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2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI (left) and Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI (left) and Golf R

2021 Chicago Auto Show "Special Edition" July 15-19Volkswagen announced complete pricing info for its redesigned 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R high-performance 4-door hatchbacks at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show. The ’22 Golf GTI and Golf R kick off the eighth generation of VW’s long-running compact hatchback in the U.S., and they are the only Golfs we’re getting… the non-performance versions of the Golf have been dropped for the American market and essentially replaced on our shores by VW’s new-for-2022 Taos compact crossover SUV.

2022 Jeep Compass

2022 Jeep Compass

2021 Chicago Auto Show "Special Edition" July 15-19The 2020 Chicago Auto Show was the last traditional auto show to take place before the COVID-19 pandemic hit America last year. With COVID restrictions now easing, the 2021 Chicago Auto Show is heralding the return to live, in-person auto shows with a special indoor/outdoor edition of the show, taking place from July 15-19 at the McCormick Place convention center—and Jeep has taken the opportunity to unveil its refreshed-for-2022 Compass compact SUV there.

1975 Chevrolet Caprice Estate wagon, Clean Classics

1975 Chevrolet Caprice Estate wagon

After a year of cancelled car shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s lots of pent-up energy and interest around the 2021 car-event season—car lovers are anxious to get out of the garage and back to their favorite shows and cruise nights. One of our favorite summer “super shows” is the Goodguys Heartland Nationals at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, IA. One of the longest-running events on the Goodguys schedule (this year’s edition was the 30th annual), the Heartland Nats always takes place on the weekend closest to the 4th of July, and regularly draws more than 4000 vehicles. This year’s show enjoyed record-breaking participation: almost 5000 registered vehicles filled the spacious fairgrounds facility.

Prime vs AWD-e

2021 Toyota Prius Prime Limited (left) vs 2021 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e

With hybrid vehicles of all sorts now commonplace in the American new-vehicle market, the Toyota Prius doesn’t get the respect (or sales numbers) it once did. These days, most major manufacturers offer numerous hybrids, plug-in hybrids, or both—and increasingly, these hybrids are versions of regular-line vehicles, not stand-alone, hybrid-only models. The majority are also SUVs—the type of everyday family vehicle American buyers are choosing in greater numbers than 4-door sedans of any stripe.

Subaru Outback Wilderness, 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

Consumer Guide Automotive The Subaru Outback essentially pioneered the concept of the modern SUV-flavored wagon when it debuted for the 1995 model year. Then as now, the Outback is based on a station-wagon version of Subaru’s Legacy midsize sedan. Its passenger-car roots give the Outback better on-road driving dynamics than the typical SUV, while the smart interior packaging, raised ride height, and standard all-wheel drive deliver SUV-worthy levels of passenger/cargo versatility and rough-terrain capability.

2021 Ford Bronco Gallery

2021 Ford Bronco

There’s at least month or so to go before Ford’s revived Bronco starts hitting dealerships in earnest, but at a recent special-preview event we had the opportunity to check out a pair of nicely equipped 4-door Broncos: a First Edition model in Cactus Gray, and a Badlands model in Area 51 (a military/industrial-looking medium gray-blue).

Hyundai Santa Cruz

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Today Hyundai released teaser images of its long-anticipated entry into the pickup-truck market, though as it turns out, that entry is a genre-bending vehicle that doesn’t stick specifically to the standard pickup-truck layout. Hyundai says its new-for-2022 Santa Cruz “shatters both SUV and truck segments, creating an entirely new vehicle category.”

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory

Consumer Guide Automotive We’ll admit that when the first wave of fastback-roofed sport-utility vehicles started hitting the market, kicked off by the BMW X6 back in 2008, we didn’t really “get it.” Why would an automaker take a vehicle that’s primarily designed for utility—heck, the word is right in the name!—and deliberately turn it into something less practical?

2021 Lincoln Nautilus

2021 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label

Consumer Guide Automotive The Lincoln Nautilus midsize 5-passenger crossover debuted for 2019 as a thoroughly revamped version of the Lincoln MKX. In fact, the Nautilus was a key part of Lincoln’s transition away from the alphabetic (and not particularly well received) “MK” naming convention the brand began using around 2007. The 2020 model year saw the debuts of the all-new compact Corsair compact SUV (which took the place of the MKC) and Aviator three-row midsize SUV (which essentially replaced the MKT). These vehicles bookended the Nautilus in Lincoln’s model lineup, and they also introduced new interior/exterior styling themes and a further refinement of the Lincoln brand’s “Quiet Flight” design philosophy—all elements that weren’t fully formed at the time of the Nautilus’s introduction just two model years prior.

2021 Buick Envision Essence

2021 Buick Envision Essence

Consumer Guide Automotive

Well, believe it or not, we’re already almost at the end of Buick’s first full model year as an SUV-only brand. The LaCrosse large sedan and Cascada convertible both said sayonara after the 2019 model year, and Buick’s last traditional passenger-car holdouts—the midsize Regal Sportback hatchback sedan and Regal TourX wagon—were dropped after the 2020 model year.