Garage auto news

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Review: 2009 Nissan Frontier continues to blaze the small truck trail

07/20/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Garage, Trucks/Pickups, Nissan

2009 Nissan Frontier - Click above for high-res image gallery

Small pickups occupy an odd and oft forgotten spot in the over-hyped, Biggie-Sized truck segment, but making a case for their existence remains easy. Not everyone needs a larger vehicle or has the space for a full-size truck, and small pickups offer the utility weekend warriors require without necessitating an organ exchange at the pump. Although not as diminutive as their forebears, today's more compact dimensions are easier to cope with behind the wheel, and in this economy, moving down a rung in the pickup hierarchy is sure to save you a few dollars in monthly payments and insurance premiums. But is it just about a small footprint and an easy to swallow sticker? Or is just best to bite the bullet and option up for what some consider to be a "real" pickup? We test the 2009 Nissan Frontier to see if this squat truck has more than just measurements on its size to woo punch-drunk pickup buyers away from the latest and greatest in the full-size segment.

Gallery: Review: 2009 Nissan Frontier

Photos Copyright (C)2009 Dan Roth / Weblogs, Inc.

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Review: 2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost offers big American luxury with straight line speed

07/17/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Garage, Sedans/Saloons, Ford, Lincoln

2009 Lincoln MKS Ecoboost - Click above for high-res image gallery

For more years than we care to remember, Lincoln has soldiered on without a competitive large car. Ford's luxury marque finally gave its high-end roster some love for the 2009 model year with the large-and-in-charge MKS. At 204 inches long, the MKS is a Reese's Cup shy of a Navigator, and at 4,305 pounds, our all-wheel drive tester is only 166-pounds lighter than the super-sized Ford Flex.

When we tested the MKS last year, the relatively modest 3.7-liter V6 left us eagerly anticipating the long-promised twin-turbo EcoBoost variant. The first press samples of the MKS EcoBoost came in the spring, and our brief time with the 355 horsepower sedan at Milan Raceway gave us a newfound appreciation for the big Lincoln. But only a few hours behind the wheel wasn't nearly enough time to fully take in the EcoBoost experience, so we spent a week with Lincoln's Big Easy to see if 355 force-fed ponies catapults the MKS into the realm of the luxury elite. Hit the jump to find out how this latter-day Hot Rod Lincoln fared.

Gallery: Review: 2009 Lincoln MKS Ecoboost

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Review: 2009 Ford Edge Sport offers big wheels, key improvements

07/09/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Garage, Crossovers/CUVs, Ford

2009 Ford Edge Sport - Click above for high-res image gallery

Twenty-two inch wheels. A chocolate bar shy of two feet, the 2009 Ford Edge Sport has alloys the size of manhole covers. Despite being made of aluminum, these wheels pull the eyes of onlookers magnetically. The big rollers are not everyone's cup of tea, but they're the defining feature of the Edge Sport - even the standard Sport model kicks it with 20s. Ford adds even more visual slickness to the Edge Sport with smoked lenses for the head- and tail-lamps that go along with an uncommonly tasteful bodykit. We spent a week to-ing and fro-ing with an Edge Sport just to see if those rollers crushed our kidneys into renal failure, or if this crossover's aggressive looks are matched to a chassis that you can get along with every day. Click on the jump to find out.

Gallery: Review: 2009 Ford Edge Sport

Photos Copyright (C)2009 John Neff / Weblogs, Inc.

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Review: 2010 Cadillac SRX charts a new course for thick part of the market

07/08/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Garage, Crossovers/CUVs, Cadillac

2010 Cadillac SRX - Click above for high-res image gallery

The first generation Cadillac SRX brought General Motors' premium brand into the crossover segment, providing better fuel economy compared to similarly sized SUVs while also delivering significantly improved driving dynamics. We bought into that first-generation, rear-wheel-drive SRX when we reviewed it way back in 2007, but the luxury car-buying public apparently wasn't all that interested. Sales of the sharp handling SRX never took off, largely keeping Cadillac off of the luxury crossover gravy train long dominated by the Lexus RX 350.

Cadillac hopes to change its crossover fortunes with the introduction of the all-new 2010 SRX. This time out, the SRX is very different from the one it replaces, with a fundamental shift from a rear-wheel drive platform (with available all-wheel drive) to a front-drive setup (also with available AWD). Along with that shift in powered wheels, the 2010 model goes with smaller, more efficient powertrains. Cadillac doesn't try to hide the fact that the new SRX is gunning for the RX, but GM's designers and engineers didn't want to simply copy the strong-selling Lexus. Cadillac wanted its crossover to be more expressive inside and out, with state-of-the-art tech and superior driving dynamics. Does the new SRX have what it takes?

Follow the jump to find out.

Gallery: Review: 2010 Cadillac SRX

Photos Copyright (C)2009 Chris Shunk / Weblogs, Inc.

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Review: 2010 Cadillac SRX charts a new course for the thick part of the market

07/08/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Garage, Crossovers/CUVs, Cadillac

2010 Cadillac SRX - Click above for high-res image gallery

The first generation Cadillac SRX brought General Motors' premium brand into the crossover segment, providing better fuel economy compared to similarly sized SUVs while also delivering significantly improved driving dynamics. We bought into that first-generation, rear-wheel-drive SRX when we reviewed it way back in 2007, but the luxury car-buying public apparently wasn't all that interested. Sales of the sharp handling SRX never took off, largely keeping Cadillac off of the luxury crossover gravy train long dominated by the Lexus RX 350.

Cadillac hopes to change its crossover fortunes with the introduction of the all-new 2010 SRX. This time out, the SRX is very different from the one it replaces, with a fundamental shift from a rear-wheel drive platform (with available all-wheel drive) to a front-drive setup (also with available AWD). Along with that shift in powered wheels, the 2010 model goes with smaller, more efficient powertrains. Cadillac doesn't try to hide the fact that the new SRX is gunning for the RX, but GM's designers and engineers didn't want to simply copy the strong-selling Lexus. Cadillac wanted its crossover to be more expressive inside and out, with state-of-the-art tech and superior driving dynamics. Does the new SRX have what it takes?

Follow the jump to find out.

Gallery: Review: 2010 Cadillac SRX

Photos Copyright (C)2009 Chris Shunk / Weblogs, Inc.

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Review: 2009 Smart ForTwo Cabriolet undone by tricky transmission

07/03/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Garage, Economy, Hatchbacks, SMART

2009 Smart ForTwo Cabriolet - Click above for high-res image gallery

The Smart ForTwo isn't for shy people. Even though Smart USA has sold about 30,000 of these tiny two-seaters in the U.S., the little rollerskate attracts a lot of attention. On the road or in America's parking lots, the ForTwo is a conversation piece, and people don't hesitate to come up and talk to you. Some will tell you about the Smart they saw in Europe. Others will ask if it has the guts to make it onto the highway. Most will assume it gets great gas mileage (it doesn't). But one thing's for certain, during our week with the ForTwo, there was a 100-percent conversation rate wherever we went. Anthropophobes, be warned.

Follow the jump to see what it's like to spend wheel time with a Smart ForTwo Cabriolet.

Gallery: Review: 2009 Smart ForTwo

Photos Copyright (C)2009 Sebastian Blanco / Weblogs, Inc.

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Review: 2010 Honda Insight EX, familiarity breeds discontent

07/02/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Garage, Hybrids/Alternative, Green, Hatchbacks, Honda

2010 Honda Insight EX - Click above for high-res image gallery

First impressions can be problematic, even more so when reviewing a vehicle. When the media gets its first shot at a new offering, the automaker typically invites journalists to a location of its choosing to drive under conditions that show the car in its best light. Such was the case with the 2010 Honda Insight. After our First Drive, we came away with the impression that Honda's hot new hybrid was an engaging alternative to the Toyota Prius, but we quickly came to realize the Insight's limitations and flaws after a week behind the wheel on our home turf.

Get our real-world impressions after the jump.

Gallery: Review: 2010 Honda Insight EX

Photos Copyright (C)2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

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Review: 2009 Audi A6 3.0T suits high-speed cruising to a "T" - or is that an "S"?

07/01/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Garage, Sedans/Saloons, Audi

2009 Audi A6 3.0T - Click above for high-res image gallery

In 1982, Audi introduced its redesigned 5000 to the world and unwittingly influenced the shape of sedans to come. The 5000's smooth flanks, disk wheels and flush-mounted side glass were replicated by a generation of cars over the next two-and-a-half decades, and when its successor debuted in 1994, the A6 grew some curves while retaining Audi's patented blend of staid Germanic modernity.

The 2009 Audi A6 isn't nearly as revolutionary. It sits atop the same C6 platform we've known since 2005, and last year, the automaker gave its upper mid-sizer a mild makeover consisting of new front and rear fascias, light clusters and a few interior tweaks. Maybe that's why Audi thought it need to commission actor Jason Statham to star in a multi-million dollar Super Bowl advert to boost the A6's image. Well, that and to highlight the automaker's all-new supercharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6 - the same engine due to be fitted to several new Audis, including the 2010 Audi S4. How does the restyled A6 fair during a week of testing? And more importantly, is this new blown V6 a suitable replacement for Audi's 4.2-liter V8? Find out after the jump.

Gallery: Review: 2009 Audi A6 3.0T

Photos Copyright (C)2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

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Autoblog Comparo: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon vs. Hummer H3T

06/30/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Garage, SUVs, Trucks/Pickups, HUMMER, Jeep

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited vs. Hummer H3T - Click above for high-res image gallery

Last year, we compared the dirtside manners of the Hummer H2 and Toyota Land Cruiser. Both trucks did everything we asked of them, but at the end of the excursion we were left with another question begging to be answered: could the Hummer H3T stand up to the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon? These cruiserweights live on a fatter part of the buying curve, and any time a Jeep is summoned to the ring, the other vehicle is inevitably the challenger. Even though the H3T is still relatively new to the world, it came time to find out if it was ready to stand up and fight for its place. Follow the jump to see how it held up.

Gallery: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon vs. Hummer H3T

Photos Copyright (C)2009 Jonathon Ramsey / Weblogs, Inc.

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Review: 2010 Ford Fiesta Euro-Spec almost ready for U.S. arrival

06/26/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Garage, Economy, Euro, Hatchbacks, Ford

2010 Ford Fiesta (Euro-Spec) - Click above for high-res gallery

For longer than we can remember, words like 'cheap', 'unattractive' and 'lousy' were used to describe America's domestic offerings in the compact car segment. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have never figured out how to make money with small cars, so the domestic trio seeming has rarely put forth the effort to create competitive compact products. And although FoMoCo had a solid player in 2000 with the introduction of the Focus, when Ford of Europe received the thoroughly revised model in 2005, customers in the States got the short end of the stick. Until now.

While the 2011 Ford Fiesta isn't the Euro-Spec Focus that we've long-admired from abroad, this compact five-door offers a compelling list of kit in a tidy package. Ford is billing it as a great looking, high-quality vehicle that just happens to inhabit a small footprint. So the Blue Oval has imbued the Fiesta with the same technology and amenities found in other larger, more expensive offerings and added a healthy dose of nippy handling and top-notch fuel economy to boot. But those attributes come at a cost that - historically - Americans haven't been willing to pay for. So is the Fiesta worth your time and hard-earned coin? It's time to find out.

Gallery: Review: 2010 Ford Fiesta (Euro-Spec)

Photos Copyright (C)2009 Chris Shunk / Weblogs, Inc.

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