LR2 brings new life to Land Rover’s entry crossover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Land Rover products can function off road as well as anything on the planet.

We can say that with a modicum of authority because we experienced days of tough off-road terrain including places like Moab (Utah) in the Range Rover, the Sport and in the LR3 with a couple of days thrown in at one of Land Rover’s unique driving schools in Asheville, North Carolina.

Jeep Patriot — traditional Jeep values

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We agree that the Jeep Patriot properly equipped is the most adept of the growing number of compact crossover vehicles at handling off-road conditions.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited — more fun with two more doors

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

A door to the rear seats has made the king of off-roading a more family-oriented vehicle.

Last year the Jeep Wrangler was finally — after decades as a two-door — stretched into a four-door sport utility vehicle. Better to compete against the Hummer H3 and Nissan Xterra. The extra doors and the extra length have done nothing to detract from the truck's well-documented off-road prowess.

Jaguar XJR – an elegant sedan with sports car credentials

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Jaguar still makes exciting automobiles, curvaceous cats that leap under the power of 400-horsepower engines with hushed interiors that are lavished with rich leather and real wood.

Jaguars these days, however, are mostly worshiped from afar. They still turn heads, draw admiring glances and elicit conversation. But Jaguars do not bring prospective buyers into the showroom at a profitable pace.

Infiniti G37 – a fast and furious bargain

By Jim Meachen

The 2008 Infiniti G37 is a sports car for old and tired bodies. Bodies that now need a decent-sized driver’s seat and a good measure of right-side elbow room.

It’s a sports car that offers relatively easy entry and exit. No need to fall in or laboriously climb out. And that’s a wonderful attribute particularly after an afternoon of golf when the knees aren’t working quite up to their usual standards.

Honda Accord grows to exceed expectations

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Back in the summer of 1976 we were stopped at a rest area along Interstate 95 in southern Virginia when a new Honda Accord pulled into a parking spot.
It was a revelation because we had heard and read about the Accord and seen pictures of it in auto magazines, but it was our first sighting. We edged over for a closer look.

Ford Taurus X — a crossover that shouldn’t be overlooked

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Ford may be the owner of one of the best kept secrets in the automotive marketplace.

That’s not a good thing because it shows that Ford may be spending its advertising money in the wrong places, or perhaps just not spending enough on one of its really good products. If you’ve got something in showrooms that stands out, push it. Ballyhoo it. Shout it to the rafters, “…this is a great product! Please drive it! Take it home and live with it for 24 hours.”

Ford Taurus – under the badge all is good

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The truth be known some us think the car should have been named the Taurus 500 from the get-go. For those who remember the Fairlane/Fairlane 500 or the Galaxy/Galaxy 500 we knew that the 500 designation meant a step-up; real good stuff and better all-around. We didn’t quite know what Five Hundred stood for. Others think that Taurus is just old baggage. Then again some of us don’t think the name is going to make much difference. Really.

Ford Focus and Sync system is music to our ears

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

SEATTLE — The press introduction of the 2008 Ford Focus here was actually two introductions in one.

At the same time the compact car was revealed to journalists, Ford introduced an innovative wireless communication system called Sync, which launched in the Focus and has since begun to filter into the rest of the Ford-Mercury-Lincoln lineup.

Escape Hybrid — a better idea from Ford

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Here’s an automotive question that will probably stump most people. The answer may come as a surprise.

What automaker was first to the showroom with a hybrid sport utility vehicle? Aha. You’re wrong if you instinctively answered Toyota, the world’s most prolific hybrid builder.