Pontiac Vibe – a stylish compact adventurer

By Ted Biederman and Jim Meachen

Our 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT test car may be the only one in existence that has spent a day visiting neglected graveyards in search of family ancestors.

It was a comfortable way to go cemetery hunting.

Nissan Maxima — A stylish and sporty flagship

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The 2009 Maxima may be the most stylish family sedan that Nissan designers have ever penned. Sitting on a front porch swing sipping a cold lemonade on a hot late spring weekend afternoon gave us the opportunity to study at great length the Maxima, parked in profile at the curb. As we enjoyed the cool sweet bitterness of homemade lemonade, we drank in the Maxima’s beauty.

Nissan Rogue shows well in the small crossover race

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Nissan for years has featured SUVs in its lineup. It was an early provider of sport utility vehicles, not a latecomer as were some of its Japanese and European counterparts.

Nissan Murano – solid fun but with a face only a mother could love

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Nissan Murano’s grinning grille has turned into a toothy skeletal scowl for
2009 and we think it’s one of the most unusual front-end designs in the business.

Unfortunately, people who are so turned off by the gap-toothed grin that they easily dismiss the Murano from their purchasing consideration. That’s unfortunate because we think they are going to miss out on what is one of the best mid-sized crossover sport utilities in a rapidly growing segment.

Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart – satisfying the entire family

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Automotive choices have never been as extensive as they are in the 2009 model year. 
Despite the severe economic downturn there’s virtually something for every driving need and every budget.

We say this after spending the better part of two weeks behind the wheel of a 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart.

Mini Cooper convertible — always in the sunshine

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It’s a tale of two cities. 

Mercury Mariner Hybrid – going green gets better

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We were intrigued during a visit to New York City by the large number of Ford Escape Hybrid taxis plying the streets of Manhattan.

Makes sense when you figure hybrids are at their best in slow stop and go traffic. The gas engine remains at rest much of the time. And a small SUV that will comfortably hold as many passengers and as much luggage as a big Crown Vic while deriving as much as 10 more miles to the gallon is a smart move.

Mazda RX-8 gets super macho with R3 package

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Owners have had a love affair with the Mazda RX-8 since it first left showrooms as a 2004 model. Venture out onto the Worldwide Web and you will discover — despite assorted documented troubles and less than stellar gas mileage — that owners have very few unkind words.

Seldom have we researched such loyalty over a car even as people admit to problems.
It seems with a smile on their face and a song in their heart they take their quirky four-door rotary engine sports car in for repairs.