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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Nissan Murano: 2009-’14
February 6, 2017

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Nissan Murano: 2009-’14</br>February 6, 2017

Nissan was one of the first automakers to combine aspects of passenger cars and utility vehicles to create a new premium wagon for the 2003 model year. Front- and all-wheel-drive Muranos used a modified Altima-family-car platform and also shared its suspension components and its V-6. Unique to the Murano was its belt-driven continuously variable transmission (CVT), technology that’s now installed in most Nissan automobiles.

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Honda Pilot: 2009-’15
January 16, 2017

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Honda Pilot: 2009-’15</br>January 16, 2017

The Pilot’s tough-look and blocky styling was an attempt by Honda to make it more appealing to male buyers. It received high marks for passenger comfort in its first two rows, while an increase in distance between the front and rear wheels gave more legroom for third-row occupants. With the second and third rows folded flat, the Pilot was transformed into an impressive storage locker.

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Honda Civic: 2012-’15
December 26, 2016

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Honda Civic: 2012-’15</br>December 26, 2016

The Civic sedan was sleek and comfortable with more than adequate space for four passengers (five, if you didn’t mind a tight squeeze in back). A flat floor and sizable trunk also made for agreeable long-distance travel. The base 140-horsepower four-cylinder engine worked particularly well with the smooth-shifting five-speed manual transmission (a continuously variable unit (CVT) was optional). For performance-seekers, the fully loaded Si’s 201-horsepower four-cylinder engine turned the Civic into a lively sports machine.

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Toyota FJ Cruiser: 2007-’14
November 21, 2016

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Toyota FJ Cruiser: 2007-’14</br>November 21, 2016

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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Acura TL: 2009-’14
October 24, 2016

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Acura TL: 2009-’14</br>October 24, 2016

The TL was packed with standard luxury content and only had a few extra-cost options. Base equipment included leather seats (heated and power adjustable in front), power sunroof, premium sound system and climate control. The car’s generous size ensured plenty of cabin space for both front- and rear-seat passengers. Luggage room was also more than adequate for sedans in this class.

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GMC Yukon/XL: 2007-’14
October 17, 2016

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GMC Yukon/XL: 2007-’14</br>October 17, 2016

Yukons could carry and tow just about anything imaginable. Inside, there was room for up to nine passengers as well as their personal effects. A gymnasium-sized cargo hold opened up with the middle and rear seats removed. The range of V-8 engines was significantly more powerful than the previous powerplants and they achieved slightly better fuel economy (the hybrid being the best of the group). The 1500-series (half-ton) Yukon could tow up to 8,200 pounds while the 2500-series (three-quarter ton) could handle up to 9,700 pounds.

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Chevrolet Cobalt: 2011-’15
October 10, 2016

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Chevrolet Cobalt: 2011-’15</br>October 10, 2016

The Cobalt replaced the Cavalier compact car that was definitely overdue for retirement. As with the ‘Cav,’ the Cobalt was available in both two-door coupe and four-door sedan formats. Initial base models were equipped with the 145-148 horsepower 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, while a 205-horsepower 2.0-liter supercharged four-cylinder came in the more robust SS coupe.

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Chevrolet Cruze: 2011-’15
October 3, 2016

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Chevrolet Cruze: 2011-’15</br>October 3, 2016

Chevrolet finally found the correct formula for building a smart-looking, comfortable compact car. The interior was spacious, quiet and nicely turned out and trunk room was near or at the top of its class. The Cruze also handled quite competently on twisty and/or bumpy roads. The six-speed manual transmission shifted smoothly with a minimum of clutch effort and the six-speed automatic also performed well. The two available gas engines were thrifty runners, as was the fuel-stretching turbo-diesel.

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Audi TT: 2008-’15
Sept 26, 2016

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Audi TT: 2008-’15</br>Sept 26, 2016

The TT carried plenty of spring in its step due to a low curb weight and a generous dose of power. Even the base 200-horse versions provided sufficient thrust for most drivers, although it remained far out-gunned by the TTS and TT RS variants. Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system helped the car stick like glue in the corners and in slick conditions.

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