Truly Remote Start Impresses in 2014 Chevrolet Impala


Regular readers are probably just as tired of us talking about Chicago's polar vortex winter as we are tired of persistent cold temperatures. If there's one car feature we can point to that made one of the area's coldest and snowiest winters on record more bearable, it's the remote engine starting system on our 2014 Chevrolet Impala long-term tester.

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The Impala's remote start is a factory-installed feature included in the $1,095 navigation and stereo package or $940 Convenience Package. Time and time again, the Impala's remote start would fire up the engine at surprisingly long distances or from well inside a house, which beat having to crack the front door and hold the key fob outside like other systems we've tested.

By Joe Bruzek | April 15, 2014 | Comments (3)

2014 Jeep Cherokee Versus 2014 Nissan Rogue


Sporting a 1-0 record, the long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee headed into its next head-to-head comparison against the redesigned 2014 Nissan Rogue. The Rogue makes for a much more suitable comparison with the Cherokee, which dominated the outdated 2014 Jeep Compass.

2014 Nissan Rogue Expert Review

The new Rogue should look familiar by now due to relentless TV commercials placing the Rogue in urban environments, jumping on top of trains and blasting through evil snowmen. It's the same type of urban cityscape editors Joe Wiesenfelder and Joe Bruzek used to test the Rogue head-to-head with the Cherokee on the post-winter, heavily pothole-ridden streets of Chicago.

By Joe Bruzek | April 10, 2014 | Comments (8)

2014 Chevrolet Impala Ownership Costs: First Quarter

We've spent money on fuel and floormats for our 2014 Chevrolet Impala after three months and 3,000 miles of driving, but little else. The Impala is one of our long-term test cars and our Best of 2014 winner.

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The Impala's OnStar online vehicle diagnostic information tells us to expect an oil change at 5,300 miles, but even then, we don't expect maintenance to be an ownership cost. Our Impala is backed by Chevrolet's two-year/24,000-mile maintenance program that includes oil and filter changes, tire rotations and a 27-point inspection for up to four scheduled services within the program's term.

By Joe Bruzek | April 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Jeep Cherokee Versus 2014 Jeep Compass


We took possession of our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee just a few weeks before a number of competitors entered our short-term fleet here at our Chicago headquarters.

Some of our most interesting insights into our 2013 Honda Civic came after pitting it head-to-head against the competition.

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While it may seem strange to start our year with the Cherokee by pitting it against the Jeep Compass rather than another automaker's SUV, let's explain why we got here before learning which Jeep won.

By Joe Bruzek | March 26, 2014 | Comments (2)

Why Don't All Heated Seats Warm Just Your Back?


When the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala rolled out, I was happy to see one of my favorite features return to a GM vehicle: multiple-zone heated seats.

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In almost every car with heated seats you can only heat the entire seat — not just the seatback but also the seat bottom. Sure, you may be able to dial up the heat levels from mild to Chernobyl, but that heat is going to be dispersed to both areas.

Not in the Impala and many previous GM models. If you just want the heat on your aching back, you can get it without your backside getting toasty.

Here are the reasons why this is a winner:

By David Thomas | March 25, 2014 | Comments (4)

2014 Chevrolet Impala Mileage Update: 2,838 Miles


This month was a relatively mild one for's long-term 2014 Chevrolet Impala tester, with the odometer only turning 676 miles since the last update. Filled with the recommended regular octane gasoline since day one, E85 coursed its way through the fuel lines of our flexible-fuel 3.6-liter Impala by mistake and looks to have slightly dinged our fuel economy after burning 5 gallons of the economy-sapping fuel.

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Five gallons is a small amount considering the Impala's 18.5-gallon tank, but our observed fuel economy this month — calculated over the long haul from pump fill-ups — is 0.76 mpg lower than 676 miles ago. EPA ratings for the Impala drop from 19/29/22 mpg city/highway/combined on regular gasoline to 14/20/16 mpg on E85.

By Joe Bruzek | March 21, 2014 | Comments (3)

Why Don't All Cars Have This Simple Reminder?


There are a few things about our long-term 2014 Chevrolet Impala I already like even after just a couple of commutes.

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One of these endearing features was even more welcome on the snowy, frigid morning I first experienced it. On start-up, the small digital screen between the gauge clusters had this warning: "Windshield Washer Fluid Low."

By David Thomas | March 18, 2014 | Comments (2)

We Bought a 2014 Jeep Cherokee


In late December 2013 we bought our Best of 2014 winner, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, but our long-term fleet is made up of two cars. After debating which segment might be best — we settled on SUVs, which we've never bought before — we decided on a model with a lot of questions that need answering: the 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

Related: We Bought a 2014 Chevrolet Impala

Why the Cherokee? Because it's unique — to an extreme. At the 2013 New York International Auto Show, Jeep unveiled the SUV as a replacement for its once-popular Liberty to frenzied online interest.

By Kelsey Mays | March 12, 2014 | Comments (18)

2013 Honda Civic Versus its Competitors


Before's $20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge in November 2013, we took a detailed look at how our long-term 2013 Honda Civic stacked up individually against the 2013 Nissan Sentra, 2013 Toyota Corolla (before the 2014 redesign) and 2014 Kia Forte.

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For 2013, the Civic gained notable improvements after a half-hearted 2012 redesign. Our yearlong goal with the Civic was to assess those changes against other compact sedans that entered our rotating fleet of manufacturer-provided test cars. Below, see how well the updated Civic performed head-to-head against three of those competitors in the following categories: cabin quality, noise, handling, acceleration, braking, ride, gas mileage, seats and roominess, and multimedia usability.

By Joe Bruzek | March 4, 2014 | Comments (8)

What Did it Cost to Own Our 2013 Honda Civic?


It's time to say goodbye to our 2013 Honda Civic LX after 15,450 miles of use as one of's long-term test cars. We bought the Civic to evaluate the big changes Honda made for 2013 to up its competitiveness after a snooze-tastic 2012 redesign.

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With the exception of the rear end being smashed by another car while our Civic was parked, owning this sedan was as uneventful and predictable as its passing power. Our LX sedan with an automatic transmission required two oil changes, a tire rotation and an inspection, plus we threw a set of wiper blades on the car and had it detailed when a funky smell invaded the interior after a wet spring.

By Joe Bruzek | March 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

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