Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post

2018 Toyota Sienna

  • The 2018 Toyota Sienna has a familiar minivan shape and mission, but its new shape and unique features separate the van from the clan—maybe that's the plan? Last year, the Sienna's upgrades were largely confined to spaces you couldn't see: a new engine and transmission. This year's upgrades are all about what we can see: a new front bumper...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post

2018 Toyota C-HR

  • The 2018 Toyota C-HR is a small hatchback that its maker calls a crossover, despite the lack of all-wheel drive. Originally intended for the now-defunct Scion brand, it’s a well-equipped and highly stylized five-door that rides higher than most other cars of its size. The C-HR comes in just two trim levels, XLE and XLE Premium, and its sole...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post

2018 Smart Fortwo

  • After launching a redesigned Smart car a couple of years ago, owner Mercedes-Benz has radically simplified the 2018 Smart Fortwo lineup: it’s available as a coupe or a Cabrio soft-top, but only with a battery-electric powertrain. There’s no longer a gasoline option available. It now comes in three trim levels—Pure, Passion, and...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS is on the warning track. This will be the final year it’s available in this form–a new model will go on sale for the 2019 model year. The CLS-Class earns a good outgoing score of 7.2 on our overall scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.) When it was new in 2006, the CLS defined the so-called...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE doesn’t worry so much about the off-road package it no longer offers, or the world-plundering capability of some British SUVs that rival it in price. It’s a family wagon, first and foremost, and a very good one. With the GLE, Mercedes has crafted an American-built answer to the likes of the Acura MDX and the...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • Mercedes-Benz has built lovely sedans since the very beginning of the automotive age, but it’s adapted well to the SUV era. It has five of them now, and one of the better ones is this. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is the C-Class for most of us, whether it’s a GLC 300, a GLC43 AMG, or a GLC63. Four doors? Plus one, in fact, and...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • That the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a popular pick for mid-lifers pondering their futures may be a small coincidence. The big, comfortable Benz has a similar predicament in the automaker’s lineup. The newest AMG GT does superlative speed more competently, the new S-Class coupes and convertibles do cruising nearly better than the...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • Walk into a Mercedes-Benz showroom and the 2018 Metris is perhaps the vehicle you’d last expect to see. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz Metris is a smaller, commercial-oriented van available in passenger and cargo configurations. Available in fleet-oriented Worker and more configurable standard configurations, the Metris was designed primarily for...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class serves as the most affordable luxury model from the brand and also as a statement for what entry luxury cars can be nowadays. Its looks punch above its starting price, but the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 doesn’t stay affordable for long—many of the features luxury buyers would want on the CLA don’t come...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division has set its three-pointed sights on the world’s serious sports cars, supercars, and even racing cars with its 2018 AMG GT lineup. This year, Mercedes fleshes out the range even further, which begins with the touring-oriented AMG GT and works its way through GT S, GT C, and track-ready GT R variants. GT and...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the full-size flagship of the brand and the car against which other luxury vehicles are measured. This generation made its debut for the 2014 model year and for 2018 it gets an update that includes 6,500 new parts, not including three new engines. It returns just as a sedan for the time being, with V-6, V-8, and...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • Before 2014, if you wanted a compact Mercedes, you had to buy a C-Class. Not very small at all, right? Then came the CLA, and a year later, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. At last, Mercedes had its first real small cars in a generation, and its first front-wheel-drive cars for American buyers. The GLA arrived in the 2015 model year, and for 2018 gets...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport is the smaller of the two Rogue crossovers. It’s tastefully styled with versatility that we’d expect from a crossover, and even its relative lack of power doesn’t sour us on the Rogue Sport. Its value compared to the bigger Rogue does. We give the Rogue Sport a 6.0 on our overall scale with praise for...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • Del Boca Vista may be a fictional community for retired Cadillac drivers like Morty Seinfeld, but one company is set to feature a real-world Del Boca Vista—a retirement community near Orlando—as the setting for the world’s largest self-driving car test. Voyage, a Florida-based startup focused on robo-taxi services, will offer...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • 2018 Hyundai Kona rated at 30 mpg–with a catch The 2018 Hyundai Kona's outlandish styling isn't the only thing likely to grab buyers' attention when it goes on sale in the next few months. The EPA rates front-wheel drive versions of the quirky, pint-size crossover at 30 mpg combined, but there's a big fuel-economy hit for the Kona's optional...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • Looks alone don’t tell the story of the 2018 Bentley Bentayga. From the outside, the automaker’s first SUV appears to fit with the stable of high-priced, high-luxury coupes and sedans. From the inside, the Bentayga relays the same opulence of the Continental and some of the ceremony of the Mulsanne. Start up the twin-turbo...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • It seems hard to call something understated when it wears a crest from Stuttgart on its hood, but the 2018 Porsche Cayenne has defied convention ever since it arrived. The automaker’s big SUV single-handedly makes Porsche’s sports cars possible today; the Cayenne has brought the automaker from the brink and into beaucoup profits in a...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Porsche Panamera does nearly all the things all the time—and even more this year. It’s the 911 of sedans, just as Porsche intended it to be, and in our eyes it rates 8.4 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.) There are a staggering 15 models from which to choose: base cars, all-wheel-drive Panamera 4 and 4S cars...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Ford Transit Connect is a relatively stylish commercial vehicle you may see a dozen times a day without realizing it. A family version called the Transit Connect Wagon is offered in XL, XLT, and Titanium trim levels, while the commercial variants come in a dizzying variety of wheelbases, body heights, and configurations. Changes for 2018...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Ford Fiesta bears the brunt of The Car Connection’s objective ratings. Small cars just don’t fare as well in categories like comfort and safety, by nature. Even in fuel economy, the smallest cars often lose out to larger cars with better aerodynamics. That said, we don’t find it difficult to find a Fiesta we like. Skip...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi are now in their sixth model year, older than any competing mid-size sedans with high-efficiency hybrid or plug-in versions. Mildly refreshed last year, the Fusion remains a good-looking sedan with a comfortable and stylish interior. The hybrid Fusion has four trim levels: the base S, the mid-level SE...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Ford Super Duty series spans a wide spectrum of big pickup trucks including swanky, near-luxury models, bare-bones work trucks, towing champs, and nearly every step in between. It was redesigned last year to bring the big rigs in line with its best-selling Ford F-150 light-duty models. Both trucks share similar cabs, trim levels, and...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • We loved the Ford Flex when it was new. Then again, we also loved the iPhone’s 2G connectivity, the Atlanta Thrashers, and Chicago’s Summer Olympic bid in the same year. We’re not fickle, we’ve just outlived most of those things. The Flex—still sold in SE, SEL, and Limited trims—is the lone survivor in that...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Ford Focus has broad appeal, maybe too broad to digest at a glance. Commuting daily? There’s a Focus for that. Into the gas-mileage lifestyle? There’s one of those, too. How about shredding tires as a part of your daily ablutions? Check. The Focus family runs the gamut from miserly sedans and hatchbacks to legitimate track...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Ford C-Max, now in its sixth and final model year, is a tall compact hatchback available only as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid. It launched in 2013 as the company’s response to the popular and fuel efficient Toyota Prius. The higher-volume C-max Hybrid suffered from a pair of reductions in its EPA fuel-economy rating, and has not sold...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Fiat 500X is in its third year as the first Fiat designed specifically for North American buyers. Small crossovers are hugely popular right now, and the 500X adds sales to the aging Fiat lineup with a mix of Italian style and utility-vehicle practicality. We rate the 2018 Fiat 500X at 6.3 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate...

Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Advanta-STAR Automotive Research
Blog Post
  • The 2018 Fiat 124 Spider's name traces its roots back to the 1960s, but its bones are much newer than that. The two-seat sports car shares a structure with the Mazda MX-5 Miata, but the Fiat makes an effort to strike its own path. While it is built in Japan by Mazda, it has Italian model names like Classica, Lusso, and Abarth, unique styling, and...

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