Category Archives: Autofile

Mini Cooper: 2007-’13
October 28, 2019

Overview

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Description

The original Mini Cooper delivered plenty of driving fun and the newer models have continued that tradition. The carʼs 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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Scion tC: 2005-’16
September 2, 2019

Overview

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Description

Toyota’s youth-market division was launched in 2003 specifically for the North American market. The well-equipped xA hatch and xB wagon were joined for the 2005 model year by the sporty tC hatchback coupe. Initially, the car came with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that made 161 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. For 2011, those numbers jumped to 180/173 with the new 2.5-liter four-cylinder.

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BMW X6: 2008-’14
August 26, 2019

Overview

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Description

The X6 was based on BMW’s successful X5 sport utility vehicle, but the X6’s hatchback meant there was no confusing the two. Original powertrains included 300- and 315-horsepower inline six-cylinder engines for the xDrive35i. Optional 400- and 440-horsepower twin-turbocharged V-8 engines (depending on the year) came in the xDrive50i. For 2010, BMW added the more potent 550-horsepower X6 M as well as the 480-horesepower ActiveHybrid X6. An all-wheel-drive system that could vary torque front-to-back as well as side-to-side was standard issue on all X6s.

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Nissan Cube: 2009-ʼ14
July 8, 2019

Overview

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Description

Nissanʼs funky front-wheel-drive box on wheels was originally introduced to the Japan market in 1998. The third-generation model was brought to Europe and North America for the 2009 model year, by which time it displayed a unique (some would say youthful) styling. The Cubeʼs sole engine option was a 1.8-liter four-cylinder (the same one given to the Versa hatchback) that produced 122 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque.

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Mazda6: 2009-’13
June 17, 2019

Overview

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Description

The second-generation 2009-’13 Mazda6 did a decent job competing against the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Chevrolet Malibu, et al. Of particular note was the sharp styling and generously sized and appointed interior. Both front and rear seats were particularly supportive. The 6ʼs sport-tuned suspension and steering made it more fun to drive than many of its sedan competitors, but it still delivered a comfortable ride.

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Toyota Venza: 2009-’15
March 25, 2019

Overview

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Description

The Venza’s key strength was its ability to transport up to five people and carry more than twice the amount of cargo than the Camry. As well, the Venza’s taller body and greater ride height made for easier entry and exit. Ride comfort and steering precision/handling were also strong points. Both the four- and six-cylinder engines could be specified with all-wheel-drive, which made the wagon an ideal all-weather workhorse.

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Chevrolet Volt: 2011-’15
March 4, 2019

Overview

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Description

For people — most people, actually — who travel short distances in an average day, the 40-mile battery range meant the Volt would use no gasoline unless longer trips were planned. With a built-in gasoline generator to power the electric motor after the batteries ran down, drivers never had to worry about running out of juice by the side of the road, as they might have with battery-only electric vehicles. Recharging the batteries took a reasonable six hours when hooked up to a 240-volt power source, but about 15 hours at 120 volts.

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Lexus ES 350: 2007-’12
February 11, 2019

Overview

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Description

As with previous models, the ES 350 arrived with plenty of upscale touches that separated it from the rest of the entry-luxury pack and, of course, the related Camry. The low-key styling was spiffed up compared with the previous ES. The suspension was also calibrated for a more luxury-oriented but well-controlled ride, with one auto magazine calling it “as soft as a goose-down comforter.”

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Toyota Tundra: 2007-’13
January 14, 2019

Overview

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Description

This generation of Tundra had a solid reputation as a rugged performer that was nicely detailed inside and out. It was also better equipped to take on the full-size domestic pickups. Models equipped with the strong-running V-8 gave the Tundra strong hauling and towing power, but the smaller V-6 and V-8 engines were also capable.

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Acura RL: 2005-’12
December 17, 2018

Overview

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Description

Acura’s flagship sedan began as the 3.5 RL, which replaced the Legend for the 1997 model year. The 3.5 designation was dropped when the second-generation RL was launched for 2005. That model came with standard all-wheel-drive along with a 290-horsepower V-6 and a five-speed automatic transmission. The RL received a minor makeover for 2009 plus a new 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6.

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