“When the drive loops began, one of the most pleasant surprises was revealed: This CVT is really good.” So begins Motor Trend in describing the new 2014 Subaru Forester, the much-respected publications unequivocal choice for its 2014 SUV of the Year award. The new-generation Forester, which made its debut last year, carries with it the typical Subaru virtues of all-weather friendliness, top-notch safety and supreme stability under many types of driving conditions.
Posts Tagged ‘Motor Trend’
Even though the new-for-2013 SRT Viper has all the buzz, Chevrolet’s 3-year-old Corvette ZR1 is still America’s hottest supercar, at least according to a no-holds-barred comparison test from Motor Trend.
Although the two cars were almost identical on the performance spec sheet, testers not only preferred the ZR1 behind the wheel, but drove it en route to new production car lap record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the process. The ZR1′s 1:33.70 around Laguna Seca broke the record previously held by, you guessed it, the 2010 Dodge Viper ACR. The new 2013 SRT Viper was more than 2 seconds slower than the Chevy, at 1:35.77, though still faster than the Nissan GT-R, Ferrari 458 Italia and Lexus LFA.
Says MT’s Jonny Lieberman:
“I took both monsters for a few laps on our benchmark circuit, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and I was instantly more confident in the Chevrolet. I wasn’t flat-out, but on my third lap I didn’t lift going over turn 1, a feat I rarely accomplish. The HUD indicated I was going 115 mph, for me a freakish rate to be traveling over what’s essentially a blind turn. I tried a similar speed in the Viper and totally chickened out.”
SRT brand chief Ralph Giles bit back:
“There is a lot more left in the car. Randy (Pobst, MT test driver) has always struggled with the Viper” and “We’ve tested both cars at several tracks and never seen a gap like that. Many drivers needlessly fear the Viper.”
The ZR1 is available now, priced from $113,595, with Chevrolet’s next-gen C7 Corvette set to debut next month at the Detroit Auto Show. A 2013 SRT Viper GTS will set you back $124,990.
In roughly a year since the Volkswagen Passat took home the prize for the 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year, the midsize sedan category has turned red-hot. The Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and Honda Accord (all the industry’s top sellers) have seen complete redesigns. Thus we were a bit surprised when in a recent Motor Trend comparison test pitting these six fine family sedans against each other, the Passat still came out on top.
The Passat scores high points for its driving dynamics in a vehicle class where so many choices miss the mark in the name of comfort and mass appeal:
“Steering feel is heavier than the rest, but that’s to be appreciated. As is the slightly stiffer ride. Both add to the ‘tossability’ and athleticism of this sedan. Doesn’t feel as big as it is — that always amazes me. An enthusiast with a family will love this car.”
In reality, though, most family sedan buyers care little for cornering limits and 0-60 times. Fortunately, the Passat’s virtues also include cavernous rear seat space, a large trunk, intuitive controls and an overall interior design that feels timeless, high-quality and, well, German. Pair that with a luxury car exterior design and smooth engines including the 43-mpg 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel, and you get one car that seemingly does everything right.
Changes for the 2013 model year are minor, most notably a newly available back-up camera, a redesigned center console at some trim levels with new rear passenger air vents, and other minor interior functional upgrades.
2013 Volkswagen Passat Special Lease Offer
- $209 Per Month for 36 Months
- $1,999 Due at Lease Signing
- 2013 Passat 2.5S with Appearance Package, Auto Transmission
- Offer Expires October 31, 2012
“Calling it best in class is the definition of an understatement. It’s the best the class has ever seen.” The 2013 Motor Trend SUV of the Year award goes to: the freshly redesigned Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. The finest luxury SUV money can buy, say the folks at the influential publication, which each year ranks one brand-new or redesigned car, truck and SUV for top honors among all vehicles tested.
The GL seats seven passengers and comes in three configurations; the diesel-powered GL350 BlueTec, and the V8 GL450 and GL550, any of which offering more-than-adequate power; and was the most “SUV-like” of the entries in this year’s competition, where these days many competitors seem to be more reskinned minivans than true sport-utilities. From its near-sports car acceleration (as low as 5.1 seconds) to its S-Class-level cabin, the GL is not to be missed if cross-shopping three-row luxury crossovers like the Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX56 and Lexus LX 570.
The Motor Trend team cited the Benz’s greatest downside as its price: $63,305 for the BlueTec, $64,805 for the GL450 and a whopping $92,465 for the GL550. If that’s not enough power and you have money to burn, an even costlier GL63 AMG is on the way.
When we first reported on the totally redesigned 2013 Lexus GS 350 last August, Lexus took every opportunity to remind the press and potential buyers that unlike the last GS, the new model was a true world-class driver’s car. We must admit we had a chuckle at that, but now that the GS 350 bested the likes of the BMW 535i, Infiniti M37 S and Audi A6 3.0T in a recent Motor Trend comparison test, it is Lexus who’s having the last laugh.
“The Lexus proved the most entertaining, rewarding, and confidence-inspiring up, down, and along our demanding Malibu road loop. Ultimate driving machine? Oh, yeah.” – Motor Trend
The GS 350, equipped for the test with the F-Sport performance package, didn’t lead the field in any quantifiable metric, but nailed the all-important driver engagement test. Combine a slick 6-speed paddle-shifted automatic that never has to hunt for the right gear, driver-adjustable settings for suspension damping, razor-sharp steering response and a willing 3.5-liter V6 and you get one no-apologies midsize that begs to be driven hard.
Inside the GS 350 stands out even in this high-rent district, called the “richest, most aesthetically pleasing cabin in its class.” Motor Trend panned the Lexus for its “abstract art piece” exterior styling, but we kind of like it and you may, too. Has Lexus pulled off a coup? Your own test drive is surely in order.