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So far Nick Kurczewski has created 10 blog entries.

First Drive: 2018 BMW X2

2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i BMW builds a shorter, lower, and sportier version of the X1 SUV. Is the X2 a better choice, or does it lose the sport-utility plot? By Nick Kurczewski, Contributor, Car-ED.com | September 2018 The 2018 BMW X2 is a racier-looking version of the existing BMW X1. A punchy four-cylinder engine and sharp handling give the X2 a dynamic edge, but is that enough when squared-off against the best from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, and Acura? What is this vehicle? The 2018 BMW X2 is based on the taller and longer X1 sport-utility, the German automaker's smallest entry in the red-hot market for affordable luxury SUVs. Rivals to the X2 include the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, Lincoln MKC, Volvo XC40, Lexus NX, Audi Q3, Cadillac XT4, and Infiniti QX30. Instead of emphasizing the amount of cup-holders and available cargo space, BMW has opted to focus the new X2 on the sportier side of the sport-utility segment. This is why the X2 is roughly three inches shorter than the X1, though it rides on an identical wheelbase. That's a good thing, since it means the X2 doesn't skimp on rear legroom, which is a key factor for many SUV buyers - even ones who don't need third-row seating, or the towing capacity of a big-rig truck. With a starting price of $36,400, the X2 is more a couple thousand dollars more expensive [...]

2018-09-28T12:07:29+00:00 Sep 2018|Car Reviews|

First Drive: 2019 Cadillac XT4

2019 Cadillac XT4 Cadillac finally the small luxury SUV fight to rivals like the Lexus NX, Volvo XC40, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and Audi Q3. Does the Caddy come out as the new champ? By Nick Kurczewski, Contributor, Car-ED.com | September 2018 The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is a small SUV with a huge job ahead of it: To make the American luxury brand a contender in the red-hot market for compact SUVs that are big on safety, style, performance, and technology. What is this vehicle? The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is a small SUV that fills a huge gap in the American luxury brand's lineup of vehicles. Until now, Cadillac had only two SUVs on offer, the midsize XT5 crossover and the full-size Escalade SUV. Neither one was an ideal fit for the automotive world's hottest craze, the premium compact sport-utility. While rival brands offered pint-sized SUVs - like the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Lexus NX, Audi Q3, and BMW X1 - Cadillac was left outside looking in, at least until now. Powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and available with front- or optional all-wheel drive, the XT4 carries an aggressive starting price of $35,790 (including destination fee) and streamlines the shopping experience into three main trim levels: Premium, Premium Luxury, and Sport. No matter which you choose, the powertrain remains the same, and adding all-wheel drive costs an additional $2,500 across the board. While the turbo engine [...]

2018-09-24T20:23:42+00:00 Sep 2018|Car Reviews|

Test Drive: 2019 BMW X3 M40i

2019 BMW X3 M40i BMW takes the art of the SUV to another level with the X3 M40i By Nick Kurczewski, Contributor, Car-ED.com | August 2018 BMW engineers the ideal vehicle for when your heart yearns for a sports car, but reality demands the practicality of a SUV. What is this vehicle? The 2019 BMW X3 M40i is a luxury sport-utility that has the soul of a sports car. As the range-topping model in the X3 range, the M40i represents the best of BMW power and performance, combined with the cargo-toting and passenger-hauling capability of a SUV. While it's easy to fall for for 355-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine and silky-smooth 8-speed automatic, it's the M40i's dynamic balance that truly sets it apart from not only rival SUVs, but even some of BMW's popular sport sedans. This could be the SUV to seduce some of BMW's most diehard fans. Given it's starting price of $55,645, the M40i isn't short on gadgets, comfort features, and technology. But unlike so many of today's luxury cars and SUVs - including a few BMW products - unlocking the available performance doesn't make you feel like you're writing computer code before every drive. Leave this BMW in Comfort mode, one of four available drive settings, of course, and be done with it. The inline-six delivers immediate power, the handling is sure-footed all the time (and at some serious speeds), [...]

2018-08-31T17:42:56+00:00 Aug 2018|Car Reviews|

Test Drive: 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Dodge summons the spirit of the Demon in this ferocious muscle car. By Nick Kurczewski, Car-ED.com | August 2018 With the 840-horsepower Demon now gone from its lineup, Dodge finds a way to translate that car's drag-strip performance into this new Camaro and Mustang-baiting muscle machine. What is this vehicle? The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye has a whole lot of attitude and horsepower to go along with its very long name. For simplicity, let's simply refer to it as the Redeye. And just in case you're wondering, this brand new muscle car has not been named after an early-morning flight option. If you look closely at the Hellcat logo placed on the front fenders, you'll see the growling kitty now sports a set of red eyes. Unbelievably, that's one of the few visual cues that this Dodge has close to 800 horsepower under its heavily-sculpted front hood. Other than the red beady eyes, the Hellcat logo changes from silver to black and, in the case of our test car, you can also choose to add the wide-body exterior treatment, which adds fender flares and bigger tires at the front and rear. Then again, this design flourish is also available on less powerful versions of the Challenger, too. So is this what we'd call an under-the-radar kind of sport machine? Well, the answer is 'yes'...until you get [...]

2018-09-12T14:58:52+00:00 Aug 2018|Car Reviews|

Test Drive: 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon The Jeep Wrangler is the ultimate affordable off-road SUV. By Nick Kurczewski, Contributor, Car-ED.com | August 2018 What is this vehicle? Driving a Jeep Wrangler reminds you why this square-edged SUV has remained popular for so many years. A modern powertrain and numerous luxury touches make it far from being the bare-bones, rough-and-tumble truck it was decades ago. But there's a very simple and timeless core message that comes with the Wrangler. It was built to be rugged and to venture off-road, and no amount of marketing hype or commercialization can take away from the central charm of this solid-axle, square-edged sport-utility. Getting behind the wheel of a 2018 Wrangler Rubicon, the most adventure-loving trim level of an already very adventurous vehicle, shows how Jeep engineers have adapted the company’s most beloved model for life in the modern world. There are plenty of SUVs that handle better, stop faster, or accelerate harder than the Wrangler. It's true - sorry Jeep fans. There are also plenty that get better gas mileage, or offer fancier cabins with more space for passengers and cargo. Yet, at the end of the day, the Wrangler’s attributes – and if we’re being frank, also its negatives – place this Jeep in a field with no true direct competitors. It's a one-of-a-kind vehicle that, in a world of hashtags and trending topics, feels refreshingly individualistic. [...]

2018-08-28T05:33:11+00:00 Aug 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: Lexus RX 350L

2018 Lexus RX 350L Does an extra row of seats make for a better Lexus SUV? By Nick Kurczewski, Contributor, Car-ED.com | July 2018 What is this vehicle? The 2018 Lexus RX 350L is a bigger and roomier version of the Japanese luxury brand's popular SUV. Stretching roughly four inches longer than the standard five-passenger RX, the 350L variant offers the convenience and utility of a standard third-row seat. In total, there is now room for seven people, though anyone sitting in the back had better be of modest proportions. Where the RX scores a homerun is with its ride comfort and cabin quietness. This Lexus sport-utility is tuned to take the stress out of every drive, though sometimes all the extra coddling starts to sap the fun out of the driving dynamics. Even when toggling the adjustable drive mode selector to its sportiest setting, the RX 350L remains a serene environment. Everything from the feel of the door handles, to the muted sound of the exhaust seems to have an extra layer of isolation. If you need to get places and enjoy feeling like you're traveling on a cloud, however, this three-row Lexus could be your dream machine. Who is this vehicle for? The Lexus RX 350L is aimed primarily at SUV shoppers who might have overlooked the RX, simply because it never offered an extra row of seating. The second-row [...]

2018-07-31T15:25:43+00:00 Jul 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2018 Volkswagen GTI

2018 Volkswagen GTI Finally, a sports car the whole family can agree on (and fit into). By Nick Kurczewski, Contributor, Car-ED.com | July 2018 What is this vehicle? The 2018 Volkswagen GTI proves compromise is still possible, at least when it comes to finding a car that's functional and fun-to-drive on a daily basis. Beneath the GTI's stoic four-door body, and tucked somewhere behind its handy hatchback, is a feisty side that loves to play whenever you punch the gas pedal. Granted, this isn't a Hemi-powered, chest-thumping kind of sports machine. If a Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger are the heavyweight boxing bruisers of the affordable performance world, think of the VW GTI as more of a world-class fencer or slalom skier. For starters, the VW's 220-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine gets you going, quickly. But if smoky burnouts and look-at-me driving shenanigans are what you're after, the GTI could leave you feeling suddenly very...sensible. For the 2018 model year, the GTI is only available in four-door format, as the coupe model sadly got the heave-ho from the lineup. A six-speed manual is the standard transmission, though many buyers will probably spend extra for the available six-speed automatic (which is how our test car was equipped). While we're proponents of manuals, the automatic does an excellent job of smoothly delivering power to the front wheels. Inside the cabin, the materials feel a cut above the [...]

2018-07-30T16:29:45+00:00 Jul 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2019 Genesis G70

2019 Genesis G70 Hyundai's luxury brand delivers a world class sport sedan. By Nick Kurczewski, Contributor, Car-ED.com | July 2018 What is this vehicle? The 2019 Genesis G70 sport sedan is the first product from Hyundai's new luxury division engineered specifically as a stand-alone model, a car developed from the start to take on a wide range of luxury rivals, including the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Lexus ES350 and Acura TLX. Entering the luxury field can be a daunting task, especially when you consider how much weight is given to badge prestige and name recognition. Say the name "Genesis" to most car shoppers and, let's admit it, you're going to be hard pressed to find someone who immediately thinks of a Korean luxury brand, not a 1980's pop rock group. While the Genesis name has graced several high-end Hyundai sedans over the past few years, the G70 is the first model introduced now that Genesis is its officially a spin-off brand. Will Hyundai be able to convince luxury car buyers to consider giving its upstart sport sedan a chance? Based only on the G70's spec sheet - which is chock full of available performance goodies, like a twin-turbo V6 and 6-speed manual transmission - the initial impression is that the established luxury players could be in for a surprisingly strong new challenger. Who is this vehicle for? The Genesis G70 [...]

2018-07-17T18:50:47+00:00 Jul 2018|Car Reviews|

2018 Nissan Kicks

2018 Nissan Kicks Nissan’s smallest SUV joins the car world’s biggest craze. By Nick Kurczewski, Car-ED.com | June 2018 Small SUVs are the next big thing in the car world, and automakers are rapidly adding more of them to their lineups. The 2018 Nissan Kicks joins in as the latest entry in this growing range of subcompact SUVs, which includes similarly brand-new models like the Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Kona. More established competition in this segment – which Nissan expects to more than double in sales volume over the next 3-4 years – includes the Kia Soul, Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V and Toyota CH-R. What is this vehicle? In terms of its size, the Kicks is right in the thick of its competition. The Nissan stretches 169.1 inches in total length, making it slightly larger than the Kia Soul (163 inches long), a bit smaller than the Toyota CH-R (171.7 inches), and the exact same length as the Honda HR-V (169.1 inches). Helping the 2018 Kicks stand out from the crowd is an aggressively low starting price of $18,965, including the $995 destination fee. A fully-loaded Kicks SR, such as the one we recently test drove in San Diego, California, still came with an affordable as-tested price of $22,025. Our test car included features such as a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android compatibility, blind spot monitors, surround-view camera, rear cross-traffic warning, leather-wrapped [...]

2018-06-12T22:58:38+00:00 Jun 2018|Car Reviews|

2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti RWD

2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti RWD Standing out among performance luxury sedans has never been so fun! By Nick Kurczewski, Car-ED.com | May 2018 What is this vehicle? Let’s get it out of the way, because we know you’re dying to ask: The Alfa Romeo Giulia turns heads and is a thrill to drive, but rival compact luxury sedans from BMW, Lexus, Mercedes and Audi represent more sensible car buying choices.  So, is it worth taking a chance on this fun-loving Alfa? The answer: an emphatic ‘Yes!’ (but with a couple caveats added into the mix). We can’t give away the entire plot in the first few lines of a car review, right? The Giulia is the Alfa Romeo brand’s attempt at cracking into the compact performance luxury sedan field, which is currently dominated by cars like the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus ES, Cadillac CTS and Audi A4, to name a few. Available in rear- or all-wheel drive format, the Giulia comes powered by 280-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which is coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission. A range-topping performance model, called the Quadrifoglio, has a total of 505 horsepower and is the only Giulia model not to offer the option of all-wheel drive. Who is this vehicle for? You’re not exactly shy if you’re considering the Alfa Romeo Giulia, that’s for certain. The Giulia is a sport sedan for someone who [...]

2018-06-07T00:14:39+00:00 Jun 2018|Car Reviews|