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Articles by Jonathan Spira

At the New York Auto Show, Everything Old Is New Again

At the New York Auto Show, Everything Old Is New Again

Low fuel prices and strong economic growth are propelling vehicle sales in the United States at a record pace and automakers are scrambling to exploit every possible angle by offering an increasing number of models in categories ranging from small electric vehicles to supersized sport utility vehicles, with the exception …

Review: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Review: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Note to self: Don’t schedule cute roadsters like the fourth generation Miata, excuse me, MX-5 Miata, for a wintertime excursion. The Soul Red Metallic Miata arrived, top up of course, on a snowy day in February, and my fleeting hopes of driving to the shore with the Beach Boys playing …

Road Test and Review: 2016 Honda Accord Sedan

Road Test and Review: 2016 Honda Accord Sedan

The Honda Accord may be the oldest nameplate we’ve tested at Frequent Business Traveler, aside from its stablemate, the Honda Civic. Honda first introduced the Accord in its home market in 1976, the name chosen because of the Japanese automaker’s “desire for accord and harmony between people, society and the …

Lexus LC 500h to Debut at Geneva Show in March

Lexus LC 500h to Debut at Geneva Show in March

Lexus, which introduced the LC 500 sport coupe at the 2016 Detroit auto show last month, announced the LC 500h, a hybrid variant.
The boldly styled hybrid looks much like its more conventionally powered sibling; only the blue-tinted Lexus badges and hybrid badges on the sides give away what’s under …

Winter Tires Review: Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and Pirelli Scorpion Ice and Snow

We honestly thought we would not be able to complete winter tire review this year.  From the time that we mounted our first set of winter tires, Bridgestone Blizzak WS80s in November, the New York metropolitan area – actually much of the East Coast – enjoyed rather balmy, spring-like weather.
While …

2016 Toyota Prius 4 Touring – First Look and Review

2016 Toyota Prius 4 Touring – First Look and Review

Since its launch in 1994, the Toyota Prius has been the standard bearer for gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. It’s also been <yawn> somewhat boring to drive.
Fast forward to 2016: With the introduction of the fourth generation of the car (a contest was held to determine what the plural form of the …

The Future of Diesel in the United States: Has Volkswagen Finally Done What GM Couldn’t?

The Future of Diesel in the United States: Has Volkswagen Finally Done What GM Couldn’t?

It was 1981 in America, and diesel was in its heyday. Sales of diesel-powered automobiles that year reached 520,788 (out of roughly 6.5 million), and 60% of those came from General Motors. These included the General’s biggest sedans, the Cadillac Fleetwood and Sedan de Ville, the Buick Electra and LeSabre, …

2015 BMW i3 – Road Test and Review

2015 BMW i3 – Road Test and Review

Although clearly a Bimmer, the BMW i3 isn’t only different from any BMW that’s come before but it’s also different from almost every car currently on the road. Its appearance is polarizing: “stubby,” “futuristic,” and “tall” were the comments we heard frequently while it was in our short-term fleet for …

The Road to Philadelphia – the BMW 535d’s Final Journey and Review

The Road to Philadelphia – the BMW 535d’s Final Journey and Review

It feels like only yesterday that we took delivery of the Moonstone Metallic BMW 535d in Munich at the BMW Welt. The 5er was something we had waited for with great anticipation, after having spent over two years with BMW’s first clean diesel sedan, the 335d, which was followed by …

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen – First Look and Review

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen – First Look and Review

OK, class, please pay attention now. The new Golf SportWagen, which is known as the Golf Variant in its home market and the Golf Estate in the United Kingdom – and was previously called the Jetta SportWagen in the States – is now available for your driving pleasure. Got that?
Given …

2015 Audi A3 TDI – Road Test and Review

2015 Audi A3 TDI – Road Test and Review

As diesels become more popular in the United States (three carmakers, including Audi, currently offer six models each, while the total number of diesel models on the market five years ago was 12), many rules are being broken. Just a decade ago, the idea of a sporty diesel would have …

Diesel Fails to Reflect Gasoline’s 40% Drop, But Lower Prices Expected in 2015

Diesel Fails to Reflect Gasoline’s 40% Drop, But Lower Prices Expected in 2015

While the price of gasoline at the pump has dropped roughly 40% since June of this year, the price of diesel fuel is seemingly unchanged.
The average price for a gallon of gasoline across the nation was $2.68 as of Monday and prices have continued to slide through the week, while …