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 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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Jimmy Kimmel Live! prank with tacos and Ford Focus

Check out this hilarious video from Jimmy Kimmel Live! as poor Guillermo gets taken on a wild ride in a Ford Focus ST. He’s supposed to be making tacos to show off the “smooth ride” of the Focus. Little does he know that the pretty blonde driving the car is a stunt driver.


Car Review: 2015 Acura TLX 2.4L

As we pointed out in our first drive of the all-new TLX, Acura has gone a long way towards revitalizing its sedan lineup with this replacement for the TL and TSX, so I was looking forward to having one to try out for a full week. The TLX model I had for the week came with a 2.4-liter, 206-horsepower i-VTEC inline-4 with 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with torque converter and Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS). The TLX is also available with 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower i-VTEC V-6 with 9-speed automatic transmission and P-AWS, and with this version, you can get all-wheel drive as well.


You’ll immediately notice Acura’s signature Jewel Eye LED headlights on the TLX. This new look has upgraded the styling across the Acura lineup and looks fantastic on the TLX. The overall design is sporty but classy, and compared to the 2014 TL the 2015 TLX is 3.7-inches shorter in overall length while maintaining the same wheelbase. As you can see from the photos, the TLX design looks great from every angle, and I loved the look of our Crystal Black test model.

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Car Review: 2015 Lexus CT 200h

If you’re looking for a hybrid, but you still want a luxury vehicle, you’re now in luck, as there are so many more options on the market. Lexus alone has six hybrids in its lineup, so you now have many options to choose from. The sporty CT 200h is aimed at introducing the Lexus brand to younger buyers with its styling and connectivity features.


Lexus has changed its image with its signature spindle grille, which is very prominent on the front end of the CT 200h. The compact hatchback reminded me of many of the cars you see in Europe and the rear spoiler gives it a very sporty look. You certainly don’t get the impression that you’re looking at a hybrid, and I suspect younger buyers and professionals will love it. Little has changed from the 2014 model other than a badge for the F SPORT version.

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