Articles in Behind the Wheel

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 …

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Momentum

The Volvo XC40 was first unveiled in September 2017 and was fast tracked into production by November 2017. Most notably, the XC40 is the first in the Swedish automaker’s 40 Series of vehicles and is the first to be built on the new CMA modular small car platform.
Unusual for a Volvo, the XC40 has rather funky styling that puts its personality on display as opposed to the Scandinavian minimalist look …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Toyota Rav4 Adventure AWD

One of the original compact crossovers, the Toyota RAV4 was introduced in Japan and Europe in 1994 and in North America the following year. Toyota had envisioned and subsequently designed and built a vehicle that had the advantages of larger SUVs, such as higher visibility and increased cargo capacity but also wanted the fuel economy and handling, to the extent possible, of a smaller vehicle.
The result was the RAV4, a …

Volkswagen Rabbit GTI to Return for 2019

The first generation Volkswagen Golf was marketed as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States when it was introduced in 1974 to replace the Beetle. Wolfsburg introduced a second generation Golf in 1983 along with a sportier model called the GTI.
The GTI is turning 35 next year and Volkswagen is bringing back the Rabbit nameplate with a limited production run of the 2019 Volkswagen GTI Rabbit Edition.
{Editor’s note: GTI, incidentally, …