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Posted on by Simona  

Chevrolet announced the Caprice PPV (Police Patrol Vehicle) back in 2009 and since then, it became one of the most appreciated police cars . For the 2014 model year, the Caprice PPV is further improved with a series of exterior and interior enhancements, new safety measures and new technology.

The model is imported from Australia and is being built on GM’s Zeta platform. The Caprice PPV comes with a choice of two engines — a V-6 and a V-8 — and both come with a standard six-speed automatic transmission.

Updates for the 2014 model year include: a larger-diameter front stabilizer bar and new front struts that enhance handling performance and reduce body roll when cornering; a new instrument cluster;newly designed front seat-mounted pelvic air bags to reduce the risk of pelvic injury by up to 30 percent; and a new exterior color: Prussian Steel Metallic.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Chevrolet Caprice PPV.

The Ram 1500 pickup has become a popular model in the years that it’s been patrolling roads all over America.

Everybody has thought highly enough of the pickup that a revised model of the current-generation 1500 was just introduced a few weeks ago. Apparently, that popularity has compelled Ram to build a special-edition model called the Ram Black Express.

Looking the part of a completely bad-ass pickup , RAM built the Black Express to accommodate a slew of new features that completely sets it apart from the rest of the 1500 lot. Not that the latter doesn’t boast of many creds, the Black Express just takes it to another level.

One look at the Black Express and you immediately notice that it’s been blacked out to the hilt, complete with a black grille and front fascia, black bumpers, black badges on the front and rear, and to no one’s surprise, black 20-inch aluminum wheels.

Nobody got confused with what to call this special-edition 1500, apparently.

There’s also the addition of a bi-function halogen projector headlamps with LED running lights, a standard feature on this special edition compared to it being an added option on the regular steeds.

No powertrain changes were made so expect to see the same 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 under its hood, good enough to produce 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque while mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a towing capacity of 9,250 pounds to go with an estimated 0-to-60 mph time of about 8-something seconds and a top speed of about 135 mph.

The Ram Black Express comes with a base price of $26,955, a little over $1,000 more than the base Express 4X2 regular cab.

Click past the jump to read about the standard Ram 1500

Scion tC Sports Coupe

We have seen nearly every gimmick under the sun with various automakers, from Saturn and its "No Haggle" pricing — see where that got it — to Volkswagen with its "Sign Then Drive Event." One gimmick that we’ve been waiting for is for when dealerships start renting out their cars for extended test drives or just a weekend trip.

Well, the wait is now over, as Toyota has done just that. From the looks of things, about 85 percent of Toyota and Scion dealers across the U.S. participate in this program and Toyota claims that its rental rates are competitive with local car-rental companies. According to the Toyota Rent a Car website, you can rent cars, trucks, SUVs, Hybrids and even the 2013 RAV4 EV for a day, week or even months. Unfortunately, the 2013 Scion FR-S isn’t on the list of available models, but the almost-as-cool Scion tC is on the list.

So, we can now check brand-new rent-a-buckets off of our wish list, now we are just waiting for all of the dealers to morph into rental showrooms and Internet-based car buying — now that is "no haggle pricing!" Those two will likely never happen, but at the rate that Tesla is changing the car-buying experience, you just never know what will happen.

Your move, Elon Musk...

Click past the jump to read about some of the coolest models that Toyota is renting out under this program

With summertime about halfway over and fall bearing down on all of us, the thought of taking the summer tires off of your beloved ride in favor of all-season rubber that just doesn’t perform the same is depressing. With exception to us southern-state dwellers, you need a set of tires that can handle the rain, snow and ice that the winter, fall and spring present us, and most summer tires simply can’t handle the elements. Well, Michelin has an all-new all-season tire that packs summer tire-like stickiness with an all-season design and features: the Pilot A/S 3.

This all-new Pilot Sport tire uses a special blend of silica to help enhance the "sticky" feeling of the tire and a tread design that helps jettison water from under your car’s footprint. The combination of water channeling and extra silica really helps the tire bite down on the road. Additionally, variable-thickness sipes on the outer section of the tread help break up the tension in the water and then lock together to create maximum rubber contact to the asphalt.

When it comes to tires, you cannot base purchasing decisions on sheer performance, unless you have tons of money to blow. You also have to consider how long the manufacture guarantees the tire will last. Most summer tires don’t include a mileage warranty and most all-season tires with any sort of warranty are too hard to perform well. Michelin obviously found a nice balance with the Pilot A/S 3,as these shoes come with a 45,000-mile warranty.

A truly unique feature on the A/S 3 that surprises even me - a seasoned expert in the tire industry - is Michelin’s Helio Compound, which helps the rubber retain its soft and sticky properties in cold temperatures. This is a frequent complaint of all-season tire users, as it can take seemingly forever for your tires to get up to temperature on a cold day. Not only does this increase cold-weather grip, but it also increases comfort in cold weather.

You can snag up these tires now between the sizes of 175/65R15 and 285/35R20, which covers cars ranging from the Fiat 500 to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG . Once we get our hands on a set of them, we will let you know just how well they do, so stay tuned!

Click past the jump to see detailed videos on these all-new tires and the crazy tests they underwent.

The Ram truck has been around in some form or fashion since Dodge started making vehicles in 1914. The Ram as we know it today got its start when Dodge put the Ram name on the then-new 1981 full size truck. Of course, the biggest change happened in 2010 when Chrysler made Ram its own brand, pulling it from under the Dodge umbrella. Now called the Ram Truck brand, Ram has been making huge strides in truck development.

New for 2009 and refreshed again in 2013, the Ram 1500 is available in an almost limitless combination of cab, bed, engine, and options. Regular, Quad, and Crew cabs come with three bed lengths and three engine options that include the base 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, the venerable 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, and the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6.

The Ram 1500 also represents some out-of-the-box thinking in terms of packaging. A five-link rear suspension replaces the traditional leaf springs and an available air suspension gives the Ram a boost for off-roading and trailer towing. The Ram also sports an eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF. The unit helps the 1500 get exceptional fuel economy while still affording it good payload and towing numbers. The truck is also available with the “Ram Box,” a set of toolboxes mounted within the bed rails that will hold anything from trailer hitches to ice and drinks.

While it’s not expected that the Ram 1500 will overtake the Ford F-150 in terms of sales volume, it is expected the Ram will be chosen for its creature comforts and smart new diesel engine.

UPDATE 7/16/2014: Ram Trucks has just announced the entire Ram lineup will comply with the SAE’s J2807 towing standards. Ram joins Toyota and General Motors in adopting the new standards, though Ram is the only automaker to adopt J2807 in for Heavy Duty trucks.

Click past the jump for the full review of the Ram 1500

Audi’s resident luxury SUV, the Q7 , is returning with a 2014 model that features plenty of enhancements, giving the SUV a powerful and progressive design combined with functional spaciousness that’s much needed in the market these days.

It’s a little hard to believe that the Q7 is a relatively young model, having made its debut only 8 years ago at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show. Since then, though, it has come to define the German automaker’s SUV offerings, spawning the Q5 and the Q3 along the way.

Make no mistake; the Q7 still has its hands full against some stellar competition in the form of the BMW X5 and the Mercedes GL-Class . The former, in particular, is a new-generation model that wants nothing more than to stake claim in the supremely competitive luxury SUV market. The latter’s got some take in it, too, so you can’t just brush both these SUVs aside when you’re thinking about the Q7.

That being said, Audi appears to be confident in its treatment of the 2014 Q7, including the plethora of exterior and interior upgrades that owners can truly appreciate.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Audi Q7

Posted on by TB +  

For 2014, Honda is refreshing the Odyssey with some mild exterior tweaks, new safety systems, a new center stack design for the infotainment options and offers the world’s first built-in shop vacuum on top-spec Touring Elite trim. Many of the other cool benefits are limited to the Touring Elite spec as well, but the core package of responsive performance, extreme durability and family friendliness continues unchanged for 2014.

The Honda Odyssey is one of the top two minivans in the sales charts, often jostling for position in this declining market segment with the Toyota Sienna . Both the Honda and Toyota vans are actually pretty pricey in their top configurations, leaving the value segment to the Dodge and Chrysler vans, whose combined sales dwarf the Honda and Toyota.

For people who’ve accepted that they need a van, there’s little loyalty at play and these family audiences are happy to jump ship when a better entry comes along. So far, no one has topped the Honda Odyssey since 1999 in terms of total feature count or buyer satisfaction. One could even say that the Honda is the most premium player in the segment, following the discontinuation of the Mercedes-Benz R-class .

The exterior tweaks are not going to cause a rush on showrooms, but are enough to subtly refine the Odyssey’s style in the face of the more-flamboyant Toyota Sienna design. The new 2014 models arrive in July at Honda dealers nationwide.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Honda Odyssey, including the new HondaVac and HondaHair system on the top Odyssey Touring Elite models.

Rumors have been swirling since 2011 regarding the Chevrolet SS and we were amongst the first to start discussing it . The rumors cooled off up until a few weeks ago when after 40 years of using the “SS” logo, GM finally decided to trademark it. Later the rumors became even more certain, as OnStar, GM’s in-vehicle communication system, mistakenly put the 2014 model lineup on its site. Within that lineup was a model dubbed the SS Performance.

This all adds up to a solid case that the Chevrolet SS Performance is on its way to the U.S. According to the rumormill, this would also result in the Holden Commodore SS , which was once used as the Pontiac G8 , becoming the vehicle that dons the 2014 SS Perfomance badges.

With this release, Chevy would finally have a performance sedan to stack up against the likes of the Charger R/T and the Ford Taurus SHO .

UPDATE 06/04/2013: Chevrolet announced today prices for the 2014 SS. See more after the jump.

Click past the jump to read our full review of the anticipated SS Performance and how it stacks up against the competition.

Posted on by TB +  

Holden Special Vehicles recently debuted their enhanced and refreshed line of Commodore VF variants dubbed the “Gen-F” across the eight specialty models built to satisfy power-mad Australians’ thirst for large and fast rear-drive performance models. One highlight in the diverse range is the Clubsport R8 Tourer; a svelte but practical wagon that can be had with optional SV Enhanced power package, forged wheels and launch control to manage the 455-horsepower surge.

Much more than a facelift, the Gen-F series new nose touts the 2013 models’ significant performance enhancements, technology upgrades, and far better infotainment and cabin design on the inside. The big news is that HSV is getting real-time access to the latest GM innovations in a quest to reinvigorate the stalling Australian large-car market with top-end performance models.

Best known for donating its butch platform to the genetic scientists at GM, the Commodore has been used for Cadillacs, Pontiacs and Chevrolets with little commercial success but a big fan following. Until the brand closed in 2009, the Pontiac G8 GT filled an enthusiast gap in the GM lineup with its V-8 grunt, manual transmission and laugh-riot tire shredding – it even won its own re-birth as the current Chevrolet Caprice PPV .

The latest VF series Holden Commodores share a great deal with the 2014 Chevrolet SS . These HSV bruisers, however, count the 2014 Corvette Stingray as their closest relative for shared suspension, safety and technology solutions.

Click past the jump for the full review and images of the just-released 2013 HSV ClubSport R8 Tourer with optional SV Enhanced spec.

Everything is bigger in Texas, so they say. And apparently, that even extends to the choice of vehicles the folks down there are inclined to buy. We actually don’t know this but according to Chevrolet , one out of every six full-size pickups are sold in Texas.

That’s a pretty telling number and partly explains why the Bowtie decided to unveil a special-edition Silverado exclusively for the Lone Star State.

The model is called the Silverado Texas Edition and according to Chevrolet, it was built to recognize the strong bonds between Texans and their trucks. That’s awfully touching.

But the Silverado Texas Edition has no sentimental bone in its body. It’s rugged as rugged can be with the added benefit of a few new components, including body-color outside mirror caps and door handles, a locking rear differential, a trailering package, Texas Edition badges, and a set of 20-inch polished-aluminum wheels. And that’s just for the midlevel LT trim. For the LTZ trim, customers get all of the aforementioned goodies in chrome to go with a Bose premium audio system.

And lest we forget, the Silverado Texas Edition can be had with a choice of two powertrains: a 4.3-liter V-6 engine with 285 horsepower for the LT and a 5.3-liter V-8 with 355 horsepower for the LTZ.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and the accompanying press release for the Silverado Texas Edition


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