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Road Test Review – 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid – Sipping Fuel In Style

Compact cars have long been relegated to the role of being basic transportation with style and features once being considered a mere afterthought. However, with CUVs putting the pressure on these vehicles both in terms of demand and sales, automakers have been forced to inject these vehicles with more style and substance as they attempt to preserve the business case for making these vehicles. One of these offerings is the 2024 Hyundai Elantra with the four-door compact attempting to stand out by offering a wide range of trims and performance options. The hybrid is hoping to appeal to those that …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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Road Test Review – 2023 Nissan Leaf SV Plus – Value Packed EV Bucks The Trend To Help Consumers

The 2023 Nissan Leaf is bucking the trend in the EV segment, This particular realm is still a relatively young segment and alot of the entries tend to be priced higher than some gasoline powered cars. But Nissan is out to change that with the second generation Leaf and is keen to show that value and green vehicle technology can exist in the same sphere of influence.   Hatchback Styling and Simple Styling Motif Makes Leaf Unique The Nissan Leaf has been around for awhile now but while the first generation model looked like a futuristic Jetsons creation, this iteration …

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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, …

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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. …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Fiat Confirms 500e Is Coming To The U.S. Debuts Trio Of One-Off Models

When we last saw the Fiat 500e, it was way before Stellantis as we knew it existed with then FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne giving approval for it to be a pure compliance offerings with the brash CEO admitting that the company was losing money on each one it built. The 500e was also limited to the California market though some slipped through the cracks and ended up in other parts of the U.S. (usually through mass auto auctions). But times have changed and while Fiat is only selling the 500X CUV these days (it shipped the 500 hatchback back to …

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Toyota Debuts 2023 Prius, Sleeker Prius Is More Efficent And Powerful Than Ever

The Toyota Prius was one of the pioneers that helped plant the seeds for the EV revolution that has now swept the U.S. Auto market. But while the Prius impressed the masses with its high fuel economy and advanced green tech, looking stylish was on the back burner, and the first few generations of the Prius looked like rolling doorstops or bland slabs of concrete. Toyota is changing all that with the 2023 Prius, which finally brings eye-catching styling to the fuel-sipping icon.   Sleeker Styling Makes This Prius A Rolling Fashion Statement Toyota claims that the 2023 Prius will …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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2022 Audi A3 Review by Ben Lewis

We get to test an interesting range of vehicles here at Car_Revs_Daily, from the entry level Hyundai Accentup to the plush Mercedes E450 convertible. What is unusual for us is to test the entry-level model of a premium maker. But with an all-new Audi A3 for 2022, it gave us a great reason to try the carmaker’s most affordable vehicle. So, is it a bargain Bahnstormer, or inexpensive imitation of greatness? Let’s find out! Strong Family Looks From the outside, this is one handsome sedan, if not a large one. The new model is more evolutionary than revolutionary – it’s …

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2022 Mazda MX-30 review by Ben Lewis

Ok, Mazda will be the first to admit, but they are late to the EV party. But as a small, independent automaker, we can see that there are only so much development dollars to go around. That said, while the MX-30 EV is their first product, there will be more hybrid/EV type vehicles coming. So how does Mazda’s first crack at an EV come out? Let’s see! Sporty Styling The first look is exciting. While it’s based on the CX-30 that we love, the look differently goes its own way. The MX-30 continues with the “Kodo” design philosophy, plus adds …

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2022 Hyundai Kona Electric Limited Review by Ben Lewis

Ok, maybe it’s the name but we always seem to be spending our holidays in Kona. The Hyundai Kona, that is. Last year we spent Xmas with the new 2022 Kona Limited, and now we’re spending Memorial Day with the Kona Electric. We’ve always been fans of the Kona – a very sporty small crossover, especially with the powerful 1.6-liter turbo engine. So, we wondered, would we still love it with a full EV powertrain? Let’s find out! Sporty but Unique At first glance, you know this is a Kona. That’s good, we love the expressive style, especially with the …

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2021 Hyundai Venue Denim Review by Ben Lewis

When we first tested the Hyundai Venue, we commented on how the small affordable SUV, with models like the Toyota C-HR and Honda HR-V had come of age. Wow, with the rise in prices everywhere, the bulging gas bills, etc.…we feel like we should have been on the psychic network. So, it felt like a good time to look again at one of the best small vehicles for the buck, the Hyundai Venue crossover/SUV. Style to Make You Smile The Venue first strikes you with its size. 5 inches shorter than the Kona crossover, it looks perfect for duking it …

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2023 Nissan Leaf Boasts Light Refresh For New York

Nissan is once again making headlines in the EV market. Still, this time around, the focus is not on the revolutionary Ariya EV but rather on a grizzled veteran, the 2023 Nissan Leaf, which will make its debut in the Big Apple.   Revised Exterior And Interior Define New Leaf The current generation Leaf’s exterior design was starting to noticeably age compared to some of its rivals, and Nissan designers have made some tweaks to help it stay fresh. The front grille is brand new, and the slick 17-inch wheels get a new Ariya inspired design. A new light-up Nissan badge …

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Toyota Helps Corolla Go Super Saiyan With All New 2023 GR Corolla, 300 hp and Track Ready Tech Are Standard

With many automakers reducing their involvement in hatchback models to cater to a growing hunger for crossover and utility vehicle sales, it’s still good to see that a few are still tinkering with the iconic hot hatch. Toyota is one such company and has unveiled the all-new 2023 GR Corolla which aims to bring international market performance to American buyers.   GR Corolla Embraces Track Ready Motif When the GR Corolla makes its way to dealerships later this year, it will be offered in two grades (Core and the launch Exclusive Circuit Edition.) Core models represent the budget focused option …

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2022 Honda Civic Sport Touring Hatchback Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new 2022 Honda Civic sedan and loved it. Classy and upgraded inside out with great performance. What’s not to love? So, Honda tells us they now have a new hatchback model, with more utility and – hold on to your hats – an available manual transmission! Time for another road test. Haven’t We Met Before? The hatchback is a near-twin to the sedan – no problem there, we like the sedan’s grown-up look. Like the sedan, the front end has a very Accord-like look, with a prominent forward grille, featuring LED headlights with a cool signature …

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2022 Kia Niro EV Review by Ben Lewis

We’re all pretty familiar with makers like Tesla and RIVIAN, showcases of what EV vehicles can do. And while they are great vehicles, they are expensive. If you want to own the hearts and minds of regular folks, you’ll need something more affordable. Enter the Kia Niro EV. The Niro has been one Kia’s most popular crossovers for a while now, and being offered in Hybrid and plug-in Hybrid versions, it’s a showcase for advanced power tech. But is the full-on EV model the one to make you give up your need for gasoline? Let’s take a look. Modern and …

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2022 Hyundai Kona Limited AWD review by Ben Lewis

Well, we’re spending the holidays in Kona. No, not the balmy town on the Big Island of Hawaii (we wish) but something nearly as fun – the heavily revised 2022 Hyundai Kona. It’s long been one of our favorite small SUV’s – especially if you pony up for the turbocharged model. So, does it remain a vacation from other sleepy small SUVs? Let’s take a look. Go For the Bold The exterior has gotten a major freshening, and while we were frankly pretty happy with previous design, we’ve got no complaints with the new duds. Up front, a larger split …

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2022 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door Review by Ben Lewis

Porsche used to have an ad campaign that said, “There is no substitute”. But when you look at a lot of the company’s latest SUV’s and the like, well…there are plenty of substitutes. No, we think if you want something really unique – and somewhat affordable – you look at the MINI. We were especially excited to drive the base model, 3-door hatchback. For 2022, the MINIs have gotten a new look and some added features to keep things fresh, and we like the idea of getting into the brand’s most affordable model. Let’s Motor! (Ok, that’s their ad campaign). …

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2022 Nissan Sentra Brings Light Updates, Retains $20,485 Base MSRP Price

The current generation Nissan Sentra first arrived on the scene in 2020 when it was radically revamped for that particular model year. With such an extensive list of changes, Nissan has chosen to give a lighter touch to the Sentra for 2022 with a small suite of updates as well as a slightly tweaked base price for customers looking to add the compact four-door to their garage.   Minor Updates Add Big Value To Sentra Before we get into some of the broader pricing tweaks, we might as well spend some time covering all three of the updates that will …

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Honda Unveils 2022 Civic Si, Better Performance Is Paired With Mandatory Manual

Honda is preparing a new wave of performance offerings. While the 2023 Type R is still waiting in the wings, the Japanese auto giant has chosen to unveil the latest generation Si, bringing more performance and substance to an iconic model that has been a popular choice among young budget-minded performance buyers.    Manual Transmission Is Still Mandatory On 2022 Civic Si A critical question that we had going into today was whether the Civic Si would add the CVT standard on many lesser Civic models? Unlike Civic Sis of the past, this one would have to contend with a new …

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2022 Honda Civic Touring Sedan review by Ben Lewis

You’ve got to admire Honda. With the all-new 2022 model, the carmaker is calling it “The Best Civic Ever!” With this being the 11th generation, there are a lot of previous models, and previous owners who might be skeptical. But hey, we’ve got an open mind – let’s see if it’s as good as they say. All Grown Up The first thing that hits you is the maturity of the design. No not, modern maturity, just a clean grown-up look. While we loved the previous model, we can understand why some felt it was a little to boy-racer over the …

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2021 Toyota Prius Prime Review by Ben Lewis

Do you remember the original Prius? It first came ashore in the US in 2000, and it was really the first Hybrid that was mass marketed. It was a slightly odd-looking agrarian sedan, but the technology was fascinating. Nowadays, you can get a hybrid on pretty much anything – heck, Toyota alone offers you a hybrid choice on 5 model lines. And almost every other maker offers a hybrid powertrain – all the way up to Porsche. Still, you must pay props to one of the originals, and along the way, Toyota has continually developed both the Prius and the …

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2022 VW Taos SEL FWD review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new VW ID.4 EV SUV and came away impressed. VW is on a roll. So, we were equally excited to test the all-new Taos, their smallest SUV that slots below the Tiguan. And since the automaker no longer is going to sell a Golf TSI hatchback, the Taos is your go-to for affordable and capable VW-ness. Let’s see if VW has another hit, or a sophomore slump. Family Resemblance Well, the exterior is clearly VW. And in the case of Taos, it’s a big player – it is almost as large as its big brother Tiguan, …

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2021 VW ID.4 PRO S review by Ben Lewis

We really admire VW. After the Dieselgate trauma, the brand was really on the ropes, especially here in the U.S. We wouldn’t have been surprised if the German brand would have pulled out of the US market. But they didn’t. Instead, the fixed what was wrong with the Diesels, and started building exciting new models, like the all-new GTI and the Jetta GLI. VW also threw itself into being one of the leaders in EV tech. The first offering we saw was the E-Golf that we really enjoyed, but like many other carmakers, it was taking an existing vehicle and …

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2021 Honda CR-V 1.5T AWD Touring review by Ben Lewis

Sometimes you wonder about something that’s a best-seller. Are they really good, and everybody knows about it? Like all those Marvel movies. Or maybe they’re just cheap and convenient. Like convenience store coffee from the pot that’s been there since the Clinton administration. So, here we have the 2021 Honda CR-V, Honda’s best-selling vehicle, and one of the best-selling vehicles of any kind. But what do those numbers really mean? Is this a superhero you can cheer for, or a nasty cup of joe that’s going to take a whole lot of sweeteners to get down? Let’s look. Clean and …

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Road Test Review – 2022 Honda Civic – Tamer But Still In Firm Benchmark Territory

The Honda Civic is in a very elite club when it comes to being familiar with drivers across the U.S. The Civic was one of the models that helped the Japanese automakers get a foothold in the U.S. compact car market, and the Civic has not relinquished its grip on the segment since it appeared several decades ago. But the outgoing Civic was very controversial, especially with its exterior styling. The company wanted to re-embrace its performance heritage but ended up letting the designers go too wild with their creativity. Honda has learned their lesson with the 2022 Civic, but …

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Road Test Review – 2021 Toyota Prius 2020 Edition – Celebrating A Key Anniversary, Even If It’s Fashionably Late

Happy 20th anniversary Toyota Prius, but wait, you might be asking, how can the Prius possibly be celebrating its 20th birthday in 2021? Part of it comes down to timing, but Toyota also wanted to use the occasion to celebrate the over 1.9 million sales that the Prius has managed to achieve since it first appeared back in 2000. Despite this edition being fashionably late to the party, Toyota is confident that the 2020 Edition can still be a solid sales player, but does it stand out enough from other green rivals?   Tasteful Evolution And Sleek Red Paint Adds …

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2021 Subaru Forester Limited Review by Ben Lewis

Subaru’s are like old friends. Even when you haven’t seen them in a while, you feel immediately at home and comfortable. Good to be around. The Forester is certainly like that – we’ve recently been in a host of Outbacks, Crosstreks and WRXs, all great cars. But we miss our old buddy. Now friendship is one thing, but in the hyperventilating, ever-changing world of SUV’s you gotta keep up, too. So, is the Forester as good as we remember? A Familiar Face It’s no secret that the Outback and the Forester fight in the same arena for not-quite traditional SUV …

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2021 Toyota Corolla XSE Review by Ben Lewis

When you think about it, the Toyota Corolla is like a McDonald’s Hamburger. In car-land the Corolla is the best-selling nameplate ever, with over 46 million sold. (For those playing at home, Mickey D’s has sold over 300 Billion burgers.) And with that popularity comes a familiarity, a confidence – Toyota and McDonald’s know what they’re doing. And in both, you can tell that while they may constantly tweak and improve, they stick with a recipe they know that works. So, while other competitors come and go, sometimes being spicier and flashier, there’s a comfort in familiar brands. You know …

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2021 MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 Review by Ben Lewis

There have always been a percentage of people out there who love the MINI Cooper’s bulldog looks, cheeky attitude and British persona (although BMW has owned them since 2003)  but just found the diminutive hatch a little too small. And MINI has been busy bringing in a variety of models, including the Clubman – longer and wider – and the Countryman – taller and wider. We’ve always liked the Countryman, it adds just enough usability to function like a small SUV, but still has that MINI charm. MINI points out that it’s the first model with an exterior length of …

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Kia Raises Its Green Vehicle Game With 2022 EV6, Performance And Economy Are In Balance Here

Kia recently revealed that it aims to transform into a green-centric brand, with the 2022 EV6 playing a very prominent role in that regard. While the international market got its first glimpse of the futuristic EV back in March, U.S. buyers were left wondering whether it would be coming to the U.S> or not? Kia has answered that question with the Time Square unveiling of the U.S. version of the 2022 Kia EV6.   EV6 Is A Potent Offering No Matter Where It’s Sold When we last saw the EV6, it was making its debut in its Korean home market, …

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2021 Lexus UX 200 F SPORT Review by Ben Lewis

In marketing terms, UX is the shorthand for “User Experience”. So, it seems a natural question, does Lexus’ smallest Crossover/SUV give you the user experience luxury buyers expect? Let’s take a look. Familiar Sporty Style Look at the UX and you can see the family resemblance with the larger NX and RX crossovers. That’s a good thing – Lexus has really crafted its own style now, and these vehicles are modern and sporty with sharp angles and aggressive lines. Like our recent review of the Lexus ES250 AWD, the front end has that massive spindle grille, but like the ES, …

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2021 Hyundai Elantra SEL Review by Ben Lewis

Everyone loves a good success story, and you’d certainly be hard pressed to find a better one than Hyundai. Back in 1986 the Korean maker came to the US with the Excel with an extremely durable yet otherwise forgettable Excel sedan. But much like the Japanese carmakers in the late 50’s and early 60’s, Hyundai paid its dues, worked hard, and constantly improved its products to become what it is today – a top brand, with a wide variety of vehicles, three brands (Kia and Genesis also part of the fam), and as we’ve said in many recent reviews, the …

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2021 Mercedes AMG A35 4MATIC Review by Ben Lewis

Any enthusiast worth their salt knows AMG. The performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, it turns out some of the most powerful and desirable cars in the world. And to many, the pantheon of AMG products starts with handcrafted bi-turbo V8 screamers like the AMG C 63 S. A 503-hp rocket, it is an incredible piece of work. The problem is, starting at $76,200 and building from there, it’s breathing rarefied air few can afford. Which leaves many buyers scoping out older or CPO AMG products, just to get a foot (or dip a toe) in to the brand. But AMG also …

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2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the new 2020 Hyundai Sonata and came away very impressed with its style, luxury, and neat gizmos like the self-parking feature. Would you use it much? Probably not, but it sure impresses your friends when you do. More than just another gizmo, Hyundai also has a very interesting Sonata Hybrid, loaded with even more tech and neat stuff, plus it offers up to 52 combined mpg! Test drive? Count us in. Unique and Elegant We loved the looks of our ’20 tester so we’re glad they didn’t do much to our ’21 Hybrid. The cross-hole grille has …

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2021 Mazda 3 Turbo Premium Plus by Ben Lewis

We were big fans when Mazda introduced the all-new 2019 Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback. Shortly thereafter the CX-30, basically a tall version of the 3 hatch came along as well. And they all shared the same DNA, bringing a new, more luxurious and upscale experience to the 3 line, while still keeping the Mazda love of the drive. And the Zoom-Zoom company has shown they’re not going to rest on their laurels – bringing their 2.5-liter, turbocharged engine into the 3. So, is the 250 horsepower turbo sedan the stuff enthusiast dreams are made of? Let’s find out! A …

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2021 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD by Ben Lewis

You don’t really have to twist our arms to get us to review a Mazda. Just about all of them are great fun to drive, from the Miata sports car up to the big CX-9 SUV. The Mazda 3 and CX30 are also faves. But the heart and soul of Mazda’s lineup – and for most manufacturers – is its compact SUV. And with some nice updates to make it more appealing, we’re excited to take to the road in the CX-5. Stay Classy, CX-5 For 2021 not much has changed on the CX-5’s shapely flanks, and that’s ok, it …

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2020 VW Golf GTI 2.0T Autobahn by Ben Lewis

We often get asked, what vehicle do you recommend for an enthusiast who also needs real-world practicality? While we would love to recommend something like the BMW M235i Gran Coupe we tested, we get it – it’s not inexpensive. Ditto for the Mini Countryman JCW. But for those who especially like European driving manners, there’s always been an easy answer – VW’s delightful GTI. And with a new model around the corner, we thought we’d take a last look at the 7th gen hot hatch to see if it still holds up as a great all-rounder. ( A new 2022 …

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2020 Mazda Miata MX-5 RF Grand Touring by Ben Lewis

Great cars seem to have a few things in common. But it really boils down to this – a great car always creates a sense of occasion, every time you drive. And that’s something you can say about every Miata since the first one came ashore in 1990. Yep, 30 years. While you can argue which model is best, there’s never been a mis-step, they’ve never tried to change its mission…a Miata is not a luxury car. Or an SUV. Or heaven forbid, a minivan. It’s a sports car, pure and undiluted. Let’s celebrate the MX-5’s big 3-0! Classic Proportions …

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2020 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2020 Kia Sportage, and noted that Kia in a very Porsche-like manner, continuously tweaks and updates as it goes along, and like the Sportage, we find the same is true for Niro hybrid model. Since the Niro is one our favorite Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and EV models, that’s all good news for us. Let’s take a look at the changes. Updated Looks On the outside, the Niro has received some updates to keep it looking fresh. Up front, there are new projector-type headlights and fogs, dual chevron-style LED daytime running lights, and a new diamond-pattern grille. …

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2020 Hyundai Ioniq HEV Limited by Ben Lewis

It’s interesting how popular hybrids are these days. Historically, gas is relatively cheap, and with the pandemic, lots of people are driving less. Seems like a good excuse to get something crazy like the 485-horsepower Dodge Charger Scat Pack we recently tested. But no, being frugal, and eco-friendly seem to be trends that are not going away. So, we decided to test one of our favorite hybrid vehicles, the Hyundai Ioniq. And although the Korean carmaker was later to the market with this kind of vehicle, it has quickly become a major challenge to the Toyota Prius. Let’s see why. …

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2020 Toyota C-HR – Road Test Review – By Matt Barnes

For decades, Toyota has been known for having bland vehicle styling. To change that reputation, they have recently made an effort to modernize their vehicles and add exciting features to the body work. From the new Camry to the Tacoma, we’d say that it’s working. Continuing that trend, Toyota has updated the 2020 C-HR with a restyled front end, bold new colors, and attention-grabbing wheel designs. Toyota sent us a 2020 C-HR Limited trim to test for a week.   Exterior The most common colors on vehicles sold in the US today are white, black, and every shade of grey …

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2020 MINI Cooper S Clubman by Ben Lewis

Is there anybody that still thinks MINI is a British company? Well, the truth is, it’s been part of BMW for a long time. In fact, many of the current BMW’s – like the X1 SUV – share MINI running gear. But that’s no reason to cry into your warm beer, as MINI is the best of both worlds. While the stylists who surround the MINI product make grand efforts to keep the bulldog-style, the fun and whimsical vibe, the knowledgeable folks at BMW continue to massage and refine the product. Ever year, there’s lots of little improvements. So, we …

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2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring by Ben Lewis

Honda is often times a technology leader, but in the case of the Hybrid SUV’s, it’s been a bit slow. But good news is here for those who love the CR-V and want all the goodness a Hybrid can bring – for 2020 we have the all-new CR-V Hybrid. And with Toyota turning up the heat in the segment with the excellent RAV4 Hybrid, it’s perfect timing. CR-V Hybrid Exterior – The Best Looking CR-V Ever! For 2020, all CR-V models get a makeover, including bolder front and rear styling and redesigned wheels. And like the Civic Coupe we recently …

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2020 Mazda CX-30 by Ben Lewis

Okay, we’re spoiled for choice these days. If you say you can’t find a vehicle to meet your needs, you’re not looking hard enough. Let’s take small cars/SUVs/crossovers. And a manufacturer like Mazda. Need a small car? There’s the Mazda 3 sedan and the Mazda 3 hatchback. We’ve tested both and loved them. Maybe want a small crossover/SUV? There’s the Mazda CX-3. Also, excellent. But you say, well, I want something a little taller than a sedan/hatch, but not quite an SUV. Okay says Mazda – here’s the all-new CX-30! And it might be the perfect blend of all the …

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2020 Toyota C-HR Limited By Ben Lewis

It’s interesting how time changes things. When we tested the 2018 C-HR, it was one of the first of the mini-crossovers, and it looked like the small sedan was on its way of going extinct. Well, the small sedan still isn’t what it used to be, but it’s around. And we’ve found some really good ones lately, including the Toyota Corolla and Kia Forte GT. But what’s even more interesting to us, is that the mini-crossover has now been attracting the interest of a new type of buyer – those who were thinking about luxury vehicles, but with the economy …

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2020 Fiat 500x Sport by Ben Lewis

Are you a fan of Monty Python? (OK, we may be dating ourselves here..) Well, they used to have a segment with a newsman-like person at a desk saying, “And now for something completely different.” And you know, they could have been talking about the Fiat 500x. Fiat 500x Exterior – Thinking out of The Box It starts with expressive looks. While it shares the running gear with the Jeep Renegade, it won’t be confused with that, or any other small SUV. Last year, the 500x got a facelift, with new front and rear fascia that trade in a little …

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2019 Honda Clarity Plug-In Touring by Ben Lewis

If you love Honda, and want a full-on EV, there’s some bad news. You can’t get one. Honda has decided to discontinue the 100% Honda Clarity Electric. If you really want to be on the edge, there’s still the Hydrogen-powered model Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, but it’s a California-only model, and you’re really limited for fueling stations. But there’s good news, too. The Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid continues, and it’s one of our favorite PHEV’s as they’re known. In fact, you might love it, even if you have no interest in hybrids or EV’s at all! Honda Clarity Design – …

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2021 Kia Seltos S FWD by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Hyundai Kona, and found it to be a stylish, sporty and well-equipped runabout. So, it’s easy to think that the all-new 2021 Kia Seltos, which shares most of the powertrain is its brother from another mother, but that’s not the case – it’s a completely different vehicle with a different purpose. Poised between Kia’s funky Soul and more traditional Sportage, it’s a small, rugged adventurer ready to tackle tough conditions. Kia Seltos Exterior – Bold and Eye Catching Kia likes to say that the Seltos has the same design theme as the big, bold Telluride SUV. …

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2020 Hyundai Venue Road Test Review by Ben Lewis

2020 Hyundai Venue SEL Review Here’s a term you don’t here that much anymore. Basic transportation. You probably remember them, usually a small car, no frills, no thrills, just get me to work (or school) and back. Thrifty and reliable. Well, those don’t really exist anymore. Part of that is good – comprehensive safety is becoming standard equipment on just about all vehicles. And with almost everyone using a smartphone, connectivity is important. And oh yeah, might as well make it a small SUV/Crossover – versatility and practicality won’t take a back seat anymore. So that’s opened the door for …

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2020 VW Jetta GLI Autobahn by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new 2020 Kia Forte and came away impressed. It’s the latest of the new-class of fun-to-drive sedans that are taking the fight to the small crossover/SUV market. And one of the most exciting members of that new class is the VW Jetta GLI. For a long time, the GLI has been the hot-tach GTI’s poor relation – nice, and fun, but no GTI. Well, all that changed last year with the introduction of the new Jetta, which included a new GLI. And VW did enthusiasts a solid – giving us the same running gear of the …

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2020 Kia Forte GT by Ben Lewis

Many have said that the small car is on the way out. That small crossovers like the Hyundai Kona or tall hatchbacks like the Mazda CX30 will pushing them out. And the numbers don’t lie, SUV crossovers are king. (outside of full-size pickup trucks). But the sedan isn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. In fact, struggling to stay relevant has brought some of the best 4-doors to market that we’ve seen in a long time. The new Toyota Camry is excellent and fun. The Honda Accord, too. Heck they even put a turbo motor in the Mazda 6. …

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2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate FWD by Ben Lewis

Small SUV’s are a big thing, and they keep on getting bigger. And they’re not just aiming for small SUV and crossover buyers, they’re going after small car buyers too. The new Mazda CX30 for example, is more a tall hatch than anything else. The Hyundai Kona could fit into that mold as well. It definitely has SUV styling cues, but the size certainly wouldn’t turn off buyers coming from small cars. And as a bonus, this is one of the most fun small SUV’s to drive. Spending a week in a Kona is a much fun as…. well, a …

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2020 Hyundai Venue SE – Entry Level Quick-Take

The 2020 Hyundai Venue is a delightful, affordable, entry-level crossover. This review is for the most basic SE model which is priced $17,250 with basic floor and cargo mats, and wheel locks adding $305, and a $1,095 delivery, for a total of $18,650 before trades, discounts and negotiations. As of this writing, there is a $500 offer; and you might qualify for others. All in for under $20,000 is almost hard to accomplish today, especially in the popular crossover segment. The 2020 Venue drives better than the price would imply. The base transmission is a 6-speed manual, and that is …

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Hyundai Showcases Refreshed Ioniq With 170 Miles Of Driving Range, Updated Exterior Styling

Hyundai‘s Ioniq lineup has made quite a splash since it debuted a few years ago. Designed to be a potent Toyota Prius competitor, the Ioniq had plenty of potential, and even mirrored the Prius’s extensive green lineup with a Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and even a pure EV variant all ready to battle against their bitter Japanese rival. But with the battle still swinging in Toyota’s favor, Hyundai has instead chosen to use the opportunity to update the Ioniq for 2021 to help give it a new lease on life, as well as give it several new tricks to help it …

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2019 Mini Cooper S Hardtop 60th Anniversary – Review by Ben Lewis

When we talk about performance cars, the benchmark is still 0-60. Which may be outdated, but it’s easy to get your head around and compare cars of the past with cars of today. (Spoiler Alert – cars of today are much faster today.) That said, we are talking 0-60 mph. But with the 2019, we are talking something completely different. 0 – 60 Years Yep, years. Hard to believe that the original Mini first bowed in 1959. Especially since a super-small, efficient and fun vehicle seems so now. 1959 was an interesting year – The first Barbie Doll was introduced, …

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2020 Toyota Corolla SE 6-Speed Manual Sedan – Review by Ben Lewis

If I tell you there’s a 4-door compact sedan that’s got hot styling, some real attitude, and is lots of fun to drive thanks to a 6-speed manual transmission, what would you say? Civic? Mazda 3, Elantra? How about a Toyota Corolla? Yes, the Corolla. Okay, we can’t blame you if it didn’t pop in your mind. Although there have been the occasional performance versions including the hot-hatch 1988 Corolla FX16, and the 2005 Corolla XRS sedan (8,000 rpm redline!), most of the model’s reputation has been built on solid, sensible and reliable transportation over flash. And it’s been a …

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Insider: From One Generation of Drivers to the Next

You remember your younger days, where you were just so excited to start driving. You’d be walking around, perhaps driving around with your parents, and calculating how many years and days you had left until it would finally be you behind the wheel. The idea of it just seemed to cool and appealing, and it definitely wasn’t all it lived up to be. When you think about driving, you think about road trips with friends, fast cars, smooth drives, and just an easy driving life. But the harsh reality of it is, you spend most of your time running to …

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First Look Video – GAC Motor GE3 EV – By Carl Malek – [Video]

When we last started our two part video series on GAC Motor, we began by focusing on the contents of their mysterious press kit, the shady way you have to give your ID to get one, and the lousy value that you ultimately get for giving your personal information. For part two of our series, we leave the gimmicky press kit at home, and instead conclude our coverage of the 2019 North American International Auto Show by taking a look at one of their models to see if GAC Motor has the necessary hardware to back up their bold plans …

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

The honest car. In a world of SUVs and Crossovers dominating the landscape, there’s still a need for an entry-level sedan. Whether you’re just looking for “transportation” a good first car, or even something to dutifully wait for you at the train station, a small well-built sedan can fit the bill. And way back in the day, before the wide array of cars and trucks it now offers – plus brands including Kia and Genesis, Hyundai made their bones on simple, durable sedans. So, it’s no surprise that if you’re looking for an inexpensive place to park your backside, the …

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Road Test Review – 2018 Toyota Prius C – By Carl Malek

The green car segment has seen its fair share of twists and turns over the past several years. While Tesla currently has the spotlight when it comes to pure EV offerings, Toyota and its Prii range in particular are considered by many to be the benchmark offerings in the hybrid vehicle segment. The Japanese auto giant doubled down on hybrids in the mid 1990’s with the original Prius, much to the astonishment and the occasional snicker of a few of its domestic competitors. That initial gambit has transformed into a lucrative business, with the Prii lineup redefining green car culture …

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Road Test Review – 2018 Kia Rio EX – By Carl Malek

In a world where pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers have become the dominant players in the quest for supremacy, it is easy to forget that the sub-compact segment is still a vital battlefield for automakers. lWhile the subcompact range has undergone some shrinkage recently, there are still a diverse cast of entries vying for buyer attention. One of these is the 2018 Kia Rio, which aims to bring some youthful vibes and sensible frugality into Kia’s rapidly changing lineup of cars. But can the Rio take advantage of the impending departure of the benchmark Ford Fiesta, and steal some extra …

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2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

You know those commercials for Overstock.com? (no, we’re not getting a free couch for this). The ones where people are judged – sometimes unfairly – for their names. Well, the Corolla has the same problem. We say Corolla, and you probably think, small, supremely reliable, pleasant, good value. But exciting? Meh.  One small step for a Corolla and One giant step for Corolla-kind. Previously, the formerly known as Scion iM was renamed, and the stylish little hatchback became the Corolla IM. And it was a nice looking, decent performing hatch with loads of features – typical Scion. A nice start. …

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2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium R-Code Design – Video Road Test Review w/ Mega Gallery!

  Don’t get too bogged down in what type of vehicle C-HR is before you start to love it.  SUV Compact?  City Style Hatchback? It is a racy five-door hatchback with off-road-ish looks and playful road handling. Exclusively front-drive and sliding in right above the Corolla in fun-to-drive and standout style. Pricing matches that four-door but there are many differences under the skin. This C-HR for example runs a slightly tighter wheelbase and overall length.  And a slightly wider stance with its bubble hardtop accentuating the racy roofline and concept-like body shapes on both ends. But really, all the style …

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Road Test Review – 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Plus – By Carl Malek

Ever wondered how you could make a Toyota Prius even more fuel efficient and environmentally conscious, while also cramming even more convenience features and technology into its distinctive wrapper at the same time? This conundrum reminds us of some of the great engineering challenges that America has faced over the years. While brilliant minds, technological advances, and the occasional rocket scientist or two played a hand in solving these fore-mentioned problems, Toyota had a delicate balancing act to achieve when it came time to build its latest Prii offering. The end result is the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime, but does …

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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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Road Test Review – 2017 Kia Soul Turbo – By Carl Malek

In a world where CUVs are slowly becoming the dominant species in the automotive world, one particular entry has always stood out for offering a unique yet successful approach to this often rehashed segment of the market, the Kia Soul. The Soul arrived when boxy was in, and it competed with mainly with its equally square counterparts the Nissan Cube, and the Scion xB. Both the Cube and the xB have entered automotive retirement, but the Soul has managed to soldier on, and transform itself into a solid competitor for a new wave of CUV entries. But can a dash …

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2018 Hyundai KONA – Arrives February to Clamoring US Shoppers

The Kona is a pretty big deal for Hyundai.  It will be expected to shift more than 100,000 units a year, we estimate, to be considered a success for the brand’s SUV mission. In a perfect world, this machine might even kiss 200,000 units in 2019!?   Can you imagine? Hilarious. Or is it? When you think of the future as seen in movies, Kona’s design will fit right in.  It is a post-apocalyptic surivor — navigating the ruins of cities with enough ground clearance not to scrape.  Or to have those pesky gravel cuts in the paint — thanks to …

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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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Road Test Review – 2017 Toyota Yaris iA – By Carl Malek

The legacy of Scion continues to permeate throughout Toyota showrooms. While the logos, marketing material, and the fancy displays have long since been deposited in the dark corners of history, several of its models continue to linger in Toyota showrooms. One of these is the budget friendly iA sedan. Designed and engineered with help from Mazda, the iA was Scion’s last ditch effort at attracting young first time buyers before the rug was pulled from under it. Will the addition of a Toyota badge and a new name allow the Yaris iA to still fulfill its mission in life? Or …

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Electric or Hybrid, Which Is Indeed The Superior Green Option?

Remember back when gasoline (and to a lesser extent) diesel engines, were once the sole choices for U.S. drivers looking to buy an automobile for their driveway? We sure do, and we also remember back when the idea of electric let alone hybrid offerings were mere science experiments that existed in the world of concept cars. Fast forward a few decades, and this established order has been toppled by a strong pool of hybrid vehicles, as well as the emergence of a new wave of all electric offerings. But which choice is better for consumers? And which choice will stand …

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2017 Fiat 500C 1.4L Auto – Road Test Review

Is “hilarious” a helpful car description?  What about uproarious laughter at redline on the video review? Not really.  You migtht think the guy is laughing at the the car when he is actually laughing along with it. Either way, a serious case of the giggles comes standard on the Fiat 500C. The $17k 500 Cabrio is actually the cheapest way into a softtop in the USA for 2017 and 2018.  But with hard metal roof pillars, some might say this isn’t an all-the-way cabriolet. It might not be a full ragtop but it is delightfully sunny in the little Fiat …

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Autocross Class of 2017! Which Pocket Rocket Is Quickest?

Imagine the best kart track ever – inside the amazing Road America racetrack itself.  Then swap the karts for real cars.  And race them against the stopwatch in rapid-fire rotations of drivers! It was an squeely good time with the class of 2017’s new and special pocket rockets.   A big variety in power, drivetrain layout and body style: everything from the Abarth 500C to MX-5 RF and 370Z Heritage Edition.  Hyundai’s new Elantra Sport joined the fun, as did a ragtop Miata, 124 Abarth, Toyota 86 and VW Golf R.     They were all a laugh riot around …

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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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Road Test Review – 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Limited – By Carl Malek

Once considered rolling science experiments 15 to 20 years ago, electric vehicles are seeing a resurgence in both relevance and importance to a new generation of car buyers. When I was growing up in Metro Detroit, it was in a GM household, and the infamous EV-1 was the symbol of GM’s brief but compelling trip into the world of mass market vehicle electrification. Tremendous progress has been made since then (case in point the Chevrolet Bolt), and electric vehicles are slowly making the transition from curiosity, to mass market reality. But does this mean that electric vehicles are at long …

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2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

For 2017 Hyundai introduces their 6th generation Elantra, and it’s destined to be a big hit.  Gone is last year’s brash, in-your-face design that separated it styling-wise from the more bland competitors in this compact car segment. Now we have an emphasis on a more elegant shape, and sophisticated style, and that sophistication is evident throughout the cabin and in the entire feel of this new model. Boomerang-shaped LED running lights fame a deeper, wider gill, with chrome horizontal slats that give the front end a more bold and obvious presence.  The cut lines on the sides of the Elantra …

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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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Best of NYIAS – 2017 Toyota FT-4X Concept

Welcome to Toyota getting hip with the kids! Since Scion was politely folded into the Big T proper, there are many products in the pipeline that still embody that wacky Scion spirit. The FT-4X is one of those, and looks set for arrival to showrooms within about a year at the most.  This machine is a heavily redesigned and off-road-optimized version of the sexy new C-HR subcompact crossover.  The FT-4X is far more than just a tall-roof variant.  (Although that is its core nature). From a tread perspective, the FT-4X rides far higher, with grippier rubber and longer-travel suspension.  Likely-standard …

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2018 VW Golfs Debut USA Facelift For Six-Strong Model Line

The new Golf is bringing the global model upgrades to the USA at last!  In fact, the lead time/delay between the Euro debut and the USA arrival is actually much shorter than before.  [It took almost three years for the Golf 7 to arrive in USA.] The six-strong 2018 Golf lineup arrives stateside around September of 2017 as 2018 models.  The e-Golf is on a slightly different timetable but also adds these revisions. The freshening includes standard LED DRLs, full LED tail lights new wheels and upgraded cabin infotainment.  The Golf R brings a fresh 7-speed DSG versus the current …

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3.2s 2017 Renault ZOE e-SPORT Concept Is Geneva Highlight

RenaultSport has found itself at the apex between F1 and Formula E in 2017.  They also produce one of the biggest range of EVs available.  No one is better prepared to take track-fast electrics to the street. The new Zoe e-Sport promises just that.  With a widebody style like the iconic Renault rally rockets, and a matte blue paintwork that happily recalls past Clio V6s. 460HP is the power allowed for this hatch smaller than a Ford Fiesta.  With almost a third of the total vehicle weight as batteries, this ZOE e-Sport might even have some midengine dynamics to add …

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2017 Hyundai IONIQ Electric – First Drive Review w/ Video

The sleeper hit of the Hyundai Ioniq launch? The full EV! This will be the rarest of the three Ioniq models as it will be sold in California only for the first year.  [First arrivals around April/May in stores, by the way, and Ioniq EV can be special-ordered nationwide at that time too.] It was not just the incredible normalcy about the EV drive Ioniq that makes it surprising.  Really it’s the thoroughness of the engineering and exceptional value this car represents. Hold your horses, though!  Let’s discuss what this car offers, how it looks, drives and feels.  Click play below …

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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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CES 2017 – Top 10 Big Reveals + Showfloor Gallery

Many semi-cool reveals at CES this year.  And thankfully, they are not all wearing the same shade of Apple-knockoff white plastic for bodywork! Oh wait, all the cars are the same silver this year?  Delightful. This biggest headlines were undoubtedly for the Faraday Future FF91, a Tesla Model X rival that actually seems super smart and innovative.  If not exactly sexy, the design is certainly unique and practical.  This FF91 flagship is production-bound with a direct-to-consumer sales model that also takes great inspiration from Tesla. The Toyota Concept I is silly fun, while the Chrysler Portal is slightly more serious.  The …

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2017 BMW i Inside Future Sculpture Previews HoloActive Gesture Controls

Has BMW i just gone off the deep end entirely?  The iPerformance range in the 3 series (330e) and X5 40e is smooth and creamy — literally — on the road.  Yet the plugin hybrid electrics do drive like normal, high-speed BMWs. But my word.  Getting past the clutter of the “BMW i” language and descriptors, not to mention their designs and prices, mean these new innovations are definitely still in their infancy. Case in point? The below press release, which is virtually unintelligible.  It is so up its own a** that you have a hard time knowing the CARS …

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2016 Toyota Yaris LE – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

With the recent influx of economy minded products from both rivals as well as the dearly departed Scion brand, it is easy to assume at first glance that the humble Toyota Yaris gets lost in the shuffle. But does this tiny hatchback still have what it takes to stand out in this crowded segment? Or does it come up just a bit short?     The exterior styling of our 2016 Barcelona Red LE grade test car (2017 models have minimal changes) certainly made our car stand out in a crowd, and also helped it have a sporty flair. This …

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