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January 21, 2013

2013 Ford Escape Road Test Review

2013 Ford Escape Road Test Review : Road & Travel Magazine

by Tim Healey

If you're a 31-year-old unmarried female named Carrie who lives in the city and leads an active lifestyle, Ford thinks it has found the perfect vehicle for you -- the 2013 Escape.

OK, fine, we're paraphrasing what a Ford engineer told us about the Escape's American target audience (whereas in Europe, Ford is targeting families, since the higher gas prices on the Continent cause people to ride together more often). But that's the demographic the company had in mind as it redesigned the 2013 Ford Escape, which represents the brand's entry into the small crossover SUV segment.

Carrie isn't the only one who fits Ford's profile of a potential Escape buyer. Young couples and empty nesters fit the bill, although Ford will gladly accept your payments no matter who you are.

And really, the Escape will find a broad appeal, at least based on our first drive impressions, which we formed while attacking the hills north of San Francisco. We'll get to those, but first, some basics. To continue the review, click here.

January 11, 2013

2013 Mazda CX-5 Road Test Review

2013 Mazda CX-5 Road Test Review written by Bob Plunkett

Mazda CX-5 resembles a CUV but
drives like a sporty machine

By Bob Plunkett

For this kick-butt joy ride we collar a newly minted 2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport crossover utility vehicle, that "Zoom-Zoom" brand from Japan, and send it soaring over Ark. 60, a corkscrew stretch of asphalt coursing over rumpled furrows of the Ouachita Mountains in western Arkansas.

This back-country two-laner provides steep mountain grades and isolated valley straightaways with loads of dips and rolls and oh-so-fun strings of esses and sweepers -- plus a dearth of traffic or patrols to challenge our pace.

It's the ideal venue to show off the taut suspension tuning and sporty handling characteristics of a new-from-scratch compact-class CUV for Mazda.

Designers from Mazda -- a company steeped in the production of sporty cars like the MX-5 Miata roadster and RX-7 hatchback -- cast this wagon on a new rigid unibody platform with front-wheel-drive orientation, then stocked it with lively independent suspension elements and crisp steering to fashion a ride quality that's smooth and comfortable for passengers yet also responsive. To continue review, click here.

January 09, 2013

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Road Test Review

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Road Test Review by Martha Hindes : RTM's 2013 CUV Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

Bruce Springsteen's “Born in the USA” didn't exactly kick off the “Made in America” rebellion of the last few years, but it sure has gotten its share of “likes” in relation to it.  It also seems to have caught the attention of those wanting to make sure “homegrown” doesn't get lost on the new car playing field. A new conversion? How about the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport crossover utility vehicle that also took its initial bow as a Limited edition last month in the California country that often has dismissed American built vehicles for those from across the ocean.

This revised five-seater won't be taking a boat ride to reach American shores from now on since Mitsubishi has switched production from its home base in Japan to the US. Instead, it's being built in Illinois, at a plant the company has operated there for decades and will ship the American-built vehicles to other countries. How do “The Boss's” lyrics go?  “USA, USA, USA...”

It's not just domesticating the newest version of the Outlander that is catching attention. This compact brother of the seven-seat Outlander also scores in a couple of American mandates: price and mileage. Here's how. To continue the review, click here.

January 07, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Road Test Review

2013 Hyundai Sante Fe Road Test Review by Martha Hindes : RTM's 2013 CUV Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

OK. So we resisted the temptation to buy Hyundai's now departed 7-passenger Veracruz crossover/sport utility. But we really like Hyundai. And we really want a more compact crossover for 5. We want a CUV that looks trendy and sharp and smacks us to attention with its good looks. Good mileage is a must, of course. And we've long been spoiled by Hyundai's lengthy warranties. What to do? The answer could be as close as the nearest Hyundai dealership with a new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport in the window.

The Santa Fe that has been a Hyundai staple for some two generations, and is now entering its third iteration with a redesign for 2013. This isn't yesterday's Santa Fe with its sometimes criticized lack of “gotcha.” We think this generation will receive a different reaction, with a heavy input of Hyundai's new “Fluidic Sculpture” design character setting the style bar higher than ever before. Sculpted-shaping of sheet metal lends visual appeal with a sense of motion, for example. Distinctive headlamps are framed with dramatic LED accent borders. To continue the review, click here.

January 04, 2013

2013 Cadillac SRX Road Test Review

2013 Cadillar SXR Crossover Road Test written by Martha Hindes - RTM's 2013 CUV Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

It wasn't as if any Cadillac fan needed to be prompted to check out the SRXcrossover when it first came out. Aficionados had been waiting anxiously. We recall one man who chased us down on a side road during an early test drive to eagerly get a good look. That was some four years ago. Now, with an updated mid-size2013 Cadillac SRX on scene, the only prompting needed to coax curiosity is its CUE.

That's really not a play on words, although dictionaries define it as a prompt, or signal to do something. In this case, it's discovering that Cadillac has incorporated a finely-tuned, user-friendlier touchable electronics interface for all those delicious high tech gadgets that populate contemporary vehicles. Cadillac has cleverly combined “Cadillac User Experience” into the simple, unforgettable acronym CUE that helps define the simplicity of this new system designed to take the complexity angst out of automotive electronics that has sullied some competitive vehicles. It's standard on all 2013 SRX models. To continue the review, click here.

January 02, 2013

2013 Chevrolet Equinox Road Test Review

2013 Chevrolet Equinox Road Test Review : Road & Travel Magazine

By Tim Healey

One way to liven up a mainstream crossover is to give it more power, and Chevy has done just that with the 2013 Equinox by dropping an optional 3.6-liter V-6 under hood to replace last year's optional 3.0-liter mill.

That's the biggest change for 2013, although the Equinox also adds Chevy's MyLink infotainment system, an available sport suspension for models with 18- or 19-inch models, some new safety features, and some new convenience and entertainment features.

Not much changed, but that didn't stop us from taking a spin anyway. Duty calls.

Features & Prices
There are three trims on Equinox: LS, LT, and LTZ. In addition to MyLink, other available features include a power liftgate, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, OnStar, Bluetooth, a rear-seat entertainment system, navigation, an engine-block heater, a sunroof, leather seats, and more.

Pricing starts at $23,755, not including the $825 destination fee.

On the Road
In addition to the V-6, the base engine is a carryover 2.4-liter four-cylinder that generates 182 horsepower. We spent our time in the 3.6, which has 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is optional with either engine. To continue the review, click here.

December 31, 2012

2013 Honda CR-V Road Test Review

2013 Honda CR-V Road Test Review by Martha Hindes - RTM's 2013 CUV Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

For someone trying to beat traffic running across a street, hope the vehicle you're dodging is a 2013 Honda CR-V crossover. This recently revised crossover utilityvehicle (CUV) was designed to prevent injury to pedestrians wanting to play bumper tag in mid-street with a few thousand pounds of moving sheet metal and parts.

Honda has been astute about keeping a clean safety record for the cars and trucks it builds, as evidenced in its longstanding record of high star safety ratings. The new, 2013 model year is no different. This CR-V (its name originally derived from Comfortable Runabout Vehicle)  was redesigned a year ago, and includes a safety system Honda calls “pedestrian injury mitigation,” to reduce injury to those on foot if hit by a car. (We expect the system has had lots of real world validation in Honda's Japan homeland and other countries worldwide where people tend to go on foot more than Americans do.)

The CR-V for Americans is purposely built in the U.S. for contemporary buyers whose lifestyles can vary from city dwellers to the beach crowd to those who love the countryside or wide open spaces. In true CUV fashion, according to Honda, it is meant to morph from comfortable daily driving, shopping trips and package carrier duties to light purpose off-roading if the occasion calls for it. For full review, click here.

December 28, 2012

2013 Acura RDX Road Test Review

2013 Acura RDX Crossover Review by Martha Hindes - Road & Travel Magazine's 2013 CUV Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

When technology goodies on cars was an emerging trend, a junior technology buff complained it all went on “older people's cars.” Well yes. They were the ones who could afford it at that time. Fast forward a score or so and biting edge technology is now the domain of the brash and under-aged Twilight genre. It's been softened a bit for the rest of us, if the newly redesigned 2013 Acura RDX crossover is any indication.

At Road & Travel Magazine, we remember our first turn around the block in the original RDX a half-dozen years ago, fast, agile and unapologetic; its lux credentials muted enough to balance its turbo-charged performance gusto. That was something we loved as driving geeks. But RDX buyers were hinting they wanted something more, like enhanced ride quality, more pampering, better fueleconomy and maybe a shade less in- your-face on the technology side.

Back to the drawing board. To continue review, click here.

September 07, 2012

2012 Hyundai Veracruz Road Test Review

2012 Hyundai Veracruz Road Test Review - Road & Travel Magazine's 2012 SUV Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

It isn't that there's anything wrong with the larger, seven-passenger Veracruz, with the aspirational sounding name. Even though the styling hasn't had a major upgrade for a bit, it's still attractive looking, nearly luxurious inside, is exceptionally usable and carries a price tag worth a second and third look. There are other factors at play here that deal more with an auto industry landscape somewhat saturated with good, wonderfully-functional SUVs. Hence the decision by Veracruz's Korean parent, Hyundai, to let go of the vehicle that has been its flagship truck entry. The companion Santa Fe SUV gets boosted to a seven seat, long wheelbase version next year to replace the Veracruz. For full review, click here.


September 04, 2012

2012 BMW 128i Convertible Road Test Review


2012 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide - 2012 BMW 128i Review

by Martha Hindes

Who hasn't heard of the old adage, “Good things come in small packages.” Take Snooki of Jersey Shore fame perhaps. All four feet nine inches of her tiny height has sure been very good for cable TV during the last year or so. A lotta naughty. A lotta flaunting. A bit of super sweet nice. She's copped the over-the-top vamp spot from wee Salma Hayek , Hilary Duff and Eva Longoria (all 5'2”) and commands more celebrity interviews than rapper Lil' Kim  (also 4 foot nine).  We won't state that BMW's minuscule 128i Convertible for 2012 flaunts it. But is there any true convertible auto that doesn't?

An answer to that question should be answered by the first glance at the BMW 128i in top-down mode. It has a trim, petite shape that bears all the proper planes and curves a sexy sports car should have and an ability to get close up and personal with a staunch Teutonic badging without needing a degree in advanced engineering to appreciate it. For full review, click here.