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.
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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.
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Yup you read that right! The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid has an EPA rating of 50 mpg in the city, making it the most efficient hybrid four-door sedan currently on the market. But of course after all of Ford's drama, the next question is... does it actually get 50 mpg? Yes! Honda invited us out to San Antonio, Texas to get some seat time behind the all-new 2014 Accord Hybrid, which is going to arrive in showrooms on Halloween.
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The 2014 Kia Forte has thrown away its boring economy car duds for a stylish exterior that will make you forget about every Kia compact sedan before it. As the latest model in Kia's lineup to get Kia's new stylish design language, the 2014 Forte is now one of the most stylish models in the crowded compact sedan segment.
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2014 marks the 45th anniversary of the Toyota Corolla and the introduction of the all-new 11th generation. The 2014 Corolla is bigger, more stylish and more efficient than the outgoing model. It also sees the introduction of a new CVT transmission, a fuel efficient Eco model and gets the latest version of Toyota's entune infotainment system. With the compact segment getting more competitive each year, does the new Corolla have the right mix to keep it on top?
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Honda has something new to celebrate. The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid now holds the title as the most fuel-efficient four-door sedan (non plug-in hybrid) with a rating of 50 mpg in the city. The Accord Hybrid's rating is three miles per gallon higher than the closest segment competitor and its calculated driving range of 673 miles is more than 46 miles farther than any vehicle in its segment.
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For the 2013 model year Cadillac has updated the Cadillac SRX crossover with some styling tweaks and more technology on the inside, but is it enough to help it compete against other models like the Lexus RX, BMW X3 and Audi Q5?
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The midsize sedan segment is one of the most competitive segments in the US and for years it's been dominated by models like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. In the past year it's gotten even tougher for automakers competing in the segment since Honda, Ford and Nissan all released new models. Now Mazda has put its hat in the ring with its all-new 2014 Mazda6, which makes you take notice with its sexy Kodo design and efficient SkyActiv technology under the hood.
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Last year Nissan promised five new models to its lineup, which started with the all-new Altima, followed by the new Sentra and Pathfinder. Now Nissan has introduced its fourth all-new model, the 2014 Nissan Versa Note, which is the replacement for the Versa hatchback. The Nissan Versa dominates the subcompact segment and with the addition of the all-new hatchback, which will be sold alongside the existing sedan version, Nissan is confident that it will continue to hold onto the number one sales spot.
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Lincoln is on the cusp of a reinvention with the first of its new lineup being the 2013 Lincoln MKZ. Over the next four years Lincoln is planning on introducing four new models, which will reportedly include a new small crossover and compact entry-level model. GM managed to turn around Cadillac with sales now at their highest level in years, but can Ford pull the same success story with Lincoln?
Continue reading "Quick Spin in the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (Review)" »
Kia continues to move upward towards the entry-level luxury segment with models like the new Kia Cadenza. Buyers are even willing to pay more for the higher trim levels of Kia's mainstream models like the Optima midsize sedan and the Sorento crossover. For the 2014 model year Kia has upgraded the Sorento with a facelift, revised interior and some upgrades under the hood.
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As a frequent business traveler and car lover, I always get a little anxiety over the make and model of my rental cars. Thankfully, companies like Hertz and National have gradually gotten more flexible in recent years by allowing renters to choose their own cars within their reserved car class. When I landed in sunny Los Angeles last week, I took advantage of this flexibility and elected to spend the week with the all-new, 2013 Toyota Avalon XLE.
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For those buyers that love the Mitsubishi Evolution, but can't quite afford its $34k price tag, but want more performance than the standard Lancer offers, Mitsubishi offers the Lancer Ralliart. The Lancer Ralliart is powered by a turbocharged 237 horsepower 2.0L four-cylinder engine, which is 54 horsepower less than the Evo, but a nice 89 horsepower more than is offered in the standard Lancer models. Think of the Lancer Ralliart as a direct competitor to the Subaru WRX. On paper the Lancer Ralliart packs more than enough power to satisfy enthusiasts and with its $28k starting price it's a bit more attainable than the Evolution, but is it worth it?
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With all of the focus on electric cars, hybrids and new CAFE rules in the news everyday, you might think that the days of the muscle car are long gone, but are they? While it's no longer common to see a large V8 stuffed under the hood of an everyday car, there are a few models that are still around to satisfy buyers that value horsepower over fuel economy. Enter the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V. It packs a supercharged 6.2L V8 with a whopping 556 horsepower that propels the CTS-V from 0-60 mph in an insane 3.9 seconds!
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What exactly is a hot hatch and why do enthusiasts love them so much? According to Wikipedia a "Hot hatch" or "hot hatchback" is a high-performance derivative of a car body style consisting of a three- or five-door hatchback automobile. Vehicles of this class are based on family-oriented automobiles, and are equipped with an uprated more powerful internal combustion engine, improved suspension, and may also include additional 'aerodynamic' body parts and larger wheels and tires. In other words a hot hatch takes a basic economy car and dials up the performance, without compromising its versatility and practicality. For years the segment has been dominated by the Volkswagen GTI and today includes models like the Mazdaspeed3 and Subaru WRX. Ford has decided to take a stab at the segment, which it abandoned in 2004 when the last SVT Focus rolled off the line. Once again the Focus has been tapped as Ford's entry in the highly competitive "hot hatch" segment, but this time it's dubbed the Focus ST with "ST" standing for "sport technologies." We loved the 2002-2004 Focus SVT, but how well does the 2013 Focus ST stack up against the king of the class, the GTI?
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Forget all about that two-door Ford Explorer Sport, the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport may have two more doors than before, but it packs a lot more "sport" under the hood. The 2013 Explorer Sport is powered by the same 3.5L EcoBoost engine as the Taurus SHO and Flex EcoBoost, which means that it packs 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque under the hood. The 3.5L is mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Compared to the other two engines, the Explorer offers, the turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost generates 75 more horsepower than the naturally-aspirated 3.5L V6 and a whopping 125 more than the turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder. The news gets even better, the all-wheel-drive Explorer Sport is only slightly less fuel efficient than the 3.5L Explorer all-wheel-drive with a 16/22 mpg rating compared to 17/23.
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Who remembers the Mazda Navajo? It was Mazda's first attempt at an SUV in the US, but it was basically a rebadged two-door Ford Explorer Sport. Then there was the Mazda Tribute, which was basically an easily forgotten rebadged Ford Escape. Then the most recent attempt at a compact/ midsize crossover, the CX-7, which was plagued by bad gas mileage and a cramped interior. What does this all translate to? For over two decades Mazda hasn't been able to create a competitive compact crossover to go head to head with the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4.
Well everything changed last year that with the introduction of the 2013 Mazda CX-5, which quickly jumped to the front of the compact crossover class, but was only held back by one issue, its engine. With only 155 horsepower under the hood you can imagine how hard it would be to get going. Well for the 2014 model year Mazda has introduced a more powerful 2.5L engine for the CX-5's two two trim levels. Does the new engine answer our prayers for more power without a big sacrifice in fuel economy?
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Subcompact cars like the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa and Hyundai Accent are often regarded as practical transportation that is more at home in a college parking lot than on a track. While it's definitely a far stretch to say that the Mazda2 is so sporty that it would be a great car for the track, it definitely brings more fun to the segment than expected. With a base price starting under $15k and only 100 horsepower under the hood, the Mazda2 looks like a bargain basement small car on paper, but as we quickly found out, it's actually one of the more enjoyable models in its segment.
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This week at the Detroit Auto Show Honda took the wraps off its Urban SUV Concept, which previews a new small Fit-based crossover that will be smaller than the current Honda CR-V. The new small Honda crossover is one entry in a growing segment that also includes models like the Nissan Juke, Buick Encore and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. These new small crossovers are perfect for an urban environment, but does their smaller footprint kill one of the reasons why people love crossovers: versatility? We took the keys to a 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport in Manhattan to find out just how usable a small crossover actually is.
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The Kia Sportage was one of Kia's first models that it offered in the US, when it entered our market in the mid-1990s. That first Sportage was a small body-on-frame SUV that would eventually compete with small crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. Almost 20 years later the Sportage has evolved into a stylish crossover that has moved to a unibody platform, but is also now offered with a powerful turbocharged engine. After two weeks with the 2013 Kia Sportage SX Turbo, we came away mostly impressed with Kia's latest Sportage. Here's why...
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Ford is out to take on the hybrid/ electric car segment with the introduction of several new models like the C-MAX, C-MAX Energi and Fusion hybrids. Toyota has dominated the hybrid segment for over 10 years with the Prius, but has some real competition finally arrived? This fall the 2013 Ford C-MAX and C-MAX Energi arrive, which are Ford's direct competitors to the popular Prius. Ford makes it no secret that it has set the Prius as its target, but did it succeed?
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The crossover segment keeps getting more and more crowded and with every major automaker vying for market share, the segment is hotter than ever. With the days of the large body-on-frame "rugged" SUV behind us, Nissan has completely revamped the 2013 Pathfinder with a new lighter unibody design that is more catlike than ever before. Will it woo away would be Explorer, Pilot and Highlander buyers? Read on to find out...
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For the 2013 model year Nissan is releasing an all-new 2013 Sentra, which Nissan hopes will put it back at the top of the class, a place where it hasn't been for years. The all-new Sentra, which is now in its seventh-generation is bigger than the last Sentra, but is also lighter and adopts styling that is far more stylish than ever before. Does the new Sentra have what it takes to compete against heavyweights like the Civic, Elantra and Corolla?
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We last drove the all-new 2013 Honda Accord in Santa Barbara, CA, where we felt that the new Accord quickly reclaimed its spot at the top of the midsize sedan class. Our initial impressions of the new Accord centered around the spacious/ comfortable interior, its impressive CVT transmission and responsive engines. The midsize sedan class is one of the most competitive segments in the segment, so we asked Honda to lend us the keys to the new Accord for the weekend in Los Angeles. Would we still be as impressed the second time around?
Continue reading "2013 Honda Accord Touring (Review)" »
20 years ago Ford dominated the midsize sedan segment with the Ford Taurus, but then by the mid-nineties Ford lost its footing with the 1996 Taurus. Today the Accord, Altima and Camry continue to lead the segment, but is Ford ready to take back the top spot with the all-new 2013 Fusion? The Ford Fusion was first released back in 2006 and since then Ford's midsize sedan has been steadily gaining market share. Now Ford is pulling out all the stops to take on the its rivals.
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For the 2012 model year Mazda has introduced its new SkyActiv technology to the Mazda3 lineup, which helps it achieve 40 mpg on the highway. Today every major automaker is trying to get the highest fuel economy numbers in their class. Lately it seems like almost every model in the compact class is obtaining 40 mpg ratings, but what are these vehicles actually like to drive and are the ratings actually obtainable in a real world situation? After driving 400 miles between New York City and Washington D.C. did we actually get even close to the 40 MPG rating and even more important did we have to drive like an old person to get there?
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The midsize sedan segment is one of the biggest segments in the U.S. with models like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu all vying for the the sales crown. The competition in 2013 is going to get even hotter with all-new versions of the Accord, Altima, Fusion and Malibu all entering the market. The 2013 Malibu and Altima are already in showrooms, but this month Honda's most important model, the Accord hits the market. How does it compare against the rest of the segment and does it holds it own against new stylish models like the Fusion and Hyundai Sonata? Check out our review to find out...
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2013 is a big year for Hyundai's crossover lineup, with the release of the all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe. This time around the third-generation Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in two versions, the Santa Fe Sport and the longer-wheelbase Santa Fe. How do they stack up? After spending a few days with the Santa Fe Sport in Park City, Utah, one thing is for sure, Hyundai's all-new Santa fe is quite impressive.
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Ford recently gave us the keys to a 2013 Ford Focus Electric in San Francisco, CA. Over the course of a long weekend we drove it all over the San Francisco bay area, to cities like San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. While we managed to never run out of battery power, the weekend proved quite eventful as we plotted our course. After driving the 2013 Ford Focus Electric for five days we came away with this list of ten ways that electric vehicles could make or break your routine.
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Since the Hyundai Veloster was released last year, critics have loved the Veloster's distinct styling and the quirky rear passenger-side only door. But there was one thing that the Veloster was missing. On the outside the Veloster looks like a "fun hatchback," but under the hood the Veloster was anything but fun. For the 2013 model year Hyundai has fixed that with the more powerful Veloster Turbo. With more power under the hood and even more aggressive styling, does the 2013 Veloster Turbo now have the right recipe to compete with models like the VW GTI?
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The Hyundai Elantra lineup is getting bigger for the 2013 model year. Following last year's debut of the impressive Elantra sedan, Hyundai is following it up with the new 2013 Elantra coupe and five-door Elantra GT. The Elantra sedan quickly jumped to the top of its segment when it was released, but how well do the coupe and five-door models line up in their respective segments?
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So far this summer we've gone on several fun roadtips that took us to The Hamptons, Washington D.C., Rehoboth Beach in Delaware and down the Pacific Coast Highway. Although almost any car can be taken on a fun summer roadtrip or down a back-country road, some cars are better than others. Here's our list of the top new cars for 2013 that are perfect for the beach, camping, cruising down Pacific Coast highway, a family roadtrip or any other exciting summer adventure that you can come up with.
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Who doesn't love a fun summer road trip? Kia graced us with a 2012 Kia Soul for a week over the July 4th holiday, so we decided it would be the perfect car to take to the beach. Check out our week long review of the Soul, which took us from New York City down to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware where we were able to load it up with all the essential beach gear, kill lots of bugs on the New Jersey Turnpike and then clean it up before giving it back.
The Kia Soul was our third Kia this summer that we were given the chance to review. Following our fun time in the Rio in The Hamptons and another road trip down to Washington D.C. in the new Optima, we were excited to see what Kia's little "box," the Soul could do.
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In the last few years SUV buyers have continued to ditch their large bulky SUVs for smaller, more fuel-efficient models like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. One quick glance at the top-ten sales charts is proof, as models like the once-popular Ford Explorer have been swapped out by the Escape and CR-V. As more buyers switch to the small SUV/ crossover segment, the competition has become even more heated than ever before. This year two of the most popular models the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape are new. Honda released an all-new 2012 CR-V late last year and Ford's all-new 2013 Escape is just starting to arrive in dealers. We haven't had the chance to get behind the wheel of the all-new Escape yet, but Honda just gave us a chance to drive the new CR-V for a few days in Los Angeles.
Continue reading "2012 Honda CR-V is The Perfect Everyday SUV (Review)" »
Honda may have been the first automaker to bring a hybrid vehicle to the U.S. with the first generation Honda Insight, over a decade ago, but today Toyota's Prius and the rest of its hybrid models overshadow most of Honda's efforts. Many critics have commented that Honda has "lost its way," but could the new 2013 Fit EV that arrives next month convince the world that Honda is serious about "green vehicles?"
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Summer is officially here and even better news is that next week is July 4th. Since many Americans will get a few days off for the holiday, it's the perfect time for that summer road trip. Gas prices have declined somewhat in the past few weeks, but the the national average price for a gallon of regular gas is still around $3.50. No matter what the price of fuel is, it's still not a fun way to spend the money you've worked so hard all year to save. The good news is that there are several simple tips to help you stay away from the gas pump longer, keep more money in your pocket and avoid any last minute car repairs along the way.
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