2023 Kia Soul Gets New Updates, Pitches Turbo Model

The Kia Soul has proven to be a winner for Kia in terms of sales with the 2023 model enhancing the design and technology for buyers in its latest round of updates. However, this has come at a cost, with Kia confirming that the spicy turbo model is getting the ax in 2023.    Slight Tweaks Maintain Core Soul Essentials Unlike other mid-cycle updates, the Soul’s takes a lighter approach when it comes to its exterior updates. The front fascia has the most noticeable improvements with the headlights being larger than before while the lower lights appear to have vanished. …

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2021 Hyundai Venue Denim Review by Ben Lewis

When we first tested the Hyundai Venue, we commented on how the small affordable SUV, with models like the Toyota C-HR and Honda HR-V had come of age. Wow, with the rise in prices everywhere, the bulging gas bills, etc.…we feel like we should have been on the psychic network. So, it felt like a good time to look again at one of the best small vehicles for the buck, the Hyundai Venue crossover/SUV. Style to Make You Smile The Venue first strikes you with its size. 5 inches shorter than the Kona crossover, it looks perfect for duking it …

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2021 Land Rover Defender 90 First Edition Review by Ben Lewis

So, we road test a lot of different vehicles. And some of them are very expensive, status-y models, and it’s no surprise that you get an interesting range of responses. Often times with the pricey ones, you get pushback, the anti-snobbism. So, it’s interesting when you have a vehicle that’s a luxury brand, loaded with status, yet everyone seems to love it. Case in point – our 2021 Land Rover Defender 90. It’s a charmer. Lovable Looks Well, the first thing that bowls people over is the Defender’s design. Our 2-door 90 model looks like a giant Tonka Toy – …

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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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2022 Toyota Corolla Cross review by Ben Lewis

This may come as no surprise to you, but the best-selling nameplate in history is Corolla. Yep, Toyota has been making them for over 50 years, and selling them like crazy the whole time. So, with the ever-continuing growth of small SUVs, it seems only natural that the carmaker would combine an SUV with the Corolla name. Welcome to the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross! Stylish but mainstream Two things strike you about the Corolla Cross. First of all, while it is stylish, there is nothing that screams Toyota or Corolla about it. We guess Corolla buyers aren’t the kind to …

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2022 Mazda CX-9 Carbon Edition Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Toyota Sienna minivan, and found the “Swagger Wagon” to still be in effect, a great vehicle. But for many, the word minivan has too many negative connotations. And that’s why we’ve seen a huge upsurge of three-row SUV’s, from the large and princely Kia Telluride and Hyundai Pallisade, to smaller models, where that 3rd row is pretty much for occasional use. And one of our favorites of the occasional 3rd row SUVs is the Mazda CX-9. It may give you bumped knees in row #3, but it gives you back so much more! Let’s take a …

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Jeep Unveils First EV Model, Will Be Making Appearance Next Year To Take On Segment Benchmarks

Stellantis promised to make waves when the firm revealed that it intended to launch a full-scale assault on the EV market with an army of BEV offerings. While we have seen a few of these models in concept form, Stellantis kept the production versions of these models largely out of the public eye. That’s starting to change though with the Jeep brand releasing a pair of images of its first production EV SUV.   Aiming For The Compact Segment The SUV in today’s images doesn’t have a name yet, but we can still dissect some of the goals that Jeep …

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2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Subaru Outback Wilderness and loved the added capability and looks that the manufacturer gave its popular SUV/Wagon – doing what many owners have been doing for a while but giving it the factory goodness to raise it all to a new level. So, it only makes sense that Subie did the same idea to the popular Forester – so is it equally successful, even more successful, or maybe a marketing flop? Let’s take a look! The Wild Blue   The Forester Wilderness makes a strong first impression, thanks to our tester’s available exclusive Geyser Blue paint. …

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Road Test Review – 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL R-Line – Sporty Styling Hides Conservative Character

The SUV wars have forced many automakers to rethink and change the way they approach certain segments of the SUV market. That has included Volkswagen which has shifted gears in its attempts to woo customers. It wasn’t too long ago that buyers could purchase a standard Golf hatchback, but the surging popularity of models like the Tiguan and the recently launched Volkswagen Taos forced the Golf to be a Europe only offering with the performance infused GTI and R models being the two sole remaining members of its species. The Tiguan in particular has become a key part of Volkswagen’s …

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Alfa Romeo Finally Reveals 2023 Tonale CUV, Aims To Reinflate Alfa’s Sales Projections

The Alfa Romeo Tonale has been a long-awaited and quite frankly overdue response to the rapid growth in the CUV segment. Alfa Romeo has long been limited to two models (the Giulia and the Stelvio) with the combined sales total of the two models in the U.S. lagging behind some of its luxury rivals. The Tonale aims to change all that and not only allows the Italian performance brand to offer a smaller utility offering, but also embraces the growing trend towards electrification too.   Tonale Packs Performance In Smaller Package The Tonale share some of its underpinnings with the …

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2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz 2.5T Limited review by Ben Lewis

We were really excited to test the new Hyundai Santa Cruz. While and SUV-type vehicle with a truck bed isn’t a new idea, – the original Subaru Brat, the Subaru Baja and even the Honda Ridgeline – fit the bill, It seems like a great time for this kind of vehicle. So, let’s take a cruise in the Santa Cruz! What Today’s Truck is Wearing Well, let’s start with saying we love the looks. Built off the Tucson SUV platform, there are a lot of similarities – no problem there, that’s borrowing from one of Hyundai’s best designs. Up front …

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Road Test Review – 2021 Mazda MX-30 – Mazda Enters The EV Wars, Misses The Memo On Range

When Mazda crafted the MX-30 EV CUV, they wanted to achieve three key things with it. They wanted it to be a potent spearhead for their EV projects, a stylish family commuter, and a testbed to learn from. We recently had a chance to spend time with the MX-30, and while it does have some potential in a few categories, Mazda missed the mark in one essential category, range.   Eye Catching Suit Of Clothes Draws Plenty Of Attention Before we get into some of the other things that make the MX-30 stand out from rivals, we might as well …

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Honda Teases 2023 HR-V SUV, Joins Acura In Sharing Long Term Plans

The road map to the future is full of twists and turns, and many automakers are preparing for a future where green vehicles are rapidly becoming a vital component of the broader sales sphere. Honda is no exception, and the Japanese auto giant has revealed that it not only plans to roll out a next-generation Honda HR-V SUV but also revealed that plug-in hybrid models are not in the final blueprint for both Honda and luxury brand Acura.   Next Generation HR-V Promises To Be Unique For North America The Honda HR-V has made a splash since it arrived on …

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2022 Kia Niro EV Review by Ben Lewis

We’re all pretty familiar with makers like Tesla and RIVIAN, showcases of what EV vehicles can do. And while they are great vehicles, they are expensive. If you want to own the hearts and minds of regular folks, you’ll need something more affordable. Enter the Kia Niro EV. The Niro has been one Kia’s most popular crossovers for a while now, and being offered in Hybrid and plug-in Hybrid versions, it’s a showcase for advanced power tech. But is the full-on EV model the one to make you give up your need for gasoline? Let’s take a look. Modern and …

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VinFast Unveils All Electric Lineup, Will Build U.S. Battery Plant

Vietnam-based VinFast made a splash at CES 2022 when the company not only revealed its full lineup of EV vehicles but also confirmed that it will be building a battery cell plant in the U.S. which will not only help bring new jobs but also allow VinFast to secure a key step in its ongoing efforts towards entering the U.S. market.    A Gasoline Free VinFast A big slice of news that the company revealed right out the gate is that the young company will have a lineup free of gasoline-powered models by the end of the year. VinFast (part …

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2022 Hyundai Kona Limited AWD review by Ben Lewis

Well, we’re spending the holidays in Kona. No, not the balmy town on the Big Island of Hawaii (we wish) but something nearly as fun – the heavily revised 2022 Hyundai Kona. It’s long been one of our favorite small SUV’s – especially if you pony up for the turbocharged model. So, does it remain a vacation from other sleepy small SUVs? Let’s take a look. Go For the Bold The exterior has gotten a major freshening, and while we were frankly pretty happy with previous design, we’ve got no complaints with the new duds. Up front, a larger split …

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2022 Acura RDX A-SPEC ADVANCE Review by Ben Lewis

2 years ago, we reviewed the then all-new RDX and were mightily impressed with both the SUV, but also direction the brand had been going. This was before the massive upgrade we saw on the TLX, and the introduction of the soon-coming, Integra 4-door. But if you thought Acura would catch a breather, you’re wrong. We’ve just tested the 2022 model, and there are significant upgrades all around. Re-test one of our favorites? You bet! Bolder = Better The RDX was one of the first to get a hunk of love from the brand’s new design language, taking what was …

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited Review by Ben Lewis

The compact SUV segment remains on fire, even if dealers are scrambling to find inventory to sell, and some are packing ridiculous markups on the sticker. And Outside of a few full-size pickup trucks, the number one selling vehicle is the RAV4. So, we know Toyota knows what it’s doing, and it’s also probably in the crosshairs of every other carmaker. We recently tested the new Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 and they all are excellent, and none of them are standing still, with everything from small changes to all-new vehicles being touted in front of buyers to …

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2022 Hyundai Kona N Pricing Announced, Will Start At $36,650

Hyundai promised to keep the upcoming Kona N a juicy value-focused play for CUV buyers looking to add some track-ready capability to their daily commute. We have learned other details surrounding the Kona N but pricing remained an elusive slice of information, until now. Hyundai confirmed final pricing for the 2022 Kona N and it appears that they have kept their promise.   Kona N Firmly In $30,000 Range, Will Be Unique CUV Offering A big selling point of any Kona is the combination of value and features that come packed into it. It appears that the N model follows …

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2022 Buick Envision Avenir FWD review by Ben Lewis

So, when someone asks us about what’s hot in compact-size SUVs, they’re probably expecting us to mention Audi or BMW. Maybe Acura. Or Kia, they’re on a roll…It’s fun to see the looks on their face when we say Buick. Maybe you have that same look on your face? Well, you shouldn’t, because there’s an all-new Buick Envision, and it is one gorgeous SUV, inside and out. Let’s take a look. Bold and Buick This is simply one of the most handsome compact SUVs out there. Up front there’s a mesh grille unique to our top-of-the-line Avenir trim, that surrounds …

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BMW x5 45e

2021 BMW X5 45e Review

The Plug In Hybrid X5 The X5 has been a big hit worldwide since its inception and now the plug in hybrid BMW X5 45e is adding another aspect to the lineup. Outside To the untrained eye, there isn’t much to obviously set the X5 45e apart from the rest of the X5 lineup.  Up front the kidney grille is just as large and in your face as on other X5’s. The lower bumper opening is also oversized with additional large vents on the outside edges. Everything about the front end is big. Newer to the US market are the …

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2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Edition Review by Ben Lewis

The Outback is a huge success for Subaru, and extremely well-loved among the Subie faithful. And those faithful come in all types too, from those who want something just a little more confident in snow and slick weather to serious off-roaders and outlanders willing to travel the edges of the earth, paved or unpaved. For those go out-there and get-em types, it’s quite common to see an Outback riding around on a raised suspension with blacked out wheels, protective cladding, and racks capable carrying some serious gear. So, Subaru thought, why let the aftermarket have all the fun? Let’s build …

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Subaru Solterra EV SUV Revealed Ahead Of L.A., Goes Beyond Badge Engineering

Subaru has spent the past few months slowly teasing the all-new Solterra EV, the first all-electric offering that the company has produced while also solidifying its partnership with Toyota. The Solterra is making its debut at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, and the company has decided to release a few more photos of the EV ahead of its debut under the lights in L.A.   Toyota DNA Is Evident But Solterra Has Subaru Charm Too When you first look at the Solterra, its uncanny resemblance to the Toyota bZ4x is evident when you look at its exterior styling. While …

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2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited HTRAC review by Ben Lewis

Here we are testing the all-new 2002 Hyundai Tucson, the vehicle that is the maker’s best-selling model globally, so it must be the standard bearer for the direction the company is going. And in the US, the compact SUV segment is huge as well. So, no pressure then, for the new model! But we have been consistently impressed with all the new Hyundais we’ve driven, from the full-size Pallisade SUV to the Elantra and Sonata sedans. Is the new Tucson ready to take on world? Let’s find out. Stunning Looks Well, if you’re going to make a good first impression, …

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2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX review by Ben Lewis

If we say large Kia SUV, what do you say? You’d probably say “Telluride”.  And we can’t blame you, the rugged 3-row SUV has been a huge hit, and right now, many are commanding impressive amounts above sticker on the showroom floor. But there’s another 3-row Kia that should be on your radar as well – the all-new 2021 Kia Sorento. Does the Telly’s little brother live up to the family image? Let’s look. Bold Style This is the 4th generation Sorento, and like the Telluride and Carnival minivan, it is modern, crisp, and sporty. Designed by Kia’s California design …

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Honda Unveils Rally Bred Passport SUV, Will Compete In American Rally Association

It wasn’t too long ago that Honda focused on promoting reliability, practicality, and value with its utility vehicle lineup. While this certainly catered to a wide swath of buyers, that meant putting things such as off-road capability, trail readiness, and fun on the backburner. Thankfully, the Japanese auto giant is finally changing its tune on those latter three and has put a greater emphasis on promoting them to consumers. That includes the growing TrailSport lineup, but Honda promises these models are just the first act in a broader show. We got to see a slice of this on the motorsport …

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2022 VW Taos SEL FWD review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new VW ID.4 EV SUV and came away impressed. VW is on a roll. So, we were equally excited to test the all-new Taos, their smallest SUV that slots below the Tiguan. And since the automaker no longer is going to sell a Golf TSI hatchback, the Taos is your go-to for affordable and capable VW-ness. Let’s see if VW has another hit, or a sophomore slump. Family Resemblance Well, the exterior is clearly VW. And in the case of Taos, it’s a big player – it is almost as large as its big brother Tiguan, …

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Road Test Review – 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim – As Capable And Value Filled As A Pair Of Slick Jeans

The sport utility market seems to be at its breaking point when it comes to the sheer number of offerings that are available in the market today. From big to small, it’s apparent that the world’s automakers are trying to fill every possible niche in the battle for SUV dominance. The Hyundai Venue is one of those that are trying to make its mark in the compact SUV segment. But does the Venue still have what it takes to bring it to competitors looking to trounce it on value? And why does our tester look like a pair of blue …

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2021 VW ID.4 PRO S review by Ben Lewis

We really admire VW. After the Dieselgate trauma, the brand was really on the ropes, especially here in the U.S. We wouldn’t have been surprised if the German brand would have pulled out of the US market. But they didn’t. Instead, the fixed what was wrong with the Diesels, and started building exciting new models, like the all-new GTI and the Jetta GLI. VW also threw itself into being one of the leaders in EV tech. The first offering we saw was the E-Golf that we really enjoyed, but like many other carmakers, it was taking an existing vehicle and …

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Toyota Announces Official 2022 Corolla Cross Pricing, Sales Start In October

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross was initially an international market-only model, but the Japanese car giant unveiled the U.S. spec version of the model back in June. We had some questions about where the Corolla Cross would fit in the company’s utility lineup. Still, the Japanese auto giant has dropped a hint with Toyota reps revealing the official pricing ladder for the Corolla Cross before it goes on sale in October.   Value-Conscious And Proud Of It The Corolla Cross helps Toyota fill a budget-sized void in its crossover lineup. Base models start at $23,410 when you include the $1,215 …

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2021 Honda CR-V 1.5T AWD Touring review by Ben Lewis

Sometimes you wonder about something that’s a best-seller. Are they really good, and everybody knows about it? Like all those Marvel movies. Or maybe they’re just cheap and convenient. Like convenience store coffee from the pot that’s been there since the Clinton administration. So, here we have the 2021 Honda CR-V, Honda’s best-selling vehicle, and one of the best-selling vehicles of any kind. But what do those numbers really mean? Is this a superhero you can cheer for, or a nasty cup of joe that’s going to take a whole lot of sweeteners to get down? Let’s look. Clean and …

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Subaru Teases 2023 Solterra EV, Latest Fruit Of Partnership With Toyota

The Toyota bZ4x teased a glimpse into what an electrified future could look like at Toyota. It would come with a very odd moniker and also bring some slick green vehicle technology to green vehicle buyers. With the Japanese auto giant’s partnership with Subaru going well, it should come as no shock to hear that Subaru will be getting a version of their own. It lurked in the shadows for a while, but Subaru finally released the first teaser images of the upcoming Solterra EV SUV.   Exterior Styling Is 100% Subaru. Before we dive deep into what makes the …

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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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Hyundai Releases 2022 Kona Pricing, Base Model Starts At $23,375

Hyundai promised bigger and better things from the 2022 Hyundai Kona when the Korean car giant first unveiled it some time ago. We got to see all the changes that Hyundai made to the exterior and the interior of the revamped compact CUV while also learning that a fire-breathing Kona N would also be joining the family for performance-seeking buyers (this author included.) But amid all the extra horsepower and technology, Hyundai forgot to disclose just how much of your hard-earned money would be needed to add a Kona to your garage? The wait is over on that, with Hyundai …

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2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo Review by Ben Lewis

We’ve been looking forward to the review of the Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo for some time. As part of the Mazda 3 chassis family, we’ve enjoyed the Mazda 3 Sedan and Mazda 3 hatchback immensely. And when Mazda started squeezing the 250-horsepower 2.5-liter, turbo 4-cylinder in these models (as well as the CX-5), we have hoped for a thrill machine like the old MazdaSpeed 3. Close, but no cigar. While the turbo motor does make these mounts quite quick, it seems that Mazda was leaning much more towards sophistication. Nice cars. But they didn’t get your blood up. Well, we …

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2020 Kia Sportage SX AWD Review

Kia Sportage Old but Pertinent We are expecting an updated Kia Sportage for 2023, but for now our local media fleet has a 2020 model still available. We decided to take a look at this soon to be replaced model to see how it compares to the newer competition.  Outside Reminiscent of the Subaru CrossTrek, the Kia Sportage appears to be a lifted, more off-pavement capable version of a compact sedan. However, unlike the CrossTrek, there is no sedan counterpart for the Sportage. In the front, the familiar Kia grill is actually small by today’s standards. The hood bulges on …

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Mazda Releases Official MX-3 Pricing, Confirms Owners Can Borrow Other Mazdas

This year has been a very interesting one in terms of new vehicle launches. While the Ford Bronco hogged the spotlight in regards to its own developmental journey, the Mazda MX-30 has had an interesting story of its own that has taken place in the limelight. First making its original debut in 2019, the MX-30 has undergone its fair share of changes to help it make the transition into formal production and Mazda has now announced the final pricing ladder for production versions.   California Exclusive MX-30 Comes With Value Focused Pricing And Perks The MX-30 will come in two …

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2022 Infiniti QX55 Review

QX55: Beauty and the CVT? All new for 2022 is the QX55 from Infiniti and what a looker it is! Infiniti has done an excellent job in the design of the QX55, making it stand out from the competition. Exterior From any angle the QX55 looks beautiful. The design has flowing curves and sharp creases. The LED headlights, bulging hood, large grill, front splitter, we could go on, all combine and work together to complete eye catching design. From the front the grill is the most prominent feature immediately drawing the eye to the giant Infiniti logo in the center. …

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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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2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Lexus GX460, and found its luxury, combined with impressive off-road equipment made it one of the most capable off-road luxury SUVs. Like the Lexus, the Toyota 4Runner finds itself in a specialist segment of the SUV market. Most buyers want car-like comforts, safety equipment and thoughtful utility. But actual go-for-it, extreme all-terrain capability is low on the list of people who will challenging the mall or Home Depot. A smaller group, though, still lives for what an SUV can do, where it can take you, and how it will get you back. For that crowd, Toyota …

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2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC Review by Ben Lewis

Who doesn’t love a good comeback story? The movies are full of them – our star gets knocked down, struggles, and makes an epic comeback. Well Mitsubishi is sort of like that. For a while with vehicles like the rugged Montero SUV, the high-performance 3000 GT and Eclipse and (heavenly halo, please) Evo rally-car for the street, it was a niche player with a big following. Sort of like Subaru is now, when you think of it. Then our hero got knocked to the ground. The models in the lineup were tame, and lack of funds meant that many of …

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2022 Jeep Compass Gains Tech And Poise In Windy City Debut

The 2022 Jeep Compass might have made its debut all the way back in 2020, but the U.S. market has an insatiable appetite for CUVs, and Jeep knows that it has to stay ahead of the game when it comes to winning over buyers in this country. As such, it has chosen to bring the updated model stateside finally, and it appears that Jeep could be onto something here.    Jeep’s Compass Points More Confidently With New Exterior Styling  Buyers looking to spot any differences in the 2022 Jeep Compass will be forgiven if they can’t really tell it apart …

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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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2021 Subaru Forester Limited Review by Ben Lewis

Subaru’s are like old friends. Even when you haven’t seen them in a while, you feel immediately at home and comfortable. Good to be around. The Forester is certainly like that – we’ve recently been in a host of Outbacks, Crosstreks and WRXs, all great cars. But we miss our old buddy. Now friendship is one thing, but in the hyperventilating, ever-changing world of SUV’s you gotta keep up, too. So, is the Forester as good as we remember? A Familiar Face It’s no secret that the Outback and the Forester fight in the same arena for not-quite traditional SUV …

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2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Review by Ben Lewis

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a familiar name on the SUV landscape – it’s been around awhile, and has always stood for great value, room and style. But that landscape hasn’t sat still. With new players including bigger sibling the Hyundai Palisade and super popular Kia Telluride, can the Santa Fe Keep up with the big boys? Fresh New Look Hyundai has been on a roll lately, and it’s become a bit of style breakout. The Santa Fe has gotten a nice makeover that makes heads turn. Like almost every new model, a large grille is the way to go, …

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Lincoln Looks To The Stars For New Constellation EV, Signals Green Intent

The Ford Mustang Mach-E generated plenty of headlines and debate when it first made its appearance not too long ago. Questions still swirl over whether it’s indeed a proper recipient of the Mustang moniker? Despite that, the Mach-E has proven to be a surprisingly capable offering and has served as a prominent example of Ford’s EV push. But amid all of these moves, there’s one key part of the Dearborn automaker that has been absent from the pure EV festivities, Lincoln. That’s changing, though, with Ford’s luxurious counterpart revealing that it intends to make some moves of its own in …

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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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Road Test Review – 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo – Cute Ute Gains New Muscle For The New Model Year

When we first sampled the Mazda CX-30, it certainly came with a lot of promise and helped fill a void in Mazda‘s lineup. The one key problem was that the CX-30 lacked raw power, with the wheezy engine being a notable detriment to the CX-30. But Mazda isn’t one to rest on their laurels and wanted to give the 2021 CX-30 Turbo the chance to live up to the Japanese automaker’s legendary reputation for performance. It intends to do this by giving it a turbocharged alternative to its naturally aspirated ways, but is more boost the answer to its lagging …

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Dodge Reconsidering Hornet Nameplate? New Rumors Suggest It’s Happening

It has been a very long time since we heard anything about the Dodge Hornet. The Hornet concept first appeared in 2006, with the euro chic concept dusting off the moniker from the ashes of the long-defunct AMC corporation. But factors beyond the company’s control delayed a production model before it was ultimately scrubbed. But is it coming back after all? A new batch of rumors suggests that’s indeed the case.   Same Name, Different Outcome? If the basic idea of the concept has been revived according to rumors published by the Italian website Passione Auto Italiane, the Hornet will …

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Toyota Expands Its CUV Footprint With 2022 Corolla Cross, Could It Be The End Of The CH-R?

Toyota‘s CH-R CUV has had a rather rocky sales career, with this last remaining relic of Scion being eclipsed by some of its rivals. However, it would seem that Toyota is out to change the narrative and has unveiled the 2022 Corolla Cross, which will be coming to the U.S. for the first time.   Familiar Name Crosses The Pond While this is the first time U.S. buyers have laid their eyes on the Corolla Cross, the model has been an international exclusive for a while now, with the model debuting back in 2020. Like its global cousins, the U.S. …

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2021 MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 Review by Ben Lewis

There have always been a percentage of people out there who love the MINI Cooper’s bulldog looks, cheeky attitude and British persona (although BMW has owned them since 2003)  but just found the diminutive hatch a little too small. And MINI has been busy bringing in a variety of models, including the Clubman – longer and wider – and the Countryman – taller and wider. We’ve always liked the Countryman, it adds just enough usability to function like a small SUV, but still has that MINI charm. MINI points out that it’s the first model with an exterior length of …

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2021 Ford Bronco Sport Proves Its Chops, Crushes Crash Tests With Perfect Rating

Sibling rivalry is everywhere these days, and that includes the automotive industry. With its big brother being delayed by multiple COVID-19 related delays, the smaller Bronco Sport has risen to the occasion and has played a big role in Ford expanding its efforts to transform the Bronco nameplate into a lifestyle brand. The Bronco Sport has just begun filtering its way into dealerships. Ford is now revealing that the small SUV managed to achieve a big milestone when it comes to safety, with the off-roader getting a perfect crash-test score from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS.)    An …

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Performance For The Whole Family, Hyundai Unveils 2022 Kona N, Promises To Take Fun To The N’th Degree

When we first had the chance to sample the Veloster N, we fell in love with its simple mixture of performance, style, and value. However, we will admit that a spunky three-door hatchback is not the most practical choice in the world for many performance buyers. Hyundai understands this and has formally unveiled the 2022 Kona N, which aims to shock the system in the CUV market.   Taking Performance To The N’th Degree To say that the Kona N is a disruptor in the segment will be a very massive understatement, with the Kona N perhaps being one of …

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Volkswagen Releases Official Pricing For 2022 Taos, Starts At $24,190

The compact SUV market is exploding in popularity right now, with many new entries emerging on the scene to tale their respective slice of the broader sales pie. Volkswagen is poised to make a surgical strike on the segment with the 2022 Taos. While it has been a while since its unveiling, Volkswagen has formally revealed pricing for the Taos, and it’s clear that it’s aiming to put the squeeze on some of its rivals.   Making A Name For Itself The 2022 Taos is replacing the Golf lineup here in the U.S. (enthusiasts can still buy the GTI and …

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2021 Lexus UX 200 F SPORT Review by Ben Lewis

In marketing terms, UX is the shorthand for “User Experience”. So, it seems a natural question, does Lexus’ smallest Crossover/SUV give you the user experience luxury buyers expect? Let’s take a look. Familiar Sporty Style Look at the UX and you can see the family resemblance with the larger NX and RX crossovers. That’s a good thing – Lexus has really crafted its own style now, and these vehicles are modern and sporty with sharp angles and aggressive lines. Like our recent review of the Lexus ES250 AWD, the front end has that massive spindle grille, but like the ES, …

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2021 Toyota Rav4 Prime XSE AWD Video Review by Matt Barnes

2021 Rav4 Prime Overview The Rav4 Prime is Toyota’s plug in hybrid version of the Rav4. It has the most horsepower and torque and is the quickest Rav4 we’ve tested. Our test model was a Rav4 Prime XSE AWD. The base price is $41,425, but our tester was nicely equipped with premium audio ($1,650), Weather Package (375), Special Color ($425), Premium Package ($3,765), and a few other minor things totaling $731. Throw in the $1,120 destination charge and the total MSRP of our tester was $49,461. The Rav4 Prime has impressive driving chacteristics and is fun to drive. We enjoyed …

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2021 Renegade and Wrangler Islander Models Embrace Summer Vibes

The snow is melting and for many parts of the country, it’s getting a bit warmer. While summer is still a few months away, that didn’t stop Jeep from revealing its newest crop of special edition models the 2021 Renegade and Wrangler Islander models. Like other special edition models, this island-themed duo aims to bring younger buyers to showrooms while also adding some spice to the lineup at the same time.   Renegade Islander Catches Some Rays With Islander Package Before we get into the Wrangler, we might as well start things off with the tiny Renegade crossover which receives …

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Ioniq 5

Hyundai Unveils 2022 Ioniq 5 EV, Will Feature Ultra Fast Charging and Futuristic Interior

When Hyundai revealed that it was launching the all-new Ioniq sub-brand, we were very interested in seeing what would help spearhead the launch of this green-focused brand. After months of teasers, the Korean car giant has answered this key question with the unveiling of the production version of the 2022 Ioniq 5 EV. The Ioniq 5 might look like a hatchback initially, but it’s actually an advanced SUV and aims to change the way buyers look at electric cars in a few key ways.   Futuristic Design Sets Ioniq 5 Apart From Rivals One of the Ioniq brand’s core driving …

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2021 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Review by Matt Barnes

The Rogue is Nissan’s top selling vehicle. Therefore Nissan knew that any changes made would have to be done with precision. Nissan has a noteworthy plan to introduce 10 new models over the course of 20 months and the Rogue is part of that plan. Quick Take Nissan has been struggling the past few years, but we are hoping these new updates to nearly all their models will change that. Helping push the value concept, the Rogue has the most standard safety technologies in its class. This includes Nissan Safety Shield 360, Intelligent Driver Alertness, and Rear Door Alert. Furthermore, …

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2021 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD by Ben Lewis

You don’t really have to twist our arms to get us to review a Mazda. Just about all of them are great fun to drive, from the Miata sports car up to the big CX-9 SUV. The Mazda 3 and CX30 are also faves. But the heart and soul of Mazda’s lineup – and for most manufacturers – is its compact SUV. And with some nice updates to make it more appealing, we’re excited to take to the road in the CX-5. Stay Classy, CX-5 For 2021 not much has changed on the CX-5’s shapely flanks, and that’s ok, it …

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2021 Volvo XC60 T5 AWD Momentum by Ben Lewis

Volvo has always gone its own way. In the early days, they were stout little machines, that were some of the greatest innovators when it came to safety. Their rugged and reliable drivetrains helped make them rally champions, and became legendary for logging high miles. (Remember that guy with the P1800 that went over 3 million miles?). Outside of maybe the P1800, they weren’t really known for being stylish – they were sensible and functional, but design wasn’t on the menu. And then suddenly we got the modern Volvo, and taking a page out of Swedish Design, with its cool …

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Remember when Audi found its step? What happened to the 2000 Steppenwolf Concept?

It’s not too often that automaker manages to find its figurative step when it comes to designing a concept car for the masses. But Audi managed to take things in an interesting direction when the new millennium arrived on the scene. The company that was typically known for making well buttoned luxury cars was keenly aware that not only were SUVs important, but that the very definition of what an SUV should be was also rapidly changing. Perhaps sensing that the wheels of change were grinding into motion, Audi commissioned the Steppenwolf concept car which aimed to answer what would …

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2021 Subaru Crosstrek 2.5L Limited by Ben Lewis

It’s hard not to like the Subaru Crosstrek – it’s a great looking small crossover, based on the equally likeable Subaru Impreza and it combines a nice compact size with good off-road abilities, and most of the friendly traits that make Subaru an agreeable brand. It has been hard to love the Crosstrek, though. It’s always felt a little underpowered, and the lack of power seemed to highlight the CVT transmission in a negative light. In short, a good vehicle looking for a better engine. Well, Subie heard our wishes, and for 2021, a more powerful 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder replaces the …

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2020 Mazda CX-30 Off-Road Drive Review By Matt Barnes

Mazda is unique in the automotive world, as it doesn’t report to a parent company. Mazda has a proven record of making reliable and fun to drive vehicles. They have once again delivered with the all new CX-30. Exterior From the outside the CX-30 looks very similar to the Mazda 3 hatchback. Upon closer inspection it becomes clearer that these two are quite different. The CX-30 is about 5-inches taller than the 3 with an additional 2.5-inches of ground clearance. Interestingly enough the CX-30 is also shorter than the 3 by 2.5-inches and has a 3-inch shorter wheelbase. The exterior …

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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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Volkswagen doubles down on CUVS with 2022 Taos, fills void in the process

The SUV segment is a rapidly changing place, and when you have a void in your lineup, it can be quite noticeable. That was the predicament that Volkswagen was facing with the firm having a noticeable hole below its volume focused Tiguan SUV. With subcompact CUVs proving to be a very reliable honey hole for consumers, Volkswagen had to act quickly, and it has chosen to do so with the 2022 Volkswagen Taos. The Taos aims to bring instant success to Volkswagen, but can it fill the shoes left by the Golf?   Shrunken Tiguan wrapper creates distinctive look: The …

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2020 Buick Encore GX Essence FWD by Ben Lewis

Have you ever been at a pizza place and seen something called “The Meat Lover’s Pizza”? Or a place that has “The Veggie Lover’s” sandwich? It’s called specialization – and why should food have all the fun. Introducing the all-new 2020 Buick Encore GX – we call it “The Tech Lover’s Buick. Stylish SUV Before we go any further, we need to point out that the Encore GX is not related to the previous Buick Encore, which is still available – small, fun, funky, and frankly one of our favorite small SUVs. But between the much larger Enclave and Envision …

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2020 Kia Sportage SX AWD by Ben Lewis

We only somewhat jokingly called the Sportage SUV the “Korean Cayenne” for its Porsche like looks, and sporty personality. But it seems like Kia has taken that to heart, as it is continuously refining and improving the popular vehicle and making it better in every way. And it was pretty great to start with. Fresh Face The makeover for the Sportage starts with a more aggressive front and rear fascia, including new headlights with LED indicators and LED fogs, and a new front grille, bumper, air intake and skid plate. It still looks like a Sportage, but the design feels …

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2021 Hyundai Kona: facelift teased, confirms all new N-Line model

The hot selling Hyundai Kona is only a couple of years old, but the company still wants it to look as fresh as it can while also avoiding a mid-life crisis at the same time. With that in mind, the Korean car giant has confirmed that the Kona is going to be receiving a light nip and tuck, and has even provided a glimpse into what the 2021 model year will bring to the tiny CUV. The front fascia is still just as expressive as ever, but the full LED headlights are sharper looking than before in the upper and …

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2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo – Off-Road Drive Review – By Matt Barnes

Kia is at it again! The new-to-market 2021 Seltos is another attempt from Kia to bring a well-equipped and capable crossover to market at a great price. Like the Telluride, the Seltos has an opportunity to disrupt the market. We have previously tested the base Seltos S FWD and quite enjoyed it. Now, Kia has sent us the Seltos SX Turbo AWD for review of a top trim sub $30,000 small crossover. Intro Video Overview Seeing the differences between the base model and top trim model is always a good thing when purchasing a new vehicle. It’s a good way …

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2020 Toyota C-HR – Road Test Review – By Matt Barnes

For decades, Toyota has been known for having bland vehicle styling. To change that reputation, they have recently made an effort to modernize their vehicles and add exciting features to the body work. From the new Camry to the Tacoma, we’d say that it’s working. Continuing that trend, Toyota has updated the 2020 C-HR with a restyled front end, bold new colors, and attention-grabbing wheel designs. Toyota sent us a 2020 C-HR Limited trim to test for a week.   Exterior The most common colors on vehicles sold in the US today are white, black, and every shade of grey …

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2020 MINI Cooper S Clubman by Ben Lewis

Is there anybody that still thinks MINI is a British company? Well, the truth is, it’s been part of BMW for a long time. In fact, many of the current BMW’s – like the X1 SUV – share MINI running gear. But that’s no reason to cry into your warm beer, as MINI is the best of both worlds. While the stylists who surround the MINI product make grand efforts to keep the bulldog-style, the fun and whimsical vibe, the knowledgeable folks at BMW continue to massage and refine the product. Ever year, there’s lots of little improvements. So, we …

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Hyundai Goes To The Darkside With 2021 Kona Night Edition:

A trip to the dark side has proven to be very popular with buyers over the last few years, with black accents and a minor suite of upgrades translating into a sales winner for many automakers. Hyundai is the latest automaker to join this rapidly growing trend, and has formally unveiled the all new 2021 Kona Night Edition. As the name implies, this particular iteration of the Kona offers gloss black accents in areas where buyers might find standard chrome or other bright work that helps create a very distinctive look. The end result is a very dark monotone theme, …

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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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2021 Ford Bronco: Looks To The Past In New Teaser Videos

The 2021 Ford Bronco is only a few weeks from its debut, but Ford is ramping up the campaign surrounding the reborn off-roader in an attempt to not only build up precious buzz, but also to try and establish the groundwork for a dedicated community of Bronco enthusiasts that will help the brand grow for years to come. This is highlighted by an all new shadowy teaser image that shows all three members of the Bronco family. While the darkness does obscure the finer details, it does confirm that the standard Bronco will not only have removable doors and panels, …

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2020 Mazda CX-30 by Ben Lewis

Okay, we’re spoiled for choice these days. If you say you can’t find a vehicle to meet your needs, you’re not looking hard enough. Let’s take small cars/SUVs/crossovers. And a manufacturer like Mazda. Need a small car? There’s the Mazda 3 sedan and the Mazda 3 hatchback. We’ve tested both and loved them. Maybe want a small crossover/SUV? There’s the Mazda CX-3. Also, excellent. But you say, well, I want something a little taller than a sedan/hatch, but not quite an SUV. Okay says Mazda – here’s the all-new CX-30! And it might be the perfect blend of all the …

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2021 Jeep Compass Teased Ahead Of June 4th Virtual Unveiling

With all the attention that the Jeep Gladiator, Wrangler, and even the upcoming Grand Wagoneer are getting these days, it can be easy to forget that behind the scenes, the iconic off-road focused brand is preparing updates for some of its other models. One of these is apparently, the Jeep Compass, with the brand revealing that the 2021 Compass will make its virtual debut on June 4th.   While the lone teaser that the company released is an extreme close up of the front grille, it’s apparent that some form of refresh is in store for the Compass (contrary to …

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2020 Toyota C-HR Limited By Ben Lewis

It’s interesting how time changes things. When we tested the 2018 C-HR, it was one of the first of the mini-crossovers, and it looked like the small sedan was on its way of going extinct. Well, the small sedan still isn’t what it used to be, but it’s around. And we’ve found some really good ones lately, including the Toyota Corolla and Kia Forte GT. But what’s even more interesting to us, is that the mini-crossover has now been attracting the interest of a new type of buyer – those who were thinking about luxury vehicles, but with the economy …

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2020 Fiat 500x Sport by Ben Lewis

Are you a fan of Monty Python? (OK, we may be dating ourselves here..) Well, they used to have a segment with a newsman-like person at a desk saying, “And now for something completely different.” And you know, they could have been talking about the Fiat 500x. Fiat 500x Exterior – Thinking out of The Box It starts with expressive looks. While it shares the running gear with the Jeep Renegade, it won’t be confused with that, or any other small SUV. Last year, the 500x got a facelift, with new front and rear fascia that trade in a little …

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2021 Kia Seltos S FWD by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Hyundai Kona, and found it to be a stylish, sporty and well-equipped runabout. So, it’s easy to think that the all-new 2021 Kia Seltos, which shares most of the powertrain is its brother from another mother, but that’s not the case – it’s a completely different vehicle with a different purpose. Poised between Kia’s funky Soul and more traditional Sportage, it’s a small, rugged adventurer ready to tackle tough conditions. Kia Seltos Exterior – Bold and Eye Catching Kia likes to say that the Seltos has the same design theme as the big, bold Telluride SUV. …

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Twin Test: Hyundai Kona Turbo AWD – Brilliant Speed, Grip & Handling

Testing two cars in different trim and powertrains is often pretty dull with the same conclusions applying to both vehicles. Not in this case. For enthusiasts, the AWD is the clear favorite. The bar is extra high for these small Hyundais since experiencing the pure driving joy that is the Veloster N.  The bar is raised high by that giggly pocket rocket — so its extra admirable that Kona is in same ballpark. The top Hyundai Kona trims both run the 1.6T and double-clutch automatic but differ in their drivetrains and rear suspensions.  The AWD is the clear winner on …

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2020 Hyundai Venue Road Test Review by Ben Lewis

2020 Hyundai Venue SEL Review Here’s a term you don’t here that much anymore. Basic transportation. You probably remember them, usually a small car, no frills, no thrills, just get me to work (or school) and back. Thrifty and reliable. Well, those don’t really exist anymore. Part of that is good – comprehensive safety is becoming standard equipment on just about all vehicles. And with almost everyone using a smartphone, connectivity is important. And oh yeah, might as well make it a small SUV/Crossover – versatility and practicality won’t take a back seat anymore. So that’s opened the door for …

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2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate FWD by Ben Lewis

Small SUV’s are a big thing, and they keep on getting bigger. And they’re not just aiming for small SUV and crossover buyers, they’re going after small car buyers too. The new Mazda CX30 for example, is more a tall hatch than anything else. The Hyundai Kona could fit into that mold as well. It definitely has SUV styling cues, but the size certainly wouldn’t turn off buyers coming from small cars. And as a bonus, this is one of the most fun small SUV’s to drive. Spending a week in a Kona is a much fun as…. well, a …

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2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport Revealed In Massive Leak

Today has not been very kind to Ford Motor Company. While the company was able to snuff out a smaller leak a week ago that showed off select elements of the Bronco’s side profile and rear fascia, things got turned up a notch when both the Bronco and its smaller cousin the Bronco Sport were leaked in full to the world. With the cat now essentially out of the bag at this point, we take a dive into both of these models, and see how Ford is betting big on the revival of the iconic Ford Bronco. The latest leak …

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2020 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD by Ben Lewis

If you’ve been thinking about a 3-row SUV, but you’re not sure, you’re not alone. It seems like the automakers can’t make up their minds either. A few years ago, we saw a bunch of new models feature available third row seats. And while they initially took a bite out of the minivan segment, a lot of them have gone away, or made them low-volume models. Mazda’s CX-9 is one of those. But we wouldn’t weep about limited availability of a 3rd row, because frankly, the largest Mazda SUV is a dynamite vehicle. It’s a Looker We’ve seen a nice …

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2020 Lexus NX300 F Sport – Review By Matt Barnes

Lexus tries to keep a model as long as possible before they make any major updates. This holds true for the NX which is largely unchanged since its debut in 2014. So what, if anything, is new for 2020? Outside there are a few color changes with Silver Lining Metallic and Autumn Shimmer no longer available and Cadmium Orange being added. Inside the infotainment system now has Android Auto (for all NXs built after October 1st 2019) which joins Apple CarPlay that became available last year. There is an optional Mark Levinson audio system. The steering wheel now includes power …

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2020 Kia Soul GT-Line Review by Ben Lewis

The Kia Soul has long been one of our favorite vehicles – cool style, hip vibe, strong performance, loads of tech at a reasonable price. What’s not to love? And we were equally thrilled when we recently tested the all-new 2020 X-Line, we came away very impressed. Except we kind of missed the Hamsters that Kia has killed from their ad campaign. What Kia didn’t kill was the available turbo-engined model, which has always been the enthusiast’s choice. But with the new 2.0-liter, non-turbo we tested we didn’t miss the turbo rush as much as we he had remembered. So, …

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2020 Hyundai Venue SE – Entry Level Quick-Take

The 2020 Hyundai Venue is a delightful, affordable, entry-level crossover. This review is for the most basic SE model which is priced $17,250 with basic floor and cargo mats, and wheel locks adding $305, and a $1,095 delivery, for a total of $18,650 before trades, discounts and negotiations. As of this writing, there is a $500 offer; and you might qualify for others. All in for under $20,000 is almost hard to accomplish today, especially in the popular crossover segment. The 2020 Venue drives better than the price would imply. The base transmission is a 6-speed manual, and that is …

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Hyundai Venue Pricing Revealed, Shatters Pricing Cliches With $17,250 Base Price

When Hyundai first introduced the 2020 Hyundai Venue, its boxy shape, as well as its impressive suite of standard equipment immediately caught our eye, but with 2019 rapidly coming to a close, we still did not hear from Hyundai on the final pricing for this tiny CUV. The Korean car giant has thankfully delivered on this lone omission, and revealed that the Venue has a starting MSRP of $17,250. That does not include the $1,095 destination fee which helps push the price to $18,345. This pricing is somewhat of a game changer in the CUV segment, with Hyundai claiming that …

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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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2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited – Review By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid, and came away hugely impressed. It’s a total rethink of the RAV4, and it’s bigger, better, more handsome. A winner. But in an interesting twist, Toyota made the Hybrid the performance model, with 219 horsepower, and in our XSE tester a performance tuned suspension. We’re wondering if we had been sucked in by the top of the line hybrid power version. So now, we’re back testing a well-equipped but non-hybrid model – the kind most people will end up buying to see if the standard model is as good. Looks Good Since we …

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2019 Lexus UX 250h Luxury – Review by Ben Lewis

There is an age-old conundrum in vehicles. At a certain price, should you buy the top of the line of a mainstream manufacturer, or go into the entry-level of a premium brand? And here is a perfect example – the Lexus UX 250h.  You’ll pay a premium in price over, say a RAV4 hybrid, but is it worth it? We think so. Why? It Looks Like a Lexus This is a second time we’ve tested the UX. We previously had the UX 200, and we really liked the lines of the vehicle. While it is the baby in the family, …

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2019 BMW X2 M35i – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Every time there’s a new small BMW, we hear the talk about the “Spiritual Successor to the BMW 2002.” This was BMW’s small 2-door that around 1970 took the quite pleasant 1600 2-door and stuffed a larger 2.0-liter 4-cylinder motor in it – classic hot-rodding, actually – and basically turned the automotive world on its ear. With the 2002, you had a totally practical, roomy and innocuous little sedan that outperformed the traditional sports cars of the day, and when the later fuel-injected 2002tii appeared, it was hunting down bigger game – including expensive European cars and powerful domestics, too. …

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2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – Road Test Review + Performance Drive Video

Eclipse Cross is such a class-leading vehicle that it instantly moves Mitsubishi to the A-list of car brands.  It is that well-equipped, feels like it has stellar build quality, and just leapfrogs most of its rivals on drive manners. Mitsubishi gone from worst to first!!? Perhaps we should take a step back and explain what makes the new Eclipse Cross so great. Yes, let’s take a more mature approach to detailing how Eclipse Cross’s build quality, tech and drive manners make it one of the most sophisticated supermini SUVs available.  Kick things off by watching the performance drive review video …

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Road Test Review – 2019 Lexus UX200 F Sport – By Carl Malek

Lexus like other automakers, had a bit of a conundrum when it came to the task of luring in young millennials to its model lineup. How do you create something that comes jam packed with technology, style, and sophistication but in the compact dimensions that are needed for a urban commuter? While the Lexus RX is still a venerable nameplate (the bewildering RX350L excluded.) Its bigger size does not bode well for buyers in urban environments, and the Lexus NX can be a bit too extreme for other buyers. Lexus thinks it has finally hit the sweet spot with the …

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2019 Jaguar i-Pace EV400 – First Drive Review – By Becky Antioco

The Jaguar I-Pace is everything you’d expect from a luxury car, and more than you would from an electric vehicle (EV). The case for EVs, in general, is complex, with considerations like environmental impact, practicality, range anxiety, and issues of substance and style coming into play. I’d argue that the I-Pace has the last two, in spades. I-Pace’s accolades are many: World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year, and World Green Car for 2019, European Car of the Year, and one of AutoTrader’s Best New Cars for 2019, to name a few. Yet, judging by sales …

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2020 Kia Soul X-Line – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

First, a moment of silence. Today we mourn The Hamster. Well, not a real Hamster, but the special-FX rodents that came to be identified with the Kia Soul, thanks to their great commercials. For the all-new 2020 Soul, it looks like the furry funmakers have been tossed in the proverbial dustbin. (At least they could have been buried in the backyard, no?) Shed no tears, though, because this is an all-new Kia Soul, and while it keeps the, errr…Soul of the previous model, it sports a lot of great improvements that keep it one of the most enjoyable and endearing …

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2019 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Review by Ben Lewis

The CX-5 crossover is a big deal to Mazda – it’s the best-selling vehicle they have in the U.S., and having sold over 2 million units worldwide it’s a bona fide success. It’s a well-loved product, too. Having been here since 2012, it got a nice refresh when we tested the 2017 CX-5, and we felt that it was still our favorite small crossover – it’s a great drive. But time moves on, some big hitters have come our way, including the all-new 2019 RAV4, which we loved for its looks, performance, and hybrid efficiency, all in one package. Mazda …

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2019 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD – Review By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

FEATURES-FUN-PRACTICALITY AND VALUE The 2019 Hyundai Kona is one of the best subcompact crossovers that money can buy. That’s a bold statement, but the Kona can back it up. This 5-passenger SUV is available in five trim levels, the SE, SEL, Limited, and Ultimate, with starting front-wheel-drive models coasting $19,240, $21,050, $24,300, and $26,250 respectively. Add $1,400 for All-Wheel-Drive. The Iron Man trim, at $30,550, comes with a matte grey finish with red accents all around the vehicle,  red trim inside the cabin, and larger wheels. Not worth the money. The first 2 trim levels come with a 2.0 liter …

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