The NADAguides Featured Vehicle of the Month are vehicles test driven by the analysts at NADAguides and evaluated on a variety of different categories including performance, efficiency, features, options and appeal. Also considered is the quality of engineering, fuel efficiency, safety equipment and ratings, pricing and overall value, sales trends and consumer market interest levels to provide information that will help car shoppers make an educated purchase decision.
The Dodge Durango Citadel which is based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform provides a comfortable, quiet and smooth SUV ride with seating for 6-7 adults. The entertainment/video system makes it kid friendly and it is loaded with safety features to make you feel safe and protect you in the case they are needed. The steering is responsive and the workhorse V6 provides enough power to handle needed acceleration for entering freeways and other higher speed needs. Braking distance was sufficient at all speeds tested. The cornering sway was surprisingly mild considering the size of this SUV. With several points of luxury and high-end touches throughout, the Durango provides the smooth driving of a car and the capability of a full-feature SUV.
Where the 2014 370Z NISMO shines especially bright is in the performance-oriented categories, and this is consistent with the car's primary purpose. The acceleration delivered by its 350 horsepower V6 feels brisk and satisfying (not unlike that of a V8-powered pony car), and although the clutch and 6-speed transmission require heavier than average effort, the resulting shifts are positive and smooth. When it comes time to bring everything to a stop, the NISMO sport brakes provide excellent pedal feel, control, and stopping distances. Handling is also excellent, with very good steering feel and turn-in, high predictability, and abundant grip; however, on less than idea roads, both the ride quality and tire noise can approach punishing levels. But again, to that certain individual who understands and appreciates the primary purpose of the 370Z NISMO, these are a small price to pay for a blissful performance-oriented driving experience.
From the exterior, the 2014 Mazda3 S 5-Door Grand Touring exhibits a modern and attractive silhouette. The 2014 Mazda3 S 5-Door Grand Touring simultaneously offers great overall handling, a compliant and solid ride, and very good fuel mileage. Corner turn-in is great and steering feel is very good (especially for an electrically-assisted system), as is the brake system, which besides some slight rear end wander under medium to hard braking, offers nice pedal feel, and respectable stopping distances. Yes, more top-end power and quicker shifting while in sport mode would be nice-to-haves, and road noise is mildly excessive at highway speeds, but overall, this Mazda3 would certainly be a satisfying and sensible automobile to drive and own.
The Cayman S is an exciting sports car to drive. Everything aspect of it is on point. Acceleration is seamless going 0-60 in 4.7 seconds, not to mention driving in sport and sport plus mode really gives the Cayman an extra kick. Braking is beyond responsive, slowing down the vehicle at the slightest touch. Turn corners is a breeze, even at high speeds the car stays firmly planted. Handling is well-balanced due to the compact mid-mounted engine. You would never guess the Cayman is Porsche's entry level sports car.
The 2014 Kia Optima SX Limited is attractively styled, and its appearance suggests that of a European sport sedan costing thousands more. With its 274 horsepower turbocharged engine and sport-tuned suspension, during typical driving, the 2014 Kia Optima SX Limited provides average to above average (for its automotive segment) acceleration, handling, braking distances, and fuel economy, while at the same time, a refined, composed, and compliant ride. More spirited driving revealed significantly reduced fuel economy, as well as moderate amounts of turbo lag, torque steer, and brake fade, but overall, we were pleased with how our test Optima performed on the city streets, and on the highway.
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover is luxury full-sized SUV equipped with terrain-tackling 4WD. The Range Rover can be equipped with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine that produces 340 hp or an optional 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that yields 510 hp. Features consist of 21-inch wheels, sunroof, xenon headlamps with wash feature, premium sound system, power heated seats, heated steering-wheel, front/rear park sensors, navigation system, and a rear seat entertainment system. Safety is comprised of advanced airbags, integrated whiplash protection, anti-lock braking (ABS), electronic traction control (TCS), brake assist (BA), electronic stability control (ESC) and an electronic cross linked suspension.
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover is the ultimate luxury SUV. Whether you are cruising through city streets or off-roading, the Range Rover offers a spectacular performance. This vehicle offers a V8 and V8 supercharged engine to give it some serious power. The ride is smooth and every amenity is done right. The interior is gorgeous, with luxurious materials used throughout the cabin. The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover is truly at the top of the luxury SUV class.