Mazda6 – plenty of Zoom and room

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

A mid-sized family sedan needs comfortable passenger space to make it a first-class player in an extremely competitive segment.

One of the main objectives in purchasing an Accord, Camry, Malibu, Altima, Sonata or Fusion is hauling people. Accommodations for shoulders, legs and feet need to be more than adequate.

MKS brings Lincoln back to competitive luxury

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

While Cadillac successfully reinvented itself over the past half dozen years into a world-class luxury segment player, its long-time American rival Lincoln has languished. Just a couple years ago it was alarmingly close to the endangered species list

Parent Ford Motor Company over the past couple of decades has let its once vaunted luxury brand slowly sink into obscurity with a paucity of new and desirable products.

Kia Borrego – a big brute in brutish times

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Ten years ago we would have been singing the praises of the new Kia Borrego, a body-on-frame mid-sized sport utility vehicle. Not that we aren’t going to do a little singing today, but there’s no chance our song will make the Top 40 or that the following review will be relevant for many current SUV/crossover shoppers what with the sagging economy and the tumultuous gasoline price situation.

Jaguar XF – raising the luxury bar

By Ted Biederman and Jim Meachen

Slide into the plush driver’s seat of the all-new Jaguar XF sedan and push the pulsating red starter button. Magical things occur.

A large gear selector knob rises from a flush position in the center console. It's called the JaguarDrive Selector. As you marvel at this bit of trickery, you notice that hidden air vents for the climate control system are rotating into an open position.

Infiniti G37 Coupe — Raucous fun

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We’ve got a friend who once was a BMW addict. He broke his addiction after three straight BMW purchases over 10 years, not because he tired of BMW, but because his driving needs changed. For several years after his last Bimmer, he spoke of BMW in hushed, reverent tones. BMW was the standard by which he measured all motorized objects.

Hyundai Elantra — Today a practical award winner

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It came as no surprise to us when we saw that the Hyundai Elantra won the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 award for highest initial quality in the compact car segment. Elantra owners, who were surveyed by J.D. Power, reported fewer problems with their vehicles than any other in the segment.

What does this mean? It means Elantra owners were more satisfied with their cars in the first weeks of ownership than owners of such vaunted and valued nameplates as Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Ford Focus.

Hyundai Sonata – now playing with the big boys

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Hyundai has a reputation for mimicking the best of the competition. The South Korean auto company has unabashedly over the years purloined the best designs of competitor’s cars and incorporated them into its products.

It has done such a good copycat job over the past couple of decades that some of its newest entries are now leapfrogging the competition and have become better in many respects than comparable models from Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Chevrolet.

Hyundai Genesis – value laden luxury

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Hyundai’s new foray into the luxury car market is eerily reminiscent of the Japanese — and specifically Toyota’s — entry into BMW and Mercedes territory more than 20 years ago.

Toyota, builder of small, fuel-efficient bargain-basement cars in the ’70s and ’80s, announced a new luxury nameplate in 1987 to the snickers of European and American manufacturers.

Well, as we all know today, the joke was on BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Cadillac and Lincoln.