The RS Adrenaline Academy Lives Up To The Focus RS Hype Machine

I had submitted this one to an outlet a while ago, but it never ran. Sad face. So here it is for Riverside Green readers—enjoy!

 

If you’re a fan of performance cars, it’s nearly impossible for you to argue with much of what Ford Performance has been up to in the last few years. The Boss 302 changed our perceptions of what was possible to accomplish on track with a pony car, and then the Shelby GT350 ripped open that envelope with a serrated blade. The Focus and Fiesta ST brothers packed more fun per dollar into a car than we’ve seen since the original GTI. And at the other end of the spectrum, let’s not forget the Ford GT and its return to motorsports dominance.

However, the one we were all waiting for, the one our European brothers have been taunting us with for generations, was the Focus RS. Complete with 350 horsepower, all-wheel drive, blindingly beautiful Nitrous Blue paint, and, yes, the publicity stunt that is “Drift Mode,” the RS arrived on our shores in 2016 with more pomp and circumstance than even Edward Elgar could have imagined. Despite my personal skepticism of all the promotion, it took me exactly four autocross runs with a press car to decide to add one to my personal fleet of Blue Ovals back in October. I happily paid MSRP at Glenn Ford in Nicholasville, Kentucky and drove off with my own blue hype machine.

But perhaps even more impressive than Ford’s commitment to building these machines is it’s commitment to teaching people how to drive them.

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2017 BMW X3 Rental Review, or, The Worst Possible Use Of Your Money, Ever

Through what I’ll just call a bizarre set of circumstances, I found myself needing to make a 520 mile drive through Maryland, West Virginia, and Kentucky over the weekend, and I found myself without a car to do it. No matter—I’m such a frequent renter of cars from National Car Rental that I have a seemingly limitless number of free rental days to use. Three clicks of my mobile app, and I was headed to Baltimore/Washington International airport to pick up a free one-way rental from the Emerald Aisle Executive area.

Let me back up a bit first, and perhaps that will help you understand how much I hated my time with the 2017 BMW X3.

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica Rental Review

 

Awww yeah, Bark Rental Review back in the hizzy! I’m so relieved that I don’t have to try to take decent photos. And what better way to kick it off than with the lot poison that is currently making CDJR dealers all across America sick? That’s right, today we’re talking about the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. I’ve had at least 3 different CDJR dealers in 3 different states tell me that the Pacifica is an overpriced floorplan anchor that they cannot move at any price.

“Nobody knows what the fuck a ‘Pacifica’ is,” they tell me. “I don’t know why they couldn’t just call it the Town & Country.” Then they mumble about the huge sticker price—although the Pacifica starts at around $28k, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with a Monroney under 40 large on a lot—and they ramble on about the death of the Chrysler brand (another topic for another time).

However, they’re missing one thing about the Pacifica. It’s quite good. No, better than good. It’s brilliant.

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Review: 2016 Chrysler 200

“The minute I got into this car,” Danger Girl said, “my knees started hurting.” She didn’t have to explain why; thanks to sexual dimorphism, my 5’9″ wife and my 6’2″ self are both possessed of thirty-two-inch inseams, so we sit in a car the same way. And my knees were bent and splayed like I was trying to do an X-up on a BMX bike. The ridiculously short thigh bolsters in the Chrysler 200 might as well not exist. You’re fundamentally sitting on the floor, the way you would in a compact car. No surprise there, because the Chrysler 200 is a lengthened version of the compact Dodge Dart.

At an MSRP of $22,115, the LX (base) variant of the 200 competes heads-up against the Sonata I reviewed yesterday. But it’s not really that simple. To begin with, incentives on the Chrysler are omnipresent and remarkably strong; it’s entirely possible to get these cars for eighteen grand or even less. At that price point, the 200 isn’t competing with the Sonata; it’s competing with the Accent.

As we’ll see in a moment, the now-canceled barely-a-midsizer Chrysler has plenty of compelling virtues. It’s just that most of them aren’t present in this particular version of the car.

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Review: 2017 Hyundai Sonata SE

Do not attempt to adjust your television set. This is not a test. This is, instead, the first of what I hope will be many car reviews written by your humble author for this website. Most of them will be rental reviews, used-car reviews, and other oddballs.

This past weekend I rented a 2017 Sonata SE with just under 2500 miles on the clock and drove it from Powell, Ohio to Woodward, Pennsylvania, where my son and I spent the weekend riding at two of Camp Woodward’s indoor skateparks. It was a one-way trip; the back window shattered while we were in Woodward and we exchanged the car for a Chrysler 200, which I’ll also be reviewing here this week. I’ll be comparing both of these cars to the Honda Accord, which I feel to be the gold standard in the segment at the moment.

Alright, let’s put the record on the turntable and start it spinning…

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