4.18.2014

The 2014 GMC Sierra Is Why People Buy Full-Size Pickup Trucks


Front 3/4 view of 2014 GMC Sierra
The 2014 GMC Sierra.

Have you read my review of the 2014 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X?  If not, you can click that link or maybe scroll down a post, if the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief is posting these in sequence (I am.-Ed.).

For those not so inclined, the short version: The PRO-4X is a ten-year-old design, refreshed five years ago. A midsize whose roots in the past give it a powertrain that can only manage 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 on the highway, with an as-tested price of $36,050.

In contrast, look what is happening in full-size trucks:

This is the newly-redesigned GMC Sierra 1500. It and its corporate cousin, the Chevrolet Silverado, are full-size pickups that embody the state of the art of trucks today, engaged in an ongoing game of oneupsmanship with RAM and Ford.  Until the new F-150 arrives in a few months, this is as good as it gets.

How The 2014 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Tries To Hide Its Age


Front 3/4 view of the 2014 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X
The 2014 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X.

In the 1970s, the streets were awash with small pickup trucks.  There were Toyota pickups, Datsun pickups, Mazda pickups, the Ford Courier, which was the Mazda pickup with a Ford grille and badging and the Chevy LUV, an Isuzu kept secret because Isuzu had yet to sell its own vehicles in America.

Over time, the small pickups got bigger, and the number of them got smaller.  Today, there are really only two: The Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier. And they are not small at all.

It has been ten years since this generation of Frontier was introduced, five years since its last facelift. In large trucks such as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram, there has been rapid change and evolution. But the Frontier looks and feels like a relic from a different age.

4.17.2014

Why The 2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI Might Surprise You


Front 3/4 view of 2014 Volkswagen Passat
The 2014 Volkswagen Passat


Here is how good modern diesels are:  It was six days into driving the 2014 Passat TDI before I realized it had one.

It was a busy week. There was not any time to think, only to drive.  The day before the car was due to go back, I realized there was something missing.  One, maybe two trips to the gas station.  The car was getting phenomenal mileage.  The suggestion came from Sacramento that it might be a diesel.  Yes, it was.

Why The 2014 Subaru Outback Is A Car With Integrity

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Subaru Outback
The 2014 Subaru Outback.


We have discussed art (in the Lexus IS 350 F-Sport review), and form and function (in the Audi Q5 review).  But what about identity?  There is something compelling about a brand that stands for something and that does not blur that identity in an attempt to be all things to all people.  Such honesty can even overcome other shortcomings.

Subaru is a classic example.  For the most part, Subaru builds reasonably priced, but not cheap all-wheel drive vehicles of good quality, high value and remarkable utility.  The one that essentially sealed the image for the masses is this one, the Subaru Outback.

Why The Audi Q5 TDI quattro Tiptronic Is A Great SUV



Front 3/4 view of the 2014 Audi Q5
The 2014 Audi Q5 TDI quattro Tiptronic


There is a key to design that not all automakers understand, or at least apply: Form, in and of itself, can be beautiful. Form and function serving each other is beyond beautiful.

Audi has understood and applied that in its products for years. Audis are always impeccably designed, not styled, intelligently thought out and meticulously executed. The 2014 Audi Q5 TDI quattro Tiptronic is a tremendous example of that. There is not a wasted nor superfluous line on the car. It is simple, yet conveys an elegance that most crossovers in its size class simply do not.