Only 45 miles west of Miami’s South Beach lies a narrow gravel trail that feels centuries removed from the bright lights, flashy cars and shiny shirts of Ocean Drive. The trail, named Loop Road, veers away from one of the few paved east-west roads that spans the south Florida Everglades. Rather than being built with barriers that prevent wildlife from playing in traffic, Loop Road, in places, is only a foot above the swamp it is built on. There is very little traffic on the road, but nearly every car we saw did belong to a rental car agency that probably would have preferred their vehicles avoid this trail. It was clear that the reptiles ruled the swamp around us, but we had come out here to find out if the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT could rule a gravel road as well as it does a paved one.
Before setting course for the ‘gator infested swamp lands, we needed to test our Jeep’s ability to perform on south Florida’s paved surfaces. These highly scientific tests included parking beachside along A1A in Fort Lauderdale on a blue skied Friday morning, followed by a sprint down I-95 to a hole-in-the-wall sandwich place in Coconut Grove, and into the early hours of the morning, inching along in the notorious South Beach traffic.
Typically, hotrod guys and sport truck guys don’t see eye-to-eye. One group can’t get a car fast enough and the other group can’t get a truck low enough.
In the past, the difference of opinion has been bridged by the 1999-2004 Ford F-150 Lightning and its 380-horsepower supercharged V8. Ford has recently announced what just might be the next great compromise: The 2014 F-150 Tremor. Thankfully, forced induction remains, this time in the form of two-turbos, but the jury is still out on the choice to go with Ford’s new bread and butter V6. Read more »
With both my hands gripping the leather wrapped, flat bottom steering wheel of the 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8, we were tearing down the freeway toward Beeville, Texas. Somewhere along the way, as Kid Rock was screaming about Detroit through the 900-watt, 19-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, the speed needle climbed and the fuel needle dropped, my co-pilot and I began to discuss what we liked and did not like about the latest Charger from the performance nuts at SRT.
At the top of the list of likes was, of course, the reason for all this speed and fuel consumption: the 6.4-liter naturally aspirated V8 and each of the 470 horses it produced. Also receiving high marks from us were the seats (not the color), dash and user-friendly center stack. The unique, for SRT8, front seats were comfortable for our long drive while the added side bolsters and suede inserts held us in place when the roads began to twist. The instrument cluster is comprised of easy to read analog gauges and a screen that is located between the oversized tachometer and speedometer, which can display a variety of additional information, such as trip, DTE, average MPG and tire PSI. The simple in design and use center stack houses the basic hvac controls and can be topped with an optional 8.4-inch touch screen that provides a clear and fast interface for controlling the audio and navigation system. Also accessed through the touch screen are a variety of performance readouts, including acceleration timers, breaking distance and real-time horsepower and torque use. Read more »
The Lexus LS has never been an attention grabbing car. Since its introduction, almost two decades ago, the LS has established its niche as a big, luxury, four-door, with emphasis on comfort and technology rather than performance or style. The introduction of the 4th generation LS stays true to form, however now, thanks to an all new F-sport package, performance and style are emphasized just as much as those other things.
We recently drove the 2013 Lexus LS F-sport for a week and logged over 1,000 miles. It was better than we expected, but not everything we wanted. What we truly wanted was BMW M or Mercedes-Benz AMG power. What we got was no slouch, but the 386-horsepower produced by the naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V8 cannot be compared to the aforementioned German hotrods and their forced induction V8’s that make north of 500-horsepower. Read more »
If there is one thing that automakers are constantly in the race for, it’s coming out with the most fuel efficient vehicle on the market. As Chrysler has started to ramp up their facilities to introduce 8 and 9 speed transmissions to their vehicles, Ford and GM have decided to pair up and tackle the competition by working towards building cars with 9 and 10 speed transmissions. This is huge considering most vehicles on the road and market still only have 5 and 6 speed transmissions. Read more »
Our friend’s Ford GT has set another Texas Mile record. On March 23, 2013, the Hennessey prepped, camo wrapped, twin-turbo monster, driven, this time, by Patrick O’Gorman, went 267.6 mph in a standing mile. Congratulations Mark, Kevin, Patrick, Shawn and the rest of the crew!
Innovation comes in all types, whether it’s under the hood of a car or a new take on a classic design. The 2014 Mazda6 is one such vehicle that has been renovated on the outside as much as the inside to attract all types of drivers. Some of these changes include a ‘soul of motion’ style, new aerodynamics, SKYACTIV engine, and blind spot monitoring. Read more »
Nissan showed off their exciting new Resonance concept car at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show,. Featuring what the company calls “V-Motion” styling, it features a grill that sweeps upwards and a windshield and A-pillars that are steeply raked rearward. The impression is a car in motion. Nissan says its designers were inspired “hypersonic space travel.” Dimensionally, the Resonance is similar to the current Nissan Murano with proportions that imitate the mid-size crossover’s, with an oblong profile and short hood. High concept details of the Resonance concept include a panoramic glass roof, a tinted translucent acrylic grille, giant 22-inch wheels and boomerang-shaped lights. Read more »
Chevy is heading to the hills and it’s not to hide from its competition. If anything, they plan to stand above them by adding a premium trim to their Silverado truck lineup which is something new for Chevy. With the release of the highly anticipated 2014 Silverado High Country, Chevy will compete with the premiere trims of its rivals, the Ford F-150 Platinum and the Ram 1500 Laramie. With the new 5.3 liter engine, the Chevy High Country will be able to pump out 355 horsepower and deliver 383 pounds of torque. In addition to its engine offering, the High Country will also have the 6.2 liter V8 Eco-Tec3 engine available later once the truck hits the market. Read more »
There are quite a few opinions as to who created and sold the first workable automatic transmission. Most historians, however, credit General Motors with being first with their Hydramatic automatic transmission which appeared in select Oldsmobile models in 1939.
Compared to now, the early automatic transmissions were much simpler. Most had four forward gears and reverse. The first automatic transmissions were different in other ways also. For example, the first generation hydramatics did not have a “park” setting. What drivers did was shut off the engine and switched the transmission into reverse where it locked. Read more »