2015 Toyota Camry

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Has Toyota been hearing giant footsteps gaining on them, feeling the hot breath of segment competitors as they rapidly close the gap on the perennial best-selling mid-size Camry sedan? The segment is, indeed, now filled with excellent, compelling choices and even as the Camry continues to maintain an edge in overall sales on the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion, it has been criticized for falling behind in styling, performance and personality.

2015 Honda CR-V

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Did you know that the Honda CR-V is the world’s most popular SUV? It’s also the top seller in Honda’s lineup of vehicles worldwide. It’s easy to understand why the CR-V is the most popular SUV in this country where SUVs reign, but many people in the rest of the world like “cars” far more than SUVs or trucks. Perhaps Honda’s success is attributed to the CR-V being just the right size — not too big or too small — and it behaves more like a car than a rugged sport utility or conventional truck.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

DEL MAR, Calif. — Chevrolet's goal was to leapfrog the competition with its all-new 2015 Colorado mid-sized pickup. Actually that's not such a lofty goal. There are only two major players left in the shrinking segment — the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier — and neither has undergone any significant upgrades in nearly a decade.

Acura ILX 2.4 — Fun with a six-speed manual

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

There were a number of good things to write about with the Acura ILX entry level luxury sedan after it arrived on the scene as a 2013 model, but performance and driving excitement were lacking — at least in the hybrid edition we were evaluating. Our conclusion at the time, the ILX didn't make our recommended list.

2015 Ford Mustang

LOS ANGELES — West Hollywood traffic at 9 a.m. moves as quickly as molasses on a cold day, especially when you have the promise of a run up the Angeles Crest Highway ahead of you. Yet here we were stuck behind half a dozen other 2015 Mustangs and a city bus, attempting to make a left turn against bumper-to-bumper traffic that refused to make any openings. Far from taxing my patience, it became an unexpected opportunity to see how far Ford’s revamp of the Mustang extended.

GMC Yukon Denali — Rugged luxury

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The GMC Yukon is the slightly upscale version of the Chevrolet Tahoe in General Motors' full-sized sport utility ranks, both providing nearly identical equipment and engine configurations. The big differentiation comes with the decidedly upscale Denali, which turns the Yukon — and its larger stablemate, the Yukon XL — into a luxury land yacht rivaling such nameplates as BMW, Mercedes and Land Rover.

Subaru Legacy — Solid advancement

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Despite hints of futuristic styling with the Legacy Concept last year, Subaru took a more conservative approach with the design of the new-for-2015 Legacy mid-sized sedan. While styling tweaks have given the new car an updated look, it still carries a strong resemblance to the 2014 edition. Likewise, Subaru elected to retain the same two-engine alignment it has used for several years.

2015 Lexus RC 350 / RC F

MONTICELLO, N.Y. — The setting was a wide track with large, perfectly manicured grass runoff areas that sits in a valley with its extremities running up and down the hills that feed into this depression. Its pavement describes arcs from surprisingly tight to wide open, joined by straights of varying lengths.

Honda Pilot — Family friendly crossover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Honda elected to retain its current mid-sized Pilot crossover for another model year, its seventh, which is somewhat perplexing in an industry that generally operates in five-year cycles — or less — in order to keep abreast with the ever-changing competition. It's even more baffling when you factor in Honda's decision years ago to endow the current-generation Pilot with boxy Jeep-like styling at a time when the crossover trend was skewing toward more rounded, sculpted lines.

Honda Fit — A good fit for the masses

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

If we were forced to recommend one — just one — small, family four-door hatchback as the transportation choice of frugal, budget-conscience Americans it would have to be the Honda Fit. It would be a tough choice, indeed, because there are many vehicles in today's market that effectively meet the needs of the masses.