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. …

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

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 …

Read more 2019 Mazda3 AWD Sedan Review by Ben Lewis

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 …

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

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 …

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

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 …

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

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 …

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