Motor Trend crowns new compact sedan king in eight-way comparo [w/poll]

Filed under: Car Buying, Budget, Sedan, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Reviews

2012 Hyundai Elantra

2012 Hyundai Elantra – Click above for high-res image gallery

With a raft of newly redesigned compact sedans hitting the streets this year, Motor Trend decided it was high time to crown a new king among the diminutive four-door masses. The editors gathered eight of the most popular models in the segment and pitted them against each other, battle royale style.

The magazine started by selecting the three best-selling Japanese compact sedans, the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Mazda3, which, combined, accounted for 700,000 sales last year amid fears fostered by a weakened economy. Those were joined by America’s two best sellers, the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze. Korea added the Kia Forte and the Hyundai Elantra, and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI from Germany rounded out the list.

MT tried to get the cars as closely matched as possible; all the cars were front-drive, four-cylinder automatics with alloy wheels and stability control, all stickering somewhere in the low-$20,000 range. Still, despite its efforts, there wound up being a fair amount of variance among each of the cars, which helped shape the results of the test.

In the end, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra came out on top, thanks to radical new styling, a raft of standard features and a new found sense of sophistication. The 2012 Honda Civic EX brought up the next spot in the line, followed by the 2011 Mazda3 Touring. The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI snagged fourth, followed by the 2012 Ford Focus Titanium and the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ RS. The 2011 Kia Forte EX edged out the 2011 Toyota Corolla to take seventh place.

Which one would take your top honors? Let us know in the poll, and head over to Motor Trend to read the full results.

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Motor Trend crowns new compact sedan king in eight-way comparo [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 30 May 2011 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog Podcast #230: with Jonny Lieberman of Motor Trend

Filed under: Podcasts

Click above for the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes, RSS or listen now!

Chris, Zach and Dan are joined by Autoblog alum and current Motor Trend scribe Jonny Lieberman for Episode #230 of the Autoblog Podcast. We cover the ongoing saga of Saab financing, the evergreen rumor of a mid-engined Corvette, conjecture about what Cadillac might be learning from disassembling BMWs and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department test of the latest police iron. Your feedback and questions finish it off, and we’ve re-posted the Q&A at the bottom of this post so you can play along at home, too. Thanks for listening, we’ll see you next week!

Autoblog Podcast #230: with Jonny Lieberman of Motor Trend

  • Saab rescued from the brink, for now
  • Mid-engine Corvette rumors. Again.
  • Cadillac ATS learning from the 3 Series
  • LA Sheriff’s department evaluates the latest cruisers

In the Autoblog Garage:

2011 Scion TC
2011 Hyundai Equus
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sportwagon
2011 Audi A7
2011 Ford Transit Connect


Hosts: Dan Roth, Chris Shunk, Zach Bowman
Guest: Jonny Lieberman
Runtime: 01:24:18


Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
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[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com
Voicemail: 734-288-8POD (734-288-8763)

Review the show in iTunes and take our survey

Autoblog Podcast #230: with Jonny Lieberman of Motor Trend originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 17 May 2011 17:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motor Trend gets dirty with the Cadillac CTS-V Sportwagon, Porsche Panamera Turbo and BMW X6 M

Filed under: Performance, Wagon, Etc., Videos, Crossover, Hatchback, BMW, Cadillac, Porsche, Luxury

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sportwagon in the desert

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sportwagon in the desert – Click above to watch video after the jump

True to its word, Motor Trend has released a follow-up video to its three-way drag race between the Cadillac CTS-V Sportwagon, the Porsche Panamera Turbo and the BMW X6 M, though this isn’t exactly your run-of-the-mill comparison test. Given the quirkiness of the vehicles at hand, MT took all three vehicles out to a dry lake bed for a little fun in the sun. If you like watching high-dollar, high-horsepower cars get down and dirty, you’ll want to check out the video after the jump.

It’s hosted by none other than our pal Jonny Lieberman, and he’s even wearing proper footwear this time around. So, which of these automotive oddities came out on top? You’ll have to check out the video to see for yourself.

[Source: Motor Trend via YouTube]

Continue reading Motor Trend gets dirty with the Cadillac CTS-V Sportwagon, Porsche Panamera Turbo and BMW X6 M

Motor Trend gets dirty with the Cadillac CTS-V Sportwagon, Porsche Panamera Turbo and BMW X6 M originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 30 Apr 2011 09:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford Mustang Boss 302 fails Motor Trend brake test. Here’s why

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Safety, Ford

2012 ford mustang boss 302

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford’s new M3-fightin’ Mustang, the 2012 Boss 302, is a 444-horsepower, rear-wheel-drive two-door designed to fight well above its weight class. Motor Trend decided to spend quality time with the coupe, and something scary happened. Not scary as in ‘whoa, this thing is scary fast’ but more along the lines of ‘call my tailor, I ruined my pants’ terrifying.

Part of M/T’s testing gauntlet includes a look at braking distance. Road Test Editor Scott Mortara ran the Ford up to 70 miles per hour. Now it was time to see how quickly he could bring it to zero. Typically, this is just a matter of mashing the brakes and holding on. The sound of straining tires is a sound that’s welcome, but a metallic snapping noise is not. Either way, the 2012 Boss 302 was a runaway pony.

Mortara used the six-speed manual transmission to reduce the coupe’s speed before exiting the track through a gap at its end. What went wrong? A pin that connects the brake pedal to the rod that actuates the master cylinder had failed and snapped off. Normally, the brake pedal connects to the rod in a manner that distributes the pressure evenly over a large surface area and would still actuate the brakes when one presses the pedal. The setup on this particular Mustang was faulty, and allowed for far more pressure on the individual piece that failed.

Ford has examined this car, as well as the brake installation process at its assembly plants. It seems this car is unique in its defect. Motor Trend contends that it’s possible the brake assembly was removed then reinstalled after the vehicle left the factory, which could explain why the part failed in such an abnormal manner. Check out the full story over at Motor Trend.

Gallery: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302: First Drive

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 3022012 Ford Mustang Boss 3022012 Ford Mustang Boss 3022012 Ford Mustang Boss 3022012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Motor Trend]

Ford Mustang Boss 302 fails Motor Trend brake test. Here’s why originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 25 Apr 2011 19:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Camaro ZL1 gets seen, heard by Motor Trend

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Videos, Chevrolet

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – Click above to watch the video (Warning: Auto play)

Chevrolet has called the Ford Mustang franchise’s Boss 302 and Shelby GT500 and raised the stakes by one supercharger. The obvious aim of the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is to silence all the critics who flame the Camaro for being slower than the 5.0-liter competition from Ford.

To cure their case of horsepower envy, Chevrolet threw a supercharged 6.2-liter LSA making more than 550 horsepower between the Camaro’s fenders. That power theoretically puts it atop even the mighty GT500 in a straight line.

To make sure the Camaro could take down the handling-oriented Boss 302 as well, they cribbed the magnetic dampers from the Corvette ZR1 for the ZL1. All that effort should add up to not only the fastest Camaro ever built, but the best-handling, as well. We can’t wait to get our mitts on the car, but in the meantime, we’ll slake our curiosity by hearing the LSA briefly come to life in the video after the jump (Warning: Auto play).

Gallery: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL12012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL12012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL12012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL12012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

[Source: Motor Trend]

Continue reading Video: Camaro ZL1 gets seen, heard by Motor Trend

Video: Camaro ZL1 gets seen, heard by Motor Trend originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Mar 2011 13:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Motor Trend goes to Australia, chronicles Subaru Outback road trip

Filed under: Wagon, Videos, Subaru, Australia

Subaru Outback Motor Trend road trip

Subaru Outback Motor Trend road trip – Click above to watch the video after the jump

Manufacturers can get pretty cocky when it comes to naming their products. We can say with near-certainty that a Chrysler Sebring never turned a tire in anger at the legendary Floridian track and that we’d be surprised if a Pontiac Le Mans ever went fender to fender in France. Motor Trend has set about putting the Subaru Outback up against its Australian namesake in a 30-minute long web special hosted by none other than Editor-in-Chief Angus MacKenzie. This isn’t your typical man-against-nature flick, though. Instead, Motor Trend has gone about creating an in-depth travel video that would be right at home on the Discovery Channel.

MacKenzie and his crew seem to trek across Australia’s wild bits with relative ease despite large mud holes and plenty of soft sand, and we’re left to enjoy the vast scenery of one of our planet’s most beautiful continents. The finished product is less about power figures and 0-60 times and more about the actual trip. It’s well worth taking some time during your lunch break for a quick watch. Hit the jump to take a look for yourself.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Video: Motor Trend goes to Australia, chronicles Subaru Outback road trip

Video: Motor Trend goes to Australia, chronicles Subaru Outback road trip originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 12:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mulally tops Motor Trend Power List for 2011

Filed under: Etc., Ford

Alan Mulally, Ford CEO

Motor Trend has compiled and released its annual Power List. This is the seventh year in which MT ranks the names of heaviest hitting personalities in the automotive industry. They’re all ranked in order of just how much juice they hold, and sitting at the top of this year’s list is Alan Mulally.

Ford’s CEO was previously ranked No. 10 in 2009 and rose to No. 2 last year, but this year, MT has him sitting in the pole position. Their argument? Mulally has moved Ford into a place of profitability as well as quality in both design and engineering. In the magazine’s words, “every Ford competitor needs a leader like Alan Mulally.”

Ford didn’t just see a win with Mulally earning the top honor. The automaker saw 10 of its employees in total make the 2011 Power List. General Motors is right behind them with nine folks earning recognition. After those two, the nearest competitor is Volkswagen with six people spread out across VW, Audi and Porsche.

The last few years have seen a flip-flopping trend between domestic and import bosses rising to the top spot on the power list. The 2010 edition saw VW’s Ferdinand Piëch as the numero uno automotive player and he’s still strong for 2011 with a fall of just one spot to claim the number two position. In 2009, Rick Wagoner was number one before free-falling off the list, and in 2008, Takeo Fukui of Honda sat at the Power List peak.

It’s not just team leaders like Mulally and Piëch who make the annual Power List. Well-regarded Hyundai USA CEO John Krafcik checks in at No. 10, five spots down from his boss, Chung Mong Koo, Hyundai’s global chairman. Peter Schreyer, head of design for Kia is ranked 13th overall and climbed way up from last year’s rank of 44th. Doug Parks is GM’s vehicle line executive for the Chevrolet Volt, and making sure that car arrived on time and in impressive fashion has landed him in the No. 20 spot.

You don’t even need to work for an automaker to make the list because Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson is ranked the 49th most powerful automotive figure… in the world.

The top 10 are as follows:
1. Alan Mulally (CEO, Ford)
2. Ferdinand Piëch (Chairman of Supervisory Board, Volkswagen AG)
3. Carlos Ghosn (President/CEO, Nissan/Renault)
4. Martin Winterkorn (Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen AG)
5. Chung Mong Koo (Chairman, Hyundai)
6. Mark Reuss (President, GM North America & Vice President, GM)
7. Lewis Booth (CFO, Ford)
8. Derrick Kuzak (Group VP Product Development, Ford)
9. Sergio Marchionne (CEO, Fiat/Chrysler)
10. John Krafcik (Hyundai USA, CEO)

Head on over to Motor Trend to read about all 50 players on their 2011 Power List, and then stop by the comments to leave your two-cents about what you think of the list.

[Source: Motor Trend]

Mulally tops Motor Trend Power List for 2011 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Dec 2010 12:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Motor Trend pits Ferrari 458 Italia against Ducati 1198S

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Videos, Ferrari, Motorcycle

Ferrari 458 Italia vs Ducati 1198S

Ferrari 458 Italia vs Ducati 1198S – Click above to watch video after the jump

Italy produces machines that look good rolling slow or screaming towards the ever evasive horizon, so it’s no surprise that Motor Trend decided to pit two of the boot country’s finest against each other: the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Ducati 1198S. Both are exotic machines with a laser-focus purpose crafted into each example built: Be. Fast.

The buff book boys were kind enough to have their cameras rolling as the 458 and 1198S faced off in two competitions. First up is a head-to-head race followed by a lap around the Streets of Willow. The result? While the Ferrari is an amazing machine, the Duc’s power-to-weight simply laughs in the face of the V8-powered Prancing Horse. See for yourself by watching the video after the jump, then check out the accompanying article in the link below. Grazie per la punta, Steve!

[Source: Motor Trend]

Continue reading Video: Motor Trend pits Ferrari 458 Italia against Ducati 1198S

Video: Motor Trend pits Ferrari 458 Italia against Ducati 1198S originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Nov 2010 12:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motor Trend defends its selection of Chevy Volt as COTY

Filed under: Sedan, Chevrolet, GM, Electric

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Chevrolet Volt is only a short time away from having a home at dealerships across the country, but like many media outlets, Motor Trend has been thoroughly testing GM’s halo car for some time. In fact, MT has been so impressed with the Volt that it just recently name the extended range EV its Car of the Year. That’s a big deal for General Motors and its newest darling, but not everyone is happy with the magazine’s choice. In fact, outspoken radio show host Rush Limbaugh recently weighed in with not only a bit of criticism for this decision.

This isn’t the first time Limbaugh has been less than favorable in his opinion of the Volt. As you may recall, he first lashed out on the electrified sedan back in July. This time, however, Limbaugh questioned Motor Trend‘s credibility, and in order to make sure both sides of the argument are well-represented, MT‘s Todd Lassa has issued a rebuttal. Here, Lassa’s main point was to reinforce why the Volt won this award, though a few shots are Limbaugh were made, as well. Lassa called the Volt “the biggest automotive technological breakthrough since… I don’t know, maybe the self-starter,” and then went on to hammer Limbaugh and fellow political pundit George Will for not understanding what makes the Volt so significant. The sleeves are rolled and the claws are out, folks. Head over to MT to read the response for yourself.

Gallery: 2011 Chevrolet Volt: First Drive

2011 Chevrolet Volt2011 Chevrolet Volt2011 Chevrolet Volt

[Source: Motor Trend]

Motor Trend defends its selection of Chevy Volt as COTY originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Nov 2010 13:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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127 MPG: What Motor Trend got driving the Volt in the real world

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Etc., Chevrolet, GM, Electric

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

Did General Motors lie or didn’t they? The media and public got extremely swept up by the fact that GM told the world its range-extended electric vehicle would not use the on-board internal combustion engine to power the wheels, when it will under certain conditions. This bit of news has blown up in the General’s face, but does it change the fact that the Volt is still a pretty amazing piece of automotive engineering? Motor Trend spent a couple of weeks with one and came away impressed by what the Chevrolet Volt could do. In fact, lead flip-flop lead-foot Jonny Lieberman scored some seat time and was able to hit 127 miles per gallon.

The 127 mpg figure was achieved over a variety of Los Angeles city streets, canyon roads and highways. During the trip, the car ran out of battery power and the gasoline engine quietly turned on to give it more juice. Not to the wheels, but to the battery. If the car gets up over 70 miles per hour, then the ICE will send a small amount of power to the wheels, but by doing so it makes the car more efficient.

The M/T editors took the car on another trip and really tried to push it hard. They ran the Volt up to its 101 mph top speed, had the A/C cranked and traveled across some hilly terrain. The result? The Chevy returned nearly 75 mpg. MT feels the takeaway from its time with the Volt is that the car is incredibly efficient and the fact that the gasoline engine occasionally pitches in doesn’t make it any less remarkable of a vehicle.

Gallery: Quick Spin: 2011 Chevrolet Volt

Photos Copyright (C)2010 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: Motor Trend]

127 MPG: What Motor Trend got driving the Volt in the real world originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 13 Oct 2010 13:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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