December 2020

Los Angeles holds title as city with the most aggressive drivers

(December 30, 2020) BOSTON — Road rage tends to creep up during the holidays given the heightened stress and anxiety the season ignites. This year being truly “a year to remember,” GasBuddy, the travel and navigation app,  reveals which U.S cities are expressing that stress in the form of aggressive driving led by Los Angeles drivers.

Mercedes-AMG GT R — The beast from Green Hell is worth the price

By Jim Prueter

(December 30, 2020) There’s much to say when writing about the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R, not the least being that it’s one of the best track cars ever produced, possibly the very best.  Let’s start with the details: 577 horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, a cranium-compressing 516 pound-feet of torque, AMG Speedshift  DCT 7-speed transmission, limited slip electronic differential, 16-inch compound carbon-ceramic disc brakes, rear-wheel steering, and extreme-performance sport tires.

Kia moves on from Optima to new K5 sedan for 2021

By Paul Borden

(December 29, 2020) When it came time for Kia to update its Optima sedan after nearly 20 years of production, the South Korean automaker didn’t mess around. The overhaul was so extensive that the old Optima is completely gone, replaced by a new vehicle, the K5, for 2021 with a major upgrade in both appearance and features from its predecessor.

National gas price average at most expensive in nine months

(December 29, 2020) WASHINGTON, D.C. — Filling up is getting more expensive. On the week, nearly 20 states have gas price averages that increased at least three cents. Upward price movement at the state level has jumped the national gas price average up to $2.25, an average not seen since stay-at-home guidance was issued in mid-March, according to weekly statistics compiled by AAA.

Survey: Cars are a safe haven for Americans amid the COVID pandemic

(December 27, 2020) MAHWAH, N.J.  — In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are prioritizing safety and reliability more than ever in their products and services, according to a new study from Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll. Volvo set out to better understand how perceptions of its core pillar, safety, were changing in the midst of unprecedented behavioral shifts driven by COVID-19. Volvo also explored the changing nature of Americans’ daily commuting routines and the heightened roles vehicles serve today, along with the features people want to see implemented in cars of the future.

2021 Jeep Gladiator diesel pickup goes Overland

By Casey Williams

(December 26, 2020) There are several very nice mid-size pickups filling dealer lots, but there’s only one like the 2021 Jeep Gladiator.  It shares front styling and underpinnings with the all-capable Jeep Wrangler, but goes one trail further by adding a proper bed and the ability to do real work.  Option it correctly and it will sound just like a big Ram 3500 pickup.

New vehicle sales expected to close 2020 stronger than expected

(December 26, 2020) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The car shopping experts at Edmunds forecast that 4,036,744 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2020. This reflects a 2.8% increase in sales from the third quarter but a 5.7% decrease from Q4 of 2019. Edmunds analysts also estimate that 14,416,447 new vehicles will be sold in 2020, which reflects a 15.5% decrease in sales from 2019.

2021 Cadillac XT5 a solid effort, but outclassed by luxury brand competitors

By Jim Prueter

(December 25, 2020) In recent years, luxury crossovers have gotten wildly popular, with the segment featuring excellent vehicles like the Mercedes GLE, BMW X3, Audi Q5 and others. As the luxury marquee for General Motors, Cadillac is aiming for a large slice of the pie with its two-row, five-passenger XT5 that slots above the subcompact XT4 and below the larger three-row XT6 and Escalade.

Stepping out of the shadows — The story of Don Nichols

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(December 24, 2020) I was half way through the November issue of Classic and Sports Car magazine when the October issue showed up in one of those U.S. Postal Service envelopes. You know the one. It has a large clear window on the front, and a statement on the back that starts with the words, “We Care.” The envelope was chewed up along the edges, the clear polybag in which it is usually delivered was missing, but the rest looked just fine. This presented a problem: Should I finish the November issue, or stop midstream and start in on the October issue?

2021 Toyota Tundra goes dark with Nightshade Special Edition

By Jim Prueter

(December 22, 2020) What do tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes have in common with Toyota? Well, other than sharing the nightshade name, absolutely nothing. Over the past couple of years, Toyota has been rolling out Nightshade Special Edition trim vehicles on its 4Runner, Sienna, Corolla, Camry, and C-HR vehicles. Now, for 2021, Toyota is offering its blackout Nightshade Editions on the Tacoma pickup truck, Sequoia SUV, and Tundra full-size pickup.