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2015 Subaru WRX is a mature middle child

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Earlier in the year, we got to sample the all-new 2015 Subaru WRX STI. It’s the wild child of the Impreza family, and it might actually prove to be a bit much for the average person when it comes time to pick a daily driver.

Enter the 2015 Subaru WRX. It’s the middle child, and it’s more mature than it’s insane-o sibling. The car has grown up, it’s evolved, and it’s changed.. for the better.

[Disclaimer: Subaru loaned me the car for a week, and included a tank of gas. Just as the WRX is more mature, I too am more mature* and have nothing funny to add here to this disclaimer.]

[*Extra Disclaimer: ...Poop, hehehe]

The Bi-Annual Tour of New England to see the family
…this time in an appliance, with upgrades

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The Northeast corner of this country is comprised of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Collectively, the six states are known as New England. It’s also a corner of the country that I call home, even though I haven’t lived there in 12 years. That’s where my family is, it’s where my wife’s family is, and it’s where many of my closest friends still reside. I try to get back there at least twice per year, and when I do it turns into cannonball-esque blast across the majority of New England’s states as I try to squeeze in as many visits as I can over what’s always not enough time.

Sometimes the trip unfolds from behind the wheel of a luxury car. A sport utility vehicle or two have made the journey, and there’s always the hope of a sports car waiting for me at the airport. For my most recent trip home though, I was given the keys to an appliance.

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Sampling all three flavors of the 2015 Lexus NX
It’s easy to figure out which one we like best

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British Columbia is a beautiful place. From the towering buildings butting up to the water in Vancouver to the snowy expanses lying to the north near Whistler, there’s something beautiful to see nearly everywhere you look.

A good way to break all of that up is by using something that some would describe as “polarizing”. That’s exactly how we’d describe the all-new 2015 Lexus NX. Some folks are going to love it, while others… well, they will let you know what they think.

For us, it boils down to how a car drives, and the NX drives surprisingly well. It’s clear that Akio Toyoda’s mission to make his brands more sporting is paying off. It should be no surprise that our favorite of the three new NX examples is, of course, the F-Sport version.

We touch on both the 300h and the 200t to start things off, but we quickly focus on the most interesting of the three.

[Disclaimer: Lexus flew us to Whistler and put us up in a swank hotel. Also, I cleared customs in like five minutes... I don't know if that had anything to do with Lexus though.]

First Drive: 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish & Rapide S
Finally putting the super in these super cars

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Yes, both the Aston Martin Vanquish and Rapide S are gorgeous machines. They make great noise, and they’re fun to drive. That’s actually a bit of a problem though, the fact I just said “fun” and not amazing, outstanding, or excellent.

Aston Martin knows this.

The automaker has just revised the cars for 2015, and you won’t find the changes on the outside (minus a new color or two and some wheel changes). Instead, the revisions have occurred under the skin in the form of a new eight-speed ZF gearbox, revised suspension geometry, a modified rear subframe, and fatter anti-roll bars. Ast0n Martin has also extended the range between settings of the adaptive damping suspension system so that you can clearly feel the difference between each of the three. Additionally, the front brakes are larger and the braking boost has been adjusted.

Have these changes paid off? Oh yes.

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Review: 2014 Seat Ibiza FR 140; Poetry in Auto Emoción?

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Appearing at Millbrook where I spent a day at,
Was this little red hatchback manufactured by SEAT,
This motoring journalist lark that I play at,
Was an excuse to take it for a spin.

From it’s antecedent some thirty years back,
The Ibiza’s evolved to a meal from a snack.
Let us check its development, is it on the right track?
Take the jump, there are more words within.

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Video Review: Dinan S3-R BMW 1M
The Real Ultimate Driving Machine

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I harp on BMW a lot. Too much, in fact. The automaker still builds machines that provide a truly engaging driving experience. The problem is though, that the lineup has less and less of that. Still, cars like the new M3 and M4 prove that BMW can still create ultimate driving machines.

Back in 2011, however, they may have created their own modern-day masterpiece. It’s called the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, or 1M for short. This 335-horsepower mighty mobile proved that BMW had not in fact lost its mojo.

Did they leave a bit on the table with the 1M? I wouldn’t have said so back then, but after spending a week with the Dinan S3-R 1M I’m singing a different tune. What Dinan has done is take a great car… and made it into one of the best true driver’s cars that I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

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Drive Report – The 2014 Ram C/V; A surprising and versatile small cargo van…

 

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The small van category is a growing one, at least here in the States. Ford took a gamble, and introduced the Ford Transit Connect during the 2010 model year, and it was a rousing success. Here was a product, introduced at the right time to an eager buying public, and sales haven’t cooled since. In fact, the Transit Connect was just redesigned, built at a different location, and spawned a couple of new competitors in the form of the Nissan NV-200, and the soon to be introduced Ram Promaster City.

However, there has been a competitor to the small Transit almost from the beginning, and it is a very capable bargain if you can get past its looks, and I just spent some time behind the wheel of one. Introducing the Ram C/V…

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Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost 1.0 Powershift. Fun… if you insist.

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I like my cars to be visceral, possibly brutal. I like to feel the car fighting back as I wrestle it around my favourite backroads route. I like to feel as if I’m working as part of a team, the car and myself acting in unison to cover ground as entertainingly as possible. The car doesn’t have to be totally reliant on muscle and it doesn’t have to have racetrack credentials to provide fun, a grunty lightweight like a Z4M or a heavy old horse like a Bentley Turbo R are equally adept at making me grin.

On the face of it, a low-powered Ford Fiesta with an automatic gearbox should be pretty much the opposite of what I love in a car. Take the jump to see whether this really is as miserable  a combination as it sounds.

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Review: 2014 Dacia Sandero Access 1.2 75

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Last year I was overcome by waves of delirious excitement when the opportunity arose to test the entry level Dacia Duster, the cheapest quasi-SUV available on the UK market. It lived up to every one of my expectations and my verdict fizzed with superlatives.

And you know what, this time I’m even more excited. I’ve just driven the Dacia Sandero. Good news! And even better; the one I spent time in was the 1.2 litre “Access” model. In other words, the cheapest new car British money can buy. Take the jump to ascertain the ratio of cheap and / or cheerful.

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First Drive: 2015 Lexus NX
Dynamically, a step in the right direction

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[Editor's Note: We have a First Drive coming soon too. The initial footage is not yet finished though, so GET EXCITED because you have more Lexus NX coming your way.]

It also happens to be damned perfect for its target market. The RX is comfortable, offers up an appropriate level of luxury, looks fancy enough without standing out, and is priced in line with the rest of its segment. If you’re afraid to test the diesel waters, the Lexus RX Hybrid is a perfectly fine vehicle for you.

Still, there are some who desire some engagement from their machines. Toyota President Akio Toyoda himself even said recently that he desires to see more a more sporting attitude and nature throughout the Toyota lineup. To that end, we’ve begun to see the initial results of his push. The Avalon no longer looka like the last car you’ll ever buy your grandmother, the Lexus IS and GS are truly entertaining machines both on the street and the track, and the Toyota/Scion GT-86/FR-S are rhythm car blasts from enthusiast heaven.

It should stand then, that a compact crossover from Lexus should be enjoyable to drive as well. This is one of the hottest segments out there, so Lexus needs to offer something unique. Enter the 2015 Lexus NX… and even if you hate how it looks, prepare to love how it drives.

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