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. 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. THROTTLEAUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST
It has been a pleasure to test drive the 2019 Toyota Highlander for the past week. The ride is like soft velvet and the 295 horsepower, 3.5L V6 engine provides a spirited performance attached to an eight-speed variable transmission.
Gas mileage averaged 21 mpg in all city driving, could be better, but this is a larger SUV all-wheel drive that will seat seven passengers with the folding third row seats. The cargo space is quite large and the seats fold down to haul a large load of sporting equipment or luggage.
The Highlander is assembled in Princeton, IN. with a suggested list price of $41,900. A rear seat entertainment system can add an additional $1810 that is optional for the kids in the family.
This is such a fine all-around family vehicle that can plow through snow with the all-wheel drive and stay cool on a 90-degree, September Denver day.
The Highlander has a perfect five-star overall safety rating with eight airbags, power assisted four-wheel brakes and the full Toyota Safety Sense System. This has the radar cruise control and the pre-collision system, rear pedestrian detection, and lane departure alerts, described as the Star Safety System. These safety systems are a vital asset in purchasing a new vehicle that has these new systems, they do work, and they can prevent accidents.
Overall, this Highlander is quality and performance that makes for an outstanding all-around family choice for Colorado roads and weather.
The Highlander’s sister Toyota 4Runner is the family hauling, boat towing, hill climbing SUV that’s been on the road getting it done for five-model generations since 1984. The core. DNA is a body-on-frame “do anything” vehicle. The new 2020 4Runner has a new safety package and numerous new tech, comfort and convenience upgrades. No doubt these changes will reach the Highlander soon.
BY H. THROTTLEAUTO COLUMNIST
Finally, an affordable work car in the new Corolla Hatchback XSE four-door that has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $22,990.
I’ve always liked Toyota Corolla’s, and this is a very good compact work horse vehicle for younger drivers. Why young? This model comes with 188 horsepower and a six-speed stick shift. It drives and handles like a hotrod with McPherson struts and disk brakes.
Stick shift cars are fun to drive, but in heavy traffic around the Denver metro it takes a lot of gear shifting. In this Corolla XSE the transmission works smoothly, and shifting is easy mainly using the first four-gears. The highway fifth and sixth gears are high-speed ratio gears and made for faster cruising and higher fuel mileage.
Driving a frisky front wheel drive stick shift is exciting and this Corolla performs. Nimble, the “blue flame” painted Japanese machine can rumble, fourth gear is especially versatile.
The front seats are heated,
and the air conditioning works well.
The car is loaded with the latest Toyota Sense safety features that include the pre-collision system that prevents a front-end disaster.
Headlights have the automatic dim and bright that are very exact on the highways. Couldn’t figure out how to turn them off.
Interesting incident as I was parking a young man pulled up driving a Lexus and wearing a Lexus shirt from the local district office as he had spotted this new Corolla. So new he had to ask me questions about the car and how rare this new model was on the roads.
He asked if it would get a good review and I said, “Yes, I really like this little car.”
Best features, first it is a Toyota product, that say’s a lot in mechanical features. Secondly, the price is really low for a high-tech car with so many of the latest safety features loaded with cameras, warning lights, and air bags.
The factory mileage is rated at 32 overall, my drive was lower, but I never got the car out of fourth-gear where it was a spirited drive with the horsepower and stick shift.
The car will last a long time, has a long-lasting warranty on the drive train and transmission and is basic solid transportation, but with all of the latest safety features included in the attractive price.
A very good bang for the buck.
This 2020 Acura RDX-RH is fresh from the factory in East Liberty, Ohio where it was assembled with U.S. engine and transmission. These parts carry a six-year/ 70,000 power train warranty.
This Acura features a 272 horsepower four-cylinder engine that is turbocharged linked to a ten-speed transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. This RDX does not lack for power and high performance with sport and comfort modes by a center console dial.
This “Platinum white” painted all-wheel drive is very attractive in appearance and fully loaded with all options included for $46,795.
This Acura RDX is a luxury vehicle with 12-way power seats for the driver and passenger. The seats are heated and cooled and the ventilated seats so nice on these waning hot summer days.
This is a vehicle that is so easy to drive and built to please the driver. Electric power assisted steering and the paddle shifters work perfectly with the automatic transmission. The center console control has a pad to scroll the various home page features. The sound system works perfectly with 16 speakers and a dial for volume control along with steering wheel controls.
The transmission is a push button arrangement of drive, park and reverse that takes a quick adjustment to operate but once mastered is easy to maneuver. The extensive gear selections lead to an overall fuel mileage of 23 mpg. for this larger SUV.
A full panoramic moonroof and heated rearview mirrors and power trunk lid offer more luxury features.
The RDX rides on 20-inch tires and owners should be aware that the new concept in many new cars to is offer tire sealant and inflator kit rather than a spare tire. Not a good system when experiencing a flat tire and finding a kit that may not work on a blowout tire.
The “jewel eye” headlights feature an automatic bright and dim function that really works well at night.
Loaded with all the new safety features and multiple air bad locations the RDX rates a perfect overall five-star safety rating.
This is a classy, smart, and driver friendly vehicles that is a strong choice for work or play. The quality and craftsmanship are top-of-the-line and overall this is a great vehicle to own and drive for all family members.
BY H. THROTTLE
The Lexus GS350 F Sport four-door sedan is a compromise between a sport and a passenger car suitable for both functions. The design is sleek and the V-6 engine supplies 311 horsepower without any turbo assist. The power train flows through an eight-speed variable transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters.
The 3.5L engine and overall driving modes of eco, normal and sport provide sport car performance and overall fuel mileage of 21mpg. The emission system has that great sound as the engine and transmission provide ample acceleration.
Suspension is made to support high speeds and has front independent double wishbone suspension and multi-link rear suspension. The firm suspension system offers a firmer ride than some of the larger passenger Lexus line of luxury vehicles.
The F sport model is loaded with the latest Lexus safety system that includes the pre-collision system that prevents striking a forward object. Additionally, pedestrian alerts, lane departure warnings and radar cruise control are among the best safety features.
The GS350 had not received a safety rating score but will no doubt rank very high. Most recently Edmunds, the car shopping experts, announced their 2019 “Retained Value Awards” that Lexus and Toyota were awarded the highest projected residual values after five years with the highest awards in their class.
Night vision is enhanced with the Bi-LED auto-leveling high beam headlights and LED daytime running lights. The leather wrapped steering wheel and the 16-way leather lined front seats are heated and ventilated.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $54,105 with a list of additional options that can include a 17 speaker Mark Levinson premium audio sound system and triple beam LED headlights.
Rear seating is adequate for children but cramped for adults.
This vehicle is an all-wheel drive four door sedan that has a snow mode control for snow day drives.
The twin chrome exhaust pipes are a hidden clue to the road power of the F Sports sedan.
The 86 TRD, SE two door sedan is designed as a mini-sports car with attractive design and a six-speed manual transmission and rear wheel drive.
Seating is tight and low to the ground with very small back seats and small trunk space. Seats have manual controls without any power seat adjustments.
While the car looks great, the performance is lacking from the 205-horsepower engine that labored on mountain highways. The six-gear transmission works smooth and gear changes are a must to maintain higher speeds. The TRD is in bad need for a turbo-charged boost to the four-cylinder engine.
The sound system is awkward, it’s hard to change stations and the radio sound system was awkward competing with the loud tuned sports dual pipe muffler system.
The TRD is flashy in design but low in performance that needs more horsepower. Fuel mileage averaged 24 mpg overall, which seemed low considering the 205 horsepower and six-speed transmission.
Sometimes cars made in Japan at sea level are not tuned correctly for higher altitudes here in Colorado.
Made in Ota Gunma, the vehicle has a manufacturer’s suggested list price $33, 346, complete with all Toyota safety systems. The car has a four-star frontal crash rating. Built very low to the ground, the car had very little noticeable wind sway from mountain winds.
Younger drivers will find this car exciting to drive and the appearance is sporty.
If you need an economy vehicle for work, play, or student heading off to college, this Toyota C-HR is the perfect ploy. Loaded with all of the Toyota safety sense technology, this is a nifty four-door sedan.
The efficient synergy transmission matches perfectly with the 142 h.p. engine that delivers 31 m.p.g. highway mileage. This C-HR has sufficient power to meet all traffic demands and a disk brake system.
The performance and drive are excellent, and this package has independent McPherson front strut suspension like the race cars with rear stabilizer and dampers. The electric assisted power steering, the strong suspension system gives this “Blue Flame” painted vehicle a strong performance at an excellent suggested retail price of $24,710.
Rear doors have a unique feature of opening higher on the door frame. Another new feature is the Car Play transferring smart phone calls thru the radio speaker with easy controls for a hand’s free calling and receiving.
The very favorable features of his C-HR are the astonishing pricing and the abundance of safety features that include the pre-collision system that prevents striking a forward object and the range radar system for cruise control adjusting to the forward speed of traffic.
Toyota now has three levels of “Safety Sense’ options ranging from 2.0 level pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, and road sign assist. The second level P (TSS-P found in many models has all of the above features, and the third level C(TSS-C) also shares similar safety features.
Toyota Motor North America is committed to aggressively reduce its carbon output in the United States by entering into the virtual Power Purchase agreements to reduce emissions by up to 40 percent over the next three years.
Made in Isawa, Iwati, Japan this is a lot of car for a very good price that performs very well.
Toyota has also relaunched the fifth generation 2020 Toyota Supra after a 20-year pause. The new Supra features an exhilarating blend of power, precision, and agility. The new Supras features a twin-scroll turbo charged in-line six engine, rear-wheel drive and low center of gravity weight balance. The new Supra are now in dealer showrooms.
I’ve met a car that is smarter than the driver, so may electronic features including door handles that open automatically, luxury at work with the 2019 Lexus 9264A LC-500h coupe.
This “Liquid Platinum” coupe is breathtaking beautiful with sculptured sleek lines and space age styling. In parking lots people stop loading their car trunks and stare at this car in wonder and envy. It is truly a gray goddess in beauty and the interior is loaded with custom leather trim and seats. The 500h manufacturer’s recommended price is $96,719, while additional options boosted the test car to $109,895.
The 500h is a hybrid version of the 500 series that has a standard V8 package. This vehicle has the multi-state hybrid system that combines with the V6 engine for 352 horsepower. The smaller twin hybrid motors add to the fuel economy that boosts the overall average to 30 mpg. Top mileage for a semi-sports car with a ten-speed transmission and paddle shifters for quick gear change performance.
The power train is quite adequate and the 500h can achieve 60 mph in five seconds, nice for entering the busy freeway race tracks.
The paddles shifters are easy to operate, one moves the gear range up, the other down. The transmission is somewhat difficult to engage into reverse and move back to drive in a different sequence.
Very impressive is the exact steering and infinite road control in passing and on curvy roads. The sloping hood gives the feeling of power mixed with road performance. There are four modes of Super, Super X, normal and comfort, easily changed with a dial adjacent to the speedometer panel that adjusts with each mode selected. Another dial can used for snow and inclement road conditions. The braking system is powerful with six-piston opposed calipers with high friction pads on the front wheels and a similar system with four-piston brakes and high friction pads on rear wheels.
High performance is perfectly balanced riding on adaptive variable suspension system with front and rear multilink. The 20” run-flat tires and 10 spoke forged wheels match with the awesome brakes system.
Made in Toyota Aichi, Japan the craftsmanship is perfection. The performance, design and safety features are outstanding.
But there are some challenges, the car is very low to the ground and more difficult to squeeze into and out of the compact “Alcantara” leather seats. The side pockets are narrow and the center console small and compact. The center control panel operates from the touch control glass panel that is delicate and sensitive. The vast electronic system is complete with voice commands and controls that demand driver attention to detail.
The rearview mirrors adjust automatically and the door handles open with the smart key. This is a very smart and savvy car that is complex and challenging to drive and designed for a skillful sports minded owner. This is not the family grocery wagon.
This 500h is an eye-stopper.
The 2019 Hyundai Kona Ultimate features all-wheel drive and a seven-speed “EcoShift” transmission powered by a 175-horsepower turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine. The Kona is loaded with all of the latest safety and electronic features included in the manufacturer’s list price of $30,005.
Hyundai has come a long way in the world car market and the Kona is assembled in Ulsan, Korea. The vehicles have become popular worldwide with good reason, quality and competitive pricing.
The Kona is a smaller SUV and averages 27 mpg. with the powerful turbocharged engine with a high-performance sports mode.
The turbo in normal mode gives a slight jerky boost when accelerating rapidly, less prevalent in the sport mode.
This is a lot of vehicle for the attractive price and is attractive with “Thunder Gray” shimmering paint. The cargo space is small and is manually opened and closed.
The center console is easy to operate, and radio controls work well. Twin UBS ports and charge station for smart phones are part of the smart technical features. The Kona has a good “Car Play” feature that has started to appear in new car models that eliminates having to hold the phone in hand with the radio serving as the phone control system. Calls are recorded and can be easily played back and returned without handling the actual phone.
Seats are leather covered, with heated outside mirrors and seats.
The rear seats have a 60/40-fold for more cargo space. Fog lights are included along with a moonroof all as standard equipment.
Hyundai offers an amazing 10 year/100,000-mile warranty on the powertrain that speaks well for the life of the turbocharged engine and transmission.
The attractive price and complete safety options, navigation, and technical features make this a very attractive and affordable all-wheel drive vehicle. One of the best buys in this category in the marketplace today.
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