Driven reviews reviews

view thumbnails grid view horizontal compact blog view
2020 Ford Mustang Four-Cylinder - Driven

2020 Ford Mustang Four-Cylinder - Driven

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.

Read more
2020 Lexus LX 570 - Driven

2020 Lexus LX 570 - Driven

Is it the perfect blend of off-road capability and mild luxury?

From the company that invented the luxury crossover, the 2020 Lexus LX 570 is a decided throwback. This is a full-sized SUV that’s derived not from a car platform like you’d find in a Mercedes-Benz GLS or BMW X7, or even from the family-focused Toyota Sequoia.

Instead, it borrows its underpinnings from the Toyota Land Cruiser — one of the most capable SUVs you can buy. The LX 570 is no mere leather-lined cocoon, but also a boulder-climbing machine that employs a mix of electronic gizmos and burly suspension components to tackle challenging terrain.

Read more
2020 Chevrolet Bolt - Driven

2020 Chevrolet Bolt - Driven

A no non-sense electric car without any extra shenanigans

Chevrolet Bolt has been around for less than four years, but it is one of the earliest mainstream EVs to have hit the market. The Bolt hasn’t taken the market by storm, but it is an important product for Chevrolet in the EV segment.

The automaker is constantly updating the little EV, and for the 2020 model, it comes with a few more miles in the battery pack. To put things into perspective, it is the best non-Tesla model on sale today in terms of range. The 2020 Chevy Bolt arrived at TopSpeed’s headquarters recently, and here are our impressions about this urban commuter.

Read more
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven

Everything about the Tesla Model Y looks like the car of the future. From its pod shape, to its silent but explosive acceleration, to its all-encompassing infotainment screen with no physical buttons, the electric-car maker’s new entry-level crossover is more about sensibly reducing gasoline usage. It gives you a peek into the decades to come, and it gives you a rollicking good time while you do it. It’s not just an electric car, but a special vehicle that triggers a powerful emotional response. This is one way to electrify an SUV.

Then there’s Mitsubishi’s way: the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport PHEV. All-electric cars eventually run out of charge, even long-range models like Teslas. So Mitsubishi made a plug-in hybrid whose gasoline engine can help out when you use up the battery or need more power. To keep costs down, the battery isn’t huge and the motors aren’t wildly powerful. And Mitsubishi already makes many gas-powered crossovers, so rather than wasting resources to develop a new one, it retrofitted electric components into its flagship model, the compact Outlander.

The result is a left-brain approach to the segment — the Outlander PHEV makes perfect sense, but it’s an improved present rather than the future. At best, you’ll feel something between mildly impressed and grudgingly accepting. It’s hard to imagine falling in love.

Read more
2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe - Driving Impressions

2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe - Driving Impressions

I love 4-door cars. Being able to have room inside for your friends is usually a good thing and having a big four door with 600 hp is even better. Enter the new BMW M8 Gran Coupe. This is a car for when you don’t want compromises and you want everything. There are usually drawbacks for such situations and in this case it comes down to money. But let’s just enjoy the fast and luxurious M8 for now.

Read more
2020 Dodge Charger 392 Scat Pack Widebody - Driven

2020 Dodge Charger 392 Scat Pack Widebody - Driven

Dodge’s mid-performance muscle car fits perfectly between the Hellcat and R/T trim levels

The demand for sedans – and cars in general, for that matter – has been plummeting for some now, and a lot of automakers have started to or completely withdrawn from the segment altogether. As of now, you’d be hard pressed to find a performance sedan outside of the Dodge Charger, without looking to German- or Japanese-built cars, and even then, a big chunk of those fall into the luxury category. This week, we were treated to a week’s worth of driving the 2020 Dodge Charger Scat Pack Widebody, and it got us to thinking – without any real homegrown competition, does this car have what it takes to compete with mid-performance offerings from Germany? Well, it’s a tough call, and there’s a lot to take into consideration, so as we dive into our experience with the Charger Scat Pack Widebody, we’re going to explore just how it stacks up against its closest German competitors, the BMW M340i and the Mercedes-AMG C43 sedan.

Read more
2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

Forget (most of) what you knew about Nissan’s compact sedan

The last two generations of Nissan Sentra have followed a simple formula: a spacious interior, a smooth ride, great gas mileage, and low prices. For plenty of compact-sedan buyers, that’s a winning formula. But it came at the expense of driving pleasure — to the extreme. Last year’s Nissan Sentra wasn’t merely dull, but downright awful if you try to get some grins. Its wheezy 124-horsepower engine struggled under all but the gentlest acceleration, and its handling betrayed an alarming lack of composure for a modern small car. And while its upright styling could be considered elegant from some angles, it just looked tall and narrow from others.

For the 2020 model year, Nissan has worked to reinvent the Sentra. A striking new body sits atop a more sophisticated suspension and wraps around a more potent engine and a fancier interior. All the while, Nissan has kept prices in check and even improved the Sentra’s gas mileage.

Do the changes turn the Sentra into a class leader? Not exactly. Even after this year’s improvements, you can still find quicker, sharper-handling, more luxuriously-finished small sedans. And if you loved the old Sentra because you could get a huge backseat and trunk at a fire-sale price, the new model will feel like a step backward.

By becoming more similar to competitors like the latest Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, and Kia Forte, the 2020 Sentra loses the old model’s standout spaciousness and value — but it brings fresh advantages to the table all while keeping costs in check.

Read more
2021 Kia Seltos - Driven

2021 Kia Seltos - Driven

The Kia Seltos - a car that avoids the flaws commonly found in the subcompact crossover market

The subcompact crossover class has so much potential. Best-selling “compact” models like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Chevrolet Equinox have gotten fantastically spacious, refined — and expensive. A modern CR-V or RAV4 is just as big, fancy, and costly as midsize models used to be. For lots of people, they’re still a great deal: for as little as $25,000, you get ample space for four or even five adults and their stuff, all the latest advanced safety features, a fully featured touchscreen infotainment system, and great gas mileage. But lots of people don’t need or even want something this big, or at least aren’t eager to pay for it. So most automakers now offer a subcompact model that’s smaller and less expensive than their compact.

What’s puzzling, though, is how flawed most of these subcompact crossovers have proven to be. Many of them are polarizing styling statements, sometimes with looks that compromise their utility even more than their scaled-down dimensions do. A surprising number of them offer no all-wheel-drive. Some suffer from execution flaws like underpowered yet inefficient engines, compromised interior layouts, or clumsy driving dynamics. Each model that gets a lot right has also had at least one serious flaw — whether it’s the fun-to-drive but cramped Hyundai Kona and Mazda CX-3 and CX-30; the spacious but slow, noisy Honda HR-V; the pleasant but overpriced Nissan Rogue Sport; the off-road-ready, on-road-jerky Jeep Renegade and Subaru Crosstrek; or a host of other would-be contenders. That’s to say nothing of the ones that, well, don’t get a lot right. Why, oh why, couldn’t someone just take everything that people love about a compact crossover and simply make it a little smaller and less expensive?

At long last, that call has been answered. The all-new 2021 Kia Seltos is a mechanical cousin to the Hyundai Kona, but it’s taller and longer. And that’s just what was needed to address the Kona’s lower, more car-like seating position and its tight rear seating. This makes the Seltos the first truly well-rounded subcompact crossover, delivering all-around competence with no disastrous downsides. It’s handsome, functional, fun to drive, fuel-efficient, and affordable. While no car is perfect — certain buyers will gravitate toward the specific advantages of some Seltos competitors — this is the only subcompact crossover that has something for just about everyone.

Read more
2020 Hyundai Sonata - Driven

2020 Hyundai Sonata - Driven

The Hyundai Sonata entered its eighth generation for the 2020 model year, finally completing the transformation from econobox family sedan to something that looks luxurious and sporty. In fact, at a glance, it even looks a lot like the new Audi A7 or RS7 with a slightly tweaked front end. So, do the aggressive exterior design cues, sporty proportions, and upscale appearance actually push it into a position to leave the Honda Accord and Kia Optima behind as it starts to compete with brands like Audi, BMW, and Porsche? Well, after spending a week with eh all-new Sonata, we can comfortably say it isn’t quite there yet, but it’s not far off. This is what it was like to live with the 2020 Hyundai Sonata.

Read more
2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - Driven

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - Driven

Familiar style meets improved substance

Back in 2012, the Range Rover Evoque was a radical departure. This Land Rover sub-brand made a name for itself with powerful, comfortable SUVs, with big, boxy, classic styling. The “Baby Range Rover” Evoque was a subcompact crossover with a sleek silhouette and tiny windows. It looked like a bold concept car that instead hit the streets. The bet paid off — the Evoque not only brought new customers into the Range Rover fold, but it successfully previewed the brand’s direction. This once-radical face now adorns the Range Rover Velar, Range Rover Sport, and even the flagship original Range Rover.

What the 2012 Evoque didn’t have was perfect luxury-grade substance. It was a head-turning little luxury SUV upholstered in expensive leather, but built from old Ford parts. Buyers who fell in love with the looks had to live with mediocre ride, handling, and acceleration, to say nothing of its cramped cabin and tight outward visibility. And while many buyers happily did so, Land Rover redesigned the Evoque this year to improve its substance without compromising its style.

We recently spent a week in the redesigned 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque (apologies for the long name) to evaluate how well the company did. We found it to be improved but still imperfect: loyal owners should have nothing but praise for the changes, and there are enough improvements to bring in some new buyers to the fold. But purely on substance, we’d be hard-pressed to call the Evoque a leader in the cutthroat subcompact luxury SUV segment, particularly at above-average prices that start above $42,650. Let’s discuss why.

Read more
2020 Infiniti Q60 Redsport - Driven Review and Impressions

2020 Infiniti Q60 Redsport - Driven Review and Impressions

Is the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport really a competitor to BMW and Mercedes-AMG?

Infiniti – it’s not a brand that you really hear a lot about these days. But with only five cars in its lineup – one sedan, one coupe, and three SUVs – you really can’t expect the brand to make headlines nearly as much as the brands that it’s actually trying to compete with. Does this obscurity mean that it’s not capable of competing in the mid-luxury performance segment? Not at al. In fact, after spending a week with the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport (basically a two-door Q50) we’ve come to be quite fond of the sporty little 400-horsepower coupe. This is what we’ve learned from that experience.

Read more
2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo - Driven

2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo - Driven

The Hyundai Veloster is a fun, affordable car that is positioned securely in the compact hatchback niche and, while it doesn’t rank necessarily high in terms of power, its unique style, performance, and fairly upscale interior is quite noteworthy. Currently a year into its second generation, we decided it was time to get behind the wheel of Hyundai’s fan favorite, and to our surprise, a Veloster Turbo landing in Topspeed HQ’s parking lot. This, my friends, gave us the perfect opportunity to see how the Veloster Turbo holds water against models like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Honda Civic Sport Touring. This is our story after spending a week with the one and only Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

Read more
2020 Genesis G90 - Driven

2020 Genesis G90 - Driven

South Korea’s flagship sedan finally has the presence it deserves

For 2020, Genesis has performed a styling update that makes the 2020 Genesis G90 look a decade newer than last year’s model. The new design, along with some other updates, make the G90 more worthy of its flagship status. Still, this is a Korean car with a base price of $72,200 — a combination that’s going to be a tough sell regardless of the vehicle’s merits, and despite the fact that its closest competitors are even more expensive. What does Genesis do to earn these big bucks? We spent a week in a top-of-the-line G90 5.0 Ultimate to find out.

Read more
2020 Nissan Murano - Driven

2020 Nissan Murano - Driven

An SUV that covers all the bases well but doesn’t excel in any of them

The Nissan Murano has been around for quite some time now and is fairly popular in the market. It isn’t the best-selling SUV in the segment, but it rakes in decent sales numbers for the Japanese automaker.

Named after an Italian city, the Murano slots between the Rogue and the Pathfinder in Nissan’s lineup. The Murano’s last generation change came back in 2015, which means the next-gen is on the horizon. The company has given the SUV a few facelifts that make it look fresh, though. The Murano arrived at TopSpeed’s HQ recently, and here are our impressions about this SUV.

Read more
2020 Lexus RX450hL - Driven

2020 Lexus RX450hL - Driven

We tested the 2020 Lexus RX 450hL — the RX model with the longest name

The Lexus RX invented the luxury crossover. It invented the luxury hybrid. And it’s consistently America’s best-selling luxury SUV. That’s why the current-generation RX’s shortcomings have been so surprising. It debuted in 2016 with polarizing styling, limited cargo space, no available third-row seat, cumbersome controls, and missing infotainment features.

At least based on the sales numbers, buyers registered no objections. They either embraced or accepted the RX for what it is, continuing to be drawn to its quiet ride, rich leather, and promise of headache-free reliability. But Lexus has steadily improved the vehicle since that 2016 debut. It added an extended-length three-row model for the 2018 model year, known as the RX L. Now, the 2020 RX features an upgraded infotainment system and tweaks to the styling and suspension.

Read more
2020 BMW X5 M Competition - Driven

2020 BMW X5 M Competition - Driven

BMW’s best attempt yet at making a lumpy SUV feel like a sporty sedan

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.

Read more
2020 Nissan Altima - Driven

2020 Nissan Altima - Driven

Ultimately, an honest set of wheels

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.

Read more
2020 Subaru Outback - Driven

2020 Subaru Outback - Driven

Strong competition from a wagon-turned crossover in an unforgiving segment

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.

Read more
2020 Nissan Titan - Driven

2020 Nissan Titan - Driven

A lot of tweaks in all the departments, but it still lacks the pizzazz

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?

Read more
2020 Mazda 3 - Driven Review

2020 Mazda 3 - Driven Review

How well does the Mazda 3 carry over to the 2020 model year?

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.

Read more
2020 Hyundai Kona - Driven

2020 Hyundai Kona - Driven

It really is the baby Hyundai that could - as long as you have the turbo engine

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.

Read more