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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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