Style usually comes at the expense of practicality. Take two-door coupes, for instance; they look great but have back seats that are hard to get into ... and out of. Especially if the driver and front seat passenger haven't gotten out first.
Mercedes' solution? Add a pair of doors.
Then chop the roof -- but without haircutting the headroom.
When hybrid cars first appeared almost 20 years ago, their main draw was that they used much less gas than other cars. They were slow, but you saved money. Which made going slow worth it.
Then gas got cheap, and electric cars got fast -- without using any gas.
Which made spending extra for a slow hybrid a harder sell.
The latest hybrids offer...Read more
Subaru's Outback wagon is known for being able to get you there -- just not very quickly. It was one of the first high-riding wagons with all-wheel drive -- the automotive critter that's called a crossover today.
It was tenacious, rugged -- and slow.
Now it's quick.
Because it's available with a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine that's ...Read more
Mercedes doesn't sell an S-class sedan for a third of the price ... under a different label.
But General Motors Co. does more or less exactly that.
The Chevy Impala sedan is very closely related to the Cadillac XTS. Both are full-size sedans that share a common platform, the under-the-skin part of a car.
They both come standard ...Read more
When you can't sell practical anymore, it's time to start selling something prettier.
Midsize sedans like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata used to be top sellers -- largely due to the strength of their practical, family-car credentials. But crossovers -- with their two- or three-times-as-much cargo room, (usually available) all...Read more
Cadillac already has a three-row SUV -- so why make another one?
Probably because Cadillac buyers want a different kind of three-row SUV -- one that's almost as big and nearly as roomy as the one Cadillac already has in the lineup.
But not nearly as expensive.
Until now, the Escalade was the only Cadillac that could ...Read more
People who buy economy cars don't especially care that lots of other people are driving the same car; if anything, it's confirmation that they bought the right car.
But people who by sports cars want more than just a great car; they want to be driving a different car.
This is the Mazda Miata's curse -- which flows from its ...Read more
If you wear Superman's tights, you better be able to fly. Or at least, not get stuck.
And you probably won't if you've got stickers reading "TRD" on the flanks of your Toyota.
Not because of the stickers, mind you.
Like Superman's "S," it's what's those letters signify that matters.
"TRD" is short for Toyota Racing Development, and what ...Read more
Given that the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross costs a bit more than its better-equipped rivals -- models like the Subaru Crosstrek and Honda HR-V -- and given that it's a bit less roomy, is there any sound reason to consider buying one?
There's a big one, actually.
Plus another one.
The big one is the fact that it's a Mitsubishi, which can benefit ...Read more
Top-of-the-line cars used to always be sedans, but that layout has fallen out of favor because of the sedan's comparatively small trunk -- and limited versatility.
That's probably why Volkswagen decided to make its new top-of-the-line Arteon sedan a hatchback.
VW calls it a "Gran Turismo" with "coupe-like styling," because that connotes...Read more
The Jeep Wrangler has always been its own thing -- and that's probably the thing that accounts for its enduring popularity. But how about a more practical Wrangler? One that can haul more stuff -- and pull a lot more stuff?
Enter the Gladiator.
What It Is
The Gladiator is a stretched version of the four-door Jeep Wrangler, with a 5-...Read more
There's a leveling going on. A good one, for once.
New entry-level cars come standard with features that weren't always available in luxury cars -- and entry-level luxury cars like the new Mercedes A-Class come standard with (or at least offer) features that as recently as two years ago were only available in top-of-the-line Mercedes models ...Read more