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

2015 Audi A3: Still Rockin' the 30-Pin

December 17, 2014

2015 Audi A3

In 2012, Apple introduced the iPhone 5 which ditched the 30-pin connector and replaced it with the skinny, multi-directional Lightning port. It was a functional win, but apparently, Audi doesn't agree. Our 2015 Audi A3 still has a 30-pin.

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2014 Mazda 3: Napa Road Trip

December 17, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Recently, I was sent to Napa Valley to drive the new Nissan Murano. Rather than take a short flight up, I decided to drive. As we're nearing the end of the term with our 2014 Mazda 3 and we needed some miles to get us closer to the 20,000-mile mark, it was the obvious choice.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Suitably Classy Interior

December 17, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

In recent years, the Volkswagen GTI has earned a reputation for having an upscale interior. Pleasingly, that trend continues with the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Open the solid-feeling driver door and take a seat. Here you'll find a straightforward design finished with high quality materials. So, German.

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2014 Nissan Rogue: A Comfortable Ride

December 17, 2014

2014 Nissan Rogue

As I mentioned in a previous update, I can't help but compare our long-term 2014 Nissan Rogue SL to the similarly sized 2014 Mazda 5 Grand Touring minivan I now own. Really, though, if tech features are what you're after, there is no legitimate comparison here. You can't get a factory navigation system or a rearview camera (much less a 360-degree camera array with rear moving object detection) in the Mazda. If features are what you want, the Nissan is for you.

I'm old-fashioned, though, so I'm happy enough in the Mazda 5's outdated interior. However, after commuting to work in both vehicles, there's no doubt the Rogue offers more comfort.

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Rear Seats

December 16, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

I find the driver seat in the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited comfortable for me. And according to my weekend passengers, the rear seats are darn good, too.

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2015 Kia K900: One Thing I Would Change

December 16, 2014

2015 Kia K900

If I were in the market for a big, luxurious sedan for around $60K, the 2015 Kia K900 would be on my list for several reasons. The plush ride, the traditional interior design and the quiet cabin are just a few.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Surprisingly Strong and Vice-Free Power

December 16, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

How much power do you want from your front-wheel-drive sport compact? "A thousand horsepower!" would be the likely answer from my 10-year-old next-door neighbor. And why not, right? But as you likely know, there's a limit of how much power you can put down in a front-drive car before it all goes up in tire smoke and/or vexing torque steer.

Volkswagen upped the power on the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine fitted to its 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. It's now listed at 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That's a healthy boost compared to the 200 hp and 207 lb-ft in the 2014 car. True, more power is available from the 252-hp Ford Focus ST or, if you don't mind buying used, an old Mazdaspeed 3. But the new GTI's power output is surprisingly strong and effective.

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2014 Nissan Rogue: A Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seats Fits, But I Do Not

December 16, 2014

2014 Nissan Rogue

My current personal vehicle is a 2014 Mazda 5. It's a Grand Touring, and my husband and I make the payment on it every month. I mention that here because we chose our small Mazda minivan after much deliberation, and based on its available third-row seat (although not on the SL trim level), the 2014 Nissan Rogue is another vehicle we could have considered.

As you see here, the Rogue was able to accommodate my daughter's gigantic rear-facing car seat, the First Years C680 SI. I did have to use a pool noodle to achieve the correct angle, but we also have to use one in our Mazda 5. The only real hassle during the installation process was finding the lower anchors. They're simply buried in the Rogue's rear seats, and hooking the connectors onto them (whilst compressing the car seat) was a blind exercise that I found frustrating and tiring. Welcome to parenthood, though, where almost every endeavor is tiring. No doubt, I'll get better at installing a car seat with the LATCH system with practice.

Although the car seat fit, the 2014 Rogue would not be a great option for our family.

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2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel: Oregon Road Trip, Colder Weather in Bend

December 16, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel

The second phase of our trip saw us leave the Oregon coast behind in our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel and head inland to Bend. Along the way we stopped in Eugene to pick up our eldest daughter at the University of Oregon. I also refilled it (had it refilled; pump-your-own-gas in not allowed in Oregon) with more diesel before the four of us headed farther east.

This was only our second fuel stop after 1,140 miles on the road. The first had been in Willits, Calif., some 557 miles behind us. Our friendly Eugene station attendant added 21.451 gallons, which works out to 26.0 mpg. Not bad for a tank that was almost exclusively comprised of meandering two-lane roads that hugged the coastline, wound alongside rivers and climbed over more than a few grades and hills, including a handful of trips up Dad's half-mile long 15-percent driveway.

Bend is on the east side of the Cascade Range, and when we arrived there was snow on the ground. It had snowed a few days earlier, and it was fairly cold, but not yet Polar Vortex cold. Still, this gave us the chance to appreciate a couple of cold-weather Ram features.

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2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe: I'd Have the Convertible

December 15, 2014

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

On its face, the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe should be a car I covet. It makes a crazy noise, has a beefy V8, lacks practicality and has more power than control.

But it could be louder. It could lack even more practicality. It could have even less control. And it does all of these things in the form of the convertible Jaguar F-Type V8 S and this is the one I'd own.

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2015 Audi A3: Crash Test Scores

December 15, 2014

2015 Audi A3

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) awarded the 2015 Audi A3 the top score of 5 stars in its overall safety rating. It scored four stars in the front crash test and rollover crash test, and five stars in the side crash test.

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Smells Like Jeep Spirit

December 15, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

"What an incredible smell you've discovered." That was my thought when I slipped into our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited. The interior has a unique sour smell to it. Or a chemical smell. Or a sharp cheddar. It's pungent with a touch of skunk.

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2015 Ford Mustang GT: Introduction

December 15, 2014

2015 Ford Mustang GT

It's been 50 years since Ford unleashed the most iconic vehicle in its history, the Mustang. Over the past five decades, the coupe that launched the so-called "pony car" segment has taken many forms, from the basic no-frills coupe to the modern sports car that is the 2015 Ford Mustang GT. While the overall shape and proportions still echo the 2005 redesign to some extent, the newest version of the 'Stang looks forward as much as it pays homage to the past.

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2014 Nissan Rogue: Another Family Road Trip

December 15, 2014

2014 Nissan Rogue

A few weeks ago, I used our 2014 Nissan Rogue to shuttle my family about 800 miles round trip for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was very similar to the road trip I did in the Rogue back in April.

I've got a few more thoughts to add based on my most recent trip.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Misaligned Trunk Lid

December 15, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Several pieces on our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG are showing their age. I noticed the pitted windshield first, then as my mother was admiring the CL's unbroken window line, I spotted the quarter-inch panel gap on the trunk lid. I opened and closed the trunk a few times, checking for obstructions, finding none and hoping that the panel gap was an anomaly. Even after several open-shut-open repetitions, the gap remained. "Ruh roh," I thought out loud, "this is gonna be 'spensive."

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado: Hood Flutter

December 12, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

Drive our long-term 2015 Chevrolet Colorado on the freeway and you might notice that the hood flutters. Not the whole hood, mind you, and not in some violent, disconcerting manner.

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2015 Kia K900: Long-Haul Cruiser

December 12, 2014

2015 Kia K900

Whether it's a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or a Kia K900, there's nothing quite like driving a full-size luxury car on a road trip. The grand size, the whisper quiet, the supreme comfort, the abundant power, the copious equipment and the excellent sound system are all qualities that make a road trip easier and better. Instead of arriving at your destination beat and ready to take a nap, you feel nearly as refreshed as when you left.

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2014 Toyota Highlander: Long Seat Cushions

December 12, 2014

2014 Toyota Highlander

When I drive the 2014 Toyota Highlander I feel like a little kid sitting in her parent's car. The long seat bottom cushion hits my short legs about mid-calf. And the headrest of the driver seat is slightly above my head, even when lowered as far as it will go. Not an ideal driving position for me.

For the record, Magrath says he doesn't feel he needs any thigh support when he drives the Highlander because the seats fit his longer legs just fine.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Performance Tested

December 12, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

We're digging our new 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. So much so that our Tornado Red hot hatch only had a few weeks of driving behind it before we had blown past the 1,000-mile engine break-in period. We quickly headed for the track to see if Volkswagen had addressed the overly-intrusive ESC system that we took umbrage with on our last-generation long-termer. After our day at the track, we pulled the performance numbers from our 2013 Ford Focus ST to see how the new GTI fared against the competition.

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2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport: Installing a TeraFlex HD Hinged Tire Carrier

December 12, 2014

2012 Jeep Wrangler

Yes, it still exists. What used to be the official Edmunds 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport long-term test vehicle has been my personal vehicle since I seized the opportunity to buy it after the test ended. Functionally it's the same JK Jeep Wrangler that's sold today as the 2015 Jeep Wrangler. We don't expect to see a full redesign for a couple of more years, so most of what we learned (and I continue to learn) still applies.

Just before it left the fleet it developed a couple of cracked spot welds on the tailgate that creaked and popped on rough roads. The culprit was the oversized spare tire, made up of a 285/70R17 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tire and AEV/Mopar aluminum wheel. The largest factory wheel and tire weighs about 20 pounds less than this combination, and the JK's factory tailgate-mounted spare tire carrier has an upper limit that we had crossed.

And that's why Teraflex devised their Heavy Duty Hinged Carrier. It's designed to carry the load of massive oversized spare tires up to 37" in diameter with the optional Spare Tire Mounting Kit. The nice part about the TeraFlex approach is you don't have to buy a new rear bumper, which is a big cost savings. A new bumper costs upwards of $1,000 before you add any swing-away tire carrier option. It can run into big bucks.

So I bought one, brought it home and installed it the very next weekend.

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2015 Porsche Macan: 10,000 Miles

December 11, 2014

2015 Porsche Macan

This weekend our 2015 Porsche Macan S hit the 10,000-mile mark. Where was the Porsche when it eclipsed this notable milestone? It was stuck in traffic. Talk about an awful way to celebrate. So let's reflect on the first 10,000 miles...

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Bearly Fit

December 11, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

What happens when your 14-year-old daughter asks for a "giant teddy bear" for Christmas?

If you're me, the bear's $120 price tag makes you flinch, laugh and ultimately scoff at the sheer ridiculousness of the purchase.

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