2018 Kia Sportage SX Turbo AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Welcome to the jungle.    Not the Amazon – we mean the compact SUV market. But it’s almost as treacherous –  while you won’t find Piranha, you’ll find every car maker worth their salt constantly biting at each other for that big, delicious share of the hottest segment in the marketplace. Your guide today through this land of hungry hippos is the 2018 Kia Sportage. In these treacherous waters, it’s good to have experience on your side, and the Sportage is tried and trusted. In our previous test, we loved the performance, quality, features and style. But that was almost two years ago. Does the Sportage still live at the top of the food chain? The Korean Kayenne When we last tested the Sportage, there was a lot of disagreement about the front end, especially the SX’s quad LED fogs mounted low in the grille. It didn’t bother us then, …

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2019 VW Passat GT V6 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It seems like the de-facto performance engine for reasonably priced cars these days is the 2.0-liter, turbo, 4-cylinder. From Audi A4, BMW 3, to Honda Accord and Kia Optima, the moderately-sized, turbo motor strikes as the perfect combination of power and economy. But what about 6-cylinders? For a long time the 6 was the engine, that sweet spot between big muscular V8’s and wheezy fours. Now, it’s a premium item – out of the reach of most buyers – especially if you want that engine wrapped in some sexy European sheet metal. VW to the rescue Yes, the brand that owns affordable Euro performance. And they did the driving enthusiast a solid – giving us a handsome 4-door sedan with a powerful V6 and some other goodies, and… wait for it, brought it in under $30,000. Enter the Passat GT. Flying under the Radar The Passat is not the newest …

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2018 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Platinum Reserve – Road Test Review w/ Drive Video

  A few nice updates for Nissan’s crossover sales-champ, the Rogue. In addition to the modest facelift the previous year, the latest Rogue drops the 7-seat option with the mini jump seats, brings a top-notch active safety suite and a new flagship trimline: the Platinum Reserve. The core machine is better than ever – and is a stunningly simple car to drive and own.  As we note in the drive video below, the Rogue sells itself in the first block for many shoppers.  It just seems to be the perfect size for awesome visibility but without being too wide or gigantic to navigate gridlock traffic or tight city streets. We spent a week finding out why the Rogue has wormed its way into so many hearts (and garages) around the world.  What do these drivers know that RAV4 or CR-V owners don’t? Kick things off with a high-performance drive review …

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2019 Toyota AVALON Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Some say Toyota is like a Cruise Ship – once it starts moving it takes a while for it to make a turn. We say not so, in the last couple years, under the direction of new management to create a sportier, livelier, more-fun-to drive product. We’ve seen model after model, from Camry to Corolla, get some sharp new duds, make sharp new moves, and surprise a lot of people. And nothing is more surprising as the all-new 2019 Avalon. Bad Grandpa Not in the bad-not-good sense, but in the bad-is-awesome sense. Once the poster car for our seasoned citizens (along with much of the Buick line), this new Avalon is stunning. We got loads of compliments and double takes during our time with our tester. Mind you, the older model was quite handsome in a tasteful way, but sexy? No. Built on the same platform as the all-new Camry …

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2018 Lexus GS350 F Sport RWD – Road Test Review – By Tom Burkart

In an age now where mid-size luxury sedans are stronger, faster and better than ever before…. How come they aren’t the kings of the family fleet any more? Way back in the 90s when your scribe grew up, we had a quick way of telling whether the cars lined up for a party in the neighborhood were from parents or the kids.  If it was all 4Runners and Explorers, then it was definitely a kid party and time to get wild! But if it was stately 740iL’s, XJ’s and Lexus LS sedans… then we knew it was a parent party and to steer clear. As we cross into 2020 and beyond, that distinction would not be nearly as clear.  Big boss luxury SUVs have taken the hearts and minds of gentle, mid-aged shoppers almost completely.  The high-riding SUV transition seems like a one-way street.  People go up into SUVs, but …

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2018 Buick Regal GS – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve been really impressed by Buick lately. Both the Enclave and Encore crossover/suv’s impressed us, and the word has been getting out – Buick is selling well, and appealing to a new, younger, audience. But the Buick Regal may be the biggest surprise of all. Yes, the Regal. You probably know the name – it started way back in 1973. Along the way it has soldiered on, some models better than others. One of the high points was the Regal Grand National, with a turbo engine that caught the imagination of enthusiasts and brought back some of the luxury/performance sparkle the brand had in the 60’s. Well, we’re now into the 6th generation of the Regal, and with the all-new 2018 Regal GS, this is a modern interpretation of Grand Touring that has more in common with BMW and Audi than domestic or Asian competitors. Yes, Buick has Bavaria in …

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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 …

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2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4×4 – Road Test Review – By Matt Barnes

When looking at the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee, one may wonder how a solid axle XJ from a few decades ago has evolved into a smooth-riding, fully independent suspension and a seemingly less off road capable vehicle. From our experience, the new Cherokee is much better on road and is every bit as capable and possibly even more capable than its predecessor. Exterior For 2019, the Jeep Cherokee has a few exterior updates that are different from the 2018 model, making it more attractive and lighter. The bumpers, LED head lights, LED tail lights, hood and liftgate have all been reworked. These updates were needed and, while small, have greatly improved how the vehicle looks. The Cherokee is a small vehicle and it’s surprising to think that Jeep makes two other SUVs that are smaller than it, the Compass and the Renegade. Even with its relatively low ride height, it’s …

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2018 Hyundai KONA Ultimate FWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Hyundai Elantra sedan and Elantra GT hatchback, which we really liked. We even mentioned the GT Hatch might be an excellent alternative to a small crossover. And then Hyundai introduces the all-new Kona compact crossover – and makes liars out of us. Well, maybe not liars. There’s a lot to like about the Elantra GT, but after our time in the Kona, we’re ready to go Island time, full time. (Kona, Hawaii reference for those playing at home). We do it Island Style Let’s start with the looks. The Kona is one great-looking small CUV, with a very a capable, let’s go have an adventure look. There’s an aggressive front end, with squinty LED daytime running lamps, Hyundai’s family cascading grille with a cool mesh design, and LED head and taillamps that stand out. Enveloping the car is what Hyundai calls “Body Armor” actually black fender …

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