fullsize cars

fullsize cars

Posted on by TB +  

The Dodge Challenger SXT models bring all the muscle-car intimidation factor of their pricier peers, plus a heavy dose of American full-size, rear-wheel-drive coupe swagger.

The Challenger SXT is actually nimble and quick, despite its V-6 powerplant. The Pentastar engine is good for 305 horsepower and a 6.8-second sprint to 60 mph. With a base price of under $26,000, this lovable retro coupe is a desirable option for many shoppers.

The Challenger SXT lineup comes in three flavors: SXT, SXT Plus and SXT Rallye Redline. All three come standard with a respectable feature list that includes 18- or 20-inch black chrome wheels, a five-speed autobox and thumping audio options.

The future is bright for this big-boned rear-drive muscle car, with plans for a hardcore 2015 SRT Barracuda spin-off and even a possible Chrysler luxury soft-top cabrio for the next generation of downsized models spun off this platform.

The big girl herself looks set to keep the current package until 2015, with possible light tweak to the headlights and eight-speed auto likely the only changes to keep it competitive until well into 2017.

How does the value side of the Challenger range compare with the Ford Mustang , Chevrolet Camaro and the wildcard Subaru BRZ?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Dodge Challenger V-6 SXT and SXT Plus, with info on the optional SXT Rallye Redline package’s amazing polished and painted inner wheels and the available Mopar T-handle gear level.

It wasn’t that long ago when the Chrysler 300 was being panned as a Bentley copycat. Times have changed though, and the 300 has become a real pillar in the full-sized, semi-premium class of vehicles.

While the old styling of the 300 did evoke a feeling of luxury to the model, it still felt like the design as borrowed to a certain extent. But the current-generation 300 was redesigned with a more original look to it and it has done wonders to improve the overall appeal of the sedan .

The 2013 model sticks to this look but also has a number of improvements that further illustrates why the 300 has turned into one of Chrysler’s most important models.

It’s easy to see where Chrysler really turned up the heat on the 300 and the risk it did in doing so has been rewarded with a car that now looks about as smooth and as original as any car Chrysler has produced in recent years - with plenty of creature comforts to go with.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chrysler 300 after the jump

Posted on by Simona  

Chevrolet launched the Tahoe back in 1992 as the badge-engineered replacement for the full-size Blazer. Since its release, it has carried the Blazer’s tradition of being one of the most successful models in the full-sized SUV segment.

It’s easy to understand why the Tahoe draws so much interest: it accommodates up to nine people, offers a powerful engine and it has tons of options to choose from. Over the years, more and more competitors have hit the market, giving the Tahoe plenty of competition to fend off, like the Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia . The question is: can it handle it?

Buyer can order the 2014 Tahoe in a trio of trim levels — LS, LT and LTZ — and in two system configurations: rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. With this many options, there is a one Tahoe for every taste.

One big issue with the Tahoe is that its design is very, very, VERY long in the tooth and looks dated inside and out when compared to the competition. That comes as no surprise, given its last redesign was in 2007. There were plenty of rumors of a redesigned 2014 model, but that was put on hold and now all signs are pointing toward that redesign coming in the 2015 model year. Fortunately for Chevy, the entire full-size, body-on-frame SUV realm is behind the styling eight ball.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe.

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.


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