Posts from ‘First Spin’

Aug
13
2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Grand Touring

Consumer Guide Automotive

Yikes, where does the time go? The MX-5 Miata is fast closing in on its 30th birthday, but Mazda apparently couldn’t wait until the pearl-anniversary year of its beloved two-seat roadster to roll out a welcome round of enhancements. Ever since the first Miata debuted at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show as a 1990 model, Mazda has stayed wonderfully true to its original MX-5 concept: a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, lightweight two-seat sports car with modest power, an easily removable roof, and a sporty-yet-compliant suspension.

Aug
12
2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody (left) and R/T Scat Pack Widebody

Consumer Guide Automotive

You had to figure this was coming.

After setting the record books ablaze last year with the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon — and keeping its promise that it would be a one-year-only model — Dodge unveiled a more “streetable” version of much the same car for 2019. Plus it carried over some of the Demon’s drag-racing technology to a more budget-priced model aimed at … well … drag racing.

Jun
18
2018 Hyundai Kona

2018 Hyundai Kona

Consumer Guide Automotive

Although somewhat late to the subcompact-crossover party, at least Hyundai showed up with a nice present: the 2018 Kona, introduced earlier this year.

Our first exposure to the Kona came recently in Detroit, perhaps one of the few major cities in this country with roads as bad as ours here in Chicago. That’s notable because our preview drives usually take place in areas with smoother pavement, making it tough to judge ride quality. Not a problem in this case.

Jun
14
2019 Hyundai Veloster

2019 Hyundai Veloster

Consumer Guide Automotive Hyundai’s sporty car returns for a second generation as a 2019 model, continuing its unusual 3-door layout and available turbocharged power but adding a host of new features and a higher level of practicality.

Jun
12
2018 Nissan Kicks

2018 Nissan Kicks

Consumer Guide Automotive Let’s get the basics out there first: The Kicks is a new low-cost small crossover focused on providing great passenger and cargo space with segment-leading fuel economy and a very strong value equation, but it’s offered only in front-wheel-drive form.

If we didn’t lose you on that last point, read on.

Jun
12
2019 Lexus ES

2019 Lexus ES 300h

Consumer Guide Automotive Since its U.S. debut for 1990, the Lexus ES has been positioned at the luxury end of the premium-midsize segment. Today its front-drive layout is in the class minority, and it’s the only member that isn’t offered in all-wheel-drive form.

May
21
2019 Subaru Ascent

2019 Subaru Ascent

Consumer Guide Automotive

Although small crossovers have been getting all the hype of late, the midsize segment has also seen its share of movement. Certainly notable in this regard is Subaru’s new Ascent, due to arrive in showrooms this summer.

May
14
2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Consumer Guide Automotive

Although most of the “new” in new vehicles has been focused on crossovers of late, many manufacturers are still committed to cars. And Volkswagen proves it’s one of them with the introduction of the redesigned 2019 Jetta compact sedan, due on sale in the next couple of months.

Apr
30
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Consumer Guide Automotive

First, let me allay your fears: This is not THE redesigned 2019 Corolla; it’s the redesigned 2019 Corolla Hatchback, which will be sold alongside the existing 2018 Corolla sedan when the Hatchback hits dealer showrooms in July. (When asked about a corresponding 2019 Corolla sedan, a Toyota rep gave the usual, ”We can’t comment on future products” line. But chances are strong it’s coming by the end of 2018.)

Apr
27
2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke

2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke

Consumer Guide Automotive It’s not just about ROI any more.

Back in the 1970s, diesels became attractive for passenger vehicles due to their superior fuel economy, and in some cases, the lower price of diesel fuel. As diesels often cost significantly more than a gas engine – and also suffered from noisy operation and meager power output – it was a diesel’s fuel-cost savings over time that accounted for their appealing Return On Investment.

But lower per-mile fuel costs are no longer a diesel’s only attraction.

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