Category archives: Driven

Driven: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT

The Outlander Sport was redesigned for 2016 | Mitsubishi photos
The Outlander Sport was redesigned for 2016 | Mitsubishi photos

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a good little SUV. Not a great one, mind you, but for someone who wants a stylish compact wagon that’s a bit different from the run of the mill, the Outlander Sport is not a bad way to go.

Outlander Sport is the smaller SUV of two Outlander models. It competes with utes such as the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4. Recently restyled, the Outlander Sport has a sharply modern look that sets it apart in this hot portion of the new-car market. Continue reading

Driven: 2015 Nissan Maxima Platinum

Nissan Maxima has been upgraded with more-dramatic styling, larger interior and improved driving dynamics | Bob Golfen photo
Nissan Maxima has been upgraded with more-dramatic styling, larger interior and improved driving dynamics | Bob Golfen photo

The winding, tree-lined roads in and around Monterey and Pebble Beach, California, are like a carnival ride for people who want to hunker down and drive. Indeed, the legendary road race near Pebble Beach Lodge started in the same year as the famed Concours d’Elegance that marked its 66th anniversary this year.

I was driving those same roads recently as I helped cover the Monterey Car Week car shows and auctions for ClassicCars.com. The 2016 Maxima loaned to me by Nissan seemed at first like an unlikely craft for such fun duty, being a fairly large sedan loaded up with luxury features, but the Japanese automaker’s promise of a “4-door sports car” turned out to be not so far off the mark. Continue reading

Driven: Charging the Hill in a 1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina.

Typical Alfa body roll -- stable but neutral handling up the hill | Photo by ronaldnelson.zenfolio.com
Typical Alfa body roll — but stable and neutral handling up the hill | Photo by ronaldnelson.zenfolio.com

To the unfamiliar, the state of Wisconsin is shaped like the palm of your right hand. Look at the tip of your thumb. That’s Door County, our destination for the Ephraim Hillclimb and Concours held each September. And this month we’re seeing the hill from behind the wheel of a mid-‘70s European sporting sedan.

Taking inspiration from our own Nicole James’ article on the new Alfa Romeo 4C, I thought a story on the “Old 4C” — Alfa’s venerable all-aluminum twin-cam, Hemi-headed inline four two-liter engine — would be appropriate. In this case, the vessel for that iconic motor is not the stylish GTV, but it’s four door famiglia-car cousin, the Berlina. Continue reading

Driven: 2015 Vintage Kart Co. Mini Racer

Vintage Kart of Mesa, Arizona, produces its Mini Racer in kit or turnkey form | Larry Edsall photos
Vintage Kart of Mesa, Arizona, produces its Mini Racer in kit or turnkey form | Larry Edsall photos

A cyclecar got its name from the fact that it was part motorcycle and part car. Like an early-era motorcycle, a cyclecar had a small, air-cooled engine and rode on skinny, cycle-style wheels and tires. Like an early-era motorcar, it had four wheels and the driver — and sometimes even a tandem-seated passenger — sat within bodywork and used a steering wheel and pedals to stop, to go and to turn. Continue reading

Driven: 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

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2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider on Laureles Grade | Nicole James photos

Just as I thought my recent time at Montery Car Week couldn’t get any better, I found myself bombing up and down the Laureles Grade, a 10-mile stretch of mountain road near Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, sitting in a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, Italian sports car weighing less than 2,500 pounds.

Continue reading

Driven (at last to the drive-in theater): 1960 Cadillac Eldorado

We parked the Caddy next to the drive-in theater's own pink-and-blue VW Beetle | Larry Edsall photos
We parked the Caddy next to the drive-in theater’s own pink-and-blue VW Beetle | Larry Edsall photos

The plan seemed simple enough: Let’s take old cars to the drive-in movie some night, just like back in the day when the cars were new. Little did we know that it would take three years to get there.

But last week, on Wednesday night, we did, indeed, drive from Traverse City, Michigan, about 25 miles down the Honor Highway to watch a movie from the seats of a couple of classic cars at the Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre: Northern Michigan’s Only Drive-In Theater. Continue reading

Driven (well, actually, Ridden): 2016 URB-E

Larry rides the URB-E electric scooter | Bob Golfen photo
Larry rides the URB-E electric scooter | Bob Golfen photo

If you race a vintage sports or formula car, you likely need a pit bike for maneuvering your way around the paddock or out to the race track’s various corners to check the line, and maybe to see how well your competition is doing in practice.

Or maybe you show your classic car at large venues, such as Goodguys events, or you go to the big swap meets and you’d like a way to see everything but that old football injury takes its toll when you walk too long. Continue reading

World’s fastest electric car leaves us breathless, literally

Potential customers take a look at the Concept_One, world's fastest electric car | Larry Edsall photos
Potential customers take a look at the Concept_One, world’s fastest electric car | Larry Edsall photos

Once we reached a deserted stretch of roadway, Mate Rimac asked if I wanted to feel the full accelerative power of the Concept_One. I responded in the affirmative. Rimac tapped various places on the iPad-like device on the car’s center console, secured his grip on the steering wheel, and I assume he floored the accelerator because I was thrust back against my seat by g forces sufficient to keep me from expanding my lungs to inhale. Continue reading

Driven: 2016 Chrysler 300S

2016 Chrysler 300S gets a thumb's up from James Dean (or at least his sign) | Larry Edsall photos
2016 Chrysler 300S gets a thumb’s up from James Dean (or at least his sign) | Larry Edsall photos

At first quick glance, you might not notice anything different about the 2016 Chrysler 300S. But look more closely and you can see the S on the decklid badging, the blacked-out accents, the 20-inch Hyper Black-finished wheels, subtly sculpted side sills and the deck lid spoiler.

Look inside and you see the letter “S” stitched into the front seat backs. Continue reading

Driven: 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature

The Mazda CX-9 was completely revamped for 2016 | Bob Golfen
The Mazda CX-9 was completely revamped for 2016 | Bob Golfen

During the past decade or so, Mazda has marketed its vehicles in a certain way, as the sporty alternative to the normal run of practical cars and SUVs. “Zoom-Zoom” has been the quirky tagline, which was a risky gambit if the Mazdas didn’t deliver the driving performance as advertised. Mockery might have ensued.

Fortunately, Mazda has upheld its promise to deliver vehicles with responsive drivability. Well, most of the time. There have been a few misses. But starting with the pure sports-car pleasure of the MX-5 Miata, the Japanese automaker has imbued its lineup with a certain elan that sets them apart. Continue reading