KIA Sedona SX Makes More Sense Than the SXL

Although a few options differentiate the Sedona SX and SXL, but with the technology package added, both come equipped with auto-leveling HID headlights, High Beam Assist, a 115-volt power inverter in the cargo area, front and rear parking sensors, a multi-camera parking system, adaptive cruise control, forward collision and lane departure warning as well as a heated steering wheel.

KIA Sedona SX -rear shot

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2017 Maserati Quattroporte GTS Gransport First Drive

2017 Maserati Quattroporte GTS Gransport first drive

We’re here to drive the 2017 Maserati Quattroporte, a mid-cycle refresh of the current flagship, on roads that once hosted the Targa Florio. Sadly for us, along with the “sea transfer” to dinner our itinerary promised, these plans have been scuttled by the, um, conditions, which according to local lore can be attributed to something called autocombustione: spontaneous combustion. (Editor’s Note: The reality, it seems, is far more strange. The Mafia, which controls the local forestry industry, was reportedly sending burning, gasoline-soaked cats into the forest.) We’ll head west, away from the smoke, to the historic mountain commune of Erice.

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2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco 1.4T

Hyundai and Kia overstated the fuel economy of a combined 1.2 million vehicles, costing the sibling rivals $100 million in penalties plus the forfeiture of $200 million in greenhouse-gas-emission credits. Dealers are still providing annual cash reimbursement to owners of affected vehicles, including the previous-generation Elantra, which was infamously promoted as able to achieve 40 mpg in highway driving. After the EPA bust, Hyundai restated the Elantra’s fuel economy, downgrading its highway rating to 38 mpg.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco 1.4T

We ponder all this now because Hyundai is back with a new Elantra for 2017, and a new model, the Eco, which again boasts a 40-mpg EPA highway rating. In our first two fill-ups of the new car, we calculated 42 and then 43 mpg. Impressed, we pitted the Eco against a regular Elantra Limited on a mixture of highways, twisty back roads, and city streets. The Eco returned 42 mpg in this exercise, for a 6-mpg margin of victory. When we totaled all the Elantra Eco’s miles over the course of our testing, we actually beat its EPA combined rating of 35 by 3 mpg.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler Pickup: We Knew It was Coming, And Now Iit’s Real

After years of toying with the idea of bringing back a pickup variant (who remembers the early ’80s CJ-8 Scrambler?) to the lineup, Jeep finally is moving forward with what has to be the most obvious brand extension for its most iconic model.

A natural addition to the Jeep portfolio

Jeep is the profit locomotive of the FCA train, and so it makes all kinds of sense for the company to expand the brand’s offerings. Rather than moving in the direction of more carlike vehicles, which threaten to dilute the brand image, a Wrangler-based pickup is the most natural addition to the Jeep portfolio that we can think of. Chrysler would seem to know it, too, given the number of Wrangler pickup concepts it has shown over the years. The fact that there have been previous Jeep pickups also helps a ton. Moreover, the arrival of the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon has reignited the mid-size pickup-truck market.

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2016 Kia Sportage: It Uses Its Predecessor’s Strengths to Push It Towards the Top of Its Class

2016 Kia Sportage

I think the Kia Sportage is best understood channelled through the energy of family resentment. Imagine you have a cousin who has always been better than you at things you pretend not to care about. In adolescence, your parents said: “Why can’t you be more like Steve?” and your tacit response was a direct 50:50 split between: “Because Steve is a twat” and: “Why couldn’t I have had a manly name like Steve?”

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2017 Mercedes-AMG GT R : An R Ascends To the Top of the Mercedes-AMG GT Pile

2017 Mercedes-AMG GT R : An R ascends to the top of the Mercedes-AMG GT pile

Under that mile-long hood, the GT R sports a twin-turbo V-8 based on the one in lesser AMG GTs, but with a revised intake, new forged aluminum pistons, and a higher compression ratio. The ­output dial gets turned up, from 503 horses to 577, and from 479 pound-feet of torque to 516. A lighter dual-mass flywheel is said to engender quicker responses and powertrain feel akin to that of a naturally aspirated engine. The titanium exhaust pipes move to the center of the rear fascia, and the aural ex­peri­ence should be every bit as forceful as the visual one.

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2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD

2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD

Infiniti has mitigated its capital risk in developing an entry to a trendy segment by borrowing much of the all-new QX30 from Mercedes-Benz, which offered up the platform and powertrain it uses for its own GLA-class crossover. The QX30, tested here in its top Premium AWD trim level, borrows from the Benz its chassis architecture, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, along with smaller pieces such as the door-mounted seat controls and the key fob.

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2016 Nissan Titan XD 5.6L 4×4

2016 Nissan Titan XD 5.6L 4x4

The Titan XD, intended to be a tweener model slotting into the gap between traditional half-ton pickups and heavy-duty models, initially was offered only with a 5.0-liter Cummins turbo-diesel V-8 from the Indiana-based engine supplier that is better known for providing diesel engines for semis and Ram pickups.

But more choice is always better in the pickup market (although the Titan XD remains Crew Cab only), and the Titan XD can’t hinge its entire lineup on the costly Cummins. Starting at $36,485—that’s $5000 less than the diesel V-8 version—the XD with a gasoline V-8 will also make its way into the more conventional half-ton Titan that goes on sale later this year.

2016-Nissan-Titan-XD-130-876x535

True heavy-duty truck

Despite its lower mass, the gasoline-powered Titan XD fell short of its diesel sibling in skidpad and braking evaluations. Blame the Pro-4X’s off-road-oriented extras, especially the knobby General Grabber APT tires. The 205 feet it took for the gas XD to stop from 70 mph is more toward the realm of true heavy-duty trucks than light-duty ones. And the soft, vague feel of the brake pedal did not inspire confidence on the road.

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2017 Porsche Panamera

When Porsche originally decided to move forward with the Panamera, a lot of options were on the menu, including a traditional three-box sedan. But there were enough of those in the market, and not so many hatchbacks. Since then, more hatchbacks have joined the luxury arena, including the Audi A7 and the Tesla Model S. But the Panamera stands alone: More spacious than the A7 and more luxurious than the Tesla, it’s a valid contender against the Audi A8, the BMW 7-series, and the Mercedes-Benz S-class, although its shape and dynamics pit it against top versions of the Germans’ sleeker offerings, such as the Audi RS7, BMW M6 Gran Coupe, and Mercedes-AMG CLS63 S.

2017 Porsche Panamera-Consule

It looks better—a lot better

The second generation of the Panamera, which Porsche launched at a lavish event in Berlin, takes everything a step forward: It’s slightly bigger, it’s more powerful, it’s said to perform better, and it’s fitted with a cutting-edge man-machine interface. What’s more, it looks better—a lot better. When we rode along on a prototype drive in South Africa earlier this year, we got a sense of the much-improved proportions of the new car. Its roofline has been lowered over the rear passengers, and the shape of the side-window opening resembles that of the 911.

2017 Porsche Panamera

Now the camouflage has been lifted entirely, and we really like what we see. The LED headlights, available in various levels of technical sophistication, look futuristic, and the taillights resemble the 911’s. They stretch all the way across the Panamera’s rear, and the effect is as stunning as it is ultramodern.

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