Reviews

For vehicle review columns

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.

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.

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.

Ram 1500 — Pickup truck perfection

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Over the years the pickup truck has evolved from a work vehicle into mainstream family lifestyle transportation. The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 is the culmination of that trend offering a high-quality, luxury-infused people hauler while retaining a rugged no-nonsense work ethic that performs quite well at worksites across the country.

Toyota Avalon Hybrid — The frugal way to drive big

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

There's still a market for large comfortable mainstream sedans with stretch-out room for adults, a pleasant ride, quiet interior, decent gas mileage, and acceptable performance. But it's becoming harder to find these cars, which not long ago existed on every manufacturer's new-car lot. One of the best remaining sedans is the Toyota Avalon that was redesigned for the 2018 model year. It's a handsome vehicle with most of the creature comforts and safety technology available today.

Kia Forte — Compact sedan perfection

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The all-new Kia Forte makes a big statement — the sedan is not dead yet. With the compact Forte and its good looks, pleasing driving demeanor, and more available features than some entry level luxury cars, we see hope for a sedan revival. Kia appears to be a car company that has not relegated its sedans to second-rate status in favor of crossovers.

Buick Encore — Driving small in style

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We were skeptical when Buick introduced the 2013 Encore mini-crossover. We openly wondered if such a diminutive vehicle — even in the exploding small entry-level luxury crossover segment — would go over with the Buick crowd who were accustomed to much larger offerings. Much of our skepticism was erased when we first drove the Encore, which we discovered a very appealing piece of work.