2018 Buick Encore Premium FWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the new Buick Enclave, and found it to be an excellent blend of style, performance and luxury. What if you want all that, but something in a smaller package, perfect for running around the city as well as the open road? Well then, how about the Buick Encore?  Refreshed in 2017, the small SUV has proven to be exceptionally popular – it’s Buick best-selling model – and it shows how quickly the brand has moved from stodgy to hip and cool in a short time. Not the urban lumberjack, Jack. In the land of small SUV’s trying …

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2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium – Road Test Review

Subaru refreshed its Outback Jr for the 2018 model year with a bump in horsepower and fresh LEDs on the top trims.  New cabin tech and the slightest of slight design upgrade to detailing outside and in completed the refresh. Most notably, the top Crosstreks now have a sexy LED DRL that comes standard with the upgraded bi-xenon, auto-highbeam cornering lamps on the Crosstrek Limited. Humbler trims like our 2.0i Premium tester have to make do another year with bulb DRLs and a decidedly dowdy look on the road. No LEDs in front for this trim but some searingly-bright LED …

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Comparison Test – 2018 Mazda CX-5 vs 2018 Mazda CX-3

As the CUV market continues to grow in importance, the diverse selection of models, sizes, and trims can sometimes make the process of buying one of these vehicles a daunting endeavor. While the old adage “bigger is better” still resonates in the minds of many buyers, is it really indeed better? To find out, we went behind the wheel of two of Mazda’s bread and butter CUV entries to find out if size really does matter, and whether other factors emerge in the quest for the perfect family hauler?   2018 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring It’s no secret that Mazda’s …

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Hyundai Unveils Kona EV, Promises 292 Miles Of Driving Range [Video]

Hyundai’s Kona CUV has already made waves since it was introduced a year ago. While it has not set its wheels on U.S. shores as of yet, the Kona has proven to be a popular choice for international buyers. Naturally, Hyundai wants to maintain this momentum, and has unveiled the next iteration of Kona, the Kona Electric. The exterior styling of the Kona Electric is largely unchanged from the standard Kona, and as a result the majority of the funky lines remain intact. However, there are several minor tweaks that are designed to help the Kona Electric stand out from …

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

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

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2017 Mini Cooper Countryman ALL4 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It’s no fun being judged by your name. Even if it’s a good one. Take Mini, for example. Around since the 60’s, it stood for diminutive cars that surprised and delighted, in part to their snug external dimensions, and their larger-than-life performance. When the Mini Cooper was reintroduced in the US in 2003, it was much larger than the original, but still a lot smaller than just about everything else for sale. And in the past 14 years, we’ve seen the Mini product expand into larger vehicles like the Clubman and small crossovers like the Mini Countryman. And now with …

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2017 Jeep COMPASS Trailhawk 4×4 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

If you like small crossover/SUV’s, you’re living in the golden age. Where most manufacturers were once happy to offer one model, it seems like many are doubling – or tripling – down, to give you your own perfect blend of goodness. And that includes Jeep. Here we have an all-new Jeep Compass. Originally introduced in 2007, the Compass was sort of a slapped-together version based on the Dodge Caliber. More tall wagon than true ‘ute, it still proved to be very popular with buyers, but kind of felt out of place with the Jeep Brand. Fast forward 10 years, and …

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2017 Nissan ROGUE SPORT SV AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Over the years there have been plenty of words used to keep certain brand names high on the sales charts, and to use the halo of well-earned reputations to promote the latest and greatest. Think Grand Cherokee, Camry Solara, Mustang II. Some more successful than others. And now we have a spinoff of Nissan’s exceptionally popular Rogue. The Nissan Rogue Sport. What’s up, Sport? Sport fits the smaller, more aggressive looking Rogue, being a good foot shorter than its big brother. Designed to compete against such city funsters as Mazda’s CX-3, Honda HR-V, and Toyota’s CH-R, it’s still a handy …

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2018 Hyundai KONA – Arrives February to Clamoring US Shoppers

The Kona is a pretty big deal for Hyundai.  It will be expected to shift more than 100,000 units a year, we estimate, to be considered a success for the brand’s SUV mission. In a perfect world, this machine might even kiss 200,000 units in 2019!?   Can you imagine? Hilarious. Or is it? When you think of the future as seen in movies, Kona’s design will fit right in.  It is a post-apocalyptic surivor — navigating the ruins of cities with enough ground clearance not to scrape.  Or to have those pesky gravel cuts in the paint — thanks to …

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2017 Mazda CX-5 GT Premium AWD – HD Road Test Review

The compact crossover segment has a ‘masculinity gap.’  There are more than a dozen of these cute utes on the market, but none of them really looks or drives manly.  Yes, the Audi Q3 and Honda CR-V are good cars. But do they increase or decrease their driver’s sex appeal? Among the dudes of the world coming up from econoboxes and blah mid-size sedans, CUVs are theoretically perfect machines.  A bit of all-weather ability here, a dash of extra practicality there. Like it or not, people buy cars based on strange psychology.  Men and women are usually both fine with …

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2017 Jeep Compass 4×4 Limited – HD Road Test Review

Guess who does not love compact crossovers, generally, for their woeful speed and handling?  This guy. So the 2017 Compass really had its work cut out for it when it came to CRD for a review.  We were pre-biased and would’ve been tossed from a jury trial for inability to be impartial. Our personal disdain for micro-SUVs is dead wrong based on vehicle sales charts, though. Mini crossovers are the hottest segment of the car business these days.  They are replacing huge chunks of traditional compact and midsize car sales – through their combination of coolness and capability. Jeep is …

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2017 VW Golf Alltrack S w/ 4Motion – HD Road Test Review

Wagons are back! Have you heard? Small families and bachelors alike are rediscovering how easy, smooth and practical they are versus the endless line of mini SUVs.  Wagons have better mileage, handling and — sometimes — even long-roof style. There are places where the Golf Sportwagen’s low ride height is simply not ideal — even with that car’s optional 4Motion AWD system.  For mountain states like Colorado or Vermont, there can never be enough tall, 4×4 wagons to choose from. Subaru has had this market on lock for decades now with their big Outback and smaller Crosstrek wagons. VW is …

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VIDEO – 2017 Jeep Compass Limited 4×4 Finds Bomb-Crater Lake

    How awful are those posts on sites that just open to a video.  No words really, just a giant play button.  And you never really want to watch the video that second, right? We try to spare you those posts here.  But there are exceptions. When a video production approaches true The Grand Tour production values.  When a drone-cam tracks your Jeep romping in tall grass and from over water.  When dual GoPro’s with different cabin angles was ridiculous but still tolerated by the talent. When you’ve found a peachy dirt road to mimic rally speeds around corners — tail …

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2017 Ford Escape Titanium – Road Test Review

How time flies! Ford launched this platform for the Escape around 2012 and it was a revelation for the compact crossover segment.  Handling and engine shared with the Range Rover Evoque, but with pricing $20k less?  Sign us up. Five years later and this newly-refreshed 2017 model is not nearly as appealing.  Is this lightest-of-light refreshes for 2017 enough to keep Escape competitive with its arch-rivals RAV4 and CR-V?  How about the dozens of other new CUVs with the same $25-$40k pricerange? We spent a week with the new Escape Titanium EcoBoost 4WD – the tippy top drivetrain and trim …

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2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring FWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It’s tough being Mazda. After all, in the automotive world, you’re a small company, up against giants like Toyota, Ford, and Nissan. And even though you’re a famous sports car maker, you need to compete in the big-money segments like small crossovers to survive. But Mazda did more than just compete. With the original CX-5, Mazda made one of the best, most fun to drive small crossovers on the market. But time moves on, and Mazda has to as well. Will Mazda’s new CX-5 be another winner, or will it suffer from sophomore slump? Well, first of all, it’s not …

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2018 Toyota C-HR – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

There’s a lot of talk lately that the small car is on its last legs. And you-know-who is to blame…the crossover. It started quite a while ago with SUVs swaying the public, with their rugged looks, great versatility, and comfy, tall seating position. Then came the small SUV wave, and it’s become a Tsunami – the Nissan Rogue is currently the best selling non-pickup vehicle (full-size pickups are still big business) in the country, with a passel of CR-V’s, RAV4’s, and CX-5’s and more not far behind. Still, the smallest of the small cars felt safe until recently, when the …

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2018 Jaguar E-Pace – 300HP CUV Pricing and USA Launch Details!

Jumping for joy! This new Jaguar E-Pace compact SUV is the perfect model for Jag right now.  Hot on the heels of the F-Pace SUV’s knockout launch, this E-Pace is firmly on the way for the 2018 model-year — and even has USA pricing in full included below!  Spoiler alert: it runs from $39k to about $55k. While the I-Pace name has been linked to a full EV concept from the big cat, this new E-Pace is a close relative.  Sharing a platform and much design and tech, they are both starting assembly in the next six months. Jaguar is …

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2017 Honda Fit – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’re often asked for buying recommendations, and certain models are our go-to cars. We know they’re good, fun, reliable, and the odds of getting a bad one are slim. (We hate angry emails.) And for many years, the city car of choice has been the Honda Fit. These days, so many buyers are clamoring for mini-crossovers, we forget that for a lot of folks, a small hatch is equally capable to do the job. So, is today’s Fit still a good fit for buyers? Well, it’s certainly a good looking little guy. Okay, we should probably caveat that. The bright …

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

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

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2017 VW ID Crozz Concept – Goofy Preview of Future E-SUV

The tsunami of EV crossovers in development from all brands is starting to worry us.  Where will demand for these E-SUVs (trademark!:) come from when these all arrive together in late 2018?! Automakers near and far are sure that these vehicles are the way forward.  Expensive vehicles as a way to offset the giant costs of the battery packs needed for 300 miles.  The same size batteries would be needed for a compact size car, but who would buy that?  As such, EV crossovers do make some sense, and will let carmakers in the US keep selling a load of …

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4.0s, 400HP Jaguar I-PACE Concept – Design Analysis: Is It Sexy?

The Jaguar I-Pace has a hard name to overcome.  And when it was first shown in silver, it had a mountain to climb for good style, too. Too generic EV, they said. FastForward two months and the I-Pace is back in striking red paint with dark details.  More fitting, perhaps, for the first credible Model X rival. Going full electric for the i-pace means the proportions are radically rethought.  Yes, this is crossover territory, but with a chopped (and hard to digest) nose and nonexistent overhangs.  A lower roof and much lower ride height than F-Pace.  But looking wide as XJ and …

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2017 Nissan ROGUE ONE Star Wars Edition – Review By Ben Lewis

  We had mixed feelings about testing the 2017 Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition Rogue. Nissan has made some notable improvements on its popular crossover, and we were looking forward to testing it. Then they announced the Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition model. Since they both had the name “Rogue” it kind of smacked of opportunism. Cue rolling of eyes. So, the question becomes, is The Force with the new Rogue, or just the farce? Well, since we don’t want to spoil the ending, let’s start with what’s new for Rogue. Already a crisp design, we have a …

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Best of NYIAS – 2017 Toyota FT-4X Concept

Welcome to Toyota getting hip with the kids! Since Scion was politely folded into the Big T proper, there are many products in the pipeline that still embody that wacky Scion spirit. The FT-4X is one of those, and looks set for arrival to showrooms within about a year at the most.  This machine is a heavily redesigned and off-road-optimized version of the sexy new C-HR subcompact crossover.  The FT-4X is far more than just a tall-roof variant.  (Although that is its core nature). From a tread perspective, the FT-4X rides far higher, with grippier rubber and longer-travel suspension.  Likely-standard …

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2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

With all the new entries that have entered the compact SUV segment over the past few years, it is easy to forget about one of the pioneers in this hotly contested segment, the Toyota RAV4. Designed to bring a compelling blend of safety, versatility, and value to a segment that was in its infancy at the time. The RAV4 would emerge as one of the leading compact SUV entries on the market, while also proving to be a huge sales success for Toyota at the same time, but can the current generation RAV4 confidently follow in the tire tracks of …

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2017 KIA Soul Turbo – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

Kia sells a full lineup of excellent vehicles, from small economy sedans and crossovers, to mid and full size sedans and Suv’s . They even build a luxury sedan rivaling some of the best from Japan and Europe.  They have many hybrid models, and even a fully electric car.  But their best-selling model is the Soul. This compact crossover is designed to appeal to the young Millennial generation, but even this old greybeard find it an engaging vehicle that provides a lot of features, roomy interior, gas mileage economy in a fun package. For 2017, Kia has upped the fun …

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2017 Infiniti QX30 Premium AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Is the best new Mercedes an Infiniti? It might be. Because sneaky folks that they are, Infiniti started with a fine small SUV, the Mercedes GLA250, and then kept the good bits, massaged some of the other bits, and did a pretty major overhaul of the exterior and interior. The result is a unique blend of performance and style.  But is it enough to lure buyers of the three-pointed star to the sideways Pac Man? Well on looks alone, yes. While the GLA has that Euro-sensible look, like a taller hatchier version of the CLA sedan, the QX30 in comparison, …

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2017 Honda CR-V 1.5T AWD Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  An exciting new twist with the 2017 CR-V.  Five of them, in fact!~ Honda’s really got us spinning with the all-new CR-V. And while it already was one of the very best, they’ve done a lot of things – big and small – to make sure it keeps its leadership position.   Twist 1: It will turn heads: CR-V’s have always been modern, contemporary vehicles, but not Wowzers. Until now. First of all, the new CR-V looks noticeably bigger, and it is. Give partial credit to the smaller HR-V being offered so its big brother can stretch out. The …

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2017 KIA SOUL! Turbo DCT – HD Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The Kia Soul has been one of the most successful small ‘utes in history.  Those engaging Hamster commercials did a great job of renting some space in our minds. When the Soul was redesigned, we saw the hamsters hit the gym, slim down, and start dressing like Daniel Craig in the Bond films. But what happens when the carmaker introduces the turbo, double-clutch 2017 Kia Soul! (pronounced “exclamation”)? Hamsters on steroids! And we have to give Kia credit for putting the loveable Soul on the juice, because they could probably sell every one they make already. It’s a great little …

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2017 Ford ESCAPE Titanium FWD – Road Test Review – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

A third of the auto industry’s sales last year were SUV’s. That means that about 5 million of them were sold here.  At Ford, their leading SUV model is the Escape. Over 300,000 units were sold last year alone, making the Escape the number 2 selling Ford model, behind only the Ford F-150 pickup truck.  The Escape debuted way back in the year 2000, and they have sold more than 2.4 million of them.  After spending a week with the 2017 Escape, it’s not hard to understand why. For 2017, the Escape gets a mid-cycle refresh, bringing some significant changes to the …

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2016 Volkswagen TIGUAN R-Line 4Motion – Road Test Review – By Tom Burkart       

Our reviews here on Car-Revs-Daily.com generally try to be upbeat and playfully informative.  With insightful observations galore and a few critiques along the way. It is usually because the cars manufacturers send our way are all fairly loveable, newsworthy and generally pretty fresh on the market.  We put ourselves in the position of the buyers in that market segment for a week.  A week of driving later.. we’re usually gushing with some form of praise. This Tiguan review will have many of those characteristics, but with a darker edge. The 2016 Tiguan is woefully outclassed by nearly any compact crossover …

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2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 4Motion – Road Test Review – By Lyndon Johnson

The Volkswagen Tiguan was early to the party of compact crossovers, debuting in 2006 during a period of high gas prices. One would think it was great timing to introduce a small SUV to consumers concerned with conserving fuel. But in fact, by the time it got here in 2009, the gasser Tiguan was rated at 19 MPG city, 26 MPG highway by EPA. That didn’t get MPG-conscious consumers beating down the doors of their nearest VW dealer, and falling gas prices did little to boost Tiguan sales. Fact is, the VW Tiguan has stayed right there at an EPA …

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2017 Honda CR-V – Turbo-powered Redesign Continues March Upmarket

You know those statistics that say California is a top-10 economy, ranked worldwide versus entire countries? The CR-V is a similar story for Honda.  It is an absolute mint. This car makes money like you would not believe, and single-handedly pulls in revenue many automakers can’t achieve with their entire lineups. CR-V is a profit-center extraordinaire. As a result, the model has received careful pruning over the last few years to make up for the missing total redesign.  Even while the compact crossover market has grown to the second-best-selling in all of automobile-dom —- behind pickups and neck/neck with midsize sedans …

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2017 Honda HR-V 6MT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

A Honda HR-V with 2WD and manual transmission. ! Rare barely begins to describe the 6MT on Honda lots nationwide. Perhaps this is an auto-reviewer special!? It’s certainly possible. In the craze for small crossovers, it seems like an automatic is de rigueur, and most buyers are finding the added grip and confidence of All-Wheel Drive (AWD to you and me) a temptation too hard to resist. A while ago, we tested an AWD, CVT, HR-V (OK, it’s alphabet soup) and really liked it. A bit slow perhaps, but with all the brilliant simplicity of design that we think would …

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2016 Jeep RENEGADE Trailhawk – Road Test Review – By Lyndon Johnson

When I took delivery of the 2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk for testing, a colleague told me, “The little Jeep is surprisingly capable.” Those two words — “surprisingly capable” — came to define my experience with the Renegade Trailhawk as I took it down some deep, difficult rock-and-mud-and-gravel trails in the hills of eastern Middle Tennessee. Design Notes There’s no denying the Jeep Renegade has a definite cute factor. That’s probably the first reason many Jeep purists scoff at the littlest Jeep in the lineup. It doesn’t look like a chiseled-jawed Wrangler. That notwithstanding, there’s no mistaking the Renegade for anything …

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2016 Jeep RENEGADE Trailhawk 4×4 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  You say you want a small crossover/SUV? We can’t blame you. It’s just about the hottest-selling segment in the industry, and it looks like the small family sedan is taking a firm backseat because of it. And while there are a lot of nice choices out there, there is a problem. They all sort of look alike. There are notable exceptions like the mutant amphibian Nissan Juke. And the squat-and-squashed Mini Clubman. But in general, and HRV, CRV, CX-3, CX-5, RAV4, Forester, Rogue all look – and function – like relatives at a family reunion. Is the Jeep Renegade the cure …

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2016 BMW X2 Concept – Live Paris Photos/Analysis of Intriguing New Design Language

Interesting new look for the 2016 BMW X2 Concept today in Paris!  The X2 is smoother and softer than the traditional X3/X5 design feel, but is still quite macho and aggressive.  We love the nose detailing, long and low roofline like a fastback, and the pert rump. This concept X2 hopes to broaden the crossover appeal of cars in the VW Golf size class, with minimal tradeoffs when scaling skyward.  As such, it appears about half-way between the normal BMW aesthetic and the latest X-model appearance. This becomes clear with the ultra smooth bodysides and minimal fender flaring, in contrast to …

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2016 VW Beetle DUNE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

You might not be a big fan of VW right now. Diesel has once again become a dirty word, and while the automaker struggles to make things right with the government and the buying public, the brand has been getting the stink eye in a lot of ways. We’re going to look past the diesel models, because there’s also a lot of goodness in the VW lineup, and we think there are an awful lot of folks who design, make, and sell the brand that had nothing to do with the problems going on. Right now, VW needs a new …

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2016 Volkswagen TIGUAN SEL 4Motion – Review By Tim Esterdahl

REVIEW: 2016 VW Tiguan AWD – Fun Drive, Boring Design In some cases cars are designed so perfectly their popularity can carry them for years and well beyond when they typically receive updates. For the 2016 VW Tiguan, this is not the case and the all-new 2018 model, set to arrive next summer, is desperately needed. The fact is there is nothing wrong with the Tiguan per se, yet there isn’t really anything that exciting either and that’s a problem. The compact crossover market these days is hot with many great models from all manufactures. Typically, these vehicles provide ample room, …

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2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo 2.OL FWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  If you’ve read our other tests of Kia vehicles, you might remember that we’ve been noticing a distinctively German feel to these Korean Vehicles, much of it owing to the stewardship of Kia/Hyundai Honcho Peter Schreyer, who previously penned much of Audi’s goodness. When we tested the Kia Optima SX we found loads of Audi-ness in the overall feel of the car. And now with the all-new Sportage SUV, we’re tasting hints of Porsche and BMW in the mix as well. Has Kia created the Korean Kayenne? Well, from first glance, it will definitely catch Stuttgart’s attention. And a …

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Drive Review – 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic

A thorough video blast-off for this all-new GLC.  Nearly a quarter-hour of hard starts in Sport Plus for the nine-speed auto and 270-some foot-pound boosted tourbo four. Along with the video? A gorgeous photoset of more than three score.  All alongside a gorgeous yacht club on Lake Lanier, Georgia.               2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic

Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring – By Carl Malek

The CUV sales boom is in full force. Many automakers are revamping their product plans to take advantage of this renewed level of demand. Mazda is one of these companies and has invested large amounts of money and effort into revitalizing its CUV lineup. The 2016 Mazda CX-3 is the first fruit of this renewed effort, and promises to bring Mazda’s trademark levels of sportiness and vigor to the compact CUV segment. But has this focus on driving perfection blunted its capabilities in the process? The exterior styling of the CX-3 incorporates many of the cues that made their debut …

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2016 JEEP CHEROKEE Latitude 75th Anniversary Edition – Review By Tim Esterdahl

Review: 2016 Jeep Cherokee Latitude 75th Anniversary Edition There are iconic vehicles out there and then there are Jeep vehicles. You literally can’t say the word iconic without referencing a Jeep. In fact, describing what an iconic vehicle is to someone who doesn’t know immediately brings up the example of a Jeep. And what happens when an iconic vehicle reaches a milestone like 75 years in production. Well then, you fill it with Jeep iconic badging, offer it in green, accent the exterior with bronze and orange and challenge people to find some open-air, dirt and a smile. The 75th …

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Drive Review – 2016 BMW X1 – By Ben Lewis

Baby Bimmer? Mighty Mini? X marks the spot. We recently tested the new Mini Clubman, and came to the conclusion it was as much a less-expensive BMW (sort of a squashed Sport Activity Vehicle) as it was a supersized Mini. So now, here we are, testing the new BMW X1. And that’s really interesting, since it shares the platform with the Clubman. And in many ways, it’s a radical departure from where BMW has been. The question is has BMW lost the melody, or did they manage to get us all singing along? BMW isn’t going to give away the …

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Road Test Review – 2016 Jeep RENEGADE Trailhawk – By Tim Esterdahl

What looks like a box on wheels, rides like a car and can scale the side of a mountain? Why a 2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk can and its off-road prowess is downright surprising. When Jeep launched the Renegade, it was a bit of a shock to many with its European-like styling, odd-looking taillights and its flat front grille punctuated by two round headlights. Frankly, it just doesn’t resemble what most in the U.S. think of when they think Jeep. While the exterior looks are subjective and non-traditional Jeep, inside it is closer to a Jeep and especially the Patriot kind …

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Road Test Review – 2017 KIA Sportage SX AWD – By Tim Esterdahl

Review: 2017 KIA Sportage SX AWD Really Impresses Throughout the year, automotive journalists like myself get to drive a large variety of vehicles and sometimes we drive vehicles from brands we never have before. This was the case of the recently redesigned, fourth generation 2017 KIA Sportage SX AWD when it arrived for a week of testing. After spending that week behind the wheel on pavement, dirt and around town, I won’t be passing up the chance to get behind the wheel again. It is that good and could seriously challenge the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. While I may …

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

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

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BEIJING 2016 – Top 10 Chinese Production Models

PART TWO One look at any of the top concepts from the Beijing Motor Show will tell you: China has come of age in the car business. These were some of the most well-executed, on-trend and exciting models in the entire, gigantic show. The Chery FV2030 earns our vote as the best in show for futuristic concepts.  The Hongqi S Concept wins best in show for production-intent machines. And a special nod to the custom Karlmann King!  This SUV may or may not be a superlux, stealth-skinned Ford Expedition.  For $1.9-million.  =] A variety of sexy EV concepts and supercars definitely …

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BEIJING 2016 – Top 10 Chinese CONCEPT Cars and SUVs!

One look at any of the top concepts from the Beijing Motor Show will tell you: China has come of age in the car business. These were some of the most well-executed, on-trend and exciting models in the entire, gigantic show. The Chery FV2030 earns our vote as the best in show for futuristic concepts.  The Hongqi S Concept wins best in show for production-intent machines. And a special nod to the custom Karlmann King!  This SUV may or may not be a superlux, stealth-skinned Ford Expedition.  For $1.9-million.  =] A variety of sexy EV concepts and supercars definitely warrant a …

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Road Test Review – 2017 Kia Sportage SX FWD – By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman

Review: 2017 Kia Sportage SX FWD By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman So I get a new Kia Sportage dropped off in my driveway on March 21, 2016.  I look at the window sticker and is says that’s it’s a 2017 model.  What’s up with that?  Seems a little early in the year to be bringing out next year’s model, no?  And they’re still selling 2016’s, next to the all-new 2017’s.  Sometimes I just can’t figure out how the car companies work.  So depending upon when you’re reading this post, you’ll get an insight into this authors work habits.  Do I write …

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Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda CX-5 – By Tim Esterdahl

A surprise hit for many automotive journalists, the 2016 Mazda CX-5 has been called out for its “impressive efficiency, responsive handling and bold style.” Add this journalist to the list of those pleasantly surprised by the CX-5. It is really, really good. One of the first things grabbing you about the CX-5 is the exterior styling and, more specifically, the nose. The look is almost a take on a Mercedes-Benz GLE which is a big compliment to the Mazda designers. Fortunately, it doesn’t stand out as a direct knock-off and the CX-5 retains its own personality with a well-designed front …

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Future VW USA SUV Roadmap Projects 15 Variants by 2021

The new Tiguan is a great shining hope for VW lately, and they could use a win.  Here is the loaded Euro-spec model in its first photoset.  Around Berlin and a fun off-road park, the next-generation model is defined by much greater scale all around.  Wider and much longer, with the roof looking quite chic and low.  The new Tiguan’s style is also a close preview of its larger, US-made CrossBlue.  The CrossBlue is set for launch as a seven-seater, with a fastback 5-seat model likely for 2019. The Tiguan as we see here will spawn a few variants itself: …

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Concept Flashback – 2001 Chevrolet BORREGO Concept – Reborn Subaru Brat?!

At first sight, the short-wheelbase pickup truck concept from Chevy in the early naughties seems to be a baja or rally variant of some kind of truck in the existing range.  Perhaps the S10 or even the Blazer of the 1990s?  Surely a small-block V8 up front, right? In fact, this machine is something else entirely. Under its trendy panels and reconfigurable tailgate — to allow the two-seater to add two more in back — the Borrego is actually an AWD Subaru under its Chevy-tastic panels.  Turbo four and all…. Needless to say, this ‘Brat 2.0’ was never built… as …

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

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

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First Drive Review – 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC

By Anthony Fongaro The quintessential hatchback-on-stilts. As luxury automakers continue to make their vehicles bigger and bigger, smaller and cheaper models are created to fill the gap. Case-in-point: the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC. Not only is it the smallest crossover in Mercedes-Benz’s lineup but it’s one of the least expensive. But there’s an immediate problem: it’s basically a tall hatchback. It’s weird to have a vehicle that looks like a hatchback but higher up. That, however; may not be a bad thing. The usability of a hatchback but with AWD and being higher up could prove to be great come …

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7 New JEEP Concepts Hiding Among Easter Jeep Safari Madhouse! +30 Live Photos

There is alot of love and alot of great tradition on display for this year’s seven-pack of all-new concept vehicles for the MOAB Safari. One in bright green will be churning up much of the excitement… and that is the Trailcat! An ultra-intense race truck aimed at the glacier-climbers of Iceland… this off-roader really does pack the engine of the Hellcat.  707-horsepower through a stickshift will make quite the entrance wherever it goes! In terms of production feasibility… this dusty desert party of Jeeps also has some clear winners beyong the Trailcat.  The Crew CHief 715 is the clearest production …

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2017 Audi Q2 – Slides Below Q3 with All-New Design Language, Cheaper Price

Audi only secured the naming rights to the Q2 and Q4 trademarks in the last few weeks — coming right down to the wire before the car’s global debut in Geneva this week. Alfa Romeo had resisted giving their Q2 and Q4 drivetrain descriptors up until recently, and Audi likely paid big loot for the privilege. So just imagine — this car went through the entire VW/Audi development cycle without a confirmed name! And it does show, a bit, in that the Q2 makes little visual sense in the Audi lineup.  Its design is far more modern than the new …

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Hawkeye Drives - 2016 Dodge Journey Review 14

Hawkeye Drives – 2016 Dodge Journey Crossroad Plus AWD Review

The Dodge Journey is mostly unchanged from the previous year’s model. In fact, it’s little changed since its introduction back in 2009. There was a refresh in 2011, but that was mostly cosmetic. Beneath the skin, it shows its age a bit as the other competitors in its class, like the Nissan Rogue, Honda CRV, Toyota Rav 4, or the Kia Sorento, have out classed it over the years. The Journey just isn’t as sophisticated as the others, and feels a bit dated. That’s not to say that the Journey doesn’t have some positive attributes. Unlike the Honda, Toyota, and …

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Geneva Debuts – 2016 Subaru XV Concept – Less Hideous, More Production-Ready

Subaru has been bringing shockingly ugly concept cars to Europe for the big auto shows as long as anyone can remember. We’re equally unimpressed by this concept’s detailing, style and design decisions. As we were with the Viziv before.  Less repugnant… is still repugnant though. The difference is, this new XV Concept model is actually very, very close to production form.  Strip away the fug-nasty orange trims, fake honeycomb LEDs and the pricey paintwork, and we could be looking at the next-gen XV Crosstrek.  Of course, we will also see door handles and a frumpier roofline. The best angle is from the back, …

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2017 Volvo V40 and V40 Cross Country Facelift Revealed

We’re huge cheerleaders of Volvo’s long-deserved reboot. The new XC90 and S90/V90 point strongly toward the 2020 goals of the firm for its entire range.  And they are off to a racing start!  Sales of the XC90 are through the roof — recording some of the only volume gains the firm has achieved in at least the last decade. The entire line will be fully switched from its current platforms over to the new all-hybrid architectures in the future, but some models will obviously benefit from this before others. The V40 is new enough that it is falling to the …

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Concept Debrief – 2007 Land Rover LRX

THe LRX today is kindof a non-event to view — simply because we are all so familiar with the production Range Rover EVOQUE’s design.  They are dead ringers for one another. But in 2007 when this stunning design vision rolled onstage, it was unlike any green oval truck ever before. Simply magnificent in its chunky, low and sporty proportions…. the LRX also evolved the tech-intense appeal of the LR and RR brands.  Monoblock surfacing all looks milled from solid billet steel — broken up only for ultra-slim and advanced LEDs and a blacked-out, low-roof glasshouse. The production Evoque would appear …

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2016 Citroen C4 CACTUS Rip Curl Edition – Dark Detailing, GripControl + Glass Roof for Surfer Special

Here is a pretty cool special-edition that Citroen is bringing to Geneva 2016: the C4 Cactus Rip Curl Edition. This light cosmetic makeover darkens the looks of this funky lifestyle-mobile, adds some funky graphics to the bodysides, and includes the best standard-equipment like a panoramic glass roof and other goodies. But how, one might ask, will a front-drive crossover be the right vehicle for a surf trip? Well, even without AWD or 4×4, the C4 Cactus Rip Curl hopes to park comfortably right on the beach.  Standard mud/snow tires join forces with a new GripControl ESP system that enables more slip …

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Hawkeye Drives – 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited 1.6T Review

2016 Hyundai Tucson Review By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman Two years ago, I needed to replace the wife’s aging Hyundai Santa Fe.  Since the new Santa Fe models had grown considerably in size, and she still wanted a small SUV, I went to the dealer to buy the Tucson.  We were a Hyundai family, as both daughters and a son-in-law owned Hyundai various models, and everyone was happy with their vehicles.  But I found the generation II Tucson was the first Hyundai I had ever been disappointed in.  So disappointed, we wound up with a Nissan Rogue, which we’ve been happy …

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2016 Toyota RAV4 SE Launches Silver-Accented Style, New RALLY RACECAR!

Famed race driver Ryan Millen has adopted a hell of a challenge for 2016!  Race to win in a front-wheel-drive RAV4 SE using a bone-stock 2.5-liter four-cylinder making just 176 horsepower. Millen and his co-pilot (fiancé Christine!) seem like the perfect ambassadors for a Rav4 racing adventure.  He will man the controls as she co-drives with extremely detailed trail notes all along the way.  Such limited power and traction in the 2WD-Open Class take much of the mechanical innovations out of the normal WRC race calculus.  The races then become much more about driver skill, unbreakable reliability and extreme co-driver directions. …

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2016 OPEL Mokka X Previews Upcoming Buick Encore Refresh

  Fantastic updates for the Opel Mokka X are set for a Geneva debut next month, and they bode extremely well for its American twin, the Buick Encore! We really like the Encore. It’s punchy turbo engine delivers admirable thrust for the segment, while its very good Quiet-Tuned refinement is a huge step up from the Chevy Trax or Jeep Renegade. This refresh brings an all-new nose, LEDs front and rear, and a total redesign of the cabin tech. The center stack — long the Encore’s sore point — is fresh with a giant new touchscreen and streamlined climate/audio controls. …

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2017 Audi RS Q3 Performance 15

~4.3s, 367HP 2017 Audi RS Q3 Performance – Latest RS-UV Delivers Stonking Power, Style Upgrades

Audi’s RS Q3 is now even hotter than ever!  This Euro-only model is now up to 367-horsepower via its turbo five-cylinder engine — and sprint pace to 62-mph is down to an official 4.4-seconds. Both of these are big improvements over the RS Q3 in its previous 310 and 340-pony varieties. Officially, the RS Q3 shot to 62-mph in 5.2-seconds when launched, down to 4.8s for the 340HP 2016 model.  The 4.4-second blast is extremely promising — and might correspond to the shorter 60-mph run as quick as 4.0-seconds dead. This new RS Q3 ‘Performance’ model looks extremely cool on the way to …

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2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4MATIC

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 – Air-Sprung Crossover In US Dealers Now! $45k Pricing, RWD or 4Matic + 9-Sp Auto

The new GLC just started arriving to Mercedes dealerships here in the USA — and seems like an outstanding all-new SUV for the brand.  The GLK and its boxy look is exiting the lineup of a half-dozen ‘Benz jeeps’ this year, making room for everything from the baby GLA to this GLC, up through the GLE and GLE Coupe and the top GLS for 2017. The GLC, as its name implies, is aligned in shape and tech with the C-Class. This brings a massive set of benefits for performance drivers — particularly in its standard rear-drive setup. Just one engine and …

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2017 Audi A4 Allroad – $50k Ski Wagon Set for Fall 2016 USA Arrival – Blah Exterior, but Hoorah Interior

  The A4 Allroad has carved a nice little niche for itself in the US market, where it replaced the standard A4 Avant among most shoppers seeking a low and sporty wagon.  The current Allroad will gain all the new tech and style of the A4 sedan, but wears a more butch stance all around.  A very macho nose redesign brings vertical grille slats, some rough-rough fender flares and even a brushed-alloy chin spoiler in the nose. We are trying to get on-board with this next-gen A4 appearance.  Really trying. And the Allroad has generally been a great showcase of …

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2016 Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept – 7-Seat Option + 20 EV Miles for 2017 USA Arrival

We’ve been exceptionally hard on VW USA over the years, even before the ongoing trainwreck that is their emissions scandal. If there is one glaring hole in the lineup, it is the SUV range. Tiguan and Touareg have been eagerly anticipating a CrossBlue SUV to slide between them. With a Passat basis and seven seats, the CrossBlue (name TBD) is actually firmly on the way. Hiring and Chatanooga production-floor mods are readied for this summer, with production penciled in to start September 2016.  The showroom arrival, as we all know, cannot come soon enough. December of 2016 as a 2017 …

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HD Road Test Review – 2016 GMC Terrain DENALI AWD V6 – Swanky Refresh for Right-Sized SUV

GMC’s best-seller has been tearing up the sales rulebooks since its launch in 2009. We’ve admired its huge back seat and very affordable $24k base price from afar, but never from behind the wheel. The GMC Terrain welcomes a light refresh for 2016: new styling outside and new tech in the cabin helps the family favorite be even more competitive in the mid-size SUV class. And while the upgrades outside are fairly light for most trims, the new LED DRLs up front do wonders for the truck’s appeal on the road. The biggest news for the 2016 Terrain is the …

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1971 Ford Bronco Stroppe Baja Edition Is Retro Delight; Sharp Bumps And All!

Although this Bronco Baja Edition by Stroppe looks amazing, the idea of actually taking it down through Baja California is … daunting. Sure, you might not get robbed right away.  And with retrofit A/C and a body-off restoration, the truck will definitely pull its own weight. But the bumps. Dear God, the bumps. You will need an ass cushion the size of Mama Cass to be comfy in this beast at speed over rough trails! We’d follow behind in an LX570, just to make sure you get there safe. =]     1971 Ford Bronco Stroppe Baja Edition MECUM 2016 Auctions …

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2016 Chevrolet Trax Midnight Edition is Coolest $500 Style Upgrade … Ever?

Nobody will preach the virtues of a black pack like ThisGuy! A properly de-chromed and blacked-out look can make even the most awful Jetta SportWagen a little bit stylish… so clearly the potential to improve already-modern and stylish rides? HUGE! And the more popular a car is on the roads, the more appealing it is for some buyers to stand up and stand out from the crowd.  DIY black packs work wonders in photoshop — and real life — on GM models in particular.  We’ve shared many with you here… an ATS black pack coupe dream, CT6 Black Tie limo …

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Concept Flashback – 1995 BMW Z18 is Fascinating Rally Roadster

BMW Technik was really up to some clever stuff in the mid-1990s. This concept is chock full of interesting and production-bound ideas — even set far apart from the kooky nature of a rally roadster. A convertible crossover… as we might call it today. But still unlike anything this side of the Ariel Nomad in terms of purity of purpose. And the Z18 would actually be a pretty fun off-roader. Check out the nonexistent front bumper, fantastic ride height and river-ready wading depth. There is interesting ‘flame’ surfacing on the Z18, as a matter of fact, far before Bangle made …

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Concept Flashback - 2001 BMW X Coupe 4

Concept Flashback – 2001 BMW X Coupe

A design so unfeasible, we all thought, that it didn’t matter how unviable. An SUV Coupe?  Ruthlessly absurd! How wrong we were!  Car enthusiasts obviously recognize this compact crossover shape from more than three dozen new or upcoming road cars. The chopped roof, the bluff face and 1-series-previewing headlamps?  Z4 Coupe backlight, with the high rump of the X6? It all came true! Like a wild wet dream for gravel drifters… the X Coupe came well ahead of its time in 2001. Concept Flashback – 2001 BMW X Coupe

Road Test Review – 2015 Lexus NX300h – Future-Proof Cruiser

By now you have definitely done a double-take on seeing the 2015 Lexus NX on the road. At first, another of the RX cavalry. Then new creases, new LED graphics and a sleek and low roofline make clear this is no RX. With the lean and chic nose look off the RC and IS, the NX is a deeply stylish crossover in all three of its trimlines: NS200t, NX F Sport and the NX300h tested here.  Both the base turbo four and this uplevel Hybrid model share their appearances, with only the F Sport getting the aggressive front chin spoiler, …

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2016 Citroen E-MEHARI Is Production-Bound EV Beach Car

Think of the original 1950-1980s MEHARI Citroen like a French Volkswagen Thing. Mostly open bodywork in corrugated panels increase the monocoque strength dramatically, allowing both cars to haul much more than their car-shaped siblings. Some of the first continental pickup trucks, if you will. The 2016 model shares some of the silly and playful beach spirit of the original MEHARI, but with more focus on stressfree driving than do-it-all utility. The E-MEHARI is not a concept, and is headed for sale in France in Spring 2016. It is a full EV with (we believe) front-drive for its advanced lithium metal …

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2015 Scion C-HR Concept Teases Upcoming Production Crossover – $24k Pricing, Hybrid Option Predicted

Hey good lookin’! Your eyes are not deciving you: this new Scion concept might look very familiar. If so, it is because we have seen it at Geneva and Frankfurt in Toyota guise. The purple and grey C-HR concepts shown so far are exact clones of this Scion for good reason: all tease the same upcoming compact crossover. Priced below the RAV4 and tipped to offer a hybrid engine option, the C-HR is a handsome and on-trend statement of intent for Toyota and its Scion offshoot. This concept is not in the slightest bit production feasible, however, with wild shapes …

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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SPORT 8

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SPORT – Official Debut Shows New Nose, Cabin and Colors

The new Outlander Sport is here, and demands respect!  Check out that butch new face!~ Mitsu calls this look Dynamic Shield, but whatever it is, the execution works here. A bluff new contrast-black horizontal elent takes over the nose graphic of the Outlander Sport for 2016. New headlights and interesting new wheels and body cladding complete the updated compact crossover. A $19k base makes the Outlander Sport a tempting choice for surf and ski fans mostly stuck in the city. To go with the new LEDs and butch new mug?  Three new satin semi-gloss paint colors: — Cool Silver –Diamond …

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2017 Sportage SX Turbo

2017 KIA Sportage SX Turbo Debut – Quad LEDs + Euro Handling Focus

The new Sportage is here in USA form, which we pleased to say looks exactly like the min-Cayenne of the Euro GT-Line rangetopper. The poshest trim for the USA is the SX Turbo AWD, as shown here. 2017 KIA Sportage SX Turbo PREVIOUS KIA’s push to excel globally is ramping up nicely. Frankfurt, California and Korea-based teams are now aligned to make the most of each area’s strengths. Korea as the lead manufacturing hub/supplier base, Cali as a tech and design center of excellence, and the European R&D division taking a much bigger role in vehicle development. It is a …

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2017 INFINITI QX30 Official Debut – Stylish Crossover Hits Showrooms in June

Official reveal today of the crossover Infiniti Q30 — the QX30! Infiniti has been teasing these twins via a series of concepts for what feels like years. The finish, production product shows why it took so long — with concept-like detailing, fabulous surface tension in the body shape, and a high-quality interior. Infiniti is product that the cabin of the QX30 shares virtually nothing touchable or visible with its Mercedes GLA platform-mate. In fact, the QX30 runs a bit more rugged and tough look inside overall than even its Q30 street sibling. Performance and power should match buyer needs in …

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2016 RANGE ROVER Evoque Convertible Goes Stargazing in Santa Monica

Naomie Harris is bringing some James Bond magic to the LA premiere of the new Evoque Convertible, with a gorgeous new photoset from the Cali beach and around SoCal hotspots with snapper Ben Watts behind the camera. The truck certainly looks gorgeous and right for its environs throughout!  Just don’t forget the black pack to get the sexy dark detailing shown on this first production model. Pricing is a worry. Volumes will be limited, of course, as a halo car in the Land Rover lineup, and the first soft-top Landie in the US since the Defender bowed out in the …

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2017 Ford Escape Facelift Reveals New Tech, Engines, and Dark Sport Packages for Spring 2016 Arrival

The new Ford Escape is official this morning!  But boy is this redesign subtle. In fact, facelift is a bit more accurate. A fresh new nose wears a more defined horizontal three-bar grille design than the slim upper grille of the current model. A new headlamp design wears brighter, more current white DRLs in the lower edge of the lighting, while squared projector balls are shown with HID lamps in the Titanium spec shown so far. This loaded Escape Titanium always looked cool and premium, however, at the expense of its much more popular SE and S trims, which lacked …

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2016 Mazda CX-3 GT Review 3

2016 Mazda CX-3 GT – HD First Drive Video + Photoshoot

The CX-3 looks incredible in person and drives very nicely as well. The matching LED projectors, DRLs and foglamps are a particular highlight in this compact crossover segment. The cabin, while narrow and slightly tight in back, delivers an excellent drive position and effective Eco/Normal/Sport drive modes. We have major gripes with Mazda USA at the moment, so are holding off recommending the CX-3 beyond this video brief. 2016 Mazda CX-3 GT – HD First Drive Video 2016 Mazda CX-3 GT Review

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2016 RANGE ROVER Evoque Convertible – World Premiere

The key question we had about the new Evoque Cabrio is if it would channel the Defender spirit, or be a bit of a Murano CC. The production model is here in official form tonight, and you can judge for yourself. There’s no denying how hot the Evoque Convertible would be on the streets. Somehow that ultra-low roof’s disappearance dramatically ups the sexiness of the box/tub shape. Paired with giant wheels, the Evoque Coonvertible will be like a concept car for the roads. Definitely go for the available black pack!   Black Design Pack   SPECIFICS 20 inch Five Split-Spoke …

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2016 Hyundai Tucson – Animated Colors Visualizer – All 8 Shades From Every Angle

A brief spin in the loaded Tucson Limited with its all-new turbo and dual-clutch automatic instantly confirms this will be one of the hottest-selling crossovers of 2016. It drives exceptionally well, looks premium and fairly European in its design outside and in, and is priced from just $23k at its cheapest trim. We’ve created an animated colors visualizer to give you a sense of the eight shades available on the 2016 Tucson, plus pricing and photos from the first drive video published yesterday. Style-wise, there are major incentives to move up from the base SE spec: it is the only …

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First Drive Review, Video and Pricing – 2016 Hyundai TUCSON Limited 1.6T AWD DCT

First spin in the new Tucson and verrrry impressed!  The loaded test car ran a superb turbo 1.6 through a new dual-clutch 7-speed automatic — creating a bit of a GTI in a crossover shell. Granted, as you can see in the pricing by trimline below, the Tucson does get a bet pricey with the upgraded engine and automatic, plus another grand for AWD. Base for the Tucson Limited is $32k. Which would seem crazy for the old Tucson. But this new model is completely redone — now becoming the widest car in its class and one that feels massive …

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700HP 2016 Hyundai TUCSON by Bisimoto Engineering

HYUNDAI PARTNERS WITH BISIMOTO ENGINEERING FOR A FOURTH STRAIGHT YEAR TO CREATE 700+ HORSEPOWER 2016 TUCSON Bisimoto Engineering’s First CUV is the Most-Powerful Tucson Ever Hyundai has revealed the most-powerful 2016 Tucson ever created, built by the powertrain gurus at Bisimoto Engineering for 2015 SEMA. Partnering for a fourth straight year, Bisimoto’s “Brute Ute” will be revealed at Hyundai’s SEMA press conference on November 3 at 11:30 a.m. PT, in Las Vegas. Utilizing Hyundai’s 2.4-liter “Theta-II” power plant as the starting point for the build, similar to last year’s 2015 Sonata, Bisimoto mated strengthened internals with fast-burning flex-fuel, a high-boost …

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2016 Hyundai TUCSON by Rockstar Performance Garage

    ROCKSTAR PERFORMANCE GARAGE TURNS 2016 TUCSON INTO A TRUE OFF-ROADER The bumper-to-bumper overhaul started with the most important piece of any serious off-roader: the suspension. The Tucson now sits six inches over stock height, riding on massive, 32-in. MTZ P3 tires from Mickey Thompson, and a fully-custom, adjustable shocks and struts system from King Shocks. The vehicle’s wheel wells were reconstructed to create space for the new setup, now able to fit the massive suspension and tire combination. Upgraded turbo piping, a high-flow Magnaflow exhaust and a new K&N intake and intercooler from Mishimoto help the engine breathe …

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2016 Hyundai TUCSON AdventureMobile by John Pangilinan

  First of three custom Hyundai Tucsons for SEMA. JOHN PANGILINAN CREATES TUCSON ADVENTUREMOBILE FOR SEMA John Pangilinan, the renowned Southern California tuner known for creating vehicles that blur the lines between lifestyle and automotive, has released details on his 2016 Tucson SEMA build. Dubbed the “Adventuremobile,” the vehicle blends Hyundai’s new crossover platform with a passion for the great outdoors, perfect for the weekend getaway. The car will be revealed at Hyundai’s SEMA press conference on November 3 at 11:30 a.m. PT, in Las Vegas. The “Adventuremobile” is just as at home on the daily commute as it is …

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First Drive Review – 2016 Honda HR-V – Looks Cool, Drives Poorly with Zero Power

    Really wanted to love the new HR-V as an emblem of new Honda mojo. But after a brief drive, the HR-V is a huge letdown and not in the top five cars in the compact-crossover segment. How to go from excitement to extreme aversion in just an hour on the road? The HR-V is perhaps not as bad as it seems when I end this drive video with “Hate It.” But Honda desperately needs to ace at least four big criteria for its next-gen models, this HR-V and new Civic included: — Design — Drive — Cabin tech …

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2015 DATSUN Go-Cross Concept Previews High-Ride, Low-Price Future Crossover

The Datsun brand’s revival is still at full speed, with a variety of models for sale in launch markets around India and Asia. Now we have a look at the brand’s next stage, a high-riding crossover. This preview shows us two things, both pretty impressive for a design concept: — the Datsun face and overall design style translate well onto an SUV shape — while this Go-Cross is dripping with swanky LEDs and gloss-black detailing, the parts underneath appear production-ready in most places. Datsun will certainly be producing this car, by the way. No coyness about that from the Nissan …

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2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i Arrives in November with Pricing from $35k – Colors + Real-Life Photos

The new X1 is in the wild, but you might not know it from first glance. It is a majorly convincing upgrade from the fairly low-slung and diminutive model. Sure, we loved the way the BMW X1 M Sport handled a track day. But it was quite low-slung and a bit too wagonlike, apparently, for mass consumption. The cab-backward look continues for 2016 in this second-gen model, but the entire visage grows up, out and across. The new X1 will still carve canyon tarmac, but now looks much more comfortable in rusty trails. The new model is basically a super-chunky …

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Concept Flashback – RENNtech 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 SPEC.R Hybrid Pikes Peak

Renntech won the Mercedes SEMA 2010 tuner challenge, and was awarded a little present as a result! Another iteration of the concept — but this time as a real rally car! All the enhanced aero is needed when climbing up to 14,000-feet at Pikes Peak International Hillclimb — when the KW springs and new NITTO grip setup are also helpful. The powertrain is a RENNtech-tuned V6 pushing 350HP, an increase of around 80 ponies versus the atmospheric petrol. Non-turbo at Pikes Peak is challenging, so the SPEC.R Hybrid adds a jumbo PHEV battery under the rear floor. Finally, custom graphics …

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HD Road Test Review – 2016 FIAT 500X Trekking is Bei Bei-Cute but Drives Euro-Sharp

INTRO Really wanted to incorporate Best of Awards  into the headline for this new Fiat 500X — but just ran out of space. What a stellar machine! With a drive experience recalling BMW’s and Audi’s, plus a cabin with fantastic Euro feel, the 2016 500X is an absolute gem from its $20k base price. Over a week of flogging the 500X Trekking in full sport mode glory, we fell hard for the 500X’s charms. To the point that even the design of the nose started to feel familiar and cute! As cute as Bei Bei the Panda cub at the …

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Road Test Review – 2015 Buick Encore AWD Premium with Ken Glassman

2015 Buick Encore AWD Review By Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman   The marketing folks at Buick have identified a large group of auto buyers who are looking for cars that have a prestige image, contemporary styling, and nicely appointed comfortable cabins. These shoppers want luxury amenities, but are also environmentally conscious and don’t require strong gas guzzling performance. The 2015 Buick Encore was designed with those attributes in mind. The handsome, rugged exterior styling features sculpted lines from the front clip and steeply raked hood (complete with Buicks iconic Venti-ports) to the character lines running just above the beltline, and door …

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2015 Toyota C-HR Concept 4-Door 5

2015 Toyota C-HR Concept Updated as 4-Door, Production Model En Route for 2017

Toyota’s baby SUV is almost ready for primetime! The second variant on the C-HR theme since Geneva in March of 2015, this new version is a rich metallic silver with production-intent proportions. Versus the original purple C-HR, this latest concept adds a pair of rear doors versus being a soft-road coupe. Mind you, the doors are well-hidden behind an interesting upward bulge of metal in the side surfaces. Other big tweaks to the shape of the body take the C-HR design from completely one-off to production-ready. We saw a similar evolution of the Lexus NX via various concepts, eventually leading …

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Nissan Gripz Concept

Updated1 with 50 New Pics – 2015 Nissan GRIPZ Concept Rally Racer

This Nissan GRIPZ Concept is out and stunning!  Bold and sculptural lines take on a new level of layered surfacing, unique spoilers and evolved design themes. There is good news and not-so-good news to share, however. The good is that this compact crossover is gorgeous and previews a next generation of Nissan SUVs and crossovers. Everything from the next Frontier to the next Armada may wear designs influenced by the GRIPZ. Nissan calls this new form language ’emotionalgeometry.’ The not-great news is that this concept does not, after all, run a twin-turbo V6 — as we speculated last week. No, …

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2017 Volkswagen TIGUAN Is Truly All New in R-Line or Standard Style + Concept GTE PHEV

NOTE: VW clarifies that this the European-market Tiguan. The US model may differ with a caveat like that — a la Passat USA vs Passat EU. Oh my. The only word we can think of? FINALLY. Volkswagen has been in USA reboot mode since 2012. But the results on the showroom floor are exceptionally underwhelming, so far. The boring and tired model range is designed so conservatively, and launch so slowly (1.5-years after Euro rollouts, 2.5-years after concept debut at times), that they feel old upon arrival. And ancient shortly after that.   2015 Volkswagen Golf R and Golf Sportwagen …

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2015 Nissan GRIPZ Concept 3

2015 Nissan GRIPZ Concept – Off-Road Z Car With V6TT!?

Our second teaser look today at the new Nissan Frankfurt concept: GRIPZ. Inspired by two wildly diverse race vehicles, the GRIPZ may or may not preview a next-gen Juke: a rally racing Datsun 240Z and a Specialized road racing bicycle. We initially thought it was definitely a preview of next juke, but now believe (hope?) this GRIPZ might be an off-road Z car. Would this even be possible!? Oh yes. As the original Infiniti FX showed, the Nissan front-midship reardrive platform is exceptionally flexible. Everything from the 350Z to the G35 was built of these all-star bones — so the …

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HD Road Test Review – 2015 Buick ENCORE – Drives Like an Audi, Priced Like a Kia?

Compact crossovers could not be hotter right now. They avoid the depressing drive experience of small sedans, no matter how tight they might be inside. The flipside is that carmakers can be tempted to overprice the mini-SUVs — with options taking the ultra small machines deep into real SUV territory.  This is certainly the case with the $48k BMW X1 sDrive28i we tested last year. Or how about the $67k AMG GLA45? Clearly the temptation of luxury features, equipment and options is powerful for both the brands and to buyers, though. The compact SUV is therefore quite perplexing at times: …

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