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Interactive Review


Interactive Review: 2013 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab 4x4

Jan 04 2013 08:15 AM | in Interactive Review

William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
January 4
, 2013
 
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first Cheers & Gears Interactive Review of 2013: The 2013 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab 4x4.
 
This particular Tacoma stickers at $30,580 (originally $31,005, but Toyota takes off $425.00 due to value package) thanks to the SR5 Extra Value package, towing package, an optional radio with USB and AUX, running boards, and a few odds and ends.
 
Power comes from a 4.0L V6 producing 236 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. That is sent through a five-speed automatic down to either the rear  or all four wheels thanks to a part-time 4WD system.
 
Positives
  • The 4.0L V6 has a surprising amount of low end grunt and gets up to speed at a surprising rate.
  • 4WD system is quick to engage and disengage.
  • Very comfortable and well-built interior
Negatives
  • I forgot how bouncy a truck's ride can be. The Tacoma is a prime example of this.
  • 16 City/21 Highway/18 Combined is the EPA rating for the Tacoma's V6. The full-size F-150 when equipped with the 3.5L EcoBoost is only one MPG off in the city and combined, and matches the highway.
I have the Tacoma until January 10th and will update as my time goes on. In the meantime, drop your questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
 
William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
 

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Interactive Review: 2013 Scion FR-S

Dec 21 2012 08:15 AM | in Interactive Review

William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
December 21
, 2012

This week in the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage, I have 2013 Scion FR-S coupe. Its the car that a lot of people have been talking about this year. A lightweight, rear-wheel drive coupe that costs under $30,000..? Where do I sign up?

Drew has briefly driven the FR-S back at the IMPA Test Days earlier this year and my test FR-S is pretty much the same vehicle aside from the color; a base model equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission for an as-tested price of $26,099.00 (includes $730.00 destination charge).

The good: The steering is amazing. Its precise, has a good amount of feel and weight, and is very direct. The engine has a nice sound and doesn’t mind being pushed. The handling is really good around corners as the light-weight and nimbleness makes a fun car throw around corners.

The bad: I can’t seem to fit into the front seats due to my shoulders being a just shy too wide for the bolsters. Also, I really don’t like the radio in this car because a good amount of the buttons are too small and trying to accomplish simple things like trying to setup the bluetooth system is a pain the butt.

I’ll will be giving some updates of the Christmas holiday about my time with the FR-S. In the meantime, if you have questions on this orange coupe, drop them in.

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

→ Read more    23 comments       2013, Scion, FR-S and 1 more...

Interactive Review: 2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design

Dec 15 2012 01:45 PM | in Interactive Review

William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
December 15
, 2012

I'm very excited with this week's vehicle at the Cheers & Gears' Detroit Garage since its a Volvo and very special one at that. This happens to be the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design. Now, the R-Design adds some performance goodies to a normal S60 T6 AWD in the form of some changes to the body giving it a more aggressive look, a R-Design sport chassis, and some performance tweaks to the 3.0L turbocharged six-cylinder engine.

The pricetag on this S60 T6 AWD R-Design is $48,195.00 thanks in part to the S60 Platinum package which adds navigation, upgraded audio system, and a rear camera for $2,700, and the climate package which adds heated seats, an air quality system, and heated windshield nozzles for $700.00.

First impressions are very positive. I like the looks and the interior. The engine moves the S60 at a very rapid pace. The AWD makes sure that power is getting onto the road and keeping the vehicle on there as well.

Couple concerns I have so far with the S60. One: the back window is very small. This isn't helped with the back seat headrests that cause some big blind spots. Two: the gas has two positions. Lightly touch the pedal and you're moving at a normal pace. Touch the pedal like you normally would and you're entering hyperspace. There isn't a smooth increase of acceleration when you press on the pedal. Its either on or really on.

I will have more thoughts on the S60 during this week. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this, drop them below.

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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Interactive Review: 2012 Toyota Prius Four

Dec 06 2012 04:45 PM | in Interactive Review

William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
December 6
, 2012

In for review this week at the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage is the vehicle that started the hybrid revolution. I'm of course referring to the Toyota Prius.

Our test Prius is the Prius Four, which is the almost top of the line model in the lineup. As tested price for this $33,118.00 (includes $760.00 destination charge) thanks mostly to a Deluxe Solar Roof Package which adds a solar powered ventilation system and a load of tech goodies including navigation and Toyota's Entune system.

Spending a few moments in the Prius, I found the interior is much like the current crop of Toyota's passenger vehicles (aside from the new Avalon); hard plastics are abundant through the dash and the standard leather seats feel like the vinyl covering your grandma would throw over the furniture to protect it.

Positive points include how much space is inside for front and most rear passengers, cargo space, how quiet the car is in electric mode, and of course the fuel economy. At the moment, I'm averaging around 52 MPG.

Now, I have the Prius till next Thursday and will be updating during my time with it. In the meantime, if you have questions, drop them below.

Update: November 9, 2012

Its been a few days since the Prius came into my care and I'm undecided on it so far. I wish there was more power so I can keep up with traffic a little bit better without switching to the power button or sticking my foot into it. I do like that I'm averaging so far around 50.1 MPG with mostly suburban driving.

Some things are causing me to scratch my head. For example, who at Toyota decided to put the heated seat controls in the storage cubby right underneath the center stack? Also, no instant MPG readout?

I'll be updating this once again after I take the Prius out on the highway and spend some more time with it. Get your questions in.

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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Interactive Review: 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L AWD

Nov 27 2012 03:30 PM | in Interactive Review

By William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
November 27
, 2012

If there is one vehicle that has been talked about more than any other since I've been writing here at Cheers and Gears, that vehicle would be the new Cadillac ATS. There are a number of threads speculating, arguing, complaining, and talking about this compact luxury sedan.

Well the day has come. We finally have an ATS in for an interactive review. This ATS comes equipped with the 3.6 DI V6 producing 321 HP and 275 lb-ft of torque, a six-speed automatic, and the optional AWD system.

Anyone who was hoping this was the Performance Collection model will be somewhat disappointed as this is the base Luxury Collection model. But we do have CUE and a Cold Weather Package bringing the pricetag to $45,985 (includes $895.00 destination charge).

I have the ATS till Monday and will be updating with thoughts during that time. If you have questions for the ATS, get them in.
 
Update - Read the 2013 Cadillac ATS Full Review here and my Review of Cadillac's CUE system here.

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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Interactive Review: 2012 Mazda 3i Grand Touring Hatchback

Oct 12 2012 12:35 PM | in Interactive Review

William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
October 12, 2012


Coming in this week at the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage is the 2012 Mazda3 i Grand Touring hatchback. This 3 is equipped with a 2.0L SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder producing 150 HP and 155 lb-ft of torque and goes through a six-speed automatic. If you're wondering, this is the same powertrain package in the Mazda CX-5 crossover I had back in August.

The 3 i Grand Touring starts at $23,150 and my test vehicle stickers at $25,345* (includes $795 destination charge) thanks to the optional Technology Package.

I had this car for about day and there are some items that impress me and others that drive me somewhat crazy.
  • 2.0L SKYACTIV engine doesn't feel sluggish at all in the 3. I'm thinking the lighter weight of the 3 to the CX-5 plays a role.
  • Handling is sublime and fun. The car is stable when turning and the steering is just right in feel and weight.
  • Ride could use some improvement as the 3 will transmit every little bump into the interior.
  • Average fuel economy so far is an impressive 35 MPG (EPA rating is 28 City/39 Highway/32 Combined)
I have the 3 till Wednesday and will be updating before it goes back. If you have any questions for the 3, drop them below and I will do my best to answer them.

Update: October 15, 2012

It has been an interesting weekend with the Mazda 3 as it had to deal with endless rain and being used to carry a good amount of stuff to the recycling bin as I was cleaning out my closet. The 3 dealt with both of these without a sweat.

Average fuel economy has dropped to about 33 MPG, which is still above the combined fuel economy figure. I also did a bit of highway driving which saw fuel economy climb to an impressive 40 MPG. The highway also revealed that the Mazda3 isn't so good at containing road noise.

I'll have one more update before the 3 leaves on Wednesday. If you have anymore questions, please don't hesitate. Drop them off.

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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Interactive Review: 2012 Nissan cube 1.8S Indigo Limited Edition

Sep 24 2012 01:15 PM | in Interactive Review

William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
September 18, 2012

This week in the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage is the 2012 Nissan cube 1.8S Indigo Limited Edition.

The 1.8S is the mid-level model in the cube lineup and comes with a 1.8L inline-four producing 122 HP and 127 lb-ft of torque and can go through either a six-speed manual or Nissan's Xtronic CVT. Our model is equipped with the CVT.

Our cube is also equipped with Indigo Limited Edition package which adds keyless entry, push-button start, an upgraded six-speaker sound system with a subwoofer, a five-inch touchscreen, navigation, rear-view camera, unique black and indigo upholstery, and fifteen-inch alloy wheels. That package and few other options brings the as-tested price to $20,975 (Includes $780.00 destination charge).

First Impressions so far
  • Really like the blue and the fifteen-inch alloys on the cube
  • I think there is about a quarter-mile of headroom inside
  • Like the way the cube drives, perfect for those who live in a city
I'll have more updates as the week goes on. In the meantime, drop your questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Update - September 24, 2012

My time with the Nissan cube is coming to close as it will go back tomorrow, and for what it is, its a very good package. The cube provides a surprising amount of space and equipment for the price tag. The cube is also one of those vehicles which actually provides excellent visibility and maneuverability, making it perfect for city or suburban driving.

However if you decide to do any driving on the freeway or long-distance with the cube, be prepared for a large amount of wind- and road-noise (mostly due to the shape) and the seats not being real comfortable for the long distance. The cube wasn't built for that in mind.

Fuel economy has been really impressing me with an average of 31.5 MPG.

If you have any last minute questions on the cube, get them in and I will do my best to answer them.

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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