Review coming soon!
Just like manual transmissions, station wagons are a dying breed in the U.S. Unfortunately, they are being cannibalized by the market’s trend towards SUVs. The image and the lofty driving position that an SUV provides are proving to be irresistible to consumers. Even the Subaru Outback, long a poster vehicle for “outdoorsy” wagons is now being labeled as a “crossover SUV” on Subaru’s website, and the latest generation is as tall as a compact crossover. The emerging SUV market has caused station wagons’ (or in Europe speak: estates) relevance to decrease significantly. The Audi A4 wagon is now a puesdo-SUV thingy called Allroad in which they took a regular Avant (Audi language for wagon) and put cladding and raised the height as to reinforce the Allroad’s appeal as an SUV. Volvo, long associated with boxy station wagons, now features more SUVs than wagons in its lineup. Speaking of Volvo, one of the boxy station wagons it is known for is the 960. Part of the 900 series of flagship rear wheel drive cars in Volvo’s lineup, the 940 and 960 models were introduced in 1990 to replace the preceding 700 series. This is a bit confusing, but what I gathered from research is that the 940 and 960 are actually the same car. Apparently, the 940 denotes four cylinder engines, and the 960 denotes six cylinder engines. In 1994, the 960 received a freshening, and for the 1997 model year, the sedan and wagon were renamed S90 and V90. In 1998, the S90/V90 were replaced by the S80. Having the chance to review an actual proper station wagon, I knew I just had to review this 960. Continue reading
Whenever you think of a Volkswagen and a convertible in the same sentence, the association”chick car” comes to mind. Like for example, if you see a Volkswagen Beetle convertible on the street, you automatically assume that it is driven by a girl. Talk about sexism. Volkswagen’s second convertible offering (up till 2014), the Eos was also subject to the chick car syndrome. I wouldn’t drive a Volkswagen Beetle or an Eos but that’s not because of the stereotype. I just dislike convertibles in general. I also dislike Starbucks and Nutella, so I have pretty popular opinions. Right? Anyhoo, the Eos debuted in 2007 in North America, and it boasted a metal hardtop roof, earning it the title of the cheapest metal hardtop convertible on sale at the time. Right now, here we have a 2007 Volkswagen Eos. Considering its reputation as a chick car, you would assume that it is driven by a girl. You are right: it is driven by my first prom date. She was a cheerleader in high school, she is pretty, and I assume she likes shopping. So she fits the stereotypes of a girl who drives a chick car ( I am assuming). But there is one caveat. This Volkswagen Eos is a stick shift. That’s right, I converted my prom date to manual as she initially wanted an automatic for her first car. The stick shift is also the reason why I wanted to review an Eos even though I have already reviewed a 2012 Eos. With the automatic equipped refreshed Eos in mind, how does the pre refresh manual equipped Eos compare? Continue reading
Over Christmas Break, we had a gathering in which I encountered a family friend. Amid a discussion, I learned that this person and his family currently own three Volvos, two of which are XC90s. Inevitably, I jumped at the chance to review the Volvos. Much to my dismay, I learned that the XC90s are in fact essentially the same car with the same engine choice, albeit with slight cosmetic and trim differences. I thought why not just combine these two cars into a review? With the SUV boom taking over the market in the early 2000s, safety innovator Volvo found itself without a suitable SUV to capitalize on this newly emerging trend. As a result, the XC90 debuted in 2002 as a 2003 model. The XC90 was designed with safety and versatility in mind, two traits that appealed to families. It quickly became Volvo’s best selling vehicle worldwide (in 2005), and it garnered the North American Car of the Year Award in 2003. I remember reading one of Jeremy Clarkson’s books (A former Top Gear host), and when the Volvo XC90 was brought up, it was noted that he’s had three of them. I remember that he said, “The Volvo XC90 seems like it was designed by engineers who actually have children, not just read about them in books.” I thought, if Jeremy Clarkson, one of the most critical and irrational people on the planet likes the Volvo XC90, then it must be good. Let’s see if I feel the same one about these XC90s. Continue reading
Believe it or not, making a sports car is a cake walk compared to making a family sedan. As the number one most competitive car market in the US, the family car competition is hotly contested with contenders from every mainstream manufacturer. For decades, Honda and Toyota have reigned supreme, although in the last few years, their title as best sellers has been lessened. One of the reasons for this is Mazda’s midsize sedan, the 6. As a replacement for the aging and uninspiring 626, the 2003 Mazda6 ushered Mazda into a new era (as did the smaller 3 sedan/hatch the following year). Prior to 2002, Mazda was a very different manufacturer. Instead of prioritizing style and driving enjoyment, its approach was very similar to Kia and Hyundai at the time: affordable and basic transportation. Unfortunately, this approach meant that Mazdas were humdrum (with the exception of the Miata and RX-7). With this in mind, Mazda started completely renovating its entire lineup with sportiness in mind. The first generation Mazda6 debuted in 2003, and it was praised highly by critics alike. Accolades were given to its youthful styling, spirited performance, excellent handling, and the availability of manual transmissions with every engine. Truth be told, it was perceived as a sedan version of the Miata. However, this did not translate into sales success. It sold well, but it couldn’t hold a candle to the Toyota Camry or the Honda Accord. The reason being? It was simply too small and narrow for American tastes, which is not surprising considering the first generation 6 was very popular in Europe (where smaller cars are more welcomed). The 2008-2012 second generation remedied the size issue, but in the process, it lost the handling in exchange for more space. Even with this approach, it still did not sell well (relatively). In 2013, Mazda redesigned the 6 sedan with an emphasis on driving enjoyment, fuel efficiency, and style. Continue reading
Howdy! I just wanted to apologize for being inactive for nearly two months. Life has been hectic with school and work and such, don’t worry, I am back on track with the blog! Now that summer is here, expect to see new and exciting car reviews! As always, thanks for being loyal to rnrautoblog.com! I had my mom’s car one night, and the sunset was just perfect, and I had time to kill before doing a car review (Hint: expect to see a 2015 Scion TC 6 speed manual review soon), so I thought why not? Let me know what you think of these pictures!