The X Factor: The 2017 Fiat 500X Trekking FWD

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Fiat 500X Trekking
The 2017 Fiat 500X Trekking.
A couple of years ago, the Phoenix Bureau reviewed the Fiat 500X, in Pop trim.  We're here to say that review pretty much nailed it.  Whatever your pre-conceptions of the Fiat 500X, if you haven't driven it, you're probably wrong.


An Offer We Can't Refuse: The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Value Edition

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Hyundai Elantra
2017 Hyundai Elantra.
There's no denying we here at TireKicker are big fans of the 2017 Hyundai Elantra.  Since its introduction as a very early 2017 model in early 2016, we've been impressed by the handling and agility of this compact sedan...so much so that we've not even blinked at the $27,710 bottom line of a loaded Hyundai Elantra Limited or at the $25,010 tab for the 201-horsepower Elantra Sport.

But now, Hyundai's gone and done it...sweetening the deal with a best-of-most-worlds model called the Value Edition that starts with a low one-price-no-options-beyond-floormats number, then immediately carves four figures off of that with an "Elantra Value Edition Standard Equipment Discount".


The Time May Be Right: The 2017 Kia Cadenza Limited

Front 3/4 view of the 2017 Kia Cadenza Limited
The 2017 Kia Cadenza Limited.
Three years ago, Kia launched the new-for-2014 Cadenza.  The ad campaign called the car "impossible to ignore".  Car shoppers managed.  I can't find the '14 sales figures, but in 2015, they sold all of 7,343 of them, which puts it in Buick Cascada territory.  2016 was worse, with sales down to 4,738, which makes it the 225th best selling car in America (the list only goes to 298), outselling the Porsche Panamera but running behind its similarly targeted cousin, the Hyundai Azera.

Part of the problem, as I wrote at the time, was that Kia was promoting the '14 Cadenza as a luxury car when, in fact, what they'd built was a very good full-size family sedan with several features usually found on more upscale cars.  Commendable, especially at $35,100, but not a luxury car.  Even with another six grand-plus worth of options that took the bottom line to $41,900.


American Classic: The 2017 Toyota Tundra Limited Crewmax 4X4

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Toyota Tundra Limited Crewmax
The 2017 Toyota Tundra Limited Crewmax 4X4.
It was just a shade more than four years ago that I wrote the first of several TireKicker reviews (including a few from the Phoenix Bureau) wondering why it was that the then-new Toyota Tundra wasn't posing a major threat to the full-size American trucks from Ford, Chevy, GMC and RAM.

In it, I said "it's as though Toyota City had moved to Texas."  And in the intervening years, it pretty much has.  Toyota's new North American headquarters opened in the Dallas suburb of Plano this month, and the the 2017 Toyota Tundra Limited Crewmax 4X4 that we tested was built in San Antonio.

A lot has changed in four years---things that should help give Toyota the cred it needs to shake up the full-size pickup truck market the way it did passenger cars almost 40 years ago.


SuperTruck: The 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4X4 Crew Cab

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4X4 Crew Cab
2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4X4 Crew Cab.
Used to be there was a stark difference between a half-ton and a 3/4-ton pickup. The bigger ones were clearly meant for work, or hauling very large horse or travel trailers.  You could tell just by looking.

Standard half-ton pickup trucks like the Ford F-150 have become so big and so rugged that you might wonder what an F-250 Super Duty is for.  Or, if you're a long-time Super Duty buyer, you might be underestimating an F-150's capabilities.

It's even tougher to sort out just by eyeballing, since both models can be loaded up with luxury extras that were once reserved for machines with a three-pointed star on the hood.

No, this is going to require a hard look at the facts.