2019

Volvo V60 — Stylish and safe transportation

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The sedan is going away, the victim of low sales in this new era of the sport utility crossover. For those of us who see some advantages in the higher-riding crossover including more cargo hauling capability, but prefer the comfort, handling, and styling of a good sedan there is an alternative and it’s called the wagon.

Hyundai Tucson — Meaningful upgrades

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

As Hyundai revamps its SUV lineup with the introduction of the award-winning subcompact Kona and a complete redesign of the mid-sized Santa Fe, we are happy to report that the likable — and extremely useable — Tucson compact hasn't been left out of the company's upgrade picture.

2019 Mercedes E53



PHOENIX — Please excuse my being didactic, but to fully appreciate the 2019 Mercedes E53 coupe, it will help the reader to have a modicum of high-performance automotive knowledge, and an interest that goes beyond getting from point A to point B with a reasonable amount of gas and least amount of trouble-free driving.

Mazda CX-9 — At the top of its class

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Mazda introduced its second-generation three-row CX-9 crossover at just the right time in 2016 as the SUV market was exploding, and over the past four years it has performed quite well holding its own against the increasingly more sophisticated competition. Mazda's remake of the CX-9 in 2016 was startlingly good pushing the three-row crossover to the top of its class in terms of most things a buyer wants — three useable rows of seats, a healthy and fuel-efficient engine, a high-quality interior loaded with technology, the latest in safety equipment, an engaging driving experience, and styling that will turn heads.

Lexus UX — Luxury in a small package

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Small is now big in the ever-growing crossover game and that's just fine with us. We have always been drawn to small, maneuverable vehicles so it’s not surprising we are attracted to Lexus' new sub-compact entry into the luxury crossover segment — the UX. UX standing for "urban crossover."

Lexus ES 300h — Luxury and fuel efficiency

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Most luxury hybrid sedans and crossovers are of the high-performance variety — combining a potent gas engine with a couple of electric motors to create scads of horsepower, instant torque and enviable acceleration while at the same time slightly elevating miles per gallon. Lexus has taken a different tack with its all-new 2019 ES 300h hybrid sedan opting for optimal gas mileage (43 mpg city, 45 highway and 44 combined using regular gas) at the expense of neck-snapping performance.

2019 Fiat 500 Abarth



GOLDSBORO, N.C. — There was an outcry from some driving enthusiasts when Fiat decided to outfit the performance-oriented 500 Abarth with a six-speed automatic transmission for the 2015 model year. The Abarth, according to these enthusiasts, properly started life in 2012 with a five-speed manual transmission. The problem for Fiat — most people favor automatics these days and Fiat needed to listen to the masses for increased sales.

Subaru Forester — Safe and reliable

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We've liked the small Subaru Forester crossover SUV since its inception in 1998 — although two decades ago it was more a high-riding station wagon with all-wheel drive than a SUV — and nothing about the vehicle up to the current all-new fifth-generation model has altered our opinion.

2019 Toyota RAV4



CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. — Toyota has taken its best-selling compact RAV4 crossover up a notch — perhaps two notches depending on your definition of a notch — with its all-new fifth generation. After experiencing several varieties of the stylish new RAV on Pacific coast highways and mountain roads, we think Toyota has done enough to keep its prized vehicle at the head of the class.

2019 Ford Edge ST



INDIANAPOLIS — Ford had a really good idea back in 1989.  It commissioned Yamaha to conjure a high-revving V6 engine for what became the Taurus SHO, a sport sedan that could take the family to church, and afterwards, kick dad and mom into twisty two-lane backroads for a very spirited Sunday drive.
Through generations, the SHO gained a bigger V6, small V8, and finally, a twin-turbo V6 in today’s iteration.  Well, sedans are quickly going out in favor of crossovers.  No worries because Ford is already building a better SHO, the 2019 Ford Edge ST.