Buick Regal: 2011-’17
July 30, 2018

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Buick Regal: 2011-’17</br>July 30, 2018

The engineered-in-Germany Regal had taut European styling, a firm-but-comfortable ride and precise handling. The non-turbo 2.4 could be had with eAssist, an electric motor replacing the alternator that assisted engine power and (slightly) cut fuel consumption. The eAssist system became standard with all 2.4-liter engines for the 2013 model year.

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Audi Q5: 2009-’17
June 25, 2018

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Audi Q5: 2009-’17</br>June 25, 2018

The Q5 generated rave reviews for its quick reflexes and overall superb road manners. The wagon’s suspension tuning was an ideal blend of firmness and comfort. The cocoon-like cabin with its comfortable and supportive seats was mostly devoid of road and wind noise. Interior trim, dashboard and seat materials were also first rate and in line with the Q5’s overall build quality.

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Buick Verano: 2012-’17
May 7, 2018

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Buick Verano: 2012-’17</br>May 7, 2018

For not a lot of money, the Verano came with plenty of standard and optional luxury features. Compared with the Cruze, the Verano provided owners with a quiet, refined ride, thanks to plenty of added sound-absorbing material. The front seats were also more comfortable than the Cruze’s.

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Audi A3: 2006-’13
April 30, 2018

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Audi A3: 2006-’13</br>April 30, 2018

The A3 proved to be an excellent introductory model for the Audi line. Not surprisingly, there was a reasonable amount of stowage space in back and the rest of the interior was clean and uncluttered. The standard 200-horsepower turbo four-cylinder was a smooth-running jewel of an engine with enough spunk to propel the A3 to 60 mph from zero in 6.5 seconds (according to Audi). The optional 250-horsepower V6 made the Audi even quicker, while the torquey TDI’s arrival turned the car into quite the fuel miser.

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Jeep Patriot: 2007-’17
March 26, 2018

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Jeep Patriot: 2007-’17</br>March 26, 2018

The Patriot and the Compass compact utility models joined the Jeep lineup for the 2007 model year, using the same platform and running gear as the equally new Dodge Caliber hatchback. A 172-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder was the sole powerplant for first-year models and was joined by a new base 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder for 2008. Both directed torque to the front or all four wheels via a five-speed manual transmission or available continuously variable unit (CVT).

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Mazda RX-8: 2004-’11
March 5, 2018

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Mazda RX-8: 2004-’11</br>March 5, 2018

Introduced for the 2004 model year, the RX-8 was the latest in a line of Mazda?s rotary-powered vehicles that dated back to the early 1960s. The RX-8 succeeded the two-seater RX-7 sports car that was available in North America for the 1993-?95 model years. The RX-8 accommodated four passengers and provided access to the rear seats via a pair of rear-hinged ‘freestyle doors’ that could be operated only when the front doors were opened. A 1.3-liter twin-rotor engine delivered 238 horsepower for models equipped with the six-speed manual transmission.

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Acura RDX: 2007-’12
February 12, 2018

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Acura RDX: 2007-’12</br>February 12, 2018

Acura introduced the RDX in mid-2006 to compete with other premium all-wheel-drive compact wagons such as the BMW X3, Infiniti EX, Land Rover LR2 and the Lexus RX350. The five-passenger RDX was equipped with a 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder that was exclusive to this vehicle. A five-speed automatic transmission was standard.

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Toyota FJ Cruiser: 2007-’14
January 22, 2018

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Toyota FJ Cruiser: 2007-’14</br>January 22, 2018

The FJ was a true-blue crevice-crawling, boulder-bounding, body-on-frame retro-warrior that was enjoyed by off-road enthusiasts. Design touches linking the FJ to its past included circular headlights, wrap-around rear glass and signature two-tone paint. The rear access doors opened clamshell style for easier cargo loading/unloading and the flexible fender trim was damage resistant and provided door-ding protection.

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Chevrolet Cruze: 2011-’15
November 20, 2017

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Chevrolet Cruze: 2011-’15</br>November 20, 2017

The Chevrolet Cruze arrived at a time when General Motors was still getting back on its feet following the 2009 bankruptcy and subsequent government bailout. The compact sedan replaced the so-so Cobalt, minus the two-door coupe model. A 138-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine was standard, while a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder was optional. It also made 138 horsepower, but considerably more midrange torque. For 2014, a 151-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-diesel was added.

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Mini Cooper: 2007-’13
November 6, 2017

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Mini Cooper: 2007-’13</br>November 6, 2017

The original Mini Cooper delivered plenty of driving fun and its replacements have continued that tradition. The car’s low center of gravity and wide stance minimized body lean while cornering. Steering was ultra-quick and responsive. Likewise, shifting the standard-issue six-speed manual transmission was a treat (it was designed by BMW, after all). A six-speed automatic was optional.

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