Posts Tagged ‘2011’

2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT

August 4th, 2011 No comments

A Rally Car for the Family Man.

      For a couple of decades now, journalists have attempted to claim that each new Subaru is the car that will make Subaru mainstream. The 2011 Legacy is no different, as Subaru’s flagship sedan continues to grow in size and stature. But have no fear Subie loyalists! The flat four-cylinder engine remains, as does the availability of a manual transmission.  Read more…

2011 Kia Optima

July 28th, 2011 No comments

2011 Kia Optima

Like the Sonata. Only Better.

     If you’ve been on the hunt for a new midsize family sedan you’ve probably already read our Hyundai Sonata review, but if you haven’t, allow us to sum up our thoughts on the Korean new kid. We loved everything but the artificial steering and messy handling, especially the unbeatable value and stellar fuel economy. So we had high hopes when the Sonata’s kissing cousin from Kia appeared on our schedule recently. The Optima shares almost everything mechanically with the well-received Sonata but wraps it all in completely distinct sheetmetal and tunes everything to suit Kia’s corporate Mazda-wannabe driving philosophy. We’re going to tip our hand a bit and tell you upfront that Kia has built a better Sonata and the competition has one more midsize contender to worry about. Read more…

Video Review: 2011 Chevrolet Volt

July 24th, 2011 No comments

      Executive Editor Brandon Dye takes the 2011 Chevrolet Volt out for a spin. He also gives a little tutorial on how to charge up your range-extended electric vehicle. Read more…

2011 Land Rover LR4

July 21st, 2011 No comments

The Gadgetmobile of SUVs

     Muddy is an appropriate word to describe Land Rover’s LR4. Just as the British brand’s name invokes images of 4×4 vehicles traversing damp and muddy English terrain, it also recalls a muddy history of vehicular nomenclature. The LR-what? For those who care to keep track the LR4 is the replacement for the LR3 which was the replacement for the Discovery. We greatly miss the Discovery name mainly because we can no longer make Land Rover marketers cringe whenever we affectionately call it the “Disco.” However, we weren’t missing the Discovery’s tired old bones after spending a week in the high-tech leather-lined confines of the best value Land Rover in today’s showrooms. Read more…

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2011 Toyota Prius

July 7th, 2011 No comments

A Means of Transportation

     When the first generation Prius came along I kind of wrinkled my nose at it and said, well, that is all well and good, a clever science experiment, but it will never take on. Then the second generation Prius came along and my sentiments really hadn’t changed all that much, that’s all well and good, impressive science experiment, but it will never take on. But I ended up eating my words on that one. Toyota has sold over 2 million of the smug little things worldwide and is on to a third generation Prius, the one we are driving today. And I still don’t get it. Read more…

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Video Review: 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT

June 21st, 2011 No comments

      Watch as Gernand takes a rally car out on the track for a couple of hot laps. Well, sort of. When we say “hot” we mean the mercury in the thermometer was pegged, and when we say “rally”, well, he drove a Subaru Legacy 2.5GT. So really, he took a family sedan out for a rather sedate spin. We’re blaming the boost gauge for our delusions of rally grandeur! Read more…

2011 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC

June 16th, 2011 No comments

Room and Range

     If your personal version of suburban bliss includes substantially more than the American average of 1.8 children then the 5-passenger Mercedes ML just isn’t going to cut it. You’ll need the 7-passenger capability of that German Suburban known as the GL. And if every fuel stop along the family vacation route turns into a 45-minute chicken nugget munching, souvenir buying, potty break free-for-all then Mercedes’ latest diesel engine and its 550-mile range is the choice most likely to maintain your sanity. Luckily, there is just such a combination, and the Mercedes GL350 BlueTEC offers the room and range needed to be the perfect family hauler. Read more…

2011 Faith Missionary Church Car Show

June 5th, 2011 No comments


      We couldn’t have asked for a better day. The sun was shining, the air was warm and the cars were streaming in! Thank you to all who participated in this year’s June car show at Faith Missionary Church in Flushing, Michigan. Hope to see you again in September! Click through for our extensive gallery. Read more…

2011 Nissan Murano SL AWD

May 27th, 2011 No comments

Nissan Manages to Offer up an Unconventionally Styled Conventional Crossover

      A few years back I found myself earning a living after answering a job posting at a local car rental agency with the unglamorous description of ‘Lot Attendant’.  As the lowly lot attendant I found myself vacuuming and washing battered and abused rental cars, completing vehicle inspections of those poor cars, towing them to and from remote locations using a tired F-150 of indeterminate vintage with an auto dolly and shuttling customers to and from dealerships while their cars were in service. It was the dealership customers that seemed to be the most interesting, as they often shared a story of their once-loved purchase. The most amazing stories reliably came from our Nissan Murano customers. It seemed that this early entry in the crossover craze was also one of the first larger vehicles to offer a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in the US. So problematic was the transmission that one customer posted a “for sale” sign of his Murano in our office hoping to offload the vehicle onto one of our customers dulled by a sense of mediocrity after turning in their rental Chevy Classic. On more than one occasion I witnessed a problematic Murano in the service department with entire engine and transmission removed as the mechanics searched for a solution. It should come as no surprise, then, that I wasn’t expecting much when an all-wheel-drive 2011 Murano SL showed up in the Automotive Trends garage. Would this vehicle’s unloved CVT and bizarre styling draw further criticism, or, like the Mazda CX-7 we drove last year, surprise by exceeding expectations? Read more…

Video Review: 2011 Kia Optima EX

May 27th, 2011 No comments

      We have a 2011 Kia Optima in the fleet this week. We also managed a day’s reprieve from the rain. So with plenty of battery power in the camera Executive Editor Dye set out for the track to have a go in the Optima and bring you the details on why you shouldn’t be overlooking the sporty family sedan from South Korea. Read more…

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