topspeed garage

topspeed garage

Posted on by TB +  

The 2014 Ford Explorer Sport is a welcome addition to the TopSpeed Garage with its racy 20-inch wheels and twin-turbocharged V-6 engine. Taurus SHO enhancements transform the Explorer package from just a family-friendly AWD seven-seater into a taut performance machine that is both fun to drive and luxurious on the road.

The $40,000 Sport comes in as the top Explorer trim level, and the only one to get the 365-horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. Dozens of performance and luxury enhancements join the potent powerplant: a sport-tuned suspension, huge vented disc brakes with front and rear performance calipers, dark-tinted headlights and a gloss-black grille round out the exterior mods for this performance variant.

The changes extend indoors as well, where the Explorer Sport is the pick of the range with leather-trimmed, heated sports buckets up front. Standard MyFord Touch by Sony and a powerful stereo join the fun, as do illuminated scuff plates and custom Sport badging.

As one of the best-known Ford nameplates, the Explorer lost its coveted spot as the default midsize SUV over the early 2000s following the introduction of the BMW X5 and a host of other truly premium models.

This latest all-new generation of Explorer has evolutionary styling but a sophisticated unibody design to replace the old Explorer’s body-on-frame construction.

After years in the doldrums, the Explorer Sport’s engine brings the magic back with a globally-competitive crossover package that can comfortably seat seven people and deliver 22 mpg on the highway.

The turbo power of the Explorer Sport trim helps the Ford stand apart from the segment-leading Buick Enclave and Nissan Pathfinder – but is the Ford’s fun-to-drive nature enough to reclaim buyers seeking a premium seven-passenger crossover?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Ford Explorer Sport, including a video walkthrough of the car’s interior at start up and during the 0-60 sprint.

Posted on by TB +  

The Fusion Hybrid finally cracks the code to unravel Toyota’s stranglehold on the eco market by offering consumers what they actually want: a gorgeous sedan shape, a quiet cabin and very good handling. These are all places where the Prius cannot compete. The Ford also runs lithium-ion batteries for a 47 mpg rating, despite costing just $27,000.

Ford’s most promising hybrid to date is joined by a plug-in model called the Fusion Energi. The Hybrid is the volume electrified sedan and packs some great technology into one of the most attractive midsize car shapes on the market.

The Hybrid might actually be the pick of the range that also includes a 1.6-liter EcoBoost and a base 2.5-liter four-cylinder in a new-for-2014 ‘S’ trim at the bottom of the range.

The Fusion Hybrid offers nearly all of the Energi’s benefits for about $10,000 less. This makes it a really viable contender among urban dwellers without access to a garage plug.

The 47/47/47 mpg across all EPA categories takes most of the headlines but the Fusion Hybrid also drives really nicely and is more balanced that the typical sedan, thanks the trunk-mounted battery pack helping even the weight distribution of this front-drive car.

Conventional Hybrid sedans are just starting to really move up the sales charts versus the dedicated Prius hatchback. Even among Prius owners, there is some latent desire for a classic large sedan’s refinement and handling. The Fusion Hybrid aces these criteria and many more, via a sophisticated suite of interior technologies and active safety options that are from a class above.

How will the Ford fare versus this fall’s supercharged Nissan Altima Hybrid and the popular Toyota Camry Hybrid ?

Click past the jump for the first-drive review of the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid with highlights on the new features and equipment.

Posted on by Simona  

After being teased for a few weeks now, the 2014 GMC Sierra finally made its online debut via Facebook. The model receives a new exterior look, improved interior and three “all-new” EcoTec3 engines. GMC also promised that the 2014 Sierra will be offered with the longest list of standard features ever offered on a full-size GMC pickup.

On the exterior the 2014 Sierra has been made more aerodynamic and, thanks to the addition of new features like the aluminum hood, it is now lighter than its predecessor. The interior has also been highly updated and it has been designed to offer a better driving experience.

Under the hood GMC has placed three “new” engines — a V-6 and two V-8s — with the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 version delivering best-in-class fuel economy. The company did not reveal any specifications yet, but confirmed each engine will deliver improved output and better fuel economy.

Still, we are wondering if these updates will be enough to deliver the same performance figures as its key competitors: the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 . Hit the jump to find out.

Updated 04/02/2013: GMC announced today that the 2014 Sierra will arrive at dealerships this summer. Also revealed were the official specifications for the 5.3-liter V-8.

Ah, the Fisker Karma . It is likely one of the most well designed and heavily debated cars available today. Some people love it and cannot get enough of it and others can’t stand it. It’s truly one of the most polarizing cars on the market and a lot of that is because of some of the issues it has run into and the massive DOE loan that Fisker took out to help produce it.

We pretty much sit right in the middle. We’ve loved its looks from the day we saw the concept model that no one believed would ever be produced. Its issues and some of the sub-par reviews, on the other hand, pushed us back toward the middle..

Well, the only way we can really find out if we truly love it or hate it is to test drive it. And that is exactly what we did, as we took a road trip to Fisker of Tampa Bay at 320 East Fletcher Ave. in Tampa, and met up with Fisker brand manager Jackie Daly and general manager Bryan Mobley for an exclusive viewing and test drive.

So, did we walk away impressed or did the Karma underwhelm?

Click past the jump to find out.

The first generation Lexus ES has been unveiled in 1989 and 2013 model year marks both the introduction of the sixth generation , but also the first-ever hybrid model of the line-up: the ES 300h.

The new ES 300h will be offered with the Lexus Hybrid Drive that combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with an electric motor for a total of 200 HP and an impressive fuel economy of 39 mpg combined. The car can hit a top speed of 112 mph and will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 8.1 seconds and the quarter mile in 16.8 seconds.

"Since its introduction in 1989, the ES has been the benchmark luxury sedan for quality, reliability, ride comfort and value," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "The new ES 350 and the first ever ES hybrid raise the bar once again."< /p>

Updated 07/16/2012: Lexus has announced today that the 2013 ES 300h will arrive at dealerships next month. The model will be priced at $38,850, representing a difference of $2,750 over the ES 350 - priced at $36,100.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Lexus ES 300h.

Toyota Avalon has been firstly unveiled in 1994 and until know we have seen three different generation. Today, at the New York Auto Show Toyota has unveiled the fourth generation Avalon, a model that comes with a progressive and emotionally styled exterior design, improved dynamic performance, a greater degree of refinement, and a highly spacious, comfortable interior.

The model has been designed to attract younger buyers and features a sleek and expressive profile with a longer, sloping roofline, flared front fenders, and reduced front and rear overhangs. The car’s interior combines comfort, convenience and technology. Toyota opted to combined premium materials with smoked chrome-metallic accents. The new Avalon has been crafted with innovative technologies such as advanced capacitive touch switches, a three color display screens that support the multi-information display, the audio/navigation interface, and the climate control panel.

Toyota did not offered any details on the car’s engine just yet, but we expect to see the same 3.5-liter V6 engine maybe with improved output and fuel economy.

Updated 04/05/2012: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.

Posted on by Kurt 12

Sometimes, the whole of a car is greater than the sum of the parts. Such is the case with the 2011 Volkswagen GTI . On paper, the GTI looks fairly unremarkable. The starting price is just over $24,000 for a three-door, or just over $25,000 for a five-door, which makes it slightly more expensive than its closest rival, the five-door Mazdaspeed3 . Worse, it gives up a significant amount of horsepower to the Mazda: the GTI makes 200 horsepower from its 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, while the Mazda cranks out some 263 horsepower from its 2.3-liter turbo four. If you’re looking for performance and handling, it looks to be an open and shut case for the Mazdaspeed3.

Or is it? Life doesn’t consist of an endless series of mountain roads and racetracks, and even if you hit the track every weekend, chances are that you still drive there on boring public roads. On the road, the GTI’s ride is more refined than the Mazdaspeed’s, and the Mazda’s ever-present (and occasionally puckering) torque steer is absent from the GTI. Sure, it’s not as quick as the Mazda, but the difference is less than you might expect. Volkswagen is very conservative in rating the GTI’s power, and owners who dyno their cars often find that the GTI produces about 215 horsepower at the wheels on 93 octane gas. It weighs about 240 pounds less than the Mazda, too, so the real-world advantage of the Mazda in 0 to 60 times is only a few tenths of a second.

Posted on by Kurt 3
Hyundai Genesis R-Spec

Unless you’ve been living in a cave in the wilderness for the past 12 months, it’s impossible to miss the huge strides Hyundai has gained in market share. Its Sonata mid-side sedan and Elantra compact have won numerous industry awards, and dealers can’t keep cars on their lots. In fact, Elantra supply is so short these days that dealers are selling from inventory in the pipeline, not on the showroom floor.

If you get the sense that Hyundai is doing a lot of things right these days, you’d be correct. When Hyundai announced the Genesis R-Spec last February, we’ll admit to being a bit skeptical; Hyundai had proven that they could build and sell mainstream and even luxury cars, but what did the Koreans know about building a sport sedan, long the domain of manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz ? After all, not much has been done with their sole sports car, the Genesis Coupe, since launch, which has many critics questioning how serious Hyundai is about attracting performance-oriented buyers.

Check out our full review of the 2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec after the jump.

Posted on by Gary W Sims 2
Porsche Boxster Spyder

The car world keeps coming back to roadsters. Marketing people perennially argue “what moderns really want is an appliance.” Huh. Tell Saturn that. Roadsters are the opposite of an appliance car, yet they thrive. They are the essence of Car.

At Porsche , they never succumbed to the nonsense. They do not just sell sports cars, they also sell SUV’s that think they are sports cars and a luxury sedan that will take on the newcomer Cadillac at Nürburgring and give you time for a quick sippa joe while the CTS-V finishes. Fair enough. Porsches are exciting cars and we all know it, but a roadster? Isn’t that a little beneath them? We can buy a Miata for twenty grand and you can’t find enough options to get one out the door at more than thirty. On a Porsche’s option sheet, a little daydreaming adds enough in options alone to match the cost of a new Miata. Can Porsche build a roadster that could possibly be worth that much more than a Miata?

Uh… yes. That turns out to be the case. I’m talking about people that care about cars of course. If a car really is just an appliance to you, you can always find one.

Posted on by Thomas Nelson 17

When we buy a car, we want it to make us feel special. Now that the Fiat 500C has hit our shores, it’s easy to see that this convertible has excelled in this aspect. It combines the fun of a convertible and the ease of use of a compact car. You feel so happy when driving the 500C it should be categorized as an anti depressant. With such a cheap and cheerful car, you would expect it be made of plastic and have the same cosmetic qualities as an outhouse. As soon as you peek inside and out, you are amazed.

The 2012 Fiat 500C promises all the fun and style of the Fiat 500 with a convertible drop top that lets you soak up the glorious sunshine. The amazing thing is a fully loaded 2012 Fiat 500 C is the same price as a base model MINI convertible. We just looked up thew word value in the dictionary and not surprisingly, it showed a picture of the 2012 Fiat 500C.

Details on the Fiat 500C after the jump.


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