Review: 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe

The family-friendly four-door is often the forgotten sibling in households that also offer a two-seater sports coupe, and in the case of the Altima Coupe, it’s easy to see why. While technically looking related to it’s slightly larger, and more door-endowed brother, the Altima Coupe got all the looks in all the right places. The grill, the wheels, the sleek rear window, even slightly adjusted headlamps tell a story of mischief and trouble that the older, more mature four-door just doesn’t seem to know about. And I’m sure as the proud parent of the sedan, the coupe would always be the favorite child.

Nissan Altima Coupe

Driving the Altima was as rewarding an experience as I’ve had in a while. It was comfortable, thanks to nicely bolstered seats and comfortable leather. It was quiet on the highway. It was tight and agile in the corners. It was snappy and ready to go in the throttle. And starting around $21,000 (and delivering 175 hp), this was quite a car with quite an appeal for anyone willing to live with two doors. If you bump that dollar amount to the $26,000 range and get yourself a 3.5 SE, you’ll be negotiating and extra 95 horsepower, taking the total to 270. $5000 for extra luxuries and almost 100 horsepower can only be described as a win-win. Continue reading Review: 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe

Review: 2008 Volvo V70

With 2008 comes a newly designed Volvo V70, and the passing of an era. Gone are the days of boxy, homely Volvos reminiscent of 20+ years in manufacturing. With the updated styling in this year’s model, Volvo has made complete its transformation into a sleek-lined car company, with the DNA of styling running through every car in its lineup.

Volvo V70

While the 5-door wagon will never be confused with a true sport-wagon like the Mercedes-Benz AMG E-Class, or even Audi’s RS6 Avante, this wagon holds its own for blending every-day practicality while possibly looking better than any other $32,000 wagon out there (base-price). When adding in Volvo’s renown safety record, and forward-thinking features, you’re getting class, elegance, functionality, and common-sense… And did I mention looks? Continue reading Review: 2008 Volvo V70

Review: Ford F250 Super Duty

You don’t get into a Ford F250 Super Duty, you climb into it. Opening the door, and hoisting yourself into the driver’s seat, you suddenly become a “truck driver”, whether you started out as one or not. Turn on the engine, hear the diesel engine grumble to a roar, and put it in gear. Everything about this truck says “Big and Tough,” and as the driver, you begin to take on that persona as well.

2008 Ford F250 Super Duty

I really wish I had a trailer of horses to tow, or a flat-bed filled to the brim with quads and toys, because I’m sure this truck would have delighted in the extra work required, not stopping for a moment to complain, but happily taking whatever you threw at it and asking where you wanted it delivered. It was certainly up for the task. Instead, I was stuck driving it through downtown Portland, navigating smaller cars like a Godzilla avoiding screaming people. For that purpose, I didn’t have as much appreciation for the size and power of the vehicle, as it did me little good (accept to annoy hybrid drivers with my gas guzzing–not that I like doing that.) Continue reading Review: Ford F250 Super Duty

Review: 2008 Land Rover LR2

I’m going to start right off with the nicest feature I’ve seen in a car this year: When you have 50 miles left on your tank, the LR2 will beep and give you a low fuel warning on your dash. Sure, you say. That’s normal. “Not so fast,” I reply, because then it will automatically turn on the navigation map highlighting all gas stations in your area! This is fantastic! This is technology actually working for us the way we have been promised. This is the future. Your car knows you need gas and is helping you find gas stations without any action on your part, a completely automated system. While this feature may exist in other cars–and truthfully, I don’t tend to test the low-mileage feature on them–this is the first time I’ve seen it. All manufacturers who employ technology in this way should be congratulated, and rewarded. Thank you Land Rover. I heart you.

2008 Land Rover LR2

As for the rest of the car? It didn’t disappoint. Continue reading Review: 2008 Land Rover LR2

Review: 2008 Jeep Liberty

The 2008 Liberty is back with a whole new look, and an updated platform to make this one of the more enjoyable small-to-mid sized SUVs I’ve driven recently. I’m a big fan of the Commander, which is the big, strong, SUV in Jeep’s lineup that commands respect both on- and off-road, and the new Liberty truly feels like it belongs in the same family. With it’s increased size, and upgraded suspension, taking this vehicle into the snow was thoughtless as it handled slippery terrain with absolute confidence. It delivered reliably on the pavement as well with style points left over.

2008 Jeep Liberty

In general, I appreciate the new look a lot. I don’t mind the rounded features of past Liberties, but they always seemed sort of “cute” to me. Not so with the updated styling, looking lean and mean and strong. The new grill also looks less like the Wrangler and more like the kid brother of the Commander as well. Inside, the new platform gave a little more leg room for both the backseat and the driver, with both sets of passengers appreciating it. The interior is a slight bit on the bland side, but very clean and easy to manage. All details were logical and felt like they belonged. Another notable change was the transition from a rear door with a side-hinged door to a top-hinged lifting gate (complete with separate opening glass window). I go back and forth on which I prefer, but I do like moving the spare tire into the interior and off the rear gate, as it can interfere with bike racks and other rear mounted items (I know you can put a standard bike rack on top of the spare, I’ve done it, but I don’t believe you can use a hitch mounted bike rack, which is my preference with SUVs this tall). Continue reading Review: 2008 Jeep Liberty