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6 Years ago
News

nissan
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Long Term Update 2: 2011 Nissan Juke SV
"Fuel" and "economy" don't really mix when it comes to the Juke. Under numerous circumstances, with an equally diverse group of drivers behind its 370Z-esque wheel, the Juke's 1.6-liter "enjoys having a torrid love affair with fuel," as associate online editor, Benson Kong, best put it.

How passionate is said affair? Very. On one occasion, a staffer drove 176 miles on a single tank of its required premium brew. Granted, range, like average fuel economy, depends largely on driver inputs. But still, 176 miles? Some motorcycles can do that on one gallon. Bottom line, it takes a lot of work, plus a 15 mph tailwind, to attain the EPA-rated 25 city/30 highway mpg ratings. But it can be done.

Case-in-point:...

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6 Years ago
News

volkswagen
volkswagen jetta
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First Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
In the first five generations it was pretty easy to comprehensively sum up the difference between a Golf and a Jetta: One had a trunk. The sixth-generation Jetta has established its own identity in the Volkswagen product line as a bigger, more mass-market-friendly car. Now, the differences between the two run much deeper. Mechanically and spiritually, the Jetta stands apart from its former fraternal twin the Golf. It makes sense the 2012 Jetta GLI would follow suit and differentiate itself from its Golf-based brethren, the GTI.

 Although the sixth-gen Jetta has seen record sales volumes since its introduction last year, longtime fans were let down by the newest offering. In an effort to compete...

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6 Years ago
News

mazda
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chevrolet
chevrolet equinox
volkswagen tiguan
Quick Drive: 2013 Mazda CX-5 Prototype
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND -- "Skyactiv" finally makes sense. This October, an updated, 40-mpg (highway) Mazda3 with the brand's new gas direct-injection, 2.0-liter four, and six-speed manual or automatic gets the Skyactiv badge thanks to all those goodies. Afterwards, only Mazda's all-new models will wear the badge, which will be used in a manner similar to Mercedes-Benz's Bluetec and Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive. It's a green-branding ploy.

 Unlike either of those two automakers, Mazda is too small to get into hybrids or any type of advanced electric/battery powertrains. The strategy is to concentrate on what most experts say will continue to be the mainstream technology: highly evolved internal...

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6 Years ago
News

ford
ford explorer
fiat
fiat 500
rover
First Test: 2012 Ford Explorer EcoBoost
Last time we had our hands on the new Ford Explorer, it finished sixth out of six in our seven-row SUV comparison test. Yes, friends, dead last. But that car was a preproduction vehicle, and quite literally fell apart on us. This time around, by dint of its new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, I think the Explorer would have placed lower. Like below a city bus. Yes, my kneecaps are thankful Harry Bennett is dead.

"It's just such inefficient packaging," crowed bossman Angus MacKenzie as we stood contemplating Ford's big-on-the-outside, cramped-on-the-inside kiddie hauler. What exactly is so wrong with it? "It's intellectually dishonest," continued Angus. "It looks roomy, but it's not. It looks sporty,...

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6 Years ago
News

toyota
toyota camry
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hyundai
hyundai sonata
First Drive: 2012 Toyota Camry
Is the 2012 Toyota Camry new and special enough to vanquish the Hyundai Sonata? Is the SE model a poor man's sport sedan? Is Toyota's rebound in J.D. Power & Associates' initial quality rankings, and the company's vindication over specious unintended acceleration claims, enough to warrant purchase consideration? Do you experience headaches, dizziness, or nausea when driven swiftly in a sports car?

 If you've answered, "Well, heck, yes!" to any of these questions, get ready for a quiz in which we determine whether you'd notice an all-new seventh-generation model if it used your driveway for a U-turn.

Here are some study materials: Camrys traditionally run two cycles on one platform, and...

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6 Years ago
News

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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6 Years ago
News

jeep
jeep wrangler
chrysler
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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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6 Years ago
News

honda
seat
First Drive: Ariel Atom 3 Mugen Edition
While a thousand cars is a day's worth of Camry sales, that number represents an astounding decade's worth of success for Britain's tiny Ariel Motors, builder of the astoundingly original Atom. Call it specialized, call it user-hostile -- you can also call the Atom some of the most fun you can have on four wheels.

The Atom has succeeded because Ariel is a lean, well-run little company. It has even managed to internationalize, with a manufacturing license in the U.S. through Virginia's TMI AutoTech. But the Atom also has succeeded it's a simple, focused concept, beautifully executed. It does one job, and it does it fabulously well.

It accelerates, brakes, and corners like few other street-legal...

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6 Years ago
News

mazda 2
seat
Long Term Update 6: 2011 Mazda2
The green jellybean continues to turn heads. In Glendale, it got slammed as "an ugly green Japanese Beetle" by two women who'd just finished kickboxing class (I was walking behind them, and had a still-warm chocolate chip cookie in my hand, so I didn't jump to the car's defense). Later that day a twentysomething guy riding a bike in Burbank shouted, "Great car!" "Are you serious?" I asked, figuring he was being sarcastic. "No, it looks cool - I love it!" he said. And a woman in a Target parking lot came up to me and asked if a car seat would fit in the back seat.

 The Mazda's boxy cuteness still makes me smile, but a couple of things are starting to get on my nerves. It seems like every car...

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6 Years ago
News

honda
honda odyssey
seat
volkswagen
Arrival: 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring
No sooner had we said goodbye to our Volkswagen Routan than a new 2011 Honda Odyssey joined our garage. It came loaded with the Touring Elite package with leather interior, navigation with voice recognition, rear-seat entertainment system with a 16.2-inch split screen, and a cool box in the center stack. At the test track, the 248-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 gave us a 7.4-second 0-60-mph run, and it is expected to return 19/28 mpg city/highway. The family-hauler'sall-new exterior styling has received mixed reviews, especially for its "lightning bolt" beltline and gaping sliding door channel.

So why would the Motor Trend staff-especially the photographers-be excited about getting a minivan, of...

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