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2015 Chevrolet Colorado And GMC Canyon | Reviewed

It seems GM didn’t come back to the midsize truck segment just to play around.

[gallery ids="541897,541896,541895,541894,541893,541892"] Story by: Will Sabel Courtney Everybody wants a truck. Some people wear their desire loud and proud, others bury it deep down inside, but on some level, every one of us wants to have a tough pickup to tow, haul, off-road—or just feel like a king while surveying all the poor saps below in their puny “cars.” One glance at the charts holds the proof; the Big Three’s Big Trucks (F-150, Silverado/Sierra, and Ram) consistently rank in the top five best-selling passenger vehicles in the States. But those trucks aren’t simply big sellers—they’re big vehicles, period. With curb weights north of three tons, dimensions close to those of a small bus and turning circles similar to a Navy destroyer, living with these monster rigs can be trying if you don’t own your own farm…and don’t mind leaving the back 40 fallow to use as a parking lot. And with top-of-the-line trucks packing price tags reserved for Bimmers and Benzes a decade ago, bringing home a pickup can mean picking up every penny and nickel you find just to keep gas in the tank. Enter the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. You might remember those names; they’re the same ones General Motors slapped on their last couple of mid-size pickup trucks. That’s about the only thing these new rigs share with their predecessors, though. The Colorado and Canyon are new from tip to tail. They’re also good-looking from tip to tail. In person, the Colorado comes across as sportier and younger, whereas the Canyon’s more distinguished. The insides are pretty much the GMC scores a sleeker, swankier interior that feels worthy of the higher price tag it commands over the Chevy. Both rigs are nice places to watch the world go by, though, with airy, open cabins and ergonomics most other car companies could take a page from. Looks are important, of course, but for trucks, capability and features are tops on the list of importance. GM’s mini-rigs come with a standard 200 horsepower inline-four, but unless you never plan on towing or hauling anything other than yourself and your phone, you’re better off with the 305 horsepower 3.6L V6—and if you’re not gonna haul anything, what’d you buy a truck for? (You don’t lose much on the gas mileage front with the bigger engine, either—the V6 still gets 24-26 mpg on the open road, which is a lot better than most full-size trucks.) Both trucks come in a choice of 2WD or 4WD, short or long bed, and extended or crew cabs—the latter of which is actually big enough to seat four or five full-grown people. Don’t think these two small trucks lack the ability to move big items, either. The trucks can haul around three-quarters of a ton of payload, or tow up to 7,000 pounds. That ain’t small potatoes. GM says a lot of Colorado and Canyon buyers will be moving up from passenger cars and crossovers, so the General went out of its way to pack on features that would have seemed like luxuries in a truck only a few years ago. On-board Wi-Fi, thanks to AT&T 4G LTE? Covered. A rear-view camera? Standard. Lane-departure warning, an 8-inch color touchscreen for radio and navigation, forward collision warning, a spray-on bedliner? All available. There’s even a whole bunch of accessories designed just for the truck, to make hauling everything from bikes to boats easier. And best of all, these trucks come in nice and cheap. You can score a Colorado for around $21K; most will likely come in around $30-35K, but even so, that’s a deal for a rig that does all that these trucks do. It seems GM didn’t come back to the midsize truck segment just to play around; they’re playing for keeps. And odds are good they’re gonna see these trucks sell like whoa. Specifications: Model Tested: 2015 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD LT Crew Long Box Base Price: $20,995 Price as Tested: $38,870 Power: 305hp, 269 lb.-ft. Gas Cash: 17 city, 24 hwy
November 21, 2014 at 02:47 PM
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2016 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

The Maybach is back with a little name tweaking and a V12 biturbo kicking out 523hp.

[gallery ids="541883,541884,541882,541885,541881,541880,541879"] Via Mercedes-Benz: With the world premiere in Guangzhou and the presentation in Los Angeles, the new Mercedes- Maybach S-Class will be unveiled almost simultaneously in its two key markets of China and the USA. At 214.6 inches long and with a wheelbase of 132.5 inches, the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz model range is 8.1 inches larger in both dimensions than the S-Class Sedan. Rear passengers benefit from this increased size as well as from standard equipment that includes executive seats on both the left and right sides and other exclusive details. In the rear, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is also the world's quietest production sedan. The US will launch with the Mercedes- Maybach S600 in April 2015. "The history of prestige vehicles made by Daimler extends back to the earliest days of the motor car. We have now commenced a new chapter with the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class," points out Ola Källenius, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars responsible for sales. "As an addition to the portfolio of S-Class sedans, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sets new standards in the luxury segment. The vehicle satisfies the very highest requirements in terms of exclusivity appointments and comfort." "Perfection down to the last detail and a new dimension in seating and resting comfort for the rear passengers are the hallmarks of the new Mercedes-Maybach", says Professor Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "Our exceptionally successful new S-Class already defines the pinnacle of automotive engineering in a host of technical disciplines such as safety, efficiency, climate control and noise characteristics. The Mercedes-Maybach now sets the benchmark in the luxury segment even higher." Mercedes-Maybach: a new sub-brand offering peerless exclusivity The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class melds the perfection of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class with the exclusivity of Maybach. Mercedes-Maybach motor cars epitomize peerless exclusivity. Some of the features that distinguish these vehicles from production models include extra spaciousness with lavishly designed, prestigious interiors offering an extensive scope of individualization. As a result, the cars fulfil the requirements of even the most discerning customers worldwide. Mercedes-Maybach is not an equipment line – it is a sub-brand that in the future will provide Mercedes-Benz vehicles in an even more exclusive form. Alongside Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach is thus the second sub-brand in the Mercedes-Benz brand world. Providing both prestige and exclusivity, it is aimed at customers for whom status is important. The US market launch of the Mercedes-Maybach S600 is scheduled for April 2015. Its V12 biturbo engine has an output of 523 hp. With a displacement of 5980 cc, the maximum torque of 612 lb-ft is available from 1900 rpm. Inside the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, the level of wind noise is impressively low and in the rear, despite the large windows, betters even the quietest car in the world – the S-Class Coupe. For passengers in the rear, the Mercedes- Maybach S-Class is the world's quietest production sedan. In its exterior design, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class combines stylish, effortless superiority with trend-setting exclusivity. The vehicle makes modern luxury come alive in an exceptional way. Along with the extended wheelbase, emphatic lines suggest power and dynamism. Due to the side profile's special design, characteristic design elements for the S-Class are retained such as the sweeping, dome-shaped roofline. The key distinguishing feature is the new side line: by comparison with the long-wheelbase version of the S-Class, the striking rear door has been shortened by 2.6 inches and therefore appears to meld seamlessly into the overall composition. The door has no triangular window because this has been relocated into the C-pillar. As a result, the rear seats are situated beyond the door cutout, which creates a feeling of exceptional privacy and exclusivity. The elegant Maybach Manufaktur logo – a double M inside an arched triangle – adorns the C-pillars on both sides. In the interior of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, passengers are enveloped in lounge-style, modern luxury. With its clear architecture, refined materials and stylish controls, the vehicle embodies a sensuous elegance. For an exclusive look, the front center armrests with exclusive nappa leather or optional semi- aniline upholstery feature embossed Maybach crests. Another special feature in the dashboard is the analogue clock with an IWC design. The high quality standards of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are impressively evident from the doors, which even have handstitched door trim as part of the standard equipment. This extravagance is part of the interior's luxurious, hand-finished "Manufaktur" character. Exclusive features used in the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are trim parts in wood/chrome and leather at shoulder height in the door panels, chrome-plated tweeter grilles and fiber- optic cables for the ambient lighting to the side on the armrest. Together they create a unique atmosphere conveying a sense of capacious style. As the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz model range, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class satisfies the very highest requirements in terms of luxury appointments and comfort. In addition to all the amenities of the conventional S-Class, a number of exclusive interior touches underscore the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class's ambition to lead. These include the exclusive Maybach perfume AGARWOOD for fragrancing as part of the AIR-BALANCE package and two silver-plated, handcrafted champagne flutes. The standard Burmester® High-End 3D surround sound system offers a unique optical and acoustic experience. As a visual highlight, the tweeters in the rear doors of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are particularly sophisticated and can also be moved towards the passengers in a spiral motion.
November 19, 2014 at 03:05 PM
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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat | Reviewed

Is the Hellcat the best pound-for-pound vehicle on the planet?

[gallery ids="541876,541875,541874,541873,541872,541871,541870"] Story by: Evan ‘Evo’ Yates Photography by: David Yates The term ‘dream car’ is tossed around pretty loosely in the automotive world, as new mind-blowing, internet-crashing rides tend to come and go as the years pass. In 2010, I decided I would save up to purchase my dream car, a Dodge Challenger SRT8. It took a few years but I finally put myself in position to purchase a pre-owned First Edition with low miles. Funny thing is, for once in my life I vowed to keep the car completely stock as I was more than pleased with the factory performance, looks and feel. As it tends to happen, I ended up modifying my Challenger a bit, but I still owned my dream car and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world – until I got a phone call saying I would be receiving a Hellcat for a week. This longwinded intro is relevant to the review because if the standard SRT8 was my dream car, imagine the pedestal I put the Hellcat upon. Does that make the review biased or will I be more strict than usual? You be the judge. I was pleased to see that I was entrusted with the red key, which is important because it meant I had full access to all of the Hellcat’s 707 horsepower. Upon start-up, the Hellcat sounds like a full-on muscle car. Admittedly, its factory SRT exhaust sounds much better than the modified aftermarket exhaust on my personal Challenger and that was a pleasant surprise. Plenty of times I’ve seen factory-tuned vehicles with mundane exhaust systems and it has never made sense. The exhaust rumble is ferocious, yet tuned at idle and everyone within a three block radius experiences the thunderous, raspy roar when the Hellcat is first started. Once on your journey, it’s apparent there are a few extra ponies under the hood and if you dare to open it up – especially from a stop or slow roll – you better hold on tight. Acceleration in the Hellcat is a visceral experience as a myriad of sounds and emotions rush through you as the supercharger screams, the exhaust howls and you’re planted in your seat. For a 4500-pound car, the Hellcat feels relatively light but I attribute that to the fact that you can easily sling it around like a rag doll. However, with the upgraded sway bars and other suspension components, Dodge did a great job at making the Hellcat agile. Regardless, it does not feel like simply a big car with a big motor and even though it may not beat a Z28 Camaro around an autocross track, it definitely holds its own in the corners for a new-age muscle car. And even with its massive horsepower on tap, the Hellcat is actually a quite capable daily driver and on the highway it gets pretty decent gas mileage, too. The only negative side to the impressive power is that there are very few opportunities to fully tap the Hellcat’s potential on city streets without tacking on a couple reckless driving citations to your resume. The amount of power at your disposal is almost a tease and admittedly, if I had this car every day I would certainly be tempted to utilize it. For the exterior, the Hellcat is almost a sleeper (minus the TorRed hue, of course) as its profile is virtually the same as every other Challenger on the road. Head on, the sleeper bit goes out the window as the viper-inspired hood certainly raises an eyebrow and the bold front fascia is a reminder that this vehicle comes from the depths of hell. The new grille and headlights are a nice touch and the factory ‘halo’ headlights are downright awesome. The updated taillights for 2015 are also a nice addition, which is a good thing because if you’re running head-to-head against a Hellcat you better get used to how those sexy LED tails look. Oh, and as sweet as the TorRed tone looks on the Hellcat, you may want to opt for a more subtle color as the bright red screams ‘PULL ME OVER’ on the highway which ultimately forced me to drive like an 80-year-old retired granny on the expressway. The 20-inch forged SRT wheels are perfect on the Hellcat even though I would have loved to see a 22-inch factory option. The 275/40/20 Pirelli rubber does its best to keep you planted on the pavement but get used to swapping the rears out quarterly as most of the tread ends up on your rear fender when driving a Hellcat. You just spent $70k on a modern muscle car – you can afford it. The updated interior is a welcome addition as its much more attractive, ergonomically-correct and actually feels bigger than the previous models. The driver-focused dash with the 8.4” UCONNECT system is a much-needed upgrade for the Challenger platform and the plethora of performance options available on the system is awesome. The ‘Laguna’ toffee tan leather was a nice touch and a little unexpected as I thought the Hellcat may come with the standard red or black interior. Even though I would still opt for all-black guts, the tan certainly gives the impression you got what you paid for which could be important to some. The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is hands-down the best bang for your buck in the automotive world. You simply can’t get the power-per-dollar benefit in addition to the creature comforts that make the Hellcat a worthy daily driver. The bad news? It seems that I have a new dream car. Damage: $65,870 Power: 707 hp, 650 lb.-ft. 0-60: 3.5 sec MPG: 13 City, 22 Hwy Miles Driven: 300
November 18, 2014 at 02:30 PM
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Gymkhana 7 Tears Up L.A. (Video!)

Watch the City of Angels gets terrorized by Ken Block's "Hoonicorn."

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November 17, 2014 at 01:10 PM
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Alpinestars Tech-Air Motorcycle Airbag Tested

The Italian based Alpinestars may have just had a break through in motorcycle safety.

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November 14, 2014 at 03:51 PM
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Armored Mercedes-Benz Tested w/ AK-47

Oh, and Texas Armoring Corporation's CEO is in the driver's seat.

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November 13, 2014 at 04:12 PM
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Most Expensive Range Rover Ever

With the help of Holland & Holland, and attention to detail, this Rover will set you back a pretty pence.

[gallery ids="541853,541852,541851,541850,541849"] Fox hunts just got a whole lot foxier thanks to this pairing between Range Rover and Holland & Holland. Adapting it's style from the Autobiography Black the Special Vehicle Operations team at Range Rover will make 40 units over the next three years of this unique Rover. Available in an impressive diesel and gasoline power train the real show stopper is the leather interior, Holland & Holland engravings and the gun rack in back for what we assume is for hunting or an upcoming Guy Richie film. Press Release: Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations Joins Forces With Holland & Holland To Create Their Most Luxurious SUV Ever - Unique Holland & Holland Range Rover embodies craftsmanship of two iconic British marques, both associated with luxury outdoor pursuits - Builds on Range Rover luxury with a set of features specifically designed for Holland & Holland customers - The most expensive Range Rover ever benefits from a raft of SVO-designed exclusive features to complement outdoor pursuits. - The new car builds upon a long and successful association between the two Royal Warrant-holding luxury marques. Whitley, UK, November 6, 2014 The Holland & Holland Range Rover builds upon the strengths of the two iconic British brands to provide the perfect vehicle for the sporting gun manufacturer's customers. Thanks to the skill and craftsmanship of the team at Special Vehicle Operations, the new car is able to combine the unrivalled off-road capability of the Range Rover with an extensive range of bespoke features. Both Land Rover and Holland & Holland hold Royal Warrants and the collaboration between them has resulted in the most luxurious, and most expensive, Range Rover ever. Based on the Range Rover Autobiography Black, the summit of the Land Rover model portfolio, the new model has been designed by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), which will build 40 units per year over a three-year period. The collaboration demonstrates the new division's rapidly growing and ambitious repertoire of high-end luxury bespoke commissions, as well as extreme performance vehicles. John Edwards, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations, said, "The whole SVO team is very proud of this car, a bespoke design, which perfectly meets the very particular needs of Holland & Holland's customers. This shows the huge potential of SVO, which encapsulates both off- and on-road performance as well as luxury and craftsmanship." The Holland & Holland Range Rover is available with a choice of powertrains: the diesel-powered 4.4-litre SDV8, which delivers 339PS and the 510PS petrol-powered 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged. Both SVO and Holland & Holland represent the very pinnacle of craftsmanship, and the new car is where their collective skills combine. It is instantly discernable from a distance, even among other Range Rovers, thanks to the unique Holland & Holland Green of the full bodywork, mirrors and bonnet vent. The grille is painted in the same deep green and has chrome highlights. Holland & Holland badging can be found on the lower accent door badges of both long and standard wheelbase versions, as well as on the tailgate. On the inside, the Range Rover Autobiography Black has been tailored to accommodate the lifestyle pursuits of Holland & Holland's customers. The Executive Class seating package in the long wheelbase car makes the most of the additional 186mm (7.3 inches) of legroom and 17 degrees recline available to the rear seat passengers. Two individual fully adjustable seats are complemented by an extended and re-designed centre console with electrically deployable walnut tables, integrated USB charging sockets, enhanced stowage and bespoke lighting. In the Holland & Holland car, the interior is upholstered with the softest tan and espresso leather hides, with precision leather detailing including Holland & Holland embroidery on the front seats. Even the sides of the transmission tunnel are trimmed in the same shade of leather. This is perfectly complemented by the sustainably-sourced French walnut veneer, subtly polished to resemble the oil-finished gunstocks for which Holland & Holland's craftsmen have been famous since the company's foundation in 1835. To mark this, their logo is inlaid into the front centre console. The car's woodwork is made from a single huge piece of walnut, 1500mm long by 500mm wide, to ensure that every veneer is perfectly matched. The engraver's art is well represented too, with Holland & Holland's brand-defining acanthus scroll turning the internal door handles into works of art. The fascia letterbox panels are decorated with gunstock checkering and the exquisite engraving of the centre console panel has been inspired by Holland & Holland's distinctive forend diamonds. What really sets the new Holland & Holland Range Rover apart, though, is located in the boot. A stunning leather-trimmed aluminium loadspace cabinet - debossed with the Holland & Holland logo - has been designed especially for this car. Its espresso Alcantara-trimmed interior can be precisely fitted to safely transport the owner of the car's pair of Holland & Hollands - although it is also removable when maximum luggage capacity is required. It sits on a deployable loadspace floor, engineered from aluminium and carbon fibre and finished with leather and wood veneer. The floor components are machined and cut to produce a unique platform that slides out with a perfectly damped action, to ensure that the cabinet is easily accessible, even when the tailgate is open. The sliding floor is also designed to be load-bearing so that it can still be sat upon when owners wish to change their footwear or stop for a brief picnic. When floor and box are in their travel position, they sit low and well back in the boot to ensure that there is still plenty of room for luggage or sports equipment. Daryl Greatrex, managing director of Holland & Holland, commented: "This project represents two great British brands working together to produce a car that perfectly represents our shared brand values. Stunning form and perfect functionality unite in a car that is supremely fit for purpose." The recommended retail price (RRP) for the Holland & Holland Range Rover will be £180,000.
November 12, 2014 at 05:32 PM
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There’s A Reason The 4Runner Is King

There is a reason the Toyota 4Runner is considered the leader in the SUV market, and the fifth generation does nothing but prove that point.

[gallery ids="541845"] Story by: Richard Melick There is a reason the Toyota 4Runner is considered the leader in the SUV market, and the fifth generation does nothing but prove that point. I make this claim quite boldly, but as I thought about the direction of this review, all I could reference was the vehicle ability to really conquer the trails of the Rockies so well, while also being an easy city driver. Now, calm down you Jeep fanatics. This has nothing against the Grand Cherokee or Wrangler in terms of performance, and these two rides are honestly amazing, but there are few vehicles out there that combine the ruggedness and class that they both have into one ride. I know the Grand Cherokee can hit the trails, but how often do you really see it on the trail, and honestly, I would cringe with taking it offroad like that. Other vehicles do come to mind as having various levels of the two combined, but in the end, the 4Runner really stands out as the king, and deservedly so. Hitting the trials this last fall with the 2014 Toyota 4Runner while on a bachelor party was the best way to really jump into the mix. This wasn’t the typical bachelor party of course, and involved a 4am wake up, driving to the mountains, and climbing (well, attempting) a 14er. I wont get into details on the climb, but will say that at 12,500 feet, I know the 4runner would have kept going while a few of us could not. Something about lack of oxygen, strength, and the wrong food that morning. But that is neither here nor there. The vehicle itself performed fantastically as we decided to go exploring around the mountain afterwards, finding little trails and abandoned mining roads to take us to see the amazing fall colors of Colorado. Climbing over rocky paths and fording some streams in a packed ride, all while having the comfort and conveniences that Toyota has set the standard on, made the journey a bit posh. And I’m okay with that. The posh part hits big. That night was date night for me, and though I did not have time to hit up the car wash before picking her up (plus, it’s Colorado and washing any car makes it rain), I wasn’t concerned. With a comfrtable ride and the modern conveniences of heated and cooled seats, along with the killer music, I wasn’t worried about how the car looked outside. It’s rugged for a reason, trail made and driven, all while hitting the better points inside. Size wise, I am surprised to how big the 4Runner has gotten, remembering back to the first and second generations that seemed big then but small now. I can’t make a decision on if I am a fan of the increase, but overall, it seems to work in today’s on-the-go world. The 4Runner is, at the core, an SUV. It’s not trying to be a car, doesn’t focus on speed or handling like other SUVs on the market, and has that basic feel to it that shows you from the start what you as a driver are getting into. Inside, the space for individuals was ample enough to warrant a road trip, with enough storage in the back for just about everything we needed and more. I really can’t say enough about this ride, but it all seems to focus on the one simple concept that this SUV is still an SUV, and it doesn’t try to fancy itself up with unnecessary design or elements. Its pointed design and combination of creature comforts and smart elements shows that while there are others on the road that can compete, the Toyota 4rfunner is going with the gut and keeping to the plan and showing that it leads from the front.
November 11, 2014 at 02:36 PM
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