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 sales? Or is it a classic case of too little too late? The 2018 Kia Rio is offered as a hatchback or a sedan, but Kia claims that it expects 70 percent of U.S. buyers to opt for the sedan version, versus its decidedly more attractive hatchback sibling. The Rio …

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. But for 2019, we have an all-new Corolla hatch (sold in Europe as the Auris!). And with the head folks at Toyota dedicated to infuse some performance and passion throughout the line (See our review of the new Camry), we were excited to see what the new model has to …

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

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

BMW X1 sDrive28i M Sport - Alpine White in 60 High-Res Photos35

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 Car Fits Your Lifestyle and Budget First figure out your desired make and model. Consider things like activities you like to do, your driving habits, how big your family is, and your highest possible budget. Find two upfront price points for that car new and used and then save those …

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

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 Audi buyers, as well as everything from Honda to Lexus to Cadillac. A follow up hit to the 90 was the XC60, and much like many manufacturers it was the “Momma Bear” to the XC90’s “Papa Bear”.  So now we have the XC40 – aimed at the hottest of the …

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 big surprise is that simple, basic, transportation has turned into stylish, luxurious and tech advanced – and still at small-car prices. Pleasing to the eye. Like many carmakers, Hyundai likes to keep the styling in the family with Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear–sized versions of their sedans – …

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

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 has not only been under attack by crossover entries? but also against segment benchmarks like the Volkswagen Golf?   To find out, we had the chance to spend some quality time with the 2019 Veloster in Metro Detroit to see how it fared as a quirky alternative to segment benchmarks. …

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 cold water for those who’ve been driving joyless machines day in and day out for far too long. Amazing driving position, cabin refinement and tech to go along with your mid-20’s pricing ballpark?  An intriguingly pure and sexy design language outside that is future-proofed with the best (optional) full LED …

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 much greater challenge. Two main reasons cause problems – range and charge time. It even spawned a new psychological phenomenon – range anxiety. Clearly there was room for a middle ground, where people can enjoy the benefits of EV without the anxiety. Welcome the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), where …

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

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 in the world is not why we loved driving the C-HR in real-world traffic.  On paper, its stats do not shimmer. But around long on-ramps and darting through traffic?  C-HR is a playful delight. We have a video drive review and a few dozen photos to share here. Enjoy! Performance …

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