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. THROTTLE AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST The Fiats have become famous, speeding around European streets in movies a...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST The 2020 Lexus GS350 was parked out in front of a local bistro and a passin...
BY H. THROTTLE AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST The Toyota 4Runner arrived just in time for the recent winter blast of icy...
BY H. THROTTLE AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST The 2020 Lexis RX 350L is sleek with sloping designs and “Nori Green...
BY H. THROTTLE AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST The 2020 Honda Pilot is exceptional and an all-around home-run all-wheel d...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST This Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 4×4 has army green paint and looks like a m...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST The 2020 Lexus NX 300 F Sports is just a sweetheart all-wheel drive vehicle...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST The Hyundai Palisade is as good as the namesake “Palisade Peaches” th...
BY H. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST
Let’s go places,” is the Toyota marketing slogan and their vehicles transport millions of drivers around the world every day. This is a very popular and successful brand with good reason. They engineer and design excellent, long-lasting vehicles that have strong resale value. Toyota has also developed many “Safety Sense” features that add many new safety features to their products many featured in the new “smart bumper” cameras that detect front and rear movement and prevent striking a forward object or a rear pedestrian.
We all face many driving challenges every day and drivers need to be alert as defensive and courteous motorists. Granted, almost everyone is in a hurry these days, schools, grocery stores, jobs, airports; hurry, hurry, hurry. But the bottom line to be safe and provide a safe ride for your passengers. Excessive speed is dangerous and driving impaired is suicidal and terribly expense in life, limb, purse and wallet. Hundreds of drivers were given DWI tickets over the holidays.
The featured drive this week comes with a “”Hot Lava” silver and black 2020 Toyota C-HR Limited made entirely in Iwata, Japan. This front-wheel drive, four door sedan is sporty in appearance and has adequate power from a 4-cylinder 2.0L without a turbo boost. The engine is enhanced by the always versatile Toyota sequential transmissions. The power train combination elicits an overall 29 mpg. with a perfect overall 5-star safety rating.
This C-HR has an attractive manufacturer’s suggested price of $26,050 that is among the lower range for new vehicles loaded with safety equipment, navigation, and the latest technology features.
The vehicle has a strong suspension system with independent front and rear shocks with a stabilizer bar and dampers. The ride is firm, the steering precise, and strong all-wheel disk brakes. The car comes with a five-year, 60,000 miles powertrain warranty.
The sporty appearance, safety features, attractive pricing make this a good entry level vehicle and especially for a younger driver who likes “Hot Lava” paint on a sporty looking vehicle.
Hybrid vehicles are becoming more efficient but also more complex. The featured all-wheel drive 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV G-5 is a very versatile Japanese import.
The two electric motors with lithium batteries can power the car for 22 miles that achieve 74 mpg on a charge of 3.5 hours. When the battery power runs out somewhere around the 22 plus miles that gasoline engine averages 25 mpg. A single drive with a shift to battery power provides the forward propulsion. The Outlander is spirited on both battery and the gasoline engine. There is a slight whine sound when operating on sole battery power.
This is a vehicle that for short commutes would demand little gasoline and just an easy charge at night. This is a high-end hybrid model with all-wheel drive and loaded with technical and safety features. The fully loaded Outlander is priced at $42,505
The vehicle is nimble, with quick acceleration and a comfortable ride.
The sound system is easy to operate with many steering wheel controls for source and volume.
This Outlander boasts a five-star overall safety rating, LED lighting, and multiple air bags, including driver knee bags and all the latest forward collision mitigation systems including pedestrian warnings.
Because of the battery power this vehicle comes with electric heat.
Additional heating elements include the front seats, steering wheel and outside mirrors. The vehicle is well-designed for Colorado weather with the many cold weather features and large trunk space with rear fold seating.
Overall the Mitsubishi is well made, has a bevy of navigation with Car Play and UBS ports. Drivers interested in hybrid technology and the use of battery power, boosted with a gasoline engine will find this vehicle can be a very economical selection. Many bells and whistles, strong safety ratings, and the all-wheel drive make this a very versatile machine.
BY H. THROTTLE
The Fiats have become famous, speeding around European streets in movies at high speeds. They do move fast, and the 2019 Fiat 500 X is a turbo charged rocket with red “Rosso Passione” paint. and brown interior. This Fiat is all-wheel drive with a nine-speed automatic transmission. A lot of car for $34,325 with final assembly in Melfi, Italy with a Polish engine and American transmission.
This turbocharged legend has leather trimmed bucket seats and four doors with rear seating and adequate cargo space. The all-wheel-drive makes it especially unique for Colorado weather and mountain terrain.
The turbo feature adds a burst of power that makes this a very frisky and nimble driver. The leather-wrapped steering wheel adds to the sports car flavor along with leather wrapped shift knob.
With the speed comes many safety features that include front, side and knee advanced air bags. Additional safety features include electronic stability control and roll mitigation.
Weather features include heated seats, outside mirrors and windshield wiper de-icing. Add in fog lights, LED projector headlights, and all-season performance tires.
The Fiat features all of the latest safety features, advanced collision warning plus system, passing blind spot warning and cross-path detection.
Fuel economy averages 26 mpg overall and somewhat better if not pushing the turbo power. The Fiat comes with an overall basic powertrain warranty of four-years/50,000 miles.
The car handles exceptionally well and fits well into tight parking spots at the grocery store.
Certainly an all-around fun vehicle with all-weather features for a fast run to the ski slopes.
The 2020 Lexus GS350 was parked out in front of a local bistro and a passing lady commented on how impressive the “Ultrasonic blue mica” sedan looked. “Nice car” she said. This is a special Lexus sedan that is pretty to look at and impressive to drive.
Exceptional quality comes at a price and this all-wheel drive has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $54,505. A lengthy list of options such as the Mark Levinson premium surround system with 17 speakers adds $1380, illuminated door sills $425. Customers have a plethora of luxury options to choose from on this vehicle.
This test model had them all including the latest safety features such as the Lexus Safety System and Smart Stop Technology. There’s no shortage of these cutting-edge safety features and one of the best reasons to purchase a late model car.
This GS350 boasts a V8 engine with 311 horsepower without needing any turbo assistance for fast acceleration. The tuned exhaust system purrs when the engine RPM’s rise. The transmission matches the powerful engine with 8-speeds with steering wheel power shift paddles. The vehicle offers three power selection modes of Eco, Normal and Sport. Naturally the economy mode adds to the mileage which is really good for this larger sedan and V8 engine averaging 21 mpg.
The Toyota/Lexus transmissions are just the best with sequential drive selection and the ease of paddle shifting. So easy to move the gear range up or down in mountain driving and exit ramp speeds.
The engine, transmission, safety features, elegant interior and blue Mica paint just make this an impressive all-wheel drive sedan.
The 12’ plus navigation screen has dynamic voice command. The easy dials control radio volumes and channel changes.
The F Sport features add to the passion and performance of this GS350. This package adds 18” split-five spoke alloy wheels with all-season tires, a 16-way adjustable driver’s seat, leather steering wheel, a unique front fascia, grille and a rear lip spoiler.
The F Sport features just add to the fine performance of this special vehicle made by Toyota in Aichi, Japan. This is a fine line of cars and this GS350 has the beauty of a custom sedan and the performance of a sports car. Like Lexus mission statement says, “Experience Amazing.”
The Toyota 4Runner arrived just in time for the recent winter blast of icy roads and highways. Kudos to the CDOT crews and local entrepreneurs who plow snow. While the snowfall wasn’t deep it was wet and heavy and full of water for our lawns, shrubs and trees. It also put an end to any fire dangers in the mountains and was a blessing to the Colorado ski industry.
Driving around during the storm in the 4Runner was a real test of how good an all-wheel drive SUV is in bad weather and icy roads. The vehicle easily shifted from 2-wheel drive to 4-wheel drive and the traction, along with “Terra Grappler” winter snow tires made this a powerful winter drive machine.
Gas mileage was around 18 mpg overall good for such a large vehicle. The “Army Green” paint makes the 4Runner look like a combat vehicle. The six-cylinder 4L-engine provides 270 horsepower to 5-speed versatile transmission. Final assembly is in Tahara, Aichi, Japan with a suggested retail price of $49,765.
The 4Runner is loaded with safety equipment that includes the Toyota Safety Sense system. I noted that during the blizzard with high winds the pre-collision light ceased to function as the snow blocked the bumper cameras. This has happened in other models where the snow covers the cameras. Engineers may have to figure out a heat source for camera-like steering wheel and side mirrors.
The 4Runner has a 15 speaker JBL sound system with amplifier and woofer for the outdoor younger generation. For some unknown reason the vehicle scored an overall four-star safety rating with a three star for passenger frontal crash score, unusual for Toyota products that usually score a perfect five-star National Highway Safety Administration rating.
The heavy rear cargo door has a strap to close rather than the usual button to close and is manually operated to open as well.
This 4Runner drives well, has overall good acceleration, really easy to shift from 2-wheel to 4-wheel drives and is an excellent outdoor winter vehicle.
It would seem to appeal more to younger male drivers and to outdoor enthusiasts with the wide assortment of rugged weather and trail features.
The 2020 Lexis RX 350L is sleek with sloping designs and “Nori Green Pearl” metallic style paint. It is an elegant all-wheel vehicle loaded with the latest safety and technical features. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $48,790 but the long list of options took the test model to $63,100. The most expensive extra options include $3,365 for the navigation system and the 15 speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system. 20-inch alloy dark silver wheels with machine finish add $1,130. Triple beam LED headlamps and cornering lamps list at $1,775 and the premium package that is a tilt/slide moonroof and wood ornamentation $1,580. The options are great for the long-term enjoyment of the 350L but add about $12,000 in overall pricing, making this a very premium vehicle.
With or without the premium features this is a luxury all-wheel drive with a powerful V8 engine and 8-speed variable transmission.
The suspension system and soft leather seats provide an exceptional ride soft as a feather.
This Lexus has final assembly in Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan. Somewhat surprising is it only scores four-star in safety ratings, that is unusual considering all of the Lexus Safety System featured in this Lexus. This vehicles is loaded with the latest equipment.
One of the nifty features is the hand’s free cargo door that opens with a brush of the foot under the back bumper, so handy at the grocery store.
The 3.5L, V8 engine provides a powerful drive without any turbo assist and for larger three tier passenger seating averages 21 miles per gallon overall and an admirable 25 mpg. open highway.
This is really a quality car in both exterior and interior. The list of options can be determined by the consumer and the car is solid, with or without the long list of extra features.
There are many heated features to deal with Colorado weather including headlamp cleaners as an extra option.
This is a very versatile luxurious sedan with a ride of soft velvet.
The 2020 Honda Pilot is exceptional and an all-around home-run all-wheel drive SUV. The final assembly is in Lincoln, Alabama with engine and transmission made in the U.S.A. They have assembled a masterpiece of a quality vehicle that is awesome to drive and loaded with the latest navigation, technology and safety features.
The appearance of this model is menacing with a total black appearance looking like a highway patrol vehicle. The exterior is called “crystal black” and the interior is black as well. The all-weather tires are mounted on all black rims.
Besides the powerful appearance the Pilot boasts a 3.5L, V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower with variable cylinder management for fuel economy that averages 22 mpg.
The Honda has a push button transmission for park, reverse and drive that with nine-speeds controlled by steering wheel paddle shifters. Unless wanting one of the nine-speeds— the drive range handles the entire drive easily. When in the mountains passing, or descending, the wide choice of gears eliminates riding the brakes down Floyd Hill, and fast accelerations going uphill.
The vehicle appearance attains road respect and the vehicles rates a perfect five-star safety rating. Air bags all-around and three- row side curtain airbags provide additional rear passenger safety. The third seats fold down to make for a large cargo space suitable for snow boards, skis and luggage.
Winter features include heated and ventilated front seats and steering wheel. The key fob provides remote engine start to warm up the vehicle on a cold morning. LED fog lights and heated power outside door mirrors with turn indicators.
The technology is advanced with collision mitigation control that includes braking prior to striking a forward object. Lane assist and road depart mitigation add to the perfect safety score.
A ten-way driver’s seat affords comfort with the smooth ride and drive listening to Sirius XM radio on the ten-speaker system. The Apple Car Play handles smart phone calls for hand’s free phone usage while driving.
Honda has hit a homerun with this popular Pilot, and this is the premium black edition that comes with a manufacturer’s price of $49,620. Watch for sales and year end discounts on other models that may not have all of the features on this black premium edition. The basic engine, transmission, and overall drive make this Honda line an outstanding consumer choice.
This Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 4×4 has army green paint and looks like a menacing combat vehicle. A good appearance for the road warrior driving experiences underway on metro jammed highways. Where is everyone going day and night?
The Tacoma has a 3.5L, V6 engine and an excellent sequential six-speed transmission that is a trademark for Toyota vehicles. This truck is manufactured in San Antonio, TX.
The extended cab allows for five-passengers with heated driver 10-way adjustable leather front seats. The center console and radio dials work well and are easy to use while driving. There is a thin rear window and the mufflers rumbles, making considerable cabin noise during the drive. There is also excessive road chatter coming from the tires and asphalt highway, enough to make conversations difficult during the drive.
The transmission and engine are adequate, and the sequential transmission shifts easily to a higher or lower gear range. The truck handles well at high speeds and the suspension and steering are precise for a larger vehicle. Gas mileage averaged 20 mpg. overall.
The Tacoma has skid plates and an electric transfer case for easy shifting to 2- or 4-wheel drive. A towing hitch for pulling a boat or trailer are boosted with oil cooling and power steering assistance.
The truck has the full Toyota Safety Sense package that includes the pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing and road sign assist. The radar cruise control is far better than the old system of continuous speed with the radar the vehicle keeps the same distance from a forward vehicle.
This particular pro-model has a desert air intake that is located high on the rear of the cab to eliminate some of the road and off-track dust entering the engine oil and air filters.
This pro-model comes complete with options installed at a suggested manufacturer’s price of $49,559. The Tacoma model has an overall four-star safety rating.
Toyota Motor North America reported rising November sales of 207,857 vehicles, an increase of 9.2 percent on a volume basis. The Lexus division posted its best-ever November with 30,093 vehicles sold, an increase of 13.8 percent also on volume basis.
It has been a very good year for the very attractive vehicles.
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