2019 Acura Nsx Quick Spin Review | Japan Takes On The World, Again

2019 Acura NSX quick spin review | Japan takes on the world, again

I drove the 2019 Acura NSX on track a while back, and it's an absolute freight train. But now that I've driven it in the snow and the rain and our pothole-riddled streets around Southeast Michigan, I can tell you about what it's like to live with the Japanese supercar.

Our tester was painted in gorgeous Casino White pearl. It's a stunner in this color, highlighting the NSX's proper supercar styling – impressions were reinforced by the constant stares and craned necks over a cold November weekend. All $21,600 of carbon fiber exterior parts (several carbon packages combined) probably didn't contribute a whole lot to this, but man does it look cool up close. Updates to the 2019 car consist mostly of more suspension and tire to give it the edge it was missing before. Stiffer stabilizer bars, rear toe link bushings and re-tuned magnetorheological dampers do the bulk of the work. A complete recalibration of the steering and SH-AWD system ties it all together, and boy does it work wonders.

2018 Nissan Gt-r And 370z Quick Spin Review | Nearing Retirement Age

2018 Nissan GT-R and 370Z Quick Spin Review | Nearing retirement age

How long ago was 2009? Well, the "Fast and the Furious" franchise was only four movies in. Snapchat and Instagram weren't even invented yet, and people were paying $50,000 over sticker for the new Nissan GT-R, which was the hottest thing to come out of the Japan since the spicy tuna roll. 2009 was basically a lifetime ago. But somebody has forgotten to tell Nissan.

While the automaker has been busy merging with Renault, buying Mitsubishi, chasing electric-car glory with the Leaf and creating a gaggle of cute crossovers, it has forgotten all about its sports cars. The automaker is still cranking out essentially the same GT-R and the same Z-car it introduced nine years ago. Godzilla and the 370Z's advanced age has not been lost on America's enthusiast. GT-R and 370Z sales have dwindled to laughable levels.

2018 Toyota Prius C Quick Spin Review | My Favorite Prius

2018 Toyota Prius C Quick Spin Review | My favorite Prius

This week, we had a 2018 Toyota Prius C Four in our test fleet. It had been a while since I'd driven the C, but remember liking it more than the standard Prius — at least that was true a generation ago. Since then I've driven updated Priuses and Prius Primes. So when the C arrived, I snatched the keys and drove it home — a 40-mile commute through city streets, rush-hour highway traffic and a little stretch of curvy roads to top it off. I was eager to try to remember why my vague memory of the car was positive, and if it would remain so.

Heading down the parking lot, I had no trouble spotting the Prius C with its bulbous, bright orange nose poking out from between other, more subdued hues of neighboring vehicles. I was pleased to see that its paint — Tangerine Splash Pearl — nearly matched the Orange Fury of the 2018 Ford Mustang we recently welcomed to our long-term garage. So far, so good.

Who wore it better? @therealautoblog pic.twitter.com/qNhaooXxMN — John Beltz Snyder (@jbeltzsnyder) May 2, 2018

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid Quick Spin Review | Behold, The Relevant One!

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Quick Spin Review | Behold, the relevant one!

When evaluating electrified vehicles like the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, it's easy to become fixated on electric range. Oh, it's certainly one of the most important factors, but there are so many other things one must weigh when choosing one of these new-fangled eco-friendly cars. Things like comfort, quality, feature content, driving experience ... you know, the stuff we use to evaluate every other car out there.

This point is even more important to the Honda Clarity, since it's a considerably different vehicle than the bulk of current plug-in hybrid vehicles. The Toyota Prius Prime, Hyundai Ioniq and Chevrolet Volt all have dimensions similar to those of compact sedans. Interior quality and overall refinement are comparable to that gas-only segment, too.

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Phev Quick Spin Review | Why Doesn't Everyone Make One Of These?

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Quick Spin Review | Why doesn't everyone make one of these?

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV took a remarkably long time to get to the United States. It went on sale in Europe in 2013, and was originally planned to come to America the year after, but didn't arrive until late in 2017. Mitsubishi was also fortunate that, in the time it took to finalize the American model, the entry-level competition remained primarily sedans and sedan-like hatchbacks, with the exception of the Niro PHEV, a crossover smaller than Outlander, and closer to a traditional hatchback. So the question is, was it worth the wait, and is it worth considering against other plug-in hybrids?

A mostly frugal and very smooth powertrain

The big appeal of the Outlander PHEV is of course its plug-in hybrid powertrain. It comprises a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and two electric motors, one up front, one in the rear. This powertrain can function in three different ways. There's full electric mode, series hybrid mode (the gas engine acts like a generator, and propulsion is handled solely by the electric motor), and parallel hybrid (a clutch engages the engine to the front motor for additional propulsion assist). The Outlander switches automatically between these operational schemes depending on drive mode settings. For example, with a full charge you can press a button to keep it in EV mode, at least as long as there's enough battery power. Two other buttons can allow you to save the battery charge for use later, such as in town after a highway drive, and a charge button to replenish the battery level while driving.

2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 Quick Spin Review | Beauty Before Brawn

2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 Quick Spin Review | Beauty before brawn

The 2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 is an absolute beauty in person. And that's important, because, more than any other segment in the automotive marketplace, a personal luxury coupe has got to have the kind of attention-grabbing looks that can lead off the discussion about a brand-new vehicle. Like this one.

It's also important because the name Red Sport 400 conjures up a kind of performance imagery that the Q60's hardware doesn't quite live up to. But before we delve into the world of horsepower and torque, let's finish talking about style. Like most luxury marques these days, Infiniti is working really hard to put a variant of its instantly recognizable corporate face on everything it sells. Unlike some other automakers — *cough* Lexus *cough* — Infiniti has been mostly successful in the styling-led marketing push without making each new car a caricature of the model it replaced.

2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Quick Spin Review | Deserving Of A Clean Slate

2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Quick Spin Review | Deserving of a clean slate

The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is named after a sport compact coupe, which was iconic to some and a sad reminder of its brand's slide into irrelevance to most others. That "Eclipse" is now attached to a compact SUV will likely cheese off the former and cause the latter to sarcastically mutter, "Yup, that seems about right." Mitsubishi's marketers would say it shares the old Eclipse's "reputation for driving dynamics and technology." Do with that what you will.

For now, though, let's put aside what it's called. Well, beyond the fact it's comically long to say and difficult to type (I started calling it the Eagle Talon Cross for those reasons). Because really, the name straps a whole load of baggage to a mostly clean-slate vehicle that in concept is actually a smart move by a brand trying to climb back to relevance. In size, it straddles the line between B- and C-segment compact SUVs. In shape and style, it's set apart from the more utilitarian entries of both. Under the hood, it provides torque-rich turbocharged grunt in contrast to meek naturally aspirated rivals. The ample ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive (on most trims) take a page from the Subaru playbook that's been moving the chains so well.

2018 Subaru Brz Quick Spin Review | Curves Required

2018 Subaru BRZ Quick Spin Review | Curves required

I had a 2018 Subaru BRZ Limited with a six-speed manual and half a day to play on wet, windy roads hemmed by pine trees in the foothills of a massive mountain range. But Michigan was on my mind.

Some cars work everywhere. Michigan's the perfect place to find those that do: The roads are flat and pockmarked, and the seasonal extremes are brutal. It's easy to love a car on one of those bucket-list Alpine passes, but on Michigan roads the car has to work hard to win you over. For example, the MX-5 Miata works in Michigan just fine. It's fun in all conditions in which you can get the rear tires to hook up, and some that you can't. It cheerfully entertains in traffic, on city streets, undulating but uninteresting country roads.

2018 Honda Fit Sport Quick Spin Review | Cheap And Cheerful As Its Ancestors

2018 Honda Fit Sport Quick Spin Review | Cheap and cheerful as its ancestorsThe suburban Seattle area was (and still is) full of 5- to 10-year-old Honda Civics, and it feels like it's been that way forever. A steady supply of reliable, inexpensive, efficient, and perhaps even attractive used cars fed a serious tuner community with its own style. Forget about the Hollywood glam rock of the "Fast and Furious" franchise; the Seattle look was low and clean, varying between functional handling improvements and something that would later evolve into the stance movement. And just like the 2018 Honda Fit I drove for a week, there was a fundamental goodness to them that transcended their economy car bones.

Nissan Armada Snow Patrol Quick Spin Review | All Hail The Winter King

Nissan Armada Snow Patrol Quick Spin Review | All hail the winter kingNissan tends to use the Chicago Auto Show to showcase weird or interesting concepts – just look at the Winter Warrior vehicles from a few years back. For 2018, the Japanese automaker is bringing a pair of snow-ready concepts fresh off the powder in Eastern Idaho. The track-equipped 370Zki (pronounced ski) will be joined by the lifted and brightened Nissan Armada Snow Patrol. We had a chance to preview both vehicles in their natural environment.

Nissan 370zki Quick Spin Review | Snow, Ice And A Fury Of Thunder

Nissan 370Zki Quick Spin Review | Snow, ice and a fury of thunderNissan has an affinity for snow. A few years back, we blasted a trio of Winter Warrior concepts around some Midwestern ski slopes. Those Chicago Auto Show-bound crossovers were equal parts awesome and outlandish thanks to a set of four-wheel tracks, but 2018's sequel really takes things to a new level. At least that's the conclusion we came to after figuring out just the right moment to flat-foot the Nissan 370Zki concept out of a corner in the mountains of Eastern Idaho.

2018 Nissan Leaf Quick Spin | Another Fork Stab Into The Light Socket

2018 Nissan Leaf Quick Spin | Another fork stab into the light socketUtility is about the least interesting reason for buying a new car. There's no exhilaration in signing up for 60 months of financing on an appliance that will never inspire passion. There's no joy in looking forward to taking something for granted. So, here's the second-generation 2018 Nissan Leaf — the all-electric future of ordinary. Don't get excited. No, really. Don't. Get. Excited.

2017 Toyota Highlander Quick Spin

2017 Toyota Highlander Quick SpinEach and every year, millions of vehicles are bought to be used solely as a means to an end; the end being getting to and from work, the mall, or the grocery store, and the means being, say, a Toyota Highlander. It's not the quickest crossover, nor is it the best-handling. In fact, it's not exciting at all. But those things don't matter even one iota to the Highlander's target buyer, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Toyota's midsize crossover is a very sensible automobile, and Toyota is equally as sensible for providing a huge number of buyers with exactly what they want.