About: Autolove

Joe Mavilia is a syndicated columnist with more than 35 years in the automotive industry. He is a member of the Motor Press Guild and Automotive Press Association. His reviews have been published in print media including the Los Angeles Times, The Golden Transcript - Colorado, La Feria News - Texas, The Pasadena Weekly - California, and others around the country, including www.theweekenddrive.com where he is the West Coast Editor. Reviews and Opinion Columns may also be seen in Sunnews.org and The Country Journal every week in the Antelope Valley, CA. I hope they are helpful

Recent Posts by Autolove

2018 Lexus ES 350 4-door Sedan

2018 Lexus ES 350 4-door Sedan

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Lexus ES 350 4-door Sedan. I understand the ES will sport some re-design for next year, but I doubt it will be a radical change even though the last model year changes were made in 2013. Some have complained about steering and body control issues, but I don’t consider the criticism real.

Gas and hybrid versions will continue to be available next year.

In the meantime, this 2018 is a fuel efficient spaciously comfortable 5-seater that makes a nice family sedan.

General Information:

Assembly: Japan; Classification is: Midsize; Vehicles from Lexus: CT, ES, GS, GX, IS, LC, LS, LX, NX, RC, RX.

Handling & Performance:

The model I tested was the 3.5-liter V6 with plenty of power and did well over the mountain course (The Crest Test).

Styling:

Futuristic styling that sets it apart in design. Nice.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Well priced in this highly competitive luxury badged segment of the sedan market. Of course, you can opt to extend to the Ultra luxury stuff, navigation and other added features that could push the price up by $10,000. Nice but not necessary for me.

Conveniences and comfort:

Excellent array of features as it is priced, including the important safety high tech stuff I think are important. Things like Pre-collision system, dynamic cruise control, lane departure alert and smart start / stop technology top my list.

Consumer Recommendations:

In class there are only 4 recognized players so I would test drive them all. If fuel economy is a hot item look at the Hybrid model similarly priced. Smaller 4-cylinder engine at a combined horsepower of 200 with a combined 40 MPG. I’ve found you don’t sacrifice noticeably on power performance. Certainly, worth consideration.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Lexus ES 350 40,000 24 5 4 Japan Japan
Infiniti Q50 40,000 23 5 4 Japan Japan
Buick Regal Sportback 40,000 22 5 4 USA Germany
Acura TLX 39,000 24 5 4 Japan USA

Good News:

Well equipped, competitive, good fuel economy, spacious comfort.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter V6 288 horsepower engine, automatic transmission, 17” split 10-spoke alloy wheels, front, front knee, side seat mounted and side curtain airbags, theft deterrent system with engine immobilizer, stability control, ABS power disc brakes with EBD (electronic brake force distribution), smart stop technology, pre collision system, pedestrian detection, high speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, high beam automatic system, keyless entry with push button start/stop, drive mode select (ECO, Normal, Sport), Lexus Enform safety connect plus Remote access, fog lights and daytime running lights, rain sensing wipers, power 10-way front seats, heated power mirrors, dual zone climate control, power tilt and slide moonroof, audio system with MP3 and 8-speakers, Bluetooth, USB, Sirius XM satellite radio.

Gas Stats:

21 City and 30 Highway MPG

$3.49 / Gal avg. April 14, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $38,950.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2017 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring RF

2018 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring RF

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring RF (retractable fastback). Of course, the first thing you’ll notice in this model is the automatic power hard top feature. Remember the days when it was a major task to get the top up or down. In fact, the British had a way of making a car that required you to be a mechanic with a complete set of tools just to start the car. I think their concept of a car owner was as enthusiastic about the car as the designers were. Cars of the 1950s and 1960s like MGB and Austin Healey immediately come to mind and of course we can’t forget the Jaguar XKE. Hey, I’ve owned them and loved ‘em too but, in retrospect, I could have used a lot less wrench turning and knuckle busting and more driving.

Well the joy continues with the driving experience you get from driving a sport car like this Mazda. It is the top selling sport car in the world, and for good reason, it is simple and easy to drive. Japanese manufacturer Mazda in 1989 was passionate about a sport car and got his inspiration from the classics mentioned above from the early years. He achieved his goal in my opinion.

BUT, they aren’t for everyone and are more fun than practical. It’s kinda like you need a real car or truck for the real world and for fun and giggles and the sheer joy of driving you get a sport car. It also demands a little flexibility of body just getting in and out.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Hiroshima, Japan; Parts-US/Canadian 0%, Japan 90% Engine and transmission – Japan; Classification is- Two Seater. Cars from Mazda- CX-3, CX-5, CX-9, Mazda 3, Mazda 5, Mazda 6, MX-5 Miata, MX-5 Miata RF.

Handling & Performance:

6-speed manual transmission is nearly an appendix that has little use in today’s automotive landscape. Some research disclosed that only 3% of cars sold are so equipped. No surprise, since it is rare to find anyone who knows how to drive what was referred to as a “standard transmission” up until about 40 years ago. Do you think we should now refer to an automatic transmission as “Standard”?

But for those few drivers who are comfortable with a ‘manual’ transmission it is as ‘automatic’ to their driving style. Me – I’m ok with a manual transmission but only as a novelty because the newest and best automatics are unbeatable for performance.

Styling:

Classic Miata styling, and over time it has matured from its early years when, by any measure, it was rather ‘tinny’ sounding when you closed the doors and trunk. That is not the case in recent years. What’s more, the body is broader and more stable looking and feeling. Nice.

Fit and Finish:

Very good assembly especially considering the fact it is affordable, which explains why it is the world’s best-selling sport car.

Cost:

It is well priced and right with its most close competitor, the Fiat 124.

Conveniences and comfort:

Far more features than I expected with all the new technology but if you need a good size trunk you are in the wrong market. I’m reminded of a trip my wife and I took to Lake Tahoe in Northern California to visit my daughter and her family. It was the end of 1990s or early 2000s and we had to pack for a week. Me – I took a toothbrush since that’s all the room that was left after she loaded her stuff. Really, why do women need so much stuff?

Consumer Recommendations:

For me it would be a toss-up between Miata and the Fiat Spider in this class. I’ve owned a 124 Fiat and liked it a lot.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Mazda MX-5 RF 34,000 29 2 2 Japan Japan
Fiat 124 Spider 30,000 30 2 2 Italy Japan
Audi A3 48,000 28 4 4 Germany Germany

Good News:

Looks great, fair pricing, fun to drive, fantastic hard top convertible.

Bad News:

Small trunk and storage spaces and difficult entry and exit.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder 155 HP engine, 6-speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive, ABS 4-Wheel power Disc brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, 17” allow wheels, power retractable hard top, auto on/off headlights, heated power mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, cruise, Bluetooth controls and leather shift knob and hand brake, power windows and locks, leather trimmed upholstery, keyless entry, with push button start, Bluetooth phone / audio, tire pressure monitor, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, anti-theft alarm, front and rear stabilizer bars, front dbl wishbone suspension, rear multi-link suspension, rain-sensing wipers, Bose AM/FM/CDS, 9 speaker audio, aux jack, 2-USB inputs, Sirius XM radio, Navigation system, 7” color touch screen display, cruise control, trip computer with color display, climate control, heated front seats, stability control, traction control, front and side airbags, anti-theft engine immobilizer, auto high beam control and lane departure warning system.

Gas Stats:

$3.45/ Gal avg. April 9, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

26 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $32,750.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2017 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Mini Cooper Countryman

2018 Mini Cooper Countryman

By Phil Shuyler

If you love Minis and need the maximum amount of interior space, you should make a date with the Mini Cooper Countryman. And you should also make a date with the Mini Cooper Clubman. These two models are quite similar and you should look at both if you’re leaning in the direction of a larger Mini. Here are some of the numbers.

The Countryman is longer (169.8” vs 168.3”).
The Countryman is wider (71.7” vs 70.9”).
The Countryman is taller (61.3” vs 56.7”).
The Clubman has more cargo volume (47.9 ft3 vs 47.6 ft3).
The Countryman has more rear seat legroom (37.6” vs 34.3”).
The Clubman has more front seat legroom (41.4” vs 40.4”).
The Countryman has more rear seat headroom (38.3” vs 38.0”).
The Countryman has more front seat headroom (40.5” vs 40.2”).
The Wheelbase is the same for both (105.1”).

So as you can see, they’re quite similar. The Countryman is larger in a number of categories, however the Clubman surprisingly has more front seat legroom and overall cargo capacity. Now with that out of the way, lets talk about the Countryman.

This 5-seater has a standard 40/20/40 split rear seat to give additional flexibility for hauling all of your gear. All trims are available with all-wheel drive (ALL4), and the higher end models are only available with ALL4.

A total of 4 power plants are available, one for each of the trims – Cooper, Cooper S, John Cooper Works and Cooper S E. The base Cooper has a 1.5L TwinPower turbocharged 3-cylinder that produces a dismal 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. I say dismal because when you lose a race at the line to a Yaris, that’s pretty embarrassing. The Cooper S feels much more capable with its 2.0L TwinPower turbocharged 4-cylinder with 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. On the top of the ladder is the John Cooper Works, with 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, which is delivered through a 2.0L TwinPower turbocharged 4-cylinder.

There’s also a plug-in hybrid Cooper S E with a 12 mile all-electric range and a combined 221 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque.

All variants include a standard 6-speed manual, and an 8-speed automatic with optional F1 style paddle shifters is available. Fuel economy varies for each engine, but they each achieve over 30 mpg on the highway and mid 20s in the city.

Interior

No matter what engine you choose, the exterior and interior are sure to please. There’s a standard high-resolution 6.5” infotainment screen at the center of the dash, with a illuminated ring that changes during acceleration and while interacting with the car. With the Technology Package, you can increase the display to a 8.8” touchscreen with navigation, and add wireless phone charging as well. A panoramic sunroof is also standard, as are 3 different drive modes – Green, Sport and Mid. Each are selected using one of the really cool switches in the center stack. Turning the car on or off also uses a switch, and it’ll glow red once you’re in the car, letting you know it’s eager to rev up and hit the road.

A rearview camera is standard, as are proximity sensors that let you know when you’re getting a little too close to that car behind you.

Pricing for the 2018 Countryman starts at $26,600 for a base Cooper, and tops out around $40,000 for a Cooper S E plugin hybrid. For some, there’s no substitute for Mini’s styling, and for those, the new Countryman is not going to disappoint.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT

By Phil Shuyler

The all-new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT comes in 2 flavors, GT and GT Sport. On the exterior there are few differences, however the GT sport gets sprinkles on its sundae, with a 1.6L inline 4-cylinder turbo GDI engine, which produces 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The standard GT receives a 2.0L inline 4-cylinder GDI engine with 161 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque.

Both engines come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, and for around $1,000, the GT can be paired with a 6-speed automatic and the GT Sport with a 7-speed dual clutch with paddle shifters. Fuel economy is in the low 30s for highway driving and mid to upper 20s for combined driving. We experienced a pleasant 29.2 mpg for the week with mixed driving.

Our test car was the 2.0L inline 4-cylinder, and we were never really lacking power. Of course those yearning for more should lean toward the Sport. The automatic transmission is quiet and smooth, with natural shift points.

Styling

In a segment where many people do not care too much about how their car looks, the Elantra GT brings some style to the table. It’s by no means flashy or sporty, but it sure is easy to like. Simple lines and a big grille up front help give it an attractive appearance. The blacked out rear spoiler and rear diffuser help break up the color from the rest of the car, and the big taillights help to reduce what can often be too much sheet metal on the hatch.

Great looking 17” wheels are standard on the GT, and 18” wheels are standard on the GT Sport. Again, something you wouldn’t think you’d be impressed with on a base car in this segment.

Interior

The inside of the Elantra GT is comfortable and packed with available features many will enjoy. The panoramic sunroof (included in the Tech Package) brings in tons of natural light, and the 7-speaker Infinity premium audio system with integrated subwoofer filled that bright space with deep rhythmic sound. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all Elantra GT and GT Sports, and an upgraded navigation system (which uses the same 8” infotainment screen) is available, but definitely not necessary.

Two-tone seats are available (and look really good), as are heated and ventilated driver and passenger seats and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Once you dive into the menus, all Hyundai vehicles give you many ways to customize your vehicle. Through the infotainment screen and instrument cluster’s settings menu, we encourage you to check them out. GTs equipped with navigation can turn on and off traffic data, posted speed limits, change rerouting preferences, and more.

Additional features for the tech savvy include wireless phone charging and Amazon Alexa Blue Link remote starting.

Safety

To help keep you safe out there on the road, the Elantra GT has a wide variety of available safely tech including Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Driver Attention Alert, Lane Keep Assist, and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection. A backup camera comes standard.

Starting price for the Elantra GT is $19,350, and the GT Sport starts at $23,250. While not the cheapest wheels, it’s a car that you’ll enjoy inside and out.

2018 Chevrolet Cruze

2018 Chevrolet Cruze

By Phil Shuyler

Get ready world, the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback now comes with an optional diesel engine. Not only that, but it’s available with an automatic transmission or a manual. The styling of the Cruze may not blow you away, but overall it hits the sweet spot for many by having a conservative yet visually appealing exterior.

Powertrains

The 2018 Cruze is available with a 1.4L turbocharged I-4 variable valve timing (VVT) direct injection engine, or a 1.6L turbodiesel. The I-4 provides 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, while the turbo diesel has just 137 horsepower, but boasts 240 lb-ft of torque. That torque number is key for those wanting a zippier driving experience.

Both engines are extremely efficient, with the diesel achieving up to 52 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission. We averaged around 40 mpg with mixed city and highway driving, which is right where it should be. The gasoline engine tops out at 40 mpg with the sedan and an automatic transmission.

Speaking of transmissions, there are 3 available for the Cruze. A 6-speed manual (for both the gasoline and diesel engines), a 6-speed automatic (for the 1.4L gas engine), and a 9-speed automatic (for the 1.6L diesel engine). The manual gear shifter looks a little different than most, with an oblong tapered shape that fits well in your hand.

Driving

On the road, the power of the diesel engine has more power than you’d think, however with that power comes a bit of torque steer. There’s also a fair amount of turbo lag if you put your foot down at a stoplight. Stopping at stoplights may be inevitable, but stopping at the gas station doesn’t have to be. The diesel engine can go up to 700 miles on a single tank of fuel (depending on your driving of course), which is impressive and much higher than most vehicles.

Interior

The inside of the Cruze is simple and functional, and overall esthetically pleasing. There aren’t many buttons on the center stack, which gives it a nice and clean look. A 7” screen is standard, and an 8” screen is available and includes navigation. Both screen sizes include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The seats are comfortable, even on longer trips, and both front and rear seats can be heated on higher trim levels. A power driver’s seat is also available.

For those wanting to spruce up their ride, wireless charging, a heated steering wheel, and a sunroof are all optional, as are 15”, 16” or 18” wheels. You also have the option for remote start, an excellent addition for those living in cold weather climates.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes 10 total airbags, a rearview camera, bluetooth connectivity, daytime running lights, and a Teen Driver mode. Optional safety gear includes
a Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist, Rear Park Assist, Side Blind Zone Alert, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze starts at $17,850 for the gasoline sedan model and $22,695 for the diesel. The hatchback body style adds a couple thousand more to the price tag.

2018 Audi Q7

2018 Audi Q7

By Phil Shuyler

The Audi Q7 just went through a complete redesign for the 2017 model year. Visually it has a low stance, which helps give it a nimble and capable appearance. It’s powered by either a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine with 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, or a 3.0L 6-cylinder supercharged TFSI engine that puts out 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. The 0-60 for the 2.0L is 7.1 seconds, while the 3.0L reaches 60 in 5.7 seconds.

Both engines are quite capable, however the 4-cylinder may leave you wanting more. The transmission you’ll find with either engine is a smooth shifting 8-speed Tiptronic automatic. Fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg highway, 19 city and 21 combined.

Quattro is standard on all Q7s and all-wheel steering is available to give you a tighter turning radius at lower speeds and more precise steering and higher speeds. Audi’s drive select includes up to 6 different modes, including Comfort, Dynamic, Auto, Individual, Offroad, and Allroad and Offroad/Lift. So no matter what condition or mood you’re in, there’s a mode for you.

Interior

The inside is Audi elegant, with available wood and brushed metal accents, and a infotainment screen that magically rises out of the dash. Of course the 12.3” fully digital virtual cockpit is available, as is the MMI all-in-touch touchpad which provides access to the infotainment screen. It enables you to handwrite various inputs as well as navigate through different screens and menus. Overall it’s easy and intuitive to use, though writing on the pad does take a little getting used to.

There’s also an available full-color head up display that projects relevant information directly in the driver’s field of vision. Handy to have, but it’ll probably take a little while before you get accustomed to using it. And who can’t live without the available adaptive ambient lighting, with over 900 color combinations!

Safety

Safety first! And the Q7 has a variety of ways to do just that. The standard Audi pre sense city detects stationary vehicles or pedestrians in the road ahead and initiates full braking when the vehicle is traveling under 52 mph and a potential collision is imminent. The available pre sense plus adds a collision warning and emergency braking at up to 137 mph.

Also available is Audi pre sense rear, rear cross traffic alert, collision avoidance assist, turn assist, and night vision assistant, just to name a few. Overall the Q7 earns a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating from NHTSA.

The 2018 Audi Q7 starts at $49,900 in the Premium trim with a 2.0L engine, and can be optioned up to around $90,000 in the Prestige trim which includes the 3.0L engine. No matter what your price point, the Q7 surrounds you with confidence and luxury.

2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T

2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T (for Turbocharged).

As we progress in the automotive industry we see such seeming advances in promised miraculous leaps into ‘green’ electric cars or ‘autonomous’ driverless cars. Can we really believe the claims? Well, we should be reminded that advances claimed simply don’t happen overnight. It will be 2038, in my estimation, before you see these promises become even remotely a reality.

Before it can happen, you and I will be expected to be the Ginny pigs who’ll have to be convinced we should gladly be on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. Yep, it is the consumer who will pay for any and all misguided moves in this industry or any industry for that matter.

In the meantime, if you don’t want to bear the cost, I suggest you enjoy the drive of real cars that are here, Now, and are reliable and have been for over 100 years. They have been and will be for the foreseeable future simply amazing vehicles for work and transportation.

General Information:

It is assembled in : Montgomery, Alabama, USA; Parts : US/Canadian 38%, Korea 51%; Engine and transmission – USA; Classification is : Large Cars. Cars from Hyundai : Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra GT, Santa Fe,Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Handling & Performance:

Drive Mode select: This is a system to monitor and modify engine throttle response, transmission shift points and steering to provide optimal performance. There are three modes: Normal (general comfort setting), sport (dynamic driving) and ECO (conserving fuel) all by the push of a button on the console.

Styling:

You’ve gotta love the look and feel that will remain stylish for many years to come. That is important for any significant investment.

Fit and Finish:

I have found Hyundai and Kia cars always fit together very well. They are still the ‘new kid on the block’ and have to try harder to please us.

Cost:

Very well priced. Thirty grand is very fair for the value provided by this large family sedan.

Conveniences and comfort:

One of my favorite features is smart cruise control, but be aware they are not all the same. Be sure you get the best available, like this Hyundai Sonata version. It has a Stop/Start capability that, for example, Toyota products don’t. It has been my observation that it a distinction not to be lightly taken. In the case of Toyota, the system cuts out at 25 MPH and disengages, which to me is dangerous. Watch for the difference when you test drive the car.

Another feature to look at closely is the proximity key and push button start. It is a great convenience you will love and I believe you too will want to include in your next car.

Consumer Recommendations:

Following is a great field of competition and only you can find the best fit for your need. Not so many that you can’t look at them all.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Hyundai Sonata 33,000 26 5 4 Korea USA
Ford Fusion 33,000 23 5 4 USA Mexico
Acura TLX 34,000 27 5 4 Japan USA
Chevrolet Malibu 32,000 26 5 4 USA USA
Kia Optima 31,000 25 5 4 Korea USA
Toyota Camry 35,000 26 5 4 Japan USA

Good News:

Affordable, comfortable large family sedan, powerful yet drive mode select allows you to go from economy driving to sport speed and handling.

Bad News:

N/A.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 248 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo direct injection engine, dual continuous variable valve timing, 8-speed automatic transmission, drive mode select, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, electronic parking brake, 18” Alloy wheels, power sunroof, rear window sunshades, leather sport seats, proximity key entry with push button start, heated and ventilated front power seats and heated steering wheel, dual zone climate control, 8” touch screen/ Navigation system, stability control, traction control, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes with brake force distribution, front, side and side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, rear view camera, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert, dual climate control, AM/FM/HD radio system with 6-speakers, Sirius XM radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Blue Link Connected services, steering wheel mounted audio controls.

Gas Stats:

$3.49-Gal avg. April 1, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

23 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $32,450.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2017 – An Automotive Love Affair

2017 Genesis G90

2017 Genesis G90

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joseph Mavilia

Overview:
This is the 2018 Genesis G90. A friend bought a Hyundai Equus, a then new luxury brand and dumped his top of the line Lexus. He has the money to own any car in the world so I had to ask why Hyundai Equus? “… because I’ve done a lot of research and the Toyota Lexus was way more expensive to buy and own so I wanted a change”. It reminds me of the adage that “it isn’t what you make, it’s what you spend that is important, and my friend was always conscious of cost which explains why he is super wealthy.

So, the story continues because I was in the Genesis badge this week I called my friend to see if he had looked at the new Genesis G90. After all it is the replacement for the Equus. “I’m still driving the Equus after several years, but I will take a look at the G90 as it may be time to move to a newer model year. Thanks”.

Me, I said, I feel it is an improvement if only because of the many innovations the years bring. Surely this is ‘as good as it gets’ in luxury cars, and let’s face it, the price is right to boot. Hyundai / Kia products are still the hottest brands for today’s car buyer, in my opinion. When my friend and I worked together I drove a Mercedes-Benz 450 SL and in retrospect the Genesis is as sophisticated for far less money.

Last year when I reviewed the G90 I alluded to the thought that, if you are not stinking rich or don’t have a need to try to impress others you’ll want to consider Hyundai products like this Genesis. Yes, 99% of the population are like you and me, and that’s who should be test driving Hyundai and Kia Cars. My ownership of an automotive repair business in La Canada for several decades was a great lesson on the real world of cars and what to buy and what NOT to buy.

“It’s costly wisdom that’s bought by experience, and experience is the name everyone gives their mistakes”. . . a quote worth considering.

General Information: It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 2%, Korea 82%; Engine and transmission – Korea;Classification is Large Cars. Cars from Genesis: G80, G90.

 Opinion:

Last year I reflected on Electric Cars – and it is worth repeating this year. My opinion has not changed. My prediction is that ‘all electric’ is NOT the answer to our transportation needs short of some miraculous breakthrough that is not likely for at least the next 20 years.

Yes, I beat up on Tesla and other electric car enthusiasts who would try to make us believe an electric car is the answer, because it is NOT! And yes, it is my opinion. But I got that from observing the market and more importantly from test driving electric cars for many years and seeing no significant change for more than 100 years. And yes one only needs to look at history to gain a keen sense of the obvious.

You may recall reading a couple of my columns where I discussed Hydrogen Fuel Cell options available. First, about 11 years ago I test drove GM’s Hi-Wire Fuel Cell concept car, and more recently I teamed up with a lessee of a Hydrogen powered SUV. It reminded me why I was excited about the concept. And now as recently as the latest LA Auto Show, that excitement was reinforced. A lot was being said about Hydrogen cars with elaborate mock ups and cut-away’s to show how it all works. If you must be adventuresome the Hydrogen option is worth your time to consider. (note: if you have had an experience with Fuel Cell cars please email me).

I repeat, history tells us that in over 100 year’s electric cars have done precious little to improve on the then range of 100 miles. Fuel Cell propulsion continues to stay alive for good reason and it supports my prediction that battery powered cars just have too many limitations.

Handling & Performance:

Special.

Styling:

The cat’s meow and it lights my fire – how about you?

Fit and Finish:

Outstanding.

Cost:

Affordable luxury. Similar competitors will set you back double the cost of this gem.

Conveniences and comfort:

All the bells and whistles.

Consumer Recommendations:

Try a test drive if this is in your budget. I believe you’ll be as impressed with the product as I am.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$  MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Genesis G90 73,000 19 5 4 Korea Korea
Audi A7 73,000 23 5 4 Germany Germany
Cadillac XTS 73,000 18 5 4 USA Canada
Cadillac CT6 70,000 21 5 4 USA USA
BMW 6 Series 81,000 23 5 4 Germany Germany
Audi S7 82,000 18 4 4 Germany Germany
Audi A8 83,000 22 5 4 Germany Germany
BMW 7 Series 84,000 24 5 4 Germany Germany
Acura RLX Sport Hybrid 63,000 28 5 4 Japan USA

 

Good News:

Fun, fast, luxurious class act that is priced well.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

5.0 liter 420 horsepower GDI Twin Turbo V8 engine, 8-speed auto transmission, intelligent drive mode, adaptive control suspension with elect. Damping control, 19-inch allow wheels, stability management system, electronic stability and traction controls and ABS brake assist, 9-airbags, auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, driver attention alert, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist and lane departure alert, smart cruise control with stop/start feature, multi view camera, front and rear parking sensors, electronic parking brake with auto vehicle hold, rain sensing wipers with auto defogger windshield, pre-active seatbelt with anti-whiplash front head restraints, proximity key with push button start, auto headlights and high beam assist, LED headlights with Dynamic bending light, Leather seating, sport front seats and steering wheel with contrast stitching, leather wrapped power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 22 way power driver seat and 16-way power passenger seat that are heated and ventilated, 14-way power rear seats heated and ventilated, climate control, full color heads up display, 7” color LCD multi-information display, 12.9” HD Navigation with multi-media controller, Android Auto and Apple Car Play, 17-speaker audio system, AM/FM/XM/HD radio/ CD/MP3 with SiriusXM radio, rear seat entertainment system with 10.3” HD monitors, Wireless charging pad in front, power rear side sunshades, hands free Smart power trunk lid.

Gas Stats:

$3.35-Gal avg. March 24, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

18 City and 24 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $71,890.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited

Photos Courtesy Toyota

By Vince Bodiford

Among all of the Toyota cars, the Avalon is my favorite. It’s the largest of all of their sedans, and I like big cars. It’s also named after one of my favorite places anywhere – Avalon, which is the crown jewel little town on Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California.

Like the town of Avalon, the car is painting-perfect in good looks, is charming and welcoming, is upscale, and is just the right size.

As Toyota’s flagship midsize sedan, the Avalon brings premium style, performance, interior amenities, and presence to the road – without a first-class price. It’s this blend of high-quality characteristics that has been key to the Avalon’s success since it first rolled off the assembly line at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky back in 1994 (I drove that very first model, and it was great back then, too).

Avalon offers V6 and hybrid powertrains (for this test I drove they hybrid), the latter delivering 40 mpg combined. The Avalon offers a choice of V6 or hybrid powertrains – one of eight Toyota hybrid models available for 2018. The Avalon’s 3.5-liter, DOHC V6 with Dual VVT-imakes 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. Teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the V6 offers EPA-rated 24 mpg combined fuel economy (21 city/30 highway).

The Avalon offers a luxurious ride, yet also has a sporty side, especially when drivers use the standard steering wheel paddle shifters on the gas model and driving mode selector (Eco, Normal and Sport modes).
The Avalon certainly looks the part of a premium luxury sedan, with a coupe-like profile, bold grille and discrete chrome trim. Even with the sweeping roofline, Avalon provides ample rear seat head room. Interior design and appointments also live up to the premium promise. Avalon’s cabin – one of the roomiest in the segment – offers a choice of three interior color themes including Almond, Light Gray, and Black. Serenity on the road is assured by sound-absorbing and sound-insulating materials, including acoustic-type glass used for the windshield and side glass.

Even the smallest of cabin details have been paid attention to. The power windows, for example, slow down as they approach the top of the window frames, and the coin box features a damper for smooth opening and closing. The steering column tilts and telescopes, and elegant smoke chrome trim surrounds the center panel, while glossy trim frames the shifter.

For drivers wanting more sportiness, the Avalon Touring provides a dynamic and responsive driving experience with sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch dark gray painted alloy wheels. Standard LED headlights and LED daytime running lights give the Touring grade a unique styling signature as well as cutting-edge illumination.

Like the colorful little village on Catalina Island, the Toyota Avalon is available in striking colors with fun names: Ooh La La Rouge Mica, Crème Brulee Mica, Sizzling Crimson Mica, plus Parisian Night Pearl. Pricing starts at $42,800 which is the middle of the price range in the category.

For more information, see your local Toyota dealer, or visit Toyota.com

2019 Jeep Cherokee SUV

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee in Trailhawk and Limited trim feel equally at home in the great outdoors. Inside, you can expect all the comforts of home. Photos courtesy Jeep.

By Vince Bodiford

Legendary Cherokee is reworked into a package that is authentic Jeep

The new 2019 Jeep Cherokee is among the most capable mid-size sport-utility vehicles, and they are arriving at select dealers early, including Monroe Superstore locally. It boasts a new, authentic and more premium design, along with the addition of an all-new, advanced 2.0-liter direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine.

The Cherokee name has a storied and long history with Jeep. My family owned one of the early models back in the 1970’s. I drove this newest model recently for a week-long test drive, and found it to be a worthy keeper of that same Jeep brand identity. The new Jeep Cherokee’s evolution offers more interior comfort and convenience, delivering everyday practicality with outstanding ride and handling characteristics.

“A stunning, more premium design and the addition of our new fuel-efficient 2.0-liter turbo engine make the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee even more desirable in the mid-size SUV segment,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “In addition, Cherokee builds on its benchmark 4×4 capability and on-road dynamics with refinement and style, a host of new attributes, powertrains and the latest technology that is perfectly situated for consumers worldwide.”

Available in five different trim configurations – Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland and the rugged Trail Rated Trailhawk, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee production has moved from Toledo (so they can make more Wranglers) to the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois.

The new Cherokee features an extensive new exterior design that highlights a completely fresh appearance and includes a major restyling of a number of signature components.

Drivers and passengers will command road presence with an all-new front exterior that is consistent with classic Jeep design. The Jeep design team has created a distinguished new look that aligns on the premium side of the Jeep family, along with iconic Jeep styling.

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee stays true to its heritage with a wide and commanding stance and an aggressive wheel-to-body proportion for a distinctive identity.

The updated interior of the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee receives a fresh touch while remaining a practical and comfortable environment. Premium hand-sculpted forms tie signature Jeep design cues and high-quality materials together with precision craftsmanship.

Powered by the all-new 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, it’s rated at 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a high-efficient nine-speed automatic transmission. Two additional high-efficient engines options are available in the 2019 Jeep Cherokee: the 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 and 2.4-liter PZEV Multiair2 Tigershark I-4 – both mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee highlights a choice of three innovative 4×4 systems that have been enhanced for unmatched 4×4 capability for all weather conditions. Available on the Cherokee Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited and Overland models, Jeep Active Drive I features an all-new design for Cherokee.

I’ve long been a fan of the Jeep brand and product. Built on more than 75 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.

The Jeep vehicle lineup consists of the Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Renegade and Wrangler.

for more information, see your local Jeep deale, or visit Jeep.com

Recent Comments by Autolove

    No comments by Autolove yet.