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
Long term road test update
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?
► CAR's MX-5 RF long-termer► We live with Mazda's coupe-cabrio► Regular updates in daily driver diary‘Hi Ben, are you coming to Rockingham for the Ferrari shoot? I thought we could swap cars, see what we think.’ So went Mark Walton’s email pitch. To be honest, I wasn’t massively keen. I’d driven the MX-5 before, thought I preferred driving the GT86, and wondered how I’d manage with two kids but without the Toyota’s rear seats. But Mark exudes a kind of calm persuasion with a glinty madness in his eyes, and the next thing he’s pulling a huge slide past me in the GT86. The swap is on.I have a look round the Mazda and first impressions are good. The design is tauter and crisper than the Toyota’s, giving it a more premium feel, though I still rate the GT86’s looks. The MX-5’s alloy wheels underline this impression, making the Toyota’s look aftermarket and cheap. I’m just glad I deleted the … [Read more...] about Mazda MX-5 RF long-term review: swapping notes with a Toyota GT86 owner
► CAR lives with a Toyota GT86► GT86 Pro long-term test review► Still the hero affordable sports car? When the GT86 was first launched, the ABS would chime in too early. I wondered if the 17-inch tyres were to blame, perhaps because they were running out of grip before the brakes were running out of stopping power. This revised version sticks with those same Michelins, but I haven’t once triggered the ABS.Perhaps the updated suspension does a better job of keeping the front tyres in contact with the road, perhaps the ABS is now less intrusive, but either way it feels better to me. Browse used Toyota GT86s for sale By Ben BarryEngine 1998cc 16v 4-cyl, 197bhp @ 7000rpm, 151lb ft @ 6400rpmGearbox 6-speed manual, rear-wheel driveStats 7.6sec 0-62mph, 140mph, 36.2mpg, 180g/km CO2Price £28,005 As tested £29,550Miles this month 444 Total 6446Our mpg 34.9Official mpg 36.2 Fuel £68.58Extra costs None This month, we let Mazda MX-5 … [Read more...] about Toyota GT86 long-term test: an everyday handling hero
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
► CAR lives with a used Tesla► Model S long-term test review► Comment below if you own one! After the build-up, the research, the endless questions from mates and mums, the time has finally come. CAR magazine has collected our approved used Model S from Tesla’s UK headquarters and has become a fully signed-up member of the Tesla fraternity.The HQ in west London doubles up as the London Heathrow dealership and we sat alongside a handful of owners popping in to collect their own purchases and service their electric vehicles. There’s a cool, calm, premium vibe percolating the showroom, which is sparsely furnished with minimalist furniture, Apple Macs and displays showcasing the various charging solutions available to private customers.So far, so typical of any premium garage - but one distinguishing feature is the clientele. Tesla seemingly has a broad appeal, but there’s a strong interest from older, wiser, wealthier motorists, it … [Read more...] about It’s arrived! The start of our Tesla Model S long-term test review
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?
FINAL REPORT - scroll down for earlier reports“Do you know what?” my partner asked me as we homed back in on Calais after 1500 miles in a week in the BMW 320d xDrive, adding those to the 15,000 miles racked up in the previous 11 months. “I’m really going to miss this car.” Why did she think that? “I don’t know why...”Ah. But as strange as it sounds, I’m with her on that. Well, I do know why, but I understand what she meant: the 3 Series is one of those cars that gets pretty much every little thing right, in such an unassuming way, that it makes life with it so easy, enjoyable and rewarding almost without you ever really noticing it.Whatever the 3 Series’ status and reputation as a stellar car to drive and a fine all-rounder, though, it still arrived in our possession last summer with a lot to prove. Back then, it had just undergone a facelift and its position as the star pupil of the class it had ruled for so long was under … [Read more...] about BMW 320d long-term test review: all the car you’d ever need?
As the honeymoon phase starts to taper off, I’m starting to see a few shortcomings of my 2017 Mazda CX-5. I mentioned in the arrival that our Real MPG testing resulted in an 18.4/29.9/22.3 mpg city/highway/combined rating, which is below the gas mileage both Mazda and the EPA claims (23/29/26 for AWD 2017 models like ours or 24/30/26 for AWD 2018 models). We retested it and came back with slightly better numbers—19.7/31.2/23.6 mpg. That’s pretty close to the EPA claim for highway and combined mileage but still low for city driving. From my experience, our Real MPG numbers are more accurate than the EPA’s. I struggle to get over 28 mpg on the freeway, but I have not seen anything less than 20 mpg in the city. I’m averaging around 23–24 mpg combined, which is right on with Real MPG numbers. A full tank gives me a little over 300 miles of range, but because of how my commute works out, I usually have to fill up well before that, which requires me to … [Read more...] about 2017 Mazda CX-5 Long Term Update 2: Mileage and the Blind-Spot Monitoring System
The Chevrolet Bolt EV is already in the history books as the first mass-market EV to go more than 200 miles at a price middle-class buyers can reasonably afford, but that wasn’t enough for our long-term car.Since last you read, it’s participated in the first-ever mass-market long-range EV comparison test, coming in second behind a loaded $60,000 Tesla Model 3 and ahead of the first real mass-market EV, the Nissan Leaf. The Bolt was well-liked for its sensible, practical design and functionality, losing to the Tesla’s armada of over-the-air upgraded tech, sport sedan handling, and Supercharger network.Finished with sensibility, the Bolt went to the tire shop for a set of BFGoodrich G-Force Sport Comp 2 ultra-high performance summer tires for another first-of-its-kind test. We car enthusiasts know intuitively that changing tires can affect everything from acceleration and handling to fuel economy and road noise, so we could all guess that pulling the Bolt’s … [Read more...] about 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Long-Term Update 5: First! Our Bolt Helps Make a Little EV History