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