Mitsubishi Outlander Sport — Really cool when dressed-up

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Mitsubishi has created some interesting television ads that depict its Outlander Sport tackling the dangerous Yungas “Death Road” in the mountains of Bolivia and setting “world records” on a frozen Canadian lake.
Mitsubishi’s ad agency has come up with these attention-getting TV spots, but a reality check is in order — the Outlander Sport is no Jeep Wrangler when it comes to conquering gravel roads with 1,000-foot drop-offs and it is probably no more adept at driving backwards on snow or doing figure eights on ice than most of its competitors.

Ford Transit Connect — A new way to work

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

 When it hit the U.S. market two years ago as a 2010 model, the Ford Transit Connect had an instant audience. It was sure to be an overnight success. And for the most part it has filled the needs of thousands of people.
The rather strange looking van with its sliding minivan doors and high-roof cargo bay is a compact work truck that offers small business owners — or bigger businesses that don’t need large vans — a fuel-efficient, spacious alternative to the gas-guzzling standard-sized van that in many cases is more than the flower shop, pet store or appliance repair business needs.

Dodge Durango — Very well done

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman 

The full-sized Dodge Durango sport utility departed the scene a couple of years ago, a member of the body-on-frame SUV segment that was immensely popular in the ’90s and the early years of the 21st Century.
Those traditional SUVs live on with such names as Tahoe, Suburban and Expedition.
But they have been steadily replaced — and in many cases downsized — by unibody-platform vehicles that carry less weight, offer improved fuel economy, and display vastly improved handling traits.

Ford F-150 Harley Davidson — Driving the four-wheeled 'Hog'

By Al Vinikour

Ever since I was a nine-year-old kid and saw the movie The Wild Ones with Marlon Brando I’ve been a big fan of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Also, ever since I was a nine-year-old kid I’ve been something of a “girly man.” I’ve only ridden on two motorcycles in my life (both times when I was in high school) and both times I had no need for a laxative.

Nissan Quest — Finding space enough for a brood

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

This is the best of times for minivan consumers. The once extremely popular people mover has never been better. Nearly three decades of refinements have turned the minivan into the ultimate in family transportation convincingly supported by five all-new or considerably upgraded minivans now on the market.
The Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest are all new for the 2011 model year, and the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Chrysler Town & Country have been heavily refreshed.

Chevrolet Camaro convertible — The joy of driving

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Thoughts turn to the great outdoors as a wet spring turns into a blissful summer. Feel the beautiful sun-splashed days and temperate evenings with the smell of night blooming jasmine in air; just a wonderful time to be cruising in a convertible top down.

 And perhaps nothing could surpass a slow drive down a busy city street in a new Chevrolet Camaro convertible. Does it get any better than this? Picture a 2011 Camaro, sans top, with a rumbling muscle car V-8 under the hood; perhaps politically incorrect? Definitely happiness correct! You better believe it.

Hyundai Elantra — Another extra base effort

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Hyundai hit a home run with the stylish 2011 mid-sized Sonata that offers eye-candy styling inside and out, outstanding fuel economy from a healthy four-cylinder engine, and resale value in the same ballpark with Honda and Toyota.
So when the equally stylish compact 2011 Elantra reached us we were poised to proclaim another base-clearing blast. But after considerable seat time over a couple of weeks on the East and West coasts we think it falls short; Elantra is a solid two bagger at best.

Scion tC — Keeping young buyers on the move

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Toyota has done a credible job revitalizing the Scion tC with a second-generation 2011 model-year vehicle that has more power, a more engaging driving demeanor, slightly updated styling and a still-modest price tag that makes it an excellent value for anyone — but mostly young people — looking for a sporty and spacious coupe. But we wonder if Toyota has done enough to keep its Scion lineup — and the tC in particular — vital in the ever-changing landscape of automobile competition? 

Buick Enclave — Right sized for a big family

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The Buick Enclave is in its fourth model year and feels as fresh as it did four years ago when we first encountered it.

The Enclave in 2007 was a sure indicator of the big change coming for GM’s storied brand; a brand that had slipped into an old guy car funk. Sales in 2007 were in the tank and getting worse, the Enclave was Buick’s sole highlight. Rumors abound that Buick would be the next GM division to get the ax following in Oldsmobile’s footsteps.

Dodge Grand Caravan — Headed in the right direction

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Since arriving as the first minivans back in the mid-80s, the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country have never relinquished the sales title despite considerable competition that has grown stronger in recent years.

The current generation Chrysler vans — going into the 2011 model year — were appealing in enough ways to continue outselling such vaunted competitors as the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey. But two deficiencies have stood out in recent years when compared to the Japanese entries.