First Drive: 2017 Kia Sportage

Kia is not lounging on its haunches. The automaker took its longest running nameplate, the Sportage, and completely changed the crossover utility vehicle. It was designed in Frankfurt, Germany, refined in Southern California and it is rolling off an assembly line in South Korea.

The new Sportage is a little bit longer and the wheels are now pushed to the corners. The tiger nose grille is lowered, the headlights are longer and they’re pulled back into the fenders. There are also wrap around taillights. And in what is a becoming a brand signature, the ice cube LED fog lights on the turbo powered Sportage seemed bigger, and thus were more prominent.

It was as though the sheet metal was pulled tightly over the front of the chassis. It gives this new Sportage a distinctive face. Kia cals it “tension.” Wheels at the corners meant the 2017 Kia Sportage hads short overhangs and that makes the 17, 18 or 19-inch wheels look even bigger.

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Tesla Unveils $35,000 Model 3

Did you get in line for your new Tesla? It seems like everyone else did with reports of lines stretching for blocks with people wanting to make sure they reserved one of the Tesla 3 vehicles expected to be available in 2017.

The Tesla Model 3 starts at $35,000, so this is quite a leap forward for a brand that’s been restricted to consumers who could afford expensive luxury vehicles. Now the hot Tesla brand will be available to the masses, so it’s no surprise this announcement generated so much buzz.

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Nissan unveils new 2017 GT-R

One of our favorite sports cars has been updated as Nissan unveiled the new 2017 GT-R at the New York International Auto Show today. Nissan’s supercar sports new features inside and out, with the addition of Nissan’s new “V-motion” front grille being the most notable change as the GT-R gets an update to Nissan’s latest design language. The V-motion grille has been a nice improvement to Nissan’s lineup, and it looks great on the GT-R as it has been enlarged for better engine cooling.

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Car Review: 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Rally Edition M/T

2016 Hyundai Veloster Rally Edition

I’ve been a fan of the Veloster Turbo from Hyundai since I drove the inaugural version several years ago through the winding canyon roads surrounding San Diego. I recently had the 2016 Rally Edition for a week and got to experience the vehicle again, this time with plenty of routine city and highway drive time along with some more challenging roads. The car is just as fun as I remember, though I do miss those SoCal roads.

Exterior

My Veloster Rally Edition came with Matte Blue exterior paint with black wheel rims that made the car stand out as I drove through town. The Veloster is still in its first generation, so there haven’t been significant design changes to the exterior, which still features the unique third door for easy access to the back seats. The unique look and body shape gives the Veloster more interior room, as the designers weren’t wed to tradition sports car dimensions, while the headlamps and large grille provide a powerful look for the vehicle.

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Toyota pulls the plug on Scion

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Toyota made the surprising announcement this week that it’s giving up on the Scion brand. It’s somewhat surprising from our perspective since we were pretty impressed with the Scion vehicles we tested for this model year.

As it turns out, the three models we tested the FR-S sports coupe, the iA sedan and the iM hatchback — will be rebadged as Toyota models.

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