The Altima is no stranger to these pages…in fact, it’s one of our most frequent sedan visitors. However, with a revised 2016 model that includes more than just a nip and tuck treatment, it’s a sedan worth revisiting.
Author - John Kucek
The two cars facing you on this page probably aren’t what you would describe as natural competitors. An Audi versus a Chevy? C’mon. Take a gander at their spec sheets, however, and you might be forced to change your mind – because these two line up almost identically not only in mechanical makeup, but sticker price as well. And the domestic more than holds its own against its trendier German competition.
2015 saw the true coming of age of the small crossover – a surprising number of them popped up almost overnight from various mainstream brands, suggesting that the development work required to bring one to market required little more than a stretch in roof height and a marketing team to name it. Premium marques certainly aren’t immune from the segment’s charms of quick showroom turnover and easy profits; indeed, the luxury “big four” of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Audi now each have small utility vehicles of their own filling dealer lots, most of them based on each brand’s entry level sedan offering (and Infiniti’s bowed just recently). We think a lot of the A3 and S3 sedans, which have a small footprint but carry themselves like Audi’s larger offerings. How convincing was the transition of the Q3 – based on the same platform – from sedan to crossover? Let’s find out.
The revitalized MINI brand, under BMW’s stewardship, has cemented a place for itself deep in the hearts of buyers over the past 15 or so years. Part of that is due to the pugnacious, endearing looks of most of their models, and the fact that many view MINI as a premium – yet still affordable – marque. That popularity has birthed an entire fleet of wee hatchbacks, droptops and crossovers. While every one of the diverse members of this fleet of micromachines attempts to wield “sportiness” in some way, shape or form – from the new 4-door hardtop, to the wagon-esque Clubman, to the crossoverish Countryman and two-door Paceman that simply defy classification – the John Cooper Works hardtop exists at the pointiest end of both the brand and the hot-hatch segment at large, and is thus the one that best captures our attention. Read on to find out how we got along with it…
I’ve been eager to get my hands on the latest CTS ever since the car came out. For those living under a rock, Cadillac’s gone through a bit of a renaissance lately, and is churning out great product pretty much all over the place. The last-gen CTS was the first indicator of good things to come, even if it was a little rough around the edges in some places (the bombastic CTS-V gets a pass, here). The renewed Escalade is still a big brute, but compared to its competition, it’s basically without peer in terms of desirability and image. Really, though, it was the ATS that acted as a harbinger of the Germanic focus on weight, ride and handling that we almost take for granted in Cadillacs now.
The Escape is an incredibly important vehicle for Ford, given that it holds the brand’s second-place sales crown (behind the F-series and narrowly edging the Fusion sedan) and frequently dices it up at the front of the compact crossover race, trading top-seller status with familiar faces like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue. I first drove the current Escape last year in 1.6-liter EcoBoost form; Ford just sent us a full-zoot 2.0-liter Titanium model to compare it against. Read on how to find out how we got along.