Road Test Review – 2021 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition – Does Art Make The Highlander Better?

The Toyota Highlander is an SUV entry that largely follows the same script that has come to define many others in its segment. It’s large, has the ability to haul up to three rows of passengers, and has doubled down on its attempts to be a fuel miser with an available hybrid equipped four-cylinder. These things individually are all good traits, but we won’t be shocked if they failed to make the Highlander ring a bell in your memory bank. The Japanese auto giant thinks it might have just the thing with the all-new Highlander Bronze Edition, but is this …

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2022 Kia Sorento PHEV SX-Prestige AWD review by Ben Lewis

Like we’ve noted before, the Kia Sorento has one big problem – it lives in the shadow of its big brother the Telluride. Ok, the Telly does deserve the acclaim it’s a great 3-row SUV that looks, goes and performs just how you’d want a big SUV to. But the Sorento has a lot going for it, too. In fact, while it’s smaller, it still serves up 3 rows of seats, and we’d argue it’s a more advanced vehicle, first being offered in a Hybrid model, and now with a new for ’22 PHEV plug-in hybrid variant. And with the …

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Road Test Review – 2022 Toyota Venza Limited – A Reboot That Embraces The Green Side Of Life

When We last saw the Toyota Venza it was a much different offering. Designed to be a comfortable crossover for empty nesters, the Venza’s sales reflected this with that version performing well below Toyota’s expectations of 75,000 to 100,000 sales per year. However, going full circle can sometimes be a good thing and Toyota is aiming to achieve just that with the 2022 Venza. This iteration of the Venza appears to have alot of the core attributes down, but are they all enough to finally make it a sales winner? Venza Styling Goes In Radical But More Aerodynamic Direction The …

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2022 Lexus NX 350 F SPORT Handling AWD review by Ben Lewis

We’re always happy to test a new Lexus – but a little like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes they are just lovely, refined vehicles that you’d be happy for your grandparents to toddle around town in. But lately, Toyota’s luxury division has been messing with us – throwing some Jalapeno poppers into our box of creamy nougats. The IS 350 and IS 500 are both jaw-droppers – thrilling to drive, stunning to look at, proof that Lexus is ready to take on the world’s best and give them a good stomping. …

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Mazda CX-60 Debuts With PHEV Performance, New Rear Wheel Drive Platform

It wasn’t too long ago that Mazda teased the CX-60 SUV which is the next strategic piece in the company’s push towards enhancing its presence in the utility vehicle market. With the smaller CX-50 poised to make a splash in the U.S., the CX-60 is looking to achieve the same feat across the pond in European markets.   New CX-60 Platform Embraces Rear Wheel Drive The CX-60 is a bigger SUV offering and that extra size means a new platform with the CX-60 being the first of these new CX models to use an all-new rear-wheel-drive-focused platform. This platform has …

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Road Test Review – 2021 Santa Fe Hybrid Limited (AWD) – A Good Hybrid Family Option?

If you were to ask a passerby what company is best known for hybrid SUVs? The chances are good that most respondents will say Toyota and typically leave others like Hyundai in the back of their minds. While Hyundai has made great strides in enhancing its green-vehicle presence with models like the Ioniq hybrid lineup, their SUVs have been late to the party when it comes to hybrid technology. But the firm is aiming to change that and has done so in many ways, including models like the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited. But does an infusion of hybrid …

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Aston Martin DBX Debuts Straight Six Engine, Will Be Chinese Exclusive

When we last drove the Aston Martin DBX, we fell in love with the delightful noises that emanated from its twin-turbocharged V8 and the way it managed to blur the line between a sports car and a sports utility vehicle when it came to going through the motions. However, we were curious to see how the DBX would accommodate smaller engines especially considering the company’s strong partnership with Mercedes-Benz. The world got a glimpse of this future today with the all-new DBX straight-six model.   Fewer Cylinders Means More DBX Fuel Economy Before we get into the details surrounding this …

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2021 Lexus NX 300h

2021 Lexus NX 300h Luxury Review

On It’s Way Out The 2021 Lexus NX is being redesigned for 2022, but how does this outgoing model stack up to the competition? Outside The exterior of the 2021 NX 300h is sleek and modern and really doesn’t look like it’s in need of an update. Up front, the signature Lexus spindle grill is massive and prominent. Projector LED headlights sit up high with Nike swoosh daytime running lights just below them. LED fog lights sit inside of aesthetic cooling ducts at the bottom of the bumper. Moving down the side, the small proportions of the NX become more …

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2021 Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new VW ID.4 EV and loved a lot about it. But there’s part of us that still loves the sound and feel of a good old gas engine. Is there a best of both world’s vehicle? Well, we just tested the Audi Q5 plug-in hybrid to find out if we can have our EV thrills and conventional engine cake all in one bite. Let’s look. Fresh Face For 2021 Audi has freshened the looks of what was already a handsome SUV. Up front, you’ll see the octagonal Singleframe grille is thinner and wider, with taller side …

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2022 Kia Niro Hybrid Gets Revamped Badge, Tweaked Pricing Ladder

As a wise man once said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It appears that the folks at Kia took this lesson to heart when it came to the 2022 Kia Niro and as a result, it appears to be fundamentally unchanged from the outgoing model. However, look closer and you’ll see that Kia made some minor revisions to the Niro which allow it to march in unison with the rest of the updated Kia lineup.   New Badging Is Sole Update In 2022 Niro When we said minor revisions, we’re not kidding in that regards with Kia designers …

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Road Test Review – 2021 Lexus NX 300h Black Line Edition – A Sporty Send Off Before The Next Gen Arrives

Lexus is preparing a new iteration of the urban-centric NX CUV, but before that model arrives, the Japanese luxury giant has unleashed one last sporty surprise into the marketplace with the 2021 NX 300h Black Line Edition. Black Line Edition models blend sporty styling cues with an interior that puts distinction and refinement in the driver’s seat. The RX Black Line Edition has been a success for Lexus so far, but can some of this sales magic translate into a smaller CUV?   Black Line Edition Adds Depth To NX Range That depth starts on the exterior of the NX, …

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Lexus RX To Receive Black Line Edition Model For 2022, Will Join RXL In Offering Sporty Styling Package

When Lexus first revealed that the RX lineup was to receive the Black Line Edition treatment, the package was originally limited to the RXL extended-wheelbase model, which is the company’s half-baked attempt at creating a three passenger CUV for minimal investment. That announcement left us wondering about the standard RX and whether the Black Line would migrate to that variant of RX? Lexus revealed that it’s bringing things full circle and will introduce the Black Line Edition to those models for 2022.   Darkened Styling Adds Substance To RX’s Styling This version follows the path set by other models equipped …

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Road Test Review – 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 – Private Jet Luxury For The Open Road

Ever wondered what would happen if you took a private jet, sliced off the wings, and infused all of its luxuries into a large SUV? The idea of a luxury-laden large SUV is nothing new. Still, ultra-luxury automakers’ current push into this once unoccupied space is a recent development with Bentley and Rolls-Royce all entering the fray. With these big British luxury names throwing their hats in the ring, it only fits that Mercedes-Benz wanted a slice of the pie for itself and has created the all-new 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600. But can this first-ever Maybach SUV lure buyers away from …

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2021 Lexus NX300h Black Line Special Edition Review by Ben Lewis

So, this is always a tough thing to do – a review of an existing model when an all-new model has been previewed. Well, that’s the problem here – an all new 2022 Lexus NX is waiting in the wings, so the question is should you wait, or plump for the 2021 NX? Let’s take a drive in the current model and find out! Blue Thunder The NX hasn’t changed much visually since it got a refresh in 2018, but that’s okay, it was a stunner then, and it is still a bold, strong presence. Up front, you get key …

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2022 Lexus NX Goes For Maximum Styling, Debuts New 450h+ Model

The Lexus NX is the Japanese luxury brand’s entry for city-dwelling millennials and Gen Z buyers looking for a utility that not only delivers the goods in terms of luxury appointments but is also compact enough to zip its way through city streets. While the NX proved to be popular with buyers, Lexus admitted that the outgoing model wasn’t perfect and has attempted to fix all of its shortcomings with the 2022 NX.   Slicker Styling Aims To Turn More Heads And Project A Sportier Image The exterior styling of the outgoing NX was, for better or for worse, a …

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2021 KIA Sorento Hybrid EX Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2021 Kia Telluride, and noted how for the past years, the Korean manufacturer has been on a roll, creating many exciting, desirable and affordable vehicles. Now we have an all-new, 3-row Sorento, which competes in one of the hottest SUV segments. Can Kia hit another one out of the park? Let’s see. Good Looking! Well if first impressions are the most important, the 2021 Sorento is off to a great start. The front end is recognizably Kia with the familiar “Tiger Nose” grill, although now the shape is more subtle, as it is framed by LED …

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Ford Explorer Platinum Gains RWD Variant For 2021, Also Goes Green With Hybrid Model

With the 2021 Enthusiast ST stealing the show in regards to the Explorer’s 2021 updates, Ford wanted to ensure that no stone was left unturned and has revealed that the range-topping Explorer Platinum will also receive some new additions for 2021 with the trim now adding a rear-wheel-drive option and even a hybrid flavored model for fuel-conscious buyers.   Rear Wheel Drive For The Jet Set Sets Explorer Platinum Apart In its base form, the $54,480 Explorer Platinum is a very potent statement of luxury with perforated leather seats, warm wood accents, and standard all-wheel-drive to buyers looking to have …

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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 …

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2021 BMW X5 X Drive 45e by Ben Lewis

Amazing how quickly time and technology change things. It used to be an EV was a golf cart, and a hybrid was one of the agrarian looking Toyota Prius models. The good thing is, there are a lot of talented engineers that work for the automakers, and the vehicles we get today are exciting and fun – no matter what may be under the hood. And a perfect example of today’s performance hybrid is the 2021 BMW X5 with the all-new 45e plug-in hybrid system. If you were expecting something for the Birkenstock and Bean Sprout crowd, the X5 will …

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Road Test Review – 2020 Toyota RAV4 Limited Hybrid – Does Luxury and Green Driving Mix?

The RAV4 has emerged as one of the most versatile SUVs in Toyota‘s vehicle arsenal. The RAV4 has a foundation that can be suited for a wide variety of uses including camping as we proved in a prior RAV4 related test and even in the plug-in realm with the recently launched RAV4 Prime. But what if your a buyer that’s looking for something that can sip fuel instead and also deliver decent amounts of comfort for the money? Toyota may have just the solution for you with the RAV4 Hybrid Limited. But does this particular flavor of RAV4 go far …

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Lexus swings for the fences with the 2020 Lexus UX 250h hybrid, comes up short

It’s no secret that Lexus practically invented the luxury SUV category when it first debuted the RX a few decades ago. The RX was a hit and it rode a proverbial sales rocket towards the top of the segment. Despite some recent challenges by a few rivals, Lexus is clearly trying to replicate the success of that model. It’s doing so by introducing a diverse range of smaller crossover models but can models like the 2020 UX 250h hybrid bring some much needed to the lineup? Or is it a noteworthy dead end? Controversial styling reigns supreme on UX The …

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE AWD

If I say name the fastest 4-door Toyota right now, with over 300 hp and 0-60 under 6 seconds what would you say? Camry TRD? Avalon? Nope. It’s the Toyota RAV4 Prime. Wait a sec. The friendly and familiar RAV4 SUV? A performance vehicle? Yep, and then some. Toyota has been on a roll lately, and they’ve making fun to drive a big part of their new direction as a brand. Camry, Corolla, Supra, heck, even the Highlander is a lot more fun than it used to be. And where hybrids used to be just for super-efficiency, Toyota is showing …

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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 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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Road Test Review – 2020 Toyota Highlander: Platinum Hybrid

It seems that there is no shortage of capable three row SUVs to choose from these days. With the segment currently going through a massive boom time, manufacturers big and small have unleashed a whole swath of models to try and cash in on the pent up demand. The Ford Explorer, Hyundai Palisade and the Honda Pilot are just some of the popular marques out in the market place today. However, the Volkswagen Atlas Mazda CX-9 and the Subaru Ascent are eager to disrupt the established pecking order. One of the veteran offerings is the Toyota Highlander which underwent a …

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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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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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