Tag Archives: automotive review

2004 Ford Expedition XLT Review

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In the 1990s, the “SUV boom” was taking place. All of sudden, people started gravitating away from minivans and station wagons to SUVs for their family vehicle. Ford was one of the manufacturers that took advantage of this trend with their midsize Explorer SUV. It was wildly successful as Ford sold over 400,000 Explorers in 1996. However, people looking for bigger SUVs flocked to the Chevrolet Tahoes and Surburbans and their GMC twins. Ford then saw another opportunity for another SUV, one that would be more expensive and bigger than the Explorer. Heavily based off the Ford F-150, the Expedition came to fruition in 1996 as a 1997 model. The Expedition came with third row seating and several features that were not available on the Explorer, as well as more powerful engines for maximum towing capability. The Expedition found many customers, as it was sized between a Tahoe and Surburban yet was as affordable as a Tahoe. The Expedition’s success merited a luxury version for Ford’s luxury division, the Navigator, as well as an even larger SUV, the Excursion. In 2003, the Expedition was redesigned, still based off the Ford F-150. However, this generation was noticeable for being the first body on frame SUV (the chassis and the body are not connected together until the end of the production process) to utilize an independent rear suspension, a sophisticated suspension reserved for sedans. This move was criticized by some as it was thought that the IRS would hamper the Expedition’s towing abilities and off roading ability. Whereas the first Expedition felt like a truck with clumsy handling, jittery ride, and a loud interior, the second Expedition focused on a more comfortable driving experience as well as better interior accommodations.

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1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 Teaser

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Review coming soon!

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2006 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Review

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Even though it shares the same name, this modern sedan bears no resemblance to the Chrysler 300 from the 1950s to the 1960s. When the Chrysler 300 debuted in April 2004 as a 2005 model, Chrysler was experiencing a “rejuvenation” or so we thought. While Chrysler’s lineup made improvements in quality albeit not very significantly, the 300 was the model that made Chrysler relevant in terms of design and image. Some people may not know this but Chrysler which includes Jeep and Dodge, merged with Daimler-Benz AG (which owns Mercedes-Benz) in 1998. As a result, the Chrysler 300 as well as its twin the Dodge Charger, were built off the same platform that underpinned the 2003-2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan. This allowed for a rear drive platform that also gave the 300 handling that bettered its rivals such as the Toyota Avalon and Buick Lucerne as well as giving it that Mercedes-Benz solid feeling. My friend’s mom let me come to her office to review her coworkers’ cars. It was like being in a candy store, and I could pick out whatever candy I wanted. She knew I only wanted to do manual cars, so she directed me to the parking lot. However, one car caught my eye: this 2006 Chrysler 300 SRT8. SRT is Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep’s high performance tuning division. Yes, it’s an automatic, but hello! 425 horsepower SRT8! How could I not review this car?  Continue reading

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2008 MazdaSpeed3 Review

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As a successor to the Protege, the Mazda3 launched in 2004 showcasing Mazda’s new design language and nomenclature. Before 2003, Mazda’s lineup was filled with pleasant but humdrum cars such as the Protege, MPV, Millenia, 626, Tribute, and so on. Starting in the late 1990s, Ford had a controlling stake in Mazda, and the two cooperated on future vehicles’ developments. With Ford’s resources and funding, Mazda had the opportunities to completely revamp its lineup. Numerical names would be used for its models (at least in Europe and North America), and Mazda set about reinventing itself. The Mazda3 and Mazda6 were the results. The Mazda3 (Called the Axela in Asia), developed with Ford alongside the Ford Focus and Volvo S40, embodied European styling and handling in a fuel efficient and affordable package. As a result, it was a success and garnered rave reviews worldwide. The Mazda3 chassis had the capability for more power, so Mazda saw fit to produce a Mazdaspeed variant of the 3. Mazda’s niche division, Mazdaspeed, produced a version of the Protege, which gained mechanical and visual tweaks enough to transform it into a sporty small sedan. This time, instead of a sedan body style, the Mazdaspeed3 would be a hatchback in order to please European buyers. In Europe, hot hatches, vehicles with fast power and sporty handling combined with the practicality and comfort of a hatchback, were popular. I have reviewed both the first and second generation Mazda3s (both sedans), so I was keen to try out these Mazdaspeed version. This is not your ordinary Mazda3.Whereas the top of the line version of the Mazda3 had up to 160 horsepower with a five speed manual transmission, the Mazdaspeed3 had racier exterior tweaks, and a turbocharged 263 horsepower four cylinder with a six speed manual transmission. Sounds like a hoot to me. Continue reading

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Michael’s 2012 Mazda3 i Touring Hatchback

This post is written by Michael (http://motorblogaz.wordpress.com/) about his 2012 Mazda3. You might remember him from his previous post about his Jeep Cherokee.  IMG_0040 (2)

 

2012 Mazda Mazda3 iTouring Hatchback Automatic (22,000mi/41,000mi)  Continue reading

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2012 Nissan GT-R Review

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Author’s Note: Credit for the night pictures goes to my friend Ben Husband.

Behold the mighty GT-R. This isn’t just any Nissan. It’s a Nissan GT-R! If you ever watch Fast and Furious or play Gran Turismo video games, then you probably have heard of the Nissan Skyline GT-R. The Skyline GT-R was the sporty and top of the line version of the Skyline range which consisted of  mostly four door sedans and coupes. It all started with the first Nissan Skyline GT-R that debuted in 1969. These GT-Rs were known for their success in Japanese motorsports. However, the second generation was not as successful as the first because it arrived in 1973 just in time for the global gasoline crisis After just one year, Nissan canceled the Skyline GT-R. It wasn’t until 1989 that the Skyline GT-R reappeared. This generation was the first to utilize all wheel drive as well as four wheel steering and a turbocharged inline six engine. These features made it the most successful GT-R of all time with more than 40,000 units sold. By then, the Skyline GT-R had become Nissan’s flagship in terms of status and performance. The 1995 redesign elevated it in power and performance, but never reached the same sales as the previous generation. Then came the fifth generation Skyline GT-R which debuted in 1999. If you play the Gran Turismo Series or watch Fast and Furious, you would recognize this generation. We all know that was Paul Walker’s favorite car in the franchise. This generation (codenamed the R34) reached supercar levels of speed and handling, and it is known for its tuning potential. The R34 was a popular car for Japanese tuners as they were able to get as much as 800 horsepower from its engine. Sadly, none of these Skyline GT-Rs were ever sold in North America. However, the Infiniti G sedan and coupe and the EX crossover are Skylines brought from Japan and rebadged as Infinitis (Infiniti is Nissan’s luxury division). As the R34 stopped production in 2002, Nissan announced that it would separate its next GT-R from the Skyline lineup. Nissan launched the GT-R in 2007, and for the first time, it was sold in North America.  Continue reading

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