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 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Navigation Fail

October 20, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

We all know that L.A. traffic is no picnic. It's wildly unpredictable and wholly unavoidable. It isn't, however, like this. Ever.

Look closely. What you see here are surface streets in red and freeways in green. That means that the Ram's nav traffic thinks that all major surface streets (displayed in this particular scale) are jammed. Gridlocked. Every one. I've seen all sorts of weirdness on L.A. roads, but never anything like this.

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2014 Kia Cadenza: High-Tech Features

October 20, 2014

2014 Kia Cadenza

The steady flow of high technology makes its way to the mainstream, and our 2014 Kia Cadenza is no exception. With items like lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and (not pictured, but covered extensively elsewhere) dynamic/active cruise control, you don't have to look to BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Cadillac for electronic wizardry. It might not have the same build quality or prestige as those premium brands, but our $43,000 Cadenza Limited has the goods.

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2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe: New Tires

October 20, 2014

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

All good things come to an end. So is the case with the stock Pirelli P Zero tires on our 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. The first question we asked ourselves was, do we stick with the OE Pirellis or do we try another brand of tire on the F-Type? We wanted to try something new, but it wasn't that easy.

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2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI: Five-Star Safety Rating

October 20, 2014

2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI

How did the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI perform during the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's battery of crash tests?

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: Strong Money

October 20, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Cars lose 20 percent of their value as soon as you drive them off the lot, or so the tired old saying goes. But what if you special order a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, pick it up at the factory and drive it twice as much as anyone else? Then, what is it worth 27,200 miles later?

We had our fun with the Corvette and, sadly, it was time to turn it back into money. This was an unusual car for us since we bought it at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant and even had a little plaque to prove it. Would anyone else think that added value? We decided that we would begin by taking it to CarMax to see what they would give us, thinking we might have to go the private party sale route this time around. CarMax amazed us with its offer.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Small Engine, Big Fun

October 20, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Go-kart or slow-kart?

Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper is powered by a 1.5-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder engine. This is the new base engine for the Mini (it's also the same basic motor that provides half the sauce for the BMW i8) and though it only produces 134 horsepower, thanks to the responsive throttle and the 162 pound-feet of torque, it's really fun to drive.

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2014 Kia Cadenza: Handy Trip Info

October 17, 2014

2014 Kia Cadenza

Each time the driver shuts off the 2014 Kia Cadenza (our long-termer is the Limited trim), this screen pops up in the instrument panel on the dashboard. It's a useful bit of info to help you keep track of your driving efficiency, or lack thereof. This photo shows how I did on an unusually traffic-free commute to the office. According to the EPA's estimates of 22 mpg combined (28 mpg highway), my 26.8 mpg trip was pretty efficient and far better than our running average of 21.7 mpg.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250: Palm Springs Road Trip

October 17, 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

I hadn't driven our long-term 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 since my Redwoods Road Trip back in April, so I was interested to see if my impressions of the car had changed. Frankly, I haven't driven the CLA that much since then, as its well-documented transmission, throttle and ride issues make driving around Los Angeles a rather tiresome experience.

On the open road, however, they don't manifest themselves to the same degree. Though the drive to Palm Springs is about a sixth of what I did back in April, the CLA once again proved to be an agreeable road trip companion.

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2014 Mazda 3: Rear Seat Comfort

October 17, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Recently a friend of mine was checking out Edmunds' long-term 2014 Mazda 3 hatchback. We were waiting in a parking lot for another friend to show up for a hike we were supposed to do, and it was a good opportunity to examine some of the 3's qualities that don't come up every day. One of those was how comfortable we were sitting in back.

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2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe: Makes Every Drive an Adventure

October 17, 2014

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

It was a great plan. At least I thought it was. Take my girlfriend in the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe over the Ortega Highway to the Lookout Roadhouse for a Sunday morning breakfast.

And drive. The Ortega is a dang good canyon road, even though its abundance of high-speed sweepers makes it better on a sportbike than a car.      

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2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI: Trunk Fit for a King

October 17, 2014

2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI

After a fairly painless round of allergy testing, I learned that dust, and the dreaded dust mite, is my enemy.

"Get a new mattress," the ENT doc said. "Buy all new pillows, bedding — change everything you can associated with your bed."

While I didn't try to stuff a new Cal King Tempurpedic into the trunk of our long-term 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI, I did pick up a couple of king-size down-alternative pillows on my way home.

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Slow Transitions

October 17, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

When I heard that the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited has a nine-speed automatic transmission, I thought, this is getting ridiculous. What's next, a 47-speed automatic transmission? Does it really help with fuel efficiency and ride comfort? Does it ever even get up to 8th and 9th gear?

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2015 Porsche Macan S: Fuel Economy Update for September

October 16, 2014

2015 Porsche Macan S

Our long-term 2015 Porsche Macan S, didn't cover many miles during the month of September. Only about 1,300. But its lifetime fuel economy continues to improve. 

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2014 Kia Cadenza: 15,000-Mile Service

October 16, 2014

2014 Kia Cadenza

After nine months and roughly 15,000 miles, our 2014 Kia Cadenza again requested normally scheduled maintenance by flashing its "service required" wrench in the instrument panel. With the Cadenza's pleasant, worry-free first service in our minds, we brought the luxury sedan to Kia of Cerritos.

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Proper Plug Placement

October 16, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

Putting all sorts of connectivity options in a new car is a great idea. Putting those connections somewhere that makes them useful is an even better idea.

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: Damage and Repair

October 16, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Somewhere in the past year the rocker panel of our 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray tried to occupy the same space as another object. This is how it turned out. What the other object was, exactly, we aren't certain. The nature of what we do sees the key passed around far more frequently than most. Be it editor to editor, to valet, or to dealer service-center porter, it can be a long list. Nonetheless, it happened, and we had to fix it...

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Picking a City Truck

October 16, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

I spent a week in our long-term 2014 Ram 1500, but unlike Josh who took the Ram on a multi-state road trip, I didn't have anywhere special to go. I took the truck to and from the office, to the grocery store and the beach, all of which are less than 5 miles from home. After seven days and only about 100 miles of driving, I decided I'd rather have our old long-term 2014 Chevrolet Silverado for this kind of city driving.

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2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: Parking Grade: F-

October 16, 2014

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

I make an attempt to keep our test cars from getting door dings. That means doing things like parking far away from other cars in parking lots (much to the annoyance of whoever is riding with me) and/or grabbing that coveted end spot. At least with the last you can keep one side of the car safe.

That's what I was trying to do with our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo when I parked at the Redondo Beach pier to watch some football at a sports bar with friends.

When I got back to the car, I found this Ford Mustang "parked" next to the BMW. And there's your proof for why we go to lengths to protect the test cars. Because, apparently, some people are parking bozos.

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2014 Acura MDX: A Tale of Two Road Trips

October 15, 2014

2014 Acura MDX

You already know about my recent 2014 Acura MDX road trip to Oregon to move my daughter off to college. You don't yet know about another trip I took the very next weekend to the high country of Utah.

The Oregon excursion took place on roads posted at 65-70 mph. There were a couple of mountain passes, but they only topped out at 4,500 feet or so. And they were generally over and done with quickly. Most of our time was spent well below 1,500 feet. There were three of us, plus clothes, pillows, bedding and the hardware of dorm living piled to the roof.

Last weekend's Utah blast took place on freeways posted at 75 and 80 mph. The entire trip was a steady climb up onto a plateau to our base of operations that sat above 5,000 feet. Once there we climbed a 9,800-foot pass to spend some time at an outdoor area that's nestled up at 8,600 feet. Five fully-formed adults were spread across the MDX's three rows, with our luggage piled on top of the folded unoccupied half of the third-row seat.

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2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI: Poor Man's Audi?

October 15, 2014

2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI

Styling is subjective, I know that. But still, I'm struck by how handsome our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI is. To my eyes, it embodies a clean, neatly-tailored design reminiscent of its upscale Audi cousins. No exaggerated swoops along the body sides, no bulging headlights, no discordant taillights.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Drivetrain Malfunction Fixed

October 15, 2014

2015 Porsche Macan

Jay posted about the odd "Drivetrain: Check Soon" warning on our 2014 Mini Cooper. The car said it was okay to drive, so we did. We drove it to Long Beach Mini to find out what was going on...

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2015 Porsche Macan: Electronic Glitch

October 15, 2014

2015 Porsche Macan

San Bernardino, California has three claims to fame. One: It is the location of the very first McDonald's. Two: It is the location of the very first Taco Bell. And three: It is my wife's hometown.

San Berdoo was also my destination as I jumped in our long-term 2015 Porsche Macan S last Thursday morning. I had already punched my destination into the crossover's navigation system and had hit the freeway for what I hoped would be an uneventful 72-mile drive due east.

The Porsche had other ideas.

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2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: Dual-Zone Mode Control

October 15, 2014

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

We're used to seeing dual-zone climate controls in cars these days. Most of the time the dual-zone-ness of the system is in terms of separate temperature controls between the driver and front passenger.

But the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo offers something that's not as common: dual-zone mode control.

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