2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring – Marketplace Comparison – By Carl Malek

When we last met the Mazda CX-3, we praised its ability to bring Mazda style fun and flair to a segment that is steadily getting more and more crowded with entries from various automakers. With the segment also booming in sales and overall demand, choosing the right CUV for your driveway can be the most important decision many growing families face. With that said, does the Mazda CX-3 still have what it takes to win a spot in your driveway? To find out we went behind the wheel of a second CX-3, and crunched the numbers to see how it …

Read more

Toyota Yaris front fascia angle

2016 Toyota Yaris LE – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

With the recent influx of economy minded products from both rivals as well as the dearly departed Scion brand, it is easy to assume at first glance that the humble Toyota Yaris gets lost in the shuffle. But does this tiny hatchback still have what it takes to stand out in this crowded segment? Or does it come up just a bit short?     The exterior styling of our 2016 Barcelona Red LE grade test car (2017 models have minimal changes) certainly made our car stand out in a crowd, and also helped it have a sporty flair. This …

Read more

2018 Golf lineup

Volkswagen Unveils Updated 2018 Golf Lineup

Volkswagen has pulled the veil off of the updated 2018 Golf model lineup which represents the first major suite of updates for the current generation Golf as it seeks to stay relevant against rivals such as the Ford Focus as well as the recently unveiled Chevrolet Cruze hatchback.   The exterior styling of the 2018 model carries over from the current Golf, and as a result observers will be hard pressed to spot the various updates at first glance. However, a closer look reveals lightly tweaked front and rear bumpers, as well as full LED taillights that steal a page out …

Read more

Audi R8 V10 Plus Exclusive Edition (front fascia)

Audi Debuts 2017 R8 V10 Plus Exclusive Edition

A new revolution in headlight technology is coming, and at long last is finally making its way to the U.S. market. Audi has teased the idea of offering laser based headlights on its models, but nothing significant appeared until a few years ago. The R8 supercar was the first to offer a glimpse of this future back in 2014 with the limited production LMX edition. The LMX utilized the technology in its high beam lamps but never made the trek to U.S. shores due to our country’s stricter safety regulations.     Audi is out to change that with the introduction …

Read more

2017 Fiat Abarth 124 Spider – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

Its no secret that we are big fans of the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider and its compelling blend of retro Italian charm and its Mazda based underpinnings. Fiat has big ambitions for this model, and hopes that it can help reverse its fortunes here in the U.S. However we never had the chance to sample its spicier sibling, the 2017 Fiat Abarth 124 Spider which supposedly brings more performance and aggression to the 124’s elegant lines. But has Abarth’s interpretation of performance created a potent roadster offering that adds depth to the 124 lineup? To find out we spent sometime with …

Read more

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

When one hears the name Grand Sport and Corvette used together, you know that something special is in store for those that are lucky enough to experience it. This was true of the first Grand Sport which arrived on the scene as a ferocious racing machine back in 1963 and fulfilled Zora Duntov’s vision of creating a race car thanks to its lightweight dimensions as well as its 377 cubic inch aluminium V8. The vaunted nameplate would make its return in 1996 when it ushered in the debut of the new at the time LT4 small block V8 before returning …

Read more

20161019_132419

2016 Ford Focus RS – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

When Ford first unleashed the Focus RS back in 2002, it was a very tempting piece of forbidden fruit that was exclusive to European roads. 212 horsepower out of a highly-modified turbo Cosworth four ensured a firecracker of a car. The strong demand for this variant prompted Ford to launch a sequel in 2009 that made use of a Volvo designed 2.5 liter turbocharged five cylinder engine to produce just over 300 horsepower in a wrapper that was bolder and more aggressive looking than ever before. Unfortunately it remained out of reach for U.S. buyers who had to make do …

Read more

20161018_152628

2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

With the dust still settling on our review of the 2017 McLaren 570GT, it brings up a compelling question in our minds, is there such a thing as an “affordable” exotic car? The 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider aims to be one of these cars, while also serving as the face of Alfa Romeo’s anticipated and often times delayed resurrection in the U.S. market. The 4C certainly has the bold styling, and Italian inspired flair that one expects out of an Alfa Romeo badged offering, but can it really succeed as an affordable alternative to the pricier established exotic car …

Read more

2017 McLaren 570GT- Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

VOLUME PLAY When McLaren first unleashed its “sports” series of automobiles several years ago, they not only represented the British supercar company’s push to add higher levels of drivability and “day to day usability” to its potent vehicle offerings, but also the firm’s desire to greatly increase its sales volume over the next few years. The 570S has certainly done a great job carving a niche for itself when compared to the pricier, and much-angrier 650S, thanks to its newfound levels of practicality as well as its lower pricing. However McLaren is always striving to constantly outdo itself, and has …

Read more

SLS Electric Drive 1

Mercedes-AMG Prepares For Electric Future

Mercedes-AMG once cemented its claim to fame as well as its reputation on the loud and powerful V8s that defined models such as the SLS supercar, the S63 AMG, as well as the current generation AMG GT. However advances in battery technology as well as the tightening stranglehold of fuel and emissions regulations has caused the tuning house to explore building another electric model. This was revealed by AMG boss Tobias Moers during an interview with the Australian website Drive. “There will be an AMG pure electric car, but I do not know when.” Moers also pointed out that AMG’s …

Read more

2016 Chrysler 200 Touring LX – Road Test Review – By: Carl Malek

It has been a turbulent few years for the Chrysler 200. When the current generation model first appeared, Chrysler was banking on the 200 being able to take advantage of high gas prices while also making people forget about the past sins that the old 200 and its ancestor the mediocre Sebring wrought on buyers during their respective times in production. Unfortunately the recent drop in gas prices as well as the spike in SUV/CUV demand caused the 200 to fall short of its sales targets. With the 200’s time in production coming to an end later this year, we …

Read more

2016 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

When gas prices jumped a few years ago, a new breed of luxury car immediately came to the forefront of automotive buyers. Dubbed the “compact luxury car” these vehicles promised to offer their owners a long list of equipment, performance, and luxury in a decidedly smaller package. The 2016 Audi A3 aims to stand out against rivals such as the BMW 2-Series and the Mercedes CLA in this hotly contested segment, but has its push for sales diluted the very traits that have defined recent Audi models?   The exterior styling of our Monsoon Gray Metallic tester is a compelling …

Read more

2017 Volvo XC60 Exterior 2

2017 Volvo XC60 T6 Inscription – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

  With all the attention and fanfare that the revamped 2016 Volvo XC90 has received since it was unveiled to the world a year ago, it can be easy to forget about the other SUV in the Swedish automaker’s lineup the 2017 XC60. With the spotlight currently on its bigger brand sibling, does the XC60 still have what it takes to stand out in the hearts and minds of SUV buyers? Or has it fallen behind the times? The exterior styling of our Osmium Grey Metallic tester is an exercise in smoothness and elegance with Volvo designers even adding subtle …

Read more

2016 Toyota PRIUS By Carl Malek 3

2016 Toyota PRIUS Four Touring – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

When Toyota first revealed the 2016 Prius, it signaled a drastic evolution for the hybrid that helped define the green vehicle segment and also established Toyota as a prominent force in green vehicle technology. But has its latest evolution helped the Prius maintain its prominent place in the green vehicle hierarchy? Or has it lost a step or two to an ever evolving suite of green contenders? The exterior styling of our “Hypersonic Red” tester is the latest example of Toyota’s philosophy that the Prius shouldn’t look like a conventional car. While the last generation’s lines could be best described …

Read more

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring (6MT) – Review By Carl Malek + Fiat 124 Visual Comparo!

    When Mazda first unveiled the current generation MX-5 Miata back in 2014, it signaled a radical shift in focus, with Mazda designers breathing newfound life into a car that some thought had lost its way since it was first introduced in 1989. With bolder exterior styling, and a renewed emphasis on weight shedding, the newly rejuvenated MX-5 promises to blaze its own chapter in the sports car ranks. Our last sampling of the MX-5 was out on the track, but can it succeed out in the real world? The exterior styling of the MX-5 embraces newfound levels of …

Read more

Road Test Review – 2016 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited – By Carl Malek

When the revamped Hyundai Sonata first made its appearance back in 2009, it immediately stood out thanks to its slick exterior styling which marked a noticeable departure from the more mundane styling cues that once defined older Sonatas as well as Hyundai products in general. Can the revamped 2016 Hyundai Sonata still deliver on its promises of slick styling, while also retaining the impressive levels of technology that made the last generation model a hit with buyers? The exterior styling still looks handsome and elegant but whereas the last generation model was a ground up design, this iteration shares more …

Read more

Road Test Review - 2016 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring Sedan (6MT) - By Carl Malek 2

Road Test Review – 2016 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring Sedan (6MT) – By Carl Malek

With the recent surge in CUV sales, it is easy to forget that the compact car segment is still one of the hottest segments in the automotive market. From the Ford Focus to the venerable Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra, the segment has a wide range of talent to choose from. Bucking the trend is the 2016 Mazda3 which has always offered buyers a spirited driving experience in a sensibly priced package. But has its stellar road manners blunted the 3’s ability to rise above established compact car benchmarks? Looking at its exterior styling, it appears that the 3 is …

Read more

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL S-AWC - By Carl Malek 1

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL S-AWC – Road Test Review – By Carl Malek

2016 has brought a stormy spring to our beloved Mitsubishi. From the firm’s recent troubles with emissions, to the ensuing merger with Nissan, the company has forged through some pretty turbulent waters. But can models like the recently updated 2016 Outlander allow Mitsubishi to tap into the recent surge in SUV/CUV sales? Or does it get lost in the shuffle? The exterior styling of my Cosmic Blue tester is certainly an improvement over past iterations of the Outlander, but it ends up being disjointed and unbalanced. On the one hand, the front fascia embodies the sporty spirit that once defined some …

Read more

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

2016 Toyota Corolla S 6MT - By Carl Malek 2

Road Test Review – 2016 Toyota Corolla S 6MT – By Carl Malek

When Toyota unleashed the current generation Corolla back in 2013, it had lofty shoes to fill. While its predecessor was about as bland as a pair of 80’s era tennis shoes, it was also a key cog in Toyota’s formidable sales machine, and helped the brand lure in budget focused buyers. With that formidable sales reputation, and the inevitable pressure that it brings, does the current generation Corolla have what it takes to keep up this momentum? Or has it lost a step or two? Looking at the exterior styling of my 2016 Corolla S Plus tester, it is obvious …

Read more

08448074-photo-google-brevet-voiture---Copy-(2)

Google Giggle: Latest Automotive Patent Is Human Cow-Catcher – By Carl Malek

During the course of automotive history  there have been many advances in safety technology with the bulk of these systems focused on protecting occupants inside an automobile. However, a new patent recently filed by Google flips the script, and takes a novel approach to pedestrian safety. Whereas some automakers have equipped their offerings with pedestrian protection systems, Google’s approach would allow pedestrians to literally stick to the car in the event of an impact. At first glance the idea seems ahead of its time with Google’s giggle producing patent photos not helping matters, but a closer look reveals that there …

Read more

Drive Review – 2016 RAM 2500 Laramie Longhorn 4×4 – By Carl Malek

A Tale Of Two Trucks – Part 2     2016 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn   Serving as our second test vehicle, the 2016 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn takes a different approach to luxury and in the process becomes a completely different truck. Like the 3500 Limited, the Longhorn package comes equipped with an impressive resume of standard and optional equipment, and it also came equipped with the same 6.7 liter Cummins diesel engine. But unlike the black on black color scheme that defined the dually, the interior of the Longhorn embodies the spirit of the American west, and as a result …

Read more

P90216974_highRes

BMW Unveils Updated 2017 i3 with Giant New 33kWh Battery – By Carl Malek

  When BMW first unveiled the i3, it brought several innovations to the electric vehicle segment, while also allowing the company to launch its green minded i brand. However, with the current trend towards bigger batteries, the tiny i3 found itself slowly falling behind rivals when it came to driving range. BMW has rectified this flaw with the unveiling of the updated 2017 i3. Known formally as the 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) the second chapter of the i3 doesn’t focus so much on its long moniker, but rather on giving buyers more driving range than before. This is made …

Read more

2014 Alfieri Maserati Concept Pebble Beach 15

Maserati Embracing Aluminum for Production-Spec Alfieri? By Carl Malek

Reports from the inner confines of Maserati suggest that the Italian luxury car firm is seriously exploring the idea of a production version of the Alfieri! This concept first made its appearance a few years ago at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in what would amount to an ambitious charge into the sports car segment. Designed to take on rivals such as the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche 911, and even the Nissan GT-R, the Alfieri is expected to ride on a more performance oriented version of the modular platform that is also used on the Ghibli. However, the Alfieri would be …

Read more