Lauren Keene

Fiat 500 Abarth: Small but wicked

Auto enthusiasts lusting for something new, exotic and fun to drive but relatively inexpensive have a new choice this year. The four-seat, 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth hatchback arrived in the United States with the legendary sport personality of its forebears — a small body with a distinctly European look, throaty performance sound and an impressive […]

August 24, 2012 | Posted in Automotive | Tagged ,

Room is key to Chrysler 200 Convertible

Buyers of Chrysler’s 200 Convertible get a lot of room and style for the money. Stretching more than 16 feet long, the two-door, 2012 200 Convertible has room for four passengers — complete with a back seat that has more legroom than the back seat of a 2012 Ford Mustang Convertible. There’s a full 13.3 […]

August 10, 2012 | Posted in Automotive | Tagged ,

Acura adds entry-level compact

The Associated Press Acura’s newest sedan, the 2013 ILX, looks good, is fuel-conscious and has a controlled, comfortable ride. But its base retail price, including destination charge, is only $26,795. This is $4,110 below the previous lowest-priced Acura, the 2012 TSX compact sedan that starts at $30,905. Best of all, the ILX isn’t a barebones […]

August 03, 2012 | Posted in Automotive | Tagged ,

2012 Xterra: Nissan’s authentic SUV

The 2012 Nissan Xterra sport utility vehicle is a rugged, capable off-roader with strong V-6 and authentic SUV ride and looks. It’s this genuine SUV character that differentiates the high-riding, boxy Xterra from today’s slew of softer-riding, pavement-loving SUVs that have become popular with mainstream buyers. To be sure, the five-seat Xterra, with its fully […]

June 29, 2012 | Posted in Associated Press | Tagged ,

Rogue is Nissan’s best-selling SUV

Americans still love riding high above the ground in their vehicles but have been opting for smaller sport utility vehicles to save on gasoline costs. No wonder, then, that sales of the Nissan Rogue were up 25.1 percent last year from the calendar year before — to 124,543 — and they’re up another 12.4 percent […]

May 25, 2012 | Posted in Associated Press | Tagged ,

Dodge Dart is back after 36 years

After 36 years, the Dodge Dart is back, and it’s no retro model. The 2013 Dart five-seat sedan is modern and stylish, with European handling and heritage, fun features, 10 air bags and fuel-thrifty engines, including two turbos. And smart design and attention to detail inside the Dart successfully groups the information from the gauges […]

May 11, 2012 | Posted in Associated Press | Tagged ,

Ford’s compact SUV goes lux

With European-style handling, luxury looks, surprising refinement and new features for 2013, Ford’s compact sport utility vehicle, the Escape, doesn’t seem like an Escape anymore. The familiar boxy shape is replaced by a sleek, rich-looking exterior, and the Escape’s V-6, manual transmission and gasoline-electric hybrid model are gone. Instead, every 2013 Escape comes with a […]

May 04, 2012 | Posted in Associated Press | Tagged ,

Lexus GS 350 is sporty and solid against its competition

The re-engineered-for-2013 Lexus GS 350 shows that a Lexus sedan can have an overtly sporty ride, a snarly-looking front end and a noticeable exhaust note, all while hewing to the brand’s high fit-and-finish reputation. Packaged in optional F Sport dress, this fourth-generation GS 350 vies to be the closest GS to the BMW’s 5-Series sedan, […]

April 27, 2012 | Posted in Automotive | Tagged ,

New Malibu has premium look

Chevrolet’s Malibu mid-size sedan is a welcoming family car — revamped for 2013 with handsome styling, a quieter, refined interior and a pleasant ride. The Malibu’s eAssist electric motor supplements its four-cylinder gasoline engine. Unlike full hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Malibu Eco cannot travel solely on electric power, even […]

April 20, 2012 | Posted in Associated Press | Tagged ,

Ford hones its Edge

Talk about perfect timing. For 2012, Ford added a fuel-thrifty, EcoBoost four-cylinder engine to its mid-size Edge sport utility vehicle. The move came just months ahead of today’s gasoline prices averaging more than $3.80 a gallon in the United States and gives fuel-conscious shoppers something other than small cars to consider. In fact, the 2012 […]

March 16, 2012 | Posted in Associated Press | Tagged ,

New Buick on collectible hot list

The 2012 Regal GS, the sportiest version of Buick’s mid-size Regal sedan, is already on a “hot list” as a potential collector’s car. Today’s top-of-the-line Regal GS is a 270-horsepower, turbocharged four door with a fine manual transmission, European-style handling, noteworthy road manners, pretty exterior and a heritage of Buick performance. In announcing the Regal […]

March 02, 2012 | Posted in Associated Press | Tagged ,

Charger, Dodge’s large sedan, impresses

Forget about retro, nostalgia stuff. The 2012 Dodge Charger is an impressive, large, rear-wheel drive sedan for today’s buyers who want to stand out from the crowd. Revamped for 2012, the expressively styled, four-door Charger can look like a snarl coming down the road. It can act like a snarling machine, too, especially if it […]

February 24, 2012 | Posted in Associated Press | Tagged ,

2012 Mazda3: From zoom-zoom to SkyActiv

Mazda, the car company known for its “zoom-zoom” marketing campaign, is selling fuel efficiency now, too. Mazda doesn’t have a fuel-sipping, 2012 gasoline-electric hybrid or all-electric vehicle. But for 2012, it’s applying SkyActiv, the company’s package of fuel-saving equipment and upgrades, to the Mazda3 sedan and five-door hatchback. It’s the first rollout of SkyActiv, but […]

February 03, 2012 | Posted in Associated Press | Tagged ,

Range Rover boasts sleekest SUV

Boldly forsaking a history of boxy, gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles, England’s Land Rover now sells a compact SUV that’s so stylish former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is consulting on a special edition model. The new-for-2012 Range Rover Evoque with standard all-wheel drive Terrain Response System also is impressively capable off-road and recently snagged the 2012 […]

January 06, 2012 | Posted in Associated Press | Tagged ,

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