Nissan Sentra — Compact, but roomy sedan

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We like small, maneuverable sedans and hatchbacks as our family transportation. They are generally fun to drive, they will fit into virtually any legitimate parking spot without raising blood pressure, they are generally more affordable than their larger counterparts, and they are fuel efficient.

Toyota Avalon — Satisfying blend of comfort, performance

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The Toyota Avalon entered the market in 1994 as a full-sized family sedan with a bench seat option and a column shifter, a strange configuration in an industry that had all but abandoned six-passenger sedans a decade earlier. Though the bench seat option was short-lived, over the years the Avalon became known less as a family sedan and more as an entry-level luxury retirement rewar
d for life-long Camry owners.

Toyota RAV4 — Return to prominence

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The optional V-6 engine is gone. The third-row seat is history. The iconic spare tire enclosure and the side-hinged rear door have been scrapped. What remains with the 2013 Toyota RAV4 is a modern compact crossover with an adequate, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, updated styling and a roomy passenger-friendly interior.

Nissan Juke — Now with a touch of NISMO

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Many automakers have performance divisions — SRT at Chrysler, SVT at Ford, AMG at Mercedes, M at BMW, V at Cadillac. At Nissan its NISMO (Nissan Motorsports). Usually when the performance moniker is attached to any vehicle, power junkies stand at attention. So when we got word that a NISMO version of the quirky little Juke sport utility was coming our way visions of a hotrod started dancing in our heads. The dance was short-lived when we discovered that in this case performance didn't translate into horsepower.

Mercedes GL450 — High on S-Class style

By Casey Williams

Mercedes-Benz did not build posh wagons in the 1950s, but that didn’t stop some crazy coach builder from creating a 300c long-back in 1957.  Designers commandeered one of the most prestigious and technically-advanced sedans, a favorite of world leaders, and extended it for sporting pursuits.  If Mercedes-Benz built its own S-Class wagon in 2013, imagine it like the GL450.

Lexus LS 460 — A new beginning

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Just when you thought the Lexus flagship LS 460 had become irrelevant in the world of eye-popping sheetmetal the revitalized 2013 model arrives on the scene. Lexus has breathed new life into its flagship sedan that turned the industry on its ear when it entered the market in 1989, but has recently fallen on difficult times. U.S. sales slipped to their lowest point in two decades in 2012 when just over 8,000 units were sold. By comparison, more than 35,000 LS models were sold in 2007.

Hyundai Elantra GT — A stylish five-door

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

If you like the styling of the compact Hyundai Elantra sedan, you should like the all-new for 2013 Elantra GT hatchback, and especially the additional cargo space it brings. Its extra edge of practicality should appeal to a wide variety of buyers.

Jaguar XJ V-6 — Frugal luxury

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Jaguar has achieved the hat trick with its 2013 XJ premium sedan offering three new-to-the-model features — a supercharged  3.0-liter V-6 engine, all-wheel drive, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It's a combination that works surprisingly well.

Mercedes-Benz S350 Diesel — High-mileage luxury sedan

By Kelly Foss

Whenever a new test vehicle arrives, I try to guess the price before looking at the Monroney sticker.  Sometimes, I’m within $100 which is very good!  With the S350, I wasn’t even close.  Due to a variety of factors, European vehicles have become very pricey, but, the reality is that for buyers who want this vehicle (and many will), they’ll get it anyhow.

Nissan Pathfinder — A redesign that works

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Nissan has done more than a creditable job in completely redesigning the popular Pathfinder as a stylish, unibody crossover on a platform shared with the Infiniti JX. The new Pathfinder is 500 pounds lighter than the truck-based vehicle it replaces and nearly 30 percent more fuel efficient.