Sport sedans that have room to stretch out

The 2018 Volvo S90 is a stylish and sporty luxury sedan with more rear legroom than ever. COURTESY PHOTOThe 2018 Volvo S90 is a stylish and sporty luxury sedan with more rear legroom than ever. COURTESY PHOTOIn most cases, luxury sedans are limited to two of three qualities: a sporty driving experience, a roomy interior and a (relatively) attainable price.
Powerful engines and fun-to-drive handling are common in the compact and midsize luxury classes, but these models tend to be a little tight in the back seat – or at least not stretch-out spacious. Models such as the Cadillac XTS and Lincoln Continental offer plenty of room but prioritize a smooth ride over handling poise. And while a Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers exquisite driving dynamics along with a spacious cabin, it’s generally priced into the six figures.
Two recently tested sedans, newly updated for 2018, offer a compelling balance of all three qualities. One is the Genesis G80, a big but fairly priced sedan from Hyundai’s luxury brand, which is newly available in a "Sport" trim with powerful turbocharged engine and revised suspension tuning. The other is the Volvo S90, which received a longer wheelbase to improve rear seat space just one year after it debuted for 2017.


Cadillac and Lexus luxury sedans offer variety

The Cadillac CT6 full-size luxury sedan has sportier, more agile handling than its competitors. COURTESY PHOTO  The Cadillac CT6 full-size luxury sedan has sportier, more agile handling than its competitors. COURTESY PHOTO  For generations of Americans, their parents and grandparents bought Cadillacs that were built for cushy comfort, with softly-tuned suspensions that approximated the ride quality and handling agility of a water bed and seats that felt like living room couches.
You can still get that old-school Cadillac experience with the brand's XTS sedan and Escalade SUV models, but those who haven't been carefully watching General Motors' luxury brand will likely be astonished by the brilliantly executed sports sedans dominating the rest of the lineup: the ATS, the CTS, and Cadillac's current flagship sedan, the CT6.
The CT6 – which comes priced starting at $55,090 and can run beyond $90,000 – has a spacious interior, rides smoothly and quietly, and despite its' full-sized footprint delivers the sprightly handling of a vehicle a size smaller – a level of handling once the exclusive provenance of European luxury brands.


Chevrolet adds rare diesel while Lincoln goes big

2017 Chevrolet Cruze diesel cropped for webThe 2017 Chevrolet Cruze is available with a diesel engine rated for 47 MPG on the highway. COURTESY PHOTO  Until a couple of years ago, if you wanted a diesel passenger car, you probably wanted a Volkswagen. The company's TDI line promised outstanding fuel economy without compromising acceleration.
Now, diesel aficionados have even fewer choices. Volkswagen's magical-seeming “clean diesels” were debunked as illegal polluters, and several other automakers are also under scrutiny.
Undaunted, General Motors pushed forward with a new diesel engine for its Chevrolet Cruze compact economy sedan – and it quietly racks up impressive fuel economy numbers. The EPA rates the diesel Cruze for 31 miles per gallon in the city and a whopping 47 mpg on the highway, compared to 30 city / 40 highway for a standard gas model. Thanks to the low-revving nature of diesel engines and a nine-speed automatic transmission, the Cruze also cruises quietly at 80 mph. (A six-speed manual transmission is standard.)


Mitsubishi crossover seats seven while Genesis rolls

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander cropped for webThe 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander isn't perfect, but it's an affordable, fuel-efficient, maneuverable crossover with three rows of seats. COURTESY PHOTO  It was more than a decade ago when Mitsubishi first squeezed a third-row seat into the Outlander, its compact crossover. But rather than giving the Outlander an edge over the competition, it made the car look almost like a cruel joke. There were seven seat belts, sure, but the third row was basically fabric stretched across a metal frame. Padding was nonexistent and legroom wasn't much better; almost no one had enough space to fit in the far back of the 2006 Outlander, and no one at all could be comfortable.


Chrysler minivan is family gold while Audi sedan justifies price

2017 Chrysler Pacifica -- cropped for webThe 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, priced from $30,090, is the most well-rounded minivan sold today. COURTESY PHOTO  

For a large family car, it's difficult to beat the minivan. Vast expanses of passenger and cargo space put SUVs and crossovers to shame, and these merits are joined by pleasant driving dynamics, decent gas mileage, ample safety and convenience features, and relatively affordable prices.
And for a minivan, at least today, it's difficult to beat the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. The all-new replacement for the popular Town & Country represents a major advancement for Chrysler and also breaks new ground against its competitors.


Reviews of the 2016 Mazda CX-9 and Bentley Mulsanne

Redesigned Mazda crossover avoids bulky feel

2016 Mazda CX-9The 2016 Mazda CX-9 is a large crossover that feels small when you want it, without sacrificing too much interior room. COURTESY PHOTO

There are many ways that people's tastes vary when it comes to cars, and the feel of the interior is one of them. Some drivers like to spread themselves out across a wide seat while remaining a comfortable distance away from their passengers. Others prefer the more intimate, less intimidating feel of a smaller, cozier cabin. 

The redesigned 2016 Mazda CX-9 throws a nice bone to the latter crowd – without actually forcing them into a small vehicle. This full-size crossover can seat seven passengers in reasonable comfort, while feeling one or two sizes smaller from the driver's seat. Mazda pulls off the illusion with a stylish, minimalist dashboard and a high center console between the front seats. The exterior also looks less visually bulky than competitors like the Honda Pilot, though the CX-9 is actually 5 inches longer than the Honda. 

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