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Car Reviews

  • 2017 Jaguar F-Pace crossover worth the wait

    2017 Jaguar F-Pace crossover worth the wait

    We play a guessing game with guest passengers about the price of test cars before we look at the sticker. Usually the price is higher than our guest's estimate. That's not the case with the all-new Jaguar F-Pace crossover. Starting at $55,300 for the higher end R-Sport trim and checking out at...

  • 2017 Ford Escape improves but engine, tech disappoint

    2017 Ford Escape improves but engine, tech disappoint

    The refreshed 2017 Ford Escape comes with a smarter engine, advanced safety features, and a new(ish) infotainment system. Escape is Ford's second-best seller, behind the U.S. sales king known as the F-150. It trails the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 among crossovers, America's largest segment. On...

  • 2017 Kia Sportage contends in crowded class of compact crossovers

    2017 Kia Sportage contends in crowded class of compact crossovers

    There are 16 compact crossovers on the market, another 20 midsize crossovers, and nearly a dozen subcompact crossovers. Then there's the luxury makes. With so many crossovers on the market, automakers are playing with paint, parts and design — anything and everything — to stand out. The fourth-generation...

  • Luxury or livery? Cadillac XT5 and Lincoln MKX face off in crossover showdown

    Luxury or livery? Cadillac XT5 and Lincoln MKX face off in crossover showdown

    One of the most common vehicles shuttling between downtown Chicago and its two airports is the blacked-out livery vehicle, or fancy cab. These tinted-windowed SUVs from Lincoln and Cadillac carry clients who presumably want to ride in space, anonymity and a degree of luxury. Yet, the degrees between...

  • 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe fails to resound in three-row crossover class

    2017 Hyundai Santa Fe fails to resound in three-row crossover class

    The noise started when we hit cruising speed on the highway. It wasn't a particular noise, but noise in general coming from the back. And it wasn't coming from the kids. My passenger and I figured maybe in the thrill of new car buttons, the kids accidentally cracked a window. They didn't. The 2017...

  • 2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman gets big, bruh

    2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman gets big, bruh

    BMW's Mini division has always delivered on the promise of cute and cuddly, but for 2016 it has added cozy and comfortable as well, thanks to stretching its top-of-the-line Clubman model from a subcompact into a compact. It is nearly a foot longer, 2.9 inches wider, and the wheelbase is extended...

  • 2016 BMW M2 sports coupe is for drivers who like driving

    2016 BMW M2 sports coupe is for drivers who like driving

    In the past five years, BMW has launched more than 20 new or redesigned products and variants, from electric pods to crossover coupes. There was worry among 3-Series purists that the "ultimate driving machine" had devolved into everyone's everyday appliance. It is a classic growth conundrum, like...

  • Review: Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is convenient crossover, capable crawler

    Review: Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is convenient crossover, capable crawler

    I had a friend who drove a soft-top Jeep Wrangler TJ all across the country all through our itinerant 20s. Loud, unruly, inefficient and mindlessly fun, it was a perfect symbol for the wayward post-college years. A decade or three removed, I thought of that Wrangler while driving the Jeep Renegade,...

  • Rolls-Royce Dawn delivers everything in $400,000 convertible

    Rolls-Royce Dawn delivers everything in $400,000 convertible

    The Rolls-Royce Dawn has four wheels, two doors, orange seats and a steering wheel. So why does it cost more than most houses? At a starting price of $340,000 that effortlessly rises to the $400,000 that our pre-production test model cost, drivers — and passengers — of the handmade Dawn are paying...

  • Elio, the 84-mpg three-wheeler, makes Chicagoland pit stop

    Elio, the 84-mpg three-wheeler, makes Chicagoland pit stop

    The Elio three-wheeler is getting a taste of the hype elicited by the Tesla Model 3. People have been waiting nearly two years to get a glimpse of the three-wheeled two-seater with a gas engine that gets an estimated 84 mpg on the highway. And at a pre-production price of about $6,800, you can...

  • 2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid is most fuel-efficient AWD compact crossover

    2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid is most fuel-efficient AWD compact crossover

    There are two trends that show no signs of slowing: Gas prices will continue to rise and Americans will continue to buy crossovers. Toyota is hoping that Americans will start to buy hybrids again. The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid is a first for the trailblazing compact crossover launched in 1996. Toyota's...

  • Infiniti's largest species is a luxury beast

    Infiniti's largest species is a luxury beast

    Some objects are larger than they appear: Pro basketball players, locomotives, the Grand Canyon. Add the Infiniti QX80 to the larger than life list. So large it didn't fit in a 2.5-car garage; so large my 9-year-old said to paint it green and put a gun on top; so large the passengers needed grunts,...

  • Volvo XC90 plug-in SUV foretells smarter, cleaner automotive future

    Volvo XC90 plug-in SUV foretells smarter, cleaner automotive future

    Most new-car debuts are a whole lot of hype wrapped around four wheels and some steel. The 2016 Volvo XC90 is not one of those. The redesigned three-row SUV with a plug signifies a comeback for Volvo and a future of cleaner, smarter, safer cars. The turbo and supercharged twin engine has a battery...

  • Porsche goes turbo with new 911 Carerra

    Porsche goes turbo with new 911 Carerra

    Porsche has been making 911s since 1963. So a new one is no big deal. And outwardly the 2017 is just last year's model with a new paint job. But inwardly this is a dramatically different machine. The 911 has gone turbo. For this 911 Carrera 4S, the German car company has replaced the traditional...

  • 2016 BMW X1 feels more like a crossover, less like a compromise

    2016 BMW X1 feels more like a crossover, less like a compromise

    "Is that the new BMW X5?" asked my neighbor. When I tell him it is actually the X1, two sizes smaller, he looks perplexed. "It has grown up!" Exactly. It has grown up — casting a wider shadow from a body that's noticeably more sophisticated. It's pretty nice inside too. But is it a real BMW — a...

  • 2016 Audi TT is a cute coupe with more style than power

    2016 Audi TT is a cute coupe with more style than power

    The third-generation Audi TT is ... cute. It's a coupe that doesn't have the performance chops to compete with the thoroughbreds of the class, but has enough style to stand out from the herd. The TT coupe has four seats, unlike the two-seat Roadster, but those rear seats are best used for a four-legged...

  • 2017 Hyundai Elantra packs more tech than the compact competition

    2017 Hyundai Elantra packs more tech than the compact competition

    The Hyundai Elantra compact has been known for doing more with less on the dollar. The outgoing model won North American Car of the Year in 2012, arguably the industry's most independent and esteemed new-car honor, for being more luxurious, more fuel efficient and more versatile and roomier than...

  • 2016 Volkswagen Passat fails to stand out in shrinking midsize sedan segment

    2016 Volkswagen Passat fails to stand out in shrinking midsize sedan segment

    Volkswagen has a problem. It doesn't begin or end with the refreshed Passat, but the middling midsize provides a convenient case study. First, to address the dirty elephant in the room, there is no diesel for the 2016 model due to the ongoing unresolved 7-month-old scandal where VW used a software...

  • 2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid charges ahead of competition

    2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid charges ahead of competition

    You like trees. You like cars. With the Chevrolet Volt, those preferences don't have to be at odds. The second generation of General Motors' plug-in hybrid improves on range, efficiency, tech and styling. Despite being 3 inches longer, it doesn't look much different than the previous model except...

  • 2016 Jaguar XF luxury sedan delivers sporty elegance

    2016 Jaguar XF luxury sedan delivers sporty elegance

    Jaguar is evolving. Its future was uncertain as recently as 2008, when Ford dumped it and Land Rover at the onset of the global recession. The classic British brand has been rejuvenated under Tata Motors, India's largest automaker. For model year 2017, Jaguar is expanding its three-car lineup to...

  • Ford losing Focus on competition: Hatchback due for a redesign

    If the Ford Focus compact could talk, it would be the Jan Brady of the Ford bunch, complaining about all the attention and preference given to its big sister: crossover, crossover, crossover. Though the Focus compact is one of the best-selling nameplates in the world behind the Toyota Corolla,...

  • 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country is AWD antidote to the crossover craze

    Back in the day, Volvo built wagons shaped like a brick but powered by turbo. It seems appropriate that the automaker fortifies its heritage with a jacked up turbo wagon that seems sculpted for the wind as much for the road. Channeling the larger XC70, the midsize V60 Cross Country wagon flaunts...

  • 2016 Honda Civic shapes up with leaner, longer, sportier ride

    If you don't know what car your roommate owns, chances are it is a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. The two best-selling compact sedans in the U.S. are reliable, fuel-efficient values that don't stand out much from the large-but-shrinking compact segment. But Honda wants its redesigned 2016 Civic...

  • 2016 Nissan Maxima straddles sedan side of sport, sophistication

    The redesigned Nissan Maxima is like a new shoe. It looks sharp but feels better, and the more you wear it, the better it feels. The Maxima is footwear that is both athletic and sophisticated, functional and stylish. You can schlep the kids in it, take it out for anniversary date night on the town,...

  • Honda lurches ahead with pesky 9-speed transmission

    Nine-speed transmissions are here to stay. They're being touted as a fuel-efficient selling point in vehicles such as the 2016 Honda Pilot, in top-of-the-line Touring and Elite trim levels. But these transmissions are also something that might take some getting used to. One aspect of these "teething"...

  • Mitsubishi fades to near-black with 2016 Outlander GT 3-row crossover

    As Mitsubishi retreats from U.S. shores, cresting at 2 percent market share in 2002 before dipping to less than one-half of 1 percent since 2009, it has cast the redesigned Outlander crossover to hook budget-minded buyers looking for good warranties and better fuel economy. But those traits don't...

  • 2016 Toyota Prius improves on style, handling and fuel economy

    The Toyota Prius is easy to mock. It's shaped like a clog, has an eye-crossing split window hatch, is as fun to drive as a hot dog cart and it is the vehicle of choice for Chicago cabbies, who are unequivocally the worst drivers on the road. The main reason the Prius gets mocked, however, is because...

  • Kia's premium trim not worth premium price in $36,000 Optima

    Kia has come a long way in the U.S. since its budget car days of the mid-'90s. The South Korean automaker is now known for value-loaded vehicles that offer exceptional warranties and enough style to never feel budget-focused. The Optima midsize sedan epitomizes these traits. The redesigned 2016...

  • Lexus hybrid sedan fails to deliver on luxury promise

    Some words just sound right. To say "smile" turns up the corners of the lips into the very thing it defines; to say "love" is to open up, then embrace that which was once parted. The perfect word transcends the object it defines into something more. "Lexus" is one of those words. The subtle flow...

  • 2016 Ram Rebel yells for off-road adventure

    The 2016 Ram Rebel is a big-wheeled backwoods pickup that combines Ram's heritage of building Army command vehicles with luxury pickups that double as an office. Rebel's styling channels the heavy-duty, off-roading Ram Power Wagon and the '70s-era Lil' Red Truck without the twin exhaust stacks....

  • 2016 Lexus RX 350 F Sport cuts distinctive line in crossover class

    The Lexus RX did to premium midsize crossovers what the Toyota Camry did to mainstream midsize sedans. In defining the segment, the RX inevitably succumbed to the compromises of having widespread appeal. The inside was exceptionally quiet, but the handling was numb; the inside was roomy, but the...

  • 2016 Volvo S60 Inscription is driven by safety

    Traffic-safety advocates have long regarded Volvo as the gold standard of driver and passenger safety in automobiles. The reason can be found in the company's guiding mantra: "Cars are driven by people." That being the case, the corporate thinking goes, it is best to make people as safe as possible...

  • 2015 Maserati Ghibli S Q4 pushes Italian prestige at a price

    The Maserati Ghibli is a midsize sports sedan with a Ferrari engine, a Chrysler infotainment system and Maserati trident badging everywhere. The Ghibli ("gib-lee") represents the growing pains of the 21st century global hodgepodge automaker. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, led by fellow Italian Sergio...

  • Martin, Aston Martin: DB9 GT driver is not shaken, not stirred

    The Aston Martin DB9 GT — like the international man of mystery who gave the English car company its fame — is a smooth operator. Silky and sleek, neither shaken nor stirred, James Bond’s favorite car has the power to make any driver want to slip on a tuxedo and strap on a Walther PPK. Outfitted...

  • Ford strikes platinum with 2016 Explorer SUV

    The best-selling album of all time, Michael Jackson's "Thriller," has been certified platinum 29 times. The platinum credit card by American Express has no spending limits and qualifiers can get more cash simply by asking. In popular culture, platinum is better than gold, more exclusive, more luxurious,...

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