2013

Chevrolet Avalanche — Big man in town

By Al Vinikour
MotorwayAmerica.com

Years ago Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons had a hit record entitled Big Man in Town. This came to mind when I recently tested a 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche. Like many of my relatives it was BIG!

Subaru XV Crosstrek — An Impreza goes crossover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Subaru made a brilliant marketing move in the mid-90s creating a crossover version of its mid-sized Legacy station wagon by adding side body cladding, raising the suspension height, giving it a rugged-sounding name — the Outback — and enlisting the services of Australian actor Paul Hogan of Crocodile Dundee movie fame.

Volkswagen Beetle convertible — Top-down cruising at its best

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The new Volkswagen Beetle convertible offers iconic open-air cruising at its best. And as rewarding as it was to go "topless" on an unusually warm winter day, the newest rendition of the soft-top Bug proved more impressive to us driving with its lid closed.

Subaru BRZ — The Beauty of rear-wheel drive

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The "Beauty of All-Wheel Drive" is one of Subaru's more catchy advertising slogans. And it's very apt because for more than five decades every vehicle built by the Japanese manufacturer has been outfitted with power to all four wheels, at least until the 2013 model year.

After experiencing the fun-to-drive rear-wheel BRZ sports coupe we can forgive Subaru for deviating from the all-wheel drive formula. The BRZ, developed in partnership with Toyota, provides driving enjoyment for less than 30 grand.

Audi Q5 — As good as it gets

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

For the person who wants to venture into the luxury world of crossovers, the Audi Q5 offers a right-sized vehicle for up to four passengers that will reward its owner every time he or she cranks up the engine. We found it a delicious mix of outstanding driving dynamics and luxury appointments, with a silky, comfortable ride.

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport — Stylish crossover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

For 2013 Hyundai's popular sport utility gets a complete makeover that lifts it into the top tier of the mid-sized ranks in styling, performance, interior comfort and usability. And it now comes in two sizes that might be confusing on first blush, but gives consumers a clear choice for their individual needs.

Chevrolet Traverse — Now with a new face

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Since it hit showrooms in the fall of 2008 as a 2009 model, the large Chevrolet Traverse crossover has sold more than 400,000 copies to families who desire the room of a minivan, but who want the panache of a sport utility vehicle.

While the Traverse was neither the sharpest looking big crossover on the road nor the most attractive inside what it did have was a large, useable cabin; a comfortable driving position; and performance from a large, relatively fuel-efficient V-6 engine.

Mercedes-Benz GL350 — SUV grandeur

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Less than a decade ago a big sport utility vehicle capable of hauling seven passengers comfortably was called a truck. Back then large SUVs were built on truck platforms, but today the era of body-on-frame construction for the most part is gone, and if there is any one vehicle that has the ability to permanently eliminate the truck reference from the SUV vernacular it's the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL that not only pampers its occupants in audacious comfort, but drives and handles like a luxury sedan.

Toyota Prius c — Fun-to-drive economy

By Al Vinikour
MotorwayAmerica.com

Look up the word “iconic” in the dictionary and you’re liable to see a picture of the Toyota Prius, arguably the vehicle that started the hybrid revolution that’s become so prevalent in the battle against high fuel prices.

Since Prius’ first generation almost 15 years ago over two million units have been sold worldwide. Through the years the company has developed a number of Prius models — the latest being the Prius c (the “c” is lower case and represents the word “city”).

Toyota Venza — An underappreciated crossover

By Al Vinikour
MotorwayAmerica.com

There are many descriptions used to describe Toyotas: bulletproof, dependable, trouble-free, vanilla, et al. One word one never hears is “underappreciated.” Well add it to the stack because I’ve recently tested one of the best-looking vehicles Toyota currently builds — the 2013 Venza…and it’s underappreciated.