We’re back in the Subaru Forester’s saddle for 2018, this time in top-line 2.0XT Limited trim that comes standard with a 250-hp turbo-four, CVT with paddles, AWD, steering-responsive LED headlights,…

2018 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Limited Road Test

Subaru's Forester has come a long way since a funky squared-off, raised wagon by the same name debuted in 1997. That model did well for the brand and helped usher in the compact crossover SUV craze, but in 2002 the hard edges were smoothed out, refinements improved the cabin, and soon after a version of the WRX STi's turbo-four was added to a new top-line XT trim that pumped up performance. The Forester grew up to true compact SUV dimensions in 2008 for the 2009 model year with the release of its third-generation, while 2013's fourth-gen model, followed by its mid-cycle upgrade last year, returned some of its edgy, chunky original design elements, albeit in a larger more upright utility.

I've just scratched the surface of the many changes that joined those updates, plus numerous modifications in between, to the point that today's Subaru is so far advanced over its predecessors it might as well be an entirely different SUV. Of course, the same can be said of many popular cars and Read Full Story
Bored of the status quo yet still want Nissan comfort and quality in a sportier small car package? Check out this Sentra Nismo. It’s everything buyers like about the larger than average compact Sentra,…

2018 Nissan Sentra Nismo Road Test

Nissan surprised me with a much more enjoyable Sentra SR Turbo last year, and then they went a step further by bringing out the Nismo.

Compared to the SR Turbo, this Nismo is a boy racer's dream, but I must admit it's a bit too youth-oriented for my almost 55 year-old mindset. I appreciated the subtleness of the metallic grey-painted SR, and that said wouldn't have minded a full white version, but the Aspen White pearl and wine-red colour scheme of this Nismo, plus all of the aero body cladding, pushed it a bit too over the top for me, especially when grafted onto a design that's not inherently sporty.

Some features that seem somewhat out of place on a sport model include the broad chrome grille surround, chromed side window trim, chromed door handles, and chromed trunk applique. Normally sport trims coat these pieces in body-colour, black or at least really dark chrome. I'm not saying Nissan was wrong to include all the metal brightwork, because there is no right and Read Full Story
If you want a much richer compact SUV experience than you’ve ever experienced before, yet price is an issue and therefore premium brands are out of the question, check out the new Mazda CX-5 GT. It…

2017 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD Road Test

The new Mazda CX-5 was the last 2017 model I tested and will be the final 2017 review I'll write. I wasn't actually sure if I was going to cover it at all, being that one of my freelance journalists did the honours earlier and his review is still available for your perusal, but nevertheless the new CX-5 impressed me so much I couldn't leave it alone.

I know I'm not alone in my accolades, with most every auto industry pundit praising its virtues. Before I delve into all that's great about the 2017, as well as its two minor disappointments, take note that the outgoing first-generation CX-5 was already a very impressive compact SUV, so therefore moving up to this second-generation model isn't a night and day experience. Yet if styling is important to you, and it is for most of us when it comes to our cars, this 2017 CX-5 is a big step forward.

Again, there was nothing wrong with the previous 2016 model's design, other than five years of continual availability combined with Read Full Story
The subcompact SUV class is one of the industry’s fastest growing vehicle segments, and Mitsubishi’s RVR was one of the first to stake it out. Despite a 7-year-plus product run that’s only included…

2017 Mitsubishi RVR 2.4 SE AWC Black Edition Road Test

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the latest trend toward special blacked out versions of new cars and SUVs, at least not normally. Fortunately, Mitsubishi didn't go so far as to darken the new RVR SE AWC Black Edition's signature chrome detailing up front, and left its tailpipe finisher and various emblems in bright metal as well. Instead, this Black Edition gets an all-black exterior paint treatment, the usual matte black lower body cladding, a sweet looking set of glossy black painted 18-inch multi-spoke alloys, and similarly shiny black roof rails. That, and all its protruding trim bits (a.k.a. mirror caps, door handles, rooftop antenna, and rear spoiler) painted body colour as well, and it's a wrap, figuratively and literally.

Mitsubishi wouldn't have needed to go to great measures in order to make the interior all black too, but instead followed the usual sporting theme by adding plenty of red highlights, including stitching inside the top half of the leather-wrapped steering Read Full Story
Say goodbye to the Hyundai Genesis Sedan and hello to the all-new (ahem) Genesis G80! Ok enough of the fanfare, the 2017 G80 is little more than a rebadged Hyundai Genesis, but it’s still one fine automobile.…

2017 Genesis G80 5.0 AWD Ultimate Road Test

New year predictions anyone? I've got one. The new Genesis luxury brand will do very well.

I've realized this for some time. Ever since testing the second-generation 2015 Genesis Sedan in the fall of 2014 I knew it would find favour amongst a select group of upwardly mobile luxury buyers, and like many of my auto pundit colleagues I've been proved correct. That car wore Hyundai's stylized "H" on its rear deck lid with a "GENESIS" insignia to the bottom left, the opposite side of the trunk signed "HTRAC 5.0" instead of "5.0 HTRAC" as is done with the new car. The proper name of this model was Hyundai Genesis Sedan 5.0 Ultimate, whereas this new Genesis-branded model merely drops the words "Hyundai" and "Sedan" while adding "G80" to the mix.

Yes, this is either the smoothest transition from mainstream volume-branded near-premium sport-luxury sedan to premium-branded sport-luxury sedan ever, or the most uncomfortably obvious metamorphosis possible. To the South Korean automaker's Read Full Story
As the Jetta nears the end of its lifecycle the special editions begin to surface, but we’re not complaining, as these have long been some of the more appealing models in the line. Today we review the…

2017 Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg Edition Road Test

Having grown up in the sixties and seventies it's difficult not to like Volkswagen's retrospective editions, and while looking in the proverbial rearview mirror normally has us focusing on VW's Beetle line of compacts, in this case I'm talking about the four-door compact Jetta. Specifically the 2017 Wolfsburg Edition, in Bottle Green with a black, grey and orange interior.

The Bottle Green paint, which is new for 2017, is probably the design element that's most respectful of the past, as this rather normal looking three-box four-door can only be considered retro due to being mostly unchanged for so long, but peek through its windows and you'll start to understand more of what I'm talking about.

Orange is often used to pull memories toward the late '60s and '70s, currently by watch brands like Omega with its absolutely gorgeous 2014 Speedmaster Mark II reissue (a near exact homage to its 1969 namesake), Rolex with its uncharacteristically playful Milgauss (in this case Read Full Story
Lexus’ RX is a wallflower no more, especially in performance-oriented F Sport trim. Today we review an electrified RX 450h F Sport complete with tri-LED cornering headlamps with auto high beams, 20-inch…

2017 Lexus RX 450h F Sport Road Test

There was a time I couldn't understand why the Lexus RX sold so well. It was reliable, inoffensive to look at and finished fairly well inside, but there was no shortage of more alluring mid-size luxury crossover SUVs on the market. Now there are many more, albeit none more capable of eliciting reactions from passersby.

If you haven't noticed this bit of origami folded metal rolling art recently you'd better pay more attention to your surroundings while driving. The RX is everywhere, not only in its stylishly overt new duds, but in its various old models' wallflower attire too. I know the latest version isn't to everyone's taste, but that's precisely why those who appreciate Lexus' daring new design direction are even more enamoured with the brand.

"Is that brand new? It's really cool," said the young woman filling it up at a local gas station. Yes, you heard me right. A young person who thinks Lexus is cool. There are plenty more like her. Truly, the jury is in. Lexus Read Full Story
Long in years yet still very capable in its compact class, the Ford Focus Sedan offers good value across the line and a near-premium experience in top-line Titanium trim. Today we take an in-depth look…

2017 Ford Focus Sedan Titanium Road Test

When a car nears the end of its lifecycle two good things can happen, one being discounted pricing and the other improved reliability.

The Focus certainly qualifies for the first, with Ford offering plenty of rebates and its dealers providing healthy discounts for anyone wanting a 2017 model, especially now that 2018 models are arriving. As for the second issue, the Focus continues to struggle in third-party dependability studies, with Consumer Reports saying "it's plagued by poor reliability and, at low speeds, a jerky transmission," and J.D. Power and Associates giving it just two out of five for powertrain mechanical quality and powertrain design, plus the same low score for body and interior mechanical quality. Yikes!

Fortunately the Focus gets mostly good customer reviews, but even reasonable customer satisfaction hasn't been enough to keep it selling well in recent years. Let's face it, you need to update a car every once in a while, especially when the market segment Read Full Story