2018 Kia Stinger GT1 RWD V6TT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  We’ve been very impressed by Kia lately. It seems every new model is exceptionally good. But now we have something completely different: The Kia Stinger. Offering something you won’t find at any Toyota, Nissan or Honda dealer – a high performance rear-wheel-drive sedan. From the design, you’d think they’re taking on the new Audi A5 Sportback, and the performance the BMW 5-series. So, Kia is clearly targeting the European thoroughbreds. But does the Stinger have the horse-sense to back it up? Ich bin ein Frankfurter… No, not the hot dog. It’s no surprise that Stinger looks so European. Kia …

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2018 Acura TLX A-Spec V6 SH AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It’s about time Acura got some credit. After all, it was the first Japanese automaker (via parent company Honda) to enter the luxury division that was owned by Europeans. It created a supercar (NSX) that could hang with the world’s best, and still it was as reliable as a Prelude. Somehow along the way, though, the brand earned a reputation as nice, well turned-out cars, but a little bland for the enthusiast. Now if you want to point out the new NSX, that’s fine – but at a starting price of $156,000 it’s more of a dream car for most …

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2018 VW Tiguan S 2.0T FWD 7 Seater – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the new Mini Countryman, and determined that while it’s the largest Mini yet, it still is Mini, in brand and spirit. So, now we have the all-new 2018 VW Tiguan, a big step forward in size over the previous model. Big enough to squeeze in a 3rd row of seats. But it leaves us wondering: Has the Tiguan gotten too big for its britches? One look and you know the new Tiguan is shopping at the big and tall SUV store. 10.6 inches longer, and riding on a wheelbase 7.3 longer, it’s not only a much larger …

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2017 Mini Cooper Countryman ALL4 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It’s no fun being judged by your name. Even if it’s a good one. Take Mini, for example. Around since the 60’s, it stood for diminutive cars that surprised and delighted, in part to their snug external dimensions, and their larger-than-life performance. When the Mini Cooper was reintroduced in the US in 2003, it was much larger than the original, but still a lot smaller than just about everything else for sale. And in the past 14 years, we’ve seen the Mini product expand into larger vehicles like the Clubman and small crossovers like the Mini Countryman. And now with …

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2018 Honda ODYSSEY Elite – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Minivans aren’t often objects of desire. Sure, they can be objects of affection, and we know many owners who swore they’d never own one who now swear they’d never drive anything else, but mostly they lie in the job title of family workhorse – destined to be covered in sweaty sports gear and crumbled cheerios. But maybe things have changed. Is the new 2018 Honda Odyssey lust-worthy? Well, it’s certainly handsome. Hard to believe, but the 2018 is the 5th generation of Honda’s people mover, with 2.5-million units sold it’s Honda’s 4th best-selling vehicle of all time. Impressive. For its …

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2018 Kia Rio EX 5-door – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve often said it’s more interesting to see how a manufacturer makes their inexpensive cars vs. the big-ticket items. We recently tested the Genesis G80 Sport, one of the most lux of the Kia/Hyundai/Genesis family, and came away mightily impressed. How about the other end of the spectrum, Kia Rio? Can the littlest Kia win us over? Welcome to the Rodney Dangerfield section of the auto market. It’s hard to get any respect. The little Rio is the cheapest car K-H-G sells in the U.S., and while the brand has made huge strides, especially in the last 10 years, it’s …

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2017 Jeep COMPASS Trailhawk 4×4 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

If you like small crossover/SUV’s, you’re living in the golden age. Where most manufacturers were once happy to offer one model, it seems like many are doubling – or tripling – down, to give you your own perfect blend of goodness. And that includes Jeep. Here we have an all-new Jeep Compass. Originally introduced in 2007, the Compass was sort of a slapped-together version based on the Dodge Caliber. More tall wagon than true ‘ute, it still proved to be very popular with buyers, but kind of felt out of place with the Jeep Brand. Fast forward 10 years, and …

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2017 Nissan ROGUE SPORT SV AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Over the years there have been plenty of words used to keep certain brand names high on the sales charts, and to use the halo of well-earned reputations to promote the latest and greatest. Think Grand Cherokee, Camry Solara, Mustang II. Some more successful than others. And now we have a spinoff of Nissan’s exceptionally popular Rogue. The Nissan Rogue Sport. What’s up, Sport? Sport fits the smaller, more aggressive looking Rogue, being a good foot shorter than its big brother. Designed to compete against such city funsters as Mazda’s CX-3, Honda HR-V, and Toyota’s CH-R, it’s still a handy …

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2017 Nissan Maxima SR – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Recently we tested the all-new 2018 Camry. Ours was the sportiest V6, XSE and it managed to clear the $40,000 hurdle with optional equipment. It’s certainly a great evolution in Camry-dom, but it had us thinking, for 40-large you’re treading on some well-established toes. Including the self-proclaimed 4-Door Sports Car, the Nissan Maxima. So, is the Maxima still the sport/luxury sedan of choice for value conscious buyers? Well, it’s certainly aging well. While competitors like the Camry are handsome, the Maxima still lives in a league above. It looks long, low, and wide, full of serious intent. Also tying in …

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2018 GENESIS G80 Sport AWD 3.3T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

BMW, Audi and Mercedes: better check your mirrors. There’s a new brand breathing down your neck. Hyundai. Yes, Hyundai (hey wasn’t that their ad campaign a while ago?) In this case, it’s the Korean automaker’s luxury division, Genesis. From the get-go, Genesis has taken serious aim at the luxury market, and while early cars where Hyundai Genesis models like the Coupe, it has slowly divested itself from the mothership, and become a stand-alone luxury brand. Well.. sort of, they don’t have stand-alone dealerships yet, so the lavish love you get from The Europeans, Lexus, and others is sadly missing. That …

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2017 Toyota Yaris iA – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

While it’s great to test the latest hi-tech, hi-buck vehicles, we really enjoy when a manufacturer makes an inexpensive car something special. Especially when it’s not only good, but also a surprisingly good drive.  And this is one of those vehicles. Yaris, I am your father… OK, the Yaris has a confused parentage going on here. Until last year, the iA was a Scion. And when Toyota got rid of that brand, it adopted the little sedan. Hence the funny iA name – clearly a remnant from Scion. But of course, that’s only half the story, because the iA is actually …

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2017 VW Passat 1.8T R-Line – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Hankering for a sporty European performance sedan, but stunned by the high prices? Never fear – we’ve found a sweet sedan that ticks all the right boxes and even surprised us with its sensible pricing: the 2017 VW Passat. Now you have to be a smart shopper, or you could get carried away and end up dropping a fair amount of loot on some maxed-out model. You have to know the magic word. The magic word is R-Line. VW actually serves up 6 different models, but the R-Line gives you a nice dollop of sporty goodness in its second-to-lowest priced …

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2017 Dodge Challenger T/A – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Some cars just take you back. And the 2017 Dodge Challenger is one of them. Sure, it’s loaded with modern technology and conveniences, but once you fire up that awesome Hemi V8, and just listen to it whump, whump, whump – it becomes a time machine that transports you back to when driving was almost everything you could think about. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s positively bad-ass. What’s not to love? The design is familiar, the Challenger hasn’t changed much since it was re-introduced 2008. And they were smart – the proportions, the stance, the swagger – it’s all true …

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2018 Toyota Camry XSE V6 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We like cars that shake things up. That take what you thought you knew, and lead you in a whole new direction. One of the biggest surprises this year is Toyota’s venerable family sedan. From the sharp creased lines, to the sharply-creased performance, it’s got a lot of people asking the same question. That’s a Camry? Yep. But first, some housekeeping. The rumor of the family sedan being dead is a bit overstated. Yes, crossovers are big business, but there are a lot of buyers out there who are just as happy with a solid, sensible, four-door sedan. And they …

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2018 Lexus LC500 - Review 14

2018 Lexus LC500 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Most times, I’m an auto journalist. Testing and writing about the latest and greatest from manufacturers, and hoping to give you the info you need to know. But today, I’m a Bond villain. Well at least I feel that way. I’m in the new Lexus LC500, and it makes such a definitive statement, and takes the brand in a bold new direction. And it does make you feel evil. In a good way. For your eyes, only…. Let’s start with the looks. While James Bond started with Astons, got sidetracked with Lotus and BMW’s along the way (and the occasional …

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2018 Nissan 370Z Roadster Touring Sport 7 A/T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Although summer is a memory in the rearview mirror for most of us, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy a roadster – in fact, cooler weather and leaves changing color make fall one of the joys of owning a drop top. And if you’re looking for joy in a roadster, look here. The 370Z is getting to be a senior citizen in the sports car world. The coupe appearing in 2009, the roadster in 2010. Mind you, there have been updates, including a facelift – but the basic vehicle is pretty much the same, even as its approaching it’s …

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2017 VW Golf R w/ DCC & Nav – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Most car makers have “halo” cars.  You know, special products (usually at nosebleed prices) to show off the best of what they can do, and to make you feel better about the garden-variety products that most of us end up buying. Think Nissan GT-R, Corvette Z06, Acura NSX. VW has a halo vehicle, too. And while the family parts bin of Audi goodness could probably have given them some ridiculous $80,000 über Passat or something, they did something very cool. They made a VW Golf their showpiece. So, is the VW Golf R a hatch that super-enthusiasts can really get …

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2017 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4×4 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

A long time ago, the SUV was a truck. In fact, many of our SUV-owning friends used to call them trucks. It was a badge of pride. Tough, no-nonsense. Go anywhere. The anti-Minivan in every sense of the word. But we got seduced. Today, nearly everyone wants car-like comfort, luxuries, swank styling. Rugged capability? Who cares. Well, if you’ve seen the weather lately, or watch the hot TV shows, you know, it might not be such a bad idea to have a little go-anywhere in your garage. Which leads us to today’s question: What vehicle do you want when the …

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2018 Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T Quattro S Tronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

If we’ve learned anything from Hollywood, it’s that the sequel is treacherous territory. While famous follow-ups like Godfather 2 and even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, come to mind, the 2.0 movie has a bad reputation – and it boils down to where do we go from here? And if you look at the first-run Audi A5 Coupe, (some say coo-pay) you’ve got to feel for the folks at Audi. Penned by famed designer Walter de Silva, he called it “the most beautiful car I have ever built”. And you can see his point. It was stunning – and …

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2018 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited Sedan – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

When people ask us what’s “in” this year, we have an answer: Premium. It seems like these things cycle through. One year, it’s performance, the next – gadgets. Safety and autonomous tech are going to be with us now for the foreseeable future. But this year – especially in smaller vehicles – carmakers are pumping up the quietness, the tech, and the high quality goods. And with so many buyers fleeing to small crossovers, this makes sense. If you can’t compete with the versatility, you compete with feel-good of an upscale drive. And next in line for the primo treatment …

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2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SEL – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

These days a lot of automakers offer a hybrid of some sort. But pretty much the undisputed king is the Prius. And Toyota earned the reputation the hard way – putting out their necks first with a little agrarian car that earned more than its share of jibes and rude noises. But Toyota’s laughing now. Interestingly, there have been precious few direct competitors to the Prius. But now we have a new fuel-sipping gunslinger in town –the all-new Hyundai Ioniq hybrid. So, does it send the Prius packing, or is it more ironic than Ioniq? Well it definitely has the …

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2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring FWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It’s tough being Mazda. After all, in the automotive world, you’re a small company, up against giants like Toyota, Ford, and Nissan. And even though you’re a famous sports car maker, you need to compete in the big-money segments like small crossovers to survive. But Mazda did more than just compete. With the original CX-5, Mazda made one of the best, most fun to drive small crossovers on the market. But time moves on, and Mazda has to as well. Will Mazda’s new CX-5 be another winner, or will it suffer from sophomore slump? Well, first of all, it’s not …

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2017 Lexus LS460 F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

If you know anything about Lexus, you already know the LS460. This is the whole enchilada, the übersedan (not to be confused with Uber-sedan), the division’s luxury flagship, providing all aboard uncompromised wafting comfort. Oh wait, this is the F-Sport version. Whaaaa? Yes F-Sport. In the Lexicon of Lexii, you have your regular models, your AMG-baiting F division RC-F and GS-F, and in between, F-Sport. Kind of like BMW’s M-sport. Sporty, but not designed to remove fillings at the first speed bump. And we’ve tested various F Sport trims, including everything from the IS350 F Sport, which we loved dearly, …

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2018 Toyota C-HR – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

There’s a lot of talk lately that the small car is on its last legs. And you-know-who is to blame…the crossover. It started quite a while ago with SUVs swaying the public, with their rugged looks, great versatility, and comfy, tall seating position. Then came the small SUV wave, and it’s become a Tsunami – the Nissan Rogue is currently the best selling non-pickup vehicle (full-size pickups are still big business) in the country, with a passel of CR-V’s, RAV4’s, and CX-5’s and more not far behind. Still, the smallest of the small cars felt safe until recently, when the …

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2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

There’s a little Jekyll and Hyde going on at Lexus. Does the brand want to be that same trusted conservative luxury purveyor the pampered have learned to love? Or does it want to throw off the kidskin gloves, and take on the Europeans in the performance pantheon? Does the Lexus IS350 F Sport Sprechen the Lingo? Well, you get the intent from the exterior design. Hard to believe it’s been with us since 2013, the IS really still looks fresh, and aggressive. For 2017, all IS models get kicked up a notch, with a redesigned front end with an even …

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2017 Honda Civic Si Sedan – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Honda’s redesigned Civic is a big hit. And they’ve been clever, rolling out the vehicles over a period of time. Sedans, then hatchbacks, (long missing from the Civic lineup), then Civic Coupe.  Then a turbo, (a first for a Civic in the U.S) and then an aggressive-looking Civic Sport model. And each model has been a tasty treat, but we’ve always known there might be something better in the wings. Well now we have the new Civic Si – long-time top of the line for the Civics sold here in the states. The new Si is tantalizing different from models …

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2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid – Road Test Review – by Ben Lewis

Hybrids are everywhere. And with the rare exception, while they offer improved fuel efficiency, they rarely offer the enthusiast excitement. Now an Acura hybrid? Well that might be something. After all, the new NSX supercar qualifies as a hybrid. Then again, so does the Accord Hybrid, from Acura’s sibling Honda. So the question is, is the MDX Hybrid a sleeper supercar, or just a snooze? Well the looks don’t give anything away. This is the same large 3-row SUV we’ve known for some time. Acura has been honing the design for 2017, with a new “Diamond Pentagon” grille, “Jewel Eye” …

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2017 Honda Fit 2

2017 Honda Fit – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’re often asked for buying recommendations, and certain models are our go-to cars. We know they’re good, fun, reliable, and the odds of getting a bad one are slim. (We hate angry emails.) And for many years, the city car of choice has been the Honda Fit. These days, so many buyers are clamoring for mini-crossovers, we forget that for a lot of folks, a small hatch is equally capable to do the job. So, is today’s Fit still a good fit for buyers? Well, it’s certainly a good looking little guy. Okay, we should probably caveat that. The bright …

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2017 Kia NIRO Touring Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

As auto journalists, we’re constantly asked about what’s new, what we like, what we’re driving. So, it’s surprising that the vehicle we’re talking a bunch about lately is the exciting Kia Niro hybrid. Kia? Hybrid? Exciting? Yes, Yes, and really… Yes. And we’re just as surprised as you. We were expecting a decent little vehicle – probably more of a penalty box – in the pursuit of all elusive high mpg numbers, at the expense of everything else. But it ain’t so. The Niro is a stylish, well-equipped, little hatch/crossover that happens to be great fun to drive. And fun …

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2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Thinking that if you want a European Sport Sedan, It’s got to be a Bimmer, Benz, Audi or Jag? Maybe taking a chance with an Alfa? You might be missing out on something very cool.  The Volvo S90 T6. Yes, Volvo. Most people think they’re mostly a maker of SUV’s (they make a couple of excellent ones) or don’t even know they’re still in business. So sure, they look great loaded up outside IKEA with your latest FINNBY Bookcase (who comes up with these names?), but does it have the credibility on the streets with the big boys from Bavaria? …

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2017 Toyota Corolla iM – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Would a Scion by any other name smell as sweet? In case you missed the press release, Toyota folded up the hip- and hip-hop Scion brand recently, and moved everything over to the Toyota brand. Scion-ara!  In 2003, it was a bold experiment, Scion creating a brand that spoke to youth, attracting new buyers to the Toyota family. And it worked for a while. The problem was, not only the young wanted a less-expensive, but hip Toyota. Case in point; the super-funky xB box was a big hit with the kids, but also found a surprising home with seniors – …

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2017 Lexus RX450h F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The world is clamoring for hybrids. Especially since VW has probably signed the death warrant on Diesel, at least in the U.S. Luckily for Lexus and Toyota, their brands have been THE place to go for Hybrids selling the funky and agrarian Prius sedan here since 2000. And hybrids have come a long way, in performance, livability, and technology. So if you’re looking for a luxury SUV, but still want to feel good about yourself among your eco-conscious friends, where to go? Ahem… right here. The 2017 Lexus RX450h. Feel good is what the RX450h is all about. Partly, because Lexus …

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2017 Audi A6 Sedan 3

2017 Audi A6 3.0T Competition Quattro – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

There are advantages to flying under the radar. Make no mistake: there is great fun in having a red-hot sports car that gathers the oohs and ahhs of from friends and thumbs-up from those in the know. But there’s little fun having law enforcement following you around, waiting for you to succumb to temptation. Or when your insurance company finds out you have an M3, S4, or AMG E43. Luckily, there’s a nice little niche of strong performing vehicles that don’t call attention to themselves, or raise red flags to those who would spoil Your Good Time. Take for example, …

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider EXTERIOR 15

2017 FIAT 124 Spider – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  No spoiler alert needed: The Fiat 124 Spider is built on the all-new Miata. But don’t dismiss it as a Japanese sports car – and an excellent one at that – trying to pull a fast one by donning an Armani suit. It’s surprisingly different from Mazda. Let’s start with style, ok? Per favore! When the new Miata debuted, it was a surprise, the previous generations felt like organic developments of the same design, with a lot of thanks owed to the original Lotus Elan, if you ask us. But when the new model saw daylight, it was noticeably …

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2017 INFINITI Q60 3

2017 INFINITI Q60 3.0t Premium – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The all-new Infiniti Q60 has a heck of a fight on its hands, and we don’t envy it. The premium coupe segment is where manufacturers like to work your endorphins to peak frenzy to get you to buy, buy, buy their latest sweethearts. And they have been offering up some tasty temptations. Tempting to swoon the 2-door dollars out of your wallet are the handsome and proven BMW 4-series, surprisingly good upstart Cadillac ATS, stunning Lexus RC, Mercedes’ rounded C-Class coupe, and just-introduced Audi A5. And if that’s not enough to get your head spinning, just about every manufacturer now offers …

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2017 Nissan ROGUE ONE Star Wars Edition – Review By Ben Lewis

  We had mixed feelings about testing the 2017 Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition Rogue. Nissan has made some notable improvements on its popular crossover, and we were looking forward to testing it. Then they announced the Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition model. Since they both had the name “Rogue” it kind of smacked of opportunism. Cue rolling of eyes. So, the question becomes, is The Force with the new Rogue, or just the farce? Well, since we don’t want to spoil the ending, let’s start with what’s new for Rogue. Already a crisp design, we have a …

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2017 BMW 740e xDrive – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

I have driven the car of the future, today. OK, we hear stories like this all the time. And usually, the “Car of the Future” is some cobbled-together prototype that has little likelihood of actually making it to market. Or worse, it points to the time when folks like you and I aren’t needed. Just robots, pal. And if you think an autonomous EV is the wave of the future, I’m going to disagree. While there are plenty of folks who would rather let the machine drive, there are also plenty who still enjoy time behind the wheel. And for …

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2017 Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate RWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The hunt for the elusive Luxury buyer is on with the all-new Genesis division. We recently tested the G80 sedan, and came away mightily impressed – a dynamic, stylish, beautifully-equipped competitor to the BMW 5 series. But for the price of a lowly turbo 4-cylinder Bavarian, the G80 had 5.0-liters of rip snorting V8 muscle. While Genesis is on safari for luxury brand competitors, it doesn’t stop at the G80, because with the larger G90, the brand is taking on the big game – Lexus LS, BMW 7-series and Mercedes S-Class. So, does it come home with a trophy, or …

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2017 VW Jetta GLI 2.0T 6MT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Crave the delectable deliciousness of a German Sport Sedan, but don’t have the coin for an Audi, BMW or Benz? We’ve got a solution for you. The Jetta GLI sedan. Yes, a Jetta. With all the heavy-duty incentive, low-low financing, come-on-down-to-your friendly V-Dub dealer ads for garden variety Jettas, you might have forgotten VW’s love letter to the Sport Sedan. And it’s a tough world for sedans these days. With the heat for crossovers and the newfound interest in hatchbacks, the pickings for the discerning sedan driver on a budget are few. In the spectrum of things, there’s the hard-edged …

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2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Is the new Sentra NISMO heir to the SE-R throne? That depends on who you ask. And really, ask the right person. Why? Well there’s a lot of snobbery, and it seems to come from people who haven’t taken the trouble to even drive the car. And they’re missing out. From the enthusiast camp, the issue seems to be the expectations based on the NISMO name – that you should expect BMW M Division, Mercedes AMG level commitment to performance. While we think that’s true in the GT-R NISMO and 370Z NISMO, when it comes to models like the Sentra …

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2017 Cadillac ATS 3

2017 Cadillac ATS 3.6 Performance – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Drive this Cadillac and you’ll never want an Electric Vehicle. Ever. We’ve been having this discussion lately. While some of our friends are having eye-watering fantasies about driving the new Tesla to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, we’re rather meh on the whole deal. And you can blame this Cadillac ATS for that. The Caddy doesn’t try to redefine the sport sedan segment – and it doesn’t need to. What the ATS does is remind you about everything a great sport sedan brings to the table, lays it out in front of you, and invites you to dig in. …

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2017 Nissan TITAN Pro-4X V8 - Exterior Photos - By Ben Lewis 14

2017 Nissan TITAN Pro4X V8 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  The full-size pickup truck is as American as BBQ, and it sells like hot cakes. But it’s not something just Ford, GM and Dodge have noticed. While Nissan and Toyota both have made strong inroads in the compact pickup truck market, they’ve long wanted a slice – even a sliver – of that huge Full-size pie. Well for 2017 we have an all-new bigger, better, Titan. Did Nissan get the recipe right, or are they going to end up being extra crispy? Well, they’ve certainly given it their best shot. Outside of the Nissan badge on the hood, this …

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2017 Genesis G80 5

2017 Genesis G80 5.0 Ultimate – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Heads up: you need to be on the lookout for 5-0. In this case, it’s not Steve McGarrett and his task force careening around on Oahu. It’s a luxury sedan from Hyundai’s newly-minted Genesis division, and in this case, it’s looking to take on the existing marks including the highly-prized BMW 5-series. And you know what? We might opt for the G. It’s that good. First, some housekeeping. The name Genesis has been around for a bit. In 2009, we had the first Hyundai Genesis sedan, and then it was freshened up for 2015. For 2017, though, the Hyundai has been …

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen S 4Motion 7

2017 VW Golf SportWagen S 4Motion – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Is the Golf Wagen 4Mo the cure for Diesel-departum depression? If you’re a VW fan, you know by now that the diesel (TDI to the faithful) is a goner. And that’s a big bummer to Wagon fans. We know a lot of VW Wagon owners who just looooove the great fuel economy of the TDI – making it an especially adept long range cruiser, and a great alternative to a small crossover. While you can’t get that TDI Wagen (or is it wagon?) anymore, for 2017, VW is sweetening the deal by offering the Golf SportWagen for the first time …

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2017 Infiniti QX30 24

2017 Infiniti QX30 Premium AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Is the best new Mercedes an Infiniti? It might be. Because sneaky folks that they are, Infiniti started with a fine small SUV, the Mercedes GLA250, and then kept the good bits, massaged some of the other bits, and did a pretty major overhaul of the exterior and interior. The result is a unique blend of performance and style.  But is it enough to lure buyers of the three-pointed star to the sideways Pac Man? Well on looks alone, yes. While the GLA has that Euro-sensible look, like a taller hatchier version of the CLA sedan, the QX30 in comparison, …

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2017 Honda CR-V 1.5T AWD Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  An exciting new twist with the 2017 CR-V.  Five of them, in fact!~ Honda’s really got us spinning with the all-new CR-V. And while it already was one of the very best, they’ve done a lot of things – big and small – to make sure it keeps its leadership position.   Twist 1: It will turn heads: CR-V’s have always been modern, contemporary vehicles, but not Wowzers. Until now. First of all, the new CR-V looks noticeably bigger, and it is. Give partial credit to the smaller HR-V being offered so its big brother can stretch out. The …

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2017 Honda CIVIC Sport 6MT Hatchback – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Civic loyalists, your car is back! If you’ve wanted a performance Civic hatch, it’s been a long wait.  The last one was in 2003! In Si form, that Civic five-door was a neat little car.  We especially liked the rally-style shifter mounted high on the center console, the sport bucket seats, and the large (for Honda) 2.0-liter with i-VTEC. And while not a nose-bleed revver like the smaller Civics, it was still fun to drive hard. But that was 14 years ago! And while we’ve had plenty of enjoyable Civics to drive, they’ve only been offered in Coupe and Sedan …

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2017 KIA SOUL! Turbo DCT – HD Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The Kia Soul has been one of the most successful small ‘utes in history.  Those engaging Hamster commercials did a great job of renting some space in our minds. When the Soul was redesigned, we saw the hamsters hit the gym, slim down, and start dressing like Daniel Craig in the Bond films. But what happens when the carmaker introduces the turbo, double-clutch 2017 Kia Soul! (pronounced “exclamation”)? Hamsters on steroids! And we have to give Kia credit for putting the loveable Soul on the juice, because they could probably sell every one they make already. It’s a great little …

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2016 Fiat 500L Trekking – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Are you taking things too seriously? Been following politics? Fighting holiday crowds? Dreading a New Year’s resolution? We have a cure for you. The Fiat 500L. While it is a real SUV, capable of meeting your daily needs, there’s just enough slightly wacky, off-the-beaten-path, Euro-quirkiness to help take you out of the doldrums and put a smile on your face. It started out with the cute as a bug’s ear 500. Enthusiasts rejoiced when the brand added the Mighty Mouse 500 Abarth. And we have many frugal friends enjoying the super-green 500e electric vehicle (especially at the $99/month lease!). For those …

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2017 Subaru WRX 5

2017 Subaru WRX Limited Sport Lineartronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

WRX= love. But CVT= hate. Can they get along? For Subie’s sake!? Few cars are as enamored by enthusiasts as the WRX. While the rest of the world had enjoyed Subaru’s extreme rally car for the street, it wasn’t until 2002 that we got one here. It was worth the wait. While it had a cult following for the in-the-know, the majority of the population had no idea. We have happy memories of terrorizing a Porsche 911 with a silver, bug-eyed 2002 test sedan. It was so unassuming, yet with its turbo-four cylinder and all-wheel-drive, immensely capable and fast. What’s …

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2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  Is the Mazda CX-9 a Miata for 7? It’s an interesting thing. Used to be, you had needs, you bought a vehicle that fit those needs. Things changed when SUV’s got popular. Suddenly, if you needed a minivan, but didn’t want to be seen in a minivan, you could get something cooler. No more settling. Well, that opened the floodgates. Pickup truck that’s decked out like a luxury sedan? You can get them with more cow on the inside than you can tow on the outside. EV’s that will stomp all over supercars? Here’s your Tesla. Convertible Crossovers? How …

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2017 Hyundai Santa Fe SPORT 2.0T AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Is this sexy new Sante Fe SPORT ready to play in the big leagues? Both Hyundai and Kia have been huge success stories lately, but we still get comments from buyers that hadn’t considered “one of those brands.” Which is sort of understandable, if you only buy a new vehicle every 8-10 years, you might have missed out on the great turnaround of the Korean automaker. And you might be surprised how many crossovers and SUV’s are out there vying for your dollar – even if you’re the cheapskate that only parts with the greenbacks every decade or so. So let us …

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2016 Lexus NX200t F SPORT AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

If the NX200t did one of those TV Ancestry tests, what would show up? Platform sharing today makes it difficult to figure out what is a real brand anymore. You’ve got rebadged Mercedes posing as Infiniti’s. Jeeps driving around on Fiat underpinnings. Fiats driving around on Mazda bits. Subaru’s, Scions. And more.  Oh my. Then we have intermingling within the automakers as well, and they can be very well disguised. Case in point, Lexus and Toyota. There’s a lot of sharing going on. In all honesty, though, it always felt like the downscale Toyota models were getting Lexus goodness, rather …

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2017 VW Beetle DUNE Cabriolet – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Is the Beetle Dune ragtop just what the doctor ordered? Back in September, we tested a VW Beetle Dune, and decided it could be the answer to VW’s Diesel-inspired tummy troubles. While the folks at VW may (still) be reaching for a Super Gulp-size Pepto, we found a much better choice for quick relief. The 2017 VW Beetle DUNE Cabrio. The recipe for the convertible is pretty similar to the Dune hardtop. Based as an homage to the Baja Bugs of yore, all Dune models get a notable bump in the macho department, with a slightly taller ride height (half …

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2017 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Nissan and the Pathfinder are working hard to give you the SUV you really want. Which is really pretty admirable. Along with Toyota’s 4Runner, the Pathfinder is one of the most storied names in SUV-dom. But unlike the Toy, which has soldiered on being rugged and truckish – with pros and cons attached – in 2013, Nissan took the Pathfinder into the meat of the SUV marketplace with a unibody, 3-row family vehicle. OK, this was tough for some to swallow; the rugged little Nissan that drove all the way to the Amazon (memorialized in a series of commercials in …

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2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL–E – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Is the Honda Ridgeline too good for most truck buyers? I mean after all, when the first Ridgeline appeared in 2005, it was revolutionary. Where trucks had trundled on for decades on separate chassis and bodies, the Honda re-envisioned the pickup with a unibody design. Much in the way the SUV’s and crossovers were dramatically improved with car-like comfort and manners, the Ridgeline should have been the standard bearer for pickups. Instead, after making a small splash, the majority of truck buyers went back to the harsh riding, less fuel efficient, but perceived tougher and more durable traditional trucks. They …

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2016 VW Golf GTI Autobahn Performance Pack – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  It’s easy to love sports cars. They’re usually a ball to drive, fun to look at, and exist solely to make you happy. Who wouldn’t like that? Well, except that a sports car is a selfish thing. They usually seat only two. Or the rear seats are torture devices. They can ride harsh. They can be loud. Trunk space? Ha! As an only car, a sports car is best for the young and unencumbered. Otherwise you’ll need a second car. On roads clogged full of Sports Cars, Sedans, SUVs, CUVs and Trucks… …is a GTI the only vehicle you’ll ever need?The …

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2017 Honda HR-V 6MT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

A Honda HR-V with 2WD and manual transmission. ! Rare barely begins to describe the 6MT on Honda lots nationwide. Perhaps this is an auto-reviewer special!? It’s certainly possible. In the craze for small crossovers, it seems like an automatic is de rigueur, and most buyers are finding the added grip and confidence of All-Wheel Drive (AWD to you and me) a temptation too hard to resist. A while ago, we tested an AWD, CVT, HR-V (OK, it’s alphabet soup) and really liked it. A bit slow perhaps, but with all the brilliant simplicity of design that we think would …

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2016 Chrysler 300S – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Everybody’s gone SUV/Crossover crazy lately. Manufacturers are luring us out of small cars with the new CX-3, HR-V, Trax models, while sales of the largest SUV’s like Escalades, Tahoe and Suburbans –  thanks in part to cheap gasoline – are selling like crazy. In the rush for capability, capacity and audacity, something’s been lost. In case you might have forgot, there’s a segment that still deserves your attention. Ladies and Gentlemen, may we re-introduce a performer we’ve know and loved for years – the Great American Sedan. And perhaps there’s none greater than the 2016 Chrysler 300S. Depending on your …

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2016 Jeep RENEGADE Trailhawk 4×4 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  You say you want a small crossover/SUV? We can’t blame you. It’s just about the hottest-selling segment in the industry, and it looks like the small family sedan is taking a firm backseat because of it. And while there are a lot of nice choices out there, there is a problem. They all sort of look alike. There are notable exceptions like the mutant amphibian Nissan Juke. And the squat-and-squashed Mini Clubman. But in general, and HRV, CRV, CX-3, CX-5, RAV4, Forester, Rogue all look – and function – like relatives at a family reunion. Is the Jeep Renegade the cure …

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2017 Audi A4 Quattro – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  We recently read a comment that the Audi A4 has become so refined and smooth – perhaps overly so – that why not just pocket the cash and get a Toyota Camry? This is a shopping decision that faces us in many places in modern life. Is that fancy artisanal sprouted bread really worth three times the price of the generic loaf at the local grocery? The freshly barista-poured Peaberry better than smudgy carafe of regular at the neighborhood donut house? And now we have an all-new Audi A4. Are we buying? Well, this may not be as easy …

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2016 Audi TT Coupe 2.0T Quattro S-Tronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The Audi TT has always been a bit of a head scratcher for us enthusiasts. When it first launched in the mid 1990’s, it was a visual stunner. And in many ways, it was the birth of the Audi cool that we have today. But there was a problem. As stylish and trendsetting as the TT was, it was not a sports car. And in the world of Porsche Boxsters and BMW Z4s, the TT was odd man out. When the second-gen TT bowed in 2006, it lost some of the groundbreaking style, but was well on the way to …

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2016 VW Beetle DUNE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

You might not be a big fan of VW right now. Diesel has once again become a dirty word, and while the automaker struggles to make things right with the government and the buying public, the brand has been getting the stink eye in a lot of ways. We’re going to look past the diesel models, because there’s also a lot of goodness in the VW lineup, and we think there are an awful lot of folks who design, make, and sell the brand that had nothing to do with the problems going on. Right now, VW needs a new …

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2016 Toyota Prius Four Touring 7

2016 Toyota Prius Four Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The Toyota Prius hasn’t really been on the radar of auto enthusiasts. Oh sure, it’s been technically interesting – and with hybrid powertrains showing up in many supercars these days, you have to give a tip of the hat to Toyota for spearheading the effort. Of course, if you’re a diesel fan, you might not feel so warm and tingly. Where the Europeans have long felt that diesel was the way to get performance with miserly fuel economy, Americans bought into Hybrids in a big way. So big, in fact, that it forced many of the Europeans to develop both …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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First Drive Review – 2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0T – By Ben Lewis

You might have guessed by now, we’re big fans of German cars here at Car-Revs-Daily.com. The quality, performance, and balance of these vehicles always impress. On the other hand, we’re glad we’re not a German carmaker right now, because there are a lot of brands nipping at your heels – and they are coming a lot closer –sometimes, even surpassing those hallowed brands. Take for example, our recent test vehicle the 2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0T. It may just be the best entry level Audi you can buy. Yes, we said Kia, and yes we said Audi. How did this …

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2016 Lexus GS200t – By Ben Lewis

    If you read our recent preview, or saw Tom’s video of the new Lexus GS-F, you know that Lexus is going after the German ‘Bahnstormers in a big way. How big?  A 5.0-liter V8 that pumps out 467 hp at a zinging 7,100 rpm, backed up by a chassis that could easily handle a good amount more. It’s an amazing machine. But allow me to play the devil’s advocate here. If you want the most German of the GS models, go for the entry level GS200t.  Yep, the one with the turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder. Allow me to explain. …

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Which Car Wins? 2016 Fiat 500 Abarth vs. 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Rally – By Ben Lewis

    One thing we hear all the time is, “What can I get that’s fun, affordable and most especially, I won’t see coming the other way all day long.” That’s not an easy task – there’s always a lot that’s new and exciting prowling the concrete jungle. But fear not, we have a couple really interesting choices for you. Welcome to the Compact Car Wild Kingdom. Let’s start with the Mad Mouse. Well, we think it sort of looks like a mouse, with its round shape, big eyes, and front grill that sort of looks like a moustache, The …

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