January was a packed month, what with the Detroit auto show kicking off several weeks of travel and test drives. I had the opportunity to drive a wide variety of vehicles in a number of different places during the first month of 2015, and I was also able to avoid Montreal’s crushing cold weather for about a week, which is always nice.
Here’s a summary of what I drove during the month of January.
2015 Jeep Renegade
While I don’t think all that many people are going to be taking the all-new Jeep Renegade off-road, the Trailhawk version of the subcompact SUV certainly proved itself capable in the hills outside of San Jose, California. I think they’re going to sell a lot of these little people movers, especially judging from the number of questions I got about the Renegade and the reactions of passersby.
You can read my first drive review of the 2015 Jeep Renegade at Autobytel. You can also check out a video review I did while off-roading the Renegade for Autobytel below:
I drove the Cadillac ATS Coupe from Montreal to Detroit, a 20-hour round-trip that spun the odometer for 1,200 miles. I’m not 100 percent sold on the styling of the two-door – I think the ATS sedan looks more graceful – but the coupe was comfortable and capable as a grand touring option.
Even a switch from its underpowered 5.4-liter V8 to a robust EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6 couldn’t save the Lincoln Navigator from irrelevance. It’s spacious, it can tow, and it’s got road presence, but skittish handling in the snow and a lack of refinement force me to recommend its Ford Expedition Platinum mechanical twin over the pricier Lincoln.
2015 Infiniti QX80
Back-to-back, the Infiniti QX80 feels much more luxurious than the Navigator, and it also drove much more confidently. In my opinion, the nicest Infiniti currently in the showroom, although some people may have a hard time getting past its individualistic exterior styling.
The most powerful edition of the Golf hatchback, the compact Volkswagen Golf R leverages 292 turbocharged horsepower and standard all-wheel drive to entice shoppers to spend upwards of $36,000. It’s a fun, and comfortable hatch, although not quite as raw as I would have liked. The DSG transmission is much quicker off of the line when using launch control, but the traditional manual gearbox is much more engaging.
I loved the chance to drive Circuit of the Americas and learn from Bill Auberlen and Timo Glock – it’s a rare opportunity to tap into the minds of such gifted drivers. I was behind the wheel of the 2015 BMW X6 M, however, which doesn’t exactly require a significant amount of input when you’re behind wheel as its software, all-wheel drive, and horsepower take car of everything.
Read my first drive review of the 2015 BMW X6 M at The Car Guide. You can also check out a video review I did of the SUV below:
2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible
Heavier than the 2 Series coupe, but not noticeably so, the 2015 BMW 2 Series convertible proves that BMW is one of the best in the industry at building an entry-level drop-top.
You can find my first drive review of the 2015 BMW 2 Series convertible at The Car Guide.
2015 Kia Sedona
The best minivan I have ever driven, with the nicest interior money can buy in the segment. The Limited trim certainly gives you your money’s worth, especially compared to more expensive options from Toyota and Honda. Sure, it drives like a van, but the luxury it makes available is a pleasant distraction from that fact.
Find out why I liked the 2015 Kia Sedona so much by reading my review at The Car Guide.