Browsing author

Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round -- whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.

2024 Subaru Impreza RS review by Ben Lewis

While the Subaru Forester and Outback are the brand’s big sellers, for over 30 decades the entry-level Impreza has soldiered on, offering affordable AWD to loads of buyers.  And in 1998, the carmaker brought the RS model to market, offering a sporty step up. Eventually, that would grow into the WRX model enthusiasts love today. What’s nice is that Subaru hasn’t forgotten the driver on a budget, and recently re-introduced the RS. Time for a test drive! Sporty, yet Sensible On the outside, the RS takes the Impreza’s sensible 5-door hatchback and adds some spicy sauce. From the front, you …

Keep reading

2024 Acura TLX Type S road test review by Ben Lewis

Acura has been quietly polishing their lineup for the last couple of years and has also been developing their own kind of sub-brand, Type S, for the real die-hard enthusiasts. We tested such notables as the storming Integra Type S, and the super-capable MDX Type S. And when the maker brought out a 2022 TLX Type S two years ago, we were impressed, and for 2024 there’s some serious enhancements that make it worth another look. Badder is Better We were a little concerned when we heard Acura had refreshed the design for 2024 – after all, this is one …

Keep reading

2024 Volkswagen Golf R review by Ben Lewis

We often bemoan that the marketplace has been taken over by SUV’s and Crossovers, but to be honest, this is a great time for cars – especially for those who love to drive. Case in point, the 2024 VW Golf R. Looking for thrills matched with practicality? You’ve come to the right place! Subtle but Different One interesting thing we noticed with the Golf R – even though it is very similar to the VW GTI, the visual changes were enough for us to garner plenty of comments. There’s still the familiar VW logo on the nose, but instead of …

Keep reading

2024 Lexus RZ 300e review by Ben Lewis

Here’s an interesting little paradox for you. While the Japanese carmakers are happy to bring you the latest tech, they’ve almost to a fault been slow to bring EV tech to market. Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrids, sure – but full on EV’s, not so much. Well, maybe they know something we don’t, but they are now getting with the program, and EV vehicles from Mazda, Honda, Acura and Nissan (ok, they’ve been around thanks to the LEAF) are starting to show up. And now we can add Lexus to the fray with the all-new RZ EV lineup. So, we were …

Keep reading

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited review by Ben Lewis

If you’re interested in EV’s, Kia/Hyundai have to be on your map. We recently tested the fantastic Kia EV9 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, and found them to be delightful, capable and fun. They’re the kind of vehicles that convert gas vehicle owners to EV fans with one quick test drive! With the EV9 and Ioniq 5, you’re talking sensible crossover/suv type vehicles, but what if you want something more sedan, more sexy? Enter the Hyundai Ioniq 6. Sexy, indeed We really like the looks of the 6, but were pleasantly surprised by the loads of compliments our tester got. This …

Keep reading

2024 VW TAOS SE review by Ben Lewis

We love VW’s. And we especially love the sensible ones. They always remind us of the brand’s beginnings, from the early Bug to Rabbits and Golfs. They make a simple vehicle fun, useful and have a little bit of European charm. All without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for affordability and hatchback/SUV/crossover capability, the VW Taos is your vehicle. It’s the second least expensive model behind the Jetta, but it offers scores more usability. So, in 2024 does the Taos have the goods we’re looking for? Let’s find out! All in the Family If you like the current design …

Keep reading

2024 Audi S4 Sedan review by Ben Lewis

There’s no denying it, we love European sport sedans. While most premium buyers are looking at SUVs, it’s worth remembering that brands like BMW, Mercedes and Audi made their bones on excellent performing sedans. And while the Europeans are developing SUVs and EVs, it seems like sedans still hold a place in those carmaker’s hearts. We recently tested the BMW M340i and found it a high-performance bahnstormer. So, when Audi offered up an S4 sedan to test, we jumped at it. Can the brand with the four rings offer up similar thrills to the famous Roundel? Let’s find out! Racy …

Keep reading

2024 Subaru Solterra Touring review by Ben Lewis

In the world of automakers, Subaru is a smaller one, which means it sometimes pairs up with other manufacturers to help create vehicles at a more affordable cost. It has worked great for the brand, teaming up with Toyota, they have now created two generations of the BRZ sports car, (aka Toyota GR86) that are a complete delight to drive. While the marketplace seems to be adding new EV’s weekly, Subaru – along with many of the Japanese automakers – have been slow to market. And EV’s are expensive and time-consuming to create. Which meant it was a perfect time …

Keep reading

2024 Kia EV9 GT-LINE AWD Long Range Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Lexus TX 500h, and came away impressed with the large 3-row SUV’s overall efficiency, and Lexus lusciousness. But where the TX uses a hybrid powertrain, there are still plenty of folks looking to find a 3-row, EV SUV.  So, it was perfect timing that we got into a Kia EV9 to compare. We were not only interested to see how the EV9 stacks up against the Lexus, but also to see how compares to the Kia Telluride – one of the most popular 3-row SUVs on the market. Let’s check it out! Boxy but Futuristic The …

Keep reading

2024 Lexus TX 500h F Sport Review by Ben Lewis

A couple interesting trends have been happening the last year or so in SUV world. First of all, everyone is going rugged – Subaru Wilderness, Honda Trailsport, etc. And design is also going that direction – the Hyundai Santa Fe, Land Cruiser and others celebrating being big, blocky and in your face. The other trend that’s heating up again is the three-row SUV. While we’ve seen vehicle likes the Kia Telluride being a big hit, new models that are less off-road and more lux like the Toyota Grand Highlander, to the Volvo XC90 are trying to muscle in on the …

Keep reading

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness Road Test Review by Ben Lewis

If you haven’t noticed, we’re seeing a resurgence in rugged, off-road type crossovers and SUV’s. From Honda’s TrailSport to Nissan’s Rock Creek editions, people are lining up for that extra-capable, extra-rugged look. And Subaru has been happily playing in that sandbox. We’ve tested the Outback Wilderness, and Forester Wilderness, and enjoyed them both, for their added outdoors-capable look, and upgraded running gear. So now, Subie has added an all-new Crosstrek Wilderness model, and we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it! Crosstrek Gone Wild! Well, there’s no doubt about what you’re seeing when you look at it – this …

Keep reading

2024 Subaru WRX TR Road test review by Ben Lewis

When it comes to the Subaru WRX, we’re big fans. While the automaker brings in the big bucks with popular crossovers like the Outback and Forester, with the ‘Rex, they stay true to the enthusiasts as well. And while the WRX has always been great fun out of the box, it’s also been a hugely popular starting point for those who love to modify their vehicles. In fact, in 2006, Subie created a WRX TR model. “TR” stood for “Tuner Ready”, and they took out some of the heavy, expensive stuff like the audio system to create a lighter, less …

Keep reading

2024 Mazda CX-5 Carbon Turbo Edition by Ben Lewis

We recently spent some time in the Mazda CX-50, which would seem to be designed to replace the current CX-5, which is their best-selling model. Mazda replaced the CX-3 with the CX-30, and the CX-9 with the CX-90. So were we wrong. Maybe, as the carmaker continues to offer the CX-5, so we felt it was good time to drive one again and see how it shapes up against the ’50. Zircon Sand Persuasion One thing that gives away that this is a 2024 is the new Carbon Turbo Edition, which wears an exclusive paint color that Mazda calls Zircon …

Keep reading

2024 Volvo V60 Cross Country B5 AWD Ultimate road test review by Ben Lewis

We love wagons. While the world has gone SUV crazy, we still think there’s something cool about a lower-slung, still capable, vehicle that gets things done. And nothing looks better with a surfboard on it. Period. Unfortunately, if you love wagons as much as we do, you know – there are very few of them still available. Blame the crossover/SUV craze. When we get a chance to test any wagon, we’re excited. So, when Volvo gave us an opportunity to spend some time in the V60 Cross Country wagon, we jumped at it!  Sleek and Sexy Swede There may not …

Keep reading

2024 Toyota Crown Limited review by Ben Lewis

Have you heard of the Toyota Crown? Well, if you’ve been around awhile, you might remember that the Crown was the first Japanese car to hit American shores in 1958. While the name disappeared here in 1972, it’s been a steadfast seller in other parts of the world – in fact this current model is the 15th generation! So, it’s pretty darn exciting that Toyota has decided to bring back the name in an all-new flagship sedan for the US market. So, does it deserve the right to wear that crown? Let’s find out. Real Presence First impressions are awesome. …

Keep reading

2024 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD review by Ben Lewis

Hyundai is having a great run on vehicles lately. From the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 EVs, The updated Kona and even the rocket ship Elantra N. But when you talk about the bread-and-butter vehicles for the brand, you can’t forget the popular Tucson SUV. And since we love bread and butter, it felt like time to check out a 2024 Tucson. Evocative Design One of the reasons for the Tucson’s popularity is its gorgeous design. Up front, the “parametric” grille features half-mirror daytime running lamps hidden inside, only visible when illuminated. And while the Tucson has been around a …

Keep reading

2024 Honda Civic Type R road test review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Acura Integra Type S, and we loved it. We were especially interested, since Acura took great pains to add refinement to the Civic Type R on which it is based. So, we were very excited to test the new Civic – itʻs on every enthusiastʻs radar as a great affordable driving car. But we wondered is it also refined, or a raw-edged, demanding weapon only for the brave of heart? Well, which is it? Letʻs find out! Swole-up Civic We love the look of the Type R. Like the Integra Type S, it looks like the …

Keep reading

2023 Hyundai Ionic 5 Limited AWD road test review by Ben Lewis

Has the fervor over EV’s cooled? Maybe. That’s a question to do with costs, infrastructure, rebates and more. Honestly, that’s probably above our pay grade. But the vehicles themselves, we have to say they are impressive, and one of our favorites has to be the Hyundai Ionic 5. So while we’ve had some fun with EV’s lately including the stylish Ionic 6, the crazy BMW XM, and Toyota’s bZ4X and the rocket ship Kia EV6 GT, when we were offered another go ‘round with the Ionic 5, we jumped at the chance. Does it hold up to our memory, or …

Keep reading

2024 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus review by Ben Lewis

Mazda is revamping its lineup. First, the CX-3 was replaced by the handsome CX-30, The CX-9 was put out to pasture for the new CX-90. And they’ve just introduced the CX-70, basically a 2-row version of the CX-90. About a year ago, Mazda also introduced the CX-50, but the CX-5 still remains. At least for 2024. But it’s clear the ’50 is the future of their compact SUV. Worth another look? You bet. Hot New Looks The CX-50 follows the new design language we’re also seeing in the CX-30 and CX-90. They look wider, more muscular and substantial than the …

Keep reading

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SE review by Ben Lewis

3-row SUVs are hot these days. We recently tested the Kia Telluride, and the Mazda CX-90 both great vehicles. Another player we like a lot is the VW Atlas. Putting all the VW traits of fun-to-drive, good value and Euro-style together makes for a popular vehicle. And VW is smart, too. They realize there are some buyers who like the big size, but don’t really need that 3rdrow. And that frees up the designers to do something a little sportier. So, they created the Atlas Cross Sport. Well, it’s been a few years, and VW has just brought an updated …

Keep reading

2024 Mazda CX-90 3.3 Turbo S Premium Plus AWD road test review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new Mazda CX-90 PHEV 3-row SUV, and we loved the looks the upscale interior and wonderful driving dynamics. That tester was fitted with the optional Plug-in Hybrid powertrain, featuring a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine. With up to 26 miles of pure EV driving it’s a pretty cool setup. But what had us really salivating was the all-new 3.3-liter, turbo in-line 6-cylinder powerplant –aimed at BMW and Land Rover territory, a huge step up from the previous CX-9 model, which we loved, but only offered a turbo 4-cylinder engine. If you want to play with the big boys, …

Keep reading

2024 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab review by Ben Lewis

It’s hard to imagine a more popular mid-size pickup truck than the Toyota Tacoma. If you don’t believe us, check out the prices on used ones. Even old and dodgy (Not Dodge-y) ones with hundreds of thousands of miles on them go for big bucks. It’s simple – these things hold up – even under massive amounts of abuse. So now Toyota has introduced an all-new Tacoma. The 4th generation of a legend. So how does it stack up against the previous model? Let’s take a look! Badass Adventure Machine When Toyota came up with a mission statement for the …

Keep reading

2024 Lexus LC 500 Convertible review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2023 Lexus LC 500 Coupe and found it a dream – stunning looks, storming V8 power, Lexus quality, and just the feeling of exclusivity. A Lexus to covet, to be sure. And then Lexus offers us a visit in the 2024 LC 500 convertible. Not only that, thereʻs some significant upgrades in the technology, and a Bespoke Build package – just in case all the above in the coupe wasnʻt enough. So will the drop-top LC create another level of Lexus Lust? Letʻs find out! Stately Wayne Manners The first impression you get looking at the …

Keep reading

2023 Kia Sorento X-Line SX-Prestige AWD review by Ben Lewis

2023 Kia Sorento X-Line SX-Prestige AWD review by Ben Lewis We recently tested the Kia Telluride, and it reminded us of why it’s been such a huge success – it’s a great looking, great-performing, full-size 3-row SUV. But its amazing popularity may have shadowed another great 3-row Kia SUV, the Sorento. So, let’s pull the Sorento into the sunlight and take a look! Handsome and Rugged The Sorento has its own look apart from the Telluride, and in X-Line trim, looks just as rugged. The front starts things off with an aggressive stance, with Kia’s familiar “Tiger Nose” full-width grille, …

Keep reading

2024 Dodge Hornet R/T Plus review by Ben Lewis

The times, they are a changin’ – especially for muscle car enthusiasts. We’ve been seeing lately a lot of “Final Editions” of V8 muscle cars, as the market is turning to turbo 4 and 6 cylinders, as well as hybrid and EV vehicles. That’s the bad news…the V8 seems to be on its last legs. The good news – carmakers on Dodge aren’t giving up on performance, they’re just taking it in new directions. One that’s especially interesting is the new Dodge Hornet R/T. It’s got a whole lot of cool stuff going on, from a plug-in hybrid turbo 4 …

Keep reading

2024 Toyota Tundra 4×4 TRD Pro 5.5 Review by Ben Lewis

Winning hearts and minds can be a challenge in the auto industry. And the most loyal owners you’ll probably find are full-size pickup truck owners. And these buyers buy American with a capital A. Dodge, Ford, GM…they are the dominant powerhouses. That doesn’t stop the import brands from trying to muscle in, though. Toyota started with the T100 years ago – a kind of halfway step between the Tacoma and the full-size domestics. Then Toyota took off the gloves and met the Big 3 head-on with the Tundra. And they’ve made good headway…but all you have to look at is …

Keep reading

2024 Hyundai Kona Limited AWD review by Ben Lewis

It seems like we often spend the Holidays in Kona. But donʻt get jelly, because itʻs the Hyundai Kona, the companyʻs cheerful small crossover/SUV. Actually with an all-new model for 2024, maybe a little envy is due. So is the new model a little slice of paradise? Letʻs find out. Bigger, Bolder and Electric The first clue that things have changed is the massively different exterior design.  Hyundai says that while the previous model started as an ICE (internal combustion engine) that migrated to an EV, for the new model, they started with the EV look, and then applied that …

Keep reading

2024 Kia Telluride SX-Prestige X-Line V6 AWD review by Ben Lewis

Kia and its sibling Hyundai have been on a roll for a while now. Lately, itʻs been establishing a big footprint in the EV world with the Kia EV6 and the all-new Kia EV9 3-row SUV, along with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 an Ioniq 6. But we think the thing that really got the ball rolling for Kia was back in the 2020 model year, with the then all-new Telluride. Here was a 3-row SUV that was taking on everyone from the Japanese makers to the Domestics, Europeans and Luxury makers – and beating them all at their own game.  …

Keep reading

2024 Acura Integra Type S review by Ben Lewis

Recently when Honda introduced the all-new Civic, it wasnʻt long before an all-new Integra followed, and we liked it very much. And when Honda introduced itʻs new Civic Type R we knew that an Integra Type S couldnʻt be far behind. And now itʻs here. And surprisingly itʻs a very different vehicle than the Civic. Put on your driving gloves – weʻre going for a test drive! Sexy and Svelte The exterior is a big win for us. When the Civic got a re-do for 2022 we loved the cleaner more upscale looks, and our 2023 Integra A-Spec was also …

Keep reading

2023 BMW XM review by Ben Lewis

And now for something completely different. If youʻre a fan of Monty Pythonʻs Flying Circus – the crazy Brit comedy sketch series, youʻre certainly know that line – often delivered by a Python-ish TV Newscaster presenting a news story. OK, maybe this a bit of an old and odd reflection, but itʻs what comes to mind when people ask us about the BMW XM. Because while weʻre pretty sure itʻs a BMW, thereʻs really nothing like it. And we sort of think that was the idea. So what is this super-power plug-in hybrid SUV? Letʻs find out. Itʻs a Statement …

Keep reading

2023 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD review by Ben Lewis

Do you have friends that you always see around the holidays? For us, it seems like we usally end up reviewing Mazdaʻs CX-30 around this time of year – and itʻs always a great visit, because this is one of the best hatchback/crossovers around – especially for drivers. But in the past year weʻve made some great new friends, like the Toyota Corolla GR, and Hyundai Elantra N. So does the CX-30 still get the guest bedroom, or does it end up sleeping on the pull-out couch? Letʻs find out! Hot, High Hatch With the popularity of Crossovers and SUVʻs, …

Keep reading

2023 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle Review by Ben Lewis

There was a time when Minivans were big. Really big. Anyone who had kids, hauled around sports teams or even had to carry around a ton of camera gear fell in love with them. Then, well you know, SUVs and Crossovers stole much of their thunder. So, now thereʻs only a handful of these master multi-taskers left. But Chrysler hasnʻt given up on them – in fact, with our plug-in hybrid Pacifica, theyʻre showing that you can have a sliding door on each side and still be at the leading edge of tech. Does the Pacifica have the gravitas to …

Keep reading

2023 Honda Accord EX sedan review by Ben Lewis

We recently reviewed the 2023 Civic Sport and were blown away by the basic goodness of one of the Civic’s most affordable models. So now we’re doing the same thing but taking one step up to the evergreen Accord sedan. So, is bigger better? Let’s find out. Big on Style The Accord is all-new for 2023, and we already had a chance to review the Accord Touring Hybrid, and we loved it, but it also came in close to $40k – we’re being tight with the purse strings this time. Like the Touring, this is one of the best-looking Accord …

Keep reading

2023 Honda Civic Sport HPD Sedan Review by Ben Lewis

Who doesn’t love Honda’s Civic? Well, ok, there may be a few haters, but the Civic has long been one of Honda’s most popular vehicles, scoring legions of fans, and millions of happy owners. Happy journalists too, We loved the new Civic Si when we tested it recently, and also loved the Touring model as well. Truth be told, like most cars, the Civic is not as inexpensive as it once was, both the Si and Touring models hovering around $30k. So, we thought, in the spirit of the affordable Civic that many of us grew up with, it was …

Keep reading

2023 Toyota bZ4X FWD Limited review by Ben Lewis

It may come as a surprise, but in fact the Japanese manufacturers have been slow to join the full-EV bandwagon. Yes, a loooooong time ago you could get a RAV4 EV, and the Nissan LEAF has been around for a while, but as Kia/Hyundai and the Europeans like BMW has flooded the market with electric choices, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Subaru have had limited offerings – often times more focusing on hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. They are slowly coming around though, and one of the most important vehicles is the all-new Toyota bZ4X, which is also sold as …

Keep reading

2023 Kia Forte GT review by Ben Lewis

It’s probably no surprise, but we’ve become a nation of SUVs and Crossovers. And Kia certainly makes their share – the Soul, Seltos, Sportage, Sorento and Telluride are all great vehicles. But there’s still a market for sedans, especially affordable ones. The Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla and Kia Forte are all strong sellers. Even better, some of the manufacturers offer sporty versions for the enthusiast on a budget. The Civic Si comes to mind. And we also have another fun small sedan vying for your driver’s dollar – the Kia Forte GT. So, does it serve up bang for …

Keep reading

2023 Lexus LS 500 AWD F SPORT review by Ben Lewis

All manufacturers have what is called a “flagship” – the top-of-the-line model that shows off what the brand is all about. And for Lexus sedans, that means the LS 500. The LS has the longest history with the brand, it was the LS 400 that started the legend in 1990, taking on all comers from luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac. Yes, there was also an ES model, but that was a fancy Camry. So, 33 years later, does the Lexus still have the stuff to take on the high-end Europeans? Let’s take a look! Aging Passionately We recently …

Keep reading

2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD review by Ben Lewis

Introduced a few years ago, the Hyundai Palisade and its sibling Kia Telluride where big hits, offering 3-rows of space, great looks and equipment all at an excellent price. There was definitely a boundary, though. The Kia was the broad-shouldered trucky sibling, where the Hyundai was softer, a bit more luxurious. Frankly, we gravitated towards the Kia – we just liked its vibe a little more. Well for 2023, Hyundai has upgraded the Palisade, and we’re excited to see a more rugged look, along with an improved interior and added features. Is it enough to sway us away from the …

Keep reading

2024 Volvo XC90 Recharge AWD Ultimate review by Ben Lewis

We love Volvos. Oh yes, we do. From a brand that started out as funky and functional to elegant and excellent, they’ve always kept their unique Swedishness. And lately that has also been combined with some storming performance. See our reviews of the S60 Recharge and the C40 Recharge, and you’ll see that Volvo is showing that you can combine hybrid and traditional powertrains to create outstanding range, performance and a bright future that will also be a greener one. So now we have the opportunity to test the Swede’s largest SUV, the 3-row XC90, long a luxury bastion, and …

Keep reading

2023 Lexus NX 350 Luxury review by Ben Lewis

We get asked for vehicle recommendations all the time – it comes with the job. And there are a few we consider no-brainers, it’s hard to go wrong with one. On that list would be the Toyota RAV4 and its fancy sibling the Lexus NX. In the past year we tested the NX 350 F SPORT and the NX 450h+ plug in hybrid. We’ve found each model to be notably different, so when Lexus offered us the opportunity to test the NX350 Luxury, we jumped at it. So which Lexus NX is right for you? Let’s find out! Nori Green …

Keep reading

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid SX Prestige AWD review by Ben Lewis

Sometimes, when we test a vehicle, we find it so nice, we test it twice. Well, sort of. In the beginning of the year, we tested the all-new 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid EX and were greatly impressed. So, when Kia offered us a chance to have another go, but this time in the more luxurious Hybrid SX Prestige model, we jumped at the chance. So, is it worth the extra money to add some Prestige in your life? Let’s find out! Bold Looks  When the 2023 Sportage bowed in, the looks were controversial. Calling the design “Opposites United” it made …

Keep reading

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited AWD Review by Ben Lewis

Trends come and go – and then sometimes they come back. Take the small pickup truck. In the 70’s and 80’s they were huge. Small Toyotas, Datsun/Nissan Li’l Hustler, Chevy Luv. And later you had interesting things like the Subaru Brat. Then came the SUV craze and the diminutive pickup was put on the back burner. But now small trucks are back! And one of the most interesting, stylish and fun is the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Could it lure you away from a small Crossover/SUV? Let’s find out! Truck Cool While the compact pickups of old were pretty utilitarian, the …

Keep reading

2023 Toyota GR86 Review by Ben Lewis

There’s a song made famous by singer Etta James called “At Last” – about finally finding love. Well, we know that feeling. We’ve been wanting to drive a Toyota GR86 with a manual transmission since it was introduced for the 2022 model year. Well, so did a lot of other journalists, so we were pretty darn happy to drive a ’22 with the 6-speed automatic. Which as it turns out was a fantastic sports car. But for many of us, a true sports car still has three pedals, and no, the emergency brake does not count. So, when our turn …

Keep reading

2023 Lexus IS 500 Premium review by Ben Lewis

2023 Lexus IS 500 Premium review by Ben Lewis Do you remember the original Mad Max movie? We see Max, aka Mel Gibson driving the Pursuit Special, a heavily modified Australian Falcon GT, that in the movie they call “The last of the V8 Interceptors.” It’s funny that the thought popped in my head when I drove the Lexus IS 500 with its massively powerful 5.0-liter V8. But I did wonder, how much longer will we have cars like this? While we seem to be marching towards a world of EVs, many of the IS competitors have swapped a naturally …

Keep reading

2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i Review by Ben Lewis

“Entry Level” is a term that gets a bad rap sometimes. But it can also be a good thing, especially when you’re talking about a premium automotive brand. Case in point is the BMW X1, the company’s entry-level small crossover. It’s the perfect opportunity to function as a gateway drug to the more expensive and exotic Bavarian models. And now, we have an all-new 3rd-generation X1 for 2023. But how does it stand up on its own? Let’s find out! Cool but not Polarizing Design With the bold, but maybe too bold direction of many BMW products lately, we were …

Keep reading

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Sport Review by Ben Lewis

You might think that the Subaru’s best-selling vehicle is the Outback – you see them everywhere. Nope. The Forester? Nope. It’s the Crosstrek. Introduced 11 years ago, it was an immediate success, and became the fast-selling vehicle in Subie’s history. In 2022 it remained the brand’s best seller, so you know there’s a lot of pressure to make sure the all-new 2024 Crosstrek makes everyone happy. So, will it continue to be a big seller? Let’s take a look! Ruggedly Reimagined The exterior is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. In fact, many people we talked to didn’t realize this was an …

Keep reading

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 limited review by Ben Lewis

Hyundai and sibling Kia have been killing it lately, from the sporty Elantra N sedan to the Kia Telluride 3-row SUV, each product has been impressive. But probably the most impressive to us, are the EV’s. We’ve tested the Ioniq 5 and loved the combination of utility, quirky style and performance. And now have the Ioniq 6 with added quirky style and performance – but a loss in the utility department. Is it another home run? Let’s put it up to bat. Meet the Streamliner Wow, indeed. We love that Hyundai dances to its own tune – the new Toyota …

Keep reading

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Premium Plus review by Ben Lewis

Lately, Mazda has been updating their line with new models, but to keep it simple, they have just added a zero – so you know what belongs where. Hence, the CX-3 was replaced by the CX-30, and the CX-50 is the update for the CX-5 (which continues to be sold, for the time being). So, it wasn’t a big surprise when Mazda introduced the CX-90, the new hotness taking place of the much-loved CX-9, three-row SUV. Since each of the previous “0” models have been a distinct and delightful improvement, we couldn’t wait to try out the latest and greatest …

Keep reading

2023 Toyota Prius Prime XSE Premium review by Ben Lewis

Do you believe in reincarnation? We think Toyota does. After several lifetimes of loyal, frugal but somewhat frump7-styled vehicles, we think the gods rewarded the Prius.  “Little Prius, how’d you like to be sporty? Fast? Dare we say, Sexy?” “Yes, please!” And for those worrying about the functional frugal type buyer, we’d gladly point them to the Corolla Cross Hybrid we recently tested – a great package with loads of utility. And here we have the ultimate version of the all-new Prius, the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Great looks, nearly 100 horsepower more than the previous model, and over 40 …

Keep reading

2024 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD review by Ben Lewis

Kia is relentless. But in a good way. It seems like they keep bringing in great new products like the full-size Telluride SUV and the fantastic EV6 electric vehicle. And if that’s not enough, they don’t hit the snooze button on current products. Case in point – the Seltos. We drove Kia’s small SUV as a 2021 model and loved the rugged looks and capability. But did that stop there? Nooooooooo. For 2024, they’ve given the little Ute a major re-do and made it even better in a lot of ways. Let’s take a look! Slicker and Savvier On the …

Keep reading

2022 Subaru BRZ Limited 6M review by Ben Lewis

When it comes to driver’s cars, we love a brand that stays true to form. Oh, sure the newest Porsche 911 is huge compared to the original, but when it gets down to brass tacks, it’s still a sports car, pure and true. Back in 2013, Subaru and Toyota worked together to create a sports car, and the BRZ and FR-S respectively were huge hits – serving up the true sports car credo of front engine, rear wheel drive, in a tight responsive package. A bit larger than a Miata, a bit smaller and lighter than something like a Nissan …

Keep reading

2023 Mercedes Benz EQE 350 4MATIC sedan review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new, Mercedes EQS 450 all electric SUV and loved the combination of luxury and EV goodness. So, what if you’re more of a sedan person? Enter the EQE sedan. While sharing much of the EQS technology, it ends up being quite a bit different. Tempted? Let’s take a look! Low, wide and sleek Transferring from a more conventional SUV to a sedan creates a much more evocative piece of rolling art. The front is similar to the EQS, but the EQE loses the massive grille for a less tall unit. It still has the “black panel” …

Keep reading

2023 Mercedes EQS 450 4MATIC SUV Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid, and found it delightful, efficient and affordable. It’s pretty much the very affordable end of the electrification movement right now. In the middle, we have vehicles like the Volvo C40 recharge – bringing great fun and style at a slightly elevated price. And finally, we have the premium EVs, which are growing by huge amounts. BMW, Mercedes and Audi are already experienced players in this sandbox. So, what’s state of the art EV Luxury look like today? That’s what we wondered, and that’s why we’re testing the 2023 Mercedes EQS. Let’s take …

Keep reading

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid review by Ben Lewis

It’s interesting to see how Hybrids have changed. Previously it was a way to get great fuel economy, but you suffered along, with less performance and refinement. But from the lowliest econocar to expensive European plug-in models like the Volvo S60 Recharge we recently drove, Hybrids are now the hot setup, giving more power, better fuel economy, great handling and smart value. And here’s a perfect example – the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid. Is this the one to buy? Let’s take a look! Sporty SAV On the outside, the Hybrid takes a definite step up from the standard Corolla …

Keep reading

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport Review by Ben Lewis

Recently Honda started added the TrailSport trim to some of its vehicles, helping to keep up with many manufacturers who are going off-roady and rugged. Brands like Subaru Wilderness, Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek and others come to mind. In fact the previous Passport and Pilot had available TrailSport trims, but caught up in a game of catch up, they were more cosmetic than anything else. Well for 2023, we have an all-new Pilot, and along with that, a new Pilot TrailSport that promises to be the real deal for those who adventure off road. Does it make the grade? Let’s …

Keep reading

2023 Honda Accord Touring Hybrid review by Ben Lewis

The Honda Accord is an icon. Think about it – America’s best-selling car over the last 5 decades. The first Accord started here in 1976, and has continued to be a sensible family sedan (and coupe and wagon) that was long on reliability, quality, value, and economy. And even though it has grown larger and more sophisticated over the years, it’s stayed true to form – it’s easy to believe that someone who started with one in 1976 still owns one today. So now for 2023, we have the 11th generation Accord. Can Honda continue its winning streak? And just …

Keep reading

2023 VW ID.4 Standard review by Ben Lewis

The EV market continues to boom, and it seems like every day another manufacturer adds a new or updated model. We last tested a 2021 VW ID.4 we found it a great overall EV. For 2023 VW has added some updates, including a new more affordable entry-level model. With the prices for EV’s running so high, that sounds like a great option, so we decided to test it. Frugal or fail? Let’s find out! Still a Stunner Well, the ID continues to make a great first impression with a bold and capable look that’s one of our favorites. Up front, …

Keep reading

2023 VW Golf GTI S review by Ben Lewis

VW released an all-new eight-generation GTI for 2022, and we thoroughly enjoyed its great fun to drive qualities and practicality. But time doesn’t stand still, and with the recent introductions of serious performance competition, including the Hyundai Elantra N and the Toyota Corolla GR we were wondering if the Golf GTI can still wear the hot hatch performance crown. Time for another road test!    Welcome to the Evolution Changes are few since last year, so let’s recap what you get. Although this 8th gen is an all-new design, it couldn’t be anything but a GTI. Look at a previous …

Keep reading

2023 Subaru Outback Touring review by Ben Lewis

When you’re an automotive journalist, you’re constantly asked for recommendations on cars. And one that we find ourselves often offering up is the Subaru Outback. Comfortable, capable and a nice alternative to the everyday SUV. So, when we heard that the 2023 model was getting some updates, including a freshened look, we were excited to put the latest version through Its paces. Familiar yet Fresh It’s been interesting year or so within the Subaru ranks. The all-new BRZ has received rave reviews for its sporty looks, while the all-new WRX sedan has been challenged by many of the faithful not …

Keep reading

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Core Review by Ben Lewis

We’ve recently tested some interesting high performance vehicles, like the Kia EV6 GT, and Volvo S60 Recharge – all pointing to a direction in the future of hybrid and EV being the enthusiast’s choice, right? Not so fast.  We just spent a week in the Toyota Corolla GR – a fascinating confection of both old-world performance and modern technology, featuring good-old gas fueled technology. And this little car is one of the most thrilling vehicles we have driven in a long time. Yes, a Corolla. Buckle up, we’re going for a ride. A Corolla on Steroids We’ve always liked the …

Keep reading

2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin AWD review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Volvo S60 Recharge plug-in Hybrid and came away massively impressed. With Volvo mentioning that all vehicles sold for 2023 on will be hybrid or full-on electric, we wondered if the fun was going to get lost in the process. Well, it certainly didn’t on the S60. So now, we were really excited to test the all-electric C40 Recharge. We’re pretty hopeful about the fun, but we also wondered in the world of EVs, does the C40 keep that special Volvo-ness that we’ve come to love? Let’s find out! Swedish Smurf The first thing you notice about …

Keep reading

2023 Volvo S60 Recharge AWD Ultimate review by Ben Lewis

We have to admit, we are slowly changing our opinion about electrification of vehicles. Take our recent test of the Kia EV6 GT, with 576 horsepower and 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Oh yes, that was fun. But we’ll also point out that it wasn’t always easy finding a charging station and a range of 208 miles or so did fire up the occasional range anxiety. We think hybrids are the best way to go right now – the joy of EV combined with the reliability of a gas-powered engine. Well for Volvo the times they are a changing – …

Keep reading

2023 Kia EV6 GT review by Ben Lewis

Of all the manufacturers, Kia and its sibling Hyundai seem to really be on a roll. And for the Asian nameplate manufacturers, it’s really pushing the EV envelope with loads of great vehicles. One of the best is the Kia EV6we tested recently. With 225 horsepower and a range of 310 miles it’s the sweet spot in the lineup. Unless you’re an enthusiast that is, because at the top of the line, there’s the EV6 GT model with 576 horsepower and allegedly the kind of performance that humbles the most expensive European models, let alone most EV’s. So, we had …

Keep reading

2023 Toyota Venza XLE Nightshade review by Ben Lewis

Toyota is a brand that likes to offer something for everybody. From sports cars like the Supra and GR86 to the massive Tundra truck, there’s a vehicle for you. And when it comes to SUV’s, you’re really spoiled for choice, with the Highlander, RAV4, Sequoia, Corolla Cross, bZ4X EV, 4Runner. And the subject of our test, the Venza. So, what sets it apart from its family members and the competition? Let’s take a look. It’s a Looker First glance tells you this is one of Toyota’s most handsome vehicles. Up front, the lines are very clean and remind us of …

Keep reading

2023 Lexus LC500 Coupe Review by Ben Lewis

There’s good design and then there’s great design. Recently Lexus asked if we’d like to test the LC 500, and it took a little looking to find out it’s been over 5 years since we were last in one. So, does one of the most gorgeous cars we’ve ever tested hold up over time? Let’s find out! Stunning is as Stunning Does Well, in the past 5 years, we’ve seen pretty much of an overhaul of the brand, just about every SUV (UX, NX,RX, LX) are new, and the IS sedans got a big refresh. And they all are leaning …

Keep reading

2023 Hyundai Elantra N Review by Ben Lewis

This may be the era of the SUV, but there’s still great news for those who like cars – especially affordable performance cars. Within the last year or so, we’ve seen an all-new Civic Si and Type R, Toyota GR Corolla and VW GTI. Oh, and the latest player, the 2023 Hyundai Elantra N. Did we say Hyundai? You bet. The N moniker is somewhat recent, having appeared first on the quirky Veloster hatchback and the Kona small crossover. But the real meat of the enthusiast market is going to be sedans and hatchbacks, so we’re happy to welcome the …

Keep reading

2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SEL S-AWC review by Ben Lewis

Have you ever met someone, and new immediately that you were going to be great friends?  Well, that happens with cars, too. Last year we tested the then all-new 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander and loved it. The only thing missing – the popular PHEV (plug-in hybrid) model remained on the previous chassis. But now for 2023 you can get the PHEV model with all the goodies. So, is it still love at first sight? Let’s find out! Same Great Looks – Can you say I Fu Do Do? We were super happy to see that the PHEV has inherited the same …

Keep reading

2023 BMW 330e Sedan review by Ben Lewis

There are best sellers, and there are true best sellers. And for BMW, you have to count the 3-series as a long time favorite. BMW made their reputation in the States on small sporting sedans, and today the 3 sedan is the rightful heir to the crown. Which is not to say there’s no competition for the throne – everyone from Audi and Mercedes to Lexus and Genesis are gunning for that spot. So, is the 2023 BMW 330e still top of the pops? Let’s take a look. Still a Looker On the outside, the 2023 model gets a fresh …

Keep reading

2023 Honda CR-V Sport Touring Hybrid review by Ben Lewis

A long time ago, if we said “name a Honda” odds were pretty good you’d say Civic or Accord. Of course, the crossover/SUV craze has meant that the nameplates most familiar are ones like the CR-V. (Although the Civic and Accord are pretty great vehicles). And the best-selling CR-V fights in one of the most competitive segments around, with such marquee idols as the RAV4, all-new Mazda CX-50, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Nissan Rogue. To keep up, Honda knew it was time for an update. Enter the all-new 2023 Honda CR-V. Does the 6th generation CR-V keep its crown …

Keep reading

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance review by Ben Lewis

It’s comforting when there’s things you can rely on. Like the Lexus RX. You know it’s going to be a pleasantly styled SUV, with loads of luxury, quiet and refined. So, all of sudden they announce a serious performance-minded, hard-edged RX! What!!!! Well, actually, we have seen Lexus and parent company Toyota getting more sport serious, from the IS 500 to the new GR 86, so it’s not that outrageous. But can it live up to the promise? Let’s find out. Looks the Part The RX 500 makes a bold first impression – instantly identifiable as a Lexus, but a …

Keep reading

2023 Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo AWD Premium Plus Hatchback review by Ben Lewis

Everybody has the little things they like to be picky about. We have friends who are wine lovers who scoff at our choices of the crushed grape. We’re snobby about cars. Perfect example, we recently tested the Mazda CX-5, a non turbo model, and were delighted with the sportiness of it. You could pay a lot for the turbo version, but we didn’t think it warranted it. So, when Mazda offered us our choice the sporty Mazda 3 hatchback, we did a 180, and send turbo please! Our gut told us, in this little guy, in thrust we trust. So, …

Keep reading

2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro review by Ben Lewis

What makes a best seller? A simple question, but not always a simple answer. Often, it’s price driven – America’s best-selling hamburger is not likely the tastiest one you’ll find. On the other hand, big box office boffo blockbusters are often really good. But not always. Well Toyota’s Tacoma is certainly one of the best-selling small trucks, and lately is also the king of resale value – often times demanding prices higher than new! So, we wondered, is the 2023 Tacoma a budget burger, or a movie star with enduring power. Let’s find out. Movie Star Looks Well, this is …

Keep reading

2023 Jeep Wagoneer Series II 4×4 review by Ben Lewis

If you haven’t been to the movies in a while, you might find yourself tempted by the super extra-large popcorn. What the heck, why not? Well, the same thing is happening again with SUVs. While we’re seeing all sorts of small SUVs, EVs and the like, some folks are going big – for the room, for the space, and what the heck, why not? The latest entry in the supersize SUV sweeps is the all-new 2023 Jeep Wagoneer. Designed to fit against other big 3-row models like the Tahoe and Suburban, it gives the Jeep faithful a choice that they …

Keep reading

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Review by Ben Lewis

One of the most amazing brand turnarounds have to be Hyundai and its sibling, Kia. What were once inexpensive but durable vehicles that were low on desirability, are now some of the most exciting, interesting and leading edge in the marketplace. And the perfect example is the Ioniq 5 EV. Not only is it a ground breaker for the brand, but it’s also making people think about EV’s who might never have considered one before. How does it do it? Let’s take a look! Unmistakable Design Hyundai started by making the Ioniq look like nothing else from the maker before. …

Keep reading

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid EX AWD review by Ben Lewis

As long as there’s been Kia in the US, it seems like there’s been a Sportage SUV. It started out small and rugged, and grew into a stylish, strong-performing model that we liked to call the Korean Cayenne. No small praise, giving Porsche props there. And now we have an all-new 5th generation Sportage, and while we might have expected a further development of the current model, Kia has instead unleashed the designers and engineers to create something completely different. How did they do? Let’s take a look! Opposites United No, that isn’t a name for a new English soccer …

Keep reading

2022 Audi e-tron quattro Review by Ben Lewis

It’s been an Audi lovefest the past few weeks here at CRD. We’ve tested the S4, A4 and now we’re reviewing the fully electric e-tron SUV. While the other sedabs wooed us with their wonderful engines, we wondered can an EV powered Audi win our hearts as well? Let’s find out! Hello Handsome We’ve noticed a trend in the EV world, either you make it look crazy and unique, or you make it look much like the gas-powered choices, the BMW i4 comes to mind – making an easier transition for those coming from fossil fuel cars. We’d say that …

Keep reading

2022 Audi A4 Sedan review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Audi S4 sedan and were blown away by the beautiful sedan’s stunning performance and luxo interior. So, we wondered, can you get the same kind of thrills from the less powerful, less expensive 2022 A4 sedan? Let’s find out. Aggressive and Stylish Like the S4, the A4 makes a bold first impression. In fact, you’d have to be an Audi-phile to know our model was the less expensive model. You get the same segmented LED running lights framing the hexagonal headlights. The same large – but not over the top – grille, and lower side intakes. …

Keep reading

2022 Audi S4 Sedan review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the BMW M340i xDrive, and loved the intoxicating blend of performance and practicality. But there’s more than one Great White shark swimming in the Euro-sedan Ocean, and one that’s a direct competitor to that Bimmer is the Audi S4. So does the Audi put the bite on the BMW, or vice versa? Let’s find out. Stunning Design The S4 makes a bold first impression, with segmented LED running lights framing the hexagonal headlights. Like most manufacturers, Audi is a member of the big grille club, but like the BMW, it’s done tastefully here, with lower side intakes …

Keep reading

2023 Kia Niro PHEV SX Touring Review by Ben Lewis

The Kia Niro has always been an interesting player. More of a tall hatchback than a true small SUV, we’ve found that its fun to drive nature and responsive performance made it one of the most enjoyable small hybrid vehicles. Well for 2023, we have an all-new 2nd generation Niro, so we’re wondering, is it a second helping of Kia goodness, or a sophomore slump? Let’s find out. Big on Bold Season 2 starts with a bold new look for our hero. Kia calls the new design philosophy “Opposites United” – yes, it does sound like a pro soccer team …

Keep reading

2023 BMW M340i xDrive review by Ben Lewis

Like the sun rising in the morning, you can count on certain things in the automotive world. And one of them is a BMW 3-series is a great drive. OK, some sun rises are better than others, but for 45 years, the compact BMW has been the target that everyone who makes a premium performance vehicle has been aiming for. BMW has made some changes to the venerable 3 for 2023, so we ask, is it once again an early riser? Or has the carmaker hit the proverbial Snooze button? Let’s take a look! Fresh But not Freakish We can …

Keep reading

2023 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S AWD Carbon Edition Review by Ben Lewis

There are certain brands that we’re always excited to test, and Mazda is one of them. Lately many of our test vehicles from the carmaker including the – CX-30, CX-50 – have had the powerful 2.5-liter, turbo engine. So many, that we kind of forgot about the nice, non-turbo engines that are in the more affordable models. So, we jumped at the chance test a Mazda CX-5 with the normally aspirated engine, and we were shocked! Stay tuned. All Gorgeous Well, no matter which CX-5 model you like, you’re going to get a work of art. Mazda talks about its …

Keep reading

2023 Honda HR-V AWD EX-L Review by Ben Lewis

With the expensive price of gas, you might think that SUV/crossovers might be giving way back to small sedans, but nope – they’re as popular as ever. One thing that might be changing is the greater demand for the smaller models that are more fuel efficient. Count in models like the Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos and Mazda CX-30. Honda already had a fine competitor in the class, the HR-V, but to keep things competitive, there’s an all-new 2023 model with major upgrades all around. So how does it stack up in this ultra-competitive segment? Let’s take a look. Bigger and …

Keep reading

2023 Lexus GX 460 Black Line review by Ben Lewis

While there are a lot of SUVs out there, it’s a sad fact that most of them aren’t really capable off-road vehicles. Soft Roaders – more likely bound for a trip to the mall than the mountains. And yet, there are still buyers who want that rugged capability. And a few more that want a full load of luxury as well. Range Rover may be the most common choice, but we think the Lexus 460 has always filled that bill. And with some nice updates, it’s become even more desirable. So, strap on your mountain boots, and let’s go for …

Keep reading

2022 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD Premium review by Ben Lewis

It’s been a little over a year since we last tested the Mazda CX-30. And while the changes are small for the CX, the compact SUV/crossover marketplace continues to be red hot, so we wondered, does one of our favorites still reign supreme? Let’s find out! Still the Supermodel While the CX-30 shares a platform with the Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback, we think the CX Is the pic of litter – and that’s no small feat – the sedan has an Audi-like tastefulness, and the 3 hatch has the kind of aggressive looks you’d want in a true sports …

Keep reading

2022 VW Golf GTI 2.0T S Review by Ben Lewis

VW recently released the all-new eight-generation GTI, and since it’s always been one of our favorite hot hatches for driving fun, we couldn’t wait for an opportunity to test it. Well, our wishes have come true and now the question is, is the GTI still the King of Fun? Let’s find out! All-new and Completely Familiar So, VW says this is an all-new design, and yet, it couldn’t be anything but a GTI – Volkswagen likes to make design evolutions instead of revolutions. That said, the update does keep things fresh and interesting. The front is a nice mix of …

Keep reading

2023 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2-Door review by Ben Lewis

EV’s have come a long way in a relatively short time. Just a few years ago, your choices were mostly a Tesla or a Nissan LEAF. Other manufacturers were test-marketing cars, but the choices were limited. We now have electric vehicles offered in pretty much every price point from the Chevy Bolt, start at $26,595 up to stratospheric vehicles like the Lucid, Porsche and Mercedes all easy eclipsing the $100k mark. The truth is, if EV’s are really going to make a big dent in the marketplace – government efforts notwithstanding – they’re going to have to be affordable. But …

Keep reading

2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited PHEV AWD review by Ben Lewis

About a year ago, we tested the all-new ’22 Hyundai Tucson Limited HTRAC and were very impressed. Great looks, a luxurious interior, Hyundai’s best seller was a very desirable vehicle. Except, well, it was kind of ho-hum to drive. But we know that Hyundai and its sibling Kia are making more and more interesting vehicles to drive – we were pretty sure an upgraded model was around the corner. And that model has just shown up on our driveway – a Tucson with the added oomph of a plug-in hybrid powertrain – more power and greater mpg, sounds like a …

Keep reading

2022 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road review by Ben Lewis

We’ve tested a variety of models of the new Toyota RAV4, and it’s shown to be a versatile platform starting as a handsome and practical small SUV, all the way up to a stormingly quick 302-horsepower RAV4 Prime, and many models in between. Since the new RAV was introduced, we’ve seen a huge increase in outdoorsy trim models from a bunch of manufacturers, including the Subaru Forester and Outback Wilderness models, and the Honda Passport TrailSport.  Some, like the Subies have an impressive amount of off-road updates, while others like the Honda are more show than go. So, we figured …

Keep reading

2022 Subaru WRX GT Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new 2022 Subaru WRX Limited. With a 6-speed manual, and a load of improvements in every way, we loved it. So, when Subaru offered us the chance to drive the new upscale WRX GT model, we said yes in a heartbeat. Well, make that 2 heartbeats – because we know that the GT comes exclusively with what Subie calls their automatic SPT (Sport Performance Transmission) is really a CVT (continuously variable transmission). In general, CVT’s are not much fun – even for an automatic, but since we’d been impressed with the CVT in the Subaru Ascent, …

Keep reading

2022 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Lux review by Ben Lewis

Every manufacturer has a top-of-the-line model. With some, they’re nice, but not something to get thrilled about. But when you talk about an all-new Lexus model that’s at the pricing and product pinnacle, that gets our attention. Introducing the 2022 Lexus LX 600, the all-new, dreamboat SUV from the company whose name is synonymous with upscale in every way. So, is the new LX a luxury flagship or just a luxo-barge? Let’s find out! A little history here – this is not the first Lexus LX model. The previous LX 570  was the gussied-up version of the Toyota Land Cruiser, …

Keep reading

2022 BMW M4 Comp xDrive Convertible Review by Ben Lewis

While we drive a lot of cars, we’d say we never get jaded. In fact, the opposite is true – we’re always excited to get our hands on the latest and greatest. But sometimes we have to do a gut check. Take this beautiful M4 convertible. Over 500 horsepower. Gulp! Over $100k as tested. Double gulp. So, is this an approachable high-performance vehicle, or are we in over our heads? Well, let’s find out. Stone Cold Serious This is one serious looking piece of driving hardware. OK, you might argue that a convertible version of an M4 Competition seems a …

Keep reading

2022 Hyundai Tucson N Line H-Trac review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the new Toyota 4Runner Sport model, an interesting blend of upgraded looks, but without the heavy-duty off-road bits that come on models like TRD Pro. It’s a trend, like the Honda Passport Trailsport – adding some sporty style without going overboard on performance gear, and here’s another take on that same formula, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson N Line. We previously tested the Tucson Limited, and were very impressed, so let’s see if the N Line keeps those good vibrations! Buff and Tough On the outside, Hyundai takes what was already one of the best-looking small SUV’s and …

Keep reading

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport Review by Ben Lewis

Is there any SUV more familiar than Toyota’s 4Runner? We’d say familiar and steadfast, too. Where other SUV’s have gone through the market swings, becoming more car like, swapping capability for comfort, living a soft life in the ‘burbs, the 4Runner has stayed true to form – a tough, capable, rugged, truck-based vehicle that’s proven to be nearly unbreakable over the years. But is this tough Toyota is behind the times? Well, a new-for-2022 TRD Sport model gives us an opportunity to get back in the saddle with one of our favorite rides. Handsome, Square-Jawed Looks On the outside, it …

Keep reading

2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new Acura Integra A-Spec, and we loved it.  With great looks and performance, it reminded us that the world hasn’t gone completely SUV crazy – there’s still a deserving place for a well-tuned sport sedan. (or hatch in the Acura’s case). While the Acura returns a familiar name, The VW Jetta has never gone away. And with the recent re-imagining of the sporty GLI model, it’s even more of an enthusiast’s dream come true. Significant updates for 2022 give us another chance to drive VW’s sports sedan. Fresh Face The Jetta GLI has always been handsome, …

Keep reading

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec Tech review by Ben Lewis

Many people have forgotten that before Lexus of Infiniti, there was Acura. Yep, it was Honda who first came out with a separate luxury brand, and they set the trend that’s also being followed like Hyundai’s Genesis. In fact, even Mazda was going to add the Amati line, but thought better of it, and it never happened. Especially with enthusiasts, the Integra name stands for something special. While it was from the beginning a tarted-up Civic, Acura made sure that performance goodies and special models were included. So it’s really interesting that for their latest model, the brand has ditched …

Keep reading

2022 Lexus NX 450h+ Luxury Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new Lexus NX 350 and we very impressed. OK, so we know it’s heavily based on the new Toyota RAV4, but that’s fine with us, the updated RAV4 was a major step forward for one of the best-selling small SUVs of all time. And our favorite RAV was the RAV4 Prime with over 300 horsepower and 0-60 in under 6 seconds. It’s one of the fastest vehicles in the Toyota fleet! So, while we loved the NX 350, we were really waiting for the NX 450h+ which would be using the same muscular running gear as …

Keep reading

2022 MINI Cooper S Convertible Review by Ben Lewis

We’re in the dog days of August, and while the days are starting to get shorter (booooo) the weather has been staying hot and humid. What better time for a convertible – especially one as fun as the MINI Cooper S! Even better, for 2022 the MINI has gotten a new look inside and out that promises even more enjoyment. Put on your sunblock, we’re going for a cruise! Undeniably Stylish, Undeniably MINI Well, you might worry that a new look for the MINI could mess things up, but MINI has always been such a design icon, we know that …

Keep reading

2022 BMW i4 eDrive40 Review by Ben Lewis

It’s pretty clear that EV’s are here to stay. And it’s been interesting to see how carmakers are responding to the trend. Some like Tesla 3 and the Kia EV6 have a bespoke take on what an EV should be, while others models like the Kia Niro EV  or Hyundai Kona Electric take an existing vehicle and offer an electrified version of the existing vehicle. BMW Is an interesting case, since their first EV vehicles, the small i3 and the supercar i8, were definitely on the “unique” end of the spectrum. But the smart money says if you want people …

Keep reading

2022 Toyota GR 86 Review by Ben Lewis

You hate long lines? Try being an auto journalist getting a Toyota GR 86 to test! But sometimes it’s worth the wait, because you know it will be worth it. So now we have the Toyota sibling to the Subaru BRZ we tested and loved. So how does it stack up? Let’s take a look! Fresh Interpretation of the Modern Sports Car There’s a strong family resemblance between the GR 86 and previous 86/FR-S. While the overall dimensions are very close, the new model looks beefed up and more aggressive. Most buyers will we be weighing the GR 86 against …

Keep reading