2021 Kia K5 GT - Driven
When Kia change the name of the Optima to K5, it was more than just a name change. With that new designation came a sportier sedan with a simple and attractive interior, and a pair of engines that put you one two different sides of the same fence: Economy or Performance. After driving the GT-Line AWD, we felt like we were wanting more. It looked faster, but it was essentially the same car as the standard K5 with AWD and sportier looks. So, does the K5 GT scratch that it? Well, it really does, but it certainly has it flaws, the most important of which is, arguably, the lack of AWD – something can actually be dangerous for unskilled drivers or those not used to having 300-horsepower at their disposal. Keep reading to learn, why?
2021 Nissan Altima - Driven
The sixth-generation Nissan Altima has been on the market since 2018, and was generally received as more technologically advanced, better looking, and better equipped than the fifth-gen model. Three years in, however, and it’s easy to wonder if the Altima can still hold its own so close to its mid-cycle update. We spent a week with the Altima VC-T to see just how well it manages to navigate the cut-throat midsize sedan market.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX - Driven
For very many years, the Ford F-150 Raptor was the only off-road standalone model you could get straight from the factory. Ram, however, decided to come up with a rival for it and announced its intention by coming up with a concept performance off-road truck in 2016 called the TRX. Pretty much everything we saw there made it to the production version as well.
Fast forward to 2020, Ram launched the TRX as a Raptor-killer by upping the ante in almost every single department. The TRX was introduced with a supercharged V-8 that makes over 700 horses, impressive off-road equipment and specs, and an uber-premium cabin. Given all the bells and whistles Ram offered, there was no way this was going to be an inexpensive truck. Ram priced it at $69,000 at launch in the ‘base’ form. At that time, it was clearly positioned above the Raptor as they both had a significant price difference.
While this is a truck that you definitely want, is this a truck that you actually need? A white 2021 Ram TRX arrived at TopSpeed and we find out the answer to that.
2021 Kia K5 GT-Line - Driven
After two decades and four generations in U.S., Kia has decided to globally rebrand the Optima as the K5 – a name it had be using for the Optima in the Korean market since 2010. With the name change came a much sportier exterior, a simple yet attractive interior, and a pair of engines that split the difference between great fuel economy and great performance – you can have one or the other. In early 2021, we had the opportunity to spend a week with the more economical K5 with a 1.6-liter inline-four that was good for 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Fast forward a few months, and Kia graced us with the K5 GT-Line AWD, which comes at a $1,600 premium over the FWD model plus a few extra standard goodies, including a special “Snow Mode.” Is it necessary to have a K5 with AWD, though?
2022 Kia Carnival - Driven
The Kia Carnival name might sound new to you, but Kia has been using it for this exact minivan in various markets since its introduction since 1998. Up until this point, you’ve known it as the Kia Sedona, but with the transition into the fourth-generation – which has been on sale in South Korea since September 2020 and in parts of Europe as of March of 2021. It will hit the North American market in July of 2021, but we managed to get behind the wheel of the new Carnival beforehand. This is what you need to know about the 2022 Kia Carnival.
2021 Nissan Versa - Driven
The current N18, third-generation Nissan Versa was released in 2019 among falling sales in a dying segment. Featuring Nissan’s latest design language, revised technology, and better materials, but it’s still one of the last few remaining subcompact sedans on the market, and the lack of interest is so obvious it hurts. In 2019, Nissan sold 66,596 Versas in the U.S., 2,369 in Canada, and 88,707 in Mexico, while the 2020 model year saw those numbers drop to 48,273, 125, and 68,013, respectively. That leaves us to wonder: Is there something inheritantly wrong with the Nissan Versa’s recipe, or are falling sales just the result of the COVID pandemic and a general lack of public interest in small sedans? We spent a week with the Nissan Versa to find out.
2021 Kia Sorento - Driven
The 2021 model year marks the fourth generation of the Kia Sorento. The previous generations were soft, curvy, and rounded, but the 2021 model is boxy, sexy, and a lot sharper. The company has pinned the SUV on a new platform, and has introduced new hybrid and plug-in hybrid engine options. The cabin feels fresh, more spacious, and can be had with captain chairs in the second row. All in all, the family SUV is a huge improvement over the outgoing model. The 2021 Kia Sorento recently arrived at TopSpeed headquarters and we have to say, it is pretty darn impressive.
2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition - Driven
The Honda Civic Type R is a very special vehicle. Many will belittle it because it is front wheel drive. Others will say that it is stupid to pay that much money for a fixed up Civic. People that say things like that are inexperienced drivers who have no idea how much fun a proper front wheel drive car can be. And if they need a badge from a high end European car to define a sports car, then they have an ego problem and they do not know anything about cars. Honda’s rich racing history is one of the most successful in recent times and products such as the Type R are a result of what their engineers learn from racing. We spent a few days with the Civic Type R and it is one of the most fun sports cars at any price. That sums it up. If you want more details, keep reading.
2021 Cadillac Escalade - Driven
The Escalade hasn’t had an easy life. It started as a ripped-off GMC Yukon back in the 90s, but was soon spun off as a standalone SUV. That didn’t change its fortunes either. It was never perceived as a strong contender in the market despite having its own set of advantages. This went on for three generations but GM didn’t give up on the moniker. For the 2021 model, the automaker decided to up the ante and how. For the fifth-gen, Cadillac turned the Escalade into a big, attention-seeking SUV with oodles of space inside and a tech-savvy cabin. Stuff like a 38-inch screen, 36-speaker setup, and Super Cruise technology, are only some of its accolades. Can fifth time be the charm for Cadillac and the Escalade?
2021 Hyundai Sonata N-Line - Driven
Outside of the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and a few others, the concept of sporty and quick sedans is slowly dying off as people look to either bigger, similarly quick, vehicles or smaller two-door sports cars. Then you’ve got brands like Hyundai that seems to either not care or wants to keep the thrill of driving alive, and this is where the Hyundai Sonata N-Line comes in. It’s based on your typical midsized family sedan but is injected with enough sporty DNA that it stands out both visually and in terms of performance. Of course, we’re not talking Porsche Panamera or Dodge Challenger levels of performance, but affordable performance – something that, arguably, gives you a bigger bang for your buck. Here’s what you need to know about the Sonata N-Line and why you should consider it for your next daily driver.
2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat - Driven
Until 2020, the Dodge Durango was a family SUV with a sporty side to it. It came with a V-8 engine that churned out enough power to fulfill the adrenaline rush while also serving as a practical utility vehicle. For the 2021 model, however, Dodge upped the ante. As part of its process to plonk in the Hellcat engine in every product in its portfolio, the automaker transformed the Durango into a beast incarnate that just can’t be tamed. On paper, the Durango SRT Hellcat is now the most powerful production SUV. It can sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.5 seconds. Isn’t that a wonderful and frightening sight at the same time?
2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 - Driven
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 is based on the standard Mercedes GLS SUV. It costs twice as much as the GLS but is a lot more premium and plusher. The Maybach-affiliation to the SUV puts it right at the top with the likes of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and the Bentley Bentayga. It isn’t as expensive as the British brands, but comes with enough tech and luxuriousness to keep you happy if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. It comes with a V-8 engine under the hood to help it propel to 60 mph in less than four seconds. The looks, however, isn’t the GLS600’s strong suit.
While it seems a good package overall, will a Bentayga or a Cullinan customer consider the GLS600? Or will a standard GLS customer upgrade to it, for that matter?