It is difficult reviewing a vehicle that will be discontinued. But that is what we face. Production of the 2020 Lexus GS 350 is scheduled to stop in August. But do not get it twisted, this is a great car. The problem is it could not stand the onslaught of sport utilities and crossovers, sales fell, and it was no longer profitable to make in Japan, ship here and then sit in dealer showrooms. It is as simple as that.
While test driving the 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback, we pulled into a parking spot at the grocery store and before we could get out of the car a young lady pulled in beside us. As we exited our test vehicle, she said, “I like the color of this car. I need to go get mine washed.”
We did not get as much seat time in the 2020 Nissan Sentra as we would have liked thanks to the lock-down brought about by the coronavirus.
The last version of the Toyota Highlander had about a nine percent share of the crossover market. But the automaker would like a bigger slice. Implicit in that desire is that it will need to create a better piece of pie.
Toyota’s RAV4 literally invented the compact crossover segment and after more than 20 years, it continues to dominate.
There is no way around it. The Lexus GX 460 is a throwback to the time when big, powerful, body on frame sport utilities were aspirational vehicles. During that era, it seems like the clarion call was the bigger the better.
The short story is as the automobile market continues to shift towards crossovers and sport utilities, Mazda created the CX-30 to meet a need. That’s what they told us. But the small crossover also fills out the automaker’s crossover lineup, giving it a full-size, mid-size and now small crossover.
This review of the 2020 Lexus NX 300h started in Houston. We landed and picked up the luxury crossover at airport parking and headed here, no stops, no visiting friends, no nothing. We got on state highway 59 South headed for I-610 East that would take us to I-10 East.
The 2019 Honda Passport was a refined crossover with a rugged look.
The 2019 Volvo V90 Cross County reminded us of the station wagons of the 1950s. You know, those cars that could haul kids and their stuff back and forth to school, take you to little league games, PTA meetings and then pull up in front of the country club for a black-tie affair.
The Lexus NX 300h is yet another hybrid from the luxury automaker. This one combines the output of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and what Lexus called a small high torque electric motor. Power can shift between the gas engine and the electric motor or they can operate in tandem. Combined they supply 194 horsepower to the NX 300h.
Let’s face it, the original Lexus ES luxury sedan was designed to not offend anybody. That means from a design standpoint, the luxury sedan didn’t appeal to anybody. But all that has changed.
If it looks like a Volvo, rides like a Volvo and feels like a Volvo, then, hey, it is a Volvo.
It has been more than 20 years since Toyota’s RAV4 hit this market. And case you’ve forgotten the vehicle was one of the first crossovers, thus it one of the founders of the segment. It is also a sales leader.
The Hyundai Elantra Sport was a great car. Never mind its 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that made 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Never mind that it had a smooth shifting six-speed manual transmission.
The Lexus IS was one of the first models from the Japanese luxury brand that demonstrated it was serious about changing its image.
Mazda continues to evolve its Kodo design language and the results are impressive. We didn’t think it possible but the 2019 Mazda3 sedan looked longer, wider and lower.
Ford’s F-150 Limited is a lot of pickup truck. It is the top of the line model of the bestselling vehicle on the American market f
Thirty years. That’s how long the Mazda MX-5 has been around. It was a hit from day one and now it has reached icon status.
Kia may have hit on the right product at the right time with its all-new 2020 Telluride, a midsize but large three rowed crossover.
I was really impressed by the 2019 Ford Edge. In a phrase, it has grown. I’m not talking about its size which looks about the same. I’m talking about stature and equipment and perception. I always thought the Ford Edge was a poor-man’s Ford Explorer but not anymore.
The 2019 Mazda CX-3 is a small crossover. It was so small it could do a good imitation of a big hatchback. We drove one here to scope out the auto show.
Lexus, like a lot of other manufacturers, got caught. One of the world’s premier luxury brands, it is in the middle of rolling out a new generation of sedans when the entire market has become utility driven, pun intended. Last year light truck sales accounted for two thirds of market sales.
I got a 2018 Toyota Prius C on short notice to come here. The point is that I had to learn this car literally on the fly, or in this case on the road.
After test driving several Mazda hatchbacks and crossover models, a Mazda3 sedan finally showed up at the door. I found this four-door just as sporty and responsive as its hatchback counterpart.
The Kia Forte5 SX was a sharp looking five-door hatchback. It was a head turner; more than once did I notice people taking a second look at it.
I had the opportunity to attend the launch of Hyundai’s 2018 Sonata last summer in Southern California. I walked away very impressed with the midsize sedan. After a week with the car in urban America I found that my first reaction was correct.
The 2019 Jeep looked a lot better than the model it will replace. I was one of those folks who thought it looked a little funny. The DRLs were above the headlamps on the old model and the fog lamps were beneath. It looked a lot better than it sounds here but still it was love it or loath it styling.
Strictly business is the first thought that came to mind during the week-long test drive of the 2017 Nissan Titan 5.6-liter Endurance V8 SV 4WD SC.
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is part of the automaker’s effort to provide smaller but more powerful engines to get better fuel economy.
You wouldn’t think that there is much to say about a car that costs $16,815. But the 2017 Toyota Yaris iA was so nice that we actually forgot that its price was less than $20K
As Dodge evolves into an affordable high performance brand much hoopla has been made over the Hellcat and the Demon. They are two Challengers that generate more than 700 and 800 horsepower respectively. Meanwhile, what I think is the best dollar per horsepower performance car coming out of Dodge, so far, generates little fanfare.
When Toyota folded its Scion brand it folded several of its cars into the Toyota fold. That’s a lot of folds but to put it simply there is now a 2017 Corolla iM.
When Volvo picked us up at the airport I and my riding partner climbed into the back seats of what turned out to be a 2018 XC90 Excellence. It was the most luxurious utility vehicle I had ever been in.
Kia’s Cadenza falls just short of being a full size sedan but it is an all premium car. For the 2017 model year the Cadenza is stronger, lighter and more ridged, so said the press material. This is the second generation of the premium sedan and Kia has quietly made some important improvements.
We were in a parking lot and found ourselves answering a bevy of questions from a couple of guys. The first and most important was what kind of car we were driving. It was a Genesis G90.
There was a 2018 Hyundai Sonata on display in front of the hotel here. We could tell it was a Sonata but it was crisper, sharper, and more contemporary than the current model.
Toyota is billing its 86 as “the Affordable, Fun-damental Sports Car.” We can’t argue with that description. But first let’s be clear. The Toyota 86 used to be the Scion FR-S in this market. The 86 nameplate was used on the car in other markets, meaning other countries. Now, as Toyota terms it, the FR-S transitions back to the Toyota brand in this market.
You usually don’t equate sportiness with a continuously variable transmission. It’s like trying to mix oil and water. The two just don’t go together smoothly.
When it comes to Genesis, the glass is either half full or half empty. Luxury brands are defined by their sedans and no doubt that’s why Genesis has launched two and we’re here to test drive the third: the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport.
Toyota’s RAV4 is a benchmark in the compact sport utility market. And with time, it keeps getting better. For the 2017 model year the crossover gets some additions designed to make it better and that will surely keep pressure on its competitors.
Right-sizing is a euphemism for downsizing or subtraction. But the way Nissan uses it means addition. That’s the best way to characterize the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport.
Volvo has the kind of problem that the seller of anything would love to have. It can’t make enough of its new 90-Series. The American arm of the Swedish automaker can’t get enough of its top-of-the-line offerings, the XC90 as well as the S90, into this country. Now comes the V90 Cross Country and the supply will surely tighten.
With the update of the 2017 Jeep Compass, now on sale, every Jeep has been remodeled. That is an indication that Jeep has no intention of resting on its laurels after seven consecutive years of sales growth. In 2010 the brand sold 400,000 copies, last year it sold 1.4 million.
As soon as they dropped off the 2017 Mazda6, we were headed down Hwy 14 to connect with I-94 West and on to Chicago. Once we were clear of the expressway like traffic, we set the car’s adaptive cruise control on 78 mph and settled in for what turned out to be an uneventful drive.
The Lexus ES 350 is a sleeper sedan. It is the kind of car that is just outside of the young active demographic that you see targeted in automobile commercials of all stripes. Yet the ES is important, it has a following and it is aimed at a mature driver, not old, who is stable and doesn’t spend money unwisely.
The Kia Soul has survived in a niche where many have failed. It is a square box yet stylish, sassy and it had a little bit of sex appeal. What’s more, this year’s edition was beefed up with added power.
Mazda introduced its mid-size three row crossover vehicle, the CX-9, in 2006. The automaker redesigned it for the 2016 model year. And there was no need to completely redo it for this model year. Besides, it is an excellent vehicle.
When you think of Mitsubishi, it’s a question of is the glass half full or is it half empty. It just might be tilting toward the former now that Renault Nissan has purchased a controlling interest in the Japanese automaker. But until the combination is ready to execute the new business plan, Mitsubishi must solider on with its current products. And they’re not bad.
We came here to test a bevy of 2017 Toyota products. We had the Prius Prime, the 86, the Corolla, the Highlander and the Sienna. We dealt with the Prius Prime in another column so that leaves the other four. First up was the 86.