In what qualifies as next-level product hype, Subaru gave us a Crimson Red 2018 Legacy 2.5i Sport to drive around for a few weeks last month. After 10 months and nearly 18,000 miles on our gray 2017 model, the bright newness of the 2018 definitely seems a little brighter and shinier.For 2018, Subaru made some styling changes to the front and rear and added new LED daytime running lights to give the Legacy a “sportier” look. The changes are not radical enough to be considered a redesign, but the tweaks are a positive change.Under the hood the suspension and electric power steering have been retuned in an attempt to give a smoother ride and enhanced feel when driving, again in an effort to be a little sportier.Even after a few miles I noticed the ride got quieter in the 2018—an improvement on what was already a pretty smooth and quiet ride with our 2017 long-termer. Credit goes to the redesigned side mirrors and sound-insulating glass. Nice work.Some tech features have … [Read more...] about 2017 Subaru Legacy Sport Long-Term Update 5: How it Compares to the Updated 2018 Model
Long Term Reviews
One benefit of owning a BMW is its no-cost maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles—which covers service calls for engine oil, engine filter, brake fluid, cabin micro filters, engine air filters, fuel filter, spark plugs, smart key battery, and all vehicle checks.Of course, cynics will say such costs are built into the transaction price. But there’s still something nice about going to a dealership for a comprehensive service and not having to reach for your wallet.In dealing with the local BMW dealership—which handles an astonishing volume of business though an overwhelmed service drive—I was initially informed no service loaner vehicle was available, despite having made a reservation several days in advance. Calling an Uber was offered, but this was midday, so I’d be stranded at work.After I protested mildly (with nary a “Do you know who I am?” to be uttered), the dealership discovered a no-cost Enterprise loaner, but it was a Nissan, not a … [Read more...] about 2017 BMW 530i Long-Term Update 5: What BMW’s Free Service Gets You
With our long-term fleet, we aim for about 20,000 miles over the course of a year. Anything less, and we feel like we’ll miss out on some of the typical warts a new car might reveal as it ages into a slightly used one. And without exposing potential long-term points of frustration, what’s the point of a long-term test?Unfortunately, with only a few months left with the Renegade I’m still only about halfway there. Nevertheless, I’ve been behind the wheel enough to notice a few things starting to go awry.The most obvious has been the buttons. Half the time they just don’t work. Not in the sense that they’re broken. More like they just feel cheap, and if you don’t press them just right, sometimes it doesn’t register. This is especially noticeable on those controls mounted on the steering wheel. Trying to adjust the volume, for example, sometimes takes me several taps more than it should. A major issue? Not at all. But it’s annoying. … [Read more...] about 2017 Jeep Renegade Sport Long-Term Update 5: Buttons and the Turn Signal Stalk
Judgment day has arrived for our Kia Niro. Not long after the hybrid wagon quietly rolled into our garage, we put it through our battery of tests measuring acceleration, handling, fuel economy, and other key areas of performance.Earlier, we tested a Kia Niro LX hitting 60 mph in 8.7 seconds. More than 110 pounds heavier, thanks to additional content, our long-term Touring managed the run in 9.6 seconds. That’s about on par with a 2016 Toyota Prius Four Touring, which reached 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. Meanwhile, a Hyundai Ioniq Limited slid to 60 in 9.4 seconds.The Niro traveled a quarter mile in 17.2 seconds at 79.0 mph, besting the Prius’ 17.4 seconds at 77.6 mph. In the figure eight, the Niro clocked 27.3 seconds at an average of 0.62 g, ahead of the Prius at 27.8 seconds at 0.61 g.On the road, the Niro feels unrefined in some ways, but it’s not for a lack of power. The six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission lurches abruptly at very low speeds, making for some … [Read more...] about 2017 Kia Niro Long-Term Update 1: Ecobox or Econobox?
Just as the odometer rolled past 15,000 miles, the CR-V’s Maintenance Minder’s little wrench lit up on the dash with a message that the CR-V had about 10 percent of its oil remaining and that some of its routine maintenance was due soon. Coincidently, a few days later, the CR-V started struggling upon startup, as if it’s battery wasn’t fully charged. The weak battery also seemed to be affecting the power liftgate—it would open but would no longer close on its own, requiring some heavy-handed pulling to shut it against the friction of its unpowered motor. Three days later the battery died completely, leaving me stranded in my driveway. With a jump from my girlfriend’s car, I drove directly to my local Honda Dealer in Culver City, California.The service adviser suspected that the CR-V might have a faulty cell in the battery, and sure enough, an inspection revealed that it was necessary to replace the battery with a new one, the cost of which was … [Read more...] about 2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD Long-Term Update 4: Fluid/Filter Swap
Multimedia systems are now a major part of the vehicle ownership experience. You interact with it as much as or more than almost any other part of a car. Sadly, most multimedia interfaces aren’t very easy to use and can be confusing to the average consumer. Along with Subaru, FCA, Ford, and sister brand Kia, Hyundai is one of the few automakers that somehow manages to make a good multimedia system that isn’t a pain to use.Hyundai’s approach forgoes touch-sensitive buttons and avoids dumping everything into the touchscreen. Physical shortcut buttons give you easy access to media, communications, climate controls, and radio functions, so you won’t need to open the owner’s manual to learn how to use the system, and nothing is buried within submenus. As a result, the system in our long-term 2017 Hyundai Tucson won’t intimidate consumers that aren’t tech-savvy, and it’s a refreshing change for those coming from a complicated unit.Android Auto … [Read more...] about 2017 Hyundai Tucson Limited Long-Term Update 3: A Closer Look at the Multimedia Interface
Unless you’re designing a house around a classic car, don’t downplay the importance of a car’s interior design. You’ll spend far more time engaging with a car’s cabin than you will admiring a car’s curves as you approach it. Luckily for me, Audi has developed a reputation for crafting rich interiors, and the A4 doesn’t disappoint. In fact, in an eight-car comparison in which a 2017 A4 placed second, we admired the virtual cockpit digital instrument cluster and noted the car’s “impeccable build quality and excellent materials.” I agree, but after months behind the wheel of our $52,325 A4 long-termer, I have more thoughts on the Google Earth subscription and have found a few rough edges inside the car. Should You Subscribe to Audi Connect PRIME?Overall, the interior still impresses, and I would still recommend the A4 despite the minor issues I’ve uncovered. As for the virtual cockpit display that’s standard on the … [Read more...] about 2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Long-Term Update 8: How the Interior Could Be Improved
After more than 30,000 miles with our long-term 2016 Nissan Titan Crew Cab XD Pro-4X with the available 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V-8, we have developed a love-hate relationship with the big yellow truck. In most cases the Titan XD proved useful, but we did find some capability shortcomings and a few ongoing issues.The 2016 Nissan Titan XD represents the first attempt by a non-American automaker to offer a full-size pickup larger than a half-ton. With the realization that a niche market segment exists between the traditional light-duty half-ton and heavy-duty three-quarter-ton pickups, Nissan aimed for something in between. The automaker benchmarked 10-year-old domestic three-quarter-ton pickups for the (unofficially called) eXtra Duty Titan. Unfortunately, modern half-ton pickups have already surpassed that benchmark—at least in payload capacity.In our third Titan XD update, associate editor Scott Evans compared the Titan’s payload specs to the midsize Chevrolet … [Read more...] about 2016 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X Diesel Long-Term Verdict
We’re past the two-month mark, and this Durango has yet to be stolen. We have, however, had our first two tiny warranty issues. The left rear seat belt refused to release a tether we’ve used to latch our dog, Snickers, into hundreds of press cars. A new latch was ordered and installed, and my tether was safely extracted from the defective one. Our right rear outboard taillight lens somehow became foggy. Both parts were ordered and arrived the next day. Installation was estimated to take an hour, but 20 minutes in I was notified it would be two hours or more, and I was offered a shuttle ride back to my office. When completed, the dealer shuttled me back to pick up my washed and vacuumed Durango 4. #SatisfiedCustomer. Another anomaly: on the “fall back” time-change night, we left a party at 11 p.m. and noticed the clock reading 12 (the spring-forward time). By the next morning, it had correctly fallen back to the appropriate time. We’ll try to observe its … [Read more...] about 2018 Dodge Durango R/T V-8 Long-Term Update 1: Road/Tripper
A funny thing happened on the way to writing this update about the long-term Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch I’m stewarding for a year. I lost it. OK, I didn’t actually lose it, but I lost possession of it. Turns out that for an organization like Motor Trend, a big, haul-anything, go-anywhere workhorse such as Ford’s Super Duty is exactly what we need all the time. From photo shoots to hauling tires to moving bodies around in spacious comfort to just daily living, it’s hard to beat an XXL truck. My day-to-day responsibilities have changed considerably over the past few years. Back in the day I was primarily a writer who dabbled in video. These days, my primary professional focus is making two shows for Motor Trend OnDemand, Ignition and Head 2 Head. Meaning that I’m spending days and weeks at a time away from the office driving the cars we’re filming and not “my” long-termer. As I mentioned, please don’t think for a moment … [Read more...] about 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch Long-Term Update 2: Dude, Where’s My Truck?