After our reviews of previous model year Civic Sis, we're always happy to get another one in the garage. The 2009 model turned out to be as fun as we expected, with precise shifting and handling that kept us in the driver's seat for long stretches as searched out mountain roads. The car's navigation system makes exploring easy--any time we saw a particularly crooked road on the map, we would head that way--and it's also useful for spotting sharp turns on unfamiliar roads before you get to them. Even better with this generation of Civic Si, … Read more
With a navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic--and even weather forecasts and graphic weather displays, plus a calendar, calculator, and database of scenic attractions, as well as cell phone integration, the newest Acura TL outfitted with the company's technology package could be thought of more as a PDA on wheels than a serious car. Oops, I forgot the XM satellite radio and the hard-disk drive for both software and music, plus minijack and USB interfaces for external players. Move over, Apple, RIM, and Palm, here comes Acura...
Fortunately, from the car enthusiast (as opposed to gadget enthusiast) … Read more
There's a brand that is raising the price of its newest redesigned vehicle by nearly 10 percent, adding dealerships and boosting unit sales by more than 30 percent year-to-date.
No, it's not fiction or the daydreams of a stress-crazed car executive. Mini--the brand BMW AG management almost didn't bring to the United States--is defying the economic turmoil and the odds.
Mini USA sales topped 50,000 in November, giving the small sporty car brand a year-to-date increase of 31.3 percent.
What's driving sales? Gasoline prices and an expanded range with the Clubman, a true four-seat … Read more
It's time to say goodbye to the Prius, at least this generation of it. The car is due for a serious update, which we will see at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, but the current generation, launched in 2004, served to popularize hybrids. We take a last look at this hybrid in our review of the 2008 Toyota Prius. What we find is a car that has few competitors in regards to fuel economy; we got a 45 mpg highway rating and we didn't take any pains to drive economically. But with this current generation, it's the … Read more
BMW has released details and photos of its upcoming refresh of the Z4 Roadster, which is scheduled to bow at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.
The latest victim of BMW's awkward naming scheme, the Z4 sDrive30i features the same 3.0-liter, inline-six engine as the current model, outputting the same 255 horsepower. The more powerful Z4 sDrive35i uses twin turbochargers and direct injection to breathe 45 more ponies into the same 3.0-liter block for a total of 300 horsepower. Connecting the engine to the wheels is a six-speed manual transmission or, in the case of the Z4 sDrive35i, … Read more
Besides the handling, we found little impressive about the Impreza GT. And a look at Subaru's Impreza models made us wonder what the company was thinking. Here's a car that's supposed to sit between the base Impreza and the sportier WRX, offering more horsepower than the low-end models. But cabin tech is almost entirely unavailable in the Impreza GT and you get stuck with an automatic transmission. After going through the electronics and running the car around twisty mountain roads, we would rather have the comparably priced WRX.
Just in time for no one to afford it, Audi has revealed photos and details of an $188,267, ten-cylinder version of its R8 supercar. More formally known as the Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro, this up-rated R8 features more upgrades than just an extra pair of cylinders.
Starting with the titular 5.2-liter V-10 FSI engine, this version of the R8 makes more power than the now entry-level V-8 version, building power to 390 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 RPM before going on to create a maximum 525 horsepower at 8,000 RPM, just over the 100 … Read more
Toyota invited us out to preview its new for 2009 Venza. Billing the Venza as "car-optimized," Toyota downright refuses to call it a wagon or a crossover. Curiously, Toyota expects the Venza to be compared with the Ford Edge, Mazda CX-7, and Nissan Murano, all of which are crossovers. They say you're judged by the caliber of your enemies, so I guess that makes the Venza a crossover as well.
Whatever you call it, the Venza is an interesting vehicle. It rides almost like a Camry, but with carrying capabilities that are just shy of the Highlander. … Read more
Acura gives the old TL a bump for the 2009 model year, updating the styling and improving the cabin tech, but also splitting the model into a standard version and a sporty, all-wheel-drive version. We take that hyped-up TL SH-AWD and go in search of some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, with the aid of Acura's new navigation system.
Volkswagen launched its best-looking car ever, the CC, and we took it for a drive to check out the tech. This sedan has a seductively curved roofline and a beautiful two-tone interior, with a new suite of cabin tech that looks really good on paper. Hard-drive-based navigation with traffic, onboard music storage, iPod and USB drive integration, and a Dynaudio sound system are all cutting-edge features, but will they hold up on the road? We also put the car's sport aspirations to the test, seeing how it handles around the corners.