Limited Edition: The 2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue
The 2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue.
Okay, first---about the headline (and caption).  No, it's not a typo.  Subaru has named its limited edition of the BRZ sports coupe the Series.HyperBlue....that's "Series-dot-capital H-Hyper-capital B-Blue'.  And it is a limited edition, with only 500 being made this year.


Game Changer: The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE
2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE.
Just over a year ago, in reviewing the 2015 Toyota RAV4, we noted that it seemed stuck in third-place in sales in its segment, behind the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V.    No longer.  The RAV4 is on a roll, selling enough to beat the Ford and Honda, despite not being significantly different from the 2015 RAV4.

Except for one model.

Sonata in Gas and Electric: The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited.

About a year ago, we reviewed the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco, which, with a 1.6-liter turbo four and a seven-speed automatic transmission, managed to turn in some more than respectable fuel economy numbers: 28 city/38 highway.

In 2016, you can do better still.

Goes So Fast: The 2016 Lexus GS-F

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Lexus GS-F
The 2016 Lexus GS-F.
No, of course that is not what GS-F stands for.  What we have here is essentially the Lexus GS sedan, which we have reviewed many times as the GS 350, given the full Lexus F Performance, as opposed to F SPORT, treatment.  F SPORT is a package that, depending on the Lexus model it is applied to, brings cosmetic enhancements and/or refinements and improvements to the car's handling capabilities.

F Performance brings power.  More than you'll find in any other non-F Perfromance Lexus.


Surprise! The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited
The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited.
If you had asked me eleven days ago what car I'd want if I were driving 150 miles on mostly two-lane roads after a long day at work, I doubt I would have said "Give me a Hyundai Elantra".

That has now changed.

Luxury With An Edge: The 2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT
The 2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT.
The Lexus RX was the world's first luxury crossover, and for most of its life, it has been a vehicle that, without apologies, targeted middle-aged women of means, with, as Michael once wrote, shock absorbers filled with whipped cream and styling like a well-used bar of soap.

So why does the new RX 350 look like a fighter jet?


Success Is Its Own Reward: The 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited
The 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited.
Since its 2014 redesign, we here at TireKicker have been somewhat lukewarm about the Toyota Highlander.  Styling, a loss of interior room and comfort compared to the previous generation and less-than-stellar fuel economy---even among midsize SUVs---are our complaints.

But what matters most to Toyota, no doubt, is how often a Highlander leaves a dealership for a driveway.  And on that count, the Highlander is doing very well indeed.


The Prodigal Returns: The 2016 Honda Civic EX

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Honda Civic EX
The 2016 Honda Civic EX.
32 years ago, on this very planet, Honda leap-frogged itself and the competition.  The car was the 1984 Civic, and Car and Driver's rave review, written by the not-yet-legendary Jean Lindamood, ended with the phrase "Damn, she's a fine one.  Our orders are in."  That, and a comparison drive of a Civic and then a Corolla, caused me to put my order in as well.

Fierce and Frugal: The 2016 Lexus RX 450h

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Lexus RX 450h
The 2016 Lexus RX 450h.
This is the year that Lexus' styling evolution, emphasizing emotion and performance, makes its way to the venerable RX crossover line.  That includes the hybrid RX 450h, which now sports a look that suggests Darth Vader far more than Ed Begley, Jr.

Most Improved Player: The 2016 Chevrolet Volt

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Chevrolet Volt
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt.
What a difference four years makes.

It was late February, 2012 that I had my last seat time in a Chevrolet Volt.   As tested it cost more than $43,000 before tax breaks, had an interior that, looking back today, tried too hard to scream "tech" , the exterior styling was at best an acquired taste and it largely delivered on its promise of 35 miles from its electric engine before switching over to gasoline operations from its 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine.

At the time, I lived 17.3 miles from my office. A lunch run, an off-site meeting or an after-work detour meant I would dip into the gasoline side of things every single day.

Racy RAV: The 2016 Toyota RAV4 SE AWD

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Toyota RAV4 SE
The 2016 Toyota RAV4 SE.
Toyota, like its cousin Lexus, is on a campaign to make its vehicles seem more exciting.  For Lexus, that involves (for some models) substantial upgrades to engine power and chassis dynamics.  For Toyota, it largely involves cosmetics.


EcoPower To The People: The 2016 Kia Optima LX Turbo

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Kia Optima Turbo
The 2016 Kia Optima Turbo.
Those of you with practical budgets yet enthusiast hearts may have had your pulses race a bit to learn that Kia is now making its base LX Optima available with a turbocharged engine.  Well, it's not exactly what you think.