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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Autos Don Adair

SUNDAY, NOV. 3, 2013

 (Mazda)

Mazda CX-9: Three-row virtuoso

LIke seeing an old friend after a long absence, it was good having Mazda’s CX-9 back in my driveway. The CX-9 is Mazda’s largest vehicle, a midsize, three-row crossover with all the expected virtues -- a comfortable, high-tech cabin, abundant cargo capacity, available all-wheel-drive. What…

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 (Rolls-Royce)

Auto reviewer reveals all

Looking out my window this morning, I see a car -- a midsize Japanese sedan -- painted a dark and sober shade of gray called Polished Metal. Last weekend, in the grocery story parking lot, I led the young man pushing my cart to another…

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FRIDAY, NOV. 1, 2013

SATURDAY, OCT. 26, 2013

 (Hyundai)

Turbo boosts Veloster performance profile

In 2011, Hyundai debuted an entry-level coupe called the Veloster. Its profile was half coupe, half hatchback and a pair of passenger-side doors gave it sedan-like utility. Hoping to entice young buyers, Hyundai endowed the Veloster with flamboyant styling, impressive cabin tech and an affordable…

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SUNDAY, OCT. 20, 2013

 (Acura)

Acura TL: Out of the shadows

Obscured in the shadows cast by showier models, Acura’s midsize TL doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Call it a very good outlier in the near-luxury sport-sedan segment, where BMW’s 3 Series rules. Two things set the TL apart from its rivals -- its front-wheel-drive…

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SATURDAY, OCT. 12, 2013

 (Mazda)

Mazda3: Fun at 40 mpg

How much fun is there to be had at 40 mpg? Plenty, as I discovered out on SR 14 last week. Sitting high on the North side of the Columbia River, the sparsely traveled, two-lane road blends river-gorge scenery, winding roads and relaxing stretches of…

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SUNDAY, OCT. 6, 2013

 (Subaru)

2014 Forester a mainstream move

Subaru appears to be at the crossroads. Among executives, one faction wants to drive the company into the mainstream, with a more conventional lineup. Another believes Subaru’s niche-player status works in its favor. Subaru’s commitment to standard all-wheel-drive and to an unorthodox engine architecture does,…

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THURSDAY, OCT. 3, 2013

 (Kia)

Kia Soul matures, stays funky

As of this week, the 2014 Kia Soul has arrived at West Coast ports and is making its way to dealerships across the country. For the faithful -- and their numbers are legion -- this amounts to high drama. In its short lifespan -- it…

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 (Nissan)

2013 Nissan Sentra covers the bases

In a perfect world, compact sedans would hit 40 mpg on the highway, accommodate four adults in comfort, embrace the latest technology and be as spirited as an MX-5 Miata. As a week in the 2013 Nissan Sentra proves, though, three out of four ain’t…

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SATURDAY, SEPT. 21, 2013

FRIDAY, SEPT. 20, 2013

SATURDAY, SEPT. 14, 2013

 (Nissan)

Juke Nismo: More fun from Nissan

Since corporations are people, does it not follow that a business -- even a really big business -- can experience emotion? Joy and sorrow, hope and despair? I hope so. I’d like to think Nissan is having fun. Otherwise, how to explain the Juke? You…

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Is a lightweight RV right for you?

There’s a new buzzword in the RV trade. Seems like half the trailers, campers and fifth-wheels one sees these days are emblazoned with a logo bearing some -- usually misspelled -- version of the word “light.” Super Lite! Ultra Lite! Ever Lite! Like every buzzword,…

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SUNDAY, SEPT. 8, 2013

 (Volkswagen)

Volkswagen shakes a bad case of car flu 

Volkswagen summoned journalists to Napa Valley last week, purportedly to introduce its 2014 U.S. product line. The unveilings included a family of innovative and efficient new engines, a new satellite-based connectivity system called Car-Net and an expanded lineup of “performance-inspired” R-Line cars. But the event’s…

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 (Kia)

Kia Sorento turns up the heat

Determined to be a big-time player in the States, Kia continues to turn up the heat on its competitors. Just three years ago, Kia replaced its compact, truck-based Sorento SUV with an all-new crossover of the same name. The new Sorento quickly began to ring…

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MONDAY, SEPT. 2, 2013

 (Chrysler)

Chrysler 300: Promise fulfilled

In 2004, the Chrysler 300 landed like a body slam to the midsection of the full-size sedan segment, its brooding, broad-shouldered presence a poke in the eye of convention. The 300’s dark beauty masked an array of shortcomings, though. On the verge of bankruptcy, Chrysler…

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MONDAY, JULY 29, 2013

 (Honda)

2013 Honda Civic: Everyday greatness

In late 2011, Honda debuted the all-new 2012 Civic. The next year, the updated outsold all other compacts in the U.S., and was the country’s second-best-selling car. Apparently, though, Honda has even greater things in mind for the Civic. For 2013, just one year following…

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SUNDAY, JULY 21, 2013

 (Lexus)

Lexus IS delivers on its promise

In 2006, Lexus took direct aim at BMW’s 3 Series, with the launch of the IS compact sport sedan. The IS offered a pair of excellent engines, but its cramped interior and lackluster handling limited it to also-ran status, where it has remained. For 2014,…

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FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2013

 (Fiat)

Green cars slug it out in Portland

Yesterday, members of the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) gathered in Portland to drive and rate an assortment of “green cars.” What I learned tooling around downtown Portland: Sustainability is high on the automotive agenda. We drove 17 hybrids, plug-in hybrids, clean diesels and electric…

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2013

FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013

WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 2013

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 23, 2013

TUESDAY, JAN. 15, 2013

 (Acura / Acura)

2014 Acura MDX: SH-AWD still on the job

In my previous post, I promised the lowdown on the 2014 Acura MDX, which should start arriving in dealerships by summer. As you may recall, I’d come across a rumor that Acura would dropSuper Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) from upcoming versions of the MDX. PR boss…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 10, 2013

 (Acura)

Acura aims to make me happy

I’m never going to own a large crossover -- i.e., one with three rows -- but if I did, it would be Acura’s MDX. The MDX rides well, though it’s not the least bit sporty. It’s strong and handsome, though not at all flashy. It’s…

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Don Adair
Don Adair is a Spokane-based freelance writer.