2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve had our share of exciting new vehicles lately. Ones that drew crowds, from the Honda Civic Type R, to the Lexus LC500. Thing is, it’s usually of interest to a certain kind of buyer. The hi-po import guys for the Civic, the luxury buyers for the LC. But with the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, we’ve had tons of interest – not just from Jeep loyalists – but folks from all different backgrounds and interests. It’s the people’s vehicle! (Sorry VW) Friendly Looks The first thing that draws them in is the Gladiator’s exterior design. From the front, it’s pure Jeep …

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2020 Lexus RC F – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

For a long time, Lexus has stood for really wonderful cars. Beautifully built, wonderfully smooth, but it’s been the rare Lexus model that could turn the heads of buyers who pony up serious dough for Mercedes’ AMG, BMW’s M Division, and Porsche. Well, there was the Lexus LFA. And it was sensational, but priced new at $400,000 and going for mid-400’s to 600’s (yes, thousands) now, it was always a halo car that was going to be out of reach of almost all of us. (We do still buy Lottery tickets and dream, though). For the rest of us, Lexus …

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2020 Subaru Outback Limited – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

If there’s a company that epitomizes the “You Don’t Mess with Success” mantra, it’s Subaru. You rarely get a revolutionary, all-new, blow-your-mind model from the automaker. And we’re fine with that. Everything’s so good already, they prefer to perfect what they got. Introducing the all-new 2020 Outback! You didn’t notice? Well, it does look very familiar to anyone who has loved the previous five generations of Subie’s tall wagon. The size is about the same – 1.4” longer and 0.6 wider than the previous model. The lines look a bit crisper, with a large hexagonal grille, LED fogs and front …

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2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL FWD Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new Kia Telluride, and came away mightily impressed. So, we couldn’t wait to try its sibling, the Hyundai Palisade. We were surprised in a couple ways. They’re very different, and yet both deserve your consideration. And Hyundai’s flagship SUV even has a surprising accent. (Not to be confused with the Hyundai Accent) Swedish Fish Many times we’ve pointed out that Kia design feels very European, thanks in part to putting Peter Schreyer the head of Audi design in charge. Hyundai has never felt that way, until now. Well, except for the front. Here we have a …

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2019 Mazda3 Hatchback – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all-new Mazda 3 sedan, and with its premium feel and refined road manners, called it the best Euro sedan for the money right now. Not bad for a Japanese brand, eh? Well, Mazda seems to always serve up a hatchback on the 3 as well, to give those who want more practicality with a larger cargo bay, but the vehicles are usually pretty similar. (If you wanted a high-performance Mazda 3, the MazdaSpeed 3’s were built on the hatchback, but they haven’t done that in a while.) So, we were excited to test the all-new Mazda …

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2019 VW Tiguan SEL Premium 4Motion Review by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the massive 2019 Toyota Sequoia, and we felt that it had earned the motto (ok, we read it on a popcorn box) Big is More. In its class the jumbo Toy makes the most of its size. But it’s not the only class where size matters. Take for example the 2019 VW Tiguan. The previous gen was one of our favorite small SUV’s – it felt like you were getting some GTI DNA mixed in with crossover practicality. When time came around for VW to update the Tig, it decided to aim directly for the U.S. market. …

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2019 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport Review by Ben Lewis

We used to go to a movie theater that had catchy phrases on the popcorn containers. On the largest size was the especially memorable: BIG IS MORE. Well, there’s no arguing that in popcorn. Or full-size SUV’s. Which brings us to the 2019 Toyota Sequoia. If an SUV ever deserved that motto on the side, this would be it. But there’s plenty to talk about outside of the big and tall dimensions. Big is Beautiful The 2019 Sequoia is a good-looking beast. Unlike the new RAV4 (that we loved) that’s dressed up to look rugged, the big Toy bowls you …

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2019 Mini Cooper S Hardtop 60th Anniversary – Review by Ben Lewis

When we talk about performance cars, the benchmark is still 0-60. Which may be outdated, but it’s easy to get your head around and compare cars of the past with cars of today. (Spoiler Alert – cars of today are much faster today.) That said, we are talking 0-60 mph. But with the 2019, we are talking something completely different. 0 – 60 Years Yep, years. Hard to believe that the original Mini first bowed in 1959. Especially since a super-small, efficient and fun vehicle seems so now. 1959 was an interesting year – The first Barbie Doll was introduced, …

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2019 VW Arteon SEL 4Motion – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the all new Nissan Altima, and came away impressed and hopeful for the fate of the 4-door sedan. Yes, the Crossover/SUV is the new King, but there still seems to be plenty of room in the royal family for a sedan. And for a lot of manufacturers – especially luxury brands – there still needs to be a halo sedan. Enter the VW Arteon. Replacing the VW CC, which was a stylish version of the Passat Sedan, the Arteon, is bigger, more stylish and more expensive. So our question – Is VW’s new flagship a dreamboat, or …

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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 Subaru WRX Series.Gray – Review by Ben Lewis

Funny how things change. Today, if a friend tells you they’ve bought a Subaru, it’s probably a Forester, or an Outback, maybe an Ascent. And they’re all lovely vehicles. But back in 2002, when you bought a Subie, it was probably a WRX. And it was revelation – a rally proven, high-performance legend that the brand finally decided to bring over here. And it radically changed what people thought about Subaru. And it was the beginning of a long relationship between the cute little sedan or hatch and those who love to drive. Well, now we have the 2019 WRX …

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2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Kia has been on a roll. Every vehicle we’ve tested lately, from the 2020 Kia Soul X-Line to the K900 has been a gem, and now we have the all-new Kia Telluride – a full-size, 3-row, 8-passenger SUV, and it may be the best Kia yet. And that’s saying something. The Bold and the Beautiful The Telluride is the largest vehicle Kia offers, and it’s also the first Kia designed specifically for the U.S. Kia itself calls the Telly big, bold and boxy, but this is one handsome box, looking more like a cross between a Ranger Rover and a …

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2019 Mazda3 AWD Sedan Review by Ben Lewis

A lot of people love European vehicles. The quality, the ride, the design, the feeling that you’re in something special – it’s all good, and it’s all there. So, we often get asked, “what’s a good entry-level European sedan?” Well, the best Euro sedan for the money right now is… the 2019 Mazda 3. Yes, the Mazda 3. We’ve just spent a week in the all-new Mazda 3 sedan (a hatchback is available, too), and it is impressive. Now we’ve always liked the 3 – a lot of enthusiasts we know who’d like a BMW or an Audi end up …

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2020 Toyota Corolla SE 6-Speed Manual Sedan – Review by Ben Lewis

If I tell you there’s a 4-door compact sedan that’s got hot styling, some real attitude, and is lots of fun to drive thanks to a 6-speed manual transmission, what would you say? Civic? Mazda 3, Elantra? How about a Toyota Corolla? Yes, the Corolla. Okay, we can’t blame you if it didn’t pop in your mind. Although there have been the occasional performance versions including the hot-hatch 1988 Corolla FX16, and the 2005 Corolla XRS sedan (8,000 rpm redline!), most of the model’s reputation has been built on solid, sensible and reliable transportation over flash. And it’s been a …

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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 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 Toyota Prius Limited – Review by Ben Lewis

It’s tough being at the top. Take the Prius for example. I mean, it pretty much invented the hybrid category. And it bore the brunt of a lot criticism early on. But it emerged. Not only unscathed, but look at how many Hybrid models are for sale now. Toyota alone offers a Camry, Corolla, Avalon, RAV4, Highlander, Prius, Prius Prime and Prius C models. All Hybrids! That’s quite a lineup, and as the pater familias (father of the family) of this clan of efficiency, Toyota has to make sure that it stays relevant and attractive. So, for 2019, The Prius …

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2019 Lexus NX300 F Sport – Review By Ben Lewis

If you have a younger sibling, you might remember this. One day, everything is fine – you’re the new baby, star of the show, everything is going well. And then boom! A new baby comes along, and the spotlight has shifted. Wuh happened? Well in the case of the Lexus NX, it was the birth of the all-new, cute and cuddly Lexus UX. Suddenly, the NX is another member of the growing Lexus SUV family. Of course, not being in the spotlight has some advantages. Where the NX used to need to be the price leader SUV of the line, …

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2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid – Review By Ben Lewis

Toyota has found their mojo. The new Camry is awesome. The Hybrid version, is too. The Corolla Hatch? Desirable and fun. Even the Avalon is sexy now. Yes, the Avalon. But it’s the SUVs and Crossovers that are make or break for manufacturers. And since the RAV4 pretty much invented the small car-based SUV 22 years ago, it’s been a big hit. In fact, Toyota says the RAV4 is not only the best-selling vehicle in its class, it’s the best-selling non-pickup in the country. That would make a lot of manufacturers cautious, careful and conservative. Don’t rock that money boat! …

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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 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate 2.0T AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve been into Sports lately: The Elantra Sport, the HR-V Sport and soon, the Civic Sport. So, in the growing enterprise of sporty vehicles, it’s interesting that for the all-new 2019, the model formerly known as Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has been simplified to just Santa Fe. Hey, the Santa Fe has been here for 32 years, and is the burgeoning brand’s best-selling SUV. Has Hyundai found a different path? Will it have lost the fun-to-drive and stylish vibe of the previous model? The question is… Do We Know the Way to Santa Fe? Well, it’s still pointed in a …

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2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport 6MT 2

2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport 6MT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Recently, I was picking up a press car, and they asked me – in all sincerity – if I drive a stick. Really? Yes, it’s come to this. Manuals are getting so rare that some auto scribes don’t know how to drive one. Please don’t tell Hyundai. Because recently we drove the 2019 Elantra Sport, with 6-speed manual trans, and it was a delight. A Meaner Mugshot All ’19 Elantras get a crisp new look, with a restyled hood, front fascia, grille and headlights that look more aggressive and squintier, including LED headlights and a special grille on our Sport …

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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 Buick Regal TourX Essence AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Tonight, the as I drive the streets of Gotham, the city is safe. I glide silently by, constantly aware, constantly on the watch. I am Batman Ok, maybe I’m not the Caped Crusader, but when I first saw my Buick Regal TourX, dressed in its Ebony Twilight Metallic, I thought “Batmobile”. Which brought up a great discussion – while we all have our favorite actor, from Adam West to Ben Affleck, there seems to be a mutual agreement – the Batmobile has always been cool. Purists, I apologize, we’re talking only TV and movies here. It’s the Buick that makes …

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2019 Honda HR-V Sport AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve tested Honda’s HR-V a while ago and found it surprisingly sporty and fun – especially when equipped in front-wheel-drive with a 6-speed manual transmission. So, when Honda announced a new HR-V Sport model for 2019 we were excited – in Europe, there’s an HR-V Sport with a manual transmission and the 1.5-liter turbo we get here in the Civic. This ain’t Europe. Unfortunately, we’re not getting that Sport. No turbo motor. And for 2019, the manual transmission is gone, too. Farewell… That said, our HR-V Sport gets some goodies unique to the model that should make it more fun …

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2019 Toyota Tacoma Limited – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

In these trying times of scandals, political tensions, and my sports teams not doing much, it’s hard to keep the faith. But there’s one place that’s earned your trust for decades, and continues to do so. The Toyota Tacoma – an honest truck. Tough yet Approachable Along with the Toyota 4Runner, The Tacoma is an old friend. It’s been with us since 1995, and that’s building on a heritage of incredibly durable Toyota pickups that started here in the U.S. in 1969. And here in California, where the weather is kind, you still see plenty of 70’s and 80’s trucks …

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2019 Hyundai Kona Electric – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We just spent another week in Kona, and although we’re not tan, we can’t wait to go back. This is our second visit – after our first trip, we came back singing praises for its Island Style, the strong performance, and loads of equipment for the buck. And in many ways the Kona EV is even better. Slicker and Sleeker We loved the regular Kona’s style, and it had a tough, aggressive vibe to it. For the EV, Hyundai has decided to go a little more futuristic, a little more upscale. It starts with the grille. Well, it’s a grille …

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2019 Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Volvo has had a renaissance for a few years now. From its hearty agrarian roots, to its German-baiting performance years, to now – a Premium Luxury division with impeccable style, the brand is extraordinarily capable of reinventing itself, while still keeping a Volvo a Volvo. And nowhere is that more notable than the Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD we recently tested. Meet Thor’s Hammer While its design is closely related to the Volvo XC60 we tested, the larger proportions of the XC90 really give visual heft, and conveys a premium quality. Our tester was all that, starting with a bold front end, …

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2019 Lexus UX200 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Hello. Small crossovers and suv’s are all the rage now. Oh, we’ve said that? Well, without further ado, let us introduce the latest of the small luxury crossovers, the 2019 Lexus UX. Small in size, but big in goodies, the UX competes in the segment where we find the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. But we found it’s a very different vehicle than the Europeans, and it’s quite tempting. It’s all about the UX. While Lexus says UX stands for Urban Crossover, in this case, we think it means the tech term User Experience (known as UX) – the process …

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2019 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring – Review By Ben Lewis

No big shock here, small CUV/Crossover/SUV’s are all the rage. Not only a nice, city-friendly- sized version of larger SUV’s, with their low prices, enhanced fuel efficiency, and utility, they’re knocking the stuffing out of the small car segment as well. And now Mazda is going after the affordable sports car. Which is pretty interesting. With the Miata, they pretty much own the affordable sports car segment. But the 2019 Mazda CX-3 looks like they’re going after one of their own. So, it’s a sports car? Well, it looks like one. It certainly comes from the same family of the …

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2019 Subaru Forester Limited – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Subaru owners are faithful. To the vehicles, to the brand, to the ethos. It keeps owners in the fold, and attracts new buyers in big numbers. Like the Prius, Tesla, Jeep and others, people like a brand or model that stands for something. So, you don’t go messing with success. Familiar lines Now that we have an all-new, 5th –generation Forester for 2019, it’s not a big shocker that this model is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Which is okay, since there wasn’t anything wrong with the previous model. You might have trouble picking the new one out, so here’s some …

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2019 Hyundai Accent SE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The honest car. In a world of SUVs and Crossovers dominating the landscape, there’s still a need for an entry-level sedan. Whether you’re just looking for “transportation” a good first car, or even something to dutifully wait for you at the train station, a small well-built sedan can fit the bill. And way back in the day, before the wide array of cars and trucks it now offers – plus brands including Kia and Genesis, Hyundai made their bones on simple, durable sedans. So, it’s no surprise that if you’re looking for an inexpensive place to park your backside, the …

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2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL 1.5T S-AWC – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

What’s in a name? Well, if you’re Mitsubishi, that’s a good question. Until recently, the company has kind of languished in the market place, with fewer dealers and a small line-up of vehicles. All of that changed recently with the purchase of Mitsu by Nissan. Deep pockets, advanced engineering, and massive resources mean good things ahead for the brand. There are a couple names that do stand out, Evo – the high-performance rally-bred four-door sedan that’s a legendary giant-killer in performance circles. No longer in production. And then there’s Eclipse, an equally legendary front wheel and all-wheel drive sport coupe …

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2019 Kia Forte S – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It pays to have a good-looking sibling in the family. Especially an automotive family. Let’s say you’re drawn to your friendly neighborhood Kia dealer to see the hot ‘n sexy Stinger sedan. And it’s more than a looker – the 6-cylinder rear wheel drive Stinger we tested was a great performance sedan, with the credentials, capabilities and feel-good pricing to keep the European brands looking over their shoulders. So, when it came time to redesign the company’s small sedan, the Forte, Kia was clever enough to make it’s reasonably-priced, fuel-sipping, value player look like its handsome big brother. So, we …

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2018 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. The sedan is not dead. Sure, SUVs and Crossovers are the big biz these days, but there are a lot of folks who like sedans. And there are some areas where those SUV’s and Crossovers are still falling short. Take Fuel Economy When it comes to efficiency, a crossover or SUV with its bigger body, poorer aerodynamics and greater weight, is going to be challenged. Yes, they’re getting better, but they’re not there yet. Also, sedans are fighting back with technology from hybrid, to plug-in hybrid, to EV. Take for example, …

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2018 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Manual – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Classic. What makes a car a classic? Often times, it takes years, or even decades to bestow a title like that. Or an ad on Craigslist for some clapped-out conveyance you should never consider buying. Let’s ignore the latter, and concentrate on the former. And we’re here to tell you that the 2018 Audi A4 is a classic. Classical Elegance Even though the A4 was all-new last year, you might not have noticed. Audi is a founding member of the Evolution, not Revolution design club. And besides, the previous model was pretty sweet. The new model looks a little crisper, …

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

We’ve always admired that Subaru stays true to its roots. A clever mix of marketing and engineering makes Subie owners set apart from the crowd. And in an age where so many brands seem to offer similar products, that difference is a fresh and welcome breeze. That said, Subaru doesn’t operate in a vacuum – they have to offer vehicles that buyers want. A perfect example is the 3-row crossover. Right now, that 7-passenger capability is a hot ticket, and we’ve seen everything from the new VW Tiguan to Kia Sorento stepping up to snag a bite of that apple. …

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2017 VW E-Golf SEL Premium – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

OK, we’re a little late to the EV game. We recently tested the Soul EV, and came away charmed by the unique driving experience, and the way Kia made the electric Soul feel special and unique – like driving a car of the future. Which is a great counterpoint to the VW Golf EV. While the Kia celebrates its EV-ness, the Golf plays it the other way – it completely feels like any other Golf, the only difference is that it has a different way of fueling up. For someone with EV anxiety, or who just wants to go electric …

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2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We like cars that fly in the face of convention. Nissan’s Juke, Kia’s Soul, many Minis…all a little off of center, but lovable and fun. And to this list, you have to include the Hyundai Veloster. The quirky, sporty, three-door hatch that some love and has other scratching their heads, has always be an affordable funster. And now we have an all-new 2019 Veloster, and that’s always a crap-shoot. Will it keep the unique vibe, or go more mainstream and lose the plot in the second chapter? Chapter Two Well, the looks have gone from funky to aggressive, but we …

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2018 Kia Soul EV+ Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

You may have heard the term “Range Anxiety” when it comes to Electric Vehicles. (EV to you and me). It describes the nervousness you have over not having enough range to get where you’re going. With a gas car, it’s a stop at the local sip ‘n go. But with an EV, if you can find a place to plug in, it’s still between 45 minutes to a couple hours to get a meaningful charge. But now we have a new term. EV Anxiety? This is different. For many of us enthusiasts, we look at the EV as the death …

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2019 Lexus ES350 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The Lexus ES has always been a nice car. It was one of two models offered by Toyota’s luxury division when it launched in 1990. The LS400 was an all-new technological tour de force that took on Europe – and America’s – finest, and showed that the Japanese could compete and win on the world stage. And then there was the ES. Basically, a Camry with sporty C-pillar that was sold in other markets, Lexus put a heavy ladle of luxury on it, but compared to the LS, it was kind of lukewarm. In many ways, that has remained the …

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2019 Mazda6 Turbo – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Some say the sedan is dead, that the SUV/Crossover buried it. We say poppycock. (Actually, no one says poppycock anymore, but it keeps us out of trouble with the language nannies). Proof? Look at the aggressive tack we’re seeing right now, with an all-new sporty Toyota Camry, an all-new Honda Accord with available detuned Civic Type R motor, and all-new Nissan Altima with a world’s first Variable displacement turbo engine.  Sedans are back and they’re mad as heck. With all this new sheetmetal on sale, it’s got to be tough for a not-so-new sedan like the Mazda 6 to keep …

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

We’re suckers for a good ad campaign. And when we saw the new Kia Sorento ad, with it climbing a heinous off-road course at Hell’s Gate, Moab, Utah, we thought – “hey, we haven’t been in a Sorento in a while”. Time to make that right. Well, it’s a perfect time to test the ’19 Sorento, as it features some significant upgrades that take this likable 3-row crossover a step up in the desirability department. Devilishly Handsome. The Sorento has always been a good-looking piece, with an upscale-vibe and a rugged square-shouldered look. Its last complete redesign was in 2016.  …

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2018 Lexus LS500h – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

What does it feel like to drive $104,000 of prime quality Lexus beef on the hoof? It’s actually kind of unnerving. We’ve occasionally driven cars that cost even more, but the mission of the LS500h is daily luxury. Superb and supremely comfortable luxury, but daily nonetheless. And this one’s a hybrid. We tested the 416 horse, twin-turbo V6 LS500 sedan a while ago, and loved it. And a part of that love came from the big sedan’s ability to lift up its figurative skirt and haul like a bat out of hell when it needed to. But does a fuel-saving …

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

Welcome to the jungle.    Not the Amazon – we mean the compact SUV market. But it’s almost as treacherous –  while you won’t find Piranha, you’ll find every car maker worth their salt constantly biting at each other for that big, delicious share of the hottest segment in the marketplace. Your guide today through this land of hungry hippos is the 2018 Kia Sportage. In these treacherous waters, it’s good to have experience on your side, and the Sportage is tried and trusted. In our previous test, we loved the performance, quality, features and style. But that was almost …

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2019 VW Jetta 2

2019 VW Jetta SE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2018 VW Passat GT, an exciting twist on one of the carmaker’s oldest models. And now, we have the 2019 VW Jetta, its newest model. And make no mistake about it, a new Jetta is a big deal. It’s the most successful European nameplate in the US, with 3.2 million sold since 1980. And, that’s just a drop in the bucket – worldwide sales are over 17.5 million. Now we have the seventh-generation of the popular sedan, and VW has pushed the envelope to give us a bigger, better, more advanced sedan to continue to woo …

Read more 2019 VW Jetta SE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2019 VW Passat GT V6 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It seems like the de-facto performance engine for reasonably priced cars these days is the 2.0-liter, turbo, 4-cylinder. From Audi A4, BMW 3, to Honda Accord and Kia Optima, the moderately-sized, turbo motor strikes as the perfect combination of power and economy. But what about 6-cylinders? For a long time the 6 was the engine, that sweet spot between big muscular V8’s and wheezy fours. Now, it’s a premium item – out of the reach of most buyers – especially if you want that engine wrapped in some sexy European sheet metal. VW to the rescue Yes, the brand that …

Read more 2019 VW Passat GT V6 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2019 Kia Optima SX Turbo – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Time flies. The last Kia Optima Turbo we tested was a 2016 model, and here we are behind the wheel of a 2019. What’s changed? Well for the Optima, it’s been constantly refined – 2017 saw a plug-in hybrid model added, 2018 saw some upgraded connectivity, and now for 2019, a host of safety equipment is standard across the range. There’s also a freshened face and rear, and the UVO infotainment system gets an upgrade. All good, admirable things for the car that in 2016, we called the most affordable Audi you can get. Yep, that good. But in those …

Read more 2019 Kia Optima SX Turbo – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2019 Toyota AVALON Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Some say Toyota is like a Cruise Ship – once it starts moving it takes a while for it to make a turn. We say not so, in the last couple years, under the direction of new management to create a sportier, livelier, more-fun-to drive product. We’ve seen model after model, from Camry to Corolla, get some sharp new duds, make sharp new moves, and surprise a lot of people. And nothing is more surprising as the all-new 2019 Avalon. Bad Grandpa Not in the bad-not-good sense, but in the bad-is-awesome sense. Once the poster car for our seasoned citizens …

Read more 2019 Toyota AVALON Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Lexus RC350 F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Bespoke. It’s a nice word, isn’t it? Very upscale, smarmily British. Made to order. Like a custom-fitted suit. And while Lexus would go broke trying to special-build an RC350 for every taker, it feels that way. Shall we try one on? The Amorous Bee The first thing you notice from the pictures of our tester is the color. Called Flare Yellow, it’s a rich metallic yellow that turns orange in certain light. It’s also a new color for 2018, and it gets lots of attention – the RC has been around since 2015, but people where asking about it like …

Read more 2018 Lexus RC350 F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

You know those commercials for Overstock.com? (no, we’re not getting a free couch for this). The ones where people are judged – sometimes unfairly – for their names. Well, the Corolla has the same problem. We say Corolla, and you probably think, small, supremely reliable, pleasant, good value. But exciting? Meh.  One small step for a Corolla and One giant step for Corolla-kind. Previously, the formerly known as Scion iM was renamed, and the stylish little hatchback became the Corolla IM. And it was a nice looking, decent performing hatch with loads of features – typical Scion. A nice start. …

Read more 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Buick Regal GS – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We’ve been really impressed by Buick lately. Both the Enclave and Encore crossover/suv’s impressed us, and the word has been getting out – Buick is selling well, and appealing to a new, younger, audience. But the Buick Regal may be the biggest surprise of all. Yes, the Regal. You probably know the name – it started way back in 1973. Along the way it has soldiered on, some models better than others. One of the high points was the Regal Grand National, with a turbo engine that caught the imagination of enthusiasts and brought back some of the luxury/performance sparkle …

Read more 2018 Buick Regal GS – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited – Road Test Review – by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the Elantra GT hatchback and found it to be a fun and flexible small hatch – one that might be better for some buyers than a crossover or SUV. And while those vehicles seem to be getting the lion’s share of sales, along with small hatchbacks, there’s still a need in the marketplace for the small sedan. There’s always a sweet spot for cars like the Corolla, Civic and our tester, the Elantra sedan. They make great first cars for new drivers, great second cars for families, and comfortable and reliable transportation for older buyers, too. The …

Read more 2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited – Road Test Review – by Ben Lewis

2018 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro S-tronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Welcome to world of the sequel. Just like the movies, the auto world is always challenged by the follow up to a blockbuster. And make no mistake, Audi Q5 SUV is the real deal – the company’s number one selling vehicle. So, for all of us who lust after the R8, the S5 Sportback we just tested, or even the TT Roadster, we have the immensely popular Q5 paying the bills so Audi can bring in all the other good stuff we love. Thank you, Q5. Now, what have you done for us lately? Of course, that is not to …

Read more 2018 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro S-tronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Audi S5 Sportback 17a (2)

2018 Audi S5 Sportback 3.0T quattro Tiptronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We can thank the SUV/Crossover craze again for this – with buyers so used to the flexibility of the big box, it has raised interest again in wagons and hatchbacks. Interesting, because a few years ago, manufacturers were saying customers didn’t want hatches and wags – but the customer is king! I want my Sportback back, Sportback back, Sportback back… Yes, this does make us hungry for ribs, but let’s go on. When Audi recently introduced their new A5 Coupe – which we tested and loved – they also introduced a 4-door hatchback model they named “Sportback”.  Even more exciting, …

Read more 2018 Audi S5 Sportback 3.0T quattro Tiptronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Nissan 370Z Coupe Heritage Edition – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Once, a long time ago, affordable sports cars roamed the highways and byways of this great land. The dream of a roadster (or coupe) in the garage was well within reach, and shared by many. Wuh happened? Safety regulations, Crossovers, SUV’s, Baby Boomers with bad backs –it seems like they all conspired to do the sports car in. Many manufacturers just walked away from those who love to drive the most. But luckily, some didn’t. The herd has been thinned out, but the ones that remain are pretty darn good. The Miata comes to mind – The Subaru BR-Z/Toyota 86 …

Read more 2018 Nissan 370Z Coupe Heritage Edition – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Have you noticed this great resurgence in family sedans lately? The all-new Accord and Camrys that we’ve tested are really pushing the limits of design, performance and technology – fighting back against the rising tides of crossovers and suvs. And who do we have to thank for the sedan revival?  Hyundai. A few years back, it seemed like the sedan had settled in for a nice long snooze, content to be shopped by those who wanted 4 doors and a trunk – but not interested in grabbing customers by the collar and saying “Hey check me out”. At the same …

Read more 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Inscription – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Volvo has been on a roll lately, every vehicle we’ve tested has been a tasty blend of performance, luxury and uniquely Swedish design. We’re always up for a fresh serving of the carmaker’s fare. But the XC60 is more than just another entree, it’s their biggest seller, and it fights in one of the most competitive SUV/Crossover segment on the planet. So, we wondered: Is the all-new XC60 another sweet-dish or a stinky Lutefisk? Well, if you don’t know what Lutefisk is, we’ll leave it up to your googling skills. Or trust us, it’s an “acquired taste” at best. Presentation …

Read more 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Inscription – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Kia Niro PHEV LX – ~240MPG Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Last year we tested the Kia Niro hybrid, and it came away as one of our favorite vehicles of the year. Here was a hybrid with the practicality of a small crossover, excellent fuel economy, and best of all, it was truly fun to drive. We’d gladly have one in our driveway – and it would make a perfect day-to-day partner to some rip-snorting, fuel guzzling, socially questionable weekend toy. Plugging into the latest and greatest While hybrids have been around for quite a while now and become extremely successful, getting people into full EV electric vehicles has been a …

Read more 2018 Kia Niro PHEV LX – ~240MPG Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

First off, game over. Hybrid has beaten Diesel. At least for passenger cars. The VW debacle has pretty much snuffed the light out for diesel cars as your super-efficient way to motor around. And with the departure of our dear departed Diesel, expect to start seeing more hybrids. Hybrids ‘R Us. So, it makes sense to see what Toyota’s up to. Especially since they pretty much owned the tech for a long time, and made Prius and Hybrid a household word. And no, this isn’t a Prius test, because there’s a brand-new Camry for 2018, and after having a ball …

Read more 2018 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT A/T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

One of the great things about the popularity of small SUV’s and Crossovers is that it’s also creating renewed interest in small wagons and hatchbacks too. Once you’ve experienced the practicality of RAV4 or HR-V, it’s pretty hard to go back to a small sedan. So, don’t go back to a small sedan. With the all-new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, you get carrying capacity – plus a whole lot of other nice surprises. And even if comes down to choosing between an Elantra sedan and GT hatchback, it’s no contest – hatch wins. Euro style. It starts with the looks …

Read more 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT A/T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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 …

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

2018 VW Golf Alltrack Exterior 11

2018 VW Golf Alltrack – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Everyone seems to want a crossover or SUV. You’d think this would be bad news for makers of wagons like the 2018 VW Golf Alltrack, but just the opposite is true. A lot of people like the added utility of ‘utes, but prefer a car-like experience. Or something in-between. Audi probably should get the nod for the original Allroad creating the premium upscale “tall wagon”. And you can thank the Subaru Outback for putting this type of vehicle in just about every neighborhood in the country. Especially where it snows. Let’s get rugged! VW sells it shares of SUV/Utes as …

Read more 2018 VW Golf Alltrack – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

While crossovers are the big thing, we think it’s great to see the sedan isn’t ready to roll over and die. In fact, with the all-new Camry, and coming soon, All-new Altima, carmakers are stepping up their game – each of these new sedans is on the edge of style, technology, and best of all, performance. Leading the renaissance is the 2018 Honda Accord. Super Stylish It must be tough being Audi. You come up with a gorgeous design, and next thing you know, other manufacturers seem to be dipping in the same inkwell. Take the new Audi A7 – …

Read more 2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Seems like every manufacturer has their “Luxury Flagship SUV” these days, and Nissan is no exception. While most of these are more luxo-barge than flagship, there are a few that remain true to the real SUV credo of ruggedness, capability and anywhere anytime composure. We’d include the Range Rover and Toyota Land Cruiser in this select group. And now we’d also add the new Nissan Armada. It’s a whole ‘nother kind of Armada. One look and you know this is different. Where the old model was an SUV version of the previous-gen Titan, Nissan does us a solid and gives …

Read more 2018 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 4Motion – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

If you go by sales, VW SUVs have always been the scrawny kid on the beach getting sand kicked in his face. But, as if answering one of those mail-order bodybuilding courses, a new, big, powerful and buff VW Atlas is giving those other bullies a roundhouse to the jaw, and claiming its rightful place in the sun. Behold: the VW Atlas. Or as we named out tester, Charles Atlas. If you don’t remember Charles Atlas, you can still appreciate that the U.S. is big SUV country, and up until now VW hasn’t really courted the buyer who needs three …

Read more 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 4Motion – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Kia Stinger GT1 RWD V6TT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  We’ve been very impressed by Kia lately. It seems every new model is exceptionally good. But now we have something completely different: The Kia Stinger. Offering something you won’t find at any Toyota, Nissan or Honda dealer – a high performance rear-wheel-drive sedan. From the design, you’d think they’re taking on the new Audi A5 Sportback, and the performance the BMW 5-series. So, Kia is clearly targeting the European thoroughbreds. But does the Stinger have the horse-sense to back it up? Ich bin ein Frankfurter… No, not the hot dog. It’s no surprise that Stinger looks so European. Kia …

Read more 2018 Kia Stinger GT1 RWD V6TT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Acura TLX A-Spec V6 SH AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It’s about time Acura got some credit. After all, it was the first Japanese automaker (via parent company Honda) to enter the luxury division that was owned by Europeans. It created a supercar (NSX) that could hang with the world’s best, and still it was as reliable as a Prelude. Somehow along the way, though, the brand earned a reputation as nice, well turned-out cars, but a little bland for the enthusiast. Now if you want to point out the new NSX, that’s fine – but at a starting price of $156,000 it’s more of a dream car for most …

Read more 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec V6 SH AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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 …

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

2018 Honda ODYSSEY Elite – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Minivans aren’t often objects of desire. Sure, they can be objects of affection, and we know many owners who swore they’d never own one who now swear they’d never drive anything else, but mostly they lie in the job title of family workhorse – destined to be covered in sweaty sports gear and crumbled cheerios. But maybe things have changed. Is the new 2018 Honda Odyssey lust-worthy? Well, it’s certainly handsome. Hard to believe, but the 2018 is the 5th generation of Honda’s people mover, with 2.5-million units sold it’s Honda’s 4th best-selling vehicle of all time. Impressive. For its …

Read more 2018 Honda ODYSSEY Elite – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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 …

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

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 …

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

2017 Nissan Maxima SR – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Recently we tested the all-new 2018 Camry. Ours was the sportiest V6, XSE and it managed to clear the $40,000 hurdle with optional equipment. It’s certainly a great evolution in Camry-dom, but it had us thinking, for 40-large you’re treading on some well-established toes. Including the self-proclaimed 4-Door Sports Car, the Nissan Maxima. So, is the Maxima still the sport/luxury sedan of choice for value conscious buyers? Well, it’s certainly aging well. While competitors like the Camry are handsome, the Maxima still lives in a league above. It looks long, low, and wide, full of serious intent. Also tying in …

Read more 2017 Nissan Maxima SR – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 GENESIS G80 Sport AWD 3.3T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

BMW, Audi and Mercedes: better check your mirrors. There’s a new brand breathing down your neck. Hyundai. Yes, Hyundai (hey wasn’t that their ad campaign a while ago?) In this case, it’s the Korean automaker’s luxury division, Genesis. From the get-go, Genesis has taken serious aim at the luxury market, and while early cars where Hyundai Genesis models like the Coupe, it has slowly divested itself from the mothership, and become a stand-alone luxury brand. Well.. sort of, they don’t have stand-alone dealerships yet, so the lavish love you get from The Europeans, Lexus, and others is sadly missing. That …

Read more 2018 GENESIS G80 Sport AWD 3.3T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Toyota Yaris iA – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

While it’s great to test the latest hi-tech, hi-buck vehicles, we really enjoy when a manufacturer makes an inexpensive car something special. Especially when it’s not only good, but also a surprisingly good drive.  And this is one of those vehicles. Yaris, I am your father… OK, the Yaris has a confused parentage going on here. Until last year, the iA was a Scion. And when Toyota got rid of that brand, it adopted the little sedan. Hence the funny iA name – clearly a remnant from Scion. But of course, that’s only half the story, because the iA is actually …

Read more 2017 Toyota Yaris iA – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 VW Passat 1.8T R-Line – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Hankering for a sporty European performance sedan, but stunned by the high prices? Never fear – we’ve found a sweet sedan that ticks all the right boxes and even surprised us with its sensible pricing: the 2017 VW Passat. Now you have to be a smart shopper, or you could get carried away and end up dropping a fair amount of loot on some maxed-out model. You have to know the magic word. The magic word is R-Line. VW actually serves up 6 different models, but the R-Line gives you a nice dollop of sporty goodness in its second-to-lowest priced …

Read more 2017 VW Passat 1.8T R-Line – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Dodge Challenger T/A – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Some cars just take you back. And the 2017 Dodge Challenger is one of them. Sure, it’s loaded with modern technology and conveniences, but once you fire up that awesome Hemi V8, and just listen to it whump, whump, whump – it becomes a time machine that transports you back to when driving was almost everything you could think about. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s positively bad-ass. What’s not to love? The design is familiar, the Challenger hasn’t changed much since it was re-introduced 2008. And they were smart – the proportions, the stance, the swagger – it’s all true …

Read more 2017 Dodge Challenger T/A – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Toyota Camry XSE V6 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We like cars that shake things up. That take what you thought you knew, and lead you in a whole new direction. One of the biggest surprises this year is Toyota’s venerable family sedan. From the sharp creased lines, to the sharply-creased performance, it’s got a lot of people asking the same question. That’s a Camry? Yep. But first, some housekeeping. The rumor of the family sedan being dead is a bit overstated. Yes, crossovers are big business, but there are a lot of buyers out there who are just as happy with a solid, sensible, four-door sedan. And they …

Read more 2018 Toyota Camry XSE V6 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Nissan 370Z Roadster Touring Sport 7 A/T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Although summer is a memory in the rearview mirror for most of us, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy a roadster – in fact, cooler weather and leaves changing color make fall one of the joys of owning a drop top. And if you’re looking for joy in a roadster, look here. The 370Z is getting to be a senior citizen in the sports car world. The coupe appearing in 2009, the roadster in 2010. Mind you, there have been updates, including a facelift – but the basic vehicle is pretty much the same, even as its approaching it’s …

Read more 2018 Nissan 370Z Roadster Touring Sport 7 A/T – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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 …

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

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 …

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

2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

There’s a little Jekyll and Hyde going on at Lexus. Does the brand want to be that same trusted conservative luxury purveyor the pampered have learned to love? Or does it want to throw off the kidskin gloves, and take on the Europeans in the performance pantheon? Does the Lexus IS350 F Sport Sprechen the Lingo? Well, you get the intent from the exterior design. Hard to believe it’s been with us since 2013, the IS really still looks fresh, and aggressive. For 2017, all IS models get kicked up a notch, with a redesigned front end with an even …

Read more 2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Thinking that if you want a European Sport Sedan, It’s got to be a Bimmer, Benz, Audi or Jag? Maybe taking a chance with an Alfa? You might be missing out on something very cool.  The Volvo S90 T6. Yes, Volvo. Most people think they’re mostly a maker of SUV’s (they make a couple of excellent ones) or don’t even know they’re still in business. So sure, they look great loaded up outside IKEA with your latest FINNBY Bookcase (who comes up with these names?), but does it have the credibility on the streets with the big boys from Bavaria? …

Read more 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Lexus RX450h F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The world is clamoring for hybrids. Especially since VW has probably signed the death warrant on Diesel, at least in the U.S. Luckily for Lexus and Toyota, their brands have been THE place to go for Hybrids selling the funky and agrarian Prius sedan here since 2000. And hybrids have come a long way, in performance, livability, and technology. So if you’re looking for a luxury SUV, but still want to feel good about yourself among your eco-conscious friends, where to go? Ahem… right here. The 2017 Lexus RX450h. Feel good is what the RX450h is all about. Partly, because Lexus …

Read more 2017 Lexus RX450h F Sport – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Audi A6 Sedan 3

2017 Audi A6 3.0T Competition Quattro – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

There are advantages to flying under the radar. Make no mistake: there is great fun in having a red-hot sports car that gathers the oohs and ahhs of from friends and thumbs-up from those in the know. But there’s little fun having law enforcement following you around, waiting for you to succumb to temptation. Or when your insurance company finds out you have an M3, S4, or AMG E43. Luckily, there’s a nice little niche of strong performing vehicles that don’t call attention to themselves, or raise red flags to those who would spoil Your Good Time. Take for example, …

Read more 2017 Audi A6 3.0T Competition Quattro – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Fiat 124 Spider EXTERIOR 15

2017 FIAT 124 Spider – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  No spoiler alert needed: The Fiat 124 Spider is built on the all-new Miata. But don’t dismiss it as a Japanese sports car – and an excellent one at that – trying to pull a fast one by donning an Armani suit. It’s surprisingly different from Mazda. Let’s start with style, ok? Per favore! When the new Miata debuted, it was a surprise, the previous generations felt like organic developments of the same design, with a lot of thanks owed to the original Lotus Elan, if you ask us. But when the new model saw daylight, it was noticeably …

Read more 2017 FIAT 124 Spider – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 INFINITI Q60 3

2017 INFINITI Q60 3.0t Premium – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The all-new Infiniti Q60 has a heck of a fight on its hands, and we don’t envy it. The premium coupe segment is where manufacturers like to work your endorphins to peak frenzy to get you to buy, buy, buy their latest sweethearts. And they have been offering up some tasty temptations. Tempting to swoon the 2-door dollars out of your wallet are the handsome and proven BMW 4-series, surprisingly good upstart Cadillac ATS, stunning Lexus RC, Mercedes’ rounded C-Class coupe, and just-introduced Audi A5. And if that’s not enough to get your head spinning, just about every manufacturer now offers …

Read more 2017 INFINITI Q60 3.0t Premium – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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 …

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

2017 Genesis G90 1

2017 Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate RWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

The hunt for the elusive Luxury buyer is on with the all-new Genesis division. We recently tested the G80 sedan, and came away mightily impressed – a dynamic, stylish, beautifully-equipped competitor to the BMW 5 series. But for the price of a lowly turbo 4-cylinder Bavarian, the G80 had 5.0-liters of rip snorting V8 muscle. While Genesis is on safari for luxury brand competitors, it doesn’t stop at the G80, because with the larger G90, the brand is taking on the big game – Lexus LS, BMW 7-series and Mercedes S-Class. So, does it come home with a trophy, or …

Read more 2017 Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate RWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 VW Jetta GLI 2.0T 6MT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Crave the delectable deliciousness of a German Sport Sedan, but don’t have the coin for an Audi, BMW or Benz? We’ve got a solution for you. The Jetta GLI sedan. Yes, a Jetta. With all the heavy-duty incentive, low-low financing, come-on-down-to-your friendly V-Dub dealer ads for garden variety Jettas, you might have forgotten VW’s love letter to the Sport Sedan. And it’s a tough world for sedans these days. With the heat for crossovers and the newfound interest in hatchbacks, the pickings for the discerning sedan driver on a budget are few. In the spectrum of things, there’s the hard-edged …

Read more 2017 VW Jetta GLI 2.0T 6MT – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Is the new Sentra NISMO heir to the SE-R throne? That depends on who you ask. And really, ask the right person. Why? Well there’s a lot of snobbery, and it seems to come from people who haven’t taken the trouble to even drive the car. And they’re missing out. From the enthusiast camp, the issue seems to be the expectations based on the NISMO name – that you should expect BMW M Division, Mercedes AMG level commitment to performance. While we think that’s true in the GT-R NISMO and 370Z NISMO, when it comes to models like the Sentra …

Read more 2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Cadillac ATS 3

2017 Cadillac ATS 3.6 Performance – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Drive this Cadillac and you’ll never want an Electric Vehicle. Ever. We’ve been having this discussion lately. While some of our friends are having eye-watering fantasies about driving the new Tesla to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, we’re rather meh on the whole deal. And you can blame this Cadillac ATS for that. The Caddy doesn’t try to redefine the sport sedan segment – and it doesn’t need to. What the ATS does is remind you about everything a great sport sedan brings to the table, lays it out in front of you, and invites you to dig in. …

Read more 2017 Cadillac ATS 3.6 Performance – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Nissan TITAN Pro-4X V8 - Exterior Photos - By Ben Lewis 14

2017 Nissan TITAN Pro4X V8 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  The full-size pickup truck is as American as BBQ, and it sells like hot cakes. But it’s not something just Ford, GM and Dodge have noticed. While Nissan and Toyota both have made strong inroads in the compact pickup truck market, they’ve long wanted a slice – even a sliver – of that huge Full-size pie. Well for 2017 we have an all-new bigger, better, Titan. Did Nissan get the recipe right, or are they going to end up being extra crispy? Well, they’ve certainly given it their best shot. Outside of the Nissan badge on the hood, this …

Read more 2017 Nissan TITAN Pro4X V8 – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 VW Golf SportWagen S 4Motion 7

2017 VW Golf SportWagen S 4Motion – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Is the Golf Wagen 4Mo the cure for Diesel-departum depression? If you’re a VW fan, you know by now that the diesel (TDI to the faithful) is a goner. And that’s a big bummer to Wagon fans. We know a lot of VW Wagon owners who just looooove the great fuel economy of the TDI – making it an especially adept long range cruiser, and a great alternative to a small crossover. While you can’t get that TDI Wagen (or is it wagon?) anymore, for 2017, VW is sweetening the deal by offering the Golf SportWagen for the first time …

Read more 2017 VW Golf SportWagen S 4Motion – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Infiniti QX30 24

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, …

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

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 …

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

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 …

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

2017 Subaru WRX 5

2017 Subaru WRX Limited Sport Lineartronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

WRX= love. But CVT= hate. Can they get along? For Subie’s sake!? Few cars are as enamored by enthusiasts as the WRX. While the rest of the world had enjoyed Subaru’s extreme rally car for the street, it wasn’t until 2002 that we got one here. It was worth the wait. While it had a cult following for the in-the-know, the majority of the population had no idea. We have happy memories of terrorizing a Porsche 911 with a silver, bug-eyed 2002 test sedan. It was so unassuming, yet with its turbo-four cylinder and all-wheel-drive, immensely capable and fast. What’s …

Read more 2017 Subaru WRX Limited Sport Lineartronic – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2016-mazda-cx-9-signature-4

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

  Is the Mazda CX-9 a Miata for 7? It’s an interesting thing. Used to be, you had needs, you bought a vehicle that fit those needs. Things changed when SUV’s got popular. Suddenly, if you needed a minivan, but didn’t want to be seen in a minivan, you could get something cooler. No more settling. Well, that opened the floodgates. Pickup truck that’s decked out like a luxury sedan? You can get them with more cow on the inside than you can tow on the outside. EV’s that will stomp all over supercars? Here’s your Tesla. Convertible Crossovers? How …

Read more 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis