Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

First Drive: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

A big experience in a small package.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.20, 2018

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata provides an exciting driving experience in a small package.

Sporty two-seaters, despite the glamour and romance that has trailed behind them over the years, have sort of been left behind as car buyers rush into trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

But some two-seaters, such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata, are still out on the road, still fun to drive and continuing to evolve with the addition of new technology.

Reviews to Trust!

Even in a blustery Michigan December, the MX-5 reveals its power, spirit and great driving dynamics that effortlessly handle everything from crosswinds to lumpy pavement and tightly curving freeway ramps.  (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Ford Ranger

Reborn midsize picking aims to make a big splash.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.18, 2018

Making a splash: the 2019 Ford Ranger FX4 wraps up an off-road run with a mud bath.

(Midsize truck wars heat up with arrival of Ranger, Jeep Gladiator. Click Here for more.)

It’s been more than six years since the last truck rolled out of Ford’s ancient assembly line near Minneapolis, bringing to a seeming end production of the automaker’s archaic Ranger pickup. While Ford was getting ready to launch a new model for international markets, however, it decided to let the venerable Ranger name die in the U.S.

It apparently seemed a good idea at the time. The midsize market was all but dead and even Detroit rivals General Motors and Fiat Chrysler were quitting the segment. Ford execs, all the way up to then-CEO Mark Fields, insisted they could move Ranger buyers up to the larger – and far more profitable – F-150. But a funny thing happened that threw Ford’s strategy into disarray. For the 2015 model-year, GM launched two all-new trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, triggering a rapid rebound to the seemingly moribund midsize pickup segment.

Reviews You Can Trust!

After hemming and hawing, Ford finally acknowledged its error and raced to bring the Ranger back to life, heavily modifying the model already on sale in markets as diverse as Abu Dhabi and Thailand. Finally, the 2019 Ranger is getting ready to roll into U.S. showrooms and we had a chance to test its mettle during an extensive on- and off-road drive event in and around San Diego last week.

(more…)

First Drive: 2019 Kia Sorento SUV

Practical, yet stylish and laden with technology.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.14, 2018

The 2019 Kia Sorento offers practicality, but with plenty of upgrades.

Practical is usually the word associated with sport-utility vehicles and that practicality makes them appealing to a wide cross section of consumers.

The Kia Sorento certainly is practical, but in a segment crowded with a lot of very good vehicles it is also stylish, loaded with features and comes with an interior that looks as if it might belong in a more traditional luxury vehicle.

Reviews to Trust!

The up-level version of Sorento that I drove carried a sticker price of $48,020, which includes the $990 transportation charge so it can hardly be considered inexpensive. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Toyota Prius AWD

Less quirkiness, more practicality.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.13, 2018

The 2019 Toyota Prius comes in an all-wheel drive model that should stimulate sales in cold-weather environs.

When the original Toyota Prius first rolled into U.S. showrooms nearly 20 years ago it promised to transform the auto industry, delivering the sort of fuel economy numbers that seemed all but impossible at the time. Never mind the hatchback’s quirky styling – or perhaps because of it – the Prius quickly developed a broad and loyal following, at its peak becoming the best-selling nameplate in the huge California market.

Sales have been in a slump for several years, however, and a variety of factors, including cheap gas and some odd design choices on the fourth-generation Prius deserve much of the blame, along with the fact that the Toyota hybrid now has lots more competition.

News You Can Trust!

Yet, even as some of its key competitors are walking away from the passenger car market, Toyota is doubling down and betting it can breathe new life back into Prius. The 2019 model-year brings some modest, if much-needed design tweaks, as well as the introduction of a new electric all-wheel-drive system that, the automaker expects will account for about a quarter of the nameplate’s sales going forward by enhancing the hatchback’s appeal in Snowbelt climes. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 BMW 3-Series

Rediscovering the art of “the ultimate driving machine.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.11, 2018

BMW's taking the covers off the next-gen 3-Series. The 330i is certainly a step above its predecessors.

There are advantages to being the best in breed – but there are some disadvantages, as well, as BMW is well aware. Since the very first version rolled out in May 1975, the BMW 3-Series has been the benchmark of the compact sports sedan market, delivering a mix of performance, handling and luxury that other brands have struggled to match.

Now, however, as the seventh-generation 3-Series gets ready to roll into showrooms, the Bavarian automaker faces a level of competition never seen before. Traditional rivals like Mercedes-Benz and Audi have been zeroing in on the BMW formula, as have new competitors such as Genesis, which recently won high-profile kudos like the Motor Trend Car of the Year.

Product News!

And Tesla is aiming to redefine the rules with its all-electric Model 3. BMW is even competing with itself. In an SUV-crazed world, more and more traditional 3-Series buyers have been migrating to the brand’s own X3 crossover. (more…)

Range Rover Redux – 2nd Gen Evoque Breaks Cover

New platform, more technology for smallest Range Rover.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.23, 2018

The 2019 Range Rover Evoque made a splashy debut in Britain on Thursday night.

At first glance, you might not recognize the compact ute has gotten a nearly complete makeover, but there have been plenty of significant changes made to the 2019 Range Rover Evoque, more than 90% of what you’d find under the skin of the compact SUV being all new.

First launched in 2010 as a 2011 model, the Evoque quickly became the most popular model in Land Rover history and, even as the first-generation ute approached the end of its run it has remained quite popular. But, in an increasingly crowded market, the British sibling of Jaguar is taking no chances.

Product News!

“When Range Rover Evoque made its debut back in 2010, it transformed the world of compact SUVs and the new model is set to continue that remarkable journey,” declared design director Gerry McGovern, at a splashy British unveiling on Thursday evening. “This characterful vehicle combines refinement and fun to create that all important emotional reaction that will turn heads and make people smile.”

(more…)

First Drive: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Mainstay of brand's line-up only getting better with age.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.20, 2018

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 will be offered in a variety of versions, including the new Hybrid.

The Toyota RAV4 has been around for more than two decades but its recent performance has been nothing short of spectacular as its sales have doubled in the past five years, which is most impressive for a vehicle in various iterations has been around for more than 20 years.

However, the competition is intense. Toyota’s market share it can rightfully claim it created in the segment is under siege from rivals from North America, Europe and Asia.

Trust Our Reviews!

But Toyota isn’t sitting still either. With the 2019 RAV4, it is substantially changing the character of compact utility vehicle with more power, a new exterior look and an impressive hybrid version that Toyota expects to account for significant sales volume that is quite likely to surpass that of the Prius.

(more…)

First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2.7L

Can a small engine really power a big truck?

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.19, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado features a new 2.7-liter turbo four with cylinder deactivation.

It takes a big engine to make a big truck owner happy — or so went the conventional wisdom among full-size pickup manufacturers until recently.

That strategy has been changing rapidly, in large part reflecting the arrival of some surprisingly peppy, albeit downsized, turbocharged powertrain packages, such as those from Ford’s EcoBoost family. More than half of all F-150s now go out the showroom door with a six under the hood. Now, we’re beginning to see not only competitive V-6 options, but even four-cylinder alternatives, such as the new 2.7-liter Chevrolet is unleashing with the arrival of the 2019 Silverado.

Reviews to Trust!

An engine of that size, with or without a turbocharged kick, might have seemed entirely unlikely just a few years ago, but a day of driving the Silverado 2.7L through the desert badlands outside Phoenix last week proved that big things really can come in small packages. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Lexus NX 300h

New version boasts an improved powertrain and expansive interior.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.15, 2018

The 2018 Lexus NX 300h features an updated powertrain that provides plenty of power right away without the hard shifts.

Lexus doesn’t have the long history of Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac or BMW but over the years it has succeeded in pushing innovation and change within the luxury segment, which for most of the auto industry’s history was built around expensive sedans.

However, as the prices of new vehicles have climbed and what was once considered luxury equipment winds up in more and more cars, sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, brands such as Lexus are being forced to reconsider what defines luxury.

Reviews to Trust!

The 2018 Lexus NX 300h certainly doesn’t look like a traditional luxury vehicle, inside or out. But it has plenty of the attributes long connected to luxury vehicles such as a quiet cabin, comfortable interior and a smooth ride powered by some of the latest and most sophisticated technology. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado RST Crew Cab

Laden with new tech, plenty of power and impressively quiet.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.09, 2018

GM is counting on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado RST to be competitive in the full-size pickup sales battle.

The auto industry is a global industry and highly competitive. But few segments of the business are anywhere near as competitive as the pickup truck market in U.S. where Ford, Ram, Chevrolet and their respective corporate managers are engaged in intense contest for sales and bragging rights.

The contest of has gotten even more intense lately as all three manufacturers have introduced new trucks.

Reviews You Can Trust!

I recently got to drive the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado – a four-wheel-drive RST Crew Cab Silverado to be precise – and it is far cry from the old trucks that have helped make the American pickup into something of a legend and the object of enormous affection and desire. (more…)