Tuesday, October 2, 2018

2018 Chevrolet Traverse LT Leather All Wheel Drive 4-Door, Sable Brown Metallic

2018 Chevrolet Traverse LT Leather All Wheel Drive 4-Door, Sable Brown Metallic

What's New:

The Chevrolet Traverse is all new for 2018, with revised interior and exterior styling, a more powerful and fuel-efficient V6, and a lovely 9-speed automatic trans in place of the outgoing 6-speed.

What's Hot:

  • It’s spacious, with ample cargo and particularly impressive comfort in the middle and even third rows, and minivan-like ingress/egress due to wide and low door openings.
  • Revised 3.6L V6 delivers both sharp acceleration and respectable fuel economy.
  • Surprisingly stable and precise handling for an SUV of its size.
  • Cool tech frills like a mobile hotspot and rearview mirror that’s actually a screen.

What's Not:

  • Some of the tech is a bit annoying, like a not-great nav and a lot of distracting chiming from the infotainment.
  • The auto stop-start can’t be disabled.
  • Active crash-avoidance tech only available at top trims.

The Chevy Traverse seems at first glance like your quintessential workhorse: plain-looking and functional, it carries out its duties faithfully, without fuss or flattery. The big grey beast I tested for a week was personable, easy-driving, and had the right bones to serve as a comfy and utilitarian people-mover. Where it lacked was mostly in areas that are red hot right now: our otherwise well-equipped tester was missing the active crash-avoidance features that automakers seem to be falling over each other to offer customers, which on the Traverse are only available at top trims. However, this rig provides a bevy of other thoughtful features, many of them standard, that are hard to find elsewhere—it’ll give you a mobile hotspot, a driving report card for your teenager, and a reminder when you might’ve left a kid or a pet in the backseat. Chevy took a gamble with some unique flourishes and value-adds, and when you combine them with the Traverse’s solid overall functionality and great driving character, the result is a pretty likeable SUV. Is the Traverse your cup of tea? Take a closer look and you might be surprised.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse LT Leather All Wheel Drive 4-Door, Sable Brown Metallic

 

 

Friday, September 28, 2018

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0i Manual Transmission, Dark Gray Metallic

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0i Manual Transmission, Dark Gray Metallic

What's New: The Crosstrek is all new for 2018. It moves to Subaru’s Global Platform, which gives it a lower center of gravity and increased structural rigidity. It also gets an upgraded interior and an updated version of the 2.0L boxer motor, gaining direct injection and a miniscule bump in power output.

What's Hot:

  • Capable AWD coupled with a segment-leading 8.7” of ground clearance give it legitimate offroad chops.
  • Roomy, stylish cabin with intuitive controls and great outward visibility
  • Safe, especially for its size, with IIHS Top Safety Pick rating and available EyeSight crash-avoidance tech.

What's Not:

  • Sluggish acceleration, underpowered for its weight.
  • So slow even a manual doesn’t save it.
  • It’s missing a turbo.

Crosstrek fever is sweeping the nation. I’m barely exaggerating when I say that everyone I know wants one, and I can’t blame them: the appeal of a cheap, compact, fuel-sipping multipurpose vehicle with all-wheel drive and good ground clearance is tough to resist, whether you live at the end of a snowy gravel road or in the heart of a potholed and parking-starved city. It’s a no-brainer for the weekend warrior as well, with its scrappy go-anywhere attitude and versatile cargo capabilities. Driving its appeal is the perception that the Crosstrek is the cheapest way to get into an AWD. And although there are similarly-priced competitors, it’s definitely at least the cheapest way to get into an AWD that people have heard of—Subaru has done a fantastic job over the years at positioning itself top-of-mind anytime AWD-anything comes up. The Crosstrek has also been around for five years now, giving people plenty of time to build up a case of the gimmies for the cute-rugged, car-like crossover. And it enters 2018 as an all-new machine, evolutionary resembling its last-generation predecessor but packed with innovative new tech, greater structural rigidity, and a refined new motor. I went into my week with the Subaru Crosstrek expecting to be completely wowed. What I found instead was a cheerful, comfy little all-wheeler some great qualities—and one almost deal-breaking flaw.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0i Manual Transmission, Dark Gray Metallic

 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

2018 Subaru Outback: A Sweet Wagon That Won't Get Stuck

Written by: Jen Dunnaway, Automotive Enthusiast
What's New: For 2018, the Outback gets some interior and exterior styling refinements, passenger compartment noise reduction, and tweaks to the suspension and steering for better ride quality and responsiveness. It also gets the luxurious Touring trim added to the line, and adaptive headlights as an available option at higher trims. Android Auto and Apple Car Play become standard.
What's Hot:
  • Capable, go-anywhere AWD, augmented by traction-enhancing X-Mode and a burly 8.7” of ground clearance.
  • Spacious, airy cabin with ample cargo capacity and great outward visibility.
  • A responsive throttle well-behaved CVT that makes the most of the 2.5’s relatively scant power.
What's Not:
  • Optional lane-keep assist is a bit grabby, particularly at highway speeds.
  • Real-world fuel mileage less than the advertised 28 mpg combined.
  • With the 2.5L, significantly less power than other AWD wagons, and no turbo option.
There’s all kinds of reasons why the Outback is the default Subaru in the minds of most consumers. Taking up the torch from the daintier and only optionally-AWD Legacy back in the 90s, the Outback became the off-road wagon that started it all. It kicked off Subaru’s now-standard brand promise of all-wheel everything, and brought car-based 4x4s permanently into the mainstream in a way that earlier pioneers like the AMC Eagle were never quite able to accomplish. The basic Outback formula has remained remarkably consistent: high-sprung stance, boxer engine, full-time AWD. Nonetheless, Subaru has managed to keep the Outback fresh. Iterating on a successful formula to bring you a comfy, capable, multipurpose wagon that’s as relevant in 2018 as it’s ever been, today’s Outback offers an appealing alternative to the blimpy crossovers and SUVs currently saturating the family-hauler market. To experience the full scope of its abilities, there was only one right thing for me to do: take it up the mountain to play in the snow.