It’s hard to imagine a time when the compact crossover field wasn’t flush with options. And yet it was just a couple of short decades ago that the Toyota RAV4 and its cousin from Sayama, the Honda CR-V, were fresh nameplates on the scene. A scene that, it must be said, these two players largely established. Sure, you could argue there were other compact five doors with off-roading pretensions available before them. The Jeep Cherokee comes to mind. The AMC Eagle if you really want to get creative.
Author - John Kucek
I’ve preached the gospel of rental company Sixt on these pages before, though a recent trip home to Florida afforded me yet another opportunity to test the company’s mettle and see what sort of untraditional rental fare I would end up with. So far I’ve had just one miss in five swings with the German-based company, with the miss coming in the form of a dismal Fiat 500L in Italy. On the plus side, at least that mini-minivan was a manual – and I was in Italy, after all. Things weren’t that awful.
Undeterred by this season’s heaviest snowfall, Speed:Sport:Life trudged over to McCormick Place from our downtown Chicago offices – AKA my apartment – to check out the assorted new metal spread across what is actually this country’s largest new car show. The layout of the place is impressive indeed, with one million square feet and no fewer than three indoor ride and drive experiences hosted by manufacturers. Amid the wide diversity of vehicles on display, a few stood out – below are the ones that left a mark, as well as the show award we feel they’re most likely to win.
Wide open vistas. Limitless blue skies. Stunning canyons carved over millennia into multi-hued layers. The southwest provides all of it, and I can’t think of a better way to traverse it than in a fast, open-topped tourer with lots of horsepower. Which is precisely why I headed straight to Alamo’s midsize SUV lane for a “Toyota RAV4 or similar”.
Under sunny skies, Saturday’s 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance went off without a hitch despite a schedule curtailed by one day, owing to Sunday’s expected rain showers. That still left hours of unfettered machinery-ogling on the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island’s pristine golf course, which is more than enough time to be left with the impression that this event remains one of the true automotive bucket list items. And even though my interests generally skew toward events that allow me to slide behind the wheel rather than merely observe, Amelia is the exception to that rule.
Despite no longer cosying up to the warm bosom of the press fleet industrial complex, I still occasionally find myself behind the wheel of cars other than my own. Such was the case last week when I brought my own car, a C7 Corvette Z51, into the dealer for some warranty work and found myself sitting in the fortified bunker – aka cabin – of a loaner 2017 Camaro. Unlike the other sixth gen that I previously wrote up on these pages, which was option-laden but also saddled with the middling 2.0T Ecotec, this one featured nary an add-on save for the 3.6L LGX “High Feature” V6…a swap that made this drab-looking coupe immeasurably better to drive.