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Review: 2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD
Dec16

Review: 2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD

By Kevin Miller

I am no stranger to 300 HP, midsized Volvos. As the original owner of a 2004 Volvo V70R, I’ve watched the development of the S60’s second generation with great interest. As the original S60 remained in production long past its sell-by date, Volvo needed a replacement that could continue the original car’s’s style, while improving on rear seat room and the original S60’s now-antiquated in-car electronics.

Volvo has launched the S60 with a marketing campaign referring to the car as the Naughty Volvo. While the new S60 T6 AWD does not carry the R moniker, it probably could. Rated 300 HP, with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transaxle, the car does a much better job of smoothly transferring power to the ground than the R-series cars ever did, and Volvo’s latest-generation AWD system makes the car feel less front-heavy than one would be expect, given the car’s front-drive-based foundation. Unfortunately, neither a manual transmission nor the V60 wagon version of the vehicle are destined for the US market.

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Quick Drive Alaska: 2010 Chevrolet Malibu LT
Dec13

Quick Drive Alaska: 2010 Chevrolet Malibu LT

By Kevin Miller

When the current-generation Chevrolet Malibu launched for the 2008 model year, I was impressed. In design and materials, it was leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor. It possessed some stylistic cues that I still feel are class leading (as well as beating vehicles several classes above); the Chevrolet symbol detail in lamp lenses and the continuous C-pillar trim on the rear doors are two of the details that continue to stand out as the Malibu gracefully ages.

Since the time when the Malibu launched to much fanfare (with a large advertising budget), key competitors such as the Accord, Fusion, Mazda6, and Sonata have launched new generations (or have had major updates). Among those three competitors, only the Sonata and Fusion actually improved upon the appearance of their predecessors since the Malibu’s launch date.

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Review: 2011 Subaru Legacy GT Limited
Dec03

Review: 2011 Subaru Legacy GT Limited

By Kevin Miller

Subaru is well known for making capable, competent all-wheel drive family vehicles. At the same time, they made a name for themselves building high-performance  turbocharged rally cars like their WRX and STI models, with roots in the famed World Rally Championship series. The Legacy GT Limited is the car that attempts to bridge the divide between Subaru’s sensible and sporty vehicle lines.

Subaru launched their all-new, fifth-generation Legacy a year ago as a 2010 model, and I had the opportunity to review an entry-level Legacy 2.5i Premium sedan last autumn. That vehicle impressed me with the space and features available at its price point, but I was eager to sample the sportiest version of the Subaru Legacy, the Legacy GT.  After all, if the regular car is good without the turbo boxer, the GT must be even better.

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Review: 2011 Lincoln MKX AWD
Nov29

Review: 2011 Lincoln MKX AWD

By Kevin Miller

I don’t watch much TV, but I read plenty plenty of automotive websites and I travel a lot. Both on those automotive sites and in national news publications such as USAToday, the Lincoln MKX is being heavily advertised. Ford is doing a great job in getting the word out about the MKX and its class-leading MyLincoln Touch system.

After spending a week in a 2011 Lincoln MKX, I came away conflicted. It has some great features, is more fun to drive than many competing five-passenger crossover vehicles, and for the most part is nicely finished.

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Review: 2010 Chrysler 300C SRT8
Nov09

Review: 2010 Chrysler 300C SRT8

By Kevin Miller

Although Chrysler calls this car the 300C, to me it brings to mind “B” words. Big. Brawny. Brash. Ballsy. Black. The car shouts its machismo, without even whispering “refinement”. The 300C SRT8 is unabashedly powerful and American, with the type of swagger and confidence the world associates with stereotypical American strongmen.

The SRT8 has been around for six years, and is in its final year of production; a refreshed version (spy shots of which are circulating on the Internet) is due for 2011, which is rumored to be more luxurious and feature much-improved interior. The new interior is desperately needs to be a credible contender above the entry-level class, and the new exterior will inject some freshness into the design which has been virtually unchanged since its 2005 model year introduction.

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