2017 Smart electric drive

MIAMI — I’m in Miami’s South Beach for the media launch of Smart’s latest and much improved third generation EV. My driving partner and I are drawing a fair amount of attention as we make our way to the comically tiny red and black car we’ll be evaluating. The stares, jokes and wisecracks are coming from my fellow auto journalists who want to watch my 6’-6” frame — along with my drive partner at 6’-4” — gyrate, pirouette as we attempt to enter the vehicle.

Nissan Sentra — Now with optional turbocharged engine

By David Finkelstein

The Nissan Sentra compact four door sedan has been an admired vehicle among consumers worldwide for some 35-years. It's been the company's third best-selling vehicle — directly behind the Altima mid-sized sedan and Rogue crossover. For the 2017 model year, the five passenger compact is now manufactured in it's seventh generation. To help celebrate this milestone, the car is offered in 2017 in a new SR Turbo version.

2017 Audi S3

PHOENIX — The Audi A3 sedan arrived on the U.S. automotive scene a couple of years ago as the entry-level vehicle for the brand. Since then, Audi has launched Audi 3 versions in convertible, plug-in hybrid Sportback e-tron, and the high-performance S3 sedan tested here. Think of it as a smaller version of the popular Audi A4. 

Nissan Titan XD — Just the right size

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

At the turn of the century Nissan decided to enter the lucrative full-sized pickup truck market dominated for an eternity — or so it seemed — by the U.S. big three — Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado and Dodge Ram. Nissan figured even a small piece of this giant pie could yield big returns. The Titan, introduced as a 2004 model, featured aggressive good looks, some neat standard equipment, a base 5.6-liter 317-horsepower V-8, and four doors.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

LOS ANGELES — Nearly 35 years after Chrysler introduced the original minivan, it again plots revolution. It’s only after a full day of driving the Pacifica Hybrid down California’s Pacific Coast Highway, through the canyons around Malibu and Hollywood, and on open Interstate does the significance of this van develop. It will shake the segment to its core.

Honda Accord Hybrid — The best of the best

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It's the best of times for people shopping mid-sized family sedans. They have a wealth of choices. In fact, it's hard to go wrong when finally reaching a decision with worthy candidates from virtually every manufacturer selling cars in the United States. All of them have numerous redeeming traits. That makes build quality, reliability and resale value even more important, and Honda has excelled with the Accord.

GMC Acadia — Now in a tidier package

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It was going to be a week of hauling out-of-town visitors so we were in need of a vehicle that could on occasion carry as many as six passengers. When we heard that our automotive supplier had scheduled a GMC Acadia, we were happy and relieved — until we discovered that GMC had downsized the all-new 2017 Acadia — the first complete makeover of the vehicle since its introduction in 2007 — from a near full-sized crossover to more of a standard mid-size CUV.

Jeep Cherokee Overland — Getting it all

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The Cherokee has become the best-selling nameplate in the Jeep stable of sport utilities and crossovers accounting for more than 200,000 units sold each year since its introduction in 2014. So it is no surprise that Jeep has created a high-end model with virtually every available option for those customers who don't want to give up their very capable and stylish ride, but who yearn for a touch of luxury and the latest in technology, safety and infotainment features.

Ford Escape —Popular crossover updated

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Maintaining a fresh look and keeping up with the latest in technology and equipment is imperative in the exploding small crossover segment, and for 2017 Ford has freshened its popular Escape with revised exterior styling, a newly available 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and an improved infotainment experience with the availability of the SYNC3 system. In addition, several safety features have been added.

2017 Subaru Outback

PHOENIX — I’ve always thought the Subaru Outback to be the Centaur of vehicles. It didn’t start out that way when it was first introduced back in 1995 and marketed as a Legacy Grand Wagon in Japan. That was long before the crossover utility vehicle craze came on the automotive scene. Through the years Outback has morphed larger, away from a station wagon and in the direction of a crossover utility vehicle.