Reviews

Review: 2010 Cadillac CTS

Well I’ll just come right out and say it: of all the cars I’ve test driven so far, this one’s my favorite. As the current owner of a Cadillac, I could easily see myself driving another one some day. I like the brand’s styling, and it’s focus on performance. I think Cadillacs are the best example of American luxury and the CTS is a global competitor in its class.

If you’ve read my other reviews, you’ll know one of the first things I look for is good leg room and head clearance. Well I can honestly say that I could move the CTS’s driver’s seat too far back! At a certain point, it becomes pretty difficult to reach the steering wheel. With the seat back in a comfortable upright position, I still had an inch or two of head clearance. Good start! The back seats in the sedan do not fold down, but there is a pass through opening that will accept a set of skis or small bag.

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Review: 2010 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro

I’ve been telling myself (and my wife) for while now that I would love to own a European car. Something about them gives me a good vibe. Also, being 6’9″ tall, I need all the leg/head room I can get. The Germans seem to have a reputation for making cars well suited to us taller guys. That would naturally lead me to Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Porshe, and VW. Posrche is out of the question (for now), VW’s tend to be a bit small still, the BWM 3 series is cramped, and Mercedes Benz comes with a big price tag, and a reputation for frequent problems. Although I was skeptical about how well I would fit in an A4, I decided to give one a try. Having one parked in my driveway would bring me great joy.

I arrived at the dealership hoping it would be love at first sight (or sit). I sat down in the black 2.0T sedan and sure enough, I was really surprised by how comfortable I was once I got the seat adjusted to my liking. I was impressed by the amount of leg room and head room. The leather seat was quite comfortable, but lacked the lateral support of others I’ve been in. The rear seats split and fold down completely, expanding the impressively large trunk.

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Review: 2010 Saab 9-5

After driving the Saab 9-3, I expected to like the 9-5 as well. I also expected it to feel bigger, but this really wasn’t the case.

The interior of the 9-5 resembles that of the 9-3 for the most part. It’s comfortable and simple. It’s easy to drive and operate controls. One particularly nice feature was the front seat ventilation. Turn it on and your butt is cool RIGHT NOW. Although not as much of a necessity to me as heated seats, they were very effective. One disappointment from the 9-5 was the lack of a bluetooth option. An auxiliary stereo input comes standard. Some of the interior felt and looked a bit cheap and out of place.

I could find a comfortable driving position, although I could have used a little more room from side to side. The 9-5 has a decent amount of backseat and trunk space, and comes in a wagon too if that’s not enough for you.

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Review: 2010 Subaru Legacy 3.6R

Well I decided to go take a spin in an Impreza WRX to see what all the hype was about.  I had high hopes of a comfortable fit and a fun drive.  Sadly (but not surprisingly) the fit wasn’t good enough to warrant a test drive.  I was (again, not surprisingly) disappointed.  Since I had already made the trip I thought, why not give the Legacy a try?  So, I did.  And forgot about the WRX disappointment.

I had seen an older 2.5GT at an autocross race a few years back and thought it was rather cool looking for a sedan.  Since then, the Legacy has always been an option I would consider when the time came to shop for a new set of wheels.  Then I saw pictures of the redesigned body style… not my favorite.  I will say that I like it much better in person, but maybe the excitement of the test drive got the best of me.  The aggressive looks make it feel sporty before you even get in, despite its larger size compared to the Impreza.
The Legacy’s interior is a good match for the exterior: enough flair to keep it interesting, but still quite practical.  Overall craftsmanship and quality appeared to be good, and the controls were laid out in a way that made sense from the driver’s seat.  The head room is plenty for a tall fellow like me, although I wouldn’t have minded a couple more inches of leg room.  This 3.6R was fully loaded with leather, navigation, sunroof and upgraded stereo system.

Alright, enough of that, let’s get it out of the parking lot.  One of the first things I noticed was how smooth the Legacy is.  Engine noise was only noticeably during heavy acceleration.  Neither road nor wind noise were enough to bother me, even at highway speeds.  The suspension is capable of a very comfortable and smooth ride.  It handled the railroad grade crossing, sunken deeply into the pavement, surprisingly well.  It’s a very pleasant car to drive around town.  It would make a good candidate for road trip transportation too, although I had my doubts about the seat being comfortable long term.
As comfortable as the sedan is locally, it seems to have a fun side too.  The salesman said “All Subarus are fun to drive”, after listening to my criteria for an ideal car.  After a few attempts to get the tires to squeal on some twisty backroads, I was very confident in the Legacy’s ability to handle abrupt maneuvers with ease.  It didn’t seem to matter how fast tried to enter or exit sharp turns, it was always ready.
Overall the Legacy’s performance and comfort are impressive.  It offers all the comfort, features, and performance a vehicle in its price range should.  More importantly, if offers almost everything I want.  Yet, there was still something slightly lacking.  Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  Even after throwing it through the curves on the back roads, and dropping the hammer getting on the highway, it still left me wanting something more.  Maybe the legacy isolates the driver from the road a little too much.  Maybe I’m not quite convinced I really like the styling.  Maybe I just need to drive it again…

Review: 2010 Ford Taurus Limited

At the age of 18, when I finally had a driver’s license, I lacked one important thing: an actual car. Ok, I lacked two important things: an actual car, and actual money. Fortunately, a few years later I was blessed with a hand-me-down. In the summer of 2003 I inherited a 1993 Ford Taurus GL with about 27k miles on it. It served me well during the few years I drove it. My sister drives it to this day, but I am sad to say it may be nearing the end of its useful life.

Not a single aspect of the 2010 Taurus resembles that car. Like the 2010 fusion, the new looks of the 2010 Taurus really caught my attention. The interior of the Taurus Limited resembles that of a luxury car more so than a traditional Taurus. Conveniences include bluetooth, sync, heated and ventilated seats, ambient lighting, and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, to name a few.

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Review: 2010 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ

I’ve always been a fan of GM’s products. Couldn’t necessarily explain why, although I think I inherited it. So naturally, in my quest to find an eventual replacement for my beloved daily driver, I stopped by a Chevy lot to check out the Malibu and Impala.

My first impression of the Malibu is that it is rather plain. Nothing really groundbreaking, or fancy. That will depend on what you compare it to. The exterior styling is modern but very tasteful. I prefer the looks of the Malibu over similar models from Honda and Toyota. I test drove a 4 cylinder equipped Malibu in LTZ trim.

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Review: 2010 Saab 9-3

The Saabs don’t strike me as big cars on the inside, but I decided they were still worth a look. The 9-3 has good looks and I expected it to be fun to drive.

Not surprisingly, the 9-3 didn’t have quite the leg room of other sedans I have driven. Still, I was plenty comfortable in the driver’s seat to take it for a spin.

The interior is nice and simple, but still provides good features like auxiliary stereo hookup and bluetooth – both of which are basically essential to me. Controls were easy to find and use. There is some clever (but not really necessary) design found inside the Saabs. The cup holder packaging, in particular was actually somewhat fun to play with. Some of the items & materials seems a little cheap, compared to the rest. The overall quality of the interior was good, so these few items seemed out of place.

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