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2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet Tested: The Middle Child

2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet Tested: The Middle Child

-When you see the AMG name applied to a Mercedes model, you know it will go about its business with more zeal than the same vehicle lacking that three-letter logo. This has been going on for a long time. AMG—for Aufrecht Melcher Großapach, the names of the founders and the town where they first set up shop—is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and its 18th year as a Mercedes-Benz subsidiary. Throughout that half-century, AMG’s primary mission, and now its only mission, has been to elevate the performance of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Sedan: Affalterbach’s Sleeper

2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Sedan: Affalterbach’s Sleeper

-Purists may knock Mercedes-AMG’s entry-level—and mushrooming—range of 43 models for watering down the brand, as they lack the hand-built engines and mad power output of AMGs with numerically higher badges. Yet even Affalterbach’s modest fettling has produced some impressive vehicles, such as the Porsche Macan–baiting GLC43 crossover and the comparison-test-winning E43 sedan. With much of the latter’s on-road goodness stuffed into the tidier and more affordable C-class, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 4MATIC sedan also earns a spot on that list. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4T Manual Tested: Everything You Need, Nothing You Don’t

2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4T Manual Tested: Everything You Need, Nothing You Don’t

-If the Volkswagen Jetta 1.4T sedan were a drink, it’d be whiskey on the rocks. It is a straight-up, no-nonsense compact sedan that exceeds the few promises it makes. We said as much about an automatic-transmission model we tested last year, and it holds true even more so with the more satisfying stick-shift version. Other compact four-doors may be sexier (Mazda 3), newer (Chevrolet Cruze), or inexplicably ubiquitous (Toyota Corolla), but the Jetta is solid goods. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2017 Fiat 124 Spider In-Depth Review: The Not-Miata Miata Evaluated!

2017 Fiat 124 Spider In-Depth Review: The Not-Miata Miata Evaluated!

-The Fiat 124 Spider is a Mazda MX-5 Miata swaddled in Italian evening wear and implanted with a turbocharged Italian heart. A joint production agreement between Fiat and Mazda yanked the iconic 124 Spider nameplate from retirement to adorn a Miata that has had its curvy bodywork and naturally aspirated engine swapped for retro-inspired Italian duds evocative of the original 1960s 124 Spider, with a Fiat-made turbo 1.4-liter four for a more Italian aftertaste. This sauce is spread over a more forgiving al dente suspension tune that gives the Fiat a more relaxed overall demeanor than its Miata sibling. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2017 Ford Transit 350 Passenger Wagon EcoBoost V-6 Tested: Big Van Moves Out

2017 Ford Transit 350 Passenger Wagon EcoBoost V-6 Tested: Big Van Moves Out

-Ford owned the U.S. full-size van business for decades with its E-series offerings, and as a consequence was a bit behind some other manufacturers in offering Euro-style full-size boxes. Mercedes, Ram, and Nissan all were established players with the new type by the time Ford’s big Transits rolled onto the scene for the 2015 model year. But being a little late to the starting gate doesn’t seem to have diminished Ford’s robust van business—the company still leads the commercial-van sales race by a healthy margin—and the Transit seems to have been well worth the wait. READ MORE Read entire story

2017 Toyota Sienna FWD Tested: Hanging in There

2017 Toyota Sienna FWD Tested: Hanging in There

-In the face of fresher competition from Chrysler and a new version of the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna remains a popular choice, as Toyota’s well-earned reputation for reliability is a compelling notion for buyers of a hard-use vehicle like a minivan. There’s also the fact that Toyota has strived to keep the Sienna in the hunt. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2018 Toyota C-HR First Drive: Cheerful and Chunky

2018 Toyota C-HR First Drive: Cheerful and Chunky

-Although Scion was snuffed out last year, the spirit of the entry-level brand lives on in Toyota models like the new C-HR subcompact SUV crossover. Although the C-HR was originally destined to wear a Scion badge in the States, it was a relatively painless process for Toyota to pivot and bring the funky crossover in as a Toyota. (The C-HR was already slated to be sold as a Toyota in overseas markets.) With vehicles such as the Nissan Juke, the Kia Soul, and the similarly sized Honda HR-V maintaining steady sales, it was critical that Toyota field a subcompact crossover in the United States. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2018 Bentley Continental Supersports Driven: Industrial, Heavy, and Magic

2018 Bentley Continental Supersports Driven: Industrial, Heavy, and Magic

-Thanks to the digital special-effects expertise in Hollywood, our eyes routinely experience impossible violations of the laws of physics. Which sets an unnaturally high bar for astonishment when encountering the likes of the Bentley Continental Supersports, a leather-lined luxury two-door that weighs more than some full-size SUVs but can outrun a Corvette Stingray Grand Sport to 60 mph. While your senses are telling you it’s doing something magical, your brain wants to dismiss the evidence as if it were just another video on fast-forward. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2018 Bentley Continental Supersports Driven: Industrial, Heavy, and Magic

2018 Bentley Continental Supersports Driven: Industrial, Heavy, and Magic

-Thanks to the digital special-effects expertise in Hollywood, our eyes routinely experience impossible violations of the laws of physics. Which sets an unnaturally high bar for astonishment when encountering the likes of the Bentley Continental Supersports, a leather-lined luxury two-door that weighs more than some full-size SUVs but can outrun a Corvette Stingray Grand Sport to 60 mph. While your senses are telling you it’s doing something magical, your brain wants to dismiss the evidence as if it were just another video on fast-forward. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Tested: Putting a Plug in Your Carbon Output

2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Tested: Putting a Plug in Your Carbon Output

-Hyundai portrays itself as all-in for electrification of its vehicle lineup, and the soon-to-arrive compact Ioniq will amplify that message. Meanwhile, the Sonata plug-in hybrid carries Hyundai’s electric banner, rolling into the 2017 model year with modest updates and at least one bragging point. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2017 Ram Power Wagon First Drive: The Lizard King

2017 Ram Power Wagon First Drive: The Lizard King

-One hundred fifty million years ago, shifting sand dunes in the Nevada desert created the natural world’s precursor to modern-day Las Vegas. The Valley of Fire’s orange and red sandstone formations radiate with as much intensity as the Strip’s neon tubes 50 miles to the southwest. And while humans are scarce out here, early inhabitants left their ancient graffiti in the form of petroglyphs found along the rockscape. On the northern edge of the valley, at the Logandale trailhead, a herd of heavy-duty off-roaders waits restlessly. The 2017 Ram Power Wagon is ready to leave its own markings in the sand. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2017 Toyota Tundra 5.7L V-8 CrewMax 4×4 Test: Frozen in Time

2017 Toyota Tundra 5.7L V-8 CrewMax 4×4 Test: Frozen in Time

-Back in 1961, oil geologist Robert Liscomb discovered a large fossil in the Alaskan tundra. A year later Liscomb perished in a rock slide, and his fossil sat in a Shell warehouse until the early 1980s, when it was rediscovered and sent off to the United States Geological Survey. There, scientists determined that it was indeed a dinosaur bone, triggering a new rush of exploration. In 2017, a rather large fossil can be found, not frozen below the subsoil of the North Slope but at your local Toyota dealer in the form of the Tundra pickup truck. READ MORE ››-Read entire story

2017 Volvo S90 T5 Tested: The Nonconformist Swedish Luxury Sedan

2017 Volvo S90 T5 Tested: The Nonconformist Swedish Luxury Sedan

-Volvo knows as well as any car company that being a nonconformist has its ups and downs. Throughout its long history, despite multiple corporate ownerships, Volvo has persisted in being different. Even now, as Volvo embarks on a plan to chase global luxury leaders such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, it’s paving its own distinctly Swedish path. READ MORE ››-Read entire story