South Korean All-American: The 2015 Hyundai Azera Limited

Front 3/4 view from above of 2015 Hyundai Azera Limited
The 2015 Hyundai Azera Limited.
Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote that the 2014 Hyundai Azera was one of the two best large family sedans you could buy (the other being the Toyota Avalon). Summertime and large family sedans naturally suggest a vacation, so Navigator and I packed the trunk of the all-new 2015 Azera the day after it arrived at TireKicker World Headquarters and hit the road.

What's In A Letter? The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.
The difference of a single letter.  In this case, "L" instead of "T".

For the uninitiated, I am drawing a comparison between Volkswagen's GTI (a Golf hatchback) and its GLI (a Jetta sedan). And the truth is, that single letter changes a lot of things.

Breakthrough: The 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-Spec

Front 3/4 view of the 2016 Acura ILX
The 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-Spec.
Regular TireKicker readers know of my frustrations with the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Acura ILX. Follow that link for the full run-down, including links within to each individual and disappointing experience with every trim level of that car.  The short version:  It was a nicer Honda Civic but not nice enough to justify the price premium (as much as nine grand over its Honda cousin).

For 2016, Acura addresses the problems, ditching the 2-liter, 150-horsepower four and five-speed automatic for a 2.4-liter, 201-horsepower four mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.  That alone brings a massive improvement in performance and even a slight uptick in fuel economy over the smaller engine (now 25 city/36 highway).  That's even better mileage than the '15's rarer than rare ILX Premium with the 2.4 and a six-speed manual.

Without Compromise: The 2015 Lexus LX570

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Lexus LX570
The 2015 Lexus LX570.
Compromise is how most things in life get done.  You give a little, I give a little, each party gets some, but not all, of what they had hoped for.  There are many who believe compromise is good.  Thank God Lexus does not, for compromise and excellence are almost always mutually exclusive.  And the LX570 is all about excellence.


Hybrid Home Run: The 2015 Lexus NX 300h

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Lexus NX 300h
The 2015 Lexus NX 300h. 
Whatever your opinion of the Toyota Prius, that car has given upscale corporate cousin Lexus a mighty weapon to use. The brand now offers seven of its models in "h" (for "hybrid) form, all based on the Prius' hybrid powerplant technology.  And the newest of these is the newest Lexus, the NX small crossover.


Un-American, In A Good Way: The 2015.5 Volvo V60 T6 R-Design

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Volvo V60 T6 R-Design
The 2015.5 Volvo T6 R-Design.
There's been a lot of buzz in the media this week about the most American car being the Toyota Camry. The source is Cars.com's annual American-Made Index, which lists the cars with at least 75% of their parts content coming from the U.S. or Canada. The longtime champ, the Ford F-150, fell below that 75% threshold with this year's alumnium-heavy redesign.