Before SUVs dominated the automotive landscape, executive sedans like the 5 Series were the chariots of choice for white collar workers climbing the ladder of success. And even though they’re not as popular as they once were, this new 540i serves as a reminder that the segment is still alive and well.
The 5 Series is a technological tour de force, as long as you go all in on the option packages. And this one has some really great cutting edge features including some new stuff that even I haven’t seen before, most of it related to driving assistance. Like the graphical depiction of surrounding vehicles while driving on the highway to help with lane changes. Speaking of which, this one can do that for you while using adaptive cruise control by simply tapping the turn signal…hands free. And the extended traffic jam assistant can even do the mundane stop and go driving for you during your commute without constantly needing to grab the steering wheel. And I also love how the head-up display integrates your smartphone’s mapping directions so no matter which navigation system you’re using the 540i has got you covered.
2021 SUBARU CROSSTREK SPORT TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. For my money, this is the best Subaru you can buy. And I’ve held that opinion since it was first called the XV Crosstrek back in 2013. You can think of it as a bite-sized Outback. And now you can have one in Sport trim with a more powerful engine.
2020 LAND ROVER DEFENDER TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. Spurred by low gas prices, choking traffic and an insatiable appetite for SUVs, the off-road vehicle movement has never been riper. I’m talking about real capability that can get you away from all the craziness; from trucks to sport utilities there have never been so many competent choices. Enter the new Defender – a modern interpretation of the iconic original. The days of needing body-on-frame construction and solid axles to prove your off-road mettle are passé. This Defender is modern, smart and everyday luxurious while being respectful to its past. It’s purpose-built for off-roading but that’s not its only personality trait. Made from an all-new aluminum unibody Land Rover says is the stiffest platform they’ve ever created underpinned by a fully independent air suspension that bests a Wrangler Rubicon in ground clearance and hangs with it in other critical off-road geometry. It pairs a full-time 4-wheel drive system with a sophisticated Terrain Response System replete with automatic center and rear lockers making off-roading an absolute breeze. The electronics are amazing and configurable beyond the numerous pre-programmed surface types; I just wish the Terrain Response controls weren’t shared with the climate buttons and knobs over here at a decent reach from the driver. You can view the selections on the center screen or right here depending upon how you’ve configured the display. With these optional new Goodyear Wrangler Adventure tires, this Defender makes mud, ruts and rocks seem like a mere inconvenience.
When the Defender’s 67 year production run ended in 2016, it had already been nearly 2 decades since one could be found in a U.S. Land Rover dealership. The 1997 Defender 90 with its 4.0-liter V8, 4-speed auto and 13mpg was a British-born Jeep rival. But since, Land Rover’s SUV lineup has trended more towards afternoon tea and less to morning fox hunts. The Defender’s much anticipated return is finally here to recapture some of the original’s raw ruggedness with modern day accoutrements.
MSRP as-tested: $73,043
2021 CHEVROLET TRAILBLAZER RS VIDEO REVIEW AND TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. It looks cool, comes stocked with premium features including wireless CarPlay and Android Auto and possesses a peppy engine that punches above its weight. It flaunts the brand’s new sporty crossover styling and can be equipped with enough bells and whistles to make it feel more substantive than its price would indicate. The Trailblazer will be a strong performer for Chevy but those who do their homework might find a better match.
2020 CHEVROLET CORVETTE STINGRAY CONVERTIBLE TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES.
I haven’t had a car attract this much attention in forever. Car people, non-car people, doesn’t matter. Everyone knows this is something special. It looks like a race car and depending on the angle it could be a Corvette, a Ferrari, a Lambo or an NSX. But this baby bleeds red, white and Elkhart Lake Blue. And this isn’t just the all-new C8 Corvette, this is the Convertible with a power retractable hardtop so seamlessly integrated you wouldn’t know this isn’t the Coupe. Well, that is unless you go looking for the window to the engine…about the only sacrifice you’ll have to make for top-down driving.