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Friday
Oct102014

2014 Kia Soul !: So Much Better and Yet…

By Christopher A. Sawyer 

In the year that has elapsed since we last had a Kia Soul in or test fleet, many things have happened to Kia’s funkiest vehicle. The most important of which is that the second generation Soul launched not long after we tested the 2013 model. Despite having similar styling and being about the same size, the latest Soul is a big step up in terms of fit and finish, materials, equipment and driving dynamics. Nearly all of the faults of the previous generation have been excised. In doing so, however, Kia may have gone a bit too far. Don’t get me wrong, the new car is handsome, capable, rides better, is quieter, has a better navigation interface and more. However, it is missing one ingredient that made the first generation so inviting: personality. 

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Friday
Sep262014

2015 Ford Mustang: Big. Bold. American.

By Christopher A. Sawyer 

West Hollywood traffic at 9:00 a.m. moves as quickly as molasses on a cold day, especially when you have the promise of a run up the Angeles Crest Highway ahead of you. Yet here we were stuck behind half a dozen other 2015 Mustangs and a city bus, attempting to make a left turn against bumper-to-bumper traffic that refused to make any openings. Far from taxing my patience, it became an unexpected opportunity to see how far Ford’s revamp of the Mustang extended. No matter how much I would learn about the car on the tight two-lane road north of the Los Angeles Basin later that morning, this is where buyers will spend most of their time with the car: in traffic. Say what you will about the advantages of independent rear suspension over a live axle, or of the increased brake size, or even of the 5.0-liter’s ability to pull to its rev limit, this traffic snarl would tell if the 2015 Mustang is a car you can live with day-to-day. 

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Friday
Sep262014

2014 Toyota Tundra 4x4 LTD CrewMax V8

By Christopher A. Sawyer 

Full year sales for the Toyota Tundra in 2013 were 112,732. To date, Tundra sales sit at 80,133, an increase of 10.7% over 2013 year-to-date. Even at that rate, Toyota’s full-size pickup won’t come close to reaching 200,000 units. This puts it well behind Ford’s F Series which has seen six months of sales at or above 60,000 units. Granted, Ford doesn’t discriminate between the various F Series models, preferring to lump them all together, but — even if the F-150 is half of F Series sales — the Ford would outsell the Toyota in just four months. Why? 

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Friday
Sep122014

The Hyphenated GT

By Christopher A. Sawyer 

The wraps have finally been pulled from the Mercedes-AMG GT. Built mainly of aluminum, the lightweight GT is powered by a 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 mounted behind the front wheel centerline driving through a seven-speed dual-clutch rear transaxle. Available in both GT and GT S form, the new car has a claimed top speed of 193 mph, and can sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds in the more potent GT S trim. 

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