It wasn’t that long ago that Ford was offering us vehicles that were just plain awful. Showrooms were filled with Five-Hundreds, older Escapes, and current generation Focus models. Could this have been the reason why Ford went down the tubes? Possibly.
Ford wasn’t alone though, as General Motors and Chrysler were falling like dominoes as well. General Motors owned more car companies than Coca Cola does drink brands, and needless to say, it wasn’t working. Pontiac went down the drain, as did Oldsmobile, Hummer, and Saturn. What they were left with was Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick, three companies that failed to offer a competitive vehicle.
Chrysler, who owned Dodge and Jeep, might have been worse off, if that’s possible. Most of the Jeep products were horrendous and Dodge was in the same boat. Chrysler on the other hand, had a hit on its hands with the 300C, but outside of that, most of their products weren’t very good. After it was all said and done, Chrysler was partly taken over by Fiat, in the attempt to turn the company around and GM was in the hands of the government.
Among the big three car makers in the United States, Ford has undertaken the largest overhaul. The new 2011 Mustang and the new Fiesta are just starting points, but they have changed the way we think about the company. They are wonderfully built, gorgeous to look at, and sensational to drive.
The next machine to come out of the Ford juggernaut is the 2012 Focus, which will be shown at the 2010 Paris Auto Show in just days. The new Focus is an example of Ford’s “One Ford” product strategy and it will likely be the largest seller for the company. The Focus that we have been seeing in photos will be sold in Europe and in North America, with a few changes in the motor offerings and minor details.
During our drive of the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, we overheard many shoppers commenting about a need for four-wheel drive in their vehicles. Now, let’s be honest for a moment. Most of these moms and dads will never use the abilities of a four-wheel drive machine. The parking lot at the local grocery store doesn’t have rocks that you need to scale in order to get into the parking lot or deep lakes in front of the door.
Yet, there are those who do use these machines the way they are supposed to be used. A real four-wheel drive machine can do so much in the rough stuff that it’s hard to be stopped. Crossovers and luxury SUVs – besides the Range Rover – would be left for dead.
When looking at the top ten vehicles that have wonderful off-road abilities we first need to find ten of them. It was actually quite a task to find ten vehicles like this. It seems the days of the big off-road SUV are in the past. When we managed to locate them, we looked at build quality, off-road ability, on-road ability, style, comfort, and power.
Some people are willing to pay a pretty penny for luxury. Just look at the price of a first growth French Bordeaux or a tin of Beluga Caviar. These objects are for the rich, the very rich, and to go along with their high-end eats they need high-end vehicles.
We all know that the Bugatti Veyron is the most expensive car in the world, along with its many different variations, so we aren’t just going to do a list of the Bugatti’s, even though it sure would be easy.
Most of these machines are extremely high performance and they aren’t the sort of machines you will see hanging around the local Wal-Mart. In fact, many won’t see BMW’s around Wal-Mart, but that’s beside the point.
Years ago, we reported the top ten most expensive cars in the world as created by Forbes Auto. Well that list detailed how expensive these cars are to own, but we have always held the notion that if you afford these sorts of machines, you can afford to service them and if not, you need an accountant.
It has not been an easy couple of years for the third member of America’s big three. Their products were lame and their profits were even worse, not to mention public perception after the bailout wasn’t that good. While General Motors and Ford have been dominating with new vehicles, Chrysler has been laying low with the same old stuff. Needless to say, this machine has been a long time coming.
With 2010 comes a whole new machine, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a stable in the Chrysler lineup for years, redone and ready to dominate the competition. Not that there is much competition for a full size off-road SUV.
Taking cues from the new Dodge Ram, the 2011 Grand Cherokee takes them in a whole new direction that results in one of the best interiors money can buy. Not to mention a vehicle that is quiet and refined on the road, but hard and aggressive in the rough stuff, not that we were able to go in any.
It’s been awhile since we test-drove a car, but it’s usually the same old affair. Potential customers drive up to the dealership, get harassed by salespeople who don’t really know the product they are selling, and finally, if you’re lucky –we’ve been turned down before – drive the car you hope to buy.
Usually, the drive is five minutes around the block and that short amount of time can make a Chevrolet Impala look good. The real way to test a car is a road trip, and – for the reader of course – we took a 1,000 miles journey in the biggest and most luxurious Lexus of them all, the LS460L, to the coast of Georgia. The things we have to do for good reviews.
Our journey began on Interstate 77, down through the mountain roads of West Virginia, through the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, and finally down the most insane highway of them all, Interstate 95 to a location only 50 miles from Florida.
Taking part in a road trip from Northern Ohio to Southern Georgia means that you’re going to need one hell of a car. As much as we would love to take a Ferrari 458 Italia down for pure speed and style purposes, the hard ride and the fire issue might get old after North Carolina.
That’s why we got ourselves a big boat, the Lexus LS. Of course, being who we are, we weren’t happy with the normal LS460, we needed the long wheelbase version with the fancy stuff in the backseat because that’s just more fun. Not to mention the L version is far more relaxing and we aim to see how we feel after such a long drive in such a comfortable cruiser.
So, our trip beings today and we will continue to update you on how the car is behaving and how relaxed and content we are with the most expensive Toyota of the bunch, besides the hybrid models and the LFA of course, with a tag of $95,000.
Enjoy the series, because we are sure going to enjoy the trip.
We have reviewed these machines thoroughly and a clear winner was actually hard to come by. At first, we would have easily picked the BMW M3 to win this battle, but something amazing happened. The Lexus IS-F has changed the way we think about the Japanese premium brand.
The IS, GS, ES, LS, and all those other models have been the sort of things we think about in order to fall asleep and in fact, they worked better than counting sheep. While we were sound asleep with the thought of more exciting cars filling our heads, Lexus must have invaded our dreams, as they created a car for us - the driving enthusiasts - who take to a soft suspension like we take to swine flu; not well.
BMW on the other hand has always been one of our favorite brands. The 3-Series has been fantastic for years and the 5-Series and 7-Series sedans are brilliantly luxurious, but fun to drive. They might be a bit confusing at the moment, but nothing cures that quite like the M division.
Let’s spice things up a little shall we? We reviewed this car a while ago, so consider it an old neighbor. The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is like an ax murderer who lives next door, always plotting a way to destroy its next victim. While that might not sound all that wonderful in real life, it’s fantastically invigorating in car form.
Three cars with monster motors; two with four doors, the other with two. Which would come out on top, the IS-F, C63, or the M3?
Take a trip back, if you’re able, to a few weeks ago when we reviewed the Lexus IS250C. In that review we made the claim that the IS250C was a major step up from the old SC, which we hate with the same passion as Republicans hate Democrats.
While Lexus had years to realize their SC mistake, Infiniti had nothing. The company hadn’t had a convertible since 1992 with the M30. Starting from scratch might be saying a tad much, as the G37 was built with a hardtop in mind. That being said, taking the top off a car, even if it was designed to have it done, isn’t an easy task to accomplish.
With all these different factors in mind, we took out the new 2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible, with the sport package, out for a week of driving around town. Did the newest Japanese hardtop live up to big veteran Lexus?
From the hood to the wheels, and all the way back to the exhaust pipes, this car puts a little fear into your blood. The blue metallic paint, carbon fiber roof, and the chrome exhaust pipes aren’t flashy, but they do give off the perfect performance look. In the attempt to match the competition - most notably the Lexus IS-F - we had nearly every option put onto this car, bringing the price to right where we wanted it; $66,000. Sometimes we amaze even ourselves.
One interesting note with the M3 is driving it in cold weather. Not that it was cold out though, just in the mornings before the sun had risen. Most of time we wouldn’t be awake at that time for any reason, but the temptation of an early morning drive was just too much. The BMW’s motor is limited while it’s cold, but once it warms up, all hell can then break lose. Other publications have reported that first and second gear can be stiff when cold, but we never had that issue.
Too long have we been under the German and Italian wave of performance cars. Too long have we been forced to drive, in Germany’s case, their perfectly engineered soulless rocket ships. Too long have we had to drive gorgeous cars that catch fire from Italy. We want something fast, hardcore, and from an Allied nation. Britain and team McLaren to the rescue.
Let’s start with the name shall we. It might sound stupid, like BMW’s constant use of numbers that mean nothing to the normal person. Is the 750i better than a 760 or a 740? In this case though, the name has some serious weight behind it. The MP4 should ring a mental bell for those of you who love and follow Formula One. Every Vodafone McLaren racing car carries the name MP4 along with it. That should give us some sort of understanding as to how the new car performs.
The 12C aspect of the car isn’t that historical. In fact, it’s not very exciting at all. The C stands for carbon and the 12 for to McLaren’s internal Vehicle Performance Index. See, pretty boring stuff. Despite this, we are about as excited as a child during Christmas to learn more about this new McLaren.