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.
There's a lot to like about the new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab, not the least of which is its ruggedly handsome styling. I wouldn't exactly mind if somebody said that about me sometime...
But even though the new Colorado is the best midsize pickup you can get right now, the V6 is a bit disappointing. Sure, it has good power and all, with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, but it's just not all that pleasant of an experience, especially at full throttle.
Whack the gas pedal to the floor and the Colorado moves out pretty well, but as the tachometer clears 4,500 rpm you can feel vibrations creep into the cabin and the engine takes on a more coarse sound.
When Dan and Kurt drove our then-new 2015 Audi A3 from Houston to Los Angeles back in November, they observed that the A3 was pretty invisible on the roadway. No real head turns, no thumbs-up, no cell phone paparazzi. I suppose this shouldn't be a surprise. The A3's styling is pretty similar to Audi's other sedans, and that familiarity just isn't going to wow the motoring public when you're moving along at 65 mph.
That said, I've gotten quite a few compliments about our A3 when the car's been parked.
One of my best friends recently bought his first house, and I offered a bit of extra muscle to move his considerable amount of stuff to the new place. Muscle being a euphemism, as lifting anything heavier than an empty hamster cage triggers a medically alarming amount of perspiration and ends with my damaged body crumpled in the fetal position with a slipped disc. I had the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI that weekend, and it doesn't exactly have enough storage space to move an entire apartment. However, I was still able to take boxes and assorted items with the rear seats folded.
After driving 1,500 miles in our long-term 2014 Nissan Rogue I turned around and headed home. The trip had taken me from Los Angeles to Nevada City, then to Portland and Seattle and back to Portland again. With about 1,000 miles left in front of me, I split up the remaining distance into two legs: Portland to Sacramento and Sacramento to Los Angeles.
The 600 miles from Portland to Sacramento had several elevation changes and I stopped multiple times for food, so I wasn't setting any records. From Sacramento to Los Angeles, though, was a different story. I was on a self-imposed mission to hit the EPA's highway fuel economy estimate of 32 mpg in the Rogue and I pulled out all the stops, literally.
With our week in Bend, Oregon, sadly at an end, my wife and I packed up the Cherokee once again and set course 822 miles due south for what would hopefully be a full day of driving. I say hopefully, because you never know what weather or a jackknifed tractor trailer on a mountain pass might be ahead.
The countdown began on the northbound leg of our Oregon holiday trip in the 2015 Kia K900 sedan. We were just approaching our first overnight stop at Harris Ranch when a prominent Service Required message flashed its first warning indicating 1,000 miles to go.
More than 1,000 miles would pass before we got back home, so we'd be a little tardy. But at least they would be easy cruising miles, I told myself.
Monday morning saw me first in line at my local Kia/Suzuki/Isuzu service center. The service writer had never seen a K900 before, and indeed the sales lot was thick with lower-price fare that consisted mainly of Optimas and Souls.
Seattle, Washington is about a four-hour drive from Portland, Oregon. I had just arrived in Portland the day before but on day three of my holiday road trip in our long-term 2014 Nissan Rogue I decided to make the four-hour trek and meet my friend Russell for lunch. He had just taken delivery on his new Tesla Model S P85D and that was worth the extra 200 miles on its own, but there was some Thai food thrown in to sweeten the deal, so I couldn't resist.
Checking this car's engine oil level could not be easier. Or unmessy. You don't even have to open the hood. Heck, you don't even have to leave its leather-covered driver seat.
Like many luxury cars these days, our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has no traditional oil dipstick. Instead, you check its engine oil level with a few twists and turns of its iDrive dial.
After a few hundred miles behind the wheel of our 2015 Lexus RC F I'm surprised by how much I like the seats. I say surprised because they don't immediately strike you as great seats the minute you slide into them.
On the face of it, the cruise control system in our 2015 Kia K900 sedan does an admirable job of maintaining speed. (Note: For now I'm just talking about the regular cruise control or the adaptive system with no traffic detected.)
How good is it? The big Kia's indicated velocity never once deviated from my chosen set-speed by more than a single mph. And this remained true despite a route that included numerous steep climbs and long downgrades at highway speed.
But one critical aspect of the system's performance disturbed me to the point where I felt the need to manually intervene going downhill.
At freeway speeds the system seemed to rely exclusively on the brakes to keep speed in check. At no time did the eight-speed transmission downshift to help out. This approach is the exact opposite of everything I've been taught. It runs counter to every cautionary "Use Low Gear" road sign I've seen on downgrades scattered throughout the western United States.
With a thick layer of frost on our long-term 2014 Nissan Rogue I started it up and went right back in to the house to pack my bags. I spent the night at my father's house in Nevada City, where the temperature had dropped to 26 degrees overnight, so I let the Rogue idle while I gathered my things and plotted my route to Portland, Oregon, 563 miles away. This was the second day of my 2,500-mile holiday road trip in the Rogue and while things went relatively well on day one of the trip I was about to discover a few more of the crossover's flaws.
This is our 2015 Chevy Colorado with a stack of 16-foot long baseboards piled on top of it. Not exactly a great fit, but 16 feet of anything rarely is.
Since I only had a short drive home it wasn't a big deal. Did the same task with our Silverado not too long ago and loaded up the boards the same way. Neither truck had a sliding rear window so it was over the roof or nothing.
Being in Southern California is wonderful for reviewing cars, as you can pretty much do photo shoots and track-testing every week of the year without fear of a blizzard or torrential rain. However, there are car features we simply don't get to test as you would in normal parts of the country. One such common feature is remote ignition and I got a chance to experience and appreciate it in in our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited during my road trip to Bend, Oregon.
I'm not going to lie to you. When I realized our 2015 Hyundai Sonata was not the Eco model, I was a little bit bummed. "We got the wrong car," I thought to myself.
The reason I thought this was because we had a short-term Sonata Eco test car in here a little while ago and it actually outperformed the more powerful 2.0T Sonata (which has an extra 68 horsepower over the Eco!) in a straight line, the Eco hitting 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, the 2.0T in 8.3. That surprised us, but then the Eco is the only Sonata with the new quick-shifting dual-clutch seven-speed transmission, and that 1.6 turbo is a lively little piece.
EK900, a frequent commenter on the long-term blog, said he wanted to know more about what it was like to buy the 2014 BMW i3. I had a busy December and I didn't get a chance to write a buying blog, so without further ado, here's the exciting backstory.
Fresh from the Detroit Auto Show, I am flush with thoughts of our long-term 2015 Ford Mustang's engine family. Ford's "modular" V8 in its current 32-valve, 5.0-liter "Coyote" form has potency and refinement in equal measure. It's a pleasure to drive. You might think this is as good as the Mod motor gets.
Audi builds some fantastic highway cruisers. Los Angeles to New York? Sure, no problem if you've got the keys to, say, an A8, A6 or Q7. But along comes the new entry-level 2015 Audi A3. Some concern would be justified. How much of the traditional luxury sedan experience do you still get from this $29,900 (base price) vehicle? Well, at least in terms of my highway driving experiences with our long-term car so far, a pretty decent amount, I'd say.
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