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First Drive: 2015 Hyundai Genesis
No longer an attempt at luxury, but now the real thing

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When the first Genesis was introduced to the planet in 2009, most of the world scoffed at the idea of a luxury vehicle wearing a Hyundai badge. Still, the car has performed alright, and it does a decent job at playing pretend luxury sedan. There were a few areas, however, where it fell a bit flat. The driving dynamics were mediocre, and the seats were far from luxurious.

Now though, it appears we’re ready for round two of the Genesis story. No, I’m not talking about Phil Collins trying to get the band back together, but rather Hyundai turning its upscale four-door into a true contender. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis is here, and it’s not stuck in the Land of Confusion (Whoooaaaa ooooooh).

It’s now a real luxury sedan, and it’s time that Germany and Japan ought to pay attention to it.

… Continue Reading

First Drive: 2015 Audi A3 Sedan
Drop the base…

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Don’t call it a base-level car.

While, that sounds harsh… I’m not here to tell you to do anything, of course. What I mean to say is that, after spending a bit of time with the newest compact sedan from Audi, I feel like calling it an entry-level machine is selling it a bit short. This is the 2015 Audi A3, and it might be hiding a bit more bang for your buck than you think.

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First Drive: 2015 Subaru WRX STI
The same song, still sounds pretty sweet

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The more things change, the more the stay the same, right? That is how that particular saying goes, and it’s one that could easily be applied to the new 2015 Subaru WRX STI. The lines of the body have changed, the interior has received a few upgrades, and the only body style being offered is the sedan. Still, under the hood sits the familiar 2.5-liter Boxer four-cylinder engine, there’s a large wing out back, and the upgraded interior will not be confused with that of a luxury car.

So is the newest STI just a refreshed all-wheel-drive burble monkey? Sort of… but in a delightful way.

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First Drive: 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S [Video]

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I’m a massive fan of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage. That car is a wild mash-up of littlest Aston meeting the automaker’s largest engine, and it’s paired with a manual gearbox to boot. Now though, the automaker has come to market with a new version of the car. It’s called the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, and it boasts more power, a higher top speed, and can run from 0-60 miles per hour in under four seconds.

There’s a problem though… the manual gearbox is gone. Is this actually a problem though? I trekked to the Palm Beach International Raceway to find out.

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First Drive: The New 2014 Peugeot 308

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Twenty years ago there came the day that the Ford Escort and the Vauxhall Astra, mainstays of the British family car market, championed by unimaginative car buyers the depth and breadth of the country, were rendered obsolete at a stroke. Not just the Griffon and the Blue Oval, either. Certain, highly respected cars that had enjoyed things all their own way for years began to sit up and take notice, too.

On that day in 1993 the Peugeot 306 was launched, and it took everybody a little by surprise. Of course, a world-class Peugeot was nothing new, the 205 had long had enthusiastic drivers foaming at the mouth, but the 306 was a mature, well-balanced all-rounder that was far better at everything than anybody would have expected. Today, Peugeot are attempting the same trick again, with the best 308 I’ve driven that wasn’t red with the engine in the middle.

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First Drive: 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo-DieselNew tech meets old

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

As part of my trip to the Chrysler press drive event, where I got to test-drive the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee, I was also able to sample some of the new Ram offerings. Two of these were the new 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, the first light duty full size pickup to offer a diesel engine, and a very capable heavy duty 2014 Ram 2500. This 2500, equipped with a manual transmission, is the last full size pickup to offer a row-your-own option in the United States.

Hit the jump to enter the Wonderful World of Diesel. … Continue Reading

First Ride: 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 [w/Video]
A finely honed track weapon

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I don’t really care for the Chevrolet Camaro.

If you’re a regular reader of Hooniverse, you’ve heard me say that before. Sure, the older ones are definitely cool, but I have no love for the modern version. The Camaro ZL1 is certainly a blast thanks to its delightful amount of horsepower and noise. Folks who have driven the 1LE rave about its handling prowess. But other than those two (and one aftermarket tuned example), I’ve never enjoyed my time with the Camaro.

I’m telling you this so you fully understand just how impressed I am by the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. General Motors flew a handful of folks to Michigan so we could get a closer look at the latest machine to wear a very important badge. No, I didn’t get to drive the car, but I ride shotgun…

…and it was enough to blow me away.

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First Drive: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
The baddest four-banger ever built

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According to Greek Mythology, we’re currently smack dab in the middle of the Iron Age. This is the last of the five ages of man. It’s called the Iron Age because the previous ages were more glorious and their names reflect that by way of far more precious metals. This is supposed to be a period of decline for mankind. I think the ancient Greeks are wrong, and we’ve come full circle… into a new Golden Age.

Amazing feats of engineering and design are currently being produced at a glorious pace. Private space travel is closer than ever, a hyperloop could possibly whisk us from Los Angeles to San Francisco in the time it takes to watch a sitcom, and our phones can transmit images of our food to friends on the other side of the planet in the blink of an eye.

It’s also a Golden Age for car enthusiasts. The horsepower wars have been in full swing for a few years now. You can get V8-equipped sports cars belching out sonorous exhaust notes due to the work of over 600 horsepowers cranking from under hood. The six-cylinder machines of the world are well above the 300-horsepower mark, and a handful of four-cylinder machines are producing enough to make most folks smile widely. Now, however, the game is changing again with the arrival of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG.

Lady and gentlemen, say hello to this shapely machine and you’re saying hello to the most powerful production four-cylinder engine ever produced. Say hello to the Golden Age.

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First Drive: 2014 Jeep Cherokee

2014 Jeep Cherokee

At first glance, the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee seems like it won’t likely win any beauty prizes. The new design is as polarizing as it is purposeful. Not in the traditional boxy, no frills sense of purposeful, but as far as efficiency, it is a very slick body shape. I’ll be honest… the first time I saw a photo of it, I did not like it at all. It has since then slowly started to grow on me, and in person, it’s far more appealing.

I had a chance to sample the all-new machine. I didn’t drive one of them though, I drove three of them. … Continue Reading

First Drive: 2014 Jaguar F-Type
Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill

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The sense of sound is one of the most wonderful things we have in this world. Still, sight is arguably tops on the list because the world around us, regardless of how it sounds, is truly majestic. There are emotions around good sunsets. Watching a wave crash on the shore is powerful even without the noise. Rock and roll would still feel powerful even with the sound turned all the way down. Despite that, how much better are all of those things with some sound… yes, even the sunsets.

The 2014 Jaguar F-Type is a truly beautiful car. It’s blessed with perfect proportions, gracefully aggressive lines, and stylish flourishes that are a delight to the eye from nearly every angle. See that picture up there? It barely tells a fraction of the feeling you get when you’re standing next to such a gorgeous machine.

But that style is nothing without the sound.

Lucky for, well, all of humanity then that the design team and the engineering team must wind up at the same pub after the Jaguar end of day whistle screams that it’s five o’clock.

… Continue Reading

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