2010 Mazda 6 Grand Touring

2010 Mazda 6 Grand Touring
2010 Mazda 6 Grand Touring - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
The Mazda 6 is a fine car if you’re looking for a mid-size family sedan.

The Mazda 6 is a fine car if you’re looking for a mid-size family sedan. The V-6 is strong and smooth, the six-speed automatic selects gears smartly and without drama, and the ride is comfortable without being flaccid. Mazda also has the best-looking car in the segment with those dynamic, shapely fenders. Yet, when Mazda enlarged their American-market mid-sizer for the 2009 model year, they lost the biggest thing they had going for them: a car that supported their uniquely sporty image. Unlike the engaging Mazda 3, the 6 doesn’t have that nimble, faster-than-it-actually-is feel.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata SE – Four Seasons Introduction

2011 Hyundai Sonata SE – Four Seasons Introduction
2011 Hyundai Sonata SE - Four Seasons Introduction - Automobile Magazine
How a downturned economy just puts everything in perspective.

Ambling by 120 East Liberty a year ago today, you could have stumbled upon a snarling Nissan GT-R, hormonal Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, massively seductive Audi R8, sumptuous BMW 750iL, and the hauling champ we knew as the Dodge Ram. But we knew that, eventually, all good things must come to an end, and those vehicles have since departed.

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2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe

2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe
2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
This Viper is venomous and can strike an inexperienced driver with a vengeance.

As a thinly camouflaged Fiat 500 made its way down Ann Arbor’s Main Street yesterday, crowds pointed and young boys cheered, “nice car!” A rather encouraging sign for a car that’s supposed to rejuvenate Chrysler’s image, don’t you think? Only one small problem: they weren’t buzzing about the little Fiat. No, all the attention was raining on me, as I pulled up right behind the 500 in a Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR. Oh, how I love the symbolism!

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Comparison: 2011 Ford Mustang V-6 vs. 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6

Comparison: 2011 Ford Mustang V-6 vs. 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6
2011 Ford Mustang V-6 vs. 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 - Automobile Magazine
Unlikely competitors.

Just as it was in 1967, the 2011 Ford Mustang and 2011 Chevrolet Camaro are natural rivals, not only in their design and performance, but also in showroom sales. So we didn’t need Ford to tell us that the Camaro is the most cross-shopped vehicle for Mustang buyers. We were surprised, however, when Ford revealed the second most cross-shopped vehicle. We suspected — as you may — either the Dodge Challenger, the Hyundai Genesis coupe, or the Nissan 370Z. After the Camaro, though, Ford says shoppers are most likely to compare the Mustang with the Honda Accord coupe. So we gathered the two coupes for head-to-head comparison.

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First Drive: 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

First Drive: 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport - Mitsubishi Crossover SUV Review - Automobile Magazine
Good looking from all angles.

Mitsubishi recently allowed us to sample preproduction versions of its forthcoming small crossover, the Outlander Sport. The Sport is slated to go on sale this October with a base price of under $19,000. Mitsu hasn’t yet finalized pricing, but we’re told to expect fully loaded models to hit showrooms with a sticker price of less than $26,000. And that’s with navigation, keyless entry, heated seats, four-wheel drive, a 710-watt sound system, HIDs, and a CVT automatic.

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2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid

2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid
2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid - Automobile Magazine
Smooth Sailing

First an SUV. Then a sedan. And now a hybrid. It may be another gut punch for purists, but Porsche’s foray into volume products and new segments continues with a hybrid model for the new, second-generation Porsche Cayenne. However, the Cayenne S Hybrid isn’t an overweight Toyota Prius. Both the hardware and the software feature unique-or at least unusual-approaches to hybrid execution. The result is that the Porsche Cayenne doesn’t drive like any other hybrid.

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2010 BMW 135i Coupe

2010 BMW 135i Coupe
2010 BMW 135i Coupe - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
The charisma and performance capability of the 3-series distilled into a smaller package.

I had the opportunity to drive a BMW 335i coupe and 135i in a three-day span (with a Mitsubishi Lancer in between, to cleanse the palette). It’s a tough decision between them, but for me at least, the 135i is smart choice. True, the smaller car’s weight and performance advantage is negligible (about 200 pounds and 0.2 seconds, respectively, according to BMW), but so too is the difference in practicality — the two-door 3-series offers only 0.4 inches more legroom in front and 1.4 inches in back. The deciding factor is their footprint. The trimmed wheelbase makes the 1-series just a bit livelier, and a bit more intimate, though the 335i’s longer wheelbase might be a bit better balanced. Of course, the $6000 in savings hardly hurts either.

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