Reviews

For vehicle review columns

Lexus IS350 F Sport — Outstanding curb appeal


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By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

After living with an "Infrared" copy for a week we came to the conclusion that the compact 2021 IS350 F Sport is the best looking and most well-proportioned vehicle in the Lexus lineup. Granted, the RC is pretty darn hot, and the high-dollar LC luxury sports coupe has some legitimate bragging rights for modern design. But for instant curb appeal our vote is for the IS350 Sport — particularly in this outstanding shade of red.

Chrysler Pacifica — Family friendly people mover



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The minivan may be the greatest single invention for moving families and cargo from place to place. It was an instant success when it arrived in 1984 under Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth nameplates replacing the family station wagon as the most effective way to conduct the business of everyday living for dad, mom and the kids. And it remained the best-selling passenger-cargo friendly vehicle until the turn of the century. That's about the time the car-based sport utility crossover became America's new vehicular sweetheart.

Acura TLX — Bigger and better



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Acura merged the luxury-focused TL sedan with the slightly smaller sport-minded TSX in 2015 resulting in the TLX, a solid mid-sized addition to the near-luxury sedan segment, but falling short in terms of both performance and luxury compared to German competitors. Now comes the second generation TLX that goes a long way in correcting those shortcomings. The 2021 TLX is built on a new platform improving on virtually every aspect of the outgoing model.

BMW M440i xDrive — An excellent coupe wearing a new face



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

When you consider buying a BMW you usually want to know how it drives and handles and how many horses reside under the hood to provide that aggressive BMW "Ultimate Driving Machine" experience. Those traits, however, may be secondary in the purchase decision of the 2021 BMW 4-Series coupe. First you will need to get used to the controversial large buck-toothed kidney grille up front. It seems to be a love or hate thing. But nonetheless it will be a consideration when ponying up between $60,000 and $75,000 for a copy of the M440i.

Mazda3 2.5 Turbo — A new hot hatch



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The Mazda Speed3 built from 2007 through 2013 was Mazda's answer to the hot hatch craze in the early part of the 21st Century offering competition to the Ford Focus ST, Dodge Caliber SRT-4, and Volkswagen Golf GTI. The final model came with a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4 making 263 horsepower and could accomplish a 0-to-60 run in just over 5 seconds. Those were the days — and Mazda is bringing them back in the form of the 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo.

Chevrolet Corvette — Supercar performance at an amazing price


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By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It was the shortest week of 2020 — the week we lived with the new mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette. Time seemed to slip away as we created little windows of opportunity to get behind the wheel, take pictures, answer dozens of questions from onlookers, and give at least a half dozen rides. Since it showed up in 1953, the Corvette has been the number one aspired-to vehicle in America. No different for this reinterpretation of the all-American sports car.

Genesis G80 — New and impressive


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By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

A decade ago Hyundai began building its luxury Genesis brand — with considerable success. The car that started it all is now called the G80, a mid-sized sedan, which has been fully redesigned for the 2021 model year building on the previous two iterations, offering sleek head-turning styling and with more technology, safety features and diving aids than ever before. The G80 package carries the "Wow!" factor.

Toyota Venza — Hybrid batteries included



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Toyota has brought back the Venza nameplate attaching it to a new mid-sized two-row crossover that comes exclusively with a hybrid powertrain consisting of a continuously variable transmission (CVT), a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine, and three electric motors — one attached to the rear wheels and the other two assigned to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is standard across the lineup.

Chevrolet Tahoe — Bigger and better



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It's been more than a quarter century since the Chevrolet Tahoe entered the marketplace, a full-sized truck-based rear-drive sport utility vehicle that became an instant hit along with its GMC Yukon sibling. The Tahoe is still very much alive in our new age of car-based crossovers — and the all-new 2021 Tahoe should insure that it will continue as one of the best-selling SUVs on the U.S market.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid — Fuel efficient performance


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By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Many things have changed in the nearly two-and-a-half decades since the original RAV4 kicked off the crossover craze — including the RAV4 itself, which entered its fifth generation with the 2019 model. It has reinvented itself with a bigger, more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine; a more rugged appearance; more driver assist technology; and with a new very fuel efficient hybrid powertrain that feels quicker than the gas-only version.