2020 Buick Encore GX - Driven
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?
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.
Volkswagen Passat - Driven
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.
2020 Nissan Frontier - Driven
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.
2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar - Driven
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.
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!
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven
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.
2021 BMW 4 Series Track Review: Sharper Than Ever
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.
2020 Ford Expedition - Driven
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.
2020 Ford F-250 - Driven
The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for over four decades now, and this legacy seems sufficient to introduce it. The company has a range of pickup trucks, ranging from light-duty to heavy-duty and for varied purposes. The list is exhaustive, but the bottom line is that if you need a full-size pickup truck, no matter what the budget or usage pattern, Ford has an offering for you, right from F-150 to the F-750.
While the F-150 is the best-seller of the lot and suffices for most of the needs, people looking for a little heavy-duty work tend to hop on to the next available option – the F-250. The F-250 is the entry-level model pf the Super Duty series that also includes the F-350 and F-450. This isn’t outright expensive, comes with strong specs, and fits the bill for most people looking to use it as a work truck. It is offered even with premium features on the top trim.
Recently, the 2020 Ford F-250 arrived at the Top Speed headquarters in the mid-Lariat trim, and here are our impressions of this beast:
When it comes to buying a four-door BMW 2 Series, aka the 2 Series Gran Coupe, you don’t have a whole lot of options. You can either choose the base, 228i, or the current range-topper, the M235i. With a price difference of $7,800, it leaves one to wonder whether you might as well pony up a little extra to get something that looks, well, less bland, or if you should just get the base 2 Series GC and drive it for what it is. The extra $7,800 doe net you nearly 70 extra horsepower and a drastic improvement in acceleration, but is it enough? We just spent a week with the M235i, and our experience with it – and how it competes with the Audi S3 and Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 – will enlighten you.
2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo - Driven
The R35 Nissan GT-R has been on the market since 2009, so it’s getting pretty long in the tooth. Be that as it may, car enthusiasts everywhere paint it as one of the world’s best cars. It is, quite literally, one of the fastest point-to-point cars on the planet, something it can lay claim to thanks to its precisely tuned chassis, sophisticated AWD system, a monstrous twin-turbo V-6, and race-proven roots that cannot be denied. But, being more than a decade old, makes paying six figures a tough pill to swallow, so it begs the question, is the Nissan GT-R actually worth buying? Is it still one of the best-driving cars in the world, and does its performance hold a candle to the new sports cars on the market?
We set out to find answers to those questions and more, and Nissan was kind enough to lend us a 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo for an entire week to do with as we please. Needless to say, it’s been a very fun week and, despite the GT-R’s age, Nissan has done a fairly decent job of keeping things somewhat fresh and interesting. This is our story with the Nissan GT-R Nismo.
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 Nissan Leaf - Driven
Nissan Leaf has been on the block for a decade now. It was one of the earliest entrants in the market and continues to live on. While it can be considered as the veteran in this segment if you go by its age, the Leaf didn’t make a mark like, say, any of the Tesla models did in their respective segment.
The electric hatch comes with acceptable aesthetics and decent tech features, but not the best powertrain or battery specs. But, there’s certainly more to this than meets the eye, and we’re here to uncover it. The Nissan Leaf arrived at TopSpeed’s headquarters recently, and here are our impressions about this urban electric commuter.
2020 Fiat 500X - Driven
The Fiat 500X is somewhat of a quirky vehicle. For starters, Fiat isn’t exactly the most popular brand here in the United States, and when you pair that with the fact that it’s really more of a jacked-up hatchback than a true crossover. As you’ll read a little later on in this in-depth review, the 500X, outside of its standard all-wheel-drive actually fails when it comes to doing a lot of usual crossover things – like carrying lots of cargo. But we’ll discuss that a little further down the page. For now, I want to want to talk to you about what it’s like to drive the 500X and a little more of that quirkiness that, honestly, intrigues me so much.
Hyundai introduced the Venue subcompact crossover for the 2020 model year as an all-new model that’s based on the same platform as the Ascent compact sedan. As a subcompact, you can get a well-equipped model for less than $20,000, but that affordability doesn’t come without its tradeoffs. Being an all-new model, we’ve been itching to see how Hyundai’s latest entry to the U.S. market holds up, especially against long-running nameplates like the Ford EcoSport and Nissan Kicks. We finally got our chance with the mid-level SEL trim, and this is what you can expect from it.
2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven
The Gladiator was the most anticipated launch of 2020, right alongside the Chevrolet C8. Jeep had revealed the pickup truck concept back in 2005, but it took the company 15 years to bring out the production version. This was going to be Jeep’s first pickup truck in 30 years, so it was natural for enthusiasts to be hyped up for it. Jeep even introduced five different Gladiator concepts at the 2019 Eastern Jeep Safari and gave the Wranglers a miss; which is some sort of a record in Jeep’s history.
The company launched the Gladiator with four trims plus a limited Launch Edition trim, but it expanded the lineup with three more trims within a year. The Gladiator was a true-blue Jeep, but it isn’t bringing in volumes for the automaker, perhaps because of its slightly-higher pricing. But, a year post its launch with new trims in line and price discounts to lure the customers, can the Gladiator rake in sales numbers for Jeep?
2020 Acura NSX - Driven
Most supercars live a life of unexplored potential. In a world where a Toyota Camry can hit 60 mph in a once-shocking six seconds, and six-figure performance machines have to cut that time in half to be relevant, few cars can be pushed to their limits in legal conditions. And the higher the limits, the fewer the chances you have to approach them. That means most supercars spend their days flaunting their looks — along with the prestige associated with their extreme capabilities — between occasional bursts of all-out speed.
2020 Toyota Highlander - Driven
Last year, the Toyota Highlander was in its final model year of a generation that wasn’t great even when it was new. This three-row crossover lacked the spaciousness, slick driving manners, extra-easy ergonomics, modern infotainment, and upscale interior details of the latest competitors. Yet by a healthy margin, it outsold every other seven-seat vehicle in the country. Buyers were drawn to a trusted name, and even if the competition might have been more impressive, loyal customers didn’t find enough wrong with the Highlander to try their hand with, say, a Mazda CX-9 or Kia Telluride. Now, there’s a new Highlander, and it’s time to see where Toyota has made marked improvements.
In recent decades, few Lincolns have been known for excellence. The company has largely settled for making marginally nicer Fords at marginally higher prices. That’s not a bad niche to occupy — for example, recent Lincolns like the MKZ sedan and Nautilus crossover provide comfortable interiors, rich leather, lots of features, and a quiet ride for less money than sportier, more opulent Mercedes-Benz or BMW competitors — but this approach did little for the brand’s prestige.
Now, Lincoln is undergoing a renaissance. New Lincolns do still borrow from Fords mechanically. But starting with the redesigned 2018 Navigator, the brand’s models have been packing a greater visual punch, differentiating themselves from their Ford cousins and from the competition. One of the latest beneficiaries is the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator, a luxury version of the Ford Explorer that Lincoln had last sold in 2005.
The new Aviator stands comfortably apart from the Explorer, sharing its family-friendly seven-seat layout and its new rear-wheel-drive-based platform, but with a unique and eye-catching exterior and interior design. From its striking looks to its standard 400-horsepower engine to a host of thoughtfully executed details, this isn’t a Lincoln that aims for being merely “acceptable” or “pretty good.” Some buyers might wish for sportier handling, a few details could be improved, and our test car’s $76,310 MSRP feels steep. But when you stay closer to the $51,100 base price, the new Aviator is a head-turning combination of performance, seven-passenger seating, and stunning design.
In 2019, we got the chance to spend a week with the Ford Mustang GT Convertible,, and it was an absolute blast to drive. In fact, we even described it as presenting a “few reasons why you still need a V-8.” Ever since then, we’ve been wondering about the four-cylinder Mustang, aka the Mustang EcoBoost. Can a Mustang with a four-cylinder engine really live up to the name of a thoroughbred muscle car? Well, after months of asking, a 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible landed in the parking lot outside of TopSpeed HQ. That car was destined to spend the next week with us, and now we want to give you our impression of the beast with a little but dominating heart.