Abe Calls For National Security-framework Review

Abe calls for national security-framework review

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo says the government will carry out a thorough review of national security strategy, including missile defense.

Former defense minister Onodera Itsunori heads the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's national security panel. He visited Abe on Tuesday to present a proposal on missile defense formulated by the party.

Pro Baseball, Soccer To Review Virus Responses

Pro baseball, soccer to review virus responses

Experts on infectious diseases have asked officials of Japan's pro baseball and soccer leagues to review how they will deal with any coronavirus cases among players or staff.

A joint taskforce of the organizers of the two sports held talks on Monday.

2021 Subaru Ascent Review | Price, Specs, Features And Photos

2021 Subaru Ascent Review | Price, specs, features and photos

The 2021 Subaru Ascent doesn't really stand above and beyond the crowded field of three-row family crossovers. There are those that make a bolder statement outside, that are more luxurious inside and that are better to drive. Some are even more spacious or versatile. Frankly, it's hard not to point you towards a Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade or Toyota Highlander instead.

However, the Ascent really isn't for the general three-row crossover-buying population. It's for Subaru's fiercely loyal customers, and specifically the great many who outgrow their Foresters and Outbacks. Previously, if they needed more space and/or seats, they were forced to abandon the brand that A) they were used to, and B) catered to their specific requirements that often involve outdoorsy adventures. With the Ascent, they get that extra space but it comes with the same 8.7 inches of ground clearance and beefy roof rails, an awfully familiar driving experience, and the cabin puts the same emphasis on no-nonsense, user-friendly controls. The Ascent even looks like an Outback, albeit a gigantic one. So although the Ascent isn't for everyone, it should be just right for those already onboard the good ship Subaru.

1999 Honda Prelude Type Sh Review | Retro First Drive, What It's Like To Drive, Pricing

1999 Honda Prelude Type SH Review | Retro first drive, what it's like to drive, pricing

Autoblog wasn't around for the literal first drive review, but as they say, it's better late than never. Take a trip down memory lane in our latest retro first drive.

 "Designed to be an aggressive sports coupe with superior handling, the Prelude is intended to appeal to drivers who will appreciate its high level of performance and refinement," the press release for the 1997 Honda Prelude reads.

2021 Honda Pilot Review | Price, Features, Specs And Photos

2021 Honda Pilot Review | Price, features, specs and photos

The 2021 Honda Pilot carries over the same generation that dates back five years now, making it one of the oldest three-row crossovers on the market. Considering how many impressive new or redesigned entries have been introduced since then, it's surprising that the Pilot manages to remain as relevant as it does. Though certainly overshadowed, it's still an ultra-practical choice blessed with an abundance of clever storage, ample cargo capacity and a well-sorted driving experience that nicely toes the line between comfort and response. There's also the matter of Honda's long-standing reputation for reliability and resale value. 

Basically, the Pilot can be considered the most sensible of three-row family crossovers (though the Subaru Ascent sure comes awfully close). Of course, "sensible" often doesn't equate to "desirable" as the makers of plain black running shoes can attest. The Pilot is a bit frumpy to look at, and the rather plain interior design doesn't reach the near-luxury heights of the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Toyota Highlander or Mazda CX-9. Even the Pilot's five-passenger fraternal twin, the Passport, manages to be a bit cooler. But such things are in the eye of the beholder. While we think the Telluride and Palisade in particular are stronger overall choices, the Pilot is nevertheless a well-rounded crossover that'll make sense for many families. 

2021 Toyota Supra Review | Price, Features, Specs And Photos

2021 Toyota Supra Review | Price, features, specs and photos

Ignore the noise about where the engine and most of the parts come from — BMW. Never mind the comparisons to the last Supra, which was born in a different era and carried a much higher relative price. The 2021 Toyota GR Supra is a phenomenal sports car. Powerful, agile and communicative, it's a genuine performance machine capable of keeping up with more expensive cars on a track or your favorite winding road. Yet, it's also playful and full of character, eagerly wagging its tail around corners and sounding sensational in the process. And although its looks aren't universally adored, our time spent in various Supras would indicate the general public likes it enough to draw impressed stares and thumbs up.

And as we go into below, the Supra lineup expands for 2021. The new four-cylinder model lowers the price of entry, and although it certainly doesn't provide the thrills or speed of the six-cylinder (which was given a significant bump in power this year), it should nevertheless be priced well below similarly powerful luxury-branded sports cars, including its BMW Z4 platform-mate and the Porsche 718 Cayman. Of course, the six-cylinder Supra makes its own compelling value proposition, but it also drives so well that it doesn't have to lean on its price tag to get noticed. 

2020 Nissan Kicks Review | Price, Specs, Features And Photos

2020 Nissan Kicks Review | Price, specs, features and photos

It's easy to roll your eyes at many of the tiny "crossovers" that are flowing out of carmakers these days. Though marketed as crossovers and given a few token styling cues to go with a modest increase of ride and seat height, most are simply glorified hatchbacks. That description certainly applies to the 2020 Nissan Kicks, which doesn't even offer all-wheel drive to satisfy the crossover M.O. But here's the thing: Being a hatchback isn't bad, and the Kicks is quite a good one. It supplies a massive amount of space for a vehicle its size, comes with a wealth of safety features for a vehicle with its modest price, and doesn't feel like a penalty box to sit in or drive despite the hatchback reputation. For those seeking an efficient, inexpensive urban runabout that can swallow enough stuff for a weekend getaway, it makes a lot of sense.

Indeed, it makes more sense in that scenario than other subcompact "crossovers" that usually cost more and provide less space. Upper trim levels are also quite nicely adorned, with a few key trim pieces drawing your eyes away from understandably cheaper ones. However, there are reasons it's not a slam dunk. Nissan's engineers did their best to make the Kicks feel quick enough, but there's only so much one can do with a wheezy 122 horsepower. Its lack of all-wheel drive is another issue, and the unusual steering can frustrate. This is by no means a fun car to drive, and it's hardly a comfy, quiet, long-distance cruiser, either. So it's not perfect, but within the segment company it keeps, it doesn't need to be. 

2020 Nissan Frontier Review | What's New, 3.8-liter V6, Nine-speed Automatic

2020 Nissan Frontier Review | What's new, 3.8-liter V6, nine-speed automatic

The 2020 Nissan Frontier marks the last in a particularly lengthy pickup truck generation that dates all the way back to the 2005 model year. Next year we'll get a completely redesigned model, but before that happens, Nissan is giving the old truck one last "hurrah" with a taste of the new one in the form of a fresh V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission, the only choices for this year. And the new combo is a mighty good sign of things to come.

Just on paper, the engine and transmission make strong cases for themselves. The 3.8-liter V8 makes 310 horsepower, which is 49 more than the old 4.0-liter and 158 more than the discontinued four-cylinder base engine. Its 310 horses also make it the most powerful midsize truck in the segment. Its 281 pound-feet of torque is unchanged, but that's still more than what you get from the V6s in the Chevy Colorado or Toyota Tacoma. Only the diesel Colorado and the Ford Ranger's turbo four-cylinder top the Nissan's torque rating. Combined fuel economy of 20 mpg with RWD and 19 mpg with 4WD improves upon its 4.0-liter predecessor by 1 and 2 mpg, respectively. Credit goes to the lighter more efficient engine and the additional gear ratios, however, fuel economy is still dead last in the segment among similar automatic V6 RWD trucks. The 4WD ties the V6 Gladiator and Colorado, and tops the Colorado ZR2 with a V6. Odds are the next-generation truck will improve this further.

Abe Orders Review Of 'hanko' Seal Culture

Abe orders review of 'hanko' seal culture

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has ordered measures to promote teleworking, in step with a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Abe instructed Cabinet ministers Monday to allow businesses to file administrative forms without having to stamp them with a seal.

2020 Lexus Gs F Review | Performance, 0-60, Exhaust Noise, Video

2020 Lexus GS F Review | Performance, 0-60, exhaust noise, video

You don't hear much about the 2020 Lexus GS F. It's been out for a while now, the model having debuted for 2016 and the base GS sedan stretching all the way back to 2012. That's an awful lot of time for the automotive world to whiz by, especially in the upper echelon of performance sedans. Packing 467 horsepower is suddenly weak sauce when rivals have crested the 600-hp plateau. The fact that Lexus still hasn't convinced the automotive enthusiast community at large that it actually makes compelling performance machines certainly doesn't help. 

To be perfectly honest, I have avoided testing the GS F for several years now. "Who's going to buy that?" I've pondered, considering all of the above plus its $85,000 price tag. Nevertheless, I've got more time on my hands these days to test more cars and a Lexus Flare Yellow paint job is impossible to ignore, so hey, why not?

2020 Nissan Sentra Review | Price, Specs, Features And Photos

2020 Nissan Sentra Review | Price, specs, features and photos

The all-new 2020 Nissan Sentra compact sedan is a more competitive entry into an already competitive but shrinking car segment. This new generation of Sentra improves over the past model in many ways: Exterior styling, interior design and materials, comfort, performance and handling. We like the way it looks, and appreciate the improvements to the driving dynamics without sacrificing comfort or fuel economy.

The 2020 Sentra is a much more interesting car than generations past and a generally good offering, but it still has some flaws — meager power, a sole CVT transmission option and a cramped back seat. It's also up against some stiff competition, including the Honda Civic, Mazda3 and newly improved Toyota Corolla, which, frankly, we still prefer over the Nissan. Nevertheless, the Sentra feels competitive and well-rounded for the segment — something we wouldn't have said about it a year ago.

2021 Toyota Highlander Review | Price, Specs, Features And Photos

2021 Toyota Highlander Review | Price, specs, features and photos

While the latest RAV4 underwent a revolutionary redesign to reset its look, character and capability, a far more evolutionary approach was taken with its big brother Highlander's own redo last year. The 2021 Toyota Highlander represents the second year of the current generation, which dawned wearing softer and more organic styling, a more welcoming cabin and an improved driving experience. Yet, the overall concept remained the same. It is a three-row family crossover, and although it grew just a smidgen to accept a bit more luggage, it remains one of the smallest choices in the segment. The third row is best used in a pinch. Apparently, Highlander customers didn't have a problem with that, which says a lot, since there are a lot of them and they tend to be repeat shoppers of a nameplate that's been around for 21 years.

Now, if you don't foresee larger teens or adults needing that third row, then the Highlander's more manageable size, ultra-efficient Highlander Hybrid model, impressive cabin quality, and time-tested dependability and resale value add up to a large family vehicle that'll work for many. However, it has many impressive competitors, many of which cost the same or less despite offering more spacious and comfortable third-row seating. Among those are the excellent new Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade cousins, as well as the no-nonsense Honda Pilot and Subaru Ascent family haulers. The new Highlander makes a much more compelling case for itself against them, but we'd also highly recommend considering them all especially after determining how much room you really need.

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4x Review | Impressions, Photos, Specs, Features, Price

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X Review | Impressions, photos, specs, features, price

The 2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X takes the newly refreshed Titan full-sized pickup, adds some kit to give it some off-road grit, as well as a cosmetic treatment to give it a sporty look inside and out. It's not for everybody. Sales lag far behind the Detroit manufacturers, to put it mildly, and even well behind the Toyota Tundra. It lacks the flash of chrome we see on a lot of pickups, and Nissan took an interesting tack with design cues that surely not everyone will love. Finally, there's only one powertrain option: a big, naturally aspirated V8. Its extra equipment is compelling, though; the Bilstein shocks, electronic locking rear differential, big General Grabber tires, skid plates and tow hooks mean you can easily picture yourself far off the beaten path with ease.

The Titan's 5.6-liter V8 provides 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. That's more power than most other V8s in the class, short of GM's burly 6.2-liter EcoTec3. But, it's the Titan's only engine offering. Want something more economical like Ford's turbo V6 engines or Ram's mild hybrids? No dice. That said, it's a sweetheart of a V8, providing wheel-spinning torque at stoplights, continued pull at the end of highway on-ramps, and a breathy growl of a soundtrack that pairs well with the motive experience. Its nine-speed automatic gearbox is an exceptional match, optimizing gears for a feel of linearity across the board, feeling quicker than the seven-speed auto in the Nissan Armada, and hesitating and hunting less than the 10-speed boxes of the competition.