Both of these vehicles are the baby of the family. With the Porsche Macan being the little brother to the Cayenne, and the Range Rover Evoque being the little brother to the Range Rover Sport (plus Velar and the full-size Range Rover). I recently deemed that a showdown of Macan versus Evoque was in order since both of the vehicles are in the same compact sporty crossover segment.
While neither the Macan nor the Evoque are true sports cars, both vehicles are designed to outpace sports cars of yesteryear.
The Porsche Macan with its 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and 248 horsepower inline 4-cylinder has been known to ring in quicker lap times than Porsche sports cars from the 1980s. I found the Macan to be well balanced and extremely nimble for a crossover. The steering was also very precise, especially for turn-ins on a tight course.
The Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic tackles performance with brute force in comparison. The nearly 300 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder presses your head back when you smash the gas pedal. Not rocket ship fast, but it is noticeably more cinematic than the Macan thanks to over 20 pounds of additional torque. Around corners, the Evoque didn’t feel as precise as the Macan and I seemingly experienced more body roll.
Performance Winner: Porsche
Beauty is in the eye if the beholder. For me, Range Rover Evoque wins this category. The Porsche Macan is a very good looking vehicle (inside and out), but the Evoque offers a more elegant package. Every design element on the Evoque feels ascetically intentional. Versus the Macan, where buttons are unnecessarily scatter everywhere. The Evoque’s usage premium materials also makes the car feel special: Leather in the dash. An alcantara headliner. A uniquely beautiful cloth + alcantara seats with matching doors.
Style Winner: Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic
The Porsche Macan’s seats were great for lateral support when cornering and their adjustability makes them plenty comfortable for long road trips. However, I found the Range Rover Evoque’s seats to be much more inviting for leisurely drives… They are softer and the adjustable side bolster support wides the back of the seat.
The Range Rover Evoque rides like a luxury car in comfort mode and a sporty car in dynamic mode. Whereas the Porsche rides like a sports car in all of its modes (comfort, sport, sport plus). Porsche’s pedigree is in sports cars and race cars, so I am not surprised. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way for a Porsche.
Comfort Winner: Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic.
Sports car like fun and utilitarian are traditionally on opposite ends of the spectrum. They never really go together, but these two vehicles represent as close as you are going to get for under $60,000 (base). Both of these vehicles can tow 4,000 pounds, with the Porsche having a slightly greater (400 pounds) towing capacity. Both have adjustable ride height and all-wheel-drive for casual off-road adventures, with the Range Rover having an edge thanks to Land Rovers incredible terrain response system. The Range Rover also has a wadding depth of 23 inches should you decide to cross a river during your travels. Both have a storage capacity over 50 cubic feet.
Utility Winner: Tie
With vehicles becoming closer and closer to a computer on wheels, having the latest in-car technology will make drivers feel like they are James Bond. Most buyers expect Apple CarPlay and Sirius Satellite radio to be available on luxury vehicles, and both the Porsche Macan and Range Rover Evoque have them. But Range Rover took in-car technology a step further with three custom configurable displays: one on the instrument cluster and two on the center console. Versus the Porsche which has a limited small screen on the dash and a single screen on the center console.
The Ranger Rover Evoque I tested also included an “Activity Key,” designed to compliment active lifestyles. It is for those times when you want to go to the beach, but are worried about getting your beautifully polished car key wet or scratched. It is basically a black rubber bracelet that allows you to lock and unlock your vehicle. My wife says it looks ugly, but I don’t mind it. Range Rover’s Activity Key doesn’t replace your traditional car key, so you have to leave a key inside the vehicle to start it. To prevent someone from stealing the vehicle though, the Activity Key will disable your regular key while in use. This is one of the coolest features I have seen in a long time. However, I wish the Activity Key could act as your primary key.
Technology Winner: Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic
Based upon the baseline score, the 2020 Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic beats the current generation Porsche Macan 3-to-1. The Range Rover is the best car all around and it is the best value since it cost less than Porsche.
However if you are getting one of these vehicles to replace a sports car because you added kids to the family…. then make the emotional decision and get the Porsche. It will make you miss your sports car a bit less.
If this is going to be your daily driver and your want something sporty but also comfortable and luxurious… then make the logical decision and get the Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic. You won’t be disappointed.
The GLI for Volkswagen in many regards is the equivalent of the M3 for BMW. While the performance benchmarks are not quite the same, the spirit of taking the brand’s highest volume vehicle and making it thrilling to drive is all the same. In this case the GLI takes VW popular compact sedan, the Jetta, and turns the cool factor up to 10 for its 35th Anniversary.
Notable differences on the VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition exterior are a striking blackout grill and 20″ wheels with a red accent piece. You will also quickly discover a seductive black rear spoiler, black painted roof, and mirrors. You also get red painted brake calibers to complete the look.
Inside the GLI I tested you will find a stylish new interior design language complete with red stitching and a flat bottom steering wheel to give the GLI an extra edge over previous generations.
The 35th Anniversary Edition of the Jetta GLI isn’t just all flash. Enthusiastic drivers will enjoy an upgraded 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces a respectable (for the type of car and price point) 228 horsepower. The GLI is unfortunately front-Wheel-drive only, however it does come standard with a limited slip differential.
The price as equipped was under $28,000, which seems like a bargain for such a cool looking car.
In read world situations, I found the car quite pleasurable to own (for a week). Multiple people took notice of the car. This includes the valet at the Ritz-Carlton, who gave me two thumbs up and asked inquisitively about GLI. He found the 35th Anniversary livery a rare site. I also found the vehicle to be surprisingly comfortable on long distance drives. The Jetta GLI has great visibility and felt very stable at highway speeds.
Now the question is… where do I sign as the 35th Anniversary Edition surely won’t be here long.
While most new (and used) car buyers are content with driving their beautifully equipped factory spec vehicle, there is a rare breed of automotive enthusiasts who love to personalize their car. Myself included. These individuals span from those who like to make minor upgrades that almost seem factory like, to individuals who fully trick out their vehicles so the model is barely recognizable.
The king of aftermarket parts and accessories (at least in the FCA world) is Mopar. Their heritage dates back to the 1930s; this makes them one of the oldest automotive accessories companies in the world. While the parts sold for Jeep, Chrysler, and Dodge vehicles are technically OEM, Mopar offers enhancements with the enthusiasm of an aftermarket performance company. Essentially taking great vehicles and helping their customers turn the volume up to 100. The kicker is that because these are OEM parts, I was told that it does not void your vehicles original bumper to bumper warranty. So if you drive a late model FCA vehicle, it is really the only way to go.
To showcase how extreme Mopar can go, on rare occasions they will team up with their brother and sister companies to make a truly unique creation – a Halo Car if you will. That is the case with the vehicle I am reviewing today, dubbed the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Mopar Edition.
The two-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon was already the best off road vehicle you can buy. It comes from the factory with heavy duty front and rear axles for rock crawling, front and rear locking differentials for mudding, a two-speed transfer case (high and low gear ranges), and 33 inch tires with thick treads. It also seemingly more rugged than its base model siblings. By the way, the latest Jeep Wrangler, the JL series, is also the best Wrangler to drive on the street. The ride quality is better and it feels more stable at high speeds.
On the vehicle I am testing, Mopar added a number of goodies. To start it has an electric wench to help you tow your buddy’s truck out of the mud when he gets it stuck. Six ultra bright headlights were added for night time off-road excisions in the country with your girl friend. And for getting in and out of the vehicle with ease (and for fun), Mopar replaced the traditional automatic windowed doors with skeleton doors. They are essentially a couple bars on the middle and bottom of the door frame so you can feel a cool breeze running throughout the cabin. I wouldn’t recommend them if you have kids or pets in the vehicle, because they can fall out, but they are a ton of fun to use. Plus safer than removing the doors altogether.
The surprising thing is that this red tricked-out Jeep got more attention driving down the road than the Ferrari 488 GTB I was driving the week prior. I got thumbs up left and right from both fellow Jeep drivers and kids sitting in the back of their Mom’s minivan.
Additionally the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Mopar Edition is one of the most fun cars I have driven all year. It has been a blast cruising around town listening the my favorite tunes with the wind blowing through my hair. If I lived out in the country and could take it off-roading, it would be even better! Driving on the highway with this configuration wasn’t any fun though. It felt like a tornado was inside the car. Taking the top down helped a little, but didn’t solve the issue. Additionally the vehicle I am testing doesn’t have any side mirrors, so changing lanes is a death wish on a crowded highway. Luckily I have been able to take the scenic route for most trips.
Around town and in the wilderness are the clearly the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Mopar Edition’s sweet spots; I highly recommend it as a fun car for the weekend because of its natural features. It is perfect for individuals who want to drive something truly unique but don’t like sports cars.
It has been amazing experiencing the personalization of a Mopar vehicle for the past few days. Now let’s see what you + Mopar can do!
For the past 9 years, the Southern Automotive Media Association has hosted an event called Topless in Miami. It is an annual gathering of its members to determine what are the best convertibles on the market. The definition of a “convertible” has obviously changed over the years with the introduction of hardtop convertibles and “convertible like” vehicles such as panoramic vehicles, which are becoming more and more popular. However the spirit of the event holds true now more than ever… soaking up the sunshine is the best way to enjoy the streets of South Florida.
Here are this year’s winners and why I think they deserve the title:
Convertible Of The Year: Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster
This Roadster deserves a home run with classic Roadster styling, a knockout exhaust and racing inspired interior. It not only looks and sounds fast, but it rockets from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds thanks to 550 horsepower bi-Turbo V8 engine.
This vehicle also won the luxury convertible of the year award.
Exotic Convertible Of The Year: Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge
In a land like Miami, where Ferrari and Lamborghini sports cars fill the streets, there is only one way to stand out: drive a Rolls Royce. But this isn’t just any Rolls Royce, it is a Black Badge with blacked out wheels, blacked out grill and a blacked out Spirit of Ecstasy. The Dawn serves the award not just for its rarity and coolness factor, but its use of exotic materials and its magic carpet ride suspension.
Sporty Convertible Of The Year: Porsche Boxster GTS
While its big brother, the 911, has the racing pedigree… the Boxster has stolen the hearts of everyone who has driven it. For sheer driving pleasure, the Boxster GTS is the clear winner of the sporty category. Its nimble handling, snappy power delivery, and aggressive styling will leave you and your passenger grinning from ear to ear.
Compact Convertible Of The Year: Mazda MX5
While the MX5 should arguably be in the sporty class, it was placed in the compact class due to its size and price point. However even as a compact convertible, it wins its class. The MX5 consistently hits on all four cylinders due to its fun nature, great fuel economy, and affordable price point. It is a great all-around value.
Pickup Truck Of The Year: Jeep Gladiator
This may seem like a first, but it is not. There have been a number of convertible like pickup trucks. The beauty of the Jeep Gladiator though is that it offers the open air enjoyment of driving a Wangler with the utility of a RAM. Now you can hit the beach in the morning and haul furniture in the evening with one vehicle.
Panoramic Car Of The Year: Genesis G70
This was a tough class to judge, because there were a lot of great contenders. I think the G70 ultimately won because of its exceptionally well appointed interior, stylish design, and competitive price point.
Panoramic Utility Vehicle Of The Year: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
No other SUV ignited this much passion when sitting behind the wheel. Alfa Romeo breathed a racing pedigree into the Stelvio when its engineers made it a Quadrifoglio. The Ferrari designed engine paired with a great exhaust and a solid platform make the Stelvio a fantastic grocery getter. It is a car that turns heads as you drive by and pushes heads back when you smash the gas pedal.
I was sitting in the barbershop last week when my barber asked me: I am thinking about getting a new SUV. What do you think I should get, a Kia or a Honda? My response: Get a Nissan Rouge Sport, Anthony.
This wasn’t the answer he was looking for, but it is the correct answer in my opinion. See my barber, like many Americans leases his vehicle. So Kia’s incredible 100k mike warranty and Honda’s amazing reputation for reliability doesn’t offer any real benefit.
The 2019 Nissan Rouge Sport on the other hand, is a better value and an arguably a more fun vehicle to drive than the Kia Sportage or Honda CR-V. Plus the 2019 Rouge Sport offers three big improvements over the previous model year:
Starting with Nissan’s “Safety Shield 360” technologies which combine front automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and rear automatic braking with rear cross traffic alert. The system mitigates the likelihood of you running into someone, whether they are in front of you, to the side of you, or behind you. Anthony has a young daughter, so safety is paramount.
For those long trips to Disney World, the SL trim level (which includes leather seats) on the 2019 Rouge Sport comes standard now with ProPilot Assist, which allows the car to nearly drive itself on the highway. You can’t take your hands off of the wheel or take a nap, but sensors will keep the car centered in your lane and at the appropriate speed for cruising. Should the car in front of you slowdown, the Rouge Sport will also slow down.
Also helpful for long trips, the Nissan Rouge Sport comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But the vehicle is now also available with a 9-speaker Bose Sound System.
If you want one too, you can buy the 2019 Nissan Rouge Sport starting at $22,340. The range topper all-Wheel-drive SL starts at $29,410. Considering the luxury amenities and standard features, the SL is the way to go.
There are places in the world, like here in sunny South Florida, where there is an abundance of luxury vehicles. I am not talking a Mercedes E-Class or BMW 5 Series, I am referring to streets littered with Porsche 911 Turbos, Ranger Rover SVRs, and Bentley Continentals. You will also see quite a few Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini sports cars on the main boulevard every Friday and Saturday night. So how does one stand out from the crowd? The answer is simple…. Buy a Rolls-Royce.
I have driven and tested over a dozen Roll-Royce vehicles in the past ten years – each one unique to its future owner. That is because over 80% are commissioned bespoke vehicles. In some cases, like the Phantom, every vehicle off the line is Bespoke. IE a one-of-a-kind handcrafted piece of art. Some included rare woods, artisan stitching, and distinctive leathers, like Ostrich. While others featured unusual color schemes. And because 95% of these vehicles are one-offs, it’s driver and passengers are never keeping up with the Joneses… they are the Joneses.
The Rolls-Royce I most recently tested was the Dawn. It came in a magnificent shade of blue, with matching blue center caps on the wheels and a blue top. The white pinstripes and chrome accented the vehicle to give it (in my opinion) a nautical look.
I have made trips to the grocery store in a number of exotic cars, however none of them garnered as much attention as this Rolls-Royce Dawn. I drove the Dawn everyday during my one-week test, and everyday someone took a photo of the car or asked me about the car. I felt like a celebrity as my wife and I drove the Dawn to museum. When going to dinner in the Dawn, a parking attendant gave us a VIP spot in front of the restaurant and we seemingly got a table right away even though the restaurant was packed… it is better than having a Centurion Card (aka AMEX Black Card).
Driving a Rolls-Royce isn’t all about showing off. Even on a desolate road, the experience is like no other. The steering wheel delicately glides like butter as you navigate the vehicle along twists and turns. Bumps in the road are almost nonexistent. And the attention to detail of the stitched seats and hand carved wood on the dash reminds you to take pride in the fact that you are behind the wheel of “the best motor car” that money can buy.
Even though this 5,600 pound palace is designed to take away all of life’s troubles, you can still have a little fun with it. Under the bonnet (hood) is 6.6L twin turbo V12 with 563 horsepower. It is paired with a GPS guided transmission to make sure you are always in the proper gear. IE a lower gear if you are approaching a turn for optimal power. This dangerously smooth motor and gearbox propels you from 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds. If you are not careful, in the blink of an eye you can be doing well over the speed limit. These kind of benchmarks can be expected across the entire Rolls-Royce line up.
So for the person who has the means to buy all that he desires, the personalization of a Rolls-Royce will allow your individuality to live on for generations. It is uniquely yours from start.
Contact your local Rolls-Royce dealer or visit Rolls-RoyceMotorCars.com for more information.
Small cheap cars are rarely hardly anything to get excited over. The only exception is a used sports car and your first car. While most parents will opt to get their child a safe used car for their first vehicle because of the cost, the Nissan Versa offers new car reliability, technology, and safety for user car money. And now the upcoming 2020 Versa is getting even better. Nissan invited me to the 2019 Tortuga Music festival earlier this month to get a quick scoop.
The exterior styling has been improved, but it undoubtedly a Versa. What you won’t see is that the new Nissan Versa is most substantial. The exterior proportions have been stretched in order to give occupants more room in the cabin. Also a new upgraded interior will make you question if this really is the cheapest new car on the market. You can get the current generation Nissan Versa for under $13,000 – pricing hasn’t been released for the new 2020 model year.
What we do know is that the Nissan Versa will arguably be safer than most used cars on the market. That is because it comes standard with a number safety tech and it is available with “Safety Shield 360.” This low cost package delivers automatic emergency braking, high beam assist, rear cross traffic detection with rear automatic breaking, lane departure warning, and blind spot warning. You will be hard pressed to find these safety features on a used car for less than $20,000.
Plus the Nissan Versa comes with a new car warranty!
Visit your local Nissan dealer for more information on the upcoming Versa or stay tuned to Nissan’s social media channels for the full release of specifications and pricing.
The term “American Muscle Car” is clearly open for interpretation. Many would argue that the latest Ford Mustang GT350 or Camaro ZL1 fit the bill. I disagree, because both of those vehicle’s roots are in the pony car era. Plus the Mustang and Camaro are seemingly becoming more and more like a traditional sports car versus a muscle car. The difference being that the muscle cars are all about raw power and acceleration at the drag strip versus road handling.
With no true competitors on the horizon, Dodge has outshined itself once again with the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody. It checks all of the muscle car boxes with nearly 800 horsepower and over 700 pounds of torque under the hood – 797hp if you want to be exact. It is obviously the quickest production muscle car on the planet, however its 0 to 60mph time of 3.4 seconds isn’t earth shattering when compared to today’s modern super cars. The fault lies with its rear wheel drive drivetrain versus all-wheel-drive which delivers superior traction off the line. However once the rear tires begin to stick, the Hellcat Redeye rockets with a quarter-mile time of 10.8 seconds at 131 mph. But in all honesty, who wants a muscle car with rear wheel drive? How will you do burnouts?
The heart of the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is a supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8. It is detuned version of the Dodge Challenger Demon engine. With the primary difference (in my opinion) is that the Redeye is designed primarily for everyday use versus track use. Another thing the Hellcat Redeye has going for it over the Demon is that you can buy one today. The Dodge Challenger Demon is sadly no longer in production. This means that the Hellcat Red Eye is the start of the show!
My week with the Hellcat Redeye was primarily consumed with meetings, however it also included a boys weekend at my friend’s ranch in Sebring, Florida to watch the 12 Hours of Sebring Race live. I was shocked by how many people were enamored by this car. During my road trip to Sebring, I had kids give me thumbs up while driving and adults ask me about every detail of the car as I filled up the tank at a gas station. Upon arriving at the boys weekend, I was welcomed with a slew of questions about the Hellcat Redeye by my friends. They all wanted to drive the car or at least ride in it. These are the same guys who have brand new Porsches, Audis, Jaguars, Corvettes, Mustangs, and AMG Mercedes in their garage. I gratuitously have my friends rides, with mixed reactions. Some exuberantly wanted an encore ride, while others wanted to escape the cabin in terror due to the shear magnitude of the Hellcat Redeye’s muscle car performance. Everyone was safe and no laws were broken, however a few childhood fantasies were unleashed.
A muscle car certainly isn’t for everyone. They chug gasoline, are loud, and primarily built for straight line performance. Even with the wide body spec on the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, you still felt the weight transfer going around a corner due to the massive engine. But all these factors contribute to the millions of smiles you, your family, your friends and on lookers will enjoy as you cruise around town.
The 2019 VW Tiguan may look like your average stylish compact crossover, but it features a hidden gem. One which I only discovered during my last day with the vehicle… a 3rd row.
Normally a childless 30 something year old sports car enthusiast wouldn’t get excited about something like a 3rd row. And normally I wouldn’t, but the Tiguan wasn’t designed for me. It was created for young families.
Over the past 10 years, I have seen countless friends go from a sports sedan to a compact SUV when they get their first child. Then go from a compact SUV to a full-size SUV when they get a second kid or their child starts making friends in school; extra seats are needed for the carpool club.
Since VW added a 3rd to the Tiguan, new parents can make the compact SUV last a few years longer. This a blessing because I hear kids are expensive!
The problem with most electric vehicles is that the only the noteworthy thing about them is the fact that they are electric. Cars like Tesla are prime example. All three Tesla vehicles that I have tested felt cheap inside, which is crazy for a $100,000 vehicle!
A car should be able to hold its own whether it is electrically charged or petrol powered. And this is where Jaguar comes into play… the iPace is a joy to drive.
Behind the wheel, I kept forgetting that I was driving an electric vehicle. My senses told me that I was driving a Jaguar. A car manufactured by a brand with a racing pedigree, while also being a brand renown for their fit and finish. A brand that the Queen of England has endorsed.
The Jaguar iPace in its truest form is a sports sedan. It hugs corners like a sports sedan and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds like a sports car. It is not the fastest EV, however, it is one of the most thrilling daily drivers you can purchase. I consistently found myself “playing around” both on the highway and city streets.
Despite is 4,702 pound weight, the Jaguar iPACE felt very agile and balanced, with only a small bit of understeer. You want understeer on this type of vehicle because it is proven to be significantly safer than oversteer in untrained hands. The steering was well sorted and crisp. It didn’t provide as much feedback as I would have liked for a Jaguar, but it also didn’t feel video game like either.
At highway speeds, the Jaguar iPACE zipped along beautifully and felt very stable. Power always seemed readily available, although I noticed my battery levels exponentially decrease the faster I went. The vehicle is rated for a range 234 miles, but I felt anxiety planning for a 150 mile day trip. I made the trip but I didn’t have too much extra juice to spare. And then once I got to my destination, I had to charge the 90 kWh battery pack.
It is no surprise that luxury is paramount with the Jaguar iPace. The fit and finish of each element on my prototype test vehicle exuberated English craftsmanship with fine buttery leathers. But unlike Jaguar’s of yesteryears, the iPACE felt high tech at the same time with multiple displays for systems management and entertainment. However, the displays didn’t seem cumbersome or give you the impression that you are driving a spaceship.
My entire experience felt like I was in a car, a car that so happens to be powered by two magnetic electric motors.