Reviews

For vehicle review columns

Kia Soul — Delightfully quirky

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

More than a decade ago several sub-compact imports hit the marketplace defying classification. We called them boxes on wheels. The Honda Element and Scion xB in 2001 were among the first such vehicles to hit our shores followed by the Nissan Cube in 2009 and Kia Soul in 2010. They had charm and enormous interior space for their little size.

Ram 3500 — A massive workhorse

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Usually our time spent researching all aspects of a vehicle including test driving in all sorts of situations from heavy city traffic to winding mountain roads is a rewarding — and revealing — experience. But there are exceptions. One of those exceptions was piloting a 2019 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty dually with an eight-foot bed through crowded city streets and into restaurant and mall parking lots. It was a white knuckle experience.

Ford Edge ST — SUV performance

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

With sedans and coupes all but gone from the Ford lineup — Mustang being the lone exception — Ford's performance team has no choice but to work their magic on SUVs, crossovers and trucks. Meet the 2019 Ford Edge ST, which replaces the Sport in the Edge lineup, and becomes the first ST-tuned Ford crossover. This is one very fast — for a mainstream crossover — vehicle, but it falls short if you are looking for a true replacement for ST-tuned cars.

VW Jetta GLI — Sports sedan on a budget

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Traditional sedans have been caught up in a massive avalanche of crossover SUV sales that threaten to all but eliminate the conventional passenger car from the North American marketplace. But take heart sedan lovers, there are still some very interesting and pleasing choices available if you look in the right places.

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.

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.

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.