Monthly Archives: July 2014

1990 Mercedes-Benz 300E 2.6 Teaser

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Review coming soon!

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2014 Ford F-350 Platinum Review

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As part of the F-Series, the F-350 officially came into existence in the  1953-1956 second generation F-Series (1st generation was the F-3). It was not till the tenth generation of the F-Series that the Super Duty trucks were introduced. Before the Super Duty, anything other than a F-150 had a “heavy load” version which came with heavy duty mechanicals and axles. In 1999, the Super Duty trucks were created as to differentiate the F-150 from the larger trucks. From this point on, the F-150 and the Super Duty trucks were separate models while still being part of the F-Series. As of 2014, that remains true. Continue reading

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2013 Porsche Boxster Review

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Although the 911 remains the most iconic sports car in Porsche’s lineup, the Boxster is popular due to its title as Porsche’s most affordable sports car. In the 1990s, Porsche experienced financial trouble as its 911 was too expensive, and interest in their cars were waning. The solution was to make an entry level sports car that would slot in below the 911 in terms of performance and price. Using styling cues from old Porsche models and all new engines and technologies, the Boxster debuted in 1997. With a price more attainable than the 911, the Boxster made Porsche relevant. With a mid engine layout, the Boxster provided unparallelled handling brilliance. I got the opportunity to review a 2001 Porsche Boxster S, and I was amazed at its handling and performance. The second generation debuted in 2005, and the Cayman, a coupe version of the Boxster, was introduced. The Boxster was redesigned again in 2012. Having got to drive the 2001, I was interested to see how this 2013 measured up.

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2013 BMW X5 XDrive35i Review

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Just like many other SUVs on sale today, the X5’s birth was a result of the SUV boom in the late 1990s. When BMW acquired Land Rover in 1994, it commenced development on their own SUV. BMW looked at the Land Rover Range Rover’s technology which was incorporated during the X5’s development. In fact, the first generation X5 utilized a split rear liftgate similar to the Range Rover’s as well as shared its technology and electronics. The rest of the X5 was taken from the 5 Series sedan. Unlike other SUVs which boasted their off road prowess, the X5 placed emphasis on its on road ability with claims of carlike handling and comfort. BMW dubbed the X5 as a Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV). Given that the SUV market was clamoring for luxury SUVs, the X5 was a runaway success when it launched in 1999. The X5 was praised for its sporty handling, quality interior, and its quick acceleration. It was also the first and last X5 to be available with a manual transmission. In 2006, BMW redesigned the X5, and unlike the first, this second generation utilized only BMW technologies. In BMW speak, the X5 underwent a “Life Cycle Impulse” (facelift) in 2011. Continue reading

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2002 Toyota Tacoma SR5 PreRunner V6 Review

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Even though the first Tacoma debuted in 1995, its heritage goes back to the 1964-1967 Stout. Due to its distasteful looks and its spartan equipment levels, not to mention it was significantly slower than competing American trucks, the Stout barely sold in the three years it was produced. The Hilux replaced the Stout in 1969, but due to its reliability, better performance and quality, sales started to grow. The Hilux soldiered on for three generations until in 1976, Toyota changed the name from Hilux to Truck (or Pickup). As Toyota continued to grow in fame and sales, the Truck became regarded as a competitive product that always received praise from the car magazines and consumers. The Toyota Truck lasted till 1995 before being replaced by the Tacoma. While the Truck sold well, it never really catered to the American tastes, and Toyota felt that the Tacoma would change that. This time, instead of being built in Japan, the Toyota built the Tacoma in America, and the name Tacoma was chosen as it was thought to appeal to the American market.  Toyota prioritized refinement and performance, while staying true to its promise of dependability. In the late 1990s when consumers were buying more SUVs and trucks than ever, Toyota’s timing couldn’t have been better. In 2001, the Tacoma received a facelift, and more variants were added. Even in its last year, this generation of the Tacoma still sold well before being redesigned in 2005.

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1999 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning Review

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As a response to Dodge/Jeep/Chrysler’s SRT and Chevrolet’s SS performance divisions, Ford had SVT (Special Vehicle Team). Created in 1991, the SVT division sought to add high performance vehicles to Ford’s lineup. Every SVT model was influenced by these four qualities: Performance, Substance, Exclusivity, and Value. The first cars to come out of SVT were the 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra and the 1993 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning. The first Lightning was available in only three colors, red, black, and white (white was added in 1994). The Lightning shared the same 5.4 liter V8 with other F-150s, but modifications were made for better response and more horsepower, and it also received improvements to its handling. 1995 was the last year for this F150. In 1999, another SVT Lightning version of the latest F-150 was created, and this time, it would be more than a F-150 with subtle performance and visual modifications. The SVT Lightning employed a supercharger for a horsepower rating of 360 (raised to 380 in 2001), and the exterior was completely altered as was the handling. With a 360 horsepower V8, it received the title as the world’s fastest production pickup truck. When Ford redesigned the F-150 in 2004, it discontinued the SVT Lightning edition. Continue reading

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