Monthly Archives: August 2014

2007 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Teaser

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Review coming soon!

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2013 Mercedes-Benz E550 Convertible Review

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People say that summertime is the best time to drive a convertible, and they would be right. I don’t usually like convertibles, but driving with the top down on a mountain road certainly sounds appealing, which brings me to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E550 Convertible. The E-Class’s ancestry heralds back to the 1953 “Ponton” sedan, but it was not until the fifth generation that a convertible body style was added to the E-Class’s lineup. The next generation did not have a coupe or convertible body style, and the CLK model was introduced as a replacement. Funny thing that even though it was styled to resemble the E-Class, it was actually based off the C-Class. I had the opportunity to review a 2008 CLK350 Convertible, and while it was a nice car, it wasn’t anything special. The CLK was discontinued in 2009, right when the E-Class was redesigned. Now in its eighth generation, the E-Class’s lineup brought back the coupe and convertible body style.

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2010 Porsche Panamera S Review

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As a company known for making only sports cars, Porsche shocked the automotive industry when it introduced its first ever SUV, the Cayenne, in 2003. This move upset Porsche purists who believed that Porsche was selling out, and that it should stick to making sports cars only. However, money speaks for itself. The Porsche Cayenne was an instant success, and it quickly became Porsche’s best selling vehicle (still is). It makes sense. Consumers were ditching minivans and sedans for the SUV, and prioritize a high driving position and the SUV image. When you put the Porsche badge on the type of vehicle in demand, you get an instant success. After the Cayenne, Porsche wanted to expand its company. They came up with the idea of a performance sedan that would take on BMW and Mercedes-Benz. As usual, this incited rage from Porsche purists, and it did not help that an automatic transmission would be the only transmission available in the US. When the Panamera debuted in 2010, it was criticized for its styling. But it had the Porsche badge on a practical sedan. Like the Cayenne, it also became an instant success. I have always wanted to drive a Porsche Panamera ever since it came out just to see if it did drive like a Porsche. Fun fact about this car: this Panamera was the third model sold in America, and it was ordered a year before it was delivered.

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2012 Toyota Hilux 2.5 D-4D Review

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To tell you the truth, I never knew the Hilux existed until my first trip to England. I got an English car magazine, and there was a road test of the Toyota Hilux. I was confused, because it did not look like anything like the Tacoma we have in North America. I searched the Toyota Hilux online, and I was surprised to learn that the Hilux is another truck currently sold by Toyota everywhere except North America. The Hilux actually was sold in America from 1968-1994, but only the first generation (1968-1973) used the Hilux name. Starting in 1973, it was sold as the Toyota Truck (later called Pickup), and the fourth generation (1983-1988) introduced an SUV version of this truck that became the 4Runner which also was sold as the Hilux Surf in other countries. It was not until the fifth generation of this truck that Toyota would start producing two entirely different trucks for North America and the rest of the world. Toyota wanted to build a truck that catered to the tastes of the American market, while keeping the Hilux. Starting in 1995, the Tacoma was sold as Toyota’s compact truck, with the Hilux sold in other continents. The Hilux grew in size and fame, and became a legend in terms of reliability and off road performance. This summer, I visited Sri Lanka, and I had the opportunity to review a 2012 Hilux to see what we Americans were missing out on.  Continue reading

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2013 Peugeot 508 Premium Review

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The 508 comes from a disorganized history that makes it hard to say what exactly the 508’s ancestors were, so I am going to start with the 405. Few Americans might recognize the 405 as it was the last Peugeot to be sold in the US. As a family sedan, the 405 was a huge hit when it debuted in 1988. It won the European Car of the Year award in 1988, and with sporty handling and affordable prices and crisp styling penned by Pininfarina (a famous Italian design firm that has styled Ferraris and Lamborghinis), the 405 hit new sales records for Peugeot at more than 2.5 million cars sold by 1997 worldwide. The sedan version was discontinued when its replacement, the 406 debuted in 1995 while the wagon soldiered on until 1997. As with the 405, the 406 was designed by Pininfarina, and it was an even bigger success. In Sri Lanka, my relatives had a 1995 gray 406 sedan with a manual transmission. I became enamored with 406 due to its crisp styling, its sprightly performance, and its personality. It was also the car that I learned to drive a manual in, and thus started my love for manuals. Then sadly, my relatives sold the 406 last year and got this 508. In 2004, the 406 was replaced by the 407 which was nowhere as successful as the 406. In fact, the 407 was produced during the time when Peugeot and its sister company, Citroen, ran into financial troubles.  For 407’s replacement, heavy pressure was put on the 508 in order to return Peugeot back to the spotlight that it enjoyed back then. In 2011, the 508 was launched with hopes of beating other family sedans like the Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat, and the Mazda6. Continue reading

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 300E 2.6 Review

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The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been around since the late 1950s to 1960s. Adhering to Mercedes-Benz’s W-naming convention for their models, the first E-Class model, the W120 “Ponton”, debuted in 1953. It was noted for its stylish body and its first rate engineering. Fast forward to the fourth generation E-Class, which became the most successful Mercedes-Benz model to date. Over 2.6 million of these were built from 1976-1986. Fast forward to the eighth generation, and the E-Class is now known as a true luxury sedan. I had the opportunity to review a 2014 E350, and my findings were that it was a capable and nice sedan. However, my friend came to me with an interesting car to review: a 1990 300E (in 1993, Mercedes-Benz used a new different naming system where the models would be called the  E-Class). He has one of the best jobs a car fanatic can dream of: a BMW dealership valet and delivery driver. He gets to drive cars that only I can dream of. Lamborghini Aventador? Check. Mercedes C63 AMG? Check. Rolls Royce? Check. And many more. Strangely, he said he loves his 300E more than any of those cars. Now that intrigued me, so I had to see why. This generation is dubbed as the W124 which lasted from 1985 to 1996 with a refresh in 1993. While I am not a fan of the latest Mercedes-Benzes, I have always liked the old ones for their elegant design and faultless engineering.

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