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2008 Toyota Land Cruiser V8

So last weekend I had the opportunity to test one hell of a car. Because it’s big. Really big. Huge. Did I mention it’s really big?

The Toyota Land Cruiser is a big car, everyone knows that. But Toyota Land Cruiser V8 is even bigger. So big that getting in the car can be a challenge if you’re not in shape or you happen to be shorter.


What’s there to say? It’s a huge off-roader (you can’t call it an SUV), with wheels the size of a Daewoo Tico, which doesn’t look bad but isn’t an example of perfect aerodynamics either. Honestly, I like the old version’s design better, this one looks too rough to me. It follows the latest trend in Toyota design, with the headlights sticking out (I don’t particularly like it) and the large chrome radiator grill.


It’s big on the inside, as you can expect. It can fit three rows of chairs and seven passengers, but I wouldn’t ask my friends to sit in the last row and hope they’ll still be my friends afterwards. If you’ve got kids though, it’s perfect.

The interior is full of leather and wood, the unavoidable plastic on the dashboard looks very well, but it felt inconsistent at times: you see wood on the central console, then you see aluminum, like they couldn’t decide if they wanted a sporty interior or not. (more…)

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2008 Citroen C4 Picasso

The Citroen C4 Picasso is an MPV (multi purpose vehicle). It’s basically a car you can use for a lot of stuff, especially for driving kids to school and carrying strollers in the trunk (which is very large, especially on the vertical). If you’re a dad who can only afford one car, this is the one you’ll want. I tested a Citroen C4 Picasso Exclusive, with leather interior, 17″ wheels, electric controls and seat memory, “Follow me home” system, electric mirrors which fold down when the car is locked…it was a full option version.

How it drives

Nothing to complain about. The car runs well, the suspensions are soft enough so you don’t feel every bump in the road. However, I didn’t like the gear box. It changes gears very strangely, with a weird bump everytime it changes gears and you need to adjust the speed from the two paddles on the steering wheel. At one point I even gave up driving with the automatic gear box and switched to manual. Honestly, it might be something I didn’t understand, but so far I haven’t seen such an automatic box and such reactions. Other than this, the car works very well, including on rough roads (we climbed a little so we could take photos).

The fuel consumption is very good. We had the 118 hp 1.6 liter HDi diesel, and the average consumption was 7.2 liters/100km (32.6 US mpg) on the highway and 8.8 liters/100km (26.7 mpg) in the city. (more…)

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2008 Subaru Forester

After some time ago I had the chance to drive the Outback, now I got another car from Subaru for test drive, the new Forester. I really liked the Outback and I was expecting even more from the Forester, because I heard a lot of people saying it’s a great car. So, after I picked up the car from the dealer I decided to head to a very interesting location, the Mud Volcanoes, because I had the chance to check out the car both on highway and off-road.

The Forester’s exterior looks great. I really hated the previous generation, with that large wagon look. The interior is much more ‘spartan’ than the Outback’s. It’s true that I had the top-of-the-line Outback and a cheaper Forester, but still, I didn’t like it very much. The dashboard is ok, the buttons are ok but the instrument panel sucks (looks like they’ve jut put sticker there and not real instruments, looks really cheap). Plus that it’s obvious the car was created for off-road.

The first thing I noticed after driving it for a few miles was that it’s pretty lazy. (more…)

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.0 Boxer Diesel

Last week, I had the chance to test drive the Subaru Outback, equipped with the 2.0 liter boxer diesel engine. I took the car on Monday and, because I only had the car until next day, after I picked it up from Subaru Motors Trading, I decided to take it to the seaside (where else, considering it’s summer?), especially that I had in mind a beautiful place to test its off-road abilities.

First of all, let me say that the Outback surprised me from the start, the exterior looks really good, with a lot of sporty touches, the interior is also pretty impressive: I had the top of the line trim level, with Ivory leather, 3 spoke steering wheel with leather and cruise control commands or panoramic moonroof (great in the summer).

Like I said, the version I had was powered by the 150 hp 2.0 liter boxer diesel engine. Can’t say that I was thrilled with the engine in the city, because, besides being a diesel (not really my fav), it’s actually kinda lazy. And I should mention that the car was equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission.

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2008 Fiat 500

Last week, I got the chance to drive the new Fiat 500. I was really excited, because, ever since the car was announced, I’ve been a big fan, especially after I got the chance to see it live at the Geneva Motor Show. So, I got in the car and went driving around to find a nice spot for some cool photos, in the same time checking out how it handles the traffic. I should tell you that the version I had was powered by the 75 hp 1.3 MultiJet diesel engine. The most powerful version is the 100 hp 1.4 liter 16v petrol engine and the other engine available is the 69 hp 1.2 liter. I would’ve loved to have the 100 hp one, I’m sure it’s the most thrilling to drive, but the experience was cool anyways.

First of all, my version is the most expensive in the Fiat 500 offer, 13,800 Euro all taxes included. There are three equipment levels available, Pop, Lounge and Sport. The cheapest Fiat 500 available is the 1.2 Sport, priced at 11,500 Euros, all taxes included and I had the 1.3 Lounge. The Lounge and the Sport versions have the same price, the difference being in the optional features. The Sport, as it name says, offers more sporty looks, while the Lounge takes care especially of the comfort. (more…)

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2008 Audi A4 B8 2.0 TDI

I think I had almost the perfect version for me, with some optional features that, even though they’re not required, make the experience better and more interesting. The base price for our 143 hp 2.0 liter TDI version, with a six-speed manual gear box is 24,000 euro (29,600 with VAT) and comes with standard features like frontal airbags with seat position memory, side aibargs, ESP, electric windows, automatic air-conditioning (3 zones), 16 inch steel rims, exterior heated electric mirrors, “micrometalic platin” interior ornaments, central shut-down remote control and height/depth adjustable wheel (4 spokes design).

The version we drove to Geneva was 5,500 euro more expensive and, beside the metallic silver color which costs a couple hundred euro alone, it came with Audi parking system, Audi Soundsystem, dashboard computer with color display, Cruise control, outside aluminum mirrors, Radio Concert, heated front seats with lombar support, electric adjustable driver’s seat, Servotronic, foldable back seats, sport suspensions, multifunctional leather-finished 3-spokes sport wheel. The final price was around 30,000 Euros (36,000 including VAT). Might be a little too expensive, but the car is definitely worth every single cent. (more…)

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