Comparisons auto news

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Comparo: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo vs. 2013 Acura ILX 2.4

03/12/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Acura, Buick, Luxury, Comparisons

Answering The $30,000 Entry-Level Luxury Question

2013 Buick Verano Turbo vs. 2013 Acura ILX

Twenty years ago, a comparison between an entry-level Buick and Acura would have matched a Skylark against an Integra.

Twenty years ago, a comparison between an entry-level Buick and its Acura equivalent would have matched a Skylark against an Integra. The unfair battle would have resulted in the compact American's defeat in nearly every measurable category, as the Japanese competitor was arguably at the height of its powers.

Yet the automotive industry has flipped, twisted and merged itself through more than just a recession over the past two decades - it's morphed into a whole different ballgame. Pitting a Buick against an Acura makes perfect sense today, as both automakers are peddling new entry-level models designed to scoop up buyers seeking premium features, luxury appointments and fuel efficiency in a reasonably priced compact sedan package.

Today's battle is between the Verano and the ILX. Instead of wringing out the base models and setting ourselves up for a day-long yawnfest, we chose the most powerful and dynamic variants of each, configuring them with six-speed manual transmissions to liven the pace. This unquestionably made our behind-the-wheel excursion more interesting, but we soon realized that our enthusiast-oriented decision would introduce a whole new set of headaches.

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Video: Motor Trend goes head-to-head-to-head in Cadillac ATS 3.6, BMW 335i and Mercedes C350 Sport

11/25/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Videos, BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes Benz, Luxury, Comparisons

Jonny Lieberman with the Cadillac ATS, BMW 335i, and Mercedes-Benz C350

Motor Trend's latest episode of "Head 2 Head" is a battle of the little luxury sixes, looking to see which of these $50,000 sport sedans, all equipped with automatic transmissions, can lay the largest claim to your money: the 321-horsepower, six-speed Cadillac ATS 3.6, the 302-horsepower, seven-speed Mercedes-Benz C350 Sport or the 300-horsepower, eight-speed BMW 335i.

Host Jonny Lieberman doesn't just look at dynamics. He starts off with an assessment of each car's interior and its infotainment interface: CUE on the Cadillac, COMAND on the Mercedes and iDrive on the BMW. A bit of a spoiler, CUE doesn't fare any better here than it did with Consumer Reports, for essentially the same reasons. Thankfully, the ATS has tricks beyond its touchscreen.

The victor and the overall ranking might surprise you. One of the contestants "goes around corners better than it goes in a straight line," one of them would have won the comparo if it were held a year ago, and one earns more mention of the word "rubbery" than you'll hear outside of a Kumho factory. Enjoy the episode in the video below.

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Comparo: 2013 Ford Focus ST vs. 2012 Volkswagen GTI

11/20/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Hatchbacks, Ford, Volkswagen, Comparisons

Can The Blue Oval Bad Boy Dethrone The Hot Hatch King?

2013 Ford Focus ST vs 2012 Volkswagen GTI

About three years ago to the day, fellow Senior Editor Seyth Miersma and I - during our respective tenures as editors at Winding Road - met on a cold, wet autumn morning to put the then-new sixth-generation Volkswagen GTI up against a slew of hot hatches for a comparison test cover story. Miersma and I share a love for this type of car, simply because they're affordable little runabouts that don't skimp on functionality while being hysterically fun to toss about. Actually, you'd be hard pressed to find a single member of the automotive media that doesn't hold at least one of these little rascals close to their heart.

If you want to dethrone the king, you have to beat the GTI at the very game it created.

The hot hatch hierarchy has long been capped with the GTI as king, and for good reason. Of all the vehicles offered in the segment, it has perhaps the best blend of the many facets we love about these cars, and it's the one that we'd absolutely open our wallets for year after year, generation after generation. So when a new kid comes to town, it doesn't completely matter how it stacks up against other competitors in the segment - if you want to dethrone the king, you have to beat the GTI at the very game it created.

Enter the 2013 Ford Focus ST, a car that Ford says will run circles around every other hot hatch available in the United States. The Blue Oval is out for blood with this one, and for good reason. After our first experience with the car overseas, we must admit, it's damn good.

So on yet another cold autumn morning, I found myself sitting behind the wheel of the brand-new Focus ST, following Miersma in the GTI out to the same roads we've flogged hot hatches down in the past. History indeed has a way of repeating itself, but with the potent little Ford now in its class, does the GTI still hold onto its crown?

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Comparo: 2013 Ford Escape vs. 2013 Mazda CX-5

10/24/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Crossovers/CUVs, Ford, Mazda, Comparisons

Brothers From Another Mother Face Off

2013 Ford Escape vs 2013 Mazda CX-5

We couldn't do this comparison test a year ago.

We couldn't do this comparison test a year ago. No, not because the CX-5 is a new nameplate and all-new vehicle for the Mazda brand (okay, that's technically a valid reason), but because until now, Mazda's only small crossover offering was the Tribute - a rebadged version of the trusty last-gen Ford Escape. In fact, it's always been sort of tricky to put Ford and Mazda vehicles in the same comparison test, only because nearly every product in Mazda's stable could be traced back to some sort of Ford platform.

But with the two automakers having officially parted ways, Mazda was forced to create an all-new platform for a small crossover that would play in the same segment as the Escape. And under the lights of the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show last November, both the 2013 CX-5 and 2013 Escape debuted, with representatives from Ford and Mazda alike reassuring us that not a single part is shared between the two crossovers, noting that the two companies were in no way involved in the development of each other's vehicle.

That in mind, we thought it best to pit the Escape and CX-5 against one another to see how the family lines have matured after the divorce.

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Official: Ford claims victory in latest round of Michigan State Police testing

09/26/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Ford, Police/Emergency, Comparisons

The Ford Crown Victoria relinquished its crown as the top police car when it went out of production last year, but Ford is claiming it still produces the dominant police vehicles on the market. This, following the most recent cop car comparison test held by the Michigan State Police.

While we're still waiting to see the official results for the 2013 model year vehicle evaluations, Ford is saying its new Taurus-based Police Interceptor Sedan and Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility outperformed other cars intended for rigorous police duty.

For the Police Interceptor Sedan, departments that opt for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 will be rewarded with the best 0-60 mile per hour, 0-80 mph and 0-100 mph times of all police cars, including V8-powered models like the Dodge Charger Pursuit and Chevrolet Caprice PPV. New for 2013, the sedan will offer a 3.7-liter V6, and Ford claims this model will have the best braking distance of the bunch. Even the Police Interceptor Utility with all-wheel drive had top acceleration to 60 mph and 80 mph compared to the Chevy Tahoe. Both the Sedan and Utility held the fastest average lap times around Grattan Raceway, the track where some of the testing was performed.

Until the official results come out, we can't fully call this a win for Ford just yet, but it sure does make a good case for the next generation of Ford police cars.

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Video: Motor Trend addresses reader feedback from Best Driver's Car roundup

09/12/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Videos, Comparisons

We've already watched Motor Trend's 2012 Best Driver's Car competition numerous times, and like us, apparently many M/T viewers had questions about the week-long, nine-car comparison. Not wanting to disappoint its audience, the crew got together to enjoy a few pints while reflecting on the experience and respond to viewer questions during an episode of The Downshift.

It sounds like one of the most frequent questions asked was why some cars made the list and others were left out in the cold. First and foremost, the editors wanted to assemble a group of the newest (or significantly updated) most fun-to-drive cars available, but had to do so within the constraints of the automakers' vehicle fleets. This explains why, for instance, the Subaru BRZ made it in to the final group of nine, while no Ferrari did.

M/T also addressed the age-old question of how and why a non-manual transmission car could be considered a top driver's car. Editors were quick to point out that, with the great automated manual gearboxes used on the Porsche 911, Nissan GT-R and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series Coupe, all that the cars were really missing was a clutch pedal.

Some of the more interesting bits of the conversation included a breakdown of tire and brake replacements required during this massive comparison. We were amazed to find out that only four sets of tires were shredded, but the "surprising amount of brakes" that required replacement definitely made sense for a competition like this at a track like Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Another thing that caught our attention was the amount of negative feedback in regards to the Lamborghini Aventador (which finished dead last) - from the failed brakes to Autoblog-alumnus Jonny Lieberman stating that "it had no business on a racetrack."

From Jonny's praise of the PDK transmission to Angus Mackenzie's vibrant description of the 911's handling, it's easy to see why the Porsche was named M/T's Best Driver's Car for 2012.

As for the list of cars being considered for the 2013 Best Driver's Car, check out the 13-minute video below to see some of the predictions for next year's lineup.

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Video: Motor Trend returns with The World's Greatest Drag Race

08/24/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Videos, Chevrolet, Lamborghini, Nissan, Comparisons

Our old pal Jonny Lieberman gets to have all the fun. The former Autoblog editor now gets to play with multiple supercars at a time for his post at Motor Trend. As part of MT's Best Driver's Car award process, Lieberman and the rest of the magazine's team quarter-mile all of the year's contenders in what they call "The World's Greatest Drag Race." Based on the contenders, we're inclined to agree with their bluster.

While last year's race saw the Nissan GT-R edge out the Ferrari 458 Italia, this year features a few new contenders, including the Lamborghini Aventador and McLaren MP4-12C. Other contestants include the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series, Chevy Camaro ZL1, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Subaru BRZ, Jaguar XKR-S and Porsche 911 Carrera S, which - spoiler alert - actually won the Best Driver's Car award this year. Oh, and the updated version of Nissan's GT-R makes a repeat appearance, but no Ferraris are in the field this year.

A special thanks should go out to the Subaru BRZ. It was so far behind the competition that it provided many of the wide-angle shots that captured the whole rest of the field. The straight line is not the forte of a 200-horsepower drift-o-matic, but a fourth place finish in this year's Best Driver's Car competition is a mighty feat for this seemingly outmatched sports car.

The biggest competition in this drag race will be from the new Aventador and the MP4-12C. Do they have enough to take on a new Godzilla? You're just going to have to scroll down to find out. And make sure to stick around for the closing credits to hear each one of these contenders rev their engine in a sweet mechanical symphony.

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Video: GT-R-powered Nissan Juke-R lines up against Porsche 911 GT2 RS

08/23/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Crossovers/CUVs, Nissan, Porsche, UK, Special/Limited Editions, Comparisons

The insane automotive concoction that is the Juke R has been doing its thing, beating the doors off supercars, or at the very least giving them a run for their collective money.

If you recall, this Nissan creation may have the body of a nimble runabout crossover, but it rides on a hacked-up GT-R chassis. With its fire-breathing 485-horsepower twin-turbo V6 and stupendously advanced all-wheel-drive system, the Juke R is Godzilla in black sheep's clothing.

To see where this high-powered grocery-getter really stacks up in the supercar world, Car and Driver matched the Juke-R head-to-head with one of the best in the game; the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. Car and Driver European correspondent Jethro Bovingdon hopped behind the wheel of the mad crossover first. In Bovingdon's words "everywhere you look, and everything you touch is GT-R, but you are in a Juke and about two feet higher." He is delightfully pleased with the ride, and says its even more aggressive than the Juke-R, due to the short wheelbase.

Bovingdon point to the extra weight as a potential issue in high-speed runs, but concedes that the Juke-R is "a massive amount of fun."

By comparison, the 911 GT2 RS is a stripped-down, rear-wheel-drive, 611-horsepower monster, operated via a traditional six-speed manual. Its a purist's car, stacked up against a high-tech, all-wheel-drive Frankenstein.

The GT2 RS, in comparison to the Juke R, can be unruly in wet conditions. With traction control off, effort was made to warm up the tires. Did it pay off? You're just going to have to watch the video below to find out which car is faster in the C/D test.

Continue reading GT-R-powered Nissan Juke-R lines up against Porsche 911 GT2 RS

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Comparo: 2012 Mini Cooper S Roadster vs. 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Special Edition

08/22/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Mazda, MINI, Comparisons

Veteran And Rookie Roadsters Face Off In Droptop Doubleheader

Like an aging ballplayer, the Mazda is starting to look a little gray around the temples - a bit vulnerable.

We've been eying this fight for a long time. Since the reborn Mini first burst on the scene in 2002, really. Oh, the Mini Cooper Convertible has been around since 2005, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to compare them. What with all that physical and visual weight from the Mini's nearly useless rear seats, it just didn't seem like a fair fight. The classically proportioned rear-drive Mazda MX-5 Miata against a front-drive droptop with a pair of roll hoops awkwardly stationed behind the second row of seats, Tour de France-sized blind spots and a windshield header so far away from the driver as to be oddly distant - not to mention streetlight blocking? No, the Mini Convertible wasn't the answer we were looking for.

And neither, as it turns out, have been all the other suitors the industry has concocted over the Miata's considerable lifespan. Everything from General Motors' Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky twins to the Aussie-built Mercury Capri, Toyota MR2 Spyder and Honda Del Sol has tried to crack Miata's iron grip on the affordable and fun basic roadster crown, and all have collapsed rather miserably. The Miata has been around for nearly a quarter century, and it's cornered the affordable convertible market for both new enthusiasts and golden oldies looking for a British sports car that doesn't leak and bears no trace of Lucas electrics. To borrow shamelessly from Terence Mann of Field Of Dreams (say it in your best James Earl Jones bellow):

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been the Miata. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. The sports car market has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But the Miata has marked the time."

But now, like an aging ballplayer, the Mazda is starting to look a little gray around the temples - a bit vulnerable. Despite a steady stream of small tweaks and tugs and a parade of special editions, this third generation NC Miata has been on the market since 2005. Since that time, Mini has effectively released its second generation of ragtop Coopers with this new-for-2012 Mini Roadster, and it poses a more serious threat to the Miata than even we realized.

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Video: Chris Harris pits C63 AMG Black Series against 911 GT3 RS 4.0 and M3 GTS

05/04/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Euro, Videos, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, UK, Celebrities, Luxury, Comparisons

C63 vs. 911 GT3 vs. M3 video

We are currently barreling toward the end of the week, which means there's a good chance you're looking for ways to chip away at the time card. Allow us to lend you a hand. Chris Harris recently took it up on himself to line up a three very expensive, very powerful German track-bred machines for a little showdown. With names like the Porsche GT3 RS 4.0, BMW M3 GTS and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series, the half-hour clip all but guarantees some giggles. Since these are all coupes that are supposed to be able to pull double duty on the street and on track, Harris puts one and all through a two-day drive.

Day One features plenty of time on the street, where things like how quickly the dual-clutch transmission in the M3 GTS don't matter nearly as much as a functional Bluetooth phone pairing system. Of course, Day Two is the fun stuff. That's when all three sports cars are pressed around a track to see which can return the best lap time. How does it turn out? We won't spoil it for you. You've got time to waste. Scroll down to check out the clip for yourself.

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