2010 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited – Four Seasons Update – July 2010

2010 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited – Four Seasons Update – July 2010
2010 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited - Four Seasons Long Term Review, July 2010 - Automobile Magazine
A viable workhorse.

Months in fleet: Nine
Miles to date: 25,916

Photo Gallery: 2010 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited – Four Seasons Long Term Review, July 2010 – Automobile Magazine

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2011 Ford Mustang V-6 Coupe

2011 Ford Mustang V-6 Coupe
2011 Ford Mustang V-6 Coupe - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
The new, more powerful V-6 Mustang is certainly a very solid performer.

With all the hoopla surrounding the launch of 300-plus-hp pony cars (Camaro, Genesis, Mustang) that have recently hit the market, you’d think there was no reason to opt for a V-8 other than bragging rights. I don’t want to be seen as the codger bemoaning the loss of carburetors and bias-ply tires, but it’s worth buying a V-8 Mustang or Camaro for the engine’s sound alone. Yes, a six-cylinder engine CAN be engineered to sound great, but so far neither Ford nor GM nor Dodge is willing to provide a stock exhaust system on their V-6 pony cars that sounds more menacing than a vacuum cleaner. It’s a pity. These spectacularly powerful, yet surprisingly fuel efficient, sporty cars will be parked at sorority houses until they sound more like performance cars.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Ford Mustang V-6 Coupe – Editor’s Notebook – Automobile Magazine

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Driven: 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6

Driven: 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6
2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 - Driven - Automobile Magazine
The next best thing to an Acura coupe.

Acura doesn’t offer a two-door car right now, and that’s probably a good thing. With a rich leather interior and surplus of electronics, the Accord V-6 EX-L we recently spent some time with makes any Acura coupe redundant.

Photo Gallery: 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 – Driven – Automobile Magazine

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On Patrol in a 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

On Patrol in a 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
On Patrol in a 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor - Automobile Magazine
Borderline Insanity: The Raptor is the baddest truck on the Mexican border. Ezra Dyer rides shotgun with the sheriff.

Most right-minded people agree that the Ford Raptor is a sweet ride.

Photo Gallery: On Patrol in a 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor – Automobile Magazine

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2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS
2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
More enjoyable as a daily driver than the high-strung Evo.

I haven’t driven a Mitsubishi Lancer in quite a while and, because the Lancer Evolution lacks seat-height adjustment, I was prepared to be a bit uncomfortable behind the wheel when I signed out the GTS for the night. Fortunately for shorter people like me, this less-focused-but-still-sporty Lancer model comes with the full array of seat adjusters. In fact, overall this entire package is far more enjoyable as a daily driver than the high-strung Evo.

Photo Gallery: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS – Editor’s Notebook – Automobile Magazine

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First Drive: 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T

First Drive: 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T
2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T - First Drive - Automobile Magazine
An early example of the midsize sedan’s future

Hyundai is relatively inexperienced when it comes to turbocharging gas engines, and that showed with the company’s last boosted powerplant, in the Genesis coupe. In addition to providing relatively tepid performance, the coupe’s turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder is sluggish and abrasive. While the Sonata 2.0T’s engine uses the same block as the Genesis coupe’s, the Koreans have made enough changes to craft what feels like an entirely new — and seriously impressive — engine.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T – First Drive – Automobile Magazine

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2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
Easy to drive as a normal car around town.

My evening with the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG began when Mike, the car geek who mans the tollbooth in our parking structure, gave the SLS the once-over. Here’s where the gullwing doors actually came in handy: the departure lane is of course relatively narrow, so anytime I’m in a car that interests him, Mike’s usual view is solely through the open driver’s window. But with the SLS, I just cracked the driver’s door, he confirmed that there was plenty of clearance, and I thrust it upward, giving him a panoramic view of the SLS AMG’s striking interior: red leather with carbon fiber trim over black carpets, in the case of our test example. I put the transmission in Park and gave the 563-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 a good blip: the resulting gnarly growl and the snap-crackle-pop of the exhaust absolutely made Mike’s day – and probably his week.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG – Editor’s Notebook – Automobile Magazine

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2010 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe

2010 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe
2010 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
A dark horse candidate if you’re looking for a sporty, comfortable, and relatively affordable coupe.

I was pleasantly surprised by the manual Accord coupe. It’s a good example of Honda’s knack for building vehicles that appeal to the mainstream consumer but still offer a bit of enjoyment for the enthusiast. The light steering is effortless in daily driving but it also provides enough feedback to be rewarding on the curvy stuff. Even with 271 hp, the 3.5-liter V-6 doesn’t often overpower the front tires but it’s also no slouch. Plus, it sounds great. Start off slow and you’ll hear a nice muffled growl; floor it and that faint noise builds into a roar by the time it reaches redline. The six-speed manual and the clutch pedal require more effort than I expect from a Honda — particularly the heavy clutch — but it wouldn’t stop me from choosing the manual if I were going to buy an Accord coupe.

Photo Gallery: 2010 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe – Editor’s Notebook – Automobile Magazine

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First Drive: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

First Drive: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe First Drive - Automobile Magazine
Unleashing a 556-hp, American coupe on the streets of Europe.

DETROIT TO PARIS
Charles de Gaulle airport is a confusing mess, but I forgive it its trespasses because it is, after all, the portal to Paris, one of my favorite cities in the world. On this particular day, having arrived on Air France’s overnight flight from Detroit, I am even more keen than usual to arrive in the City of Light. That’s because, rather than taking the dreary RER commuter train into the city center, I will be at the wheel of a 2011 Cadillac CTS-V coupe. Hanspeter Ryser, Cadillac’s Zurich-based European PR head, meets me in baggage claim and escorts me to an underground parking structure. “I think it’s in aisle 20,” he says as we stroll through the low-ceilinged space. Eighteen, nineteen, twenty. One glance down the row of tightly packed Renaults and Peugeots in aisle 20 is all it takes to spy the distinctly chiseled, high rump of the big red coupe from Detroit. Ryser pops the trunk lid and points out a thick dossier under the trunk floor that will come in handy should any authorities question the Michigan license plates. He apologizes for the navigation system, which is still dialed in for America rather than Continental Europe, hands me the keys, and wishes me well. This Caddy is mine!

Photo Gallery: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe First Drive – Automobile Magazine

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