When purchasing a new car, crash safety ratings tend to fall below other priorities like style, fuel economy, performance, amenities, cost and even brand loyalty. That’s unfortunate, since more than a handful of cars will consistently fail to perform well in the one situation we all hope to avoid: a serious accident. If you’re smart, and especially if you have kids in tow, you’ll take the time to bone up on which vehicles are the safest. Of the 22 cars that received the highest safety rating from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), these are the absolute best.
Old School and Off Road
Steep slopes, muddy trails, river crossings and scree slopes turn a garden variety trip into a journey. Adrenaline junkies, take note: off-road excursions are just as exciting as transcontinental road trips, if not more so. Set yourselves up with any of these great vintage off-road adventure cars and you’ll see why.
This Week's News On Wheels
This Week in Motoring: a whale of a plane, the Uber/Lyft wars, one man’s reunion with his vintage Porsche, a commemorative Land Cruiser and more.
Riding Rough Around The Edges
About two hours north of Green Bay, Wisconsin past idyllic countryside, dairy farms and wide open roads sits the small town of Crandon, where the peaceful silence of nature is replaced by the roar of 900 horsepower engines competing in The Off-Road Racing Championship (TORC) battling for victory while jumping, drifting and wrecking at the world famous Big House. We had an all-access pass to Jarit and Jessie Johnson from team Husqvarna as they continued their race for the championship.
Father of the modern SUV, for better or worse
You can’t build a successful SUV today without incorporating comforts like leather and DVD players alongside trail-dominating suspension and chunky all-terrain tires. If any car proved this formula was a successful one, it was the car that did it first: the Jeep Wagoneer.
Bring the rugged past to the present
The Land Rover Defender 110 and the Jeep Grand Wagoneer are two of the finest classic SUVs on the market; both are as capable as they are classy. The only question is: how much money are you willing to throw at these bad boys?
Clean, Torquey and Efficient -- What's Not to Love?
The only problem with hybrids is how boring they can be to drive. Diesel cars, on the other hand, offer outstanding torque with hybrid-like fuel economy. We take five great ones out for a spin.
A Great American SUV, Proven
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel will haul you and your stuff for nearly 730 miles on one tank, all the while spoiling you with leather, panoramic roof, digital screens and tons of hauling capabilities. Is this the best American SUV ever made? After six weeks and a variety of tasks and duties, we think it’s certainly up there.
A case study in the downsides of the CUV
The BMW X6 been around since 2007 and has found shockingly good sales success for BMW, even earning a refresh this year: all this, despite its inferior specs, a small interior, and the fact that it looks like it’s been whacked with the same ugly stick as the Pontiac Aztek. So how does the X6 manage to draw buyers?
Jeep's radical departure pays off
Jeep is an American automotive staple, but it hasn’t done anything radically new in, well…ever. This signature Jeep American-ness on four driven wheels now gets its biggest injection of originality in the form of the Italian-made, Fiat 500L-based 2015 Jeep Renegade.
The weird vehicles that started it all
While the marketing term “crossover” is a recent invention, the concept is not. Automakers have been making cars that fill the gap between utility vehicles and family cars for decades. Here are three that helped to determine what the crossover is today, along with their modern-day kindred spirits.
This tiger's got teeth
Twelve years ago, we said a Porsche truck was a bad idea. Boy, were we wrong. A quick drive in the 2015 Porsche Macan made our eaten words that much more delectable.
Crossovers to the dark side
Crossovers have changed in the recent past; you no longer have to trade in your testicles and driving sense to drive one. Even the haters (car nuts) have been proven wrong now that more horses, better driving dynamics and sleeker silhouettes have shown up in performance-focused crossovers. Here are five that break hard from the pack of mediocre crossovers still stuck in the driver’s ed parking lot.
Lincoln’s new MKC crossover is a stunning success — and the brand couldn’t have needed it more.
Business Class in All Rows
In the 2015 Chevy Tahoe everyone is treated with business-class comfort. Is this the perfect weekend car? We find out with some time behind the wheel.
The second time's the charm
It’s a fact: Bentley plans to release an SUV in the near future. Here’s everything we currently know about the car, its effect on the brand and what it needs to be successful.
Big tires, big ambitions
It used to be a well-known truth: getting an SUV that conquered the rough-and-tumble of off-roading and had good driving dynamics on the road was a holy grail, like marrying a woman with the physique of Lolo Jones and the brains of Marie Curie. Nowadays, that vehicular combination is no longer as elusive as you think. What you get in both the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport and the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk are excellent on-road manners and the kind of off-road chops that will have herds of mountain goats bowing in respect. You just have to decide how much you plan on doling out.
Five reasons to start a family
There’s no question about a minivan’s utility. But until someone comes up with one that doesn’t at least partially emasculate red-blooded men, we choose to drive these other vehicles — ones that offer up utility, a semblance of driving pleasure and better aesthetics than a toaster oven.
When more is way too much
Nissan’s third generation Murano bowed at the New York Auto Show this spring. The reason you didn’t see it in our Ten Best list from the show is because I hate it the way my architect wife hates attached garages and vinyl siding. Car design is trending toward overbearing, thanks in no small part to the tastes of drivers. But there’s still hope out there.
The drive is the destination
Long holiday weekends aren’t just for sleeping in and backyard barbeques. Hop in the car, embrace the fresh air and hug the asphalt like you don’t have a care in the world. There are a ton of great roads out there, twisty, straight and some off the beaten path. We’ve listed some of the best (and some less-traveled) for your vacation enjoyment and paired them with the ideal vehicle to maximize the experience.
Beach trips can be as much about getting there as what you do when you arrive. Mom’s minivan might be practical, but it might also eviscerate every ounce of road style you’ve ever had. If you’re at the beach on a regular basis (or you just dream of being there 24/7) it might make sense to upgrade your beach ride to one of these sandy shore, white wave seekers.
A small group of concepts deliver big production dreams
Though the New York International Auto Show isn’t a haven for many concept cars, there are always a handful of them to get your attention and whet your appetite for what might come. This year, there were four that we could count, and they’re all worthy of your dollars should they make it to production in some form.
An Empire State of Rides
Sandwiched between the Geneva Motor Show and the Beijing Auto Show, the New York International Auto Show usually misses out on the biggest reveals of the year, but it still has plenty to offer. This year’s show had its fair share of new designs and vehicles along with loads of improved sheetmetal. We’ve chosen ten standouts from our time on the ground that we’ll be looking to drive in 2015.
An Irreverent Guide
Though most of us may drive sensible cars, deep inside we crave more. More power, more bravado, more speed in the form of a truly brash automobile. Check out our scientific diagram and follow the path to the wheeled monster that best expresses who you are in that pulsing animal heart of yours.
From Good to Great
Some car models start out great but then topple from grace — the Nissan Maxima comes to mind (as much as we try to push it out). Then there are those automobiles that have only gotten better with time, tweaks, and tender loving care. Some have evolved gracefully, while others desperately needed a hefty dose of attention. Here are five models basking in the glow of recent changes that have brought them into their primes.
Can the world's largest automaker fix the problems ahead?
Today, Toyota is making bold bets in a wide range of areas — from alternative fueled vehicles and suped-up tricycles Robocop would sell his hex nuts for, to emotion-sensing AI, household “partner” robots, and smart homes — all in hopes anticipating the shifting mobility needs of tomorrow. Statistics are one way to understand how the company’s master plan will make for a better and Pikachu-cute future; then again, the world’s largest automaker is well aware that practice makes perfect, and that’s on display at their global headquarters, known as Toyota City. We explored the brand’s paradigm-shifting innovations, including personal mobility prototypes, robots, EV infrastructure and more.
10 Concepts We're Praying Find their Way to Production
Watching concept cars bow at international auto shows is like watching the festivities at Paris Fashion Week: displays are daring, beautiful and sometimes just downright petrifying. The world gets to see bold, shocking statements or captivating ones that might just make it to market. The best examples are fuel for dreams of what may come. This year, the Geneva Motor Show proved to be fertile ground. From a student-submitted sports car to a practical van, here are our 10 favorite concept cars from the show.
Takes on the flat and the bumpy
No longer just a lame substitute for a real SUV, crossovers have grown in terms of quality, capability and available amenities such that there seems virtually no end in sight. Mercedes-Benz has been busier than just about anyone lately when it comes to redesigning their lineup and introducing new models, and the GLA Class is the latest to come down the Teutonic pike to fill this new crossover mold. We made our way to Málaga, Spain to take two iterations out for a spin: the GLA250 4Matic and the zippier GLA45 AMG.
Get it dirty, just not inside, please
With a long history of producing rugged SUVs before that term even existed, Land Rover could sell incredibly well based on just their name. Still, they decided the all-new aluminum-bodied flagship Range Rover wasn’t enough. They’ve spiffed up their biggest seller, the Range Rover Sport, and we had the chance to drive it through one of Chicago’s snowiest winters see how it performed off the clean tarmac.