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Review: Morgan 3 Wheeler
A love of driving… Distilled

Morgan-3-Wheeler-w-Logo

Four wheels can be fun, and two wheels seem adventurous. Somewhere in the middle lies the Morgan 3 Wheeler. It’s essentially a bathtub connected to an X-Wedge S&S motor and a triumvirate of wheels. Inside the cockpit is a pair of quilted leather seats, a wooden steering wheel, a gear shift lever, and a few gauges set alongside a starter button.

It’s a simple recipe… Yet when it’s all stirred together it created one of the most entertaining vehicles on the entire planet.

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Review: 2014 Chevrolet SS
A last dash for Aussie gold

chevy ss lede

We look upon the Australian automotive offerings with jealous delight. There are coupes, wagons, and sedans that we’d love to put in our own garages. Don’t even get me started on Utes…

It’s not often that a bit of Oz awesomeness makes it Stateside though, and that’s because the idea of a rear-wheel-drive V8-powered bruiser only appeals to a limited bit of the market. We love that bit of the market, and that means we should love the 2014 Chevrolet SS. It’s a rebadged Holden Commodore VF, which means it has a 6.2-liter LS3 motor up front and the driven wheels planted out back.

Sounds like a recipe for Hooniversal success… but is it? Hop on down to find out.

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Review: 2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E
Supercharged and Turbocharged

2014 Volvo S60 drive-e side

2014 Volvo S60 drive-e engineRemember the 1995 Volvo 850 T-5R? Of course, how could anyone not. The boxy performance sedan had just enough appearance cues to be ignored by the masses and adored by its fans. With 243hp it ran 0-60mph sprint in mid-five second range and it pulled almost 0.90g on the skidpad, its performance surpassed those looks. This made the T-5R one of the most special Volvos for a very special group of people, and you know who you are.

This 2015 S60 T6 has 302hp and 295lb-ft of torque. By conservative factory estimates it does 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds, but it feels faster than that. Despite the T6 nomenclature, this 2015 S60 is powered by the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. The old fives and sixes are dead (almost), long live the new fours. I won’t beat around the bush, this new engine is amazing!

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First Drive: 2015 Hyundai Genesis
No longer an attempt at luxury, but now the real thing

2015-Hyundai-Genesis lede

When the first Genesis was introduced to the planet in 2009, most of the world scoffed at the idea of a luxury vehicle wearing a Hyundai badge. Still, the car has performed alright, and it does a decent job at playing pretend luxury sedan. There were a few areas, however, where it fell a bit flat. The driving dynamics were mediocre, and the seats were far from luxurious.

Now though, it appears we’re ready for round two of the Genesis story. No, I’m not talking about Phil Collins trying to get the band back together, but rather Hyundai turning its upscale four-door into a true contender. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is here, and it’s not stuck in the Land of Confusion (Whoooaaaa ooooooh).

It’s now a real luxury sedan, and it’s time that Germany and Japan ought to pay attention to it.

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Review: 2014 Toyota 4Runner Trail

2014 toyota 4runner trail rear side stuck TEXT

Full ladder frame. 4-wheel drive system with a two-speed transfercase. Locking rear differential. Fancy traction control system with crawl control. Selectable terrain response system. Skid plates. Full-size spare tire. All of those are trademark items found on world’s best off-road 4×4 vehicles, such as this Land Cruiser Prado-based, 2014 Toyota 4Runner.

And yet there I was, technically not even off road, completely stuck in five inches of snow. Nothing designed to keep the Trail edition 4Runner moving forward worked.

Nothing.

All four wheels were just spinning, desperate to grab onto something that would allow them to overcome the low coefficient of friction between the tire, the wet snow, and the dirt under it. What finally did work was a tow truck which winched me out from about thirty feet away after two hours of waiting. It was a Sunday afternoon in Vermont, I guess I should be happy that it only took that long.

So what went wrong?

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Review: 2014 Acura MDX

2014 acura mdx technology front side

It is a common believe among Hooniverse readers that, despite my best efforts to say otherwise, cross-over SUVs are the work of the devil and that when you guys need a vehicle capable of hauling people or things, you get either a station wagon or a minivan. Evidently the case is the same for large fuel-efficient sedans; those too are the killer of enthusiasts and they certainly do not belong on an enthusiast car site such as this. Unfortunately you’re all wrong, because as long as it is car-related, it belongs on Hooniverse, and as long as it’s car-related we won’t need no stinkin’ Manifesto to tell ourselves that we should be something that we are not.

I, who consider myself an enthusiast, have owned over a dozen vehicles in my life, everything from a Honda CR-X to a BMW M5, interlaced with some Jeeps in between. Shockingly, I consider my current vehicle, a 2005 Acura MDX, to be the best car I have ever owned. In its 135,000 miles in has never failed me, despite frequently being abused and often poorly maintained. It has been in two serious accidents now, one with airbag deployment, and each time it made it home under its own power.

After recent negotiations with my accountant/boss/wife, it was determined that we have the budget and a want/need for a new family vehicle. We are a two-kid, one-car, city family; truly an oddity in the United States. For this reason I must choose such vehicle wisely; it must be safe, reliable, roomy, comfortable, and be relatively inexpensive to buy, own, and maintain. Oh, and it must meet the wife-factor, which has a completely unknown set of expectations. It was under these criteria that allowed my MDX to have been so good to me. Its upcoming replacement, whatever it may be, has some big shoes to fill. 

It therefore shouldn’t be a surprise that I was very interested in the new 2014 Acura MDX. Now I finally had a chance to drive one and evaluate it from the end-user’s perspective, and, well, I  truly don’t know how I feel about it. 

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First Drive: 2015 Audi A3 Sedan
Drop the base…

audi-a3-lede

Don’t call it a base-level car.

While, that sounds harsh… I’m not here to tell you to do anything, of course. What I mean to say is that, after spending a bit of time with the newest compact sedan from Audi, I feel like calling it an entry-level machine is selling it a bit short. This is the 2015 Audi A3, and it might be hiding a bit more bang for your buck than you think.

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Review: 2014 Audi Q7 TDI – Winter Test

2014 Audi Q7 TDI S-line front 34 lights

2014 Audi Q7 TDI S-line 0F

It was exactly zero degrees on the Fahrenheit scale, eighteen below water freezing point on the scale that Anders Celsius invented – a significant morning warm up from the overnight low of -12 degrees Fahrenheit. Not even lifelong Vermonters expected the temperatures to be this low in the middle of March. With some great apprehension I pressed the “engine start” button this diesel-powered Audi Q7.

A second after I released the start button, without any drama, the 3.0-liter diesel came to life, happily murmuring at its normal idle speed. Evidently no one told VW/Audi engineers that diesel engines are not supposed to start up in cold weather. It was probably the same people who told them that diesels should be loud and smoky. The old diesels are dead, long live the new diesels.

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Review: 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited

2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited front 34

Toyota made a name for itself in the 1980s when it offered affordable vehicles which were reliable, efficient, and long lasting. In the 1990s they stepped that up by adding interesting styling and features to their vehicles, making several great sports cars and increasing participation is motorsports overall. After the turn of the century things were not as rosy. Like the rest of the Japanese automotive industry, Toyota has lost its touch; lower part quality, bigger vehicles, rust issues on trucks, infamous recalls, loss of innovation.

Akio Toyoda confronted these issues some time ago and results can be seen in various new Toyota and Lexus models of the last few years. The fourth generation of the Avalon is one such example; it’s nice looking, the interior is made of high quality products, it drives well, it includes latest technologies, and seems screwed together as good as ever.

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Video Review: 2014 Audi SQ5
Are crossovers finally becoming enjoyable?

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The Audi S badge… on a crossover? That is something that just shouldn’t be. Or so I thought, as I slid into the drivers seat of the 2014 Audi SQ5. We’re dealing with a grocery hauler, not something made for hauling… ahem. Still, it’s certainly dressed for the part, and it’s packing decent heat under the hood.

Let’s give this thing a shot and see what happens. Kamil already drove one and I liked it, so maybe I will as well.

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