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2012 Chevrolet Traverse Most Satisfying Large Crossover SUV

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Best in Class 2012 Large Crossover SUV:  Chevrolet Traverse

2012 Chevrolet Traverse Winner of AutoPacific's 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Owners of the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse give the Large SUV a photo-finish win over the Ford Flex while giving the Traverse top ratings in eighteen of forty-eight categories in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  The Traverse gets top marks for Cargo Space, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Interior Storage, Braking, Fuel Economy, Easy to Use Controls, Cupholders, Tire Brand/Size/Appearance, Wheel Size and Style, Environmental Friendliness, Infotainment Technology, Dealership Experience, Recyclability, Advanced Powertrain Technology, Collision Avoidance Technology, Range and Warranty.  With a possible high score of 5.0 satisfaction rating points, 4.5 or higher can be considered very good.  Traverse owners rated the Large SUV above 4.5 rating points in:  Overall Satisfaction, Seating Capacity, Exterior Color, Reliable/Dependable,  and Feeling Safe While Driving.  Traverse owners, while the highest rated Large SUV for Fuel Economy, are least satisfied with their Traverse’s gas mileage.  Traverse owners rate five characteristics below 4.0 satisfaction rating points:  Fuel Economy, Range, Environmental Friendliness, Recyclability and Price.


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2012 Cadillac SRX Most Satisfying Luxury Crossover SUV

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Best In Class 2012 Luxury Crossover SUV:  Cadillac SRX

2012 Cadillac SRX Winner of AutoPacific's 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award

The Luxury Crossover SUV category is a very diverse segment with several very competitive entries.  Owners of the 2012 Cadillac SRX give the vehicle sufficient scores in importance and satisfaction to win the segment with only six top ratings among forty-eight characteristics measured in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.   The SRX gets top marks for:  Brand of Audio System, Tire Brand/Size/Appearance, Wheel Size and Style, Dealership Experience, Price and Advanced Powertrain Technology. With a possible high score of 5.0 rating points for each attribute, a rating of 4.6 or higher can be considered to be very good.  SRX owners give the crossover SUV scores of 4.6 or higher in: Overall Satisfaction, Image, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Exterior Color, Exterior Styling, Interior Styling, Handling, Fun to Drive, Reliability, Brand of Audio System, Dealership Experience, Feeling Safe While Driving, and Overall Quality.  Owners are least satisfied with five of SRX characteristics giving them a satisfaction rating of less than 4.0 satisfaction points:  Fuel Economy, Range, Visibility, Environmental Friendliness, and Recyclability.


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2012 Honda Civic: An Honest and Unbiased Review

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Honda just can’t seem to catch a break these days.  With the fallout from the tsunami, a profit sucking Japanese currency issue, the floods in Thailand, and the media in an uproar over the new Civic, well, Honda’s public relations team is working overtime.  So, is the Civic really the worst car out of Honda in years or has the segment just gotten that good?


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2011 F-150 EcoBoost: Raising the Bar…Again

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I need to give you full disclosure:  I love engines with forced induction.  Turbos and superchargers make me smile, well, most of the time.  My father had a Lincoln MKT EcoBoost when they first came out and I appreciated the idea of a turbo V6 but wasn’t particularly impressed with the the package.  The front-wheel biased all-wheel drive torque steer and transmission calibration never seemed to be as polished as I had hoped for in a vehicle of that price point.  It could use a dose of that torque vectoring system from the Focus to balance out the massive amount of power.  My opinion of the V6 EcoBoost from Ford was basically “meh”, as I never felt like the refinement was all there.  A stint in a Taurus SHO confirmed this fact for me.  Sure, it’s a stupid powerful powertrain but it was missing the harmony that made the engine mate up to the car like peanut butter and jelly.  


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2011 Land Rover LR4: The Best 4x4xFar?

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Although the fad of pavement pounders and soccer moms driving vehicles better suited for the Camel Trophy than the city playground is over, Land Rover continues to offer the LR4 for those who still demand the a vehicle with no compromises.  While Land Rover has never been known for quality, they have been known for their off-road prowess.  Jeep might be known for something similar, but Jeep doesn’t offer anything with the no compromises capability of the 2011 Land Rover LR4.  What other vehicle can move seven people off the beaten path in comfort and style and tow 7,000 pounds?


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Analysis: Ford & Toyota’s New “Hybrid Synergy”

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If you think back, GM developed the 2 Mode Hybrid system in collaboration with BMW and Daimler-Chrysler.  Chrysler had about a two month run of Durango and Aspen hybrids.  If you see one on the road you might consider it to be an exotic due to how rare it is.  BMW has a hybrid system in their X6, but it is for performance more than fuel economy.  Daimler has a RWD hybrid system in the Mercedes-Benz S Class, but the fuel economy hasn’t been anything to make headlines with.  While not being much of a success for any party involved in that collaboration, one GM engineer described the 2 Mode hybrid system to me as a “very expensive science project”.  What Ford and Toyota teamed up to do today looks to be more than a science experiment.


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2011 Chevrolet Volt: No Fear of the B.S.O.D. with this Tech-Laden Halo

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In November of 2010, General Motors delivered on a promise they made to start producing the Chevrolet Volt.  Just after production started I had the opportunity to spend a day with a Volt.  While it was a very interesting car to drive for a day, I wasn’t sure what it would be like to drive a vehicle that had the ability to be plugged in, so Chevrolet let me drive one for a week earlier this year.


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Short Take: Volkswagen Golf blue-e-motion

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Volkswagen is excited with the work they have completed thus far on the Golf blue-e-motion battery electric vehicle.  So excited, in fact, that I was recently able to drive one in Germany.


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2011 Hyundai Elantra: Breaking the Paradigm of Econoboxes

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First we had the Sonata and now we have the Elantra.  The Sonata was the direct hit to the gut but the Elantra is the uppercut that no one saw coming.  Gunning for the respect of Hyundai naysayers, the Elantra delivers the quality, fuel economy, and price tag that will change minds and make believers.

While other automakers have raised the price of their new c-segment vehicles to make them in America with a profit, Hyundai has changed the game again.  Hyundai seems to be bucking the trend these days of lofty price tags.  The Elantra is a stylish value package assembled in the good ol’ U.S. of A. that needs to be at the top of your test drive list.


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2011 Infiniti QX56: No Longer Just For Oil Sheiks

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Crossovers are all the rage these days.  What’s not to like?  Car-like handling, decent fuel economy, room for the kids?  One trend I’ve noticed in crossovers is the move towards limited visibility.  Beltlines have gotten so high that kids have trouble seeing out of the windows and backing up requires an extensive use of all three mirrors and a NASA satellite to see what lurks behind you.  And if you don’t have a back-up camera you can pretty much count on hitting something at some point in time.  Well, how refreshing the 2011 QX56 was to drive.  The QX56 isn’t a car-based crossover.  It is Infiniti’s truck-based answer to the Escalade.  Based on the Nissan Patrol, which has been a huge sales hit in the Middle East because of its rugged construction and reliability, the QX56 can shuttle you around in the same comforts as a cash-stuffed Saudi oil mogul.  With 20 MPG on the highway, you won’t need to personally know a sheik either.


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