New Car Review: 2012 Lincoln MKT

Front 3/4 view of silver 2012 Lincoln MKT
The 2012 Lincoln MKT.
It's been nearly a year since our review of the Lincoln MKT (that one with EcoBoost), so we requested another, this one with the standard 3.7 liter Duratec V6, from Fiesta Lincoln in Mesa, Arizona.

The differences? You give up 87 horsepower (getting 268 instead of 355), get one mile per gallon more in both the city and highway EPA estimates (17 and 24) and keep $1,995 in your pocket (paying a base price of $44,300 instead of $46,295).


New Car Review: 2012 Toyota Prius V

Front 3/4 view of blue 2012 Toyota Prius V
The 2012 Toyota Prius V.

Toyota's expansion of the Prius into a full family of cars begins here with the Toyota Prius V.

We can hear the puzzled readers now: "Prius V? What are Prius A through U like?" No, this is V as in roman numeral for the number 5. So it's "Toyota Prius 5". Why? Because it has five doors (okay, it also stands for "Versatility", according to Toyota).


New Car Review: 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec

Front 3/4 view of 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec in front of warehouse at night
The 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec.

Let's settle one thing right now. This is not the car that will keep Ford's Mustang up all night, shivering from fear in its corral. If, in the early days of the Genesis Coupe, that was true, the rapid development of the 'Stang into a performer in 6-cylinder guise and an outright muscle car with the V8 has moved the target.

So let's assess the Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec for what it is. A smartly styled, aggressive Asian sport coupe. The Toyota Supra of our time perhaps....for our time's equivalent of Celica GT money.


First Drive: 2012 Mazda 3 Skyactiv

Overhead shot of blue 2012 Mazda 3 Skyactiv crossing a bridge
The 2012 Mazda 3 Skyactiv.

Regular TireKicker readers know we've always loved us some Mazda 3. It's a fun, tossable little sedan (or hatch, you choose) for a reasonable price with better than average performance and fuel economy.

So what would juice the excitement factor? Well, more fuel economy would be a good place to start.
Mazda's been behind the 8-ball on that one,  with a lot of people remembering that rotary engines aren't the best in that regard (never mind that the only Mazda still using a rotary is the RX-8, now in its last year of production) and Mazda being the lone ranger among the big 4 Japanese carmakers (Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Acura and Nissan/Infiniti being the others) not to have hybrids in their lineup.

Rear 3/4 view of 2012 Mazda 3 Skyactiv
Rear view of the 2012 Mazda 3 Skyactiv.

Not that the 3's a gas guzzler by any means. The EPA says 22 city/29 highway for the standard Mazda 3 5-door with the 167 horsepower 2.5 liter four-cylinder and a 5-speed automatic.

But Skyactiv makes it better without making it a hybrid. According to Mazda, Skyactiv's engine produces 10-15% more low-range torque, and 15% lower fuel consumption than their previous 2-liter engine (which was EPA rated 24 city/33 highway).