Reviews

For vehicle review columns

Mazda6 — Taking it up a notch

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Prior to the 2018 refresh, the Mazda6 came with only one engine choice, a first-rate 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Today’s base engine gets cylinder deactivation for 2018†that improves fuel economy now measured at 27 mpg city, 36 highway and 29 overall. It's capable of 0-to-60 in just a tick over 7 seconds and a quarter mile time of 15.5 seconds.

Nissan Kicks — A pleasing personality

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Nissan has joined the rapidly expanding subcompact crossover SUV segment with a stylish, easy-to-like and relatively inexpensive vehicle with a rather unique name. We found the 2018 Kicks enjoyable to drive, comfortable all-around and with a host of amenities including an excellent-sounding eight-speaker Bose audio system in top-level SR trim that can be purchased for about 22 grand.

Hyundai Veloster — Affordable and fun to drive

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The quirky Hyundai Veloster entered the market as a 2012 model with a rather anemic 132-horsepower engine, but a very useable "hidden" third door on the passenger side to eliminate the pain of getting in and out of the back seat of a small two-door. The three-door configuration has become the car's signature styling element.

Ford Mustang GT — The muscle car lives

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

In about a year the iconic Mustang will be the last car standing at Ford Motor Company. The entire fleet of coupe and sedans is scheduled to be terminated in the U.S. in favor of the current popular flavor — crossover SUVs and light trucks. Lucky for Mustang fans — and sports car enthusiasts — the current pony car is enjoying worldwide success or it would have probably been on the chopping block as well.

Buick Envision — Quality crossover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Every automotive brand these days needs a full range of crossovers to fully compete with rivals. For more than a decade the resurgent Buick brand enjoyed robust sales with its near-full-sized Enclave. In 2013 it added the diminutive Encore — to rousing success. And to round out its lineup Buick introduced the compact Envision in 2016. For 2019, the Envision has been refreshed with added torque to its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, a new 9-speed automatic transmission and front and rear restyling.

Toyota RAV4 — Driving a best-seller

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 represents the fourth generation's sixth and final year since it was completely redesigned for 2013. The current edition has received enhancements over the years with a major freshening in 2016, adding extra safety features and updating technology, but it's largely the same utility-focused vehicle it has been since its inception.

Ford EcoSport — Driving small

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The 2018 Ford EcoSport is misnamed — it's not particularly economical and it isn't exceptionally sporty. But the sub-compact crossover, which entered the U.S. market this year — several years after being introduced in Europe — has a lot going for it in a growing and competitive segment. And it plugs a hole in Ford's ever-expanding crossover SUV lineup after the company announced it was casting off its passenger cars.

Volkswagen Golf R is a true 'pocket rocket'

By David Finkelstein

Even if you're just an occasional "motor head", I suspect that you've heard the term, "pocket rocket!" To define the term, it generally describes a sub compact, or similar size automobile with a higher level of performance being generated from the car's engine. That said, Volkswagen is wanting to draw your attention towards their 2018 Golf R Model.

Volkswagen Passat GT — A performance bargain

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

If the 2018 Volkswagen Passat looks totally familiar, that's because it has been around since 2012 with basically the same look, only refreshed in 2015. Most rival mid-sized sedans have been redesigned at least once since that time.

Toyota Corolla Hatchback — A pleasant surprise

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Toyota has sold more than 10 million Corolla compact cars over the years, bringing peace of mind to countless families — reliable transportation that in addition to dependability offers excellent gas mileage and above average resale value. But for the most part Corollas have been as exciting as — well, let's say, the kitchen refrigerator.