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2016 Prius: Toyota’s Flawed Crown Jewel

As I approached the grumpy face and flat ass of the new Prius, I had no idea what to expect. Toyota PR had gone over the how they wanted to make the Prius an engaging car to drive with revised suspension, design language from the GT86 and a power mode. Did Toyota learn that you can only get so many buyers with a boring appliance, or were they just making a racket so the enthusiast press might look twice?

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Quick Spin: Land Rover Range Rover Sport Td6

2016 land rover range rover td6 diesel front

It is interesting how in a span of a lifetime people change, or don’t change. Four years ago I went to Poland where I met up with my childhood friend. As a child, my friend Paul has always had interest in outdoor and expedition type activities. While he’s not full-on car geek like me, he always preferred 4x4s over conventional cars. Many years ago Paul even bought my father’s old UAZ when he, ahem, upgraded to a Lada Niva.

Fortunately, Paul has done quite well for himself in the post-communist Poland, running a successful construction company. About four years ago, few days before I arrived for a visit, he happened to pick up a brand new Land Rover Discovery 4 (LR4 in U.S.) with the then new turbo-diesel V6 engine. After a few minutes in that vehicle I began wondering about the sanity of Land Rover product managers. Why were they not selling Rovers with this engine in North America?!

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Quick Spin: 2015 BMW M235i Convertible

2015 bmw m235i front side

I try to write a review of every car I drive, but this is not always possible. In 2015 for many, mostly personal, reasons I missed a few. Here are my abbreviated impressions of the BMW M235i.

I’ve owned seven BMWs. They are had the following traits in common: rear wheel drive, in-line six cylinder engines, and manual transmissions. While they all varied in chassis codes (E28, E34, E36, E39, E46), they were true to the BMW fundamentals of being drivers’ cars, whatever that means. They were simply fun to drive, or at least more fun than their rivals. Unfortunately BMW seems to have sort of lost its ways lately. But there is hope and it is called the M235i.

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Quick Spin: 2015 Mazda3

2015 mazda 3 side front

I try to write a review of every car I drive, but this is not always possible. In 2015 I missed a few, so here are my abbreviated impressions of these cars.

Something funny has been happening lately. Every time someone asks me for a basic vehicle recommendation, I find myself suggesting a Mazda of some kind more and more. Last year my sister-in-law bought a CX-5 and now my other sister-in-law is getting ready to buy a Mazda3. Internet car heroes say that the “Miata is always the answer” but maybe it isn’t?

Maybe Mazda is always the answer?

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Quick Spin: 2015 Acura ILX

acura ilx 2015 front side

I try to write a review of every car I drive, but this is not always possible. In 2015 for many, mostly personal, reasons I missed a few. One of those was the modern interpretation of the classic Integra, the Acura ILX.

It’s quiet and it rides well. The interior is very nice and super comfortable, with all the latest bells and whistles can be expected from a modern premium car. It’s safe, too, with all kinds of traction systems, airbags, collision avoidance, it will even steer itself back onto the road if it detects that it is about to go off. Its dual-clutch transmission might the best one in the business, as it uses a torque converter for smoother take-offs, a common gripe of DCTs. With all that, it’s even reasonably priced and comes with Honda’s renowned reliability.

And yet I can’t seem to love it.

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Quick Spin: 2015 Ford F-150

2015 ford f-150

I try to write a review of every car I drive, but this is not always possible. In 2015 for many, mostly personal, reasons I missed a few. Here are my abbreviated impressions of the all-new aluminum bodied Ford F-150.

It’s amazing how far the almighty pickup truck has come. This vehicle here had the following options, many of which came only on the fanciest of luxury cars not to long ago: power heated and ventilated seats, cameras all around, heated steering wheel, excellent audio system, panoramic sunroof, nav system, power folding mirrors with spot lights (!), LED headlights everywhere, and a power tailgate. Yes, a freakin’ power tailgate! POW, mind-blown!

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Quick Spin: 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR

2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR front

I try to write a review of every car I drive, but this is not always possible. In 2015 for many, mostly personal, reasons I missed a few. One of those was the infamous Mitsubishi Evo.

It’s loud. The interior feels at least a decade old. Its five speed manual transmission is a gear short. Its boy-racer looks are a throwback to the first days of The Fast and a Furious and Gran Turismo video game. It wouldn’t be a challenge to write a poetic essay on everything that is wrong with this car, but that would be unfair and shortsighted.

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Everything I drove In 2015 (Ranked!)

Bradley Brownell January 1, 2016 Quick Spin

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My work with Hooniverse and other outlets affords me seat time in some pretty awesome machines, usually well more than I can afford, and often more capable than I should be allowed. I’m a writer, usually a mediocre one, who takes pictures, usually mediocre ones, and drives cars. It’s a pretty awesome gig, and at the end of the year, I like to sit back and look at what I drove throughout the year, and this year, to spice things up, I decided to rank them. The closing of the year also allows me to thank to thank the owners of the cars for their generosity in letting me behind the wheel. I am 100% thankful that the great readers of this site still read what I have to say, and that there are those out there willing to let me flog their beautiful cars in order to facilitate me writing about it. Thanks for helping make 2015 a great year, each and every one of you! Now, here’s the definitive list of all of the cars I got to drive this year. Yes, a lot of them were Porsche and Audi.

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Quick Spin: 2015 Lexus RC 350 AWD

2015 Lexus RC 350 front left 2

I may be in the minority of people, especially for people under the age of forty, when I say that I like many of the Toyota and Lexus cars. Toyotas make for well built, reliable, long lasting, basic transportation. Lexus builds on Toyota’s philosophy and adds nice, quiet, interiors, better materials, and unique styling. Most of the cars, such as the IS, GS, and LS, do not have a Toyota equivalent, making it a mostly stand-alone brand, which is great in world of never ending badge engineering.

Lexus’ newest addition to its line-up of cars is the RC coupe. The coupe is loosely based on IS and GS architecture, and being that I really enjoyed the IS and GS F cars, I had high expectations of it. The RC is set to be a direct competitor for the Audi A5, BMW 4-series, Mercedes C coupe, and the Infiniti G37/Q60, which is to say it should attract image-conscious yuppies.

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Brief Review: Smart ForFour 1.0 Passion.

Chris Haining October 20, 2015 Quick Spin, Reviews

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Smart was in danger of becoming an ironic name. The smallest Daimler-Benz product always sold on the virtues of novelty and wantability more than anything else, and in recent times was beginning to look increasingly irrelevant. Now, thanks to platform sharing with Renault, the New Smart may well finally be a vehicle useful enough to justify the epithet.

The brochure for the ForFour is full of images of young people with fashionable beards clearly having fun, so it seems reasonable to investigate whether the dressed up and up-priced Germanised Twingo actually lives up to what their marketing department promises, delivering entertainment as well as intelligence. Take the jump to find out.

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