The Toyota GR Yaris Is Great, But Should You Consider It As Your Daily Driver?

What Toyota did with the GR Yaris is remind every petrolhead that carmakers still know how to cater to their more enthusiastic customers without asking them to break the bank.

And even if Toyota won’t bring the little GR Yaris over to the U.S., reports suggest that the Japanese carmaker is working on a hot GR Corolla with the same ingredients which will most likely cross the Pacific ocean.

Read More: Litchfield Working On Toyota GR Yaris Upgrades, Has Already Boosted It To 300 HP

Until then, Carwow is going to show what is like to leave with perhaps the most exciting performance model with a Toyota badge in recent years (sorry Supra). Their example is finished in the pearlescent white option, which really suits the small pocket rocket.

Power comes from a turbocharged 1.6-liter three-cylinder producing 257 HP (261 PS) and 266 lb-ft (360 Nm). This new engine is paired to a six-speed manual transmission and Toyota’s bespoke four-wheel-drive system that can be fitted with a pair of Torsen limited-slip differentials if you opt for the Circuit Pack – which you should.

Combined with the low weight figure of just 2,822 lbs (1,280 kg), the GR Yaris can hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from rest in 5.5 seconds an reach an electronically limited 143 mph (230 km/h) top speed.

In addition, the bespoke four-wheel-drive system features three different modes to choose from: Normal, which splits the torque between the axles 60:40, Track (50:50), and Sport, which sends most power to the rear, at 30:70.

Of course, there are things that are not that great about the subcompact hot hatch, including an exhaust soundtrack that leaves a lot to be desired and some weird ergonomics. However, with an almost bargain-like price tag, it’s no wonder that the Toyota GR Yaris deserves all the praise it can get.

2021 Mazda CX-3

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 is a small but well-equipped crossover available in only base Sport trim.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mazda CX-3? What does it compare to?

The Mazda CX-3 small crossover SUV is more like a subcompact hatchback. Smaller than the Mazda CX-30, it competes with the Chevy Trax, Hyundai Venue, Toyota C-HR and other entry-level crossovers.  

Is the 2021 Mazda CX-3 a good SUV?

Review continues below

The arrival of the larger CX-30 for 2020 nudged the CX-3 to the shadows. Even though other automakers offer small and smaller crossovers, the CX-3 is one of the smallest. Yet, its standard safety features, fun handling, and urban styling offset its limited interior for a TCC Rating of 6.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2021 Mazda CX-3?

Mazda’s decision to streamline the CX-3 to the lone Sport trim suggests this is its last year. The tall hatchback looks more like an urban runabout along the lines of Mini and Fiat than anything that could be considered off-road capable, even with available all-wheel drive. Its 148-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 matches its small size to provide decent acceleration and its light weight contributes to sporty handling. Those same proportions cost it cargo room and rear leg room, though it could fit four average-sized adults. Briefly. 

A cabin cloaked in black suggests a spartan yet premium feel, but Mazda offers the CX-3 one way only. Fortunately, it covers the basics for convenience and safety with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and more. It fared well in crash tests. 

How much does the 2021 Mazda CX-3 cost?

It costs $21,740, including $1,100 destination. 

Where is the 2021 Mazda CX-3 made?

In Japan.

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 looks at home in the city.

Is the 2021 Mazda CX-3 a good-looking car?

The CX-3 looks like a lifted Mazda 3 hatchback. The long nose and short overhangs are classic Mazda style, and the body lines rise from the blunt front end over rounded wheel arches into a greenhouse that dips then climbs to the rear. It earns a point to a 6. 

The inside is less inspired due to the lone trim. Elsewhere, Mazda pushes into the premium segment with black interiors highlighted by shiny chrome-like trim pieces. That solid if unremarkable style comes through here, and the three circular vents match the three climate dials in a way that’s always striking. But the dash-mounted touchscreen is a reach and the controller dial in the console is a pain.

Review continues below

Spry and lightweight, the 2021 Mazda CX-3 can be fun to drive.

How fast is the Mazda CX-3?

Weighing less than  3,000 pounds, and with a relatively low ride height, the CX-3 performs like a lightweight hatchback, with nimble moves and decent acceleration coming from its small but loud 148-hp 2.0-liter inline-4. It’s a 6. 

A 6-speed automatic shuttles power to the front or all wheels, and it stays high in the rev range for good highway passing. 

Is the Mazda CX-3 4WD?

It comes with front-wheel drive or a $1,400 all-wheel drive option. With MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam in back, the CX-3 remains balanced and responsive enough in front-wheel drive that we’d only recommend all-wheel drive for northern climes. As in other Mazdas, precise steering keeps the driver connected to the road and a firm ride encourages turns at higher speeds, but the faster you go, the louder it gets.

Review continues below

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 is cramped in all the wrong places for a crossover SUV.

The CX-3 is one of the smallest crossovers when it comes to interior space. Technically, its 17.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats earns it a point on our scale, but its inability to fit more than two people in comfort costs it a point. It’s a 5.

Fold down the 60/40 split rear seats and cargo volume expands to 42.7 cubic feet, but you’d have to be a master of Tetris to optimize the vertical space. Same goes for rear passengers. With 35.0 inches of rear leg room, four average-sized people could fit in the five seats, but with heads tucked and knees kissing elbows. 

With just the basic Sport trim, the CX-3 comes with cloth seats and manual adjustments that provide decent enough support but lack significant enough adjustments to mix it up on long road trips. 

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Excellent standard safety features help the 2021 Mazda CX-3 avoid crashes.

How safe is the Mazda CX-3?

Mazda equips the CX-3 with all the latest safety and driver-assist features to help it avoid as well as withstand crashes on roadways teeming with larger vehicles. The NHTSA gave it five stars, though rear passengers might suffer more from side impact crashes. The IIHS rated it a Top Safety Pick+, its highest safety honor. 

Each of those attributes earns a point for a total of 8 here. 

Few automakers equip entry-level models with the following standard gear on the CX-3: Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, LED headlights, taillights and fog lights, as well as adaptive headlights and automatic high beams.

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The 2021 Mazda CX-3 comes with good basics, but few options.

Which Mazda CX-3 should I buy?

Offered only in base Sport trim, the 2021 Mazda CX-3 comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility, keyless start and entry, basic cloth seats, and the excellent safety features mentioned above.  

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Mazda CX-3?

Same as a basic one, for the most part. Adding all-wheel drive for $1,400 brings the price up to$23,140, including $1,100 destination. Add some red metallic paint, all-weather floor mats, rear parking sensors, and upgraded bumpers and it might crack $25,000.

Review continues below

The BMW E39 M5 Places The Driver At The Center Of The Experience

Since 1984, the BMW M5 has been rightfully regarded as one of the finest performance sedans on sale and Magnus Walker recently had the opportunity to drive a particularly nice example.

The latest-generation M5 is an absolute beast thanks to its 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine. However, it is not the current car that is the subject of this review but the E39 that was produced from 1998 to 2003.

To our eyes, the E39 has one of the most timeless designs of any M5 and despite being more than 20 years old, its simple shape and refined lines make its contemporaries feel bloated and oversized.

Watch Also: Could The E39 Be Considered The Pinnacle Of BMW’s M5 Family?

The E39 M5 was the first M5 to use a V8, but unlike the current car that relies on forced induction, the E39’s engine is naturally aspirated and keener to rev. It pumps out a respectable 392 hp at 6,600 rpm and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque at 3,800 rpm and is coupled to a six-speed Getrag manual gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels through a limited-slip differential.

An argument can be made that modern-day performance cars like the M5 have become overly reliant on outright performance at the sacrifice of driving pleasure. By comparison, the E39 M5 places the driver at the center of the experience and, according to Walker, it is a really pleasurable car to drive at its limits.

2021 Mini Cooper Countryman

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mini Countryman? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Mini Countryman small crossover SUV is the largest Mini offering for the U.S. It competes with its parent company’s BMW X1 and X2, as well as the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. 

Is the 2021 Mini Countryman a good SUV?

Review continues below

If different is good—and it is—then the Mini Countryman is a good small crossover SUV. Its style, spaciousness, available powertrain offerings, and premium vibe offset its odd feature packaging and lack of driver assist features. It earns a TCC Rating of 6.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2021 Mini Countryman?

Refreshed for 2021, the largest Mini comes with a new grille, front and rear bumpers, standard LED headlights, fog lights, and Union Jack LED taillights, as well as new wheel and color options. Inside, an 8.8-inch touchscreen comes standard on all but the base Classic trim. 

A new honeycomb grille oversees a larger lower fascia that integrates LED fog lights. LED lighting abounds almost as much as circular design elements outside and in, where a circular center stack oversees toggles instead of traditional switchgear. 

Three trims, Classic, Signature, and Iconic stagger the feature set available across four models based on powertrains. The base Countryman uses a 1.5-liter turbo-3 that can’t carry the weight, while the Countryman S uses a 189-hp turbo-4 that’s just right. The John Cooper Works model ups the turbo-4 to 301 hp, and adds adaptive dampers and other performance bits. The Countryman SE plug-in hybrid soldiers on with only an 18-mile electric range but a decent 73 MPGe. The other turbo engines return 29 mpg combined at best. 

Seating five but only roomy enough for four, the Mini Countryman is taller and larger than the Mini Cooper, with better head and leg room, as well as at least 7.0 cubic feet more cargo volume. The front seats provide good thigh and back support. 

Mini equips the Countryman with niceties such as synthetic leather seats, panoramic sunroof, and an excellent warranty, but Apple CarPlay does not come standard and Android Auto isn’t available. The safety features are similarly mismatched; low-speed automatic emergency comes standard, but adaptive cruise control is an option even on the most expensive model that tips $50,000. 

How much does the 2021 Mini Countryman cost?

The base 2021 Countryman in Classic trim with the turbo-3 starts just under $30,000, while the John Cooper Works in top Iconic trim takes you to the other end of the Mini spectrum in price and performance to just under $50,000. 

Where is the 2021 Mini Countryman made?

In the Netherlands.

Has Toyota Hit A Home Run With The 2021 Mirai?

The first-generation Toyota Mirai was never a particularly desirable vehicle. In fact, it was quiet the opposite. Now, with the launch of the second-generation model, has Toyota delivered a hydrogen-powered vehicle that people might actually want to own?

Shortly after the 2021 Mirai landed in the United States, Doug DeMuro has had the opportunity to put it through its paces and it certainly has a lot of things going for it.

DeMuro’s review starts off in the interior of the new Mirai which he says all feels rather ‘normal’. Evidently, Toyota didn’t want to give the car a weird and wacky cabin just because it has an innovative hydrogen powertrain, meaning some of the components found throughout are familiar with those of other Toyota models.

Watch Also: 2021 Toyota Mirai Review – Second Time Is A Charm

With that being said, there are some interesting features found within, including the rather odd gear selector and a massive cross-member that splits the moonroof in two. Interestingly, this moonroof can’t actually be opened.

The 2021 Toyota Mirai is based on a new rear-wheel drive platform and features a fuel cell stack that’s said to be smaller and lighter than the first-generation model. The complex powertrain consists of an electric motor with 180 hp and 221 lb-ft (300 Nm) of torque, a 1.24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and no less than three hydrogen storage tanks. The car has an EPA-estimated driving range of up to 402 miles (647 km).

Should we be excited about the driving experience? Check out the review to find out.

2021 Tesla Model X

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Tesla Model X? What does it compare to?

The Model X is a three-row electric crossover SUV with seating for up to seven. The largest Tesla on sale now compares to the Audi E-Tron, but offers supercar-like falcon-wing doors. 

Is the 2021 Tesla Model X a good car?

Review continues below

Although the Model X’s showy rear doors have been problematic, this is a spacious, efficient, and strong-performing fully electric SUV, and we give it a 7.7 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2021 Tesla Model X?

The most significant change to the Tesla Model X is more driving range. The Long Range Plus variant of the Model X boosts range from 328 miles  to 371 miles. 

The Model X lineup has been slimmed down to two models with the same 100-kwh battery pack, dual electric motors, and all-wheel drive. The Long Range Plus version claims a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 4.4 seconds, while the Performance version can hit 60 mph in 2.6 seconds, making it one of the quickest-accelerating SUVs on the market—all-electric or not. Despite its weight of about 5,500 pounds in some versions, the Model X provides impressive handling compared even to other performance SUVs. 

The Tesla Model X shares its underpinnings with the Model S fastback, and outside of its taller, more teardrop profile, more spacious layout, and falcon-wing doors, the X’s pricing, equipment, and performance closely parallel the Model S. 

The interior of the Model X is typical Tesla: austere but technologically impressive, especially considering its interior and interface hardware haven’t seen a significant redesign since its 2015 introduction. A vertically oriented central 17.0-inch touchscreen handles most vehicle functions—including climate control—and is the hub for vehicle settings and infotainment. Regular over-the-air upgrades have for the most part improved the already flat and intuitive menu system. Tesla doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but it does offer nicely integrated ways to stream entertainment. 

All Model X crossovers come with automatic emergency braking, a collision-warning system, and blind-spot monitors, plus Autopilot, which gives the vehicle the means to steer, accelerate, and brake within the same lane. Full Self-Driving Capability is now a $10,000 option and adds Navigate on Autopilot functions, including the ability to navigate on highways with automated lane-changes, use automated parking, and summon the vehicle in parking lots. While it’s not self-driving in the commonly understood sense, Tesla is promising a higher level of automated driving with less driver input. 

How much does the 2021 Model X cost?

The Tesla Model X Long Range Plus costs $81,190, including the $1,200 destination fee. The Model X Performance starts at $101,190 but can reach just under $130,000 with options.

Where is the 2021 Tesla Model X made?

In Fremont, California.