CAR REVIEWS

The bold front grille of the 2017 Lexus GS is part of its unique look.

Flair.

Personality.

Chutzpah.

 

Whatever you want to name it, any vehicle you put out in a luxury segment has to have it, if it’s going to put up a good fight.
With so much strong competition, even a company with as respected as name as Lexus has to always come with its A game and offer something different. That’s just reality when you’re battling Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz and others for every point of the luxury market share.

 

The segment at hand is the midsize luxury vehicles -- in which Lexus has offered the GS sedan to compete against heavyweights like the Audi A6, BMW 5-series and more.
And how do they do it? By being different of course. I tested out a 2017 Lexus GS 200t recently and here’s a full report on how it measures up.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Lexus GS 200t
  • Price as tested: $52,295
  • Best feature: Smooth drive; stylish and bold look
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury car buyers who prefer Lexus’ bold design approach
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The trend of massive tablet as center console screen continues in the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime.

So you’re the Toyota Prius, the most well-known and successful hybrid car ever made and you want to take it to that next step.

What do you do? Like Bob Dylan in the 60s, you go electric and announce the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime.

Now to be fair, there was already a plug-in Prius, but this new version doubles the battery size and allows for a longer electric-only ride. How much longer? Stay tuned. As that’s the key to whether this will be a vehicle people want to pick up.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime
  • Price as tested: $33,985
  • Best feature: Its ability to avoid the gas station
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: People with short commutes who can take advantage of the limited electric-only range (and who prefer Toyota over Chevy)
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The 2017 Kia Forte holds up well in the compact car segment, even with some tough competition.

If you read the news on automobiles these days, you would think compact cars are on the way out. It’s true that many small car models are disappearing, but at the same time the segment is not going away anytime soon.

 

There will also be a certain number of people (even in the bigger-is-better U.S.A.) who aren’t going to succumb to SUV mania like all the rest of us have (over 60 percent of 2016 auto sales were trucks or SUVs).

 

For this smaller-is-better crowd, there is still plenty of variety in the segment to choose from -- including the 2017 Kia Forte -- which i recently had the chance to test to see how it ranks against its many compact car rivals (think Civic, Corolla, Focus, Mazda3, Cruze, Jetta, Impreza).

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Kia Forte
  • Price as tested: Starts at $16,600; tops out about $22,000
  • Best feature: Affordability, strong tech
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Small car shoppers who like the Kia brand and want something in nearly everyone’s price range
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Sporty 2017 Mazda3 aimed at those who love driving Featured

Jul 05, 2017
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The 2017 Mazda3 offers a truly enjoyable driving experience, perhaps the best in the small car segment.

The little car company that could, amid a sea of bigger and more dominant competitors, Mazda always has an uphill battle when battling for market share.


But when I drive their vehicles, I often wonder why. The experience they offer is among the best I’ve found after testing vehicles from all continents and in all classes.

Among the company’s more enjoyable offerings is the compact Mazda3 sedan, which I recently got the chance to test, and I’m back with a full report of where it stands in the grand scheme of small cars (a busy group that includes the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus and Honda Civic).

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Mazda3
  • Price as tested: $29,080 (starts at $18,680)
  • Best feature: About as fun a ride as you can have in a small car
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Small car buyers who want to enjoy their time on the roadways
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BMW's 5-series midsize sedan is redesigned for 2017.

BMW is not a name people take lightly. This is an auto company with a century of history, and a reputation that it must uphold.


One of their most popular vehicles in their midsize 5-series sedan, which has been redesigned for the 2017 model year to be more powerful and lighter. I recently spent some time in a 2017 BMW 530i xDrive sedan, and I’m back to let you know if it lives up to the company’s lofty name.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 BMW 530i xDrive sedan
  • Price as tested: $72,735 ($53,500 starting price)
  • Best feature: Exceptional drive quality, posh interior, strong tech setup
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury buyers who seek an engaging drive in an attractive, high-end sedan, and can afford the high pricetag
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The Volvo V60 Cross Country wagon is an alternative to the typical luxury crossover.

The word wagon may as well be on the extinction list, as it’s growing increasingly rare to see them on the road these days in the sea of SUVs that dominate family car buying in the U.S.A.


But fear not, wagon lovers: Volvo hasn’t forgotten about you. They continue their long wagon tradition with the Volvo V60, which also comes in a Cross Country version that I was able to spend some time in recently. Here’s my full report on what this unique vehicle offers.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country
  • Price as tested: $50,130 (Starts at $41,700)
  • Best feature: High-riding luxury wagons are a rare find these days
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Those seeking a unique and versatile vehicle with a throwback look
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The new Hyundai Ioniq Electric can go up to 124 miles on a full charge.

The successful all-electric car is the elusive white whale of the auto industry, with a variety of automakers chasing the dream with limited success over the years.

But the battle is heating up again and some strong contenders are emerging. Including a somewhat surprising entry, the brand new Hyundai Ioniq. New for 2017, it features three varieties: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric.

I recently tested the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric
  • Price as tested: $36,835
  • Best feature: No need for gas, impressive drive quality for an electric vehicle
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Commuters who want a quality vehicle and want to be eco-friendly and gasoline-free
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The interior of the 2017 Audi S6 is as classy and well-designed as any of its rivals.

Welcome to the fun zone.

Audi may have a hoidy-toidy reputation on the whole, but slap an S in any of their model names and things get a bit more loose.
I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a 2017 Audi S6 midsize sedan, and I’m back with the highlights of what you can expect from this hot rod.

1. Uberfast

The simplest way to put it is to say that the Audi S6 is a thoroughly enjoyable ride -- combining all the comfort and smoothness of the A6 with a more performance/sporty edge. It gets up to speed in stunning fashion for its size: You’re hauling you-know-what before you even realize it (“Am I really going that fast?” was a common expression during my time in the S6).

If you want to tone down the speed, get out of dynamic mode (which would be better labeled as beast mode).

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2017 Audi S6
  • Price as tested: $82,425 (starts at $70,900)
  • Best feature: Incredible speed, classy interior
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury car buyers who want to get the maximum oomph out of their sedan
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