Category archives: Driven

Driven: 2017 GMC Acadia SLT-1 all-wheel-drive

The slimmed-down GMC Acadia gets improved fuel mileages with better drivability | GMC photos
The slimmed-down GMC Acadia gets improved fuel mileages with better drivability | GMC photos

The road from Phoenix to Durango, Colorado, is pretty long, but at least it passes by some quality Southwest scenery, such as Monument Valley, and some improbable landmarks, such as Four Corners, the only place in the U.S. where four states touch – Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

There’s also a place where you can pull off the road and see actual dinosaur tracks imbedded in the ancient stone surface, always with some random Navajo youngsters on hand to show you the way, for a fee. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Toyota Corolla 50th Anniversary Special Edition

Toyota Corolla celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special edition | Toyota photos
Toyota Corolla celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special edition | Toyota photos

Since the automobile was first produced in significant numbers, only three vehicles have claimed the title as the best-selling of all-time. First, of course, it was Henry Ford’s Model T, the car that put the world on wheels. It took a few decades after the last T rolled off an assembly line, but eventually the Volkswagen Beetle could claim the best-selling crown. But it to would be surpassed by the Toyota Corolla. Continue reading

Driven: XK 120 C-type Jaguar

Larry Crane in the Jaguar C-type at the 16th Monterey Historics | Larry Crane archives photo
Larry Crane in the Jaguar C-type at the 16th Monterey Historics | Larry Crane archives photo

Phil Reilly’s big restoration shop in Corte Madera, California, was as bright as a hospital emergency room when my wife, Tracy, and I arrived at about 10 o’clock one Wednesday evening. Ross Cummings was waiting to release the last automotive patient before the four-day car guy’s bacchanalia affectionately known as the “Monterey Weekend.” Continue reading

Driven: 2017 McLaren 570 GT

Merlin and the McLaren | Nick Kurczewski photos
Merlin and the McLaren | Nick Kurczewski photos

McLaren wants to prove it has a softer side, even if a howling mid-engine supercar seems an ironic choice when trying to drive the point home.

As the British sports car company’s least expensive offering, the 570 GT also has been dialed in to provide a quieter and more comfortable driving experience. Even the cargo bay has been reconfigured to accommodate a moderate amount of luggage. The glass hatch swings open to reveal the “touring deck” which, we admit, sounds classier than simply “trunk” or “luggage bay.”

You might still be dubious. How can a car with 562 horsepower, room for only two onboard, and a starting price of nearly $200,000 qualify as a calmer, more practical means to get around? Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring

2017 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring is updated inside and out | Larry Edsall photos
2017 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring is updated inside and out | Larry Edsall photos

From one end of the lineup to the other, there are few automakers who produce cars that are as much fun to drive as does Mazda. Yes, indeed, there is that Miata “zoom-zoom” in every Mazda vehicle, but it actually pre-dates the MX-5, going back to such vehicles as the RX-7 and the 323 GTX, that hoot-to-drive, road-legal rally car. Continue reading

We drive friendly Fiats at the Bondurant school

TFF_8300
Fiat 500 Abarth used at Bondurant school | photos by Charles Siritho and Nicole James

Dodge Vipers line the entrance of the Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona. They seem ready to strike at any moment. Meanwhile, menacing Dodge Hellcats stare you down. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Ford Escape SE

2017 Ford Escape is company's second-best seller | Ford photos
2017 Ford Escape is company’s second-best seller | Ford photos

The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling automotive apparatus in the United States for going on 3 1/2 decades. That comes as no surprise. However, I was surprised to learn that Ford’s second-best seller is its compact crossover utility, the Escape.

I might have thought it would be the Mustang, or even the Focus. Turns out, it’s the Escape. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Audi S3

Audi S3 offers power, magnetic suspension in a compact and affordable vehicle | Larry Edsall photos
Audi S3 offers power, magnetic suspension in a compact and affordable vehicle | Larry Edsall photos

Maybe it was the Glacier White Metallic paint that made the 2017 Audi S3 I’ve been driving look like a big egg as it rolled down the road. However, there was nothing either Humpty or Dumpty about this powerful and sporty — and still affordable — entry-level Audi sedan. Continue reading

Driven: USAC sprint car, with bonus laps in a real Indy racer

Larry Crane at the wheel of an Edmonds print car on the high banks at Winchester, Indiana
Larry Crane at the wheel of an Edmunds print car on the high banks at Winchester, Indiana

‘Engage the dogs by squeezing the lock lever against the shifter and pulling it back. As soon as the push truck makes contact, watch the oil-pressure gauge. When the needle moves, hit the ignition switch and brace your neck for the acceleration.”

I did. It did. And we did. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Kia Soul!

2017 Kia Soul! has turbocharged engine | Larry Edsall photos
2017 Kia Soul! has turbocharged engine | Larry Edsall photos

I think Kia puts the exclamation point in the wrong place. The name of this car should be 2017 Kia Soul Turbo!

I’ve always liked the Kia Soul, and the spunky little box on wheels has gotten better and better, not only with each new generation, but with each model- year update. Continue reading