Category - Reviews and Road Tests

Use this as a level one category for car reviews and add each car maker as a sub-category

Speed Read: Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD

It’s hard to imagine a time when the compact crossover field wasn’t flush with options. And yet it was just a couple of short decades ago that the Toyota RAV4 and its cousin from Sayama, the Honda CR-V, were fresh nameplates on the scene. A scene that, it must be said, these two players largely established. Sure, you could argue there were other compact five doors with off-roading pretensions available before them. The Jeep Cherokee comes to mind. The AMC Eagle if you really want to get creative. 

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2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E All4 – S:S:L Speed Read

2019 Mini Countryman S E All4

Mini has jumped into the electrification game with their Mini Cooper Countryman S E All4 PHEV. Based on Mini’s largest model, the Mini Cooper Countryman S E All4 is a blast to drive but ends up feeling like a package of compromises.

Hindered by its low electric-only range and the high price of entry, one has to look hard to find the value. Still, the Countryman S E All4 might be worth a look for environmentally responsible buyers wanting to stand out amongst a sea of Priuses. Read More

Road Trip – 2019 BMW 330i M Sport and Texas’ Best BBQ

The BMW 3-Series has long been the gold standard for German sports sedans. It was the car that had it all – good looks, plenty of power, and incredible handling. All these traits combined to make the 3-Series the Ultimate Driving Machine for almost 40 years.

Other brands have chased BMW over the years to come up with cars that delivered the exciting experience the 3-Series gave its owners. Unfortunately, BMW lost the way with dreadfully dull the F30 3-Series, giving other brands a chance to catch up. The F30 3-Series had painfully numb steering, an overly harsh suspension, and a very reluctant throttle despite the excellent B58 engine.

Thankfully, the all-new 2019 BMW 330i addresses most of those issues with significant improvements to the chassis and engine, and interior. Are these changes enough to propel BMW back to the top of the sport sedan segment?

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2019 Nissan Leaf Plus SL – S:S:L Review

First launched in 2010, the all-electric Nissan Leaf became one of the first mass-market full-EVs available for purchase. Nine years on, the Leaf has become the best-selling electric car in the world. The original Leaf was truly a cutting edge piece of technology at the time, but it also highlighted the problem with the developing segment of electric cars. With an original range of 73ish miles, the Nissan Leaf couldn’t do much more than short commuting duty.

Fast forward to February 2018, and the launch of the second-generation Nissan Leaf. The new Leaf debuted with a 40kWh battery pack and a 151-mile range, over double the original Leaf’s range. While this went a long way in solving the range anxiety problem for most, those of us who live in sprawling places like Texas still need a bit more range to feel comfortable.

Enter the new for 2019 longer-range Leaf variant, the Nissan Leaf Plus.

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In the S:S:L Garage – 2020 BMW 330i MSport

This week I’m driving the all-new 2020 BMW 330i MSport around Central Texas to try some of the best BBQ in all of Texas. The G20 3-Series is brand new for 2020 and represents the volume sedan for BMW in North America.

I owned an F30 2016 BMW 340i MSport until last month and absolutely loathed the driving experience once the honeymoon wore off.  I’m happy to report that the G20 platform in initial impressions goes a long way in correcting all that was horribly wrong in the F30.

Full review and road trip report coming soon!