The new Hyundai Sonata is on whole new level!


I usually don’t get excited about cars that get a refresh. But the new Hyundai Sonata has peeked my interest. While it visually looks similar very similar, it is not. Hyundai has reworked almost every exterior element on the front of the car. It has new grill with sleeker lines that remind me of an unnamed luxury car. It’s stance is more aggressive, and it is complimented with a reworked rear end. It has got an all-new trunk, bumper and tail lights.

The interior although they say it is new, you can’t tell the difference unless you are comparing the two vehicles side by side. But what is noticeable different is the driving dynamics. The feel of the vehicle is enhanced by new steering and suspension systems that give the driver more feedback while also delivering a smoother ride. Another impressive item related to the car is a new transmission. Even though you will never (don’t quote me) see a Hyundai Sonata on the drag strip, you still want to have fun with it. The transmission has been reworked to deliver quicker shifts when you hit the gas pedal hard, but still offer smooth transitions between gears when cruising casually. I also noticed less lag between shifts while manually selecting a gear using the paddle shifters.


For those concerned about fuel economy, both models of the Hyundai Sonata I tested got over 30mpg. If you are interested in performance, you have your choice of a 1.6L twin-turbo 4-cylinder that produces 178hp, a 2.4L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that produces 185hp, or a 2.0L twin-turbo that produces a respectiable 245hp.

Overall, Hyundai did a fantastic job of enhancing an already great product. Even though a well equipped Hyundai Sonata is priced at under $25,000, it still offers premium luxury features. A 7 inch touchscreen infotainment system, power and heated front seats, automatic headlights, and blind-spot detection are all standard features on the SEL trim. If you want to add the $1,000 Tech Package to your options list, the car can nearly drive itself… you get automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. 

For more information about the new Hyundai Sonata, visit your local dealer or click here to visit Hyundai’s website.

An icon reborn: The Lincoln Continental


No other American luxury sedan is as iconic as the Lincoln Continental. The vehicle’s legacy dates back to the late 1930’s. It was the ride of choice for Heads of State. Celebrities would be chauffeured in Continentals for premier parties and oscars. Its success continued on and off until since then, but the last great Continental (in my book) was 1969. President Kennedy was famous for driving around in one.

Fast forward to today… and the Continental is back! It has got classic styling with high-tech packaging. This is first time in a long time that I have been this excited about Lincoln’s flagship sedan. The vehicle has a nostalgic feeling to it, but it can easily compete with the features and comfort of a modern S-Class.


The seats made a lasting impression on me, even after recently having driven a Mercedes S Class. I love the way you can independently contour the top and lower back supports to offer a customized seat shape. You would also independently adjust the seat length and height between the left and right sides. No other car on the market offers this degree of control.


The rest of the interior stood out as well. The combination of blue leather and aluminum trim gave the Lincoln a unique look, one that was special in this segment of vehicles. The infotainment system felt a little generic when compared to other Ford and Lincoln vehicles in the lineup, but it is tried and true.


Backseat passages will enjoy luxury accommodations as well, but no so luxurious as to where you feel like you are driving a limousine.


My final compliment to Lincoln for the recreation of the Continental is in regards to the attention to exterior details. I love chrome trim door handles that blend seemlessly into the the body design. Well done, Lincoln!

Visit your local dealer for more information on the 2017 Lincoln Continental or click here to visit the Lincoln Motor Company website. 

The Lexus RC Turbo a “Little Duece Coupe”

The term “Duece Coupe” originally referenced a 1932 Hot Rod Ford, because of the model year. But I think it is more befitting of Lexus’ newest RC model, the 2.0L RC Turbo, because it has a 2.0L motor, plus I got to test it in the heart of Ford territory, Michigan.

All of the characteristics and styling of the more powerful RC 300/350/F are here, but now the RC features a fuel efficient rear-wheel drive option. At 32 MPG, I was able to drive the car across the entire state of Michigan and back (~350 miles) on a single tank of gas – and it doesn’t have a big tank. While the RC Turbo has half of cylinders and almost half the horsepower (241hp) as the RC F (467hp), it still has pep to its step. Plus since it is performance inspired, you can keep the momentum going as you hug a twisty road – enhanced by the adaptive variable suspension. It brakes well too with 11″ ventilated discs. Another item to note is that 18″ wheels are standard.


Because of the Lexus RC Tubro’s plush interior, it makes a well suited grand tourer. The heated and ventalited seats were perfect for my long trek across the state. I would almost describe them as “unusually comfortable” for its segment because the contour of the seats fit my back well. Being a Lexus, of course they were made from high quality leather. I point this out because most the German competition (excluding Audi) have leatherette seats. 

The infotainment center is easy to use. It is controlled using voice commands or a touch pad on the center armrest. The touch pad isn’t as intuiative as you would think, but once you get use to it, you will love it! Sound wise, beats are pumped out from an optional 17 speaker Mark Levinson sound system. The vehicle I tested this time didn’t have the upgraded sound system, but I heard it play on other RCs before.


Value always come into play when I look at sporty cars, and the RC Turbo is amongst the best! At a starting price of $40k, you will be hard pressed to find a more stylish luxury sports coupe that offers this many standard features. Also it is comforting to know you are driving a machine backed by Toyota (parent company of Lexus) so the car will last FOREVER. 

Visit your local Lexus dealer for more information on the 2017 Lexus RC Turbo or click here to visit the Lexus website.

The Cadillac Escalade Is Ready For Anything

It’s big, bold, and beautiful. After spending a week with the Cadillac Escalade, I can understand why it is the vehicle of choice for celebrities to be driven around in and soccer moms to drive. With a length of 203 inches (224 inches on the ESV model) few SUV’s come close in sheer size and none have the prestige of Cadillac brand. 

There is no doubt that this vehcile can be intimidating to drive, but after a few days behind the wheel, it quickly grew on me. Having such a large vehcile means that you as the driver have room to stretch out. Instead of sitting in a coach airline seat while you drive, you are sitting in the first class cabin.


The driver and front passenger get to enjoy unusually larger seats along with a gigantic center armrest – no more numbing elbows. The surfaces are covered in luxury materials such as soft leather, open pore wood, alcantara and brushed aluminum. Turning the steering wheel while driving around town is effortless, which makes the massaging seats even more enjoyable. Unfortunately finding the button to turn on the massage seats though is a chore. It is located next to the seat controls at the base of the seat with limited settings. What isn’t a chore though is charging your phone… A wireless charging pad (case required for the iPhone) is affixed to the top of the center consol armrest. Simply place your phone on top of it and it magically starts charging.


Another really inovative feature on the Cadillac Escalade is the backup camera system, which is magically projected into the rear view mirror. It creates an intuitive way to see what is behind you. The placement be very useful if you are hauling large objects or have tall people in the back, prohibiting you from seeing the cars behind you. The backup camera works great in both day and night driving conditions. If the light omitted bothers you, with a flip of a switch, you can deactivate it and the rear view mirror goes from high-tech to low-tech.


Second the third row passengers get some goodies to play with too. Three video screens paired with wireless headphones keep everyone entertained. And if surfing the internet is more your thing, the Cadillac Escalade features a 4G LTE hotspot thanks to OnStar. To keep those devices charged, multiple cigarette outlet and household two-prong outlets are scattered throughout the cabin.


All of these features, luxury amenities, and the size, make the 2017 Cadillac Escalade the ultimate people mover. It is ready to tackle anything, from driving executives around town in style to taking five kids and the dog on a family road trip. The best part is, you can pick one up starting at $73,395. Note that the vehcile I tested was fully loaded and price at around $96,000.

The SLC43 AMG is the perfect daily driven roadster!


Daily driver and roadster rarely fits into the same sentence unless you are a complete car enthusiast. That’s because roadsters traditionally trade comfort for the ride of a lifetime. Some classic roadsters such as the Jaguar XK120 roadster didn’t even have rollup windows! And if you think that is unpleasant, the Porsche 550 Spyder didn’t even have a top! Those lavish features were meant for “convertibles.” Modern roadsters have power windows and most have automatic cloth top.

Mercedes-Benz, staying true to the motto “The best or nothing,” has brought comfort back to the roadster – first with the SLK in 1996 and now again, 20 years later, with the SLC.

The car’s best feature is its retractable automatic hardtop. It allows the SLC to transform within seconds from a roadster to a sporty coupe. You literally get the best of both worlds! There is no more saying that roadsters are too noisy on the highway or that they are too hot during the summer (or too cold during the winter for my northern friends). Some might argue that modern rag tops are just as well insulated as hard top convertibles – they might be – but I don’t think so. When I am driving with the top up on a rag top, I am constantly wishing in the back of my mind that the weather was nice enough to put the top down. When I drove the Mercedes SLC43 AMG with the top up, I kept thinking to myself how great the coupe experience is.

Also rag top roadsters such as the Porsche Boxster, Jaguar F-Type, and Audi TT don’t look nearly as good with the top up as the Mercedes SLC43 AMG does. Now there are a couple drawbacks to having a hardtop convertible: 1) It weighs more because of the mechanical mechanisms. 2) You typically have less trunk space. With that being said, this is your daily driver and not a track car, so weight is less of an issue. In terms of trunk space, the SLC43 AMG does have less room than the 718 Porsche Boxster (with its two trunks), but I was able to fit more groceries in my SLC tester car than I was in the Jaguar F-Type convertible I tested last year.

The interior quality has also been kicked up a notch with the SLC43 AMG versus the competition. I instantly fell in love with its saddle brown leather interior with white stitching. As part of the AMG variation, the SLC I tested also had a semi-alcanta flat bottom steering wheel to accentuate the performance aspects of the vehicle. With a 362hp 3.0L V6 biturbo engine and a 9-speed gearbox, the Mercedes-Benz SLC43 AMG is no slouch. It will do zero-to-sixty in less than 5 seconds. The rear-wheel-drive SLC43 AMG also handles surprisingly well thanks to a well tuned AMG Sport suspension. I specific rear-wheel-drive because one of its unnamed German competitors (the Audi TT) has a front-wheel-drive bias for its all-wheel-drive system.

With a performance oriented mindset, luxury accommodations, and the benefit of having both a convertible and coupe, the Mercedes-Benz SLC is my pick for the best daily driven roadster… The top seals the deal!

You can find more information about the Mercedes-Benz SLC43 AMG by visiting your local deal or by clicking here to visit the Mercedes-Benz website.

The Nissan 370Z Holds True To Its Roots

The Datsun (Nissan) 240Z is often times regarded as one of the best Japanese sports cars ever produced. Many call it “the best” not just because it was able to dominant the race track against Corvettes and Porsches, but because it was able to bring an overhead cam engine, disc brakes and independent suspension at an affordable price + it is really fun to drive!

You could buy a Datsun 240Z for around $3,500 in 1970, and that is exactly what my Father did. He purchased the first Datsun 240Z in St Louis, Missouri as his daily driver. After getting the bug to race a couple years later, he then turned it into the 1972 SCCA Mid-America Regional Championship Car. Shortly after the championship win, the car sat retired in my Father’s garage in St Louis for over 40 years.

Earlier this year the Folks over at Nissan North America helped me get the car running and transporting it to my Dad’s home in Naples, Florida. So when Nissan sent me the 370Z Convertible to test for a week, I raced (figuratively) across Alligator Alley for a photo shoot.


The “Z” has changed a lot in the past 40 years! It has gotten more expensive with a starting price of $29,000. but the 370Z is a lot quicker thanks to a 332HP V6 and a six-speed manual gearbox. For reference, the original only had 151HP and a four-speed manual gearbox – my Father’s engine was highly modified and featured a five-speed manual gearbox from Datsun Racing in Japan. Another neat feature of the 370Z’s six-speed manual gearbox is that it offers rev-matching standard, which means you no longer have to master heel-to-toe footwork when downshifting. Nissan offers one of the most (if not the most) affordable vehicle with rev-matching. Behind the wheel of both vehicles, you start to feel as if you are one with the car as you tackle each turn on a curvy road. It may take a minute to find it, but once you do, it becomes easy to feel the transfer of weight between all four tires as you decelerate and accelerate out of sharp turn. Like the original, the 370Z offers true sports car experience for an affordable price when you compare it to the Corvette Stingray or Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman.

The “Z” has gotten a lot more comfortable too! The new one rides better, is better insulated, and quieter. The interior has also been very nicely upgraded: The leather appointed seats offer both heating and ventilation options, while also delivering nice bolster support. The instrument cluster ingeniously rises up and down with the steering position, so you always have a perfect view of the tachometer. And speaking of gages, the instrument cluster pays homage to the original 240Z with its use of three round dials on the center of the dash. The analog gages are paired with an LED display on the instrument cluster, and LED clock on the center of the dash, and a touch-screen infotainment center on the dash.

The only thing that drives me crazy about this pairing, is that the car’s LED clock and the infotainment center clock are not synced. Which means that owners will have to set both clocks each time day light savings times comes and goes.

While the new 370Z and the old 240Z are uniquely original, they both offer timelessly classic good looks and the spirit of driving a fun sports, without breaking the bank. Visit your local Nissan dealer or click here to learn more about the Nissan 370Z.

The Cadillac CTSV has the heart of a Vette!

In a mid-size performance sedan world dominated by the Germans with BMW M5, America has risen through the ashes to bring us the Cadillac CTSV. A 640 HP Supercharged V8 monster that moves as loud as it roars.

It is monster that seductively entices the driver to go faster while it intimidated passer buyers. This car was built for the performance enthusiast who can no longer drive a Corvette, because he (or she) needs to start taking the kiddies to school.


 But there is no settling here, because the Cadillac CTSV has a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds which is on par with the Corvette Stinray Z51. It also has the same 6.2L Supercharged engine that goes into the Corvette Stingray Z06.

Unlike the Corvette though, the only transmission option is an 8-speed traditional automatic. It can be manually controlled using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel or set to fully automatic mode. I didn’t get a chance to test this vehicle on the track, but automatic in sport mode was my preferred serting because I noticed a tiny lag when trying to up shift using the paddles.

The Supercharged 6.2L V8 gives it the heart of a Corvette, but the interior gives it the style of a Cadillac.


The interior is race inspired, with a leather and micro-fiber Recaro Racing seats, as well as, a micro-fiber wrapped steering wheel and gear selector. But the interior also boosts a timeless style with its use of chrome and leather on the doors and dash.

The “Cue” infotainment center, like on all Cadillacs, is eloquently controlled using a series of touchpad buttons. The only downside of these button is when you are using a radar detector and the cord brushes up against a touchpad button, the energy running through the cord engages the control. The end result was my radio volume mysteriously turning all the way up as I enjoyed a sweeping turn. Other than that, annoyance, I love this car!

The Cadillac CTSV is the perfect car for those who desire a sports car, but need room for family. It’s closest competitor is the BMW M5, but I would stick with the CTSV unless you want to blend in at the country club.

For more information on the Cadillac CTSV, contact your local dealer or click here.

The Jaguar XE is the perfect sports sedan


A high performance 340 HP supercharged engine: check. A sports tuned suspension: check.  A seductive interior and exterior: check. An exhilarating ride: checkmate.

All of these things can be said about a sports car, but what makes a sports sedan different from a sports car is the fact that four people can actually fit in it. It is just as well suited for a track day as it is picking up your two kids from school.

BMW has dominated the sports sedan segment with the 3-series. But what is lacked in creature comforts it made up for in terms of performance.

Now there is a new Sheriff in town, the Jaguar XE. It is here to steal BMW’s lunch money, and in my opinion, it has. The XE is backed by Jaguars racing pedigree and the ultra-fun to drive F-Type sports car. It is also backed by Jaguar’s XJL ultra-luxury sedan. So the vehicle is able offer the rare combination of true luxury and true performance. You won’t find that at Mercedes (unless you opt for an AMG) or Audi (unless you opt for an S or RS). Both brands trade comfort over performance unless you are willing to spend almost six figures. This combination of luxury and performance for under $50k gives the XE a clearly defined audience: driving enthusiasts who need a luxury car.

Like I mentioned before, the Jaguar XE is available with a 340Hp Supercharged V6, paired with an 8-speed automatic. But it is not just the acceleration times that got my heart racing, it is how well the Jaguar XE sticks to a corner. The vehicle is tight, well balanced, and demonstrates little body roll. Jaguar utilized a lightweight aluminum architecture to keep the center of gravity low and offer drivers a near 50/50 weight distribution… and you can feel it in the car as you hug corners. To hug them even tighter, Jaguar introduced torque vectoring to compact sports sedan segment. The electronically controlled system dynamically controls the brakes on the inside wheels while cornering in order to spin the car faster. The XE is also available with a performance oriented all-wheel-drive system. I say performance because most all-wheel-drive systems, like the one found on entry level Audis, have a front wheel drive bais that delivers the majority of power to the front wheels. The Jaguar takes cue from LeMans race cars and is able to shift the power from 90-10 (front-rear) to 50-50 to 10-90 based upon road conditions and driving patterns.

All of this makes it the perfect car for a driving enthusiast who needs four doors.

Inside the Jaguar XE, you will find a poshly designed interior that came straight from Britain. The attention to detail is superb, right down to the rotary dial used to select the gear. The seats are firm, but comfortable. The star of the interior is a large touch screen display that is paired with a Meridian sound system to deliver high quality beats to your eardrums.

If you are in the market for a sports sedan, you no longer have to choose between performance and luxury… you now have the Jaguar XE, the perfect sports sedan.

Save some love for the VW Touareg Executive

Volkswagen’s flagship SUV is unfortunatly often times over looked in the luxury SUV segment. I say this because the streets of Florida are littered with BMW X5s, Mercedes GLEs (formal called the ML class), Audi Q7s, and Porsche Cayennes. But I rarely see a VW Touareg, despite its beautiful styling and plush interior. Dollar for dollar, the Touareg beats all of them.

The Volkswagen Touareg is unique amongst its VW brothers and sisters not only because of its price point (starting at 50k), but because the Touareg is targeted specifically against the luxury segment which includes its two cousins, the Audi Q7 and the Porsche Cayenne. The latter with which is shares its underpinnings with. The executive trim level cuts the margins even closer (starting at around $60k) because of all the standard premium equipment.

With both the exterior and interior, the Volkswagen Touareg Executive says the luxury. The exterior styling is beautiful with 21 wheels, and the interior compliments the exterior by using Vienna leather and wood trim – Although I am not sure if it is really wood. VW wanted to make sure occupants are at the optimal climate, by making the seats both ventalited and heated, and offering tri-zone climate controls standard of the Executive trim level. Additional features include Park Distance Control (Park Pilot), a 360-degree camera for parking, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Change Assist.

Standard on all Touaregs is VW’s “4 Motion” all-wheel-drive system. It works similar to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system which uses a computer to transfer power between each wheel in order to provide drivers with optimum traction. I drove the Touareg on a combination of dry and wet surfaces and the system worked beautifully. I didn’t get a chance to test the Touareg’s terrain response system, which optimizes the all-wheel-drive system for off-road and snow use, but I heard from other journalists that is works well.

You get all of these features for cost of a barely equipped BMW X5, which makes VW Touareg Executive one hell of a bargain!

The only reason why I can understand someone buying a BMW, Mercedes, or Audi over the Touareg is vanity. Let’s face it, VW is “the people’s car.” It is a little hard to justify $60k for a VW when it is seen as the bargain German car manufacturer, but that can work in your favor. I like how the VW Touareg is luxurious, but understated. If an executive is driving a Mercedes, employees are likely think the executive is getting paid too much and that they are not getting paid enough. But if an executive is driving a VW, employees are likely to think they are on an even playing field… Just don’t give them a ride in it!

We all of the premium amenities, I urge you to give the VW Touareg Executive some love next time you are shopping for a luxury mid-sized SUV. It is true German Engineering without the German Engineering price point.

5 Must See Cars At The 2016 Miami Auto Show

1. Alfa Romeo Guilia


I saw this car at the Frankfurt Autoshow last year and fell in love with it. Now it is for the US market to compete head to head with BMW’s M series and Mercedes’ AMG series vehicles. If you want a unique high performance sedan, this is your car!

2. Acura NSX


Acura (Honda, everywhere else in the world) has been teasing us with a new NSX for the past five years. Now it is finally here and a production ready prototype is on display at the Miami Auto Show. Get ready to see them on the streets of South Florida, because I know of at least one local dealer who delivered the car to a customer.

3. Genesis G90


While the Genesis G90 isn’t the most thrilling car on our list, it is definitely the most luxurious. The new G90 is the successor to the Equus and will give the Mercedes S-Class a run for its money.

4. Audi R8


The new Audi R8 is at the 2016 Miami International Auto Show. Its jaw dropping V10 motor and dual-clutch transmission makes it the fastest naturally aspirated production vehicle on the planet.

5. Lexus LC500 Hybrid 


Lexus has taken the luxury grand-touring car segment to the extreme with their newest vehicle. I saw it from a distance on stage at the Detroit Auto Show, but it is even more impressive up close.