Category archives: Driven

Driven: 2017 Volvo S90 Inscription, V90 Cross Country

The new Volvo S90 T6 Inscription shows the new design language for the Swedish automaker | Bob Golfen photos
The new Volvo S90 T6 Inscription shows the new design language for the Swedish automaker | Bob Golfen photos

I was a Volvo fan back when they were boxy and quirky, and we had a couple of kids to cart around. The favorite was a funky 245 wagon, the ultimate brick on wheels, yet actually fun to drive, partly because of its four-speed manual transmission with electric overdrive, which activated with a “clunk.”

The all-new 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 wagon seems stunningly futuristic compared with our old Volvo 245 wagon of decades ago. Gone are the funk and the clunk, replaced by sleek styling, refined drivability and a brilliantly sophisticated interior dominated by a large, computer-tablet-like command center in the center of the dashboard. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

The new Mazda CX-5 delivers sporty driving experience, rare in this compact-SUV segment | Bob Golfen
The new Mazda CX-5 delivers sporty driving experience, rare in this compact-SUV segment | Bob Golfen photos

Buyers shopping for compact SUVs have a whole lot to choose from in this highly competitive chunk of the automotive market. The trick here is for an automaker to deliver something that sets itself apart from the herd.

Mazda once again has taken its own road with the updated 2017 CX-5, which is distinctive not because of price, accommodations or utility, but because it drives and handles more like a sport sedan than an SUV. The ride might seem a bit firm and the steering might feel a trifle heavy for this segment, but the payback is an agile little ute that you can toss into corners and have fun with on a winding road. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Lexus ES 300h sedan

The Lexus ES 300h provided  a quality road trip while getting 36 miles per gallon | Lexus photos
The Lexus ES 300h provided a quality high-speed road trip while getting 36 miles per gallon | Lexus photos

The drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas is long and tedious, with a few interesting segments and a handful of roadside attractions from another era filled with kitschy Western mementos.

The best way to endure the four-and-a-half-hour trip is in the most comfortable and luxurious car possible, one with supportive seats, plenty of driving features and an excellent audio system. It wouldn’t hurt if the chosen vehicle was also good on gas. Continue reading

Driven: Superformance Cobra from new Arizona dealership

The road-ready Superformance MKIII stands on 18-inch wheels and performance tires | Bob Golfen photos
The road-ready Superformance MKIII stands on 18-inch wheels and performance tires | Bob Golfen photos

The little red roadster started with a thunderous blast, a full-throated roar from its fat side pipes that seemed to thicken the air. The big V8 settled into a lumpy high-performance idle that burbled like the bass section of a symphony orchestra.

Hunkered down on the pavement in a Tempe, Arizona, industrial park, the Superformance MKIII was like a brawny beast about to launch into battle. The MKIII is full of sound and fury, and it’s like buying a brand-new Shelby 427 Cobra, with all the glorious style and outrageous power that entails. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch diesel

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty diesel with King Ranch trim package | Larry Edsall photos
2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty diesel with King Ranch trim package | Larry Edsall photos

I’m in love. Head-over-heels in love. With a truck.

But this isn’t just any truck. It’s a 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab, trimmed out with the King Ranch package and empowered by a whopping and turbocharged 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel-fueled V8.

Oh, and it’s a 4×4, so not only can it pull an RV or boat or horse trailer or, for that matter, a small village (or anything else weighing up to 15,000 pounds), it can go pretty much anywhere you can fit a vehicle that’s nearly 21 feet in length, almost 9 feet wide with its big and lighted power-folding mirrors extended, and is almost as tall as an NBA center. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Dodge Durango R/T

Hemi-powered 2017 Dodge Durango R/T has stealthy, street-fighter look in its monotone color | Larry Edsall photo
Hemi-powered 2017 Dodge Durango R/T has stealthy, street-fighter look in its monotone color | Larry Edsall photo

The look of the 2017 Dodge Durango R/T is stealthily sinister, especially in monotone Granite Metallic exterior paint and riding on matching wheels — 20-inch machine-cast aluminum wheels done in a low-gloss Granite Crystal finish.

Not only do the wheels match the body color, but they have an open 10-spoke design that showcases the nearly 14-inch diameter vented disc brakes up front, with only slightly smaller 13s in the rear. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Genesis G90

The G90 is the flagship of Hyundai's luxury Genesis lineup | Larry Edsall photos
The G90 is the flagship of Hyundai’s luxury Genesis lineup | Larry Edsall photos

Once upon a time, Hyundai’s public relations department bragged about the fact that the company’s compact economy sedan, I recall it as the Elanta but it may have been the Excel, was the most-stolen car in America. What the PR team didn’t point out was that the car was being stolen not because thieves wanted to drive it, but because it had a quality radio that was extremely easy to pop out and sell on the black market.

Not long thereafter, Hyundai invited a group of American automotive writers to visit South Korea, where the next-generation Sonata was going into production. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Kia Niro

2017 Kia Niro is a compact hybrid crossover | Larry Edsall photos
2017 Kia Niro is a compact hybrid crossover | Larry Edsall photos

O.K., so the television commercials featuring Melissa McCarthy saving the whales, the ice cap, the rhinos, and hugging the trees are hilariously entertaining, and the background music — Bonnie Tyler’s I Need a Hero — adds a dramatic pulse to the production.

And I know that Kia spells the name of its new hybrid crossover Niro, not Nero, but it sure sounds like it rhymes not only with Tyler’s Hero lyric but is pronounced just like the name of the last-in-his-line emperor who had his own mother executed and who supposedly fiddled while Rome burned? Continue reading

Mayday! What’s the scariest car you’ve driven? Here’s mine

Geo Metro LSi convertible was a sub-compact that didn't instill confidence in its driver | GM file photo
Geo Metro LSi convertible was a sub-compact that didn’t instill confidence in its driver | GM file photos

The question was posted recently on Petrolicious’ Facebook page: “What is the Scariest Car You’ve Ever Driven?”

As you might expect, people responding listed cars including the Porsche Turbo, Dodge Viper GTS, Ferrari F430, Shelby 427 Cobra, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, and the list kept going with such high-performance memories. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Lincoln MKZ

Lincoln MKZ has been redesigned for the 2017 model year | Larry Edsall photos
Lincoln MKZ has been redesigned for the 2017 model year | Larry Edsall photos

You’ve just spent $53,405 on a luxurious sedan. You proudly drive it home and park it in your driveway. Except in the case of a 2017 Lincoln MKZ like the one I’ve been driving this week, you back it into the driveway, and back it as closely as possible to your garage door. Continue reading