Twin Test: 2020 Hyundai Kona Turbo FWD – Cheaper, But Much Less Grip

In the first part of this twin test we crowned the Kona Turbo AWD a best-of-2020 winner and clearly the superior Kona Turbo for performance enthusiasts.  This segment takes a look at what the differences are via a drive review and a new photoset of the 2020 Kona 1.6T front-wheel-drive. The upcoming Kona N performance model makes perfect sense to anyone who has driven the turbo version of these cars.  (The base Kona trims have significantly worse more affordable mechanicals beyond the engine so the boosted upgrade is very worthwhile.) But once you have sprung for the turbo, should you …

Read more Twin Test: 2020 Hyundai Kona Turbo FWD – Cheaper, But Much Less Grip

Twin Test: Hyundai Kona Turbo AWD – Brilliant Speed, Grip & Handling

Testing two cars in different trim and powertrains is often pretty dull with the same conclusions applying to both vehicles. Not in this case. For enthusiasts, the AWD is the clear favorite. The bar is extra high for these small Hyundais since experiencing the pure driving joy that is the Veloster N.  The bar is raised high by that giggly pocket rocket — so its extra admirable that Kona is in same ballpark. The top Hyundai Kona trims both run the 1.6T and double-clutch automatic but differ in their drivetrains and rear suspensions.  The AWD is the clear winner on …

Read more Twin Test: Hyundai Kona Turbo AWD – Brilliant Speed, Grip & Handling

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

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

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2018 VW Tiguan S 2.0T FWD 7 Seater – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

We recently tested the new Mini Countryman, and determined that while it’s the largest Mini yet, it still is Mini, in brand and spirit. So, now we have the all-new 2018 VW Tiguan, a big step forward in size over the previous model. Big enough to squeeze in a 3rd row of seats. But it leaves us wondering: Has the Tiguan gotten too big for its britches? One look and you know the new Tiguan is shopping at the big and tall SUV store. 10.6 inches longer, and riding on a wheelbase 7.3 longer, it’s not only a much larger …

Read more 2018 VW Tiguan S 2.0T FWD 7 Seater – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2017 GMC Acadia SLT-1 FWD – HD Road Test Review

You know the shorthand details on the all-new 2017 Acadia from GMC:  it is 700-pounds lighter and overall far more carlike than its predecessor. While still seating six or seven with its three-row seating. Another few changes slipped out of the big news, though: the Acadia is gorgeous now, and runs a gorgeous 26-mpg highway via its standard front-drive, four-cylinder power. This is pretty huge news versus the Acadia’s at the top of the range with their big V6 engine and ubiquiotus AWD and huge wheels.  A rarity in the car-reviews business, then. We have ourselves an entry-level model to …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Update2 – Road Test Review – 2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription

Update1 – Additional info from Volvo Cars US in Performance article section.  Update2 – Clarifies that S60 Inscription is the new LWB model, and the only one imported from China.   Solid experience in any business can make you a bit cocky.  You know your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats intimately. A brilliant skillset for any field. One that helps you achieve results faster and better than others. In the car reviews business, that often means you think you know a car pretty well… without even driving it.  From other models in the brand’s lineup, from previous generations and from reviews you have read.. …

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Hawkeye Drives – 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited 1.6T Review

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

Read more Hawkeye Drives – 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited 1.6T Review

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Exclusive Animated Renderings – 2017 Lexus RX-L Is LWB 7-Seat Variant

The new Lexus RX is already flying off showroom floors — with its devoted owner-base loving its all-new cabin inside, design outside and eight model variants.  With F Sports and Hybrids all available with or without AWD, the RX350 and RX450h are looking at a huge sales year in 2016. One thing Lexus mentioned at the launch of the new RX is that owners did not want the next-gen model to grow.  To that end, the new RX and its chopped roofline adds second row legroom over the 2015 models (plus powerfold and recline controls).  But the new RX is …

Read more Exclusive Animated Renderings – 2017 Lexus RX-L Is LWB 7-Seat Variant

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2015 BMW Concept Compact Sedan Teases Upcoming 135i: $25k Base Price, Standard Turbo, RWD?

  Here is a bit of a mystery concept from BMW: the 2015 Concept Compact Sedan. Debuting at the Guangzhou auto show in China this week, the Concept CS is not mysterious about its production intent. One look inside the cabin of even the renders shows that this car is nearly finalized already, and likely to be in some global Bimmer showrooms by the end of calendar 2016. From there, things line up with logical powertrains in 120i, 128i and 135i, mirroring the two-door 235i, etc. Pricing for the eventual 1 series is likely to start at about $25k, at …

Read more 2015 BMW Concept Compact Sedan Teases Upcoming 135i: $25k Base Price, Standard Turbo, RWD?

First Drive Review – 2016 Lexus RX350 FWD Luxury Package + Pricing and 100 New Photos

  The 2016 RX is huge news: an ultra-modern makeover adds style, tech and efficiency to the all-star crossover from Lexus. We had a chance to drive all five trimlines last week, and have some great news to report about the handling crispness, exterior design and cabin comfort. But also some fairly important gripes about the performance and style execution of the new RX — which can leave you slightly confused versus the BMW X5. Let’s start with the highest-volume model: the RX350 front-wheel-drive. As we can see in the pricing charts below, this $42k base price is the most …

Read more First Drive Review – 2016 Lexus RX350 FWD Luxury Package + Pricing and 100 New Photos

2017 Cadillac XT5 Tech Specs, Cabin Details Reveal New 8-Speed Auto, Giant Backseat + Turbo for China

Cadillac Arabia just revealed the XT5 at the Dubai auto show — the region’s first global debut for the expanding marque. The XT5 is fresh for 2017 with a quieter and smoother ride, extremely lavish cabin materials and design, plus a big leap up the roominess charts. This makes sense: the two-row luxury crossover market is all about the kings in the second row. An extra 3.2-inches of legroom are welcome in the new reclining and sliding second row of the XT5. The style of the XT5 outside is both fresh and slightly familiar: the nose and tail look very …

Read more 2017 Cadillac XT5 Tech Specs, Cabin Details Reveal New 8-Speed Auto, Giant Backseat + Turbo for China

Track Drive Review – 2016 Buick Regal GS – Flypaper Handling Is Now $3k Cheaper!

Autobahn Country Club might be my “Happy Place.” Recalling this track’s frisky bends, howling tires and full-throttle straightaways brings a smile instantly. Buick invited us to flog their performance flagship, the 2016 Regal GS, around the Illinois track and autocross to show off the machine’s latest updates: new colors and a price that is much more approachable. How approachable!?  A cool $3,300 off the base price for the GS takes the entry level to $35k versus near $38k before.  Three drivetrains continue for 2016: FWD auto, FWD manual and AWD automatic. The GS AWD we tested out still comes in …

Read more Track Drive Review – 2016 Buick Regal GS – Flypaper Handling Is Now $3k Cheaper!

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

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

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

HD Road Test Review – 2015 Nissan JUKE Nismo RS Manual

Imagine a core group of Nissan GT-R engineers, drivers and designers set loose on the Nissan Juke NISMO. Task? Take the quickest and most performance-focused crossover, and make it truly track-tight in every way. That is how the Juke Nismo RS came into this world — with astounding results. The speed, style and drive experience of the Nismo RS is absolutely incredible versus its $28k competitors — and even versus pricier cars like the AMG GLA45, WRX or Mustang EcoBoost. The Juke Nismo RS is incredibly focused from first sitting in its racing Recaro hard-back bucket seats. A pair of …

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Road Test Review – 2015 Nissan Rogue SV FWD 7-Seater

Some cars take a steep learning curve to learn their tech and driving merits. Modes and settings and menus can unlock driving modes and goodies that make the vehicle feel more in-tune with expectations and performance needs. The Nissan Rogue excels by being just perfect right out of the box. The Rogue is simply a solid, stylish and useful crossover that is well-priced and well-done from the first time you slip it into Drive. But if it is right from moment one, how does it feel after a week at the wheel? Let’s dive in to the full review of …

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Road Test Review – 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport FWD 2.0T Ultimate

INTRO – 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Review Think of the new Hyundai Santa Fe siblings like the Nissan Murano/Pathfinder. The Santa Fe Sport is a five-seater with a wheelbase five inches shorter than the big seven-seat Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe deviate from the Nissan offering with custom powertrains by vehicle size: the Sport’s uplevel engine is a 2.0-liter turbo, while the jumbo Santa Fe offers a V6 powertrain as a step up from the standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Spending time in both SUVs helps shed light on the differences the Sport’s new engine and chassis …

Read more Road Test Review – 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport FWD 2.0T Ultimate

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Road Test Review – 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD Is Premium and Posh 7-Seat Cruiser

Let’s say you are on a road trip. But you are in the back seat! Ahhh! You are not just a grown-up like Tom Hanks in BIG. You are just a large, tired human. Best stretch-out-comfy cabin this side of Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class? The Acura MDX. New for this year, the MDX really excels in its smooth, confident and quiet luxury crossover mission. This is a car for people who need to feel fewer jabs in the ribs in general — let alone paying the a German SUV to bounce you around choppy pavement. For these shoppers, the …

Read more Road Test Review – 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD Is Premium and Posh 7-Seat Cruiser

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Road Test Review – 2014 Ford Escape SE 1.6 EcoBoost – Scores a C+ Overall – Slow, Pricey and Uncomfortable

The Ford Escape is still an excellent crossover and a solid choice for a huge group of buyers – from the base $23,000 Escape S to the loaded Titanium AWD 2.0-liter EcoBoost, there is really something for everyone. But has time been kind to the Escape — in a segment filled with new entries like the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue? Let’s dive in with a structure of Exterior, Interior, Powertrain and Summary. EXTERIOR The style of the Escape still looks great even three years since the car’s first appearance on the market. It is a …

Read more Road Test Review – 2014 Ford Escape SE 1.6 EcoBoost – Scores a C+ Overall – Slow, Pricey and Uncomfortable

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2014 Nissan JUKE is Still Best New Car from $20k

Nissan JUKE is Cool New Car from $20k As a car writer, one of the most popular questions I get asked is: what car should I buy? I have a few default answers based on the price range and buyer needs discussed with that person, but is there one fall-back for people who might want an SUV, AWD, and a great value-for-money? Yes, yes there is. The Nissan Juke. From about $20,000 even for the front-drive models with a CVT, up to a max of about $28,000 as the Juke NISMO RS — the Juke really does have something for …

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2015 INFINITI QX60 Buyers Guide – Pricing, Specs and Features – AWD Hybrid Highly Recommended

There was a time when the Hybrid models in many car ranges were much more of a style and eco-conscience type of choice. The biggest example of this paradox of the Hybrid actually being a far worse machine, but much more successful with consumers, is the Lexus RX350 versus the RX450h. The RX Hybrid is so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget the standard model still exists! But is it a better car? That is very open to debate – as the Lexus system of AWD with electric power to the back axle is less-than-helpful in many slick road …

Read more 2015 INFINITI QX60 Buyers Guide – Pricing, Specs and Features – AWD Hybrid Highly Recommended

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2014 Acura MDX Colors, Options + Wheels Guide From $43k

Let’s say you are on a road trip. But you are in the back seat! Ahhh! You are not just a grown-up like Tom Hanks in BIG. You are just a large, tired human. Best stretch-out-comfy cabin this side of Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class? The Acura MDX. New for this year, the MDX really excels in its smooth, confident and quiet luxury crossover mission. This is a car for people who need to feel fewer jabs in the ribs in general — let alone paying the a German SUV to bounce you around choppy pavement. For these shoppers, the …

Read more 2014 Acura MDX Colors, Options + Wheels Guide From $43k

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2014 Hyundai Sante Fe Sport vs LWB – Buyers Guide with Specs, Colors, and Pricing

Orig Published on: Dec 24, 2013 @ 11:24 The Hyundai Sante Fe recently made the top ten list of most-researched cars in 2013. This is great news for the re-designed AWD crossover – which is now looking seriously classy across all of its many trim levels. Lots of researching could be not-so-great news as well, by indicating buyers are confused by the new Sport and LWB sizes. Many trim levels? On a Hyundai? Not really – allow me to explain the key differences between the five-seat Sante Fe Sport (seen directly below) and the seven-seat Sante Fe LWB.   BUYER …

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188HP Turbo Standard — 2014 Nissan JUKE Midnight Edition — 6-Sp Manual FWD From $19,000 — AWD Auto from $21,000

The Juke S is the most affordable spec in the trim lines that also include SL, SV, Nismo and the new-for-2014 Nismo RS model. While loving the 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO recently, and giving it the Best Turbo Sports Car, Under $25,000 Best Of Award here on CarRevsDaily, we realized something else. What was that discovery? In the latest new-for2014 paint colors like this triple black: this is a car that looks and feels like it is worth at least $10,000 more than its $24,000 total price. The NISMO is $24,000, but honestly represents such good value for this style …

Read more 188HP Turbo Standard — 2014 Nissan JUKE Midnight Edition — 6-Sp Manual FWD From $19,000 — AWD Auto from $21,000

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Buyers Guide to the 2014 Toyota Highlander with Specs, Pricing and 88 Photos

[Orig Published on: Dec 29, 2013 @ 15:30] The 2014 Highlander is finally looking like a classy option versus its sibling, the wildly-popular Lexus RX crossover. But while the RX has always made its rich appearance a selling point, the previous Highlander was best described as “forgettable.” No more. This new series really cleans up the styling, while keeping the same fundamental proportions and $29,000 base pricing. On that side of the three-engine range, the Highlander runs a front-drive 2.7-liter four-cylinder producing 170 horsepower and 24 MPG on the highway. Buyers who need AWD can choose between the V6 gasoline …

Read more Buyers Guide to the 2014 Toyota Highlander with Specs, Pricing and 88 Photos

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2015 Audi A8 Looks Same, But Adds FWD Hybrid and TDI Flavors

An early debut of the 2015 A8 would seem to jeopardize sales of the current 2014 A8 and S8 – but the changes are mostly tech and powertrain-based. A very evolutionary styling A8 makeover on the 2015 models will go unnoticed by most observers, keeping the 2014 cars relevant. Here are the image galleries of the 2015 Audi A8 TDI, TFSI, Hybrid and W12 LWB models. See if you can tell them apart!  (Hint: it is not easy, but the grilles and tailpipes are the best clues.) 2015 Audi A8 – LEDetails 2015 Audi A8L W12 2015 Audi A8 Hybrid …

Read more 2015 Audi A8 Looks Same, But Adds FWD Hybrid and TDI Flavors

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HD Video Reviews – 2014 Ford Escape 1.6L EcoBoost

Excited to bring you these exclusive HD driving videos of the 2014 Ford Escape sitting out front this week. The goal was the make these clips much more “watchable.” Yes, Drake was a skilled partner for this day of photos at his local dog park. HD Video Reviews – 2014 Ford Escape 1.6L EcoBoost The first video outlines the powertrain and pricing of this extremely affordable and versatile crossover. It also touches on the engine configuration of the FWD 1.6-liter EcoBoost – and its merits versus the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder that also serves duty on fleet-spec Fusion models. The second …

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