Author - John Kucek

Driven: 2015 BMW Z4

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Enthusiasts have long bemoaned the wider automotive market’s taste shift away from sports cars toward SUVs and crossovers as the most coveted vehicular status symbol. BMW, while well-positioned to capitalize on this trend with its broad range of sometimes line-blurring crossovers, has nevertheless felt the sales hit to its Z4 roadster line in the last few years. While I firmly count myself among the “enthusiast” camp, I realize that as much as I may try, my tastes will never mirror the wider car shopping public’s at this point. When I recently spent a week with BMW’s sole remaining two-seater, I tried to curb my enthusiasm (so to speak) and view its relevance through the lens of the typical new car shopper – one who may typically fall for a new BMW with an “X” prefix in its name rather than a “Z”.

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Driven: 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost

The Mustang has long been Ford’s bread-and-butter performance car, the granddaddy of the pony car segment, object of desire for administrative assistants and mulleted gentlemen alike (depending on engine choice). OK, that last shot might be a bit unfair. Even this article’s distinguished author, widely known for his discerning taste, once succumbed to the Mustang’s blue-collar charms. In a moment of fitful lust I bought a brand new 2011 GT Coupe, a five-liter in screaming yellow, equipped with the Brembo brake package and a manual transmission – as it should be. That was a fantastic car, loaded with character if a bit rough around the edges, but its charm wore off quickly for me and I retreated to the import brand camp I knew and loved after 10 short months with it. Perhaps this new EcoBoost model will be able to change the minds of even the most hardened import fans like me?

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Driven: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

I was a pretty big supporter of the original Sonata Hybrid, mostly because in practice, it didn’t really drive like a stereotypical hybrid. It had enough power to get out of its own way, it had the silhouette of a normal sedan, and its six-speed automatic avoided any hint of CVT droniness. Hyundai’s now wrapped the Hybrid in the same new-for-2015 duds worn by its regular Sonata sedan stablemate, but they’ve also made a few worthwhile improvements under the skin in the name of fuel efficiency.

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Comparison: 2015 Nissan Murano and 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe

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SAMSUNG CSCEvery week is a roll of the dice in terms of what press car shows up at our Speed:Sport:Life door step. One week we’ll be in a heavy duty diesel pickup, the next a hybrid sedan. It’s rare that we receive consecutive vehicles that are direct competitors. Well, the stars must have aligned recently, because the car gods sent us two mid-size crossovers on subsequent weeks. And if we can be forgiven for secretly wishing for back-to-back Ferraris, this still afforded a unique opportunity to spot the similarities and differences between two popular crossovers – the Nissan Murano and Hyundai Santa Fe.

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