Test Drive: 2018 Prius loses sleek design

For the automotive writer, the 2018 Toyota Prius Prime is more challenging than most to review objectively. It’s hard not to love the plug-in hybrid’s efficiency — about 57 mpg without using the plug-in option — but we had to live with the Prius for just one week. Would we be happy with it over the long haul? Or would we eventually find the car’s deficiencies aggravating after 10,000, 20,000 or 100,000 miles? For people who value style, the new Prius might well prove to be disappointing. Toyota has clung to the styling cues that helped make the car the … Read more

Test Drive: 2018 Toyota Yaris is a car for urban drivers

The 2018 Toyota Yaris is a city car, pure and simple. It’s tiny, weighs barely a ton and is reliable to a fault. In liftback form, it can take on 15.3 cubic feet of cargo, and transport four to five people. And it’s inexpensive, so owners won’t mind so much when the rear fascia gets scuffed, or someone creases the door in a parking lot. All of that applies to the 5-door model. The long doors on our 3-door test car render it less suitable for urban conditions than the 5-door. We’re not sure who Toyota is targeting with the … Read more

Test Drive: Range Rover Velar carves out a new niche

Once in a great while, Land Rover brings a new Range Rover model into the world. The latest addition to this legendary line is the 2018 Velar, a sport-utility vehicle slotted between the compact Evoque and the midsize Range Rover Sport. As is customary with Land Rover, the Velar came to life with a full range of mechanical, interior and pricing alternatives — demonstrating the automaker’s commitment to the new model. The Velar can be equipped with a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, a supercharged V-6 or a diesel. We test-drove the P380S, powered by a the 380-horsepower V-6. While the … Read more

Test Drive: New Kia Forte packs a wallop

Redesigned for 2017, the Kia Forte is a mainstream economy car, well equipped and nicely priced at less than $17,000. Throw in an additional $10,000 or so, and it’s still a Forte, but it’s a completely different package — a compact near-luxury sedan or hatchback that packs a 201-horsepower wallop. The Forte may occupy the space between the subcompact Rio and midsize Optima, but it covers a lot of ground — in terms of refinement, standard and optional equipment, and performance. Always stylish, from the moment it was introduced to the U.S. market during the 2008 model year, the Forte … Read more

Test Drive: Rogue Sport exceeds expectations

We didn’t expect much from Nissan’s newest compact crossover, the Rogue Sport. We’ve developed a fairly strong preference for midsize crossovers like the Chevrolet Equinox, Mazda Equinox and Nissan Murano, over compacts and subcompacts. Thus, we were pleasantly surprised by our 2017 Rogue Sport SL … though not everyone who saw it was enamored of its Nitro Lime skin. The Sport, like the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, is smaller than its namesake. It seemed to handle more crisply than the Rogue SL, yet was not appreciably less roomy. The addition of the Rogue Sport gives Nissan … Read more

Engineers put simplicity first in 2018 Chevy Colorado

2018 Chevrolet Colorado

The Chevrolet Colorado and its GMC stablemate, the Canyon, got off to a bumpy start in 2004, when they replaced the smaller S-10 and Sonoma pickup trucks. Reviewers were unimpressed, and the trucks fared poorly owner-satisfaction surveys. General Motors gave its smallest pickup trucks a two-year hiatus after the 2012 model year, about the same time Ford Motor Co. dropped its similarly sized Ranger pickup line. That left GM to compete with Honda, Nissan and Toyota in the midsize pickup segment. The revival has been more successful. Combined Canyon-Colorado sales have soared from 45,575 in 2012 to 146,174 in the … Read more

Test Drive: Chevrolet Traverse draws crowds with its appeal

Our introduction to the fully redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Traverse came during the Connecticut International Auto Show in Hartford last month. With crisp, straightforward lines and slightly larger dimensions than its predecessor, the white Traverse had loads of appeal and drew crowds under its black, white and gold bow-tie banner. Looking deeper, we learned the redesigned Traverse weighs about 400 pounds less than the 2017 model yet provides more passenger room and better fuel economy. Although its 310-horsepower engine has more muscle than the 2017 Traverse, the new version sports better fuel economy — 17 mpg city, 25 highway, compared with … Read more

Test Drive: Golf SE TSI more refined than standard economy car

Volkswagen’s compact hatchback, the Golf, is priced well above the baseline established by Hyundai, Kia, Chevrolet and others in the economy-car business. Our latest test car, a 2018 Golf SE TSI, is priced in the mid- to high $20,000s, and even the base models come in around $20,000. A base Hyundai Elantra hatchback, well equipped with standard features, starts at about $17,000. Those extra thousands for the VW don’t add much in the way of function or even form; the Golf’s look isn’t dramatically different from that of its predecessor models going back to the 1980s. But it’s not as … Read more

Test Drive: Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium is a refined SUV

When automakers finally figured out Americans wanted their sport-utility vehicles in smaller packages, we found our early objections to SUVs in general — too rough, too thirsty, too inefficient in their use of space — finally started to soften. Today, we have come to like several compact SUVs, also known as crossovers because they handle more like passenger cars. Among the best are the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Chevrolet Equinox. Joining the panoply of likable compact crossovers this year is the redesigned Volkswagen Tiguan — a model we judged too small in past incarnations. Admittedly, our test … Read more

Pin It on Pinterest