Die-cast: DNA’s Audi R8 LMX

New firm’s Audi R8 a blue beauty …

First, a welcome to DNA Collectibles, a Swiss company, new to the 1/18-scale die-cast car market. If its beautiful sample of the Audi R8 LMX is indicative of its quality, the market has another fine competitor. Continue reading Die-cast: DNA’s Audi R8 LMX

2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV AWD

Pathfinder SV rocks on the simple side …

For those looking for a mid-size sport-utility truck or crossover with a third-row seat, it’s possible you’ve chosen the most competitive segment for your vehicle search.

That’s where this week’s perfectly fine Nissan Pathfinder finds itself. After more than 30 years on the market Pathfinder is a known quantity, an expected strong value and good ride. It remains so, but then so are most of its competitors, the likes of the Mazda CX-9, Ford Explorer, Chevy Traverse, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and the newish Volkswagen Atlas and Subaru Ascent. All are solid choices. Continue reading 2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV AWD

2019 Chevolet Equinox AWD Premier

Chevy’s Equinox easy as a Moon Pie to like …

When you’re driving to the home of the Moon Pie, you need something that boasts American pride and craftsmanship, and that’s what I got from Chevy for a rare trip to Chattanooga, Tenn.

Up rolled a Cajun Red 2019 Chevrolet Equinox and I promptly packed it down for a roughly 1,600-mile roundtrip to Moon Pie central. The gooey s’mores-like treat was a bonus I hadn’t counted on. My goal was hanging with a couple thousand of my plastic modeling friends for the International Plastic Modelers Society’s national convention in Nooga. Continue reading 2019 Chevolet Equinox AWD Premier

2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport

Small Caddy offers sexy looks & luxury …

There was a day when a Cadillac HAD to be as big as a cruise ship and loaded down with enough chrome to make a knight on horseback feel inadequate.

No more. Cadillac has decided that affordable luxury with interesting styling is the way to get post-Boomer buyers to park their lattes and espressos in Cadillac cup holders. Witness the new XT4, the smallest Caddy SUV, just a notch below its fairly petit XT5. The XT4 is svelte and sexy with beautifully sculpted front and rear lights and a handsome grille that give it a more distinctive look than many SUVs. Continue reading 2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport

Die-cast: Replicarz 1/18 scale 1952 Indy 500 winner

Bigger scale Agajanian Special pumps up the detail …

What’s better, and bigger, than a fine 1/43 scale Indy 500 winning race car? A 1/18 scale version, naturally, and Replicarz has been excelling at creating these for years now.

The latest is the Agajanian Special dirt car that a then young Troy Ruttman drove to win the 1952 Indianapolis 500. Ruttman immediately became famous as the youngest Indy winner ever at 22 years and 80 days. He had lied about his age earlier, so he could start competing as a teen. His racing career ended in retirement in 1964. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz 1/18 scale 1952 Indy 500 winner

2019 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD ZR2 Crew Short Box/Bison edition

Colorado Bison a happy medium mid-size pickup …

This was week three of testing mid-size pickups and if you’re a middler, a person who prefers the happy medium to going full out off-roader or suburban commuter for your pickup, well Chevrolet’s Colorado will suit you well.

This bright red (Red Hot) Colorado was the top-level ZR2 with the Bison package, so slots in at the high-end of this segment’s pricing and is fully meant for off-road action. Not living on a farm or being a contractor that frequents construction sites, I had to settle for an on-road test. Continue reading 2019 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD ZR2 Crew Short Box/Bison edition

2019 Ford Ranger XLT Supercrew 4×4

New Ranger is more refined with improved handling …

Back in the day, about a decade ago, Ford’s Ranger was a compact pickup made primarily, or so it seemed, for teenage boys to range around small towns and suburban areas, with their teenage girlfriends riding shotgun.

Rangers were small, inexpensive wheels, often the first truck a kid owned and maybe, if mom and dad were nice to them, they’d let the parents run to the big box home improvement store to pick up some mulch, fertilizer or a few new bushes on weekends. Or that’s what the parents did with the truck before handing it down to junior. Continue reading 2019 Ford Ranger XLT Supercrew 4×4

2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4×4

Gladiator: Finally, a midsize pickup with style …

You’ll either want a Jeep Gladiator pickup, or you won’t.

What I mean is the long-awaited Jeep pickup is an image vehicle as much as it is a pickup. That’s not to say it doesn’t function well as a pickup, it certainly does. But it looks like a Jeep, and that’s really all that matters.

Case in point, my sister-in-law declared it an “ugly thing” while another female rider, who loves and owns Jeeps, said it looked “fantastic.” Continue reading 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4×4

2019 Nissan LEAF SL Plus

LEAF Plus: Better range, and exceeding expectations …

No matter how much good I have to say about Nissan’s new LEAF (and I have plenty to say), I’m not sure you’ll believe me.

That’s because the original LEAF, as revolutionary as it was as the first fully electric car to be marketed to the masses, was underwhelming, if for no other reason than its range was only about 80 miles. Certainly that would be fine for a city commuter, but not real practical for much more than that. Continue reading 2019 Nissan LEAF SL Plus

2019 Ford Edge ST AWD

ST is a family hauler with a sporty ‘Edge’

Ford revamped the nose and tail styling of its successful Edge crossover for 2019 and at the top end, gave it more power and a better tranny.

I’d driven a new Edge Titanium last winter and it, along with the lower level SE and SEL, are aimed squarely at the family market. But this bright metallic blue ST edition had a decidedly sportier edge (sorry) to it. Continue reading 2019 Ford Edge ST AWD

2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL w/4Motion

VW Arteon  a sporty fastback that should score big with families …

VW’s new luxury family sedan proves that cars are not dead yet. This sporty fastback is simply so much more fun and comfortable to drive than an SUV or large crossover that it makes you wonder why cars are falling out of favor.

VW has launched the Arteon (odd name to be sure, but not a deal breaker) to replace the CC which was equally attractive. The tested Chili Red (medium metallic red) SEL with 4Motion has everything a family predestined to buy a ute or crossover could want. Continue reading 2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL w/4Motion

Die-cast: NEO’s 1960 Ford Thunderbird

1960 Thunderbird convertible still stylish after all these years … 

Long before Ford’s Thunderbird grew into a full-size luxury coupe with long hood and monstrous dimensions, it was a cool sportster, first a two-seater, then a four-seater.

From its launch as a 1955 through the end of its second generation model, 1960, the T-bird was a styling home run. That’s why I’m happy to see NEO’s fine 1/43 scale model of the 1960 model in convertible trim. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1960 Ford Thunderbird

Die-cast: Replicarz 1972 McLaren M16 (Revson)

Revson’s Indy 500 pole car another Replicarz gem …

Peter Revson was a wealthy playboy type, but a talented racer. McLaren was a noted and successful race car maker. Their link-up in 1971 was historic and launched a successful era for both at the Indianapolis 500.

Revson, the heir to the Revlon cosmetics fortune had tried his hand at F1 racing in Europe, but to no success, so returned to the United States. He hooked up with Brabham in 1969 for the Indy 500 and barely made the show, starting last but finishing fifth. He was onto something. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz 1972 McLaren M16 (Revson)

2020 Kia Telluride SX AWD

Kia Telluride a perfect people mover, a slam dunk …

Kia’s first big SUV is a perfect game, a hail Mary touchdown pass, a buzzer beater, whatever superlative sports metaphor you’d choose, the Telluride is all that.

It’s harder to write a glowing review than one that picks a few nits, yet I found none to pick in this review of Kia’s new Telluride SX AWD. That’s the top level model, but there are four trims, so one should fit in most folks’ budget. Continue reading 2020 Kia Telluride SX AWD

Die-cast: Jeep CJ-7 Renegade

Model Car Group launches a 1/18 scale Jeep CJ-7 …

Few vehicles are as recognizable as a Jeep, and yet Jeeps have been restyled multiple times since World War II and are now the younger generation’s urban vehicle of choice.

But back in the 1970s (remember those?), the CJ-7 was the cool retro-styled Jeep that outdoorsy folks ached for. Still mostly an open truck, the CJ was mostly utilitarian, but it offered a rugged exterior that everyone could identify as a Jeep. And as they weren’t the trendy wheels of the day, they were somewhat rare on the roads. Continue reading Die-cast: Jeep CJ-7 Renegade

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