2019 Ford Ranger first drive review: The global pickup truck goes American

18 Dec
2019 Ford RangerThe 2019 Ford Ranger looks all-American, but it waves more flags than just the stars and stripes. Its chunky looks blend Detroit swagger with southeast Asian swoopiness because it was initially designed mainly for places like Thailand where workhorse trucks sized like the Ranger make sense. Underhood, the small turbo-4 engine’s specs look...

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2.7 first drive review: Daring to be different

21 Nov
2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500Paradigm shifts tend to be either brilliant or disasters. Chevy's made just such a gamble with its full-size pickup line with a new turbo-4 engine for its Chevrolet Silverado truck. The new engine takes over in LT and RST trims where a 4.3-liter V-6 once lived, and it makes the 2019 Silverado the first modern full-size pickup truck to offer just...

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE first drive review: Bellwether luxury crossover SUV

20 Nov
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-ClassThe 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class that I rushed through a washed-out road on a steamy October afternoon didn’t seem to mind that when it rains in Central Texas, it pours. For Mercedes-Benz, the GLE has become a beacon of stability. It’s a middle child in a lineup of crossover SUVs stretching from around $35,000 for the GLA-Class to...

2019 Toyota RAV4 first drive review: Reaching new heights

20 Nov
2019 Toyota RAV4Traffic on California’s winding, tourist-riddled Highway 1 creeps along on a Tuesday morning in November. I’m in a 2019 Toyota RAV4 and I’m stuck behind a wandering Mustang with Nevada plates, almost certainly a rental, and I watch in vain as its occupants snap photos of the Pacific. It’s a slow enough pace for me to...

2018 Toyota Land Cruiser review update: The cognoscenti’s SUV

4 Sep
2018 Toyota Land CruiserThe 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser is confused about its identity. Does it want to be swathed in white paint and emblazoned with UN logos on its way to a war zone? Or would it rather be parked next to a Range Rover at a swanky restaurant Beverly Hills? The answer is somewhere in between the two. It’s an SUV for cognoscenti looking for Range Rover...

2019 Ram 1500 review update: the new leader of the pack

2 Jul
2019 Ram 1500 LaramieThe pickup truck wars have never been more fierce. Cheap gas, active lifestyles, and luxury-level creature comforts make full-size trucks viable family cars more now than ever before. For 2019, the Ram 1500 is new, and it came prepared to knock the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Sierra 1500 down a few pegs. With the 2019 Ram 1500, the...

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter first drive: generational shift, but as useful as ever

18 Jun
2019 Mercedes-Benz SprinterWhen you consider that new-car life cycles are usually measured in years, not decades, it seems silly to describe new models as “generations.” The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is an exception: the 2019 Sprinter is only the third generation of Mercedes-Benz’s flagship van since its introduction in 1995, and the first new iteration in...

2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke first drive: the uncertain diesel pickup truck

27 Apr
2018 Ford F-150 Power StrokeDark clouds above. Snow flurries falling. Gloomy view ahead. Seat heater engaged. It may be the end of April, but Colorado Highway 72—known locally as Coal Creek Canyon Road—isn’t ready for spring. The diesel-fueled 2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke I’m piloting up this winding mountain road on the outskirts of Boulder...

2019 Volkswagen Jetta first drive: steady and staid

12 Apr
2019 Volkswagen JettaTwo decades ago, ubiquitous would have been too soft a word to describe the Volkswagen Jetta’s presence on the manicured grounds of a prestigious college like Duke University. I recently found myself dodging students with backpacks on the narrow roads surrounding the stately campus in leafy Durham, North Carolina, behind the wheel of the...

2018 Buick Regal TourX first drive: slightly rugged, very muddy

25 Jan
2018 Buick Regal TourXThe 2018 Buick Regal TourX is a muddy vehicle. Not just because it is aimed at the hiking boot-wearing active-lifestyle set that marketers covet. Buick would like to see its new tall(-ish) wagon, which shares a nameplate, powertrain, and interior with the Regal Sportback hatchback, covered in dirt with outdoorsy accoutrements strapped to its roof...