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 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SELS S-AWC – Review By Ben Lewis

Quick!  What’s the world’s best-selling Plug-in Hybrid? If you’re like us, you probably said the Toyota Prius. I mean, they pretty much own all things hybrid, no? No. Surprise! It’s the Mitsubishi Outlander. Which was a surprise to us, too. Mitsubishi is one of the smaller players in the U.S. – until recently when Nissan bought a large share of it. (For those playing at home, Renault is a 43% owner of Nissan, while Nissan owns 34% of Mitsubishi). Those deeper pockets are sure to see investment in Mitsubishi, and a rosier future for the brand. We already felt the …

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2019 Lexus LS500 F Sport – Review by Ben Lewis

We’ve always been fans of the Lexus luxury flagship. And when it’s the sporty F SPORT model, even more so. We enjoyed the previous-gen 2017 Lexus 460 F SPORT, and were enamored with its powerful V8 engine. And then we were seduced by the new 2018 Lexus LS500, especially with the reclining rear seats with massage function – pure luxury limo. But even then, we knew the hot ticket would be the LS500 F SPORT. Losing the 460’s V8 would be tough, but gaining 30 hp and 67 lb-ft of twin-turbo V6 muscle seemed like a pretty good deal. Add …

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2019 Honda Civic Sport 2.0L 4-Door Manual – Review by Ben Lewis

Ok, we’re going out on a ledge here. But we bet this Civic may become a collectible. Yes, we get that the Civic Type R (or CTR for those in the know) will be a legend. And the current Civic Si is continuing a long line of sweet-performing Si’s. But the Civic Sport seems to go even deeper than that. More to the core of what has always made a Honda a Honda – or a Civic a Civic – for that matter. There’s a simplicity here.  A purity of purpose that typifies the man and the brand. 20-30 years …

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2019 Honda Passport AWD Elite – Review by Ben Lewis

What’s in a name? We’ll skip the Shakespearean reference, and go for the automotive one. Do they make sense? Sometimes. A 911, well that’s a model number. A Maxima – uh, is there a Minima? Now we have the all-new Honda Passport. Wait, we’ve heard that name before. Yep, there was a Honda Passport in the ‘90s. Well sorta. That Passport was a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo, which wasn’t a bad vehicle, and it was a smart idea – Honda needed a compact SUV to fight it out in that red-hot segment. This was three years before the 1997 CR-V would …

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2019 VW Beetle Convertible 2.0T Final Edition SEL – Review by Ben Lewis

Sometimes when cars go away, we don’t mourn their passing. Usually, those cars are nothing special, having outlived their usefulness, or are being replaced with something much better. But the VW Beetle has always been more than that. So, we’re truly sad to see this cheerful little vehicle go away. Who doesn’t need to smile today? Auf Wiedersehen, Baby… The appropriately named Final Edition is sending the Beetle off in a fine way. VW has a habit of making cool last models, and this one is no exception. We were lucky enough to score the Convertible version – it just …

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2019 Buick Enclave Premium FWD – Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Buick Regal TourX and concluded that it’s a sweet sport wagon – and not the big and friendly family Roadmaster wagon of day’s past. What if a big comfy wagon is what you’re looking for? As we like to say, step right this way, to the 2019 Buick Enclave. While the wagon market is rapidly shrinking, the crossover segment is going like gangbusters. And for the family with places to go, the three-row Buick is a great way to get there. Sleek 7-seater If you’re hoping for slabs of plasticized pine, you’ll be disappointed here. On …

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2019 Kia Niro EV – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Cynics that we are, we are slowly becoming fans of Electric Vehicles. While we still love the sound of a good engine, there’s a lot to love about the newest wave of fully electric and plug-in hybrid models. Our favorite plug-in may be the Honda Clarity,  whose futuristic good looks and reasonable 47 miles of EV mode range won us over. More important was the Hyundai Kona Electric, with an amazing 258-mile Tesla-baiting range, and great fun-to-drive spirit. We could easily drive it every day. Maybe the Kona is a little too small? Good news, we now have the Kia …

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2019 Acura ILX A-Spec – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Remember when Acura first launched? It may seem common now, but Honda was the first Japanese brand to bring in a luxury line – setting the path for Toyota’s Lexus and Nissan’s Infiniti. Mazda was dangerously close to bringing in the Amati line…but backed out. Still we owe props to Acura for being first, and the two first products, the Legend and the Integra were excellent, with all the Honda goodness, plus a nice layer of premium added on top. Acura kind of lost their way for a while – but as of late they’ve come back swinging. We recently …

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