BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST The new 2020 Lexus LX570 SUV arrived several days before the big snow...
BY H. THROTTLE AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST The 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL has sparkling “Red Diamond” pa...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST “Experience Amazing” is the Lexus brand statement and their products live u...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST There are cars for all seasons and all purposes. Henry Ford built the...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST This week it snowed and the “Estoril Blue” 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR was d...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST There is something to be said about a SUV with good size, a powerful 301 ho...
BY H. THROTTLE AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST The 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback XLE is a front wheel drive eco...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST There are so many vehicle choices consumers are challenged to make in the a...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST Let’s go places,” is the Toyota marketing slogan and their vehicles transpo...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST Hybrid vehicles are becoming more efficient but also more complex. Th...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST
The new 2020 Lexus LX570 SUV arrived several days before the big snowstorm. It was fun to drive the powerful 383 horsepower V8 engine through the snow drifts and piles of snow. This is a large SUV that towers over the highway and features three rows of seats and the ability to tow a trailer or boat.
This Lexus is assembled in Toyota, Aichi, Japan and the craftsmanship is perfection from the leather seats, to the sleek style, and “Satin Cashmere” metallic paint.
The powerful 5.7L engine is in complete control with steering wheel paddle shifters working with the 8-speed versatile transmission. With this large of an engine there is no need to turbo-charge this power plant. The 5.7 engine is thirsty and because of size and weight the average fuel economy falls to 14 miles per gallon with 12 mpg in the city and 16 on the freeways.
This LX570 is not an economy SUV, but a luxury vehicle with a manufacturer’s suggested price of $91,380 and a list of options such as a 19 surround Mark Levinson speaker audio system at $2,350 and a rear seat entertainment package at $2,005. The final full option price on the test model was $101,248.
This is about driving the best-in-class and having an all-wheel classic for winter and summer recreation driving perhaps as a large family vehicle.
The X570 is loaded with the Lexus safety system that make today’s vehicles much safer on the highways. The precollision system prevents striking a forward object. The radar cruise control keeps exact safe distance from forward driving vehicles. Cameras detect pedestrians and lane departure warnings for driver alerts.
The bucket seats and warm interior with easy sound and radio controls add to the surround speaker music. This is comfort and performance with sport, eco, and comfort modes. There is even an Alexia skill integration program.
The vehicle has a five-year, 70,000-mile powertrain warranty. The vehicle is so new it does not have a safety rating but with all of the safety equipment and 10 airbags and smart stop technology the rating should be the perfect five-star rating.
Not in everyone’s price range, but for those wishing the best this is an excellent choice.
BY H. THROTTLE
The 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL has sparkling “Red Diamond” paint that shimmers and shines in appearance. The black leather seats and dynamic paint are a good introduction to this famed Japanese car maker.
The engineers have thrown every option and accessory into this model that has a suggested retail price of $28,595. A touring package is offered at $2100, taking the test car price to $32.720.
A very competitive price for an all-wheel drive turbo charged SUV.
This is a foreign car and has some slight differences in feel, drive, and controls. The center console was difficult to master and had steering wheel controls and a swipe pad in the center. Simple dials would have sufficed and would be easier to operate.
The car drives well and the 1.5L 4-cylinder engine is supported by an 8-speed variable transmission and curved aluminum paddle shifters mounted in the rear of the steer wheel. A sport’s mode option is available for a power boost.
Front MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar give the car good suspension, along with rear multi-link suspension and additional stabilizer bar. Steering is precise with electric power steering and leather appointed steering wheel with tilt and telescope controls.
A bevy of LED lights surround the Eclipse that include fog lights for bad weather driving on the al 18” all-season tires. The rear seats fold 60/40 to allow a large trunk space.
While not yet given a safety rating, the Eclipse is loaded with all of the safety features that include forward mitigation and high-speed braking capacity.
Lacking with all of the features was a power rear cargo door that had to be opened and closed manually.
The optional touring package should be purchased that includes a “Rockford Fosgate “ premium sound system, pedestrian detection, power panoramic sunroof with rails and heated front seats.
This is a “smart car” with many features and accessories and very competitive in the all-wheel drive that is so desirable with Colorado weather.
Mitsubishi is offering a quality designed and engineered product.
This vehicle also comes with a 10-year 100,000 miles power train warranty that is among the best in the car world.
“Experience Amazing” is the Lexus brand statement and their products live up to the motto. The ES300h is truly amazing and is a luxury hybrid/engine combination that boasts 215 overall horsepower with combined battery and gasoline power. This combo averages 44 miles per-gallons in fuel economy with three drive modes of eco, normal, and sport. The car is sleek, very fast, stunningly attractive, with final assembly in Georgetown, Kentucky.
What to like? Just about everything, but one prime issue. The basic ES 300h manufacturer’s price is $41,750 that is very competitive. Here’s the challenge for consumers. There’s a long list of options that raised the price on the test drive model to $53,810. Some of the options are not necessary, like the illuminated door sills for $400 and the power rear sunshades for another $200. The basic car is outstanding without all of the gingerbread that adds over $12,000 to the overall price of the ES300h. A discreet buyer should go over these options very carefully, some are very good, like the navigation and premium surround sound system. But overall, there are just too many options that should be a part of the basic package.
Again, this is a very attractive luxury four-door sedan loaded with all of the options, necessary and not so necessary. The drive is outstanding, and the car is fast with the hybrid power with instant acceleration and paddle shifters for fast gear changes.
The steering is precise, the seats soft, the wood paneling beautiful, and the surround sound system and radio easy to operate.
With the speed comes all of the safety features like cruise radar, lane departure alert, and the standard Lexus Safety System that includes most of the latest safety features as standard equipment.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives this ES300h a perfect five-star overall rating.
The mileage factor is impressive at an overall 44 mpg. While current oil prices have come down significantly, we can expect fuel prices to increase in price, especially with the coronavirus issues.
As the demand for electricity and alternative energy sources become more prevalent expect rates to rise considerably with the new green energy concept.
This is really a remarkable sedan, somewhat overloaded with expensive options, but this elegant lady deserves to be well dressed.
There are cars for all seasons and all purposes. Henry Ford built the “people’s car” that was an affordable Model T that gave way to the Model A as automobile technology advanced into the 20th century. I can remember talking about the famed “Pierce Arrows” and Auburns that we see in car shows every summer. Some of those early Ford Thunderbirds and Chevy Corvettes are still unmatched for style and beauty, prized by their lucky owners who care for these priceless antique treasures.
A modern-day treasure arrived as the test vehicle this week in the form of the Alfa Romeo “Stelvio “Quadrifoglio” all-wheel drive SUV. Final assembly in Cassino, Italy and sold in Denver by the Larry Miller dealership, this is a 2019 treasure making the rounds to select Rocky Mountain Auto Press writers.
This international import has 53 percent of parts from Italy,13 percent from France, a German transmission with Italian engine. The engine is a 2.9L-twin-turbo V6 producing 505 horsepower. The speedometer goes to 200 mpg and the car is capable of that speed.
Last year auto writers (RMAP) were treated to a day at the racetrack with higher speed vehicles to test drive around a racetrack at high speeds. The Alfa Romeo model was part of the fleet and of all the cars driven hard that day it stood the race-car test best. Many models, not to name, had to have the brakes and engines cooled but the Alfa Romeo never blinked. I can recall reaching a speed of 120 mph on the back straight away of the track. The SUV styled sedan looked about the same then as today, with “Rosso Competizione Tri-Coat” exterior paint and black leather “Alcantara” bucket seats.
The Stelvio has a SUV design and metal four-leaf clovers adorning the car body near the door frames. (Not sure what the Irish trademark has to do with an Italian car) The hood has air-cooling slits to cool the twin-turbo engine. Otherwise, the Romeo looks like a compact SUV with a distinctive front grill and exquisite exterior body paint.
Where the fun begins is putting the accelerator to the floor and feeling the awesome burst of power from the 505-horsepower engine.
Even without the turbo boost the Romeo has muscle controlled with large steering wheel metallic shifters for quick gear changes. The gear shift knob is fussy, and the brake pedal has to be engaged to get out of park, but it just takes some practice along with driving skills. This is not a grocery wagon, but a high-powered race car hidden in a modest SUV design.
There are so many controls and dials, all slightly different because of the European influence that differs from U.S. standards. It took several days of driving to become friends with this unique $88,390 masterpiece. This is a vehicle to last a lifetime in a style that will never grow old and mechanical features that will last for decades.
The vehicle has not been safety rated but the Brembo 4-wheel disk brakes will stop the car on a dime with huge black anodized calipers.
Made for Italian and Colorado climates the Romeo has heated features like the outside mirrors, steering wheel, wipers, seats, and headlamp washers. Basic warranty is 4-years and 50,000 miles that includes powertrain.
This is not a play toy but a highly spirited automobile to be enjoyed by select drivers who want a high-powered driving experience.
This week it snowed and the “Estoril Blue” 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR was delivered to my driveway. It arrived laden with ice and snow from the raging early season blizzard. The storm cleared quickly, and I enjoyed testing the amazing vehicle for the week.
The sticker suggested manufacturer’s suggested retail price was a shocking $114,500. Optional equipment on this test sport model took the price even higher to $131,520.
This Range Rover was assembled in Solihull, U.K. with a British engine and surprisingly a United States transmission. The engine is a 5L-V8 that features a 575-horsepower turbo-charged power plant. When accelerating in this machine it is like the roar of a lion on safari where so many Range Rover vehicles are used for their rugged durability. This vehicle is designed for off road terrain and has two off road modes. The transmission is a five-speed with steering wheel paddles for quick shifting.
The seats are deep, heated and comfortable with lumbar and memory controls. The rear seats are heated with heated fold options.
A complete navigation system with a ten-inch screen are featured along with a powerful Meridian sound and speakers. Air bags surround the passengers and the vehicle has the latest safety features of blind spot monitor, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, and Perimetric alarm protection.
This is a powerful machine that can maneuver almost anywhere yet is nimble and handles easily in Denver traffic. The turbo-engine provides exceptional acceleration but also is heavy on fuel consumption resulting in an overall 16 mpg performance.
The Range Rover has a 4-year/50,000 miles limited warranty.
Overall this is a classic all-around outdoor vehicle that has a long-standing reputation in the great outdoors.
Slide back that panoramic roof and enjoy the Colorado mountain parks and trails.
There is something to be said about a SUV with good size, a powerful 301 horsepower engine, a great suspension system, and luxury captain seats. That describes the 2020 Lexus GX460 and it is luxury all the way. Starting at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $64,265 with options listing up to $70,985.
The GX460 has a 4.6L-V8 engine and averages 16-mpg overall. The sequential transmission has six-speeds and the GX has full time four-wheel drive. This is a heavy-duty SUV with transmission and fuel tank protectors for rugged terrain. Built for hard work with power and comfort it is hard to fathom taking such a luxury vehicle too far off the beaten path.
Made in Tahara, Aichi, Japan it has the meticulous quality of the Lexus craftsmanship and comes with a powertrain warranty of 6-years/70,000-miles.
The “Nightfall Mica” paint makes this sizeable SUV a powerful package in both performance and appearance. The best feature of this GX460 is the velvet smooth ride coming from a kinetic suspension system (KDSS). In addition, adaptive variable suspension and auto-leveling rear air suspension adds to the smooth ride.
The interior has semi-aniline heated and ventilated seats. Heated second row outboard captain seats, and power-fold third row seats.
The rear seats have an optional dual screen entertainment system.
The 2020 GX460 contains all of the latest Lexus safety systems, that include pre-collision, pedestrian detection, high speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, and intelligent high beams with wash featured LED headlamps and foglamps.
Passengers have mountain views thru the power moonroof with privacy glass. A power trunk lift gate has an easy entry glass panel for quick access.
This vehicle is top of the line in luxury, performance, and sport’s utility for outdoor recreation, ski trips, and camping.
Ten airbags provide passenger safety, it’s loaded with navigation and safety features, including a 9-speaker premium sound system with 4 UBS ports.
Lexus says, “Experience Amazing” and they mean it.
The 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback XLE is a front wheel drive economy four door sedan. The Yaris features a 4-cylinder 1.5L engine that generates 105 horsepower and achieves 40 miles per gallon on the highway. The smaller engine linked to a sequential 6-speed transmission with a “sport” mode provides adequate acceleration and excellent fuel economy.
This Yaris has final assembly in Salamanca, Mexico and has a suggested retail price of $19,795 delivery price including quite a few safety options. While at the lower end of the Toyota priced models, the hatchback earns an overall five-star safety rating from the National highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Yaris is fun to drive, a small sedan, it is easy to squeeze into tight parking spots and the transmission is smooth and the car has plenty of spunk with a sport’s mode option for additional power.
The ride is very firm and similar to a sport’s car high speed ride where the driver and passengers can feel the road, including the bumps. The suspension system has front McPherson struts and torsion beam rear suspension usually found in more expensive sport’s cars.
Seats are adjustable by levers and with a little work can adjust to the various body sizes. The radio tunes by a large dial and once mastered is easy to operate. Car play is featured along with other navigation and technical features. It appears that the Toyota Safety Sense” package is not available on the Yaris. That system has more safety camera guided features and adds expense to the vehicles.
This Yaris has a 5-year/ 60,000 miles powertrain warranty.
Overall this is solid transportation with excellent fuel economy and very attractive for a student who wants dependability with low cost transportation. A very good value and solid drive.
There are so many vehicle choices consumers are challenged to make in the auto world today. Many of the decisions are based on price and fondness for historic brands such as Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Ford. However, the influx of cars that started 50 years ago with the Japanese car invasion has continued with outstanding vehicles manufactured in South Korea, Italy, England and China.
The competition in cars drove Ford to discontinue their sedans and go to trucks, SUV’s, and Mustangs. Ford and General Motors stock prices have barely budged in recent years. Ford is remembered as the U.S. car manufacturer that did not take a government bailout in 2008, while General Motors had to be saved by the Obama administration.
The intense foreign competition in quality, innovation, and pricing has been a boon to U.S. consumers as manufacturers offer massive discounts and low interest rates on vehicle purchases. It is relatively easy to purchase a vehicle and credit is available to almost all vehicle buyers. The debt on cars and trucks in the U.S. is massive as we have become a nation on wheels as more jobs have been created from the strong Trump driven economy.
New auto plants have been constructed in Texas, Alabama, and Georgia with jobs coming back from cheaper Mexican labor south of the border.
The rise of the electric and hybrid vehicles is in full swing as more charging stations emerge. One new charging station is in the parking lot at the Centennial city building on Arapahoe Rd.
The technology of hybrids has become attractive and the warranties on batteries extended up to ten-years on improving battery efficiencies.
The latest test vehicle is a Corolla Hybrid LE sedan that averages 52 miles per gallon with a 1.8L four-cylinder engine. The car will operate efficiently with the engine or battery driven power from an easy drive shift to battery power. A slight “whine” can be heard from sole battery power, but the acceleration is identical. A charging image appears on the center console screen showing the engine recharged the battery to full power during the drive. The system works flawlessly and 52 mpg. is attractive mileage.
The Corolla hybrid is fun to drive, fast and nimble, four-doors, and a five-star crash safety rating. The best part of all is the very attractive manufacturers retail price of $22,950. A few options can be added, but this is a stellar Toyota bargain for consumers.
This Corolla is attractive with a sleek design and “Celestite” gray paint with final assembly in Toyota, Aichi, Japan.
Toyota offers a Toyota Safety Sense system that includes all of the new major safety systems such as pre-collision and Smart Stop Technology. These systems are designed to keep the vehicle from striking a frontal object. This Corolla is loaded with safety features, LED lights, and back up and forward cameras.
Missing were XM satellite radio and power seat controls. Handles adjust the seat height and length. With a little adjustment to body size the seats become comfortable and in place for the drive. It appears that Toyota put safety number one in the car design along with the hybrid features.
This is a car of the future for all ages and easy on the billfold.
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