Archive for September, 2013

Sep
30

The 2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude starts at $23,395 (not including a $995 destination charge) in AWD guise.

2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude

Dates tested: 8/22/2013-8/29/2013

Miles Driven: 159

Real-world fuel economy: 25.8

Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway

Base price: $23,395 (not including $995 destination fee)

Price as tested: $26,055

Options on test car: Security and Cargo Group ($495), Uconnect ($595), Voice command and Bluetooth ($475)

Quick Hits

 The great: Surprisingly affordable

The good: New automatic transmission cures many ills

The not so good: Fuel economy trails class leaders

Sep
27

The 2013 Infiniti M Hybrid enjoys an EPA estimated 8 mpg advange over the base M37.

Consumer Guide Automotive2013 Infiniti M Hybrid (M35h)

Dates tested: 9/09/2013-9/23/2013

Miles Driven: 447

Sep
26

Was the Mustang II the product of savvy marketing, or was it just a lousy pony car? A 1978 King Cobra is shown here.

Bad things happened to the automobile in the early to mid Seventies. In a nutshell, fuel prices soared, safety and emissions regulations became more stringent, and American attitudes regarding cars and driving were in flux.

Around that time the muscle car died, Nixon updated his resume, and Big Hoss and Little Joe rode horses through a burning map for the last time.

Also around that time the Ford Mustang underwent serious invasive surgery. The Mustang II, as the updated pony car was dubbed, was not met with universal love from the enthusiast community, but it did go on to sell shockingly well.

Mustang lovers had much to kvetch about. The newest ‘Stang shared mechanical bits with the lowly Pinto, straight-line performance was tepid, and the car’s styling was, for the most part, polarizing.

But was the Mustang II in any way a mistake? Ford says no. With the 50th anniversary of the Mustang upon us, the automaker is taking this opportunity to defend the direction Mustang was taken back in 1974. Reprinted in its entirety below is a Ford press release that claims the Mustang II was “The right car at the time.”

Was it? You can decide for yourself.

Sep
25

Our test Chrysler 200 sedan came with the S Package which includes these 18-inch wheels.

2013 Chrysler 200 Sedan Touring

Dates tested: 9/16/2013-9/30/2013

Miles Driven: 248

Real-world fuel economy: 21.0

Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway

Base price: $21,995 (not including $995 destination fee)

Price as tested: $24,180

Options on test car: S Exterior Appearance Group ($495), Uconnect ($695)

Quick Hits

The great: Classy cabin, value pricing

The good: Luxury ride quality

The not so good: Cranky 4-cylinder engine, mediocre fuel economy

Sep
24

Cars of Walmart, Part 3

Comments
Written by Tom Appel in Humor

We’re pretty sure there’s an obesity-epidemic joke here someplace. Long-time Chicagoans know that Jays are among the best potato chips on earth.

Everything we share here was found in the parking lot (or an adjacent lot) of the Walmart nearest Consumer Guide global headquarters at 8:35 this morning.

Sep
23

At a rated 150 horsepower, this ’72 AMC Gremlin sported a healthy performance advantage when compared with lesser models saddled with the standard 100-horsepower 232-inch six, or the available 110-horse 258-inch six.

Merriam-Webster defines a V8 as “an internal combustion engine having two banks of four cylinders each with the banks at an angle to each other.” While true enough, a dictionary definition of one of motoring’s finest achievements can’t begin to capture the intoxicating power of a well-tuned small-block’s exhaust burble.

Sure, Americans have seen their share of V16 engines and V12 mills from here and abroad, but it’s the V8 that combines that magical triumvirate of power, practicality, and potential that car lovers so appreciate.

Here we’ve gathered five vintage car ads celebrating that most wonderful of engine configurations, the V8. Click here if you missed our V6 Madness post.

Sep
23

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR

Dates tested: 8/21/2013-9/05/2013

Miles driven: 121

Driving mix: 60 percent city, 40 percent highway

Sep
20

The ProMaster is the Americanized cousin of the third-generation Fiat Ducato, the most popular full-size van in Europe.

When it comes to offering a commercial cargo van for 2014, Ram is dancing a familiar step but with a new partner. The ProMaster is based on an established design from Chrysler Group’s Italian parent Fiat. It fills a void left by the erstwhile Sprinter, another high-roof walk-in van that Ram’s predecessor, Dodge Truck, had been granted back when Chrysler was under the control of a certain German manufacturer known by its three-pointed star.

Sep
20

Nothing screams “beach” like an economy car powered by a cranky Slant Six engine. But…include a fun-loving bikini-clad young lady poking through a sunroof, and you have the makings for a fine magazine ad. According to the ad, this ’73 Dodge Dart Sport could be made a lot more interesting by going with the available 318-inch V8.

A recent blog post by editor John Biel posed the question, “What’s with all the old ads showing cars by pools?” Sure enough, you can cruise online and locate dozens, if not hundreds, of vintage auto ads that feature the highlighted vehicle parked precariously close to an in-ground swimming pool. What makes these ads especially strange is that the driver of these vehicles is often wearing a suit. You can check out a few car-at-the-pool ads here.

Sep
19

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee, shown here in Trailhawk trim, is the first vehicle in Chrysler’s stable to sport the maker’s new 9-speed automatic transmission.

The nameplate is familiar: Cherokee. The vehicle it’s on isn’t.

Jeep’s 2014 replacement for the Liberty—the model-year-2002 successor to the first vehicles that were badged Cherokee—is still a midsize sport-utility vehicle, but now in the emergent crossover-SUV mold. That means down deep it is based on a car platform, the front-drive Alfa Romeo Giulietta/Dodge Dart. It offers a choice of two engines, including a new downsized version of Chrysler Group’s Pentastar V6, and marks the debut of a 9-speed automatic transmission. It gets fuel-mileage numbers that the last Cherokees sold in North America couldn’t have touched with the proverbial 10-foot pole, and it can be equipped with a host of technology features that didn’t even exist in ’01.

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