Getting dirty in the 2014 Toyota 4Runner 4x4 Trail

Meet the 2014 Toyota 4Runner 4x4 Trail Premium: a simple, old dog that's learned a few new tricks in this latest generation. On paper, it's rocking a 12-year-old power-train that's as dumb as a bag of hammers, but atop those hammers is a bit of high-tech intelligence with an Advanced Traction Control system. At a glance, the chunky dashboard looks like a child's toy, but powering the infotainment is Toyota's Web-connected, app-based Entune system. No doubt you've already seen the middling star rating above, but I actually enjoyed my week spent with Big Red.… Read more

Mundane-looking 2015 Audi A3 first with 4G

As we swooped up a curving mountain road, shielded from the bright, spring sunshine by tall Redwoods, CNET editor Antuan Goodwin and I discussed the signature driving feel of Audi cars. Appropriately enough, we were driving the 2015 Audi A3, the new sedan replacing the older A3 small wagon. The words light and easy came to mind. Quattro-equipped Audis also inspire confidence in their handling.

This new A3 exhibited these qualities, and seemed to further refine a driving ideal to which Audi engineers are working.

As Audi's new entry level car, the A3 starts at a price just under $… Read more

Ford Fiesta ST is full of thrills

As Subaru will only offer the WRX and STI in sedan formats, the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST may well be the hottest hatchback in the land. In ST form, the little Fiesta subcompact gets 197 horsepower, a suspension affording easy apex rotation, and brakes that shave off just the right amount of speed. Down a twisty track, I reveled in the perfectly responsive steering.

The only thing I found to complain about with the Fiesta ST is that the car just isn't outrageous enough. The array of bright colors (green envy, race red, and molten orange) don't quite … Read more

Top-tier RS 7 is a tech car in track-ready trim

The Audi RS 7 Quattro is one of those cars that tries to do it all. Not content to just be good at one thing or to be a jack-of-all-trades, the RS 7 tries to be great at everything...and pulls it off. It's possibly the most "total package" car that I'll drive this year. Startlingly fast, quite comfortable, and extremely high tech, they don't come much more "CNET-style" than this.

Power and performance The most powerful of Audi's A7-chassis cars, the RS runs on a 4.0-liter V-8 engine that is … Read more

Geneva auto show's perfect storm of tech and exotica

Some auto shows fizzle, hitting a dead zone in product cycles so that manufacturers have little of note to announce. This year in Geneva, the opposite happened, with automakers from every segment showing off exciting new models and concepts.

There were supercars and hypercars. There were compact SUVs and hot hybrids. There were cars of the past and of the future. And Apple joined a couple of automakers to give the first public look at CarPlay, formerly known as iOS in the Car.

The show stealers were the exotics, vehicles that sell in limited quantities at prices ranging from a … Read more

Koenigsegg: There can be only One:1

GENEVA -- They call it the first megawatt car because its turbocharged 5-liter V-8 produces 1,000 kilowatts. That's 1,341 in horsepower. They named it the One:1, because it has a power-to-weight ratio of one horsepower per kilogram.

Swedish automaker Koenigsegg brought its new One:1 supercar to the Geneva auto show, demonstrating an unparalleled level of engineering. In silver and black, this road legal Agera R sibling can make it up to 273 mph.

More extraordinary, Koenigsegg notes that the One:1 can make it to 248 mph, 400 kmh, in just 20 seconds.

Carbon fiber … Read more

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is a sharper, slightly compromised sedan

GENEVA -- BMW has proven that it will explore just about any niche that it can in order to deliver to its drivers that Goldilocks car configuration, but the newly unveiled BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe has me wondering if the automaker isn't just messing with us.

Recently, BMW split the BMW 3 Series line in two. Models with four or more doors kept the 3 Series badge and two-door models were redesignated the 4 Series. However, the new 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe that debuted at the Geneva auto show this week has four doors. It is … Read more

2015 Nissan Juke's got the love

GENEVA -- The Nissan Juke has been a love-it-or-hate-it kind of car, but it seems the lovers have won out, as the Juke has proved extremely popular in the global market, such that Nissan didn't make any radical changes to the funky little crossover for the 2015 model year.

In fact, the styling changes emphasize the 2015 Nissan Juke's flair.

Headlight and taillight casings gain Nissan's boomerang shape, also seen on the GT-R and 370Z. As before, the headlight casings form part of the architecture of the front fenders. A larger wheel arch up front also accentuates … Read more

2015 Jeep Renegade: American-designed, Italian-crafted

GENEVA -- The first thing that you'll notice upon approaching the 2015 Jeep Renegade is how compact it is. About the size of a Nissan Cube, the all-new Renegade will be the smallest model in Jeep's lineup when it hits the road and trail later this year.

The automaker stresses that while this Jeep Jr. may be small in stature, it won't be any less capable than its larger siblings -- at least the "4x4 Trail Rated" Renegade Trailhawk model shouldn't be.

Beneath its bubbly Tek-Tonic styling, the "American-designed, Italian-crafted" Renegade is … Read more

New Audi TT shows up with a techie twist

GENEVA -- The attractive and costly little Audi TT works as a weekend toy for the wealthy or a symptom of midlife crisis, a sports car usually out of reach of the average backroad flogger. That niche must work well for Audi, however, as the 2015 TT, launched at the Geneva auto show, holds the line on this formula.

Looking toward techie wealth it seems, Audi adds a substantial tech twist to the new TT in the form of its Virtual Cockpit.

Styling updates to the new TT are slight, showing in a slightly less rounded roofline and a single-frame … Read more