2019 VW Jetta GLI

2019 VW Jetta GLI For shoppers that like the GTI but want a sedan By Andres Valbuena, Partner, | March 2019 The 2019 Jetta GLI is a great choice for the shopper that wants performance and style. The new MQB platform is excellent and brings technology updates including the GTI powertrain to this sedan. If you want to make your commute more fun and save thousands over the luxury brands, then definitely take a look at this new Jetta GLI. What is this vehicle? The Jetta GLI first launched in the 80's as the MK1. Back then, it used the same engine as the GTI and also included some better bolstered seats, sport suspension, and other performance tweaks. It was fun to drive and was a great performance version of the Jetta. That same formula carried onto the second generation but then it lost its way in the MK3, including its name. In 2005, the original formula came to be again with the MK4 and carried onto the MK5. That formula of using the same equipment as the GTI kept those performance sedan customers smiling. With the Mk6 Jetta, there were changes made to the platform that impacted the base driving characteristics. Because the Jetta was redesigned towards a lower cost vehicle, some of that cost cutting naturally carried into the GLI. No longer was it a GTI with a trunk. It [...]

2019-06-11T20:04:18-04:00Mar 2019|Car Reviews|

2020 Toyota Corolla

2020 Toyota Corolla With a clear vision, the 2020 Corolla is Greater than Ever By Kevin Joostema, Partner, | February 2019 The 2020 Toyota Corolla brings a long list of technology updates and new engine choices to its major cycle refresh that allow it to continue to be a wise choice to get you through the grind of daily life.   Whether it is your trip to high school, to college, your commute to work, daily runs to the grocery store and Target or even Starbucks runs,  the Corolla provides a safe and secure feeling to leave home with and return every day. What is this vehicle? As the best-selling nameplate in the world, the Toyota Corolla vision is to offer a model for everyone.  It is only fitting then that this is among the first 2020 model year vehicles to appear.  Yes, that’s right, the 2020’s are here! It has been over 50 years since the first Corolla introduction in 1966.  The Corolla is the compact sedan offer from Toyota – and became the best selling model in the world back in 1997 – surpassing the VW Beetle.  The 2020 model is the 12th generation and over 46 million have been sold worldwide.  The Corolla, along with the Honda Civic and the Hyundai Elantra and to a lesser extent the VW Jetta, define the continuum of the Compact Sedan segment in the US [...]

2019-02-27T13:48:21-05:00Feb 2019|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring

2019 Toyota Avalon Touring Style and sophistication, but at what price? By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, | October 2018 The Toyota Avalon, the brand’s large sedan, gets a full redesign for 2019. We had an opportunity to see the all-new Avalon in top-tier Touring trim at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Fall Rally in October and came away impressed… with one major caveat. It’s a well-rounded car and it wears its new styling well. Here are our impressions of the Avalon based on a short drive around the Autobahn Country Club grounds in Joliet, Illinois. Unfortunately, this Toyota was allowed on the street course only, no track, but we got a good sense of the car during that time. The Avalon’s cabin is nice without being ostentatious. The seats, trimmed in synthetic leather, offer lots of adjustments, and the perforated steering wheel feels good in the hands. The center console is high and comes up to meet a high armrest, which creates a strong division of space between driver and passenger and makes the car feel nice and roomy. We didn’t have much time to play with the infotainment system, but, like other current Toyota models, it seems nice and straightforward. Unfortunately, the whole cabin feels a little too angular — almost like the designers were trying to remind us of the front grille. The dash line is really swoopy with a [...]

2018-10-29T06:54:08-04:00Oct 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, | 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 [...]

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

2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited

2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited This brawny SUV is balanced by unexpected elegance. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, | May 2018 What is this vehicle? The Toyota 4Runner is one of the few traditional, body-on-frame midsize SUVs that remains on the market. Early SUVs were little more than a pickup with a built-in cap, though today’s 4Runner is also comfortable and elegant. As automakers continue to move toward more efficient crossovers to serve the midsize SUV market (Toyota’s own Highlander is an excellent example), truck-based models such as the 4Runner are becoming a relic of sorts. The Toyota 4Runner is an extremely capable vehicle, but its main downfall is that it is actually more capable than most potential buyers actually need or will use. Who is this vehicle for? The 4Runner is really an SUV for people who want truck-like abilities with the added benefit of extra seating, and are willing to pay for it, both up front and as the years go by. If you need towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, or would actually use the 4Runner’s off-road-specific features and options, you’re on the right track. Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer? Though the 4Runner should not be confused with the car-based crossovers that make up most of the midsize SUV class, it does serve a niche. True 4Runner customers are out there, and Toyota understands [...]

2018-05-17T12:47:33-04:00May 2018|Car Reviews|

2018 Toyota Prius c

2018 Toyota Prius c This subcompact hatchback is extremely easy to live with. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, | Apr 2018 What is this vehicle? The Prius c is the smallest vehicle in the Toyota Prius lineup. It’s designed for high density, urban areas and boasts great fuel economy ratings, a reasonably comfortable interior, and a lot of useful and interesting features. The Prius c is an alternative to regular gas-powered subcompact cars as well as larger and more expensive hybrid models. It was added to the Prius lineup in 2012 as part of a larger expansion of the Prius nameplate. For 2018, the Prius c got refreshed exterior styling. The most significant change is a more cohesive front end design. Who is this vehicle for? The Prius c blends into the crowd better than most other Prius models, so it’s a good choice for buyers who want a vehicle with good gas mileage but dislike the trend of self-conscious, standout styling that you’ll find on many hybrids and EVs (including some of Toyota’s other vehicles). Like most subcompact cars, it’s designed for city living and is perfect for students, young singles and couples, and other urban dwellers who will use it primarily for short trips. It’s a little more expensive than regular compact and subcompact cars, so it’s best for buyers who don’t mind paying a little more up front in [...]

2018-05-01T19:57:38-04:00May 2018|Car Reviews|

Toyota RAV4 & Corolla Hatchback

Toyota RAV4 & Corolla Hatchback Cores of the Brand By Randy Lioz, Editor, | April 2018 Toyota debuted the new RAV4 and Corolla Hatchback at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday. As Toyota's best-selling vehicle, the RAV4 is a particularly important launch. What is this vehicle? The RAV4 is a compact crossover, which follows a pretty similar formula to the outgoing model. It does, however, add some new features and a new approach to its trim lineup. The RAV4 invented the compact crossover segment, but as Toyota pointed out in its press conference, it wasn’t until the 3rd-generation model—when the brand really nailed the size equation, following the lead of the Honda CR-V—that sales really took off. The 2006 RAV4, which grew by nearly 15 inches in length, also more than doubled the sales of the 2005 model. The length has stayed nearly identical since then, with this new fifth generation coming down just 0.2 inches from the third- and fourth-gen vehicles—Toyota bragged that the RAV4 keeps its compact dimensions, unlike some competitors that have grown a bit unwieldy. The vehicle is now slightly lower and wider, and with a stiffer structure it should provide improved handling. Who is this vehicle for? Realistically, the new RAV4 will have wide-ranging appeal. It was the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in 2017, aside from the domestic pickups, which indicates how complete the [...]

2018-04-05T16:47:58-04:00Apr 2018|Car Reviews, News|

Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla Wise with Age - But Keeping it Young! By Kevin Joostema, Partner, | July 2017 The 2017 Toyota Corolla brings a long list of updates to its minor cycle refresh that allow it to continue to be a wise choice to get you through the grind of daily life. Whether it is your trip to high school, to college, your commute to work, daily runs to the grocery store and Target or even Starbucks runs, the Corolla provides a safe and secure feeling to leave home with and return every day. What is this vehicle? The Corolla is the compact sedan offer from Toyota – and is one of the highest selling nameplates in the world. The 50th anniversary edition was available in 2016 as the first generation was launched back in 1966. The Corolla became the best selling model in the world back in 1997 – surpassing the VW Beetle. Over 40 million have been sold and this is the 11th generation of the Corolla. The Corolla, along with the Honda Civic and the Ford Focus and to a lesser extent the VW Golf (as a hatchback), define the continuum of the Compact Sedan segment in the US marketplace. Who is this vehicle for? Anyone looking at a Compact Sedan; there is no one type of owner, but it often can be for the first time vehicle owner that [...]

2018-01-18T05:18:47-05:00Jul 2017|Car Reviews|

Toyota Prius Three

Toyota Prius Three From the Sun to the Road – an electrification Tour de Force By Kevin Joostema, Partner, July 2017 With over 20 years and 2 million plus Prius family vehicles sold in the US alone, the iconic hybrid vehicle from Toyota Motor continues to give you a feeling of WOW when driving this third generation, the Prius Three. What is this vehicle? This is the iconic hybrid from Toyota Motor. With a new styling that is liked by some, but not liked by others. The styling takes a new leap forward with this third generation of the Prius to keep looking advanced and carrying some futuristic edging from the Mirai fuel cell vehicle. It is the rear tail light treatment that gets the ding for the styling by most consumers. On the positive side – it does stand out and is a defining signature look, which plays better at night on the road to stand out and be recognized as something unique. The vehicle is a 5 passenger, compact hatchback that reads from the side exterior almost like a midsize sedan with a fastback design. Who is this vehicle for? Mainstream compact car owners or midsize sedan buyers that definitely want to make a Green statement with the highest fuel efficiency available and to feel like you are making a difference as a car driver. This difference also contributes to [...]

2018-01-18T05:19:40-05:00Jul 2017|Car Reviews|