When Volkswagen introduced the current North American market, US-built Passat in 2011, it was a move seen as either heresy or necessity, depending on which side of the VW enthusiast fence you sat on. After all, if the company wasn’t going to trade on its “Continental manufacturing for the mainstream” appeal, what was the point? At least, that was the counterargument to VW’s claim that a midsize sedan designed specifically for the North American market would finally allow them to compete on price, size and content with competitors from Asia and the US. Despite being three model years in, we haven’t yet covered the “NMS” Passat on these pages. No time like the present…
Chevy’s new heavy-duty line of Silverado pickups are big beasts of burden. Short of a U-Haul, there’s not a whole lot out there that’s bigger and can still be legally piloted without cdl training. Even compared to the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab, a truck already near and dear to my heart but not exactly ‘compact’ in its own right, the 2500 4×4 pictured here commands attention with another 2,000 pounds of girth, 4.5′ of height and 9.5′ of length.
I’ve admitted on these pages before to not being the World’s Greatest Hybrid Fan. Yeah, I can see their purpose, and although their net impact on global sustainability remains questionable and hotly debated, I do at least understand that a reduced dependence on fossil fuels is a goal we should all be working toward. If in the near term we accomplish that by building vehicles with battery packs that greatly reduce fuel consumption, so be it. But that still hasn’t burnished a place in my heart for the Prius as a vehicle I would recommend to my friends when they ask me, the car guy in their lives, for advice.
I’ve had the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel in my possession for just 24 hours now and I’ve already fallen in love with it. I’ve already said the current Jeep Grand Cherokee is the best 5-passenger SUV you can buy right now, but the EcoDiesel makes the JGC even more desirable. The standard Grand Cherokee gasoline engine lineup consists of the 3.6L Pentastar V6 or the 5.7L HEMI V8, with the insane 6.4L V8 being reserved for Grand Cherokee SRT duty. Grand Cherokee buyers can now also opt for the new 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 which produces 240 horsepower and a massive 420 lb-ft of torque. The new EcoDiesel is mated to a very smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and is 50-state-legal.
We’ll have a more in-depth story about the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel once we finish our week with it but I wanted to take a moment and talk fuel economy. The EPA rates the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel at 21 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway for 4WD models such as our Limited tester. I’ve now put about 85 miles on the vehicle during mixed highway/city commuting duty and have bested the EPA’s ratings consistently with 30+ mpg averages. Unlike most hybrid vehicles, you don’t have to drive the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel any differently than you would a regular vehicle to squeeze optimum fuel economy out of it. Just get in, drive, and enjoy all that torque.
More on the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel coming soon…stay tuned.
It’s rare that automotive news breaks beyond the electrified razor-wire confines of niche interest, but this week we have been favored with an event of interest to the population at large. That event involves possible breaches of journalistic ethics, an oppressive and somewhat frightening level of privacy violation, and a CEO and a major national newspaper acting like spoiled children, so “favored” is perhaps not the most apt choice of words. Read More
by Byron Hurd. Photos: Byron Hurd with supplemental content from Ford Motor Company.
A cloud, often more physical than metaphorical, seems to hang over S:S:L’s east coast office. Whenever we get a purpose-built machine, the weather turns ugly. Late last fall, we got a spankin’ new 370Z from Nissan and permission to track it, only to wake up to snow the next day. This summer, we had a 2011 Mustang GT Convertible and plans to attend a movie at one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the Mid-Atlantic area. What better way to do it, right? Naturally, that weekend brought record heat and wicked thunderstorms.
So when we scheduled our camping and horseback riding weekend with the F350, we had every eventuality covered. We had alternate arrangements if we ended up getting swamped out of the campsite. We even lined up dry shelter for the horses in case we really got slammed. Preparation was the name of the game. Getting the right horse trailer for us is very important, luckily you can apply for a loan to get the right trailer for you.
But Mother Nature managed to sneak one in the back door.