Larger Explorer adds a Sport version with EcoBoost V6.

Ford, Mazda, Volvo Doing Well Separately

It was such a simpler life, a decade ago, when Ford Motor Company owned Volvo and had a solid percentage of Mazda, and it used those two affiliates very well in networking to create some excellent vehicles. Briefly, Ford saw that Mazda was building the Tribute compact van, which was exactly what Ford was thinking of doing, so they collaborated and Ford built both the Tribute for Mazda and the …


Newly redesigned 2014 Silverado lifts Chevrolet up to competitive heights.

Wait for New Silverado Ends with 2014 Model

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — The new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck is finally here, the first new-generation Silverado in seven years, and loyal Chevy fans are sure to welcome it with a huge cheer, even while others may scoff a bit and offer the challenging question: Is it new enough? “It’s all-new from hood to hitch,” said Silverado product manager Carl Hillenbrand, sounding like he had just made up a …


Introduced in 2012, the Prius V nose has a sporty, aerodynamic angle.

Prius V

The world of alternative-energy vehicles is expanding virtually by the month, or week. Hybrid vehicles, electric cars, turbo-diesels, cars with tiny gas engines, and combinations of those, such as turbo-hybrids, all seem to have validity and are marketed to be better than the others. All we know is, there is no single answer to the problem of clean and efficient running, just a number of varied answers, all contributing to …


All-electric Fiat 500e has new, aerodynamic exterior.

Fiat 500e electric

LOS ANGELES,CALIF. — The Fiat 500 is cute, fun, efficient, and economical, but nobody would really call it electrifying. Until now. For 2014, the Fiat 500 will come in a version called the 500e, with the “e” standing for electric. Before consumers in 49 states get too excited about the 500e maybe becoming their electric car of choice, however, the car will require a little California Dreamin’ because the only showrooms it …


Snow and slush can't even ruin the BMW 750iXL's classic appeal.

BMW 750iXL excellence dicey when roads icy

A prominent note in my notebook will remind me to plead with the press-fleet powers at BMW to send me the new BMW 750iL for a second test-drive week, after the persistent snow and ice of this never-ending winter finally cash in their chips. As it is, the chance to experience the many wonderful features of the car, which is BMW’s flagship of luxury and class. It’s not as though I didn’t get a chance …


Dodge Grand Caravan adds new refinement to an old, dependable concept.

It’s time for Grand Caravan to stand up and be appreciated

It’s time for minivans to rise up and claim their rightful place at the top of the family vehicle chain. You’ve got to pity the poor minivan. Everybody who owns one appreciates it, to the point of wondering how their families could ever get along without it. But it is universally scorned, to the point of acting as though they’d never consider buying one, and even some of those who …


New Mazda6 handles winter driving as easily as the Mackinaw ice-breaker working out on Lake Superior.

Mazda6 redesign includes Skactiv powertrain

The Mazda 626 has always been a worthy midsize entry, just as durable though less-heralded compared to the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry. When it was renovated into the Mazda6, it moved higher on the artistic list and had an edge in sporty handling, but still didn’t match the hot-selling numbers of its competitors. Its last restyling,took the Mazda6 to a much more flowing look, although like the …


With the blizzard passed, Lake Superior ice chunks amplify X1's "Alpine white" color.

Compact BMW X1 needs X-Drive, winter tires

When I first had the chance to drive the new BMW X1, I was impressed with the looks and performance, and the diminutive size of the new smaller brother of the X5 and X3 SUVs from BMW’s ever-expanding stable. It is more compact than most crossover SUVs, but most people don’t need the enormous size of the heftiest vehicles that brought the U.S. auto industry to near the point of …


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