2017 Toyota Prius Prime

OJAI, California — When it comes to pioneering vehicles that get exceptional fuel economy no one would argue that Toyota is the world’s leader with over 25 years of alternative fuel vehicles under its belt. Offered products include gas-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid and even a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in a few select markets.

Chevrolet Volt — Best of both worlds

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The key number for the new 2017 Chevrolet Volt is 53. Although the number 53 is only the beginning of the story for the second-generation plug-in hybrid, it is extremely important, especially if gas prices start heading north again. Fifty-three is the remarkable number of miles the new compact Volt can be driven in all-electric mode according to EPA measurements. That's an incredible number even in this age where 20-to-30-mile electric range on plug-in hybrids is the new norm.

Acura MDX — Meeting all crossover needs

By David Finkelstein

With the introduction of the heavily refreshed 2017 Acura MDX three-row SUV, you'll discover a luxury vehicle that will likely meet all of your motoring and people moving needs on many fronts. With it's large window glass, dominant greenhouse and commanding view of the road from the drivers seat, it helps to give you an overwhelming field of vision of the road ahead.

2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo

LAKE OCONEE, Ga. — An engine doesn’t necessarily make a car, but it can certainly give it swagger.  Take the Nissan Sentra for example.  Earlier this summer, I tested the Sentra and liked it very much.  But, when Nissan mentioned shoving the Juke’s turbocharged engine under the hood, stiffening the suspension, quickening the steering, and sporting out its exterior, I was ready for a drive.  At the recent Rogue and Rogue Hybrid preview in Georgia, I had my chance.

2017 VW Golf Alltrack

SEATTLE — It may or may not come as a surprise to you but the popularity of the traditional family sedan is dying with demand at a five-year low. That’s even as we are in the midst of one of the U.S. auto industry’s best sales years ever following up on last year’s record pace. Vehicles in this segment include the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and others.

Chrysler Pacifica — A truly modern minivan

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Chrysler made the right decision in abandoning the minivan names that have adorned their groundbreaking vehicles for more than 30 years. It was the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country (along with the long-departed Plymouth Voyager) that gave families a new way to travel in the mid-eighties, ushering in a segment that at its peak sold more than a million units a year.

2017 Audi Q7

PHOENIX — The original Audi Q7 SUV has been around since 2007, when it was introduced to compete with Mercedes-Benz GLS, BMW X5 and Volvo XC90. But sales never approached those of the Mercedes or BMW offerings.  For 2017 Audi has completely redesigned the Q7. In the process, it shed some 474 pounds, an unusually huge amount for any vehicle.

Fiat 124 Spider — Open-air thrills for under 30-grand

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

There's more roadster fun available at an affordable price than at any time in the last two-decades. You can still pay great gobs of cash for open-air nameplates from BMW, Mercedes and Nissan. But now, with the introduction of the Fiat 124 Spider to go head-to-head with the Mazda MX-5, those with budget limitations have another choice — a choice with pleasing Italian style — in picking an open-air thrill machine.

Kia Sportage — A commendable remake

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Kia this spring introduced an all-new 2017 Sportage, the fourth generation of the longest running compact crossover nameplate. Although the Sportage is built in Korea, it was designed in Kia's Frankfurt studio under the watchful eye of Peter Schreyer who worked for Audi several years ago. And it comes at just the right time for the surging Kia brand because the compact crossover segment is exploding in popularity, outperforming the more traditional sedans in the segment.

Honda Ridgeline — A uniquely capable pickup

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It was a week of welcome solitude and pleasing noise. We were living with the second-generation Honda Ridgeline. The solitude came from the impressively quiet interior of the new mid-sized truck, and the noise — if you can describe Tom Petty belting out "Free Falling" as noise — came from the 2017 Ridgeline's unique pickup bed that can liven up any tailgate party.