BY MARK MAYNARD Volkswagen’s diesel-powered Jetta SportWagen is simple, functional and honest. But with a little more back seat space, it could be so much more to so many more users. Clean-diesel technology has evolved from what was once a fringe passenger-car fuel to what is now a mainstream... Read more
By Mark Maynard I was about 5 years old when a new 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III rumbled past, gleaming in black paint and acres of chrome. It was a stop-and-stare moment. Its massive features commanded attention — and I just knew that driving a Lincoln meant success. Five... Read more
By Mark Maynard We all know “You can never go home” to that happy period in our lives with few responsibilities and a muscle car in the driveway. But with the rebirth of some retro-styled muscle cars, aging baby boomers can take a sip from the fountain of youth... Read more

Savvy Sienna

Auto Word June 18, 2010

By Mark Maynard Minivans are warhorses hitched to nonstop lifestyles. There is no vehicle better configured to comfortably carry people and cargo. Yet, these humble machines have wrongly come to represent the driver’s identity: “I drive a minivan, therefore I have no life.” Actually, the minivan driver is so... Read more

Retooled Tucson

Auto Word June 11, 2010

By Mark Maynard The 2010 Hyundai Tucson is new, refocused and mostly improved. This five-passenger crossover is a complete update on the previous model, and it is lighter, roomier and more efficient. It has attractive styling, and its performance has been focused for “fun to drive” — with maybe... Read more
By Mark Maynard Three gullwing coupes bellowed along the front straight at California’s Laguna Seca Raceway sounding very unlike the typical Mercedes-Benz sports car. The trio was part of a test of the SLS AMG, the new coupe built by Mercedes-Benz and engineered by its high-performance division, AMG. The... Read more
BY MARK MAYNARD San Diegans were the first in the United States to get behind the wheel of the 2011 Kia Sorento. It was late November when the re-engineered, midsize crossover christened the new factory in West Point, Ga. And Kia hustled a bunch to the San Diego International... Read more
By Mark Maynard Five years ago in the booming economy of the United States, an automaker could sell just about anything to anybody. Crew-cab pickups became the sedan of choice: $90,000 off-road vehicles never went off road. Porsche brought out a sport-utility vehicle. And Cadillac luxury was defined by... Read more
By Mark Maynard For a little utility van built in Turkey, the new Ford Transit Connect has surprising refinement and drivability. With a few more creature comforts for passengers, such as rear windows that open and rear air conditioning, the Transit Connect could become the single dad’s school bus.... Read more

Roller Derby

Auto Word April 30, 2010

By Mark Maynard It took the city of Vancouver, Canada, seven years to lay an infrastructure for the winter Olympic Games. It took BMW five years after it bought Rolls-Royce to launch the new flagship Phantom, and it started with nothing. When BMW bought the Rolls-Royce brand for $66... Read more