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 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!

The Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase Is Lady In The Streets And A Freak In The Sheets!

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What other vehicle would allow you to explore the swamp filled Florida everglades by day, and attend a black-tie charity gala by night? None other than the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase. It is the ultra-luxury version of the iconic Range Rover. By iconic, I mean its ancestor was the only vehicle on display at Louvre Art Museum in Paris.

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By ultra-luxury I mean leather, wood, and aluminum from top to bottom. Of-course you have the usual luxury features of heated and cooled seats along with a heated steering wheel. But, with the autobiography trim level, you get 18-way power adjustable seats with massagers, Full semi-aniline leather seats, an alcantara headliner and a 1700 watt 29 speaker 3D sound system from Meridian. As with its other Range Rover siblings, you get an air suspension system that offers a ride quality on par with the Mercedes S-Class sedan.

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The luxury amenities don’t stop with the front seats on the long wheelbase version of this machine, rear passengers will enjoy an unusually large amount of legroom, dual screen entertainment, massaging seats, and sunscreens on the side windows for privacy. Rear passengers can either listen to music and video through the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase’s built in sound system, or with wireless headphones.

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Under the hood of the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase (LRRRALWB) is a 5.0L supercharged V8 engine with 510 horsepower and 461 pounds of torque. It jets the SUV from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds; thats faster than the current generation Porsche Cayman! To exemplify the “Freak In The Sheets” analogy, the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase is equipped with a Terrain 2 Response system, a low-speed transfer case, and two locking differentials. While some may be concerned that the Long Wheelbase version of the Range Rover reduces your off-road capability, fear not… the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase offers 34.7 degree approach, 26.1 degree ramp, and 29.1 degree departure angles.

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In addition to being able to climb over nearly any obstacle, the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase is able to wade in up to 35.4 inches of water. I got to test that number with the help of a tour guide; while exploring the lost city of Golden Gates Estate Subdivision. In the 1960s real estate developers set out to create the largest residential subdivision in the United States. The property was set on 41,000 areas in/near the Florida Everglades and hosted nearly 300 miles of paved roads. The only problem is that the Florida Everglades floods during certain times of the year. Thus, it was the perfect place to test the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase water crossing abilities. Even though beautifully paved roads were underneath the water, it was surreal to think I was driving a $150,000 ultra-luxury vehicle through 2 feet of water… and it handled it like a pro. The cabin remained water tight as we waded past fish and birds through the flooded subdivision.

I look at the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase and think, “what are the odds of someone buying this vehicle and actually taking it off roading?” Unless you live Miami Beach (where a number of my friends lost their cars to flooding), on a ranch, or in the mountains, the odds are very slim… But, it is a great feeling to know that you can… It is just like buying a Porsche or a Ferrari; 90% of their owners will never take it to the track, but they know it would be an incredible experience. At least with a Range Rover, you will have private jet class accommodations.

 

I am in love with the 2016 Volvo XC90

There are few cars that I fall in love with after driving them for only a week. They usually tend to be small little sports cars that are meant to be driven on Sunday afternoons when the weather is nice.

So I was a little surprised when I started missing the 2016 Volvo XC90 when it left my garage after testing it for a week. It is the perfect luxury SUV! The exterior and interior design make it stick out from the crowd at the country club, while offering a conservative approach when offering a ride to clients, co-workers, and employees. Plus with the advanced safety features, it is a strong choice for hauling the family to soccer practice.

  

  
The interior of the Volvo XC90 is inviting. It’s Swedish design is elegantly simple. Open pore wood and real aluminum accents the doors, center consol and dash. The seats look futuristicly modern, but they were extremely comfortable. The contour of the seats do a great job of supporting your back. I took a day trip from Ft Lauderdale to Naples and back, and enjoyed every minute of it.

 
 The Volvo XC90 features an innovative iPad like infotainment system. The driver (or front passanger) can tab icons to control the car’s navigation system, make calls via Bluetooth, and control media options. A familiar home button rests at the bottom of the screen. To get even more Apple-like, the XC90 I tested featured Apple CarPlay. CarPlay allows iPhone users to plug their phone into the car (via USB) and control core iPhone functions though the car’s display – such as calling, music, and Apple Maps navigation. My only real complaint about CarPlay is that you have to plug the phone directly into the car versus using Bluetooth technology.

 It is no wonder why Volvo has a reputation for safety; the XC90 is packed with safety technology that actually works. The lane keep assist is spot on, the dynamic cruise control smoothly controls the car’s throttle, and the blind spot monitors are very senesitive. I didn’t get to try it, but the Volvo XC90 also offers emergency breaking. So, if the vehicle in front of you slams on the breaks, the XC90 will do the same while coming to a complete stop. Another nifty safety technology feature that I got to try out is pilot assist. The system allows the car to steer it self while applying the gas or break during heavy traffic – this was priceless while sitting in rush hour Miami traffic.

  
Sadly, all things must come to an end. But fortunately with a starting price of around $50,000, the 2016 Volvo XC90 has the potential to be sitting in my driveway.

Exploring Arizona in the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport Diesel

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Land Rover is one of my all-time favorite automotive manufactures for one reason, their vehicles are built to go anywhere. They are suited for the heat of the Sahara desert, the frigid cold of Alaska, and the wetness of the Amazon Rainforest. Land Rover’s Range Rover line adds sophistication to your great adventure, without sacraficing capability. A Land Rover driving instructor once described the Range Rover line as a mountain goat wearing a tuxedo.

A few weeks ago, Land Rover flew me to Sedona Arizona to test Range Rover and Rover Rover Sport’s newest engine configuration, a 3.0L Td6 Turbocharged Diesel. Previous drivetrain options were limited to a Supercharged 3.0L V6 or a Supercharged 5.0L V8. This new drivetrain option packs a punch! The Td6 offers 32% greater fuel economy than Land Rover’s Supercharged V6, and almost as much torque as Land Rover’s Supercharged V8 engine. That translates into 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 440 pounds of torque (21 pounds of torque shy of the Supercharged V8).

If you are reading this and saying to yourself: (1) diesel’s are noisy, diesel’s are dirty, (2) diesel fuel costs more, and (3) what about the VW diesel scandal? Then you have a lot to learn! While clean diesel technology is relativity new in the United States, European markets have been perfecting the diesel engine for decades. (1) Land Rover’s Td6 diesel engine is almost as quite as a traditional gasoline engine. Most people wouldn’t know that it is a diesel unless you are able to recognize the pitter patter sound of a diesel engine versus a gasoline engine. (2) Diesel fuel generally costs more than regular gasoline, but it is almost always cheaper than premium gasoline, which most high performance engines require. (3) VW gave diesel engines a bad rap. I have spoken with several automotive engineers who specialize in clean diesel technology, and all of them basically said the same thing: “VW took shortcuts in order to save money.” The more powerful the engine, the larger the emissions filters on diesel engines, the more they cost.

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So how does that translate to off-roading? You get the same off-road capabilities as the V6 and V8 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, which is second to none. The Range Rover offers two locking differentials, nearly a foot of ground clearance, and an advanced terrain response system. The Range Rover comes standard with a twin speed transfer box (low and high gear range), but it is an extra on the Range Rover Sport.

The new diesel motor drivetrain on 2016 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport turn one of the most capable and refined vehicles in the world into an SUV that will go anywhere and get great fuel economy.

Contact your local Land Rover dealer or click here to visit the Land Rover website for more information on the 2016 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

Note: I did not receive compensation for this article, but Land Rover did pay for my trip to Sedona.

The Range Rover SVR is the super car of SUVs.

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Few vehicles can hold the title of super car; an ultra high performance car that is exclusive and often times barely street legal. If there was such a title, The Land Rover Range Rover SVR would deserve the title of “Super SUV.” The Range Rover SVR’s impressive performance stems from its massive 5.0L supercharged V8 engine that produces 550 horsepower and 502 ib-ft of torque. From there, the performance enhancements extend to the wheels with 20″ Brembo brakes and 21″ alloy wheels. It also features a super quick 8-speed automatic transmission, that shifts almost as fast as a dual-clutch transmission. Now can you guess the top speed of this “Super SUV?” Try 162 mph!

The Land Rover Range Rover SVR even sounds like a super car! The engine roars when you step on the gas pedal. The exhaust note reminds me of the Jaguar F-Type, which in my opinion sounds better than a Ferrari 488 GTB.

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Of course, a Land Rover wouldn’t be a Land Rover without its off-road prowess. The Range Rover SVR is fully equipped to take on extreme off-road conditions: Mud, Rocky Terrain, Ice, and Water. The vehicle offers two locking differentials, a low and high gear box, as well as, independent suspension for all four wheels and adjustable ride height. It is one of the most capable SUV’s on the market – arguably second to only the full size Range Rover.

Rarely, can a tall, off-road equipped vehicle out perform the average sports car.

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The inside of the Range Rover SVR is even more special looking than the outside… Your eyes are immediately drawn to competition seats. While traditional seatbelt are still in place, the competition seats (both front and rear) off slots for a racing harness. While they are not functional, that look awesome! The rest of cabin is lined with carbon fiber trim. It adds to performance appearing of this one of a kind “Super SUV.”

The usual luxury features are available with Range Rover SVR: A full leather dash and doors, a large touch screen infotainment display, a panoramic sunroof, and a mini-fridge underneath the center console armrest. The only thing missing was the ventilated seats – sadly those are not available with competition seats.

All in all, the Range Rover SVR is a truly amazing vehicle. It has got style, off-road capability, and performance. It certainly gives the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and the Mercedes G63 AMG a run for the hills.

Contact your local Land Rover dealer for more information on the 2015 Range Rover SVR or click here to visit the Land Rover website.

 

 

The Mercedes G63 AMG Stands The Test Of Time

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From the late 1970s till now, how many vehicles have maintained their original body style? Some may argue that the 2015 Porsche 911 resembles its 1979 sibling, but lets face it, they are both very different cars.

The Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG (aka G-Wagen or G-Class) is almost identical to its siblings from 30 years ago. It is vehicle that is sought after as both a status symbol and means of reliable transportation in the harshest climates. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

The G-Wagen was originally developed as a military vehicle in 1972, with a civilian version made available in 1979. Many variants of the G-Wagen have been created, but it’s basic shape and style has remained the same. For example, the Pope had a custom G-Wagen created with a bullet-proof glass compartment for parades and events.

Now days, you will find the G-Wagen driven on the streets of Beverly Hills, Dallas, and Palm Beach by gorgeous soccer moms and NBA basketball players; few realizing the G-Wagon’s true potential. The G-Wagon is the ultimate off-road vehicle. Its three locking differentials, independent suspension, and low transfer 4X4 gearbox is why you will just as likely find the G-Wagon in the middle of the Article Circle. Very few vehicles offer three locking differentials – this allows both the front wheels and both of the rear wheels to spin with even power… You won’t find that on a Land Rover! The Land Rover Range Rover for instance has two locking differentials. Meaning that even though it has four wheel drive, not all of the wheels will have even power.

The G-Wagen that I tested was powered by AMG, Mercedes’s high-performance division. It featured a hand built 536 horsepower biturbo V8 engine. The motor is paired with a 7-speed AMG transmission, which helps launch the G-Wagen from zero to sixty in 5.3 seconds. It also has a sport exhaust, which produces a hearty rumble. So why does an off road vehicle need so much power and a loud exhaust? Because it is awesome!

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I am normally a big fan of Mercedes-Benz’s interiors. The manufactures does an impressive job of combining old-world luxury with modern design and technology. I wasn’t very impressed with the G-Wagen. Don’t get me wrong, the interior is well crafted and uses high quality materials, such as premium leather and real wood trim, but it is too boxy for my tastes. Also, I hate the infotainment screen in the center, it looks like an after thought.

While it may not be a traditional “US” Mercedes-Benz in terms of style, it upholds Mercedes’ standards in terms of comfort. The seats were incredible; they offered a multitude of adjustments and were very comfortable for my 2 hour day trip from Ft Lauderdale to Naples, Florida. The vehicle also offered a massive amounts of headroom. I am 5’8″ and I had nearly a foot of room above my head – if you are a tall guy, this could seal the deal by itself.

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The Mercedes G63 AMG is the second longest production vehicle to carry the Mercedes-Benz name plate, and I hope it stays that way. It has truly stood the test of time with great engineering, great build quality, and loyal fanbase.

The Lincoln Navigator: Classy, Luxurious, and Practical

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The Navigator is Lincoln’s flagship vehicle. It represents old school luxury, something most other automotive manufacturers have lost.

The 2015 model year is a refresh of the third generation Navigator. The design isn’t overpowering, it’s not complex, and it’s not boastful; its elegant and refined.

The interior of the 2015 Lincoln Navigator is inviting. It is like walking into your living room. The center console isn’t over encumbered by a million buttons, each one is intelligently placed so you can enjoy the drive without distractions.
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The leather seats are supple and offer good backsupport. The driver and passangers are surrounded by real wood trim, which sets this vehicle apart from many of its other premium competitors.
Multiple entertainment options are available, including a premium audio infotainment system with Microsoft Sync. The system is absolutly incredible! Voice commands allow you to control nearly every fuction of the vehicle, including the radio, navigation and climate controls.

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This is a solidly built first class suite on wheels, but it is also flexible. The third row folds flat with the touch of a button. Now you are able to fit extra cargo, such as a couch from the furniture store. The versitility of the 2015 Lincoln Navigator make it a solid choice for drivers with a large family: it is roomy, luxurious, and reasonably priced at $61,000.

Contact your local Linoln dealer for more information on the 2015 Lincoln Navigator.

First Drive: The 2016 Hyundai Tucson

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The 2016 Hyundai Tucson has big shoes to fill… The 2015 Tucson was the “highest ranked small SUV by JB Power.

At first glance of the upcoming Hyundai Tucson, I thought that the styling resembled a german luxury compact SUV. Then, when I got behind the wheel, my impression changed to an American compact SUV. Turns out, both observations were correct…. The exterior of the 2016 Tucson was designed by Hyundai’s German design team, and the exterior was designed by the American design.

After a wonderful dinner with Hyundai’s product manager, I learned that this is common practice for Hyundai. The American, German, and Korean design teams faceoff to design each new vehicle concept.

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The 2016 Hyundai Tucson is a completely new compact SUV. In addition to a new exterior and interior, a new drivetrain is available. The 1.6L 4-cylinder turbo provides ample power and great fuel economy at 33 mpg on the highway.

I was impressed with Hyundai’s use of a dual-clutch transmission in the Tucson. Dual-clutch transmissions are more expensive to build, but they offer the performance and economy benefits of a manual transmission with the ease of use of a traditional automatic.

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The interior of the 2016 Hyundai Tucson feels solid. Long smooth arches gives the dash and center console an almost futuristic look. The design is consistent with most of Hyundai’s other vehicles. Premium options include ventilated leather seats, as well as, a panoramic sunroof.

I quite surprise with how spacious the cabin felt for a compact SUV. Both the front and backseat felt cozy. Most passangers will have plenty of leg room.

Hyundai was inovative with the cargo area on the 2016 Tucson. Suprisenly, it offers more cargo volumn than many mid-size or large SUVs – more than the Porsche Cayanne.

Technology wise, the new Hyundai Tucson is available with all of the usual bells and whistles: 8″ touchscreen display, Bluetooth, navigation, and a backup camera. There is only one USB port, which is a disappointment. Hyundai makes up for it with multiple power plugs in the vehicle.

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This compact SUV is a bargain with a starting price of $22,000. It feels solid, looks great, and practical.

For more information on the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, contact your local dealer or click here to visit Hyundai’s website.

Learning From The Best At The Land Rover Experience Driving School

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I recently took a 2,000+ mile road trip in my Porsche (You may have seen the photos on Twitter). From Ft Lauderdale to the Smokie Mountains, to the Biltmore Esate in Asheville, to Charleston, I enjoyed top down driving and scenic roads. The highlight of my adventure was visiting the Biltmore Estate. It is famous for being the largest home in the USA, but what most peole don’t know is that it is also the proving grounds for Land Rover’s world renowned off-road academy.

If you are an off-road enthusiast – by any means – then the Land Rover Experience Driving School should be on your bucket list. When I arived, I expected to meet a Land Rover representative who was going to try to sell me on why the new Range Rover is the “best off-road vehicle ever created.” Instead, I was introduced to a thrill seeking off-road proffessional intstructor. His terrain expereince included everything from rock deserts to arttic mountain climbs.

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The school doesn’t teach out to drive a Land Rover with sophisticated technology; it teaches you how to properly drive an off-road vehicle. The first thing my instructor did was to take me to an open field and show me the capability lines on the 2015 Range Rover – how steep of a hill can it climb or go over without bottoming out. By understanding the capability lines of our vehicle, you can determin the best route to take. Next we discussed how to properly steer the vehcile while off-roading. Normal steering positions are thrown out the window, because you never want to cross your arms. If the airbag goes off and your arms are crossed while making a sharp turn, then your hand will hit you in the face. Instead, you want to constantly reposition your hands towards the bottom of the steering wheel. We went on to discuss power managment and hill decent (without hill decent control active). These basis techniques should be applied no matter what type of vehicle you are driving, whether it be a $24,000 Jeep Wrangler or $150,000 Range Rover Autobiography.

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After a couple hours with all of the technology off, my instructor taught me how to drive with the technoogy on. “Technology doesn’t replace technique,” said my instructor. He was right. The techniques I learned with the technology off made me a better off-road driver. I know how to better control my vehicle over difficult terain, how to navigate a tight trail without scratching my vehicle, and how to judge my vehicles limmitations without testing them.

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Following an afternoon of intense training, my driving instructor gave me a graduation gift… A private tour of the US Land Rover Heritage Collection! While it may look like a garage full of old Land Rovers, this collection is unique. It contains one the first Land Rovers ever built, as well as, two Land Rovers that drove arround the world. All of the Land Rovers in the collection are in working order and (somewhat) regularly hit the trails, when they are not on display.

Visit the Land Rover Expereince Driving School website for more information or ask me a question about it on Twitter.