Category Archives: SUVs and Crossovers

Higher vehicles, designed to tackle tough road conditions, but which are mostly just used to go to the mall.

2015 Subaru Forester Reviewed (Grade: B)

2015 Subaru Forester Front Angle

Monday morning, I go out to start the Subaru Legacy GT, back in early December 2014. It’s cold outside and I’m in no mood to deal with things going wrong. I’m greeted by an angry-looking little red light on the dashboard shaped like a battery. When it’s getting colder outside, this is the one light I wish didn’t exist. Too bad. My alternator had started to fail, and fail it did, just 12 hours later. I got a tan Forester as a loaner, which was miles better than calling a cab that smelled like pee for five days. Continue reading 2015 Subaru Forester Reviewed (Grade: B)

2016 Volvo XC90 Review: Tell The World You’ve Made Babies In Style!

Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription 1

Why does one need a seven passenger vehicle?

Well, maybe you’re popular and have a lot of friends. Or, perhaps more likely, you haven’t been using condoms, but still won’t pull out before the job is done, because that would be disgracefully un-Patriotic. You wouldn’t want to disappoint Uncle Sam now, would you? Of course not.

But now you find yourself surrounded by screaming little bastards of various sizes, and you need a vehicle that can fit everyone, together, all at once… what joy! The car had better be extra comfortable too, because, with all that screaming in the back, it certainly won’t be easy to relax while you drive.

You could buy a minivan, but that’s just demeaning to your character. I mean you’re clearly an attractive person because you’ve been able to make lots of babies. So why buy a car that will turn you into a shmuck now?

You don’t want to sell out, and the best news is you don’t have to. There are plenty of nice and stylish SUVs out there that you will be delighted to drive the family around in. And Volvo has just brought a formidable new player to the game…

Meet the all-new 2016 Volvo XC90, which is a completely new flavor from the previous XC90. Where the old XC90 was too soccer-mom-ish, maybe a small step up from a minivan, the new XC90 is a suave and luxurious SUV. Eager to compete at the top, it’s new sense of style on the surface also comes with many clever improvements underneath. What we have here might be the most interesting 7 seater on the market.

Driving Impressions

I took a camera along for the ride, so you can see my realtime reactions to the car for yourself.

Continue reading 2016 Volvo XC90 Review: Tell The World You’ve Made Babies In Style!

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review, Al’s Take (Grade: B)

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Out at Amelia Island, ride and drives last year were few and far between.  Luckily for me, SRT was there and proudly offering a few cars to test.  The Chrysler 300 SRT was available, but as most of our readers know, I tested that last summer and found it underwhelming.  On Nick’s persistent recommendation, I took the the other option they had, this Billet Silver Metallic Grand Cherokee and asked myself this question: What makes this better than the Chrysler, and what elements does this vehicle have that I want to see in others?  The surprisingly substantial drive I took allowed me to answer more than just those questions.
Continue reading 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review, Al’s Take (Grade: B)

Test Driven: 2014 Range Rover Supercharged (Grade: B)

The Range Rover is a hard vehicle for me to place sometimes.  It has the trappings and the appeal of a luxury car, but can tackle off-road trails like nobody’s business.  This year, Land Rover did a ground-up redesign of the old girl and at Pebble Beach, I took a chance on this big black beast after taking a Rolls-Royce out for a spin.  Now, I drove an older one on a short off-road course last year and it was a rather eye-opening experience, where I learned just how capable the old one was.  This time, though, there was no rock-crawling or dune-smashing.  It was just me, a representative, and the 17-Mile Drive.  After I shut the door, I had some interesting things to ponder. Continue reading Test Driven: 2014 Range Rover Supercharged (Grade: B)

Test Driven: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT (9.5/10)

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT at Amelia Island

When most people think of Jeep, they think of Wranglers plowing through mud and climbing over rocks. They don’t, however, think of a 470hp V8, 0-60 in 4.6 seconds, and surely not of a $65,000 price tag. Meet the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT, a different sort of Jeep.

It caters more toward the realistic type of SUV buyer here in America, one who will probably never forge a stream in their life, but still wants a big car to go to the mall in. Understanding this sort of buyer will help you understand why the Cherokee SRT exists. The fact is, most buyers use SUVs in the exact same way they would use a car, and they wind up wanting the same things offered in cars. Just look at the BMW X6. It is both an SUV, as well as one of those coupe-sedan thingys, like the Mercedes CLS. Personally, I think the people who buy a vehicle like an X6 exude an especially repulsive level of vanity, but somehow BMW manages to sell enough X6s to make it worthwhile.

This sort of clientele purchasing SUVs has inevitably taken the emphasis off of off road ability, and put it on more traditional, car like, aspects. The result has been new SUVs that are basically just big cars, and it was only so long before someone said “Hey, can I have a fast one?”

Continue reading Test Driven: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT (9.5/10)

Test Driven: 6.0 swapped 2000 Chevrolet Silverado (9/10)

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The Silverado (by Dan V)

I have been around cars for a long time now, and it has gotten to the point where I generally know what to expect when I get behind the wheel of something new. Many cars have some surprising features, but usually these surprises are more of a nice touch, a cherry on top of the ice cream sundae; if you will. Every so often though, I find something that completely throws my expectations out the window. The Chevy Siverado you see above belongs to my photographer friend, Dan Valanzola, who has spent countless hours turning it into something entirely unexpected.   Continue reading Test Driven: 6.0 swapped 2000 Chevrolet Silverado (9/10)

Test Driven: 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

I’ve gotten used to hybrids in the four years I’ve driven them.  They aren’t glamorous, they aren’t designed to make you feel like Ayrton Senna in the mountains, and they’re certainly not designed to tow a boat.  That is, of course, until General Motors decided otherwise.  Meet the Cadillac Escalade.  It’s the most expensive, most blinged-out, and most conspicuous SUV GM offers, and it now comes as a hybrid.  I wonder what Greenpeace thinks?  Well, in reality, I don’t give a damn what they think, so I decided to see what this V8-powered mild hybrid, full-size, full-frame truck was all about at the Radnor Hunt Concours last September. Continue reading Test Driven: 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

Test Driven: 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport

Jeep has the reputation that a good many other brands dream of–durability, reliability, and timeless appeal.  The Wrangler is probably their best-known product, and having never driven one before, I took a chance and grabbed the keys to a brand-new, 2011 Sport model, in red.  While the Wrangler isn’t for everyone, I’ve been appreciative of it for a long time now, and its appeal has not dropped that much even in these times of higher fuel economy and a high demand for safer cars. Continue reading Test Driven: 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport

Test Driven: 2012 Range Rover Evoque 2-Door, Al’s Take

Galloway Green looks great on the new Evoque.

Range Rover has been probably one of the best-known names in the world for the past quarter of a century.  Their products have been described as a luxury sedan capable of going off-road.  So, with that in mind, I took a drive of their newest offering, the Evoque, at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Continue reading Test Driven: 2012 Range Rover Evoque 2-Door, Al’s Take