Car Review: 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

2015 Outlander Sport SE

For the 2015 model year Mitsubishi has updated its perennial best-seller with some aesthetic changes and engineering improvements to this sporty compact crossover. I tested the SE model with all-wheel drive for a week and came away impressed with what the vehicle offered for the price.


The 2015 Outlander gets new, stylish-looking LED running lights in the SE model but otherwise the exterior design remains unchanged, which isn’t a bad thing as the Outlander’s exterior works for a sporty but practical crossover. I like the front end and the vehicle looks great from every angle. The Ruby Red version we tested looked particularly sharp, and I like it in the other offered colors including the blue model pictured here. It has the type of look that should be appealing across a wide variety of consumer groups as the designers haven’t tried to get too cute with any aspect of the design.

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Car Review: 2015 Toyota RAV4 XLE

2015 Toyota RAV4 red

The Toyota RAV4 was the first compact crossover SUV, debuting over 20 years ago. This popular vehicle is now on its fourth generation in a very crowded and growing segment. We tested the XLE model with the Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive system.

Over the years, the look of the RAV4 has evolved considerably, as it now sports more of a lower, car-like stance. This sleeker design is becoming more common in this category, and we suspect many buyers will use design as a differentiator in making their decision.

One of the reasons the compact crossover segment is growing has to do with the roominess you get for a smaller vehicle. Like others in this segment, the RAV4 comfortably seats five adults, and we filled up the vehicle several times during our test. It also has plenty of cargo capacity with 38.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats. With the 60/40 split rear seats folded, the space expands to 73.4 cubic feet. This practical feature plus the roominess for passengers in a smaller, affordable vehicle makes the RAV4 and other options in this segment irresistible to many buyers.

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Car Review: 2015 Mazda 6 i Touring


We’ve been big fans of the third generation Mazda6 since we first drove the 2014 model when it was introduced several years ago. In a midsize sedan segment that’s crowded with plenty of quality options for consumers, the Mazda6 still stands out for its styling and sporty handling.

Not much has changed for the 2015 model, though you’ll find some upgrades in the Touring trim level with keyless entry and ignition and a new option package that includes an upgraded sound system, sunroof and satellite radio.

The 2015 Mazda6 is offered in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. We had the 2015 Mazda 6 i Touring for a week and were very happy to have the manual transmission version. We expected it to be fun to drive and it was.


Our tester came in Deep Crystal Blue with Sand interior, which works very well on this well-designed vehicle. The design is both aggressive and more refined than previous models, so we expect it to be very popular with a younger demographic. This design should also have staying power as well. Our Touring package offered 19-inch alloy wheels add to the overall appeal of the exterior.

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First Drive: 2015 Nissan Murano

If you’re looking for beauty and comfort in a vehicle, the Nissan Murano was created with you in mind. Nissan created a distinctive vehicle with the first Murano in 2003 and they’ve aimed high for the all-new, third generation Murano that enters a much more crowded and competitive market for 2015.

Nissan has a very specific demographic in mind for its flagship crossover, targeting empty nesters who will often go out on the town with another couple. The car is designed for adult passengers to interact with one another in a “social lounge” kind of setting, so attention was paid to the experience in the rear seats.


Take a look at the slideshow above and you’ll see that this third-generation Murano looks like another design home run worthy of Nissan’s original model. We drove the Murano from the heart of Sonoma wine country out to stunning Goat Rock Park on the Pacific Ocean. You can see the use of glass and the flowing lines of the compelling new design.

Nissan stressed three key elements from the Murano that will show up in future designs – the V-Motion front end, signature lighting and the ‘floating’ roofline.” The roofline in particular stands out along with the boomerang-style headlights and taillights which were originally introduced on the Nissan 370Z. It all comes together beautifully in a package that will certainly appeal to the target demo. The new model also sports a 16 percent improvement in overall aerodynamics versus the previous generation design.

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Car Review: 2015 Toyota Yaris SE Liftback


I spent a week driving a new 2015 Toyota Yaris SE Liftback and came away impressed with this subcompact. The Yaris comes in a 3-door model along with the 5-door model I tested. It’s a small vehicle, but the extra two doors work nicely from a design and functionality point of view.


Toyota has become much bolder in its designs after years of playing it safe, and that shows up in the new Yaris as well, which was designed in Toyota’s ED2 design studio located in the South of France. It definitely has a European flavor. The aggressive new design starts with a horizontal chrome grille treatment that stretches into the headlamps. It also features a large grille opening we’re seeing on other Toyota models.

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