UPDATE: How The World Has Caught Up With The 2014 Toyota 4Runner

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Toyota 4Runner
The 2014 Toyota 4Runner.
Four years ago in this space, I wrote a review of the Toyota 4Runner in which I quoted Casey Kasem's most famous outtake, linked to Sajeev Mehta's piece in The Truth About Cars comparing it to fat Elvis and basically said the 4Runner was going the wrong way for the times.

Well, times change.  That was written in the aftershocks of the 2008 crash, and while there has by no means been a complete recovery and gas prices are higher now (the Sacramento average for a gallon of regular as I write this is $4.11), the world has continued to spin and Americans have, as they always have, adapted, adjusted and bought as large as their credit scores would allow. In those intervening four years, I have driven an additional 200-plus new vehicles and, in the current landscape, the 4Runner no longer seems out of place.

Mind you, I still think Toyota is slicing the SUV spectrum mighty thin with RAV4, FJ, Highlander, 4Runner, Sequoia and Land Cruiser...but (apart from the FJ, which is in its last season) it seems to be working.

Why The 2014 Lexus IS 350C Looks Like The Last Generation IS

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Lexus IS350C
The 2014 Lexus IS 350C.
There is a sleek, svelte new Lexus IS in town.  You have seen it, on this very site.  About seven months ago, I reviewed it, in the form of the IS 350 F-Sport. But the IS 350C retractable hardtop convertible and the high performance IS-F sedan still carry the rounder, smoother design from the previous-generation IS.


This Could Be The Start Of Something Big: 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Hyundai Genesis
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0.
The story on Hyundai the past few years has been how quickly it has roared up onto Toyota's rear bumper...from the butt of more than a few jokes (Rodney King was widely presumed innocent in car circles because his Hyundai couldn't possibly have been going 110 to 115 miles per hour as the California Highway Patrol had claimed) to a serious contender.

Now, the 2015 Genesis 5.0 makes a case for the brand having done the same to Toyota's luxury division, Lexus.


Most Improved Player: The 2015 Chrysler 200C

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Chrysler 200C
The 2015 Chrysler 200C.
Having expounded a few times on my thoughts regarding automobiles and art, it should come as no surprise that I considered the 2014 and earlier Chrysler 200 as graffiti.  An ungainly mess of a car, excused only by the fact that it was something of an improvement over the Chrysler Sebring.  Fiat did a rush job putting lipstick strategically on a pig.

But this---this is what can happen when you have time, taste and money all devoted to building a new mid-size sedan.


What Sets The Buick Verano Apart From The Chevy Cruze

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Buick Verano
The 2014 Buick Verano
A bit more than two years ago, Michael reviewed the Buick Verano and had a very basic problem.  Even though the Verano was nicer and smoother, it cost three thousand dollars more, felt slower with the 2.4-liter four compared to the 1.4-liter turbo in the Cruze and got worse gas mileage.

Since Michael's drive, there's been an addition to the Verano lineup that erases most of those concerns. The 2-liter turbo engine.


2014 AmericanMuscle Car Show

2014 AmericanMuscle Car Show Arrivals
Arrivals at the 2014 AmericanMuscle Car Show.
One of our proudest associations here at TireKicker is AmericanMuscle...a long-term sponsor.

They held their annual car show on August 16th, 2014 in Mohnton, Pennsylvania at Maple Grove Raceway. This was the first year the show was held at Maple Grove and allowed a far greater number of Mustangs and spectators to enjoy the show. Brett “Big Schwag” Wagner, host of the show “Pass Time” was one of the hosts of the show, MCing different events. 2,600 Mustangs converged at Maple Grove to make it one of the largest Mustang Events in the country, with 10,000+ spectators at the event.


Now With Two More MPG City and Highway: The 2015 Mazda 6 I Grand Touring

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Mazda 6
The 2015 Mazda 6.
Regular TireKicker readers know of our love for the Mazda 6. We fairly raved about the 2014, and promptly put it on our list of TireKicker's Best Cars.

The 2015 is in dealer showrooms now and while there are no visible changes, there's a nice one you'll see at the gas pumps.


Why The 2014 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SEL Premium Competes Against Itself

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Volkswagen Passat
The 2014 Volkswagen Passat. 
And now, a quandry from Volkswagen.

A week driving the 2014 Passat SEL Premium reveals it to be a competent, comfortable family sedan, capable of getting very good gas mileage (24 city/34 highway).  That is thanks to its 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.  That engine is small for its class---most of the competition has 2.5 liters---VW relies on the turbo to provide extra power on an as-needed basis, allowing the Passat to benefit from a gas-sipping engine most of the time.