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.
Where Did We Drive It? Our long-term 2017 Lincoln Continental spent the vast majority of November in the hands of one of the Edmunds executives, performing what we'd assume are the typical commuting and family duties. As we're about to say farewell after all this time and miles, there's not a whole lot to say that hasn't already been published.
Where Did We Drive It? We continued to pack miles onto our 2018 Toyota Camry in November, but it didn't come close to matching the roughly 3,000 miles we reported in October. Last month, the Camry mostly stuck to commuting and weekend tours of Los Angeles County, and we added just more than 900 miles, well below our 1,700-mile monthly goal.
Where Did We Drive It? You're in luck. This 2017 Land Rover Discovery update contains bonus material. Our new Disco arrived just after October's midpoint, so we decided to save the late October impressions and roll them into November's update. You're getting six weeks for the price of four. Such a deal.
Even with that in mind, we're still surprised at the miles our new Land Rover has accumulated. The final November gas station visit occurred on the 27th of the month and the odometer was already showing 5,718 miles.
A look at the logbook shows why. One of our editors had driven the Discovery to Yosemite National Park. Another loaded it with dogs and gear and took it on a duck hunting trip. And I've piloted it to Oregon and back to see family in two parts of the state. Add in the usual commuting and that big number makes more sense.
Where Did We Drive It? Our 2017 Honda Ridgeline crossed the 20,000-mile threshold this month, a distance we try to achieve with each long-term test vehicle. Driving that many miles in a year gives us the chance to experience an aggressive first year of ownership, during which we test the vehicle's behavior in four seasons, visit the dealer a few times, and note any changes in reliability. The Ridgeline hit the number in the hands of Cameron Rogers, who took a trip down to San Diego.
It spent the rest of the month helping people run errands and get to work. I did exactly that, and in the process found it strange how carlike this compact truck behaves. As the owner of an old four-speed, V8 Chevy pickup, I'm used to a bad ride, loud interior and abysmal fuel economy. The Ridgeline has none of those things. It's so quiet and smooth, you might mistake it for a compact SUV or minivan from behind the wheel. This civility is the Ridgeline's appeal.
Where Did We Drive It? Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma has been in the fleet longer than most, but it's still popular enough to generate another decent hunk of mileage. In October, we added 2,206 miles. Some of those were commuting miles, but our trusty Taco was also pressed into hauling duty and was taken on a couple of short desert excursions.
I blame the arrival of our Honda Ridgeline. With the Honda on one end and the Tacoma on the other, we've taken full advantage of the chance to compare what amounts to the bookends of the midsize pickup segment. The Chevrolet Colorado, which we hosted in the fleet some years ago, falls somewhere in between, and the ZR2, which we've just bought, is an off-road special.
That said, at the beginning of summer we'd had our fill. We were getting ready to sell off the Tacoma, but then the Ridgeline unexpectedly outperformed our TRD Off-Road 4x4 in Death Valley on a relentless washboard dirt road that was a lot more punishing than it looked.
We didn't want to end things on such a down note, so we decided to do what an owner might do in the same circumstances: Upgrade the Tacoma's shocks to something better optimized to our local terrain and style of usage. We selected and installed those Bilstein upgrade parts midway through the month, so we're only now learning how they've changed the Tacoma's on-road and off-road driving character.
Spoiler alert: Our fortified Tacoma returned to Death Valley's Racetrack Playa this month, but that will be the subject of a separate post.
Our late-spring trip to the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley had been gnawing at me. We built the trip around the idea of finding the limits of the Honda Ridgeline, but our 2016 Toyota Tacoma, which accompanied in a supporting role, became the focus after its rear shocks failed unexpectedly.
In the intervening months, I'd spoken with people with more miles logged on those Death Valley backroads than me. Few were terribly surprised about the Tacoma's performance en route to the Racetrack. If anything, the Ridgeline's comparative, and admittedly partial, victory surprised them more.
That particular road is notorious in the backcountry "overlanding" community precisely because its unrelenting washboard surface wreaks havoc on shock absorbers. The Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road is a popular truck among this group, and upgrading the dampers is one of the first upgrades on many owners' list.
I can totally see why.
The dinky 36 mm Bilstein shocks that Toyota fits to its off-road package are the smallest that the shock manufacturer makes. (The measurement refers to the diameter of the piston inside the shock absorber.) Hunt around in Bilstein's consumer catalog for a replacement shock and you won't find anything smaller than 46 mm.
I had a choice to make. I could take a minimal approach and go with Bilstein 46 mm replacement shocks all around, which would probably prevent a repeat of the same scenario. Or I could take a more definitive step forward and choose something bigger, more transformative, and better suited to more regular excursions in washboard terrain.
Where Did We Drive It? Our new 2018 Toyota Camry has only been in the fleet for a month and a half, but we've wasted no time breezing past the engine break-in period of 621 miles. In fact, we've put nearly 3,000 miles on Blue Lightning since we purchased it in mid-September. In that time, the Camry has seen its share of city commuting, highway driving and instrumented performance testing. A few local trips bookended the month — Josh Sadlier took it to Palm Springs in early October, and I drove to Temecula at the end.
Where Did We Drive It? We didn't drive our 2017 Infiniti QX30 as much as usual last month. It seemed we couldn't escape the dark cloud hovering above it. The gloom that followed wasn't the car's, but our own, and it kept our Infiniti on the sidelines for much of October.
Early in the month the QX30 played the role of support vehicle for a video shoot. On location the driver twisted an ankle, subsequently placing her and the car out of commission for an extended period. She recovered enough to pass the key off to the next editor, who came down with the flu. More driveway time for the QX. In hopes of catching up on mileage, we sent it to Las Vegas for the weekend preceding Halloween. I was asked not to mention how much money was left there.
Where Did We Drive It? Typical for our 2016 Toyota Prius, it spent most of the month navigating city streets and crowded highways. That's what it does best, so most of our editors choose the Prius when they're facing consecutive days of commuting. Associate Staff Writer Will Kaufman got plenty of seat time on his extended commute and came away impressed with many aspects of our thrifty little hybrid. Senior Editor Ed Hellwig also liked how the Prius has held up over the last year, still feeling solid and rattle-free.
Where Did We Drive It? There's a pattern here, and that pattern is that the Clarity is the last car to be chosen when the car list circulates among our editors. Our 2017 Honda Clarity has some idiosyncrasies associated with refueling, of course, which inherently limits its appeal. But I suspect that even if it was a conventional car, Honda's fuel-cell science project wouldn't fare much better. For all its innovation, the Clarity is relentlessly humdrum.
Nobody said that a vision of the future would be enthralling. Whether that future comes to pass is another question entirely, but it certainly couldn't hurt to attempt to cultivate genuine enthusiasm by creating desirable future-y vehicles in the first place. Could it?