The VW Golf is a wolf in sheep’s clothing


As an automotive journalist and car enthusiast, I love fast cars, but I love fast cars that pretend to be slow cars even more! There is something special about driving a car that only other automotive enthusiasts will appreciate. Meet the VW Golf R, not to be confused with its slow little brother, the VW Golf GTI. The R takes hot hatchback performance to another level with more starting power, more stopping power, and tighter handling.


Under the hood is a 2.0L turbo charged 4-cylinder motor that produces 292 horse power. The engine is paired with a dual-clutch and an all-wheel-drive system, which rockets this unsuspecting hatchback from zero to sixty in 4.5 seconds. Which this may not be super car times, remember that the starting price of a VW Golf R is only around $36,000.


Visit your local VW dealer or visit click here to visit VW’s website.

The Jaguar XJL is the full-size luxury sedan for car enthusiasts.


Rarely in life will you find a true blend of polar opposites. I say this because the Jaguar XJL is both a high end luxury vehicle designed to offer an elegant ride to the theater by your chauffeur, and a high performance vehicle that is designed to hug a twisted road. I didn’t always think this way…

My initial impression of the long-wheelbase sedan was skewed by previouslt driving the Mecedes S-Class sedan. I was expecting the Jaguar XJL to be a gigantic luxury car with private plane amenities and a smooth ride, but lacking the thrill of a performance vehicle. I was naive in thinking this way, because as soon as I got behind the wheel and drove the car a block, I remembered Jaguar’s racing DNA. The Jaguar XJL is big and luxurious, but it wants run! As soon as you apply an ounce of throttle, the supercharge 5.0L V8 pushed the car from 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds. Then as you hit a curved onramp, you feel the car gripping the road with little body roll. Don’t misread my thoughts, this is still a big and heavy car at 4,131 pounds, but that is nearly 700 pounds less than the S-Class thanks to Jaguar’s extent isle use of aluminum.


The interior is what you would expect from a $100,000 car built in the UK: Classic British styling paired with ultra-premium materials. Every detail, from the diamond stitched leather seats to massive wood trim was eloquently crafted. Annoying grid lock commutes are a thing of the past now, because the front passengers have heated and ventalated massaging seats. Rear seat passengers will have to slum it without the massaging seats, but they do have extended legroom thanks to the extra long wheel base on the XJL. 

I defintily wouldn’t complain about being chauffeured around in the backseat, but I would rather be driving this full-sized luxury sedan with stunning looks and exhilarating performance!

For more information about the Jaguar XJL, contact your local Jaguar dealer or click here to go the website.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is for those who want to race to work… Or the grocery store.


The thought of a high performance keep to me is odd, because when I think of Jeep I think of a super reliable off road vehicles. It doesn’t matter if it is the Wrangler Sport or the Grand Cherokee, their entire lineup is built on the foundation of off-roading.

So when a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT showed up to my doorstep, my first reaction was: “this will be interesting!” And it was!

I was super impressed wit this vehicle because it felt and drove like a sports car. It’s characteristics were able to be changed on fly using the drive mode selector. Under the hood is a 475HP V8 Hemi paired with a 8 speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive. Thank to this all-wheel-drive system, the near perfect traction control system and sticky Pirelli tires, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT can take off like a rocket without spinning your wheels. Even on a wet road in track mode, the car gripped. I went to a parking lot and tried to do burn outs and the car gripped. I couldn’t break her loose!

In addition to raw power, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT also massive Brembo brakes and a sports tune suspension. So out of the box you have an SUV design for the track. I would never turn it into a track car, but it is fun knowing that you could if you were daring enough.


The big attaction to Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is obviously the performance, but I wouldn’t do it justice if I didn’t talk about the interior which comes nicely appointed. The vehicle I test drove featured supple caramel colored leather seats. The infotainment center was pretty standard with navigation, satilite radio and apps for vehicle fuel economy. Unique to the SRT is performance app, which offers performance stats and info on all of the vehicles systems.

I am not quite sure who this vehicle is targeted towards, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is a must see for anyone who wants a sports car, but needs four seats.

For more information about the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, visit your local Jeep dealer or CLICK HERE to visit Jeep’s website.

The Lincoln MKX Black Label is the Black Card of the automotive industry.


Lincoln’s tradition of building beautiful luxury vehicles dates back to 1917, but they became the pinnacle of class in the 1950’s and 60’s when the US Presidents, actors (such as Marilyn Monroe), and music artists (such as Frank Sinatra) were seen driving them.

The modern era of Lincoln is classy, sophisticated and high tech. To take it over the top, Lincoln has introduced the Black Lable program for its most discriminating buyers. I equate it to like having a Black Card from American Express or Master Card, because Lincoln’s Black Label program offers a host of exclusive membership privileges. These include special menus at select upscale restaurants and invitations to VIP parties. The buying process for a Black Label vehicle is also a unique process, because the concierge (sales associate) will come to your home or office with a suitcase of unique color samples and interior trim materials that are exclusive to Black Label Lincoln vehicles. The swatches are categorized into themes.

The vehicle I tested featured “The Muse” theme, which was inspired by the Roaring Twenties with duo tone colors. As with all Black Label vehicles, it features upgraded leather called Venetian Leather. This was my first experiencing this type of leather. It is very similar to Nappa leather in terms of softness, but one Lincoln engineer told me that it is much more durable than Nappa leather. The MKX Black Label also features Alcantara headliner offer occupants to premium feel to touch from top to bottom.

The drivetrain on the Lincoln MKX Black Label is similar to the regular MKX, which offers a 3.7L naturally aspirated V6, a 2.7L V6 EcoBoost (turbo charged) for increased fuel economy, or a 3.7L naturally aspirated V6 with all-wheel-drive.

The Lincoln MKX Black Label also offers similar technology features as the regular MKX, such as lane keep assist and one of the best infotainment systems in the business, Micrsoft Sync.

For more information about the Lincoln MKX Black Label, contact your local Lincoln dealer or Click Here to visit the special Black Label website.

400HP in a luxury sports sedan for only 50k?

It sounds too good to be true, but the 2016 Infiniti Q50S luxury sports sedan really does offer 400hp for around 50k. It is a bargin when you compare it to the BMW M3 which offers 25 more horsepower, but at a $13,000 premium. Other competition in its class is the Audi S4 and the Lexus IS F-Sport, but they don’t offer anywhere close to 400hp.

In addition to 400 horsepower under the hood, the Infiniti Q50S has a number of high-performance goodies under the hood:

  • The digital steering system offers a dynamic input and feel, allowing you have a sporty feel during a spirited drive and a luxury feel while cruising on the highway.
  • Rear wheel drive comes standard, versus the Audi A4 which comes with front wheel drive. The optional all-wheel-drive system maintains a rear wheel drive bias, while delivering up to 50% of the power to the front wheels when needed.
  • A seven speed automatic is standard equipment for all Q50 models. The aluminum paddle shifts on the steering column deliver a quick response and shift times are quick for a traditional automatic transmission.
  • Five driving modes are available, each with its own presets to change the way the car drives: Snow, Eco, Standard, Sport, and Sport Plus.

One of the cooler facts about the Q50S is that Infiniti is racing them in the British Touring Car Championship. It is neat to see a sedan in the this price range being raced by the manufacture!

The Q50S offers a modern exterior design with sleek lines and a sporty look. Almost every line was engineered for aerodynamics, in order to increase fuel economy and performance. It is available in 9 colors, ranging from liquid platinum to iridium blue. The vehicle I tested came in Venetian Ruby.


The interior is dressed with leather and optional maple wood or aluminum trim. Gray or black interior are your only color options. The highlight of the interior, at least for me, was the dual touchscreen displays on the center consol. This is the only vehicle I have driven with them. Because of their enhanced fuctionality, I am really surprised more vehicles don’t make use of dual screens instead of unusually large widescreen displays. The dual screens allow you to control two systems simultaneously, such as navigation and audio. Large widescreen displays, like the only on BMWs, perform a similar function, but their use isn’t as intuitive.

Like I said earlier in the article, the Infiniti Q50S is priced around $50,000, which makes this car a bargain for those wanting a high performance sedan without braking the bank.

For more information about the 2016 Infiniti Q50S, contact your local dealer or go to InfinitiUSA.com.

Meet Washe

Washe

A friend recently turned me on to a new automotive app called Washe. It is the Uber of car washes. Users are able to request that a mobile car wash visits there home, or office, for a deluxe interior and exterior car wash. It is the perfect app for business professionals who like driving in a clean car, but don’t have the time to wash it. The app makes use of your phone’s GPS and stored credit card information to make the process quick and simple. The app allows you to schedule your carwash, or get your car wash immediately. Click here for more information or to download the app.

The 2016 Camaro RS Converted Me…

 
Outside of a brief period in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the Ford Mustang was my vehicle of choice in the “Pony Wars.” The Mustang had great styling and a strong culture behind the name. In the previous couple generations, the Camaro one upped the Mustang with independent suspension, but with premium leather and soft touch materials, the Mustang’s interior was far superior than the Camaro. 

All of that has changed with the 2016 Camaro. Chevrolet stepped up there game with a modern interior fit for a premium sports car. The Camaro RS with a few small upgrades offers beautifully wrapped leather seats, also with a leather arm rest, gear shifter, and steering wheel. Chrome accents are masterfully placed to infused to give the interior a sporty and modern look. The large touchscreen display is at finger tips reach for audio, navigation, and other infotainment controls. I love the new climate controls; simply turn the center air vents up or down adjust the temperature.

Now take that premium interior and pair it with a V6 and you have the perfect sports coupe for daily driving. I say perfect because it gets great gas mile and has plenty of power to have fun with, 335 horse power to be exact. If you want even more fun, opt for the sport exhaust, which enhances the exhaust note. It makes the V6 sound better and louder than the V8, plus it offers a slight increase in horsepower… Who doesn’t love a good roar? The vehicle I tested was the 8-speed automatic varient, which Chevrolet claims shifts faster than a manual transmission and just as fast as a dual-clutch transmission. The vehicle is able to roll through the gears almost instantly in fully automatic mode, but I noticed a tiny lag when using the paddle shifters to control the gearbox.


Not seen, but easy to feel are the structural and suspension improvements to the 2016 Camaro. The new vehicle is 390 pounds lighter and the body 28% more ridged than the previous generation; this means improved handling and car control…. Finally a Camaro worthy of competing in an Autocross course.

In summary, the new Camaro has won over fanboys, at least this one! Find out more by visiting your local dealer or by clicking here to visit the Chevrolet website.

The Lexus RX is no longer a “Mom Car”

  
The term “Mom Car” is a very indearing term for me, because I love my Mom. As guy born in the 1980’s, I have seen Mom Cars shift from station wagons, to mini vans, to SUVs, and now to crossovers. The RX line was introduced in 1998 and quickly saw widespread adoption – it is one of Lexus’ best selling vehicles. While I have seen many guys driving the RX, it appears to be dominated by females drivers; likely due to the fact that the previous three generations had a very feminen design…. Thus why I call it a Mom Car.
There is nothing wrong with driving a Mom Car, but as a single guy who is approaching 30 years old, I want something fun in my driveway, something that is stylish, and something that makes a statement. The new Lexus RX 350 F-Sport is just that!

  
The new design is masculine, aggressive and sleek. Details going all the way down to the headlights and mirrors examplify the new sporty appearance.

The Lexus RX 350 F-Sport also has a little bite to its bark, with a V6 engine that produces nearly 300 horsepower and a locking differential (for off-roading).

  
The cabin of my press vehicle was carefully wrapped in red leather with aluminum trim. The vehicle’s interior poster says performance with sporty bucket seats, paddle shifters and a heads-up-display on the windshield.

I can definitely see myself buying this car! So much so, that I choose the Lexus RX 350 F-Sport over my Porsche Boxster S (my personal car) to take a girl on a date last weekend. It ended up being a wise choice because she complimented me on how stylish the vehicle was… And she drives a Range Rover.

So if you ask me… The Lexus RX 350 F-Sport is a winner for both guys and girls!

All-New Toyota Prius, RAV4 Hybrid Spring Forward at Ft. Lauderdale Auto Show

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FT. LAUDERDALE, March 22, 2016 – Toyota has been the overwhelming gas-electric hybrid sales leader in the U.S. After reimagining its iconic Prius hybrid and building the first RAV4 hybrid – the eighth hybrid in Toyota’s lineup – for 2016, Toyota continues to lead the industry in hybrid technology.

Both all-new vehicles usher in spring in South Florida this week at the 2016 Ft. Lauderdale International Auto Show, held March 24-27 at the Broward County Convention Center.

Showgoers will have a chance to get up close with the Prius, RAV4 Hybrid and other offerings from Toyota’s 2016 model lineup. Additionally, attendees will have the chance to get behind the wheel of the Prius, RAV4, Tacoma, Camry and Corolla at the Toyota Drive Center.

Toyota comes to the Ft. Lauderdale auto show on the heels of a standout year for the region. Southeast Toyota logged record Toyota sales for five months in 2015, ending the year with a total of 480,351 sales – accounting for more than 20 percent of the Toyotas sold in the U.S.

“2015 was a fantastic year for Toyota, and we are proud of the record-breaking results we’re continuing to see so far this year,” said Ed Sheehy, president of Southeast Toyota Distributors. “In the Southeast, February proved to be the best month in our history – and for the industry as well – and we are confident the all-new Prius and sporty and stylish RAV4 will carry on that momentum for our brand.”

After selling more than 3.5 million hybrids worldwide and helping steer the industry toward hybridization, the fourth-generation 2016 Prius serves as a new disruptor. The fresh version of this global green icon takes the hybrid concept further than ever with a striking design, greater ride comfort and improved fuel economy. Fuel economy ratings have risen to 58 mpg city / 53 mpg highway / 56 mpg combined, thanks to lighter weight and further optimized aerodynamics. Higher levels of driving satisfaction and refinement will reward the Prius faithful and surprise those new to the movement.

The new Prius’ premium interior debuts advanced technology complemented by features that are functional, fun and also delight the eyes. The wrap-around dash design, form-hugging seats, ease of controls and enhanced visibility combine to make the new Prius highly engaging.

New to the RAV4 family for 2016, the RAV4 Hybrid is a no-compromise vehicle aimed at active young couples who put high fuel economy at the top of a priority list that also includes utility, style, versatility and capability. The fuel economy is impressive, with EPA ratings of 34 mpg city / 31 mpg highway / 33 mpg combined for the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid.

Both the Prius and the RAV4 will offer Toyota Safety Sense, a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automatic pre-collision braking. TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; and Automatic High Beams.

For more information, visit Toyota.com.

About Toyota 
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 42,000 people (more than 33,000 in the U.S.).  Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.67 million cars and trucks (more than 2.35 million in the U.S.) in 2014 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.

The 2016 Subaru Outback is a great value!

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There are two reason why I recommend people buy a Subaru: 1) Because they still make station wagons 2) Because they make one of the best all-wheel-drive systems. Subaru and Audi have pioneered all-wheel-drive fro decades – long before Mercedes, Ford, and BMW introduced their all-wheel-drive system for the masses. While all-wheel-drive may not seem important for drivers in the south (because we don’t see snow) it could mean the difference between staying on the road and sliding off during a heavy rain storm. All-wheel-drive is proven to reduce the risk of hydroplaning.

Now back to my first point, Subaru still makes station wagon. It saddens me to see manufactures pull the plug on station wagons… I know no one buys them, but they should. Station wagons offer the utility of an SUV with the road handling of a sedan. I am really glad to see that Subura has full line of wagons, including the Outback.

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The Outback is Subaru’s most expensive and most luxurious vehicle, starting at just under $25,000. What a value! The standard engine is a 2.5L 4-cylinder boxer engine paired with symmetrical all-wheel-drive. But if you add $12,000 to the mix, you get a 3.6L 6-cylinder boxer engine, symmetrical all-wheel-drive, leather seats, powered moon roof, navigation, and remote start, plus Subaru’s EysSight emergency braking system. At around $37,000 I had to double check the sticker price. A similarly equipped Audi A4 Allroad will cost you over $45,000.

I recommend the Subaru Outback for buyers who want a premium station wagon without a premium price.