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Auto Word: Mazda CX-3 Poised With 'Predator' Styling

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

The models and moods are many in the neo-popular car segment of subcompact crossovers. Suit your style with at least eight choices, including the Nissan Juke, Chevy Trax, Buick Encore, Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V and Mini Countryman. And today's tester, the Mazda CX-3, which just went on sale.

Mazda says styling and drivability will ...Read more

Auto Word: BMW's 4-Door Gran Coupe Has Attitude for an Active Lifestyle

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

"Gran Coupe" is a flouncy nameplate for a flinty BMW four-door that is a 4.4-inch stretch of the 4-Series (two-door) coupe.

Despite having four doors, it is tagged a coupe because of its arching roofline. And while the four-seat Gran Coupe is based on the 4-Series two-door, it also has the foundation of the 3-Series sedan (same length and ...Read more

Auto Word: Honda HR-V is The Hustler

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

Honda's new HR-V is a little hustler of a crossover and particularly well-Americanized for how motorists use and connect with their cars.

It is another new entry in the popularity contest for these cute wagon-like things, which include the Buick Encore, Fiat 500X, Mazda CX-3, Chevy Trax, Jeep Renegade and Nissan Juke. And there are luxury ...Read more

Auto Word: Mazda-Sourcedv Scion iA Subcompact Is a Handy Enabler

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

When my children were growing up, I was the last to know that this week they hated apples when last week they asked for more.

Whether apples or cars, the preferences of young people can change faster than a turbo can spool up power. And this is the buyer group that Scion targeted when it launched its fast and flippant brand of small cars in ...Read more

Auto Word: Chevy SS Offers Old-School Performance From a Contemporary Global Contender

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

Think of the 415-horsepower Chevy SS as a four-door Camaro and a prime reason why speed shops are having to revise their business plans.

This full-size sedan is a factory muscle car with finesse and swaggering force. Right off the car hauler, it doesn't need (much) tweaking to help it be all it can be. Its foundation is the rear-wheel-drive "...Read more

Auto Word: Ford's Re-Engineered Midsize Crossover Is Right-Sized and Refined

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

The midsize crossover is the family car of the 21st century and the 2015 Ford Edge is an innovative example, with qualified competition from the Hyundai Santa Fe and new Nissan Murano.

The Edge has evolved steadily since it debuted in 2006 and the completely re-engineered 2015 model is slightly longer and taller with a longer wheelbase and more...Read more

Auto Word: Nissan Murano Platinum a Style-Conscious 'Social Lounge'

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

Platinum is the new gold standard for the buyer who wants it all, and, apparently, there are plenty of them. Nearly all brands offer this over-the-top level, which is sweetened with value pricing. The allure is for buyers to allow indulgence without broadcasting extravagance.

Nissan applied this level of near-luxury to the redesign of its third...Read more

Auto Word: VW Golf R Is a Humble Hustler

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

The 2015 VW Golf R is a near-supercar trapped in the body of a five-door hatchback.

Not that the body style hurts its performance, but the Golf R's level of ability goes way beyond its humble body style and even that of the slightly-less-sporty Golf GTI.

The Golf R, now in its seventh generation, is a complete update that is larger, wider and ...Read more

Auto Word: Audi A3 Cabriolet Has a Way With Pleasure

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

I thought about calling Audi PR and asking if they'd just leave the A3 Cabriolet tester for a few more weeks ... or years.

It is simple, sophisticated and has all the right moves while neither overpromising nor underdelivering. And the two big tests a convertible has to pass for me are how fast the top drops and how smooth is the airflow at ...Read more

Auto Word: GMC Sierra Elevation Ready for Show and Go

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

The GMC Sierra Elevation cleans up real nice for a Saturday night on the town.

It's a monochromatic paint and trim treatment for a genuine, full-size half-ton pickup. And even with 20-inch wheels, it is fully functioning for work -- not dumbed-down to be street cool.

Sold only in a double-cab body style, Elevation Edition pricing starts at $34...Read more

Auto Word: Land Rover's New Compact Discovery Sport Has Street, Trail Cred

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

Dual-Sport Disco: Land Rover's New Compact Discovery Sport Has Street, Trail Cred

It may not look the part in its street view, but the new Land Rover Discovery Sport is a credentialed trekker.

It can ford a creek of up to 23.6 inches, if the driver knows how to create a bow wave. With its sophisticated (and standard) all-wheel-drive system and...Read more

Auto Word: Mitsubishi Revamps 2016 Outlander, Reinvigorates Brand

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

It may be understatement to say that Mitsubishi has had some challenging times lately in the United States. But at the recent media drive for the 2016 Outlander crossover, company vice president Don Swearingen said, "We've pulled ourselves out of it and the (new Outlander) is the best product we've ever brought to market."

The company has high ...Read more

Auto Word: Infiniti QX80 Limited a Posh Brute of an SUV

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

The habitat of the big truck-based SUV has been decimated in most regions of the U.S., not just by a downsized economy but also by downsized housing developments, downsized parking spaces and garages.

The big SUV has its assets, particularly when hauling the family and the trailered toys to the lake, marina, mountain, desert, horse shows or a ...Read more


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