Archive

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Build Your Own: 2016 Chevrolet Suburban

March 11th, 2016 No comments

If you want to see Design Editor Gernand vigorously shake his hands in fits of rage tell him you went to a dealer and just “picked up something off the lot.” No thought. No planning. No care as to what you drove away in. It has wheels and tires and gets you from A to B. UGH!!!! I’m starting to tap out these words on the keyboard in aggravated fervor just thinking about it! This is NOT how the Automotive Trends editorial staff purchases cars. No, we exercise much care in the selection of our options when buying new and even more discrimination goes into our used car purchases. We are among the ever dwindling subset of the population that would prefer to order and wait 6 months for a car to make sure we got EXACTLY what we wanted. And seeing as how we are frequent users of the automakers’ Build Your Own button on their homepages we figured we would have a little fun and bring you our varied views on what each of us find necessity in a vehicle. For our first foray, Gernand decided we would pretend buy Suburbans. Read more…

2016 NAIAS: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

January 11th, 2016 No comments

 

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a sight to behold. In full Quadrifoglio hot-rod trim it is pent up anger from every direction as if it’s been impatiently scolded to sit still when all it wants to do is go outside and bounce off the walls, or track curbing in this case. The sedan is a tight package with tidy overhangs and sexy wheels hiding massive carbon ceramic brakes. The hood hides a highly tuned 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 spitting out 505 hp and a plateau of 443 lb-ft of torque starting at 2,500 rpm. The 6-speed manual–yes, you read that right–is standard equipment and 60 mph is history in 3.8 seconds. This car is serious. So serious that it set the production sedan track record at the Nurburgring with a 7:39. Top speed is 191 mph. Inside a set of serious bucket seats do their best to hold you in place and alcantara trim on the wheel and seats is a nice touch. With a near 50/50 weight balance that Giulia should be a responsive handler. It doesn’t go on sale until later this year but it should prove that after the 8C and 4C sports cars, Alfa remains serious about performance in America.

First Drive: 2015 Lexus NX

September 21st, 2014 No comments

Lexus Builds a 2.0T and Wraps it in a Dynamic Crossover

Small crossovers don’t get a lot of love around the Automotive Trends office. They just don’t get our enthusiast blood boiling. We aren’t fans of the compromises that go hand in hand with blending an otherwise rugged or useful SUV with a sedan (sporty or not). We desire something that is nimble, poised and has room for a few child car seats as needed. A compact / midsized station wagon or hatchback better fits our definition of a “sport utility”. But Lexus presented us with something intriguing in Nashville, Tennessee of all places. Read more…

First Drive: 2015 Lexus RC 350 and RC F

September 12th, 2014 No comments

Lexus Makes a Big Entry into a Small Segment

It’s been a long time since Lexus offered a sport coupe. Too long, we’d say, since we’re not counting the folding hardtop luxury cruiser that the SC became in the 2000’s. Lexus knows that for years it sent prospective buyers seeking a stylish two-door to the likes of Audi and BMW, and it knows their new offering will have to be special to bring them back. The confident tone of the brand’s executives convinced us they’re certain the RC will now have the looks and performance to win new buyers to the brand. Based on our spirited drive through New York’s Hudson Valley and subsequent flogging around Monticello Motor Club’s 3.6-mile road course, the wait has been worth it. Read more…

Categories: Previews, Test Drives Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A History Lesson in Cadillac Coupes

February 17th, 2014 No comments

The unveiling of the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe at the NAIAS is a significant car in more ways than one. First, it is a sign that Cadillac is serious about going head-to-head with the European premium brands by offering multiple body styles off with its lowest cost offering. Second, it shows that Cadillac is committed to the flair that a coupe body style offers to the buyer that is clearly buying more car than needed. For a short while it appeared Cadillac had given up on the coupe bodystyle having offered four coupes in 1992 to only one by 1994 only to surprise the world with its dramatic CTS coupe in 2010. Indeed, if we trace back the heritage bestowed upon the ATS coupe we see that this latest Cadillac has much to live up to.  Read more…

ATS Coupe Design Review

February 17th, 2014 No comments

The Cadillac ATS coupe may not seem like big news in the design world. After all, we have had a full model year to admire the ATS sedan on the roads. After witnessing the dramatic styling of the original CTS coupe with that car’s sedan counterpart, one could be forgiven into thinking that the new ATS coupe is nothing but the ATS sedan with few doors. To draw such a conclusion, however, would be to overlook the incredible attention to detail the Cadillac designers exhibited in creating the latest two-door Cadillac. The end result is a coupe that is readily recognizable as an ATS, and yet is simultaneously more expressive in design and more emotional to view. Certainly this is the type of design that once made coupes unquestionably more desirable than the sedans on which they were based. To help understand just why the ATS coupe is such an attractive design we can compare and contrast with the already handsome ATS sedan. Read more…

Categories: Design Critique Tags: , , ,

Video Review: 2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT

March 16th, 2013 No comments

 

      There should be a plaque on the dash of every Chevy Spark that the driver would have to recite before turning the key. It would be an adaption of Chief Joseph’s great surrender speech and it would read “I will pass no more forever”. This would put the driver in an appropriate state of mind since you are surrendering driving fun every time you set off in a mini car powered by a 1.25-liter I4 that musters 84 hp. We thanked our lucky stars for the standard 5-speed manual since the optional 4-speed automatic must be positively glacial in its acceleration. Of course once we got used to the lack of power the Spark surprised us with what it does offer. Our loaded 2LT trim came with power windows locks and mirrors, 10 airbags, 15” aluminum wheels, OnStar, even heated seats, satellite radio and a 7” touch screen with MyLink smartphone integration for Pandora, navigation and Bluetooth audio! To say we were a bit surprised at what Chevy has included for $15,795 is an understatement. Of course, compared to even the next class up you should be prepared for a noticeable increase in wind, road and engine noise and other refinement issues like small vibrations coming transmitting through the steering wheel. Still, the car offered a fine ride, 38 mpg on the highway and more than enough room up front—although back seat passengers should be small and cargo room with the 2nd row up is very tight. As for style, the Spark should catch the eye of young, first time buyers who care more about features than foot-pounds of torque and as for us, it’s safe to say we were pleasantly surprised with Chevy’s first mini car in the US.

Read more…

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Design Critique

January 14th, 2013 No comments
 
     We’ve never been given the task to design a car, much less one as sacred to the automotive faithful as the long running Chevrolet Corvette. The look of such a car must be a challenge to the designers in order to balance the continuation of the legend while reinventing and innovating to keep the car fresh and competitive. It is much easier for those of us on this side of the drawing board to praise or criticize each generation of Corvette. At the end, however, it is the consumer and enthusiast who decides the success and failure of each successive automotive generation. We’re critics though and we know what we like and we know Corvette history. Unfortunately this new car, which revives the Stingray name, did not immediately take our breath away. Even so we must remember our original thoughts when casting our gaze on the C5 Corvette, which is now considered the car that revolutionized what it meant to bear the beloved name. That car didn’t immediately strike us as beautiful then either. Certainly we can praise the upgraded interior and speculate on what it will feel like to row through seven gears. What we can’t predict is whether the C7 will grow better with age or be remembered as the car that broke the Corvette’s beauty streak.

Coming Soon: NAIAS 2013

January 7th, 2013 No comments

      Automakers are feeling pretty good about 2012 and from what we’ve been able to pry out of them they’re going to be kicking-off 2013 in style by rolling out more than 50 new concept cars and production vehicles at the annual auto show season kickoff we call the North American International Auto Show. That means we’re going to have to take our coverage to the next level so readers far and wide will feel like they’re in the Motor City with us taking notes, snapping pictures and tracking down the best gourmet cappuccino. And we plan to do just that by increasing our video offerings and on-the-spot Twitter reporting. (Follow us @automotvtrnds) Of course we’ll be recapping things each night with all the highlights and stunning photography you crave. Find your way back here Sunday, January 13th as we descend into the madness and get things started with our predictions for North American Car and Truck of the Year.

Categories: Auto Shows, Miscellaneous Tags:

2013 Toyota Avalon Design Critique

November 19th, 2012 No comments

  

      The Toyota Avalon has been with us for much longer than seems possible. When it debuted as a 1995 model, it was credited with being ‘Toyota’s Buick.’ Whether that was intended as an insult or a compliment depends on how you felt about Buicks at the time, but we’ll speculate those making the assessment weren’t referring to the LT1 V8-powered Roadmaster, but rather the somewhat smaller LeSabre or even the 13-year old Century. In any case, the Avalon has continued to be a plusher, larger, softer variation of the Camry. Like the Camry, the Avalon has remained fairly anonymous. Indeed, its styling was likely created with the intent of being used as a template for the ‘anycars’ used in various automotive supply advertisements.  Read more…

Categories: Design Critique Tags: , , ,