First Drive: 2016 Nissan Sentra

2016 Nissan Sentra - angle

The 2016 Nissan Sentra gets a facelift, including a new front grille, as part of a substantial mid-cycle refresh for this compact car. About 20% of the Sentra has been changed, which is about three times the change in a refresh design and makes the Sentra’s look consistent with the changes we’re seeing in Nissan’s sedan lineup. I drove the new Sentra on a gorgeous, sunny day in Orange County with some spectacular coastline views and plenty of city driving settings.

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First Drive: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is different. It’s packaged lightning, and the package is pretty impressive.

This Italian-made pocket rocket is the first of a slew of Alfa Romeos headed to this market. And if the 4C is any indication, then there is a new player in the luxury performance game and the engineers from Modena, Italy are to be taken seriously.

Our test car was 157.5 inches long, 73.5 inches wide, and at 46.6 inches, it wasn’t even four feet tall. That meant we had to slide down into the 4C, and it was almost like sliding down into a not-so-shallow bathtub, and then had to climb our way back out.

If ever there was a pretentious test for friends, female and male alike, getting into and out of the Alfa Romeo 4C is it. But the slide into the tub was worth it. The Alfa Romeo 4C is a palpitating piece of machinery.

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First Drive: 2016 Nissan GT-R

2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Gold Edition

Yes, the 2+2 GT-R looks great. It has a severely sloping roof, huge quad exhaust pipes, four LED headlights, matching four-ringed taillights and a fixed wing on the trunk; muscular wheel wells and aero blades on the fenders’ edges provides optimum airflow around the tires and along the body.

As slick as this car looks, however, the sheet metal covers up the fact that GT-R this is a supercar. For the uninitiated, that means the GT-R’s top speed is in the 200 mph category.

And its nitrogen-filled, high-performance run flat 20-inch tires suggest that the Nissan GT-R can achieve its top speed of 196 mph. The 3.8-liter dual turbocharged V6 engine generates 545 horsepower and 463 foot-pounds of torque. The dual clutch six-speed automatic transmission shifts gears at warp speed.

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First Drive: 2016 Lexus RX

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I was invited by Lexus to Charleston, South Carolina to test drive the redesigned RX crossover. The traditional and historic setting of Charleston offered an interesting contrast to the sleek and ultra-modern design of the new RX, and the vehicle offered a very comfortable and luxurious mode of transportation as we toured some of the historic sites around this iconic Southern city.

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First Drive: 2016 Kia Optima

Kia recently brought us out to beautiful Aspen, Colorado to test drive the all-new 2016 Kia Optima on some stunning mountain roads. This sunny landscape with the lovely fall leaves was a perfect setting for Kia to introduce the redesigned version of the most important vehicle in the Kia lineup. The Optima has been a big hit for Kia and sales continued to increase nicely this past year. Naturally, Kia’s goal is to build on the success of this sharp yet practical mid-size sedan which has become one of the staples in a crowded segment.

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