2019

Toyota RAV4 — Compact CUV reinvented

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Many things have changed in the two decades plus since that initial RAV4, not least the RAV4 itself, which enters its fifth generation with the 2019 model. It reinvents itself with a bigger, more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine; a more rugged appearance especially with the Adventure trim level; more driver assist technology; and with a new hybrid powertrain that feels quicker than the gas-only version.

Hyundai Veloster N — Affordable performance

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We liked the all-new 2019 Hyundai Veloster when we tested it a few months back with its upgraded styling inside and out, sport-tuned suspension, a larger cargo area than the previous iteration, and a very healthy 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. And now we are pleased to report that Hyundai has taken it up another notch becoming the first American car to get the company's performance N treatment.

2019 Audi S5 Sportback



INDIANAPOLIS — I fly way too much, but sometimes the destination can be reached by car — preferably a very fast and comfortable one.  It’s a great challenge.  Which car to drive?  A large luxury SUV would be great, but they’re not fun fast.  A sports car is fast, but not very comfortable.  Coupes can be comfy and fast, but aren’t very practical.  So, I settled for a top flight “five door coupe.” 

Lincoln Nautilus — Improving on the MKX

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Lincoln has decided to scrap its decade-old decision to slap letters on most of its vehicles, which has been confusing since the day we heard the short-lived mid-sized Zephyr sedan was going to become the MKZ. Fortunately, the former mid-sized MKX crossover has been redesigned for 2019 and becomes the Nautilus.

McLaren 720S — Pinnacle of performance

By Jim Meachen

A few numbers will help explain exactly what the 2019 McLaren 720S supercar is all about. Astounding but true — 0-to-60 mph, 2.7 seconds; 1/4-mile, 10.2 seconds at 145 mph; 0-to-100, 5.4 seconds; and 0-to-180 mph, 17 seconds.

Hyundai Santa Fe — Crossover excellence

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Hyundai has proven it knows how to build a good crossover sport utility vehicle, and it now has a solid lineup for any family need. The 2019’s include the award-winning subcompact Kona to go along with the recently updated compact Tucson, an all-new larger compact Santa Fe, and a stretched three-row version — the Santa Fe XL, and the all-new and upcoming mid-sized eight-passenger Palisade. And we think within a year or two the Santa Fe XL may go away with the arrival of the larger Palisade.

2019 Nissan LEAF PLUS



PHOENIX — Nissan first debuted its all-electric LEAF in 2010. It quickly became the best-selling electric vehicle in the world, with more that 400,000 sold since that time. However, given the recent success of the more advanced Tesla Model 3, that distinction may not hold up for much longer. When Nissan introduced its second-generation LEAF for 2018 with a new 150-mile driving range — up from the first generation’s 107 miles — Chevrolet had already announced the game-changing Bolt with its breakthrough 238 miles.

Chevrolet Blazer — Old name, new style

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Blazer is a storied name in Chevrolet history going back to 1969 when it entered the scene as a full-sized two-door SUV with a removable top. It was later renamed the Tahoe. The S-10 Blazer was introduced in 1983 based on the compact body-on-frame Chevrolet S10 pickup truck. It became a larger model in 2001 renamed the TrailBlazer before being discontinued in 2009.

Buick Regal TourX — A modern wagon

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Buick once made the large station wagon a staple of the American highways before it went out of style in favor of minivans and then crossover SUVs. But if you like the utility of a crossover, but still yearn for a sedan-like vehicle, than the modern mid-sized station wagon might be the answer, and Buick might just have your number with its new Regal TourX.

Chevy Silverado — Big pickup evolution

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Pickup trucks are the best-selling vehicles in America and the cash cow of the Big Three American truck builders, so when blueprinting an all-new truck, it behooves designers and engineers to be very wary of making a gigantic mistake. In this vein, Chevrolet took what we consider the safe route in creating the new Silverado — completely upgrading the truck with a new body and frame, 20-percent more cargo space, 14-percent heavier payload capacity, and 5-percent greater towing capacity, yet keeping things truck-guy friendly from the exterior to the interior with one glaring exception.