All posts by Mark Savage

Mark Savage is a writer and editor. He has written a car review column, Savage on Wheels, for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel since 1989 and was a business news reporter there for 16 years. He also is the editor of American Snowmobiler magazine and has written about diecast cars and slot cars for various hobby magazines. He also is an avid Indy 500 fan, attending races since 1962.

2012 GMC Terrain

2012 GMC Terrain

GMC’s Terrain is a cousin to Chevrolet’s Equinox, with the GMC getting the boxier styling and the Chevy having smoother lines.

When I drove a GMC Terrain a couple years back I was impressed by its fit, finish and good value in the small sport-ute or crossover market. Not much has changed in a couple years and mostly that’s good.

Terrain slots in above the many smaller SUVs and crossovers, but isn’t big enough to be a 7-person hauler. Yet there is ample room inside for five adults and their luggage. Plus, in its nine trim levels the GMC comes with a 182-horse 2.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder engine that is rated 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. That creates a fine economy hauler for folks who prefer a taller vehicle to a standard mid-size sedan. Continue reading 2012 GMC Terrain

Advertisements

2012 Buick Verano

Buick’s new compact sedan, the Verano, is based on an Opel platform from Europe. It features a 2.4-liter I4 that generates 180 horsepower.

Buick Enters Compact Sedan Market:

Buick moves into the compact sedan market with its new Verano based on a front-drive Opel platform from Europe.

This has been a successful General Motors strategy of late, revamping its European models and offering the restyled versions in the North American market. Verano’s goal was to reach the entry-level luxury sedan buyer, the first-time luxury car shopper. Buick says its primary targets were buyers aiming at the Acura TSX, Lexus IS 250 and Volvo V30. -But wait, there’s more!>

Lexus GS 350 AWD

Lexus GS 350, car review, Lexus GS 350 review,
Photos courtesy Lexus

Let the coddling begin!

Luxury cars make you feel special; they coddle you.

After a week in a gorgeous “mercury metallic (dark sparkling metallic blue)” 2013 Lexus GS350 I consider myself sufficiently coddled. The redesigned full-size GS comes as both a rear-drive and all-wheel-drive model, this being the latter.

All come with a strong 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 that delivers 306 horsepower via a seamless 6-speed automatic that allows you to shift manually via the console shifter or paddle shifters located behind the power tilt/telescope steering wheel. Everything feels silky smooth, belying the GS AWD’s $49,450 base price. Continue reading Lexus GS 350 AWD

Kia Rio hatch delivers sporty feel

2012-Kia-5-door-Hatch review, auto reviews, savageonwheels
Photos courtesy Kia

Last week I drove the Hyundai Accent and this week I drive its near twin, the 2012 Kia Rio SX, both fine small entry-level cars. But there are differences among the similarities.

First, the test Rio was a 5-door or hatchback version, while last week’s Accent was a four-door sedan.

Second, Rio has a much sportier feel created by a stiffer suspension and more supportive contoured seats inside. Continue reading Kia Rio hatch delivers sporty feel

Die-cast car: Greenlight 2010 Indy winner

Dario Franchitti’s Indy winner a nice model at a moderate price

Dario Franchitti, Chip Ganassi Racing, Indy 500, SavageonwheelsGreenlight Collectibles’ 1:18 casting of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 race winner’s bright red Target Chip Ganassi racer is a great display model, if Indy cars are your thing.

IndyCar racing has regained much of its popularity the last few years as a new star has emerged, Dario Franchitti. The Scotsman with an Italian name is well spoken, friendly and married to movie actress Ashley Judd. He’s a marketing bonanza. Continue reading Die-cast car: Greenlight 2010 Indy winner

Slot cars: BBR’s Ferrari F430 looks great

The Ferrari F430 is a champ on the track and a popular racer in the American LeMans and FIA GT championship series, and also has raced at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Plus who the heck doesn’t like a Ferrari F430, slot car reviews, savageonwheels.comFerrari?

So it’s natural enough that noted Italian die-cast car model maker BBR has jumped into the slot car world with an F430.

In the real world the F430 goes for upward of $225,000 in the U.S. market and its 4.3-liter V-8 cranks out an a stout 483 horses with a top speed of nearly 197 mph. No wonder these are racers.

The interesting part here is that BBR’s first slot car is a kit, not pre-built, so BBR fans will get to build their own Ferrari. Continue reading Slot cars: BBR’s Ferrari F430 looks great

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep, savageonwheels
Photos Courtesy Chrysler, LLC.

With Hummer gone, Jeep is our resident Alpha male off-road vehicle and truth be told, it has been for 70+ years. Hummer was the upstart.

While Wrangler is Jeep’s real Type A personality, it’s more sophisticated brother, the Grand Cherokee is no shy guy. Take the Limited model for example.

Standard with a 290-horse Pentastar V6, our silver test model upped the ante with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with variable valve timing and Fuel Saver Technology aimed at eeking out an extra mpg while still giving the Jeep major grunt. Continue reading 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee