Chris Martens

Quick Drive: 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT Limited

More so than other Japanese or domestic sedans priced in the low-to-mid $30K range, the Subaru Legacy 2.5GT is consistently fun to drive, and it is easy to understand why. Start with a 265-horsepower turbo four that produces big, dirty bags full of torque down low and a nice rush of power on top, add a six-speed manual with really well chosen gear ratios, couple the whole works to a full-time all-wheel-drive system, and what have you got? You’ve got a platform that is responsive and communicative, that provides good grip and acceleration in the dry, and that adds a measure of security in inclement weather or on sketch road surfaces. And what’s not to like about that?

By Winding Road Staff | August 18, 2010
Quick Drive: 2010 Nissan Frontier LE 4×4 Crewcab

In the world of mid-size trucks, competition is interesting, at least if your reference is the full-size truck market. Ford, really, is a non-player and Chevrolet, GMC and Dodge come to market with obviously aging designs. That leaves Toyota among the major players to fight with Nissan and Honda (of all people) for the bulk of the mid-size market. My time in the Nissan Frontier made me wonder why Nissan isn’t among the majors, the same way I did when I drove the Titan last year. That’s because, to a car guy, the Nissans have a lot of appeal due to their superior driving dynamics.

By Winding Road Staff | August 11, 2010
Driven: 2010 Chrysler 300C

In theory Chrysler’s 300C is an aging design that by now is in need of replacement, well… just because. Yet every time I climb behind the wheel of one I’m reminded of what a fundamentally good car this has been and still is. There’s a lot to like, here, starting with the 300C’s stout-hearted engine—the 5.7-liter, 360-horsepower Hemi V-8, which points out an ample 389 pound-feet of torque.

By Chris Martens | July 26, 2010
Quick Drive: 2010 Volkswagen CC Sport

The Volkswagen CC is one of those cars that you find yourself enjoying even though it doesn’t exactly fit the stereotype of either a driver’s car or a luxury car.

By Winding Road Staff | May 12, 2010
Third Look: The Toyota Corolla XRS Has Issues

When you first see the Corolla XRS’ jaunty looking aero package you might be tempted to think, “Hmm, maybe this thing has some potential as an entertaining ride.” Unfortunately, that illusion melts away the moment you take the Corolla out for a spin. Allow us to explain.

By Chris Martens | April 07, 2010
Driven: 2010 Volkswagen Golf

Driving enthusiasts of a certain age can perhaps remember the mid-1970s arrival of Volkswagen’s first front-wheel drive offering, the groundbreaking Rabbit. Compared to the rear-engine, air-cooled Beetles, Fastbacks, and Squarebacks that preceded it (cars that, while virtuous, were also quirky and past their prime), the Rabbit seemed as modern as tomorrow—a car that emphasized yet redefined VW’s core values. On one hand the Rabbit was perfectly sensible and practical, as the best VWs always are, yet it also had a soulful side, appealing to drivers with its taut handling, communicative steering, responsive drive train, and jaunty personality. Though not the least expensive “economy car” of its time, the Rabbit arguably offered more substance and value than its lower-priced competitors, serving up serious German automotive craftsmanship at an Everyman price.

By Chris Martens | January 04, 2010


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