Archive for December, 2018

2018 Kia Niro PHEV: The future of plug-and-play

The beauty of the Kia Niro plug-in hybrid sneaks up on you. It’s not in its function-over-form body but in how easily this compact-class crossover wagon-hatchback fits into a busy lifestyle. With around 26 miles of battery driving, it is quick to dispense with errand-running and with engine assist there are more than 500 miles of total driving range; it is an EV that doesn’t fiddle around. The Niro PHEV is an urban runabout and...

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback: The shape of things to come

Forget everything you once knew about the Corolla nameplate being synonymous with boring but dependable transportation. The redesigned 2019 Corolla Hatchback is updating the 52-year-old nameplate with youthful styling, sophisticated interior materials, a full integration of safety technologies and a new attitude of sporty drivability. It might now be the benchmark in this segment of compact, five-door non-sedans, which includes the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Accent, Kia Forte, Mazda3, Nissan Versa Note...

2018 Nissan Leaf: Simple green without the gimmicks

Critics of electric cars point to the obvious downsides of range, range anxiety and price. But few realize the upsides until they own an EV and the first of those validation points might be not having to go to a gas station except for a fountain drink, lottery ticket or the air pump. Then there are the obvious incentives of reduced vehicle maintenance and an ever-topped-off tank after an overnight charge. And somewhere on the...

2019 Subaru Forester: A new North Star

There have always been good reasons to buy a Subaru Forester, but its exterior styling was never among them — until the redesigned 2019 model. The new Forester is a complete remake and roomier with more power and loaded with safety technologies, including the watchful DriverFocus camera to monitor for distracted or drowsy driving. The exterior styling is familiar but more appealing, especially at the rear. But it is Subaru’s attentive engineering that is the...

2019 Mustang Bullitt: History in the remaking

The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt is now in its third sequel and getting better with every evolution. Ford has made a mini-franchise out of limited-edition Bullitt models that pay tribute to the fastback’s film debut in 1968 with Steve McQueen at the wheel. The now-legendary “Bullitt” film came out 50 years ago on Oct. 15. I was in the theater then, a car-crazed 14-year-old. After that death-defying car chase with the bad guys in a...

Time flies in a Porsche watch

Porsche unveiled the new, eighth-generation at the recent 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show and with it the new Porsche Design watch to honor it: the 911 Chronograph Timeless Machine Limited Edition. Low profile, as is the new wider and lower 992, the special edition watch is limited to 911 pieces and uses a hypoallergenic titanium case. The Swiss-made ETA Valjoux 7750 movement is visible through the sapphire case back and customized with the Porsche Design Icon...

About Mark Maynard

Mark Maynard has been the automotive editor at the San Diego Union-Tribune since 1992.

He drives nearly 200 vehicles a year for review, has attended several high-performance driving schools and a few off-road driving courses.

He attends many new-vehicle press introductions and schmoozes with auto-industry execs.

Mark Maynard