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Author Archives: Bob Plunkett

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Bob Plunkett is a veteran automotive reporter whose articles have appeared in industry and consumer magazines for 30 years. He currently produces syndicated automotive reports published weekly newspapers across North America, putting the reader in the driver's seat for a hands-on feel of a vehicle. An adventurer, Plunkett has raced cars, scaled mountains, dived with sharks and run on foot across entire countries to research his articles. For the decade of the 1980s he reported on automotive subjects for an Arkansas newspaper, and during that time wrote speeches for a young Arkansas governor, Bill Clinton. Today, Plunkett still writes from his Arkansas home, but he travels extensively, crisscrossing the globe to drive new cars.

2013 Jeep Patriot Compact Crossover SUV

2013 Jeep Patriot compact SUV

Patriot provides an optional four-wheel-drive (4WD) device with low range gearing plus an off-road package dubbed Freedom Drive II which adds a skid plate, tow hooks and all-terrain tires (Goodyear Wrangler GTA 215/65R17 OWL) to make this particular CUV a surprisingly capable rock-crawling and mud-romping trail runner. Read More »

2013 Scion tC Compact Hatchback Coupe

2013 Scion TC front view

Our vehicle -- the Scion tC for model-year 2013, a shapely two-door hatchback coupe in new limited-production Release Series 8.0 trim -- also throbs in deep beats from its own sounds stoked by tunes off our iPod and tracked by the 8-speaker Pioneer audio kit. Read More »

2013 Dodge Journey Mid-Size Crossover SUV

2012 Dodge Journey

Dodge builds the Journey for the Class of 2013 with front-wheel-drive (FWD) traction or optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) with four-cylinder and V6 engine choices in five different trim versions -- the price-leader Journey AVP (America Value Package), base issue Journey SE, upscale Journey SXT, Journey Crew and sport-tuned Journey R/T (the initials signify "Road and Track" in recognition of Dodge's muscle car heritage). Read More »

2013 Toyota Sienna Minivan

2013 Toyota Sienna Minivan

We discover that Sienna's go-pedal holds plenty of juice beneath a driver's foot, thanks to a lively V6 engine lifted from Camry, Toyota's best-selling mid-size sedan. Read More »

2013 Chevrolet Traverse Full-Size Crossover SUV

2013 Chevrolet Traverse mid-size SUV

Focal point is the bold front-end carved in elegant lines of a sculpted block with a power dome hood, 5-sided grille filled with horizontal fins, redesigned headlamp clusters, generous chrome accents and sculpted front fenders bulging over big tires. Read More »

2013 Kia Optima Mid-Size Sedan

2013 Kia Optima mid-size sedan

With its taut suspension tuned for precise maneuvers and a quick rack and pinion steering system aboard, Kia's mid-size sedan hugs contours of the road and carves out crisp corners when wiggling around curves in the hills. Read More »

2013 Audi S5 Compact Luxury Sports Coupe

2013 Audi S5

This sleek sports coupe, derived from Audi's A5 compact grand touring series, skews toward that rare and sporty realm of refined European muscle cars with a supercharged V6 aboard and the choice of a 6-speed shift-it-yourself manual gearbox or 7-speed dual-clutch S-tronic automati Read More »

2013 Ram 1500 Full-Size Pickup Truck

2013 Ram 1500 Full-Size Pickup Truck

The new electric power steering mechanism, rarely seen under the hood of a pickup truck, aids our effort to connect all of those corners by producing responsive and predictable turns with a fine on-center feel. More quick action comes from accelerator and brake pedals, thanks to huge disc brakes for all four wheels and a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 base engine which delivers up to 305 hp through an awesome TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission with best-in-class fuel economy scores climbing to 25 mpg. Read More »

2013 Ford Fusion Mid-Size Sedan

2013 Ford Fusion Mid-Size sedan

Fusion presents a muscular hood shape and aggressive prow capped by a six-sided grille with chrome-coated fins, narrow corner headlamp clusters, taut fender bulges over wheelwells and a crisp tail design with bisected LED lamps and dual exhaust pipes protruding beneath smooth fascia. Read More »

2013 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan

2013 Chrysler Town and Country Minivan

The five-door minivan, dressed in smooth sheetmetal that stretches over 16 feet long and packing a forceful yet fuel-thrifty V6 powertrain, stocks standard leather upholstery on all trims for 2013 and represents a plush statement of carload transportation bringing a refined ride quality and 40+ available safety and technology features. Read More »