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Auto Word: Two Personalities for 500X Crossover

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

Fiat's third family member from Italy, the 500X, is destined to become the brand's most-popular model and biggest seller. It has the right size, the right looks and the right features with the right pricing.

The 500X shares the bones of the 500L wagon, but is a much different execution. The X concept was started from scratch (though it shares ...Read more

Auto Word: Cayenne E-Hybrid Redefines Porsche Performance

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

Supercharged Plug-in: Cayenne E-Hybrid Redefines Porsche Performance

Porsche now has three plug-in electric vehicles, the most of any luxury manufacturer, it says -- the Panamera S E-Hybrid large sedan, Cayenne S E-Hybrid SUV and the 918, a million-dollar, limited-edition sports car.

It is the electrified and more mainstream Panamera and ...Read more

Auto Word: Acura TLX Reborn With a Performance Edge

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

Welcome back, Acura. I can't imagine the dark depression that caused you to snuff the flame of building performance cars, but the spark is coming back in the new TLX.

Punch up Sport-plus mode, flick off a double downshift of the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic and push those 7,000 rpm redline shifts. It feels good and sounds good, as an Acura...Read more

Auto Word: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Final Pricing, Start of Production

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

The wait is almost over, Mazda North America said at the end of April, when it at long last announced complete pricing for the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata and that production had begun. The first 1,000 cars earmarked as Launch Edition models.

The bad news is that Miatas for the U.S. market will not be available until late summer.

All U.S.-spec ...Read more

Auto Word: DB9 Volante Carbon a Price-Exclusive Grand Tourer

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

Four days and 325 miles behind the wheel of a V-12 Aston Martin DB9 convertible gave me a good sample of how a small percentage of the 1 percent choose to spend their money on a sports car.

I'm really not sure why this particular model, the special edition DB9 Volante Carbon, is valued with a base price of $220,000 and was $227,850, which ...Read more

Auto Word: 2015 Upgrades to Honda CR-V Highlight Innovations, Safety

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

The simple and likable Honda CR-V has been a handy helpmate since 1997. And, my, how it has grown in confidence and sophistication from that first spindly model that had a nifty cargo floor that converted to a card table, with folding legs, for tailgating.

The table is gone now, but there are many more functional features layered into this ...Read more

Auto Word: Three-Ton Rolls-Royce Convertible Is Big-Boned and Broad, but a Beauty

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

PhThe topless winged lady flies through the air with greatest of ease, that phantom of the street opera baring all to see.

This big V-12 Rolls-Royce convertible is an imposing car, with her hood riding taller than the roof of most sports cars. In Brit-speak, today's tester is the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, costing a breathy $553,000 as...Read more

Auto Word: 2nd Generation ILX Distills the Best of Acura

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

The second verse is much better than first for the 2016 Acura ILX. It has had a mild do-over from last year, but it was a significant layering on of improvements from the launch of the first generation model in 2012.

The ILX is a compact-class, entry-luxury sedan, which has become a trend-setting segment with several new models, including the ...Read more

Auto Word: Kia Tries a Little Harder to Make Sedona a Standout

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

Clean, lean and crisp are not typical words used in describing a minivan. But Kia seems to be trying just a little harder to stand out with its re-engineered 2015 Sedona.

This is the third generation of Sedona and, my, it has come a long way. It was coarse, underpowered and clunky on its debut in 1998, but Kia quickly smoothed the rough edges ...Read more

Auto Word: 2015 Lexus NX Is a Fashion Stiletto, But Not the 'Nimble' Wagon It Could Be

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

The compact sport crossover is the trendy gold mine for luxury brands. Audi has the Q5 and smaller Q3, BMW has the X3 and smaller X1, Mercedes-Benz is making a killing with the GLA and now Lexus is selling every NX that it can build -- and a majority are the top-line NX F Sport, a fashion-stiletto with even louder exterior styling.

The NX -- ...Read more

Auto Word: Porsche 911 Targa Returns With Shapely Sculpting and AWD

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

I was never a fan of the Targa body style of Porsche 911 -- until the 2015 model came along.

The first generation of 911 Targa was introduced at the Frankfurt auto show in 1965, and this year marks its 50th anniversary. Returning for 2015, this semi-convertible is the seventh generation.

You'll know this body style by its Targa picnic-basket ...Read more

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