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2018 Mazda CX-3

By Frank S. Washington DETROIT – Although it is early in this generation of the Mazda CX-3’s model cycle, the automaker made a few changes to keep the current rendition fresh in its offerings for the hot small crossover market. They made a lot of under the sheet-metal improvements. They added what they’ve branded Smart City Brake Support as standard equipment on all trim lines. Other improvements included S ...

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2018 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

By Frank S. Washington DETROIT – The Lexus RX is the vehicle that catapulted the automaker into the front ranks of luxury brands. Yes, Lexus almost from its beginning had the reputation of manufacturing first-rate luxury cars. But it was the RX crossover that generated the volume that made it the best-selling luxury brand here for years. Escalating gas prices cooled the sales of all utility vehicles and eve ...

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2018 Toyota Corolla

By Frank S. Washington DETROIT – You don’t find many nameplates that survive for decades. But Toyota’s Corolla is one of them. In fact, if this car had not been successful it is doubtful that the brand would have survived in the U.S. market. Introduced in 1966, the Corolla celebrated its 50th anniversary in this market a little while ago. More than 43 million have been sold. And the traits that made Corolla ...

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2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

By Frank S. Washington DEL MAR, Calif. – Hatchback is no longer a dirty word in the auto industry. A number of automakers have developed hot hatchbacks that are doing well. Now Toyota has joined the group. We came here to test drive the new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. It had a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine that was smaller but more powerful than the 1.8-liter four-cylinder that it replaced on the old Co ...

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2019 Toyota Avalon

By Frank S. Washington DEL MAR, Calif., -- Quilted leather, 300 horsepower, an eight-speed automatic transmission, paddle shifters, adaptive variable suspension, a 1200 watt, 14-speaker audio system, all this stuff and more suggest that the 2019 Toyota Avalon is no longer your grandma’s conservatively styled four-door sedan. The fifth generation of Toyota’s flagship has undergone a radical makeover. Daring ...

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2018 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

By Frank S. Washington DETROIT –The Lexus RC was the first tangible proof as in sheet metal that Lexus intended to put some design snap in its lineup. The two-seat coupe was unlike anything else the luxury brand had offered to the mass market. It was low, had a rounded top as not to crimp interior headspace and it seemed to be the car that the then new spindle grille was designed for. And though it is in it ...

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2018 Toyota Prius C

I got a 2018 Toyota Prius C on short notice to come here. The point is that I had to learn this car literally on the fly, or in this case on the road. ...

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2019 Ram

by Frank S. Washington PHOENIX -- Every pickup truck maker is upping its game. For Ram, the 2019 edition is all new from the ground up and that includes a new Ram’s head logo and RAM spelled out in all the grilles and on the tailgates. Gone is the horse collar grille as Ram continues to step away from Dodge and establish itself in the market as an independent brand. This process started in 2009 and though i ...

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2019 Volvo XC40

By Frank S. Washington AUSTIN, TX, — It has taken eight years and $12 billion and some good old fashioned Scandinavian patience. But Volvo has finally righted the ship and is ready to reassert itself in the premium luxury market. What’s more, those big bucks don’t include the additional billions spent to build assembly plants in China and South Carolina. Volvo has developed three-cylinder and four-cylinder ...

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