Car Reviews

2021 BMW Alpina XB7 First Test: A Comfy, 612-hp Cannonball

BMW X7 Full Overview If something measuring more than 200 inches long and weighing in at nearly three tons doesn’t sound like an ideal candidate for a BMW M badge, well, you’re right. The X7 three-row SUV, BMW’s range-topping luxury SUV with an imposingly gargantuan profile, is about as spiritually far from standard-bearing BMW M sports cars like the M2 and M3 as you can get. This is where Alpina comes in—for years, Alpina has applied its own luxurious and sporty, M-adjacent treatment to various Bimmers, including those BMW’s own high-performance mavens wouldn’t touch. For years, the latter vehicles included the 7 Series and, well, that’s it. Alpina recently added the 6 Series Gran Coupe to its American lineup (the B6), however, and now the beefy X7 join...

2021 BMW M3 Competition vs. Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Comparison Test: Four-Door Fire

BMW M3 Full Overview Pricing—both starting and as tested—parallel each other, as well. BMW requires $73,795 for the basest of the base M3 Comp, while Alfa demands $76,095 to get things started with its arrabbiata Quad. Our test-car examples sit at a hefty $93,945 for the Italian and $97,645 for the bright yellow German, so ignite your checkbook if you want to re-create our pairing. This comparison test is a meeting of technical equals with only a few minor exceptions, at least if you limit your afternoon reading exclusively to our spec charts that follow in this piece. In practice and on the charge, the 2021 BMW M3 Competition and 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio couldn’t be more dramatically different in terms of their ethos. See all 103 photos The Same, Only Quicker A portion of...

2021 Ford Bronco First Drive Review: The Long-Awaited 4×4 SUV Is Absolutely the Real Deal

Ford Bronco Full Overview The 2021 Ford Bronco is easily one of the most anticipated vehicles of our fledgling decade, and we won’t keep you in suspense: Our initial impression after driving the new two- and four-door Bronco is that it absolutely lives up to the hype. Driven on-road or off, viewed as a getaway/adventure vehicle, a family truckster, or as a piece of retro automotive art, the Bronco feels like a winner. Indeed, Jeep’s longtime off-road champ, the Wrangler, now has some serious 4×4 SUV competition, as does our 2021 MotorTrend SUV of the Year, Land Rover’s epic Defender. We had the Wrangler in mind as we saddled up a Bronco in Austin, Texas, for our first on-road drive. Our trusty steed was a mid-level four-door Black Diamond model—seriously, who came up...

2020 Ram 2500 Laramie 4×4 Yearlong Test: How It Spent Winter

Ram 2500 Full Overview Yes, it’s summer, but we only recently found this winter report tucked between the seat cushions of Guffman, our long-term 2020 Ram 2500 Laramie 4×4. So, we figured we might as well share how the truck spent the colder months in Michigan, where the truck is based with our Detroit staff. When we ordered Guffman, we didn’t check the box for the Ram 2500 HD‘s $145 Cold Weather Group’s grille cover and block heater. That’s because the truck would live in Detroit, not Yellow Knife, and our oil never turns to Jell-O. But because diesels throw off less waste heat than gas engines (that’s part of their efficiency secret), and because the owner’s manual recommends covering the grille at temperatures below freezing—and also becaus...

2022 Honda Civic Hatchback First Look: Spoilers Are Out, Smooth Lines Are In

Honda Civic Full Overview First, and most important: Yes, there will be a stick-shift Civic Hatchback, and not just in the entry level models. Three-pedal enthusiasts will be able to get a six-speed manual with either the base 2.0-liter engine or the hot-rod 1.5-liter turbo, the latter in top-of-the-line Sport Touring trim. With that elephant out of the way, we can talk more about the changes to the new car compared to the suddenly old 10th-generation Honda Civic Hatchback. What struck us first about the 2022 Civic hatch is how smooth and simple the back end looks. The twin spoilers that adorned the old model are gone, and the change makes all the visual difference, emphasizing the new car’s sleek, coupe-like profile. See all 26 photos The styling changes aren’t limited to the ...

2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition First Drive: Tweaked by Tobias

See the Full Model Overview The 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition is more than just a showy variant of the storied British automaker’s entry-level sports car put together by the marketing department to make the most of Aston’s return to grand prix racing. No, the Vantage F1 Edition is a landmark Aston Martin. It’s the first Aston Martin with the fingerprints of the company’s new CEO, former AMG boss Tobias Moers, all over it. Moers was lured from AMG in August 2020 by Canadian billionaire and Aston Martin F1 team owner Lawrence Stroll, an activist investor who became chairman of Aston’s road car business in April that year after leading a consortium that acquired a 16.7 percent stake in the company. The Vantage is similar in size and layout to the Mercedes-...

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid: How to Use Launch Control to Eclipse Ludicrous Speed

Tesla Model S Full Overview The 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid has many things in its arsenal to put down some insane acceleration numbers. For starters, it includes three electric motors—one at the front axle, and one at each rear wheel—to total 1,020 horsepower and 1,050 lb-ft of torque. A set of 21-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires (265/35 up front and 295/30 at the back) does the important job of putting that huge amount of power to the ground. And finally, the Model S Plaid’s launch-control system preps the powertrain for explosive, neck-snapping acceleration runs. Thankfully, activating launch control is fairly easy. Here’s how to do it: Tap the “Controls” icon on the infotainment screen (the icon is a mugshot of the Model S located at the lower left corner). This ...

Tesla Predictive Shifting Test and Review: Well, It Almost Works

Tesla Model S Full Overview What Tesla’s Predictive Shifting Does and Doesn’t Do The system’s official name is Auto Shift Out of Park (Beta), and that’s an accurate description, as is Musk’s use of the word “guess.” The idea is that when you power-up the Tesla (there’s no ignition key or power button; you just step on the brake), the car will know whether to shift into forward or reverse for your departure. One automated direction choice is all you get, as once the car moves, direction choices are all down to you. Letting the Model S Shift for Itself See all 120 photos Here’s how it goes, when it goes: Turn on the car, close your door, and fasten your seat belt (the 2022 Model S prompts you for the last two). If the car is able to ...

2022 Lexus LS500h Teammate Driver-Assist-System Review: There’s No “Tesla” in Teammate

Lexus LS Full Overview Tesla was first into the breach in the U.S. with a driver assist system capable of SAE Level 2 autonomy, which is the second-from-the-bottom tier of self-driving capability as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. (Full or close to full self-driving gets Level 4 and 5 designations.) Autopilot handles acceleration, braking, steering, and even lane changes on its own, but only on contained roads such as freeways, and the driver must monitor things. That Tesla allowed its Autopilot-equipped vehicles even that much autonomous leeway with the meager sensor package onboard raised eyebrows—all the more so when you consider what Lexus is bringing to the table with its SAE Level 2 setup dubbed Teammate.  See all 23 photos It’s the Sensor Package, Stupid I...

The 2021 Toyota Mirai Arrives For a Yearlong Test: Will Hydrogen Make Us Happy?

Toyota Mirai Full Overview Hydrogen as a motor fuel: alive or dead? While some are already shoveling dirt in the grave, others say hydrogen is finally on the cusp of long-promised growth. It’s been nearly five years since we spent six months with a hydrogen-powered 2016 Toyota Mirai in our long-term fleet, and much has changed in the alternative-fuel world, including a spectacular new 2021 Toyota Mirai. Having been mega-impressed by the new car, we thought it was a good time to sign up for another long-term Mirai reassess  hydrogen’s place in our rapidly electrifying automotive world. The new Mirai is a much nicer car than the outgoing model, with more range, more luxury, a lower price, and way more attractive styling. The 2021 Toyota Mirai is available in XLE and Limited ...

2022 Tesla Model S Plaid Steering Yoke Review: The Pros and Cons

Tesla Model S Full Overview There have been quite a few attempts throughout time to reinvent the automotive steering wheel. Now comes the aircraft-style yoke—or is it a bloated Formula 1 wheel or, well, just make your own preferred comparison here—in the 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid.  Depending on who you talk to, Tesla sources say the yoke replaced the steering wheel found in older Model S cars for a few reasons. Some attribute a desire to improve visibility both through the windshield and of the instrument cluster. Others say it provides a better “Autopilot” experience, helping to bridge the gap between the cars of today and an imagined autonomous future. Others say it came about simply because Tesla chief Elon Musk and lead designer Franz von Holzhausen wanted it. Regardles...

2021 Ford F-150 XLT PowerBoost Hybrid Review: Thunder Before the Lightning

Gasoline-electric hybrid pickup trucks have always been a good idea, and it’s frankly disappointing it’s taken this long for an automaker to build a good one. As good as the 2021 Ford F-150 XLT Powerboost is, though, it’ll be even better when the last few programming wrinkles are ironed out. Hybrid Power! Take the powertrain itself. It allows this full-size truck to hit 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, yet it’s also efficient, netting 24 mpg across the board with four-wheel drive, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA also claims the F-150 PowerBoost can travel up to 624 miles before needing to refuel. It’s a heck of a thing to spend a week driving all over Southern California in a truck this quick and see the gas gauge still sitting on three-quarters o...