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 Miata – sharp, creased lines, aggressive sporty looks, and tight dimensions with muscle. Kind of like a gymnast. One of the nicest proofs of Mazda’s “Kodo” design theory, a Japanese aesthetic that emphasizes strength through form and proportions. Like all Mazda’s we’ve seen lately, the CX-3 is moving a bit …

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2018 Honda CR-V 1.5T AWD Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

It’s amazing how time flies in the auto industry. Especially in the compact SUV segment. We tested the all-new 2017 CR-V less than a year ago, but it’s got loads of competitors nibbling at its heels, from an all-new Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Toyota RAV4 plus a heavily-revised Jeep Cherokee. And don’t forget the Nissan Rogue Sport, Hyundai Kona and other ilk, that are a little smaller, but still in the hunt. How you holdin’ up? Being such a competitive segment, most manufacturers seem willing to be more expressive in their styling – you don’t want to be lost in the crowd. In that crowd, the CR-V still looks great, but where it felt edgy last year, it’s migrated over to the more conservative side of the party. Not a problem though, we like it looking more upscale and stylish, vs outdoorsy and rugged. Being a top of …

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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, the Honda Accord Hybrid Recently introduced, the new Accord wowed us – great looks, beautiful interior, a great drive –our recent Accord Touring even had a detuned version of the monster Civic Type R’s 2.0-liter turbo engine. What’s not to love? Honda, smart marketer that they are, knows that not …

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Car Mods – BMW Wagon Makeover w/ 3M 1080 Color Wrap & Tints

Quick: name the top three tweaks to make any car cooler overnight? The order is debatable but we’d say tinted glass, up-sized wheels and a fresh paint color.  (Half points if you said to debadge and dechrome the beast from nose to tail:) We tackled all five of these mods to give new life to @thewanderingwheelman’s BMW 3 series wagon. The 2007 328Xi Touring is a fairly timeless q-car that still drives like a champ even a decade after it first hit the streets.  This was back before turbos took over so the honey wagon runs the smooth and soulful BMW inline six and the rear-biased AWD system.   Factory stance was pretty good from the start in terms of a racy lowness, but the stock rims barely filled the wheel arches. The factory paintwork is similarly inoffensive as a metallic dark grey – but was ripe for some color after …

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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 needed freshness to the decidedly functional Niro? Or is it about as fresh as a pair of 90’s era parachute pants? Unlike other models that joyfully embrace the Touring moniker, the Niro’s interpretation of the subject is not as flashy, with the Niro retaining much of its functionality and buisness …

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2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Grand Touring – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

I say Miata, you say convertible. Or roadster. Drop top. You get the idea. For most people, a Miata is a 2-seater convertible with a folding fabric (or vinyl) top that lets you take in the sun, the stars, the breeze. But there’s a percentage of people that like a Miata with a hardtop. Those that live in 4 seasons, but want to drive their Mazda year-round. Or those in environments where the added security of hard roof makes you less of target. Racers need them too – look at the prices for a hardtop – sans Miata –on Craigslist and they go for well over $1,000. Mazda got hip to this with the last-gen Miata, and offered a power-folding hardtop model as an option. Much easier than having to remove your hardtop and store it like the first two generations. So, it’s not a surprise that the newest 4th …

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2018 Mazda3 GT 5-Door – Road Test Review w/ Perf Drive Video

Want to know the true reason why nobody should suffer driving a car they don’t love? And also the reason why car shoppers are fools to make up their mind online instead of on the test drives? The shining example for both is the delightful 2018 Mazda3 GT.  Here is a car that will hit 35-mpg on the highway and keep your payments easily below $300 a month.  All while having truly fun performance and actual torque to keep you ahead of traffic! Driving the Mazda3 for a week is like a slap in the face or a dunk in cold water for those who’ve been driving joyless machines day in and day out for far too long. Amazing driving position, cabin refinement and tech to go along with your mid-20’s pricing ballpark?  An intriguingly pure and sexy design language outside that is future-proofed with the best (optional) full LED …

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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 – gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Now look at the Kia Stinger and the new Accord. Hmmmm. Imitation being the highest form of flattery, and all… Nonetheless what the inspiration, the new Accord is a great looking vehicle. For those who like to follow stats, the new model has a longer wheelbase, wider …

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2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Before the SUV, the Minivan, the Crossover, and SAV (how many ways can they slice this pie?) there was the station wagon. And there has, and always will be, those faithful to a vehicle that gives you all the car-like goodness you could want with the hauling ability of an SUV. Really, no vehicle looks cooler with a surfboard strapped to its roof. And within the “wagons ho!” crowd, there’s a special place just for Volvos. Like this Volvo V90 wagon. It stands apart from other wags as Volvo’s always have, and yet breaks new ground in a way Volvo’s never really did before. Let’s start with the looks. Is this the most beautiful Wagon ever made? We think so. I mean, just look at it. A pity that it’s going to be a rare sight, then. You won’t find one sitting at the Volvo dealer – they have to …

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