Archive for November, 2013


2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport Platinum

Miles Driven: 251

Fuel Used: 13.1 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 19.2 mpg

Driving mix: 50% city, 50% highway

2014 NIssan Rogue

Nissan’s Rogue compact SUV has been redesigned for 2014, and now offers three-row seating for seven. However, a version of the previous design will carry on as the “Rogue Select.”


Triggered by an explosion in popularity during the 1990s, every mainstream manufacturer had an entry in the compact-SUV class by the mid-2000s … every major manufacturer, that is, except Nissan. Oddly, that situation wasn’t rectified until Nissan brought out the Rogue for 2008.

VPG MV-1 Taxi

2011-2014 VPG MV-1

Happy holidays! If you’re like most Americans you’ll soon be packing up the family people-mover and heading off to Gramma Mary’s or Uncle Vito’s house for family fun and a serious bout of good-cheer gluttony. But, how will you fill the time during the long drive there?

Luckily, we’ve prepared a special holiday edition of the Car Spotter Challenge. With the youngsters in mind, the Holiday Car Spotter Challenge is comprised of oddly shaped vehicles that are easy to spot from a distance.

1969 Oldsmobile F85

1969 Oldsmobile F-85 coupe with ram-induction W-31 350-cid engine.

The Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals show rolled into Rosemont, Illinois, over the past weekend, bringing out hundreds of high-performance collector cars. All the big names were there in abundance: GTO. 4-4-2. Mustang. Camaro Z28. Road Runner. Cyclone. Javelin. Challenger R/T—and so many more from the heyday of street and strip muscle.


Our well-trimmed IS 350 AWD came to $50,164 on the sticker, including the $3160 F Sport package. AWD IS models start at $42,595 including destination.

2014 Lexus IS 350 AWD

Dates tested: 11/14/2013-11/22/2013

Miles Driven: 121

Fuel Used: 5.6 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 21.6 mpg

Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway

Chevrolet Colorado Redesign

After a two-year hiatus, Chevrolet is set to reintroduce the “midsize” Colorado pickup in the fall of 2014 as a 2015 model. It is expected that most buyers will choose this crew cab, shown here in top-line Z71 form. There will also be WT (Work Truck) and LT trim levels. Compared to comparable Silverado full-size pickups, the Colorado is about 16 inches shorter, 5 inches narrower, 3 inches lower, and 900 lbs lighter.

Chevrolet just pulled the wraps off the redesigned Colorado midsize pickup, which is due to go on sale next fall as a 2015 model.

Ever since the previous-generation Colorado was dropped after the 2012 model year, Chevrolet has been without an entry in the midsize-pickup segment. And it’s not alone. A class that contained 11 entries as recently as 2010 has been hit by attrition that has left it with just three players today: the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and Honda Ridgeline. And despite the drastically reduced level of competition, none of those trucks are setting sales records on fire.


1973 Dodge Sportsman

Long before the names Caravan and Voyager would end up on a car-based front-wheel-drive platform, Dodge referred to this people mover as a, “domestic compact wagon.”

Regardless of how accurate that description seems in retrospect, Consumer Guide was impressed enough to dub the 1973 Dodge Sportsman a Best Buy.

Audi A8 L TDI, 2014 Audi A8 TDI

A diesel engine option is new for Audi’s A8 flagship in the U.S. Our Test A8 L TDI listed for $99,445, including the $6300 Bang & Olufsen audio system.

2014 Audi A8 L TDI

Miles Driven: 423

Fuel Used: 12.3 gallons diesel

2014 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo

A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard on LS, 1LT and 2LT Malibu trim levels. Our test 3LT, like the topline LTZ, comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. As equipped, our test car came to $31,380.

2014 Chevrolet Malibu 3LT Turbo

Dates tested: 10/31/2013-11/07/2013

Miles Driven: 255

Fuel Used: 11.9 gallons regular unleaded

Real-world fuel economy: 21.4 mpg

Driving mix: 40% city, 60% highway

1985 Scirocco

Despite modest power and more-modest grip, the second-generation Volkswagen Scirocco handled with rare finesse.

By strict definition, a benchmark needn’t be the best representative of a given group, it need only be the representative by which other members of said group are judged.

As such, we could say that the situation comedy Cheers represents a benchmark for television comedy, but still safely argue that Seinfeld is funnier. It is important, however, that your benchmark represent a standard of sufficient quality that comparisons to it are meaningful.