LA CAR REPORT—I don’t know about you, but to me it seems like 2013 flew by awfully fast. Just as we are getting used to the new laws that took effect this year, it’s time to ring in a new year and take a look at the new California driving laws for 2014. Hundreds of new laws take effect each year, with a portion of them devoted to driver safety and driving-related matters, such as vehicle registration and licensing issues. There’s even a new law designed to make riding your bicycle a little safer.

An all new Kia Soul for 2014

AUTO REVIEW— When Kia entered the Econobox Wars in 2010 with the Soul, its rivals were already eyeing their second-gen versions of the anti-style youth cars. Fast forward a couple of years and those wars are essentially over, with Kia rolling over the dead carcasses of its competitors to the top of the sales mountain. Gone is the Honda Element, the Nissan Cube at the end of the year, and nobody is buying xB’s. So what is a victorious combat veteran to do? Well, for the second-gen Soul, it’s the G.I. Bill treatment: go to school and come out looking for new challenges.

Mazda builds a MILF family sedan*

AUTO REVIEW—The first encounter with the 2014 Mazda6 leaves one marveling how good-looking this car is. The generic lines of the past have been replaced by an angular body, steeply raked windshield, and a beautifully designed front fascia. The Mazda6 design has certain Maserati-esque quality that could easily invite whistles and hollers from the passersby.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

AUTO REVIEW—Five seconds. That’s the time it takes for this 5150-pound HEMI-powered SUV to reach 60 mph from a dead stop. Unlike a number of SUVs, however, this one can actually climb mountains like a billy goat. Except there’s no gruff inside the cabin. The all-new 470-horsepower 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT can scale the hills as well as the streets in the greatest of comfort. Harvey Schwartz reports.

Wrenching and Racing with Carroll Shelby

BOOK REVIEW—With “Inside Shelby American – Racing and Wrenching with Carroll Shelby in the 1960s,” legendary race car driver John Morton has written a most personal memoir that centers on his years working for the redoubtable Carroll Shelby. This is a story of a young guy from Waukegan who wanted to be a racing driver more than anything, and who went on to do just that in spite of all the obstacles. Morton’s path revolves around Shelby, the man, the cars, and the people. Doug Stokes reviews the book.

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