Let's face it: the Honda Pilot has always looked like a brick on wheels. The new-for-2009 Pilot, with its CR-V-inspired grille, looks even worse. It doesn't get much better on the inside, with a dash dominated by cheap plastics and questionable material choices. As much as we dislike the Pilot's aesthetics, we can say that the SUV feels solid, as though it were machined out of a solid piece of metal. The ride is supple without being floaty, and the cabin is among the quietest in its class.
As fast as Audi's R8 is, there will always be someone who wants to go faster. According to Audi, the company has been inundated with requests for a race-prepped version of its halo car. Come fall 2009, Audi will deliver in the form of an Audi Sport-developed racing sports car specifically developed for customer use: the GT3 version of the Audi R8.
The GT3 R8 eschews Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system in favor of a GT regulation rear-wheel drive transmission. The R8's 500-plus horsepower is delivered via a newly developed six-speed, sequential, sports gearbox. A modified front end … Read more
After spending time with the top-of-the-line 2008 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring, we found much that we liked; however, we also found almost every positive thing we had to say about the SUV came with a caveat.
Inside, the CX-9's leather seats and ambient lighting give the appearance of luxury, but the materials feel cheap compared with a true luxury vehicle. The spec sheet touts an impressive amount of cabin tech, but the components don't work well together, creating a confusing experience. Overall, we formed a positive impression of the CX-9, but the vehicle lacks the final bit of … Read more
Chevrolet released official images and details about its upcoming Cruze sedan, ahead of the official reveal at October's Paris Motor Show. The Cruze, slotted to replace Chevy's outgoing Cobalt model, looks very much like a baby Malibu, albeit a very angry one that's been hanging out with the riffraff of GM's Australian Holden division.
GM also claims that the interior is inspired by the two cockpit design of the Corvette, but between the 'Vette's cheap plastic interior and Chevrolet's history of even cheaper compact cars, we don't know if that's a good … Read more
Audi got us all excited Thursday morning with a press release titled "Audi announces first automotive OEM iPhone application." We were thinking Audi cars would integrate with the iPhone in ways we never thought possible. Maybe you could display your iPhone screen on the car's LCD, viewing Web pages and e-mail. Maybe the iPhone would work with the navigation system, giving you Google address searches in place of the car's standard points-of-interest database. Audi already has good iPod integration and Bluetooth cell phone support, two things of which the iPhone can take advantage.
But then we … Read more
When owners of Bugatti's freshly revealed uber-car, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport, want to get some sunshine, they have to leave the removable polycarbonate hard top at home. But what happens in the event of sudden rain? Surely, Bugatti's engineers don't expect the world's motoring elite to futz around in the rain with a fabric top? As it turns out they do, but with a clever solution fitting a removable soft top has never been easier.
Stowed in the trunk (which, on the mid-engine Veyron, is located up front), the soft top opens and functions … Read more
As in other current M models from BMW, the 2008 BMW M6 is afflicted with a dual personality. It masquerades as a big luxury coupe around town, but when the roads open up, the M6 can transform into a superhero. At a push of the M button on the steering wheel, the suspension tightens and the throttle response becomes more acute. Where a superhero might where a cape, the M6 gets a carbon fiber roof, lowering its center of gravity. But while the big, long coupe shows a lot of brawn in its styling, the high trunk lid makes it … Read more
Honda unveiled its 2009 Civic lineup this Tuesday. As should be expected, the new model receives some incremental styling changes in the form of a tweaked grille and headlamp combo, clear turn signals in the rear, and a new, more aggressive three opening front bumper cover. Power output remains unchanged for the gasoline, natural gas, and hybrid variants. Honda has, however, made vehicle stability control standard for top-tier trim packages.
Inside the cabin, Honda is still offering the same optional DVD-based satellite navigation system that we saw on the 2007 Civic Hybrid model, but has added Bluetooth hands-free capabilities to … Read more
The Pebble Beach Concours D'elegance is best known for meticulously preserved or restored classic cars, but more automakers are seeing the event as a launchpad for new models and special editions that cater to the opulence and exclusive nature of the event.
This year was no different with special editions from Lexus and Volkswagen, a new model from Bugatti and a one-off showcase from coachbuilders Pininfarina.
For the introduction of Acura's updated 2009 TL model, the company invited a number of automotive journalists to drive the car over some excellent roads in Marin, just north of San Francisco. Actually, we would be driving two very different cars, as Acura split the TL between a standard and performance version. The latter isn't the TL-S from past model years, but an all-wheel-drive version that Acura felt it had to develop because of bias against front-wheel-drive cars amongst enthusiasts, which all previous TLs had been. This performance-oriented TL is called the TL SH-AWD, and along with Acura's all-wheel-drive system gets a bigger engine than the standard TL. We got to drive both cars on some of our favorite roads, going up the coast on Highway 1, then coming back down on a series of winding country roads.… Read more