Brian Champagne

UPR Contributor, Automotive News/Cache Valley Coverage

Brian Champagne grew up in the less-famous Central California but left after starting his television news career there. He worked 22 years in news for NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS affiliates in four markets. He served as chief photographer for KTXL-TV in Sacramento, but worked in front of the camera, too.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Bakersfield, and his Master’s from the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Look for UOP in the exterior shots from the movie “Flubber,” which was shot while he attended.

He now teaches Broadcast Journalism full-time at Utah State University but connects the professional and academic worlds by doing stringer, freelance, and contract work for all stations in the Salt Lake City market and beyond.

Brian’s favorite toys were always cars, he subscribed to Motor Trend magazine at age 12, and he started reporting on them in 1996. Watch for Brian’s automotive reporting on UPR, where he is a regular contributor.

The Genesis G80 beneath a "Welcome to Brigham" sign.
Brian Champagne

Genesis loaned us its GV80 SUV and we drove it to Manti in the summer. Then they loaned us a G80, which is a car. A nice car, that looks a lot like the GV80 on the inside. They both make nature sounds to help you drive calm. The speaker grills look like they’re from a Mercedes.

Brian Champagne

The adage “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” worked for car companies that had race cars. Race fans could see a Chevy or Dodge racer win a race and then buy a car like the one they saw. But with crossovers overtaking car sales, there are fewer car models left to race. However, there may be a solution to the disappearing race cars.

Brian Champagne

When you park your car, do you set your parking brake? UPR Contributor Brian Champagne checks out a car that will do it for you and explains why if you don’t have that feature you should still be setting it yourself.

Brian Champagne

Acura just announced they are killing their supercar the NSX. They’ve only sold 67 of them so far this year, but it was one of the fastest hyrids on the road.

Brian Champagne


If you’re old enough, you remember driving your friend’s car and struggling with the different clutch. If you’re younger, it might be adjusting to how the brake pedal grabs. In this new luxury SUV the new adjustment is technology.

Brian Champagne

With summer in full swing, you may have seen a futuristic three-wheeler on the roads and were at a loss for words to describe it. 

Brian Champagne

More of you are buying crossovers instead of cars, and automakers are responding. UPR Contributor Brian Champagne is worried about sounding like a broken record but he says he is relieved this week’s test drive didn’t sound like a broken crossover.

Brian Champagne

You might drive an SUV because you want to be able to drive off-road. But UPR contributor Brian Champagne tried one out and said for every point S-U-Vs score off-road, they lose one driving on-road.

Brian Champagne

UPR Contributor Brian Champagne borrowed a vehicle to test out and said you’ll probably love all the cool features inside. The only problem is what you might think about the outside.

Brian Champagne

Ford’s full-size SUV sales are a third of what they were in the late 90s. For GM, they’re half that. Another brand’s big off-roader is facing the same decline but may be reinventing itself.

Brian Champagne

Most civilized people like quiet cars whether we’re in them or they’re driving past us. But now they may be getting too quiet and the government and carmakers are making some just a little bit louder.

Brian Champagne

In the Japanese carmaker Mazda’s latest sales numbers, the Mazda3 is in third place. Those figures came out around the same time the Mazda3 won yet another award from automotive journalists. But awards and sales don’t always go hand in hand.  

Brian Champagne

Skiiers, ski season is over. As Brian Champagne learned while borrowing a Volvo, if you put your toys away, you can save 12% on your gasoline bill.

Brian Champagne

Generic. Universal. One size fits all. Clothes don’t fit well with that sizing and neither does your car. Car guy Brian Champagne checked out a van and a car build that doesn’t fit everyone but might fit you. 

The car you have now is probably heavier than the one you had before that. What does that do to the physics of driving and how do modern cars compare to the old steel cars of the past?

Brian Champagne

That’s the power liftgate on the Highlander Toyota loaned us. It was the 14th-best-selling vehicle in the states last year, because it has grown with demand: Since it was born in 2001, it got nine inches longer, four inches wider, and put on 660 pounds, though it doesn’t like to talk about that. It also grew a third row of seats. It’s built on a car platform and is a pleasant thing to drive around.

Brian Champagne

This is the Toyota 4Runner doing what it does best, climbing a boulder-studded hill better than your crossover can climb your paved driveway. We’ve driven four-wheel drive crossovers up a little and back down this hill. Set a dial for the terrain and speed and the 4Runner does it all, including the gas pedal, by itself.

Brian Champagne

When Baby Boomers first started buying new cars, Detroit built them muscle cars. Millennials tended to go for better gas mileage. UPR Contributor Brian Champagne showed a new crossover to the next generation of car buyers to see what they’re going to want when they’re ready to buy.

Brian Champagne

Lexus loaned us an LC500 convertible for a week. It starts as a regular LC500, a low slung, luxury sports car that costs more than four base Toyota Corollas and almost makes the same horsepower as three and a half of those Corollas. The V-8 fires up loud—about 20 seconds later the sound gets age-appropriate.

A white Volvo
Brian Champagne

If you’re in your car right now, look around the inside. You might see leather and plastic, but how about crystal? There’s a car out now with some nice materials inside, and a future one that could get your eyes back on the road if you take too much time looking at them.

A red TRD Camry.
Brian Champagne

This is probably not the sound you think of when you hear the word “Camry.” Toyota loaned us one of their sedans that consistently makes top-ten lists for reliability. It also has a rep for being a little, a word that starts with “B” that rhymes with “loring.”

Lilly Champagne

You probably know that COVID-19 pushed new vehicle sales down 25% for most carmakers over the summer.Some of that was from worries about the buying process, some from job insecurity. But there were also buyers out there who couldn’t get the car built they wanted.

Brian Champagne

If you’re listening to this story while driving, there’s a 50% chance you’re in a crossover or S-U-V. They’re the most popular types of vehicle in America right now since they can haul more but their reputation as off-roaders is getting soiled.

Brian Champagne


The familiar Beatles song “Hey Jude” hit the U.S. market in 1968, the same year the Toyota Corolla did. It packed a few more basics than the Volkswagen Beetle it came here to compete against and weighed about 1,500 pounds.

Brian Champagne

We’re going to start with a petrol-powered Q3 Audi loaned us. It’s their smallest SUV. Fun to whip through a canyon road like in Logan, lots of tech inside, and it can climb up a steep loose dirt trail like in Hyde Park Canyon. Pretty amazing with its street tires. 

Lexus loaned us an LC500H, a sports coupe you don’t see around much, which could be because it costs $104,000.

Brian Champagne

 

 


 If you picture yourself shifting gears on a twisty road with the wind in your hair, you’re part of a shrinking group. Car Guy Brian Champagne loved a sports car he borrowed from Toyota, but he’s worried that it won’t survive because it’s stuck between generations.

Logan City Fire Department, Cache County Search and Rescue and numerous bystanders worked together to rescue a family trapped in their car in the middle of the Logan River on Saturday, May 30, 2020.
Brian Champagne

As protests were escalating and becoming violent in Salt Lake City, a different type of emergency was unfolding in Northern Utah. At approximately 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, emergency services were called to rescue a mother and her four children after she lost control of her car and ended up in the Logan River.

 

  For a video verson of this story, you can go here.

There’s a new sports car on the market with a familiar name. The Supra earned Toyota a cult following from the 70s to the 90s, and now it’s back.

Brian Champagne

Volunteer firefighters protect most of rural Utah, and since they’re only paid when on a call, save taxpayers money. But in North Logan, the city and calls are growing. Brian Champagne explains why North Logan city council voted to merge their volunteer fire department with neighboring Logan’s paid one.

Pages