The 2017 Toyota RAV-4 AWD, Good and Bad

I know it’s not just me; every time I look at the front grill design of the 2017 Toyota RAV-4 in white (uh, “blizzard pearl”) I see the headgear of a Stormtrooper from the Star Wars universe. I kid you not, check this photo out: I don’t want to say that the Toyota design team might have spent one too many late nights catching up on the Star Wars saga, but the similarities are sufficiently…Read More

2000 Miles with a 2017 Mazda CX-9

It’s one thing to look at a map and say “hey, that’s just a few inches, it won’t be that long a drive” and actually get behind the wheel for a substantial road trip. Fortunately, I have lots of experience with long haul drives and have actually hit all of the lower 48 states of the United States by car. Not on the same trip, however. Yeesh! When I learned I needed to drive from…Read More

Road Trip: Colorado to Montana

I’m an old hand at road trips and long drives, having logged thousands of miles behind the wheel in various vehicles, on routes taking me north and south, east and west. Being based in the center of the country, it’s easy to head just about anywhere. Long drives are relaxing too, particularly with cruise control and audio books, it’s almost a meditation as the miles recede into the rear view mirror. This latest trip is…Read More

Everything but the Electronics: The 2017 Acura MDX

Acura has been the luxury brand of Honda Motor Company since 1986. The brand has become known for its luxury appointments and comfortable ride, a “practical luxury” line of vehicles that compete effectively against others in its class. The secret strength is that the Acura vehicles are also built upon both the reliability and low maintenance cost of the entire Honda line. Somewhere along the way, however, Acura stopped keeping up with the rest of…Read More

The Amazingly Slick 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

A hybrid minivan? I was surprised when I first learned about Chrysler‘s plans to not just end of life the Town & Country (our first minivan, many years ago) but to take all that the company learned about minivans and modern family vehicle life and produce the Pacifica instead. First Pacificas off the line were back in 2004, but that wasn’t quite the same thing. It’s with 2017 that the Pacifica has become that oddest…Read More

Best Cars from the Rocky Mtn Driving Experience, Part 2

I already wrote both about the Rocky Mountain Driving Experience, a great event for automotive journalists, and about some of the cars I had a chance to drive in part 1 of my review. What I wanted to do in this second part is highlight some of my favorite vehicles at RMDE this year, rather than bore you with the full list. The goal of the event is to wow us journalists with the different…Read More

The Pedestrian 2017 Toyota Sienna Minivan

It’s a product category that’s inherently not very exciting: the mini-van. If you have a family, you know what I’m talking about, whether you own one or not, because the cross between a cargo van and an SUV is something that appeals to quite a lot of families. Heck, we had our spate of minivans too, starting with a Chrysler Town & Country that replaced my Toyota Supra convertible. <<sigh>> The sacrifices we make for…Read More

Best Cars from the Rocky Mtn Driving Experience, Part 1

Just got back from another great Rocky Mountain Driving Experience, this time based in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado, on the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park and, coincidentally, just up the canyon from my own house. As I have written about elsewhere [A Million Dollars Worth of Cars], RMDE is an event organized by the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press for us auto journalists and writers. it’s a chance to get behind the wheel of…Read More

A Million Dollars Worth of Cars

Just got back from one of my favorite events of the year, the Rocky Mountain Driving Experience. Sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press group, it’s a chance for car writers to meet and hobnob with reps from all the major car manufacturers and have a great time driving lots of different cars, ranging from the budget minded Nissan vehicles to breathtaking Mercedes convertibles. Yeah, it’s quite a lot of fun! Since I drove so…Read More

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Dealer Training Event

Did you ever wonder how car dealers and salespeople get to be so knowledgeable about their vehicles? It’s not from sitting and reading boring sales manuals. Turns out that car manufacturers have training and experiential events to get the team excited about the new vehicles, and when Subaru held a regional training event for the brand new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek, they were kind enough to invite a few of us local car writers to participate….Read More

I Go Rogue in a 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

It was either fantastic timing or horrible timing depending on how you look at it: Nissan invited me to the “Go Rogue” event focused on the new 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport compact SUV the same week I bought one of its biggest competitors, the 2017 Mazda CX-5. Both vehicles are aimed at the same buyer, both have a $29K base price, both are even the same basic dimensions. Would I regret my Mazda purchase after…Read More

My Experience Buying a 2017 Mazda CX-5

I’ve had my Toyota Highlander Hybrid for almost nine years and while it’s been a great car, the creaks and groans were my clue that it was time to start thinking about replacing it. With 130,000 miles on the odometer it’s been a really good vehicle with almost zero problems. Really, the only issue I had was having the driver’s door window explode (outward, fortunately) and require an actual replacement door by the time they…Read More

Win a CarLock Vehicle Tracking Device for Father’s Day!

My vehicle certainly doesn’t look any different to the other cars in the parking lot, but I have a secret weapon hooked up to my onboard diagnostic interface port, a CarLock car tracker and alert system. I reviewed it a while back if you haven’t seen my video: The Carlock is doubly great if you have a teen in the house too because it lets you keep track of the location of your vehicle at…Read More

Uncomfortable Luxury: The 2017 Lexus IS350

There are some cars I get to test drive that are beautiful. They sit in my driveway, ready for the first drive, and you can almost hear the purr of the engine as it sits, poised, ready to leap at the slightest touch of the gas pedal. That’s definitely how I felt when I looked at the Atomic Silver 2017 Lexus IS350 when Lexus dropped it off for my week’s driving experience. Until I tried to…Read More

The Entry Level 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE

While it’s a pleasure to drive cars in the $50K-$75K range, the reality is that most people can’t afford a vehicle at that price, whether they’re paying outright or financing the vehicle. Heck, with a $5,000 down payment and three year loan, a $75,000 car will hit you for about $2000/mo in payments. And that’s without insurance. Fortunately there are a lot of options in the $15K-$25K range from just about every major manufacturer. Continuing…Read More