The luxury sedan segment is cluttered with numerous offerings spanning many different countries. Germany is the pack leader with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series, and theAudi A8, while Japan counters with the Lexus LS460. Jaguar delivers with the new XJ, which is combination of elegant lines and old world grace, while American company, Cadillac, offers up the Stone Age DTS.
Each and every one of these machines has a purpose that is executed with precision and, for the most part, excellence. The new BMW 7-Series is fairly good at being a technology laden sports sedan, while the Lexus LS is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Yet, after a week in the new 2011 Audi A8, it has become clear that there is a new benchmark for the luxury sedan.
For years it was left behind by its German competitors, but now, the new world has caught up with the old world and for once, Mercedes-Benz and BMW will need to do some serious catching up in order to compete with this new A8. The “third” German car company has just taken the lead.
More details on the Audi A8 after the jump.
The small car market in the United States has been growing by leaps and bounds in the recent years and new offerings have made existing vehicles seem outdated. These machines, such as the Hyundai Elantra and the Chevrolet Cruze, make the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla seem more at home with a horse attached to the front.
Yet, what happens when one gets a vehicle that seemed outdated before the launch of those new models? The Nissan Sentra is just one of those models, as its styling inside and out could easily be from 1999, but does that really matter? Styling is, after all, something that each person sees differently and the interior of a vehicle, as important as it is to the media, doesn’t seem to matter much to Americans. Just look at how many Impalas sold last year and this point will hit home.
So, with that being said, is the Nissan Sentra a work of art hidden under a bland exterior, or is its 20th century appearance a sign of what’s to come once on the road? In order to find out, Nissan gave us a 2011 Sentra 2.0 SL to drive around for seven days.
Hit the jump to read what we discovered.
In 2007, Jeep launched a vehicle that was an abomination of this classic American title. The name on the back of the car readCompass, but direction was the one thing Jeep just didn’t have with this particular model. Our guess is that Jeep had no idea in which direction to head in next.
The exterior was classic Chrysler, as they attempted to give crossover buyers some Jeep attitude, but instead insulted them with fake muscular looks. Sort of like a body builder on steroids, the previous-generation Compass was all show and nothing underneath.
The interior was plastered in cheap plastics and a design that would damage retinas. Basically, what buyers were forced to live with was a Dodge Caliber that was more expensive and useless. Hard to believe the Jeep actually kept the name for this next-generation model. However, nearly four years later, the Compass is back and that needle may finally be pointed in the right direction.
More details on the Jeep Compass after the jump.
America is unlike any other country on the planet, larger than most and with the most diversified population. Why do you think they call us the “melting pot”? This diversity is for certain, but another thing that makes America unique is their taste in vehicles. Unlike many countries around the world, the United States seems to enjoy riding high, while having the luxury of a car-like ride. Seems counter-intuitive, as those that like riding high go for trucks and those that want a smooth and cushy ride opt for sedans. Yet, the crossover, or CUV, has become a bigger hit than the Whopper and that’s mighty impressive.
Nissan has come to the table a tad late, but they have made up for their tardiness with a pleasant all-rounder: the Rogue. It blended Murano style with smaller proportions and, for some, it worked. Now, three years later, Nissan has revamped the Rogue in the hopes of garnering strong sales before a major refresh is in order.
More details on the 2011 Nissan Rogue after the jump.
Often criticized for being too conservative with the styling, Honda took a bold and dramatic turn in 2008 with the Accord Coupe. Not much has changed in the new 2010 Honda Accord Coupe on the outside, but it didn’t have too. The 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V6 is a fine piece of automotive engineering.
The exterior of the car features lines that are similar to the Bentley Continental GT. To the casual observer, a gray Accord Coupe from the rear might be able to pass as the exotic luxury car. In the front, the Accord Coupe has stretched projector-beam headlights and a bold front fascia.
The 2010 Honda Accord Coupe comes in many different configurations, but don’t expect to be able to fully customize your car, as Honda has packaged mostly everything into different categories.
The entry level Honda Accord Coupe comes with a four-cylinder motor, but the test car was the V6 EX-L with 271-bhp. The car was picked up from Honda of Mentor from General Manager Marty Mullen. The dealership is the second largest Honda dealership in the area and they were kind enough to loan the car for the day. If your looking to purchase a new Honda, I would highly recommended Honda of Mentor, who will be moving to a new massive 70,000 sq-ft indoor showroom in mid-summer.
The 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V6 EX-L came with 18-inch alloy wheels, low profile tires, dual chrome exhaust, and a rear spoiler. Inside, the top of the line model lacked the navigation system, but I would recommend that unless you need the system, it’s best to avoid the array of buttons on the dash.
The interior of the V6 EX-L came with leather-heated seats, a premium audio system, Bluetooth Hands Free Link and six-disk CD changer in dash. The dash had a solid quality feel to it and it didn’t develop rattles or squeaks in the bitter cold like some cars I have experienced. The seats were supportive, but for aggressive driving they can be slippery due to a lack of side support. The 270-watt audio system is superb and the seven speakers make you feel like you’re in a home cinema.
Under the hood, the most important feature of the 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V6 EX-L was the 271-bhp I-VTEC V6 with 254 lb-ft of torque. This powerplant can be connected to either a six-speed manual, which I would recommend to those sports car lovers, or a five-speed automatic.
The test car was equipped with the automatic gearbox and pushed to the limit it can be a little slow on the down change and I was disappointed that Honda didn’t fit a Sport-Shift option like you would find in the Acura models. Overall, for regular use, the transmission is smooth and does an excellent job.
The motor is plenty powerful for any occasion. The cars 3522-lb body tames the 271-bhp, but at no point did it feel like the engine was struggling. In the real world, I managed a 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds with the Vehicle Stability Control turned off and a time of 8 seconds with the system on.
The V6 model will suffer in the economy area. The weight of the car and large power limits the car to 19 city and 28 highway for a combined 22 mpg. For city drivers, the four-cylinder might be a better option in the economy department but if performance is key, the V6 delivers.
If the Accord Coupe V6 has one flaw, it’s the feel of the steering in the corners. The steering is simply too numb for hard corning, as you get no feedback through the wheel on what the car is doing. The steering is good for city and highway driving, but when it comes time to play in the corners, the Accord Coupe is a bit of a let down. However, a full on sports car the Accord Coupe is not, so in reality, the steering feedback isn’t a major issue and if aggressive corning is what you’re after the Civic Si might be a better choice.
The overall ride is very nice, not hard like most sports car, but it does stay firm in the corners. On the highway you can feel the bumps but it’s not back breaking. This car would be a great option for those with long commutes.
The 2010 Honda Accord Coupe has plenty of legroom in the front and enough in the back for a medium-sized adult. For families, the Accord Coupe is the perfect blend of sporty looks, performance and practicality. The Accord Coupe has few flaws to speak of and if the steering had a better feel under hard cornering it would get a perfect score. However, this flaw simply isn’t enough too to prevent the Accord Coupe from getting a five star rating. Its practicality, reliability, performance and ride are second to none.
At Honda of Mentor, prices start at $24,060 for the LX-S Automatic with the four-cylinder motor. The test car was $30,015, as are all EX-L V6 without navigation. Visit the Honda of Mentor website or the Honda of America website for more details.