CAR REVIEWS

The BMW 530e iPerformance costs the same as the standard 530i sedan, a signal the automaker is wanting more buyers to think green.

Across all classes of vehicles, the move toward electrification and automation is on the minds of automakers, as it’s generally accepted that when automation truly gets a foothold, most of those vehicles will be electric.


The world of luxury sedans is no exception. In this elite category, where prices are high and brand loyalty is key, the question each luxury brand faces is how far to go on the electric side while still maintaining the sharpness of the traditional ride.

BMW’s 5-series is annually one of the top-selling luxury sedans, for good reason. A staple in the industry for nearly 50 years, it’s a vehicle that rarely disappoints and has attracted a loyal following for generations as it battles other stalwarts in the class such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6.

The version of the 5-series I recently tested was a bit different, and it reflects this modern movement to improve the eco-friendly factor of the vehicle. Read on for a full report on what the BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid is trying to accomplish, and how it fits into the 5-series lineup and overall luxury market.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: BMW 530e iPerformance
  • Price as tested: $66,460 (starts around $52K)
  • Best feature: Awesome BMW driving experience, quick charging
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: BMW fans who want a sedan with a green side that maintains the brand’s reputation for quality driving
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The 2019 Nissan Altima is fully redesigned for 2019, both in terms of looks and under the hood.

The future of sedans is very much a question mark right now. With SUV and truck fever having taken over most automakers, in addition to a focus on electronic and autonomous vehicles, your old-fashioned four-door sedan is usually lost in the shuffle when individuals and families are choosing a new vehicle.


Some automakers, particularly on the domestic side, are taking drastic steps and essentially eliminating their sedan offerings due to lack of sales and limited profitability. But there’s still some reason for hope among car buyers who like this type of vehicle: The foreign automakers are hanging in there.


Nissan is one of those automakers, and for 2019 the Nissan Altima — its midsize sedan offering — gets some major upgrades as it takes on heavy hitters like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in the battle for market share.

I recently spent some time in a 2019 Altima, and I’m back with a full report on how the improvements boost the Altima’s stature in the segment.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 Nissan Altima
  • Price as tested: $34,780 (base price is $23,900)
  • Best feature: Stylish redesign, first Nissan sedan with AWD, innovative turbo engine option
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Sedan buyers looking for one of the most updated and impressive options on the market
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2019 Cadillac CTS-V: Pure power, pure driving joy Featured

Dec 25, 2018
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The 2019 Cadillac CTS-V offers the power and maneuverability of a racer in a street-legal package.

Some vehicles, I really look forward to driving. Others, not so much.

And then, there are the special ones. The ones that have something the others just don’t. The ones in which you truly enjoy every minute behind the wheel.

The 2019 Cadillac CTS-V is one of those special ones, a vehicle aimed squarely at people who love exploring just how much a motor vehicle can do.

Aimed at a very niche market of enthusiasts and taking on tough competitors from the other side of the pond, Cadillac needs to come with its A-game on this performance offering.


Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 Cadillac CTS-V
  • Price as tested: $106,180 (starts at $87K)
  • Best feature: Massive power, exhilarating driving experience
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Adrenaline junkies who want a classy ride with a powerful supercharged engine and unmatched driving experience
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The 2019 Dodge Challenger GT is a blast from the past and one of the few truly unique cars on the road today.

Rebirthed onto the auto scene in 2008, a decade later the classic-reboot Dodge Challenger continues its role as one of the leaders of the muscle-car rebellion taking place amid the inevitable move toward automation and electrification and SUVs.


Translation: Raw power hasn’t been completely forgotten, despite those trends taking over most of the industry.

I recently spent some time in a 2019 Challenger GT and I’m back with a full review on what this blast from the past has to offer.

LOOKS

More than 90 percent of today’s vehicles can’t be called unique, as if you squint they look like half a dozen others. But you can’t say that about the Challenger, which features a bold design unlike anything else on the road, and truly screams “look at me” even from a distance.

It’s a little tight in the rear seat, but you can actually fit four adults in here, unlike the Challenger’s rivals.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 Dodge Challenger GT
  • Price as tested: $43,260 (starts at $33,295)
  • Best feature: Muscle-car looks and power, standout appearance
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Those seeking a modernized classic muscle car
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2018 Buick Regal GS packs on the power, sportiness Featured

Oct 20, 2018
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The 2018 Buick Regal GS is the most fun ride you'll find in the Buick lineup.

Enthusiasts, aka people who really love to drive powerful and sporty vehicles, are often forgotten about as brands attempt to reach the largest market possible.

But luckily for this group, Buick has not forgotten them and offers a unique option in their 2018 stable: the 2018 Buick Regal GS (Gran Sport).

This sporty sedan is a niche offering, a faster and more performance-focused version of the 2018 Regal Sportback. It has a European pedigree, as the Regal GS is basically a rebadged Opel Insignia, and that’s easy to identify through its sporty look and performance.
I’m back with a full report after spending some time in a Regal GS.

LOOKS

The look on the Regal GS is more aggressive looking, both up front and in the rear, and there is a rear spoiler.

The five-passenger, four-door hatchback has a back seat that is pretty tight for grown-ups but not overly uncomfortable. You get 31.5 ft of cargo room, 60.7 ft with seats down. The flashy, red Brembo brakes stand out visually, and you’ll feel them working too.
The GS features keyless start, interior ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a power moonroof is a $1K option.

The Appearance package offers wireless charging, LED headlamps and cornering lamps.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Buick Regal GS
  • Price as tested: $44,115
  • Best feature: The most fun you will have driving a Buick
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Car buyers seeking a powerful and sporty ride
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2018 Audi A5 Sportback hits the sweet spot Featured

Oct 14, 2018
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The 2018 Audi A5 Sportback is a four-door version of the A5 that's a joy to drive.

As a whole, the Audi vehicle lineup is focused on pure driving experience, but it's not one size fits all. In my experience, the middle of the Audi A-series range is where the sweet spot sits, including the A5, which I recently spent some time in.


I'm back with a full report on the 2018 Audi A5 sportback and where it fits into the luxury car landscape.

LOOKS

Redesigned for 2018, and bigger than the tighter fits of the A3 and A4 sedans, you can accommodate rear passengers more comfortably in the A5 Sportback, though it remains a bit tight with a tall driver and passenger up front. There are three versions of the A5 -- two-door coupe and convertible options plus the new four-door Sportback.

The A5 Sportback is a four-door hatchback version of the A5 coupe that was inspired by the A7 Sportback. It sits low like a sporty ride should, and features an eye-catching exterior design, from the lines down to the wheels.

Inside the A5 Sportback, you get beautiful wood trim (high gloss dark brown walnut wood inlays, to be exact) and comfortable leather seating. Even the air vents have a sharp design. In Audi’s tradition It's a simple but classy interior and exterior design, as opposed to flashier-looking rivals like Lexus, and trunk space impresses for the segment.

The A5 Sportback comes with 18-inch 10-spoke dynamic design wheels with all-season tires, LED interior lighting, power sunroof, three-zone auto climate control with digital rear display.

For about $1K you can upgrade to a 19-inch wheel package with multi-spoke design wheels, summer tires and a sport suspension.


Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Audi A5 Sportback
  • Price as tested: $52,100 (starts at $42,600)
  • Best feature: Tons of driving fun but also practical and roomy
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury car buyers who love driving
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The 2018 VW Beetle maintains its unique, classic character while adding some modern tech features.

The Beetle is a resilient little bug … and yes, I'm talking about the 2-door hatchback car legend first introduced in the U.S. in 1949.

Still around almost seven decades after its introduction, the Beetle remains a unique vehicle that's so well-known it's even got its own road game that involves punching your siblings.

I recently tested a 2018 VW Beetle, and I'm back with a full report on how the latest version of this iconic ride fits into today's automotive world.

LOOKS

While there are some adjustments to the look, including a lower roof profile, in the end the 2018 Beetle is what a Beetle has always been -- a small, two-door vehicle that is shaped, well, like a Beetle.

There are technically a couple competitors in the segment (MINI Cooper and Fiat 500), but no one is ever going to confuse those little rides for the Beetle. No other car looks like this, and it’s a very stylish design from the headlights and taillights, to the interior wood design and the sunroof. The exterior design overall was very snazzy, right down to the red trim on the rims to match the paint job.

While visually attractive, the design of the Beetle does lend to poor visibility out of the rear.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in the Beetle is that the back seat of the 2018 Beetle is basically nonexistent. It’s there, but no adult wants to sit there. Consider it a storage area unless kids are going in the rear.


The Beetle comes in four trim levels: S, SE, Coast and Dune: Cloth seats come standard on S models, SE comes with leatherette seating. Coast features two-tone beige and black cloth seats, and the Dune features sport cloth seats with leatherette accents.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Volkswagen Beetle Coast
  • Price as tested: $23,970 (starts at $19,995)
  • Best feature: Iconic style with modern updates, peppy ride
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Buyers looking for something small that will make an impression
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2019 Volkswagen Jetta gets new look, new technology Featured

Aug 25, 2018
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The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta gets a major reboot and catches up well in the compact sedan segment.

Sometimes you’ve got to start over, especially if what’s been hanging around for a while is getting outdated.


Such is the case with the Volkswagen Jetta, which gets a much-needed redesign for the 2019 model year that steps up its presence in the compact car segment. I recently spent some time in a 2019 Jetta, and I’m back with a full report on the improvements and how the updated model measures up.

LOOKS

The Jetta remains a compact car, so don’t expect massive amounts of room. But things are improved in terms of driver and passenger comfort from previous models, and both front and rear passengers will feel comfortable in terms of legroom and headroom. That’s because the 2019 Jetta is longer, wider and taller than the previous version.

The leatherette seating materials in the sporty R Line version of the Jetta I tested were quite comfortable (leather is offered on top trim level), but some of the interior featured hard plastics generally associated with vehicles in this price range. Attractive two-tone seating is also offered.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta
  • Price as tested: $23,845 (starting price is $18,545)
  • Best feature: Responsive powerplant, updated technology
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Compact sedan buyers looking for affordable, simple elegance, a fun ride and strong tech features
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