Posts by Kurt Ernst

2013 VW Beetle Convertible With Sound & Nav: RideLust Review

Posted in Car Reviews, European Review, Featured, RideLust Review, Volkswagen by Kurt Ernst | March 25th, 2013 | 1 Response |

2013 VW Beetle Convertible

Thumbs Up: Better than the last Beetle Convertible in every way

Thumbs Down: Cloth seats not available, not much rear passenger room

Buy This Car If: You were there in the 1970s and long for your first Beetle convertible

It’s probably safe to say that few cars ever sold in North America achieved quite as large a cult following as the original Volkswagen Beetle. Countless numbers of us learned to drive behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Beetle, and those of us in snow-belt states soon learned the advantage of skinny tires and a rear-mounted engine in winter. We also learned about things like snap oversteer on black ice, ejecting windshield wiper blades and a heating system that varied between “primitive” and “nonexistent.” Read More…

2014 Mazda6 i Grand Touring: RideLust Review

Posted in Car Reviews, Featured, Import Review, Mazda, RideLust Review by Kurt Ernst | March 18th, 2013 | 3 Responses |

2014 Mazda6 i

Thumbs Up: Perhaps the best-looking midsize sedan, premium feel

Thumbs Down: Could use more power, transmission not particularly sporty

Buy This Car If: You’re shopping for a midsize sedan with good looks and an upscale feel

While this may not come as a surprise to many readers, Mazda doesn’t sell nearly as many Mazda6 sedans as Honda sells Accords or Toyota sells Camrys. That’s not to say the previous Mazda6 was a bad car, but it was easily lost in the crowd, especially when competitors spend serious money on television and print advertising. Read More…

2013 Honda Accord Sport: RideLust Review

Posted in Car Reviews, Featured, Honda, Import Review, RideLust Review by Kurt Ernst | March 11th, 2013 | 1 Response |

2013 Honda Accord Sport

Thumbs Up: Reasonable power and ride quality

Thumbs Down: Sport in name only with CVT

Buy This Car If: You want Honda reliability in a relatively entertaining midsize sedan

When Honda redesigned the Accord for the 2013 model year, it also made a serious attempt to broaden the product line and appeal to an even wider array of customers. One such model is the new-for-2013 Accord Sport, which lies one step up from the bottom of the range and is meant to appeal to younger buyers looking for some entertainment value with their family sedan. Read More…

2013 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring Sedan: RideLust Review

Posted in Car Reviews, Featured, Import Review, Mazda, RideLust Review by Kurt Ernst | March 4th, 2013 | Leave a Reply |

2013 Mazda3 i Grand Touring

Thumbs Up: Impressive handling and fuel economy; good content for the money

Thumbs Down: Dated exterior design

Buy This Car If: You want a commuter car that delivers both features and frugality

Just a few short years ago , a car that served up features like a blind spot detection system, adaptive headlights, Bluetooth audio streaming, navigation, keyless entry with push-button start, rain-sensing wipers and a Bose Centerpoint surround-sound audio system would have fallen into the luxury car realm, priced far out of reach of the average consumer. Read More…

2013 Kia Optima SX Limited: RideLust Review

Posted in Car Reviews, Featured, Import Review, Kia, RideLust Review by Kurt Ernst | February 25th, 2013 | Leave a Reply |

2013 Kia Optima SXL

Thumbs Up: Looks good, best-equipped Kia we’ve ever driven

Thumbs Down: More chrome does not equal more luxury

Buy This Car If: You’re a Kia loyalist who’s looking for entry-level luxury

Not too many years ago, Korean automotive brands were shopped almost exclusively by those who couldn’t afford a Japanese alternative. Then Hyundai and Kia borrowed a page from the Japanese automaker playbook; once they’d drawn in the initial batch of customers with low prices, the Korean brands began to step up quality. Read More…

2013 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L V6: RideLust Review

Posted in Car Reviews, Featured, Honda, Import Review, RideLust Review by Kurt Ernst | February 18th, 2013 | Leave a Reply |

2013 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L

Thumbs Up: Usable back seat, Acura quality with a Honda price tag

Thumbs Down: Stops just short of being a driver’s car

Buy This Car If: You need sedan-like room but prefer a coupe body style

Honda has completely revamped its Accord lineup for 2013, and an all-new Accord Coupe is among the models. While that may have been met with some indifference in the past, the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe is a surprisingly capable car that looks great both inside and out. In fact, the only thing we can’t figure out about the new Accord Coupe, especially in higher-trim versions, is why it’s sporting a Honda badge and not an Acura logo. Read More…

2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club: RideLust Review

Posted in Car Reviews, Featured, Import Review, Mazda, Promoted, RideLust Review by Kurt Ernst | February 11th, 2013 | 2 Responses |

2013 Maxda MX-5 Miata Club

Thumbs Up: Still delivers razor-sharp handling and superb value

Thumbs Down: Long overdue for replacement

Buy This Car If: You prefer your affordable fun in topless form

Mazda’s MX-5 Miata, in its current form, dates back to the 2006 model year. That’s when the second generation of the world’s favorite sports car gave way to the current generation, dubbed “NC” in Miata-speak. Seven years is a long time to sell any model without significant changes, but the Mazda MX-5 Miata has one primary advantage: it’s outlived all of its competition. Read More…

2013 Acura ILX 2.4 Premium: RideLust Review

Posted in Acura, Car Reviews, Featured, Import Review, Promoted, RideLust Review by Kurt Ernst | February 4th, 2013 | Leave a Reply |

2013 Acura ILX 2.4 Premium

Thumbs Up: Far more refined than its cousin, the Honda Civic Si

Thumbs Down: Navigation unavailable, average fuel economy

Buy This Car If: You’re looking for a commuter car that isn’t boring to drive

Had things gone according to plan, Acura’s ILX sedan would have been an instant success the moment it hit dealer showrooms, allowing Honda’s luxury brand to put the aging TSX sedan out to pasture. On paper, at least, the ILX delivers the goods: it’s available in models ranging from hybrid though sport-tuned, looks good and delivers a fair amount of content for the price. Acura even wrapped it in a slick ad campaign that said, effectively, dad would have bought this car if he hadn’t been burdened with the responsibility of a family first. We weren’t sure what it meant, either, but then again we’re not exactly in the ILX’s target demographic. Read More…

2013 Buick Verano Premium: RideLust Review

Posted in Buick, Car Reviews, Domestic Review, Featured, RideLust Review by Kurt Ernst | January 28th, 2013 | Leave a Reply |

2013 Buick Verano Premium

Thumbs Up: Comfortable ride, quiet cabin

Thumbs Down: Turbo engine and manual transmission, but little entertainment value

Buy This Car If: You prefer to row your own gears, yet want comfort over performance

Buick’s Verano sedan was built to deliver the fuel-sipping advantages of a compact, while serving up more content than buyers in the class are used to. While the Verano was new for the 2012 model year, a turbocharged variant, dubbed the Verano Premium, has been introduced for 2013. Now that GM brand Pontiac is history, the company is hoping that Buick can pick up some of the enthusiast buyers left in the cold by Pontiac’s shuttering. Read More…

2013 Ford Focus ST: A Joint RideLust Review

Posted in Car Reviews, Domestic, Domestic Review, Domestic Rides, Featured, Ford, General, Rides by Kurt Ernst | January 21st, 2013 | Leave a Reply |

2013 Ford Focus ST

Thumbs Up: Kurt: The best front-drive hot hatch currently on the market. Mike: Yeah, what he said…

Thumbs Down: Limited rear seat leg room. Mike: Interior may be a little too over-stylized for some people.

Buy This Car If: You want a blend of entertaining and practical, and don’t need the rear legroom. Mike: OR if you’ve got a teenager at home, your car is boring, and you want something that’s a pisser to drive on weekends.

Kurt: In the time it took for Ford to bring the eagerly-anticipated Focus ST hot hatch to market in the United States, you could have gotten married, had a few kids, put them through college and started to eat into your retirement savings – or so it seemed. Some two years elapsed between the confirmation that the car would come to the United States (delivered at the 2010 Paris Motor Show) and the car’s actual appearance in 2012 as a 2013 model. Delay after delay after delay seemed to plague the 2013 Ford Focus ST, which begs the question: was it worth the wait?

Read More…