2020 BMW X5 M Competition - Driven
With 615 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, the BMW X5 M Competition is one of the most powerful BMWs ever made, a 5,500-pound behemoth capable of going from naught to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and do it while enveloping you in a luxurious cabin blending leather and carbon fiber. We took the X5 M Competition out for a spin because we know that it shares its engine with the M5 and the M8 Competition but we wanted to find out if it also drives like BMW’s quick sedans.
When BMW came up with the X5 over two decades ago, the unique selling proposition of the first Bavarian crossover of any kind was that it offered all the benefits of an SUV - like the added practicality, the higher driving position, and off-road ability - while staying true to the BMW ethos and thus delivering that much-coveted driving pleasure. BMW even tried to create a brand-new niche with the arrival of the X5, calling it an ’SAV’ which is something that still applies to this day, with the only difference being that, over the years, the X5 did become sportier and felt more and more like a sedan able to belie its generous dimensions.
Comparing the Smallest Crossovers: 2020 Hyundai Venue vs. 2020 Kia Soul vs. 2020 Nissan Kicks
Ever since Subaru lifted the Legacy’s suspension, slapped on some body cladding, and called it the Outback, it’s been harder and harder to draw a firm line between ’regular’ cars and SUVs. And we recently drove three vehicles that are right in that blurry area. Their manufacturers call them crossovers, and they’re tall and plastic-clad. But they’re tiny and come only with front-wheel-drive.
Whatever you call them, the all-new 2020 Hyundai Venue, the freshly-redesigned 2020 Kia Soul, and the 2020 Nissan Kicks are a lot of vehicle for the money. They all start below $20,000, all get at least 30 mpg, and all have higher seating positions and more cargo room than a sedan. They slot under their brands’ crossovers that already wear the pint-sized label of subcompact — the Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos, and Nissan Rogue Sport — to provide an even lower price and even more city-friendly parking abilities.
2020 Nissan Altima - Driven
For the past two years, Nissan has been selling about 210,000 Altimas, the mid-size sedan that’s been lurking in the shadows behind its Japanese peers from Honda and Toyota since 2014. The introduction of the sixth-generation model in 2018 didn’t turn the tides in Nissan’s favor and we drove a range-topping Platinum with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to see why more people and businesses choose an Accord or a Camry over the Altima.
Fresh-faced and with a variety of clever features such as semi-autonomous driving functions, the Altima is Nissan’s bid to regain the lead in the once-booming mid-size sedan segment. While people generally moved away from sedans in favor of MPVs and SUVs, the big players in the market still move in excess of 320,000 units a year of their best-selling models and Nissan hopes the Altima, a $24,000 proposition in its cheapest form, can keep the company’s otherwise leaking boat from sinking.
2020 Subaru Outback - Driven
The Subaru Outback started like as a full-fledged station wagon that was based on the Legacy back in 1994. In those 16 years, the Outback slowly evolved from your everyday wagon to what is, essentially, a crossover by today’s standards. As such, the competition is fierce, and with the sixth-gen Outback hitting the market for the 2020 model year, we thought it would be a great idea to see just what it has th
at sets it apart from the many models on the market. Fortunately for us (and you, of course), Subaru was kind enough to let us get behind the wheel of an Outback Onyx Edition XT for an entire week. This is what we’ve learned.
2020 Nissan Titan - Driven
The Titan is in Nissan’s lineup since 2004. The pickup truck’s current-gen was launched four years back and now the company has already rolled out the facelift. The 2020 model brings in a few significant changes to the truck. On the outside, the changes are subtle, but they are noteworthy under the hood.
Nissan dropped the Cummins mill and the Titan can now be had only with the 5.6-liter V-8 mill. What’s more, it comes with a new transmission and a power boost. However, is the Titan a worthy alternative to the established trucks like the F-150 and the Silverado?
2020 Mazda 3 - Driven Review
Flying in to Newark International Airport last month, I arrived at the Budget Rent a Car counter and received the keys to a familiar staple of rental fleets: a 2019 Nissan Sentra wearing scratched-up Ignore Me Silver paint. Plenty of travelers would likely ask if, pretty please, anything else was available. This previous-generation Sentra (the car was fully redesigned for 2020) is generally reviled by anyone who appreciates a fine automobile. It’s underpowered, it lacks handling poise, and it’s drab-looking inside and out. And yet, it was just what my family of three needed for a three-hour drive home to Maryland. The Sentra’s plus-sized rear backseat was perfect for our rear-facing child seat, and its big trunk swallowed our suitcases and stroller with ease. Its generously sized windows offered excellent outward visibility, and it could go 41.3 miles before burning a gallon of gasoline. And, keeping our rental rate in check, the Sentra provided plenty of features at low prices.
This brings us to the subject of today’s review: the 2020 Mazda3. Like the Sentra, it belongs to the compact economy car market segment. But that’s pretty much where the similarities stop. For two cars in the same segment, it’s hard to get more dissimilar than our tested Mazda3 and our rental Sentra — for better and for worse.
The Mazda3 is basically a luxury sports sedan (or, like in our test car, a five-door hatchback). It’s beautifully styled, elegantly finished, laden with features, and — although it’s not as energetically zippy as it once was — a pleasure to drive. It even offers all-wheel-drive, just like an Audi or BMW. Yet like a luxury car, it’s also more expensive, has a cramped rear seat and tight cargo hold, has slits for windows, isn’t cheap for its class, and gets lousy gas mileage. It would have been absolutely the wrong choice for a family road trip, even for our small family. But if you appreciate something finer than a Sentra and won’t often carry more than one extra passenger, the Mazda3 brings a high-end experience at relatively affordable prices — starting from $21,500.
2020 Hyundai Kona - Driven
The Hyundai Kona is a strong competitor in the subcompact SUV market, and it’s made itself known in the two short years it’s been on the market. The Toyota C-HR and Honda HR-V both claim their own fame as being top contenders, so we decided to see just how well the Kona can hold up now that it has actually established itself on the market. So, we decided to ask for a test car, and next thing we knew, the Kona was rolling up to Topspeed HQ with its gray paint finish and silver highlights. This is our experience and thoughts after spending a whole week with the Hyundai Kona.
2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster - Driven Review and Impressions
The Mercedes-AMG GT R is a real looker with its long nose and swooped back cabin. Just looking at it evokes all the feelings you’d expect from a precision-built, six-figure machine that bears both the AMG and Mercedes logo. It’s an impressive car, to say the least, but what happens when you get behind the wheel of one of the 750 GT R Roadsters that will be produced? Does it still evoke that same high-end sports car feeling? Does it still feel like it’s ready for the track from the moment you sit down in the seat? Does it drive any different compared to the coupe it is based on? Well, we spent a week with the AMG GT R, and we’ve set out to answer all those questions and more.
2020 BMW 750i - Driven
Prior to 2020, the BMW 7 Series was somewhat lacking when compared to models like the Audi A8 and Mercedes S-Class. For 2020, however, BMW put the 7 Series through an extensive facelift that included a revised exterior look, fresh technology, and updated powertrains – most of which were all inspired by the new BMW 8 Series. With a new V-8 engine being offered in the 750i trim, it was time to see what the 7 Series can offer, and we did exactly that. This is our experience with the BMW 750i and what we thought after spending a whole week with one of BMW’s most expensive models.
2020 Nissan Armada - Driven
Nissan launched the second-generation Armada – the brand’s full-size, flagship SUV – in 2017 and, while it was a huge step forward in terms of luxury (relatively used, of course) and rigidity, it was also knocked for its lack of technology. Comfortable seating and cabin space rank high on the list of notable features, but things like the infotainment system and instrument cluster feel dated. With this kind of impression, we thought it would be a good idea to spend some time with the 2020 Nissan Armada to see just what it has to offer and if it can really compete with models like the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition. It was a long week, and this is what our experience taught us about the Nissan Armada.
2020 Kia Telluride - Driven
The Telluride joined Kia’s lineup for the 2020 model year as its biggest SUV yet. It’s positioned in the midsize class, despite the fact that it’s not much larger than the Kia Sorento. As is the usual case, it shares a lot of core DNA with a Hyundai product – in this case, the Hyundai Palisade – but it still features its own distinct styling. It’s only available with a V-6, but it does provide ample power, towing up to 5,000 pounds, and it comes at a price that gives it a competitive edge over models like the Honda Pilot and Volkswagen Atlas.
As Kia’s newst SUV, we’ve been itching to see what it’s like to live with the new Telluride, and we finally got out chance. This is what we’ve learned after a week of driving the Hyundai Telluride.
2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven
The Sentra might be Nissan’s best-selling model of all time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been labeled as “cheap,” “uninspired,” or “sluggish.” Those claims to fame come courtesy of the last-generation model that has, thankfully, been replaced. For the 2020 model year, the Nissan Sentra ditches its old digs for a new Maxima-inspired design that sits atop a new platform. That old, sluggish 1.8-liter engine has been replaced with something a little more responsible and powerful, the 2.0-liter from the Nissan Rogue.
With the Nissan Sentra set to hit dealers in late February, Nissan invited us to give its updated compact sedan a test drive to see just how much better it really is. This is our experience.