Driven Reviews

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2021 Hyundai Sonata N-Line - Driven

2021 Hyundai Sonata N-Line - Driven

At $33,300 does the sportier, more powerful Sonata N-Line live up to all the hype?

Outside of the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and a few others, the concept of sporty and quick sedans is slowly dying off as people look to either bigger, similarly quick, vehicles or smaller two-door sports cars. Then you’ve got brands like Hyundai that seems to either not care or wants to keep the thrill of driving alive, and this is where the Hyundai Sonata N-Line comes in. It’s based on your typical midsized family sedan but is injected with enough sporty DNA that it stands out both visually and in terms of performance. Of course, we’re not talking Porsche Panamera or Dodge Challenger levels of performance, but affordable performance – something that, arguably, gives you a bigger bang for your buck. Here’s what you need to know about the Sonata N-Line and why you should consider it for your next daily driver.

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2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat - Driven

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat - Driven

A true-blue performance SUV with a supercharged V-8 that can seat seven people and swallow any amount of luggage

Until 2020, the Dodge Durango was a family SUV with a sporty side to it. It came with a V-8 engine that churned out enough power to fulfill the adrenaline rush while also serving as a practical utility vehicle. For the 2021 model, however, Dodge upped the ante. As part of its process to plonk in the Hellcat engine in every product in its portfolio, the automaker transformed the Durango into a beast incarnate that just can’t be tamed. On paper, the Durango SRT Hellcat is now the most powerful production SUV. It can sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.5 seconds. Isn’t that a wonderful and frightening sight at the same time?

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2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 - Driven

2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 - Driven

This luxurious SUV is a good package overall but sits in a weird niche of its own

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 is based on the standard Mercedes GLS SUV. It costs twice as much as the GLS but is a lot more premium and plusher. The Maybach-affiliation to the SUV puts it right at the top with the likes of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and the Bentley Bentayga. It isn’t as expensive as the British brands, but comes with enough tech and luxuriousness to keep you happy if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. It comes with a V-8 engine under the hood to help it propel to 60 mph in less than four seconds. The looks, however, isn’t the GLS600’s strong suit.

While it seems a good package overall, will a Bentayga or a Cullinan customer consider the GLS600? Or will a standard GLS customer upgrade to it, for that matter?

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2021 BMW M4 - Driven

2021 BMW M4 - Driven

Is there more to the BMW M4 than that big German nose that you can’t quit looking at?

The new BMW 4 Series, which was based on the BMW Concept 4, has been the victim of heavy criticism for some time now, and the M4 has fallen victim to the same big glass of hateraid. But, what sits behind that big, bulky, look-at-me nose is a humble powerhouse of performance that’s just as thrilling to drive as any other BMW on the market. After spending a week with the 2021 BMW M4 we can tell you that ugliness only runs skin deep, and you certainly shouldn’t judge a car by its face – this is our story with the new M4.

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2021 Kia K5 - Driven

2021 Kia K5 - Driven

Does the Kia K5 represent a strong evolution or is it just another midsized sedan?

Let me introduce you to the Kia K5 midsize sedan – a car that really doesn’t need much of an introduction because you’ve known it as the Kia Optima ever since it hit the market back in 2000, but I’ll discuss that a bit later. Like the Optima, the K5 is known for its attractive styling, sexy yet functional interior, and – naturally – a great value for the money. Highlights of the new k5 (or 5th-gen Optima, if you like) are even bolder styling, new engine offerings, and, believe it or not, available all-wheel drive. Pricing for the new Kia K5 starts out at a very reasonable $23,590 (making it one of the most affordable midsize cars on the market) with the loaded, more powerful, range-topping GT trim commanding just $30,590. With this in mind, is the Kia K5 right for you? Keep reading to find out.

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2021 Jeep Gladiator Diesel - Driven

2021 Jeep Gladiator Diesel - Driven

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel mill has the potential, but is it worth $4,000 over the Pentastar V-6?

The Jeep Gladiator was one of the most anticipated vehicles for a very long time. Jeep had revealed the Gladiator concept back in 2005 but took almost 14 years to roll out the production model. But, we finally had a Jeep-branded truck after three long decades. The truck was launched with much pomp and show and it caught a lot of attention. The truck comes in a wide number of trims with uncountable packages and accessories to complement it. The automaker keeps the Gladiator fresh by launching special editions, too.

However, Jeep hasn’t been able to sell the Gladiator in big numbers. One reason could be the high pricing, and the other was offering it with just a single engine option – the old but reliable V-6 Pentastar. Jeep probably figured this out soon and launched an EcoDiesel engine as an option. A Gladiator dressed in the Overland trim with the new diesel mill under the hood arrived at TopSpeed, and here are our impressions of it.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

The GLA 250 is an all-round package, but all the droolworthy features are offered as optional that make it exorbitantly expensive

Mercedes launched the 2021 GLA in July last year and promoted it as a much safer, spacious, and off-road-oriented compact vehicle. While we don’t agree that offering a four-wheel-drive system makes it an off-roader, it certainly seems to have become a better package overall.

The GLA is a seasoned product that only gotten better this time around. It feels a lot more luxurious and modern than its predecessor. But, does spending close to $40,000 for an entry-level, compact Mercedes with a four-pot mill make a whole lot of sense?

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2021 Nissan Armada - Driven

2021 Nissan Armada - Driven

Nissan’s full-size SUV has been updated with fresh tech, but does that make it good enough?

The Nissan Armada started life back in 2004 riding on Nissan Titan underpinnings and was built in Canton Mississippi. All that changed when the second-generation was launched for the 2017 model year, with production shifting to Yakuhashi, Kyushu, Japan as Nissan based the second-gen on Nissan Patrol underpinnings that feature some very specific modifications to make it suitable for the North American market. As of 2021, the Nissan Armada has been updated to feature a prettier face, a new center console inside, and some updated technology. As is the case with all refreshed models, we’ve been wondering if Nissan did enough to keep the Armada relevant in such a brutally competitive market. Does it hold its own against the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition? Well, let’s find out.

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Mercedes GLE Coupe

Mercedes GLE Coupe

An off-beat choice that comes with sweet engine options, spacious interior, and top-notch tech

The Mercedes GLE is everything you’d need in a vehicle. It looks handsome (if you’re into coupes, that is), feels premium on the inside, comes with tech features that will make nerds go weak in their knees, and powertrain options that will satisfy your adrenaline rush. On paper, every requirement is ticked well. But, it’s still not a complete package. The automaker left some rough edges that are glaringly evident, especially in the ride quality and ergonomics department. Will these prove to be deal-breakers, or can the overall package swerve your decision to choose it over the BMW X6 or the Audi SQ5? .

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2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon

2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon

If you’re looking to stand out, the AMG E63 S will not disappoint as long as you’ve got six figures to spend.

While the station wagon may have been a big hit in the United States long ago, today, out of all the cars sold on the U.S. market, only a handful are offered in the wagon body style. Of course, you have mainstays like the Subaru Outback, Audi A4 Allroad, and the Volvo V90 Cross Country and there are a few more obscure models like the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo and soon to be forever gone Jaguar XF Sportbrake. A few others are out there too, like the car you see here, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon – a go-fast wagon that can easily make you forget that you’re an SUV-loving American living smack dab in the middle of North America. We recently spend a week with the AMG E63 S to see if it really was a strong, sexy alternative to the many, many SUVs on the market, and you’ll be surprised what we’ve learned.

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2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country - Driven

The Traverse is a perfect alternative to a minivan that comes with handsome looks, spacious cabin, and a brilliant engine+transmission combo

The Chevrolet Traverse is a three-row SUV that can best be described as a better-looking and equally practical alternative to a minivan. It offers the best cargo space in the segment, and courtesy of its length and wheelbase, it doesn’t come with a cramped third row. A V-6 engine is the only option offered across the range, but will suffice the needs of most of the owners. There is no dearth of features, but most of them are either optional or offered only in the top trim, which means a complete, loaded SUV will be quite pricey. We got to test the Chevy Traverse in its top avatar, the High Country trim, with an all-wheel-drive configuration, and here are our impressions of this bowtie product.

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2021 Nissan Maxima - Driven

2021 Nissan Maxima - Driven

Has an old dog learned any new tricks for 2021?

The Nissan Maxima – there’s quite a bit to say about it. Once a popular, full-size family sedan, the Nissan Maxima has fallen from average U.S. sales for 60,000 plus to just 18,141 units in 2020. Those numbers in 2020 are specifically worrying as Nissan updated the Maxima for the 2019 model year to bring in some extra safety and modernized technology. As of 2021, the Maxima is now five years into its eighth generation, so have things turned around or does Nissan have to make a tough choice between discontinuation and spending heaps of money in designing a ninth-gen model? We spent a week with the 2021 Nissan Maxima to find out, and this is our experience.

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2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven

The range-topping Charger has a lot of good points and a few bad

The current Dodge Charger has been on the market since 2011 and, while it is getting a little long in the tooth, Dodge has continuously found ways to keep it interesting. It didn’t go so far as to make a Charger Demon to match the widely loved Challenger Demon, but it certainly came close with the car you see here – the Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye – a 797-horsepower monster of a car that’s capable of standing down some of the world’s finest sports cars with nothing but some good old fashioned American muscle. Being such a powerful sedan, we’ve been curious about just what it can offer and whether or not near-800 horsepower puts it out family car segment altogether. We got to spend a week with it, and this is what we’ve learned.

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2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport - Driven

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport - Driven

Subaru has upped the ante for the Crosstrek by introducing new safety tech, a new trim, and a more powerful engine

Subaru introduced the Crosstrek last decade as a successor to the Outback Sport. It was essentially an Impreza with an off-road bias. This formula worked well for the company as it soon became the best-selling Subaru in the U.S.

For the 2021 model year, Subaru introduced a new ‘Sport’ trim along with a new engine option that further makes this a desirable product. Will these upgrades help Subaru sell more than Crosstreks than it has in the previous years?

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2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z51 - Driven

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z51 - Driven

Chevy’s resident supercar squares off with more expensive models - does it stand a chance?

Chevy quite literally redefined what the Corvette name means when it unveiled the all-new, mid-engined C8 Corvette – a model that was decades in the making. Finally bringing the mid-engine configuration to the Corvette was no easy undertaking, but in the end, the new Corvette looked like a supercar, performed like a high-end sportscar, and created quite a stir in the automotive community thanks to its attractive low price. It seems impossible that a car like the C8 Corvette could retail for less than $60,000, but as promised it does ($59,995 as of the time of this writing). This makes the C8 Corvette come off as a much-cheaper alternative to many exotic cars, so how does it hold up? We spent a week with the 2021 C8 Corvette 3LT with the Z51 performance package to find out.

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