Category archives: Driven

Driven: 2017 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster/GT C Roadster

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster comes highly recommended | Mercedes-AMG photos
2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster comes highly recommended | Mercedes-AMG photos

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster is fast, expensive, and sexy. I could stop right there, because that summarizes this brand-new Mercedes-Benz better than anything else.

The hood stretches a veritable mile in front of the cockpit. The rump is nicely rounded. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V- delivers a whopping 469-horsepower, or 550 hp in the range-topping GT C Roadster model. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SEL

2017 Volkswagen Passat propelled by a 170 hp turbocharged four-banger | Larry Edsall photos
2017 Volkswagen Passat propelled by a 170 hp turbocharged four-banger | Larry Edsall photos

Turns out Carroll Shelby was right.

Ol’ Shel’ once told me that all you really needed in any car was 170 horsepower. That was plenty to get going and to keep up with traffic at — and even beyond — whatever speeds might be posted on the fastest of American freeways.

Of course, in his next breath, Shelby told me about a 1,000-horsepower engine he and his team were building for their latest Ford Mustang project. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Honda CR-V

Launch of 2017 Honda CR-V marks the start of the compact crossover's fifth generation | Larry Edsall photos
Launch of 2017 Honda CR-V marks the start of the compact crossover’s fifth generation | Larry Edsall photos

In the sixth day of my week-long drive of the new and fifth-generation Honda CR-V, I finally opened the hood to see for myself.

The pricing sticker and the Honda press kit both claimed the compact crossover utility vehicle has a turbocharged engine. But after a few hundred miles and nearly six days of driving, I was skeptical. Pleased that there was no discernible turbo lag, but skeptical that there even was a turbo installed, so tortoise-like is this crossover’s power to accelerate. Continue reading

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

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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