First Drive: 2011 Ford F-150 (V-6s)

First Drive: 2011 Ford F-150 (V-6s)
2011 Ford F150 (V-6s) - First Drive - Automobile Magazine
Making up for lost cylinders.

Big pickups and little engines are a marriage made somewhere south of heaven. V-6s are for women. They won’t tow. They sound funny. They are impossible to sell used. These are the abject prejudices Ford faced when the need for a more fuel-efficient F-150 became inescapable. With CAFE obligations looming and the Ranger disappearing after the 2011 model year, something had to be done.

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First Drive: 2010 Passion Motors Contessa Touring

First Drive: 2010 Passion Motors Contessa Touring
2010 Passion Motors Contessa Touring - First Drive - Automobile Magazine
If you’re looking for a hand-crafted, muscle-bound two-door that’s a little more bespoke, you may want to give the folks at Passion Motors a call.

If you’re in the market for a shapely sports coupe, six figures opens a lot of doors. $150k not only buys the best sports cars Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler offer, but also allows a number of talented outsiders — Hennessey, Roush, Callaway, among many — to further push the performance envelope.

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Comparison: 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 and 2010 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5 SR

Comparison: 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 and 2010 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5 SR
2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 and 2010 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5 SR - Comparison - Automobile Magazine
What’s the recipe for creating a niche coupe, using two of America’s perennial top-selling sedans as a base?

What’s the recipe for creating a niche coupe, using two of America’s perennial top-selling sedans as a base? Lose the rear doors, craft an attractive rear end, and offer an optional manual gearbox to please enthusiasts. But unlike purpose-driven performance coupes such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, sedan-based coupes must capture the essence of the four-door original in order to carry its fan base. As recently as two years ago, the list of two-door iterations of sedans included entries from Toyota, Chevrolet, and Chrysler. Since then, however, the field of midsize coupes has shrunk to a number you can count on one hand. And with two of the standouts, the 2011 Honda Accord and Nissan Altima coupes, remarkably similar in terms of dimensions, horsepower, and price point, we decided to see how each manufacturer applies the tried-and-true formula.

Photo Gallery: 2010 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 and 2010 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5 SR – Comparison – Automobile Magazine

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2011 Jaguar XK Coupe

2011 Jaguar XK Coupe
2011 Jaguar XK Coupe - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
Jaguars have more character than any other modern vehicles.

I wanted my dry cleaning, but I wanted to drive that luscious Jag. Nowhere to put the clothes, except flat across the abbreviated back buckets. It would have to do. Once I stuffed them back there and refocused my attention on the task at hand (having a great, grand drive through the countryside), I forgot about everything except just how far and how fast Jaguar has come in the past five years. They are stunningly beautiful. They are thrilling to drive hard. They are luxuriously modern. May Ratan Tata live long and prosper.

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2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec
2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
A great idea that falls a bit flat in the execution.

The night I signed out the Genesis coupe, I had to make an unexpected, late-night trip to Flint (about an hour’s drive away) to pick up my husband at the airport. About twenty minutes into the trip, it was evident that US-23 — which, like most Michigan freeways, is marred by uneven surfaces — was not the place for the Genesis coupe to show off its best qualities. The combination of a stiff suspension and road irregularities resulted in a weird pogo-like motion that was not only uncomfortable but gave me a headache as I tried to keep my eyes focused down the road.

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2011 Ford Edge SEL

2011 Ford Edge SEL
2011 Ford Edge SEL - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
Reworked and rejuvenated.

For 2011, the Ford Edge gets an unusually thorough refresh that sees significant changes to the exterior, interior, powertrain, and chassis. Our SEL was equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6, just like last year’s model, but power is up 20 hp and 3 lb-ft of torque. It’s difficult to detect that kind of power change, but I did quickly pick up on the revised steering effort, which, for a crossover, is quite satisfying. There’s excellent on-center response and a natural effort buildup that’s atypical in this segment.

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2011 BMW 740i

2011 BMW 740i
2011 BMW 740i - Editor's Notebook - Automobile Magazine
A good argument for a badge-delete option.

Like all 7-series sedans, this car coddles both driver and passengers with all manner of luxury amenities. That this car is powered by a turbocharged in-line six rather than a V-8 is not an issue, because the 740i never feels as though it is lacking for power (at least the way I used it, as around-town transport and a freeway commuter). If there’s such as thing as a bargain when you’re talking about ultra-luxury sedans, the six-cylinder 740i could be it.

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First Look: 2012 Range Rover Evoque

First Look: 2012 Range Rover Evoque
2012 Range Rover Evoque - First Look - Automobile Magazine
Evoking a more stylish future

Much has changed since Land Rover unwrapped the LRX show car in 2008. Markets have shifted, fuel costs are uncertain, and Land Rover’s own corporate stewardship was transferred halfway around the world. Despite those radical breaks in continuity, the production-ready LRX — now known as the 2011 Range Rover Evoque — remains remarkably true to the original concept.

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