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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Car Review: 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack

The Dodge Charger Scat Pack 392 has a tremendous dollar per horse power ratio. You get 485 horsepower for $42,680. That works out to roughly $88 per horsepower.

On a car with 500 plus horsepower and a six figure sticker, the ratio was $192 per horsepower. The Charger Scat Pack might be the best deal around when it comes to the horsepower per dollar scale for cars with 400 plus ponies under the hood.

What’s even better is that the Charger Scat Pack is a sleek, four-door full-blown sedan. In other words, it is capable of carrying four people comfortably – friends, girlfriends, their friends, whoever.

The car has 475 pound feet of torque, which it delivers at a respectable 4,200 rpm. The Scat Pack’s engine is a normally aspirated 6.4-liter V8 with sequential multiport fuel injection and a fuel saver mode. Four cylinders shut off when not needed.

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First Drive: 2016 Mazda MX-5

Mazda prides itself on building cars that are fun to drive, and the Mazda MX-5 roadster, also known as the Mazda Miata, has been the purest expression of that principle for several decades. The original MX-5 was a huge hit when it was first released in 1989, and now Mazda has completely redesigned the roadster using the original version as an inspiration.

I had the opportunity to drive the all-new 2016 MX-5 on some incredible mountain roads just north of Los Angeles as Mazda introduced the new vehicle to the press, and it was by far one of the most enjoyable driving experiences I’ve had in the past several years. I had a smile planted on my face all day as I pushed the MX-5 through challenging turns through the scenic mountain roads. The MX-5 is a fine-tuned machine that will impress anyone who still appreciates the driving experience.


Browse through the photos of the new MX-5 and you’ll see design that matches the impressive driving experience. After years of making incremental changes, the look of the MX-5 had grown a bit stale. It looked adequate but hardly inspiring.

Mazda went back to the drawing board and came up with a beautiful, modern design featuring sharp lines and curves worthy of this iconic roadster. I particularly liked the red Miata we tested with the black wheels.

Mazda designers created a lower and sleeker profile, giving the impression of a vehicle gripping the road, which perfectly represents the sensation you feel when driving the MX-5.

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Toyota reveals new Prius in Las Vegas

Toyota has been a trailblazer with the Prius as the company pioneered the hybrid category. After almost twenty years and over 3.5 million sales worldwide, Toyota revealed the fourth generation Prius in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.

The event took place on the rooftop of the all-new Linq hotel on a hot evening with hundreds of other journalists and guests as the all-new 2016 Prius was elevated above the stage. The sportier design stood out immediately as Toyota has completely reimagined the exterior of the vehicle. The front fascia looks more distinctive with aggressive headlamps, and I liked the rear lamps even more. The new Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower than the previous model, and these subtle changes contribute to the new look. After years of playing it safe, Toyota has opted for bolder designs over the past year and the new Prius continues that approach.

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First Drive: 2016 Scion iA and iM

As Scion introduced its new iA and iM models in Santa Monica, I was thrilled to be back in my SoCal stomping grounds to test these new vehicles on the beautiful mountain and canyon roads around the Malibu area. The winding roads and climbs would offer a perfect setting for our test drive, and we started off on a beautiful summer day by making our way North up PCH with spectacular views of the Pacific to our left.

The drive started with the all-new 2016 iA, the first sedan model ever offered by Scion. The iA grabs your attention right away with a bold and pronounced front grille. The sporty and aggressive lines of the front end of this entry-level compact sedan gives the impression of a more expensive model and will certainly appeal to buyers looking for a distinctive design.

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