2023 Dodge Hornet First Drive – Feeling the Sting
You may have already seen the first ad for the 2023 Dodge Hornet – it’s a spoof of disaster-movie trailers and it includes a man standing in a city, arms wide open, shouting “let me feel your sting!”
I felt the Hornet’s sting during a day of driving through North Carolina. And I didn’t even need an EpiPen.
2023 Nissan Rogue Review: No Soggy Bottom Here
Like much of the world over the past three years, we’ve been finding ourselves planted in view of our television a bit more than in the past. Streaming services have supplanted broadcast shows by offering episode after episode ready for gluttonous consumption. One glutinous show has taken over our screens in particular - The Great British Bake Off.
TTAC Rewind: 2015 Hyundai Genesis Capsule Review
I know there's IndyCar racing today, and I think some XFL games, and college hoops, and NASCAR...but if you need a break, take a trip back in time with us.
2022 Genesis G80 Review - A Little Less Conversation
Try as I might, I don’t review cars on a full-time basis. Blame two kids and a mortgage. That means that my rather unusual hobby is a natural subject of discussion whilst engaged in my usual nine-to-five, where I’m interacting with customers all day long.
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Review – Basic Transport, Complete Anonymity
There has been much handwringing lately among us keyboard warriors that the entry-level end of the new-car market isn’t well covered.
Overall, this is true – there are fewer cheap wheels than there used to be. But there are still some options for the first-time buyer or those with shallow pockets. Sometimes, though, there’s another kind of price to pay for snagging a bargain.
Drive Notes: 2022 Lincoln Navigator Black Label
Welcome to another Drive Notes, where I compile some quick notes on the car I am driving or just returned to the fleet.
Today's vehicle -- the 2022 Lincoln Navigator Black Label.
TTAC Rewind: 2016 Chrysler 200 Limited Rental Review
Today's TTAC Rewind takes us back a few years to 2016 when Jack wrote up a rental review of the 2016 Chrysler 200.
TTAC Throwback: 2011 Nissan Quest
Last week, our TTAC throwback was a 2012 model. This week, we're staying in that era and bringing you a minivan instead of a sports sedan. Remember the 2011 Nissan Quest?
2023 Mini Cooper S Clubman ALL4 Review - Wagons, Ho?
Those who have suffered through reading my works here and elsewhere over the past seven years likely have suspected - I’m merely using this second career as an automotive reviewer and journalist as an extended test-drive opportunity while I sort out what the next car that I purchase for my own use might be. It’s a happy accident, of course, but a financially-prudent one considering the drastic turns we’ve seen in real-world transaction prices and in interest rates. Not having had a car payment for myself (only for my wife’s car) has been helpful as we squirrel away cash for the pair of teens careening in the general direction of college.
TTAC Throwback: 2012 Buick Regal GS
Today's throwback for your midday enjoyment is a 2012 Buick Regal GS.
2022 Audi A3 Quattro Review – Sleek Sport Sedan Seeks More
It’s really easy to love a sporty entry-luxury sedan that has all the right handling moves and doesn’t totally break the bank.
It’s a bit less easy to love a car with Audi badging that seems to be short of some luxury features, features that you no doubt could have – if you just spent a little more.
It’s also a bit less easy to love a luxury car when there are a bit too many interior reminders of the mainstream brand it shares its platform with.
That’s the 2022 Audi A3 Quattro sedan I drove in a nutshell.
2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Review - Watts Going On
As goes General Motors, so goes the nation. Apocryphal or not, the above statement dates to the Eisenhower era when The General was indeed one of the largest influences on American lives. From Dinah Shore to the shores of wherever a GM-built military vehicle might be carrying a GI, Chevrolet and the other divisions once played an outsized part in our world.
Even in the Nineties as the corporation rebounded from its malaise-era nadir, GM took chances and pushed boundaries. The EV1 drew attention as the first legitimate mass-produced electric vehicle. But the EV spotlight - and Wall Street glory - has been seized by a demagogue and a merry band of followers, making a funky-looking EV genuinely mainstream.
The Bowtie isn’t taking this lying down, but the approach is somewhat novel. Rather than targeting big money from luxury sedans and the like, the volume sales EVs from GM are the pair of Bolts, including this 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV. Deliberately aping the ever-popular crossover market, the Bolt EUV brings something unusual to the EV space - a total lack of weirdness.
TTAC Rewind: 2004 Ford GT Review
Take a gander at Robert Farago's 2004 Ford GT review over your morning coffee. If you're anything like me, you will be jealous.
2023 Nissan Titan PRO-4X Review - Parting Thoughts
It’s the beginning of the new year as I write this, and we are being bombarded by easy-to-pen yearly listicles in the “hey, remember this B-list celebrity that died in February?” Like most, I’ll read one or two of these in my downtime out of sheer boredom, and will occasionally notice a critical reappraisal of someone’s supposed genius that wasn’t properly appreciated until they had passed.
Like people, of course, consumer products have life cycles. And while very few might shed a tear for the untimely demise of a particular flavor of dishwashing sponge, the same can’t be said of automobiles. Even the least popular mass-produced car or truck has thousands of owners across the country, and certainly, some feel a sort of kinship to the model. So even though it seems forever destined to remain in sixth place on the full-sizer sales charts, the 2023 Nissan Titan PRO-4X is worthy of reassessment.
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Review – Insanity
2022 Subaru WRX Premium Review – Small Step Backwards
I’ve long been a fan of Subaru’s plucky WRX compact sports sedan. But as you’ll see when our next podcast drops, I found the 2022 Subaru WRX one of my most disappointing cars of the year.
“Disappointing” doesn’t mean “bad”, to be clear. The WRX is still a joy to drive and would still be on my shopping list if I was buying in this class. But it’s lost a step compared to the competitive set, in part because the newest version makes its flaws a bit more visible.
2022 Ford Maverick Review – Setting the Standard
Ford’s Maverick small truck has been highly reviewed, including by yours truly, so when two (one of each powertrain) arrived at my door within weeks of each other earlier this year, I was curious if my original take would hold up.
Hold up indeed it did, and I came away even more impressed with the truck – though I’d still lean towards the gas engine over the hybrid in most cases. If fuel economy or a few other factors matter more to you, then go for the hybrid. Otherwise, take the gas. But we’ll get to that.
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Review - Not Quite A Prius
Making a massive brick-shaped object fuel efficient is a hell of an exercise in engineering, I’m certain. There are certain laws of physics that must be accommodated - mass, friction, and aerodynamics all factor in the equation of turning energy into propulsion. Reducing mass, improving aero, and limiting resistance losses from the tires are all ways one might make a truck use fuel more effectively.
Recovering some of that energy used in propulsion is another method - which is what birthed the hybrid vehicle. Toyota has been the leader in hybrids for decades now, which is why it’s rather surprising that it’s taken so long to bring some Prius magic to the full-size truck market. But here we are, with the 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - an off-road focused, top-of-the-line package that can only be had as a hybrid. But does a simple battery make this three-ton brute a hypermiling champ?
2023 Kia EV6 GT Review – Electric Excitement
Standing around outside the Las Vegas Motor Speedway last week, I noticed a bunch of fighter jets taking off and landing from the nearby Nellis Air Force base. It must be unbelievable to feel the G forces when those things accelerate, I thought to myself.
Drive Notes: 2023 Jeep Wrangler 4xe
I spent the past few days behind the wheel of a 2023 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe.
Notes? Oh, I have notes.
2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV First Drive – Still Finding Its Way
Standing in the lobby at Mitsubishi’s suburban Nashville headquarters last week, I looked out the window and saw Nissan’s own HQ just down the street. Even though Mitsubishi tells me that it’s just a coincidence that the two offices are that close to one another, the two companies are part of a larger alliance that also involves Renault. Even if it’s not intentional, one can feel the corporate synergy.
2022 Mazda CX-30 Turbo Review - The Crossover for Drivers
Yeah, I know. That title is clickbait. Especially as we’ve told you time and again that there are no self-driving cars, and there likely will not be any self-driving cars for quite some time. Every vehicle on our roads today needs a driver.
But not all of them want to be driven.
TTAC Rewind: 2015 Porsche Macan
While digging up this week's rewind, I saw it surface from one of our own partner forums. So in the interest of corporate synergy, you can take a look over there.
Or you can, you know, just click the link below
Drive Notes: 2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC AWD
Today's drive notes centers around a car I won't review because this loan is short -- just a couple of days, since I am traveling. It's too bad I am not getting a full week with this 2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC, but I am enjoying this car. Well, mostly.
2022 Lexus IS 350 AWD Review - The Choice Is Yours
There may come a time when this fine publication will need a name change lest we fall behind the times. News articles dutifully report that automakers continue to research autonomous driving technologies designed to keep people safer by entrusting the speed and direction of our personal mobility devices to fallible sensors and algorithms designed by the lowest bidding mathematician.
TTAC Rewind: 2012 Nissan Sentra Rental Review
Today's TTAC rewind for your late afternoon perusal is about a decade old. Former TTAC'er Jack Baruth was in sunny SoCal and got his hands on a 2012 Nissan Sentra rental.
2022 Infiniti QX60 Review - The Poshfinder
Like it or not, the big crossover is here to stay. Three rows of seating that would really be better suited to a minivan or - dare I say it - a wagon shall be jacked up slightly so drivers can feel somewhat at ease when surrounded by all of the other tall wagons, pickups, and eighteen-wheelers clogging our roads.
Just because the words Sports and Utility are theoretically in the definition of the vehicle segment doesn’t mean that sport needs to be part of the equation. We’ve seen many a big crossover that should never see anything more rugged than a dirt path to a youth soccer field - and many a rugged SUV that never actually sees anything more rugged than that same dirt path, so it doesn’t matter much anyhow. These are comfortable family vehicles with easy step-in heights - no more, no less. That hasn’t stopped automakers from tossing the classic luxury playbook at these vehicles, however. Leather, wood and metal trim, big wheels, and the usual advanced tech features abound on the upmarket trims.
The 2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph is a noble effort from Nissan’s luxury division for this particular market. Light on the ruggedness, heavy on the plush - can the QX60 find a path to sales success?
TTAC Drive Notes: 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid
Hi there, this is take two of our new series in which I give you short notes on something I am driving or have driven recently. It doesn't necessarily mean a given car will or won't get a full review in the future -- it's just a chance to hit some highlights sooner since it can take some time before a full review gets published. And some cars don't get full reviews, anyway.
Today's ride: The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid.
TTAC Rewind: 2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label
Enjoy your Sunday evening with a look at the 2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label, words courtesy of our own Chris Tonn.
2022 Ram 1500 Rebel Review - Li’l Red Imperial Express
Step back in time with me to the Seventies, and imagine being in a boardroom in Highland Park, Michigan. The marketers and advertising copywriters of Chrysler were, at the time, reacting to the personal luxury vehicle trend with the Cordoba. Ricardo Montalbán had worked everyone up into a rich Corinthian lather, all but assuring buyers that good times and sexytime were simply a signature away at the local Chrysler dealer.
In another room, the Dodge truck folks were trying to compete with crosstown rivals. Adding accessories and other fripperies to the D-series pickup created what was known as the “Adult Toys” lineup - including the black/gold Warlock model, as well as the smokestack-equipped Li’l Red Express. These factory customs acknowledged that people were buying trucks not just for work - and anticipated in part the explosion of the truck market that was to come.
But Khan himself could have never foreseen something like the 2022 Ram 1500 Rebel - a four-wheel drive, five-passenger truck that rides better than the nicest Chryslers and Imperials while handling truck duties better than any Dodge of the disco era.
TTAC Rewind: 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid
Today's TTAC Rewind for your Sunday afternoon perusal takes a few years back to 2017.
2022 Kia Seltos Review - Easy
I suppose I can be an occasional automotive Luddite. I’m mentally throwing wrenches at the twenty-year-old German project car in my garage since it’s not nearly as straightforward to repair as the thirty-year-old Japanese project car right next to it. More than once I’ve pondered the possibility of adapting carburetors to both.
TTAC Quick Drive: Notable Things About the 2023 Honda HR-V
Hello there and welcome to the first edition of the TTAC Quick Drive. This is basically a short version of a car review that we will apply either when a test vehicle doesn't really need a full review (perhaps its a mild refresh and mechanically unchanged) or we didn't get a lot of miles on a car (perhaps we drive a vehicle at an event for only 15 minutes). We may also use this to preview the full review of a vehicle that will publish later.
TTAC Rewind: Tracking a Lotus Evora 400
Today's rewind is a bit different than the usual car review.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Review - A New World Of Performance
In the beginning, God created the dinosaurs. He saw that they would eventually decompose into petroleum, and said this is good. And God said let there be bitchin’ V8 engines.
And God said Oh Crap, I didn’t kill off enough dinosaurs to feed these hungry V8 engines. So on the seventh day, he left it to someone else to create EV charging stations way too far apart in sketchy parts of everything that he had made, and he rested.
We are well beyond the book of Genesis when it comes to electric vehicles - we no longer look to an EV as simply an efficient urban runabout not suited to the open road. Witness the big two-letter badge on the decklid of this 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT - yes, there is a healthy dash of grand touring within Ford’s sporty EV. And, should you wish, a touch of sports car joy.
TTAC Rewind: 2015 Subaru WRX Premium Review
Today's TTAC rewind is a capsule review of the 2015 Subaru WRX.
TTAC Rewind: 2019 Ford Edge ST First Drive
For your perusal this fine fall evening, we present a first drive from the autumn of 2018.
2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 Review: Responsibility
Part of becoming a parent is making compromises. Instead of a weekend in Vegas with some friends, you spend your vacation money taking the kids to visit a rat in a Florida swamp. Instead of enjoying a variety of interesting meals each night, it’s chicken fingers with boxed mac and cheese night after night after night.
TTAC Rewind: 2018 Hyundai Accent First Drive - Comfort Can Be Cheap
Hello again! Today's TTAC Rewind takes us back only a few years.
2023 Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer L First Drive – Spacing It Out
We heard them before we saw them.
Our merry band of journalists and PR folks were walking to dinner in Bozeman, Montana on the second night of the 2023 Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer L press launch when we crossed paths with a bunch of college-aged folks who were walking the opposite way shouting “hi-ho, hi-ho, fossil fuels have got to go!”
If only they could lay eyes on this particular Jeep, which caused one colleague to tweet out a reference to The Simpsons' Canyonero.
TTAC Rewind: 2018 Volkswagen Golf Family First Drive - Stick With What VW Does Best
Hello and welcome to another edition of TTAC Rewind.
2022 Audi Q3 Review - Out Of The Shadows
Ever since the late David E. spaketh his missive and/or advertorial on behalf of a sports sedan, a pair of German brands have been the symbols of having made it...or at least being on a clear path to making it. Audi, on the other hand, was the third wheel - occasionally gaining respectability, but too often finding itself fighting against the memory of a vengeful Sunday evening “news” program.
Lately, however, Audi has been cutting their own path, with a distinctive style unlike any other automaker. The four rings within a gaping black grille are being recognized and appreciated as genuine markers of a fine luxury automobile - and not, as once was the case, as simply a nicer Volkswagen.
2022 Volkswagen Golf R Review – Greatness Comes at a Price
It’s hard to come up with a better hot hatch than the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R. Unfortunately, it’s also hard to build such a sublime vehicle and also make it a bargain.
If you’re on a budget, VW will happily sell you a GTI and you’ll get about 80 percent of the Golf R’s performance. On the other hand, if you have the scratch, the Golf R is worth it.
2023 Hyundai Palisade First Drive: Almost As Good As A Minivan
Those who have known me for a while - or have been reading the words I’ve been spewing on this and other sites - know that I’m a minivangelist. I’ve owned several (I’ve lost count) of these unrestrained vehicular symbols of virility and/or fertility, and have appreciated their presence in my driveway every time I had to bring home a dishwasher from the big-box store, or shuttle a few stray children about town. There is no vehicle type better suited for suburban families than a minivan.
But nobody wants ‘em.
TTAC Rewind: 2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport
Hey, Editor Tim here -- we're trying something new. Keep an eye out each Sunday morning for a review from the past, chosen more or less arbitrarily, for you to peruse over your morning coffee.
2022 Jeep Wagoneer Review – Rolling Confusion
The consensus, at least among us shrimp-sucking keyboard warriors who get paid to review cars, is that the Jeep Wagoneer is a bit of a flop, mostly due to an oddly-proportioned exterior design.
Sure, the overfed journo writes between bites of shellfish, the Wagoneer has a nice interior, an excellent stereo, and an unobjectionable, if unremarkable powertrain. But its looks frighten small dogs.
2022 Honda Civic Si HPT Review – New Duds, Same Spirit
One could be forgiven for worrying that when Honda updated the Civic, it would muck things up. Make a good thing worse. Especially when it comes to the enthusiast-oriented Si trim.
The eleventh-generation car debuted last year as a 2022, and the Si version followed soon after. As most of you no doubt know, the Si is the hopped-up performance version of the Civic, though it’s not the highest-performance trim. That would be the Type R, which is currently on hiatus for the moment – the 2023 Honda Civic Type R will bow soon.
2022 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Review – Back in the Mix
Nissan finally updated the Frontier mid-size pickup for 2022, thus finally bringing an aging truck current.
But staying up to date isn’t always enough. Did the Frontier suddenly become a much stronger competitor?
2022 Toyota Highlander XSE V6 AWD Review – Not Flashy, Not Fussy
Extremes are easy to write about.
Just as sportswriters would prefer to cover either contending teams or basement dwellers instead of those that win about as much as they lose, most auto writers find it easier to describe sexy sports cars or to lampoon rolling failures.
This is why writers who are itching to show you how well they can use a thesaurus are almost as happy to see a Mitsubishi Mirage arrive at their home as they would be a Ferrari. Almost.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Review - Filling Niches And Climbing Over Them
2021 Ford Bronco Black Diamond Review – Cheap(ish) Wheelin’
Those who’ve studied the build and price site for the Ford Bronco will note that the company labels the upper trim Badlands and Wildtrak versions as the ones you should select if you plan to go wheelin’ often. That’s before even thinking about adding the Sasquatch package.
The "Save the Manuals" crew will also note that the Badlands trim is the only way to get a loaded Bronco with a clutch pedal.
2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE Unlimited Sahara Review – Save Fuel, Keep the Wrangle Experience
The idea of a plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler intrigues me. Wranglers that run exclusively on dead-dino juice have never been terribly fuel efficient. That’s true of recent efforts, too, despite overall improvements in automotive technology/design/engineering that have helped even the thirstiest of gas guzzlers become, well, less thirsty.
So it makes sense that a Wrangler that can run at least part of the time on electrons would pique my interest. Even if the alternative powertrain underhood changes little else about the Wrangler experience.
2021 Land Rover Defender 90 First Edition Review – Expensive Capability
The last time I reviewed a Land Rover Defender, I commented on how I enjoyed its driving experience despite some very British electrical failings such as the radio going AWOL for half an hour.
I expected similar from the two-door version, and to my pleasant surprise, I got the good parts without any real gremlins or bugs.
2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review - Driving Distilled
They’re coming for our cars. It may not be tomorrow, but indicators point toward a future where personal transportation options may be severely restricted. Gleaming alloy air-cars two lanes wide may be our transportation solution going forward.
From my stringback-gloved hands, I proclaim. While I’ll take the train should my commute dictate, I still find both solace and pleasure in engaging with a genuine driver’s car. A car that doesn’t need a “SPORT MODE” button conspicuously glaring next to the CVT drive selector knob. In the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the start button IS the sport mode.
2022 Chevrolet Silverado LT Review: Finally, They Got It Right
Over my years in the auto industry, one thing has been made abundantly clear: Truck buyers are loyal. Sure, the occasional fluctuation will occur, but for the most part, Ford buyers will buy another Ford when the time comes, and the same with Chevy, GMC, Ram, and Toyota.
Why, then, do the truck makers keep redesigning? Beyond incorporating new technologies for improved performance, safety, and efficiency, there’s always a risk of alienating their base customers when reaching for conquest sales. Chevrolet did that a few years ago with the Silverado, revealing a truck with an interior that was not nearly as nice as the rest of the industry. The good ship Bowtie has been righted with the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado, thankfully, as even on this LT trim the passenger accommodations have been vastly improved.
2022 Volkswagen Passat Review - An Early Preview of The Heritage Collection
Most automakers have some stuff in their past of which they’re rightfully proud. Certain landmark models are fondly recalled long after they’ve been relegated. Pristine examples of those beauties will often be rolled out and dusted off either during launches of new, tangentially-related models or during serious lulls in the product cycle where everything on lots is dull. Sometimes, these heritage cars will even be loaned to us journalists for a brief time.
Volkswagen has done this in the past - I’ve seen my colleagues joyously cruising in stunning Beetles and Microbuses. What’s remarkable is this 2022 Volkswagen Passat is nominally a new car, but it doesn’t appear on the Build-And-Price tool at vw.com. It seems to be a curious case where a brand new car has been prematurely shuffled off to the heritage fleet.
2022 Lexus RX450h AWD F Sport Review- How to Review a Good Car That You Kind of Hate
I want to be perfectly honest with you guys — this is The Truth About Cars, after all — I didn’t like driving the 2022 Lexus RX450h AWD F Sport. It’s not that the Lexus is a bad car, it’s that it’s not the right fit for me … and I mean that both figuratively and literally.
2023 Mazda CX-50 Review – Playing Dress-Up
Americans have got a fever, and the only prescription is more crossovers. Virtually every automaker trying to do business in this country has some sort of lifted wagon – if not a handful. Large ones, small ones, performance ones, economy ones. No convertible crossovers anymore, thank goodness. They’re shoehorning a crossover into nearly every possible market segment.
Here, we have the 2023 Mazda CX-50, with a name very much like their popular CX-5. And it’s very close in size to said CX-5. Of the six distinct non-electric vehicles offered by Mazda, four are crossovers – but why did they bring us something so very clearly similar to something they’ve been selling well for many years without replacing it?
Oh, and don’t give Mazda any ideas about a Miata crossover, please.
2021 BMW M4 Competition Review - Heart Trumps Looks
Almost every automotive journalist and enthusiast I know hates the new BMW grille – the one that took the twin-kidney look and made it as bucktooth as a beaver.
2022 Lexus NX 350 AWD Review - Getting with the Times
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Lexus’ NX compact crossover. I’ve found it to be fairly sporty – in general, and not just by staid Lexus standards – and overall more engaging to drive than the larger (and highly popular) RX, but also a bit cramped inside. Not to mention that the NX, like most Toyota and Lexus products, just seemed a step behind when it came to infotainment.
Lexus addressed two of those criticisms with the current model and did so quite nicely.