Road Trip: 2016 Kia Sorento

Our friends at Kia offered us the opportunity to take the all-new 2016 Kia Sorento on a road trip and I gladly accepted, particularly when they explained the trip would be between NBA playoff games in Cleveland and Chicago!

Not only would we be able to enjoy the games, but we’d be traveling in style with the 240 horsepower, turbocharged 2.0L AWD version of the Sorento. It became clear right away when we headed to Chicago that we had an ideal road trip vehicle that offered the comfort and luxury you’d want on a long drive. (Read more about our road trip here.)


I liked the previous generation Sorento, but the exterior styling has improved dramatically with the all-new generation introduced for the 2016 model year. It all starts with the aggressive and prominent front grille, narrower and longer headlights and eye-catching LED front fog lights. The result is a distinctive look from the front that sets the tone for the entire design.

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First Drive: 2015 Volkswagen Golf R

SAN DIEGO – The high-powered, low-volume 2015 Volkswagen Golf R could play a big role in getting the German automaker’s U.S. sales back on the good foot. That would mean more VWs rolling out of showroom doors.

Here’s the deal: the VW Golf recently was named Car of the Year by two very prestigious organizations. Now, the Volkswagen Golf R helps to fill out a lineup that includes the regular Golf, a performance version of that compact car, a diesel powered Golf and an electric Golf. A station wagon is on the way, but we came here to test drive the Golf R. It is the high-powered version of this car.

By the numbers, this Golf R has a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood that makes292 horsepower and 280 pound feet of torque. It’s mated to a direct sequential gearing, read six-speed dual clutch, automatic transmission branded (DSG). This version goes on sale in the spring. It will be joined by a six-speed manual Golf R this summer that will be sold as a 2016 model; it will about $1,000 less than the automatic.

With the fast-shifting DSG, the Golf R can get to 60 mph from a standing start in a blistering 4.9 seconds and it has a top track speed of 155 mph. Because of low sales for the two-door Golf R in the past, the 2015 version will only be sold in this market as a four-door. Mileage is expected to be 23 mpg in the city, more than 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined.

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Car Review: 2015 Lexus ES 350

2015 Lexus ES 350

The Lexus ES dates back to the launch of the Lexus brand as one of the two original models. It stands for “Executive Sedan,” which aptly describes this luxury sedan. In the current Lexus lineup, it’s positioned between the flagship LS sedan and the sportier IS model. The ES is now in its sixth generation and has grown in size over the years.


Lexus has become much more aggressive in its styling cues with the front spindle grille, and you can see that with the ES, which definitely has more interesting design when compared to previous models. Still, these new design features are not as aggressive as what you’ll see on the sportier IS, which makes sense given the broader target audience for this model. The elegant look of the vehicle is certainly worthy of a large, luxury sedan that the executive and professional classes will appreciate.

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Car Review: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

I first drove the 2015 Hyundai Sonata last summer when the all-new design was introduced, and I noted then how much I liked the evolution of the Sonata design. The Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language led to a more refined and upscale look for the Sonata that should help the vehicle stand out in the crowded mid-sized sedan market.

I recently had the opportunity to drive the new Sonata for a full week and this experience reinforced the positive impressions I had last summer. I tested the Sport 2.0T which features a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that is optimized for lower-RPM drivability and produces 245 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque. I pointed out in my original review that you could feel the difference driving the turbo over the standard 185 horsepower engine so I was happy to have the turbo for the week. It won’t blow you away with its performance but the consistent responsiveness made this an appealing every day vehicle.

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Car Review: 2015 Honda CR-V Touring

2015 Honda CR-V.

The Honda CR-V is a compact crossover that has been a leader in its segment for years and is now in its fourth generation. It’s America’s best-selling SUV for the past decade and was substantially refreshed for the 2015 model year. AS a result, the 2015 CR-V was named Motor Trend’s 2015 Sport/Utility of the Year.

So we knew we had a well-received vehicle on our hands when we tested the new CR-V recently for a week. We also had the all-new Touring trim model loaded with extra features like the leather interior and moonroof, and after a week in the vehicle, we can safely say it lived up to its reputation.

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