Season Recap: Car We Want in Our Driveway


Now that we’ve tackled the best economy cars, hybrids, SUVs and concept cars, it’s time to decide which car we want in our own driveways. This post is kind of like asking us what we’d do if we won the lottery, but considering we’re a fickle bunch when it comes to cars, there’s a bit more to consider than pure fantasy.

Kelsey Mays:
2009 Cadillac CTS-V
Energy independence notwithstanding, I’d gladly shell out $4 a gallon for a CTS-V. The regular CTS is one of Lutz & Co.’s finest achievements yet, and the thought of 550 hp underfoot is stupefying enough to make me crave one. Reality bites, but this Caddy bites back: It still has a full backseat, commute-friendly amenities and a trunk that can fit a weekend’s baggage. Naturally, if I had one, most of my weekends would be spent at the track.

By David Thomas | March 28, 2008 | Comments (15)

Season Recap: Concept We'd Like To See in Production


We’ve already recapped our favorite economy cars, hybrids and SUVs. Now it’s time for the concept cars to take center stage. This auto-show season carmakers were remarkably frugal in debuting new concepts. A stagnant economy and rocky financial situations for many of the major players might have had something to do wtih that, but we don’t like excuses. Those that brought the goods get our praise. Here are the concepts we’d most like to see go into production. 

David Thomas:
Land Rover LRX
While I’d really like to see more interesting hybrids on the market, like the Toyota A-BAT, Honda CR-Z and GMC Denali XT, the only concept that floored me with how cool it and had a possible segment to conquer was the diminutive Land Rover. If Land Rover could come out with a miniature all-wheel-drive hatchback before Mini, I think it could bring in a lot of folks looking to downsize while retaining functionality and capability in their car.

By David Thomas | March 28, 2008 | Comments (5)

Season Recap: The Best SUVs


We’ve already recapped our favorite efficient cars and hybrids, but what about the SUVs? Even with sky-high gas prices, new SUVs of all sizes are coming to market. This year brought some of the best interiors and fuel efficiency yet in this segment, but what glorified station wagon took our staff’s hearts?

Joe Wiesenfelder:
2009 Volvo XC60
Put simply, there were some impressive redesigns this year, but I have to go with an all-new entry — especially when it's a smaller alternative to an existing SUV: The XC60 is a handsome vehicle with a high-quality interior and all the safety features you could possibly want. It isn't too small in practical terms compared to the XC90, but it is smaller. These days, smaller is better.

By David Thomas | March 28, 2008 | Comments (4)

Season Recap: Efficient Cars


As the last major show of the season wraps up in New York City this weekend, it’s time to choose the best of the best. After trips to Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and New York, the staff reflects on which vehicles we think will make the biggest impact this year and beyond. We’ll start the review with each of our picks for the Best Fuel-Efficient Car from the four shows.

Best Fuel-Efficient Car

David Thomas:
2009 Ford Fiesta
This wasn’t so tough: It came down to the new Honda Fit or the Ford Fiesta. I picked the Fiesta — in spite of the fact that it didn’t show up at any of the stateside shows as a finished production car — because I think it will be a game-changer for Ford. It’s good-looking, has a wild interior and will hopefully bring an affordable entry-level car to a domestic automaker that needs it.

By David Thomas | March 28, 2008 | Comments (13)

L.A. Auto Show Ultimate Production Winner: 2009 Nissan Murano


Yesterday, Mike Hanley, David Thomas and Joe Wiesenfelder rated all the production and concept cars on display at the L.A. auto show, which runs through Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center (and yes, it’s open on Thanksgiving). We named a lot of winners and losers, but in the end there was just one vehicle that really wowed us in every way: the Nissan Murano. 

By David Thomas | November 21, 2007 | Comments (7)

2007 L.A. Auto Show Ultimate Concept Winner: Audi Cross Cabriolet Quattro


When Mike Hanley, David Thomas and Joe Wiesenfelder sifted through the new concept cars at the L.A. auto show, there wasn’t a lot to rate. Out of the four we tackled, only one won unanimous praise from all three. That may make this sound like it’s not a very prized award, but the Audi Cross Cabriolet Quattro concept — come on Audi, shorter names, please — was a stunner.

By David Thomas | November 21, 2007 | Comments (1)

Nissan Can't Stop GT-R Markups


How long after the exotic 2009 Nissan GT-R arrives in showrooms next June will the first speculator put one up for sale on eBay in order to make a quick profit?

The guesstimate is seconds, or about the same time it will take some dealers to tack a premium on the car and sell it significantly above the sticker price in order to make a hefty profit.

Nissan says it can't stop either from happening with the GT-R, a $70,000-plus sports car powered by a 473-hp, 3.8-liter V-6 teamed with a six-speed automatic.

By Jim Mateja | November 21, 2007 | Comments (10)

2007 L.A. Auto Show Winners and Losers: Production Cars

More Photos

While there weren’t a lot of new concept cars for us to check out in L.A., there were plenty of production cars making their North American debuts.’s David Thomas, Joe Wiesenfelder and Mike Hanley scoured the floor to sort out which of them earned a green nod and which got a red head shake.

2008 BMW 1 Series

DT: Winner
The 1 Series gets my nod because the proportions and design, especially the back end, are the best I’ve seen out of BMW’s new school of design. I can’t wait to test one. However, I’m hung up on the near-$30,000 starting price among such affordable sports-car and entry-level-luxury competition. I don’t know if I’d ever buy one.

JW: Winner
To my eye, the 1 takes a half-step back in time, design-wise, but I don’t think that’s a drawback at all. It looks like a small 3 Series. The 135i is — foremost — the 300-hp twin-turbo inline-six we loved in the 335i in a smaller and lighter car. How is that not a good thing? I sat in it and found it plenty roomy. It isn’t cheap, but I suspect it will be more fun than the 3 Series for the same reason the 3 is more fun than the 5 Series: smaller, lighter, more nimble.

MH: Loser
For the enthusiast driver in me, the performance potential of the new 1 Series is incredibly appealing — especially with the available twin-turbo inline-six-cylinder that makes the 335i so engaging. That said, I'm not sold on the car's ungainly looks; its upright grille and angular C-pillars lack the smooth styling of the 3 Series. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, as BMW says the 1 Series was inspired by the blocky BMW 2002. Many designs find a way to grow on you with time, but I've been looking at this car for months and it has yet to look attractive to me.

By David Thomas | November 20, 2007 | Comments (5)

2007 L.A. Auto Show Winners and Losers: Concepts


There weren’t a lot of new concept cars at this year’s L.A. auto show, but’s David Thomas, Joe Wiesenfelder and Mike Hanley take some time to dissect the four that were rolled out on the L.A. floor. The show ends Sunday, so hurry down to check these cars out, along with the many more new production cars.

Audi Cross Cabriolet Quattro

DT: Winner
I personally wouldn’t want a convertible riding at SUV height, but maybe Audi's on to something here. Research shows that female drivers like the height of SUVs; maybe this is the convertible for them. Whatever the demographic, the Audi was a stunner in person, especially the golden color scheme and great overall proportions.

JW: Winner
I’ve been a fan of the deep grilles Audi has begun to use, but even I think this one is over the top. I’m not wild about the slablike rear end, either. But it’s becoming hard to stand out in this market, and Audi has done it with this high-riding, large-wheeled convertible. Also, to Dave’s point, the height should be a benefit in collisions, in which topless cars are usually at a significant disadvantage.

MH: Winner
Even though Audi says this concept is supposed to hint at an upcoming small crossover SUV, when you take it for what it is — a convertible — the Cross Cabriolet Quattro is a compact droptop in the vein of VW's now-discontinued Cabrio, though obviously more upscale. With assertive looks and that pumpkin paintjob, it gets the nod.

By David Thomas | November 20, 2007 | Comments (2)

Video: 2009 Nissan GT-R

Nissan GT-R Video

If you only see one car at the L.A. auto show, it better be the Nissan GT-R. We have to wait an agonizing seven more months before it comes to the states, but right now you can at least check out this video, featuring senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder giving it a thorough overview from the show floor. We can’t wait to spend 3.5 seconds in that thing on the road.

By David Thomas | November 20, 2007 | Comments (1)

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