Review: 2017.5 Mazda6 Delights With Handling, Styling and Features – By Tim Esterdahl

Admittedly, I’m not much a mid-size car guy. I like pickups and SUVs with 4×4. However, driving around in the 2017.5 Mazda6 Grand Touring edition, it didn’t take me long to understand why I keep hearing good things about this car. The 2017.5 Mazda6 is one of two cars Mazda offers with the Mazda3 being the smaller of the two. It competes with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and other mid-size cars. Mazda offers the 6 in three models: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring and all the models share a 2.5L 184 horsepower inline-four engine. This model year is also …

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2017 VW Passat 1.8T – Road Test Review – By Tim Esterdahl

Review: 2017 VW Passat – 5 Things We Loved About It Volkswagen gets a lot of grief from people due to the diesel-emissions scandal and narrow views of them being only a diesel-engine focused company, but lost in this hatred is the fact they do build some pretty great non-diesel cars. For example, a week behind the wheel of the 2017 VW Passat reveals it is pretty dang good with lots of smart engineering. Here is what we loved about it. Before we get to the things we loved, we should back up and say our test model was a …

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2017 Toyota AVALON Hybrid Limited – Road Test Review – By Tim Esterdahl

The 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited is a very stylish car loaded with safety equipment and great fuel economy. It’s only blemish is simply bad timing with the ultra-hot truck and SUV market seeing customers buying other types of vehicles at a startling pace. After receiving a facelift in 2015 and now with a new 2019 model on the way, the 2017 model should represent a bargain for consumers. Here’s why. On the outside, the Avalon represents the older way of designing Toyota vehicles with a more muted front-end and blended style from front to rear. Newer Toyota styling has …

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2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock – Review By Tim Esterdahl

Rubicon Hard Rock – Tough As Nails As one of the most recognized nameplates in the off-road community, the 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock is just about the most purpose built vehicle you can buy. It is a rugged, off-road machine meant for those “hey watch this” moments in the outdoors. Virtually unchanged for the past several years, the 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon offers the same powertrain, style and off-road equipment its fans have come to enjoy and rely on. About the only thing new this year is the shocking Hypergreen exterior paint color on our $43,325 test model. That …

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2017 Hyundai SANTA FE Ultimate – Road Test Review – By Tim Esterdahl

  Overlooked by many consumers, the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is the sleeper pick by many journalists as the best full-size CUV on the market. Why the disconnect between consumers and critics? No idea, it is really that good. The Hyundai Santa Fe has been around for years and in 2012 a longer-wheel base model called the Limited hit the sales rooms. As opposed to the smaller Sport model, the Limited offers a third-row – a key item for family shoppers. It also received a different grille design, optional 19 inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust tips and its overall shape …

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2017 Nissan ARMADA Platinum – Road Test Review – By Tim Esterdahl

In a segment long dominated by the Chevy Tahoe and the GMC Yukon, the 2017 Nissan Armada arrives to take them both head on. With a huge interior and plenty of horsepower under the hood along with a very unique style, it is bold challenger, yet does it truly measure up? Yes and it might just surprise many large SUV buyers. Fresh off a one-year hiatus, the 2017 Armada is back with new looks, improved V8 and loads of safety and security tech. It continues Nissan’s push to be more than a low-budget volume seller and instead be a major …

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2017 GMC Acadia DENALI – Road Test Review – By Tim Esterdahl

  GMC angling to be a “premium brand” these days — a long way from their trucks’ deserved reputation as rebadged Chevrolets.  GMC has definitely changed, but not everything makes sense. The 2017 GMC Acadia Denali is a perfect example of this. It is essentially a rebadged Chevrolet Traverse with upgraded features and luxury. Do these luxury features push it to another level above the Traverse? Absolutely, yet they may do more harm than good. The 2017 GMC Acadia is one of several SUV models offered by GMC these days as the brand works to find complements to its better-selling Yukon Denali and Sierra …

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2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum – Road Test Review – By Tim Esterdahl

Is the XT5 ready for the runway, or still a work in progress?  The mid-size luxury SUV segment has exploded in recent years and the rush to bring new products to market has forced many companies to expedite development plans. Unfortunately, this means some products are released before they really deliver the wow factor consumers are looking for. Such is the case with the 2017 Cadillac XT5. It fails to stand out in a crowded market and feels like a work in progress. Before we get too far along, it is worth noting there is nothing wrong with the 2017 Cadillac …

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2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland EcoDiesel – Review – By Tim Esterdahl

For the last several years, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been the leader among mid-size, off-road SUVs. Legendary Jeep off-road equipment, luxury-like interior finishes, sharp exterior styling and powerful V8 engines have enhanced the appeal of this trusty truck significantly. With the pump-busting 3.0L V6 EcoDiesel engine now available too, the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is at a level where competitors don’t dare to go. It is pricey, yet so, so good. Styling Sets It Apart From the first day I received the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland as a press loan, I remarked at how stylish it was. This isn’t always …

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