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The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse aims to take on stiff SUV competition Cars is your go-to resource for coverage of local car news, events, and reviews. In the market for a car or truck? Check out our new car specials and used car specials curated by our local dealer network.

The redesigned-for-2018 Chevrolet Traverse is one of four updated crossover and SUV models from the bow-tie brand, joining Trax, Bolt EV, and Equinox. 

  1. screen-lift

Improvements over the first- and second-generation Traverse models are significant. First, there’s the updated drivetrain. Earlier models were equipped with outdated 3.5-liter V6 engines and six-speed automatic gearboxes, which crushed any hope of comfort while driving long distances. The new model has a 3.6-liter V6 paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, which provides road-tripping bliss. In our time test-driving the Traverse, we found its form and function are all about comfort and control, especially given the major upgrades over the previous model.

The most obvious updates come in the form of overhauled styling. The new Traverse is offered in seven trims: L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier, and finally, High Country, which adds a luxurious feeling that you otherwise might not associate with Chevrolet. An available 7- or 8-inch MyLink infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but responsiveness is lacking. After a few hours of use, plugging in and removing a phone prompted delays and necessary system restarts.  

The Traverse is a large SUV, and it has storage capacity to match. With 98.2 cubic feet of space behind the first row, 57.8 behind the second row, and 23 behind the third row, the Traverse can fit just about anything you throw into it. Those numbers award the Chevrolet Traverse “best-in-class” for cargo volume, according to U.S. News World Report. The Traverse also offers 5,000 pounds of towing capacity when things don’t quite fit inside.

The interior of the Traverse has more cargo space than any other SUV in its class. —Austin Rexinger

What the experts are saying:

“Fully redesigned for 2018, the Chevrolet Traverse kicks off its new generation as one of the best in the class. Whether you buy it as a value-packed eight-seat SUV or roll with the versatile seven-seat version, you get gobs of cargo space and good-natured driving dynamics.“ — U.S. News World Report

“The Traverse provides buyers a comfortable, well-equipped, mid-size, seven-seat SUV with excellent safety, value, and utility for the money. I especially like the reassurance of Chevrolet’s OnStar, teen driver configuration, and onboard Wi-Fi availability.” —Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst, Cox Automotive

The Good:

  1. The nine-speed automatic transmission dramatically improves the overall ride quality compared with the earlier six-speed editions. This also improves fuel economy, which the automaker says is 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the highway. During our test, we observed 20.6 miles per gallon driving on a mix of interstates and cobblestones in Massachusetts. 
  2. On the topic of fuel economy, Auto Stop is included within the redesigned 3.6-liter V6. This feature turns off the engine while stopped at a traffic light, and saves you money at the gas pump. It feels smooth compared with similar functionality in other vehicles, and allows for a more relaxed drive around the city.
  3. Looks are subjective, but the redesign’s smooth lines and aggressive front fascia mimic the looks of the Traverse’s larger, more expensive Tahoe sibling. That’s a great thing.

The Bad:

  1. The Traverse received a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but the Traverse lacks adaptive cruise control and automatic braking as standard equipment. 
  2. There is no sportiness whatsoever. It’s not a sports car by any means, but the “S” in SUV stands for “sport,” right? Many vehicles in this segment highlight sportiness with tight steering and handling, but the Traverse does not.

The rear hatch opens high and wide for ease of loading and unloading your belongings. —Austin Rexinger

Under the Hood:

Engine: 3.6-liter V6 (as tested), the new RS will feature a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic with manual mode

Drivetrain: Front-wheel-drive, available all-wheel-drive (as tested)

Power: 310-horsepower, 266 pound-feet of torque

Fuel economy: 18/27 (front-wheel-drive), 17/25 (all-wheel-drive) miles per gallon city/highway. We observed 20.6 miles per gallon.

0-60 acceleration: 6.9 seconds (manufacturer estimate)

Also Consider:

Volkswagen Atlas: The Volkswagen Atlas is the way to go if you’re looking for a sportier ride. The ride quality is smooth but still sharp around corners. Improvements in handling come with a sacrifice in power. The optional 3.6-liter V6 in the Atlas only puts out 276-horsepower compared to 310-horsepower from the American V6.

Mazda CX-9: Mazda’s largest SUV is surprisingly exciting to drive, but like the Atlas, it’s down on power compared to the Traverse — at least on paper. When you drive both, you quickly realize the CX-9′s turbocharged engine surges past the American’s and German’s with 310 pound-feet of torque, compared with an identical 266 pound-feet from both 3.6-liter V6s.

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Congestion Plan for Manhattan Gets Mixed Reviews

The plan, which was outlined in a report released Friday, would create a congestion zone stretching from 60th Street south to the Battery, from the Hudson River to the East River. Trucks and commercial vehicles would be charged a fee of $25.34 to enter during peak traffic times. The plan would also impose a surcharge of $2 to $5 on trips in for-hire vehicles, including yellow taxis and Uber cars, in much of Manhattan.

While congestion pricing has been adopted in cities around the world including London, Stockholm and Singapore, it has never been tried in New York despite repeated attempts going back to at least the 1970s. Its basic premise is that traffic can be reduced by charging a fee or toll at peak hours that would serve as a disincentive to drivers. An effort by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2008 would have charged a fee of $8 to drive into Midtown and Lower Manhattan, but it died in the State Assembly without coming to a vote.

Mr. Cuomo said that he would review the task force’s report and discuss options with state lawmakers over the next several months. He can reject any or all of the plan.

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat who is up for re-election this year, almost certainly faces a legislative battle over congestion pricing, especially with lawmakers from the boroughs outside Manhattan who fear that a congestion plan would hurt their constituents who drive because they have limited access to subways and buses. Mr. Cuomo once expressed doubt about the chances for congestion pricing before declaring in August that it was an idea whose time has come.”

In a statement Friday, Mr. Cuomo said that “as a born-and-raised Queens boy, I have outer-borough blood in my veins, and it is my priority that we keep costs down for hard-working New Yorkers, and encourage use of mass transit.”

Though the task force did not recommend lowering the cost of existing tolls on bridges in the other boroughs, Mr. Cuomo added that would be part of “any plan ultimately passed.”

The plan was embraced by subway riders, transportation advocates and business leaders who said that the worsening congestion was choking not just the streets but also the local economy.


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“Any plan will have critics, but there is an urgent problem that congestion pricing is intended to address: eight million New Yorkers are stuck on a transit system that is increasingly dysfunctional and unreliable,” said John Raskin, the executive director of the Riders Alliance, an advocacy group. “I challenge the naysayers to look subway riders in the eye and tell them we don’t need this money to modernize the transit system.”

In a shift, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has opposed congestion pricing, also seemed cautiously open to the plan. “This plan certainly shows improvement over previous plans we’ve seen,” Mr. de Blasio said during a radio appearance on WNYC, calling it “definitely a step in the right direction.”

But there were sighs and complaints from drivers who live or work inside the congestion zone, and others who said the proposed fees were unfair.

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Brian Flores, 43, a bank technician who drives in from New Jersey, said he found the idea of congestion pricing appalling. “I have to pay more to come into the city?” he asked. “Absolutely not.”

Kendra Hems, president of the Trucking Association of New York, an industry group, said the congestion plan would harm hundreds of trucking companies and increase the cost of deliveries for medical equipment to hospitals, food to restaurants, building materials to construction sites and orders to online shoppers. “Truck drivers cannot use mass transit to make deliveries,” she said. “They have no choice but to enter the commercial business district at the time that their customer requests.”

Several state lawmakers also criticized the proposed fees. “I will fight any scheme which punishes Staten Islanders as they commute to work,” said State Senator Andrew Lanza, a Republican. “The Manhattan elitists don’t want outer borough residents clogging their streets.”

Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senator John Flanagan, the majority leader, said that while the chamber’s Republicans would consider the report, they were “always wary of imposing additional cost burdens on hardworking taxpayers and doing anything that makes it less affordable to live and work in New York.”

Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Carl E. Heastie, the Democratic speaker of the Assembly, said they would be reviewing the report. “As the speaker has said, we need to develop a long term funding plan for our mass transit system,” Mr. Whyland said.

The task force recommended rolling out a congestion plan in three stages, beginning this year with investments in the public transit system in the boroughs outside Manhattan, followed in 2019 by a new surcharge on for-hire vehicles, including yellow taxis and Uber cars, which would be paid by passengers.


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The congestion zone — the last phase of the plan — would not begin until 2020. Trucks would be charged first, and after any problems were smoothed out, the congestion zone fee would be extended to all vehicles, except for buses and for-hire vehicles.

Drivers coming into Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge and Queensboro Bridge would not be charged if they headed north out of the congestion zone along the F.D.R. Drive. That is not possible for drivers on the Williamsburg or Manhattan bridges.

And those already paying tolls at the Lincoln, Holland, Queens-Midtown and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels would receive a credit against the congestion fee for the tolls.

Task force members said they suggested $11.52 because it is the round-trip toll for cars taking the Queens-Midtown and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels. That fee could go higher during rush hour, or lower at night, and be extended to weekends.

In total, the congestion plan would raise between $1 billion and $1.5 billion annually, according to estimates.

Bruce Schaller, a former city transportation official who has written about Manhattan congestion, said the task force’s plan was a good starting point for a larger public discussion as the details of a congestion plan are worked out.

“It’s a workable and effective plan and it’s going to take a lot of effort to get it adopted and implemented,” he said. “It will be worth that effort.”

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The 2018 Nissan Armada is overkill of the best sort

The 2018 Nissan Armada is overkill, and the roads of New England are better for it. The Armada is in its sophomore year of a second generation. The first-generation felt like an enclosed version of the Titan pickup, and that’s mostly because it was.

This long-due replacement is once again based on a platform shared with the Titan, but it finally differentiates itself. Yes, the new Titan is more refined, but the Armada feels more like the Infiniti QX80, its  luxury counterpart, more than ever before. In fact, the Armada is basically a re-badged version of the Patrol, an upscale SUV commonly found in the Middle East.

Climbing into the Armada, you quickly realize how elevated you are off the road. Your eye level is closer to that of big-rig divers than the lowly Honda Fit scattering along below. Luckily, the Armada provides ample visibility to see all these smaller vehicles.

Despite its massive size, the power driver’s seat does not slide far enough back for my long legs to fully extend, as they would in a Suburban. But the second row more than makes up for it, with plenty of rear legroom.

The Armada has an upscale cabin, similar to that of the related Infiniti luxury brand. —George Kennedy

In the cabin, the Armada features an upscale feel. The layout isn’t as clear as other modern vehicles, but it has some of the hand-me-down class of Infiniti vehicles from the past few years.

Trims for the 2018 Armada are SV, SL, Platinum, and Platinum Reserve, like our test model. The base SV is loaded up with new standard features, including 18-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, dark painted roof rails, heated front seats, Bose 13-speaker stereo, and a standard 8-inch touchscreen with integrated navigation system.

Platinum Reserve, which could be the best trim name on a new car, boasts heated second-row seats, heated and cooled front-row seats, a heated steering wheel, 20-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, and leather upholstery. It also includes high-tech safety gear, such as blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision avoidance, lane-departure warning, and intelligent backup intervention, which will brake the vehicle if it senses you’re getting too close to an object.

Nissan is partial to using its 5.6-liter V8 in trucks and large SUVs, including the Armada. In this application, it makes 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through a new seven-speed automatic to the rear wheels, or available four-wheel drive.

The Armada makes more than enough power, and jumps off the line in a way that no twin-turbo V6 can replace. The V8 just has that telltale “lurch” that gives the Armada the “truck feel” that many buyers of large SUVs actually want.

The Armada features strong, accurate brakes — and despite its size — decent cornering and a respectable turning radius.

The 2018 Nissan Armada has an imposing presence from any angle. —George Kennedy

One major setback is fuel economy: The four-wheel-drive version of the Armada returns an EPA-estimated 13 miles per gallon in the city, 18 on the highway, and 15 combined. In our time of mostly city driving, we barely scraped 10 miles per gallon. Drivers of big SUVs have pretty much come to expect these kinds of numbers. Those same owners will be pleased with the Armada’s 8,500-pound towing capacity, which is at least 1,000 pounds more than its closest competition.

Base MSRP for the 2018 Nissan Armada is $45,600. Four-wheel drive brings the price to $48,500. An SL trim starts at $50,850, and a Platinum starts at $59,190. Our range-topping 4×4 Platinum Reserve clocked in at $63,485.

That’s quite a hefty sum to pay for a Nissan, but consider that the QX80 starts at $64,750 and can cost more than $82,000 with full options. But with the Armada in the lineup, you almost don’t need the QX80 — that’s how opulent and capable the Armada really is.

Under the Hood

Engine: 5.6-liter V8
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic transmission
Drivetrain: Four-wheel drive
Power: 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque
Towing Capacity: 8,500 pounds
Also Consider: Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, Toyota Sequoia, GMC Yukon

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2019 Jeep Cherokee Video Review

CARS.COM — If you found the Jeep Cherokee a little funky for your taste in terms of styling, Jeep has made a substantial visual update to its popular SUV for the 2019 model year. The biggest change up front is the headlights: No longer are there driving lights that sit up high in a sort of fanglike unit versus the lower-positioned actual headlights; they’ve been consolidated into a single bezel that’s still a little fanglike, but it sits above conventional foglights.

Related: More 2018 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

Combine that with the redesigned taillights and we see a lot of similarities with the Grand Cherokee and the Compass, two other SUVs from the Jeep brand. We got up close to the updated-for-2019 Cherokee earlier this week at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

For more on the Cherokee’s interior, cargo space and performance specs, watch the video above.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey

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Tesla Model 3: Elon Musk’s mass-market car is a magic carpet ride …

Tesla’s Model 3 is the most highly anticipated car of the 21st century. It may be the most eagerly awaited car of all time.

More than 450,000 people put down $1,000 refundable deposits to reserve one of the “affordable” battery electric sedans after Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk unveiled the car and inaugurated the waiting list in March 2016.

Since then, online forums and automotive news websites have breathlessly reported every Musk tweet, production delay or postponed delivery date.

Now the first Model 3s are rolling away from the Fremont factory, and we were able to secure one for a long holiday weekend test drive.

2018 Honda Accord Review: Attention Must Be Paid

Now in its 10th generation, Honda’s mid-size sedan is lower and wider than before, with sunken seating positions and a more coupelike profile (compare it with the 2017 model here). It comes in five trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L and Touring. Its base drivetrain is a turbocharged, 1.5-liter four-cylinder (192 horsepower, 192 pounds-feet of torque) and continuously variable automatic transmission. Compare the trim levels here.

Replacing 2017′s optional V-6 engine is a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder (252 hp, 273 pounds-feet of torque) and a new 10-speed automatic on the Sport, EX-L and Touring. The Sport offers a six-speed manual with either engine, which marks the first time in a decade you can get a stick shift with the top engine on an Accord sedan. Honda hopes that will satisfy those who mourn the discontinued Accord coupe.

At a Honda media preview in New Hampshire, I drove automatic and manual versions with both engines. (Per company policy, pays for its airfare and lodging at such automaker-hosted events.) Other editors also evaluated the 2018 Accord at’s offices, and we’ve tested every major Accord competitor.

How It Drives

The turbo 1.5-liter four-cylinder has more than adequate oomph for a base engine, with enough on tap for sustained uphill climbs on twisting mountain roads. The automatic transmission has some telltale nonlinearity starting out, common with CVTs, but it fakes a nice gear-kickdown sensation when you call for more power at cruising speed. The optional turbo 2.0-liter is palpably quicker off the line: Stand on the gas and it launches with a fierceness reminiscent of the Chevrolet Malibu’s excellent turbo 2.0-liter. The Camry’s big V-6 feels quicker if you rev it all the way out — the Toyota thunders ahead where the Accord plateaus a bit — but Honda’s 2.0-liter turbo brings snappy punchiness that’s entertaining in its own right.

Row your own gears, and the 1.5- and 2.0-liter engines feel more similar. The six-speed manual has a high clutch take-up and medium throws, but swift accelerator response that makes for easy rev-matching. Aside from some noticeable turbo lag with the 1.5-liter, both engines have similar power characteristics, with torque that comes early and stays late. The 2.0-liter just has notably more of it.

The Accord Sport has a sport-tuned suspension with fixed-firmness shock absorbers, while the Accord Touring has a softer overall ride but with adaptive shocks and adjustable firmness. I drove both, and ride quality is firm either way because 19-inch wheels and low-profile P235/40R19 tires accompany both trim levels regardless of engine. The adaptive shock absorbers add a degree of control that evokes a pricier car, and even the Accord Sport stops short of the prior Accord’s deliberate choppiness. The adaptive shocks change firmness in Sport mode, but I didn’t observe a huge difference between the modes. One editor thought the Touring rode well overall, but I found both setups busy. If isolation and comfort is all you want, look elsewhere in this class or consider the other trim levels, which pair a third suspension setup (regular, non-sport tuning with no adjustability) with 17-inch wheels and higher-profile tires. Honda didn’t have any such trims to evaluate at my drive event.

Handling recalls the well-mannered Honda Civic, with quick-ratio steering and limited body roll. Flick the wheel a few degrees and the nose reorients immediately. Nose-heavy understeer comes steadily if you push the car hard — an area in which the Camry (yes, really) and Ford Fusion have an edge — but the Accord’s dynamics are far from a liability.

Outside and In

No longer an Acura lookalike, the Accord charts its own styling territory with a plunging grille and C-shaped taillights. Slightly lower and wider than the prior sedan, it bears a coupelike profile and cab-rearward glass. The A-pillars sit some 4 inches back versus the old Accord, and the roofline settles into a continuous descent toward the trunk, which recalls the Civic sedan.

It’s all part of a hunkered-down stance that translates into slightly lower seating positions front and rear. Some may not like the driving position, which feels distinctly lower than many rivals — the Camry in particular — even when you raise the driver’s seat. The passenger gets no such provision; the Accord is overdue for a passenger height adjustment.

The same situation goes for the backseat, which has abundant legroom but sits low to the floor. Adult passengers may find their knees uncomfortably elevated — a characteristic common in this class, though higher-seating sedans like the Fusion avoid it. Still, parents should note that the overall clearance helped the Accord fare well in’s Car Seat Check.

The dashboard is simple and low-set, with a tabletlike multimedia system and prominent knobs for the climate and stereo controls. Speaking of which, sanity has prevailed at Honda: The Accord gets physical stereo buttons as well as volume and tuning knobs instead of the aggravating touch-sensitive controls on many versions of the old car. The touchscreen itself (a 7-inch unit on LX models or an 8-incher with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and over-the-air updates everywhere else) has intuitive menus and quick response, with tiled apps on the home screen that you can customize as on a smartphone. Another editor found the system a bit unintuitive, but it’s a step in the right direction for Honda, which needs to spread this across its other cars pronto.

Sanity has prevailed at Honda: The Accord gets physical stereo buttons as well as volume and tuning knobs instead of the aggravating touch-sensitive controls on many versions of the old car.

The opposite is true for the 10-speed automatic transmission’s push-button gear selector, which — as in other Hondas with this gear selector — is needlessly complicated and doesn’t save any console room, a purported advantage of electronic shifters. In 1.5-liter cars, at least, the CVT has a conventional automatic shifter with traditional Park-to-Drive operation.

Cabin quality takes two steps forward and one step back. Soft-touch materials cover the upper doors and armrests up front, and stitched padding girds the center console on higher trim levels. Many controls have elegant two-tone detailing, and none felt rickety in my preproduction test cars. Yet ribbons of cheap, shiny plastic span mid-level areas on the doors and dash, and the rear doors revert to cheaper materials — an area where many competitors and the prior Accord maintain more consistent quality.

Value and Pricing

Impressively, standard features include full-speed adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and true lane-centering steering, not just the gradual assist that pinballs you off lane markings. The automatic braking notched top scores in testing from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, capping off excellent scores in the agency’s safety evaluations. (See scores for all family sedans here.) The Accord’s standard LED headlights earned only an acceptable score (out of poor, marginal, acceptable and good), while upgraded LEDs on the Accord Touring scored even worse: marginal.

Pricing starts around $24,500 for a 1.5-liter Accord LX — competitive with rivals that have standard auto braking — and tops out at nearly $37,000 for a 2.0-liter Touring with the full slate of factory options. An Accord Hybrid is coming in early 2018, but complete details are still pending.

Climb the trim levels and you can get power front seats with heating and ventilation, heated rear seats, wireless smartphone charging, leather upholstery and in-car Wi-Fi. All of that should bring plenty of shoppers despite a tough environment for mid-size sedans: One in every 6.3 new cars sold five years ago was a family sedan, per Automotive News. Today, the group accounts for one of every 9.8 sales.

Still, one thing is common between those two eras: the dominance of the Camry and Accord, which are the sales leaders for both periods. On back-to-back driving loops, the new Accord fights its rival to a draw. Honda’s redesign is far from the best at everything, but its qualities demand a hard look from all family-sedan shoppers. Plenty of them will end up choosing the Accord, and that should cement Honda’s sales popularity for years to come.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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Project CARS 2 Performance Review

Shortly after the release of Project CARS (Community Assisted Racing Simulator), Slightly Mad Studios and World of Mass Development started fundraising for its sequel. Project CARS 2 launched worldwide last September, and is based on the same in-house Madness Engine development framework.

But the addition of SMS’ LiveTrack 3.0 environmental simulation system makes Project CARS 2 more realistic. Your experience over the course of multiple races changes as the track surface, temperature, and weather vary.

Project CARS 2 for the PC remains a DirectX 11-based game, even though the 3D engine is supposed to be DirectX 12-capable. You’re still able to play across three 4K screens (if you have the graphics horsepower) or a VR HMD. Excited yet? Let’s see how well the game runs.

Benchmark Sequence

It is always difficult to choose a test sequence when the game has no integrated benchmark. We therefore picked an easy circuit (meaning we can easily reproduce it over and over): Autodromo Nazionale Monza GP Historic, with 15 vehicles on the track and slightly cloudy weather. Watch the recording of our test in the video below:

Incidentally, by repeating this sequence for each card, we rose to the top of the world ranking for this track behind the wheel of Toyota’s TS040 Hybrid. Here’s hoping it’s a Tom’s Hardware reader who unseats us from the throne!

Minimum Recommended System Requirements

Steam’ page for the game conveys minimum and recommended system configurations for playing Project CARS 2. Graphics seem to be the most important consideration, though a quad-core CPU with high clock rates appears necessary, too. Of course, we’ll make it our mission to determine if that’s a critical specification.

MORE: Star Wars Battlefront II Performance Review

MORE: Wolfenstein II Performance Review

MORE: Destiny 2 Performance Review

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BMW X2 Video Review

CARS.COM — Another year, another luxury SUV. This time it’s the X2, a vehicle based on BMW’s X1. Yes, the automaker continues to expand its already-large SUV lineup, and the X2 is the newest member. It made its North American debut at the 2018 Detroit auto show.

Related: More 2018 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

BMW announced the concept version of the X2 more than a year ago, and though the production model wars more toned-down styling, the resemblance is evident. The new X2 looks more like a hatchback with its low roofline and upswept tail. It actually rides about 3 inches lower than the X1, too.

The interior is similar to the X1′s, with a low, stacked dashboard and tablelike multimedia screen above the center air vents. A 6.5-inch display is standard, with a 6.5- or 8.8-inch touchscreen optional; you can also control the action through BMW’s familiar iDrive controller below. Cord-free Apple CarPlay is optional, but Android Auto is unavailable.

Many areas have decorative stitching, with a vinyl wrap on portions of the center console. Vinyl upholstery is standard; leather is optional. A panoramic moonroof is another option. In back, the seat folds in a 40/20/40 split, opening up 50.1 cubic feet of maximum cargo room, 15 percent less than the what the X1 offers.

Watch the video for more.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey

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2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom Video Review

CARS.COM — Whenever you see a Rolls-Royce driving by, even an old one, it has a certain stately, imposing allure to it. Well, there’s nothing old about the eighth-generation redesign of Rolls-Royce’s flagship sedan, the Phantom. Rolls-Royce says the 2018 Phantom rides on an all-new, bespoke platform that doesn’t underpin anything else yet, but it will underpin Rolls-Royce models to come.

Related: More 2018 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The model we saw at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this week was the regular-wheelbase version of the car, which is a little bit shorter than the outgoing model, believe it or not. But make no mistake: It’s still a gigantic car.

For more on the new exterior design, as well as the cabin appointments for which “extravagant” is far too tame a term — there’s an LED night-sky headliner customizable with your favorite constellations — watch the video above.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey

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Early reviews heap praise on Tesla’s Model 3, with a few caveats

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A TESLA Model 3 is shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 30, 2017.

Reviews of the Tesla Model 3 praise the car as a futuristic, mold-breaking car that may be the best electric vehicle at its price point. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

Overall, Tesla’s first attempt at a less expensive car than their higher-end S and X models has received strong acclaim for its smooth, quiet ride, uniquely minimalist interior and dashboard, and body design.

But some reviewers have taken issue with aspects of the car’s unorthodox features, such Tesla’s choice to forego a traditional instrument cluster in front of the driver in favor of a large monitor in the center of the dashboard. Some reviewers say they heard of or experienced a few flaws in the car’s build quality.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shows off the Tesla Semi as he unveils the company's new electric semi truck during a presentation in Hawthorne, California, U.S., November 16, 2017.

Tesla has loaned out almost no press cars, so reviewers typically borrowed cars from owners, or rode in one at a Tesla event. And while the Model 3 is advertised with a starting price of $35,000, the company has begun production with more expensive versions that have longer range and added features. Many of the cars reviewed were priced more in the mid-$40,000 to mid-$50,000 range.

As Tesla always said it would, the car lacks many of the “bells and whistles” of the pricier Model S. It does not offer the performance of Tesla’s ridiculously quick Model S P100D car (which sells for $150,000). But the Model 3 can go from 0-60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds, Tesla has said. For reference that is more than a full second quicker than the $37,495 electric Chevrolet Bolt, which hits 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 6.5 seconds.

Tesla Model 3 exterior view.

But overall, reviewers say the car is quick, handles well and is fun to drive.

“It’s one thing to discover driving joy in a sports car that was painstakingly engineered to tickle the pleasure neurons of autocrossers and track rats,” said Road Track. “Finding that in a family sedan — a car aimed at entry-luxury four-door buyers, the silver drones of white collar office parks worldwide — is an unexpected delight.”

The design of the Model 3 is “derivative, in a good way,” said USA Today in one of its two reviews.

The car does bear a close resemblance to the Model S, with some important differences. First, it is shorter — around the size of a Honda Civic, said a review in Jalopnik. It is also not a hatchback, though its trunk is quite large, said a review by Autotrader.

In addition, the car is “bigger than Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt and most of the rest of the competition, so it might be in a class of its own,” said Autoweek.

The interior is simple and spare.“The Model 3′s dashboard is an exercise in fanatical minimalism,” said Road Track.

Knobs, buttons or other controls are mostly absent. Almost everything is controlled through a large horizontal touchscreen centered on the dashboard. This gives the cabin a clean, minimalist look reviewers extolled.

Tesla Model 3 interior rear view.

However, the “spare, stark layout of the Model 3′s cabin makes the touch screen look tacked on, rather than neatly integrated,” said Consumer Reports. Some reviewers said they would have preferred to not have to use the touchscreen for some functions. But using the screen might be no problem for people who used smartphones before they learned how to drive, Jalopnik said.

Tesla model 3 touch screen dashboard.

The Autopilot user interface could have been better, said a reviewer at The Drive, who drove the car across the entire U.S. in an “electric cannonball run” that ran just over 50 hours.

Reviews did mention that there has been talk among early buyers of build quality issues, and there are a few reports of defects. There were issues with the steering wheel freezing up and the display showing glitches while the car is charging, said one owner. At least one reviewer reported that some owners have criticized gaps between door panels on the vehicle.

Tesla Model 3 backseat interior.

“It appears that the Model 3 is definitely showing some issues of a first-year car,” said GQ.

However, a reviewer at Jalopnik had a hard time finding flaws in the build quality of the vehicle he drove.

Many Tesla owners who do find flaws may forgive them. Consumer Reports at one point gave Tesla’s other sedan, the Model S, an average reliability rating, citing a number of issues, from reports of squeaks and rattles to stories of owners replacing the entire powertrain. Despite this, Tesla owners are exceptionally satisfied with their cars and are loyal to the brand, Consumer Reports said.

Tesla, though, will have to convince many more consumers to buy the Model 3 if they want to transition from niche car maker to the mass market.

“Nearly 500,000 early adopters have put down $1,000 deposits for a Model 3,” said USA Today. “That’s a good start, but true success will require a zero to be added to that figure.”

Tesla delivers the first Model 3s


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