7.20.2014

Where To Test Drive The 2014 Scion FR-S (Good Luck Convincing Your Local Dealer)

2014 Scion FR-S front view
2014 Scion FR-S.
It's been two years since our last shot at the wheel of a Scion FR-S and a lot has changed.  TireKicker World Headquarters has relocated to Sacramento, California from Phoenix, Arizona. We've gained winding, twisting mountain roads and the best travelling companion one could ask for.

The FR-S is pretty much the same car that we drove in the summer of '12...still packing the Subaru 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder that makes 200 horsepower, with a six-speed manual (you can pay extra for an automatic, but for the love of God, why would you?), 17-inch alloy wheels, an independent MacPherson strut front suspension and a double wishbone rear suspension with a Torsen Limited Slip differential. There's a new touchscreen audio system standard (but if you want navigation, that's extra).  Base price is up $200 from the original 2013 model, to $24,700...and ours was optionless, so with $755 delivery processing and handling fee, the bottom line was $25,455.

When I knew we'd have the FR-S in our possession last weekend, I asked Navigator to find us a good winding, twisting road.

She found three.

7.19.2014

Why The 2014 Hyundai Tucson Is Going Away

2014 Hyundai Tucson front 3/4 view
2014 Hyundai Tucson.
We're on a bit of a roll here at TireKicker when it comes to small crossovers, or what they used to call "Cute-Utes".  The Phoenix Bureau just posted its review of the 2014 Nissan Rogue this afternoon, I updated my review of the 2014 Toyota RAV4 earlier in the week, and it was about a month ago that I reviewed the 2015 Mazda CX-5.

So where does the 2014 Hyundai Tucson fit in that incredibly competitive segment that also includes the Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape and Kia Sportage?

How The 2014 Nissan Rogue Has Grown Up

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Nissan Rogue
2014 Nissan Rogue.
To fully appreciate the changes to the 2014 Nissan Rogue, it is extremely helpful to read Michael's review of the first-generation Rogue, written a bit more than five years ago.  The pictures tell part of the tale. The new Rogue is much more put-together, more of a mini-Pathfinder than a Versa wagon.

The biggest surprises are that the new Rogue is still using the original 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that powered the original half a decade ago, and that, despite gaining 117 pounds, it now gets much better mileage.  That's because of a new Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission that Nissan says generates 40% less friction loss.  Last year's EPA-estimated 23 miles per gallon city and 28 miles per gallon highway is now 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

7.16.2014

What $2,720 Extra Buys You In The Toyota RAV4 Limited (UPDATED)


2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited
The 2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited.



A shade over 4 months ago in this space, we reviewed the 2013 Toyota RAV4, the XLE model...and liked it a lot.

Well, you can get a RAV4 three ways...the base LE model, the XLE we tested and the Limited. Given that the Limited is only $3,710 more than the LE and a mere $2720 higher than the XLE we tested, we thought it would be worth a look.

Does The 2015 Kia Sorento Look Familiar To You?

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Kia Sorento
The 2015 Kia Sorento.
Regular TireKicker readers will certainly recognize this crossover...a frequent visitor to the "Most Viewed Reviews This Week" feature in the right-hand column in both its 2013 and 2014 model years, and which we reviewed, in different trim levels, not once, not twice but three times in MY 2014.  We had two SX front-wheel drives (one in Arizona, one after the move to Sacramento) and a lower-spec EX all-wheel drive. Each time we came away impressed with the Sorento's overall goodness, to the point that I said (and will stand by) that if I were shopping in this segment, playing with my own money, the Sorento would be the one to beat.

Now the 2015 Sorento is already on the streets, getting a multi-month jump on the competition...so what's new?