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Watch a BMW M760i Lineup with a Porsche Panamara Turbo

Watch a BMW M760i Lineup with a Porsche Panamara Turbo

This battle of two heavyweight uber-cool cars has left us wanting both

All hell breaks loose when two luxurious cars decide to challenge each other’s egos and win bragging rights forever. We are talking about the BMW M760Li xDrive and the Porsche Panamera Turboand you can watch them duke it out in the video below.

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Watch a Jeep Wrangler Get Burnt to a Crisp in the Desert

Watch a Jeep Wrangler Get Burnt to a Crisp in the Desert

The owner, a solo traveler, was in the middle of nowhere when his Jeep caught fire

How agonizing would it be if your car caught fire in front of your eyes and you couldn’t do anything about it? YouTuber Casey Kaiser found himself helpless in a similar situation when his Jeep Wrangler caught fire while he was filming an off-road adventure. He made it out alive, but the Jeep didn’t.

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2017 Pagani Zonda Riviera

2017 Pagani Zonda Riviera

Another Pagani Zonda F is reborn into a spectacular one-off creation

They say that fine art speaks incredible stories while sitting still as people look at them. In a lot of ways, the Pagani Zonda is the farthest thing from fine art, particularly that it doesn’t do well in an idle state. Then again, the Zonda is also, in other ways, the epitome of fine art. It’s limited nature and exotic qualities make it precious in a lot of eyes. And as far as the stories it tells, well, let’s just say they make for good conversations. Take this particular Zonda for example. It’s now called the Zonda Riviera, but it didn’t always carry the name. Once upon a time, it was a Zonda F, and in the decade that’s been alive, it’s been through quite a lot for a car of its stature.

It does seem a little odd that we’re seeing another Zonda get reimagined as a new model only a week after seeing another of its kind, the Zonda Fantasma Evo, go through the same treatment. These events do speak of the age of the model and the fact that it’s been 12 years since Pagani rolled out the Zonda F means that we’re likely to see more of them in the near future. For now, though, the Zonda Riviera takes center stage, as the Zonda Fantasma Evo did last week. it doesn’t quite have an eventful story as Fantasma Evo - that one literally came back from a crash - but it does have a tale or two in its pocket, as most Pagani Zonda Fs that have aged rather nicely will tell us.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Pagani Zonda Riviera

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2017 Toyota Tundra Platinum – Driven

2017 Toyota Tundra Platinum – Driven

How does the oldest half-ton pickup perform?

The Toyota Tundra has been around since 2014 with nary a change. Before that, it was 2007 when the Tundra saw any action from Toyota designers – and that was the second-generation Tundra’s debut! Needless to say, Toyota’s full-size pickup is long in the tooth. But how does this decade-old pickup perform? To find out, I spent a week with the truck on familiar streets I’ve traversed plenty of times with the Tundra’s competition.

As mentioned, the current Tundra debuted in 2007 as an all-new, ground-up truck that replaced a much smaller pickup bearing the same name. Toyota had been accosted by consumers and journalist alike for not having a true full-size competitor. To much applause, Toyota delivered. The truck came with a powerful 5.7-liter V-8, three cab options, available 4WD, and payload and towing capacities that ranked well against Detroit’s Big Three.

The Tundra then lay dormant for seven years. A mid-cycle refresh came in 2014 bringing some new sheet metal and a revised interior. However, the powertrain, frame, and suspension remained unchanged. Fast forward, and the first major change is scheduled for 2018. Even that is limited to the TRD Sport trim and consists of new grille mesh, LED headlights, and some active safety systems. We’ll have to wait at least to 2019 or 2020 before Toyota finally brings an all-new model. But despite its age, the Tundra isn’t a bad truck. Here’s why.

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2017 Toyota Corolla iM – Driven

2017 Toyota Corolla iM – Driven

Scion passes the iM baton to Toyota with its dying breath

Ah Scion, Toyota’s youth-market sub brand. Now in 2017, we can only reminisce about bygone days when new Scion hatchbacks, coupes, and toasters sat in showrooms waiting for eager high-school teens to arrive with daddy’s money or senior citizens to stroll in looking for something more economical than their worn-out Mercury Grand Marquis. Those days are gone though, thanks to Toyota shuttering Scion and consolidating a few of its models into the Toyota fleet. One such example is the Scion iM.

The iM was all-new for the U.S. market in 2015, launched beside the Mazda-derived Scion iA sedan. The iM was basically a Toyota Corolla Hatchback, though you’d never hear a Scion salesman pointing that to potential buyers. The car featured the same, 1.8-liter four-cylinder as the Corolla, as well as the six-speed manual or optional Continuously Variable Transmission. But, sadly, the iM and iA couldn’t save the Scion brand. Toyota ended the brand’s 13-year run in August of 2016. Fast-forward to today, and Toyota has rebadged the iA, iM, and FR-S as the Yaris iA, Corolla iM, and the 86, respectively.

I recently got to sample the Corolla iM for a week – living with it during the daily grind. My tester came equipped with the six-speed manual transmission and zero options. It’s rare to have press fleet cars come so equipped. But rather than being a buzzkill from the usual whiz-bang gadgetry and overly complicated nature of many modern cars, the iM’s basic nature proved a welcomed reprieve and rather enjoyable. Heck, my tester didn’t even have floor mats. (I’ve heard Toyota is stingy with their floor mats.)

Of course, the most noticeable feature of this iM is its color – that big, bright, green color. Oh boy. Toyota calls it “Spring Green Metallic.” I call it ugly. Yet the color helped add a particular flare to car it wouldn’t have otherwise had. It also attracted everyone’s attention. I lovingly named my tester Snot Rocket.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Driven

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Driven

A week with the Taco Supreme

Toyota has a long history with mid-sized, high-riding pickups in America. Many might remember Marty McFly’s 1985 Toyota truck with its tube bumpers, lifted suspension, alloy wheels, and black paint job. While most of these trucks have rusted into the history books, their spirit lives on in Toyota’s modern Tacoma – and no more so than with the Tacoma TRD Pro. This lifted truck with its blacked-out wheels and bold grille give it a flair for the past, while still answering the trends of today.

I had the chance to spend a week with the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, which came dressed in Super White and built on the Double Cab platform. I spent an extensive amount of time driving the highways and surface streets surrounding my Central Florida home. And of course, I sampled the deep, sandy ruts of trails running through wooded landscapes that appeared untouched since the Spanish Conquistadors landed in the 1500s.

The Tacoma TRD Pro attracted a lot of attention during its stay in my driveway, and it’s no wonder. The Tacoma is the best-selling mid-size pickup in the U.S. these days, outselling the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, and Honda Ridgeline. There’s something about the truck that snags people’s interest. Most comments tended to focus on the black-on-white color scheme and the blocky TOYOTA grille.

So what’s it like living with the Taco Supreme? It’s spicy… but sometimes not in a good way. Keep reading for the explanation.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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Buick Goes Star-Studded Route For Its Super Bowl LI Commercial

Buick Goes Star-Studded Route For Its Super Bowl LI Commercial

Cam Newton and Miranda Kerr star in the ad promoting the Cascada and Encore

Say what you will about Buick’s place in the US luxury car market scene, but when it comes to spending for Super Bowl commercials, the General Motors-owned automaker has proven that it could spend with the best of them. The latest example of Buick’s free-wheeling Big Game spending comes in the form of its new commercial for Super Bowl LI.

The ad stars the Buick Cascada and Encore SUV, but it also taps Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in a co-starring role with super model Miranda Kerr appearing in a cameo role. The combination of star power may sound strange on the surface, but Newton and Kerr perfectly encapsulate the “celebrity-focused” advertising strategy Buck has employed in recent years. Remember Peyton Manning and Shaquille O’Neal’s Buick ads in the past?

The story behind this particular ad revolves around some parents who spot the two Buicks while watching their kids’ pee-wee football game. One dad then playfully says that if that car (the Cascada) was, in fact, a Buick, he’d be Cam Newton. Alas, in true Disney fashion, Newton magically appears under center, much to the shock of the children he’s now playing against.

Kerr’s appearance in the advertisement isn’t as prominent as Newton’s, but the “if that SUV (the Encore) is a Buick, then I’m Miranda Kerr” quip magically works again as the dad weirdly turns into one of the most beautiful super models in the world. Yes, it happened, so be warned.

All told, the family-friendly ad hits on a lot of levels. Kids and adults can both appreciate it, especially the latter of whom count themselves as either sports fans or, well, Miranda Kerr fans.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2017 Acura TLX – Driven

2017 Acura TLX – Driven

Acura acts tough, but can’t shake its happy Honda heritage

The Acura TLX competes in a rather strong segment with players like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, not to mention relative newcomers like the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia. Needless to say, Acura has its work cut out. Curious to see how the TLX performs on familiar streets, I recently spent a week with a 2017 model fitted with the optional 3.5-liter V-6 and SH-AWD. This would technically be Acura’s hottest-performing TLX. So how’d it do?

Well, I’ll get to that. But first, some backstory.

The TLX hit the scene for the 2015 model year. It was designed to replace the compact TSX and slightly larger TL sedans. Acura essentially reorganized its sedan lineup, which now includes the compact, Civic-based ILX, the mid-size TLX, and the RLX luxury flagship. Not much has changed for the 2017 model year beyond a slight price increase. This means the car carries over with its standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder, eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, and front-wheel drive. Different option packages bring high-tech bits like active safety features and upgradeg leather seats to go the an ELS stereo system.

My tester, which came fully kitted out with the V-6, AWD, the Technology Package and Advance Package, represented the cream of the TLX crop. Its $45,740 price tag actually sits mid-pack in relation to its competition, with the Audi and Alfa Romeo coming in slightly lower, while the Mercedes and BMW can be optioned to cost more than $5,000 more than the my loaded TLX tester. What’s that mean for Acura? The TLX represents a relative bargain. And, thanks to its 290-horsepower engine and torque-vectoring AWD system with rear-wheel steering, the Acura provides plenty of fun when driven hard, with a sure-footed grip when tooling around town.

There’s more to the Acura TLX, so keep reading for the full driven review.

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2017 Kia Sorento SXL – Driven

2017 Kia Sorento SXL – Driven

Kia’s broad stroke at the crossover market

It’s hard to believe the Kia Sorento has been around since 2002, but this body-on-frame SUV turned unibody crossover has gained a respectable foothold in the American market thanks to its growing size and continually improvement refinement with each generation. Kia last reworked the Sorento for the 2016 model year. This third-generation crossover now wears a handsome exterior with a surprisingly supple and spacious interior. A few minor changes happen for the 2017 model year, including the addition of automatic emergency braking and making the Technology Package and V-6 standard equipment in the range-topping SXL.

Kia sent me such a model to test for a week. It came loaded with just about every option available, including all-wheel drive and that 3.3-liter V-6. Also packed in back is the Sorento’s optional third row seat, which actually comes standard on the SXL. Prices have also increased for 2017, with the base trims seeing as little as $290 and a whopping $4,000 for the SXL. The huge price jump on the SXL is patricianly explained by the $2,500 Technology Package being made standard, as well as the V-6. AWD is now the SXL’s only major option, though several smaller accessories can be purchased.

The 2017 Sorento is positioned to compete in two vehicle categories and in a higher pricing bracket than most would expect. It can be stacked against the two-row Ford Flex or the spacious, three-row Dodge Durango. It can compete with the family-friendly and affordable Hyundai Santa Fe Sport or the middle-class Jeep Grand Cherokee. It all depends on how the Kia Sorento is optioned. But how well does the Sorento perform at all these tasks? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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2016 Ford Focus RS

2016 Ford Focus RS

Ford introduced the first ever Focus RS in 2002, reviving the RS (Rallye Sport) badge after having popularized it before with rally homologation specials like the Escort RS 1600 or the Escort RS Cosworth. Despite looking like a road-going version of the WRC model, the car was FWD and offered a little over 200 horsepower. Almost seven years later, another generation of the Focus RS arrived with an even more pronounced rally look and a Volvo-sourced five-cylinder with 305 horsepower sent to the front wheels. While torque-steer was kept to a minimum via a standard LSD from Quaife and a MacPherson front suspension strut called RevoKnuckle, the car was still far from offering WRC-like performance for the road.

Ford wants to change all that with the recently unveiled, third-generation Focus RS, as the model will be offered with an innovative all-wheel-drive system. Set to be manufactured at the same German plant as its predecessors, this will also be the first RS model to be sold around the world, including the U.S. With a Mustang-sourced, 2.3-liter, EcoBoost engine that has been engineered to deliver in excess of 300 horsepower, the all-new Focus RS seems to really up the ante for Ford in the performance-hatch category.

Update 07/13/2013: The Ford Focus RS is finally arriving at U.S. dealerships and is priced at $36,605 including destination and delivery charges. Hit "play" to see who was the first U.S. lucky owner of the RS.

Continue reading to learn more about the new Ford Focus RS.

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2017 Mazda CX-9 – Driven

2017 Mazda CX-9 – Driven

When you want to ‘Zoom Zoom’ but have to haul the family

The Mazda CX-9 has been around for a decade now, having debuted for the 2007 model year. It established itself as a fun-to-drive three-row crossover with a chipper attitude. A facelift in 2010 and again in 2013 kept the first generation CX-9 looking fresh, but it wasn’t until the 2016 model year that things got serious. Mazda’s previous split from Ford meant it could develop its own platform and engines for the crossover, along with reinventing its design language. The result is a stunningly gorgeous vehicle that looks far more upscale than its price tag demands.

Things have remained unchanged for the 2017 model year and its design remains fresh. I was understandably excited to hear Mazda was sending me a 2017 CX-9 to sample for a week. The idea of a beautiful three-row crossover with AWD and an efficient yet turbocharged engine was an enticing one.

The concept of building a fun-to-drive crossover isn’t new, but it’s harder than you might imagine. The taller ground clearance makes for a top-heavy ride and the extra length and seats brings added weight that eats horsepower. Mazda as worked to quell these issues in the CX-9 by removing weight and developing a suspension that could handle well. In the AWD model, 287 pounds has been removed from the first-generation model and the suspension was retuned. The CX-9 uses MacPherson struts up front with a multi-link coil spring setup.

Powering the CX-9 is Mazda’s new 2.5-liter SkyActiv four-cylinder turbo. It might make 23 horsepower less that the previous V-6, but it generates an impressive 40 pound-feet more torque. Best of all, it’s far more efficient. So how does all this work in practice? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven

2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven

Matthew McConaughey’s crossover of choice

Lincoln continues to fight its way back from the dead as Ford continues pouring money into its luxury brand. Its relatively new vehicle lineup is certainly helping thanks to an increased appeal to a wider, more discerning audience. One of Lincoln’s front-runners is the MKC crossover – a high-class version of the Ford Escape fitted with its own styling and unique interior. The Ford elements shine through where it counts, like the surprisingly robust 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine.

I recently spent a week with a 2016 Lincoln MKC Reserve, the next most expensive trim grade below the swanky Black Label trim. Its long list of standard equipment and well-appointed interior solidifies Lincoln has some great ingredients in this crossover cake. A quick scan of the Monroney sticker confirms that. Items like HID headlights and LED taillights, dual exhaust tips, 20-inch wheels give the MKC a class appearance while plushy leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the SNYC3 infotainment system, and metallic trim make the interior a welcoming place to ride.

Then there’s the optional 2.3-liter EcoBoost. Minus a few changes, this EcoBoost can also be found in the Ford Mustang. The turbocharged engine produces a respectable 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque in Lincoln spec, and sends power to all four wheels. Strong power and all-weather traction are trademarks of the luxury car market, but how well does the 2016 Lincoln MKC perform as a whole? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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2016 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T – Driven

2016 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T – Driven

The affordable Audi

Family sedans might not be the hottest thing on the market, having given that spot to crossovers and SUVs, but the humble four-door is certainly not down and out. Volkswagen set out to capture more of this market with the revised 2016 Passat. It wears an updated face, has a new rear end, and even sees some updated bits on the dashboard. Volkswagen even says it redesigned the 2016 Passat to appeal towards American buyers who want muscular lines and upscale interiors.

In reality, you’d have to be a Volkswagen enthusiast to spot the differences without a side-by-side comparison photo (which we have in the Exterior section below.) Nevertheless, the changes are apparent and the Passat feels more mature and less bulbous for it.

The changes inside are equally minimal but no less important. A slight change in the dashboard’s shape and trim piece are all that’s new for 2016. However, the modest update gives the dash a more angular appearance, which mirrors the Passat’s fresh face.

To see how these changes impacted the Passat, I spent a week driving a 2016 model like I would if I owned it. Trips to the grocery store, the Lacrosse field, preschool, and even date night at the movie theater were all taken. My four-year-old’s car seat was buckled in the back seat and the trunk was filled with everyday items. This is a departure from [my last experience with the 2016 Passat. Volkswagen had flown me to Vermont in 2015 to experience the car when it first launched, so I knew what to expect. This time the car was on my home turf in Central Florida. So how’d it do? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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2016 Nissan Altima – Driven

2016 Nissan Altima – Driven

A nose job keeps Nissan’s aging sedan looking young(ish)

The fifth-generation Altima debuted for the 2013 model year and Nissan didn’t let it simmer too long before introducing a mid-cycle refresh for the 2016 model year. The refresh is mild at best, consisting of a revised front fascia with Nissan’s V-motion corporate face and swoopy curves that mimic the Maxima’s. The greasy bits and interior remain basically untouched. But are these changes enough to keep the Altima selling at its record pace?

To find out, I spent a week with the 2016 Altima. Granted, the model year is currently rolling towards 2017, but Nissan isn’t making any changes. That makes the 2016 just as good to review.

The Altima is dug in hard against some fearsome competitors. There’s the hot-selling Honda Accord, the surprisingly upscale Volkswagen Passat, and the venerable Toyota Camry. As you might expect, the Toyota leads the segment in sales by a long shot, moving a whopping 429,355 Camries in 2015. Honda follows, having sold 355,557 Accords. Nissan isn’t too far behind, with 333.398 Altimas finding homes in 2015. Year over year, the Altima is maintaining is monthly sales goals in 2016, putting it on track to sell the same number as before.

Numbers aside, the Altima has a lot to offer. Leading headlines is fuel economy. The 2.5-liter Altima gets an EPA-estimated 27 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined. Those are compact sedan numbers. In fact, only the Mazda 6 with its i-Eloop energy recovery system scores better, offering 40 mpg highway.

Despite is frugality, the Altima’s four-cylinder isn’t a complete penalty box. In fact, with its 182 horsepower, the 2.5-liter and CVT combination are surprisingly peppy. Yes, I normally complain about Continuously Variable Transmissions, but Nissan has been building them longer than just about anybody. It seems it has finally eliminated the rubber-banding effect that plagued CVTs of the past.

So, the 2016 Altima has a new face and some impressive fuel economy numbers. But what else does Nissan’s mid-level sedan have to offer? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost – Driven

2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost – Driven

Ford’s boosted pony car

Few cars have survived time so well. It was 1964 when Ford debuted the Mustang – its so-called Pony Car that inspired an entire category of automobiles, while raking in profits for the Blue Oval. The car ranged from the “secretary’s special” to the V-8 powerhouses that legends are made of. Only perhaps the Chevrolet Camaro can rival the Mustang’s significance. Then again, the Mustang has been in continuous production, unlike the Chevy.

Now in its sixth generation, the Mustang has kept its retro styling but added a turbocharged four-cylinder as a mid-grade engine option, along with numerous improvements like the new independent rear suspension. On top of that, the sixth-gen ‘Stang, introduced for the 2015 model year, is Ford’s first truly global Mustang. America’s pony car now sells in regions around the world in both left- and right-hand drive configurations.

The Mustang still comes standard with a V-6 and a manual transmission, and the traditionalist’s choice continues to be the 5.0-liter V-8. Nestled nicely between the two is Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. Don’t let the cylinder count fool you – the EcoBoost isn’t a wimp. Ford says it kicks out an impressive 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. That’s Mustang GT power from just six years ago.

So what’s it like to have a four-cylinder pony car? To find out, I spent a week with the 2016 Mustang EcoBoost. My tester came fitted with the optional Performance Package, thankfully adding a limited slip rear differential, summer tires, heavy-duty front springs, larger brakes, a larger radiator, a thicker rear sway bar, and a specific calibration of the ABS and stability control systems. Needless to say, this pony was built to run. But would its heart hold out?

Continue reading for the full review.

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2016 Volswagen Golf R - Driven

2016 Volswagen Golf R - Driven

Functionality meets fun

The Volkswagen Golf R has been long awaited here in the U.S. where customers have pining for this Europe-only car to make its appearance Stateside. Now with the 2016 model year, that wish has finally come true. The anticipation is justifiable when considering Volkswagen first debuted the Golf R32 back in 2003. It featured the first dual-clutch gearbox in any production car and had VW’s then-new 3.2-liter VR6. It set the bar extremely high in the hot hatch segment.

Volkswagen has plenty of competitors out there, but the Golf R still holds its own. It comes with 4Motion AWD, a standard six-speed manual or the optional six-speed DSG automatic, and of course, the 292-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Those mechanicals are good for a sub-five-second launch to 60 mph and more fun on public roads than Johnny Law will allow.

At the same time, the Golf R is still… well, a Golf. It boasts 52.7 cubic feet of cargo room with the second row folded. There’s still 22.8 cubic feet of room with the second row locked in place. That means the Golf R is not only fun, but it’s functional. Obviously, that’s the appeal of a hot hatch. There’s little compromise unlike a 2+2 sports coupe or larger, heavier crossover.

I recently spent a week with the Golf R fitted with the DSG, DCC, and no N-A-V. Punny acronyms aside, the car was well equipped, but not loaded. Thankfully it had Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto) so I was able to use my iPhone for navigation. So what’s it like to live with the Golf R? I’ll let you know below.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco – Driven

2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco – Driven

Value & efficiency make this the Elantra to have

The Elantra has been around for a while, but it started garnering major attention when the fifth generation debuted in 2010. Now in its sixth generation, the Elantra is grabbing more headlines. New for the 2017 model year, Hyundai is adding the Eco trim to the Elantra’s repertoire. This isn’t some hybrid with expensive batteries or electric motors – no, this is simply an honest gas-powered sedan that achieves 40 mpg on the highway.

Let’s back up a bit. Hyundai’s last Elantra, the fifth generation, came to market with swoopy lines, a futuristic interior, and an overestimated fuel efficiency sticker hanging in the window. Owners started complaining and the EPA caught on. The Korean automaker ended up reimbursing thousands of owners and got slapped with a $100-million fine from the U.S. Government. Of course, Hyundai’s engineers want to avoid that at all costs, so the development of Eco trim in both the Elantra and Sonata were put into motion.

Unlike some “eco” trims on competing cars that merely bolt up low rolling resistance tires and a couple aerodynamic features, Hyundai dove head first with an entirely new powertrain. Replacing the 2.0-liter four-cylinder and six-speed auto in the standard Elantra, the Eco gets a unique 1.4-liter turbo mated to a seven-speed dual clutch programmed for the utmost efficiency. It also has low rolling resistance tires, too.

I recently got to spend a week with the 2017 Elantra Eco, using it in everyday driving situations between date night and pre-K pick-up lines. Happily my time in the car closely followed a previous week I spent with a non-Eco version, the 2017 Elantra Limited. The two cars are, of course, very similar, though the differences are hard to miss. Let’s take a look.

Continue reading for the full review.

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2017 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 – Driven

2017 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 – Driven

The multi-talented SUV with horsepower for days

High-powered SUV might be a conundrum to some folks. Why put a twin-turbocharged V-8 in a vehicle that’s supposed to be for hauling kids and trailers, right? The way I see it – and likely most of you reading this – there is absolutely no problem with a 577-horsepower, three-row family machine with the ability to hit 60 mph in a scant 4.7 seconds.

That’s exactly what the 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 is all about.

New for 2017, the AMG GLS63 builds off Mercedes’ updates with the GL-Class. The SUV now wears the GLS badge across its model range, denoting the changes brought for 2017. A refreshed exterior matches a reworked interior and are combined with carry-over powertrain options including the GL63 AMG’s V-8 powerhouse. Nevertheless, the S-iffided GL now looks more modern, has a flashier interior, and comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect at this price point.

I recently spent a week with the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 loaded with many of the most popular options. It was by no means “fully loaded” will everything Mercedes offers, but it never left me wanting.

Continue reading for the full review.

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2016 Nissan Murano – Driven

2016 Nissan Murano – Driven

Practicality & comfort reign supreme

Nissan’s third generation Murano launched for the 2015 model year bringing a new level of luxury and comfort to the brand’s high-volume, midsize, two-row crossover segment. Much of that refinement is thanks to the parts sharing between the Murano and the latest generation Maxima sedan. Ample passenger room, loads of cargo space, and the familiar 3.5-liter V-6 are all instantly recognizable in this crossover.

Nothing changes for 2016, including the Murano’s bold, futuristic styling and plush interior. Nissan gives its customers four trim choices to choose from – six if you count the two trim levels with the hybrid powertrain option. The base S, at $29,740, might rank at the bottom of the Murano list, but it still offers a ton of modern convenience features. Most folks will opt for the mid-range SV and SL trim packages – with the SL offering slightly more standard equipment and available options than the SV. And ranking one step below the Infiniti brand, the Murano Platinum offers all the fine fixin’s like heated and cooled leather seats, LED headlights, 20-inch wheels, and a panoramic moonroof – all for a starting price of $39,180.

I recently had the chance to sample a 2016 Murano decked out in the Platinum trim and fitted with the optional AWD system. The long list of features and standard amenities was astounding, even making the Jaguar F-Pace I drove the week before seem almost basic.

So what’s it like to live with the Nissan Murano? Surprisingly pleasant. Find out why below.

Continue reading for the full review.

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2016 Cadillac CT6 – Driven

2016 Cadillac CT6 – Driven

A new flagship – for now…

Remember how your grandmother would call something a Cadillac, even if it had nothing to do with a car? “This microwave oven is a Cadillac, Frank. Let’s see if Penney’s has it on sale.” See, grandma wasn’t talking about GM’s previous ownership of Frigidaire, but rather that the name Cadillac stood for something – luxurious quality.

Cadillac as an automotive brand is experiencing a great resurgence thanks to CEO John de Nysschen and some highly skilled engineers and designers. Thankfully the years under “Old GM” are gone, and with it, the DTS, STS, and Deville. Nowadays, it’s the ATS, CTS, and Escalade that fill showroom floors. Quality, refinement and prestige have all been trending upward since end of the Great Recession.

But Cadillac isn’t done. For 2016, an all-new flagship has emerged. It’s the CT6 and its aimed squarely at the German’s luxury sedan offerings. The CT6, joined by the XT5 for the 2017 model year, kick off Cadillac’s new naming system while bringing an even higher level of refinement to the table.

Cadillac has positioned the CT6 in between the standard convention of German sedan classifications. It’s larger than BMW’s 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, but not nearly as long or wide as the 7 Series or S-Class. Nevertheless, this strategy has worked for Cadillac in the past. The CTS slots between the 3 Series and 5 Series, essentially allowing it to play in both categories. Cadillac will soon debut its truest flagship, the CT9, which should compete head-on with overtly luxurious German offerings. But in the mean time, the CT6 is Caddy’s best and brightest.

I recently spent a week with the CT6 fitted with all the finest options bundled in the Platinum trim package. My tester also came equipped with Cadillac’s new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 and AWD system. Needless to say, I was excited to grab the keys.

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2017 GMC Acadia Denali – Driven

2017 GMC Acadia Denali – Driven

Bigger isn’t always better

The GMC Acadia has been around since 2007 and shared its Lambda platform, powertrain, and nearly everything else besides its cosmetics with the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave. These three-row crossovers were the answer for folks wanting a less-expensive, slightly more efficient version of the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. But the Acadia is leaving the Lambda trio for the 2017 model year with an all-new platform wrapped in a slightly smaller package. It still boasts three rows and seating for seven, but it no longer directly competes with GM’s body-on-frame SUVs in shear size.

The Acadia offers a reasonable staring price around $29,000 for the budget conscious or fleet buyer. But, of course, GMC offers its insanely popular Denali trim, pulling the Acadia from mommy-mobile to high-end luxury cruiser. Its chrome grille and 20-inch wheels wouldn’t look misplaced if valet parked up front. Obviously the price sees a considerable jump, too.

I recently spent a week behind the wheel of the Acadia Denali. My tester came loaded with AWD, GMC’s Dual Skyscape sunroof, adaptive cruise control, automatic collision preparation, and the continuously variable real-time damping suspension. Pricing broke the $50,000 ceiling, but in modern times when vehicle pricing is getting extravagant, this loaded-out tester somehow seems justifiable. Find out how below.

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EVO Pits The Ford Focus RS Against The Volkswagen Golf R In A Hot Hatch Drag Race: Video

EVO Pits The Ford Focus RS Against The Volkswagen Golf R In A Hot Hatch Drag Race: Video

The American pocket rocket takes on the German scuttlebug

The Volkswagen Golf R and the Ford Focus RS present an interesting conundrum for those looking for a hot hatch worth its salt. Both models can arguably claim to being the best of the lot and both make valid points for doing so. On paper, the Focus RS has the edge. It’s got almost 50 horsepower and 67 pound-feet of torque over the Golf R. It also has a smoother gear transition, particularly on the lower gears, making it easier for the Focus RS to get off the block quicker than the VW rival. On the flip side, the Golf R is around 80 pounds lighter than the Ford and that lighter weight makes up for some of the VW’s perceived shortcomings.

And so, when it comes to figuring out which of the two is better, there are some ways to do it, including having both the Golf and Focus RS line up side-by-side for good ‘ol fashion drag race. EVO took the task of doing just that by setting up a race between the two pocket rockets. As expected, the Focus RS shot off the line much quicker than the Golf R, quickly establishing a 0.5-second gap in the race to 60 mph. But just as quickly, the Golf R comes roaring back and by the time the two cars hit the quarter-mile, the Focus RS’s lead drops to just 0.2 seconds, the same difference between the two cars when they both hit the half-mile.

In the end, the Focus RS nudges past the Golf R in the race to 130 mph, beating the Volkswagen by 0.6 seconds. For a car that supposedly has close to 50 horsepower on the other, that’s not much of a difference. All this points to one undeniable truth: both the Volkswagen Golf R and the Ford Focus RS are worthy contenders to the title of the best hot hatch in the market.

And since the Focus RS is finally headed to the U.S., it’s now important to look at the price comparison between the two. Not surprisingly, it’s almost dead even too as the Volkswagen Golf R retails for $36,595 compared to the Focus RS’s starting price of $36,605. That’s a $10 difference, by the way.

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2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited – Driven

2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited – Driven

Value leads the way

It goes without saying that Hyundai has come light years in terms of quality and desirability over the last two decades. The last generation Elantra was a great car – far above anything the company had ever built in the compact segment. It was the last Elantra that won the automaker more respect as a company. It also garnered far more sales than ever before. But now there’s a new Elantra in town.

The 2017 Elantra, now in its sixth generation, takes everything we liked about the fifth gen and boosts it to 11. The new design is cleaner and more elegant, the interior is more conventional and mirrors the inviting cabin of the larger Hyundai Sonata, and its two powertrain choices are all new with respectable fuel economy.

One thing hasn’t changed though, and that’s the Elantra’s value proposition. It’s a lot of car for the money, coming with features normally reserved for higher end vehicles. Radar cruise control? Yep, it’s available. LED exterior lighting? Yep, that comes standard. Leather seating? You guessed it – it comes standard with the Limited trim. My up-optioned tester carried a sticker of $27,710. That’s impressive.

So how does this rolling value behave as an everyday driver? Pretty good, not surprisingly. Keep reading for the full run-down and details on my week with the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited.

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