The midsize sedan segment has been one of the most competitive segments for years with top players like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry vying for the top spot. But even though these two sedans may win the most signatures at dealers, are they truly the best? There are alternatives in the segment, like the Mazda6 that in some cases may offer more than the typical best sellers. Mazda is known for offering sportier alternatives, but can the Mazda6 find the sweet spot that can help it win over would be Accord or Camry buyers?
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The Honda Accord has been the leader for midsize sedans for decades now. Long established as the benchmark by which others are judged, it stands the test of time by being unique in that it's occasionally the best at one criteria, yet as often very good at almost all of them. To quote the adage; "it really is greater than the sum of it's parts." For the Accord though, being top dog also means having competitors sights set on you. With the latest round of midsize domination with the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima nipping at your heels, how does the Accord compare?
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Acura originally introduced the ILX for 2013. Based on the Civic it was Acura's attempt to compete in the ever growing small car luxury segment. Unfortunately the ILX didn't offer much to differentiate it from the Civic. With new players from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, the ILX just couldn't complete. Luckily for 2016 that has all changed with pretty much the entire car getting reworked, especially where it was needed most - under the hood.
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The Chevrolet Suburban is an icon. The suburban came into being when trucks were trucks and "SUV's" didn't even exist. Since it's introduction in 1957 the Suburban has evolved from it's barebones roots into a true luxury ride coddling its occupants. In the process though, has the Suburban become less of a truck? We spent the week with the all-new generation for 2015 in the 4WD LTZ trim and here's what we found.
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Audi first introduced the A3 to the US market for 2007. Here in the US it basically began the premium small car market. There weren't any other players at the time, except for perhaps Mini one size down, but that's more a niche player. Since that time though the competition has caught up. Every high line manufacturer either now offers a small vehicle or is planning to shortly. So luckily Audi has released an all new generation to protect it's market share.
Continue reading "2015 Audi A3 TDI [REVIEW]" »
Volvo's S60 has been in it's second generation since 2010. Having received a slight facelift last year, this year Volvo has imbued the S60 with its new range of impressive Drive-E powertrains. The S60 competes in one of the most hotly contested segments, the near-luxury class that contains some formidable players such as the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the king of the class, BMW 3-Series. So how does the Volvo S60 compare?
Continue reading "2015 Volvo S60 T6 [REVIEW]" »
The Nissan Rogue was all new for 2014. Entering it's second generation the Rogue has grown in size and styling just in time, as the small SUV segment is currently the most hotly contested. With stalwarts such as the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4, Nissan had its work cut out for it to remain competitive. Luckily the new Rogue has shed its rental car image and is now a formidable contender.
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Today Volvo's lineup as grown quite stale with the only updates being mild updates to its existing lineup, but some big things are on the horizon for the Swedish brand. What we have here is the all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 SUV, which is getting its first full redesign since it was introduced way back in 2002. The new XC90 is also the first of many new Volvo models, since Volvo says that by 2018 every model in its current lineup will be replaced.
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Ten years ago no one would have ever put the words luxury and Hyundai in the same sentence, but 30 years after the first Sonata rolled off the line, Hyundai has proven that it can build respectable luxury models with the Genesis and Equus. With the first generation Genesis sedan, Hyundai sought to prove that it could build a large, rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan that could sit in the same ring as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. Now Hyundai has released an all-new second-generation Genesis, which Hyundai hopes will move the brand further away from the econocar status that it held for years.
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I'm often asked what is the best small car on the market and the list always includes top models, like the Honda Fit and Mazda3, but one small car easily makes the top list - the VW Golf and specifically the GTI. The last-generation GTI was the definition of the perfect hot hatch and I loved it so much, that I actually bought one. Now for 2015 VW has completely revamped the Golf and the GTI, but is it just as good? Yes!
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It's been decades since we had rear-wheel-drive coupes, like the Toyota Supra, Nissan 240SX and Mazda RX-7 and even though today we do have the Scion FR-S and BR-Z twins, the rear-wheel-drive coupe market is now largely dominated by the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger, but what about the Hyundai Genesis? Six years ago Hyundai decided to add more spirited models to its lineup with the introduction of the rear-wheel-drive Genesis sedan and coupe and while the Genesis sedan had aspirations to take on the best from Germany, the Genesis Coupe sought to take on models like the Mustang and Camaro, in addition to somewhat filling the gap that Japanese automakers once held.
Continue reading "2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 R-Spec [REVIEW]" »
While you may not realize it, the Kia Sorento has been around since 2003. In it's early years the Sorento was a crude body-on-frame based but in 2010 it switched to unibody construction and grew into Kia's first midsize SUV offering, albeit on the smaller end of the spectrum. Now the all new 3rd generation 2016 Sorento has grown in every way to make it a truly formidable player in the midsize SUV market. While most dimensions grow fractionally, what really sets it apart is it's styling and levels of refinement.
Continue reading "2016 Kia Sorento: An underdog becomes topdog [REVIEW]" »
The compact crossover segment is now one of the fastest growing segments with almost every automaker jumping in. The 2016 Honda HR-V is set to arrive this month and will be one of the heavy hitters that will compete with other new models, like the Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Chevy Trax and Mazda CX-3. The HR-V borrows its platform from the small Fit, nabs the Civic's engine and comes filled with features that Honda hopes will set it apart, does it work?
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Hyundai has completely revamped the 2015 Sonata, which marks the introduction of the seventh-generation. While the last Sonata was a bold move from Hyundai - it grabbed everyone's attention with its daring and aggressive exterior, but rather than continue with the bold styling, Hyundai has taken a different route with the new Sonata. Its styling has been toned down, giving it a more refined and sophisticated look as Hyundai tries to take more market share from the midsize heavyweights like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
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In 2011 Nissan launched the first mainstream electric car, the Leaf. To much fanfare, it was introduced and went on sale right about the same time as Chevy's Volt. While not technically direct competitors, since the Leaf is a true electric vehicle and the Volt a plug-in hybrid, they engaged in a sales battle over who would win the hard earned dollars of early eco adopters. Now four years later, it appears the Leaf has won and after a week living with one, I can easily understand why.
Continue reading "2015 Nissan Leaf: The Future is Here [REVIEW]" »
When the Jaguar XF was first introduced in 2009 it was a stunner. Not only was it a dramatic departure from the S-Type before it, but it ushered in a whole new design language for Jaguar. One that would inevitably reinvigorate the entire brand and lineup. Even now as it nears the end of its lifecycle, the XF looks crisp and fresh while many newer rivals are already beginning to show their age.
Continue reading "2015 Jaguar XF: One pretty kitty [REVIEW]" »
Looking for a fun, compact hybrid with a bit of luxury thrown in? Well add the Lexus CT 200h to your test drive list. The CT 200h arrived on the market in 2011 and is still the only compact luxury hybrid on the market and even though it shares a lot in common with the not so fun Prius, the CT 200h has a character that is all its own.
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Did Volkswagen just create one of the best electric cars under $40,000? Well lets just say that I was so impressed with the new eGolf that I asked Volkswagen if I could keep it longer - definitely something that I don't do often. The new seventh-generation Golf is an impressive platform, so it's no surprise that the eGolf is this great.
Continue reading "2015 VW e-Golf is the GTI of electric cars [REVIEW]" »
It seems like every automaker is finally jumping on the electric bandwagon, which will give buyers other options besides the best-selling Nissan Leaf. Luxury automakers are even throwing their hat in the ring, with BMW and Mercedes-Benz being the two latest luxury brands to enter the segment with the BMW i3 and Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive. Both the i3 and B-Class Electric Drive have similar prices and even driving ranges that are close (if you don't buy the i3 with the range extender). Which one is better?
Continue reading "BMW i3 vs. Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: Which luxury EV is better? [REVIEW]" »
Kia's new K900 flagship sedan is literally the new kid on the block. With a full plate of formidable players, from the BMW 7-series to it's own stable mate, the Hyundai Equus, the K900 really has to bring something different to the table, and luckily it does.
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For over a decade Lexus has only offered one crossover in its lineup - the RX, which essentially started the luxury crossover craze. Now Lexus has finally released a second smaller crossover, that competes in the heavily packed compact crossover segment. With the release of the new NX does Lexus have something that will be as successful as the RX and will it be able to compete with other luxury compact crossovers like the Acura RDX, Audi Q5 and the BMW X1/X3 models?
Continue reading "2015 Lexus NX 300h Hybrid [REVIEW]" »
The Ford Edge was introduced 10 years ago and now the 2015 Edge kicks off the all-new third generation. Since its introduction the Edge has been one of the most popular five-seat crossovers on the market. For the 2015 Edge, Ford started with a clean slate, with some of the stuff that buyers liked about the last two generations thrown in. What we have now is the best looking Edge yet that is now powered by new engines and filled with the latest tech features. How well does it stack up against its newest competitors, like the also new Kia Sorento and Nissan Murano?
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The Acura TLX is unique in the that it's an all new model, yet technically replaces two. By being affordable, feature filled, and versatile, it's going to offer a ton of value making your forget all about the TSX and TL before it. What it will remind you of though is... an Audi. After a week behind the wheel of the V6 AWD model with the Advance package, that's what it kept repeatedly reminding me of, and that's not a bad thing.
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The Kia Soul is easily one of the best models in Kia's lineup, which explains why it's also one of the brand's best-sellers. Its combination of style, fun to drive nature and low entry price should put it on any one's shopping list. Now how well does it hold up if you take out the four-cylinder engine and swap in Kia's first electric powertrain? Well it actually gets better.
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Other markets like Europe and Japan offer plenty of fun hatchbacks to choose from, but here in the U.S. the hatchback has a negative stigma and many buyers sadly prefer a sedan over the more versatile hatchback. Fortunately a few automakers still offer them here, like Volkswagen and Mazda. The latest VW Golf has received overwhelming praise from the automotive media, but how does one of its main rivals, the Mazda3 stack up?
Continue reading "2015 Mazda3 Five-Door [REVIEW]" »
The current Hyundai Elantra debuted at the end of 2010 making it one of the oldest models in the compact sedan segment, but thanks to Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture design language, the Elantra doesn't look its age. The segment continues to be dominated by heavy hitters like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, but even as the curtain is about to be closed on the current generation Elantra, is it even worth checking out?
Continue reading "2015 Hyundai Elantra Sport [REVIEW]" »
During the 1990s and early 2000s Mitsubishi's lineup was filled with exciting models like the Lancer Evo, Eclipse and 3000GT. Even its SUV lineup brought a bit of excitement to the table with the Montero and Montero Sport models. Fast forward to 2014 and Mitsubishi barely even registers a blip on the radar. Today the last exciting model, the Lancer Evolution is basically dead. So what's left? Well Mitsubishi has decided to ditch its sporty past for greener, more efficient models like the funky i-MiEV electric car and the small Mirage hatchback. It's SUV lineup is still there, but now "Montero" has been replaced by "Outlander" and buyers can choose from either the seven-passenger Outlander or the smaller Outlander Sport. But now that Mitsubishi has completely ditched its past is it even worth checking out?
Continue reading "2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT [REVIEW]" »
I wake up from a nap to find myself sweating in a car with the A/C off in the middle of the California desert. No this isn't a nightmare, my driving partner and I are trying to reach it to San Diego, which is over 100 miles away, but our 2015 Audi A3 TDI's gas gauge says were almost on empty. Why couldn't we stop for fuel? Last week Audi invited 18 journalists out to Albuquerque, New Mexico to take part in its newest TDI Challenge. This isn't the first time that Audi has set up a mileage challenge, since a similar drive was done with the A6 and Q7 TDI diesel models, but this time the only model in the challenge would be the all-new A3 TDI.
Continue reading "How to Drive 834 Miles on One Tank of Fuel in the 2015 Audi A3 TDI [REVIEW]" »
Earlier this year Ford unveiled the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 pickup at the Detroit Auto Show with the biggest update being its new aluminum body. With the new F-150 about to roll into showrooms the communication still centers around the F-150's "beer can" exterior, but what about the rest of the new F-150? Ford gave us the keys to a new F-150 for a quick trip around San Antonio, Texas to see how much has changed and there's definitely a lot more than those lighter body panels.
Continue reading "2015 Ford F-150 Goes on a Diet and its New 2.7L V6 Impresses [Review]" »
In the past 30 years the Toyota Camry has never really been associated with the words "style" or "exciting," well maybe with the exception of the Lexus-esque 1992-1996 Camry. Toyota is trying to change that with this new more "emotional" and "stylish" 2015 Camry, but does it succeed?
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After what seemed like a long tortuous winter, summer is finally here and many people are now getting ready to plan their summer vacations. While many people fly to their vacation spots, there are also a lot of us that will also plan a fun road trip to places like the mountains, the beach or maybe even just a fun drive up the coast. Here are five new cars that will make that road trip even more enjoyable and five of the latest gadgets to bring along for the trip.
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This month marks the introduction of the all-new 2015 Honda Fit, which is the third-generation of the popular subcompact hatchback. Since the second-generation Fit which arrived for the 2009 model year, the subcompact segment has gotten more competitive with new models like the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic and the Nissan Versa Note. Does the 2015 Fit have what it takes?
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Who remembers the Kia Amanti? Back in 2004 Kia released the Amanti sedan, which was the automaker's first attempt at selling a near luxury sedan. Sadly it never really appealed to anyone and was easily forgotten. Fast forward to 2014 and Kia is trying it again with the much more memorable Cadenza. This time around does the Kia Cadenza have what it takes to compete against luxury rivals like BMW and Lexus?
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The last time we drove the Kia Soul was back in 2012 and although it has been one of Kia's best selling models, we dinged it for its cheap feeling interior, loud road noise and bouncy suspension. Now in its second-generation the 2014 Kia Soul has been completely redesigned, but keeps that same boxy shape that has made it almost as famous as the dancing hamsters that are supposed to make you want to by it.
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Ever since the Mazda3 took over for the Protege as Mazda's small compact model, the Mazda3 has been one of the best compact cars in the segment. Now in its third-generation, the all-new 2014 Mazda3 has been completely redesigned inside and out with sexier styling and more efficient powertrains. Is the new Mazda3 still one of the best models in the segment? Read on to find out.
Continue reading "2014 Mazda3 Sedan (Review)" »
The 2013 Kia Optima offers buyers a choice of three powertrains, a base 2.4L four-cylinder, a turbocharged 2.0L and a four-cylinder hybrid. When we last tested the Optima back in 2012 we were very impressed with the style and performance of the turbocharged 2.0L Optima, but will the same feelings hold true for the 2013 Optima Hybrid? Read on to find out.
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The midsize SUV segment is one of the hottest segments with many buyers ditching their midsize sedans and boring minivans for the added versatility that an SUV provides. Toyota knows this and has just introduced its all-new 2014 Toyota Highlander SUV, which marks the introduction of the third-generation of the popular SUV. Buyers have several choices in this segment from the Ford Explorer, to the Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot, so Toyota has pulled out all the stops to make sure the Highlander stays at the top of the segment.
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On paper with only 167 horsepower under the hood, the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata doesn't look like a sports car, but unlike other sports cars that boast about their gobs of power, this little roadster has something else under its sleeve. When Mazda handed me the keys to the 2014 Miata Club Sport I didn't know what I was in store for. On paper the Miata's stats didn't seem too impressive, so I prepared myself for what would end up being a kinda blah experience. Well I was definitely wrong.
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What do you think of when you hear the name Rolls-Royce? Most of us picture being driven in a big, luxurious over the top sedan with your own driver and a multi-person staff waiting back for you at your mansion in the hills. Rolls-Royce caters to a select group of individuals that most likely have CEO next to their name on their business card, but would this same group of buyers be willing to leave their driver at home and take the wheel? Let's hope so for Rolls-Royce's sake...
Continue reading "First Drive: 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith - A Driver's Rolls-Royce? (Review)" »
Have you ever driven a car that makes you giggle with excitement every time you hit the start button? A car that is so over the top that makes you not care about anything else? Well that's exactly how we felt after a few days with the keys to the 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S.
Continue reading "2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S (Review)" »