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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 …

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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, …

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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. …

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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 …

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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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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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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 …

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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 …

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 …

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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 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 …

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

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

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

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

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport 6MT – First Drive Review

Hyundai is perfecting its performance-car credentials.  The latest pack of redesigns go as hard at their tech/ style as they do at full turbo boost and fast corners. This handling skill and steering feel are creating a new impression of the brand as a whole. You need a preface like this to absorb the impressions of how sweet a drive the Elantra GT Sport was the other day.  This is Hyundai’s Scirocco rival for Europe and GTI-fighter for the USA — with a slinky low roof, five-door layout and lively powertrain.  How alive is GT?  It forms the basis for …

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

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

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2017 KIA Soul Turbo – HD Road Test Review + Video

The Kia Soul is a runaway  success. It is the best-selling global Kia vehicle in the brand’s history.  And it has outlasted its Nissan Cube or the Scion xB box-car rivals in the marketplace by being better. This acclaim is perhaps why the Soul still wears its original sheetmetal — albeit revamped slightly for the exterior of this latest iteration.  Fresh LEDs, bumpers and trim details are all this car needs to be fresh in 2017. If the core package was so right-sized and right-priced, it does make sense to keep it humming along nicely with the same look. Beneath …

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

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

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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 …

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

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

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

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

Road Test Review – 2017 Volkswagen GTI Sport (6MT) – By Carl Malek

Volkswagen’s venerable GTI hatchback has always been an iconic and almost quintessential part of the greater hot hatch segment. From its handsome styling, to its punchy lineup of engines, the GTI certainly has the blueprints to be the perfect performance value. But, could it also serve as a glimpse into an alternate future? That was the very question that this author faced when our Tornado Red GTI Sport tester arrived to spend some time at our humble Michigan outpost. You see, I almost purchased a GTI several years ago when the current generation Mk7 model was first unveiled to the …

Read more Road Test Review – 2017 Volkswagen GTI Sport (6MT) – By Carl Malek

2017 Honda CIVIC Si Now In Showrooms from $24k

UPDATE 5.12.17 The new Si twins from Honda go on sale across the USA tomorrow!  Pretty exciting stuff, even though the new 205HP turbo motor matches the previous Si outputs.  Why?  Because of the new surge in low-end torque that will shave nearly a second off real-world 0-60-mph sprints. The turbo engine also presents an extremely easy tuning roadmap.  Juicing 300 ponies out of here might cost $4k for ECU reflash plus big downpipe/intake/exhaust.  Getting to 300 from the naturally aspirated engine would cost at least double that and be frankly quite challenging without a full race rebuild of the …

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Top 11 Hot Hatchbacks in the USA for 2017

This spring has been a renaissance for hot hatch testing here at Car-Revs-Daily.  We’ve had the great pleasure of flogging the two reigning champs: the Focus RS and Golf R — and realized these pocket rockets are a speedfreak’s dream come true.  So tight and nimble.  So ferocious on throttle.  And so affordable versus a big V8 in Camaro  or Mustang!  Affordable to buy and also to insure and own. They make spouses less furious  than an impractical two-seat coupe.  And they are actually useful at transporting big things via their fold-down back seats. The market for hot hatchbacks has …

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2017 Honda Civic Type R – Nurburgring Record Video & Photos

The new CIvic Type R is on full boost now.  Its US launch is two months out and production is in full swing.  This must mean the first shipment is already on a giant boat headed stateside! Excitement for the most-powerful Honda Civic of all time is palpable lately, especially with the Si  launch just last week. To prove that AWD is not necessary to take on the Focus RS and Golf R, Honda took the new Civic to break some records on track.  This is now the quickest front-driver of all time around with a 7:43:80 time.  Watch the …

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2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A – Debuts Fresh Design in Shanghai

This new Mercedes-Benz concept feels a bit disingenuous.  On the one hand, we have a clear look at the next CLA-Class compact sedan.   But on the other, we have a heavy-handed effort to link this piglet with the 4-door AMG GT Concept.  Aka, the full hog. AMG GT CONCEPT Actually, we take most of that back.  The look of this Concept A is endlessly charming.  Its new LeMans-type grille with vertical slats meets ultra slimline LED headlights.  Wide intakes below leave no doubt as to how turbocharged and speedy MB’s always are. Could the LEDs up front be even …

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2017 Toyota Prius PRIME – HD Road Test Review

Our hopes about Prius Prime were through the roof.  Gorgeous new looks.  A battery pack 10X as large as the most thrifty standard Prius.  Luxed-up cabin and 20 miles of EV range? It seemed like a winning formula on paper, and it is a winner in the flesh on the road. We spent a happy week in the Prime to see how this Super Prius compares versus young gun Hyundai Ioniq as well as full EVs like the eGolf, Focus Electric or even a pre-owned Tesla.  ANd how about the upcoming Honda Clarity Plugin? There is great and less-great news to …

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Road Test Review – 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE – By Carl Malek

When we last met the Toyota Corolla back in 2016, we loved its compact size, improved styling, as well as its high value for the money ratio. However, we pulled no punches when it came to its lackluster performance hardware, especially its fussy manual gearbox. With the arrival of the 2017 Corolla, Toyota promises new things for its venerable compact offering. But can the Corolla’s suite of updates help it stand up to a growing wave of compact competition? Or will it still get left in the dust once again? The exterior styling of our XSE grade tester certainly makes a …

Read more Road Test Review – 2017 Toyota Corolla XSE – By Carl Malek

2017 Ford Focus RS – HD Road Test Review

From the moment the Focus RS fires up with pops from its race exhaust system, you know you are in for something special. How could a normal car, one that is practical and affordable, be so hilariously fast, playful and potent? 350HP to all four wheels makes this a hyperhatch.  Or maybe a boiling hot hatchback.  This is car on that can sprint to 60-mph in the 4’s and have WRX STi levels of grip as its flung around corners.  Yet one whose Drift Mode and ultra-hightech rear axle also give you tail-out adjustability like a stunt car. Now that …

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2017 Honda Civic Type R – 20-Photo USA Debut Gallery w/Video

Check out the most intriguing hyper-hatch in ages!  Here is a 306HP turbo to the front wheels — making it the fastest Honda of all time! The engineering upgrades list to manage that power is long….  but majors on grip and adjustability.  Drive modes and adjustable suspension will give supreme control.  We absolutely crave its exterior design.  It is so massively aggressive.  So carefully modified for the track.  You can sense that none of this body addenda — like the giant front splitter or artful rear wing — is there for looks alone.  This is a purposeful car that came to …

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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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2017 Honda CIVIC Si Coupe and Sedan Rock 205HP Turbos, In Stores Next Month

It has been a long time coming, Honda fans!  We’ve been holding our collective breath hoping for greatness in the future Civic Type R. AND.. SCORE! Honda delivered and is on an unbelievable hot streak. FLASHBACK:  Here we rendered some dreams of a euro civic in USA. That was back in 2014.  Three years later: New Accord Sport, Civic Sport are world-class excellent once again.  Perhaps not causal… but certainly correlated!?  This new Si looks fairly similar to the Civic Sport from up front — which is to say, amazing.  Around back, new spoilers and exhausts speak volumes about what’s …

Read more 2017 Honda CIVIC Si Coupe and Sedan Rock 205HP Turbos, In Stores Next Month

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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2017 VW Jetta GLI DSG Automatic – HD Road Test Review

The Jetta GLI is the ultimate humble brag. For those in the know, the GLI is clearly a joyous drive and a frisky friend. A car that majors in FUN while never really showing much effort.  But as you pull up to stoplights, it will take a car-guy/gal to appreciate that this a sweet sports car.  Wrapped in mild-mannered and supremely practical four-door form. We spent a week with the throttle floored to learn if GLI’s charm can make up for its extremely subtle design and brand worries. Two videos and 60 photos accompany section headings of Exterior, Interior, Performance and …

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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 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid – First Drive Review w/ Video [60 Photos]

Ioniq launches for 2017 as the first direct Prius rival in years.  Yes, I hear you — there are dozens of Prius rivals! And you are right: hybrids and EVs have gained traction in midsize sedans, luxury cars and SUVs at a rapid clip recently.  But no car actually tries to out-do Prius in 2017.  Not the cancelled Honda Insight.  And not the plug-in Chevy Volt, or battery-only VW eGolf. The reasons for this are many.  Mostly because Prius has beaten them all.  Ridiculously good mileage – no matter what.  A formula that surprisingly has never been cracked by another …

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2017 VW Golf R 6-Speed Manual – HD Road Test Review

How does the Golf R’s halo/hero status match up with reality in your garage? Well, it scores huge with 5-second sprints and a $36,475 price right off the bat.  Then you get Golf R into its race mode and HANG ON for its throaty brummm up redline/supralegal speed. It’s been a thrilling few months of hot hatch and performance car reviews around here – so we feel well-placed to judge this hot hatch king.  Focus RS will be the main competitor for comparisons, but also feedback on how Audi S3 differs too.  Longtime Subaru WRX fan/owner helps to appreciate Golf …

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017 VW Golf TSI SEL (Wolfsburg Edition) – Road Test Review w/ Video

Three tentpole themes define the VW Golf SEL for 2017:  its discreetly sporty drive manners, its intense build quality, and how the SEL might be sweet spot of the Golf line.  Some clarity into the SEL vs Wolfsburg trims, too. This post is centered on the very-good performance drive video below.  We start outside the car and hop in to floor it down some country roads.  Then a right turn into one of the twistiest roads we have here by the Atlantic Ocean here in South Carolina.   Fun to Drive There we find the Golf’s mid-spec 1.8-liter turbo plays very nicely …

Read more 2017 VW Golf TSI SEL (Wolfsburg Edition) – Road Test Review w/ Video

2017 VW Jetta 1.4T SE Manual – HD Road Test Review

The Jetta has been the target of scorn for many years here at Car-Revs-Daily.  We quietly laughed at each redesign on the Jetta’s descent into bland hell over the last decade. All the while, longing for the cool little sedan of our memories.  The one from the clever “Synchronicity” ads with the windshield wipers/world timed to the beat.  The one almost as big and nice-driving as a base BMW.  The one with an unpretentious exterior and surprisingly high-quality cabin. The 2017 Jetta is well on its way back to greatness.  Three levels of turbo gasoline power are available, and we’re …

Read more 2017 VW Jetta 1.4T SE Manual – HD Road Test Review

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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 …

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

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 …

Read more CES 2017 – Top 10 Big Reveals + Showfloor Gallery

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Road Test Review – 2016 Kia Soul + – By Carl Malek

When Kia first unleashed the Soul back in 2008, the funky CUV was a bold gamble for the Korean car giant. Boasting boxy styling, youthful vigor, and an ad campaign featuring cute hamsters, the Soul proved to be a hit with CUV buyers, and prompted the company to release numerous variants including the recently launched Soul Turbo model. But has its mid-cycle update helped the Soul stay relevant among millennials? or has it lost a few steps against a new wave of CUV entries that are all vying for their piece of the greater CUV sales pie.     The exterior …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Kia Soul + – By Carl Malek

Road Test Review – 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco – By Carl Malek

With the recent resurgence that Hyundai has undergone the past few years, its truly remarkable just how much progress the brand has made over the last 10 to 15 years. Once known for making cars that excelled at being cheap reliable transportation (and not much else,) the current lineup has evolved to offer customers a premium driving experience, while still being a great value for many budgets. This was apparent in the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Limited Turbo we recently tested, but how has this sweeping change affected the more mainstream oriented Hyundai Elantra? and can it repeat the same levels …

Read more Road Test Review – 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco – By Carl Malek

Road Test Review – 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 SE – By Carl Malek

It wasn’t too long ago that the subcompact car segment was once relegated to bench warmer status in the lineups of many automakers. Due to the strong sales of SUVS as well as a relatively small pool of customers to take advantage of, many automakers did not put that much effort into them, and it showed in many ways (anyone remember the Chevrolet Aveo?….No?) Don’t worry your not alone. However, when gas prices spiked several years ago, the renewed demand forced automakers to invest in these pint sized offerings, and it helped transform the segment into a viable and competitive …

Read more Road Test Review – 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 SE – By Carl Malek

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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 …

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

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Volkswagen Unveils Updated 2018 Golf Lineup

Volkswagen has pulled the veil off of the updated 2018 Golf model lineup which represents the first major suite of updates for the current generation Golf as it seeks to stay relevant against rivals such as the Ford Focus as well as the recently unveiled Chevrolet Cruze hatchback.   The exterior styling of the 2018 model carries over from the current Golf, and as a result observers will be hard pressed to spot the various updates at first glance. However, a closer look reveals lightly tweaked front and rear bumpers, as well as full LED taillights that steal a page out …

Read more Volkswagen Unveils Updated 2018 Golf Lineup

2016 VW Golf TSI SE – HD Road Test Review + Video

Where does the Golf fit in VW’s great comeback? The Golf has long been the most intellectual, well-travelled and worldly compact hatch.  Despite pricing from the low 20s, the Golf is clearly a classy machine.  A car for those who recoil at the idea of driving just another Corolla or Focus. VW as a ‘cognoscenti special’ in the Golf was badly bruised by the dieselgate scandal.  That much is clear. But there is no TDI badge on the back of this car.  The TSI emblem in back confirms this is a high-tech gasoline turbo engine. Revisions for 2016 now bring …

Read more 2016 VW Golf TSI SE – HD Road Test Review + Video

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2016 Ford Focus RS – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

When Ford first unleashed the Focus RS back in 2002, it was a very tempting piece of forbidden fruit that was exclusive to European roads. 212 horsepower out of a highly-modified turbo Cosworth four ensured a firecracker of a car. The strong demand for this variant prompted Ford to launch a sequel in 2009 that made use of a Volvo designed 2.5 liter turbocharged five cylinder engine to produce just over 300 horsepower in a wrapper that was bolder and more aggressive looking than ever before. Unfortunately it remained out of reach for U.S. buyers who had to make do …

Read more 2016 Ford Focus RS – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

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2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited – Road Test Review – By Lyndon Johnson

Is the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited a “dad car?” What the heck is a “dad car,” anyway? Those are the questions with which I wrangled during a weeklong test of the model. A couple of friends of mine described it as a “dad car.” I’m a dad of two boys. They said the car was a good fit for me. I typically like my cars quirkier than the Hyundai Elantra. My daily driver is the antithesis of what most might consider a “dad car:” a Nissan cube. For many other men I know, sedans with a definite masculinity such as …

Read more 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited – Road Test Review – By Lyndon Johnson

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Update1 – Audi Pulls No Punches With 400HP RS3 Sedan

It’s no secret that we love the Audi A3 here at this site, in fact we even had the chance to review the A3 for ourselves recently and loved it. But while the S3 is a tempting treat in its own right, it’s always made us wonder what would happen if Audi took it to the next level? The company has answered this all important question by unveiling the next evolution of the A3, the all new RS3. The headline snatching feature of this tiny track terror is what lies under the hood, with the RS3 packing the same 400 …

Read more Update1 – Audi Pulls No Punches With 400HP RS3 Sedan

2017 Hyundai ELANTRA Ultimate – Road Test Review + Drive Video

The 2017 Elantra Limited is a knockout. It blew us away with its supremely European handling and best-ever-tested autonomous drive. How do we do this phenomenal car justice in a text-only written review?  Impossible! As such, we have the usual 50 photos of the car plus a very cool HD drive video to come along for the ride. Just try not to be wowed by what this Acura ILX rival can do!   HD DRIVE VIDEO – 2017 Hyundai ELANTRA Ultimate     EXTERIOR First things first, though.  How does it look?  Remarkably mature and sophisticated.  The Elantra Limited is the top …

Read more 2017 Hyundai ELANTRA Ultimate – Road Test Review + Drive Video

3-Second VW? OCT Tuning Liberates 450HP from GOLF 7 R

The new Golf R is so fast and hilarious in Race mode that we noted many times how strong its engine felt in the first-drive video below. If it “felt like 400HP” with just its stock 300 ponies, imagine how it must feel with a full 150 extra??!     450HP and 405-pound-feet of torque are confirmed from the dyno-honed outputs secured by German tuning boss OCT. 2016 OCT Tuning GOLF R   A MUSCLED BEAST powered by O.CT TUNING – THE GOLF VII R Photos: O.CT Oberscheider Tuning GmbH Since 1994 O.CT Tuning operates as its own department within …

Read more 3-Second VW? OCT Tuning Liberates 450HP from GOLF 7 R

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HD First Drive – 2017 Hyundai ELANTRA ECO

    Just the HD drive video and 40 pics of this plucky little sedan. One pic for every highway MPG this advanced-tech compact can achieve?  Yes indeed.  32-mpg city and 40-mpg highway are the audited, confirmed EPA numbers on this most-efficient Elantra ever. No full review today. Our time in the car was too brief to really make many lasting impressions.  Do recall loving that seven-speed DCT and 128-pony, 1.4-liter turbo engine.  Less the stinky brakes/clutches after a fast drive and those embarrassingly tiny alloy wheels.  At least they painted up the mini alloys a discrete anthracite grey to …

Read more HD First Drive – 2017 Hyundai ELANTRA ECO

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2017 Mazda3 Refresh – First Look By Anthony Fongaro

    Mazda has had an extremely successful compact car in their lineup with the Mazda3. It has won awards ranging from Car and Driver’s prestigious 10Best list to winning comparison tests for its ride quality, comfort, and interior. Since the current-generation Mazda3 has been out for three years, it is time for it to once again raise the standards in the compact class. Looking at the exterior, the 2017 Mazda3 receives minor changes to the vehicle’s KODO – Soul of Motion design. These include a bolder grille, available LED headlights and tail lights, and a redesigned bumper for the …

Read more 2017 Mazda3 Refresh – First Look By Anthony Fongaro

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2017 Chevrolet VOLT Premier – HD Drive Video + 64 Lakeside Photos

A really fun steer — and one whose urge and handling delighted the sports-car fan in all of us!  We do even make a “Corvette hybrid” reference-slash-joke while flying around the corners of Lake Lanier Island, Georgia.     2017 Chevrolet VOLT Premier – Exterior Gallery 2017 Chevrolet VOLT Premier – Interior Gallery    

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Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring Sedan (6MT) – By Carl Malek

With the recent surge in CUV sales, it is easy to forget that the compact car segment is still one of the hottest segments in the automotive market. From the Ford Focus to the venerable Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra, the segment has a wide range of talent to choose from. Bucking the trend is the 2016 Mazda3 which has always offered buyers a spirited driving experience in a sensibly priced package. But has its stellar road manners blunted the 3’s ability to rise above established compact car benchmarks? Looking at its exterior styling, it appears that the 3 is …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring Sedan (6MT) – By Carl Malek

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Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda MX-5 Club 6MT – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

  In the spring of 1971, I was almost finished with my freshman year at the University of Iowa, and it was time for me to get my first new car.  My father and I were to split the cost.  His idea of the perfect car for me was a low mileage, 1969 Chevrolet Impala, 4-door.  And my idea was a 1971 MGB rag top.  While my friends were into muscle cars of the time like Mustangs, Camaros, Chargers and Barracudas, I was more interested in small British cars that, while not fast, were known for handling prowess, rather than …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda MX-5 Club 6MT – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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Road Test Review – 2016 Toyota Corolla S 6MT – By Carl Malek

When Toyota unleashed the current generation Corolla back in 2013, it had lofty shoes to fill. While its predecessor was about as bland as a pair of 80’s era tennis shoes, it was also a key cog in Toyota’s formidable sales machine, and helped the brand lure in budget focused buyers. With that formidable sales reputation, and the inevitable pressure that it brings, does the current generation Corolla have what it takes to keep up this momentum? Or has it lost a step or two? Looking at the exterior styling of my 2016 Corolla S Plus tester, it is obvious …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Toyota Corolla S 6MT – By Carl Malek

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

2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman Last month, in March of 2016, I tested the 2017 Kia Sportage.  This month, in April of 2016, I’m driving the 2017 Hyundai Elantra. I’m beginning to think that Korea uses a different calendar than we do in the US.  No matter, the point is that this new Elantra is ahead of its time, and is a wonderful remake of an already excellent automobile. Way back in 2004, I bought an Elantra for daughter #2 as she graduated from college and needed her first new car.  It was a small, compact car …

Read more Road Test Review – 2017 Hyundai ELANTRA Limited – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

Drive Review – 2016 Honda CIVIC COUPE – By Ben Lewis

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

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

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

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

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

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BMW Unveils Updated 2017 i3 with Giant New 33kWh Battery – By Carl Malek

  When BMW first unveiled the i3, it brought several innovations to the electric vehicle segment, while also allowing the company to launch its green minded i brand. However, with the current trend towards bigger batteries, the tiny i3 found itself slowly falling behind rivals when it came to driving range. BMW has rectified this flaw with the unveiling of the updated 2017 i3. Known formally as the 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) the second chapter of the i3 doesn’t focus so much on its long moniker, but rather on giving buyers more driving range than before. This is made …

Read more BMW Unveils Updated 2017 i3 with Giant New 33kWh Battery – By Carl Malek

BEIJING 2016 – Analysis: State of the Chinese Car Industry + Top 12 Global-Brand Debuts

The Beijing Motor Show is the flagship event for the absolutely gigantic Chinese car market, and as such is a great barometer of how the industry there is evolving.  For many years, the narrative has been twin threads: — huge potential and rapid advancement from bicycles 25 years ago — shameless flouting of IP via copies of well-known brands and cars, right down to the smallest details. All executed in horrible fashion.  Door shutline gaps that could swallow a hand, paint mismatches, cabin gawps, weird detailing and — last but not least — some laughable names to English-speaking ears. Enter, …

Read more BEIJING 2016 – Analysis: State of the Chinese Car Industry + Top 12 Global-Brand Debuts

Road Test Review – 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn 6-Speed – By Tim Esterdahl

Review: 2016 VW Golf GTI Improves on Technology While Keeping Superb Drive While VW may be mired in a diesel scandal, this doesn’t mean the rest of their gas vehicles should be overlooked. A great example is the critically acclaimed 2016 VW Golf equipped with a turbocharged gasoline engine and featuring updated technology features. The big news for the 2016 VW Golf is all-new technology features found in a new 6.5” touchscreen infotainment screen and part of VW Car-Net. This was a big need in prior Golf vehicles and VW stepped up to fill this gap. The new touchscreen is …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn 6-Speed – By Tim Esterdahl

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2017 Smart BRABUS Twins Revealed – 20% Power Bump, Quicker Steering and Sport Exhaust

The new Smart twins are actually quite promising in their first major redesign since the brand was started in the late 1990s. The microcars have been as popular as polio in the US market in their ten years on the market, so the US arrival of the on-sale-now generations to America was never a top priority.  That still stands: there is no official timeframe for them to jump the pond.  A November arrival in 2016 seems plausible. We hope the ForFour will join the unloved ForTwo in the back corner of Mercedes-Benz service loaner folder. Only for clients they hate …

Read more 2017 Smart BRABUS Twins Revealed – 20% Power Bump, Quicker Steering and Sport Exhaust

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Kiawah 2016 Highlights – 1959 Berkeley SE492 – Micromini FWD English Roadster?!

It is difficult to describe how small this car is. The 1959 Berkeley Sports Twosome SE492 is about the size of a normal carnival bumper-car.  And perhaps only slightly larger than most PowerWheels children’s toys. Its 70-inch wheelbase meets extremely low and narrow overall dimensions — and is literally dwarfed by some of the bigger classic cars parked nearby. The concept of a lightweight and cheap English roadster was taken to new millimeter-small dimensions during the 1956-1960 production run of the Berkeley automotive venture. The engine of this SE492 is an air-cooled triple making just 30 horsepower. A four-speed automatic send …

Read more Kiawah 2016 Highlights – 1959 Berkeley SE492 – Micromini FWD English Roadster?!

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Road Test Review – 2016 Ford FOCUS Titanium – By Tim Esterdahl

While all the attention these days is on its faster brother, the 2016 Ford Focus Hatchback Titanium isn’t so quickly overlooked. With its fun to drive size, quick acceleration and plentiful cargo room, the Focus is a great commuter or around town vehicle and probably not the best choice for long road trips. Hatchbacks hold a special place in the automotive landscape with plenty of fans and critics of its size and styling. Fans love the size, fun to drive sporty aspect of it and its versatility of holding 5 with cargo room. Yet, critics see SUVs as better options …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Ford FOCUS Titanium – By Tim Esterdahl

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

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

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

Road Test Review – 2016 Chrysler 200 Limited with Tim Esterdahl

Review: 2016 Chrysler 200 Limited, Overlooked For No Good Reason One of the hardest jobs of any automotive journalist is writing about a vehicle when the company says it will stop producing it. Such is the case with the 2016 Chrysler 200. FCA boss Sergio Marchionne has declared they will let it run its course. For consumers, this may cast a bad mark on the vehicle since the perception is something must be wrong with it. Yet, taking a close look at the Chrysler 200, it is obvious what the problem is. The car is simply overlooked on sales lots …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Chrysler 200 Limited with Tim Esterdahl

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2016 Renault CLIO by WALDOW Performance – Smurfberry Blue Track Special

Any time the words “Smurf” and “Blue” make it into an official press release, it is usually good for a belly laugh.  We were seriously loving the color and black alloys, contrast-red rollbars and the slammed KW stance of this Clio already.  But then they go and mention the Smurfs. And we’re back to feeling silly! That laughing, delightful character is a big part of any Clio’s appeal.  This one just happens to be a battle-Smurf!  Deadly serious, regardless of its skin tone! 2016 Renault Clio by WALDOW Performance   WALDOW Performance reveals the Renault Clio 4 – The Real …

Read more 2016 Renault CLIO by WALDOW Performance – Smurfberry Blue Track Special

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2016 Volkswagen GTI Clubsport Edition 40 – Locking Diff, Slicks and Aerokit for R-powered Front-Driver

‘Dead On Arrival’ is a better cliche than VW’s botched choice words to introduce this car: VW Says:  “””  ‘ Iconic’ is, perhaps, a word bandied around all too freely but, when applied to the mould-breaking Golf GTI, it can be used with genuine justification. “””   Forgive the slight lack of enthusiasm here.  But the GTI Clubsport Edition 40 is really not doing it for me.  A bump in power to 265 ponies, and 290 on a brief turbo overboost, is great from the Golf R-derived turbo 2.0-liter four.  The car delivers a seriously underwhelming 6.3-second sprint to 62-mph …

Read more 2016 Volkswagen GTI Clubsport Edition 40 – Locking Diff, Slicks and Aerokit for R-powered Front-Driver

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Road Test Review – 2016 Scion iM by Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

Road Test Review – 2016 Scion iM By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman In 2003, Toyota created the Scion brand to appeal to younger buyers with small fuel efficient vehicles that were entry level, but without making the buyer feel like they were entry level. Also, Toyota was never known to push the styling envelope, so Scion was supposed to be the new brand that would put more hip styling on display without upsetting Toyota’s core customers. As it turns out, young buyers prefer the Toyota brand over the Scion brand.  Over the years, Scion had built some interesting vehicles, but they …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Scion iM by Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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2017 Subaru IMPREZA SPORT and 5-Door – Live NY Debut

Some serious WRX coolness in the new Impreza Sport sedan and 5-Door! Here is the official release plus 20 live photos from New York. 2017 Subaru Impreza SPORT   SUBARU INTRODUCES ALL-NEW, U.S.-BUILT 2017 IMPREZA 23/03/16   Sedan and 5-Door Styles New Subaru Global Platform Significantly Enhances Safety, Ride Comfort and Agility Award-Winning EyeSight®, Plus New Driver Assist Technologies SUBARU STARLINK™ Safety and Security Features and AppsNew Subaru Design Language Debuts 2.0-liter Boxer Engine with Direct Injection and Higher PerformanceFirst Impreza to be Built in U.S. New Sport Version with 18-inch Wheels, Sport Suspension and Active Torque Vectoring NEW YORK –  …

Read more 2017 Subaru IMPREZA SPORT and 5-Door – Live NY Debut

#NYIAS: 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF – Retractable Fastback Is New GT86 Rival

RF does not stand for Really Fast.  But it could stand for Really Fun! In reality, it is the new badge for the MX-5 hardtop. This power retractable targa panel slides behind the new B-pillar uprights in back and atop the trunk. Scratch that: the entire roof actually folds under the rising uprights behind each seat.  These buttresses lift up and let the hardtop fold away.  This keeps a wind deflector in back with the top down, but does not appear to let the rear glass or roof move individually: only as a unit. It is not exactly as clean …

Read more #NYIAS: 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF – Retractable Fastback Is New GT86 Rival

First Drive Review – 2015 Mitsubishi MIRAGE ES

When cheap doesn’t equal cheerful. Light and nimble city cars – what they lack in power they joyously make up for with quirky styling, low price tags, and interior accommodations. Enter Mitsubishi. Previously, the smallest car in Mitsubishi’s lineup was the mid-size Lancer, but in 2014 they rolled out a small car priced around $13,000. On paper, the 2015 Mirage seemed like it could it be a decent city car. Then you take a look at it and the mirage vanishes (pun intended). Without even giving away any stats about the Mirage, you look at it and straight away shake …

Read more First Drive Review – 2015 Mitsubishi MIRAGE ES

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2017 Abarth 124 Spider – Boosted Turbo, Shouty Exhaust and Butch Body Mods

Stunning new Fiat from Abarth at Geneva this year — proving the in-house tuner is still a big asset in the brand’s expansion worldwide.  The Mirafiori speed demons have wasted no time upgrading the design, performance and panache of the adorable baby Fiat: the new 124 Spider. From its cute looks emerges yet another harsh, focused look at what Abarth does best.  The scorpion logo makes sense the first time you fire up one of their specials: pops and brummy exhaust and engine notes that recall Maserati much more than Mazda. Then you turn to see… and are shocked that …

Read more 2017 Abarth 124 Spider – Boosted Turbo, Shouty Exhaust and Butch Body Mods

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Best of Geneva – 2016 Abarth 124 Rally Prototype – 300HP Kicks Off 2017 Abarth Racing Revival

  In case the hot new Abarth Fiat 124 Spider were not enough to get your heart revving, Abarth Racing has brought along an even hotter version! A rear-drive rally racecar that started life as a ragtop!?  Sounds like a winner to us.  And it definitely looks like a winner too. A slightly raised ride height, boosted engine putting down 300Hp, plus a locking rear differential promise exciting, tail-out action to rally fans next year. Custom fender extensions, sill extensions and brake air vents behind the back axle speak to this car’s gravel-slinging dreams.  As does its gigantic, fire-spitting single …

Read more Best of Geneva – 2016 Abarth 124 Rally Prototype – 300HP Kicks Off 2017 Abarth Racing Revival

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1985 Volvo 480ES – ‘Project Galaxy’ Showcar Turns 30 + Lessons In Retrospect

Trust and affection go hand in hand. When you love a brand, you are willing to follow it to the ends of the Earth if need be. The BMW X5 proved this conclusively — with initial haters eventually loving the SUV’s Bimmer-ness, and its sales success worldwide still quite striking. Volvo proved its brand flexibility in a similar way with the XC90 — a game-changer of an SUV that saved the marque from a possible SAAB-like fate during the industry shakeout of ~2009. In fact, Volvo has long been remarkably flexible in moving beyond its core family sedan and wagon …

Read more 1985 Volvo 480ES – ‘Project Galaxy’ Showcar Turns 30 + Lessons In Retrospect

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2017 Volvo V40 and V40 Cross Country Facelift Revealed

We’re huge cheerleaders of Volvo’s long-deserved reboot. The new XC90 and S90/V90 point strongly toward the 2020 goals of the firm for its entire range.  And they are off to a racing start!  Sales of the XC90 are through the roof — recording some of the only volume gains the firm has achieved in at least the last decade. The entire line will be fully switched from its current platforms over to the new all-hybrid architectures in the future, but some models will obviously benefit from this before others. The V40 is new enough that it is falling to the …

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2016 BMW M2 – Laguna Seca Photoset – Jaw like Popeye, Shoulders like BRUTO!

18 photos have never packed such a punch! Look. At. This. Beast! Around Laguna Seca for the international press launch, this ridiculously fast and fun supercoupe dramatically ups the ante to Audi and AMG.  The closest you can get to this speed from outside Europe?  Definitely a pony-car killer, this M2! 2016 BMW M 2 – Laguna Seca     When BMW goes for performance glory, everyone else best stand back or be blown clear in jetwash. The new ~$130k M4 GTS reveal is being followed closely by a shadow that maintains nearly 99-percent of the big brothers’ track pace, …

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2016 SEAT Leon CUPRA 290 – GTI-Beating Coupe, Hatch and Wagon Gain New Sport Exhaust and Power Bump

A new sport exhaust for the five-door and SC Cupras for 2016 opens up a shouty new bellow on throttle — and ramps up max power by about 10 ponies. The wagon appears to miss out on the new sport exhaust — but is bumped up to 290 all the same.  Vmax?  156MPH!  0-60?  5.7-seconds on its best day, and 6.2-ish like clockwork on other days.  Both are a half-second beyond what the fastest GTI can deliver. As before on the Cupra 280, this wagon/coupe/hatch family is the quickest front-drive production car to ever lap the Nurburgring.  Standard LED lighting all …

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2016 MINI JCW Hardtop - USA 22

2016 MINI JCW Hardtop – USA First Look – Sweet New LEDs, Wider Stance Mark Out New $31k Bulldog

Updated 2.15.16 with first USA photos from Daytona Cool to see and hear the new MINI sports flagship at Daytona the other week.  It might have lagged the BMW M-livery M5 and M3s off the line for the IMSA Hot Lap Experience shown in the below video…. but it definitely looked like it was enjoying every second on that high-speed racetrack! The new look is most recognizable thanks to the new full-moon LED DRLs, LED fogs and smart bi-xenon projector beam main lamps in front. We even hate the tail less than before: in JCW guise, the too-large rear lamps shrink into …

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2016 Acura ILX Review 5

Road Test Review – 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus – Hawkeye Drives!

  2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus Review By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman Acura describes the ILX as a “Gateway” product that allows a customer to enter the world of Acura at a lower price point, in the hopes that more expensive move-up models will be in their future.  Perhaps that will prove true, but there is a lot of competition in the “Near Luxury” segment, loosely defined by sticker prices in the low to mid $30,000 range, and cars like the Buick Verano, or Audi A3 might be better choices, among others. The 2016 ILX is a mid-cycle updated vehicle, with …

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2016 nanoFlowcell QUANTiNO – AWD EV Aims Squarely at BMW i3 via Revolutionary Battery Tech

NanoFlowcell is the stunning startup trying to make energy from ordinary salt water. A revolutionary new battery chemistry is at the heart of the firm’s products to date.  Cars like the super-exotic Quant F — a four-seater with gorgeous gullwing doors opening the entire bodyside. Looking like a stretched Porsche 918 Spyder, the main quant prototype is still a stunner. But what about production feasibility?  FOr that, the plan has evolved into this slick electric hatchback.  A premium model aimed right at the BMW i3, the QUANTiNO majors on realistic goals.  Four electric motors — one at each corner — …

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231HP, ~6.3s 2016 MINI JCW Convertible – Legacy Looks, Speed Shortage = Wandering Eyes

Do you remember the will-they/won’t-they drama around the first JCW Convertible?  People wondered if such a hotted-up MINI could handle being roofless.  Would its front-drive chassis just fall apart around corners? That was certainly not the case for the eventual ragtop JCW — but the buzz and enthusiast excitement is relatively interesting.  Why?  It is not present whatsoever for this general of MINI Cooper S JCW. The extreme continuity of the looks for this third-gen new MINI generation are doing the new-gen Coopers no favors.  Despite being an all-new chassis with all-new engines and virtually zero carryover from the second-gen MINIs…. …

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2016 MINI Clubman ALL4 Is New AWD, LWB Cooper S 66

2017 MINI Clubman ALL4 Is New AWD, LWB Cooper S

MINI’s new Clubman is the most desirable model in the revamped lineup.  Why?  Not just because it is HUGE versus the others, but now for its added capability with its All4 AWD system. The core platform is shared with the MINI Cooper 4-Door, but dramatically wider and longer. How much wider and longer than the 4-Door Hardtop?  About a half foot stretch to the sides, and nearly a fool foot of extra length.  Most of that bounty heads right to the back seats and cargo areas — making the new Clubman All4 a serious rival to the Countryman. But lower …

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HD Road Test Review – 2016 Hyundai Veloster RALLY Turbo 6-Speed Manual

Welcome to the hottest Hyundai Veloster ever! Huge news for the 2016 model brings an all-new handling tune and available twin-clutch automatic option for the R-Spec, Turbo and Veloster Rally like our test car. And the changes are SERIOUSLY good!  After a week of grins and hooning at full throttle, the Veloster Rally Edition even moves up an entire competitive class in our eyes.  From before battling the Ford Fiesta ST or Nissan Juke NISMO, and up to being a credible threat to the VW GTI, Ford Focus ST and even Subaru WRX. Seriously?  How!? The 2016 Veloster is not perfect …

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Concept Flashbacks – 2001 SEAT TANGO Trio – Cabrio, Roadster and Coupe Made Racy, Avante-Garde Superminis

Here is the next evolution of the SEAT cabrio design concepts from around the turn of the century: the 2001 Tango twins. The Tango itself is a sexy expression of ultra-modern, flowing and intersecting surfaces. There is almost an abstract artistry to the hyper-curved elements of the Tango’s nose and hood. A nice aero strake is also a trademark part of the design theme shown here. The rounded hood and front arch then flows back and downward toward the rear axle. It is a nice look and one that translated directly to a generation of SEAT production cars very nicely. …

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Chevrolet Unveils 2017 Bolt EV at CES

Barra Delivers! 2017 Chevrolet BOLT EV – $30k Price and 200+ Mile Range Should Worry i3, Leaf and Prius PHEV

Disbelief?  Awe?  Wonder? Trying to find the right description to pick my jaw up off my desk. The new Chevy Bolt EV is almost surreal at its CES reveal this week.  Just a year ago, the Bolt concept wowed Detroit with its big range promises, practical shape and interesting cabin tech.  Few people — this author included — ever expected a production car to be so close on the horizon. But here it is, folks!  The massive promises from General Motors about their future electric product plans were not just hot air! The 2017 Bolt EV promises a 200-mile-plus battery range …

Read more Barra Delivers! 2017 Chevrolet BOLT EV – $30k Price and 200+ Mile Range Should Worry i3, Leaf and Prius PHEV