2020 BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the MINI Clubman and remarked that there’s a lot of BMW under the skin. Well, in many ways, you could say the new BMW 2-series Gran Coupe has a fair amount of MINI under the skin – and just like the Clubby, it’s a good thing. Another way to think of the M235i Gran Coupe is the sedan version of the monster X2 M35i we tested – they share a lot of the same running gear – but going from SAV/SUV/Crossover to Sedan/Gran Coupe (stop with all the different names, please!) creates a very different beast. But …

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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 Subaru WRX Series. White by Ben Lewis

Subaru does something very European. They never seem to be completely satisfied and are constantly tweaking the WRX. Of course, you have the big cycle changes, and the smaller ones, and don’t forget the Special Editions. Since 2002, when it was introduced, the WRX has evolved. But this is more than just that.  The WRX Series. White is something really special. The changes are subtle in the overall scheme of things, and yet, this thing just works. Impressively so. So is the Series. White the best WRX ever? Let’s find out.   WRX Series. White Exterior – the Plain White …

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Road Test Followup – 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD – By Carl Malek

The Mazda3 is the spirited underdog in the compact car segment. When the current generation model first made its appearance back in 2019, it was perhaps the most comprehensive effort yet at making the budget focused 3 into a true contender in the segment. With expressive exterior design, a cabin that blurs the line between luxury and affordability, and a chassis to envy for. The Mazda3 certainly had a head start in its quest to dethrone the Volkswagen Golf from the top of the sales charts. With such a strong start for 2019, what could Mazda engineers do to help …

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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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Road Test Review – 2020 Mini Cooper S Clubman – By Carl Malek [Video]

The 2020 Mini Cooper S Clubman is the answer to a very interesting question. What would happen if you take a Mini Cooper hatchback, and try to apply some of its quirky charm and appeal to a segment blurring utility focused model? The end result is the Clubman which tries to add more versatility and cargo hauling ability into its distinctly British flanks. But while the Clubman Panel Van a few years ago was a short lived and ultimately flawed experiment, the standard Clubman has managed to gather a sizable following of loyalists over the years. We were eager to …

Read more Road Test Review – 2020 Mini Cooper S Clubman – By Carl Malek [Video]

Hyundai Lets You See and Hear The N-Line Magic In New Hyundai Sonata N-Line [Video]

It was merely a month ago when Hyundai introduced the world to the all new Elantra sedan, and while the futuristic design and the revamped interior promised to restore some of the Elantra’s prestige and the innovative disruptive moxie that was lost with the old model. The world wondered what a performance focused Elantra would look like following the confirmation that the Elantra was next to get the N-Line treatment? The Korean car giant has answered the call (kinda) and has formally previewed the Elantra N-Line in a new video package. While the video is the first tangible evidence that …

Read more Hyundai Lets You See and Hear The N-Line Magic In New Hyundai Sonata N-Line [Video]

Hyundai Formally Unveils 2020 Veloster N Hot Hatch, 8 Speed DCT And Interior Tweaks Highlight Updates

Following a recent rumor that appeared to suggest that the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N would get a bigger 2.5 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine, Hyundai has appeared to move quickly to silence this speculation by unveiling the 2020 Veloster N hatchback. The bigger engine is not in the cards, but the quirky three door does gain a few new tricks which should help it remain vibrant and fresh for the 2020 model year. The big change here is the all new DCT which is being used on the formerly manual only Veloster N for the first time ever. In this …

Read more Hyundai Formally Unveils 2020 Veloster N Hot Hatch, 8 Speed DCT And Interior Tweaks Highlight Updates

Road Test Review – 2019 Hyundai Veloster N Performance Package – By Carl Malek [Video]

Remember when Hyundai challenged segment benchmarks like the Volkswagen Golf GTI to a duel on the track? If your recollection is a bit fuzzy we don’t blame you. When the Hyundai Veloster first made its appearance several years ago, it certainly was a bold departure for the brand. Once known for making cheap runabouts, the Veloster aimed to bring about a styling change with its three door layout, hatchback proportions, and a whole new perspective on design. But while the addition of a turbo variant later in its life cycle helped bring a pinch of sizzle to the party, it …

Read more Road Test Review – 2019 Hyundai Veloster N Performance Package – By Carl Malek [Video]

Road Test Review – 2020 Toyota Yaris XLE Sedan – By Carl Malek

The Toyota Yaris has had a very interesting life, with twists and turns worthy of a Tom Clancy novel. Once unveiled as a port of the model lineup for the axed Scion brand, the little four door transitioned to the main Toyota roster where it was briefly sold alongside its cruder predecessor. This went on until it took over the Yaris nameplate a short while ago, and has continued its role as Toyota’s smallest sub-compact offering. When we last met it, it was a few years ago where we had the chance to pilot a manual transmission equipped model. But …

Read more Road Test Review – 2020 Toyota Yaris XLE Sedan – By Carl Malek

Twin Test: 2020 Hyundai Kona Turbo FWD – Cheaper, But Much Less Grip

In the first part of this twin test we crowned the Kona Turbo AWD a best-of-2020 winner and clearly the superior Kona Turbo for performance enthusiasts.  This segment takes a look at what the differences are via a drive review and a new photoset of the 2020 Kona 1.6T front-wheel-drive. The upcoming Kona N performance model makes perfect sense to anyone who has driven the turbo version of these cars.  (The base Kona trims have significantly worse more affordable mechanicals beyond the engine so the boosted upgrade is very worthwhile.) But once you have sprung for the turbo, should you …

Read more Twin Test: 2020 Hyundai Kona Turbo FWD – Cheaper, But Much Less Grip

Twin Test: Hyundai Kona Turbo AWD – Brilliant Speed, Grip & Handling

Testing two cars in different trim and powertrains is often pretty dull with the same conclusions applying to both vehicles. Not in this case. For enthusiasts, the AWD is the clear favorite. The bar is extra high for these small Hyundais since experiencing the pure driving joy that is the Veloster N.  The bar is raised high by that giggly pocket rocket — so its extra admirable that Kona is in same ballpark. The top Hyundai Kona trims both run the 1.6T and double-clutch automatic but differ in their drivetrains and rear suspensions.  The AWD is the clear winner on …

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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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Road Test Review – 2019 Hyundai Accent Limited – By Carl Malek

When the Hyundai Accent first appeared on the scene back in 1994, it was known more so for its rock bottom price point versus being an exceptionally good long term value. While it undercut many econoboxes at the time, owners paid a price for this by having to deal with middling engines that delivered ho hum performance, and a plastic fantastic interior that would make a Chevrolet Cavalier blush with envy. But with budget focused CUVs representing a very real threat to the Accent’s existence, Hyundai had to completely revamp the Accent to not only be a mere darling to …

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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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2021 Honda Insight Has Higher Price Tag, Gains New Technology And Color

Honda has released new information regarding the 2021 Honda Insight hybrid. The Insight gains a number of mild updates for the new model year which aim to not only help it remain competitive, but to also help it bring the fight to other hybrid entries that are vying for the top spot in a rapidly evolving marketplace.   A key change is in pricing, with Honda revealing that the base LX model is still holding firm at $23,855 which includes the $955 destination fee. The base feature list also remains largely the same, but the EX and Touring see a …

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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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2021 Hyundai Elantra To Officially Debut March 17th In L.A. [Video]

A new Hyundai Elantra is indeed on the way, with numerous sightings of testers all over the world hinting that something is indeed cooking within the halls of the South Korean automaker. With the Elantra’s debut fast approaching, Hyundai has released a couple of teaser images to provide a small taste of what is to come, and also revealed that the revamped four door will be making its debut on March 17th. The arrival of this iteration of Elantra is a much needed boost to the nameplate, with the current generation model receiving some criticism for its odd exterior styling, …

Read more 2021 Hyundai Elantra To Officially Debut March 17th In L.A. [Video]

2021 Volkswagen GTI Brings New Styling, Power Bump To U.S. Consumers

Volkswagen might not be bringing the entry level Golf here in the U.S. but that does not mean the German company is leaving performance hungry buyers high and dry. Volkswagen is bringing the GTI and the R models to the U.S. with the company using the Geneva Motor Show to showcase the eighth generation GTI. The design of the outgoing GTI is certainly a tough act to follow, with the seventh generation model blending a balanced recipe of refinement and performance into a sensibly designed package. The eighth gen model largely sticks to this proven script, but adds new touches …

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2020 Kia Soul GT-Line Review by Ben Lewis

The Kia Soul has long been one of our favorite vehicles – cool style, hip vibe, strong performance, loads of tech at a reasonable price. What’s not to love? And we were equally thrilled when we recently tested the all-new 2020 X-Line, we came away very impressed. Except we kind of missed the Hamsters that Kia has killed from their ad campaign. What Kia didn’t kill was the available turbo-engined model, which has always been the enthusiast’s choice. But with the new 2.0-liter, non-turbo we tested we didn’t miss the turbo rush as much as we he had remembered. So, …

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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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2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport – Road Test Review + Drive Video

Hyundai’s global Elantra sedan brought fresh style and tech details for the 2019 model-year and this Elantra Sport trim is at the top of the range.  Pricing for the Sport comes in at about a $24k base that is well above the $18k stickers for some of the cheapest Elantras out there. For that extra cash you get a big upgrade in power, style and equipment, as you might expect.  Swapping from the default four to the turbo 1.6T with 201HP brings along an extra 52 ponies and standard 7-speed double-clutch automatic.  A stick was briefly offered but the Elantra …

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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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2020 Nissan Sentra Debuts With Improved Styling, Upgraded Technology

When the Nissan Sentra first debuted back in 1982, it was when small econoboxes ruled a far bigger slice of the American car market, and it already had to contend with not only the Toyota Corolla, but also a whole host of long forgotten domestic entries that were vying for the attention of frugal minded U.S. shoppers. But 32 years of evolution have helped the Sentra not only become one of Nissan’s most successful models ever (with over six million units sold,) but also a much better entry in the compact car segment. Nissan is eager to showcase just how …

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2019 Honda Civic 1.5T 2dr Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Love at first sight. Okay, not at first sight. The Honda Civic coupe has been around for a while now, but there’s something special about our tester that keeps us coming back for more. And we have an idea why. It starts with choosing the right Civic We have tested a wide range of Civics, and being enthusiasts, we’ve gravitated to the hi-po models like the Civic Type R, the Civic Si and the grins-for-the-buck Civic Sport.  The first thing we noticed, they’re all 4-doors. And in the case of the Type R (or CTR for those in the know) …

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2019 Mazda3 Hatchback – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new Mazda 3 sedan, and with its premium feel and refined road manners, called it the best Euro sedan for the money right now. Not bad for a Japanese brand, eh? Well, Mazda seems to always serve up a hatchback on the 3 as well, to give those who want more practicality with a larger cargo bay, but the vehicles are usually pretty similar. (If you wanted a high-performance Mazda 3, the MazdaSpeed 3’s were built on the hatchback, but they haven’t done that in a while.) So, we were excited to test the all-new Mazda …

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Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Alfa Romeo Ends 4C Production, Part Of Broader Reshuffling Initiative

The Alfa Romeo 4C wowed us several years ago with its bold Italian charms and a driving character that made us eager to come back for more. But those two traits (as well as a whole heaping helping of spunk) were not enough to help the 4C avoid the axe, with Alfa Romeo revealing that it has killed the 4C for 2020 thus ending the 4C’s brief but exciting time in the marketplace.   In some ways, the 4C was already living on borrowed time, with the coupe version being discontinued in the U.S. back in 2018. The droptop Spider …

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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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Road Test Review – 2019 Honda Civic Touring – By Carl Malek

Honda has a lot riding on the shoulders of the 2020 Civic sedan and hatchback. While the Civic still commands a sizable chunk of sales in the compact car market, it’s no secret that the nameplate has felt the pressure in recent years from a resurgence in CUV and SUV demand in the U.S. While the Civic Si and the range topping Type R have helped the Civic bolster its impressive performance credentials, the mainstream Civic has had to use a completely different set of skills to help it maintain its lofty position in Honda’s broader sales pie. The 10th …

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Road Test Review – 2019 Mazda3 Hatchback AWD – By Carl Malek

In the world of hatchbacks, few have had the underdog effect that the venerable Mazda3 has had during its long run in production. While the Volkswagen Golf has reigned supreme over the segment, the Mazda3 has been a persistent underdog, a potent disruptor that always aimed to try and snatch the top spot from the talented German. While the Golf always managed to ward off these challenges thanks to its superior, interior craftsmanship, and more polished engines, the 3 bided its time, and gradually improved some of its flaws. But with the departure of the recently axed Ford Focus from …

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2019 Hyundai Veloster N – Road Test Review + Performance Drive Video

What’s the purpose of owning a car besides just transportation? Sure, you need to be able to scoot around town, commute and take the occasional road trip. But beyond that, the real joy of car ownership is the entertainment value. Having a car you love to drive, and one that makes you smile every time you tap the start button, is one of the true joys in this life for some of us. Over the course of 2019 there is no car that has elicited more howling laughter in my hands than this Veloster N. Here we have Hyundai’s first …

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2019 BMW X2 M35i – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Every time there’s a new small BMW, we hear the talk about the “Spiritual Successor to the BMW 2002.” This was BMW’s small 2-door that around 1970 took the quite pleasant 1600 2-door and stuffed a larger 2.0-liter 4-cylinder motor in it – classic hot-rodding, actually – and basically turned the automotive world on its ear. With the 2002, you had a totally practical, roomy and innocuous little sedan that outperformed the traditional sports cars of the day, and when the later fuel-injected 2002tii appeared, it was hunting down bigger game – including expensive European cars and powerful domestics, too. …

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Road Test Review – 2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T – By Carl Malek

The battle in the compact sport sedan segment is still heating up despite the rapid ascent of compact crossovers, and the slow introduction of their equally spicy performance variants. While the Honda Civic Si, Volkswagen GLI, and the Subaru WRX have become the established players when it comes to delivering bargain focused performance to selective enthusiasts. An alternative choice that has always been considered the outsider looking in is the venerable Elantra Sport. Hyundai has recently been kickstarting its attempts at being a relevant player in this shrinking but still viable segment. This is thanks mainly to the Veloster and …

Read more Road Test Review – 2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T – By Carl Malek

Road Test Review – 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE 6-Speed Manual – By Carl Malek

When it comes to the venerable Toyota Corolla, the iconic compact sedan has developed a very loyal following during its several decade production run, and it has managed to even block the challenge to its sales supremacy that has been cast into stone by a growing field of CUV competitors. But while the Corolla has managed to check all the other boxes that car buyers think in their minds when they purchase one, the lone item that has been missing in recent years is excitement. So when Toyota revealed that it planned to release a five-door version of its econobox, …

Read more Road Test Review – 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE 6-Speed Manual – By Carl Malek

2019 Mazda3 AWD Sedan Review by Ben Lewis

A lot of people love European vehicles. The quality, the ride, the design, the feeling that you’re in something special – it’s all good, and it’s all there. So, we often get asked, “what’s a good entry-level European sedan?” Well, the best Euro sedan for the money right now is… the 2019 Mazda 3. Yes, the Mazda 3. We’ve just spent a week in the all-new Mazda 3 sedan (a hatchback is available, too), and it is impressive. Now we’ve always liked the 3 – a lot of enthusiasts we know who’d like a BMW or an Audi end up …

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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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2020 Kia Soul X-Line – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

First, a moment of silence. Today we mourn The Hamster. Well, not a real Hamster, but the special-FX rodents that came to be identified with the Kia Soul, thanks to their great commercials. For the all-new 2020 Soul, it looks like the furry funmakers have been tossed in the proverbial dustbin. (At least they could have been buried in the backyard, no?) Shed no tears, though, because this is an all-new Kia Soul, and while it keeps the, errr…Soul of the previous model, it sports a lot of great improvements that keep it one of the most enjoyable and endearing …

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2019 Honda Civic Sport 2.0L 4-Door Manual – Review by Ben Lewis

Ok, we’re going out on a ledge here. But we bet this Civic may become a collectible. Yes, we get that the Civic Type R (or CTR for those in the know) will be a legend. And the current Civic Si is continuing a long line of sweet-performing Si’s. But the Civic Sport seems to go even deeper than that. More to the core of what has always made a Honda a Honda – or a Civic a Civic – for that matter. There’s a simplicity here.  A purity of purpose that typifies the man and the brand. 20-30 years …

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2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport 6MT 2

2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport 6MT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Recently, I was picking up a press car, and they asked me – in all sincerity – if I drive a stick. Really? Yes, it’s come to this. Manuals are getting so rare that some auto scribes don’t know how to drive one. Please don’t tell Hyundai. Because recently we drove the 2019 Elantra Sport, with 6-speed manual trans, and it was a delight. A Meaner Mugshot All ’19 Elantras get a crisp new look, with a restyled hood, front fascia, grille and headlights that look more aggressive and squintier, including LED headlights and a special grille on our Sport …

Read more 2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport 6MT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2019 Kia Niro EV – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Cynics that we are, we are slowly becoming fans of Electric Vehicles. While we still love the sound of a good engine, there’s a lot to love about the newest wave of fully electric and plug-in hybrid models. Our favorite plug-in may be the Honda Clarity,  whose futuristic good looks and reasonable 47 miles of EV mode range won us over. More important was the Hyundai Kona Electric, with an amazing 258-mile Tesla-baiting range, and great fun-to-drive spirit. We could easily drive it every day. Maybe the Kona is a little too small? Good news, we now have the Kia …

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2019 Acura ILX A-Spec – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Remember when Acura first launched? It may seem common now, but Honda was the first Japanese brand to bring in a luxury line – setting the path for Toyota’s Lexus and Nissan’s Infiniti. Mazda was dangerously close to bringing in the Amati line…but backed out. Still we owe props to Acura for being first, and the two first products, the Legend and the Integra were excellent, with all the Honda goodness, plus a nice layer of premium added on top. Acura kind of lost their way for a while – but as of late they’ve come back swinging. We recently …

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Toyota Extends Hatchback Magic To Yaris Subcompact for 2020 Model Year

When Toyota recently launched the Corolla hatchback, we were pleased to see that the Japanese auto giant was still willing to give U.S. buyers a chance to own a tidy five door amid the relentless tidal wave of CUV and SUV demand that has already swallowed up other hatchback entries like the Focus and Fiesta. With the Corolla doing well in sales, Toyota has decided to extend the love to the smaller Yaris sedan, and has gifted the Mazda infused subcompact a hatchback variant of its own for 2020. Unlike the Corolla hatchback, the smaller Yaris is essentially a reskinned …

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2019 Honda HR-V Sport AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve tested Honda’s HR-V a while ago and found it surprisingly sporty and fun – especially when equipped in front-wheel-drive with a 6-speed manual transmission. So, when Honda announced a new HR-V Sport model for 2019 we were excited – in Europe, there’s an HR-V Sport with a manual transmission and the 1.5-liter turbo we get here in the Civic. This ain’t Europe. Unfortunately, we’re not getting that Sport. No turbo motor. And for 2019, the manual transmission is gone, too. Farewell… That said, our HR-V Sport gets some goodies unique to the model that should make it more fun …

Read more 2019 Honda HR-V Sport AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Toyota Teases Idea of Performance Focused Corolla Variants

Toyota’s revamped 2020 Corolla has already made great strides in eliminating the rather mundane reputation that it managed to earn for itself over the past several decades, with the recently launched Corolla hatchback being a viable enthusiast focused offering. However, Toyota knows that some Corolla buyers want a bit more of everything in their drive (bigger brakes, more power, etc) and a recent statement by a high ranking Toyota executive could indicate that spicier versions of the Corolla are indeed in the works. According to the Dutch auto enthusiast website AutoRAI, Toyota’s deputy chief designer Toshio Kanei appeared to reveal …

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Road Test Review – 2019 Kia Forte EX – By Carl Malek

When we last met the 2019 Kia Forte, it was on the streets of Pittsburgh, where we had the opportunity to sample some of the newfound charms that Kia baked into the newest iteration of the Forte. Kia engineers were eager to please when it came to redefining the driving and handling manners of the Forte for the 2019 model year. However, while Kia did showcase a number of unique places in the area, we were eager to see how the Forte handled the roads in our home territory of Metro Detroit to determine whether extended exposure dampened our initial …

Read more Road Test Review – 2019 Kia Forte EX – By Carl Malek

2019 Lexus UX200 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Hello. Small crossovers and suv’s are all the rage now. Oh, we’ve said that? Well, without further ado, let us introduce the latest of the small luxury crossovers, the 2019 Lexus UX. Small in size, but big in goodies, the UX competes in the segment where we find the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. But we found it’s a very different vehicle than the Europeans, and it’s quite tempting. It’s all about the UX. While Lexus says UX stands for Urban Crossover, in this case, we think it means the tech term User Experience (known as UX) – the process …

Read more 2019 Lexus UX200 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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

No big shock here, small CUV/Crossover/SUV’s are all the rage. Not only a nice, city-friendly- sized version of larger SUV’s, with their low prices, enhanced fuel efficiency, and utility, they’re knocking the stuffing out of the small car segment as well. And now Mazda is going after the affordable sports car. Which is pretty interesting. With the Miata, they pretty much own the affordable sports car segment. But the 2019 Mazda CX-3 looks like they’re going after one of their own. So, it’s a sports car? Well, it looks like one. It certainly comes from the same family of the …

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

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Volkswagen Infuses More GTI Magic and Golf R DNA Into 2019 Jetta GLI [Live Pics]

Volkswagen has alot riding on the current generation Jetta. While the newly updated Jetta brings a lot of good things to the iconic compact, the one thing that felt missing here was the absence of the range topping GLI variant. Volkswagen has taken note of this absence, and has formally unveiled the 2019 Jetta GLI at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. The exterior styling of the 2019 Jetta GLI follows the same motif as other iterations of the GLI, with the suit of clothes largely being shared with the standard Jetta. However, the honeycomb grille is a dead giveaway of …

Read more Volkswagen Infuses More GTI Magic and Golf R DNA Into 2019 Jetta GLI [Live Pics]

Volkswagen Teases 2020 Jetta GLI Sedan Ahead of Chcago Debut

Volkswagen is primed and ready to showoff the new generation Jetta GLI at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show later this week, but before the sportiest of al;\l Jettas makes its mark, the German car giant has chosen to release a small teaser of what buyers can expect when the new and improved GLI eventually makes its way to dealerships later this year. Unlike the typical teaser campaign that usually begins with a lone teaser image usually from odd or even unorthodox angles, Volkswagen has chosen to release a small GIF image of the GLI going in and out of focus …

Read more Volkswagen Teases 2020 Jetta GLI Sedan Ahead of Chcago Debut

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

Ok, let’s start with Good News, Bad News. The Good News – for 2019 there’s a new LEAF PLUS model with more power, enhanced tech and improved range. The Bad News – There wasn’t one in the fleet to test, so we go the current 40 KWH battery model. Actually, it’s not that bad, in fact after spending a week with our LEAF, we’re not sure most buyers will need that new PLUS model. A new LEAF Introduced as a 2018 model, the all-new builds on the goodness that made the previous – and continues to be – the world’s …

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

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

Before we start this review, a moment of silence for the Nissan Juke. Yes, that odd, amphibious-looking crossover that was a bunch of fun to drive, interesting to look at, and a breath of fresh air in the stuffy small crossover segment. And now to the all-new Nissan Kicks, the Juke’s replacement. While it certainly is more conventional, it does a lot of things very well, and comes in at a bargain price. That’s a different kind of a kick, to be sure…. Goodbye Froggy, Hello Smurfy While some at Nissan tried to tell us that the Juke looked like …

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

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 …

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

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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 …

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

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

It pays to have a good-looking sibling in the family. Especially an automotive family. Let’s say you’re drawn to your friendly neighborhood Kia dealer to see the hot ‘n sexy Stinger sedan. And it’s more than a looker – the 6-cylinder rear wheel drive Stinger we tested was a great performance sedan, with the credentials, capabilities and feel-good pricing to keep the European brands looking over their shoulders. So, when it came time to redesign the company’s small sedan, the Forte, Kia was clever enough to make it’s reasonably-priced, fuel-sipping, value player look like its handsome big brother. So, we …

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

Mazda Goes All In With 2019 Mazda 3, Adds AWD For First Time Ever

The current Mazda 3 is already a very impressive offering in the compact car segment. Combining seductive styling with impressive performance hardware and surprising levels of technology, the 3 has emerged as a very viable entry in a segment that is facing pressure from CUV entries. So how do you make an already good thing even better? By making changes and updates where it maters the most.   It all starts with the all new platform which allows the 2019 version to be slightly lower and longer than before, with the wheelbase being stretched by a full inch. In a …

Read more Mazda Goes All In With 2019 Mazda 3, Adds AWD For First Time Ever

Toyota Goes All In With 2020 Corolla, Promises To Revamp Driving Experience For Buyers

Toyota’s Corolla sedan has emerged into a powerhouse for the Japanese automaker, with over 40 million units sold since the Corolla first entered production. However, all of this success and good fortune masks a car that has always never been known for its fun mannerisms, instead, preferring to be known as a dependable albeit bland piece of transportation that aims to get the job done and not much else. With the compact car segment still a viable segment in the marketplace, Toyota couldn’t afford to sit on its heels, and has thrown everything into the 2020 Corolla to try and …

Read more Toyota Goes All In With 2020 Corolla, Promises To Revamp Driving Experience For Buyers

2017 VW E-Golf SEL Premium – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

OK, we’re a little late to the EV game. We recently tested the Soul EV, and came away charmed by the unique driving experience, and the way Kia made the electric Soul feel special and unique – like driving a car of the future. Which is a great counterpoint to the VW Golf EV. While the Kia celebrates its EV-ness, the Golf plays it the other way – it completely feels like any other Golf, the only difference is that it has a different way of fueling up. For someone with EV anxiety, or who just wants to go electric …

Read more 2017 VW E-Golf SEL Premium – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We like cars that fly in the face of convention. Nissan’s Juke, Kia’s Soul, many Minis…all a little off of center, but lovable and fun. And to this list, you have to include the Hyundai Veloster. The quirky, sporty, three-door hatch that some love and has other scratching their heads, has always be an affordable funster. And now we have an all-new 2019 Veloster, and that’s always a crap-shoot. Will it keep the unique vibe, or go more mainstream and lose the plot in the second chapter? Chapter Two Well, the looks have gone from funky to aggressive, but we …

Read more 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Kia Unveils 201 Horsepower 2020 Forte GT, At Last Our Prayers Have Been Answered

When we last met the 2019 Kia Forte, it was navigating the twist and turns of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The mountain roads that dotted our route highlighted the Forte’s new chassis, as well as the spirited character that defined its exterior and interior design. Sadly, a lack of power was also evident, and it had us wondering “Where’s the Beef?” Well it appears Kia has been listening to this persistent criticism, and has at last given the Forte a proper engine to formally tango with its reworked bones, as well as a new trim the Forte GT, Living up to its …

Read more Kia Unveils 201 Horsepower 2020 Forte GT, At Last Our Prayers Have Been Answered

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2019 VW Jetta SE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2018 VW Passat GT, an exciting twist on one of the carmaker’s oldest models. And now, we have the 2019 VW Jetta, its newest model. And make no mistake about it, a new Jetta is a big deal. It’s the most successful European nameplate in the US, with 3.2 million sold since 1980. And, that’s just a drop in the bucket – worldwide sales are over 17.5 million. Now we have the seventh-generation of the popular sedan, and VW has pushed the envelope to give us a bigger, better, more advanced sedan to continue to woo …

Read more 2019 VW Jetta SE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Road Test Review – 2018 Toyota Corolla SE – By Carl Malek

When it comes to offering buyers a reliable four door sedan that can safely haul people and cargo from one place to another, one venerable nameplate has always stood out among compact car buyers, the Toyota Corolla. While the bulk of the changes for 2018 are focused on its new hatchback sibling (which we tested a short while ago,) the sedan still soldiers on for 2018 with very minimal changes. But can this infusion of minimalist themed updates allow the aging Corolla to still maintain its iron grip on top of the compact sedan segment? Or is it time for …

Read more Road Test Review – 2018 Toyota Corolla SE – By Carl Malek

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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 …

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

Road Test Review – 2018 Hyundai Accent Limited – By Carl Malek

Like two sides of a coin, the 2018 Kia Rio and the 2018 Hyundai Accent have very important roles to play for their respective brands. Both offer an affordable gateway to their respective lineups, they are small, and each also offer their buyers a unique experience that drives home the mission of their respective identities. When we last spent time in the 2018 Kia Rio, we loved the Rio’s spunk and its value oriented pricing. Can the same magic apply to its more upscale corporate sibling, the Hyundai Accent? Or is it still overshadowed by the popular Elantra? Wheras the …

Read more Road Test Review – 2018 Hyundai Accent Limited – By Carl Malek

Road Test Review – 2019 Kia Forte EX – By Carl Malek

It’s no secret that the Kia Forte has proven to be a key cog in Kia’s long term plan of revising its image. Once known for being an offering that thrived on being cheap and cheerful when it was released nearly a decade ago, the Forte has morphed into an intriguing compact sedan offering. When we last met the Forte, it was late last year, and while it had some good things going for it, the car was aging quickly against entries like the Honda Civic and the Ford Focus. Kia plans to reverse all that with the 2019 Forte, …

Read more Road Test Review – 2019 Kia Forte EX – By Carl Malek

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 …

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

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. …

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

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Industry Insider – New or Used Cars: Which is Better?

This is an age-old question. Should you buy a new or used car? Everyone seems to have a different answer and different reasons why. There really is no single right answer because it all depends on your current lifestyle and living situation. Different financial obligations, abilities, hobbies, and plans will determine whether a new or used car makes sense for you. In order to figure out which is best, let’s consider the upfront cost of the car, the gas mileage, the insurance cost, and the cost of repairs. It’s important to crunch the numbers before making any decisions. Determine What …

Read more Industry Insider – New or Used Cars: Which is Better?

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2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Volvo is on a roll. For a while, the Swedish brand (owned by Chinese company Geely), was more of a bit player in the premium European segment, trading on a well-earned rep of safety and Swedish sensibility – but not really setting any hearts afire. Well, all of that has changed. The big spark came from the gorgeous XC90, one of the most handsome big SUV’s, with a to-die-for interior and loads of well-engineered tech. In the always-hungry SUV market it became a huge hit, and it put the brand on the shopping list of loads of BMW, Mercedes and …

Read more 2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited – Road Test Review – by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Elantra GT hatchback and found it to be a fun and flexible small hatch – one that might be better for some buyers than a crossover or SUV. And while those vehicles seem to be getting the lion’s share of sales, along with small hatchbacks, there’s still a need in the marketplace for the small sedan. There’s always a sweet spot for cars like the Corolla, Civic and our tester, the Elantra sedan. They make great first cars for new drivers, great second cars for families, and comfortable and reliable transportation for older buyers, too. The …

Read more 2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited – Road Test Review – by Ben Lewis

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Road Test Review – 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate – By Carl Malek

When the first generation Veloster arrived on the scene several years ago, it was a symbol of Hyundai’s early foray into revamping the image of its overall product lineup. While the first generation Veloster did have a few rough edges and flaws underneath its slick skin, it nevertheless served as a compelling “reverse halo” offering that did bring in more young buyers. With the arrival of the second generation Veloster, Hyundai has made the usual assortment of updates and revisions to help the Veloster refine and hone its youthful swagger. Can this updated Veloster stand out in a segment that …

Read more Road Test Review – 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate – By Carl Malek

2018 Mazda3 GT 5-Door – Road Test Review w/ Perf Drive Video

Want to know the true reason why nobody should suffer driving a car they don’t love? And also the reason why car shoppers are fools to make up their mind online instead of on the test drives? The shining example for both is the delightful 2018 Mazda3 GT.  Here is a car that will hit 35-mpg on the highway and keep your payments easily below $300 a month.  All while having truly fun performance and actual torque to keep you ahead of traffic! Driving the Mazda3 for a week is like a slap in the face or a dunk in …

Read more 2018 Mazda3 GT 5-Door – Road Test Review w/ Perf Drive Video

2018 Kia Niro PHEV LX – ~240MPG Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Last year we tested the Kia Niro hybrid, and it came away as one of our favorite vehicles of the year. Here was a hybrid with the practicality of a small crossover, excellent fuel economy, and best of all, it was truly fun to drive. We’d gladly have one in our driveway – and it would make a perfect day-to-day partner to some rip-snorting, fuel guzzling, socially questionable weekend toy. Plugging into the latest and greatest While hybrids have been around for quite a while now and become extremely successful, getting people into full EV electric vehicles has been a …

Read more 2018 Kia Niro PHEV LX – ~240MPG Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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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 …

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

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT A/T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

One of the great things about the popularity of small SUV’s and Crossovers is that it’s also creating renewed interest in small wagons and hatchbacks too. Once you’ve experienced the practicality of RAV4 or HR-V, it’s pretty hard to go back to a small sedan. So, don’t go back to a small sedan. With the all-new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, you get carrying capacity – plus a whole lot of other nice surprises. And even if comes down to choosing between an Elantra sedan and GT hatchback, it’s no contest – hatch wins. Euro style. It starts with the looks …

Read more 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT A/T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Buick Encore Premium FWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the new Buick Enclave, and found it to be an excellent blend of style, performance and luxury. What if you want all that, but something in a smaller package, perfect for running around the city as well as the open road? Well then, how about the Buick Encore?  Refreshed in 2017, the small SUV has proven to be exceptionally popular – it’s Buick best-selling model – and it shows how quickly the brand has moved from stodgy to hip and cool in a short time. Not the urban lumberjack, Jack. In the land of small SUV’s trying …

Read more 2018 Buick Encore Premium FWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Honda Civic Type R – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Are you an extrovert? Do you like being the center of attention? Do you like answering lots of questions from people you don’t know? Then we have the car for you. The Honda Civic Type R. It’s R turn. While Type R Honda models have been the epitome of performance for the brand elsewhere, Honda and Acura have been extremely stingy bringing any to the U.S. When the new Civic bowed, a promise   that the lineup would include the first ever U.S. Civic Type R got enthusiasts all fizzy with excitement. Sparkling or flat? Not everyone likes bright and bold …

Read more 2018 Honda Civic Type R – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Road Test Review- 2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring (Sedan) – By Carl Malek

What makes the Mazda 3 such a good value in the compact car segment? It’s stylish good looks are definitely a good start along with an interior that has always offered occupants a near premium driving experience. But with many of its rivals either upping their aesthetic game, or offering more performance and fundamental value. Can the 2018 Mazda 3 keep up with the changing landscape while still offering the compelling DNA that keeps Mazda loyalists coming back for more? To find out, we revisited this old favorite to see for ourselves if the Mazda 3 has aged into a …

Read more Road Test Review- 2018 Mazda 3 Grand Touring (Sedan) – By Carl Malek

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2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium – Road Test Review

Subaru refreshed its Outback Jr for the 2018 model year with a bump in horsepower and fresh LEDs on the top trims.  New cabin tech and the slightest of slight design upgrade to detailing outside and in completed the refresh. Most notably, the top Crosstreks now have a sexy LED DRL that comes standard with the upgraded bi-xenon, auto-highbeam cornering lamps on the Crosstrek Limited. Humbler trims like our 2.0i Premium tester have to make do another year with bulb DRLs and a decidedly dowdy look on the road. No LEDs in front for this trim but some searingly-bright LED …

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Road Test Review – 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT – By Carl Malek

Hatchbacks have always been a unique breed of automobile. A feisty blend of utility and performance, they have survived the original SUV craze, and have so far held their own against the current crush of CUVs, and the massive pressure they have wrought on other segments of the automotive market including hatchbacks. But amid the current crop of hatchback offerings, is there one that can usurp the current king of the hatchback, the Volkswagen Golf/GTI? Or could an upstart make its way through the ranks and pull off a monumental upset?   This is not our first encounter with the …

Read more Road Test Review – 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT – By Carl Malek

Road Test Review – 2017 Kia Forte S – By Carl Malek

With the 2019 Kia Forte embracing some of the successful DNA that has turned the Stinger into a compelling BMW fighter, the current generation Kia Forte has the unenviable task of staying fresh and relevant against a relatively fresh crop of contenders. The Forte offers tweaked styling and versatile feature content for a new generation of buyers, but can these wholesome charms keep the Forte in winning form until its replacement arrives? or will the 2019 version be forced to regain lost ground when it eventually arrives in dealer lots. The exterior styling of our Currant Red “S” grade tester …

Read more Road Test Review – 2017 Kia Forte S – By Carl Malek

2019 Volkswagen Jetta Brings More Technology & Style To NAIAS 2018

Volkswagen’s Golf lineup is proof of how dominant the German auto giant can be in the small car market. The Jetta on the other hand, was an example of what happened when bean counters were given free reign in designing a car. With cheaper materials, and a mediocre interior. Volkswagen’s interpretation of a compact sedan for the U.S. was lost in translation, especially with buyers. The 2019 Jetta aims to correct this with new technology and a host of updates that make it better than ever. The exterior styling of the outgoing Jetta was about as bland as buttered toast, …

Read more 2019 Volkswagen Jetta Brings More Technology & Style To NAIAS 2018

Honda Provides Insight Into Its Green Fueled Ambitions With Insight Prototype

Honda has made great strides when it comes to adding more green to its lineup of vehicles. From the Clarity lineup, to the upcoming Accord Hybrid, It’s no secret that Honda is keen on regaining ground that it has lost to Toyota and its ever growing lineup of hybrid vehicles. On that front, Honda has revealed its latest step in this initiative, the reawakened Insight hybrid sedan. Dormant for the last few years, Honda plans to position the 2019 Insight above its popular Civic sedan, making it serve a tweener role between the forementioned Civic, and the larger Accord sedan. …

Read more Honda Provides Insight Into Its Green Fueled Ambitions With Insight Prototype

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Road Test Review – 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf – By Carl Malek

When the e-Golf first arrived on our shores back in 2014, it was considered an afterthought especially considering that it arrived during the pinnacle of Volkswagen’s TDI-fueled dominance of the green car market. But with this diesel empire toppled by scandal, and a growing field of electric vehicles entering the marketplace, the e-Golf’s role in Volkswagen’s arsenal has become much more important. Can this electrified Golf stand out against the competition while still retaining the VW’s winning formula? At first glance, the exterior styling does not scream that your driving an electric car. In fact, it looks like a run …

Read more Road Test Review – 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf – By Carl Malek

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 …

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

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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 …

Read more 2018 Hyundai KONA – Arrives February to Clamoring US Shoppers

2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport – Road Test Review w/ Performance Drive Video!

 We start the drive video review asking a serious question: does this Euro Infiniti QX30 belong in the USA? This baby Infiniti has two variants on sale in America: the crossover-ish QX30 and QX30 AWD.  Then there is the wild cousin: the QX30 Sport.  Lowered ride height.  Performance mods and gloss black finishes galore.  Stance to make the most of the double-clutch automatic and turbo motor from Mercedes-Benz. Premium compact five-doors are big business on the continent.  Instead of trading up to a sedan after the Golf/Focus class, owners will shell out big cash to get into the A3, 1 …

Read more 2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport – Road Test Review w/ Performance Drive Video!

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 …

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

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 …

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

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Base Automatic – Road Test Review + 2 Videos

There are cars that are simply better than they have to be. They go beyond just beating their obvious rivals and into another level of long-term partnership potential for their drivers. Such is the case with the five-door Hyundai Elantra GT.  This variant of the best-selling sedan shares much of its drivetrain cabin, but none of its exterior or platform design. It enters a market segment that has more strong rivals than ever.  Focus and Cruze hatchback might be easy to beat.  But how about the new Civic Sport 5-door, Mazda3 and VW Golf?  Those are some seriously good global …

Read more 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Base Automatic – Road Test Review + 2 Videos

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 …

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

2017 Jeep Compass 4×4 Limited – HD Road Test Review

Guess who does not love compact crossovers, generally, for their woeful speed and handling?  This guy. So the 2017 Compass really had its work cut out for it when it came to CRD for a review.  We were pre-biased and would’ve been tossed from a jury trial for inability to be impartial. Our personal disdain for micro-SUVs is dead wrong based on vehicle sales charts, though. Mini crossovers are the hottest segment of the car business these days.  They are replacing huge chunks of traditional compact and midsize car sales – through their combination of coolness and capability. Jeep is …

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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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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 KIA Proceed Concept Brings Hot-Wagon Style to Frankfurt

KIA is really movin’ on up in this world.  Their Stinger GT AWD promises some real grand touring luxury and speed when it arrives in showrooms next month.  And their Euro lineup is stronger than ever thanks to extensive tuning at the Nurburgring.  And thanks to a giant crew of German engineers poached from the top carmakers in the world. So this Proceed concept’s fast-wagon nature is not too far from reality.  Simply GORGEOUS flowing lines, great long-roof proportions and a chopped front overhang make for the stuff of dreams.  This bodystyle is headed for production, Kia strongly hints, as …

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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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2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid – Road Test Review

Ioniq is really a charmer on the road.  This is a car that can out-eco a Prius and yet also sling itself around corners like a balanced Lotus. 50 mpg has never been so easy, or fun!  No plugs needed and no range anxiety.  Ioniq is good enough to make you really rethink the logic of a full EV.  This just seems so much smarter and more versatile.  It is a seamless normal-car replacement.  Smoother than a normal sedan’s drivetrain and just as easy to own. We spent a week testing the Ioniq’s limits in a high-performance drive video.  And …

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2017 MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept – Design Analysis

MINI fatigue is undeniable lately as an enthusiast and for car shoppers alike.  The improvements are so substantive, but the design and image seems frozen in time.  Most of the time. Then rumbles up a track-attack prototype so extreme that even it hates being a hatchback.  It hates that its breadvan shape lacks the low nose of a supercar or the mid-engined silhouette. So this JCW GP concept rejects its limitations.  It says: i will create extreme downforce and aero — hatchback shape and all.  It does not accept that front-drive is a demerit on the Nordschleife. Floating external fenders …

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