Category - Reviews and Road Tests

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Speed Read: 2015 VW e-Golf, Jetta and GTI

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When Volkswagen offered to fly me up to drive a full smattering of their 2015 model lineup around Northern Virginia’s rolling hills and the quaint towns they are dotted with, they were ostensibly asking me to really focus on just two of those 2015 models – the fully electric e-Golf, and the refreshed Jetta. Still, though it already had its official launch and has been on sale for a few months now, I was also eager to sample the current GTI. Here’s a recap of what I drove, put in order from “really, really liked it” to “liked it”. There wasn’t a dud in the bunch, honestly, though I admit to steering clear of models like the Passat and Tiguan, which I’d already spent time in recently, and others that weren’t significantly changed for the 2015 model year.

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Driven: 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Toyota Camry was the best selling sedan in the United States for 2013, with over 408,000 units sold. This is the twelfth year straight that Toyota has held the #1 spot for sedan sales, besting the likes of the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima which round out the  top three. There are plenty of newcomers clamoring for consumer attention in the mid-sized sedan segment like the fantastic Ford Fusion, Mazda 6 and Kia Optima.

So what keeps the Camry at the #1 spot year after year, even with increased competition from other manufacturers? I spent a week with the 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE to find out.

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Driven: 2014 Infiniti Q60 Convertible

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When development work concluded on the V36 platform, which forms the basis for the 2014 Q60 seen above, it’s easy to believe that Nissan’s engineers had little inkling of the radical brand changes that would occur at Infiniti during their new model’s shelf life. Indeed, during Johan de Nysschen’s two-year tenure as the brand’s chief, much was changed – including their entire system of model nomenclature. Thus, the G37 convertible became the Q60 convertible that I recently spent a week with – but make no mistake, the G37 is still alive and well in this car.

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Driven: 2014 Lexus IS 350C F-Sport

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Introduced as a 2010 model, the hardtop convertible version of the Lexus IS isn’t yet “old” by industry standards. Still, a replacement looms on the horizon in the form of the upcoming RC coupe and likely convertible spin-off. Its main competitor from the land of the rising sun, the Infiniti Q60 (nee G37), is also nearing replacement, though neither of these cars could be called dated from an aesthetic perspective. I drove the IS 350 and Q60 convertibles back to back to find out what makes these two hardtops tick.

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Driven: 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

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Winning and confidence go hand in hand, but Cadillac’s new 2015 ATS Coupe is missing one of those attributes. Like a perpetual podium finishing runner, Cadillac honed its skill by emulating the perpetual champion, BMW, and produced the wonderful ATS Sedan. Where the ATS Sedan made its mark in stents versus the competition, a champion it is not. The ATS Coupe runs a new race with another year’s worth of refinement. Is the refinement enough to produce a winner? Cadillac invited us to Virginia’s wine and horse country to find out.

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Driven: 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco

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For decades, the rational response to any “What compact car should I buy?” question has unequivocally been “Civic or Corolla”. With Honda seemingly in the weeds during the last generation Civic’s development, that leaves the Corolla as the de facto answer when someone asks you for sensible consumer advice. There’s a new one out now, and I’ve driven it.

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