topspeed garage

topspeed garage

Posted on by Bryan 1

The Volkswagen Jetta has clearly been an afterthought since the first day it went on sale. Basically, it was just a Volkswagen Golf with a trunk and a bigger backseat. Yet, it’s been one of the company’s biggest sellers in the United States for thirty years. That being said, it doesn’t come close to the sales of the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla , but it was never going to now was it.

The people who buy these Japanese economy cars aren’t like the rest of us. They care more about price than they do European driving ability and build quality. They want interior room to haul their many kids, something which the Germans never thought of when they were in the design room. But this was the old Jetta, and times have changed with their latest creation. The sixth-generation Volkswagen Jetta, like it or not, has grown fatter, gotten cheaper, and now caters to Americans like never before.

The new price of the Jetta comes in at $15,995 for the base S trim, right around the price of the Civic and the Corolla. It would seem like that good old "German quality" will be lost at this new price point, but we’ll just have to drive it to find out.

Hit the jump to keep reading.

Posted on by Bryan 2

Trying to multitask might seem like a good idea at first, but although you might get things done, you might not get them done well. Watching your favorite football team or Formula One race, while studying for an exam, and typing a paper might work for a while, but you won’t know what happened in the race, you’ll fail the test, and your paper will be poor at best.

The 2010 Lexus RX450h attempts it’s own multi-tasking effort. The hybrid SUV tries to be luxurious, fuel efficient, and practical all at the same time. It manages to accomplish everything it set out to do, albeit with varying degrees of success.

The fifth-generation RX is the newest version of the best selling model in the Lexus line, but only one in five sell with a hybrid motor under the hood. So Lexus is banking on the RX450h being good at everything it attempts to do. So, how does it fair?

Hit the jump to find out.

Posted on by Bryan 0

Lexus is to the hybrid world as Germany is to the Formula One racing driver scene. Toyota’s luxury brand has been in the hybrid game for some time now and they have quite the selection to choose from. Most have been successful, but nobody would dare argue that these models are the best of the hybrid world. In order to take the hybrid title, Lexus has decided to build a hybrid from the ground out, sort of Lexus’s Michael Schumacher.

Being that Lexus is directly related to Toyota , who currently produces the benchmark hybrid in the Prius, Lexus has a wealth of knowledge at its disposal, but at the same time has one tough act to follow with the new third-generation Prius . With all that in mind, one would hope that thisHS 250h would be the pinnacle of what a hybrid vehicle should be.

Lexus’s attempt to create a Schumacher-type vehicle seemed within reach, but the Japanese automaker wound up with a Sebastian Vettel, which isn’t that bad if we’re honest. What Lexus has done was create a luxury Prius, something that is nearly a mirror image of the best selling hybrid and that just isn’t a benchmark in our eyes. After spending a week in the HS 250h, our minds haven’t changed.

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Posted on by Bryan 3

The entry-level luxury segment doesn’t get the attention of some of the various other segments, such as the luxury sports sedan category. Yet, attention from car lovers matters about as much to sales as one cloud on a sunny day. Photos on the covers of magazines are all well and good, but sales numbers are what really count.

The reason for this is the fact that companies don’t make a whole lot of money selling a few thousand super expensive machines with plush seats, loads of technology, and a massive motor. Sort of like Rolex and Timex, as one makes a better product, but the latter is far wealthier. So, with so many different automakers trying to soak up the sales of the entry-level luxury game, one would think that sales would be spread, but they’re not. One vehicle has maintained dominance over the herd, theLexus ES .

In the past decade, Toyota has created 600,000 of these sedans in the U.S alone, with another 650,000 in the rest of the world. What makes this even better for the Japanese automaker is the lack of incentives that go along with the ES. These things are selling straight up.

Hit the jump to read on.

Posted on by Bryan 7

We’ll be the first to admit that a car’s badge means something to us. Take for instance, the Ferrari badge. There have been countless numbers of Ferrari products that have been less than stellar, but do we love them? Of course we do, simply because they wear the prancing horse on the hood.

The Kia Motor Company , on the other hand, has a badge that gets about as much street credibility as a science professor. The Korean automaker came to the United States offering cheap and not so cheerful vehicles that are still haunting them to this day.

Despite the badge and despite the misconceptions, Kia has come a long way. The mind numbingly boring Optima may have been in a line of cars that nobody paid any attention to, but the next-generation model may start to change all of that.

Hit the jump to read on.

Posted on by Bryan 6

One look at the new Jaguar XJ for 2011 and you’ll be staring at it for weeks on end. At least, that’s what we did because this vehicle is simply stunning in every way possible. It’s not bland, boring, or unrecognizable in any way. It’s unique and possibly, one of the most beautiful things ever to come out of the Jaguar factory.

There has been a trend in the luxury car segment recently and it hasn’t been for the better. Where as automakers once attempted to create unique products that would separate them from the herd, today’s luxury sedans seem to blend together in the automotive parking lot. Sure, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-Series look good in their own way, but ask a normal person which one was which and they might not even know.

This is part of the reason why we love the XJ and why it won our luxury car top ten comparison.

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Posted on by Bryan 5

Our motto at this website is ‘no boring cars’. Whether that’s sports cars, Italian exotics, or super luxurious sedans, we love them all. For this review though, we decided to change things up a bit. We wanted to find out what you can and can’t do in a truck during a week test and, living up to our motto, we went all out and got one of the biggest heavy duty trucks on the market, the 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Mega Cab.

The Ram 2500 might not be everyone’s choice for a daily driver and to be honest, it wasn’t ours either, but we put all that aside and used this four-door, four-wheel drive turbo diesel behemoth every day of the week, during which time we never came close to the truck’s full capabilities.

Although it couldn’t fit in our garage, or in a normal parking space, we did our best. Hit the jump to see how the week went and our new review style.

Posted on by Bryan 6

Going to see a film is one of the best ways to get out, and one film we saw last year comes to mind: Transformers 2. After the first film, we were expecting something incredible. Fast sports cars, gorgeous women - Megan Fox - and of course, robots transforming into things. What could be better than that?

For all the special effects and explosions, underneath it all was a film that was lacking. The humor in the film was a bit off and not to mention the script wasn’t nearly on par with the first movie. Everything that one needs to make a film great was there, but it just didn’t come together the way it should have.

For all it’s mobster looks and massive power, the 2010 Chrysler 300S suffers from the same problems that plagued the film about transforming robots. Underneath that bulging exterior is a vehicle that’s lacking in many different ways.

Hit the jump to keep reading.

Posted on by Bryan 3

Volkswagen has been one of the leaders in what we like to call, the real green car movement. No hybrids for us thank you, unless of course it’s the Honda CR-Z because that’s the exception to the rule. Diesel power has long been a hallmark of the company’s push in Europe and now, with TDI fully establishing in the United States, the newest generation Jetta is ready to get it’s diesel motor.

The question was never if diesel vehicles were brilliant, the question has always been, will Americans buy them? For many years the answer to that question was a resounding no. Like a little girl that just can’t get her way, Volkswagen will continue to push diesel power in our lives and the new Jetta TDI is one hell of a strong argument.

The newestJetta is an interesting story. Volkswagen and their world domination plan has taken away some of the German aspects from the sedan and cheapened it up for the American market to compete with the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla . But unlike those two vehicles, the Jetta can be fitted with a diesel. Consider that one point in Volkswagen’s court.

Hit the jump to read on.

Posted on by Bryan 5

Jaguar Design Director, Ian Callum, is a genius. Maybe not literally, but in the design world, the man can’t be beat. With great results, Callum has redesigned the Jaguar product line for the new millennium. One can tell that the XF was simply the beginning of a grand reshaping that has taken over the company. The new XJ and XK are just some examples for the XF’s revolutionary design.

It took a team three years to create the car you see in the photo above. At the time, the launch of the car was overshadowed by the worrisome future of the company itself. That meant that the XF was important for more reasons than one might think. If the car was a hit - which it was bound to be - it could save the brand and give the business a new value.

There is no need to get into the company’s business plans. We all know that once Ford let them go, an Indian company bought them. The company is called Tata and although it’s not a very flattering name, they have helped turn Jaguar into the company you see today.

Hit the jump to keep reading.


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