2019 Lexus UX200 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Hello. Small crossovers and suv’s are all the rage now. Oh, we’ve said that? Well, without further ado, let us introduce the latest of the small luxury crossovers, the 2019 Lexus UX. Small in size, but big in goodies, the UX competes in the segment where we find the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. But we found it’s a very different vehicle than the Europeans, and it’s quite tempting. It’s all about the UX. While Lexus says UX stands for Urban Crossover, in this case, we think it means the tech term User Experience (known as UX) – the process of creating products that serve meaningful and relevant experiences to users. And here the UX really brings the uh..ux, giving loads of Lexus goodness at a smaller size and price. Smaller scale Key to understanding the UX’s dimensions are that it shares the platform with the Toyota C-HR crossover, and …

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2019 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring – Review By Ben Lewis

No big shock here, small CUV/Crossover/SUV’s are all the rage. Not only a nice, city-friendly- sized version of larger SUV’s, with their low prices, enhanced fuel efficiency, and utility, they’re knocking the stuffing out of the small car segment as well. And now Mazda is going after the affordable sports car. Which is pretty interesting. With the Miata, they pretty much own the affordable sports car segment. But the 2019 Mazda CX-3  looks like they’re going after one of their own. So, it’s a sports car? Well, it looks like one. It certainly comes from the same family of the Miata – sharp, creased lines, aggressive sporty looks, and tight dimensions with muscle. Kind of like a gymnast. One of the nicest proofs of Mazda’s “Kodo” design theory, a Japanese aesthetic that emphasizes strength through form and proportions. Like all Mazda’s we’ve seen lately, the CX-3 is moving a bit …

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2019 Nissan LEAF SL – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Ok, let’s start with Good News, Bad News. The Good News – for 2019 there’s a new LEAF PLUS model with more power, enhanced tech and improved range. The Bad News – There wasn’t one in the fleet to test, so we go the current 40 KWH battery model. Actually, it’s not that bad, in fact after spending a week with our LEAF, we’re not sure most buyers will need that new PLUS model. A new LEAF Introduced as a 2018 model, the all-new builds on the goodness that made the previous – and continues to be – the world’s best-selling EV. The new model looks more like a member of the Nissan family. Smart, contemporary, stylish.  Like the Kicks we recently tested, the LEAF features Nissan staples like the signature V-Motion grille, the boomerang lights, and the “floating” roof. Letting it stand out from its siblings, there’s a clear-blue …

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2019 Nissan Kicks SR – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Before we start this review, a moment of silence for the Nissan Juke. Yes, that odd, amphibious-looking crossover that was a bunch of fun to drive, interesting to look at, and a breath of fresh air in the stuffy small crossover segment. And now to the all-new Nissan Kicks, the Juke’s replacement. While it certainly is more conventional, it does a lot of things very well, and comes in at a bargain price. That’s a different kind of a kick, to be sure…. Goodbye Froggy, Hello Smurfy While some at Nissan tried to tell us that the Juke looked like an alligator poking its eyes above the waterline, it’s cute proportions made it more frog-like than anything else. But it was controversial. The Kicks won’t polarize – it’s modern and handsome – with squared off lines, the V-shaped grille, boomerang headlights, and floating roof that’s all part of Nissan’s current …

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2019 Subaru Forester Limited – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Subaru owners are faithful. To the vehicles, to the brand, to the ethos. It keeps owners in the fold, and attracts new buyers in big numbers. Like the Prius, Tesla, Jeep and others, people like a brand or model that stands for something. So, you don’t go messing with success. Familiar lines Now that we have an all-new, 5th –generation Forester for 2019, it’s not a big shocker that this model is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Which is okay, since there wasn’t anything wrong with the previous model. You might have trouble picking the new one out, so here’s some tips. Built on the Subaru Global Platform, the new model is a bit larger, while front, side and rear under guards give a more rugged look. New LED headlights give a fresher front end, while the signature hexagonal grille incorporates active shutters to improve fuel efficiency. New colors, including our …

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2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia TI Sport AWD – Review By Ben Lewis

Have you ever been at a get-together, and it’s ok, but kinda snoozy? You know just about everyone; the talk is the same stuff it always is. Then someone new shows up that’s fun, different and interesting, and all of a sudden, you’re glad you were there. Meet the Alfa Romeo Giulia – the life of the party. You may know Alfa Romeo. The last time the brand sold a vehicle here was in 1995. But this is a famous brand with an amazing heritage. Alfa was the first car to win the World Automobile Championship in 1925, and followed with a win in the first F1 championship. Heck Enzo Ferrari started as a race driver for the brand in 1921. Even more so, Alfa is bona fide in making awesome road cars. Even though their presence was small here in the US, we did have Dustin Hoffman tooling around …

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2019 Hyundai Accent SE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The honest car. In a world of SUVs and Crossovers dominating the landscape, there’s still a need for an entry-level sedan. Whether you’re just looking for “transportation” a good first car, or even something to dutifully wait for you at the train station, a small well-built sedan can fit the bill. And way back in the day, before the wide array of cars and trucks it now offers – plus brands including Kia and Genesis, Hyundai made their bones on simple, durable sedans. So, it’s no surprise that if you’re looking for an inexpensive place to park your backside, the Hyundai Accent is a great choice. Honestly appealing The new Accent starts out by making you feel a level up – starting with styling. This is a fresh, modern-looking sedan – that also looks a bit larger than you’d expect. For 2019, Hyundai added the chrome grille surround on our …

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2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL 1.5T S-AWC – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

What’s in a name? Well, if you’re Mitsubishi, that’s a good question. Until recently, the company has kind of languished in the market place, with fewer dealers and a small line-up of vehicles. All of that changed recently with the purchase of Mitsu by Nissan. Deep pockets, advanced engineering, and massive resources mean good things ahead for the brand. There are a couple names that do stand out, Evo – the high-performance rally-bred four-door sedan that’s a legendary giant-killer in performance circles. No longer in production. And then there’s Eclipse, an equally legendary front wheel and all-wheel drive sport coupe of the early 90’s. Another giant killer, and also no more. Now we have the new Eclipse Cross. A modern sport coupe to take on the world? Uh, no. But a very nice small SUV/Crossover worthy of your attention. Ready to pounce on traffic? First impression of the new Eclipse …

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2019 Kia Forte S – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It pays to have a good-looking sibling in the family. Especially an automotive family. Let’s say you’re drawn to your friendly neighborhood Kia dealer to see the hot ‘n sexy Stinger sedan. And it’s more than a looker – the 6-cylinder rear wheel drive Stinger we tested was a great performance sedan, with the credentials, capabilities and feel-good pricing to keep the European brands looking over their shoulders. So, when it came time to redesign the company’s small sedan, the Forte, Kia was clever enough to make it’s reasonably-priced, fuel-sipping, value player look like its handsome big brother. So, we have a question – Is the new Forte a baby Stinger…or just stingy? Well, the looks say…hello baby! The previous model was nice looking, blending in the with the crowd of compact sedans. But the new model has picked up the cues of the handsome Stinger, with a long hood, …

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