Autos

Ringbrothers Works Spooky Magic on this ’68 Mercury Cougar Restomod

You can’t swing a custom, billet-hewn Cougar emblem these days without scratching up a few high-dollar restomods. There’s an entire spectrum out there, ranging from the crate-motor-and-decal jobs to the Singer types. Ringbrothers is no Singer, but its builds are certainly special. We’ve seen a number recently, and all embody some fundamentally interesting idea. Whether it’s a 1,080-hp, Hellcat-powered AMC AMX or a ’48 Cadillac with ATS-V oily bits, the Ringbrothers folks like exploring the boundaries. That’s why we’re excited that the latest build is a swaggering Mercury Cougar rather than the typical Mustang—and it’s the first Cougar the builders have gotten their mitts on, too. See all 9 photos It’s not the most powerful build Ringbro...

Can Top Gear America Save Rally Racing?

Rally racing is the most dynamic motorsport on earth—or at least it used to be. From the 1970s to the late 1990s, rally racing did wear that crown and rally cars were some of the most coveted vehicular icons of their time. The sport birthed world-renowned stars in both driver and vehicle, like Colin McRae and the Subaru WRX STI. But recent years have not been kind to the sport of rally racing and it is in need of a facelift. The Top Gear America hosts think they have that all figured out. The Heroes of Rally Racing Rally drivers are some of the best race car pilots in the world. The constant variations in terrain and traction combined with open-stage course conditions that can change in seconds forces them to develop god-like levels of control and finess. It’s no wonder legends like ...

Buy Ken Block’s Record-Setting Subaru WRX STI, (Potentially) Become Rally Hero

Can you make your car waltz around a city street or wooded backroad like Ken Block? Probably not. Of course, the inability to hold hundred-foot all-wheel-drive slides and place a front wheel within millimeters of a dock drop-off hasn’t stopped tens of thousands of Gymkhana fans from imitating their rally hero, on- or off-camera. Most do so with a modified WRX or Focus ST/RS of their own, but now’s a rare chance at sliding behind the wheel of Block’s own Subie—all you have to do is win the auction. Up for grabs is Block’s old 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX STI (updated to 2006 exterior specs), a fully race-prepped Group N rally car built for his mid-2000s stint in Rally America. In his hands, the little WRX cruised to a handful of victories, including his first-ever ov...

2021 Volkswagen ID4 First Test: VW’s Everyday Electric SUV

Volkswagen ID4 Full Overview Thanks largely to Tesla, manufacturer of the quickest car we’ve ever tested, we’ve come to expect great rapidity from electric vehicles. But if EVs are going to become mainstream (and both governmental and automaker pledges indicate that is going happen eventually, ready or not), then they can’t all be high-priced rocket ships for early adopters. Enter the 2021 Volkswagen ID4, the electric ambassador for the post-“Dieselgate” VW. The ID4 is meant to be a true volks wagen, an everyday SUV for everyday drivers. It’s sized, powered, and almost priced to match conventional compact SUVs such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. 2021 Volkswagen ID4 by the Numbers We’ve got lots to tell you about the new 2021 VW ID4, m...

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE First Test: A Sheep in Sporty Clothing

Toyota Highlander Full Overview Three-row SUVs are becoming so popular, automakers are adding new flavors to satisfy customer’s wants. The 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE is one such example, its XSE spec offering buyers the sportiest-looking version of Toyota’s three-row SUV. And while the XSE shares the same V-6 engine as the rest of the Highlander lineup, Toyota says it tunes the suspension and steering to deliver a sportier and more dynamic drive. Make no mistake, this is no Ford Explorer ST fighter. And don’t even consider lining the Toyota up against the 475-hp Dodge Durango SRT (let alone the 710-hp Durango SRT Hellcat). The ST and Durango SRT models are true performance SUVs, while the 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE simply changes its styling, steering, and suspension tuni...

The Lordstown Endurance EV Pickup Is Going Baja Racing … Sort Of

Update: This article has been updated with additional information, including a rendering of the race truck released by Lordstown. Remember the first time you heard an angry V-8 Trophy Truck romping through the desert? Like a freight train late for a delivery or an irritated elephant trampling the savanna, the rage of a race truck literally shakes the ground—and converts many into off-road believers. Well, as they say, the only constant is change. Soon the ground will shake silently as a pickup truck based on the Lordstown Endurance electric pickup truck will race in the 2021 SCORE International San Felipe 250. Lordstown Motors Corporation plans to build the Endurance at its 785-acre, 6.2 million-square-foot Lordstown Assembly Plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The plant was formerly ...

2021 Nissan Altima SR VC-Turbo First Test: Impressive Engine, Underwhelming Execution

Nissan Altima Full Overview The age of truly bad cars is now a distant speck in our rear-view mirrors. With few exceptions, you’d be hard-pressed to find a new car that’s dangerously slow, prone to flipping, eager to spin, or waiting to catch fire. Even a vehicle we rank among the worst in a given segment is a perfectly serviceable transportation machine. Such is the case with the 2021 Nissan Altima, which lurks near the middle of our midsize sedan rankings but is hardly “bad.” Wait, What’s a VC-Turbo? The Altima’s greatest strength lies under its hood. Our test vehicle is fitted with the more powerful of two engine options—a 2.0-liter turbo-four developing 236 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Nissan labels the lump VC-Turbo for its novel variable compression...

2021 Lexus LS500 First Test: Weird in a Good Way

Lexus LS Full Overview “Who is this car for?” That’s what my buddy Mike asked as he looked around the 2021 Lexus LS500. Mike was in from out of town, tasked with housesitting a hilltop pad in ritzy Bel Air—a locale where luxury automobiles like the LS blend in. He likes cars, so I brought the big Lexus over for him to check out. It impressed Mike, but left him confused. Later, I drove home along sweeping Sunset Boulevard. As soothed as I was by the seat massager, that question still bounced around my head. Who is this car for? We had similar uncertainty when the fifth-generation LS arrived for the 2018 model year. It fit the mold of a luxury full-size sedan, but its stiff ride, harsh powertrain, and snug back seats were atypical of that category. Simultaneously, its sport...

2020 McLaren 620R First Test: A Fantastic Experience Like Few Others

Just look at it: The limited-edition 2020 McLaren 620R has a race car livery, a giant, manually adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing that sits 12.5 inches off of its tail, real diffusers out back, a carbon-fiber roof with an air-intake snorkel, carbon-fiber side scoops, dive planes on the front fenders, and a carbon-fiber hood with twin flow-through “nostrils” to reduce lift on the front of the car. You can even order it with race-number decals. You’re forgiven if you think this is a race car, and you aren’t entirely wrong, either. What Is the 2020 McLaren 620R? Put simply, McLaren has homologated for street use its race-winning GT4-class 570S GT4 factory race car. Without the typical engine-output regulations of a race series, the 620R’s twin-turbo 3.8-liter fla...

Rivian Busy With Three Electric Vehicle Launches, Big Future Plans

Rivian is validating early builds of three key electric vehicles launching in the second half of this year, even as CEO RJ Scaringe works on an expanded portfolio. The electric vehicle startup showed how serious it was about mass production when it bought an assembly plant in Normal, Illinois, from Mitsubishi in 2017, and under Scaringe, Rivian didn’t just retool the 2.6-million-square-foot plant, but expanded it by a further 800,000 square feet. Even that might not be enough to handle his future plans. First Up: Rivian R1T Electric Pickup in June Pilot versions of the 2021 R1T five-passenger full-size electric pickup are being built for validation and testing in the real world in preparation for a June launch of vehicles earmarked for customers. It is a slight delay from pre-CO...

The Buick Signia Was What the Rendezvous Should’ve Been

As such, the concept car cribbed its underpinnings from the Buick Park Avenue full-size sedan. The use of the flagship Buick model’s unibody architecture afforded the Signia a low step-in height while also offering a raised, SUV-like seating position.  See all 10 photos Although the Signia was no beauty pageant contender, its design certainly included a number of attractive styling elements. Look past the concept’s dowdy mug and details such as the concept’s prominent rear fender line (gracefully mirrored by the rear window, too), steeply raked C-pillar, and single-piece rear hatch glass—that covers the entirety of the cargo hold— come together to give the illusion of a rear-drive powertrain.  In reality, the concept’s transverse-mounted supercharged 3.8-l...

2022 Lexus NX Leaked Totally Naked Before Its Official Reveal

You’re looking at the 2022 Lexus NX, the next-generation compact luxury crossover that has not been officially revealed yet. Instead, the new NX crashed onto the internet by way of a video Lexus seems to have accidentally posted and which was subsequently copied, screengrabbed, and the like as it bounded around the internet. See all 17 photos Stylish, Not Over-Styled The RAV4 connection should ensure the new NX grows somewhat, a welcome development given the current Lexus’s somewhat tight interior. As before, the Lexus NX wears expressive styling, combining the most eye-catching styling elements from Lexus’s products on one of its smallest products. (The automaker also sells the even smaller UX pseudo SUV.) Lexus designers drew some inspiration from the UX, evidenced by t...