CAR REVIEWS

The 2019 Dodge Challenger GT is a blast from the past and one of the few truly unique cars on the road today.

Rebirthed onto the auto scene in 2008, a decade later the classic-reboot Dodge Challenger continues its role as one of the leaders of the muscle-car rebellion taking place amid the inevitable move toward automation and electrification and SUVs.


Translation: Raw power hasn’t been completely forgotten, despite those trends taking over most of the industry.

I recently spent some time in a 2019 Challenger GT and I’m back with a full review on what this blast from the past has to offer.

LOOKS

More than 90 percent of today’s vehicles can’t be called unique, as if you squint they look like half a dozen others. But you can’t say that about the Challenger, which features a bold design unlike anything else on the road, and truly screams “look at me” even from a distance.

It’s a little tight in the rear seat, but you can actually fit four adults in here, unlike the Challenger’s rivals.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 Dodge Challenger GT
  • Price as tested: $43,260 (starts at $33,295)
  • Best feature: Muscle-car looks and power, standout appearance
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Those seeking a modernized classic muscle car
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2018 Buick Regal GS packs on the power, sportiness Featured

Oct 20, 2018
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The 2018 Buick Regal GS is the most fun ride you'll find in the Buick lineup.

Enthusiasts, aka people who really love to drive powerful and sporty vehicles, are often forgotten about as brands attempt to reach the largest market possible.

But luckily for this group, Buick has not forgotten them and offers a unique option in their 2018 stable: the 2018 Buick Regal GS (Gran Sport).

This sporty sedan is a niche offering, a faster and more performance-focused version of the 2018 Regal Sportback. It has a European pedigree, as the Regal GS is basically a rebadged Opel Insignia, and that’s easy to identify through its sporty look and performance.
I’m back with a full report after spending some time in a Regal GS.

LOOKS

The look on the Regal GS is more aggressive looking, both up front and in the rear, and there is a rear spoiler.

The five-passenger, four-door hatchback has a back seat that is pretty tight for grown-ups but not overly uncomfortable. You get 31.5 ft of cargo room, 60.7 ft with seats down. The flashy, red Brembo brakes stand out visually, and you’ll feel them working too.
The GS features keyless start, interior ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a power moonroof is a $1K option.

The Appearance package offers wireless charging, LED headlamps and cornering lamps.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Buick Regal GS
  • Price as tested: $44,115
  • Best feature: The most fun you will have driving a Buick
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Car buyers seeking a powerful and sporty ride
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2018 Audi A5 Sportback hits the sweet spot Featured

Oct 14, 2018
Hit: 127
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The 2018 Audi A5 Sportback is a four-door version of the A5 that's a joy to drive.

As a whole, the Audi vehicle lineup is focused on pure driving experience, but it's not one size fits all. In my experience, the middle of the Audi A-series range is where the sweet spot sits, including the A5, which I recently spent some time in.


I'm back with a full report on the 2018 Audi A5 sportback and where it fits into the luxury car landscape.

LOOKS

Redesigned for 2018, and bigger than the tighter fits of the A3 and A4 sedans, you can accommodate rear passengers more comfortably in the A5 Sportback, though it remains a bit tight with a tall driver and passenger up front. There are three versions of the A5 -- two-door coupe and convertible options plus the new four-door Sportback.

The A5 Sportback is a four-door hatchback version of the A5 coupe that was inspired by the A7 Sportback. It sits low like a sporty ride should, and features an eye-catching exterior design, from the lines down to the wheels.

Inside the A5 Sportback, you get beautiful wood trim (high gloss dark brown walnut wood inlays, to be exact) and comfortable leather seating. Even the air vents have a sharp design. In Audi’s tradition It's a simple but classy interior and exterior design, as opposed to flashier-looking rivals like Lexus, and trunk space impresses for the segment.

The A5 Sportback comes with 18-inch 10-spoke dynamic design wheels with all-season tires, LED interior lighting, power sunroof, three-zone auto climate control with digital rear display.

For about $1K you can upgrade to a 19-inch wheel package with multi-spoke design wheels, summer tires and a sport suspension.


Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Audi A5 Sportback
  • Price as tested: $52,100 (starts at $42,600)
  • Best feature: Tons of driving fun but also practical and roomy
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury car buyers who love driving
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The 2018 VW Beetle maintains its unique, classic character while adding some modern tech features.

The Beetle is a resilient little bug … and yes, I'm talking about the 2-door hatchback car legend first introduced in the U.S. in 1949.

Still around almost seven decades after its introduction, the Beetle remains a unique vehicle that's so well-known it's even got its own road game that involves punching your siblings.

I recently tested a 2018 VW Beetle, and I'm back with a full report on how the latest version of this iconic ride fits into today's automotive world.

LOOKS

While there are some adjustments to the look, including a lower roof profile, in the end the 2018 Beetle is what a Beetle has always been -- a small, two-door vehicle that is shaped, well, like a Beetle.

There are technically a couple competitors in the segment (MINI Cooper and Fiat 500), but no one is ever going to confuse those little rides for the Beetle. No other car looks like this, and it’s a very stylish design from the headlights and taillights, to the interior wood design and the sunroof. The exterior design overall was very snazzy, right down to the red trim on the rims to match the paint job.

While visually attractive, the design of the Beetle does lend to poor visibility out of the rear.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in the Beetle is that the back seat of the 2018 Beetle is basically nonexistent. It’s there, but no adult wants to sit there. Consider it a storage area unless kids are going in the rear.


The Beetle comes in four trim levels: S, SE, Coast and Dune: Cloth seats come standard on S models, SE comes with leatherette seating. Coast features two-tone beige and black cloth seats, and the Dune features sport cloth seats with leatherette accents.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Volkswagen Beetle Coast
  • Price as tested: $23,970 (starts at $19,995)
  • Best feature: Iconic style with modern updates, peppy ride
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Buyers looking for something small that will make an impression
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2019 Volkswagen Jetta gets new look, new technology Featured

Aug 25, 2018
Hit: 200
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The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta gets a major reboot and catches up well in the compact sedan segment.

Sometimes you’ve got to start over, especially if what’s been hanging around for a while is getting outdated.


Such is the case with the Volkswagen Jetta, which gets a much-needed redesign for the 2019 model year that steps up its presence in the compact car segment. I recently spent some time in a 2019 Jetta, and I’m back with a full report on the improvements and how the updated model measures up.

LOOKS

The Jetta remains a compact car, so don’t expect massive amounts of room. But things are improved in terms of driver and passenger comfort from previous models, and both front and rear passengers will feel comfortable in terms of legroom and headroom. That’s because the 2019 Jetta is longer, wider and taller than the previous version.

The leatherette seating materials in the sporty R Line version of the Jetta I tested were quite comfortable (leather is offered on top trim level), but some of the interior featured hard plastics generally associated with vehicles in this price range. Attractive two-tone seating is also offered.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta
  • Price as tested: $23,845 (starting price is $18,545)
  • Best feature: Responsive powerplant, updated technology
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Compact sedan buyers looking for affordable, simple elegance, a fun ride and strong tech features
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The 2018 Buick Regal Sportback has a new look for 2018, and it's sharp.

As Buick continues its efforts to grow more popular in the luxury realm, they have to get creative to compete. And for 2018, they definitely did that with the Regal, offering it in several different flavors, from the new TourX (a raised wagon, like the Outback), the speedy Regal GS, and the sharp-looking 2018 Regal Sportback, which I recently had the chance to test.

I’m back with a full report on this luxury sedan and how it competes with the rest of the segment.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Buick Regal Sportback
  • Price as tested: $35,575 (starts at $24,990)
  • Best feature: Sharp design, extra comfortable interior and smooth ride quality
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury buyers seeking a sleek ride at a good price
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The GT version of the 2018 Volkswagen Passat spices up the segment with a powerful V6 and sport suspension.

Discussions of exciting rides in the sedan segment generally don’t involve vehicles like the Volkswagen Passat, which tend to be more safe and family-friendly choices.

But hold on a second, because a new version of the Passat (the 2018 Passat GT) is looking to change that perception.

I recently tested a 2018 Passat GT, and I’m back with a full report on how it spices up a normally tame segment.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT
  • Price as tested: $29,995
  • Best feature: Fun-to-drive nature of the GT version stands out in midsize sedan class
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Sedan buyers seeking a punchy ride
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2018 Hyundai Elantra offers strong Eco option Featured

Jul 09, 2018
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The 2018 Hyundai Elantra Eco offers highway mileage of 40 mpg and an impressive ride quality vs. other eco-friendly rides.

Compact cars do not dominate auto sales, but there is still a market for them. And for many of the folks who do crave a smaller ride, one key element they are focused on is strong fuel mileage/eco-friendly features.

Beyond hybrids and electric vehicles, most automakers offer some sort of standard gas-powered vehicle that would appeal to this crowd.

One vehicle that qualifies in this segment is Hyundai’s 2018 Elantra sedan, specifically the Eco trim level with highway fuel mileage of 40 mpg.

I recently tested the 2018 Elantra Eco, and I’m back with a full report on what it has to offer.

LOOKS

In the grand scheme of the small car segment, the Elantra’s outside looks are among the best in the segment. You get an eye-catching design, with unique headlamps and grille.

The Elantra Eco comes with 15 inch tires, plus LED daytime running lights.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Hyundai Elantra Eco
  • Price as tested: $21,560 (base price at $20,550; but incentives can push it down to $18K)
  • Best feature: Fuel mileage, tech features, roominess
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Those seeking an affordable, eco-friendly sedan
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