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The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
2019 CORVETTE DELIVERS PLENTY OF PUNCH

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com

Corvette buffs have a choice: go with the 2019 rear-wheel-drive hatchback/convertible that still comes in a 7-speed manual. Or wait for the 2020 mid-engine C8 that will be available only in an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. It is a tough decision but the way we look at it, there may be some deals in the 2019 car.

Regardless, the 2019 convertible is equipped

REDESIGNED 2019 JETTA IS USEFUL, ECONOMICAL AND ENJOYABLE!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com

It may have lost its No. 1 place as the second best-selling model for VW in the United States to the small Tiguan SUV but the Jetta still may catch up some day. We liked the fully redesigned and sportier R-Line trim we test drove recently. The 1.4-liter turbocharged/intercooled 4-cylinder direct-injection engine still belts out 147 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 184 pounds-feet of

BENZ C43 AMG CONVERTIBLE IS A DREAM TO DRIVE!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com

Zero to 60 is accomplished in a mere 4.6 seconds. And top speed is set at 130 mph. OK, it is not supercar numbers but still quite impressive. Under the hood of the even more powerful 2019 Mercedes-Benz C43 Cabriolet resides a 3.0-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine specially hand built by the AMG division in Affalterbach, Germany.
 
Step on the throttle of

2019 GMC SIERRA AT4 DISPLAYS TREMENDOUS OFF-ROAD ABILITIES

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Some months after testing the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab, GMC dispatched over an AT4 (All-Terrain four-wheel drive) model of this solidly built pickup over. The highly capable off-road AT4 brand, which we are told will be seen in all future GMC vehicles, comes with a 2-inch factory installed suspension lift to provide more ground clearance, Rancho shock absorbers,

ALL-ELECTRIC CHEVY BOLT IS A GROUND-BREAKING VEHICLE!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Imagine going 200 miles and some more on a full one-time electric charge in a ride. GM claims 238 miles, to be exact, in its four-door, five-passenger 2019 Bolt EV. It is ultra-smooth and a cool hatchback offering superb handling and overall balance. 

Power comes solely from a huge under-floor lithium-ion battery that has a capacity of 60 kWh and an electric

RETURNING PASSPORT A WELCOME ADDITION TO HONDA LINEUP!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
In 1993, it was sold as a Passport in collaboration with Isuzu. That lasted about nine years. And now the midsize SUV is back, slotted perfectly between the compact CR-V and the full-size Pilot. Though about an inch higher and 6 inches shorter than its bigger sibling, it shares the same engine, transmission, suspension, steering and wheelbase as the Pilot.

So

SPORTS COUPE ENTHUSIASTS WILL DIG TOYOTA 86

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Before you wonder what the heck a Toyota 86 is, here are the answers. It is a sports car equipped with an 86 mm bore and stroke. Also, AE86 was the global name for the Corolla GT-S, which was sold in the mid-80s. And that is how the now-defunct Scion FR-S adopted the 86 identity, now passed on to Toyota.

Developed jointly with Subaru (BRZ for one!), the

LEXUS RC350 F SPORT DELIVERS A PUNCH OR TWO

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
0 to 60 is reached in only 5.8 seconds, ¼-mile in 14.3 seconds and top speed can peak at 143 mph. Not bad, we thought, as we took the third-generation 2019 Lexus RC 350 F Sport for a test drive. As expected, this enjoyable and entertaining luxury coupe is quick off the mark, supple in traffic and a blast to drive. Under the unitized steel body resides a 3.5-liter V-6

OVERHAULED MAZDA3 IS A FUN CAR TO DRIVE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It has always been an exciting and well-composed ride for us. In fact, all Mazdas are. What makes the Mazda3 special is its amazing agility, response and grip. The 2019 power train is fitted with the direct-injection Skyactiv technology, which uses a torque boost via a high compression ratio for stretching fuel economy. Under the hood sits a 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine

2019 CORVETTE DELIVERS PLENTY OF PUNCH

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Corvette buffs have a choice: go with the 2019 rear-wheel-drive hatchback/convertible that still comes in a 7-speed manual. Or wait for the 2020 mid-engine C8 that will be available only in an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. It is a tough decision but the way we look at it, there may be some deals in this year car.
Regardless, the 2019 convertible is equipped with a

2019 KIA FORTE IS A LOT OF CAR FOR THE MONEY!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2019 Kia Forte EX sedan.

DOWN THE ROAD: Slotted between the Rio and Optima, the totally redesigned third-generation compact ride is longer (3.2 inches) and wider (0.8) than its predecessor. Plus, height is down by just 0.2 inches. Regardless, you have an enjoyable car to drive, displaying superb

REDESIGNED ACURA RDX IS BIGGER AND BETTER!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
As though a mid-cycle refresh three years ago was not enough, Acura has totally overhauled its RDX for 2019. Out goes the 3.5-liter V-6 engine in this third-generation SUV to be replaced by a 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder turbo blasting off 272 horsepower (down 7) @ 6500 rpm and 280 pounds-feet of torque (up 28) @ 4500 rpm. Also say goodbye to the 6-speed auto gearbox, which has

THOUGH A PLUG-IN HYBRID, VOLVO XC60 TOUTS AGILITY

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Nearly a decade after its introduction, Volvo redesigned its hot-seller XC60 in and out last year. We recall then the carmaker had dispatched over the T6 trim for us to test, which was equipped with a 2.0-liter inline-4 turbocharged and supercharged engine. For 2019, we received a T8 plug-in hybrid version (E-AWD), which put out a massive 400 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 472

ENJOY OPEN-AIR MOTORING IN THE FUN-TO-DRIVE MAZDA MIATA!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It is a dream ride for top-down motoring buffs. The rear-wheel-drive Mazda MX-5 Miata, which celebrates its 30-year anniversary, continues to reign over the competition. More so now than ever before, thanks to extra power and torque in the 2019 model, as well as a standard tilt/telescoping steering column and rearview camera, among other new safety features. 

Under

TACOMA DELIVERS A NO-FRILLS RIDE, EVEN OFF-ROAD!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2019 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 TRD Sport midsize pickup.

DOWN THE ROAD: The power train continues to offer a composed ride while absorbing the bumps of rough surfaces with skill and sure-footedness.

TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine, which is mated to

MAZDA6 IS AN ENTERTAINING, SPIRITED RIDE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Among the midsize sedans in the market, the Mazda6 is probably the most enjoyable and energetic ride. We have driven a variety of power trains but the all-new version in the 2019 sedan is among the finest. Our Signature trim was equipped with a 2.5-liter turbocharged, inline-4 engine putting out 227 horsepower @ 5000 rpm and 310 pounds-feet of torque @ 2000 rpm. Transmission

LEXUS FLAGSHIP LS500 IS ULTRA LUXURY ON WHEELS!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Right off the bat, let us point out that the Lexus flagship sedan is not for everyone. Ask why? Well, it has a base price of nearly $79,000, which with options is almost $104,000. Add tax, tag, delivery and destination and you are looking at around $120,000.

Now that price is settled for a few, but not for most, here is what you get. Under the hood of the 2019

AFFORDABLE OUTLANDER SPORT IS AN ATTRACTIVE PROPOSITION

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Smaller than its sibling, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport continues to chug along for 2019 with a redesigned steering wheel and an all-new 6.1-inch audio display. Our test drive GT trim replaces the previous SEL. Otherwise, it is the same 2.4-liter, inline-4 cylinder power train that puts out 168 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 167 pounds-feet of torque @ 4200 rpm. The slightly noisy

GAS-SIPPER LEXUS RX450h IS A SMART CHOICE!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay.com
After a major overhauling two years ago, the Lexus RX450h continues mostly as is. The increase in wheelbase, length, width and height appears to have been sufficient for the 2019 model. It is equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to electric motor/generators, putting out a plentiful 308 total horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 247 pounds-feet of torque @ 4600 rpm. It takes just 7.7

REDESIGNED 2019 TOYOTA RAV4 SEATS FIVE IN COMFORT

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Since its debut in 1996, the RAV4 has stood the test of time delivering a civilized and enjoyable ride. Of course, never to rest on its laurels, Toyota has totally overhauled its best-selling vehicle in the United States for 2019.

Under the hood of the compact SUV resides a 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine with variable valve timing that produces 203 horsepower (up

2020 TOYOTA COROLLA GETS AN ALL-NEW HYBRID MODEL!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Bold, new stylng. Competitive price. Value consistent. And a bullishness on sedans and small cars. Those were the claims from Toyota representatives during the launch of the 2020 Corolla in Savannah, Ga., recently. Most important in our eyes is the hybrid version of the Corolla, a first for the United States. Watch out, sibling Prius!
The fully redesigned and 12th-gen

COROLLA iM REPLACEMENT HATCHBACK IS A WORTHY SUCCESSOR

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It is nothing like the 2018 Toyota Corolla iM. Its replacement, the 2019 Corolla hatchback, has a longer wheelbase of 1.5 inches and is lower by an inch, wider by 1.2, longer by 1.5, with a hood 2 inches lower than its predecessor.
The previous 1.8-liter power train has been replaced by a lighter 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder generating 168 horsepower @ 6600 rpm and 151

OUTLANDER PLUG-IN HYBRID A WORTHWHILE 1ST EFFORT

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
We have driven several versions of the Mitsubishi Outlander with the somewhat OK 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6 power trains under the hood. But recently we test drove the five-passenger SUV with a 2.0-liter engine putting out 117 horsepower @ 4500 rpm and 137 pounds-feet of torque @ 4500 rpm. And yes, it is a PHEV (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), which adds an

REV-HAPPY LEXUS IS350 IS AN APPEALING RIDE!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Except for a tweak or two, the third-generation Lexus IS 350 continues as is for this year. The compact sport sedan is nippy off the mark, agile in traffic and a blast to drive. How quick? It can take off 0 to 60 in barely 5.6 seconds, ¼-mile in 13.8 seconds and can reach top speed of 142 mph.
Under the unitized steel body sits a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that cranks out

ACURA MDX: WHAT IS NEW FOR 2019? THE A-SPEC VARIANT!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Barring the addition of the fuel-saving engine idle-stop, few minor interior alterations and an all-new A-Spec trim (more about it later), the 2019 MDX remains as is. That is because Acura revamped its three-row midsize luxury SUV a couple years ago. The retained 3.5-liter V-6 still puts out 290 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and 267 pounds-feet of torque @ 4500 rpm. And one could not

ENJOY FULL-SIZE PICKUP CAPABILITIES IN MIDSIZE COLORADO

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Ever since its return in 2015 after a 7-year hiatus, the Chevy Colorado has taken on such tough contenders as the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. For 2019, this midsize pickup continues to break new ground, drawing in a loyal following as well as several new owners.
Available in at least three varying power trains (2.5 and 2.8), our Z71 trim was equipped with a 3.6-liter

MEET EDGE ST, A FIRST SUV FROM FORD PERFORMANCE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
The midsize crossover segment is packed with tough rivals. Take the solid Toyota Highlander, Nissan Murano and Chevy Equinox, to name a few. Standing its ground among the worthy challengers is the alluring five-passenger Edge. To make it even more tempting, Ford has introduced Edge ST, the first utility from Ford Performance.
That, of course, means more power in the

OVERHAULED 2019 RAM TAKES THE HONORS, AND MUCH MORE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Six years ago, the Ram 1500 won North American Truck of the Year award. And in 2019, the full-size pickup has once again picked for the honor by U.S. and Canadian automotive journalists at the recently concluded North American International Auto Show in Detroit. As they say, history repeats itself.

It is a totally redesigned, almost all-new Ram, which was

ELEGANT LINCOLN CONTINENTAL PACKS POWER TOO!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Sometime back, we test drove the Lincoln Continental with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine under the hood. And recently we received the 2018 full-size luxury sedan but with a 2.7-liter twin-turbo engine cranking out 335 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 380 pounds-feet of torque @ 3500 rpm. The Lincoln flagship is mated to a smooth 6-speed auto gearbox and an option of comfort, normal and

2019 SILVERADO GETS A TOTAL REDESIGN – FOR THE BETTER!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
That the pickup market, like the SUV segment, is tough and competitive is a given. There is the best-seller Ford F-150, the revamped Ram, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, GMC Sierra and more. In the midst of all lands an overhauled 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD with a wheelbase stretched by 3.9 and length by 1.6 inches offered in either a 5 8” or 6.6” box. Rear seat

EXPLORE THE TERRAIN IN THIS FINE, COMPACT SUV!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Introduced eight years ago, the GMC Terrain has stood the test of time despite fierce competition in the compact SUV segment. Available as a front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the hands-on and robust Terrain is a fine blend of performance and style. 
Sharing power trains with the Chevrolet Equinox, the base engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder boasting 252

IT IS AN ALL-NEW AND HIGHLY CAPABLE 2019 HYUNDAI SANTA FE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Just so there is no confusion, the Santa Fe Sport model is out. From 2019 onward, all you have is a two-row, five-passenger Santa Fe offered in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive. And it will be a while before the three-row Santa Fe XL hits the market.
Available in five trims, the popular and much-touted midsize crossover from Hyundai will come in two power trims: a

AUDI A4 IS A BLAST TO DRIVE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It is sporty, stylish and luxurious. To top it all, the 2018 A4 also comes with a standard quattro all-wheel drive. One cannot ask for a better ride in the small luxury sedan segment than this Audi.  
The A4 comes with a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine developing 252 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 273 pounds-feet of torque at 4500 rpm. It can scoot from 0 to 60 mph in a

ENJOY YOUR TIME IN THE ENERGIZING CADILLAC CTS-V!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
This super sedan is all about power, oodles of it, and luxury that only a Cadillac can offer. For 2019, the CTS-V stays mostly as is with a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine blasting off 640 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 630 pounds-feet of torque at 3600 rpm. The rear-wheel-drive car, which can take off from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 3.7 seconds with top speed of 200 mph, is coupled

ALL-NEW LEXUS UX PURPOSE-BUILT FOR THE URBAN BUYER

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
In which city would you launch a small crossover designed for the modern urban explorer? Seattle, of course, the vibrant city that offers an array of experiences from underground grunge to Pike Place Market to the Amazon Spheres!
And that is where we found ourselves after Lexus for a preview of its all-new 2019 UX in the fastest-growing compact SUV segment. The urban-centric

2018 GOLF IS A LOT OF COMPACT CAR FOR THE MONEY!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Many may recall that the VW Golf won the 2015 North American Car of the Year. Indeed, along with its counterpart GTI, which we recently test drove, the Golf has set fresh benchmarks in innovation, design, value and available driver assistance features (examples: adaptive cruise control, front assist, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert).
The GTI is equipped with

FORD MUSTANG GETS A FEW TWEAKS … FOR THE BETTER!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
53 years and still going strong. Thats the Mustang for you. But Ford engineers will not rest on their laurels despite its iconic history, fine-tuning the 2018 version even more … for the better, of course.
Under the hood of the classic American muscle car sits a 5.0-liter V-8 engine cranking out 460 horsepower (up 25 from its predecessor) @ 7000 rpm and 420 pounds-feet

LARGE FAMILIES WILL BENEFIT FROM 2019 GMC YUKON XL

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It has been over three years since the Yukon Denali XL was redesigned. For 2019, GMC has incorporated some new colors but otherwise the full-size SUV continues as is. With a powerful engine under the hood, the body-on-frame ride accelerates quickly from any speed. We dig the active noise cancellation feature, which guarantees silence and poise at highway speeds. 
A

ROGUE SPORT IS USEFUL, FUEL EFFICIENT AND INEXPENSIVE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It is just slightly smaller than the hot-seller Rogue: 2.3 inch shorter in wheelbase, 12.1 inches fewer in length and 5.6 inch lower in height. But this entry-compact crossover delivers a comfortable well-damped ride while targeting youthful and active lifestyles.   
The 2.0-liter inline-4 DOHC cylinder engine still develops 141 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 147

2018 LINCOLN NAVIGATOR IS ULTIMATE NO-FRILLS WORKHORSE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It is the first American vehicle ever to dominate the J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study. The top ranking, deservedly so, is thanks to customers who praised the SUVs technology to seat comfort, surpassing other brand nameplates.
Totally redesigned for 2018, the Lincoln Navigator is equipped with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which

WATCH YOUR SPEED IN CHALLENGER SRT HELLCAT!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Zero to 60 in the mid-3 second range and top speed at 199 mph. Impressed? You ought to be. The 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi SRT engine in the Dodge Challenger boasts robust acceleration, superb handling and steering feel. Our Widebody Hellcat test-drive version is all new for 2018.  

Step on the throttle and the V-8 engine blasts off 707 horsepower (yes, you read

THIS NISSAN COMPACT CROSSOVER HAS A FEW ‘KICKS’ TO IT!

By NITISH S. RELE –  motoringtampabay@gmail.com 
The all-new 2018 Kicks, an entry-level and affordable crossover utility vehicle, essentially “kicks” off the CUV/SUV lineup for Nissan. Millennials, singles and couples without children, the tech reliant, exploratory and image-conscious folks should have a go or two at the front-wheel-drive compact crossover. It makes perfect sense. After all, it starts

FORGET THOSE FILL-IT-UP STOPS IN REVAMPED CAMRY HYBRID

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Like the regular 2018 Toyota Camry, which we reviewed last month, the hybrid version gets a similar re-do – 2-inch wheelbase increase and 1½ inch length but width and height decrease by an inch. And the midsize hybrid sedan may retain the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder and an electric motor but it puts out a total of 208 horsepower (up by 8 from predecessor). And

2019 MAZDA CX-3 FIERCE COMPETITOR IN SUBCOMPACT SUV MARKET

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Mazda has the SUV market covered quite well, from top to bottom. It starts with the mid-size CX-9, the compact CX-5 and trickling to the subcompact 2019 CX-3. Under its hood is a 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder engine developing 146 horsepower (bump of 2 from previous) @ 6000 rpm and 146 pounds-feet of torque @ 2800 rpm while coupled to a 6-speed auto gearbox. Our front-wheel drive

2018 LEXUS NX 300 PACKS POWER, LUXURY

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Lexus continues to shine in the compact luxury crossover segment. The previous NX 200t, now renamed the NX 300, is a blast to drive, responding with quickness in any driving situation while loaded with luxury and tech goodies expected. Zero to 60 is an impressive seven seconds.
A 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline-4 cylinder gas engine still cranks out 235

SUBCOMPACT KIA RIO IS A STEAL OF A DEAL!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
This one grows on you. Agreed, it is a subcompact with a somewhat crammed rear-seat space but otherwise packed with amenities you rarely come across in an $18,700 ride. And it is a fun front-wheel-drive car to pitch around and through corners.
Redesigned inside out for 2018, the Kia Rio EX is equipped with the same 1.6-liter inline-4 cylinder engine delivering 130 horsepower

FUEL-SIPPING RAV4 HYBRID ALSO A PEOPLE-HAULER

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Two years ago, Toyota introduced the hybrid version of its popular RAV4. The 2018 model of the compact crossover continues as is without major changes. Why tinker with success?
The 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder gas engine puts out 150 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 152 pounds-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm. Two electric motors boast hp up to 194. A 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride

SPRIGHTLY LEXUS IS350 IS AN ENGAGING RIDE!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
0 to 60 is achieved in only 5.6 seconds, ¼-mile in 13.8 seconds and top speed can reach 142 mph. Not bad, we thought, as we took the third-generation Lexus IS 350 for a test drive. As expected, the compact sport sedan is quick off the mark, supple in traffic and fun to drive. Under the unitized steel body resides a 3.5-liter V-6 engine developing 311 horsepower (up by 5) @

TOTALLY REVAMPED 2018 CAMRY IS A BOLD ATTEMPT … AND IT WORKS!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
We have waited and waited for years and finally Toyota has delivered. A brand new Camry unlike any other in the past, the 2018 sedan will take your breath away. It is a total overhaul from any of its predecessors, grille to bumper.
Let us begin with the 3.5-liter V-6 cylinder engine, which now delivers 301 horsepower (increase of 33 hp) @ 6600 rpm and 267 pounds-feet

HYUNDAI OVERHAULS 2019 VELOSTER … FOR THE BETTER

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Austin, Texas served as the setting for our test drives of the front-wheel-drive 2019 Hyundai Veloster. Agreed, Texas is considered mostly a flat land but not this state Capitol and surrounding landscape, which is known as “The Hill Country.” It was the perfect place for evaluating the two competent models with the 2.0- and 1.6-liter engines.
Once again, the

SPORTY KIA NIRO PHEV IS A WINNER ALL THE WAY!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
After the Niro hybrid last year, Kia dispatched over the 2018 Niro PHEV (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) for us recently. The only difference is that PHEV adds an electric charge feature enabling the five-passenger compact crossover to go up to 26 miles without using gas. The charge port, located in the driver side front fender, uses a 240- volt system that can take 2½ hours

KIA SORENTO A HIGHLY PRACTICAL PACKAGE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It is not a major re-do but the 2019 Kia Sorento undergoes some noticeable outward changes. The 3.3-liter GDI power train continues to crank out 290 horsepower @ 6400 rpm and 252 pounds-feet of torque @ 5300 rpm. Seating up to seven, the midsize SXL SUV is now coupled with an 8-speed auto gearbox instead of the previous 6-speed. Tow capacity is still a cool 5,000 pounds.

ALL-NEW ODD-LOOKING TOYOTA CH-R IS AFFORDABLE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
A quick glance at the all-new Toyota CH-R (Coupe High-Rider) and the natural response would be, “Now, that is unusual!” But that is understandable. Indeed, the 2018 cheeky-styled subcompact crossover teases you with its coupe-like roofline and raked windshield meeting up to slim projector-beam headlights, black grille, and color-keyed front/rear bumpers, door

POTENT TUNDRA TOUTS TOW, CARGO CAPACITY

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
THE RIDE: Four-door, up to six-passenger 2018 Toyota Tundra 4X4 Limited CrewMax full-size pickup.
DOWN THE ROAD: The retained power train continues to offer a composed ride while absorbing the bumps of rough surfaces with skill and sure-footedness.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 5.7-liter DOHC V-8 engine, which is

SUPERCAR LEXUS LC500 HYBRID IS A SENSATIONAL RIDE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Lexus aficionadas will recall our test-drive review of the 2018 LC500 equipped with a 5.0-liter cylinder engine. The Japanese carmaker followed that up recently with the same supercar but with a 3.5-liter V-6 powertrain mated to electric motor/generators, which put out a total of 354 horsepower @ 6000 rpm. Zero to 60 mph is clocked at just 4.7 seconds with top speed limited at 155

OUTLANDER IS ROOMY, ECONOMICAL AND FUEL EFFICIENT

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
We have driven several versions of the Mitsubishi Outlander with the somewhat OK 2.4-liter 4-cylinder power train under the hood. But recently we test drove the crossover utility vehicle with a 3.0-liter V-6 developing 224 horsepower @ 6250 rpm and 215 pounds-feet of torque @ 3750 rpm. Without a doubt, the GT trim of the Outlander is an enjoyable ride that responds with agility

THOUGH LARGE, AVALON BOASTS TREMENDOUS LIVELINESS

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
If you are looking for a large sedan that delivers smooth and linear acceleration with first-rate steering and body control, then the Avalon should be at the top of the list. The front-wheel-drive Toyota is the near-perfect ride, whether you want to dodge peak-hour traffic or cruise the highway this summer.
A 3.5-liter V-6 engine blasts off 268 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 248

REDESIGNED VOLVO XC60 IS PERFECTLY BALANCED

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It was long time coming and Volvo has made the most and best of it. Nearly nine years after its introduction, the XC60 has been totally revamped in and out. Offered in at least three trims, our small luxury crossover SUV was equipped with a T6 2.0-liter inline-4 turbocharged and supercharged engine cranking 316 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 295 pounds-feet of torque @ 2200 rpm.

VW PASSAT IS THE PERFECT FAMILY SEDAN

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
With such stalwarts as Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Mazda6 competing fiercely in the sedan segment, credit goes to Volkswagen Passat for standing its ground. It is truly a remarkable car with reasonably quick and smooth acceleration from any speed.
Our test drive was equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine cranking out 280 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and 258 pounds-feet

APPEALING CX-9 HAULS PASSENGERS, CARGO WITH EASE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Redesigned just two years ago, the CX-9 continues with a couple changes for 2018. Noticeable among them are a standard G-Vectoring Control (uses engine timing for more accurate steering inputs), Smart City Brake Support (designed to reduce rear-end collisions by stopping at low speeds before a frontal impact), blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert in all trims.

GO TOP DOWN IN STYLISH BMW 430i CONVERTIBLE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
A luxury sport convertible on your radar? Then the BMW 430i could very well be to your liking as long as you are prepared to spend $50,000 and change. Make that over $63,000 if an M sport package along with other options catches your fancy.
The outstanding performer has been tweaked inside and out though it retains the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder twin-turbo engine blasting off

ALL-NEW KIA STINGER SPORTBACK IS A WINNER

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
“No way, is that a Kia?” was the first impression from most everyone who happened to gaze at our 2018 Stinger test car. Indeed, it is a product of the Korean carmakers nearly decade-long work to produce the five-passenger sportback. And it has done an exceptional job.
The rear-wheel-drive four-door coupe is equipped with a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 pumping out 365

2018 CADILLAC CTS PERFECTLY BLENDS PERFORMANCE, STYLE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Last year, we had the fortune of driving the Cadillac CTS-V with a 6.2-liter V-8 blasting off 640 horsepower, sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and tops out at 200 mph. For 2018, we received yet another CTS but this one with a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine putting out a healthy 420 hp @ 5750 rpm and 430 pounds-feet of torque @ 4500 rpm. Power reaches all the wheels via a

AFFORDABLE ELANTRA UNDERGOES A REMAKE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It is like an all-new Hyundai Elantra for 2018. The compact sedan/hatchback now portrays a lower and wide stance with a cascading hexagonal grille flanked by standard projector headlights and vertical LED daytime running lights. The rear gets a standard spoiler, dual exhaust, and LED tail and brake lamps. Larger than its main competitor, VW Golf, the Elantra goes up 1.6 inches in

LARGE FAMILIES WILL DIG REDESIGNED 2018 BUICK ENCLAVE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
THE RIDE: Four-door, seven-passenger 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir luxury crossover SUV.
DOWN THE ROAD: Based on a body-on-frame, the extra power in the overhauled Enclave is plentiful to propel the 4,358-pound plus vehicle. The ride is solidly built for rapid acceleration from any speed, generous passing ability and precise

ALFA ROMEO INTRODUCES ALL-NEW STELVIO SUV

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
After the 4C Spider two-seater sports car and the Giulia sedan, Alfa Romeo has introduced the Stelvio SUV to the U.S. The all-new compact luxury ride shares its powertrain with the Giulia: 2.0-liter inline-4 turbocharged engine putting out 280 horsepower @ 5200 rpm and 306 pounds-feet of torque @ 4000 rpm. Mated to an 8-speed auto gearbox, the double-wishbone front and an Alfa-link

BENZ E400 COUPE A PLEASURE TO DRIVE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Give us an E-Class anytime. As in the E400 coupe. Redesigned for 2018, the 10th-gen midsize luxury car is equipped with a 3.0-liter V6 bi-turbo engine packing 329 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 354 pounds-feet of torque @ 4000 rpm. The 4Matic (four-wheel drive) ride is mated to a standard 9-speed automatic, which can be driven in individual, dynamic, comfort, eco, sport and sport + modes.

2018 NAVIGATOR DESERVEDLY NORTH AMERICAN TRUCK OF THE YEAR

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It has been named North American Truck of the Year, marking the first time a Lincoln vehicle has captured this prominent honor, now in its 24th year. The 2018 Lincoln Navigator beat the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Ford Expedition to win the award based on innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value at the recent North American International Auto Show in

CADDY BRINGS LUXURY, TECH, SPORTINESS TO CT6

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Now here is an American-made ride that can give tough competition to its European rivals. The 2018 Cadillac CT6 is not just a stunner but also loaded with classy and tech-laden cabin accoutrements.
Under the hood of the full-size sedan resides a direct-inject 3.0-liter DOHC twin-turbo V-6 engine belting out 404 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 400 pounds-feet of torque @ 5100 rpm.

ALFA ROMEO 4C SPIDER IS A SPEED DEMON!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It was our very first test-drive of an Alfa Romeo car ever. And we must say it left a lasting impression on us, especially the “takeoff” aspect. Step on the gas and the rear-wheel-drive 4C Spider will catch you off guard, as it lunges forward with a fervor you would not find in most sport cars. It is quick on its feet, reaching 0 to 60 mph in a mere 4.1 seconds.