Long-Term Road Tests News & Updates

On this page you'll find the latest updates to our Long-Term Road Tests. The topics covered in these ongoing vehicle reviews range from things like fuel efficiency and comfort to highlights of specific features like GPS and audio technology. Check back frequently as our auto reviews are updated on a regular basis.

Daily Long-Term Vehicle Updates

2014 Mazda 3: More Should Do This

August 22, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Not only should more automakers adopt the dial-controller interface forward of the armrest, but they should include the volume knob along with it. Every time I drive the 2014 Mazda 3 I'm reminded of this little feature's genius. It's either a testament to advanced ergonomic thinking or just plain laziness (no more needing to reach out and extend for the volume knob). I'm with the former.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Limited COMAND Audio Presets

August 22, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

In general, I like Mercedes' COMAND interface in our 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250. I find it pretty easy to use, navigate and find what I want. But I've also realized that what's available for audio preset selection isn't so great.

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Active Cruise Control Works Well

August 22, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

One of the new-fangled features on our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited is its adaptive cruise control system. It comes as part of the optional Technology package. Like most other systems of its kind, it keeps a set distance between you and the car you're following, and it will bring the car to a stop if necessary. I've used the Cherokee's system on many occasions and it's one of the better systems on the market.

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2014 Toyota Highlander: Well, This Is Awkward

August 22, 2014

2014 Toyota Highlander

Back in July Matt reported that his hands were too large to be able to reach the USB port in our long-term 2014 Toyota Highlander. It's hidden away in this tiny space behind the shifter.

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2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe: A Weekend in My Dream Car

August 22, 2014

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

I've lusted after the 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe since day one. The convertible looked great, but when the coupe was introduced at last year's L.A. Auto Show, it took my breath away. The F-Type came out in 2014, but if I'm honest, my love for this E-Type-inspired design is deep-seated in my childhood. My father, who owned a few E-Types throughout the years, would always point them out me and say, "See that, son? That's a Jaguar E-Type, one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Look at the feline character lines, the way it flows." Someone in the Jaguar design studios must've met my father too, because in person even more than in photos, the F-Type is a vivid, modern representation of the artful form that defined the iconic E-Type.

Although I've never driven an E-Type, I did finally getting some time in our long-term F-Type last weekend. I knew ahead of time that driving a car I held in such high regard could be dangerous though. My fragile, childhood dreams were hanging in the balance. What if it didn't live up to my expectations? What if my dream car turned out to be rubbish? Surprise, it's great.   

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2014 Nissan Rogue: Instrument Flight Rules

August 21, 2014

2014 Nissan Rogue

Maybe you can see the problem here. The 2014 Nissan Rogue is a nice enough crossover even with a lousy transmission, but you really can't see squat behind and outside of it. Now, this may be a biased photo, taken from around the center of the dash for demonstration and not wholly representative of the driver's perspective.

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2015 Porsche Macan: Security System False Alarm

August 21, 2014

2015 Porsche Macan

The above photo does not represent the actual incident. It is a clever recreation of events made possible by an advanced forensic technique that involved switching on our 2015 Porsche Macan's parking lights.

Now imagine them flashing. Imagine a piercing high-pitch alarm oscillating up and down. And then imagine yourself sprawled out on the couch watching a fairly loud action movie on TV at 8:30 p.m.

"Is that...?"

*mute*

"Yes, it is. Where are the keys?"

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Upgrade From a Hot Hatch?

August 21, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The owner of the dry cleaner shop I frequent owns the VW GTI in the above photo. He was pretty interested in Edmunds' 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 after I had stopped to pick up some clothes. Specifically, his lease for the GTI ends in the fall. That got me wondering: If you own a "hot hatch" like a GTI, is the CLA250 a viable step up?

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2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI: Saying Goodbye to Colossus

August 21, 2014

2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI

It's been years since I've visited Six Flags Magic Mountain, but the impending closure of one of its most famous roller coasters meant I felt compelled to make the trip. The coaster-heavy theme park was about to retire Colossus, the wooden behemoth that, to me, served as Magic Mountain's mascot. I needed something comfortable for the long ride to and from Valencia, so I grabbed the keys to our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI for the weekend and drove up on a Saturday.

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado: CarMax Offer

August 21, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Silverado

A year can fly by when you're having fun. Our long-term 2014 Chevrolet Silverado has been with us for 13 months and we've driven it nearly 25,000 miles. It has taken some of us to race days, towed EVs to our test track, and even helped me transport a new gas grill to my home. But it's time for this city slicker to ride off into the sunset. And the first order of business is a trip to CarMax.

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Where's the Engine Braking?

August 20, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

Our new 2014 Jeep Cherokee long-termer has a nine-speed automatic transmission. It has manual-shifting ability with the console shift lever, and it's even in my preferred layout of push-forward to downshift.

It doesn't blip the throttle, but that's not a huge deal. In general this is a good transmission, with pretty smooth shifts, both up and down.  

What I'm finding strange, though, is that it doesn't provide much in the way of engine braking.  

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Intimate or Cramped Interior?

August 20, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is pretty small compared to most other cars on the road. For the interior, that translates into a seating environment that could be described as either cramped or intimate depending on your viewpoint.

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2014 Acura MDX: Rear Climate System Works Well

August 20, 2014

2014 Acura MDX

Not long ago I gave our long-term Nissan Rogue credit for having vents for the rear seat occupants. It was a small nod to a small, but useful feature. Of course, not long after that, it was reported that although the vents are indeed present they don't actually cool the rear compartment very well.

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2015 Porsche Macan: Performance Testing

August 20, 2014

2015 Porsche Macan

Only two months in, and the 2015 Porsche Macan S has asserted itself as one of the favorites in our long-term fleet. The reasons are numerous. It has perfect seats, a wonderful exhaust note, and power delivery so linear you'd swear the engine is naturally aspirated. It's a great car, to be sure, but "Is It a Porsche?" The last time we saw our old friend, The Question, was in 2010 when the Panamera launched, and before that the Cayenne. It's the same inquiry that has been asked of every new Porsche that isn't a 911.

So we sent Porsche's least expensive model through the usual battery of tests to see if we could answer The Question. Here's what we found:

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Missing Tow Hook Cover

August 20, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

For quite some time now, the little plastic cover that conceals the rear tow hook of our  2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG has been missing. We're not really sure when or how, but I'm guessing it was stolen. Why? Because as I discovered, the replacement part is $95 (they originally quoted me $135) with another $45 needed for the paint.

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2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe: A New, More Powerful F-Type

August 19, 2014

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

Up until this weekend, our 2015 Jaguar F-Type R coupe was the most powerful, most aggressively-tuned F-Type you could buy. It no longer holds that distinction after the introduction of the Jaguar F-Type Project 7, the first vehicle from the company's Special Operations Team.

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2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: Auto Stop-Start Conversion

August 19, 2014

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

Like the rest of the world, I've hated the auto stop-start feature that's been cropping up in cars for the last couple of years. But after two days of letting it operate as intended in our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo, I think it may be a good thing.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Our Engine Builder

August 19, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

I'd like to meet Andreas Schulz.

I probably never will, but it would be a thrill to meet the man that built the 6.0-liter, 604-hp, twin-turbo V12 that powers our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG.

How do I know it was Mr. Schulz that painstakingly assembled our engine? Simple, he signed it.

No I'm not kidding. Every AMG engine is built by one man at the company's facility in Affalterbach, Germany. And when he is finished, and the engine is ready to be installed in a vehicle, he signs it just as Picasso signed his works.

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2015 Porsche Macan: How All Thumb Wheels Should Operate

August 19, 2014

2015 Porsche Macan

Steering wheel controls come in many shapes and sizes, and they seem to be influenced by styling and symmetry as much as anything else. I'm a big fan of the thumb wheel for volume control and for sorting through station presets and other lists. Our 2015 Porsche Macan does thumbwheels better than any other from recent memory.

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