A week in the 2018 HYUNDAI SANTA FE SPORT SUV…

Although I didn’t get to spend enough time in this newly evolved SUV, I did get a chance to experience Hyundai’s consistent commitment to quality with fit and finish. A solid SUV across all tables. although the 2019 will be a complete redesign.

Not every Hyundai has a strong design execution, but the Santa Fe exterior is really slick. Clean and elegant, you can’t lose with how this car looks.

Interior is still challenged a bit, especially tactically with the steering wheel as it feels a bit less inviting, but the car makes up for it in all other ergonomics.

At $38K and 23mpg, it’s a great family car that would become badass with just a few adjustments. Get one in black, black-out the wheels and windows and stick a chrome skull badge on the back. Instant SEMA Cruiser. Nice.


RIDE OF THE WEEK: Ken Vela’s 1956 Porsche Speedster


I get to drive a lot of cars. I mean, a lot. And although driving a new Ferrari or some sort of exotic can be exhilarating, it’s when I get contacted by personal builders that I get really excited.

Last week, I did a Malibu Vlog episode on Ken Vela and his 1956 Porsche Speedster. A one-off hand-built replica that screams Hot Rod Outlaw Custom. If the OK Corral existed today, this car would have shut them down hard.

Ken’s company, WIKD KUSTOMS, focuses on unique builds for unique clients and when I say “unique,” I mean WIKD. As a Car Builder, Ken’s outlook on the extreme kustom world is peppered with historic data with influences from Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Gene Winfield, George Barris and others. This Speedster is a true character car.

But how about some specs from Ken?


(Read on…)

Fireball drives the 2015 KIA SOUL EV for a week… Wait, did you hear that?


I doubt it… This is an electric car and one helluva fun ride…

A week in this Caribbean Blue 2015 KIA SOUL EV went by way too fast. I’m not sure what it is, but when you drive an EV, you just want to go everywhere quick. Maybe it’s because you can’t actually believe that you’re in an electric car or you’re convinced that if you hammer it home, you’ll actually hear something other than wind noise. But… you don’t. And it’s just plain fun… again.


I like the design of the car. It’s simple, boxy, funky and young looking. I got about a 92mile charge and for Malibu, that’s pretty much driving all day and coming back with about 40 miles left. But again, it’s fun and you want everyone to know that you’re driving it. “Hey, did you know this is an EV? Check it out!”

The car is about $36K, so it’s not for the empty pocket crowd and students, unless Dad’s gonna pony up the dough, but it is for the 20somethings that are doing their thing and greenen the planet while they do. Tons of room if you want to camp… close by. Tons of seats for your friends to go with you to Concerts… close by, and enough doodads and doohickies inside to keep you totally distracted. But don’t be, otherwise you’ll end up in the pokie and not be driving your EV. Up to you, though.

Ooo, it’ so cute you’re gonna wanna let it sleep in your bed with you.



(Read on…)

What’s coming to the Fireball Pad this week? The 2015 HYUNDAI SANTA FE…


So smooth… my butt will be floatin’ like Uranus. (Wait, did I just write that out loud?) STAY TUNED!!

2016 CHRYSLER 300 arrives @ The Fireball Malibu Pad for FURIOUS7 Pre-Screening…


So, tonight (thanks to Dodge, Motor Trend & TEN Garage), I’m headed to a Pre-Screening of FURIOUS7. I have no doubt that the film will rock my socks, but they are already with having taken delivery of this 2016 CHRYSLER 300 S. An amazingly beautiful design upgrade that will make my trip to the Motor Trend offices smooooth.

Stay tuned for a quick review of the film tomorrow, or watch for updates on Twitter tonight, LIVE from the event! I’ll also be driving this beast all week, so be on the lookout in SoCal!

I whisk a 2015 MAZDA MIATA MX-5 for a week…


It’s easy to forget how much fun a convertible can be. And how much like a Go-kart a Miata can be…

I first drove the Miata back in the early 90’s when my brother and I took a rental car into a parking lot and practiced fishtailing. It was so much like a Go-kart that we could get inches from a fence and not think twice. Now, I didn’t do that in this 2015 MAZDA MIATA MX-5 and I wouldn’t admit it if I did. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun.

There are a lot of things about this car that I really don’t gel with, but seeing as how the 2016 model is coming out shortly and is slightly more pissed off, it doesn’t do much good to elaborate on the bad. I’d just say, wait for the ’16. Why? Simple. What doesn’t work is the Guppy Face, bad ergonomics inside and lack of serious fun horsepower. The Guppy I can deal with as it’s not looking at me in the mirror and the hp is adequate to hit the canyons for some fun. Good fun. (We always want more.) But the ergonomics are pretty horrible in that if you put a bottle of water into the cup holder, you can’t shift the car. That is 1 out of about 10. BUT…

All that gets made up for in sheer convertible fun as a California car. The Miata is small and benefits by being small. Easy to drive, park, see out of and zoom. The top goes down fast, the grip is tight and the response is heavenly. All worth the price of admission. Stats? It’s get 24mpg, about $27K for this Grand Touring version and 167hp which would better if it were 230. Just sayin.’

As a toy, which this car is, you have way more fun than you should be allowed to have and it’s all GO from there. (Wait, did I just say that?) Ok, put it this way… This is a very happy guppy. And as a result, you’re gonna feel the same way.

But still wait for the ’16.

2015Miata_FireballTim.com 2015Miata_FireballTim.com 2015Miata_FireballTim.com


(Read on…)