Montana takes on a dual personality

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Pontiac calls it a “crossover sports van” and backs up the name with a new look that gives the 2005 Montana SV6 a more SUV-like persona than the previous Montana, or any typical minivan.

Most prominent is a longer, more angular nose. The new vehicle is taller, negating somewhat the long minivan look. A big kidney-shaped Pontiac grille and wrap-around headlights are designed to convey the image of a car-based sport utility.

Pontiac G6 makes a good first impression

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Sometimes a car just feels right, even after just a mile or two behind the wheel. It may not be the best car in its segment, but it strikes a certain fancy. It provides a feeling of well-being.

Then, sometimes after the first short test drive, a car doesn’t quite measure up to preconceived notions. Never mind that it’s a seemingly good car from all angles.

Truck based 2005 Pathfinder — another feather in Nissan’s cap

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Over the past three years Nissan has reinvented its truck lineup, and it now holds the bragging rights to the most up-to-date fleet in the industry.

Mini sparkles with new, fresh top down approach

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s been on the road for more than two years. But it will still turn your head. It seems we just have to stare and admire.

Just the other day while we were cruising down a stretch of four-lane highway, we noticed a Mini Cooper closing in. We turned, almost involuntarily, to observe the diminutive car pass us on the left. We gawked like it was something just off the floor of the Detroit Auto Show, a car we had never seen before.

Montego gives Mercury additional lift

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Mercury has been an endangered automotive nameplate for most of this decade.

In recent years it has been threatened with extinction much like Plymouth and more recently Oldsmobile.
It would be a shame to see another storied American brand leave the automotive world.
Fear not. Help has arrived for Mercury, which was conceived in 1938 to bridge the gap between the pedestrian Ford and the luxury Lincoln brand at Ford Motor Company.

2005 Mariner tries opening new doors for Mercury

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Mercury officials agree it’s difficult to lure customers into a showroom without fresh products.

“We have lost a lot of customers for lack of product,” said Darryl Hazel, president of Lincoln Mercury, in a recent interview.

Mercedes’ new 2005 SLK is a solid performer, top up or down

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s amazing how fast cars age these days. Or so it seems. The Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster is an example. It feels just like yesterday when we first took possession of an SLK with its amazing hardtop roof that powered back into the trunk for instant open-air motoring.