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Need a car or truck? Read Steven Cole Smith's reviews

  • Ferrari 458 Spider a top-down, top-rung sportscar

    Ferrari 458 Spider a top-down, top-rung sportscar

    Not for a second will I complain about the usual diet of Hyundais and Hondas and half-ton pickup trucks that those of us who get to test new cars are typically fed, but once in a while, getting a taste of a Bentley, a Lamborghini or Aston Martin gives us a peek into how the other half drives. Other...

  • Cadillac CTS-V wagon:A ridiculous, wonderful move for conservative GM

    With vehicles like the new plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt and the 30-miles-per-gallon Buick Regal, General Motors Co. seems to be selling itself as the sensible-shoes car company, populating its lineup with plucky, practical cars that offend no one. GM has sort of deeded the dynamic, wind-in-your-face...

  • Restyled Toyota Avalon retains old-school appeal

    Restyled Toyota Avalon retains old-school appeal

    With the introduction of the Toyota Avalon in 1995, replacing the Cressida, the company made it very easy for customers for whom a car is essentially an appliance. Toyota gives those customers three choices: small (the Corolla), medium (the Camry) and large (the Avalon). None of the three is likely...

  • Dodge Viper rumbles into the sunset – for now

    Dodge Viper rumbles into the sunset – for now

    Yes, it's a bit odd to be reviewing a 2010 vehicle in the midst of the 2011 model year, but there are two extenuating circumstances: One, the manufacturer didn't cease production of the Dodge Viper until last summer, and since there is no 2011 model, they built some extras to give dealers a few...

  • All-new Ford Explorer raises bar for SUVs

    All-new Ford Explorer raises bar for SUVs

    Numbers don't lie: There's no denying that the Ford Explorer, introduced in 1990, was an enormous success, quickly becoming — year after year — the top-selling SUV. The four-door, V-6-powered sport utility vehicle filled an enormous hole in Ford's lineup, as the models that preceded it, the Bronco...

  • Durango puts Dodge back into the SUV battle

    Durango puts Dodge back into the SUV battle

    Dodge was startlingly late to the four-door SUV party, a problem not solved until 1998, when the company introduced the Durango, based on the platform of the Dakota pickup truck. It was an immediate hit, as Dodge adapted the tough Ram truck look to the smaller SUV. The Durango soldiered along until...

  • Land Rover LR4 equally capable on the road or off

    Land Rover LR4 equally capable on the road or off

    When Land Rover redesigned the mid-level LR4 SUV for 2010, many of my colleagues proclaimed that it was a leaps-and-bounds improvement over the model it replaces, the LR3. I was not among them. Not because the LR4 isn't a very good vehicle, because it is -- but the LR3 was a solid, functional SUV,...

  • A $65,000 Hyundai? Yes, and worth the price

    A $65,000 Hyundai? Yes, and worth the price

    Twenty years ago, or even 10 years ago, the idea that anyone would pay more than $65,000 for a Hyundai -- for a Hyundai! -- would be unthinkable. And while Hyundai executives won't like this, it still seems pretty optimistic, despite the startling advances the South Korean manufacturer has made....

  • Nissan Juke feints at SUV, delivers like sports car

    Nissan Juke feints at SUV, delivers like sports car

    Judging from its initial unfocused advertising campaign, Nissan doesn't seem to know exactly what to do with the 2011 Juke. And after a week testing it, I see the problem: It doesn't fit into conventional categories. Nissan claims it is a "Sport Cross," ostensibly meaning that it's a sport utility...

  • A truck with the grace, power of a Clydesdale

    A truck with the grace, power of a Clydesdale

    I've written often about vehicles that will quicken your pulse -- a Chevrolet Corvette, a Dodge Viper, any Ferrari or Lamborghini -- but there's much to be said for a vehicle that can actually lower your pulse rate. That's the feeling I get behind the wheel of the Dodge Ram 2500, a truck so big...

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