2022 Honda Civic Touring Sedan review by Ben Lewis

You’ve got to admire Honda. With the all-new 2022 model, the carmaker is calling it “The Best Civic Ever!” With this being the 11th generation, there are a lot of previous models, and previous owners who might be skeptical. But hey, we’ve got an open mind – let’s see if it’s as good as they say. All Grown Up The first thing that hits you is the maturity of the design. No not, modern maturity, just a clean grown-up look. While we loved the previous model, we can understand why some felt it was a little to boy-racer over the …

Read more

2021 Toyota Prius Prime Review by Ben Lewis

Do you remember the original Prius? It first came ashore in the US in 2000, and it was really the first Hybrid that was mass marketed. It was a slightly odd-looking agrarian sedan, but the technology was fascinating. Nowadays, you can get a hybrid on pretty much anything – heck, Toyota alone offers you a hybrid choice on 5 model lines. And almost every other maker offers a hybrid powertrain – all the way up to Porsche. Still, you must pay props to one of the originals, and along the way, Toyota has continually developed both the Prius and the …

Read more

2021 BMW 330e Sedan Review by Ben Lewis

2021 BMW 330e Sedan review by Ben Lewis We recently tested the Audi Q5 PHEV Plug-in hybrid, and found it gave near the performance of the pricier SQ5, with a price and efficiency closer to the base Q5 – especially when the federal and state tax breaks were added in. So, we were equally excited to driver the BMW 330e – the 3-series sport sedan with plug-in hybrid powertrain. While the previous gen had a similar version, the 2021 features the all-new 3-series that came out a couple years ago. Was this another plug-in we could love more than a …

Read more

Road Test Review – 2021 Volkswagen Arteon SEL Premium R-Line – CC Replacement Does An Even Better Audi Impression

The Volkswagen Arteon had alot on its plate when it first appeared in the U.S. in 2018. Not only did it have to replace the languishing CC in the U.S., but it also showed that top-notch Volkswagen design could move beyond the GTI and Golf R hot hatches and into other nameplates that might not have as much firepower under the hood. But does the Arteon truly succeed in finally bringing cohesive luxury to buyers in this regard? We followed up our west coast encounter of the Arteon with a sequel here on the east coast to see if the …

Read more

2021 VW ID.4 PRO S review by Ben Lewis

We really admire VW. After the Dieselgate trauma, the brand was really on the ropes, especially here in the U.S. We wouldn’t have been surprised if the German brand would have pulled out of the US market. But they didn’t. Instead, the fixed what was wrong with the Diesels, and started building exciting new models, like the all-new GTI and the Jetta GLI. VW also threw itself into being one of the leaders in EV tech. The first offering we saw was the E-Golf that we really enjoyed, but like many other carmakers, it was taking an existing vehicle and …

Read more

Subaru Unveils 2022 WRX Sedan, Promises New Performance In Familiar Wrapper, Debuts GT Trim [Gallery]

The cancellation of the 2022 New York Auto Show due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns forced automakers to completely rethink how they unveiled products that were originally intended to shine under the spotlight in the Big Apple. Subaru was a firm affected by the abrupt cancellation, but that did not stop them from unveiling the 2022 WRX, which aims to bring new performance to buyers and embrace the familiarity that has become a hallmark trait of the model.   Familiar Impreza Lines Are Enhanced In WRX Transformation When you first look at the 2022 WRX, you can see that it shares …

Read more

Road Test Review – 2022 Honda Civic – Tamer But Still In Firm Benchmark Territory

The Honda Civic is in a very elite club when it comes to being familiar with drivers across the U.S. The Civic was one of the models that helped the Japanese automakers get a foothold in the U.S. compact car market, and the Civic has not relinquished its grip on the segment since it appeared several decades ago. But the outgoing Civic was very controversial, especially with its exterior styling. The company wanted to re-embrace its performance heritage but ended up letting the designers go too wild with their creativity. Honda has learned their lesson with the 2022 Civic, but …

Read more

Road Test Review – 2021 Volvo V90 Cross Country – Rugged Volvo To Serve As Last Remnant Of V90 In The U.S.

When Volvo revealed that it would not be offering the V90 station wagon in the U.S., we thought about what customers will be missing when they step inside their local Volvo dealer. In addition to the V90, the Swedish car firm is also discontinuing certain trims of the V60 as it focuses on enhancing the appeal of its rugged Cross Country models. But while the Cross Country will be the only V90 variant sold in the U.S. from now on, does it have what it takes to carry on the family legacy?   Exterior Styling Retains Core Essentials, Enhances Trail …

Read more

Toyota Avalon Dead After 2022 Model Year, Latest Victim Of SUV Craze

The Toyota Avalon was a very luxurious alternative to the Camry. Also, it filled a niche spot for those who wanted some of the poshness commonly associated with Lexus but didn’t want to fully pay the premium price to transition to the Lexus badge. The Avalon managed to work this straightforward formula for 25 years, but it appears that the end is near for the big four-door, with a new report confirming that the Avalon will see its end after the 2022 model year.    Avalon’s Comfort And Serenity Not Enough To Stave Off SUV Tide As mentioned, the Avalon …

Read more

2022 Kia Carnival EX review by Ben Lewis

Kia’s been giving us a lot of great vehicles lately, from the 3-row Telluride SUV, to the brilliant K5 sedan, to fun and chuckable Forte GT. Rhe vehicles have great looks, high equipment levels and real value. So, when it came time to replace the aging Sedona minivan, Kia created the all-new Carnival to take on the big players, including the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. Does Kia’s charmed lineup carry on in the minivan segment? Let’s take a look! The Real Swagger Wagon Remember that Toyota ad campaign a while back – calling their Sienna the “swagger wagon”? Well, …

Read more

Road Test Review – 2021 Mazda 6 Signature – End Of The Road For A Solid Sedan

The 2021 Mazda 6 is a reflection of what once defined the automotive world. In a bygone era, the four-door sedan was king, and the first utility vehicles were crude rugged beasts that could prove their worth out on the trail but had little going for them out in urban settings. But technology has advanced, and this surge of advancement has allowed utilities to surge into the forefront of the buying conversation. As a result, sedans are slowly dying out, and sadly the Mazda 6 joins the growing list of monikers being retired in the quest for higher sales. We …

Read more

Hyundai Promises A Track Focused Surprise, What Could It Be? The Elantra N?

Hyundai is promising a big surprise on July 14th with the company releasing a brief teaser video that draws us to the fabled Nurburgring race track in Germany. The company might not be ready to reveal the full details just yet, but it appears that the Kona N and the recently teased Elantra N are involved.    What We Know So Far, Will We See The Elantra N? Hyundai’s teaser video does not reveal too much, with the bulk of the video featuring a computer-generated pen vigorously drawing the fore-mentioned track on a sheet of paper. After the pen performs …

Read more

Road Test Review- 2021 Hyundai Elantra SEL – The Perfect Alternative To CUVs?

Remember when Hyundai used to be known for making cars that blended into the environment and preferred to focus on rock bottom pricing? If you don’t, we don’t blame you with Hyundai successfully rehabbing its styling image over the past decade. What was once functional and Maytag chic has transformed into a daring design language that has helped Hyundai become a key player in the automotive segment. But while the Sonata and the Tuscon are currently commanding the bulk of the spotlight, Hyundai has not forgotten about the Elantra and has given the tiny four-door its own makeover for 2021. …

Read more

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Review by Ben Lewis

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a familiar name on the SUV landscape – it’s been around awhile, and has always stood for great value, room and style. But that landscape hasn’t sat still. With new players including bigger sibling the Hyundai Palisade and super popular Kia Telluride, can the Santa Fe Keep up with the big boys? Fresh New Look Hyundai has been on a roll lately, and it’s become a bit of style breakout. The Santa Fe has gotten a nice makeover that makes heads turn. Like almost every new model, a large grille is the way to go, …

Read more

2021 Toyota Corolla XSE Review by Ben Lewis

When you think about it, the Toyota Corolla is like a McDonald’s Hamburger. In car-land the Corolla is the best-selling nameplate ever, with over 46 million sold. (For those playing at home, Mickey D’s has sold over 300 Billion burgers.) And with that popularity comes a familiarity, a confidence – Toyota and McDonald’s know what they’re doing. And in both, you can tell that while they may constantly tweak and improve, they stick with a recipe they know that works. So, while other competitors come and go, sometimes being spicier and flashier, there’s a comfort in familiar brands. You know …

Read more

Honda Teases 2022 Civic Hatchback, Will Make Formal Debut June 23rd

With the 2022 Honda Civic sedan generating waves on Twitch when it was first unveiled, it was only a matter of time before the 2022 Civic Hatchback version got into the act, with Honda providing the world a brief glimpse of the new variant ahead of its June 23rd debut when the model will be unveiled during the Civic Tour “Remix” Concert series.   Civic Hatchback To Feature Euro Influenced Styling Honda’s lone teaser image does not leave much to the imagination, but it does appear to show that it’s taking the hatchback’s design very seriously with the profile appearing …

Read more

2021 Volvo V60 T5 Cross Country Review by Ben Lewis

Long before the SUV craze, those who needed extra room and capability found their way into the station wagon. With extra load-carrying, up to three rows of seats, they were the workhorses of larger families. And of course, no discussion of wagons can go without mentioning Volvo. Since the 122 Amazon to the iconic 245 wagon, the Swedish carmakers lived on a blend of function, extreme durability, and anti-establishment chic. Later models became much more stylish, much quicker, but owning a Volvo wagon still puts you a tasteful distance from the mainstream. We like that. And we also like that …

Read more

2021 MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 Review by Ben Lewis

There have always been a percentage of people out there who love the MINI Cooper’s bulldog looks, cheeky attitude and British persona (although BMW has owned them since 2003)  but just found the diminutive hatch a little too small. And MINI has been busy bringing in a variety of models, including the Clubman – longer and wider – and the Countryman – taller and wider. We’ve always liked the Countryman, it adds just enough usability to function like a small SUV, but still has that MINI charm. MINI points out that it’s the first model with an exterior length of …

Read more

Mazda Cleans House, Discontinues Mazda 6 and CX-3 In The U.S. After 2021

Rumors have swirled around the water cooler at Mazda for a while now. Still, the company has finally confirmed what many long suspected, and that’s the discontinuation of the Mazda6 sedan and the CX CUV in the U.S. after the 2021 model year concludes.   Responding To The Winds Of Change While Mazda stated in its press release that “It’s proud of the performance, design, quality, and safety they contributed” to the company as a whole, the firm is making its decision to align itself with current consumer demand. In the case of the Mazda6, it will be another casualty …

Read more

2021 BMW 540i xDrive Review by Ben Lewis

SUVs, SUVs, everywhere. With SUV/SAV/Crossovers pretty much the standard for family transport, it’s easy to forget that the Europeans like Audi, BMW and Mercedes made their name here with sedans. Some were 2-doors, some 4-doors, even wagons! But for a long time, the epitome of luxury was the 4-door premium sedan. And at the head of that class for enthusiasts has always been the BMW 5-series. Mercedes were ultra-luxury, but a little staid. Audi technically advanced but a bit spartan. The Bimmer though, that was a driver’s car. So now we have the 2021 540i, the 7th generation 5-er, with …

Read more

Honda Goes Digital With 2022 Civic, More Power And Better Interior Highlight Changes

It may seem hard to believe, but the Honda Civic has been around for 11 consecutive iterations, with each one building the model into a world-beating benchmark that’s still the favorite target of rivals. Honda claims that this iteration embraces a new philosophy with the company is touting a “Man-Maximum, Machine – Minimum” philosophy that defines the new Civic. But does it really help transform the Civic into a new form?   Simplicity Helps Craft A New Design The outgoing Civic was certainly an aggressive-looking model, but we will admit that it also managed to look like an overly elaborate …

Read more

Car-Revs-Daily Comparision Test – 2021 Hyundai Sonata Limited – The Best Value Sedan?

With SUVs and other utility vehicles rapidly taking center stage in the automotive world, it can be easy to forget that the traditional mid-size sedan market is still a potent battlefield where nameplates come and go, and the ones that survive have to work extra hard to make a name for themselves. That’s the case with the 2021 Hyundai Sonata lineup, which aims to steal the spotlight from the likes of the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. But is the Sonata ahead of the pack in terms of delivering the right blend of equipment, style, and value? To find …

Read more

2021 Acura TLX SH-AWD A-Spec Review by Ben Lewis

Here’s a term: Brand-lag – when a manufacturer is making big strides, but it takes a while for the word to get out. A perfect example, we recently tested the Kia K5, loved it recommended it to friends, and were surprised to hear “Hyundai and Kia? Oh, I wouldn’t get near one of those.” Where you been the last few years? Their new stuff is great. Acura is sort of in the same boat.  In the last few years though, Acura has really stepped up their game – we enjoyed the little ILX sedan, the sporty new RDX, and the …

Read more

2021 Lexus UX 200 F SPORT Review by Ben Lewis

In marketing terms, UX is the shorthand for “User Experience”. So, it seems a natural question, does Lexus’ smallest Crossover/SUV give you the user experience luxury buyers expect? Let’s take a look. Familiar Sporty Style Look at the UX and you can see the family resemblance with the larger NX and RX crossovers. That’s a good thing – Lexus has really crafted its own style now, and these vehicles are modern and sporty with sharp angles and aggressive lines. Like our recent review of the Lexus ES250 AWD, the front end has that massive spindle grille, but like the ES, …

Read more

2021 Lexus ES250 AWD Review by Ben Lewis

We still remember when Lexus launched in the US in 1990. It was a bold move – the Toyota company creating an upstart to take on the biggest luxury names in the market, including Mercedes and Cadillac. And its success is legendary, where it seems like Honda’s Acura, and Nissan’s Infiniti have never been able to quite get that cache. Why the history lesson? Well, there were two models when Lexus debuted, the LS400 and ES250. And now the ES250 name is back! So, if you’ve been waiting, your wishes have been fulfilled. Even more interesting, the ES250 is unique …

Read more

2021 Toyota Venza Limited Review by Ben Lewis

Toyota likes to offer something for just about everybody. That’s what makes them consistently in the top two (sometimes 1st, sometimes 2nd to VW) manufacturers in the world. So, let’s say you have your heart set on a new SUV. Perhaps the RAV4 feels too small, and the Highlander too large. No worries! Introducing the all-new 2021 Toyota Venza, as they say in the three bears…this one’s just right. Sleek and Sophisticated One look and you know this isn’t your Auntie’s Venza! (That model went away in 2015). While the Venza shares a chassis with the RAV4, it looks entirely …

Read more

2021 Hyundai Elantra SEL Review by Ben Lewis

Everyone loves a good success story, and you’d certainly be hard pressed to find a better one than Hyundai. Back in 1986 the Korean maker came to the US with the Excel with an extremely durable yet otherwise forgettable Excel sedan. But much like the Japanese carmakers in the late 50’s and early 60’s, Hyundai paid its dues, worked hard, and constantly improved its products to become what it is today – a top brand, with a wide variety of vehicles, three brands (Kia and Genesis also part of the fam), and as we’ve said in many recent reviews, the …

Read more

2021 Mercedes AMG A35 4MATIC Review by Ben Lewis

Any enthusiast worth their salt knows AMG. The performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, it turns out some of the most powerful and desirable cars in the world. And to many, the pantheon of AMG products starts with handcrafted bi-turbo V8 screamers like the AMG C 63 S. A 503-hp rocket, it is an incredible piece of work. The problem is, starting at $76,200 and building from there, it’s breathing rarefied air few can afford. Which leaves many buyers scoping out older or CPO AMG products, just to get a foot (or dip a toe) in to the brand. But AMG also …

Read more

2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Debuts New Gravel Mode, Massive Sunroof

When Porsche first debuted the Taycan EV, it promised that more was in store for the moniker and that it would spawn its own lineup of variants. Porsche has delivered the goods and has unveiled the 2021 Taycan Cross Turismo, which brings elegant wagon styling and increased capability to the futuristic EV.   Wagon Shape Enhances Cross Turismo’s Flair The 2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo is not the first design-focused wagon entry that we have seen from Europe, but it’s perhaps the most futuristic-looking one that we have seen yet. The front fascia is typical Taycan, but Porsche designers have …

Read more

2020 Kia Cadenza Technology Review by Ben Lewis

With the huge popularity of SUVs/Crossovers/SAVs, we sometimes forget just how good a traditional luxury sedan can be. And one of the nicest – and smartest values – is the Kia Cadenza. Let’s take a look at the Kia we call “The Big Easy”. (Hey, it’s Mardis Gras…) Fresh Face For 2020, Kia’s handsome full-size gets an update to keep things fresh. While the “Tiger Nose” grille shape is still there, the grille has a new deeper waterfall design, the reshaped hood enjoys power creases, while there are also standard LED headlights, redesigned LED daytime running lights and new integrated …

Read more

2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the new 2020 Hyundai Sonata and came away very impressed with its style, luxury, and neat gizmos like the self-parking feature. Would you use it much? Probably not, but it sure impresses your friends when you do. More than just another gizmo, Hyundai also has a very interesting Sonata Hybrid, loaded with even more tech and neat stuff, plus it offers up to 52 combined mpg! Test drive? Count us in. Unique and Elegant We loved the looks of our ’20 tester so we’re glad they didn’t do much to our ’21 Hybrid. The cross-hole grille has …

Read more

Road Test Review – 2020 Volkswagen Passat 2.0 T SEL – Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy

The Volkswagen Passat has been in a very interesting plain of existence over the past few years. Once seen as a step up from the smaller Jetta sedan, the Passat has slowly been left in the background as SUVs and alternative fueled vehicles become more important for Volkswagen’s bottom line. That prompted Volkswagen to reveal that the Passat will be axed in 2023. With the future of the Passat looking bleak, we wanted to get behind the wheel one last time to not only say goodbye, but to also find out if the 2020 Passat still has the chops to …

Read more

2021 Honda Pilot Black Edition by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the VW Atlas, and came away impressed with the 3-row SUV’s nice driving manners and European feel. A VW through and through to be sure. And now we have Honda’s competitor for your same hard-earned dollar the 3-row Pilot. So how does it stack up? Let’s take a look! Dressed to Impress Following the sensible design of such models as the CR-V and Passport, the Pilot was never one to knock you over. In fact, we loved the original Pilot, which was a big, square and blocky – so functional it was stylish in its own way. …

Read more

2021 VW Atlas V6 SEL Premium R-Line by Ben Lewis

The 3-row SUV segment is a funny thing. It seems to get hot and cold. Suddenly everyone wants one. Then just as suddenly, only those with an absolute need want them. Right now the market is hot, hot, with big winners including the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade and Toyota Highlander. Along with them has been the VW Atlas, which for 2021 gets a bit of a makeover, helping it take on these relative upstarts. How does it stack up? Let’s take a look! Bigger and Buffer While the Atlas has been the poster child for the “Big Box” SUV school …

Read more

2021 Volvo XC60 T5 AWD Momentum by Ben Lewis

Volvo has always gone its own way. In the early days, they were stout little machines, that were some of the greatest innovators when it came to safety. Their rugged and reliable drivetrains helped make them rally champions, and became legendary for logging high miles. (Remember that guy with the P1800 that went over 3 million miles?). Outside of maybe the P1800, they weren’t really known for being stylish – they were sensible and functional, but design wasn’t on the menu. And then suddenly we got the modern Volvo, and taking a page out of Swedish Design, with its cool …

Read more

2021 Honda Odyssey Elite by Ben Lewis

It’s always interesting to see what an Automaker does with a best-selling model. You want to keep things fresh and exciting, but you also don’t want to alienate the faithful, right? Such is the case with the Honda Odyssey minivan – America’s retail best-selling minivan for the past 10 years. It’s a great record. But do you mess with success, or play the conservative game? Let’s see what the 2021 Model Year brings for the popular Honda people mover. Fresh Face Well, the Odyssey was already quite a sporty looking vehicle, but that didn’t stop Honda from making it even …

Read more

2021 Lexus IS350 F SPORT by Ben Lewis

We have a lot of vehicles that we like. And then the manufacturers manage to tweak and massage, and Boom! You get something really special. We felt that way with the larger-engined Subaru Crosstrek we tested recently.  And there was something about the latest Civic Coupe that just felt perfect. And now we’re ready to add the Lexus IS350 F SPORT to that list. Already a very good sport sedan, the changes for 2021 make it, as they say ….”just right”. Evocative Looks First impressions matter in sport sedans, and the IS350 F SPORT makes us feel all tingly. Slightly …

Read more

2020 Subaru Outback Onyx Edition XT by By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, and it’s a capable, honest and quite fun SUV. Between that and the Forester and Ascent, Subaru knows how to make an SUV. But interestingly enough, its best seller isn’t an SUV. Yet it competes with them and shows them up in many ways. Welcome to the Subaru Outback – a tall, capable All-wheel-drive wagon that offers those SUV attributes in a different package. Hey, we like different! And for 2020 the Outback’s all new, too. Let’s take a look. Familiar but tougher looks On the outside, you might have trouble distinguishing the …

Read more

2021 Subaru Crosstrek 2.5L Limited by Ben Lewis

It’s hard not to like the Subaru Crosstrek – it’s a great looking small crossover, based on the equally likeable Subaru Impreza and it combines a nice compact size with good off-road abilities, and most of the friendly traits that make Subaru an agreeable brand. It has been hard to love the Crosstrek, though. It’s always felt a little underpowered, and the lack of power seemed to highlight the CVT transmission in a negative light. In short, a good vehicle looking for a better engine. Well, Subie heard our wishes, and for 2021, a more powerful 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder replaces the …

Read more

2021 Kia K5 GT-Line by Ben Lewis

When Kia introduced the new Soul recently, we mourned the loss of the adorable hamsters in their ad campaign. But the all-new vehicle more than made up for it. This time Kia is killing off a model name – Optima – and replacing it with the all-new K5. Will we be as enthused as we were with the Soul? Let’s find out! Bigger Bolder, Badder The All-new K5 shares the platform with the all-new Hyundai Sonata, and it’s interesting how different they look. We’ll take the K5’s aggressive lines, and it definitely looks longer, lower and wider than the already-handsome …

Read more

Honda brings power to the gamers, unveils 2022 Civic Prototype on Twitch

Honda has big plans for the Civic. When we first reported on it yesterday, Honda aimed to make waves with Generation Z, and chose to unveil the 2022 Civic Prototype via Twitch (the first time that an automaker has ever used the service for that purpose.) But we were left wondering, can the 2022 Honda Civic serve as an effective continuation of the Civic nameplate? Especially as younger buyers are rapidly moving towards utility vehicles? Radical styling shift signals more polish is coming to the Civic We learned several things from Honda’s trip to Twitch. The fact that there are …

Read more

2020 Subaru Ascent by Ben Lewis

What if you love your Subaru Outback but find yourself needing more room, especially a 3rd row of seats? Or if you have a 3-row SUV and always wanted a Subaru to call your own? Easy, get yourself a Subaru Ascent. We worried that the transition to such a large vehicle might dilute the Subie goodness we’ve found in the Outback, Forester, Crosstrek – even the WRX. So, we had to ask. Is the biggest Subaru still true to the cause? Subaru Design on Display Well, it certainly looks that way. If you didn’t have a reference point, you might …

Read more

2021 Toyota Camry debuts XSE Hybrid trim, enhanced safety tech and beefed up infotainment system also on board

Sometimes its often the little things that define a suite of updates for an automobile. In this instance, with the Toyota Camry already benefiting from some big 2020 changes, the Japanese auto giant has chosen to focus 2021’s enhancements on updating some of the supporting cast that has helped make the Camry one of the leading sales forces in the mid-size sedan segment. A big change for 2021 is that the Camry Hybrid will now receive an XSE trim. XSE is the mainstream sporty trim in the Camry’s trim roster (only topped by the TRD Edition) and as is the …

Read more

2020 Buick Encore GX Essence FWD by Ben Lewis

Have you ever been at a pizza place and seen something called “The Meat Lover’s Pizza”? Or a place that has “The Veggie Lover’s” sandwich? It’s called specialization – and why should food have all the fun. Introducing the all-new 2020 Buick Encore GX – we call it “The Tech Lover’s Buick. Stylish SUV Before we go any further, we need to point out that the Encore GX is not related to the previous Buick Encore, which is still available – small, fun, funky, and frankly one of our favorite small SUVs. But between the much larger Enclave and Envision …

Read more

2020 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2020 Kia Sportage, and noted that Kia in a very Porsche-like manner, continuously tweaks and updates as it goes along, and like the Sportage, we find the same is true for Niro hybrid model. Since the Niro is one our favorite Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and EV models, that’s all good news for us. Let’s take a look at the changes. Updated Looks On the outside, the Niro has received some updates to keep it looking fresh. Up front, there are new projector-type headlights and fogs, dual chevron-style LED daytime running lights, and a new diamond-pattern grille. …

Read more

2020 Dodge Charger Scat Pack Widebody by Ben Lewis

Sometimes we drive a car that makes us smile with joy. Heck, we grin just looking at it. And our 2020 Dodge Charger Scat Pack Widebody is such a car. And once you drive it – you’ll never be able to wipe that smile off your face. Green Giant Well the first thing to kick in the old endorphins is the new -for-2020 Widebody exterior. Originally seen on the Challenger model and offered on the 707-horsepower Charger SRT Hellcat model, the Scat Pack widebody adds integrated fender flares that add 3.5 inches in width. And the Charger was already a …

Read more

2020 Toyota Camry TRD V6 Sedan by Ben Lewis

Introducing Toyota’s hot new performance vehicle – the TRD Camry. Toyota Racing Development? The in-house racing division of the big T? And Camry? Sounds like two things that don’t go together – like jumbo shrimp. But just like that crave-worthy crustacean, it comes together quite nicely. And it just might be a performance bargain to boot. Big Bold Style When the Camry was redone in 2018, we loved the new aggressive look – muscular and wide, it looked more like a European sport sedan, and had real presence. To give it the “Competition Look” the TRD adds unique piano-black front …

Read more

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 – Mountain Drive Review +Video – By Matt Barnes

The premium crossover class is very competitive and constantly growing. To play in this field, manufacturers must be at the top of their game. Mercedes has updated the GLC for 2020 with some new exterior styling bits, optimized wheels, the updated MBUX infotainment system, and more power. Exterior The GLC is very stable in appearance. It is short and low with a long wheelbase and wide track. As is common with many vehicles today, the grill is oversized and the Mercedes emblem in this grill might be the largest emblem on any vehicle I’ve seen. Because of all this, and the …

Read more

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring by Ben Lewis

Honda is often times a technology leader, but in the case of the Hybrid SUV’s, it’s been a bit slow. But good news is here for those who love the CR-V and want all the goodness a Hybrid can bring – for 2020 we have the all-new CR-V Hybrid. And with Toyota turning up the heat in the segment with the excellent RAV4 Hybrid, it’s perfect timing. CR-V Hybrid Exterior – The Best Looking CR-V Ever! For 2020, all CR-V models get a makeover, including bolder front and rear styling and redesigned wheels. And like the Civic Coupe we recently …

Read more

2020 Subaru WRX Series. White by Ben Lewis

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

Read more

2020 Subaru Legacy Sport Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve always liked Subaru. They’re the perfect example of a company zigging while others zagged. Steadfast in their belief in all-wheel-drive (except for the BR-Z sports car), Subies gained a foothold in areas with lots of snow or slop and became beloved for their mountain-goat-like abilities. The brand has been smart, spreading the gospel of AWD, the horizontally-opposed “Boxer” engine, and has created a name with true identity; green, caring, safe. Subaru isn’t just for the snow-belt anymore. They use the word Love a lot in their ads. All good. Of course, the other brands aren’t just going to sit …

Read more

2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited by Ben Lewis

Well, we are always excited to hear about a new Hyundai Sonata. It seems that the automaker always tries to do something special, and their flagship sedan also seems to get some hand-me-down (we should all be so lucky!) technology from its wealthy sibling Genesis. And if you saw the Superbowl commercial, it’s bringing some amazing tech to the segment as well. So, is this the sedan to beat Camry and Accord at their own game? We’ll see! Sonata exterior – Distinctive Styling Ok, you see the word “distinctive” and you wonder – and well you should. At first glance …

Read more

2021 BMW 5-Series Debuts With Refreshed Design, Brings More Powerful Electrified Powertrain To Consumers

BMW recently took the wraps off of the 2021 BMW 5-Series earlier this week, and it brings a number of welcome updates that not only help keep the 5-Series fresh in the minds of buyers for a few more years, but also allows the 5-Series to take a big step closer towards formally fitting in with BMW’s renewed push towards electrification technology. But before we get into the more radical changes that take place in the performance hardware, we might as well address the decidedly more subtle updates that define the exterior styling. Being a mid-cycle refresh, the 5-Series avoids …

Read more

2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road – Off-Pavement Drive Review – By Matt Barnes

The RAV4 is a tent-pole for Toyota USA with nearly half a million sales in 2019 and as the top-selling SUV in the United States. The RAV4 was updated in 2019 to be better in almost every way. Toyota moved away from the bland styling of yesteryear to create a more athletic and polarizing vehicle with more Tacoma and 4Runner design cues. Toyota is offering a new trim level for the RAV4, the TRD Off-Road for 2020 to match this newly masculine and athletic theme. On-Road For on road driving, the TRD Off-Road handles similarly to all other RAV4’s we’ve …

Read more

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited X 4×4 by Ben Lewis

These days, we’ve been thinking a lot about “bug out” vehicles. Maybe it’s too much bingeing on the Walking Dead, but hey when the Zombies come a-munching, what you gonna do? We say hop in your 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee and head for the hills! Grand Cherokee exterior – familiar and friendly While the idea of a Zombie Apocalypse is really not that new, neither is the Grand Cherokee. But that’s not a bad thing. Jeep says it’s the most rewarded SUV ever, and that’s believable. And the Jeep GC continues to be the same tasteful, handsome vehicle it has …

Read more

Kia Design Boss Appears To Hint At Future Electrified Version Of The Stinger

When we last caught up with the Kia Stinger, it was the subject of a report which indicated that the sleek four door might not live to see a second generation due to slowing sales despite a mid-cycle refresh that the model was supposed to receive in the near future. However, an all new report appears to not only confirm that the mid-cycle refresh is on track, but that the Stinger could survive by evolving to better cope with the times. This was all revealed in remarks released by Kia design chief Karim Habib during an interview that was done …

Read more

2020 Fiat 500x Sport by Ben Lewis

Are you a fan of Monty Python? (OK, we may be dating ourselves here..) Well, they used to have a segment with a newsman-like person at a desk saying, “And now for something completely different.” And you know, they could have been talking about the Fiat 500x. Fiat 500x Exterior – Thinking out of The Box It starts with expressive looks. While it shares the running gear with the Jeep Renegade, it won’t be confused with that, or any other small SUV. Last year, the 500x got a facelift, with new front and rear fascia that trade in a little …

Read more

2020 BMW M340i xDrive Sedan by Ben Lewis

In every market segment there is the dominant player. Small affordable sports car? Miata. Import pickup truck? Tacoma. And when it comes to premium sport sedan, that would be the BMW 3-series. Which is not to say there isn’t competition there, in fact a bunch of wonderful sedans from the Audi A4 to the Genesis G70 to the Volvo S60 are gunning to be the quickest gun in town. But it always seemed that the BMW 3 is the benchmark. And now they went and made it incredible – welcome to the BMW M340i. M340i Exterior – Low-key flyer The …

Read more

Road Test Review – 2020 Volvo S90 R-Design – By Carl Malek

In the world of high end luxury cars, marques such as BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi and more can usually be found flooding the parking lots of shopping malls, bustling downtowns, and those elegant high end restaurants. This is due to how well built they are, as well as the love affair that many loyalists have with their elegant charms, state of the art technology, and luxury trappings. As a result, they present a formidable bar for others to surpass. One such contender looking to do this is Volvo, which has recently mounted a renewed effort at adding ample amounts of …

Read more

2019 Audi RS5 Sportback Review by Ben Lewis – Green with Energy

To paraphrase a famous SNL sketch, Audi been very, very, good to us. Looking back, we spent quality time with the beautiful A5 coupe, the potent S5 Sportback, and now we’re driving the Uber-fast (not to be confused with Uber, fast) RS 5 Sportback. It’s a nice progression, as each one has built on the other, but you’re never really prepared for the jaw-dropping performance an Audi RS model can provide. Green, with Energy The first thing that hit us about our tester was its Sonoma Green Metallic paint. We loved it. Audi has a tradition of bringing some awesome …

Read more

2020 VW Jetta GLI Autobahn by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new 2020 Kia Forte and came away impressed. It’s the latest of the new-class of fun-to-drive sedans that are taking the fight to the small crossover/SUV market. And one of the most exciting members of that new class is the VW Jetta GLI. For a long time, the GLI has been the hot-tach GTI’s poor relation – nice, and fun, but no GTI. Well, all that changed last year with the introduction of the new Jetta, which included a new GLI. And VW did enthusiasts a solid – giving us the same running gear of the …

Read more

2020 Kia Forte GT by Ben Lewis

Many have said that the small car is on the way out. That small crossovers like the Hyundai Kona or tall hatchbacks like the Mazda CX30 will pushing them out. And the numbers don’t lie, SUV crossovers are king. (outside of full-size pickup trucks). But the sedan isn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. In fact, struggling to stay relevant has brought some of the best 4-doors to market that we’ve seen in a long time. The new Toyota Camry is excellent and fun. The Honda Accord, too. Heck they even put a turbo motor in the Mazda 6. …

Read more

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

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

Read more

2020 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD by Ben Lewis

If you’ve been thinking about a 3-row SUV, but you’re not sure, you’re not alone. It seems like the automakers can’t make up their minds either. A few years ago, we saw a bunch of new models feature available third row seats. And while they initially took a bite out of the minivan segment, a lot of them have gone away, or made them low-volume models. Mazda’s CX-9 is one of those. But we wouldn’t weep about limited availability of a 3rd row, because frankly, the largest Mazda SUV is a dynamite vehicle. It’s a Looker We’ve seen a nice …

Read more

2020 Lexus NX300 F Sport – Review By Matt Barnes

Lexus tries to keep a model as long as possible before they make any major updates. This holds true for the NX which is largely unchanged since its debut in 2014. So what, if anything, is new for 2020? Outside there are a few color changes with Silver Lining Metallic and Autumn Shimmer no longer available and Cadmium Orange being added. Inside the infotainment system now has Android Auto (for all NXs built after October 1st 2019) which joins Apple CarPlay that became available last year. There is an optional Mark Levinson audio system. The steering wheel now includes power …

Read more

2020 Cadillac XT6 Premium AWD Platinum Package – Review & Road Test Video

It’s been very frustrating to watch Cadillac suffer this past decade as their sedans seem bolted to showroom floors while all the other luxury brands have launched dozens of hot-selling three-row crossovers.  Finally — finally! — Cadillac can compete in the car-based SUV market with a rockstar entry that combines amazing style, Euro handling, a lux cabin and the perfect size/value equation. The XT6, ladies and gentleman, is that vehicle.  Sliding in with base prices of around $50k means this machine is a cool $25k less than the shortie Escalade and a whole lot easier to drive, own and garage …

Read more

2019 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport – Review By Matt Barnes

The only major update for to the Toyota Sequoia 2019 is the all-new TRD Sport trim level. In addition, many safety features are now standard that were optional in the past. This includes blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking and rear cross traffic alert. While the platform is over a decade old, it is still relevant. Toyota has one of the best reputations for reliability and the 5.7 V8 is still on par with its large SUV rivals for horsepower and torque. Review Video     Outside The Sequoia is very large and has a significant presence, yet it still somewhat …

Read more

2020 Kia Soul GT-Line Review by Ben Lewis

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

Read more

2020 Subaru Outback Limited – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

If there’s a company that epitomizes the “You Don’t Mess with Success” mantra, it’s Subaru. You rarely get a revolutionary, all-new, blow-your-mind model from the automaker. And we’re fine with that. Everything’s so good already, they prefer to perfect what they got. Introducing the all-new 2020 Outback! You didn’t notice? Well, it does look very familiar to anyone who has loved the previous five generations of Subie’s tall wagon. The size is about the same – 1.4” longer and 0.6 wider than the previous model. The lines look a bit crisper, with a large hexagonal grille, LED fogs and front …

Read more

2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL FWD Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new Kia Telluride, and came away mightily impressed. So, we couldn’t wait to try its sibling, the Hyundai Palisade. We were surprised in a couple ways. They’re very different, and yet both deserve your consideration. And Hyundai’s flagship SUV even has a surprising accent. (Not to be confused with the Hyundai Accent) Swedish Fish Many times we’ve pointed out that Kia design feels very European, thanks in part to putting Peter Schreyer the head of Audi design in charge. Hyundai has never felt that way, until now. Well, except for the front. Here we have a …

Read more

2020 Dodge Charger GT Brings Four Season Capability To Dodge’s Musclecar Entry

When it comes to making lemonade out of squeezed lemons, few can top Dodge and their incredible ability to do just that with some of their models. One prominent example is the Dodge Charger, with the model last receiving a major refresh in 2015, with the updated platform tracing its roots back to 2011. While this makes the Charger an aging grizzled veteran in a sea of decidedly younger competitors. The Charger is defying the trend of slumping sedan sales, with the model actually recording a noticeable double digit increase in sales. This is the best sales performance in a …

Read more

2020 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T Review by Ben Lewis

We’ve mentioned before that car years are kind of like dog years. Two years in people time can be a long time on the showroom. Take the Honda Accord. When it was introduced as a 2018, it was the new hotness. One of, if not the best reasonably-priced family sedan. Time flies, though, and an all-new Toyota Camry and more recently Nissan Altima are vying to steal the Accord’s steak off the grille while it’s still sizzling. So, is the Honda Accord still hot? Bring Your Oven Mitts Well, in the ficklest of all areas – exterior style – the …

Read more

2020 Nissan Sentra Debuts With Improved Styling, Upgraded Technology

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

Read more

2020 Hyundai Sonata Starts At $24,330, Avalible With Whole Suite Of Upgrades

The 2020 Sonata is hot off the heels of its official debut, but while many aspects of the car have been revealed, the lone item that has eluded detection is just how much the Sonata will go for when it begins making its way to dealerships. Hyundai has formally revealed this information today, and those looking for maximum amounts of value, content, and style will be pleased with what they find when they have a chance to formally slip behind the wheel.   The base SE model for example starts at $24,330, and is designed to take the fight to …

Read more

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid Review by Ben Lewis

Subaru loves to go their own way. That’s one of the things we love about them. We recently tested the WRX – a powerful sports sedan with rally-car DNA. The new Forester, a crossover with that same feel of something a little different from the mainstream. Need a 3-row SUV? You can get the Ascent, and enjoy that Subaru goodness in a larger package. It takes real engineering talent to stay true to your school (cue Beach Boys), and still meet, compete, and beat other vehicles in your segment. So, now we have the all-new Crosstrek Hybrid – the company’s …

Read more

2019 VW Tiguan SEL Premium 4Motion Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the massive 2019 Toyota Sequoia, and we felt that it had earned the motto (ok, we read it on a popcorn box) Big is More. In its class the jumbo Toy makes the most of its size. But it’s not the only class where size matters. Take for example the 2019 VW Tiguan. The previous gen was one of our favorite small SUV’s – it felt like you were getting some GTI DNA mixed in with crossover practicality. When time came around for VW to update the Tig, it decided to aim directly for the U.S. market. …

Read more

2019 Nissan Maxima SR – Road Test Review + Drive Video

Have you ever seen a sexier facelift?  This term for a vehicle’s mid-cycle refresh is usually a bit of a put-down but in Maxima’s case it takes a sexy silhouette and gives it the nose and tail the design always deserved. It is enough to make folks do a double take on the road and that is quite surprising for such a popular mainstream model. Maxima’s 2019 upgrade and also 2020 tweaks to the range update the machine very nicely — and not a moment too soon in the face of impressive new competition from the Kia Stinger, the ever-popular …

Read more

2019 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport Review by Ben Lewis

We used to go to a movie theater that had catchy phrases on the popcorn containers. On the largest size was the especially memorable: BIG IS MORE. Well, there’s no arguing that in popcorn. Or full-size SUV’s. Which brings us to the 2019 Toyota Sequoia. If an SUV ever deserved that motto on the side, this would be it. But there’s plenty to talk about outside of the big and tall dimensions. Big is Beautiful The 2019 Sequoia is a good-looking beast. Unlike the new RAV4 (that we loved) that’s dressed up to look rugged, the big Toy bowls you …

Read more

2020 Hyundai Palisade – Road Test Review + POV Video in All Seats

Our first outing the the Palisade was up at the beautiful Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC and the surrounding mountains.  As you can read and watch, we hauled our butts up a mountain then did some off-roading in a mad caravan of Palisades.  We looked like a villain’s entourage with so many black luxury SUVs in convoy form! This follow-up was much more down to earth.  When the villains go home for the weekend, perhaps, and take on normal parenting and lifestyle duties. This involved a boring commute in traffic, jaunts around town running errands and lots of everyday life …

Read more

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition – Review By Matt Barnes

Nissan gave us the opportunity to drive the 2019 Pathfinder SL 4wd Rock Creek Edition. The Pathfinder name has been used by Nissan for almost 60 years, and this newest iteration delivers. The Rock Creek Edition adds a ton of the most commonly popular features at a discounted price and makes for a beautiful color scheme. Outside There’s something about the color scheme and Midnight Pine Metallic paint that says “take me on an adventure”, but Nissan doesn’t add any additional off-road capability with the Rock Creek Edition. What it adds is a plethora of dark and rugged themed features, …

Read more

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

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

Read more

2020 Nissan Altima SR AWD Review by Ben Lewis

Sometimes, we wonder if family sedans sit around and reminisce about the good old days. Yeah, remember when the big box office was 4-doors? Camry and Accord, we ruled. The best-selling cars, the bring-home-the-bacon for most automakers. At least until…ugh…. SUV’s. Well, lately, it seems like auto manufacturers aren’t taking things sitting down. The all-new Camry and Accord are dynamite cars, with loads of style and performance and value. And now we have an all-new Altima – the sedan that’s always been a little different from the rest of the pack – but always a delight in its own right. …

Read more

2019 Nissan Armada – On and Off-Road Review – By Matt Barnes

For 2019, the Armada only gets additional standard features that were options last year. Things like rear door alert, intelligent cruise control, automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning are now standard across the Armada lineup. Outside Being the largest SUV in Nissan’s lineup, the Armada has presence. It is slightly larger than a Tahoe but smaller than an Expedition, putting it right in the middle of its class. While some other vehicles are starting to look the same as everything else in their class, the Armada has standout looks. Recently, Nissan has done an excellent job in creating beautiful …

Read more

2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited – Review By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid, and came away hugely impressed. It’s a total rethink of the RAV4, and it’s bigger, better, more handsome. A winner. But in an interesting twist, Toyota made the Hybrid the performance model, with 219 horsepower, and in our XSE tester a performance tuned suspension. We’re wondering if we had been sucked in by the top of the line hybrid power version. So now, we’re back testing a well-equipped but non-hybrid model – the kind most people will end up buying to see if the standard model is as good. Looks Good Since we …

Read more

2020 Buick Enclave ST – Road Test Review + Drive Video

The new-for-2020 Enclave ST looks amazing!  It is shocking how much the body-color grille edge and new gloss-black inner mesh changes the look of this jumbo crossover. Nowhere near as shocking as the resounding praise you’re about the read, though!  Believe me, this car will make anyone who drives or rides inside into a Buick fan. This coming from the kid who truly believed the 1990s Skylark was the most hideous vehicle ever made, and had disgusted reactions to every element of LeSabre and Century. This is a new era though, and this Buick is the best ever. ST stands …

Read more

2020 Hyundai Palisade Limited AWD – First Drive Review Video + Mega Gallery

Lots of Palisade love this summer! You can really tell how seriously Hyundai is taking this full-size SUV launch by the media events scheduled on its behalf. Instead of one major media drive with an ultra exclusive invite list, Hyundai did a Palisade road show and had at least five of them across the country.  Presentations from the product teams and great roads to try out this three-row biggie’s capabilities. The one we attended was in Asheville North Carolina, a short jump inland from CRD HQ in Charleston, SC.  But years in the ‘lowcountry’ made me forget all about hills …

Read more

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – Road Test Review + Performance Drive Video

Eclipse Cross is such a class-leading vehicle that it instantly moves Mitsubishi to the A-list of car brands.  It is that well-equipped, feels like it has stellar build quality, and just leapfrogs most of its rivals on drive manners. Mitsubishi gone from worst to first!!? Perhaps we should take a step back and explain what makes the new Eclipse Cross so great. Yes, let’s take a more mature approach to detailing how Eclipse Cross’s build quality, tech and drive manners make it one of the most sophisticated supermini SUVs available.  Kick things off by watching the performance drive review video …

Read more

2019 Nissan LEAF PLUS Review by Ben Lewis

Ok, first things first. We promise not to make any “Turning over a new LEAF” jokes. Which isn’t to say that’s not what the new LEAF Plus is, because the Plus trim gives the LEAF the full EV credentials it needs to compete in today’s marketplace. Which is important, because since its introduction in 2010, it has been the best-selling electric vehicle in the world. And Nissan would like to keep it that way. An all-new LEAF was introduced for the 2018 model year, and when we tested it, we came away impressed – loads of tech, fun to drive, …

Read more

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition DSG Review by Ben Lewis

We’ve been talking about great European sedans lately. In fact, we came away saying the new Mazda 3 sedan might be your best entry level Euro choice – yes, it technically isn’t European, but it sure drives that way! Well VW must have heard us, because they’ve now introduced an all new Jetta GLI, (we recently drove the regular Jetta) and it’s not only a great European sedan, it’s what the GLI should always have been – a true 4-door version of the beloved GTI hatch. Big is More We used to see that motto on popcorn at the movie …

Read more

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

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody

Dodge Charger Product Manager, Ashton Munoz, details the upcoming 2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody to the media on July 31, 2019: I want to quickly talk about the overall Charger first, before we start getting into the Widebody, we’ve seen some great success with this car in the past few years. The past five years in retail, we’ve sold more chargers than any other standard full size car. In the past seven years, we’ve sold about 80,000 chargers per year. There’s a lot of chargers on the road. There’s a few things that we think that make this car pretty …

Read more

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

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

2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature (Turbo) – Road Test Review with Performance Drive Video

Is there anything that a huge lump of horsepower cannot solve?!   The 2019 Mazda CX-5 went from a top-5 crossover in our books to the best of the best.  All thanks to a generous dollop of turbo horsepower – and especially torque! Mazda’s goal for 2019 is to keep the CX-5 sales party going at full steam. They are achieving this via not one but two new engine options in addition to the base 2.5-liter with 187 horsepower. There is a 2.2-liter turbodiesel offered in the USA for the first time and then this all-new turbo gas powerplant we so …

Read more

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

2019 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Review by Ben Lewis

The CX-5 crossover is a big deal to Mazda – it’s the best-selling vehicle they have in the U.S., and having sold over 2 million units worldwide it’s a bona fide success. It’s a well-loved product, too. Having been here since 2012, it got a nice refresh when we tested the 2017 CX-5, and we felt that it was still our favorite small crossover – it’s a great drive. But time moves on, some big hitters have come our way, including the all-new 2019 RAV4, which we loved for its looks, performance, and hybrid efficiency, all in one package. Mazda …

Read more

2019 Toyota Camry XSE V6 – Drive Review with Performance Video

What a difference a year can make! For the shockingly designed Camry that was so polarizing in 2018, 2019 has mellowed the reaction to its looks and let us really focus on what a terrific upgrade it is. Both versus previous-gen Camrys and its most of its mid-size rivals, for that matter. For your scribe, a year of driving his personal ‘beach car’ (CX-9) during in a press-car drought meant that getting in Camry V6 is nothing short of a revolution!  So fast! So quiet and such sophisticated electronics!  I had a thought the day before Toyota announced there will …

Read more

Dodge Unveils Wild 2020 Charger Widebody Scat Pack and Hellcat Models [Video]

The Dodge Charger is truly a jack of all trades. From being a competent family hauler, to a supercharged track slaying beast in Hellcat guise, the Charger offers something for everyone. But the lone piece that was missing from the puzzle was one that many enthusiasts wanted for a very long time, the Widebody treatment. Dodge is out to finally address this lone omission, and following the recent announcement of a concept, has unveiled the production 2020 Charger Widebody lineup. Like its two door platform mate the Dodge Challenger, the broader fenders add 3.5 inches of width to the car …

Read more

2020 BMW 330i M Sport xDrive – First Drive Review Video & Photo Gallery

A rainy morning in hilly northern Wisconsin was the perfect time and place to try out the new BMW 3 series with AWD.  This redesign was sure to be pretty excellent – focused on the interior roominess and luxury, and maintaining the excellent pace and agility that the sedan perfected generations ago. We flogged its turbo four to really feel the 5.3-second sprint to 60-mph and came out grinning.The xDrive AWD models have the same turbo four as the rear-drive models but this time tuned with about 80 extra pound-feet of torque. BMW has done this for years and it …

Read more