Car Review: 2015 Toyota Yaris SE Liftback

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I spent a week driving a new 2015 Toyota Yaris SE Liftback and came away impressed with this subcompact. The Yaris comes in a 3-door model along with the 5-door model I tested. It’s a small vehicle, but the extra two doors work nicely from a design and functionality point of view.

EXTERIOR

Toyota has become much bolder in its designs after years of playing it safe, and that shows up in the new Yaris as well, which was designed in Toyota’s ED2 design studio located in the South of France. It definitely has a European flavor. The aggressive new design starts with a horizontal chrome grille treatment that stretches into the headlamps. It also features a large grille opening we’re seeing on other Toyota models.

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Car Review: 2015 Chrysler 200C

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After pictures of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200C were revealed last year, we started looking forward to test driving this hot new sedan from Detroit. After a week behind the wheel, there is no doubt that Chrysler has a winner on their hands and finally a vehicle that can rack up serious numbers in the midsize segment.

EXTERIOR

We don’t know if it’s the Italian influence that is reshaping the look of Chrysler, but we really like the looks of the 2015 Chrysler 200C. Inspired American design and beautifully crafted inside and out, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 transforms what customers expect in a midsize sedan. The 2015 200 sedan showcases the new face of Chrysler and incorporates timeless design cues that let the car tell the story.

Clean, expressive surfaces define the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200; it’s a timeless American design based on simple elegance. The 200 sedan, with its muscular yet soulful presence, embodies a strong, sculptured exterior that drivers will want to touch and feel. The restrained design is not ornamental or full of line work, but instead showcases sensual lines and fluid surfaces which highlight the coupe-like appearance.

The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 debuts the new “face of Chrysler.” The grille and headlamps are integrated for the first time and the updated Chrysler badge has an emphasis on the wing, which is more defined. The signature light pipe or available full-LED daytime running lamps (DRL), LED fog lamps and standard LED tail lamps give the all-new Chrysler 200 a distinctive, recognizable look coming and going. The Chrysler 200S model delivers an exclusive style – darker, more sinister – not found on other models in the lineup, or in the midsize sedan segment. The 2015 Chrysler 200S model features gloss black trim and accent pieces rather than the standard bright trim. The exclusive design of the daylight opening (DLO) trim, the area surrounding the side windows, is gloss black, and the 2015 Chrysler 200 is the only vehicle in the segment with this feature. Integrated dual exhausts are standard and the 19-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels as tested with velvet red pearl coat exterior paint completed the look. The more sinister appearance of the 2015 200S model complements the sportier driving experience the S model delivers.

INTERIOR

The interior of the 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan provides plenty of “wow” factor. Exquisitely crafted with high-quality materials and attention to detail, the 200 sedan’s interior is inviting and comfortable, rewarding drivers and passengers on commutes as well as longer journeys. Using four key principles – an emotional design impact, use of high-quality materials with honest material execution, state-of-the-art technology and clever storage features – and inspired by classic, thoughtful American design, the interior of the all-new 200 sedan is unequaled in the segment. The Chrysler 200 features interior trim and materials that are well-crafted, pleasing to the eye, soft to the touch and comprised of high-quality materials. Attention to detail is paramount and attractive components offer world-class levels of fit and finish.

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First Drive: 2015 Honda CR-V

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Honda called it a major-minor model change. The automaker increased the fuel economy and added another trim line to the 2015 Honda CR-V, but they also improved their best-selling entry level crossover vehicle in 60 other areas.

For 2015, the Honda CR-V has a new grille, new headlights, new front bumper, new skid plate and a tweaked front suspension. The rear end has a new fascia, new license housing and new bumper. It looks wider from the rear and now the crossover can be equipped with 18-inch wheels, in addition to its normal 17-inch rubber.

LED running lights are also available, a power tailgate is now offered and there is an available smart key.

The interior has gone high tech too. It has dual information screens. The center console is configurable, with easily reachable USB ports and the abilityto hold an iPad and large soft drink cups from fast food outlets. The dash has a clean saddle bag look to it as each soft touch layer flows down to a thin wood-like trim that spans across its width.

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Car Review: 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Plus

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When Dodge brought the Challenger back to life a few years back, the passion for this car was very high. Now with a refresh for the 2015 model year, there is even more to cheer about with the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Plus. We drove this beast for a week, and even though the Ohio weather wasn’t the best, we still had a great time behind the wheel.

EXTERIOR

Inspired by the iconic 1971 Challenger, all 2015 models take on a bold new appearance that draws on the 1971 model’s split-grille and split-tail lamp cues, updated to 2015 with four signature LED headlamp halo surrounds offset by piano black trim. Single projector-beam headlamps at each front corner light the road ahead. High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps are also available.

In profile, the 2015 Challenger’s signature muscle car proportions and large thruster rear-quarter panels stand out from the crowd, while fender and belt lines tie together at the front and rear of the car to create a sleeker appearance. Nine wheel designs are available, including an all-new forged aluminum lightweight 20-by-9-inch wheel design finished in Hyper Black II, which provides a unique anodized metallic look with a flush body-side appearance. Meatier, high-performance three-season rubber is available on the Challenger R/T Scat Pack and 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker models. The 20-inch hyper black aluminum wheels on our test model were conversation-starters alone. This car is hot!

A new, split tail-lamp design continues the historic 1971 model’s inspiration. For a modern look, the Dodge brand’s signature LED treatment creates a single ribbon of light within each lamp. A redesigned rear valance provides the 2015 Challenger with a widened, more planted appearance, while fascia-mounted exhaust tips (with the Pentastar V-6 engine) provide a high-performance finished look.

Heritage and high-impact exterior colors range from B5 Blue and Sublime Green to TorRed. Seven different stripe options give Challenger drivers the ability to get instant customization straight from the factory.

INTERIOR

Inside the 2015 Dodge Challenger is an all-new enthusiast-designed cockpit featuring world-class materials, execution and technology, also inspired by the interior of the 1971 Challenger. To highlight the muscle car’s performance abilities, the 2015 Dodge Challenger is designed with a performance cockpit that embodies the trapezoidal-themed exterior in an artistic and more organically styled way.

The Dodge Challenger’s new cleanly executed instrument panel features an aluminum-stamped driver’s bezel that establishes the driver’s cockpit. For a high-tech look, an innovative 7-inch TFT instrument cluster screen extends through the driver’s bezel and provides a customizable display. The gauge cluster features an analog speedometer and tachometer that straddle the TFT customizable instrument cluster and provide a heritage-inspired “tic-toc-tach” look with throwback radial numbering and concave shape. Additionally, the center stack neatly houses the new 5-inch and segment’s largest available 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreens.

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Car Review: 2015 Chevrolet Suburban 2WD LTZ

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When a brand like Chevrolet controls over 50 percent of the full-size SUV segment, you have to stay ahead of the curve to continue that domination. The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban 2WD LTZ does just that, and after a week behind the wheel of this super-sized ride, you come to realize why Chevy owns this market!

EXTERIOR

The exterior design of the 2015 Suburban is more refined and precisely sculpted. New inlaid doors fit into the body side openings instead of over the top of the body, significantly improving the quietness of the interior cabin and contributing to improved aerodynamics – an attribute that helps the vehicles slip through the air on the highway with less drag for greater efficiency. Lightweight aluminum hood and liftgate panels also enhance efficiency through reduced overall mass.

Projector-beam headlamps flank the Chevrolet-signature dual-port grille – chrome on all models – and sweep into the front fenders. High-intensity discharge headlamps and light-emitting diode daytime running lamps are included on LTZ as tested, along with an exclusive chrome grille surround.

The new hands-free liftgate feature allows a customer with a keyless entry fob – and full hands – to open and close the liftgate by waving his or her foot under a sensor beneath the rear fascia. It is standard on the LTZ and available on the LT edition. Additional exterior features include a windshield with an angle that’s raked forward more than before and is flattened at the corners for better wiper performance; laminated windshield and front door glass that contributes to a quieter ride; lower front fascias to accommodate radar-based safety technology; and for a more refined appearance, a B-pillar that’s been moved forward slightly and a C-pillar that’s a little straighter, making it easier to get in and out of the vehicles – especially when climbing into the third row.

LTZ models feature more bright trim on the fascias, grille, body sides, mirror caps and more, and the LTZ also offers power-retractable and illuminated side steps. The 22-inch aluminum wheels really took the appearance to a new level and gave that extra sport look to an already sporty looking SUV.

INTERIOR

Inside, premium materials and enhanced ergonomics demonstrate the Suburban’s blend of sophistication, craftsmanship and function. The instrument panel, for example, has a straightforward design featuring a large, easy-to-view cluster. It includes a 4.2-inch color driver information center display in the center of the cluster for vehicle, infotainment and other data. There’s also an eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen radio on LT and LTZ models in the center of the instrument panel, incorporating secured storage behind the motorized screen. With the wireless phone charging feature, a magnetic inductive charging system allows users to simply place their phone on a small mat in the vehicle, where it charges without the need to plug it in.

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