Review: 2008 Nissan Altima Sedan

While reviewing the Altima Coupe, I joked that, while the Sedan may be a nice kid, the Altima Coupe would always be the favorite child. Now, after a few days in the sedan, I realize I may have spoken a bit too soon.

Nissan Altima Coupe

With an entry price of just $19,000 (or up to $30,000 with all the features added), the Altima offers itself to a very wide range of buyers, and provides excellent value to all of them. The comfortable seats, well placed interior, spacious cockpit are all high-above most competitors. I personally found the interior to be among the best Nissan has ever designed. It was very well thought out, and incredibly functional while maintaining a level of comfort and everyday usability that I hope every car strives for. Continue reading Review: 2008 Nissan Altima Sedan

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: 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

Review: 2007 Tribeca

The Subaru Tribeca is one of those cars that garner three reactions. 1. Surprise; “I didn’t know Subaru made a SUV”. 2. Disdain; “Wow, that is one funny looking car”. and 3. Confusion; “Yeah, I don’t know how I feel about it. It’s kind of weird.” While, only 1/3 the responses were outright negative, it’s hard to find people who just love this vehicle.

Subaru Tribeca B9

To look at it, you’re going to either love it or hate it. It’s incredibly unique shape, curves, and features make it stand out like few other $30,000 cars do right now. However, that uniqueness is the main problem people have with this car. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the rear 1/3 of the car. The front is pretty unassuming, but from behind it always has reminded me of an alien head. I think that Subaru would have had a real winner on it’s hand if they hadn’t handicapped themselves by giving it such unusual styling which people could disagree with. However, the 2008 model addresses these issues and it looks much better. But this review is about the 2007, so let’s get back to that.

Continue reading Review: 2007 Tribeca

Review: 2007 BMW X3 3.0si

The BMW X3 is exactly what you’d hope from a small, yet very sporty, SUV. While definitely playing kid brother to the larger X5, and possibly missing out on some of those big-brother good looks, it’s still an incredibly strong offering all around. From the moment you walk up the vehicle, slide in, and start it up, you’re presented with several luxuries that just aren’t found in other vehicles in the small SUV class. And once you take it through some corners, or sprint past a fellow-commuter on the freeway with a flick of the throttle, you’re convinced you’ve made a wise investment getting the X3.

BMW X3 3.0si

Recently having driven a Ford Explorer (priced at $39k versus the X3’s $44k), this car offered improvements in almost every area of driving, except a third-row of seating. Cornering in this car was about as good as any SUV I’ve ever driven, and the feel of the leather wrapped steering wheel to the elegant control panel, consistently reminded me that I was driving what many in the world consider the most amazingly engineered cars in the world. It isn’t a tough sell.

Continue reading Review: 2007 BMW X3 3.0si