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So far Cherise Threewitt has created 28 blog entries.

2017 Lexus IS 350 F Sport

2017 Lexus IS 350 F Sport Better at luxury than athletics. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | July 2018 What is this vehicle? The 350 F Sport is the top-tier trim of the Lexus IS compact sport sedan lineup. Although Lexus emphasizes the “sport” aspect of the IS, particularly in models fitted with the F Sport performance and appearance package, this car is a lot less sporty than we expected. Though our test vehicle was a 2017 model, the IS carried into the 2018 model year mostly unchanged. If you’re shopping for a 2018 Lexus IS, keep in mind that V6 models (including the 350 F Sport reviewed here) get a bump of 5 horsepower and the rearview camera is now standard instead of optional.  Who is this vehicle for? This car is a good choice for buyers who are shopping for a compact luxury sedan and care more about comfort and sophistication than sportiness. That is because even though the Lexus IS 350 F Sport is marketed as a sport sedan, it is not quite as sporty as many of its competitors, especially the entry-level small luxury vehicles from the German brands. In short, if you can look at this vehicle simply as a well-built and competent luxury car instead of as a sporty luxury car, it is probably a good fit for you. Why is this vehicle important to [...]

2018-07-27T18:30:59+00:00 Jul 2018|Car Reviews|

Compare the Newest Crossovers

Hyundai, Ford and Mitsubishi's New Crossovers Take a closer look at each model. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 The crossover market is currently booming, which means that there are a lot of new entries to the segment. The Hyundai Kona and Ford EcoSport have generated a lot of interest, and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross may have the opportunity to generate new buzz for the brand. We had the opportunity to test these three new crossovers at the Midwest Automotive Media Association annual Spring Rally, which took place in May at Road America. These vehicles were approved only for street use, so our driving impressions better reflect real-world driving conditions than if we had tested them on the track, though we were only able to spend a short time with each vehicle. 2018 Ford EcoSport According to Ford, the “Eco” in the all-new “EcoSport” is actually pronounced “echo.” Knowing that, this vehicle makes a bit more sense, since it isn’t actually as efficient as the word “eco” would imply. That said, we made our most of our chance with the EcoSport to see how it fared against other crossovers making their debut. Ford brought us an EcoSport in top-of-the-line Titanium trim, which has a ton of features. The interior was a mixed bag. We thought the seating was comfortable and easy to adjust, and the Titanium model’s standard leather upholstery [...]

2018-07-22T14:51:53+00:00 Jul 2018|Car Reviews|

2018 Hyundai Accent Limited

2018 Hyundai Accent Limited First, take a look at the lower trim levels. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | July 2018 What is this vehicle? The Hyundai Accent lineup has been fully redesigned for the 2018 model year. In base form, the subcompact Hyundai Accent is one of the most affordable new cars you can buy, and it is a great choice for shoppers on a very tight budget because it has above-average reliability scores and is backed by Hyundai’s excellent warranty. It is a good car for a young or first-time buyer or a buyer on a tight budget. The Accent Limited, however, is a slightly different story. The Accent’s top-tier trim, which is the model supplied by Hyundai for this review, is something of a distraction to the Accent’s entire purpose. Keep reading to learn why. Who is this vehicle for? If you are looking for a cheap new car on a very tight budget (think $15,000) the Hyundai Accent sedan is a great choice for you. There are only a handful of brand new cars available in this price range or less, and the Accent is better than most of them, thanks in large part to its fresh redesign. It’s not particularly fun to drive, but it is new, it has a good predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power, and it carries the benefit of Hyundai’s solid reputation for vehicles [...]

2018-07-11T18:50:39+00:00 Jul 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2018 BMW X2

2018 BMW X2 Can this all-new subcompact crossover carve out a niche in a crowded lineup? By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 The X2 is an all-new addition to BMW’s lineup for 2018. This subcompact crossover slots in above the established X1 and differentiates itself with coupe-like styling and a considerably higher entry price. We had the opportunity to test the new X2 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, at the annual Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally.  The X2 comes powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, rated for 228 horsepower. Though we had only a short time to play with the X2, it proved a willing partner. The X2’s acceleration is smooth and peppy, and handling is absolutely fantastic on the curvy roads around the lake. The paddle shifters are an effective way to extract a little more fun out of the driving experience, and help make passing super smooth. Sport mode makes the steering and acceleration a little sharper. The interior is mostly a win. The front seats were extremely comfortable, as we’ve come to expect from BMW. We also really liked the interior layout; everything on the dashboard was easy to see and reach. The X2 isn’t perfect. It seems kind of redundant alongside the existing X1, which provides the same specs and more interior space (due to the higher roof) at a lower price. Since [...]

2018-07-11T18:49:22+00:00 Jul 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta Volkswagen’s entry-level sedan has been redesigned specifically for North America. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | May 2018 One of the highlights of the Midwest Automotive Media Association annual Spring Rally was the presence of the fully redesigned 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. The rally, which takes place at Wisconsin’s Road America, had plenty of exciting vehicles, to be sure. We at car-ED have a long and rich history with VW, however, so the new Jetta was a must-drive. The powers that be at VW didn’t let us take the Jetta out on the track, but we got some solo time around the area’s lakes and country clubs. Here’s what we learned. The new Jetta now rides on the MBQ modular platform, which VW has been using for several years, and comes with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that is rated for a modest 147 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard in the base model, but most cars will get the optional eight-speed automatic. Acceleration is solid, not particularly sporty, but the engine and automatic transmission feel like and a good pair and we liked the tight handling. The two-tone upholstery is nice, but we thought there was a little too much texture in the cabin. Our test car featured a soft-ish to the touch upper dash, brushed metal accents across the middle, and a weird, shiny, wallpaper-like material on [...]

2018-07-06T20:38:49+00:00 Jul 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2019 Infiniti QX50

2019 Infiniti QX50 We got to drive the fully redesigned 2019 Infiniti QX50 at the 2018 Midwest Automotive Association annual Spring Rally.  By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | May 2018 This compact luxury SUV was on hiatus for 2018 but is back with a fresh and modern design. Infiniti gave us the opportunity to get acquainted with the new QX50 on the easygoing Wisconsin country roads that surround Road America, though we had only a short time to learn as much as we could. The redesigned QX50 has car-like handling and, from behind the wheel, feels quite a bit smaller than it actually is. The power isn’t particularly impressive, but it’s definitely not lacking, either. This vehicle features a groundbreaking variable compression engine, though shoppers only really need to know that it’s a turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 268 horsepower, paired to a fuel-efficient CVT. Acceleration is quick, responsive, smooth, and effortless; it just lacks the “ooomph” that we look for in an upscale vehicle. There’s no drama. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are a nice touch and help add a little excitement to the driving experience. However, when we downshifted manually via paddle shifter, it took an unusually long time for the engine and transmission to match back up again. To be fair, excitement might not be Infiniti’s goal, here. There are two screens, a display for navigation and a touch [...]

2018-07-06T20:17:07+00:00 Jul 2018|Car Reviews|

2018 Mazda Mazda3 Grand Touring

2018 Mazda Mazda3 Grand Touring This sedan begs to be tossed around. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 What is this vehicle? The Mazda Mazda3 is the most affordable point of entry to the Mazda brand. This compact car is available in sedan and hatchback body styles and is known for being one of the best-handling vehicles in its segment. In base Sport trim, you’ll get a fun-to-drive, stylish, efficient, well-rounded compact car with a decent list of standard equipment. In the top-of-the-line Grand Touring trim, which we tested for this review, the Mazda3 sedan feels surprisingly premium and provides some advanced technology features that aren’t often seen in this class. Who is this vehicle for? The Mazda3 isn’t the absolute most affordable vehicle in the compact segment, but it’s priced pretty reasonably considering all that you get. This car is perfect for buyers who want something a little nicer than most entry-level compact cars, and who appreciate that a car can be genuinely enjoyable to drive even if it doesn’t have the most powerful engine on the market. The Mazda3 has modest horsepower compared to other sporty compact cars, but it’s also quite efficient, making this a good choice for fuel-conscious shoppers who don’t necessarily want a hybrid or EV. Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer? The Mazda3 is really a great choice for shoppers [...]

2018-06-22T12:42:42+00:00 Jun 2018|Car Reviews|

Here are the Latest Hatchbacks

Testing Chevrolet, Hyundai and Toyota's Cool Compacts How do these three hatchbacks stack up? By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 We recently had the chance to check out the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE, 2018 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Hatchback, and 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport. These three hatchbacks were tested during the Midwest Automotive Media Association’s annual Spring Rally, which is based at Road America in Wisconsin. Each member of the media who attends the rally gets a day and a half to spend with a roster of nearly 100 vehicles, from affordable compact cars to luxury SUVs to race cars. We used the opportunity to test out and compare some of the new vehicles that we expect to be most meaningful to car-ED readers. All three of the vehicles mentioned here were approved for street use only and were tested on the winding country roads that surround the Road America facility. 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE The Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE was an early favorite thanks to its sporty appearance and eye-catching bright blue exterior, and it was the first of our drives for this comparison. A disclaimer inside the vehicle stated that this was a preproduction prototype, which means that when the vehicle is available at dealerships, some elements of the vehicle may have changed. The interior was quick to impress, with a stylish and modern-feeling two-tone design and a comfortable steering [...]

2018-06-19T01:04:14+00:00 Jun 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA

2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA We get a look at Subaru's highest-performance vehicle at Road America. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | May 2018 At the 2018 Midwest Automotive Association annual Spring Rally, Subaru provided the Type RA variant of the high-performance STI sedan. The STI Type RA was available to test on laps around the Road America track, although it also would have been delightful on the winding roads of Wisconsin. We’re already fans of the WRX and STI, so taking the Type RA for a quick track drive is icing on the cake. Protocol for this particular event emphasizes that we have the privilege of testing cars at Road America, rather than the obligation to pretend that we’re all racing experts, so bear in mind that we weren’t trying to set any records with the STI Type RA, nor was this really the time or place to attempt to find its limits. During those precious few minutes, we found little to complain about. The price is an eye-opener, to be sure, and it will be hard for most buyers to justify the premium over the STI (or even the WRX, for that matter). And while the ultrasuede-finished steering wheel looks great, it quickly gets a little sweaty under high-pressure driving situations. Besides that, the interior is comfortable and easy to set up the way you like, and the firm, [...]

2018-06-04T14:29:03+00:00 Jun 2018|Car Reviews|

2017 Lexus GS F

2017 Lexus GS F This gorgeous sport sedan is a little more feisty than it looks. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | May 2018 What is this vehicle? The GS F is the top-end trim level of the Lexus GF midsize luxury sedan lineup, featuring rear-wheel drive and a 5.0-liter V8 engine. Other features and amenities include plush and supportive sport seats, a comprehensive active safety package, and a standard navigation system. For this review, Lexus provided a 2017 model year GS F. Though there are some minor updates to the GS F lineup between the 2017 and 2018 model years, the GS F carried over unchanged. Who is this vehicle for? The Lexus GS F is a great option for a buyer who values impressive power and a smooth ride, but doesn’t get caught up in the theatrics typically associated with performance cars. In that way, the GS F is a great choice for a buyer who wants a luxury car that happens to be powerful, rather than a sports car that happens to be upscale. Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer? If you want a quick and fast luxury car that will keep you on track with minimal effort, the GS F is an excellent candidate. In many ways, the GS F is more relaxed than many rivals, in that you don’t need to be a [...]

2018-06-01T01:01:37+00:00 Jun 2018|Car Reviews|
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