Saturn Aura, as we imagined Saturn to be

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Saturn started life more than 20 years ago as a small, unique car company that offered American drivers a choice.

It made vehicles at a new plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., designed to give buyers of small, fuel-efficient cars an alternative to the Japanese invasion. And for the most part those initial cars offered value with ding-resistant door panels and peppy fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engines; maybe not the best, but as adequate as most.

Outlook adds lift to Saturn’s rising star

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It wasn’t so long ago that the Saturn division of General Motors was on the ropes with an inferior small car, a less-than-stellar minivan, and a mid-sized sedan that was selling so slowly it was terminated.

What was left was a decent, but slow-selling compact sport utility vehicle, the VUE. Not much to carry an entire division.

The Sky’s the limit for this 2007 Saturn roadster

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The Saturn Sky among other things is a chick magnet – in more ways than one.

We learned this the first night we drove the new roadster. Word quickly spread about the cool car in the parking lot. A parade of waitresses at one of our favorite local eateries filed out and around the car at various times during our meal. It was hard getting refills for our ice teas.

Pontiac G6 GTP Coupe – a glimmer of fire as excitement grows

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Excitement has been the Pontiac calling card since engineer John De Lorean put a monster big-block V-8 in a nondescript Tempest in the mid 1960s and called it the GTO.

More excitement followed through the decades with tire-smoking GTOs, Firebirds and Trans-Ams. The Trans-Am was immortalized in the Burt Reynolds’ “Smoky and the Bandit” flicks. GTOs were immortalized on drag strips across the nation.

Nissan Maxima moves more towards luxury

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Perhaps one of the biggest yet overlooked story lines of the 2007 model year is Nissan’s new and maybe somewhat controversial transmission decision.

The Japanese auto company has dropped conventional automatics from several models in favor of its version of the continuously variable transmission or CVT. Unlike a conventional transmission, the CVT has no shift points.

Nissan’s Quest – a better minivan in search of a market

By Jim Meachen

CANTON, Miss. — Nissan officials want to get the message out — quality at their newest U.S. plant in Mississippi has improved dramatically and customer satisfaction has increased proportionally.

As an example, they rolled out the 2007 Quest minivan inside the 3.5-million-square-foot plant in a visual demonstration of how far things have advanced since Quest Job One on May 23, 2003.

Nissan Versa – roomy with a view to practical

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Small cars have much to offer.

Most obvious, of course, is their fuel economy. Using less gas is a good thing. Frugality is a good thing for the pocketbook — and the environment.

A low purchase price is another advantage.

A small car’s ability to zip in and out of traffic and make use of the slimmest parking spots is yet another plus.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder features stylish open air driving

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Mitsubishi had steadily become a nonentity in the United States. The sales of Mitsubishi cars, SUVs and light trucks had fallen from nearly 350,000 in 2002 to a projected 115,000 this year. The Japanese company has struggled to stop the bleeding despite a small stable of what we consider stylish, dependable products including a mid-sized sport utility, a mid-sized family sedan and a hot-rod compact.