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Road Test Review – 2019 Kia Forte EX – By Carl Malek

When we last met the 2019 Kia Forte, it was on the streets of Pittsburgh, where we had the opportunity to sample some of the newfound charms that Kia baked into the newest iteration of the Forte. Kia engineers were eager to please when it came to redefining the driving and handling manners of the Forte for the 2019 model year. However, while Kia did showcase a number of unique places in the area, we were eager to see how the Forte handled the roads in our home territory of Metro Detroit to determine whether extended exposure dampened our initial …

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Hyundai and Kia Unveil Solar Panel Boosted EV Charging Solution, Expected To Appear In 2020

Once limited to experimental vehicles and ultra luxury hybrids, roof mounted solar panels are seeing a resurgence as EVs slowly become a more focal piece of the automotive landscape. Hyundai and Kia aim to take them to production reality by unveiling their plans to put them on production cars in a move that could have big ramifications for the broader automotive market as a whole.   Of course, a key caveat is that they will not be on all production vehicles, with Hyundai and Kia claiming that only “selected vehicles” will be able to be outfitted with them. When the …

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Road Test Review – 2018 Kia Niro Touring – By Carl Malek

When we last met the Kia Niro in Metro Detroit, it was back in 2017, in its base EX trim which aimed to not only deliver buyers a compelling CUV in a rapidly growing segment of the marketplace, but also the hybrid fueled efficency that is a key draw for green minded buyers. While it certainly suceeded in delivering on both of these fronts, it lacked the style and aesthetic flair to truly stand out against segment rivals. Kia aims to solve this problem with the Touring model, but does the Touring have what it takes to inject some much …

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Road Test Review – 2018 Hyundai Kona – By Carl Malek

Typically when it comes to small value focused cars, Hyundai has always been one of the front runners, and has largely done a good job catering to this still strong segment with offerings like the Elantra GT, the recently tested Hyundai Veloster, as well as the budget minded Hyundai Accent. However, in a curious twist of irony, the firm did not have a formal compact crossover entry to take advantage of this recently growing offshoot of the utility market. The 2018 Hyundai Kona aims to rectify that, but can the Kona’s youthful confidence allow it to standout in a segment …

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Road Test Review – 2018 Volvo V90 Inscription – By Carl Malek

The idea of looking to the past has always been a long enduring trend. In the automotive world, the massive glut of SUV and CUV offerings can make folks forget that long before those two segments rose up to smother the utility vehicle market, another brand of utility reigned supreme. We’re of course talking about the venerable station wagon, which has endured various twists and bends in its iconic existence. However, like the endangered White Rhinoceros, these vehicles are straddling the line between relevance and extinction in the U.S. with only a small handful of models remaining. One of these …

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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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Ford Reveals 2019 Edge, ST Model Emerges For Weekend Track Adventures [Video]

With Ford’s recent shift in both management and future product, the Blue Oval’s lineup of crossover vehicles have become a key cog in Ford’s profit making machine. The 2019 Ford Edge is one of these, and big changes are coming that aim to keep this proven nameplate fresh for the new model year. The exterior styling of the Edge has seen a significant refresh for 2019, which includes items such as a tweaked front grille, and standard LED headlights. A fully contoured hood is also on deck, and helps bring some muscular undertones to what was previously a very flat, …

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Road Test Review – 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf – By Carl Malek

When the e-Golf first arrived on our shores back in 2014, it was considered an afterthought especially considering that it arrived during the pinnacle of Volkswagen’s TDI-fueled dominance of the green car market. But with this diesel empire toppled by scandal, and a growing field of electric vehicles entering the marketplace, the e-Golf’s role in Volkswagen’s arsenal has become much more important. Can this electrified Golf stand out against the competition while still retaining the VW’s winning formula? At first glance, the exterior styling does not scream that your driving an electric car. In fact, it looks like a run …

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Road Test Review: 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Club (6MT) – By Carl Malek

When we last met the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF, we praised the fastback for offering a hardtop alternative to the venerable soft top variant, as well as giving customers better protection from the elements. However, the one thing we missed was the doses of sporty character that other MX-5’s are known for (mainly due to our tester being a luxury oriented Grand Touring model.) To find out if the wait was indeed worth it, we spent some time with the MX-5 Club to see if it could stand out in any discernible way from its slightly more sedate cousin.   …

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Road Test Review – 2017 Toyota Yaris iA – By Carl Malek

The legacy of Scion continues to permeate throughout Toyota showrooms. While the logos, marketing material, and the fancy displays have long since been deposited in the dark corners of history, several of its models continue to linger in Toyota showrooms. One of these is the budget friendly iA sedan. Designed and engineered with help from Mazda, the iA was Scion’s last ditch effort at attracting young first time buyers before the rug was pulled from under it. Will the addition of a Toyota badge and a new name allow the Yaris iA to still fulfill its mission in life? Or …

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Old vs New – 2018 Chevrolet Equinox vs 2017 Chevrolet Equinox – By Carl Malek

When an automobile is extensively redesigned and or updated for the new model year, it really makes you wonder if it can indeed be better than the model it replaced? That question compelled us to take a closer look at one of Chevrolet’s strongest selling crossover entries, the venerable Chevrolet Equinox. When the second generation model was introduced in time for the 2010 model year, it proved to be popular with a wide swath of buyers, and as a result, they are a common sight on the roads of Metro Detroit. The 2018 model aims to continue this tradition of …

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Marketplace Comparision – 2017 Lexus IS350 F-Sport – By Carl Malek

In an ever-evolving automotive world, the one segment that has always remained a hotly contested battleground (even in the current resurgence of SUV/CUV sales) is the entry level luxury sports sedan segment. It used to be a kingdom long ruled by the benchmark BMW 3-Series, but over the past few years outright anarchy has taken place, with more automakers making sport sedan entries that either match up to the venerable 3, or in a few instances, outclass it in a truly compelling challenge to the sales throne. Lexus has traditionally played second fiddle to the 3-Series with its contender, the …

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Road Test Review – 2017 Lexus RX350 F Sport – By Carl Malek

With the crossover segment quickly transforming into a key battleground for the worlds automakers, the pressure is on for these companies to create a compelling crossover that’s a perfect fit for a wide range of customer tastes. Lexus aims to establish itself as a top player in the luxury crossover segment with the 2017 RX350. The RX first appeared back in 1998, and quickly made a name for itself not only because of its approachable price tag, but also its slick for the period styling elements. But can the 2017 RX continue its winning ways? Or has it become a …

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Honda Unveils 2018 Accord, Promises New Levels Of Refinement And Performance

With the Honda Accord entering its 10th generation, Honda engineers had a big challenge when it came to updating the venerable sedan. They had to achieve it in a way that would make the Accord embrace the future, but without alienating the basic virtues that have made the company’s bread and butter model a household name among car buyers. With the unveiling of the 2018 Honda Accord earlier today in Detroit, Michigan (following on the heels of a prior teaser sketch,) it appears that Honda is pulling out all the stops to achieve this lofty goal.     It all …

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Road Test Review – 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Limited – By Carl Malek

Once considered rolling science experiments 15 to 20 years ago, electric vehicles are seeing a resurgence in both relevance and importance to a new generation of car buyers. When I was growing up in Metro Detroit, it was in a GM household, and the infamous EV-1 was the symbol of GM’s brief but compelling trip into the world of mass market vehicle electrification. Tremendous progress has been made since then (case in point the Chevrolet Bolt), and electric vehicles are slowly making the transition from curiosity, to mass market reality. But does this mean that electric vehicles are at long …

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2017 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum (AWD) – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

Three row SUVs have always possessed a special spot in the minds of many family buyers. With enough seating for a whole family, as well as tremendous amounts of cargo space, these bruisers have become a must have tool for many families. The Toyota Highlander is one of the top entries in this class, but can the updated 2017 Highlander allow Toyota to continue its winning ways? Or have they caused the Highlander to lose some ground to a growing crop of SUV rivals?   The exterior styling of the Highlander was lightly revised for the 2017 model year, and …

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Road Test Review: 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label – By Carl Malek

Lincoln has recently seen an upswing in fortunes over the past several years. With slick TV commercials starring celebrity Matthew McConaughey as well as a string of new vehicles, it’s clear that Ford’s once flat lining luxury brand is pulling out all the stops in its quest to lure new customers into its showrooms. But can Lincoln’s new lineup of vehicle’s reflect the new-found pulse that is circulating through the brand? Or do they come up a bit short? Even though the 2017 Lincoln Continental is currently the vehicle at the forefront of Lincoln’s recent string of TV ads due to …

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Elegance Rebooted – 2017 Aston Martin DB11 First Look – By Carl Malek

When Aston Martin first unveiled the 2017 DB11 coupe, it represented a monumental shift for the British supercar maker. Aston Martin has always been known for its unique heritage, but lacked a versatile stable of fresh product to truly standout against supercar benchmarks like Lamborgini and Ferrari. The 2017 DB11 looks to change all that thanks to its revamped styling, performance and technology. This special car heralds a promising future for the brand, but will all of its new tricks help it cement a spot in the hearts and wallets of Aston loyalists? Or does it miss the mark?     …

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2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD RTL-E – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

Mid-size trucks are gaining sales a wild rate in 2016. With the revitalization of the mid-size truck segment over the past two years, this is now a hotly-contested battlefield. Once defined by wheezy entries such as the Ford Ranger, as well as older iterations of the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, the second generation Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon have set the current benchmark for the segment, and pushed their Asian rivals out of the mix in the process. Honda looks to reverse this trend with the 2017 Honda Ridgeline, but can this revamped entry standout in a crowded segment while …

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2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition (6MT) – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek   

EVO = “the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.” That definition best describes the Lancer Evolution, a car that originally started out life as the mediocre Lancer compact sedan, but would gradually transform into a performance car bargain thanks to the efforts of Mitsubishi engineers. Its rivalry with its Asian arch nemesis the Subaru WRX rewrote the performance car genre, and inspired other automakers to follow suit with entries such as the Dodge Neon SRT-4 (and its horrible follow up the Caliber SRT-4) the Ford Focus ST, and the Volkswagen Golf R. Sometimes …

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Road Test Review – 2016 Lexus CT200h – By Carl Malek

  Looking for a luxury branded vehicle that can deliver Prius grade levels of fuel economy without telling the world that you’re driving a Prius? Lexus thinks that it has the solution with the 2016 Lexus CT 200h, but can this sporty looking eco warrior successfully deliver stellar fuel economy while also living up to the lofty expectations that comes with donning the iconic Lexus badge? The exterior styling of the CT certainly does a stellar job of hiding its Prius roots. Wheras the Toyota’s styling can be best described as being boring and outright amorphous, Lexus designers went for …

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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 …

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