Toyota Highlander Platinum Hybrid Mountain Drive By Matt Barnes

Toyota was first to market a mass-produced hybrid vehicle with the Prius, and they continue to innovate and improve. The new Highlander is evidence of that with incredible efficiency for a three-row SUV. It switches from full electric to hybrid to full gas motor so smoothly that you’ll miss it unless you’re paying very close attention. The e-CVT uses an ingenious planetary gear system, so no belts like other CVT’s. Toyota has made significant updates for the 2020 Highlander and it is by far the best Highlander yet! Exterior Toyota redesigned the Highlander for 2020 and it looks significantly better …

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2020 Lexus ES300h – Road Test Review – By Matt Barnes

The Lexus ES is moving upmarket. Can it step up to the task? The seventh generation ES was new for 2019 with the 2020 model receiving a few minor updates. Moving forward, the ES will have to cover for its traditionally sportier sibling with Car and Driver, reporting that the GS is going out of production.   Exterior You’d be forgiven for mistaking the Lexus ES for a sports sedan. The updated design is beautiful, sporty, and luxurious. The ES is longer and lower than the previous generation with the wheels pushed out to the corners. It is a gorgeous …

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

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum L4 AWD by Ben Lewis

The Toyota Highlander has always been a solid choice in the mid-size SUV segment. By solid, we mean, well-built, good value, Toyota reliability. But ahem, nothing to get excited about. Well, until now. For 2020, there’s an all-new Highlander, and while it hasn’t lost any of the things that make a Highlander a stress-free choice, this one’s notably more passionate, from style, to driving, to features. You can now lust after a Highlander and not be locked up in the automotive looney bin. Big and Bold The first thing that hits you is the Highlander’s take-no-prisoners design. It looks bigger, …

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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. …

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2020 Hyundai Ioniq HEV Limited by Ben Lewis

It’s interesting how popular hybrids are these days. Historically, gas is relatively cheap, and with the pandemic, lots of people are driving less. Seems like a good excuse to get something crazy like the 485-horsepower Dodge Charger Scat Pack we recently tested. But no, being frugal, and eco-friendly seem to be trends that are not going away. So, we decided to test one of our favorite hybrid vehicles, the Hyundai Ioniq. And although the Korean carmaker was later to the market with this kind of vehicle, it has quickly become a major challenge to the Toyota Prius. Let’s see why. …

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McLaren unveils all new vehicle platform, lighter weight and innovation lead the way

When it comes to innovation and launching electrified supercars, the folks at McLaren are no strangers to the challenge. The recently launched P1 and Speedtail are two recent examples of this recent push towards electrification. But the British supercar maker has revealed that it’s taking things up a degree by creating an all new lightweight vehicle platform with electrification and innovative technology being the two top priorities for the new platform. McLaren also revealed that the first model to take advantage of this platform will make its appearance sometime in 2021, but stopped far short of revealing any critical information …

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2020 Lexus NX 300h by Ben Lewis

We always hear about “Best in Class”, “Class-Leading” or “Class Standard”, but what happens when you’re the only one in your class? And that’s what we have here, in its segment ,the Lexus NX 300h is the only regular hybrid in its class. Well, some manufacturers might take that as an opportunity to set the bar low – where else you going to go? – but not Lexus. Like all their products, they hold everything to a higher standard. But is it worth going to a hybrid, when there a lot of other interesting choices, including a non-hybrid Lexus NX?  …

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Hyundai Ioniq to become sub-brand, expand to three models in first three years

Following on the heels of the recently launched Genesis luxury brand, Hyundai is expanding once again, and has formally announced plans to launch a second sub-brand called Ioniq that aims to push Hyundai into the greener side of the market. if that particular moniker sounds familiar, it’s because it’s based on an existing Hyundai model. Unlike Genesis which had it’s origins in the Hyundai Genesis sedan, Ioniq gets its roots from the Ioniq green car of the same name. Currently, the Ioniq as we currently know it is available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and a full EV. However, that …

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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 …

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2020 Toyota Avalon XSE Hybrid by Ben Lewis

It’s interesting how different technologies develop over time. A perfect example is the Hybrid car. With the original Prius, it was a technically interesting, but pretty agrarian little vehicle. Slow and a little clunky, it got very good gas mileage, but you had to be committed to the cause. Come round 2, and Hybrids got better, with little penalty to the driving experience, excellent gas mileage – our 2019 Prius tester averaged over 50 mpg! – but the appeal of hybrids remained in the camps of eco-friendliness. But now the Hybrid has another trick up its sleeve – it’s now …

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2021 Toyota Sienna Minivan Unveiled, Debuts Hybrid Only Performance

It has been awhile since a major shakeup has occurred in the minivan segment. While the redesigned Chrysler Pacifica cemented FCA’s role as a potent benchmark in the segment, others have been aging not so gracefully. One of these offerings is the Toyota Sienna. Last updated back in 2011, the Sienna was in dire need of an update with aging styling and powertrains handicapping its sales potential. Toyota is out to right the ship though, and has formally unveiled the 2021 Toyota Sienna which aims to revitalize the Sienna nameplate while also bringing in new technology as well.   A …

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Toyota Revives Venza Nameplate For Hybrid CUV, Promises To Bring High Fashion To Green Vehicle Ranks

The Toyota Venza has returned after a several year absence. But while the original Venza was a segment blurring entry that straddled the line between a traditional car and a SUV before it was unceremoniously discontinued in 2015, this chapter of Venza aims to push its SUV lineage more into the spotlight, while also doubling down on its green credentials at the same time.   Sharpness and Aggression Define Venza Styling: The original Venza’s styling could be best defined as a bland mixture of styling elements, with the overall look having about as much consistency and excitement as a brand …

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Toyota Teases May 18th Unveiling For Two All New Hybrid Models

With the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic keeping automotive related events down to a minimum, worldwide vehicle debuts have been a rarity over the past few months. Toyota on the other hand is trying to keep things interesting, and has revealed that it will be unveiling not one but two all new hybrid models in a live stream event on May 18th.   While the 2020 Toyota Prius 2020 Edition (a lightly spruced up version of the current Prius) is already confirmed to be a part of the event to coincide with its 20th anniversary, the Japanese auto giant is so far …

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2021 Honda Insight Has Higher Price Tag, Gains New Technology And Color

Honda has released new information regarding the 2021 Honda Insight hybrid. The Insight gains a number of mild updates for the new model year which aim to not only help it remain competitive, but to also help it bring the fight to other hybrid entries that are vying for the top spot in a rapidly evolving marketplace.   A key change is in pricing, with Honda revealing that the base LX model is still holding firm at $23,855 which includes the $955 destination fee. The base feature list also remains largely the same, but the EX and Touring see a …

Read more 2021 Honda Insight Has Higher Price Tag, Gains New Technology And Color

Aston Martin To Replace AMG Sourced V8 With In House Electrified V6, V12 Safe For A Few More Years

The recent decision by Mercedes-AMG to phase out all of its V8 engines has left Aston Martin in a bind. When the current generation Vantage and DB11 first appeared on the scene, Aston was quick to point out at the time that it foresaw a healthy future for the V8. But with the engine being axed, Aston was forced to go to creative measures to resolve this impending problem, and has confirmed that an all new engine is indeed in the works to replace it. Less is more in this important regard, with Aston taking the unusual step of eventually …

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Solar Roof, Premium Features Puts Spotlight On 2020 Sonata Hybrid

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid made its initial debut in the South Korean market last year, and buyers in the U.S. long wondered when it would eventually make its way to the U.S. Hyundai delivered a resounding answer, and used the 2020 Chicago Auto Show to formally debut the all new Sonata Hybrid. We first got our glimpse of the Hybrid late last year, and while the prototype we saw was still a bit rough around the edges, it did show us that Hyundai was aiming to make people rethink the way that they looked at hybrids. The full production …

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Hyundai Showcases Refreshed Ioniq With 170 Miles Of Driving Range, Updated Exterior Styling

Hyundai‘s Ioniq lineup has made quite a splash since it debuted a few years ago. Designed to be a potent Toyota Prius competitor, the Ioniq had plenty of potential, and even mirrored the Prius’s extensive green lineup with a Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and even a pure EV variant all ready to battle against their bitter Japanese rival. But with the battle still swinging in Toyota’s favor, Hyundai has instead chosen to use the opportunity to update the Ioniq for 2021 to help give it a new lease on life, as well as give it several new tricks to help it …

Read more Hyundai Showcases Refreshed Ioniq With 170 Miles Of Driving Range, Updated Exterior Styling

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 …

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2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Matt Barnes

Toyota made many changes to the Rav4 for 2019, including a new chassis, new bold look, and more space. How will Toyota’s top seller in the United States fare with these new changes? Coming in at $37,699, is this loaded crossover worth the coin? Overview The Rav4 has long been a big seller for Toyota. It was an early, if not the first, car-based SUV, now called crossovers. For 2019, the Rav4 is more aggressive with a higher stance and a half inch higher ground clearance. This bodes well for the Rav4 Adventure whose focus is on outdoorsy people who …

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2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SELS S-AWC – Review By Ben Lewis

Quick!  What’s the world’s best-selling Plug-in Hybrid? If you’re like us, you probably said the Toyota Prius. I mean, they pretty much own all things hybrid, no? No. Surprise! It’s the Mitsubishi Outlander. Which was a surprise to us, too. Mitsubishi is one of the smaller players in the U.S. – until recently when Nissan bought a large share of it. (For those playing at home, Renault is a 43% owner of Nissan, while Nissan owns 34% of Mitsubishi). Those deeper pockets are sure to see investment in Mitsubishi, and a rosier future for the brand. We already felt the …

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Aston Martin Confirms Valhalla Moniker For AM-RB 003, Will Build Only 500 Examples

With Aston Martin‘s recent obsession with Norse mythology, the British supercar maker has confirmed that its second all new offering will continue this trend and adopt a Norse inspired name. With the Valkyrie leading the way, it’s only fitting that the next model would be inspired by the ultimate destination for Norse warriors that were slain in combat, Valhalla.   It is certainly an improvement over its development name the AM-RB 003 which was a bit too wordy for our tastes, and it also serves as a figurative glimpse into the sheer levels of performance and driving pleasure that the …

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2019 Toyota Prius Limited – Review by Ben Lewis

It’s tough being at the top. Take the Prius for example. I mean, it pretty much invented the hybrid category. And it bore the brunt of a lot criticism early on. But it emerged. Not only unscathed, but look at how many Hybrid models are for sale now. Toyota alone offers a Camry, Corolla, Avalon, RAV4, Highlander, Prius, Prius Prime and Prius C models. All Hybrids! That’s quite a lineup, and as the pater familias (father of the family) of this clan of efficiency, Toyota has to make sure that it stays relevant and attractive. So, for 2019, The Prius …

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Track Test Review – 2019 Acura NSX – By Carl Malek

When the Acura NSX originally made its debut back in 2016, Acura was keen on reestablishing itself as a technological leader, while also breathing new life into arguably one of its most iconic nameplates. The reborn NSX proved to be a spirited offering, and smashed any doubts that were cast on it with its impressive performance numbers, smooth hybrid technology, and being a futuristic shot of adrenaline for buyers looking for something different from the usual Porsche and even Ferrari powered tonics that were out in the marketplace at the time. But like all good things, even the NSX can …

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2019 Lexus NX300 F Sport – Review By Ben Lewis

If you have a younger sibling, you might remember this. One day, everything is fine – you’re the new baby, star of the show, everything is going well. And then boom! A new baby comes along, and the spotlight has shifted. Wuh happened? Well in the case of the Lexus NX, it was the birth of the all-new, cute and cuddly Lexus UX. Suddenly, the NX is another member of the growing Lexus SUV family. Of course, not being in the spotlight has some advantages. Where the NX used to need to be the price leader SUV of the line, …

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2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid – Review By Ben Lewis

Toyota has found their mojo. The new Camry is awesome. The Hybrid version, is too. The Corolla Hatch? Desirable and fun. Even the Avalon is sexy now. Yes, the Avalon. But it’s the SUVs and Crossovers that are make or break for manufacturers. And since the RAV4 pretty much invented the small car-based SUV 22 years ago, it’s been a big hit. In fact, Toyota says the RAV4 is not only the best-selling vehicle in its class, it’s the best-selling non-pickup in the country. That would make a lot of manufacturers cautious, careful and conservative. Don’t rock that money boat! …

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Road Test Review – 2019 Toyta Avalon Limited Hybrid- By Carl Malek

When it comes to big sedans, few can come close to matching the unique arsenal of traits that the venerable Toyota Avalon brings to the table. Focusing on providing comfort and borderline luxury to its owners, the Avalon is a key name in the large sedan segment. But with schools of CUV and SUV models circling this iconic segment like sharks, the Avalon faces turbulent waters in its quest to remain true to its virtues. Despite this (as well as the success of its own utility offerings) Toyota is still keen to be a key player in the sedan segment, …

Read more Road Test Review – 2019 Toyta Avalon Limited Hybrid- By Carl Malek

2020 Toyota Highlander Teases Sleeker Design With 3D Images

Over the years we have become used to automakers releasing various images and teaser sketches to try and build as much hype as possible for the model that they are going to unveil at an auto show. For a long time, Toyota has fitted this well worn mold with the Japanese auto giant offering various teaser images and sketches of many of its models before their respective world debuts. However, for the 2020 Highlander, Toyota has decided to throw convention out the window, and has taken a rather unorthodox approach to showing the world a preview of its upcoming big …

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2019 Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Volvo has had a renaissance for a few years now. From its hearty agrarian roots, to its German-baiting performance years, to now – a Premium Luxury division with impeccable style, the brand is extraordinarily capable of reinventing itself, while still keeping a Volvo a Volvo. And nowhere is that more notable than the Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD we recently tested. Meet Thor’s Hammer While its design is closely related to the Volvo XC60 we tested, the larger proportions of the XC90 really give visual heft, and conveys a premium quality. Our tester was all that, starting with a bold front end, …

Read more 2019 Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Aston Martin Teases Project 003 Hypercar, Expected To Blend Usability and Performance

Following the giant splash that Aston Martin made with the launch of the Valkyrie hypercar, the bespoke British sports car manufacturer has confirmed that it is working internally on an all new hypercar project, which is expected to be revealed in full at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Dubbed “Project 003” Aston Martin claims that the new model channels a lot of the lessons that were learned on the Valkyrie project, but it manages to still maintain its own distinctive DNA. Aston also revealed that Project 003 was engineered to deliver what the company calls “class-leading dynamics on both road …

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2018 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. The sedan is not dead. Sure, SUVs and Crossovers are the big biz these days, but there are a lot of folks who like sedans. And there are some areas where those SUV’s and Crossovers are still falling short. Take Fuel Economy When it comes to efficiency, a crossover or SUV with its bigger body, poorer aerodynamics and greater weight, is going to be challenged. Yes, they’re getting better, but they’re not there yet. Also, sedans are fighting back with technology from hybrid, to plug-in hybrid, to EV. Take for example, …

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2018 Lexus RX450h – Road Test Review – By Matt Barnes

The 2018 Lexus RX has always been a big seller for Lexus, and the new version is the best one yet. All variants of the mid-size luxury SUV use a 3.5 liter V-6, but the 450h (hybrid) model adds a small battery and three electric motors. There is also a new long version that has been stretched a little over four inches to accommodate 3rd row seating. Like all Lexus vehicles, the RX 450h has high quality interior materials, a quiet ride and smooth braking and steering. Does the hybrid RX really deliver luxury-car feel and econo-car mileage? The V-6 …

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2018 Lexus LS500h – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

What does it feel like to drive $104,000 of prime quality Lexus beef on the hoof? It’s actually kind of unnerving. We’ve occasionally driven cars that cost even more, but the mission of the LS500h is daily luxury. Superb and supremely comfortable luxury, but daily nonetheless. And this one’s a hybrid. We tested the 416 horse, twin-turbo V6 LS500 sedan a while ago, and loved it. And a part of that love came from the big sedan’s ability to lift up its figurative skirt and haul like a bat out of hell when it needed to. But does a fuel-saving …

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Road Test Review – 2018 Toyota Prius C – By Carl Malek

The green car segment has seen its fair share of twists and turns over the past several years. While Tesla currently has the spotlight when it comes to pure EV offerings, Toyota and its Prii range in particular are considered by many to be the benchmark offerings in the hybrid vehicle segment. The Japanese auto giant doubled down on hybrids in the mid 1990’s with the original Prius, much to the astonishment and the occasional snicker of a few of its domestic competitors. That initial gambit has transformed into a lucrative business, with the Prii lineup redefining green car culture …

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2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

A friend just asked about buying a Diesel-engine car. Diesel? Really? It seems like that boat has sailed a while ago, with VW’s diesel-gate putting the powertrain on the chopping block for most passenger cars. Hybrids and EV’s are where it’s going – for their combination of low or zero emissions, hefty government subsidies (ok, those may go away) and driving fun. Yes, driving fun. And one of the most interesting of these vehicles is the new Honda Clarity. A new way to roll Well, the Honda Clarity actually gives you three ways to roll – if you’re on the …

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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 …

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2018 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

First off, game over. Hybrid has beaten Diesel. At least for passenger cars. The VW debacle has pretty much snuffed the light out for diesel cars as your super-efficient way to motor around. And with the departure of our dear departed Diesel, expect to start seeing more hybrids. Hybrids ‘R Us. So, it makes sense to see what Toyota’s up to. Especially since they pretty much owned the tech for a long time, and made Prius and Hybrid a household word. And no, this isn’t a Prius test, because there’s a brand-new Camry for 2018, and after having a ball …

Read more 2018 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2019 Honda Insight Hybrid Revealed, Brings 55 MPG And Refinement To Hybrid Sedan Ranks

When we last met the 2019 Honda Insight in Detroit, it was in prototype form, and it offered a glimpse of the Japanese auto giant’s future plans for the Insight nameplate. With the New York Auto Show fast approaching, Honda has taken the veil off of the production version of the Insight ahead of its Big Apple debut. The basic styling language of the 2019 Insight is largely reminiscent of the prototype’s albeit with the bulk of the changes taking place at the front end. Here, the car borrows a number of cues from several Honda models including the “flying …

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2018 INFINITI Q Inspiration Concept – Photo & Video Flyaround

The Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept is not an instant love-at-first-sight type of machine. Its Tesla overtones are quite obvious.  And not always for the best. The white front grille and the ultra rounded fenders do come to life in person.  The grille is not just a slat shield but a 4D bending thing of great beauty.  Check out the new depth on the Infiniti badge up front — directly off the Prototype 9 open-wheel EV racer in the background of tna few of these shots. And as smooth and dolphin-like as the tail is… keep an eye on the upper …

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2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

There’s an interesting phenomenon in auto-dom. Lag time. A manufacturer will gain a certain reputation, and when it ups its game, it seems it takes a while for the buying public to find out about it. Which can be good for buyers (snag a deal0 , but a rough ride for carmakers. Acura is a perfect example of this. What do you think of the brand? Nice stuff. Not too exciting, but solid, well made. Right? WRONG! Acura has quietly been polishing its vehicles into some really exciting numbers, and it seems like the word hasn’t gotten out. We recently …

Read more 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Road Test Review – 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Plus – By Carl Malek

Ever wondered how you could make a Toyota Prius even more fuel efficient and environmentally conscious, while also cramming even more convenience features and technology into its distinctive wrapper at the same time? This conundrum reminds us of some of the great engineering challenges that America has faced over the years. While brilliant minds, technological advances, and the occasional rocket scientist or two played a hand in solving these fore-mentioned problems, Toyota had a delicate balancing act to achieve when it came time to build its latest Prii offering. The end result is the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime, but does …

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2017 Toyota AVALON Hybrid Limited – Road Test Review – By Tim Esterdahl

The 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited is a very stylish car loaded with safety equipment and great fuel economy. It’s only blemish is simply bad timing with the ultra-hot truck and SUV market seeing customers buying other types of vehicles at a startling pace. After receiving a facelift in 2015 and now with a new 2019 model on the way, the 2017 model should represent a bargain for consumers. Here’s why. On the outside, the Avalon represents the older way of designing Toyota vehicles with a more muted front-end and blended style from front to rear. Newer Toyota styling has …

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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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2017 Kia NIRO Touring – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

The Deep Cerulean blue Kia Niro was waiting for me and the wife at the Ft. Lauderdale airport parking lot, and it was a welcome sight after a long day of airline travel. We dropped the rear seatbacks down, and the generous 54.5 cubic feet cargo area swallowed up two huge suitcases, that in a bygone era would have been labeled “steamer trunks”. A set of golf clubs, and the carry-on bags were added easily. As we eased into the front seats, we basked in the glory of comfortable perforated leather seats, with all the leg room we could want.  …

Read more 2017 Kia NIRO Touring – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

Road Test Review – 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited AWD – By Carl Malek

With ample cargo room, a healthy suite of features, as well as purposeful styling, it’s no secret that the 2017 Toyota Highlander has emerged as a key family focused entry for the Japanese auto giant. When we last met the Highlander, we gave it high marks for interior room, and the flexibility provided by its sizable cargo area. However, a key weakness that emerged during that encounter was the Highlander’s low fuel mileage. Toyota aimed to try and correct this flaw with the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, but does it stand out as a must have option for Highlander fans? …

Read more Road Test Review – 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited AWD – By Carl Malek

Honda Showcases Revived Insight Hybrid, Has Prius In Its Crosshairs

Following on the heels of the recently launched Civic and Accord sedans, Honda is now focusing on beefing up its green presence. This includes the launch of the second generation Clarity sedan, as well as the unveiling of its budget oriented companion, the 2019 Honda Insight. Honda admits that it is a prototype at the moment, but the exterior styling of the 2019 Insight is largely production ready, and is perhaps the sleekest Insight we have seen yet. In addition, this new model also demonstrates the three generation evolution that has taken place, with the original Insight arriving as a …

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4.6s 2018 BMW i8 Roadster Is No-Brainer Ragtop

The i8 is amazing to drive!  In Sport+ this machine opens up its full 374HP and rockets forward with glee.  Triple turbo thrumming behind you and popping out racy noises from the exhausts. But the i8 has a problem.  It is so light because of all that carbon fiber.  Which is expensive. And intrudes on the doorsill in a major way.  This makes i8’s beautiful swan wing doors make sense.  They are very-much needed to help get in and out.  With a low roof on the coupe, this has been a barrier to the car’s wider success. This Roadster hopes …

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2017 Toyota AVALON Hybrid XLE Premium – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

  When it comes to hybrid vehicles, Toyota knows their stuff.  The Prius has been around for decades now, and have constantly improved them with each new makeover.  It is the best-selling hybrid of all time.  So as the company expanded their hybrid offerings to many of their other models, customers can feel comfortable enough to buy these larger vehicles in hybrid form.  I couldn’t wait to see how their full size Avalon, which I enjoyed in its gasoline version, would stack up.  The verdict?  It’s a wonderful hybrid car too. We tested the 2017 Avalon XLE Premium, which slots …

Read more 2017 Toyota AVALON Hybrid XLE Premium – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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 …

Read more Electric or Hybrid, Which Is Indeed The Superior Green Option?

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2017 Toyota GR HV SPORTS Concept Bows in Tokyo

Toyota is eager to transition its hybrid tech into fun-to-drive machines.  Of course, the CVT automatic is a big buzzkill.  As is the front-drive layout of any Prius variant. SO how about making a rear-drive, part-manual hybrid sports car!? Seems genius, and here we are.  The GR HV Sports is Gazoo Racing (the inhouse Toyota race team)’s take on a next-gen sport Hybrid Vehicle. To up the fun quotient, the autobox can be truly shifted like an auto-stick.  It has a standard PRND button setup on the dash – But pop the M button on dash from Drive to manual.  …

Read more 2017 Toyota GR HV SPORTS Concept Bows in Tokyo

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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 …

Read more 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid – Road Test Review

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SEL – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

These days a lot of automakers offer a hybrid of some sort. But pretty much the undisputed king is the Prius. And Toyota earned the reputation the hard way – putting out their necks first with a little agrarian car that earned more than its share of jibes and rude noises. But Toyota’s laughing now. Interestingly, there have been precious few direct competitors to the Prius. But now we have a new fuel-sipping gunslinger in town –the all-new Hyundai Ioniq hybrid. So, does it send the Prius packing, or is it more ironic than Ioniq? Well it definitely has the …

Read more 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SEL – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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Honda Unveils 2018 Accord, Promises New Levels Of Refinement And Performance

With the Honda Accord entering its 10th generation, Honda engineers had a big challenge when it came to updating the venerable sedan. They had to achieve it in a way that would make the Accord embrace the future, but without alienating the basic virtues that have made the company’s bread and butter model a household name among car buyers. With the unveiling of the 2018 Honda Accord earlier today in Detroit, Michigan (following on the heels of a prior teaser sketch,) it appears that Honda is pulling out all the stops to achieve this lofty goal.     It all …

Read more Honda Unveils 2018 Accord, Promises New Levels Of Refinement And Performance

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid – Road Test Review – by Ben Lewis

Hybrids are everywhere. And with the rare exception, while they offer improved fuel efficiency, they rarely offer the enthusiast excitement. Now an Acura hybrid? Well that might be something. After all, the new NSX supercar qualifies as a hybrid. Then again, so does the Accord Hybrid, from Acura’s sibling Honda. So the question is, is the MDX Hybrid a sleeper supercar, or just a snooze? Well the looks don’t give anything away. This is the same large 3-row SUV we’ve known for some time. Acura has been honing the design for 2017, with a new “Diamond Pentagon” grille, “Jewel Eye” …

Read more 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid – Road Test Review – by Ben Lewis

2017 Kia NIRO Touring Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

As auto journalists, we’re constantly asked about what’s new, what we like, what we’re driving. So, it’s surprising that the vehicle we’re talking a bunch about lately is the exciting Kia Niro hybrid. Kia? Hybrid? Exciting? Yes, Yes, and really… Yes. And we’re just as surprised as you. We were expecting a decent little vehicle – probably more of a penalty box – in the pursuit of all elusive high mpg numbers, at the expense of everything else. But it ain’t so. The Niro is a stylish, well-equipped, little hatch/crossover that happens to be great fun to drive. And fun …

Read more 2017 Kia NIRO Touring Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Lexus RX450h F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The world is clamoring for hybrids. Especially since VW has probably signed the death warrant on Diesel, at least in the U.S. Luckily for Lexus and Toyota, their brands have been THE place to go for Hybrids selling the funky and agrarian Prius sedan here since 2000. And hybrids have come a long way, in performance, livability, and technology. So if you’re looking for a luxury SUV, but still want to feel good about yourself among your eco-conscious friends, where to go? Ahem… right here. The 2017 Lexus RX450h. Feel good is what the RX450h is all about. Partly, because Lexus …

Read more 2017 Lexus RX450h F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Best of Shanghai – 2017 Chevrolet FNR-X Concept [18 Photos]

Chevrolet’s new FNR-X concept for the Shanghai auto show is incredibly sexy.  In fact, it is one of the coolest SUVs in a show absolutely packed with one-off showpieces.  Most of these are a million miles from the production cars on that same brand.  Is the FNR-X? Perhaps only a half-million miles.  It actually seems feasible for these design themes to come to life, as well as the Volt-inspired PHEV drivetrain. The reasons we love the FNR-X design are its gorgeous proportions, low roof and sharply carved surfaces.  Check out the three-dimensionality of the tailgate!  Or the slimline LED lamps …

Read more Best of Shanghai – 2017 Chevrolet FNR-X Concept [18 Photos]

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 …

Read more 2017 Toyota Prius PRIME – HD Road Test Review

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HyperGallery – 2017 KOENIGSEGG Regera in 33 New Photos

Koenigsegg is rolling deeeeep lately!  Showing up to Geneva auto show with nearly a half-dozen exotics is mighty impressive.  And we hope it means their new lightning-fast Regera flagship is selling brisky! Two examples here, with both an exposed-weave carbon fiber, tinted and glossed to perfection in red/black and green.  The red Regera has chrome-red paintwork to contrast the carbon up the middle. All Koenigsegg’s are targa tops — two cars in one! — and the look is distinct with top up or off.  Off, this is a brutally rounded/chopped speedster.  Top on, and this becomes clearly a 300MPH aero …

Read more HyperGallery – 2017 KOENIGSEGG Regera in 33 New Photos

Audi Q8 Confirmed for 2019 Modelyear [22 New Photos]

We love the designs of both Q8 concepts seen so far: the original in blue at Detroit and this new Q8 Sport Concept from Geneva and NY auto shows.  The bodycolor intake flares in front are gorgeous, the new nose and tail are shockingly cool and fender flares always win friends.  We only dislike its slightly nerdy roofline in profile. After the deeply dull A4/A5 and Q5/Q7 refreshes lately, Audi is showing some design elan with their new Q8 concepts.  This four-seat plugin hybrid (Q8) promises supreme comfort for four.  A platform share with the Q7 moves the back seat …

Read more Audi Q8 Confirmed for 2019 Modelyear [22 New Photos]

2017 BMW 740e xDrive – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

I have driven the car of the future, today. OK, we hear stories like this all the time. And usually, the “Car of the Future” is some cobbled-together prototype that has little likelihood of actually making it to market. Or worse, it points to the time when folks like you and I aren’t needed. Just robots, pal. And if you think an autonomous EV is the wave of the future, I’m going to disagree. While there are plenty of folks who would rather let the machine drive, there are also plenty who still enjoy time behind the wheel. And for …

Read more 2017 BMW 740e xDrive – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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 …

Read more 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid – First Drive Review w/ Video [60 Photos]

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2018 Lexus LC500h at Amelia Island Concours [44 Photos]

Kicking off the slew of posts we have to write from the always-fun Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Amelia Island’s tight layout in the Ritz Carlton hotel in northeast Florida makes for a thrilling sensory overload.  Every step means a one-off car you’ve never seen, never imagined.  Needless to say, you can’t believe your eyes — so much HOT metal! Amelia excels in new-car promotions as well as the pre-war etc Concours categories.  After all, 10k rabid car fans in one place?  Oh, and they are wealthy!?  Let’s do a ride-and-drive! Alfa, Rolls, McLaren, Porsche, Infiniti and Jaguar were the stands. …

Read more 2018 Lexus LC500h at Amelia Island Concours [44 Photos]

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2.8s 2017 Mercedes-AMG GT Concept – LIVE Geneva Debut in 40 Pics

Does this car live up to its preshow hype!?  YES! A four-door fastback supercar with the space of Panamera but the speed of 911 Turbo? Quite a potent blend. The concept wears much body adornment and even a hybrid ERS powertrain teaser.  But this shape is certainly en route to buyers VERY SOON with the standard (!) turbo V8s we have come to know and love from AMG. Look for pricing around 200k when this car makes its way to showrooms about a year from today. Worst thing about it so far?  The name?  This is the AMG GT … …

Read more 2.8s 2017 Mercedes-AMG GT Concept – LIVE Geneva Debut in 40 Pics

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2017 Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept – Geneva Debut w/ Video

We can’t wait for the next generation of ‘small’ Bentleys to start arriving!  No longer saddled with its Audi and VW platform, the Bentley range is set to take a big leap up the performance charts. The revolution started with the Speed 6 concept and now continues with this hybrid Speed 6e cabriolet. Its beauty is nothing short of a stunning!  Still a high bathtub shape in profile, but look closer.  Intricate details like the lower sills and even the hood are carved out, scultped for aero and cleanly proportioned like no recently Flying B. The cabin of this two-seater …

Read more 2017 Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept – Geneva Debut w/ Video

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Road Test Review: 2017 Kia Niro EX – By Carl Malek

Its not too often that we encounter a new vehicle that manages to hit that proverbial sweet spot between practicality, efficiency, and, style. While many vehicles out on the market strive to achieve this deceptively difficult feat, very few succeed. Kia aims to change all that with the 2017 Kia Niro a CUV that not only aims to bring style to the green vehicle segment, but also underpins an all new green car platform for both Kia and Hyundai.     The exterior styling of our Metal Stream hued EX grade tester was a tasteful blend of style and practicality. …

Read more Road Test Review: 2017 Kia Niro EX – By Carl Malek

Road Test Review: 2017 Lexus ES 300h – By Carl Malek

Lexus has been on a roll the past few years. With the recent introductions of the sleek LC coupe, and the technology packed 2018 LS 500 at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, the Japanese luxury brand is firmly focused on adding a new dimension to its ongoing battle with German luxury rivals. The 2017 Lexus ES sedan aims to bring this new-found spirit to the brand’s core audience, but can it still stand out among a crowded field of luxury sedan contenders?     Crisp exterior styling is typically a proven formula when it comes to drawing stares, …

Read more Road Test Review: 2017 Lexus ES 300h – By Carl Malek

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471HP, ~3.8s 2018 Lexus LC500 Pricing and Options Announced

The stunning new LC500 has a pricetag and options list!! The car is making its first appearances at Lexus corporate offices this week ahead of its showroom arrival around April or May of 2017 as a 2018 model. Two variants: the Lc500 making 471 ponies and the LC500h making 354HP for its full hybrid drivetrain are priced from $93k and $97k, respectively. A handful of very desirable options are not to be forgotten when pricing out this hot supercoupe: the Touring pack at four grand and the Sport packages at a few grand more. The Sport pack includes a limited-slip differential …

Read more 471HP, ~3.8s 2018 Lexus LC500 Pricing and Options Announced

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

How Lehman, Obama and Tesla Changed the Car Business – By J.R. Anderson

    Early in the recession, after President Obama bailed out the auto industry, I noticed the largest shift we have ever seen in the auto industry. The majority of vehicles produced before 2010 featured cheap plastic interiors, faux wood grain, uninspired designs, and confusing electronic equipment systems. In those days, most vehicles had terrible handling and very little effort to better fuel economy. In fact, for a while I questioned whether manufacturers and dealers were in cahoots to make vehicles that would ensure customers return for repairs. Then, a few things happened simultaneously. 2008 we experienced the worst recession …

Read more How Lehman, Obama and Tesla Changed the Car Business – By J.R. Anderson

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

Unless you are a newborn baby, (and someone is reading this to you) or you’ve been living in a cave for the last 25 years, you are familiar with Toyota’s Camry. For decades, it has either been the best-selling mid-size family sedan in the US, or one of the top three. It used to compete with only a handful of competitors, but in today’s world, every manufacturer has an excellent mid-size family sedan. And yet, the trusty Camry still soldiers on, and always lands at the top of the sales charts.  And helping those sales figures is the Hybrid version …

Read more 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

2016 Lexus RX450h F Sport AWD – Review By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

Way back in 1998 Lexus introduced the RX model, and it was an instant hit.  In those days it was a unique blend of car and truck. It featured a high seating position for a command of the road, along with the cargo capacity of a large station wagon. The RX offered the smooth quiet ride of a Lexus sedan, along with the luxury interior appointments they’d come to expect from the Lexus brand, and better gas mileage than any truck based vehicle. The public snapped them up like hotcakes. In fact it became the first Lexus model to sell …

Read more 2016 Lexus RX450h F Sport AWD – Review By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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2017 LaFerrari APERTA Goes Topless in Paris

First live look at the hottest topless Ferrari in decades! A softtop and carbon hardtop panel are both provided to the very select owners of this new LaFerrari Aperta.  Chassis stiffness and aero upgrades ensure the same performance as the hardtop variant… but now with added aural pleasure included — gratis. The exclusivity of the model will also provide some added value to its buyers.  No production cap is cited yet by Ferrari, but is likely to be less than a tenth of the 500-plus production run of the LaFerrari so far.  A one-model-year offering is a sure thing, just …

Read more 2017 LaFerrari APERTA Goes Topless in Paris

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2017 Toyota PRIUS – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

  When Toyota brought the first Prius to the US back in 2000, you knew it was a hybrid by driving it, and even just looking at it.  It was an awkward looking thing that seemed to scream cheap sub-compact.  Inside, it wasn’t much better, with cheap looking and feeling materials, and it didn’t offer many amenities.  It was a purpose-built machine incorporating as many weight saving ideas built into it so that it could deliver outstanding gas mileage.  If that meant Spartan interiors and few features, so be it.  If it meant that the car wasn’t fun to drive, …

Read more 2017 Toyota PRIUS – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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2016 Toyota PRIUS Four Touring – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

When Toyota first revealed the 2016 Prius, it signaled a drastic evolution for the hybrid that helped define the green vehicle segment and also established Toyota as a prominent force in green vehicle technology. But has its latest evolution helped the Prius maintain its prominent place in the green vehicle hierarchy? Or has it lost a step or two to an ever evolving suite of green contenders? The exterior styling of our “Hypersonic Red” tester is the latest example of Toyota’s philosophy that the Prius shouldn’t look like a conventional car. While the last generation’s lines could be best described …

Read more 2016 Toyota PRIUS Four Touring – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

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2016 Toyota Prius Four Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The Toyota Prius hasn’t really been on the radar of auto enthusiasts. Oh sure, it’s been technically interesting – and with hybrid powertrains showing up in many supercars these days, you have to give a tip of the hat to Toyota for spearheading the effort. Of course, if you’re a diesel fan, you might not feel so warm and tingly. Where the Europeans have long felt that diesel was the way to get performance with miserly fuel economy, Americans bought into Hybrids in a big way. So big, in fact, that it forced many of the Europeans to develop both …

Read more 2016 Toyota Prius Four Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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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 Lexus CT200h – By Carl Malek

  Looking for a luxury branded vehicle that can deliver Prius grade levels of fuel economy without telling the world that you’re driving a Prius? Lexus thinks that it has the solution with the 2016 Lexus CT 200h, but can this sporty looking eco warrior successfully deliver stellar fuel economy while also living up to the lofty expectations that comes with donning the iconic Lexus badge? The exterior styling of the CT certainly does a stellar job of hiding its Prius roots. Wheras the Toyota’s styling can be best described as being boring and outright amorphous, Lexus designers went for …

Read more Road Test Review – 2016 Lexus CT200h – By Carl Malek

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2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

Tell the truth: when you see one of the big SUV on the road, the first thing you think about is how much the gas costs to run it. And while we are currently enjoying relatively low gas prices right now, trust me, the oil companies are working night and day to reverse that trend.  And they will invent some reason to scare us into believing that gas prices are justified in going up.  But I digress . . . When the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited showed up in my driveway, I was amazed to look on the Monroney Label and …

Read more 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

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Best Ride-Share Cars – By Anthony Fongaro – Featuring 2016 Toyota PRIUS

  By now, you’ve inevitably heard how easy it is to make a little extra cash driving for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. All you have to do is sign up, sign in and get paid to drive people around whenever you want. You probably even know a couple people who moonlight as drivers using their own vehicles. And if you’re like a lot of cash-strapped Americans, maybe you’ve considered signing up yourself. But not all cars make for great ride-sharing vehicles. Usually, the car has to be a 4-door and 2001 or newer unless stated otherwise in major …

Read more Best Ride-Share Cars – By Anthony Fongaro – Featuring 2016 Toyota PRIUS

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First Drive Review – 2016 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid – By Ben Lewis

HYBRIDS.  Thanks for … Somethin’? But first, a little credit where it’s due. Or sacrilege. You be the judge. While we salivate over the Porsche 918 and BMW i8, and at $845,000 and $140,000 respectively, slobbering is about all we’re going to do.  We owe gratitude to the Toyota Prius. Yes, the Prius. While Porsche actually developed the first hybrid automobile in 1901, it was the agrarian little sedan from Toyota that started making hybrid a household name, way back in 1996. And in just 20 years, it has gone from one painfully slow 4-door to become the best selling …

Read more First Drive Review – 2016 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid – 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

2016 BENETTI Fisker 50 – Diesel-Electric Hybrid Superyacht

When the name “Henrik Fisker” comes into conversation, vehicles like the Aston Martin DB9, BMW Z8, and his own vehicle, the Fisker Karma spring to mind. Being a world-renowned designer, it was only time before Fisker would design something without four wheels. Enter the yacht company Benetti. The collaboration between the man behind the Fisker Karma and Benetti yachts has created this: the Benetti Fisker 50 megayacht. The partnership with the two started about a year ago. As for the name, the 50 stands for 50 meters or 164 feet and shows off Fisker’s contemporary design. There are some intelligent …

Read more 2016 BENETTI Fisker 50 – Diesel-Electric Hybrid Superyacht

2017 PRIUS PRIME – Live Photos and Tech Preview – CF Tail, 84mph eVmax

Some really cool new tech and solutions all around the upcoming 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. Quick points on this advanced PHEV flagship: First dual motor/generator unit for the EV system promises much quicker acceleration.  The Prius PHEV was the quickest in the group before, so this is great news! Redesigned nose and tail, with NSX-style new face up front, and carbon-fiber/LED tail that is all-new versus the new 2017 Prius and the 2017 Mirai FCEV. New cabin with giant central touchscreen, a la Tesla, and a full-length central battery placement. Four seats and almost 50/50 weight distribution with low center …

Read more 2017 PRIUS PRIME – Live Photos and Tech Preview – CF Tail, 84mph eVmax

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900HP, ~1.7s 2016 Porsche 919 Hybrid – Upgraded Aero, Revised 400HP eBoost Detailed

Porsche is keeping its cards close to their chest entering the 2016 FIA WEC race series, with numerous tweaks to the car all shrouded in a bit of mystery. Per usual, then, for the 2015 LeMans winners! The rules have changed for the top LMP1 race class in 2016, allowing even less gasoline in the overall mix, but upping the amount of electric power teams can use. As such, the 2.0-liter V4 turbo engine in the 919 Hybrid makes less power than last year in most circumstances: from “well above” 500HP to “below 500HP.” Opaque enough for you?  =] Total power …

Read more 900HP, ~1.7s 2016 Porsche 919 Hybrid – Upgraded Aero, Revised 400HP eBoost Detailed

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid – World Debut at HTTT – New V6TT, 1000HP eAWD Racecar

Toyota GAZOO racing just revealed its 2016 competitor for the highest honor in racing: the WEC LeMans series. This TS050 might look familiar but is packing some radical changes throughout.  The most crucial appears to be a swap to direct-injection for an all-new 2.4-liter V6TT providing the main power to the back wheels. The other big change is a move from supercapacitors for the regen braking to a more conventional, and much higher-output, lithium-ion battery pack system.  Toyota calls the new power pack the 8MJ, and notes it required a full redesign of the entire vehicle, including the transaxle transmission …

Read more 2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid – World Debut at HTTT – New V6TT, 1000HP eAWD Racecar

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2016 GENESIS New York Concept – Design Analysis, Live Photos + Flyaround Video

The standalone launch of the GENESIS brand is in full swing: unique showrooms, unique models of course, and a unique mission to snag high-margin sales from Lexus and BMW. The offshoot is one that has mixed history: Acura is a constant drain on Honda with little upside, as is Infiniti on its Nissan parent. Mazda’s mooted entry with the Amati luxury brand was killed before its launch model, the Millenia, even broke cover. Why? The costs are astronomical and the returns are — as proven — less than a sure thing. Hyundai’s rise from punchline to top-five global automaker in …

Read more 2016 GENESIS New York Concept – Design Analysis, Live Photos + Flyaround Video

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NY Debuts – 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Hybrid – Li-ion eAWD 7-Seater

The brand-new Outlander PHEV from Mitsubishi just brought state-of-the-art to the masses.  And their kids! Lithium-ion batteries in potent 12-kWh form let the car drive as an EV for real distances, seat seven people and even have AWD via twin rear-axle motors. Seriously impressive — and the same template as the Cayenne S E-Hybrid costing nearly $200k. The new Outlander PHEV will have a premium over the $22k base of the gasoline trucks, but should still come in at an estimated $35k base when it arrives in USA showrooms in September 2016 as a 2017 model-year.  Full release below for …

Read more NY Debuts – 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Hybrid – Li-ion eAWD 7-Seater

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#NYIAS Live – Showfloor Mega Gallery – Part One in 222 Photos!

Action-packed New York auto show this year! Much new and very hot metal to see and touch, with highlights including the new GT-R, the 911R, Civic Hatchback and Prius Prime.  MX-5 RF (retractable fastback) is cool too, as is the new 718 Boxster and Buick Encore with its sharp and premium new LEDs. Also included below is the first look at the new Subaru Impreza, Jaguar F-Type SVR and 2018 VW Tiguan. #NYIAS Live – Showfloor Mega Gallery

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid Leads Updated Range (+50 Images)

Very cool to see Acura’s well-liked SH-AWD Hybrid tech join the firm’s best-seller: the MDX! Since its debut on the RLX and now the NSX, the Sport Hybrid has been the saving grace for at least one of those cars.  We’ve yet to sample it but the sheer pace alone is impressive: it drops the RLX’s sprint times almost two seconds.  The tech is tuned more for comfort and efficiency in the MDX Sport Hybrid, adding seven MPG at all times and 35-horsepower too. Will it work the same magic on the MDX? Acura certainly hopes so! The less we …

Read more 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid Leads Updated Range (+50 Images)

5.9s 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance – PHEV with 74-mph MAX eDrive

A survey came out this morning letting Americans know that Germany prefers PHEVs to hybrids or full electric cars. GKN certainly found the insight! Everyone would prefer PHEVs if given the choice! In that vane, the new 330e from BMW is the most evolved form of super-efficient, fast cruising with plug-in battery tech.  Married to a twin-power turbo four, the car produces extremely respectable pace: 5.9-seconds to 60-mph from its combined 248HP and 310 pound-feet of torque.   Effective, everyday MPG will be at least the 50s in normal use. A slightly smaller gas tank (and trunk) is the main compromise. …

Read more 5.9s 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance – PHEV with 74-mph MAX eDrive

Geneva Debuts – 2016 Volvo XC90 EXCELLENCE – Quad-Throne PHEV Limo for Davos Crowd

  Not just Rangies… but S-Classes and Audi A8’s too! The superlux livery market just found a new favorite: the XC90 T8 Excellence. Plugin-hybrid to ease your (guilty) conscience?  Check. SUV-easy entry and exit, plus jumbo cargo bay?  Check. Individual, 787-first-class seats in back with a full-length console and nap-ready headrests? Check. 4×4 grip for ski holidays or slushy commutes home?  Check. Subtle to the point of almost disappearing behind the bright window-edges and deep-tinted glass all around?  Check. The new XC90 Excellence certainly looks great on paper as the next favorite limousine for the Davos crowd. The Excellence order …

Read more Geneva Debuts – 2016 Volvo XC90 EXCELLENCE – Quad-Throne PHEV Limo for Davos Crowd

2016 Chevrolet Silverado eAssist – 500-Unit Hybrid V8 Cali Special

Here is a very smart addition to the world of trucks: a state-of-the-art mild hybrid.  The latest li-ion system from GM promises a 15-percent bump in fuel efficiency for just $500 more than the standard 5.3-liter V8. The system is built into the new eight-speed automatic transmission to add electric drive for 13HP and 44-pound-feet of torque.  Along with an eager stop-start, cylinder-deaction and re-generative braking…. the Silverado 1500 eAssist seems like the way forward in a fuel-savvy world. The system is just set to be offered on the 5.3-liter V8 and not the base V6, and for 2016 will …

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2018 Lexus LC500 Cabrio Rendering

Full details on the new LC500h from Lexus! Very interesting advancements… conforming to few of the hypotheticals we initially posed below. For example, would it be a PHEV?  Would it run a V8? No and no on those fronts. But fear not: a new Li-ion battery system and four-speed EV transaxle in back complements the3.5-liter V6 up front to deliver a ballparked 4.7-second 4.2s sprint to 60-mph.  That is deeply impressive for a machine that also offers a new Hybrid manual gear-shift mode and far less CVT drone than possible before.  Lexus’s explicit promise of “well under 5 seconds to 100-kph” …

Read more 2018 Lexus LC500 Cabrio Rendering

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2017 Lexus LC500h – Next-Gen Hybrid Is V6 Li-ion with 4-Speed eTransaxle

Full details on the new LC500h from Lexus! Very interesting advancements… conforming to few of the hypotheticals we initially posed below. For example, would it be a PHEV?  Would it run a V8? No and no on those fronts. But fear not: a new Li-ion battery system and four-speed EV transaxle in back complements the3.5-liter V6 up front to deliver a ballparked 4.7-second sprint to 60-mph.  That is deeply impressive for a machine that also offers a new Hybrid manual gear-shift mode and far less CVT drone than possible before.  Lexus’s explicit promise of “well under 5 seconds to 100-kph” is …

Read more 2017 Lexus LC500h – Next-Gen Hybrid Is V6 Li-ion with 4-Speed eTransaxle

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2017 Lexus LC500h Joins Geneva Roster with Next-Gen Performance Hybrid System

  Lexus just released its big Geneva news: the 2017 LC500h! This super-sports variant introduces a next-gen hybrid that Lexus calls the Multi Stage Hybrid System. No details on what this entails as of yet, but the new hybrid system promises a big boost in actual sportiness versus just extra efficiency. How will they achieve that ? There are more than a few ways.  First off, Lithium-Ion batteries are expected — which may be their first excursion in the Lexus production hybrid.  Until now, Lexus has stuck to the proven nickel-metal-hydride battery packs so well-known from the Prius and Lexus …

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Top 10 SUPRA-Tastic Design Details – Toyota FT-1 Concept + 88 NEW Photos

NEW FT-1 photos?  Yes ALL NEW…? Sortof. We posted these originally on laptop in Santa Cruz, and the results were iffy.  So we went back to the originals, starting again and bringing the FT-1’s details to high-res glory! The most striking things about the FT-1 in person are its captivating beauty, extremely long-hooded proportions, and intense aero detailing. A stunning car. Let’s appreciate its top 10 design details from up close. The design of the FT-1 is visibly alive.  Functional ventwort in a dozen places around all side brings the wild, swooping fenders and hood into sharp relief.  The aero cuts and ground-effect details make …

Read more Top 10 SUPRA-Tastic Design Details – Toyota FT-1 Concept + 88 NEW Photos

325HP, V6TT 2017 Ford FUSION SPORT Leads Refreshed Midsize Sedan Lineup

A fresh look and new tech throughout the Fusion for 2017! Three EcoBoost engines, a new V6 Sport powertrain is the most powerful midsize Ford sedan in ages — delivering its 325-horsepower and 350-pound-feet of torque through an AWD chassis. All in search of a ~5.5-second sprint to 60-mph — a class-quickest sprint speed! This is huge news versus the previous 240-horsepower EcoBoost that tops out the current Fusion lineup. New nose and tail designs integrate the latest LEDs for a fairly chic look on all sides — if a bit too Focus-like up front in these initial teasers. Very cool …

Read more 325HP, V6TT 2017 Ford FUSION SPORT Leads Refreshed Midsize Sedan Lineup

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2016 Audi h-Tron Quattro Concept – Hypercomplex Tech Showcase Headed for Sale as $100k Tesla Rival as 2018 Q6

Audi’s big news for the Detroit show?  The new 2017 A4 and Q7 — which are set for arrivals to US showrooms in the next few months. Alongside those dull-looking production cars come massive cabin tech enhancements, efficiency boosts and all-new powertrains. A bit more exciting on the appearance front?  This new h-Tron Quattro Concept. Roughly previewing the size of an upcoming Q6 crossover, this latest prototype shows a production-intent hydrogen-electric SUV.  And boy is is complex: multiple tanks of hydrogen power advanced electrics for a range of nearly 400 miles, a 0-60-mph sprint under 7-seconds, and AWD grip just …

Read more 2016 Audi h-Tron Quattro Concept – Hypercomplex Tech Showcase Headed for Sale as $100k Tesla Rival as 2018 Q6