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2019 Lexus ES350 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The Lexus ES has always been a nice car. It was one of two models offered by Toyota’s luxury division when it launched in 1990. The LS400 was an all-new technological tour de force that took on Europe – and America’s – finest, and showed that the Japanese could compete and win on the world stage. And then there was the ES. Basically, a Camry with sporty C-pillar that was sold in other markets, Lexus put a heavy ladle of luxury on it, but compared to the LS, it was kind of lukewarm. In many ways, that has remained the …

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2019 Mazda6 Turbo – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Some say the sedan is dead, that the SUV/Crossover buried it. We say poppycock. (Actually, no one says poppycock anymore, but it keeps us out of trouble with the language nannies). Proof? Look at the aggressive tack we’re seeing right now, with an all-new sporty Toyota Camry, an all-new Honda Accord with available detuned Civic Type R motor, and all-new Nissan Altima with a world’s first Variable displacement turbo engine.  Sedans are back and they’re mad as heck. With all this new sheetmetal on sale, it’s got to be tough for a not-so-new sedan like the Mazda 6 to keep …

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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 …

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2019 Kia Optima SX Turbo – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Time flies. The last Kia Optima Turbo we tested was a 2016 model, and here we are behind the wheel of a 2019. What’s changed? Well for the Optima, it’s been constantly refined – 2017 saw a plug-in hybrid model added, 2018 saw some upgraded connectivity, and now for 2019, a host of safety equipment is standard across the range. There’s also a freshened face and rear, and the UVO infotainment system gets an upgrade. All good, admirable things for the car that in 2016, we called the most affordable Audi you can get. Yep, that good. But in those …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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2018 Audi S5 Sportback 3.0T quattro Tiptronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We can thank the SUV/Crossover craze again for this – with buyers so used to the flexibility of the big box, it has raised interest again in wagons and hatchbacks. Interesting, because a few years ago, manufacturers were saying customers didn’t want hatches and wags – but the customer is king! I want my Sportback back, Sportback back, Sportback back… Yes, this does make us hungry for ribs, but let’s go on. When Audi recently introduced their new A5 Coupe – which we tested and loved – they also introduced a 4-door hatchback model they named “Sportback”.  Even more exciting, …

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Road Test Review – 2018 Kia Stinger AWD 2.0T – By Carl Malek

It’s no secret that Kia has undergone a transformation the past few years. Once known for making products that were cheap and not much else, the Korean car brand has now embraced a fresh new wave of substance, thanks to models such as the Optima, and the flagship K900 sedans. The newest member of the family is the 2018 Kia Stinger, which aims to compete with the best that Europe has to offer. But can the Stinger hold its own against benchmarks like the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C-Class? or does it lack the venom needed to make a …

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