The BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C Class, and Lexus IS all used to be made in cool little sport wagon variants. Only one problem: America kind of hates wagons. So those models are all gone from our market at the present time. Then, there's Acura. … Read more
...the Ford Mustang Boss 302. Oh, I know, here come the Chevy and Mopar folks telling me I'm biased because I own a bunch of Fords, but the Fords I own were all made before Clinton was in office -- some before Nixon. So that's that.
I love the Boss because it moves well, sounds good, looks good, and is enjoyable to be in, not just be seen in. It's an absolute hammer on the road, does so without the lumpy, surging weirdness of turbos and blowers, and is just this side of too wild for daily … Read more
I came away from the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 with the impression of slightly unrefined brawn. Unlike the Mustang Shelby GT500, which is almost delicate in its handling, the Camaro is sort of a raw thing. It shudders and bangs when you start it, doesn't finesse the road surface -- and ride quality suffers a bit with that -- and has no fussy LCD-based cabin tech. It really feels close to a track car that was smoothed over enough for road use, just what Chevy had in mind. … Read more
With its Spark model, Chevrolet is exploring new ground for the century-old company. The Spark is the smallest car in its lineup, and is being marketed for the urban jungle. With a combined economy of 34 mpg, it is also Chevy's second most fuel-efficient car, behind the Volt.
And two years ago, I drove one through the Swiss Alps. Although the car is just being released in this country, Chevy has sold this generation of the Spark in Europe for a few years. The European version of the car I drove came with a 1.2-liter engine that made … Read more
Many luxury carmakers offer bespoke programs, where buyers can get their cars uniquely customized, but McLaren took the notion of bespoke design a bit further with the X-1. At the request of an anonymous buyer, McLaren, which makes the MP4-12C supercar, designed and build a completely custom car with a unique, carbon fiber body.
The X-1, which was unveiled during the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, is based on the tub and chassis of the MP4-12C. The design was informed by such historic cars as the 1953 Chrysler D'Elegance Ghia, 1959 Buick Electra, and 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K. The obviously … Read more
For those that think the 500 is too petite and the 500 Abarth too butch, Fiat announces a happy medium, a more powerful version of the 500 that is not quite as aggressive as the Abarth. The 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo drops smack into the middle of the line-up, preserving the retro Italian styling of the 500 but boasting a scoche more power.
The 500 Turbo adds a turbocharger to its 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which boosts output from 101 horsepower to 135, and cranks up the torque to 150 foot-pounds. This turbo is smaller than that on the 500 … Read more
With cars such as the RL, TL, and TSX, Acura occupied a very narrow band of the sedan market, but now the ILX extends the brand down toward the compact segment, giving buyers real model differentiation. And the ILX brings Acura its first hybrid car.
I spent a day with the 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid in that cauldron of cars, Los Angeles. My CNET colleague Antuan Goodwin previously reviewed the ILX Premium, the non-hybrid, top-trim version of the car. When we had that car in at CNET HQ, Antuan pointed out where its Honda Civic foundation showed through the Acura … Read more
When I took the wheel of the Toyota RAV4 EV during an event in Los Angeles, two things stuck out: a Prius shifter on the console and the all-digital instrument cluster. Clearly, this SUV would not be a typical RAV4. That feeling was accentuated when pushing the start button produced a silent system check, the car booting up, as opposed to the crank of an internal combustion engine.
The exterior of the RAV4 EV also offered a few clues to the nature of its drivetrain, not least of which were the EV and Electric logos on all sides. By comparison, the lack of a large front grille seemed almost subtle.
One cue that few would notice without a spec sheet was the LED low-beam headlights, tucked away in their casings next to standard projector high beams. Toyota made a smart move here, reducing energy usage of the low beams, while reducing costs on the high beams, which get less use.