Driven Reviews

2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe Driven

2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe Driven

Is the M8 Gran Coupe just another niche four-door coupe or is there more to it?

The BMW M8 Gran Coupe offers the same rapid and effortless acceleration, impressive interior, and command of the road without the sacrifice that comes with owning the standard M8 – a lack of interior space. In a sense, the M8 Gran Coupe sort of fixes everything that was wrong with the M8 coupe while bringing the M8 to a place where it’s more capable of carrying a family or – at the very least – four full-grown adults. Does the mean that the M8 Gran Coupe is just another four-door coupe or is there more substance to it? We spent a week with one to find out, and this is what we’ve learned.

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2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven

An SUV with a premium interior, powerful engine, and numerous gizmos that make off-roading a walk in the park

The Land Rover Defender needs no introduction. After a long run, the company sent it on a hiatus in 2016, only for it to return in a freshed, modern avatar to keep up with the competition. It came out looking a little less old-school, but still as rugged as ever.

This time, it wasn’t just the sturdy build that made it a compelling off-roader, but also the modern gadgets and gizmos that could put the other off-roaders out there to shame. The top trim is dangerously close to the six-digit price territory, but will that stop people from buying it? Or will customers look at other cheaper alternatives, like the Toyota 4Runner and to an extent, the Jeep Grand Cherokee?

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime - Driven

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime - Driven

How well does the Toyota RAV4Prime hold up in the real world?

Any new version of the Toyota RAV4 is automatically a big deal. Aside from a few big pickup trucks, the RAV4 is America’s favorite vehicle. And it has also been a winner among eco-conscious buyers; not long after the gas/electric RAV4 Hybrid debuted in 2016, it became America’s favorite hybrid — even outselling Toyota’s iconic Prius.

So when Toyota announced the 2021 RAV4 Prime, it was a big deal. Forget about the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a low-range plug-in hybrid version of a forgettable SUV. Forget about a planned Ford Escape plug-in hybrid, which doesn’t offer all-wheel-drive and whose on-sale date got bumped back a year over fire risks. Forget about various plug-in sedans and hatchbacks, and various expensive luxury plug-in hybrids that can barely crack 20 miles of low-speed all-electric use. And forget about the range anxiety that keeps many people away from fully electric vehicles. No, it’s the RAV4 Prime that promises to make Americans plug in their cars en masse.

We spent a week in the new 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime to see how it bridges the gap between the gasoline and electric worlds. Here’s what we found.

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2020 Buick Encore GX - Driven

2020 Buick Encore GX - Driven

The Encore GX is a no non-sense SUV with a small footprint, but that’s about it

The Buick Encore GX is marketed as a small luxury SUV and it lives up to its name. It comes with a lot of features in the base trim and offers two engine options and drive layouts for you to choose from. The SUV looks decent on the outside, is as spacious as its rivals on the inside, and generates enough grunt to keep you happy pottering around in the city. For tasks like carrying your grocery and taking your kid to school, this urban commuter does its job well. But, expecting anything beyond it is a cardinal sin. With a fairly low starting price and heavy discounts on offer, will you choose this over the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1?

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Kia Seltos - Driven

Kia Seltos - Driven

The Kia Seltos is the newcomer to Kia’s lineup. It’s been in production since 2019, but 2021 marks the first year that it will be available on U.S. soil. It has just recently made it into dealerships as Kia begins to roll out its 2021 crop of vehicles, and it’s poised to make quite the disruption in the subcompact crossover market. Of course, let’s be clear, this still isn’t Kia’s smallest model – it’s the model designed to sit between the Soul and the Sportage. Highlights of the Seltos include better-than-expected cargo room, a Bose audio system, and the range-topping engine that’s good for 175 horsepower. What might be even more impressive, though, is the Seltos starting point of around $22,000.

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2020 Volkswagen Passat - Driven

2020 Volkswagen Passat - Driven

Did this aging sedan need more significant updates?

Sometimes, a car needs a full redesign to address a fundamental flaw. Perhaps it’s too small, or too big. Maybe its styling is stale or unappealing. Or perhaps its platform can’t support modern needs.

The 2020 Passat has revised interior and exterior styling, more standard features, and an updated engine. That’s a cheaper set of changes than a full redesign, and Volkswagen is passing those savings on to the customer. Is that enough to excuse the Passat’s old bones? Or are you better off opting for a fresher competitor? Here’s what we learned from our time behind the wheel.

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2020 Nissan Frontier - Driven

2020 Nissan Frontier - Driven

The 2020 Frontier looks the same, but comes with a new engine and transmission, and a steep price hike

Nissan Frontier is considered to be one of the best workhorses you can buy today. It never had any oomph factor and was happy being in its comfort zone as a work truck. It has remained pretty much the same for 15 years and Nissan never bothered to bring in a new generation because, well, why fix something that ain’t broken?

Given the long wait, everyone expected the next-gen Frontier to get a complete makeover inside out. The Japanese automaker still hasn’t brought out the new generation, but it decided to give us a glimpse of the future by plonking in a new engine and transmission in the same old body.

The new engine and gearbox come at a cost; the cost being $8,000. The starting price of the truck has gone up considerably and a lot of us were confused if it’s worth the hike or not. So, here’s our take on the 2020 Nissan Frontier that arrived at TopSpeed’s headquarters in the PRO-4X trim finished in a Blue exterior shade.

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2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar - Driven

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar - Driven

The 2020 lineup introduced a new performance-oriented, luxurious trim with a V-8 engine that makes 550 horses!

The Range Rover Velar is a fairly new product in the company’s lineup, but an important one. It looks like the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport’s lovechild and even sits in between them in the lineup. There is a lot of part-sharing with the Jaguar F-Pace, but the Velar is more suited to folks who prefer an SUV with better off-road dynamics. In the top-spec, it is loaded with features and comes with a 5.0-liter V-8 that dishes out 500 ponies. The Velar starts around $55,000, but the mouth-watering top trim costs an eye-watering $90,000.

The 2020 Land Rover Range Velar recently arrived at TopSpeed’s headquarters in the top-of-the-line SVAutobiography Dynamic trim, and here’s what we have to say about it.

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2020 Chrysler Pacifica - Driven

2020 Chrysler Pacifica - Driven

When Chrysler introduced the Pacifica Hybrid, it rattled to ever-shrinking minivan segment to its core. Not necessarily because it offered some new, ground-breaking technology but because it’s quite literally the only hybrid minivan on the market – at least until the Toyota Sienna lineup goes hybrid for the 2021 model year. Until then, however, the Pacifica gets to wear the crown. We drove the Pacifica just a year ago and we had somewhat mixed opinions about it – has anything changed this time around? Let’s find out!

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2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio: An Italian take on what a sporty compact crossover should be

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio has been on the market just four short years, and the more aggressive Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a year less under its belt. We’ve already learned that the Stelvio can hold its own against everyday luxury SUVs, but halfway through its lifecycle can it still deliver the performance and comfort expected from something that carries an Alfa Romeo badge? Is the Quadrifoglio still worth the $80,500 entry level price in a luxury crossover market that grows, quite literally, by the day? Well, FCA stopped by TopSpeed headquarters with a Stelvio Quadrifoglio to let us find out for ourselves – this is what our week-long experience taught us.

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2021 BMW 4 Series Track Review: Sharper Than Ever

2021 BMW 4 Series Track Review: Sharper Than Ever

Say what you will about the bucktooth grille; the new BMW 4 Series remains a class act of dynamic balance

The first-generation 4 Series still looks good to this day. It’s even better to drive, thanks in particular to the 50:50 weight distribution between the two axles and BMW’s affinity for a driver-centric experience - and by that, I don’t mean just the fact that the cockpit points every button, knob, or screen at whoever is sitting behind the wheel.

That genuine appetite for spirited driving is still present in the new 2021 BMW 4 Series, albeit wrapped up in a polarizing package. What I’m really trying to say is that this book should under no circumstances be judged by its cover. That would be a mistake.

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2020 Ford Expedition - Driven

2020 Ford Expedition - Driven

Taking the Chevy Tahoe Head-On While Still Remaining Humble

In a world where large SUVs are becoming the norm, there’s no shortage of models to choose from. Having recently driven the Nissan Armada and knowing that the Ford Expedition is now two years old as of 2020, we figured it was time to see if Ford’s resident large SUV can hold its own in a highly competitive, constantly evolving segment. After spending a week with the Expedition Platinum, we discovered a lot that we liked and a few things we didn’t – this is our experience and what you need to know.

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