Chevrolet Cruze — A small friendly boulevard cruiser

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Like the 2008 Malibu that set new standards for Chevrolet in the mid-sized sedan segment, the 2011 Cruze easily reaches new heights for the brand in the compact sedan class.

Malibu was heaped with praise during its introduction in 2007 and it has for the most part lived up to its billing. The public has embraced the conservatively styled sedan with their pocketbooks and it has stood the short test of time against such vaunted competitors as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima.

Audi A8 — Worthy of a headline billing

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Audi set a new U.S. sales record in 2010 and the all-new flagship A8 exemplifies the German carmaker’s success in North America. Audi is building outstanding vehicles across the lineup and people recognize quality when they drive it.

The fourth generation A8 is loaded with performance, technology and comfort. In the stratospheric world of high-dollar sedans, which includes the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-Series, Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS 460, the new Audi has gained real status.

Ford Edge — Still leading the pack

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Ford was the sport utility champ through the ’90s and into the 21st Century, led by the trailblazing truck-based Explorer. But by mid-decade the once-popular body-on-frame SUVs had lost favor to the lighter and more fuel-efficient car-based sport utilities, which have become known to the auto-buying public as crossovers.

GMC Acadia Denali — Taking it to the next level

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Nearly half of all GMC Yukon full-sized SUVs sold are luxury-trim level Denali models.
The Denali was launched in 1999 to give buyers an additional taste of luxury with their sport utility, to give GMC loyalists the same treatment as buyers of the Cadillac Escalade. The Denali’s success makes it logical that the brand’s top-selling near-full-sized crossover, the Acadia, be adorned with the Denali treatment. It took four years, but finally there is a Acadia Denali.

2011 Hyundai Equus

RALEIGH, N.C. — Perhaps Hyundai's biggest mistake with its all-new 2011 luxury sedan is the name. The car is indeed worthy of comparison to the Lexus LS 460 and the S-Class Mercedes. The Equus is nothing short of astounding considering it is Hyundai's first foray into the premium-luxury segment.

Honda Odyssey — Smart for those in the know

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Since the first minivan rolled off the assembly line in 1983 nothing has eclipsed its passenger and cargo-hauling utility. Its car-like driving characteristics and its ability to comfortably haul seven or eight passengers and cargo has made the American minivan the unrivaled champion of family transportation.

2011 Chrysler 300

SAN DIEGO — What a difference a grille makes! No, that’s not a parody of a Dinah Washington song…it’s an initial reaction to the changes made to the 2011 Chrysler 300 Luxury Sedan.

Porsche Boxster Spyder — Fast for those who can

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Under the enthusiast’s heading of “Porsche can do no wrong” find the sub head – “challenges.” The crux of the matter — the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder is a challenge simply because this car is strictly for serious driving enthusiasts, for the people who spend considerable weekend time at the race track.

If you don’t fall into that category, ask about the Porsche Boxster S when visiting your favorite Porsche dealership and leave the new Spyder in the showroom.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

LOS ANGELES  — Rube Goldberg would have loved the Chevy Volt. Two electric motors, a gasoline engine that powers a generator that powers the electric motors via a giant lithium ion battery, 32 computer modules, all fed by a fist full of wires that somehow plug into everything that turns the wheels and makes it go.

Acura RDX — Nimble crossover, sporty excitement

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The 2011 Acura RDX caught our attention in a big way. We had not driven an RDX since its first model year in 2007 and forgot just how enjoyable it is. If you have lost sight of the Acura — now in its fifth year of production — while shopping such products as the BMW X3 or Infiniti EX35 you might find it advantageous to take a test drive.