Articles in Behind the Wheel

Why You Should Have Winter Tires on Your Car

If the blizzard-like conditions in many parts of the country over the past few weeks didn’t convince you that winter is upon us, perhaps the fact that it snowed in Hawaii might have changed your mind.
The advent of winter in many countries signals drivers to switch from summer to winter tires, an all but forgotten practice in the United States. This is, in part, because so many vehicles come standard …

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF

Few events are as highly anticipated as the annual arrival of a Mazda MX-5 Miata. The mid-autumn arrival of the Targa-like sports car brought with it mixed emotions as it was a painful reminder that summer is behind us although not too late in the year to drive an open-topped vehicle.
Since its introduction in 1989, it’s become the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history and Mazda has continued to …

Report from Detroit – Highlights from the 2019 North American International Auto Show

DETROIT—The North American International Auto Show remains one of the most important auto shows of the automotive industry. This will be the last year that it kicks off the international car show calendar: in 2020, the show will reboot and move to June, leaving the Cobo Center and adding outdoor events that run along the city’s waterfront in addition to a show floor, something unimaginable in Detroit in the wintertime.
This …

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited

When a 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited in Parisian Night Pearl – a rather striking color – arrived at our offices right before Labor Day, more than a few staffers thought a Lexus had been delivered by mistake. The confusion was understandable.
Now in its 25th year, the Avalon sports a massive grille (à la Lexus) – complete with a black honeycomb mesh insert. Its lines are the most elegant we’ve …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium

The 2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid is the latest edition to Kia’s Niro line of hybrids. For those unfamiliar with it, the Niro itself was introduced in 2016 and a plug-in hybrid was launched in 2017 in the United Kingdom and 2018 in the United States.
The Niro is a subcompact hybrid utility vehicle that prides itself on not looking like a hybrid. Indeed, Kia markets it as the “un-hybrid.” The PHEV …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Volkswagen that was first introduced in the United States as the Dasher in 1974.It was mechanically identical to the Audi 80, while the five-door Passat wagon was in America as the Audi Fox.
One of the things that attracted me to the Passat was its identity crisis. The sedan version of the second-generation Passat was sold as the Santana in Europe and as …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Toyota Prius c

Introduced in 2011, the Toyota Prius c (the letter “c” indicates “city”), is the third member of the Prius family and is marketed as the Toyota Aqua in the Japanese automaker’s home market.
The c is a hybrid gasoline-electric subcompact hatchback with a price tag lower than the traditional Prius. It also carries a higher fuel economy rating for city driving than the traditional Prius.
For 2018, the c has donned new …