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7 Years ago
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kia
kia rio
volkswagen
bmw x3
ford
First Drive: 2012 Kia Rio
During the driving portion of the 2012 Kia Rio press presentation in South Korea, we visited a phallic-themed, public rest area located off National Route 44. Thankfully there weren't any live ones, but you couldn't escape the wooden and stone phalluses and trinkets standing at attention in the parking lot and gift shop. After distancing ourselves from the giggling European vacationers, we asked about the location's significance.

Our Kia hosts didn't have a backstory for us, and not wanting a nastygram from our IT folks, we didn't attempt to Google from Korea. But we do have answers about the new 2012 Rio, which, like a particular rest stop now seared into memory, is designed to stand out...

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7 Years ago
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jeep
bmw
porsche
porsche cayenne
jeep grand cherokee
Comparison: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 vs. 2011 BMW X5 M vs. 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
These days, defining a sport/utility vehicle is hard. Just about anything top-heavy that necessitates the slight lifting of a passenger's leg for entry usually qualifies, thanks in part to the introduction of car-based crossovers. There are still a handful of vehicles that combine sport and utility to the fullest extent imaginable, clearing up any confusion when these three letters come to mind. We've rounded up three of these -- the 555-horsepower BMW X5 M, 500-horsepower Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and 465-horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. We'll call them Super SUVs -- SuperUVs for brevity -- due to their massive amounts of power, high top speed, surefooted stick, and excellent utility.

Not...

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7 Years ago
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jeep
jeep wrangler
chrysler
seat
First Test: 2012 Jeep Wrangler
The new Wranglers easily traversed...      read full caption The new Wranglers easily traversed the rugged Rubicon trail. Upgrades have refined and modernized the old-timer.You can't tell by looking at it, but the Jeep Wrangler has undergone a transformation. The iconic shape remains -- seven-slot grille, round headlights, short wheelbase, soft or hard top -- but Jeep has made huge improvements to the off-roader for 2012. Jeep invited us to drive the 2012 Wrangler on the Rubicon, one of the hardest 4x4 trails around, used almost exclusively by modified vehicles. We also got to drive on the two-lane asphalt roads that wind around Lake Tahoe.

 Consider this the second part of a major...

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7 Years ago
News

mercedes benz s
mercedes benz sl
mercedes benz slk
mercedes benz
First Look: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
Just when we were getting used to AMG's new formula, along comes the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG to buck the trend. How so, you ask? The main difference is what's under the hood. The 2012 SLK55 will indeed get a 5.5-liter V-8, but you won't find the M157, twin-turbo mill that has been rolled out in several recent AMG-powered Benzos since last year. Instead, it will get a naturally-aspirated V-8 dubbed the M152. Mercedes states that the M152 and M157 share a few similarities: the aforementioned displacement, bore/stroke, start/stop technology, and direct injection.

Despite the lack of those twin-turbos, this pocket roadster is far from a slouch. In the SLK55, the M152 outputs 415 hp, 398 lb-ft...

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7 Years ago
News

toyota
toyota yaris
chrysler
nissan
nissan versa
First Drive: 2012 Toyota Yaris U.S. Spec
When the Yaris took over for the Echo as Toyota's smallest car in the U.S. in the middle of the last decade, the subcompact realm was barely inhabited. Gas prices were low, SUVs ruled the roads, and GM and Chrysler seemed healthy enough. Back then, the B-segment was just a gleam in most automakers' eyes.

But despite Toyota's long presence in the segment, the Yaris hasn't gotten much love. According to reports, the No. 1 Japanese automaker didn't have the budget for a comprehensive redesign, so the 2012 Toyota Yaris -- the company's third-best-selling vehicle in the world behind Corolla and Camry -- would have to settle for a refresh.

Gone is the bulbous, tadpole-like face that never failed...

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7 Years ago
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bmw
bmw x3
Long Term Update 2: 2011 BMW X3 XDrive28i
Our 2011 BMW X3 xDrive28i has not one, but three sport modes. There's one for the transmission, accessed by pushing the golf club-shaped shifter to the left. Doing so activates a more aggressive shift program, making the transmission is eager to kick down a cog or two and sustain high revs. That's not too surprising. But then there are these buttons to the left of that shifter, one points rewards to text that reads "Normal," the other points forward, to "Sport." The other two modes hide here.

These buttons are the only visual indication of the $1400 Dynamic Handling Package, an option I was surprised to see offered in an SUV, but flabbergasted to find that ours actually had it. Why? Well, amongst...

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7 Years ago
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rover
audi
audi q5
bmw
volvo xc60
First Test: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
The rugged Welsh island of Anglesey frequently is wet, cold, and windy; a place where sideways rain can hit you like a spray of icy tacks. It's also a place whose rocky, hilly terrain could keep a mountain goat happy for eons. So when it came time to introduce the all-new Range Rover Evoque -- a vehicle projected to be Land Rover's best-seller -- the folks from Gaydon figured where better than...wet, cold, windy, rocky, hilly, and mountain goat-friendly Anglesey.

 When I first learned I'd be driving the Evoque and did my initial research -- perusing specs of the 240-horsepower, 28-mpg-highway, 2.0-liter engine, reading up on the Haldex IV all-wheel-drive system, and looking at photos of the...

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7 Years ago
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honda
honda odyssey
Long Term Update 1: 2011 Honda Odyssey
As our 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite is getting settled into our long-term fleet, it's the little things that start becoming more apparent. One of the features I've noticed, which I really appreciate, is the power doors (and honestly, what minivan doesn't come with that option nowadays?). The nice thing about these power doors is you can turn the car on or off during the opening or closing of the doors, and they finish their operation without any hesitation. That's more than I can say for other minivans.

The backup sensors, multi-view rear-view camera, and Blind Spot Information System are especially welcome additions to a vehicle this size; however, with the incredible visibility afforded...

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7 Years ago
News

bmw
bmw x6
Verdict: 2010 Acura ZDX
The sign of any good design is when it causes strong reactions, negative or positive. Our long-term ZDX certainly didn't leave our editors on middle ground. Even a full year and 25,000 miles later, opinions are still split on whether Acura hit the nail square on the head with its swoopy crossover or whacked its thumb in a painful blunder.

 The seating position and forward visibility were two of the attributes universally praised in our ZDX. In contrast, the rear seats were universally despised. Associate online editor Benson Kong surmised the ZDX was designed for rear passengers no taller than 5 feet. While this fits fine with online production manager Kirill Ougarov's assertion that we should...

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7 Years ago
News

audi
audi a4
bmw
bmw 3
lexus
First Test: 2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro
Ever since 1995, when the Audi A4 first bowed in the U.S., it has been known as the car with the nice interior. That holds true today, but impressive confines alone don't win sales battles. Last year, Audi sold 34,672 A4s in the States, placing the car somewhere in the middle of the tough premium compact car market. That number was enough to top the Lexus IS and Acura TSX, but the A4 lags behind the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (58,785) and the BMW 3 Series (100,910).

 According to those numbers, Audi's German rivals have a better grasp on what makes the segment tick. But with each new generation of the A4, the folks at Ingolstadt are slowly but surely giving those automakers a reason to look in...

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