2018

2018 Honda Odyssey — the minivan reimagined



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It's no secret that the traditional minivan is considerably more proficient at carrying passengers and cargo than the more popular crossover SUV. But practicality is not a persuasive argument for ditching the crossover in favor of a minivan for most families in the second decade of the 21st Century.

2018 Infiniti Q50



PHOENIX — The Q50 Infiniti’s best-selling sedan gets a mid-cycle refresh for 2018. That means, rather than a complete redo, there’s tweaking to the front and rear fascia, modest changes to the interior as well as innovative technologies designed to support the driving experience. One would have to park the outgoing 2017 Q50 next to the refreshed 2018 to discern the difference, visually. Up front, there are new lower air intakes, a modestly reshaped front bumper, and a grille that’s a bit more dimensional.

Subaru Crosstrek — Solid advancement

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

When the Crosstrek was introduced as a 2013 model we wondered if there was room in the Subaru lineup for another crossover practically the same size as the award-winning Forester, which had been on the market since 1998. We asked, how could Subaru support two nearly identically sized compact crossovers?

2018 Mercedes E400 Coupe



INDIANAPOLIS — There’s nothing wrong with owning a Mercedes E-Class sedan.  They’re very respectable, undeniably responsible luxury cars for the respectable and undeniably responsible.   But, chop off two doors, lower the roofline and suddenly you’re wearing a red dress.  Going back to the 1970s, E-Class coupes have been some of the most desirable and timeless cars to dance out of Germany.  The 2018 E400 is especially ravishing.

Hyundai Elantra GT — Stylish transportation

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

For years small-car hatchbacks were out of favor in the U.S., but things have changed in recent times due in part to the need for the extra cargo space inherent in the so-called five-door vehicles and perhaps even more, because of the modern, stylish designs that in many cases have made the hatchback more pleasing to gaze upon than its sedan counterpart.

Mazda CX-3 — Meeting the needs of active lifestyles

By David Finkelstein

Premium features will likely be one of the major driving forces to attract subcompact crossover SUV buyers to the 2018 Mazda CX-3. It’s a vehicle designed to meet the needs of a new generation of car buyers. The CX-3 shares the same quality and award winning attributes of other Mazda vehicles in their product mix.

Volkswagen Atlas — Family friendly

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

As sales of crossover SUVs exploded, Volkswagen continued to fall behind with just two entries, the slow-selling compact Tiguan and the larger and expensive Touraeg. The two European-style crossovers are highly regarded as well-made vehicles, but have not resonated with the car-buying public. Enter the spacious mid-sized Atlas that gives the German company its first eight-passenger SUV in the U.S.

2018 Dodge Durango SRT



PHOENIX — Dodge is the last automotive brand that has remained committed to building true muscle cars. Some will argue that Chevrolet has the Camaro and Corvette, and Ford the Mustang, but nobody does high-performance better or on a wider scale than Dodge. Dodge already does Challengers with up to 840-horsepower with its human-hauling rocket sled Demon, and 707-horsepower Hellcats in a choice of either a Challenger coupe or a four-door Dodge Charger, that’s popular as a cop car.

Lexus LC 500 — Luxury eye candy

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It's been nearly eight years since Lexus pulled the plug on the aging SC 430 hardtop convertible coupe. Now Lexus is back in the high-end mid-sized coupe business stronger than ever with a head-turning and heart-pounding entry — the 2018 LC 500. It combines luxury craftsmanship with outstanding performance and ultra-modern styling.

Kia Rio — Subcompact sophistication

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Over the years the Kia Rio has conjured up images of a very entry-level car that relates to first-time buyers, struggling college students, families seeking basic transportation in a second run-around-town car, and the budget side of rental fleets. This perception — while not completely on target — pretty much nailed the little subcompact.