2019

Jeep Cherokee — An off-road champion

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It must be frustrating for people who have decided to purchase their first compact crossover when they discover the plethora of vehicles in the segment. Price, performance, tech and safety features, expert ratings, passenger and cargo room, reliability, resale value, and overall styling must all be taken into consideration.

BMW M850i convertible — Automotive nirvana

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Heads turn as you cruise by, top down, in the curvaceous 2019 BMW M850i convertible with its muscular haunches and sleek lines sitting on beautiful 20-inch wheels. It's hard to conceive that it gets any better than this in style, comfort and performance. We think it’s reaching automotive nirvana. The 850i is the epitome of modern BMW DNA styling starting with the slightly larger, familiar kidney-shaped grille and imposing air intakes up front and continuing to the sculpted LED taillight clusters in the rear.

Nissan Leaf Plus — More range, less anxiety

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Range and price may not be everything, but those components are usually the most important for electric vehicle (EV) buyers. When Nissan released its second generation Leaf in 2018 with a 150-mile range it was immediately at a disadvantage to such new entrants as the Chevrolet Bolt, which came in at 238 miles.


Nissan hustled to rectify its miscalculations introducing a 2019 Leaf Plus with a bigger battery and up to 226 miles range on a single charge. Along with the extra range comes more horsepower and better performance. It's a satisfying recipe for the world's most popular EV, which hit 400,000 sales worldwide a few months ago.

Maserati Quattroporte — Unique Italian style

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The Maserati Quattroporte gives buyers of big luxury sedans a clear option. Instead of conservative Germanic luxury or Japanese-style craftsmanship, one can opt for dramatic Italian flair, a sumptuous cabin, agile handling, and blinding performance.

Ford F-250 Super Duty — Diesel muscle

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We secured a 2019 Ford F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab mainly to test the prodigious 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel engine. It came in a luxurious Limited top-trim package that left us at the outset concentrating more on the elegant interior than Ford's diesel setup with its 3,760-pound payload capability and 21,000-pound conventional towing capacity.

Honda HR-V — Refreshed for 2019

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Honda introduced its HR-V small crossover in 2016 into a rapidly growing segment. It came with a thoughtful interior layout that accommodated four adult passengers and 23 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seats, as well as excellent fuel efficiency. The crossover-buying public quickly warmed up to the HR-V and it has become one of the bestselling vehicles in the segment.

Fiat 500X — Functionality with personality

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The Fiat 500X small crossover was given a few nearly invisible styling tweaks for its 2019 model year freshening — a rather weak recipe for adding some new life to the cute little sub-compact that started life in the U.S. in 2016 on the Jeep Renegade platform. But wait, there's more.

BMW M5 — The pinnacle of sports sedans

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Being behind the wheel of the 2019 BMW M5 Competition had us in awe of its massive performance. It was a never-ending source of brute force with driving and handling proficiency in spades. The M5 is the ultimate companion for someone who is addicted to power, but needs comfortable room for four adults, a suitable commuter car, and a long-haul vacation vehicle.

Ford Mustang GT — A modern pony car

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The iconic Mustang is the last car standing at Ford Motor Company as the entire fleet of coupe and sedans has been terminated in the U.S. in favor of the current popular flavor — crossover/SUV and light truck. Lucky for Mustang fans — and sports car enthusiasts — the current pony car is enjoying worldwide success or it might have been on the chopping block as well.

Honda Passport — Quick and capable

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

If you like the Honda Pilot crossover, but don't have a need for a third-row seat, then Honda has just the vehicle for you. It has brought the Passport name out of mothballs making the new 2019 crossover essentially a smaller Pilot with the same healthy V-6 engine, but sans the seat.