SRT Hellcat. The supercharged Hemi that lurks beneath the Hellcat’s hood is every bit as mind blowing as one would expect, producing 707 hp. Certainly Dodge has decided its too-big-to-be-a-ponycar needed to take the brute force approach since its size distances it from being the relatively agile cars that the Mustang and Camaro are. Fortunately for Challenger fans the dated interior has been ditched in favor of a newly sculpted dash and various color combinations that make the Challenger less of dreary chamber. Sadly, the pistol grip shifter has been returned to the parts bin. Other available engines include the 3.6L Pentastar V6 (finally coupled to an 8-speed automatic), 5.7L Hemi V8, and 6.2L Hemi V8. Unlike the Chevy and Ford, a manual transmission is offered only with the V8′s. And, setting itself apart from stalemate Charger Hellcat, the Challenger actually lets you shift through the gears with a manual transmission as you attempt to make use of those 707 supercharged horses.

2015 NAIAS: 2015 Jeep Renegade

February 8th, 2015 No comments

Renegade. The name may come from Jeep’s past, but it just as well could describe the nature of the brand’s newest and smallest offering.  The first Jeep to be imported to the United States, rather than built here, the Renegade dares to take the brand into new places. The Renegade’s base engine is a turbocharged 1.4L 4-cylinder coupled to a manual transmission. A larger 2.4L and a 9-speed automatic are also available. Hard core Jeep fans may scoff at the origins and FIAT-based architecture, but others may find the Trailhawk version appealing for its off road capability with a 4WD low setting as well as snow, sand, mud, and rock selectable terrain settings. Experience open air freedom with the Renegades two-piece removable ‘My Sky’ roof panels.

2015 NAIAS: 2016 FIAT 500X

February 8th, 2015 No comments

We know and love the FIAT 500 minicab in most of its iterations whether it be in frugal Pop trim or hot hatch Abarth guise. Problem is the brand’s dealerships have, up until now, had to make do with that lovable car and the awkward and clumsy 500L. In an effort to remedy this issue FIAT is bringing us the 500X. Marketed at as crossover (really, does simply offering AWD and hatch qualify this to fit that category?) this 4 door hatch is much prettier than the 500L and truer to the original 500′s character. The 500X offers a 1.4L turbo as standard and, unlike other crossovers like the Chevy Traxx and the Mazda CX-3, allows the buyer to opt to shift their own gears and push a clutch pedal. We suspect most customers will choose the 2.4L Tigershark mated with a 9-speed automatic. It should be interesting if this bigger spin on the 500X will increase traffic at FIAT ‘studios’.

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