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

Solid and Reliable: The 2017 Toyota Highlander SE

Most vehicles have fairly subtle updates year over year so that a 2013 and a 2014 model might be difficult to differentiate unless you’re a car expert. Over long periods of time there are big changes, but even then, they are often more subtle improvements in technology and engine than major design changes. Which is why it’s always interesting as a car reviewer to have a chance to drive your own car, just a few years…Read More

What’s Not To Love about the 2017 Dodge Challenger GT?

I wasn’t much of a car guy in high school, but I did go through a muscle car phase when I had a four-door Chevy with airshocks so I could raise up the back and get that sleek, forward leaning look. It had a 327, a decent size engine, and though I never rolled up my sleeves, there was definitely a whiff of hot rod when I got into the car to head out to…Read More

2017 Toyota Land Cruiser – A Luxury SUV

The sport utility vehicle category is full of SUVs from companies trying to appeal to people who want a big, safe vehicle and likely are never going to need four-wheel drive, let alone drive in rough off-road conditions. But just about every SUV on the market has AWD or is a 4×4 with optional drive configurations for mud, rocky terrain and more. So the real differences between many of the vehicles in the SUV class ends…Read More

The 2017 Toyota Yaris iA Starter Car

With a different vehicle every week, it’s easy as a car writer to become a bit of a snob about vehicles, expecting plush leather seats, big engines and excellent handling in those winding mountain roads. Just like any other market segment, however, there are a wide range of car buyers who have very different needs and interests. A single guy who just landed his first good paying job is looking for a very different vehicle…Read More

Luxury at the Entry Level: The 2017 Toyota Corolla iM

Most car reviews seem to involve mid-range to higher end vehicles, since it’s quite reasonable for car companies to seek the best possible experience for writers. It’s not unusual to have a $50K-$60K or even more expensive vehicle for a week as an automotive journalist, a chance to really run a state-of-the-art car or truck through its paces. There are certainly a lot of really nice luxury vehicles on the road too, from compact SUVs…Read More

Media Day at the 2017 Denver Auto Show

We’re not Detroit and we’re not Los Angeles, but Denver has a pretty vibrant car community and accounts for quite a bit of national vehicle sales. We skew towards all-wheel drive 4x4s, trucks and SUVs, but those are national trends too, as people want to feel safer in their vehicles. According to the Wall Street Journal, three of the top five selling vehicles are pickup trucks, actually: The Ford F-Series, Dodge RAM and Chevrolet Silverado,…Read More

I’m My Own Chauffeur with the 2017 Lexus GX460

It’s rare that I get into a car and immediately think that I should doff a chauffeur’s cap, but that’s exactly how I felt the first time I slipped behind the wheel of the big, luxurious 2017 Lexus GX460 SUV. It’s the kind of vehicle that secret service types drive celebrities around in and it was a struggle to get my teen daughter to sit up front with me, she so enjoyed the screens, separate…Read More

We Got a Charge Out of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime!

Driving a different car each week, it’s easy to fall into a state of ennui. At some level most cars are the same, and certainly within a specific class of vehicles, it’s hard to really get too excited about yet another SUV or yet another small 4-door sedan. Except there are cars that redefine their class and offer a design or technological experience that makes the stand out, even to a slightly jaded automotive writer…Read More

Mostly a Luxury Experience with the 2017 Lexus NX300h

I had a chance to drive a brand new 2017 Lexus NX300h hybrid SUV and while I was expecting a terrific experience, it was more frustrating than I had any reason to expect. After all, I’ve owned a Toyota hybrid SUV — a Highlander Hybrid — for many years and the Lexus is the luxury brand of Toyota so it should be like my vehicle, but better and newer, right? Certainly, it’s a beautiful vehicle…Read More

Drifting around curves in the 2017 Dodge Challenger GT

Test driving lots of cars is really fun, even as I admit candidly that I’m not a “car guy”. I don’t read the car magazines, don’t travel to the big national car shows in Detroit, Chicago or Los Angeles, and can’t even tell you the bore ratio or torque rating of my own vehicle. Heck, I’m driving an SUV that’s almost 10 years old and turned over 100,000 miles quite a while ago. But I grew…Read More

Luxury 4×4: The 2017 Jeep Cherokee Limited

I’m not much of an off-road driver, but there are plenty of rough dirt roads in my neighborhood and when the weather isn’t cooperative, there can be ice and even slick snow on the roads. Two wheel drive works okay but knowing how to come out of a skid is helpful, whether you have antilock brakes or not (it’s about steering too). But a 4×4? Now we’re talking: as long as one wheel has some…Read More

The Peppy 2017 Toyota Camry XSE

Driving hybrids rather spoils you for regular engines and regular transmissions: on a hybrid there’s a continuously variable transmission and what most non-hybrid drivers don’t realize is that it makes your car really peppy and reactive. Ya know how on a standard gas engine if you punch it from a stop there’s an acceleration that has hiccups as the car revs up then shifts to the next gear? You don’t get that with a CVT…Read More

The Mazda Version of Luxury: 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring

Mazda Corporation started as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Company, founded in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1920. In 1927 “Cork” was dropped from the company name and in 1931 Toyo Kogyo Company began manufacturing vehicles with the introduction of the Mazda-Go autorickshaw. In 1984 the company renamed again, to Mazda, and by then was already selling the famed Mazda rotary (or “Wankel”) engine. By the late 1970’s the rotary engine was an option and a few years…Read More

Almost Autonomous: The 2017 Toyota Prius Four

In my quest to drive the perfect car, I had a chance to revisit a car model to see the latest updates and technology for 2017 thanks to Toyota. The company loaned me a 2017 Toyota Prius Four Touring for a week to check out all that’s new and interesting in the vehicle. And there’s a lot to like. I owned a Toyota Prius years ago and while there was a lot about the car…Read More

In the Lap of Luxury with the 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

It’s a new year which means that it’s time for me to start checking out all the 2017 model year vehicles. Top of the list is Toyota with its incremental updates and some interesting new changes to its vehicles for the new year. I’ve driven lots of Toyotas and my regular vehicle is a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, so I’m probably a bit biased, but hey, now you know. My first 2017 Toyota has been a…Read More

Cute & Tech Throughout: The 2017 Mazda CX-3

It’s not news that I’m a fan of Mazda. I think the company’s doing a great job upgrading its entire vehicle line, centered on both the SKYACTIV driving and engine tech and the KODO design that the company calls its “soul of motion” appearance. The 2017 Mazda CX-3 is the fifth model of Mazda’s crossover line (presumably the “CX” designation), a compact that lives in the gray area between a sedan and an SUV. I…Read More

Movember and the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Ever seen a car with a black mustache? You might have seen a pink mustache to indicate it’s a Lyft driver, but a black mustache? It being November, savvy men might understand the connection between a car and a mustache, however, because November is also Movember, a month-long series of charitable events to raise money for men’s health research. Plenty of individuals and groups support Movember, including my pals at the Dad 2.0 Summit, but I…Read More

Digital Hiccups with the 2016 Toyota RAV4

The first car to be sold on the common market was the 1908 Model-T from Ford Motor Company. Since then we’ve had 108 years of development, radical thinking and improvements in design, manufacturing, assembly, roads and even drivers. By this point in the 21st Century it’s fair to say that just about every car on the market has a solid suspension system, reliable wheels, an engine good for at least 100,000 miles and a car…Read More

Montana Road Trip with the 2016 Mazda CX-5

I head up to Northern Montana every few months to visit family and have gotten into the practice of driving there from Colorado because I just love the rural Montana scenery with its hundreds of hidden lakes and unexpected vistas. Colorado’s not a slacker when it comes to scenery, but there’s something about the far north with its mountains and brisk weather that’s invigorating. This time my trip fell during, well, fall. An Autumn road…Read More

It’s All About the Tech with the 2016 Mazda CX-9

Just turned in the 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature All Wheel Drive after a week of driving it around Colorado, from mountains to suburbs, deep into the city and just taking my youngest to school and heading to the market. The results? It’s one of my favorite cars of the year from a driving and feature perspective. Now, fair disclosure: I’m ready to buy a new car to replace my great 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and…Read More