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Author Profile: Steve Cypher

Articles Posted by Steve

2018 Hyundai Kona SEL AWD Driving Impressions

The 2018 Hyundai Kona cruises onto the stage in a class already awash with solid entries from Subaru, Honda, Mazda, and Nissan, along with nearly every other automaker on the planet. What the Kona brings to the party is a solid value proposition, smooth ride, and a durable, practical interior. But it's also hampered by fussy exterior touches, a finicky optional dual-clutch transmission, leisurely acceleration, and limited availability of advanced safety features.

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2018 Mazda Mazda6 Signature Driving Impressions

Updated styling and equipment enhancements across the lineup that include a new turbo-four borrowed from the CX-9 only confirm our opinion that - despite the fact that the new engine is mated exclusively to an automatic transmission, while the clumsy infotainment system lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay - the 2018 Mazda Mazda6 remains the best-handling and best-looking sedan in the midsize segment.

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2018 Lexus RX 350L AWD Driving Impressions

The 2018 Lexus RX 350L, all-new to the lineup this year, offers a wide range of standard advanced safety features along with increased cargo space compared to the regular model and a standard third row – a feature not heretofore available. But fuel economy remains average, adding options can quickly boost the price, while its eye-catching design isn't for everyone.

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2018 Hyundai Elantra Eco Driving Impressions

A redesign last year gave Hyundai's best-selling sedan a more restrained look, while the 2018 Hyundai Elantra lineup comes with a new SEL model and shares a name – not a platform – with the new GT hatchback. Holding it back is a spartan base model, underwhelming performance, and a few cheap interior materials that detract from the model's overall goodness.

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2018 Mazda CX-5 Driving Impressions

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 marks the first major re-design of the brand's best-selling vehicle - with a slicker design inside and out, a more fuel efficient engine, additional safety equipment, and class-above features at every price point. But it's held back by a clumsy infotainment interface, mediocre cargo volume, and a stiff ride with too much road and wind noise on models with larger wheels.

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2018 Lexus GS 350 Driving Impressions

In a class dominated by the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the 2018 Lexus GS 350 has – through reliability, low ownership costs, and spectacular customer service – stolen a bit of the German's thunder. The latest iteration is market by flowing lines, supportive front seats, and handling prowess. A 2016 refresh added a much-needed spark, but rear seat knee room remains tight, the smaller gas engine lacks punch, the larger gas engine is hardly thrifty, while the infotainment interface is a nightmare to operate while moving.

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2018 Kia Rio Driving Impressions

We spend a week in the all-new 2018 Kia Rio – the smallest and least expensive offering from the Korean manufacturer – and come away appreciating its improved ride, quieter cabin, and cleaner lines. At the same time, the base model offers a dearth of power features, upper trims are pricey for the class, while passing at highway speeds requires some forethought.

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