2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo 2.OL FWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  If you’ve read our other tests of Kia vehicles, you might remember that we’ve been noticing a distinctively German feel to these Korean Vehicles, much of it owing to the stewardship of Kia/Hyundai Honcho Peter Schreyer, who previously penned much of Audi’s goodness. When we tested the Kia Optima SX we found loads of Audi-ness in the overall feel of the car. And now with the all-new Sportage SUV, we’re tasting hints of Porsche and BMW in the mix as well. Has Kia created the Korean Kayenne? Well, from first glance, it will definitely catch Stuttgart’s attention. And a …

Read more 2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo 2.OL FWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata Track Day 17

Drive Review – 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata – by Ben Lewis

There are people out there not enamored by the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. And you can include me. Well, sort of. Let me explain. First of all, a disclosure. A well-worn 1990 Miata lives in the Ben Lewis garage. I’ve had it over 15 years. And yes, it’s red. So I’m a fan. And when the Second Gen (NB to you and me) bowed in 1999, I liked it. But I was amazed that even though it only lost an inch of legroom, I didn’t fit comfortably. And really, I’m not that tall. I was personally happier when the …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata – by Ben Lewis

2016 Lexus GS-F 1

Drive Review – 2016 Lexus GS-F – By Ben Lewis in Los Angeles

  Not Godzilla. More like T-Rex. To paraphrase Sally Field, “Lexus likes us. They really, really like us!” At least enough to let us spend some more time in the GS F. But we have some different perspective here, as this time, your humble scribe spent a week partaking in the GS here in sunny LA-LA land. And it ends up netting some mixed results. First, a quick rehash of the technical pleasantries. Like BMW’s M division, with models ranging between M235i’s and M2,3,4, and 5, there are F-Sport cars, and then there are F-Sport cars. F-sport is Lexus’ catch-all …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 Lexus GS-F – By Ben Lewis in Los Angeles

2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i Copper Canyon Mexico 57

Drive Review – 2016 BMW X1 – By Ben Lewis

Baby Bimmer? Mighty Mini? X marks the spot. We recently tested the new Mini Clubman, and came to the conclusion it was as much a less-expensive BMW (sort of a squashed Sport Activity Vehicle) as it was a supersized Mini. So now, here we are, testing the new BMW X1. And that’s really interesting, since it shares the platform with the Clubman. And in many ways, it’s a radical departure from where BMW has been. The question is has BMW lost the melody, or did they manage to get us all singing along? BMW isn’t going to give away the …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 BMW X1 – By Ben Lewis

Drive Review – 2016 Honda CIVIC COUPE – By Ben Lewis

    Is the new Civic a great little coupe, or the end of the automobile as we know it? A bit over-dramatic? Maybe not. We’ll get there. But first…   Honda recently introduced and all-new Civic Sedan that marked the 10th generation of feel-good affordable Honda sedans. And over the years, the Civic has had its ups and downs, but it’s always been pretty good and sometimes brilliant. The new one gets a very, very, very good rating from us. And like before, there’s a Coupe version on offer as well. In this case, we prefer the Coupe. To …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 Honda CIVIC COUPE – By Ben Lewis

2016 MINI Clubman 15

Drive Review – 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman S – By Ben Lewis

  Pardon us while we get all Existentialist on you. But is Mini as a measure of size, or a state of mind?  That’s what’s got us scratching our heads with the latest Clubman S. This is actually the second generation of the Clubber, the first was a longer wheelbase version of the existing model, with a small suicide door on the passenger side to help passengers pile in and enjoy the extra room. It actually made a lot of sense, it gave a bit better ride, and introduced Mini drivers to the joys (accessibility) and horrors (visibility) of split …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman S – By Ben Lewis

2015 Lexus RC350 F Sport Ultra White 44

Drive Review – 2016 Lexus RC200t F-Sport – By Ben Lewis

  Lexus’ new 2.0-liter turbo four cylinder continues to be a surprise to us. Like most premium manufacturers, the boosted four is the gateway drug to European-style performance while using less gas and polluting fewer carbons than traditional larger engines. In Toyota’s luxury division, we’ve had a mixed bag of results with this engine. We found it friendly and well suited to the NX Crossover, but lacked oomph and charisma in the IS200. Which then surprised us with how well it worked in the larger GS200 sedan, giving plenty of performance and a very luxurious demeanor. So the count is …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 Lexus RC200t F-Sport – By Ben Lewis

Drive Review – 2016 GMC CANYON DuraMax SLT 4WD – By Ben Lewis

    We recently tested the all-new 2016 RAV4 Hybrid. What does this have to do with the GMC Canyon Diesel? Nothing, except it does point to a trend. Fresh powertrain choices in well-established vehicles. In the case of the Canyon – ok, just this once – the 2016 GMC Canyon 4WD SLT Short Box with 2.8L DURAMAX turbo diesel 4-cylinder – it means that the mid-size pickup buyer now has the opportunity to  enjoy the diesel goodness they’ve long been denied. Diesel has always been the go-to for the big rigs, and for the heavy-duty, 250-series size pickups as …

Read more Drive Review – 2016 GMC CANYON DuraMax SLT 4WD – By Ben Lewis

2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited

First Drive Review – 2016 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid – By Ben Lewis

HYBRIDS.  Thanks for … Somethin’? But first, a little credit where it’s due. Or sacrilege. You be the judge. While we salivate over the Porsche 918 and BMW i8, and at $845,000 and $140,000 respectively, slobbering is about all we’re going to do.  We owe gratitude to the Toyota Prius. Yes, the Prius. While Porsche actually developed the first hybrid automobile in 1901, it was the agrarian little sedan from Toyota that started making hybrid a household name, way back in 1996. And in just 20 years, it has gone from one painfully slow 4-door to become the best selling …

Read more First Drive Review – 2016 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid – By Ben Lewis