It seems GM didn’t come back to the midsize truck segment just to play around.
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.
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
The Maybach is back with a little name tweaking and a V12 biturbo kicking out 523hp.
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.
Watch the City of Angels gets terrorized by Ken Block's "Hoonicorn."
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.
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.