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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BMW 1 series: 2008-’13
October 9, 2017

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BMW 1 series: 2008-’13</br>October 9, 2017

Until the 1 series arrived, the smallest BMW (excluding the Z4 roadster) was the 3 series sedan. The 1 series’ base price was about $7,500 less than a comparable 3 series coupe. The 1’s compact footprint also gave it a sportier ‘feel’ even though it weighed only about 100 pounds less than a 3 coupe. Both non-turbo and turbo six-cylinder engines were sprightly performers, but the higher output 135i was the swiftest by far.

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Chrysler Town & Country: 2011-’16
September 4, 2017

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Chrysler Town & Country: 2011-’16</br>September 4, 2017

Minivans are all about functionality, first and foremost, and in that department the T & C excelled. But it also added more than a splash of luxury, which is what differentiated it from the similar, but more humble, Grand Caravan. For maximizing load volume, the second-row Stow ‘n Go feature made the second-row bench seat disappear beneath the floor, while the third-row seat could be equally well hidden.

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Mini Countryman: 2011-’16
August 7, 2017

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Mini Countryman: 2011-’16</br>August 7, 2017

The largest model in the Mini fleet joined the Clubman wagon and the smaller Mini Cooper hatchback and convertible models for the 2011 model year. The four-door Mini Cooper Countryman (its official title) was 16 inches longer than the two-door Mini Cooper and about 6.5 inches longer than the Clubman. The Countryman’s body was also significantly taller. Engine choices consisted of a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder and for the S models a 181-horsepower turbocharged version.

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Porsche Cayman: 2006-’12
July 10, 2017

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Porsche Cayman: 2006-’12</br>July 10, 2017

First-generation Caymans were quite at home on twisty highways. Base models were quick enough for most drivers, while the Cayman S’s performance rivaled the base 911 coupe, but for much less money. The Cayman held two people and had about double the luggage space of the Boxster.

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Lexus IS: 2006-’13
June 26, 2017

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Lexus IS: 2006-’13</br>June 26, 2017

The Lexus IS was inspired by the BMW 3-series and arrived for the 2001 model year. The 300 sedan was joined by the SportCross wagon for 2002 an by mid-2005, all-new IS 250 and IS 350 sedans replaced the originals. The 250 had a 204-horsepower V-6, while a 306-horsepower V-6 came with the IS 350. For 2008, the IS F joined the fleet with a 416-horsepower V-8 driving the rear wheels.

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Subaru Impreza: 2012-’16
May 1, 2017

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Subaru Impreza: 2012-’16</br>May 1, 2017

Unlike the rally-race-inspired WRX and WRX STI, regular-strength Imprezas were intended for less strenuous duty. First-generation models arrived for the 1993 model year and were available in coupe, sedan and wagon variations. The lineup was revamped for 2002, at which point all-wheel-drive became standard and the coupe was dropped. Impreza was also revamped for the 2008 and 2012 model years.

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Range Rover Sport: 2006-’13
April 3, 2017

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Range Rover Sport: 2006-’13</br>April 3, 2017

The Range Rover Sport filled a hole in the Land Rover lineup between the LR3/LR4 and the top-end Range Rover, even though the Sport was smaller than both. To make up for the size deficiency, the Sport could be had with a 305-horsepower V-8 or a supercharged 390-horsepower V-8. Both came with six-speed automatic transmissions with a rev-matching feature for smoother upshifts and downshifts.

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Mazda MX-5 Miata: 2007-’15
March 13, 2017

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Mazda MX-5 Miata: 2007-’15</br>March 13, 2017

The fun-loving Miata represented one of the best sports-car values on the road. Along with its inspired styling and handling, the accommodations for the driver and passenger were comfortable, but snug. The manually operated convertible top, offered in vinyl or optional cloth, folded and unfolded with ease with one hand. It securely latched to the windshield frame and was built to last.

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