M35 fills a gap for Infiniti with quality and performance

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The luxury division of Nissan began life in 1989 as a viable competitor to the burgeoning Lexus and Acura brands. The Infiniti flagship Q45 was a delightful performance-oriented luxury car pulled by 278 horses, a prodigious number for 1990. It was every bit as alluring and interesting as the Lexus LS and the Acura Legend. And it was more powerful.

Hyundai Veracruz – has the opportunity to succeed

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The latest Hyundai television advertising campaign might have caught your attention by now. One ad compares the mid-sized Hyundai Sonata to a BMW 325. The audacity of the South Korean automaker to compare the 20-grand Sonata family hauler with the 35-grand German sports sedan takes chutzpah. The ad suggests the Sonata has more room and horsepower, a better warranty and equal amenities at almost half the price.

Hyundai Santa Fe – good things in a new, bigger package

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The first evidence that Korean upstart Hyundai had turned the corner of automotive respectability and reached parity with the world-class Japanese automakers was the introduction of the latest-generation Sonata in the spring of 2005.

“Fear the Koreans” should be the mantra at Toyota and Honda.

Hyundai Entourage – a new entry in a shrinking field

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

It was the magic bus that took us to the Magic Kingdom for a day, the only day that wasn’t spent on a beach. Loaded to the fenders with five people, luggage, boogie boards and beach vacation paraphernalia, the all-new Hyundai Entourage minivan made the trek down the costal interstate, without complaint while keeping its three rows of passengers cool and comfortable.

Hyundai Elantra continues to prove its value in crowded compact segment

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Hyundai no longer surprises us with its continued march up the mountain of improvement. The South Korean automaker has been so consistent over the past few years in raising the bar with each new vehicle that it’s now expected. So the surprise would have been an all-new Elantra sedan not measurably better than the car it replaced.

Hummer H3x – smaller is big for the bruiser brand

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Last spring Car and Driver magazine gushed over the off-road prowess of the Hummer H3. It was the hands-down winner in rock crawling and hill climbing against some stiff competition. But the writers sent the small Hummer out to the woodshed for a good whupping over its lack of horsepower. It could hardly get out of its own way on the highway, they opined.

Honda CR-V displays new style and consistent excellence

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We applaud Honda for restraint in redesigning its small CR-V sport utility vehicle for the 2007 model year.

Restraint is in short supply in automotive circles. Sport utilities get more horsepower, more size, more seats, usually more weight and marginally less gas mileage with each new iteration. Staying the course is not business as usual for the industry.

Honda Fit, fit for a B-segment king

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — We stopped on one of those lovely tree-lined residential streets here to take some pictures of the new subcompact Honda Fit. A fitting backdrop considering the environmentalist nature of Santa Monica and its residents.

After a few minutes of trying to line the car up for the best picture, a home owner came trudging down his driveway. Instead of complaining about a camera pointed at his house, he was curious about the rather curiously styled little car.

GMC Yukon Denali – space and luxury for a price

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The daughter said she had to move a few books and other assorted items accumulated from two years of teaching. She had changed teaching positions after the school term ended in June.

She asked her mother and me if would we help transport her stuff from the old school to the new school? She procrastinated through the short summer break, and moving stuff in her little sports car would entail numerous 60-mile round trips with only a couple of days left in late August to complete the task.

GMC Acadia – a crossover with team-carrying capacity


By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We still like the minivan for hauling passengers and cargo. It’s well suited for that kind of work.

But the image of the once-popular people mover has fallen on hard times. So hard that two of the world’s biggest manufacturers — Ford and General Motors — are abandoning the segment.

But vehicles that can move several family members and their things are still as necessary today as they were nearly 25 years ago when the minivan was introduced.