2019 Toyota 4runner Review And Buying Guide | More Lovable Than Ever

2019 Toyota 4Runner Review and Buying Guide | More lovable than ever

The increasingly iconic Toyota 4Runner soldiers into its ninth year without a full redesign. A typical car or crossover is redesigned after six. Frankly, the 4Runner was never a bastion of modernity, as its truck-based structure and interior design result in comfort, refinement and efficiency compromises that always stood in contrast to similarly priced and sized crossovers. That's still the case with the 2019 Toyota 4Runner, but its interior design and technology have only fallen further behind the times, while its handling, noise and overall comfort are worse than what you'd get in a midsize crossover like the Honda Passport or Toyota's own Highlander. Its fuel economy is comparatively abysmal.

Now, if all of that makes you think twice about the 4Runner, we've done our job. It's certainly not the most rational SUV purchase, and it's smart to consider its many downsides. That said, we also love the 4Runner and understand why you might as well. It has character in spades, especially the ultra-rugged TRD Pro trim, and can go places none of those crossovers would dare. This is a serious off-roader, yet when compared to other such vehicles it's surprisingly comfortable and genuinely large inside. Few two-row SUVs — crossover or truck-based — can match its utility. Yes it's old and less refined than a crossover, but it's also not as crude as you'd expect, and there's also something to be said about simplicity.

What's new with 4Runner for 2019?

The TRD Pro trim level is upgraded. It gets Fox shocks, a new skid plate and a bulky roof rack similar to the one once available on the FJ Cruiser (its classic Voodoo Blue paint also makes its first appearance on the 4Runner TRD Pro, pictured above). A sunroof and JBL sounds system are also now standard, but the price rises by a somewhat questionable $4,000. Elsewhere in the lineup, the 4Runner Limited is offered in a new Nightshade Edition that consists of a bunch of blacked-out exterior trim.

2019 Lexus Ux Review And Buying Guide | More Lexus, Less Corolla, Please

2019 Lexus UX Review and Buying Guide | More Lexus, less Corolla, please

The 2019 Lexus UX is the smallest and cheapest Lexus you can buy, and the UX 250h hybrid model just barely misses out being the most fuel efficient. As an entry into the Lexus brand, this subcompact crossover is generally an impressive effort, embodying the design, quality, features and driving experience we've come to expect – albeit with understandable cutbacks made to achieve its lower price.

However, the UX faces stiff competition. It has one of the smallest cabins in a segment not known for its spaciousness, and its Remote Touch tech interface constantly frustrates. And while fuel economy is exceptional for the segment, its acceleration is underwhelming regardless of whether you get the UX 250h or gas-only UX 200. Worse still, you can only get the latter with front-wheel drive. In other words, this is a car with distinct highs and lows.

What's new for 2019?

The Lexus UX is an all-new model for 2019. It is mechanically based on the same platform that underpins most new Toyota models such as the Toyota C-HR and Toyota Corolla, as well as the Lexus ES sedan. It slots into the bottom of the Lexus SUV lineup below the NX.

2019 Honda Civic Review And Buying Guide | A Little Something For Everyone

2019 Honda Civic Review and Buying Guide | A little something for everyone

In the compact car market, the Honda Civic has almost always been a benchmark, and there's a reason for that: it's consistently been really great. The 2019 Honda Civic is no exception. It has a large, airy interior with quality materials. The engines are smooth, powerful and economical. And it's nimble while also being comfortable. Not only that, but there's a Civic for just about any need with sedan, coupe or hatchback body styles — no other compact car offers such diversity. There are also trim levels and powertrains that range from frugal to exhilarating, yet all offer competitive pricing and impressive value. For these reasons and others we'll explain below, the Civic is still one of the best compact cars on the market.

What's new for 2019?

The 2019 Honda Civic marks the third year for this generation, and changes are mostly restricted to some styling tweaks, and trim and feature additions. All Honda Civics, regardless of trim or body style, now have black grilles, replacing the flashy chrome version available on past models. The lower grilles of the sedan and coupe have been merged into one opening, and all trims on sedans and coupes get chrome accents in the lower fascia except the new Sport trim.

The Sport trim has been added to the coupe and sedan models, but unlike the hatchback's Sport trim that gets a turbocharged engine, these Civics stick with the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The Sport coupe and sedan do get Honda's touchscreen infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto, unlike the Sport hatchback. This infotainment system now features physical shortcut buttons and a volume knob, but it retains the existing user interface. The gauges get red backlighting, the pedals are made of aluminum, the wheels are larger and it has a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A manual transmission is also now restricted to LX sedan, all Sport body styles, the Si and Type R. All other Civics get a CVT.

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Review And Buying Guide | Stylish But Not Sporty

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Review and Buying Guide | Stylish but not sporty

The Nissan Rogue Sport crossover is small, attractive, and relatively cheap. Despite sharing a name with the larger Rogue, the Rogue Sport is a completely different vehicle. It's the least expensive vehicle in Nissan's portfolio with optional all-wheel drive. What it doesn't offer, despite its name, is a sporty driving experience, and it can get surprisingly pricey if a buyer isn't careful with options.

What's new for 2019?

Nissan added its new Rear Door Alert technology, which activates the horn and other notifications when the system detects the rear door opened before the engine started but wasn't re-opened after shutting down. Also standard are a rearview monitor, a Bluetooth phone and infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, plus an available nine-speaker Bose audio system. There's a new color option and the expanded availability of its ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving and Safety Shield 360 safety technologies. And finally, there's a new exterior color, Scarlet Ember Tintcoat, added to the list of choices.

What's the interior and in-car technology like?

The Rogue Sport is a pretty nice place from which to watch the miles pass by. You probably wouldn't want to spend a lot of time in the rear seat, but it's roomier than a lot of the competition, and both front seats are cozy. The optional leather seats look and feel nicer than you'd expect for a vehicle in this class. The thick, flat-bottomed steering wheel feels good to hold, and helps add a little to the perception of sportiness.

2020 Toyota Supra Review | In The Footsteps Of A Legend

2020 Toyota Supra Review | In the footsteps of a legend

SUMMIT POINT, W.Va. — The 2020 Toyota GR Supra is quite the multi-layered cake. It resulted from a pragmatic collaboration with BMW, which caused an uproar from those who balk at Toyota's halo car sharing Bavarian DNA. Then there are the comparisons to its predecessor, the legendary Supra A80 (1993-1998), as well its platform-mate, the BMW Z4. Then there's the translation from the ZT-1 concept car's wild look to a more compact production Supra, whose dimensions were dictated by the chief engineer and whose final look caused some disappointment.

For now, we're going to focus on the car itself — the layer that ultimately matters most to those who might actually buy the thing. Putting aside (but not forgetting) its history and development, the 2020 Supra is an exceptional car: a rear-drive, two-seat sports car, which as chief engineer Tetsuya Tada explains, is defined by specific diminutive dimensions and an emphasis on performance and handling. That spurred the creation of the unique Supra/Z4 platform in the first place (rather than adapting an existing platform), and made it necessary to adapt/shrink the well-received ZT-1 concept's look.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus Second Drive Review | Riding The Extended Range

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus Second Drive Review | Riding the extended range

An electric vehicle has an appeal you can only understand once you've owned one. Sure, you might feel good about going green, analyzing every environmental consideration like our Alex Kierstein did recently. But there's a less noble, more immediately tangible reason to buy an EV — it really brings out one's inner cheapskate.

There is nothing sweeter than passing up the gas station where you used to throw away a $50 bill every week. Before purchasing a 2013 Nissan Leaf to serve my 35-mile daily commute, I had never imagined how satisfying it would be to whoosh past the pumps. Stuck in Seattle traffic, surrounded by gasoline-powered cars wastefully idling, my only energy loss was from the radio. There was political smugness: It felt kinda great to stick it to Big Oil. Don't have to stop, buy gas, fill up, change oil — don't have to do anything except remember to plug the car in at night.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Review | Sharp Looks, More Room And Fewer Cylinders

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Review | Sharp looks, more room and fewer cylinders

According to Volkswagen, the new 2019 Arteon is the spiritual, not literal successor to the swoopy CC sedan. Another clue: the company will position the Arteon as the brand's flagship vehicle, rather than one of their strong-selling SUVs or crossovers. One VW rep said sales would be closer to the outgoing, niche Beetle than the volume-selling Tiguan or Atlas. Is the Wolfsburg brand crazy to emphasize the dwindling sedan market as most carmakers flee it? Listen up as we unravel the mystery of the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon.

When you look at the Arteon's underpinnings, VW's desire to separate it from the CC (or at least keep it at arm's length) starts to make more sense. While the CC was essentially a Passat with a lower roofline and snugger cabin, the Arteon rides on the more advanced MQB platform. The chassis gets five more inches of wheelbase, 2.9 more inches of rear legroom, and nearly double the cargo capacity. Here's another clue to the sleek four-door's place in the VW universe: Arteon's name derives from the Latin artem, which means "art." The wordplay suggests more of a design showcase than an appliance, a conveyance intended to make a statement and stand out. And stand out it does: from the Arteon's grille strakes that cleverly integrate into the LED headlamps to its uninterrupted character lines and elegantly tapered haunches, the attractive fastback manages to defy its relatively reasonable starting price of $36,840. This is not your father's Passat; The Arteon is a serious looker.

Honda Roav Concept First Drive Review | Desert Beast With A Heart Of Gold

Honda ROAV Concept First Drive Review | Desert beast with a heart of gold

CANTIL, Calif. — Honda is not a brand known for its offroad abilities. During the 1990s SUV craze, it borrowed from Isuzu. Even when Honda finally built a pickup, it stubbornly refused to go body-on-frame. Rock crawlers and overlanders aren't fleeing their Toyotas and Jeeps for Passports and Pilots. However, Honda is a brand known for fun, and sometimes it creates wacky concepts just for the hell of it.

The Honda Rugged Open-Air Vehicle is just such a concept, but it differs from the company's traditional concepts in a couple of ways. Honda's idea of "fun" is typically non-threatening and Disney-fied — think cute ASIMO robot, family-friendly ads, or its refusal to acknowledge its legions of tuner speed freaks. Even as it builds Type Rs, it wants to be seen as a responsible corporate citizen. Nor was the ROAV built to rotate on a giant lazy Susan on an auto show floor, like most concept cars.

2019 Honda Accord Touring 2.0t Review | The Car With Everything

2019 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T Review | The car with everything

In a market that's rushing to fill every micro-segment or create new ones, let's consider a vehicle that offers a little of everything all in one package: the 2019 Honda Accord. What we love about the Accord is that the comfort-oriented trims work just as well as the sport- and economy-oriented trims – and that Honda has supported each with great powertrains, comfortable and easy-to-use interiors, and a healthy dose of style. It's refreshing to see a sensible pushback to the proliferation of niche models.

The Accord's low, wide and imposing shape is further enhanced by tight sheetmetal folds and a lack of extraneous vents and grilles. To me, it looks like a Japanese take on the Dodge Charger – aggressive, athletic, but leaner and cleaner – and I love that. That's not to say it's a perfect design. Some of my colleagues aren't big fans of the fastback roofline, as well as the huge, shiny, upright grille. At least you can tone down the grille a bit with one of Honda's optional designs.

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Drivers' Notes Review | Comfortably In The Middle

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Drivers' Notes Review | Comfortably in the middle

There isn't a whole lot that's new for the Nissan Rogue Sport for the 2019 model year (a light refresh is coming for 2020). But Nissan's two-pronged Rogue strategy (the automaker bundles both the subcompact Rogue Sport and compact Rogue into the same sales figure each month) continues to be popular with consumers. In fact, the dual-headed Rogue ranks as the fourth-best-selling nameplate in America so far in 2019, sitting behind nothing but the Big Three's full-size pickup trucks.

Three trim levels are available — S, SV, and SL. All Rogue Sports are powered by the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that sends 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque to either the front or optionally all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

2019 Mazda Cx-9 Review And Buying Guide | Fun For The Whole Family

2019 Mazda CX-9 Review and Buying Guide | Fun for the whole family

The 2019 Mazda CX-9 crossover is the biggest vehicle in the Japanese automaker's lineup, and the only one to offer a third row of seating. It has only one powertrain option, but offers a wide variety of other content across various trim levels. Many folks are drawn to Mazdas for their elegant design, affordability and driving dynamics that are sharper than most, and the CX-9 has all of that to a certain degree even if it's the biggest, most family-oriented one. Still, the CX-9 may be big for a Mazda, but it's one of the smallest in its segment in terms of third-row space and cargo capacity, so it may not be for every family.

What's new with the Mazda CX-9 for 2019?

Though largely unchanged from when this generation debuted for the 2016 model year, the Mazda CX-9 gets a few small changes for 2019, the biggest of which is the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, which is optional on its lowest Sport trim and standard on the Touring, Grand Touring, and Signature. The transmission has been retuned for a smoother, quieter driving experience. Thicker floor mats and headliner further help to make the car quieter.

Each trim gets a little something new, too. Sport now offers an optional Sport Package, costing $1,290, with heated front seats, a power driver's seat, heated mirrors, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. Moving up to the Touring trim, the only other change is a frameless rear-view mirror. The Grand Touring trim gets a new 7-inch info screen in the instrument panel, along with new power-folding side mirrors and a 360-degree camera system. The top-level Signature trim gets new badges, rosewood interior trim, and accent lighting in the grille and around the shifter.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review And Buying Guide | Long In The Tooth

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review and Buying Guide | Long in the tooth

The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport subcompact crossover may seem like the right type of car for the times, but it falls short in its execution. Brand new tiny crossovers have been popping up left and right from other manufacturers, but the Outlander Sport feels like it's stuck in the past.

If we're looking at it with the glass of water half full, the exterior styling sets itself apart from the rest of the homogeneous little ones out there. It's taut, angular, a little muscular and has some great looking wheel options. Unfortunately, that expressive exterior styling isn't carried over inside. Even in its most expensive form, the entire interior is a black plastic paradise. Powertrain options are a mixed bag with a lot more choices than most other subcompacts provide.

What's new for 2019?

Not much is new for the 2019 model year. SE trim models now have more standard safety equipment, including blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning. The highest-priced GT trim adds forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning and automatic brights. This Outlander Sport belongs to the first-generation model, which debuted for the 2011 model year.

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan Drivers' Notes Review | Cheap And Cheerful

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan Drivers' Notes Review | Cheap and cheerful

The 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan received a very minor update for this model year, dropping the iA name (a carryover from the days of Scion) and adding a few trim levels. The car is still based on the Mazda2, a vehicle no longer sold in America. Aside from the badging and the grille, the styling both inside and out is distinctly Mazda. Before, the car was only available in one basic spec (again, a legacy of Scion), but now Toyota is offering three separate trims — L, LE and XLE. All three are still powered by a 1.5-liter inline-four, though only the L and LE are available with manual transmissions. The automatic improves fuel economy by 1 mpg across the board. Standard features on the XLE include leatherette seating, a 7-inch infotainment screen, keyless entry and ignition, and automatic climate control.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: The Yaris is one of the stronger, better-looking cars in this diminutive class. It looks far nicer than its predecessors, and the interior is better than expected for this price point. Thanks to its Mazda genetics, the Yaris handles well with a tight chassis and solid steering. It's a tossable little sedan. I was able to get a carseat in back, which was slightly challenging with a car this small but nothing crazy. The Yaris is fun-to-drive, attractive and a decent bargain.