Giametta's Driveway

Giametta's Driveway

December 17, 2010
Chuck Giametta
December 31, 2010
Chuck Giametta
January 13, 2011
Chuck Giametta

All Giametta's-Driveway

December 17, 2010
Chuck Giametta

What’s in the driveway? The overdue follow-up to the haymaker that proved “Volvo” and “shapeliness” were compatible concepts.

This second-generation S60 sedan bows for model-year 2011 as a slightly larger but still midsize-class near-luxury replacement for the original S60. That sedan, launched way back in model-year 2011, was the car that melted Volvo’s ice-block image. The 2011 version wears an evolution of its curvy sheetmetal with a whiff more definition, a more rakish stance and, alas, perhaps less purity of line.

December 31, 2010
Chuck Giametta

What’s in the driveway? A chic new sedan that sweeps Jaguar into the 21st century. After dithering for most of a decade with a flagship that drove modern but looked hidebound, Jaguar bounds ahead with a radically re-imagined XJ.

The all-new 2011 XJ uses an evolved version of the 2004-2010 XJ’s aluminum-intensive chassis and body structure, continuing a several-hundred-pound weight savings compared to such rivals as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series. The 2011 XJ, however, rejects big-Jag design cues that dated all the way back to the 1969 XJ6.

January 13, 2011
Chuck Giametta

What’s in the driveway? A fine basic crossover SUV gilded to within an inch of good taste. GM’s truck division evokes Alaska’s magnificent national park for top-line versions of its models and for 2011, Acadia gets the Denali treatment. That means most regular-Acadia options are standard and conjures up some features lesser Acadias can’t hope to get, like two-tone chrome-clad wheels, special fender flares, and a steering wheel rim of real wood.

January 31, 2011
Chuck Giametta

What’s in the driveway? A modern classic. Really. Lexus invented the premium-crossover category when it introduced the first-generation RX 300 in 1998 as a 1999 model. Two design generations later, the 2011 RX 350 remains the standard for refinement and effortless luxury in a midsize SUV. There are sportier-mannered choices, but the RX 350’s balance of talents in real-world driving tends to surprise doubters. There are more sybaritic alternatives, too, but they cost a lot more.

February 8, 2011
Chuck Giametta

What’s in the driveway? Two tons of crevice-conquering, creek-sloshing fun. It’s pretty good on a run to Walmart, too. The 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is the ultimate expression of an icon that lives up to its billing. With its high-riding body, long-travel suspension, and mountain-goat four-wheel-drive system, any Jeep Wrangler will deliver you deep into the outback. The top-of-the-line Wrangler Rubicon will take you deeper still -- arguably to places no other pure-production vehicle can.

February 24, 2011
Chuck Giametta

What’s in the driveway? The most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America. By combining the talents of a specially tuned 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine with those of a battery-powered electric motor, this comfortable midsize four-door earns an EPA rating of 41/36 mpg city/highway. Among direct hybrid competitors, it’s more frugal than the smaller, costlier, and duller-to-drive Lexus HS250h, which is rated 35/34 mpg.

March 4, 2011
Chuck Giametta

What’s in the driveway? The winds of change. “Jetta” refers to the Atlantic jet stream and dates from the days Volkswagen leaned toward breezy badges (sirocco is a desert gust, passat a trade wind). Indeed, the redesigned 2011 VW Jetta represents a new tack for this compact.

March 16, 2011
Chuck Giametta

What’s in the driveway? That new midsize sedan advertised as “Imported from Detroit,” although this particular example, in White Gold with a Light Frost Beige interior, looks as if it’s been imported from a Detroit retirement home. The Brilliant Black example in which rapper Eminem is pictured prowling the Motor City night is probably the image Chrysler’s going after. The 2011 Chrysler 200 is, after all, supposed to represent a sort of prickly renaissance for the beleaguered brand, a scowling reassertion of its roots.

March 23, 2011
Chuck Giametta

What’s in the driveway? Proof that Chrysler deserved to survive bankruptcy. The all-new 2011 Dodge Durango is refined, roomy, and leading-man handsome. This SUV returns after a one-year layoff, but it’s a radically different animal than any Durango before it. Gone is the stone-age body-on-frame design of its first two pickup-truck-based generations. In its place is a modern structure that combines body and frame into a lighter, more rigid “unibody” structure.

April 9, 2011
Chuck Giametta

What’s in the driveway? Your old man’s Cadillac, if your old man’s Clint Eastwood. This is a square-jawed American hero of a car, solid and rational, yet able to unleash way more muscle than you’d suspect. It hails from the bad-boy branch of Cadillac’s midsize-luxury CTS family, the V series. CTS-Vs get their brass from the Corvette in the form of a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 developed for the Ferrari-baiting ZR1. Here it’s “detuned” to 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque from 638 and 604, respectively, in the ZR1.