Frank Washington

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2018 Genesis G80 AWD

Somebody once told me that a luxury brand is defined by its sedans not by its coupes, wagons or its utility vehicles.

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2018 Hyundai Tucson AWD

Impressive, that is the first thing that came to mind when we saw the 2018 Hyundai Tucson crossover.

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2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

New offerings from Mitsubishi have been rare.

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2017 Chevrolet Trax Premier

After almost a week of test-driving the 2017 Chevrolet Trax, we looked at the monroney (sticker) as we started to write the review.

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2018 Lexus LS 500

Lexus has come full circle. In 1989, the automaker chose this city for the world debut of the LS 400, its first luxury sedan. Over the years, the brand has grown in terms of models offered, it has introduced hybrids and it has become the industry benchmark for quality and service.

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2018 Hyundai Elantra

Torrey Pines, Calif. – It was the frosting on the cake. The last day of our stay here, we got the chance to take a brief test drive in the 2018 Hyundai Elantra. There are two models of the Elantra, well, actually three, the sedan, the GT and the GT Sport. The sedan was not here but the GT and the GT Sport were. This is an important car for Hyundai, accounting for 20 percent of its sales. Since 1991, almost three million copies have been sold. The Elantra has been so successful that the sedan is built in the U.S. But we were here to drive the hatchback. Both models were powered by four-cylinder engines. In the case of the GT, it came with a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine that made 162 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. The GT Sport had a 1.6 liter turbocharged four-cylinder that made 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.

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2017 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate

We were in a parking lot and found ourselves answering a bevy of questions from a couple of guys. The first and most important was what kind of car we were driving. It was a Genesis G90. And in those few minutes, we discovered the upside and the downside of Genesis. In a cluttered and crowded automotive market, Genesis must establish brand recognition. What’s more, it must accomplish this with limited product offerings. We had the top of the line Genesis G90 5.0. It was a full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that made 420 horsepower on premium fuel or 407 with regular gas. It made 383 pound-feet of torque using premium and 372 using regular gas.

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2018 Hyundai Sonata

TORREY PINES, Calif., -- There was a 2018 Hyundai Sonata on display in front of the hotel here. We could tell it was a Sonata but it was crisper, sharper, and more contemporary than the current model. In their restyle of the Sonata, Hyundai’s designers gave it a cascading grille, what they called an assertive profile and an entirely new rear end that was rounded off with slimmer tail lights. They wanted to make a visual impact and the new midsized Sonata for 2018 sedan looked like they succeeded.

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2017 Toyota 86

Toyota is billing its 86 as “the Affordable, Fun-damental Sports Car.” We can’t argue with that description. But first let’s be clear. The Toyota 86 used to be the Scion FR-S in this market. The 86 nameplate was used on the car in other markets, meaning other countries. Now, as Toyota terms it, the FR-S transitions back to the Toyota brand in this market. Translation, when Toyota discontinued the Scion brand because it had done its job, the company decided to keep most of its models. And in the case of the 86, fun loving drivers are better off because of the move. This car was a throwback. It mimics the small mostly British roadsters of the 1950s that had names like MG and Triumph. Those cars were small and had great weight to power ratios. And that meant oomph, not the blood curdling kind but they were quick and agile.

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2017 Hyundai Santa Fe LTD

We were impressed when we arrived here for a quick four-day visit and they brought us a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe. It was a three-row crossover chock-full of all sorts of creature comforts. Powered by a 3.3-liter direct injected V6 engine that made 290 horsepower, it moved the Santa Fe effortlessly. The six-speed automatic transmission transferred the 252 pound-feet of torque to pavement smoothly. Aggressive acceleration when getting on I-85/75, bumper to bumper traffic, whatever just didn’t matter; this powertrain was up to any task. Handling was great too. Although the Santa Fe had three rows of seats it didn’t drive big nor did it look big.

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