2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD
Volvo’s resurgence continues.
Like the XC90, it executes the whole Swedish aesthetic thing wonderfully well.
Those of us with familiarity of Scandinavian design are most likely due to weekend outings at Ikea. As we know, there are few (if any) flamboyant exercises in the looks of their products, keeping the Form Follows Function mantra top of mind when their designers sit down in front of their sketch pads. Unlike the furniture behemoth’s offerings, the Volvo S90 feels substantial and meticulously assembled. And while it does have clean, Swedish influenced styling and feel, we’d call it more understated than spartan. It would be unfair to compare it on the same level as a Malm night table- we’d even go so far as to call it beautiful. No matter what your opinion on its looks happens to be, it is a refreshing departure from the banality of Audi A6 and Mercedes Benz E-Class offerings that proliferate the midsize luxury ranks. One passerby even remarked on how he thought it was a Bentley.
2017 Porsche 718 Boxster
One of the world’s best sports cars just got better
For 2017, Porsche has bestowed the 718 prefix for both the Boxster and Cayman models. The brand has mined their rich history of racing to come up with the 718 for the twins, resurrected from a winning bunch of mid-engined, four cylinder powered cars going all the way back to the 1960’s.
2017 Porsche Macan
Porsche’s new entry level Macan feels anything but
Another Macan in the Carpages Garage?
Correct. Instead of the spicy Macan GTS we recently reported on, this time around we have a go in the new-for-2016 model called…the Macan. The lack of suffix in this case means that there’s a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood instead of a blown V6. As this is a study in entry level models, our Macan tester had a scant (for a Porsche, anyway) $3,370 in options- that would be for the Sport Chrono Package and 19” wheels from the Turbo- on top of the $52,700 base price. All told, the final tally rang in at $57,185, but we’d guess that most Macan transactions will have a quite few more dollars added to that number.
2017 Porsche Macan GTS
The Macan is the newest Porsche to get the GTS treatment. We like the results.
What have we here?
Feast your eyes on the latest model from Porsche to get GTS’ed. The Macan has been with us since 2014, filling a hole in the company’s lineup below the larger and brisk selling Cayenne. It’s intended to do battle in the hotly contested compact luxury SUV market segment, vying for sales against familiar names like the BMW X3, Mercedes Benz GLC and the Audi Q5, a model in which the Macan is distantly related to. We say distant because while they do share wheelbase and suspension mounting points, pretty much everything has been changed or modified by Porsche engineers to give the Macan a distinct identity all it’s own. Where the Macan hierarchy is concerned, the GTS slots in below the Turbo but above the Macan S and the new-for-2016 4-cylinder model.
2017 Ford Fusion V6 Sport
Ford injects the Fusion with a serious dose of Vitamin HP
Economies of scale is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?
A curious way to begin a review, but bear with us. Economies of scale is defined as the cost advantages that companies enjoy due to size, output, or scale of operation, with cost per unit of output generally decreasing with increasing scale as fixed costs are spread out over more units of output. In the Fusion’s case, that mouthful simply means that it will get a really powerful engine from the F-150 and Edge SUV which makes Ford’s investment in its development make more sense to the bean counters. That engine is the twice turbocharged 2.7 litre V6, complete with direct injection and an ultra-tough compacted graphite iron engine clock, something you’d normally associate with racing applications.
2016 Ford F-150 4X4 King Ranch
Ford’s ritzy King Ranch helps channel your inner Texan
The King Ranch has always been a bit over the top, hasn’t it?
The King Ranch trim available on Ford’s F series pickup trucks have never been known for subtlety. Past versions have looked positively garish, with lurid two-tone color schemes and busy looking interiors. The version we drove that you see here is still loud and proud, but toned down considerably in the name good taste. Our tester came with a truckload (Ha!) of bells and whistles, but the King Ranch isn’t even the range topper of the F-150 model range; there’s a Platinum model above it, and a Limited trim level higher than that one. So the days of a $100K F-150 (depending on configuration and how much you pig out at the options buffet) are probably not too far off.
2017 Ford Focus RS
Ford knocks another one out of the park
Ford is really firing on all cylinders these days.
We’re still tingling from the Shelby GT350 we drove earlier this summer, a car that exists against all odds what with its bespoke, hand assembled flat crank jewel of an engine. Waiting in the wings are the incredible Ford GT hypercar and the beastly F150 Raptor, each featuring a turbocharged V6 cranked to differing levels of insanity. Even the new Fusion Sport sedan makes an honest 325 horsepower. If all those cars didn’t convince you that Ford is in the heady midst of a performance renaissance, the clincher has surely got to be Ford Focus RS you see here, finally plying our roadways after so many years of being exclusive to Europe. Spoiler alert: it’s insanely good. Chevy and Mopar loyalists, your resolute allegiance to your respective brands might be in jeopardy; we’ve seen more than a few die hard fans cast wonton glances at Ford showrooms as of late.
2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T
Lincoln makes some noise about Quiet Luxury
What exactly should a luxury car be?
Lincoln has been asking itself this very question, and after taking a look at some of the usual suspects the MKZ will do battle with, they aren’t sure the other guys have the correct answer. These days it seems that the luxury car class is suffering from an identity crisis- there’s a little too much sport creeping its way into these cars, which in turn are trying to be all things to all people. Mostly the strategy is met with mixed results- you end up with a car with sporting pretenses that doesn’t perform all that well (and usually offers an unduly harsh ride) or on the flip side, something that feels too soft, isolated and floaty. Lincoln’s current is to straddle that line while incorporating the values that made the brand what it is- focusing on “Quiet Luxury”, offering a more “human” approach to driving. The MKZ you see here is no apex slicer, and it’s just fine with that. Conversely, it doesn’t feel nautical with copious body roll and marshmallow tuned suspension, either. You might call reinvigorated Lincoln “Lincoln 2.0” which embraces the future while keeping the best from its past- the reboot is looking promising.
2016 Ford Fiesta SE
We take a closer look at the swan song of the Feista’s current generation
The automatic gearbox used to be an issue for the Fiesta. Have they made it better?
An easy way to avoid an unpalatable automatic gearbox experience is to avoid it all together and stick with three pedals and a stick. It’s more engaging, generally offers better fuel economy and there’s less complication inherently so they’re more durable (plus, in the Fiesta’s case, you’ll pocket $1,250 dollars.) But the take rate for a manual gearbox isn’t particularly high these days, so the slushbox remains the choice for the majority of buyers. The last time we drove the Fiesta a few years ago, it was hobbled by the first generation of Powershift transmissions that suffered from issues dual clutch setups tried to avoid, specifically clumsy step off and the inability to swap gears as crisply as you’d expect. They addressed this issue and now the Fiesta feels vastly better to drive, confidently moving off the line and swapping ratios with speed and smoothness. We’d still take a manual, but anyone who’s driven the older versions and came away holding their noses really ought to give the rejigged tranny a shot. It’s much, MUCH better.
2017 Jaguar F Pace 35t R-Sport
Late to the SUV party, maybe, but it still makes quite an entrance.
It sure is easy on the eyes…
Jaguar has had a few missteps in its long history (mostly of the reliability persuasion, thankfully a thing of the past nowadays) but building ugly cars hasn’t been one of them. The F Pace follows that tradition by wearing the current design language rather well- it translates pleasingly onto the proportions mandated by an SUV. You may think of it as an F Type in hiking attire, if you like. The taillights are instantly familiar as what you’ll find on the sports car’s rear end, and the front visage with its prominent mesh grille and embellishments are taken from the XF to good effect. It is certainly a handsome conveyance, and it’s one of those cars where we’re constantly cleaning fingerprints and nose smudges off the windows and sinuous body work when we arrive back to where we parked it.