Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate

Plenty of room, technology make this ute tough competition.

by on May.16, 2019

With room for five adults, the new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe gives the automaker a viable competitor agains the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe has lots of things going for it including a huge “likeability” factor.

After all, there is a lot to like about the vehicle. It’s handsome on the outside, spacious and comfortable on the inside, delivers and smooth and efficient ride and has ample power in segment where horsepower seems to have become a major consideration for manufacturers if not for consumers.

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Hyundai, in my estimation, has actually solved one of the riddles of the contemporary car business by figuring out the placement of the center stack screen that carries information for the navigation system and entertainment system with a horizontal screen mounted just above the dashboard. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Power, handling, performance, new Shelby GT350 has it all.

by on May.14, 2019

Ford's new Mustang Shelby GT350 lives up to the hype with stellar track performance and impressive fo

By this late in May, it should be getting warm in Detroit, but despite the 50-degree chill and a depressingly leaden sky, at least the rain has held off as I strap on a HANS Device and helmet and head out to pit row at Pontiac’s M1 Concourse, where a 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is waiting for me.

On the way, I pass a vintage version of the car, one of just a handful of original 1965 models that survive. It might look dated, but when it made its debut back in 1965 it transformed Ford’s little pony car into a wicked contender. With its tiny tires and live rear axle, it was a handful to drive but nonetheless raised the muscle car bar to new heights.

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Today, the GT350 takes a back seat to the Shelby GT500, an all-new version of the 700--horsepower monster set to roll out later this year. But for those who don’t need to go to the ultimate extremes – or who simply don’t have quite a large enough bank account, the latest update of the GT350 that rolled out in 2016 has plenty to offer. (more…)

Behind the Scenes: How Toyota and BMW Teamed up to Develop New Z4, Supra

You can't cost-cut your way to a world-class sports car.

by on May.13, 2019

Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer for the 2020 Toyota GR Supra flashes a thumbs-up during the sports car's first media drive.

(This story has been corrected to reflect the proper spelling of Supra Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada.)

The call came as a surprise. The chief engineer overseeing Toyota’s joint venture with Subaru that resulted in the 86 sports car, Tetsuya Tada was attending a media event in Barcelona when he was asked to jump on a flight for Munich seven years ago this month.

“Don’t tell anybody,” his boss said, and didn’t give Tada himself much to go on, beyond advising him there would be a car waiting at the airport. Once he arrived, the Toyota veteran learned he was being driven over to BMW headquarters, putting into motion one of the most unusual alliances in the history of either manufacturer.

Beyond the Headlines!

Almost seven years to the day after that first meeting, Tada is sharing a dinner in suburban Washington, D.C. and, for the first time, revealing the back story of what eventually became the 2020 Toyota GR Supra – as well as the new BMW Z4.

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First Drive: 2020 Toyota Supra

Are sports car fines likely to debate its merits? Probably, but the new Supra was well worth the wait.

by on May.12, 2019

The 2020 Supra was born of an unusual collaboration between Toyota and BMW.

It’s easy to feel intimidated at Summit Point Motorsports Park. The Shenandoah Circuit is an undulating, 2-mile course that sends you ping-ponging from one blind corner to another, rising and falling over the rocky West Virginia landscape. But it was as close to perfect a place to get my first ride in the all-new 2020 Toyota Supra as I could imagine.

It’s been 21-years since the last Toyota to wear that badge appeared in U.S. showrooms. Rumors of Supra’s revival have been circulating ever since. We got a hint that something really might be in the works five years ago when the Japanese automaker revealed the striking FT-1 concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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The show car was anything but the sort of plain vanilla product Toyota has become known for, it’s long nose and sweeping roofline embodying the “passion” that Akio Toyoda has been crying out for since being named Toyota president and CEO in 2009. But the question was whether the Japanese automaker would actually ever put the FT-1 into production. Coming up with an answer became even more iffy in the years that followed, as new car buyers around the world began to migrate from sedans, coupes and sports car to SUVs, CUVs and pickups.

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First Drive: 2019 Kia Forte EX

Newest compact car update proves its mettle.

by on May.07, 2019

Despite the segment shrinking, Kia is plowing ahead with small cars with an all-new 2019 Forte sedan.

New compact cars keep showing up on roads and streets all around the United States despite the surge in sales of utility vehicles and pickups.

In fact, the compact car segment has become one of the most competitive as buyers look for ways for transportation that both relatively economical and comfortable. The new Mazda3 and the new Toyota Corolla and new 2019 Kia Forte are all putting new life into a segment that also includes cars such as the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Golf.

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The 2019 Kia Forte EX I drove recently had a roomy and comfortable interior that made it easy to like and fun to drive. I never had to worry about parking spaces and the car had ample power to address the challenges of everyday driving. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Audi Q8 Quattro

A seamless blend of design, performance and functionality.

by on May.03, 2019

The 2019 Audi Q8 features a number of distinctive tweaks to the brand's familiar cues, including the signature singleframe grille.

Audi made its reputation building sleek, road-worthy sedans that have earned their way into the hearts of motorists around the world. The A8 is a great example of the sort of benchmark-setting model, one that has done well challenging competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series.

But that’s becoming a smaller and smaller segment of the premium luxury market as buyers around the world continue migrating from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. The good news for Audi is that, among its impressive stable of utility vehicles it has an alternative to the flagship A8. Like the sedan, the Q8 crossover is flush with all the industry’s latest and most advanced technology. And it also boasts the solid driving characteristics for which the German automaker has won over a legion of loyal fans.

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We had a chance to spend a full week getting to know the 2019 Audi Q8 and while its base price of around $70,000 certainly would stretch the budget for most buyers, we found it an attractive, lavishly equipped and fun-to-drive alternative to the classic luxury sedan.

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First Drive: 2019 Volkswagen Atlas

Better late than never, Atlas gives VW a solid entry in SUV battle.

by on Apr.23, 2019

The 2019 Volkswagen Atlas gives the automaker a strong contender in the highly competitive SUV segment.

Utility vehicles are a stretch for any number of automakers and while Volkswagen has made and pioneered any number of vehicles styles during its history it was a bit slow of coming around to developing one of the perennial favorites of the of the U.S. – the midsized SUV.

However, Volkswagen of America has come around and the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas is a very solid entry into what has now become a crowded and very competitive field where manufacturers are going all out to win over customers with attractive new vehicles.

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The Atlas, as its name suggests, is solid, roomy, loaded with new technology and three rows of seating. Moreover, the powertrain does well under different conditions and has more than enough power to handle everyday chores such as commuting and running errands that include hauling extra passengers and or gear and cargo. (more…)

Lincoln Corsair: a Small SUV with a Big Role to Play

Plug-in and full battery-electric models now in the works.

by on Apr.17, 2019

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair breaks cover in NY.

Check the dictionary and you’ll find a variety of different meanings for the word, “corsair.” It can be used to describe a pirate ship, as well as a World War II fighter plane, though Joy Falotico prefers the Latin definition, “journey,” or “course.”

That would seem more appropriate for Lincoln, the brand Falotico runs, because the Corsair is the newest in a series of recent models that are starting to put the luxury marque back on track after years of struggle.

Auto Show News!

Replacing the old Lincoln MKC, and making its debut at this week’s New York International Auto Show, the Corsair gets a complete new look, a lot more upscale features and, about a year from introduction, it will also add a new plug-in hybrid drivetrain – with Lincoln likely to also add an all-electric version soon afterwards, Falotico told bingdb.info during a conversation in New York ahead of Corsair’s official NYIAS debut.

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First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab

Stylish looks with ample power and comfort — a recipe for success.

by on Apr.16, 2019

The Chevy Colorado Z71 offers a do-it-all vehicle in a growing and competitive segment.

Even with the car business facing some stiffening headwinds, trucks are still going strong and manufacturers are driving interest the segment with new models.

For example, the Chevrolet Colorado has been vital to the growth of the midsized truck market, which has expanded recently, prompting manufacturers to tinker with variants such as the one I drove recently.

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The 2019 Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Short Box with four-wheel drive has a bold presence and plenty of curb appeal as well as a spirited powertrain as well as the ground clearance to ride confidently on dirt roads or even off road. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

An impressive blend of panache and performance.

by on Apr.09, 2019

The high-performance Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio should turn heads and change perceptions about the Italian brand in the U.S.

Judging from the less than overwhelming reception it has received since the brand was brought back to the United States by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., Alfa Romeo vehicles are likely to be something of an acquired taste for American motorists.

But there is a lot to like in the Alfa Romeo line-up, starting with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio with all-wheel drive – a utility vehicles with a great deal of style and panache that sets it apart from the very crowded competitive set of premium mid-sized SUVs.

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In fact, the exterior silhouette of the Stelvio has done the entire industry a favor by re-defining the appearance of utility vehicles. On the outside, the Stelvio is lower, sleeker and brings elements of sports-car design, which are the foundation of Alfa Romeo’s historic identity, into a unique and distinctive package. (more…)

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