techshake

Review: 2012 Buick Verano
Feb08

Review: 2012 Buick Verano

By Roger Boylan

Do you like American compact cars? Have you ever desired an Escort, or yearned for a Chevette? I thought not. Many, if not most, of our homegrown compacts have been duds. I still shudder when I think of the Dodge Neon I once briefly owned. Not that there haven’t been some bright spots here and there: The Ford Focus has always been a pretty good car, and the Chevrolet Corvair made automotive history—the wrong kind, but hey. These days, the Cruze and Sonic look promising, as do the Fiesta and revamped Focus. Still, by and large, the best part of the compact-car market in this country has been dominated by imports, whose dimensions are dictated by the price of fuel and the exigencies of urban geography in their home countries, and engineered accordingly. My guess is that most American compacts have been bought for want of anything better, by college kids and the chronically hard-up (I fell into the latter category when I signed on the dotted line for my Neon).

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Review: 2012 Subaru Impreza Premium 5-door
Feb07

Review: 2012 Subaru Impreza Premium 5-door

By Kevin Miller

Over the years, Subaru has carved an interesting niche for itself in the new-car marketplace.  Its vehicles all come with standard all wheel drive (aside from the upcoming BRZ sport coupe codeveloped with Toyota).  They also tend to cater more to the function-over-form school of design.  Subarus aren’t typically noted for the beauty of their designs, but many of the company’s models have a “small on the outside, big on the inside” feel.  Aside from subjective design issues, the knock against many Subarus has been that their all wheel drive hardware makes them somewhat thirsty, and their interior materials are a bit polymer-heavy.  I was anxious to try out the all-new Impreza, which promises to address some of those issues, and hopefully – for Subaru – broaden its appeal beyond its traditionally strong markets in the Pacific Northwest and cold-weather states.

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Review: 2012 GMC Terrain SLT-2 V6
Feb01

Review: 2012 GMC Terrain SLT-2 V6

By Roger Boylan

GM offers three versions of this pleasant vehicle: the working-stiff’s Chevrolet Equinox (previously reviewed in these pages), the fancy-pants Cadillac SRX (actually on a premium version of this platform shared with the recently deceased Saab 9-4x), and the present, modestly upscale iteration, the GMC Terrain, which was my ride for a week. (The also recently deceased Saturn Vue was another close relation.)  While the vehicle may be similar in feel and specs to its relatives, at least GM has made it look completely different from the Equinox – for better or worse.

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Review: 2012 Nissan Versa SL Sedan
Jan28

Review: 2012 Nissan Versa SL Sedan

By Kevin Miller

Nissan’s Versa has been a solid entry in the low-cost, entry-level car segment, with a base version of the first-generation Versa sedan actually claiming the title of cheapest car available with its $9995 base price. While that price didn’t include much standard equipment (like air conditioning or a radio), more expensive versions with more generous equipment levels (including features like keyless entry/go and leather-wrapped steering wheel) were available, though with such an inexpensive starting point the Versa was always a Spartan vehicle.

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Review: 2011 Audi Q7 3.0T S line
Jan27

Review: 2011 Audi Q7 3.0T S line

By Kevin Gordon

I have a confession. I stereotype drivers. More specifically, I stereotype drivers of luxury cars. Sadly, my innate judgement doesn’t just stop at brand, it extends to model. Every time I see a BMW 328i coupe, I assume that the driver decided that they liked the image of the car, but little about the way it actually drives. I probably give Audi drivers the harshest judgement of all. There are some exceptions to this; if you drive an early Audi S4 Avant, I instantly want to be your friend despite any moral shortcomings you may have.

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Review: 2012 Hyundai Accent SE 6MT
Jan26

Review: 2012 Hyundai Accent SE 6MT

By Kevin Gordon

There is a wonderful trend happening in the automotive world. Small cars no longer need to be automatically considered economy cars. The team at Techshake has now had a chance to sample most of the cars in this class and if you read them you’ll notice they are some of the most positive words we put to pixels around here. The Hyundai Accent would like to add its name to that list. The recently redesigned Accent wears a family familiar face and carries an impressive options list. Read on for our full impression and to see if the Accent has graduated from the economy class.

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