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Saturday, July 23, 2011

2011 Lotus Evora FUN TO DRIVE

What does Lotus know about handling that eludes the rest of the world? It's a question we asked ourselves after an exhilarating mountain-road romp in the new Evora. While this Lotus makes several concessions to practicality, such as a small rear seat and even cruise control, essentially it's a driver's car. And for 2011, there's nothing better on the road. Those with the means will enjoy a connection between the car and the road that borders on telepathic. The steering effort linearly increases as the cornering forces build, and the suspension impeccably keeps the tires squarely planted on the road. The result is a car with high but accessible cornering limits, a sports car that makes even novice drivers feel like heroes. Even better, the Evora smashes the notion that good handling and a supple ride are mutually exclusive. It’s cushy enough to drive to work, yet incredibly entertaining on curvy roads and racetracks.

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee OFF-ROAD ABILITY

No brand is more deeply rooted in off-road adventure than Jeep. The new Grand Cherokee stands at the top of the lineup with not only a much more luxurious and roomy interior but also more power and, yes, enhanced on- and off-road chops. The new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 churns out 290 hp and 260 lb ft of torque, delivers 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway and will tow 5000 pounds. But we’d choose the 360-hp V8 for its muscle-car hustle—and take the modest fuel-economy hit. For the first time, the unibody Jeep uses a four-wheel independent suspension for enhanced steering and suspension precision. Opt for the Quadra-Lift air suspension, and the Jeep will provide five distinct suspension-height levels, with up to an impressive 10.7 inches of ground clearance. During a snow-covered sortie in Moab, Utah, the Jeep rocked and rolled its way over the worst obstacles, taking the most challenging lines without so much as a whimper. Best of all, the Grand Cherokee can lower itself back down and provide a pillow-soft luxury-car ride on the way home from the trail head.