CAR REVIEWS

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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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Sometimes you’ve got to start over, especially if what’s been hanging around for a while is getting outdated.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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2018 Lexus GS F is all about performance Featured

Jul 06, 2018
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The 2018 Lexus GS F looks to battle in the elite category of luxury performance sedan

Some cars just scream out their identity. You look at it, and you know what you’re going to get when you sit behind the wheel.

That’s very much the case with the Lexus GS F, a performance sedan with massive power numbers and a fully engaging ride that aims to tackle the biggest names in the exclusive luxury performance sedan segment.

I recently spent some time driving a 2018 Lexus GS F, and I’m back with a full report.

 

LOOKS

Looking like it would be very much at home racing around a track competitively, the 2018 GS F features a very large, intense spider-web design up front on the grille, which works well on the F sport

a considering its character. It’s also low to the ground and features some great curves in its exterior design.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Lexus GS F
  • Price as tested: $86,725
  • Best feature: Powerful engine and thrilling ride
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: If racecar-level power and luxury looks are your top two priorities, the Lexus GS F is right in your wheelhouse
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The Audi S4 isn't the most flashy looking sport sedan, but it dazzles under the hood.

Driving is a passion lost on many of today’s younger generation, who have grown up in the era of Uber and the impending arrival of self-driving vehicles, and have little desire to get behind the wheel at all.

But for those who remember the joy of getting behind the wheel for the first time and the freedom it offers, who know the thrill that a fast, sporty vehicle can provide, there are still many vehicles available to help us enjoy those experiences well into adulthood.

Enter the Audi S4, a top-notch sports sedan that provides about as exhilarating a ride as you’ll get in cars targeted at mere mortals who don’t own any yachts or private islands.
I recently spent some time driving the 2018 S4, and I’m back with a full report on what it has to offer.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2018 Audi S4
  • Price as tested: $59,550 (starts at $51,400)
  • Best feature: Exhilarating driving experience
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Fans of driver-focused vehicles who want to enjoy their time on the road
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The e-Golf is a way to enjoy the Golf experience while being eco-friendly.

The auto world has been buzzing with electricity in recent years … literally.

With nearly all major automakers heavily committing to moving away from internal-combustion engines, some entirely and some in phases, over the next several years, the battle for best electric vehicle is already heating up

I recently spent a little time with one of Volkswagen’s entries into the fray, the Volkswagen e-Golf -- an electric version of it’s perennial top-ranked vehicle -- and I’m back with a full report on what the buzz is all about on this particular plug-in ride.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: Volkswagen e-Golf
  • Price as tested: $39,240 (starts at $30,495) … tax credits/incentives for electric vehicles can lower cost
  • Best feature: No need for gas; Drives like a Golf
  • Rating: 3 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: City dwellers who don’t drive long distances and want to avoid the need to get gas
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