Limitations: The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC
The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC
"A man's got to know his limitations." ---Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry in "Magnum Force",  1973

I wanted to like the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) GT S-AWC.  And, in a lot of ways, I do, and have for some time. 

Two years ago, the gasoline-powered version of this machine got me over Donner Pass (and back) in a snowstorm.  Even then, I acknowledged the Outlander's age (despite a new one in 2014, this is very much a 2010-era machine), but the value equation---surefootedness, a reasonably powerful V6 engine and feature content including a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system for less than $35,000---won the day for the Outlander.


ES Goes F: The 2019 Lexus ES350 F SPORT

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Lexus ES350 F SPORT
The 2019 Lexus ES350 F SPORT.
For those of us who remember when the Lexus brand first appeared and the ES series was little more than a very nice Toyota Camry, it's a surprise to learn the 2019 is the seventh generation of the ES.  The new-gen ES350 is lower and wider, adapting the design language of the stunning LC500 coupe and LS500 sedan


Wagens Ho: The 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen SE

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
The 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen SE.
The station wagon lives!  Left for dead 30-some years ago as minivans, then SUVs and now crossovers gobbled up the share of the market devoted to family haulers, a handful of wagons survive.  And, as Darwin would have it, they are the fittest members of the breed.

Among those, the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, which may stand the best chance of any of them of convincing Millennials in their child-bearing years that crossovers aren't necessarily the best choice.


Timing Is Everything: The 2019 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab

Front 3/4 view of 2019 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab
The 2019 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab.
The pickup truck business, like the pickup truck itself, used to be so simple:  A box up front to hold the engine, a box in the middle to hold three people on a flat bench seat and an open box in the back to haul stuff.  It needed to be fixable with farm tools, rugged enough to withstand abuse for a decade or two and that was pretty much it.

The times, they have a-changed.  Pickup trucks now occupy the space where American luxury cars were when pickups were simple.  They are the Cadillac Fleetwood, Lincoln Continental and Chrysler Imperial of today---judged on their flash, their levels of equipment and creature comforts, their power and their prestige, they are (along with big SUVs based on them like the Suburban, Yukon XL, Expedition, Navigator and Escalade), the only vehicles American manufacturers can ask and get premium prices for.

It is a fickle space, where what was good enough last year might not cut it this year.


A Fresh Edge: The 2019 Ford Edge Titanium Elite

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Ford Edge Titanium Elite
The 2019 Ford Edge Titanium Elite.
It's been a bit over three years since the last time I drove a Ford Edge, and there have been some changes---both in the Edge itself and in its place in Ford's future.

In the fall of 2015, the Edge was the middle child of Ford's crossover SUV lineup---bigger than the Escape, smaller than the Explorer---with some wondering how much of a future there was for any crossover that didn't have a third row of seats.

But now, with Ford's decision to focus its portfolio on the Mustang, the F-Series pickups, the Expedition and its crossovers, the Edge looks like it could very well be Ford's future bread-and-butter machine.


Tantalizingly Close: The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Chevrolet Bolt
The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
It has become clear, at least to me, that the time is coming, and soon, when there will be an electric vehicle (EV) with so few compromises in terms of range and charging time that it will tip the scales and the internal combustion engine (ICE) will become merely a segment of the automotive marketplace, one that, from that point on, will be doomed to shrinking market share and an eventual extinction.

In the past two years, two automobiles have arrived that some have said are those cars---the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt.  Another much-anticipated electric, the Hyundai Kona EV, is on its way.  We've yet to drive the Tesla (but until one can actually be bought for anywhere close to the promised $35,000 price---most are rolling out the door well over $50,000---it's not going to be the car that alone turns the tide) or the Hyundai, so that leaves us, for now, to examine the Bolt.