2005 Car Review
There is a new 2005 vehicle model for every taste.
Check out our top five.
2005 Volvo XC90 V8: The gridiron competition was steep. Everyone was selling midsize S.U.V.’s with compelling eight-cylinder power plants. What else could a company that has built its reputation on safety do except play like Shabba and join the ranks? Volvo had to change its production strategy, especially with its XC90 S.U.V. It added power to its reputation for safety with the company’s first V8 engine in history. The Nordic automaker evolved the new power plant around a 4.4-liter, 315-horsepower displacement. A six-speed automatic transmission and an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive suspension add to the XC90 V8’s newfound prominence. Now, Volvo’s passion is captured in two words: trusting ride. While Volvo makes one of the safest lines of autos in the game, don’t mistake its kindness for weakness! The brand owns title to the top-selling European S.U.V. brand in the States, where 60 percent of all XC90s made are sold. You can park a base model XC90 V8 out front for $45,395 and a well-equipped model for $47,155, while the BMW X5 4.4 starts at well over $50,000. Volvo plans to produce 15,000 V8 models yearly.
2005 Jaguar XJ Long Wheelbase: Having made my way out of the airport terminal, my driver led me to the rear car door, which opened to a world of delight. The supple leather seats were cozy, I could stretch my legs out and a video was playing from a headrest-mounted, touchscreen LCD monitor. Elegance, precision and grace blended into one transport package, the 2005 Jaguar XJ Long Wheelbase. Jaguar, a keepsake of Ford, has added a little more flair to its tribe of kitties. An extra long line of XJ models falls into the lair: the XJ8 L, Vanden Plas and Super V8—all of which are artistically active. The standard XJ was launched in June 2003 with significant advances, such as its all-new aluminum frame. Aluminum is expensive, and expensive to repair, but it’s stronger and reduces precious pounds, thus improving performance and economy. The road performance of the XJ puts the Jag above the law, especially if you roll with the Super V8. It feels light and drives right, with lots of power. The base engine, found in the $63,494 XJ8 L and the $70,995 Vanden Plas, is the 4.2-liter, 294-horsepower AJ-V8. However, to compete effectively, you’ll need the Super V8’s supercharged 4.2-liter, 390-horsepower AJ-V8. That’s only 10 horses fewer than the new Corvette C6’s. Evidently, you’ll pay a bit more as well; it goes for $89,995.
2005 Saab 9-2X: So you need a new ride to fit your trendy yet polished nature? You want to go European import, right? And your budget is set south of $30,000? And most likely you need storage capacity? How about the new Saab 9-2X premium-compact sport wagon? Saab is banking that this mounting segment will pave the way for its Subaru Impreza-derived entrant. Say what? Japan and Sweden have worked out a product platform marriage? True indeed. The only difference is a Saaby front end, tauter suspension adjustments, a few upgraded interior accents and a couple of grand extra. As with the Impreza, the 9-2X is an all-wheel-drive vehicle—a first for Saab. Behind the wheel, the 9-2X is a fun-to-drive little wagon with a pretty solid Saab feeling. It’s a notch up from its Subaru playmate but not as firm as its older Saab cousins. We took very nervous turns at very nervous speeds while exploring the striking scenery of sunny San Diego. AWD added more self-assurance, as the 9-2X steadily maneuvered around the tightly bordered single-lane hills.
2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible: PT Cruiser mania continues with the introduction of a very attractive convertible model for ’05. Externally, it still pays homage to the 1930s, with a high hood, battering-ram bumper and a cross-matrix grille that resembles the mask of Darth Vader. Chrysler teased audiences with the ragtop at the 2001 N.Y. Auto Show. Says Jeff Bell, vice president, Chrysler/Jeep Marketing, “There’s only one way to top the original Chrysler PT Cruiser sedan and that’s by losing the top.” Chrysler sells 10,000-12,000 Cruiser sedans a month. The convertible will be a select model with an estimated 20,000 annual units to be sold. The base model, which includes power features, will go for $19,995, including a $590 destination charge. Chrysler does expect cross-shopping within the lineup.
2005 Nissan Pathfinder: Back in the day, if you sported a Nissan Pathfinder you were considered one of the urban elite. Today, the Pathfinder is competing against a gang of midsize S.U.V.’s ranging from the Jeep Cherokee to GMC’s Envoy. Any automaker that comes out with new models—especially S.U.V.’s—needs to up its game to compete effectively. Nissan has done just that with its latest Pathfinder, but not in the same light as urban and metropolitan consumers would expect. Its execution is geared toward campers, fishers, hikers and anyone else who swaps city life for trail life. Off-roading is where the Pathfinder showboats the most. Moreover, it does it very, very well. Its 4WD system (it’s also available in a 2WD model) and Rugged Trail BF Goodrich tires are the key ingredients. Nifty advancements like Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Hill Start Assist (HSA) enhance the cleverness with which the Path handles rough environments. For example, HDC is similar to autopilot. Take your foot off the gas and brake and the Pathfinder slowly creeps downward while you focus on steering and maneuvering. The most important component of all, however, is the Pathfinder’s “mean power of persuasion.” Its breath of life is ignited by a powerful 4.0-liter, 270-horsepower V6, unprecedented power in a six-cylinder S.U.V. (most fall between 200 and 250 horsepower).
2005 Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI: Aesthetically, it looks no different from the standard E320 you are used to seeing or driving. Inside you’ll find typical Benz nomenclature, with pure leather, 10-way power front seats, functional steering wheel and dash display; a multimedia station with an LCD screen is used to operate the audio, phone and optional navigation system. For safety, the “E” offers head protection curtain airbags, Electrohydraulic Braking System (ABC) and Electric Stability Control (ESP), which acts as the vehicle’s sixth sense. The only difference between the CDI (Common-rail Direct Injection) and the gas model E320 is the engine used to mobilize the vehicle. It’s a turbocharged 201-horsepower six-cylinder diesel. The CDI is quicker and more fuel efficient. In a Mercedes-sponsored media fuel economy challenge, Automotive Rhythms’ editor in chief, Brian Armstead, registered an astounding 45.7 mpg over a 110-mile course. The next closest competitor got 41.2 mpg. And this is a car that weighs more than two tons! Moreover, Benz diesels are renowned for their longevity and are not considered “broken in” until they reach 200,000 miles. Million-mile intervals before major rebuilds are not unheard of. In addition, today’s diesels are much, much cleaner than the clanking, sputtering affairs of the past. Expect to pay $49,075.
If you would like to read more urban automotive reviews, visit www.AutomotiveRhythms.com.