Sexy, Swift and Safe: The 2020 Volvo S60 T8 E-AWD R-Design

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Volvo S60 T8 E-AWD R-Design
The 2020 Volvo S60 T8 E-AWD R-Design.
Those of us of a certain age remember when Volvos were boxy sedans and station wagons sold largely on their safety. In the 80s, Volvo's TV commercials were largely videos of their cars in crash tests---including plummeting off cliffs into a concrete pit 45 feet below.

In the past few years, Volvo has figured out how to maintain the safety and blend styling and power into the mix. The big S90 sedan ranks high on my want list since reviewing it three years ago. And now, a lot of what makes the S90 so desirable is available in a mid-size package, the S60.


Apace In The Crowd: The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium w/4MOTION

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium w/4MOTION
The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium w/4MOTION.
They told us this was coming and we're here. We live in a crossover SUV world. They are the biggest selling single type of vehicle after pickup trucks, and pretty much every manufacturer makes one or more of them---in varying sizes.

As you can imagine, in that crowded a field, it's tough to stand out. And that brings us to the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan.


Compact Is The New Mid-Size: The 2020 Lexus NX 300h

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Lexus NX 300h
The 2020 Lexus NX 300h.
Perception is a funny thing. Four years ago, when Lexus introduced the NX, a smaller companion to its long-running, best-selling RX crossover, I thought it was kinda small. Its proportions haven't changed at all---but it has grown on me.

Especially if your life is lived in urban traffic, a tighter, more compact vehicle is a worthwhile thing---easier to get into tight spaces on a freeway or in a parking lot, no wasted space for extra stuff you don't carry around anyway and, usually, some savings on gas.


Fixing A Hole: The 2020 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD
The 2020 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD.
Cadillac buyers who wanted a three-row SUV but didn't want the super-sized Escalade have had to look elsewhere. There was a big gap in size and perceived prestige between the Escalade and the XT5. That's over now. For 2020, Cadillac has the XT6, a right-size, very handsome three-seat SUV that fits right in between those two.


Pilot, Black: The 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition
The 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition.
Have you noticed how many cars have started going dark? As in black trim, black wheels---everything black? It's as if Darth Vader had joined the design studios of several automakers at once.

This past summer, we tested the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited S, which followed this formula, and now Honda brings us the Honda Pilot Black Edition.


Fashionably Late: The 2019 BMW X7 xDrive 40i

Front 3/4 view of 2019 BMW X7 xDrive 40i
The 2019 BMW X7 xDrive 40i.
Six letters that, twenty years ago, most car people would have told you would never go together. BMW SUV.
The world has changed. Porsche proved that the way to keep making sports cars is to make fast, comfortable, good-handling big SUVs to pay for them. Audi and Mercedes-Benz followed, and now BMW is actually the last to the party...but the new BMW X7 absolutely qualifies as making one heck of an entrance.


Goldilocks' Own Honda: The 2020 Honda Insight Touring

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Honda Insight Touring
The 2020 Honda Insight Touring.
If I say "Honda", you might say "Civic". Or "Accord". Or "CR-V". Odds are, you won't say "Insight". You might not even know there is such a car as the Honda Insight. And if you do, you probably have the wrong impression of it.

21 years ago, the first Honda Insight came along---a hybrid, to do battle with the Toyota Prius. It was funny looking (even compared to the Prius) and only a two-seater, which made it impractical for families. It flopped and was pulled from the market after seven years.

11 years ago, the second Honda Insight appeared. Also a hybrid, it had seating for five and looked like someone laid a sheet of tracing paper over a picture of a Prius and then blurred the details a bit so the lawyers could relax. It cost less than a Prius. But it was smaller inside than the Toyota, was slower than the Prius and still got worse gas mileage. It was dead and gone in five years. Strike two.

Last year, Honda brought back the Insight name but applied it to a new four-door sedan. It's a hybrid again, this time with an EPA fuel economy estimate of 51 miles per gallon highway and 45 city.

And it's darn near perfect.


"Good Heavens, Miss Sakomoto! You're Beautiful!": The 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE
The 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE.
About that headline. If you don't get the reference, it's from Thomas Dolby's 1983 hit "She Blinded Me With Science".   And yeah, it's a cliche', but the 2020 Toyota Corolla is kind of like the woman who takes the glasses off, lets the hair down and you're stunned. 

For 54 years, the Toyota Corolla has been the car that was everywhere and went unnoticed.

Oh, they sold plenty of them---in fact, the Toyota Corolla is, adding up all the examples moved since 1966, the best-selling car in the world.

But it has always looked---kinda anonymous. Like the response the stylists were trying to elicit was "small four-door economy sedan".


Family Reputations Can Be A Handicap: The 2019 Jeep Compass Limited High Altitude 4X4

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Jeep Compass Limited High Altitude 4X4
2019 Jeep Compass Limited High Altitude 4X4.
You may have noticed that I don't rip cars to shreds in these reviews---that generally, I find the upside to most of the vehicles I drive.
The biggest reason for that goes back to when I was 14, growing up in Bishop, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Central California. The local Ford dealer was a family friend, and I was a teenage car freak who would ride my bike out to the dealership near the edge of town once a week to see what new stuff had come in. Not old enough to drive, but full of opinions about what was cool and what was not, I was spouting off one day about what I thought were the inadequacies of a new car on the lot.
Jim Ellis put a fatherly hand on my shoulder and said "Mike, there's a butt for every seat".