A Long Last Drive With An Old Friend: The 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL

Front view of 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer
The 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer.
It's seconds till sundown for the Mitsubishi Lancer.  On the market relatively unchanged for a decade and stripped of its high-performance EVO model, time has caught up with this generation of Mitsu's compact sedan. Still, it is a car not without charms, as we learned to our surprise during a North Coast roadtrip two years ago.


One Step Further: The 2016 Toyota Avalon Touring

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Toyota Avalon
The 2016 Toyota Avalon.
With its 2013 re-design, Toyota moved the Avalon away from its decades-long image of being the sensible car choice for retirees---the car most often found in Luby's Cafeteria parking lots at 4:30 in the afternoon.  It has been a successful strategy.  Perhaps too successful.

In toughening up the Avalon, Toyota made it too tough for returning customers, who Toyota does not want to scare off while it brings the car into the here and now.  So for 2016, most Avalons will get a softer suspension.  The Touring model, on the other hand, gets an even stiffer one.

UPDATED: What I Drove On My Spring Vacation: The 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

Front 3/4 view of the 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring
The 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring.
Regular TireKicker readers know we love roadtrips.  Anytime I can get behind the wheel with Navigator sitting to my right is a good time. The grandaddy of them all (so far) was 2014's eight-day, 1,800 mile camping trip through Nevada and Utah. Our just-concluded Spring Break trip is a close second...five days and 1,100 miles.  We had the one-size-larger Kia Sorento for the summer trip, which was only two people, but included a tent, firewood and food and supplies for the entire eight days.

This time, it was four people, three of them female (Navigator and her two daughters). We'd be sleeping on the sofa and in sleeping bags at a friend's apartment in Santa Monica, so we could skip the tent and the firewood, but there's still five days of clothing for four people, sleeping bags, pillows, an air mattress and road food for a 20-year-old and a 15-year-old, which is a lot more boxes and bags of profoundly unhealthy things than you can imagine...plus whatever would be picked up along the way and brought back to Folsom.

Good Things, Small Package: The 2016 Lexus NX 200t F SPORT

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Lexus NX 200t F SPORT
The 2016 Lexus NX 200t F SPORT.
It's been a very good first year for the Lexus NX line.  The small luxury crossover is handily outselling the BMW X1, Lincoln MKC, and every other direct competitor save the Acura RDX.  


What's In A Name? The 2016 Honda Accord Sport

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Honda Accord Sport
The 2016 Honda Accord Sport.
You could be excused for thinking the phrase "Honda Accord Sport" is an oxymoron.  Some of you might think the words "Honda Accord" and "Sport" would act like magnets that push each other apart.

As with most things in life, and especially in automobiles, the word "Sport" here is relative.

Unbroken. Unbreakable: The 2016 Toyota 4Runner Trail

2016 Toyota 4Runner Trail
The 2016 Toyota 4Runner Trail.
The old saying goes "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".  Fortunately, Toyota has heard the old saying and the 2016 Toyota 4Runner Trail is proof that they take it to heart.


Scion Folds

Another nameplate is headed to the dustbin of automotive history.  Toyota says it will shutter Scion at the end of this model year, moving most of its models to the Toyota brand for the 2017 model year.

That includes the iA, the iM, and the FR-S (one of our Top Ten Cars listed on the right side of this page). The C-HR concept, which was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, will also see production as a Toyota.

The Scion tC will have a final release series edition and wrap up production in August.  The xB is already out of production but still featured on Scion's website as dealers try to clear unsold 2015 models.

While most observers see this as another in the long list of brand failures, Toyota says it is actually "mission accomplished"...that Scion has brought younger people to the company's vehicles that would not otherwise have considered Toyota products over the past 13 years, and now they and the vehicles they like can be transitioned to Toyota.  Read the full press release here.