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Articles by Jonathan Spira

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Lexus NX 300h

Review and Test Drive:  2019 Lexus NX 300h

Lexus named its then entry-level crossover the NX explaining that “NX” stands for “nimble crossover,” and it’s clear that the Department of Naming at Lexus knew what it was talking about.
The NX is slotted below the RX, RX, GX, and LX, although the new UX has taken over the entry-level …

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Nissan Kicks SR

Review and Test Drive:  2019 Nissan Kicks SR

The uncomplicated Nissan Kicks was unveiled in 2014 as a concept car and was introduced in 2018 in the United States as a replacement for the quirky Nissan Juke. Similar to what Nissan offered with the Juke, buyers can customize the appearance of their Kicks by adding a front lip …

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE

Review and Test Drive:  2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE

First announced at the 2000 New York International Auto Show, the Toyota Highlander was one of the first car-based SUV crossovers and the hybrid version was the first seven-seat hybrid vehicle on the market.
Now in it third generation, the Toyota Highlander continues to offer a hybrid powerplant in an all-wheel …

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature

The Mazda CX-9 is a rare bird, a good looking three-row crossover with a level of refinement, elegance, and excitement that gives it a decidedly upscale look. It’s clear Mazda’s designers had their eyes on the luxury-car segment – Infiniti QX60 and Accura MDX come to mind – and the …

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Toyota C-HR Limited

Review and Test Drive:  2019 Toyota C-HR Limited

The funky Toyota C-HR, which made quite a splash at its debut last year, has grown to now include three distinct editions, the LE, XLE, and Limited (last year’s XLE Premium). From the base LE up, each has increasingly more gear and more features.
For those who are wondering what Toyota …

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited

Review and Test Drive:  2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited

When a 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited in Parisian Night Pearl – a rather striking color – arrived at our offices right before Labor Day, more than a few staffers thought a Lexus had been delivered by mistake. The confusion was understandable.
Now in its 25th year, the Avalon sports a …

Review and Test Drive: 2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Momentum

Review and Test Drive:  2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Momentum

The Volvo XC40 was first unveiled in September 2017 and was fast tracked into production by November 2017. Most notably, the XC40 is the first in the Swedish automaker’s 40 Series of vehicles and is the first to be built on the new CMA modular small car platform.
Unusual for a …

Volkswagen Rabbit GTI to Return for 2019

Volkswagen Rabbit GTI to Return for 2019

Fahrvergnügen Continues, 35 Years Down the Road
The first generation Volkswagen Golf was marketed as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States when it was introduced in 1974 to replace the Beetle. Wolfsburg introduced a second generation Golf in 1983 along with a sportier model called the GTI.
The GTI is turning …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWD

Review and Test Drive:  2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWD

The Mitsubishi Outlander first made its appearance in 2001 in Japan as the Airtrek, a vehicle that promised “footloose, adventure-filled motoring pleasure.” It arrived in the States in 2003 as the Outlander and that name replaced Airtrek in all markets, including Japan, by 2005.
Now in its third generation, the Mitsubishi …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Lexus LS 500h

Review and Test Drive:  2018 Lexus LS 500h

When Lexus’ flagship sedan, the LS, made its debut in 1989, it marked the first successful volley of a Japanese automaker into the luxury space. Its very existence was headline worthy and it overtook BMW and Mercedes-Benz in overall U.S. sales within two years, although it took a little over …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Lexus LC 500h Hybrid Luxury Coupe

Review and Test Drive:  2018 Lexus LC 500h Hybrid Luxury Coupe

The striking LF-LC Concept – LF-LC stands for Lexus Future Luxury Coupe – made its debut at the North American International Auto Show in 2012 to thunderous applause although few believed it would ever make it into production relatively unchanged. It defied the odds, however, and was introduced as the …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Lexus RX 350

Review and Test Drive:  2018 Lexus RX 350

Introduced some 20 years ago, the Lexus RX 350 is now in its fourth iteration. RX stands for Radiant Crossover and the RX was a pioneer in the luxury crossover segment. The updated RX (unveiled in 2015 at the New York International Auto Show) builds on this foundation, sporting a …