2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

PARK CITY, Utah — Suppose you were Hyundai Motor America and you wanted to hold a media ride and drive to show off your all-new, third-generation Santa Fe family CUV. Where would be the most logical place to hold it? That’s’ right, Park City, Utah, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Olympics are all about activity and so is the new Santa Fe. And just like the Olympics have two versions (winter and summer), so, too, does the 2013 Santa Fe.

2013 Ram 1500

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It seems like the entire world is on the edge of a war of some kind but most people ignore it because it’s “over there” and not in our country. Well, truth be told, although no weapons are involved, Ram just fired a powerful salvo that is going to make 2013 pickup truck sales a war like John Rambo would say, “You wouldn’t believe!”

Ford Taurus — Luxury credentials

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Ford doesn't call it a luxury car, but the freshened 2013 Ford Taurus can be loaded up with a long list of automotive goodies to compliment an incredibly quiet interior, a comfortable ride that soaks up even the meanest of road imperfections, and decent performance from a couple of engines including a new EcoBoost 4-cylinder. Those are luxury credentials.

Hyundai Elantra Coupe — Attractive and fuel efficient

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

If you like the styling of the compact Hyundai Elantra sedan, you will like the all-new Elantra coupe. If you like the performance, ride and handling of the sedan, you will like the coupe. If you like the excellent gas mileage of the sedan, you will like the coupe. If you like the interior design....well, you get the picture the coupe is very nearly an exact copy of the sedan, but with two fewer doors.

Nissan Altima — All the right stuff

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Nissan has huge plans for its all-new 2013 mid-sized Altima sedan. Nissan officials vow to overtake the Toyota Camry as the best-selling car in the United States. It helps that Altima begins its quest from the number two position, a spot recently earned by the 2012 Altima.

2013 Audi allroad

BEAVER CREEK, Col. — Truth be told, the Germans may make questionable decisions when it comes to picking fights…but they sure do know their stuff when it comes to manufacturing motor cars. I was reminded of this recently in Colorado to review a variety of Audi’s 2013 models. Germany lays claim to some of the finest-engineered vehicles in the world, a distinction that says something when one weights its competition throughout the rest of the non-European world. Case in point is the all-new 2013 Audi allroad.

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL

SANTA FE, N.M. — Mercedes-Benz unveiled its second-generation GL-Class luxury sport utility. If initial impressions mean anything the legendary German car company will not be able to build enough to meet the demand, which is good news for American workers because every one of the vehicles is manufactured at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Infiniti JX — An attractive people mover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Infiniti has made a 180 degree turn with its SUV lineup electing to sell for the first time in its quarter-century history a front-wheel drive sport utility vehicle. But that's not the biggest news. The all-new 2013 JX is not only driven by its front wheels, it's motivated by a continuously variable transmission (CVT), usually reserved in the luxury ranks for hybrid vehicles.

When we first heard that startling news shortly before the JX was unveiled last fall at the Los Angeles Auto Show we were predisposed not to like Infiniti's newest crossover. But considering that Infiniti is the luxury arm of Nissan, the company that has staked its future on the CVT, it was inevitable that a vehicle wearing the Infiniti badge would eventually join the gear-less ranks.

2013 Lexus ES 350, ES 300h

DETROIT and NEWARK, N.J. — Welcome to the big leagues, ES. Lexus introduced its ES luxury sedan in 1989 and six generations later will be offering the popular mid-size sedan as both a gasoline and a hybrid variant. The first five generations of the ES shared the Camry platform, but for 2013 the new ES is “its own man” and enters the market with all guns blazing.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

TORREY PINES, Calif. — Have you ever fancied yourself as an auto executive because you feel you can make decisions as well as they can? Here’s your first question as the new MBEO (Make Believe Executive Officer) of Hyundai Motor America: What would be the natural progression for your Elantra sedan that was the winner of the North American Car of the Year? The answer is simple; remove the two rear doors, sport it up and make it a coupe.