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Friday, Apr 15

17

2016 Audi TT is a cute coupe with more style than power

The third-generation Audi TT is ... cute. It's a coupe that doesn't have the performance chops to compete with the thoroughbreds of the class, but has enough style to stand out from the herd.

Friday, Apr 8

2017 Hyundai Elantra packs more tech than the compact competition

The Hyundai Elantra compact has been known for doing more with less on the dollar. The outgoing model won North American Car of the Year in 2012, arguably the industry's most independent and esteemed new-car honor, for being more luxurious…

Monday, Mar 28

21

2016 Volkswagen Passat fails to stand out in shrinking midsize sedan segment

It doesn't begin or end with the refreshed Passat, but the middling midsize provides a convenient case study.

Tuesday, Mar 22

16

2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid charges ahead of competition

You like trees. You like cars. With the Chevrolet Volt, those preferences don't have to be at odds.

Tuesday, Mar 15

18

2016 Jaguar XF luxury sedan delivers sporty elegance

Jaguar is evolving. Its future was uncertain as recently as 2008, when Ford dumped it and Land Rover at the onset of the global recession.

Tuesday, Mar 1

Ford losing Focus on competition: Hatchback due for a redesign

If the Ford Focus compact could talk, it would be the Jan Brady of the Ford bunch, complaining about all the attention and preference given to its big sister: crossover, crossover, crossover.

Tuesday, Feb 23

2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country is AWD antidote to the crossover craze

Back in the day, Volvo built wagons shaped like a brick but powered by turbo. It seems appropriate that the automaker fortifies its heritage with a jacked up turbo wagon that seems sculpted for the wind as much for the road.

Tuesday, Feb 16

2016 Honda Civic shapes up with leaner, longer, sportier ride

If you don't know what car your roommate owns, chances are it is a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. The two best-selling compact sedans in the U.S. are reliable, fuel-efficient values that don't stand out much from the large-but-shrinking…

Thursday, Feb 4

20

Honda lurches ahead with pesky 9-speed transmission

Nine-speed transmissions are here to stay. They're being touted as a fuel-efficient selling point in vehicles such as the 2016 Honda Pilot, in top-of-the-line Touring and Elite trim levels.

2016 Nissan Maxima straddles sedan side of sport, sophistication

The redesigned Nissan Maxima is like a new shoe. It looks sharp but feels better, and the more you wear it, the better it feels.

Wednesday, Jan 20

22

Mitsubishi fades to near-black with 2016 Outlander GT 3-row crossover

As Mitsubishi retreats from U.S. shores, cresting at 2 percent market share in 2002 before dipping to less than one-half of 1 percent since 2009, it has cast the redesigned Outlander crossover to hook budget-minded buyers looking for good…

Friday, Jan 15

17

2016 Toyota Prius improves on style, handling and fuel economy

The Toyota Prius is easy to mock. It's shaped like a clog, has an eye-crossing split window hatch, is as fun to drive as a hot dog cart and it is the vehicle of choice for Chicago cabbies, who are unequivocally the worst drivers on the…

Wednesday, Jan 6

19

Kia's premium trim not worth premium price in $36,000 Optima

Kia has come a long way in the U.S. since its budget car days of the mid-'90s. The South Korean automaker is now known for value-loaded vehicles that offer exceptional warranties and enough style to never feel budget-focused.

Monday, Dec 28

21

Lexus hybrid sedan fails to deliver on luxury promise

Some words just sound right. To say "smile" turns up the corners of the lips into the very thing it defines; to say "love" is to open up, then embrace that which was once parted. The perfect word transcends the object it defines into…

Monday, Dec 21

19

2016 Ram Rebel yells for off-road adventure

The 2016 Ram Rebel is a big-wheeled backwoods pickup that combines Ram's heritage of building Army command vehicles with luxury pickups that double as an office.

Tuesday, Dec 15

22

2016 Lexus RX 350 F Sport cuts distinctive line in crossover class

The Lexus RX did to premium midsize crossovers what the Toyota Camry did to mainstream midsize sedans. In defining the segment, the RX inevitably succumbed to the compromises of having widespread appeal. The inside was exceptionally quiet,…

Monday, Dec 7

00

2016 Volvo S60 Inscription is driven by safety

Traffic-safety advocates have long regarded Volvo as the gold standard of driver and passenger safety in automobiles. The reason can be found in the company's guiding mantra: "Cars are driven by people."

Tuesday, Nov 17

22

2015 Maserati Ghibli S Q4 pushes Italian prestige at a price

The Maserati Ghibli is a midsize sports sedan with a Ferrari engine, a Chrysler infotainment system and Maserati trident badging everywhere.

Tuesday, Nov 10

20

Ford strikes platinum with 2016 Explorer SUV

The best-selling album of all time, Michael Jackson's "Thriller," has been certified platinum 29 times. The platinum credit card by American Express has no spending limits and qualifiers can get more cash simply by asking.

Wednesday, Nov 4

19

2016 Scion iM compact hatch suits youthful, maturing brand

Scion may be going through a midmake crisis. Launched in 2002, Toyota's quirky, youthful brand cut its product line in half this year by eliminating the iQ microcar, the iconic xB toaster and the xD subcompact hatch.

Monday, Oct 26

15

BMW i8 plug-in hybrid falls short as a high-end performance car

They called it a Batmobile. A transformer. A midlife crisis.

Monday, Oct 19

19

2016 Toyota Camry hybrid skimps on fuel, fun

Toyota seems serious about sticking with hybrids despite the recent decline in hybrid sales. Seven Toyota models come with hybrid powertrains for 2016.

Monday, Oct 12

17

2015 Audi RS 7: mean enough for the track, refined enough for the family

The Audi RS 7 is a full-size performance sedan with the power to go 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds but with the refinement to quietly drop off the kids at school.

Friday, Oct 9

23

2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost convertible is toned down but fully capable

In front of us at the stop sign, a 2012 Ford Mustang V-8 rumbles while waiting for a gap in traffic. School has just let out, and families head to the ballfields across the street. The kids gawk at the Mustang, the parents ignore it —…

Monday, Oct 5

20

2016 Mazda CX-3 crossover is small but full of features

Add yet another entry in the segment du jour of the auto industry, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossover utility vehicle (CUV).

Monday, Sep 28

19

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: the best-selling roadster just got better

Fun doesn't have to be fast. Put down the top on a two-seat roadster and find a road with curves like an old-school pinup, and you'll be smiling like a teenager with an old school pinup. Yet few automakers, if any, have been able to…

Sunday, Sep 27

07

2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid skimps on fuel but nothing else

www.chicagotribune.com

The Toyota Highlander is not a minivan. It's used much the same way but lacks the convenience of sliding doors, easy ingress and egress, and easily accessible rear seats — all sacrificed for a self-conscious stigma. But the cost of cool is…

Friday, Sep 25

15

2015 VW Golf SportWagen stands alone among crowd of SUVs

www.chicagotribune.com

There's something to be said for being the only game in town. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TSI SE (I give it three out of four stars) is a case in point. It could easily be better, but if you want a compact station wagon it's just…

2016 Fiat 500X grows into subcompact crossover space

The new 2016 Fiat 500X has a perfectly reasonable name for a vehicle that sadly, however, has to bear the curse of a variety of silly model names — Pop, Easy, Lounge and Trekking.

Auto review: 2016 Acura ILX impresses everywhere except inside

www.chicagotribune.com

The competition for the hearts, minds and wallets of car buyers often begins with the superficial. It's a gut response to how it looks. Whether that's sporty or elegant, the exterior is subliminal shorthand for how we hope to be perceived.…