2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD: Making a Good Thing Better

By Ted Orme

If you want to make a Mazda fan (like me) happy just offer him a week test drive in the flagship 2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD. In a review of the same model last year, I added my praise to a raft of awards and top marks from car mags and bloggers for its “terrific blend of driving fun, utility and comfort.” So what could make this top ride better?

Leaving well enough alone, Mazda has improved the CX-9’s standing as a premium three-row crossover SUV with more horsepower and even better handling, as well as more soundproofing and additional high-tech features in an even more refined package.

For 2019, Mazda has added both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration phone connectivity systems as standard  equipment on every trim level. Models equipped with SiriusXM Satellite Radio now get a complementary five-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic Plus and Travel Link, and a 360°View Monitor and ventilated front seats have been added to higher trim models.

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2018 Prius c: Suited for the City

By Ted Orme

Car critics have their favorites. So when I recently got the chance to review a few more new models, I was aware that the first one up, the little hybrid Prius c, was not one of my preferred rides, to put it mildly. When I last reviewed this model for Street Dreams December 2013) shortly after its introduction in 2012 I titled it a “High MPG Driving Appliance” that was high on thrift and low on fun.

My Prius negativity has only been made worse by following their hyper-miling drivers down the road under the speed limit or dodging clueless Prius pilots in parking lots. Would my impressions change this time around?

I’m afraid not. Aside from some minor trim, safety and infotainment upgrades, there is simply not enough improvement to win me over. That’s not to say the c doesn’t make for a good car for the city, which is what the c stands for. But the lower case italic c seems to say even Toyota is not ready to promote this model with a capital “C.”

The bottom feeder of the Prius line in both price

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2018 Ford Fusion Platinum Energi: A Dying Breed

By Ted Orme

This review can serve as a eulogy for a dying breed: the great American sedan, at least Ford sedans. In the face of an unrelenting onslaught of crossovers and SUVs, Ford announced in April that it plans to stop selling all Ford brand sedans in North America. First to go will be the full-sized Taurus and subcompact Fiesta next spring, followed by the Fusion sedan by 2021.

The Fusion nameplate will reportedly live on as (what else?) a high-roof hatchback crossover based on the same chassis and aimed at going head-to-head with the Subaru Outback. It’s not hard to see why. A look at plummeting Fusion sedan sales tells the story – from 306,860 in 2014 to 209,623 in 2017, according to Automotive News.

So why review a model that has already heard its death knell? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, it is a damn decent car that I like; and, second, time is running out to own one.

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2018 Dodge Durango SRT 392: Holy Smokes!

By Ted Orme

NOTE TO READERS: You have no doubt noticed that Street Dreams has been unusually quiet for a while. The reason, unfortunately, is that Vern Parker has been dealing with a serious illness in the family that requires his full time and attention. But we are not done! Vern will be back at it soon. In the meantime, I will get going again with reviews of some new products. We have also put out the welcome mat to other car writers for additional contributions of new and classic cars. So, stick with us.

I can’t think of a better way to revive this column – and my automotive libido – than a review of the totally outrageous 475 horsepower, 6.4-liter V-8 Hemi powered Dodge Durango SRT, which is capable of 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and four-wheel burnouts. No, that’s not me in the above company photo, which would be a sure fire way never to get anymore test vehicles. But this is the fastest, most powerful three-row SUV, according to the automaker, and it is certain to bring out the devil in you.

We used to call these tire burners “sleepers.” You know, those drag strip champs in Plain Jane wrap that could blow away muscle cars and sporting machines from an unpatrolled stop light. At first glance, the SRT appears to be a family friendly SUV. But the tipoff that it is something very different than the rest of the far more civilized Durango line is the red 392 emblem (as in cubic inches of engine displacement) on the front fenders. There’s also the functional vented and scooped hood, wide grille, body-color side skirts and beefy red Brembo front brakes peeking through black 20-inch wheels.

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1968 Porsche 911

By Vern Parker

The superb handling of sports cars appealed to Dan Rowzie so much so that in his younger days he began attending sports car events enjoying the sound of mostly British sports cars.  He was happy in that pursuit until one day he witnessed another competitor in an air cooled Porsche.  The sound of that German engine captivated him.

Since buying a used 1962 Porsche Cabriolet in 1965 he reports that  about 50 Porsches have come and gone in his life.

His stable of Porsches currently consists of a single 911 model which he purchased in October of 2017.  He located this most recent 911 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, liked what he saw and drove it to his Charles T own, West Virginia home.  The car had been repainted and the odometer had counted 46,600  miles.


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