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Ramble On – Daily Driven

Ramble On

May 24, 2018
Photographers: Brett T. Evans
Time for a shameless plug from yours truly!
Truck Trend is about to introduce a new article format called “Daily Driven.” Eager to expand our website’s in-depth coverage of new trucks, SUVs, and crossovers, Editor-in-Chief Jason Gonderman and I decided to start daily-driving as many vehicles as we could, borrowing them for a week or so to get a better idea of how they work in the real world.
By the time you read this, the first two or three “Daily Driven” articles should be online, found at http://trucktrend.com/truck-reviews along with our normal allotment of first drives and long-term tests. If you’re wondering about the difference between these types of articles, I’ll sum up. First drives are hosted by automakers, usually in a unique location, and we usually get about eight hours of drive time—enough to get some solid impressions, but not to really appreciate a vehicle’s strengths or weaknesses. For long-term tests, automakers provide us with a vehicle for a year, giving us a great opportunity to really experience it in a variety of conditions, including long road trips, camping, and the like. “Daily Driven” splits the difference between the two, giving a week or more with a vehicle to be used primarily as an errand-runner and commuter to and from the office.
Photo 2/4   |   Thus far, “Daily Driven” has given your author three very different takes on modern SUVs. The compact Nissan Rogue Sport offered impressive versatility for such a small machine, sacrificing some driving fun for its inexpensive competence. Meanwhile, the ultramodern Range Rover Velar surprised us with its responsive diesel engine and stellar styling, but its confusing infotainment system was the subject of many gripes. The $105,000 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum came with plenty of road presence, a growling V-8, and space to spare—at the expense of parkability and fuel economy.
Photo 3/4   |   Ramble On Range Rover
Photo 4/4   |   Ramble On Cadillac
“Daily Driven” might not necessarily be a comprehensive test of a vehicle’s abilities, as our busy schedules don’t always allow us to take an SUV off-roading or to load up a pickup box with cargo. Rather, it’s a good indication of how 90 percent of us use our pickups and SUVs: as grocery-getters, kid-haulers, and occasional conveyances to weekend activities. And since most of “Daily Driven” takes place in traffic-clogged Los Angeles, it’s a good torture test for a vehicle’s efficiency, creature comforts, and user-friendliness.
So far, I’ve come away from the vehicles I’ve tested with an impression of competence. It’s amazing how almost every modern vehicle is generally good, with secure handling, reasonable acceleration, and comfort, even in the least expensive segments. In fact, most of my personal grievances relating to the machines I’ve tested so far lie in unnecessarily distracting infotainment systems. Surely, there must be a solution that allows us to take our modern lives on the go without sacrificing ergonomics or distracting us from driving tasks.
Go give a few “Daily Driven” reviews a read, and if you have any suggestions, let us know! I hope you find them informative and relevant, but if there’s something specific you’d like to see, I’m all ears!