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The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
LEXUS IS200 DELIVERS QUITE A PUNCH

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
That IS250 sport sedan (2.5-liter V-6) is history and ably replaced by an all-new IS200t, which boasts of a wheelbase up by 3 inches and 1/2-inch width increase from its predecessor. But probably the best part is the 2.0-liter twin-turbo and intercooled inline-4 cylinder engine putting out 241 horsepower @ 5800 rpm and 258 pounds-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm. It is more than

CASCADA – THIS BUICK BABY IS TOPLESS!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
The new Buick baby has arrived. No kidding! Known traditionally for its bulky and full-size vehicles, the GM luxury brand has undergone a renaissance of sorts that will continue well into 2018. The 2016 Cascada marks the return of a convertible to the Buick lineup after 25 years.
Under the hood resides a sole Ecotec 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder, which cranks

MAZDA CX-5: WHAT IS NEW FOR 2016?

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Hardly in its third year and the 2016 Mazda CX-5 has been revamped. The exterior gets a bold-looking five-point grille surrounded by trapezoidal eagle-eyed halogen headlights, and fresh fog lamp surround. Tweaked is the MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension. Noticeably lowered are noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.  Interior changes include a new

REFRESHED HONDA ACCORD IS COMPOSED, SUPPLE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
After a major makeover in 2013, the Honda Accord is back, once again refreshed though the power train remains unchanged.
Once again, the 3.5-liter V-6 engine cranks out 278 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and 252 pounds-feet of torque @ 4900 rpm. Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system operates in three or four cylinder modes to save fuel. Standard is a seamless 6-speed automatic

MITSUBISHI LANCER ADDS THRILL TO THE DRIVE!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
That the Lancer is an exciting and energetic car to drive is an understatement. No wonder Mitsubishi has kept the 2.4-liter inline-4 cylinder engine, which develops 168 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 167 pounds-feet of torque @ 4100 rpm. Unlike in other competitor cars, the precise and easy-to-engage Continuous Variable Transmission works.
The front-wheel-drive sedan in the GT

ACURA MDX: WHAT IS NEW FOR 2016?

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Well, not a whole lot new going on with the 2016 MDX. That is because Acura revamped its luxury SUV just two years ago. The 3.5-liter V-6 continues to put out 290 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and 267 pounds-feet of torque @ 4500 rpm. But say goodbye to the 6-speed auto transmission, which has now been replaced by a nine-speed gearbox. Once again, the MDX is offered in front-wheel as well as

MAZDA CX-3 WILL BE HARD TO BEAT

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Mazda has the SUV market covered quite well, from top to bottom. It starts with the full-size CX-9, then the midsize CX-7, down to the compact CX-5 and trickling to the all-new subcompact 2016 CX-3. Under its hood is a 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder engine putting out 146 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 146 pounds-feet of torque @ 2800 rpm while coupled to a 6-speed auto gearbox.

PRICEY RLX HYBRID A GOOD MIX OF POWER, LUXURY

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
This Acura flagship may not win accolades like its competitors but the ride truly is up to the job of perfectly blending performance and luxury. And with a hybrid power train added to the mix, the RLX becomes more appealing than ever before.
Our all-wheel-drive test car was equipped with a direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 engine cranking out 377 total horsepower and 341

QUIRKY KIA SOUL A TOUGH ACT TO BEAT!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
After a major redesign last year, the Kia Soul continues mostly as is in 2015. Nowhere on the road would you miss the funky, tall and boxy look of this subcompact wagon, which has been one of the turnaround vehicles for the rapidly-growing Korean carmaker.
It is not a power house but the 2.0-liter gasoline-direct injection inline-4 cylinder engine is sufficient to get the job

RAM PROMASTER CITY GETS THE JOB DONE!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Thank Fiat International, one of the largest producers of commercial vehicles in the world, for the latest fine offering from Dodge. The 2015 compact Ram Promaster City wagon is a good alternative to the pickup or minivan.
The purposeful cargo/passenger van gets a sole 24-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder engine offering 178 horsepower @ 6400 rpm and 174 pounds-feet of torque @

REVEL IN THE ON- OR OFF-ROADING TOYOTA 4RUNNER

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
For 2015, the Toyota 4Runner continues as is. And why should not the midsize SUV, which has been in the running for more than three decades? Once again, the robust ride is equipped with a 4.0-liter DOHC V-6 engine developing 270 horsepower @ 5600 rpm and 278 pounds-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm. It is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission, which we hope will get one an

FUNCTIONAL RDX DELIVERS A VIGOROUS PERFORMANCE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
After a major overhaul three years ago, the 2016 Acura RDX gets a mid-cycle refresh, which we believe adds more value. As a result, the small luxury crossover maintains its status quo with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine cranking out 279 horsepower (up 6 from predecessor) @ 6200 rpm and 252 pounds-feet (up 1) of torque @ 4900 rpm under the hood. A fresh variable cylinder management

OUTLANDER MANAGES A PASSABLE PERFORMANCE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Mitsubishi had promised more than a mid-cycle refresh of its 2016 Outlander. And it appears the Japanese carmaker has followed through on its pledge with a revamped crossover utility vehicle that touts over 100 engineering and design improvements.
Unfortunately, there is no change in the 2.4-liter, inline-4 cylinder power train, which once again develops 166 horsepower

NEWCOMER, ROOMY HONDA HR-V LACKS POWER

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It is a notch or two below the bestseller CR-V. Maybe Honda felt a subcompact SUV was needed to fill in a niche of sorts. And that the HR-V does for the most part, successfully. 
Available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the 2016 HR-V gets a 1.8-liter inline-4 cylinder engine packing 141 horsepower @ 6500 rpm and 127 pounds-feet of torque @ 4300 rpm. It is mated to a

ACURA ILX: WHAT IS NEW FOR 2016?

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
When it debuted about three years ago, we found the entry-level sedan to be well-equipped and well-priced for young professionals seeking a quick, practical and enjoyable Acura. Same can be said of the 2016 ILX with some significant changes.
Gone is the 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder power train. Instead, the car retains the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, putting out a

2016 HYUNDAI TUCSON WILL ENTICE BUYERS

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Introduced in 2004, the compact Hyundai Tucson has undergone a makeover in the past. But the inside out redesign and power train change for the front-wheel or all-wheel-drive 2016 SUV appears to be major. And for the better, we must say.
Mated to a 6-speed auto transmission, the base SE trim comes with a 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder engine putting out 164 horsepower @

MUSCLE-CAR BUFFS WILL LOVE THE CHARGER R/T!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It falls just one short of the SRT Hellcat, which Dodge has loaded up with a mind-numbing 700 horsepower. Our 2015 Charger R/T Scat Pack test drive was equipped with a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine, which still packed a massive punch at 485 hp @ 6000 rpm and 475 pounds-feet of torque @ 4200 rpm. And that is more than plenty for this full-size sedan, finally mated to an 8-speed auto

CAMARO SS WITH 1LE PACKAGE AN INCREDIBLE RIDE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
This one is especially for the performance-oriented folks. The rest should take a back seat. Seriously. The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS gets a mammoth 6.2-liter V-8 engine cranking out 426 horsepower at 5900 rpm and 420 pounds-feet of torque at 4600 rpm. Making the rear-wheel-drive coupe a thriller is an effortless and standard 6-speed manual stick with a 3.9 final drive gear

ALL-NEW FIAT 500X WRINGS OUT OK PERFORMANCE

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
And we thought the 2014 Fiat 500L was supersized. But that is not the case anymore with the debut of the 2016 FiatX, an even larger vehicle, in fact the largest Fiat on the roads. Since the then-Italian carmaker (and now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) began selling cars in the United States four years ago, it has been our fortune to drive them all: base 500, Abarth, 500L and recently the

LET THE 2016 PILOT STEER YOU TO YOUR DESTINATION

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Except for the suspension and steering, it is an all-new 2016 Honda Pilot. Here are most of the major changes compared to its predecessor in a nutshell: 30 more horsepower and 9 pounds-feet of torque; 5-speed auto is now either 6-speed or 9-speed depending on the model; weight is down by nearly 300 pounds; wheelbase is up by almost 2 inches and length almost 3.5 inches; 1.3

2016 SONATA HYBRID DELIVERS ON SEVERAL COUNTS

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
In the automotive world, bigger is always better. In most cases. But the 2016 Hyundai Sonata hybrid takes off in a different direction. The previous 2.4-liter power train has been replaced with a smaller 2.0-liter GDI 4-cylinder engine developing 154 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 140 pounds-feet of torque. When paired with the 38-watt kW (up by 3) electric motor, the car boasts

FOUR-DOOR MINI COOPER BROADENS BUYER APPEAL

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
And now we have a hardtop four-door Mini Cooper. This inevitably means larger in all aspects but it is still miniscule, sort of. A 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder twin-turbo engine develops 189 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 207 pounds-feet of torque @ 1250 rpm. The 6-speed manual in the 2015 Cooper S is a blast to shift, especially at lower speeds. Front suspension is left up to a

MEET THE LIGHTER 2016 MAZDA MIATA MX-5!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Since its debut in 1989, more than 950,000 units of the “Best-Selling Two-Seater Sports Car” have been sold. With a total redesign for its 2016 model, we expect the Mazda Miata MX-5 to hit the 1 million mark fairly soon. Really, no tribute can be enough for the charmer. Even after 26 years (who is counting?), top-down motoring enthusiasts have a blast going down the

LINCOLN MKC OFFERS PLENTY OF POWER

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Lincoln finally got it done! Its first compact luxury SUV is out on the road. And the small debutant is packed with ample power. The five-passenger SUV even comes in front-wheel or all-wheel drive in the 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder engine. Take your pick. Under the hood of our test drive sat a 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-4 engine belting out 285 horsepower @ 5500 rpm and 285

PRACTICAL HYUNDAI SANTA FE IS A FUN SUV TO DRIVE!

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com

The popular and much-touted midsize crossover from Hyundai comes in several trims. There is the Santa Fe Sport, the Sport 2.0T, the GLS and the Limited, which was our test drive for a week. The six-passenger, front-wheel-drive  (AWD is also available) is equipped with a 3.3-liter gasoline-direct injection V-6 engine cranking out 290 horsepower @ 6400 rpm and 252 pounds-feet of

HANDS-ON MURANO A TOUGH PACKAGE TO BEAT

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com

Just six months ago, we presented an overall review of the 2015 Nissan Murano. This time, the Japanese carmaker sent over the five-passenger midsize crossover for a week. Our revamped and front-wheel-drive ride was fitted with a 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine, which is mated to a Continuous Variable Transmission. It develops 260 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 240 pounds-feet of torque

NISSAN REVAMPS 2016 MAXIMA

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
So far, Nissan has sold 2.9 million Maximas in the United States. With a total redesign for 2016, we expect a spike in sales of the Smyrna, Tenn.-assembled eighth-generation full-size car.
The front-wheel-drive “four-door sports sedan” as Nissan likes to call it, acquires a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which pumps out 300 horsepower (up by 10) @ 6400 rpm and 261

FIAT ABARTH GETS ALL-NEW AUTO GEARBOX

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
If you have always yearned for the Abarth trim but did not buy one because it lacked an automatic transmission, your prayers have been answered. The performance-oriented turbocharged and intercooled 2015 Fiat Abarth is equipped with an all-new 6-speed auto gearbox (additional $1,350). But the hatchback or convertible retains the 1.4-liter inline-4 cylinder engine packing 160 hp @

NX 300h A WORTHY ADDITION TO LEXUS LINEUP

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
The compact luxury crossover segment just got “richer,” sort of, with the entry of the 2015 Lexus NX 300h. The all-new model is a pleasure to drive, responding with agility in any driving situation while packed with luxury and tech goodies expected from this upscale division of Toyota.
A 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder gas engine with Atkinson cycle

ENJOY POWER-AT-ALL-TIMES IN SUPERCAR NISSAN GT-R

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Back in 2009, when the supercar debuted, base price was just $76,840 and horsepower topped 480. Forget those days, as they say. The 2016 Nissan GT-R Premium comes at a hefty $101,770 and though retaining the 3.8-liter V-6 twin-turbo engine, it blasts off 545 hp (up by 5 from its predecessor) @ 6400 rpm and 463 pounds-feet of torque @ 3200-5800 rpm. The 6-speed dual-clutch auto

FORD PUTS FOCUS INTO THE SPOTLIGHT

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It has the looks for sure. The restyled bulging hood, mesh grille, trunk lid, available signature lights and rear lamp clusters for 2015 further enhance the bold styling of the Ford Focus. Also introduced into the sedan/hatchback lineup is a 1.0-liter turbo EcoBoost engine. However, we were quite content with the 2.0-liter gasoline-direct injection inline-4 cylinder engine

E250 BLUETEC DIESEL A WIN-WIN FOR BENZ

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
At the risk of offending other carmakers, we believe, “There is nothing like a Mercedes.” Apparently, the folks over at Benz must have sensed our thoughts and decided to dispatch over the 2015 E250 BlueTEC. A wonderful, pleasant drive it was that stretched to about 575 miles before the gas light came on.
Unchanged for this year, the midsize luxury sedan is

CHRYSLER 300: WHAT IS NEW FOR 2015?

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Totally redesigned in about four years ago, the 2015 Chrysler 300 continues to be available in a base 3.6-liter V-6 engine developing 292 and 300 horsepower. However, under the hood of our rear-wheel-drive (all-wheel drive is also available) test car sat the legendary 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine belting out 363 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 394 pounds-feet of torque at 4200 rpm. Probably

SKIP PLENTY OF FILL-IT-UP STOPS IN CAMRY HYBRID

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Ready for the 600-mile summer trip up north on a 17-mile tank before a refill stop? Then take your seat in the revamped 2015 Toyota Camry hybrid, which can eke nearly 40 mpg in combined driving. The midsize sedan retains the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder and an electric motor, putting out a total of 200 horsepower. Though not a powerhouse, the car can sprint from 0 to

REVAMPED 2015 HONDA CR-V IS ALSO A FUEL SAVER!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
In 2012, the Honda CR-V (Comfortable Runabout Vehicle) underwent a major transformation. And once again, the compact SUV has been refreshed this year though not on a massive scale. But it is all for the better.
Offered as a front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the 2015 CR-V acquires the direct-injection power train in the Accord: a 2.4-liter inline-4 cylinder engine that

2016 KIA SORENTO GAINS A NEW TURBO ENGINE!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
It is bigger in wheelbase by 3.1 inches and width by 0.2 inches. Also overall cargo volume is up by 1.5 cubic feet and rear-seat passenger room by 0.5 cubic feet from its predecessor. Best of all, apart from the 2.4 and 3.3-liter GDI engines, the 2016 Kia Sorento is now equipped with an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. This GDI power train puts out 240

MAZDA REVAMPS A FAIRLY NEW CX-5 SUV

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Mazda does not believe in resting on its laurels. Take the 2016 CX-5, for instance. This compact crossover is barely in its third year (if you recall, it replaced the Tribute and CX-7) and has already been overhauled. Seating five in comfort and style, the sporty ride sticks to its reliable power train. Its 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine still develops 184 horsepower @ 5700 rpm

ODYSSEY WILL SERVE YOU WELL ON A JOURNEY!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
After a major redesign in 2012 and some tweaks last year, the 2015 Odyssey returns with its status quo intact. The minivan retains a sole 3.5- liter i-VTEC V-6 engine, which puts out 248 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 250 pounds-feet of torque @ 4800 rpm. The Variable Cylinder Management system deactivates three or four of the cylinders at lower speeds to enhance the up to

FUEL-SIPPER MIRAGE PRICED JUST RIGHT!

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Let us start with the good. Base-priced affordably at just $12,995, the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage is an awesome fuel-saving subcompact hatchback with handy standard cabin niceties. And now for the negatives. The ride is downright jumpy, handling wobbly, engine noise loud and acceleration lethargic.
The front-wheel-drive Mirage gets a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine putting out

ALL-NEW ACURA TLX A STRONG CONTENDER

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Consolidation is the keyword at Acura nowadays. As in merging the compact TSX and the midsize TL sedans into the all-new TLX luxury sports sedan. Placed between the ILX entry sedan and the flagship RLX, we must admit that the result is remarkable. Powertrain choices are a 2.4-liter inline-4 cylinder (200 hp) or the 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6 engine putting out 290 horsepower (up

ALL-ELECTRIC KIA SOUL MAKES SUITABLE DEBUT

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
About 86 miles. That is the distance we were able to drive on a full tank of … Err, forget gas, since the all-new 2015 Kia Soul Electric Vehicle (EV) runs solely on an electric motor and battery. However, EPA estimates put the full charge battery range at 93 miles. Regardless, we must hand it to the Korean carmaker for equipping the quirky and lanky hot-seller with

HANDS-ON MAZDA5 A REMARKABLY USEFUL PACKAGE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
This one defies any category. However, it has been termed a “microvan” for being smaller and cheaper than regular minivans. Sharing its basic design with the compact Mazda3, the midsize Mazda5 continues as is in the 2015 model year. Its base Sport, mid-level Touring and up-level Grand Touring share a common power train: 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder developing