Car Review: 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
For the 2015 model year Mitsubishi has updated its perennial best-seller with some aesthetic changes and engineering improvements to this sporty compact crossover. I tested the SE model with all-wheel drive for a week and came away impressed with what the vehicle offered for the price.
The 2015 Outlander gets new, stylish-looking LED running lights in the SE model but otherwise the exterior design remains unchanged, which isn’t a bad thing as the Outlander’s exterior works for a sporty but practical crossover. I like the front end and the vehicle looks great from every angle. The Ruby Red version we tested looked particularly sharp, and I like it in the other offered colors including the blue model pictured here. It has the type of look that should be appealing across a wide variety of consumer groups as the designers haven’t tried to get too cute with any aspect of the design.
Read the rest of this entry »
First Drive: 2015 Nissan Murano
If you’re looking for beauty and comfort in a vehicle, the Nissan Murano was created with you in mind. Nissan created a distinctive vehicle with the first Murano in 2003 and they’ve aimed high for the all-new, third generation Murano that enters a much more crowded and competitive market for 2015.
Nissan has a very specific demographic in mind for its flagship crossover, targeting empty nesters who will often go out on the town with another couple. The car is designed for adult passengers to interact with one another in a “social lounge” kind of setting, so attention was paid to the experience in the rear seats.
Take a look at the slideshow above and you’ll see that this third-generation Murano looks like another design home run worthy of Nissan’s original model. We drove the Murano from the heart of Sonoma wine country out to stunning Goat Rock Park on the Pacific Ocean. You can see the use of glass and the flowing lines of the compelling new design.
Nissan stressed three key elements from the Murano that will show up in future designs – the V-Motion front end, signature lighting and the ‘floating’ roofline.” The roofline in particular stands out along with the boomerang-style headlights and taillights which were originally introduced on the Nissan 370Z. It all comes together beautifully in a package that will certainly appeal to the target demo. The new model also sports a 16 percent improvement in overall aerodynamics versus the previous generation design.
Read the rest of this entry »
Overview of 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 3.6L V6
2014 is right around the corner, and it’s time to take a look at what the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 3.6L V6 has to offer in terms of aesthetics and functionality.
The Jeep Cherokee is well-known for its strength and durability, making it an excellent vehicle for areas that often see inclement weather. Cherokees sell especially well in colder climates (ME, NH, VT), but are also extremely popular in the mid-west where storms can make traveling rather difficult. Look for a good local dealer. “The staff was great,” says one happy customer in a review of Jeep Oklahoma City dealer David Stanley’s business, which sells more than its fair share of Jeeps every year to those who looking for protection from the often harsh weather seen in the area.
Performance and Interior
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo features a sturdy engine line-up. It’s an extremely efficient vehicle and everything you could ask for in a V6. The new diesel V6 really adds punch and power to this year’s update and is perfect for driving in inclement conditions.
The Laredo also features one of the most comfortable and luxurious interiors you’ll find in a mid-sized SUV within its price range (just under $30,000). Consider the 8.4″ touchscreen, for example, which is perfect for the technologically-inclined who would like to get the most out of their driving experience.
It’s difficult to argue with how well the 2014 Laredo handles off-road, something that Jeep afficinados have come to expect out of their vehicles.. Featuring four wheel independent suspension, a front anti-roll bar and anti-whiplash front head restraints, the Laredo is not just for a casual Sunday drive. It can take a beating, which is nice to know even if you don’t ever intend to lift it from the pavement.
Safety is an important aspect of purchasing any vehicle, and the 2014 Laredo comes stocked. The ABS break system means you won’t have to worry about lock-ups, and multiple airbags help to reduce the risk of injury in the case of an accident. The Laredo is known for having excellent traction control, and the 2014 model is no exception to this rule. Those who drive on snow and ice on a regular basis will praise the Laredo for how well it handles, and its heated door mirrors will allow you to always keep your eyes on the road no matter how bad the weather might be.
There’s been a lot of talk about competition for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, and it’s quite clear at this point that the Toyota 4Runner puts up a close fight. In the end, though, the 2014 Laredo is a vehicle for those who are serious about safety and stability on the road. At a starting price of under $30,000, those who are looking for a luxurious mid-sized SUV that can also stand up to practically anything that is thrown at it will have a hard time not loving this vehicle.
Nissan unveils all-new X-Trail and Rogue
I was on hand with Nissan at the 2014 Frankfurt Motor Show as CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled the all-new 2014 Nissan X-Trail that will be sold in Europe. Shortly after in the U.S., Nissan unveiled the 2014 Nissan Rogue that will be sold in the United States.
The Rogue and X-Trail have been completely redesigned as you can see from the photos above with a more muscular look that incorporates new design elements like available LED headlights and standard LED signature daytime running lights. All new headlamps and front grille replace the harder edges of the front facia of the current model. The high, muscular ridges along the wheel wells also enhance the styling of this compact CUV.
The Rogue is the second-largest seller in Nissan’s U.S. lineup and the 2014 model will be in showrooms in November. Here are some notable features on the new model:
- For the first time, Rogue will offer optional 3-row/7-passenger seating;
- The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is rated at 170-horsepower and a best-in-class 175 lb-ft of torque;
- Xtronic CVT transmission with sport mode switch;
- Fuel economy is projected to be best-in-class 33 mpg highway for front-wheel drive models, representing an 18 percent improvement in highway fuel economy versus the 2013 model; and
- A number of Nissan technology features are available to aid the driver, including Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning.
Seeing this new model up close I was impressed with how it looks from every angle. The compact CUV market is large and growing but it’s also very competitive, so the redesigned Rogue and X-Trail will be critical for Nissan to keep and grow its market position. Check back later this year as we’ll share our driving impressions once we get the chance to try out the Rogue on the road.
Posted in: Cars
Tags: 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, 2014 Nissan Rogue, 2014 Nissan X-Trail, Carlos Ghosn, compact crossover, compact CUV, CUV, Frankfurt, Frankfurt Auto Show, Frankfurt Motor Show, nissan
First Drive: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe GSL and Limited
Hyundai introduced a two-wheelbase strategy for the completely new Santa Fe for the 2013 model. I tested the 5-passenger Sport model last year, and then had the opportunity to test drive the 7-passenger Santa Fe GSL and the 6-passenger Santa Fe Limited recently in San Diego.
The Sport model has been a hit so far, which isn’t a surprise given how much I liked the vehicle. In the six full months since the new model launch, retail sales for the vehicle have increased over 37%. Now the larger version with three rows is hitting showrooms as well. The GSL fits seven passengers while the Limited features captain chairs in the second row with a capacity for six passengers.
The GSL and Limited look very similar to the Sport model, with the major difference being the lines for the rear side windows being softened in the larger wheelbase models. As I noted in the Sport review, “Hyundai continues to implement its “Fluidic Sculpture” design principles that have given Hyundai vehicles a bold and distinctive look. Specifically, the Santa Fe features a new design concept called Storm Edge, which captures the strong and dynamic images created by nature during the formation of a storm.” I like the idea of keeping the Santa Fe name across both the compact and midsize CUV models, as the design work well across both platforms. I like the front end in particular, and the rest of the design flows nicely from there.
The choice of a bench seat for the second row and two captain’s chairs offers nice flexibility for consumers. The captain’s chair offer a comfortable and roomy experience in the second row. And while there’s adequate room in the third row, there isn’t a ton of headroom there for larger adults so that third row is best used for kids. The split-folding third row seats offer very nice cargo flexibility for families and for road trips. The second row captain’s chair also fold down and then the second row bench in the GSL offers a 40/20/40 split folding option. The overall versatility is excellent.
The comfort and styling of Hyundai’s interiors have been impressive and the Santa Fe is no exception. I liked the design of the center stack as it offers a unique twist on what we often see. Hyundai offers a wide variety of option packages, so you can certainly get a loaded version that satisfies all your needs, but even the base models are stylish and very comfortable. I also liked the panoramic sunroof and heated steering wheel options in the technology package.
The power of the V6 engine in the GSL and Limited Santa Fe will grab your attention right away. When I test the Sport model I was impressed with the 2.0L Turbo 4-cylender engine, but I liked the easy power of the V6 even better. The responsiveness and acceleration were excellent and this vehicle is very fun to drive. The larger vehicle also handles nicely around corners given its size, and the six-speed automatic transmission performed flawlessly.
The Lambda II 3.3-liter GDI V6 engine is rated at 290 horsepower which is tied with the Explorer for the midsize CUV segment, and it’s the only midsize CUV with a standard direct injection V6 engine. Fuel economy is competitive at 18 city, 25 highway and 21 combined. From a safety point of view, all Santa Fe models feature seven airbags, including side curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag along with rollover sensors for the side curtain airbags.
Hyundai continues to put out hit after hit, and the entire Santa Fe line from the Sport to the GSL and Limited will fit into the lineup very well. With the different wheelbases and seating options, Hyundai will address the needs of most consumers looking for a CUV. Put this one on your test drive list.
Posted in: Car Reviews, Cars
Tags: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, auto photos, auto slideshow, automobile photo gallery, autos, autos for guys, autos for men, car info for men, car photo gallery, car photos, car reviews, car slideshow, CUV, first drive, first drive automobile reviews, first drive car reviews, first drive reviews for guys, first drive reviews for men, Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai Santa Fe GSL, Hyundai Santa Fe Limited, midsize CUV, new automobiles, new autos, new cars, Santa Fe