Opinion

Models

view thumbnails grid view horizontal compact blog view
2019 Fiat 500 Abarth Driven

2019 Fiat 500 Abarth Driven

One last go in Fiat’s fun and spirited city car

The reborn, retro-chic, Fiat 500 first graced North American shores back in 2011 and now, eight years down the line, we got behind the wheel of the peppy Abarth version to get one final sting from the scorpion as the entire 500 range is being discontinued by Fiat-Chrysler. Prepare for some top-down driving as we assess whether we’ll miss the 500 for what it is or for its vibe akin to an endless summer holiday in the rolling hills of Tuscany.

Read more
The 10 Best Ferraris Of All Time

The 10 Best Ferraris Of All Time

From classics to current exotics, Maranello has a long and rich history of performance car excellence

Picking the ten best Ferraris of all time is not an easy exercise, but somebody had to do it. Sports cars don’t come finer than those with a Prancing Horse badge, and in the 70 years that it has been around, Ferrari has built some of the finest and most desirable performance cars in the history of the industry. A lot of Ferrari models have climbed the ladder to iconic status, and even some of today’s models are on their way there, too. It took a lot of work — and arguments — but we managed to narrow down our choices for the ten best Ferraris of all time.

Read more
2020 Chevrolet Traverse - Driven

2020 Chevrolet Traverse - Driven

The Chevy Traverse had an identity complex during its first 8 years of life, with the first-gen model being a weird blend of crossover and minivan with GM’s old, not-so-attractive styling inside and out. Fortunately, the 2018 model year became the host of the second-gen Traverse, and it came with a true SUV appearance that doesn’t require the hardcore (and heavy) full-size truck DNA under the metal. As the roomiest three-row SUV on the market without those full-size truck underpinnings, we’ve been wondering how the second-gen Traverse really holds up against competitors like the Ford Explorer and Mazda CX-9. Finally, after two years on the market, we finally got the chance to get behind the wheel to find out for ourselves. This is our experience with the 2020 Chevy Traverse.

Read more
Top 8 Fastest Electric Cars

Top 8 Fastest Electric Cars

Don’t make the mistake of dismissing the performance abilities of these EVs

It’s no secret that with the copious amounts of torque they carry, electric vehicles are considered some of the fastest-accelerating cars in the world, faster even than most of their non-EV counterparts. The eight cars on this list are proof of that. These are some of the fastest electric cars on the road today, so if you happen to see one on the road, try not to look at them the wrong way, unless you want to see first-hand just how fast they can go.

Read more
The Long, Illustrious History of Jeep Pickup Trucks

The Long, Illustrious History of Jeep Pickup Trucks

Anticipating the modern Gladiator’s debut

It has recently been confirmed that Jeep will unveil a pickup truck version of the JL Wrangler at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Called the Gladiator, according to leaked documents, it will be Jeep’s first pickup truck since 1992. And, needless to say, fans have been clamoring for a Jeep with a bed ever since the Cherokee-based Comanche was discontinued.

The Gladiator name will also make a comeback after no fewer than 47 years, but Jeep built more than two pickups throughout its history. It actually made six of them, and even though they were built under different ownership and names, they’re all iconic in their own right. With Jeep’s first truck in more than two decades underway, we decided it’s the perfect time to look through the company’s history as a pickup manufacturer.

Read more
2019 BMW i3 - Driven

2019 BMW i3 - Driven

BMW’s first EV still holds its own but not for long

There aren’t too many models out there that can legitimately lay claim to being funkier than the Nissan Juke, but the BMW i3 is one of them. It was introduced in 2013 as BMW’s first step into the electric market with a single purpose in mind – to see if people would actually be interested in an electric BMW. Well, the i3 has served its purpose very well and actually received a lot of attention. Whether that attention was received because of its funky minivan-like hatchback appearance or because it was an electric BMW is up for debate, but after 6 years on the market BMW has no choice but to dig into the electric car segment even more, so you can write the i3 off as a success either way.

That success, however, doesn’t come without a price, and in this case, the BMW i3 is paying the ultimate price – it will eventually die off as BMW focuses on other electric vehicles. With the i3’s time on the Earth limited to the next few years as BMW runs out parts inventory, we decided it would be a great time to test out the i3 before it fades off into oblivion. After all, it’s the last of its kind and, therefore, is probably as good as it will ever get. This is our story of a week well spent with the soon-to-be-extinct BMW i3.

Read more
2019 Cadillac XT4 - Driven

2019 Cadillac XT4 - Driven

A hard-core premium competitor or living outside of its element?

Back in 2018, Cadillac finally decided that it was tired of missing out on sales in the compact SUV market and launched the XT4. This compact crossover was designed to compete against the best in the market, including the BMW X1, Mercedes GLC, Infiniti QX50, and Lexus NX, among others. Now that the XT4 has been on the market for well over a year, we decided it was time to get behind the wheel and see how it really holds up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really seem to hold water against models from BMW, Mercedes, or Audi, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t compete in the market at all. This means there are a lot of questions to answer: How does the Cadillac XT4 drive, does it have enough passenger space, and what about cargo room? What models does the XT4 actually compete against? Well, we spent a week with the XT4, and we’re here to answer all those questions and more . This is what we’ve learned after spending a week with Cadillac’s latest compact crossover.

Read more
2019 Infiniti QX50 - Driven

2019 Infiniti QX50 - Driven

A decidedly ordinary replacement for a quirky luxury crossover

Infiniti was early to what has become one of the industry’s hottest market segments: the compact luxury crossover. The 2008 EX35 was much more of a car than an SUV, a slightly elevated, slightly roomier version of the acclaimed G35 sports sedan. Infiniti bet big that buyers would sacrifice utility for performance — and it bet wrong. Despite beating most competitors to the market, and even after numerous upgrades over the years (including a longer wheelbase and a name change to QX50), it never made a splash. Later arrivals were able to emulate the more successful compact luxury crossovers and avoid Infiniti’s mistakes.

So not surprisingly, for its first full redesign in more than a decade, the 2019 Infiniti QX50 similarly gravitates toward the class norm. It became taller and wider, adopting more SUV-like proportions. It switched from a V6 engine and a rear-wheel-drive platform to a turbocharged four-cylinder and front-wheel-drive (still with optional all-wheel-drive). All of that mirrors such top rivals as the Acura RDX, Lexus NX, and Cadillac XT4, though a few other competitors still have rear-wheel-drive roots.

But beyond being merely typical, the QX50 is decidedly ordinary as well. It checks general boxes for the luxury crossover class without managing to dazzle. It neither fun and sporty nor vault-like in its serenity. Its infotainment isn’t cutting-edge. It has advanced engineering behind its variable-compression engine, but the real-world effect is less notable.

To be sure, calling a luxury car “ordinary” compared to its peers is no great insult. That means it’s meeting the high standards of its class, even if it doesn’t exceed them. So if you’re looking for a comfortable, quiet, respectably spacious, and generally easy-to-drive small luxury crossover, the QX50 is one of many potentially attractive choices. Prices start at $37,645 including destination change.

Read more
2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport - Driven

2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport - Driven

Manual transmission brings joy to the Elantra.

The Hyundai Elantra isn’t exactly a spring chicken, being on the market for two decades as of 2020. Over the years, it’s gone through five generational shifts, with the most recent taking place in 2015 with a major facelift happening in 2019. The Elantra of today is completely different than the car it once was and has moved on from its econobox roots into all-new territory where its design and driving dynamics can compete with great authority over the models it competes with, including the Honda Civic, Chevy Cruze, and even the Volkswagen Jetta. These days, the range-topping model in the lineup is the Elantra Sport, and we’ve been wondering just how sporty it really is. Well, we’ve finally had a chance to spend some time with it, and this is our experience.

Read more
10 Things the Ferrari Purosangue Needs to Take on the Competition

10 Things the Ferrari Purosangue Needs to Take on the Competition

It Is Not An SUV, But It Is A Ferrari Utility Vehicle

Ferrari will build an SUV. I am not joking, the company made an announcement. It will be called the Ferrari Purosangue. That’s the official name of the Ferrari SUV. Ok, Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri implicitly said that he does not want to hear “that word” in the same sentence with the word Ferrari. “That word” being SUV. Ok, Camilleri, I will not do it. Ever. The new Ferrari... truck… will be the most amazing piece of technology ever attempted with the “that word” layout. Luckily, we do know a thing or two about the new Purosangue.

Digression: Is the word crossover any better? Maybe, but I feel it sounds too soft for the status of a Ferrari. The Honda CR-V is a crossover for crying out loud.

The new Purosangue may take a layout similar to what we have been accustomed to with the onslaught of performance SUVs, yet the Italians promised to make it a proper thoroughbred. Incidentally (not really), Purosangue translated from Italian actually means thoroughbred. Is it just me, or the name Ferrari Thoroughbred (in English) wouldn’t sound bad at all? We have a Superfast and we like it, don’t we? Enough with the strange ideas. Purosangue it is.

Christopher Smith of Motor1 explained how to pronounce it:

“PUR-o-SAN-gue. There are four syllables, with emphasis on PUR and SAN. Phonetically speaking, start with PUR, as in a cat purring. From there just say a soft O as in oh, then SAN with a long A sound like saahn, and finish with GUE, which sounds like way but starting with a g – gway. PURR - oh - SAAHN - gway. See? It’s totally easy.”

OK? OK!

Read more
Driving the New Jeep Wrangler JL on a Harsh Off-Road Course Is a Confidence Boosting Experience

Driving the New Jeep Wrangler JL on a Harsh Off-Road Course Is a Confidence Boosting Experience

We never imagined that the new Wrangler JL would be such a sharp companion on challenging terrain

The newJeep Wrangler JL has been around for some time but we had the chance to put it to (hard) work where it belongs the most: that is, way off the beaten path. So we were handed a couple of Wrangler JL Saharas and encouraged to roam freely on an obstacle course that made sure neither we or the cars had it easy. Here’s what we can report in the wake of this off-roading experience.

Read more
2019 Toyota Prius - Driven

2019 Toyota Prius - Driven

The iconic hybrid still stands out from the pack

Every morning when I get to work, I wind my way up to the roof of a six-story parking garage. And every evening, I wind my way back down. It’s a good half-mile round trip at plodding speeds. In a normal car, I watch the trip computer’s fuel economy readout tick down as I circle round and round through the garage. But in the 2019 Toyota Prius, I can go all of the way down and even most of the way up using purely electric power — burning no gas at all.

That’s the beauty of a well-executed hybrid: It often uses the least gas in circumstances where normal cars would use the most: Bumper-to-bumper traffic, neighborhoods with a four-way stop at every corner, or crowded parking lots. As long as you keep a gentle touch on the throttle — and in these conditions, there’s no reason not to — you can watch your mileage rise rather than fall. And this isn’t a plug-in hybrid that costs more and requires charging infrastructure; the Prius’s battery recharges as you drive normally, capturing energy from the gasoline engine and braking friction.

To be sure, the Prius hatchback is hardly the only hybrid on the market on which such technology achieves similar results. The Hyundai Ioniq hatchback, Kia Niro wagon/crossover, and the Honda Insight sedan are all newer designs than the current Prius, which dates back to 2016. There’s even an all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, which puts the Prius mechanicals in the body of a brand-new sedan. All these models rival or even beat the Prius’s EPA fuel economy ratings, and they all cost a little less; the 2019 Prius starts at $24,725. But the Prius still has the best blend of real-world utility and efficiency. It’s impressively spacious, and it’s more willing to putter around with its gasoline engine shut off than the Honda, Hyundai or Kia are.

Toyota has added another unique strength for 2019: a class-exclusive all-wheel-drive system, which is optional equipment on certain Prius trim levels. The car’s controversial exterior design also got a makeover this year, though its equally contentious interior design (and aging infotainment system) did not. Nor did it get a horsepower boost to address complaints about leisurely acceleration. Let’s go through the full rundown on how the iconic hybrid fares in today’s marketplace.

Read more
2019 BMW M340i - Driven

2019 BMW M340i - Driven

BMW Introduced the seventh-generation G20 3 Series for the 2019 model year and with it came a new design language, update engines, and some features from models like the 5 Series and X5, among others. To top all this off, it’s also just a bit larger and more aggressive than the seven-year-old F30 3 Series that it replaced. We didn’t get a chance to run the new 3 Series prototype around the track on the original pre-release test days, so we’ve been itching to see just how much better new the 3 Series is and whether or not all that new technology and new driving dynamics live up to the hype. So, we started reaching out in hopes of getting our hands on a new 3 Series tester, and BMW delivered. In fact, it delivered so well, that we got to spend a week with none other than the new 2020 BMW M340i – the best model you can get without going full-on M.

So, is the M340i really a poor man’s M3? Does it really compete against the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 or the Audi S5 Sportback? Does the M340i really deserve its time in the limelight? Well, after a week of a weird, love-hate affair with the 2020 BMW M340i, we have answers to all these questions and more. Here’s our experience….

Read more
2020 Ferrari F8 Spider - Quirks and Facts

2020 Ferrari F8 Spider - Quirks and Facts

The Ferrari F8 Spider Is Almost As Quick As The 488 Spider Pista

Although somewhat overshadowed by the reveal of the last front-engined V-12 Ferrari convertible - the 812 GTS - the new Ferrari F8 Spider still enchanted the right people. Largely favorable reactions to its exterior appearance demonstrate that Ferrari Design Studio knows a thing or two about design even without the help from Pininfarina. Interestingly enough, neither the 812 nor the F8 Spider wore the trademark Rosso Corsa color at their reveal, but they have still picked up a lot of publicity.

The F8 Spider, despite gorgeous, isn’t exactly a lot different compared to the F8 Tributo. The only notable change is, of course, the removable hardtop that stows under the rear tonneau cover in 14 seconds. It needs the same time to fold like the one in the Ferrari 812 GTS.

Read more
Here's a List of Cool Cars You Can Get for the Price of the $33,000 Baby Bugatti II

Here’s a List of Cool Cars You Can Get for the Price of the $33,000 Baby Bugatti II

With the Bugatti Baby II, Millionaire Kids Have Something To Hope For

As a special 110th anniversary gift to itself and its customers, Bugatti revealed the super-cool Bugatti Baby II. It is a small kids’ toy that also honors the past and the birth of the first Bugatti Baby, produced back in 1926.

The new one is, however, a bit more than a toy. Based on top of the design of the Bugatti Type 35 from the 1920s, the Baby II is a modern, three-quarter-size interpretation of the most successful racing car in history. Bugatti needed three weeks to sell all the build slots and allocations for the Baby II, because that is the world we live in. I mean, if you have the Chiron, it is only reasonable to have a $33,000 official Bugatti toy as well. Interestingly enough, the 500 units of the Bugatti Baby II cost almost as much as one Bugatti La Voiture Noire.

All in all, this ghastly expensive toy gave me something to think about - I wonder just what kind of real, cool cars you can buy for the price of one Bugatti Baby II. Here’s the list.

Read more