Posts Tagged ‘economy’

2011 Chevrolet Cruze ECO

September 26th, 2011 No comments

Low Tech Meets Low Compromise in the Battle for Fuel Efficiency

     It’s not as if Chevrolet has never attempted this before. Take a mainstream small car, make some powertrain tweaks and attempt to turn the vehicle into a hyper-mileage car that passes as conventional transportation. As General Motors’ entry-priced brand, Chevrolet has a long history–not all of it memorable–at marketing highly efficient vehicles. Some notable–scratch that, tragic–examples include the Chevette diesel, the GEO Metro XFi, and the Cobalt XFE. None of these vehicles set the sales charts on fire (a scant 324 diesel Chevettes were sold in 1986), so does Chevrolet’s latest hyper-miler, the Cruze ECO, have any chance at succes? Read more…

2011 Nissan Versa 1.8 SL

December 17th, 2010 1 comment

Best If Used By 2007

      The little Versa washed up on our shores back in 2006 as an ‘07 model looking pretty much like the same car you see here. But dig into history a bit and you will find that the Versa first went on sale in Japan in 2004. The little Nissan has gone by the aliases Tiida, Tiida Latio, Latio, Versa and the Dodge Trazo. It has been sold in Japan, Latin American, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada, a select smattering of European countries, and likely a few more places we just don’t have the space here to list. So to say this car is getting a bit long in the tooth is a bit of an understatement. Nevertheless, when the Versa showed up in the AT Garage we had a road trip assignment ready for it. Read more…

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2010 Hyundai Tucson

November 8th, 2010 3 comments

A Stylish Redesign Still Leaves The Tucson A Bit Short

     Hyundai’s aggressive product investment has rewarded the stalwart automaker with one of the freshest lineups in the business. We’ve already put our stamp of approval on the company’s killer new Sonata sedan, but there is tempting new product on the crossover front too. Last year the vanilla Tucson was the extra-strength sleep aid of the Hyundai lineup thanks to generic headlights, a homely grille and chunky plastic cladding that tried in vain to liven up the derivative profile. But the Tucson enters 2010 with swoopy new bodywork and a stylish interior ready to engage the hotly contested small crossover segment and attract new consumers that simply didn’t consider Hyundai just a few years ago. Read more…

2011 Scion tC

September 28th, 2010 No comments

28 Year Old Males Rejoice! The Cool Scion Just Got Better

     Graphic artists, computer programmers and aspiring music industry professionals turn down your iPods and pay attention. Scion has some big news for you and your spiky haired twenty-something friends. The handsome tC coupe that debuted in 2004 and has since brought Scion more than 40% of its sales is finally getting a well deserved redesign that focuses on improved fuel efficiency, overall refinement and, here’s where we get interested, increased performance. Scion recently invited us to a college campus teeming with its target buyers to get some seat time in the vehicle that officials hope will rejuvenate the brand’s stalled sales and lead the company into a new dimension of success. Read more…

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2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

August 17th, 2010 2 comments

Debunking the Diesel Stereotype

      Diesels have intrigued me from the time I was old enough to make basic automotive observations. Much to my delight, on family road trips my parent’s diesel 1978 Olds Custom Cruiser would fill up alongside the big-rig trucks. This fascination was bolstered by an uncle who owned a yellow diesel Rabbit in the ’80s followed by a diesel Ford Tempo, complete with the secondary battery mounted in the trunk. When it came time to find a light duty long distance tow vehicle I purchased a ’92 Chevrolet C2500 Silverado with a 6.5L turbo diesel. For all of their actual and perceived faults, each of these vehicles were compelling in some significant way. And yet diesels remain merely a niche in America’s automotive market. What is the reason for this? Is this simply due to undeserved stereotypes that won’t die, or a deficiency in the vehicles themselves? Read more…

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2010 Mazda3

March 3rd, 2010 No comments

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder…

      …And this auto scribe thinks someone whacked the 2010 Mazda3 with an ugly stick! But regardless of what I think of the wrapper the real measure is whether or not the 2010 3 follows the formula that Mazda patented with the original. That is to pack this entry-level compact hatch with as much content as they can squeeze between the sheetmetal and offer it at a value you just can’t resist. Read more…

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2007 Suzuki SX4

March 1st, 2010 No comments

An Econobox With Traction!

     Visually the Suzuki SX4 registers exactly nil on the coveted Muxlow fun-o-meter. It looks about as enticing as an emergency escape capsule from a space ship, and I don’t desire to pilot one of those either. But this little orange pumpkin was my charge for the week and I gave it all the tender loving care and affection I show all my cars. Well…sorta. Read more…

2007 Suzuki Forenza

March 1st, 2010 No comments

You Might Just Forget You Drove To Work

     I absolutely love my job. Most days I spend pondering the industry, debating our Executive Editor on all the fine points of the upcoming Camaro and Challenger muscle cars; or laying on my back in the front lawn gazing at the mechanicals tucked between the frame rails of a 1-ton pickup. The point is this: cars fascinate me. All cars, including everything related to and revolving around this industry. But occasionally, a car happens across my path that just does nothing for me. Read more…

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2007 Chevrolet Aveo

February 25th, 2010 No comments

Dirt Cheap Looks Better The Second Time Around

    We last drove an Aveo in 2005 when we called it the rolling definition of dirt cheap. Sure it sounds critical, but after plenty of jabs below the beltline we admitted that for people on the strictest budget the Aveo offered basic transportation with a factory warranty and only asked for $12,690 in return. Read more…

2007 Toyota Yaris

February 24th, 2010 1 comment

     It seems that every time you open a newspaper or turn on TV, you see another story about how we Americans are fat pigs.
     Scientific studies, government reports and publicity-loving doctors like to remind us that we’re beyond simply unhealthy — we’re so fat we’re killing ourselves. Read more…