Author Archives: Benjamin Hunting


The 2016 Ford Focus RS takes on 3 Rivals in High Performance compact showdown

The 2016 Ford Focus RS takes on 3 Rivals in High Performance compact showdown

The 2016 Ford Focus RS stands at the pinnacle of the American hot hatch landscape, a turbocharged high performance marvel that brings with it a history of dominance in the European market. Of course, with Subaru no longer producing a hatchback version of its venerable STI and Mazda long having put the Mazdaspeed3 out to pasture, there's really only one other boy-racer compact hatch around with the specs to tackle the RS head-on: the Volkswagen Golf R.

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The 5 Best Compact SUVs Under $30,000

The 5 Best Compact SUVs Under $30,000

Small crossovers and SUVs are among the most popular automobiles on the market, and it's really no surprise. Practical and versatile, with enough storage space and passenger room to go above and beyond the day-to-day needs of most families, yet without the stodgy image of a minivan, sport-utility vehicles and their closely-related crossover cousins continue to do big business for almost every brand.

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2016 Cadillac ATS-V vs. 2004 Cadillac CTS-V Showdown: Generation Gap

2016 Cadillac ATS-V vs. 2004 Cadillac CTS-V Showdown: Generation Gap

Time is a flat circle, especially in the automotive industry, where if you drive long enough you're likely to meet yourself coming back around again. This was exactly how I felt when Cadillac debuted the ATS-V sedan just last year: here was a four-door sports sedan aimed at entry-level buyers who might have previously considered a BMW - specifically, one with an 'M' badge on the trunk. It was déjà vu all over again, because you see, I've had that same Cadillac formula sitting in my garage for close to a decade now.

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2017 Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 Review: More modern, less muscle

2017 Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 Review: More modern, less muscle

If you're in the luxury game, the pressure to build high performance editions of almost every model in your line-up is a strong one. Most premium brands pursue volume as aggressively as possible, extending their reach into every conceivable niche to create a balance of both divine (Audi RS7) and strange (BMW X6 M) bedfellows. After replacing its longtime SLK nameplate with the new SLC roadster, Mercedes-Benz turns its hot rodding skills to the 2017 Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 and continues its tradition of dumping a big engine in a small car - with a few important twists.

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2017 Kia Cadenza First Drive: Big car, small market

2017 Kia Cadenza First Drive: Big car, small market

Lurking just below the surface of flashy ad campaigns and country club one-upmanship at the valet station there exists a world of comfortable, handsomely-styled automobiles that deliver 90 percent of the features found in traditional luxury cars almost completely under the radar. The 2017 Kia Cadenza is one such premium sleeper, joining the ranks of the Buick LaCrosse, the Toyota Avalon, and the Nissan Maxima as de facto upscale vehicles that ply the full-size sedan waters with silent dignity.

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2017 Genesis G90 First Drive: Rattling the cage of established luxury players

2017 Genesis G90 First Drive: Rattling the cage of established luxury players

Automakers ignore the aspirations of global giant Hyundai at their own peril. Cresting a 10-year renaissance that has seen the Korean automaker carve up its Japanese and American rivals in everything from the entry-level compact segment to the hot-selling SUV market, the enormous and unblinking eye of Hyundai's product planning team has now turned its full attention to the world of luxury. Successful, and lengthy flirtation with the viability of the Genesis nameplate under the auspices of its current hierarchy has lead to the Genesis G90 full-size sedan exploding onto the scene for 2017 as the herald of an all-new, and entirely separate premium brand.

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2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Review – Trading ponies for stallions

2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Review – Trading ponies for stallions

The 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 wasn't designed to kick ass at the drag strip, but that doesn't mean I'm not sitting in the right-hand lane of the closest 1320 waiting for the staging lights to clear. You see, yesterday's lightning storm wiped out the lapping sessions I was scheduled to attend that evening, which left me scrambling to find a track on which to sample Ford's all-new apex pony car.

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Braven XXL Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

Braven XXL Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

Bluetooth speakers are usually a mixed bag. If you want something portable enough to slip in your pocket, chances are you have to accept middling sound quality. If you've got space in your backpack, then you can step up to decent audio reproduction, but typically there will be a compromise on battery life. And then there's the Braven XXL.

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Mini Takes The States 2016 – Las Vegas to Palm Springs in a 2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible

Mini Takes The States 2016 – Las Vegas to Palm Springs in a 2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible

"22 miles...now 19. Scratch that - down to 18." I ask my co-driver, Automobile's Eric Weiner, to repeat that last number and he does, a note of concern creeping into his normally relaxed voice, augmented by rivulets of sweat crisscrossing his brow. It's not the tension of the moment that's got the two of us soaking both our shirts and the front seats of the Mini John Cooper Works convertible we're riding in across the California desert. It's the fact that, with just a sniff of fuel left in the tank, we've got the air conditioning switched off and the windows rolled down in the 118-degree heat, sacrificing comfort in the name of please, please, please just let us make it to the fuel station that both the navigation system and my fuzzy memory of visits to 29 Palms past say should be just 10 miles away. And this sudden incline is killing us.

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2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport First Drive – Weekend warrior

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport First Drive – Weekend warrior

There are three things you care about when hurtling towards a left-hand hairpin corner at 130-mph: grip, brakes, and more grip. Almost everything else in the universe vanishes to an impossibly small point when faced with the very real demands of shrinking asphalt, a retaining wall, and 3,300 lbs of accelerated metal. You're not thinking about your job, wondering whether you remembered to pay the electric bill, or mentally re-ordering the films in the Fast and Furious franchise according to progressive levels of both baldness and perspiration on the part of its leads. It's just you and the immediacy of the physics you're juggling with one hand on the wheel, the other clenched around the shifter, and both feet cycling the pedals like the Tour de France if PEDs were finally made legal.

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2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Review – Turbo all the things

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Review – Turbo all the things

Brand purists are simultaneously the best and worst buyers a car company can have flocking to its showrooms, and few automakers understand this better than Porsche. While it's an ego boost to have a loyal group of followers celebrating your heritage, that same cohort can turn on you in a heartbeat should it feel that the march of progress has in some way desecrated the traditions that they hold most dear. Still, this hasn't kept the German sport car builder from pushing past the boundaries of its own illustrious past, first with front-engine V8s (the 928), then while swapping air-cooled sixes for modern water-cooled designs (the 996), and now by going all-in on the turbo zeitgeist with the 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera.

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2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith Review – Leave the chauffeur at home

2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith Review – Leave the chauffeur at home

The 2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith is something of an outlier for the British luxury brand - it’s the Rolls you drive yourself, rather than enjoy from the more traditional perspective of the rear seat. Past that, however, it's also a car that intends to make your time behind the wheel a bit more engaging than what your chauffeur would experience piloting the four-door Ghost sedan on which the Wraith is based. Either way, after driving this two-door behemoth in and around Montreal, there's one thing I can state without reservation: regardless of where you're sitting, being inside the Rolls-Royce Wraith is an event in and of itself.

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