Shifting Into Second: The 2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 SR

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Nissan Altima SR
The 2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 SR.
The Nissan Altima was the third-best selling mid-size sedan in America in calendar year 2015, behind Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.  But for the first two months of 2016, it's been in second place, outselling the Accord.

That might have something to do with the significantly refreshed 2016 model, which improves on what was already a very good car.


How Soon Is Next Time? The 2016 Kia Sedona SXL

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Kia Sedona
The 2016 Kia Sedona.
There is very little to feel sorry about for Kia these days.  The onetime punchline of a car company has made enormous strides in the past seven or eight years, to the point where their products are now legitimate competitors to Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda.  Here in California, there is no stigma to owning one of these South Korean machines.  They seem as thick on the ground as their more established Japanese competitors.

But there's one place where Kia hasn't brought its "A" game.  And that's the Sedona minivan.


Ready For Battle: The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Chevrolet Malibu
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu.
I had just begun my career as a professional TireKicker (automotive journalist) when Chevrolet announced it was bringing back the Malibu. The name, first used in 1964 for the top-of-the-line midsize Chevelle, was retired in 1983 and replaced by the now-unloved, unmissed Corsica.  Needless to say, as a child of the 60s and 70s, I was excited...until I saw the 1997 Malibu.  If ever a car was destined to be seen more often at airport rental car lots than in the driveways of actual car-buying people, the '97 Malibu was it.

Each generation of the Malibu since has been an attempt to crawl out of that hole and make a car that Americans would choose to spend their hard-earned money on instead of a Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Mazda 6, Subaru Legacy,  Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion or Chrysler 200.

It appears the fifth time could be a charm.


S Is For "Sinister": The 2016 Chrysler 300S

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Chrysler 300S
The 2016 Chrysler 300S.
It was a trick first learned decades ago, most likely by hot-rodders.  The right tires, wheels and trim can make a four-door sedan---well, some four-door sedans---look like a race car.