Reviews

For vehicle review columns

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.

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.

Nissan Maxima — A solid value

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

While sedans are a dying breed, the victim of crossover SUV popularity, it appears Nissan is bucking the trend, continuing to invest in its stable of sedans with updated and refreshed models up and down the lineup. The near-full-sized Maxima is a prime example, the object of a mid-cycle freshening for 2019.

Mercedes GLE 450 — Hey Mercedes, you rule!

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Many people have come to rely on Amazon's Alexia in the home for instant information and to accomplish household functions. Mercedes Benz has one-upped Alexia and iPhone's Siri with its "Hey, Mercedes" voice command on the new MBUX information system now being equipped on its new cars and SUVs, including the new fourth-generation 2020 GLE 450 sport utility we tested.

Lexus NX 300 — Popular luxury crossover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Even though the compact Lexus NX crossover has remained mostly the same since its inception for the 2015 model year — with some freshening including styling tweaks in 2018 — its sales have steadily grown each year not only pointing out the popularity of the NX, but reflecting the exploding compact luxury crossover segment.

Cadillac XT4 — Charming small crossover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Many luxury brands offer a full range of crossover sport utility vehicles to meet the needs of virtually every customer. BMW has so many variants it's hard to keep track of the number. On the other hand, Cadillac is woefully lacking a comprehensive crossover lineup, but plans to rectify its dearth of SUVs with an onslaught of new product over the next few years. The first has reached showrooms in the form of the compact XT4 and it's a good place to start because the small luxury crossover segment is one of the hottest in the business.

Honda Accord Hybrid — No compromise frugality

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Moving forward in this age of electrification it seems the hybrid — vehicles with both an electric motor and a gas engine — are becoming the preferred method of transportation until all-electric becomes more viable for all driving conditions. The good news is there's a hybrid variant of many crossover SUVs and sedans offering all the attributes of the gas-engine models.

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.