Midsize Buick subtly adds a hatchback utility

The 2018 Buick Regal Sportback is a pleasant midsize car whose sedan-like silhouette hides a versatile hatchback body style. COURTESY PHOTOThe 2018 Buick Regal Sportback is a pleasant midsize car whose sedan-like silhouette hides a versatile hatchback body style. COURTESY PHOTO  It’s easy to see why many buyers are fleeing midsize cars in favor of crossovers. A crossover provides more cargo room and available all-wheel-drive at an affordable price, along with steadily improving driving dynamics and fuel economy.
But if you prefer the looks or the lower seating position of a sedan, you’ll want to check out the new 2018 Buick Regal Sportback.
The Regal Sportback is a five-door hatchback that’s disguised as a sedan and that offers all-wheel-drive. A little trunk lid sticks out behind the rear windshield, but the metal and glass all lift up as one piece. This design opens up a large, open cargo hold — unlike the closed-off trunk of a sedan  — to provide greater cargo flexibility and total volume.


Chevy and Buick crossovers offer full-size space and some other nice options

2018 Chevrolet Traverse cropped for webThe redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Traverse full-size crossover boasts various improvements over last year's model, but its strongest asset is an especially roomy interior. COURTESY PHOTO  When a car is redesigned, it's more likely to become larger than smaller. Understandably so: Extra space is an obvious selling point to justify the new model over its predecessor.
General Motors bucked this trend with the fully-redesigned 2017 GMC Acadia. Once a plus-sized crossover, the all-new 2017 model slimmed down into the midsize class, gaining fuel efficiency and handling agility, even if interior volume declined.
But the Acadia's former mechanical twins – the Chevrolet Traverse and the more luxurious Buick Enclave – didn't follow the same path. Redesigned for 2018, these two crossovers remain unapologetically massive, with among the best space for passengers and cargo in anything short of a minivan.


Three new full-size sedans liven up the marketplace

2017 Genesis G80 -- cropped for webThe 2017 Genesis G80 is the new name for the Hyundai Genesis.          COURTESY PHOTO  

It's become vogue in automotive journalism to declare that the sedan – a bedrock of the automotive marketplace – as a dying breed in the face of roomier, more versatile crossovers. First to go, pundits contend, are the full-size four-doors.

But if you are looking for a big comfortable sedan, your options these days are better than ever, as recent tests of three leading contenders in this class suggest. The freshly rebranded Genesis G80 and the newly redesigned Buick LaCrosse and Kia Cadenza effectively use their extra size both to flaunt their styling and to improve their interior space. And all have the sophisticated interior quality, long list of available features, and quiet ride that you'd expect of a luxury car – though it would be hard to expect otherwise at these sedans' price points.


Reviews of the 2017 Buick Envision and Honda Accord

Buick's premium crossover isn't Mercedes-grade

2017 Buick Envision -- cropped for webThe 2017 Buick Envision is a compact crossover that's more luxurious than it looks. COURTESY PHOTO  

At first glance, the new Buick Envision doesn't look particularly notable. This compact crossover blends quietly into traffic, without dramatic styling cues or a badge that screams luxury.

But there's more to it than meets the eye. The Envision, first introduced as a 2016 model, boasts a posh, feature-laden interior and wears a price tag that starts at $34,990 and can surpass $50,000. And it's notable as the first model line to be fully imported to the U.S. from a factory in China.


Reviews of the 2017 Mini Clubman and Buick LaCrosse

Mini Clubman is the little brand's roomiest car yet

2017 Mini Clubman SThe 2017 Mini Clubman S offers more space than the original Mini without losing its historic fun factor. COURTESY PHOTO  

Since its introduction 15 years ago, the Mini brand has expanded its model lineup from a single tiny hatchback to a diverse mix of small cars wearing the same rounded retro face. The largest is the new 2017 Clubman, a small wagon that's graduated from the subcompact market class to provide the higher level of utility found in a compact model like the Volkswagen Golf or Mazda3.

But even the biggest Mini is still pretty small, for better or for worse. For better, the Clubman retains the delightfully agile handling that's long made it a favorite among driving enthusiasts – it's as intrinsic to the car's character as its styling. Slight flicks of the steering wheel generate alert, near-instant responses. The tested Clubman S model, with a 189-horsepower four-cylinder engine, is also suitably lively in a straight line.


Reviews of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma and Buick Cascada

Toyota Tacoma skimps on driving charms

2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited2016 Toyota Tacoma. COURTESY PHOTO 

Toyota's small pickup trucks have a long-lasting reputation for dependability, and the Tacoma model has been the best-selling vehicle in its shrinking class for several years. So it's understandable that Toyota hasn't wanted to tinker too much with success.

But there is room for some adjustments to the Tacoma formula. Even as most new pickup trucks manage to blend capability with luxury, the redesigned 2016 Tacoma sticks to the basics – despite a price tag that hits $40,020 as tested. And while some aspects of the new Tacoma's design and character are a matter of taste, others represent ways in which the vehicle is simply compromised.

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