Just a year after it got an update, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid gets yet another update for 2009, but this one counts for a lot. Ford fits it with the best cabin tech available, which includes the excellent Sync system for integrating MP3 players and cell phones, along with Sirius Travel Link, giving you traffic information and gas prices right in the car. The Mariner Hybrid also gets a bigger gas engine than the previous model, but it doesn't bring the EPA mileage numbers down. During our testing, it didn't seem to make much difference either way.
The Audi A4 gets a serious update for 2009, with a much-needed cabin tech overhaul. But the fun really starts with the new Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which gets a new rear differential. We put it to the test on some slick roads, pushing it to the limits of traction. Along the way, we also try out the new Audi Drive Select feature, which lets you choose from sport or comfort settings for the steering, suspension, and transmission.
Lexus takes its standard IS model and turns it into an M3 competitor, giving it a more displacement than the BMW. We test out this speed demon and revel in its engine pitch as we try for our best zero to 60 mph times. And, as usual, we take a close look at the cabin tech. It has navigation, Bluetooth, and an impressive audio system, but most of these components date back to the 2006 IS model update, putting them behind the curve for current gadgetry. Oh well, we guess we will have to content ourselves with a superior driving … Read more
There was once a time when our Car Tech test car, the Chevrolet Aveo5, reigned supreme as the cheapest car in America. News from Nissan changes all of that today.
Nissan North America, Inc., announced on Friday a new trim level for its 2009 Nissan Versa Sedan, with an MSRP of $9,990 (excluding destination fees). The new Versa 1.6 Sedan is built for value and fuel economy, with its 107-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine delivering 34 mpg highway fuel economy rating with the 5-speed manual transmission (33 mpg with the four-speed automatic). In the city, the Versa 1.… Read more
Spy photos of the Panamera--Porsche's upcoming wagon, for lack of a better term--have been leaking all over the Web for some time now. Only recently have we been able to see the vehicle's interior.
We expected the typical German button-heavy interface. Just one look at the Cayenne's interior and you'll see that Porsche isn't afraid to slap a bunch of buttons on the dash. However, these somewhat blurry spy shots show that perhaps an intervention is required to curb Porsche's button addiction.
A quick eyeball count shows a whopping 44 buttons and switches … Read more
The new Ford Fusion has been revealed and guess what, it still looks like a multiblade razor.
The three-bar grill has expanded beyond the frame of the headlamps and now dominates the front end of the vehicle. While the headlamps themselves shrink in size and become more aggressive and horizontal in orientation. The lower grill loses its horizontal bars to become a gaping maw.
Under the hood, the Fusion (and by association, the Mercury Milan) receives three powerplant options. The first is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that features fuel saving feature called Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-off. Essentially, the system … Read more
We didn't expect a tuner car from Chevy, but the Cobalt SS measure up in all ways. Two-liter four cylinder engine, check. Variable valve timing, check. Turbocharger, bonus. With 260 horsepower, the Cobalt SS has more power than a Honda Civic Si, and the Cobalt SS' limited slip differential, stabilizer bars, and suspension tuning lead to good handling in the corners. Put it in launch-control mode and you can achieve maximum grip and acceleration off the line. Chevy also steps up a bit in cabin tech, giving the Cobalt SS iPod integration and a bass-heavy Pioneer audio system.
The 2009 Nissan Z has finally been revealed and we've got the official photos to prove it. But how much can you tell by looking at a photo? As it turns out, a lot actually.
The most obvious changes are the new boomerang-shaped headlamps, which match the design language established with the 2009 Nissan Maxima. The Z takes the concept a step further by mirroring the design with boomerang shaped taillights, as well. I didn't think that I'd like it, based on the spy shots, but they look pretty good in the official shots.
Other more subtle … Read more
A new tech barge in old SUV clothing, the Dodge Durango Hybrid features an impressive array of cabin tech and one of the most advanced power trains in a production vehicle. This truck is big, with seating for seven, plus cargo space, all riding high in classic SUV fashion. But environmentalists could learn to love it as it turns in fuel economy equivalent to a V-6 sedan. We take a close look at this behemoth, maximizing our city mileage and testing out the cabin tech.