The last time Ford affixed a “SPORT” badge to its Explorer sport-utility vehicle, it was to distinguish the two-door model from the four-door. Some two decades after that vehicle’s launch, for 2013, the range-topping Explorer has been fitted with a hi-po, EcoBoost V-6. Would it be sufficient oomph to allow the Explorer to compete with the current crop of full-size SUVs?
Ever since we first covered Waze (the crowd-sourced smartphone navigation/traffic intelligence app), I’ve come to rely on Waze more and more during my 50 miles of daily commuting. However, Waze is a battery hog (as are all screen-on, GPS-on navigation apps), so I had to plug in my iPhone when using Waze. Over time, I found it very frustrating to have to leave my phone in a cupholder so I could get the scoop on Waze traffic.
With a long weekend of family camping planned, I tried to think of the perfect vehicle to request for a weeklong loan. Corvette? Not enough seats. Terrain? Not enough room for bikes. Sierra Denali HD? Plenty of size and space, but what if it rained and our gear got wet? Then it dawned on me: Suburban.
My personal history with the Corvette goes back many, many years. Back when I was an only child, my parents bought a new white 1980 Corvette. Did that mean that I’d stay at home with a babysitter? Of course not! I rode in the back, under the glass, playing with various cubbies (I remember that the battery was in one of them – I didn’t like that compartment as much as I did the others). That car didn’t stay in the family fleet for long. Years later, I borrowed a white 1985 Corvette to go to my senior prom. I assisted in the cosmetic restoration of a beleaguered 1978 Silver Anniversary edition (I’m sure that chemical paint remover was healthy to be around). I spent some miles behind the wheel of a mint 1998 C5 (four speed auto, but it was a Corvette). I’ve been to Corvettes at Carlisle several times, I’ve been to Bowling Green once, and I’ve had some seat time in newer C6 Corvettes (the ZR1 simply rules). But I’ve never had extended time behind the wheel of one until this summer.
When the Volkswagen CC debuted in 2009, it provided a tony, coupelike supplement to the mainstream Passat sedan. Upon first glance, I deemed it “.” With the advent of the next-generation Passat, however, Volkswagen eschewed a full redesign of the CC for a mild reskin. Would this move threaten the CC’s success?
Pretty much every automaker selling cars in the US makes a four-cylinder sedan. That said, the majority of those sedans are truly nothing special. The common Camry/Accord/Sonata/Fusion/Altima genre doesn’t tend to inspire much excitement. Of course, most of those also tend to be front-wheel drive commuter cars.
For 2012, BMW is backing up its “Efficient Dynamics” tagline by bringing four-cylinder power to its 3 Series (and 5 Series) sedans. Whereas last year’s 328i was powered by an inline six-cylinder motor, this year’s 328i uses a 240 HP, 2.0 liter turbocharged four, paired with an eight-ratio automatic. Still, with rear-wheel drive and a chassis tuned for driving pleasure, the 328i is much more engaging to drive than the other automatic, four-cylinder sedans mentioned above.