Archive for October, 2013

Oct
31

For 2014, Ram 2500 rides better, thanks to a beefy version of the Ram 1500’s coil-spring rear suspension.

The evolution of Ram’s 2500- and 3500-series heavy-duty pickups continues with a new engine option and substantial suspension changes for 2014. Additional towing might with a gas engine and an improved ride in the 2500 are the results.

Joining the carryover standard 5.7-liter Hemi gas V8 and optional 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel inline 6-cylinder engines is a new 6.4-liter Hemi V8. Though it shares the displacement and cast-iron-block/aluminum-head construction of the engine found in Chrysler Group’s high-performance SRT8 car and SUV models, the specifics of the 6.4-liter Ram V8 are different with an emphasis on generating torque. The 6.4 truck engine employs a distinct dual-runner-length intake manifold that boosts low-end torque. While the SRT8 version develops 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, the Ram mill—with a lower 10.0:1 compression ratio that allows it to run on regular-grade gasoline—is rated at 410 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 429 pound-feet at 4000 revs. That’s 27 more horsepower and 29 more pound-feet than the base 5.7 V8 makes when burning mid-grade fuel. In a preview test drive of a 4-wheel-drive 2500 Laramie-trim crew cab, we found the 6.4-liter engine responded quickly and strongly to throttle inputs, and emanated a rich V8 burble during acceleration.

Oct
30

A pure-electric vehicle, the Spark EV wears a “wave” badge tagged with letters “EV.”

Blue is the new “Green,” sort of. A quick review of recent eco-themed automotive marketing suggests that the word green may be losing steam as a catch-all descriptor of things eco-friendly.

Oct
30

Impala is all new for 2014. A top line 2LTZ is shown here.

2014 Chevrolet Impala LTZ

Dates tested: 6/10/2013-6/24/2013

Miles Driven: 452

Real-world fuel economy: 21.0 mpg

Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway

Base price (2LTZ): $35,770 (not including $810 destination charge)

Price as tested: $39,510

Quick Hits

The great: High-end interior, quiet cabin

The good: Luxury-car ride

The not so good: Middling fuel economy with V6 engine

Oct
28

Steve King and Johnnie Putman, Chicago radio personalities and car enthusiasts, are longtime friends of Consumer Guide Automotive. Click the video below for their latest car review.

 

Click here to see how the CX-5 fared as a Consumer Guide long-term vehicle.

Keep up with Steve and Johnnie by checking in at their “Both Sides Now” blog: http://steveandjohnnie.wordpress.com/

Oct
28

The EcoDiesel 3.0-liter V6 produces 240 horsepower in the Ram 1500.

The mention of a diesel-powered full-size pickup truck might not make you look up from whatever it is you’re doing. After all, haven’t there been diesel pickups like forever?

Not at the light-duty end of the spectrum, where Ram is planting its flag with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 available in a number of its 2014 half-ton 1500-series models. This first-of-its-kind engine application is intended to provide stout towing capability while delivering projected fuel savings.

Oct
25

Quiz image number 1.

By now you probably know the drill; We give you an abstract portion of a brochure cover, and you have to guess the vehicle featured. For this quiz we’re featuring the cars of the Seventies. As with our Eighties brochure quiz, all the vehicles in question were available for sale in the U.S. We can also tell you that none of the cars here are especially rare, obscure, or of a kit-car nature.

When you’re done guessing, scroll down to see the entire brochure cover. For this quiz we’re going to call correctly identifying three of the five vehicles a job well done.

Oct
24

The 2014 Durango starts at $29,795; the R/T shown here starts at $38,995.

Eyeing what it sees as renewed vigor in the full-sized sport-utility vehicle market and cognizant of the appeal of large crossovers with three-row seating, Dodge has perked up its Durango SUV for 2014 with new features and a few appearance tweaks.

According to the division’s figures, the combined sales of those two segments have increased by 48 percent since 2009 and 60 percent of the full-sized SUVs and crossovers are three-row models. Considering that 100 percent of Durango models have three rows of seats, Dodge no doubt would like to see those trends continue. In hopes of staying competitive in the field, it is installing a new standard 8-speed automatic transmission in all models, freshening up front and rear styling, and adding a Limited model.

Oct
23

The 1973 911 was powered by Porsche’s “2.4 L” engine, which actually displaced closer to 2.3 liters.

The current editorial team here at Consumer Guide couldn’t think more highly of the Porsche 911, but was our appreciation for this German icon always so robust? To help celebrate this rear-engine sports car’s 50th anniversary, let’s jump back 40 years and see how the team felt back then.

Please enjoy this review extracted from Consumer Guide Auto ’73.

Oct
22
1981 Volkswagen Jetta.

Quiz image number 1.

Think you’re ready for a challenge? This one is pretty straightforward, though perhaps not all that easy. Above and below please find five image abstracts extracted from random Eighties auto brochures. Can you identify these Reagan-era rides?

The only promise we make is this: The vehicles in question were available for sale in the United States. Best of luck! Oh, and the answers can be found below.

Oct
22

Our test 2014 Mazda 3 i 5-Door Grand Touring came to $24,635 on the sticker.

2014 Mazda 3 i 5-Door Grand Touring

Dates tested: 10/09/2013-10/22/2013

Miles Driven: 434

Real-world fuel economy: 30.1 mpg

Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway

Base price: $23,245 (not including $795 destination charge)

Price as tested: $24,635

Options on test car: “Soul Red” paint ($300), Door sill trim plates ($125), Rear bumper guard ($100), Cargo mat ($70)

Quick Hits

The great: Sporty handling, delightful shifter and clutch

The good: Handsome cabin

The not so good: Complicated audio controls, drumming noise on some road surfaces

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