Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid — An outstanding vacation vehicle

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

If you had to pick the most comfortable and economical summer road trip vehicle for four adults we think you would come to the conclusion that it's impossible to beat the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid minivan. The award-winning Pacifica has scads of cargo space, and gas mileage that no other minivan or mid-sized-to-large crossover could touch for a 3,400-mile 16-day sightseeing trip. We called it our National Parks vacation because we visited eight national parks and three national monuments in South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.

Hyundai Kona — A real charmer

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The subcompact crossover class is exploding. It seems like a new model appears on the market every few months to satisfy the driving public's large appetite for small cargo haulers. So it behooves manufacturers to build vehicles that stand out from the crowd, and Hyundai has done just that with its all-new Kona.

2018 Nissan Kicks

MIAMI — Though the vehicle started arrivng in showrooms in May, Nissan took time to “introduce” its latest model, a subcompact crossover dubbed Kicks, at a preview for media. It is the second such session company publicists have conducted for automotive journalists, the first being earlier in June in San Diego.

Jeep Wrangler — Still the off-road champ

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Before the all-new 2018 Wrangler models arrived, you had to be a Jeep aficionado to really enjoy living with it on a daily basis. They were built for off-road, no apologizes necessary. Thankfully, the new Jeep has been updated with refreshed styling, a higher-quality interior, and new safety features. The carryover Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 that produces 285-horses and 260-lb-ft of torque can now be mated to a modern eight-speed automatic transmission, which improves drivability. We lived with the standard six-speed manual, which will probably be the choice for most people opting for the off-road capable Rubicon.

Mazda CX-5 — A standout crossover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

One of the most popular automotive segments in the U.S. is the compact crossover, and prospective buyers have a vast array of very good products from which to pick. But like every other segment, there are standouts — vehicles that rise like cream to the top. The second-generation Mazda CX-5 is one of those handful of vehicles that stand taller than the rest. The CX-5 was redesigned for 2017 with a comfortable ride quality, a full slate of the latest safety and technology features, a surprisingly sprightly driving demeanor, and a refined interior that could live quite well in a luxury SUV.

2018 Audi S4

PHOENIX — Last year, Audi updated its fifth-generation A4 sedan. Audi didn’t do anything radical, with the basic dimensions staying the same, but Audi aficionados certainly recognized some significant changes. So, understandably, for 2018 the A4 is almost exclusively a carryover from last year, and a much stronger performance-oriented S4 has joined the lineup.

Volvo XC60 T8 — Award-winning SUV

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Volvo has promised to electrify its entire lineup of cars and crossover SUVs by the 2019 model year. This does not mean that Volvo has taken leave of its good sense and will make its entire fleet run on pure electricity. What this does mean is a plug-in hybrid version of every vehicle will be available throughout the lineup.

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid — Bypassing the gas pump

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

A high purchase price and limited driving range have made the all-electric car a hard sell as a mainstream vehicle. But for those who want a car that can accomplish EV goals and be turned into a cross-country warrior with no range anxiety, the modern plug-in hybrid is the perfect solution.

2018 Mercedes AMG S63

MIAMI — If you’re looking for a vehicle that tells the world “I’ve got it made” yet exudes a more carefree air and fun driving experience than you might ordinarily find in the Super Luxury Class, the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet may be a perfect fit. After bringing the coupe back to the S-Class portfolio from under the CL banner for 2015, Mercedes unveiled its first S-Class convertible since 1971 with the the S-Class Cabriolet a year later as a 2017 model.

Ram 1500 Rebel — A desirable pickup

By David Finkelstein

I was thrilled when I got a call from my friends at Ram Truck indicating “I should expect delivery soon of a 2018 Ram Rebel 1500 Truck for evaluation.” Then, I got to thinking, I'm not familiar with the Rebel trim level. Once I hung up the phone, I began some research and quickly came to the conclusion that this truck sounds totally amazing.