Road Test Review – 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – By Carl Malek

When we last met the Mitsubishi Outlander, it was in its base 2.4 liter form and it proved to be a very reliable steed, with the one we had impressing us with its Prius like fuel economy on a summer road trip from our Metro Detroit office to Wisconsin for a press association event. But what if your an SUV buyer who thinks even this insane display of fuel economy isn’t enough for your needs? Mitsubishi has you covered with the all new Outlander PHEV. But does it retain some of the subtle charms that allowed its four cylinder counterpart to crawl its way into a well deserved spot in our hearts? or has it lost some of its basic virtues in the quest for even more fuel economy?   Budget Focused Style: When viewed alongside its pure gasoline powered cousin, the Outlander PHEV shares a lot of the same …

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2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4×4 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It’s amazing what legendary heritage can do for your ride. We had some rain this last week – actual, pouring rain in SoCal! – that created floods, mudslides, and nasty driving conditions. But we weren’t worried in the least. We were driving a 2019 Jeep Cherokee. Yes, there are probably lots of capable foul-weather,crappy-condition vehicles, but when the going gets tough, it’s reassuring to be behind the brand that’s always meant “I’ll get you there”. And when you advertise that you’re “The Most Capable SUV” in your segment, you should have the goods to back it up. A Grander Cherokee The first thing about the 2019 model is a pretty serious facelift, bringing the Cherokee into line with the more upscale Grand Cherokee model, and giving it a more commanding presence. It also addresses some criticism of the previous design as being too polarizing. An all-new front end includes a …

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2018 Honda CR-V 1.5T AWD Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It’s amazing how time flies in the auto industry. Especially in the compact SUV segment. We tested the all-new 2017 CR-V less than a year ago, but it’s got loads of competitors nibbling at its heels, from an all-new Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Toyota RAV4 plus a heavily-revised Jeep Cherokee. And don’t forget the Nissan Rogue Sport, Hyundai Kona and other ilk, that are a little smaller, but still in the hunt. How you holdin’ up? Being such a competitive segment, most manufacturers seem willing to be more expressive in their styling – you don’t want to be lost in the crowd. In that crowd, the CR-V still looks great, but where it felt edgy last year, it’s migrated over to the more conservative side of the party. Not a problem though, we like it looking more upscale and stylish, vs outdoorsy and rugged. Being a top of …

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Lincoln Unveils 2020 Aviator, Second Attempt Brings New Tech, Flair To Luxury SUV Market

Lincoln is out to up its presence in the utility segment and while entries such as the Navigator, Nautilus, and MKC have helped spearhead this effort, a notable omission void has always existed between the Navigator and the Nautilus. Lincoln is out to solve that problem, and has unveiled the 2020 Lincoln Aviator to not only pump some juice back into the segment, but also showcasing the next step in Lincoln’s broader transformation plan. While the Aviator in its current form is all new, the reappearance of the moniker is actually the second attempt Lincoln has made to try and make it work with customers. The original 2002-2005 Aviator was also based on the Explorer, but its V8 only powertrain and its Navigator inspired suit of clothes did little to boost its tepid sales figures, as well as eliminate the obvious badge engineering that customers noticed when they nestled behind …

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2019 Subaru ASCENT Premium – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve always admired that Subaru stays true to its roots. A clever mix of marketing and engineering makes Subie owners set apart from the crowd. And in an age where so many brands seem to offer similar products, that difference is a fresh and welcome breeze. That said, Subaru doesn’t operate in a vacuum – they have to offer vehicles that buyers want. A perfect example is the 3-row crossover. Right now, that 7-passenger capability is a hot ticket, and we’ve seen everything from the new VW Tiguan to Kia Sorento stepping up to snag a bite of that apple. One Giant Step for Subaru Enter the Ascent, Subaru’s all-new, family-size, 3-row SUV. And as a matter of fact, the largest Subaru ever offered for sale. We should note that it’s not the maker’s first whack at the segment way back in 2008 they introduced the Tribeca. More of a …

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Honda Teases Rugged and Capable 2019 Passport SUV Ahead of L.A. Debut

Honda’s versatile SUV and CUV lineup currently offers buyers five distinct choices to choose from, but later this month, they will be joined by a sixth entrant that not only brings back an iconic moniker to the scene after several decades, but also the versatility and off road prowess that has been noticeably absent from Honda lineup, the 2019 Honda Passport.   We will admit, the first teasers that Honda released don’t show much to the untrained eye, with the Passport’s rear end obscured by a plume of tire generated dirt, and a brief video segment of the Passport tackling an off road trail, with Honda stealing a page out of Jaguar’s playbook by rewarding the viewer with a birds eye view of the off-roader in motion. What is known is that the Passport will bear a very slight resemblance to the larger Pilot, with unique taillights serving as the …

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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 powers only the front wheels. One electric motor assists the front wheels, one drives the rear wheels and a third is used to generate electricity from the gas engine. While the power ratings aren’t up much from RX350, the electric motors and CVT do make the acceleration feel strong no …

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2019 Kia Sorento SXL AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’re suckers for a good ad campaign. And when we saw the new Kia Sorento ad, with it climbing a heinous off-road course at Hell’s Gate, Moab, Utah, we thought – “hey, we haven’t been in a Sorento in a while”. Time to make that right. Well, it’s a perfect time to test the ’19 Sorento, as it features some significant upgrades that take this likable 3-row crossover a step up in the desirability department. Devilishly Handsome. The Sorento has always been a good-looking piece, with an upscale-vibe and a rugged square-shouldered look. Its last complete redesign was in 2016.  For 2019, it’s even more attractive with a revised front end with new headlamp configuration bracketing a new grille. On SX models like ours, you get added bling with full LED lighting, and the “ice-cube” style fog lights that are shared with other models, including the Sportage we recently reviewed. …

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

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

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