This Renegade, a plucky little toaster of a vehicle that’s probably been more divisive to hardcore Jeep enthusiasts than any new model the company has introduced short of the Compass, has been on my radar for “must-drives” this year. That isn’t because it’s composed of especially compelling parts – in some ways, I’ve already driven the Renegade a few times over. The Fiat 500X I sampled over the summer shares its underpinnings with the Renegade, as well as its powertrains. And in the case of this Latitude model, the hotter Abarth version of the Fiat 500 donates its 1.4-liter turbo and six-speed manual. Why, then, was I so compelled to drive the new Jeeplet?
Author - John Kucek
On the list of things I love, sports cars and pickup trucks are pretty close to the top. Chevy has been nice enough to send me both over the last few weeks, and while we’ve spent plenty of time in the regular-duty Silverado (as well as its GMC sister), we have yet to sample one with the brawnier combo of the 6.2-liter V8 and accompanying 8-speed automatic transmission that was introduced this year. More power is always better, in our opinion, and a similar transmission change-up was performed on the Corvette for 2015 (we found the results to be very appealing). Can the same be said of the pickup?
Regular readers of this blog will know that we spend a lot of time in the modern iterations of American muscle cars. The Challenger, Charger, Mustang and Camaro represent significant sales volume for their respective manufacturers – especially the Camaro, which seems to trade class-topping sales stats back and forth with the Mustang quite regularly. And yet, despite sampling nearly every trim level from Chrysler and Ford’s performance portfolios, I haven’t spent any significant amount of time in the Camaro before. It was time to change that – and what better way than in a bright-yellow-and-matte-black-adorned, pissed-off bumblebee known as the SS 1LE?
I’ve been a fan of nearly every A3 model I’ve yet driven from Audi, from the entry-level 1.8-liter, front-driven A3 sedan to the range-topping S3 Quattro. The droptop version of Audi’s junior line finally found its way to my doorstep a few weeks ago, and though its cutesy looks might be received more favorably among the sorority house set than by the patronage of your average sports bar, it nonetheless holds some appeal in the sun-soaked state of Florida this writer calls home.
Enthusiasts have long bemoaned the wider automotive market’s taste shift away from sports cars toward SUVs and crossovers as the most coveted vehicular status symbol. BMW, while well-positioned to capitalize on this trend with its broad range of sometimes line-blurring crossovers, has nevertheless felt the sales hit to its Z4 roadster line in the last few years. While I firmly count myself among the “enthusiast” camp, I realize that as much as I may try, my tastes will never mirror the wider car shopping public’s at this point. When I recently spent a week with BMW’s sole remaining two-seater, I tried to curb my enthusiasm (so to speak) and view its relevance through the lens of the typical new car shopper – one who may typically fall for a new BMW with an “X” prefix in its name rather than a “Z”.
Introduced for 2011, the current-gen 6 is BMW’s largest, most sumptuous and most expensive convertible, and to keep it relevant against rivals, it was recently given a nip and tuck treatment for 2016. I recently spent a week with the big BeeEm to see what’s what.