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 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited. When you head out to the OUTBACK you have options. I like Jeep a lot but if I were buying an off-road vehicle Subaru and Jeep come to mind. Jeep is more rugged in appearance and for me I feel more protective in the Outback that is more of a passenger vehicle more suited to Beverly Hills than off-road hills if you get my meaning.

More importantly and unfortunately only manual transmission vehicles may be towed behind motorhomes, so not possible with AWD Subaru’s. So, for me, that narrows my choices to Jeep. And although it could be trailered it is not an option for me. Obviously, it doesn’t affect all that many people.

General Information:

Class- SUV; Cars from Subaru- Accent, BRZ,Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy,Outback, WRX& WRX STI.

Handling & Performance:

A very nice ride that is comfortable and with adequate power with the advantage of AWD on all Subaru products is a big plus. All good.

Since 2015, select Subaru models feature a new yaw-control system called Active Torque Vectoring (ATV). Not to get too technical this relatively new technology makes handling more precise and enhances the vehicle’s agility while cornering by using the braking system to help turn the vehicle. With ATV, you can push driving to new levels of performance while also feeling a sense of command while driving.

Styling:

Traditional Subaru.

Fit and Finish:

Subaru quality is second to none.

Cost:

Very well priced.

Conveniences and comfort:

As equipped at $32,000 it has all the hot items I like to see. When I’m on the road a lot, especially for those long-distance trek’s I like to add Smart Cruise Control.

Consumer Recommendations:

If you are safety conscious and are an outdoor kind-a family this is a must for comparison with what else is out there. The outback is my choice out of the competition noted except for the VW Atlas that is new and I will be testing it next month.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Subaru Outback 34,000 28 5 4 Japan USA AWD
Ford Flex 34,000 19 7 4 USA Canada FWD
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 34,000 22 5 4 Korea USA FWD
Kia Sorento 34,000 23 5 4 Korea USA FWD
Chevrolet Traverse 33,000 21 8 4 USA USA FWD
VW Atlas 33,000 20 7 4 USA Germany FWD

Good News:

Smooth, comfortable, AWD safety, good fuel economy SUV.

Bad News:

It only seats 5 if more is important.

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter horizontally opposed (Boxer) 175 horsepower 4 cylinder engine, CVT – continuously variable transmission with 6-speed manual mode, AWD – all wheel drive, Hill descent control, active torque vectoring, 60/40 split fold down rear seat, hill holder, cruise control, electronic parking brake, auto power door lock, power windows and exterior mirrors, remote keyless entry system / ignition key, security system with engine immobilizer, roof rails, tire pressure monitor, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth and cruise control switches. Blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert, keyless access with push button start, power moonroof, fog lights, 18” alloy wheels, foldable side mirrors with turn signals, All weather package with 3-mode heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer, dual mode heated rear seats, 10-way power driver seat and 4-way power passenger seat, perforated leather trimmed seats, woodgrain pattern with matte finish accent trim, power rear gate with memory height, illuminated inner door handles and overhead console, Harman/kardon premium audio system with 576 watt amplifier and speakers, auto up/down driver and front passenger windows with pinch protection, dual zone climate control, rear seat air vent outlets.

Gas Stats:

$3.49/ Gal avg. June 18, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

25 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $32,695.

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

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited. One of the reasons so many want to own flexible vehicles is their wide range of use. Although this Pacifica is a FWD vehicle and can’t go deep into the rugged back country where roads are non-existent, venues like the Mt. Whitney Portal area dirt roads west of the town of Lone Pine, California, are well suited for front wheel drive, low to the ground vehicles like this Pacifica.

For those who don’t know the area or history it is a beautiful part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range that is home to the tallest mountain in the contiguous US. It looms 14,505 feet above sea level. For the real adventurous traveler you can climb from the trailhead at 8,000 feet to go to the top.

For the movie buffs you probably know that 150 movies and about a dozen television shows have been filmed in and around Movie Road in an area named the Alabama Hills (Naming is a whole other story). In the early film days movies including Tom Mix films, Hopalong Cassidy, The Gene Autry Show, The Lone Ranger and Bonanza used this spectacular setting.

Also Classics such as Gunga Din, The Walking Hills, Yellow Sky, Springfield Rifle, The Violent Men, Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), the Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott “Renown” westerns, part of How the West Was Won, and Joe Kidd.

More recent productions such as Tremors and Joshua Tree, were filmed here. In Gladiator, actor Russell Crowe rides a horse in front of the Alabama’s, with Mount Whitney in the background, for a scene presumably set in Spain. Star Trek Generations was partially filmed here as well as Disney’s Dinosaur and even more recently, many parts of the films Iron Man and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

In the Mt. Whitney venue, where the scenery is awesome, you will appreciate Pacifica’s Tri Pane Sunroof… well the passengers will.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Windsor, Ontario, Canada; Parts- US/Canadian 58%, Mexico 29%; Engine – Mexicoand Transmission –USA; Classification is- SMinivan; Cars from- Chrysler:200, 300, Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid.

Handling & Performance:

On the highway Pacifica issuper quiet and a smooth ride even on the washboard portions of the dirt roads.

Styling:

Pacifica hasn’t changed much in looks over recent years, and to me that means it must be a winning design not needing major change. I get that change is generally a marketing ploy historically, and that I believe is because people want the newest in most everything. But even if your ego doesn’t require the newest design, what goes into the Pacifica is really most important.

Newer and higher tech stuff is what makes the most significant improvement in today’s car world. You can have all the cool stuff in the Pacifica. You can even have the newest and best seatback video systems for your passengers that include video remotes and wireless headphones (so they can be oblivious to the world around them).

Fit and Finish:

Beautifully assembled in Canada.

Cost:

A lot of car for the money even though many will say a lot of money for a car.

Conveniences and comfort:

Outstanding innovation that is, not only very impressive, it adds so much to owning a car like this. The stow-n-go seat storage is super easy to put the seats up or away and out of sight. Nice and perhaps the best of all in this class. And if you shuttle a lot of kids about you will appreciate the built-in vacuum cleaner that works great.

Sometimes it’s the small things that you appreciate and the one thingremained in my memory is the Capless fuel filler cap. Simple but a nice touch. And it doesn’t take much getting used to the hands-free power sliding doors and tail gate either.

Chrysler says wind noise is the best, quietest in class, allowing a speech intelligibility rating that is unsurpassed in its competitive set. Air leaking is to be around 225 CFM, also at the top of its class. This was done by using, among other things, acoustic 5.0-mmlaminate windshield glass; acoustic wheel liners; upper doors that don’t stick out; aero-optimized mirrors; and triple-sealed doors.Personally I think you will agree with me that the cabin is super quiet and very noticeable.

Consumer Recommendations:

Not a lot of cars to test drive in this segment so look at ‘em all. Sorry I can’t help much here because I like them all.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Chrysler Pacifica 45,000 22 8 4 USA Canada FWD
Toyota Sienna 45,000 20 7 4 Japan USA AWD
Honda Odyssey 46,000 22 8 4 Japan USA FWD
Kia Sedona 43,000 19 8 4 Korea Korea FWD

Good News:

Super quiet comfortable ride with features that will spoil you while others will keep you safer.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter V6 24 valve with VVT (variable valve timing) engine, 9-speed FWD automatic transmission, front, side seat and curtain airbags (all rows) and front knee airbags, LATCH Child safety system, rear back up camera, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic detection, park sense with stop assist, stability control, sentry key theft deterrent system, keyless enter with push button start/stop and remote start feature, capless fuel filter, hands free sliding doors and liftgate, 7” color driver info display, Uconnect NAV with 8.4” screen display, Apple CarPlay & Google Android capable, Tri Pane panoramic sunroof, vacuum system, Noise control system, heated and ventilated front seats, heated 2nd row seats, power 8-way front seats, power folding 3rd row seats, front seats have auto advance and return, heated steering wheel, SiriusXM radio and travel link with traffic and guardian service, 506 watt amplifier, 3rd row USB charge port, 18” aluminum polished wheels with all weather tires, power folding mirrors with turn signals, foglights.

Gas Stats:

$3.69/ Gal avg. June 9, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

19 City 28Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $43,695.

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

2018 Ford Mustang GT

2018 Ford Mustang GT
By Phil Shuyler

Who knew horses could roar? In the case of the 2018 Ford Mustang GT, they can. From startup to full throttle and everything in between, the car just oozes muscle. And behind that muscle is a 5.0L V8 producing 460 horsepower and 420 lb. ft. of torque. That engine along with the optional GT Performance Package ($3,995) and Active Valve Performance Exhaust ($895) create an audible treat for those that love the sound of power.

Sound doesn’t mean as much if you don’t have the performance to match it. The Mustang GT comes through going from 0-60 mph in under 4.0 seconds. It’s hard to beat the speed of the 10-Speed SelectShift Automatic, however for those that want to row their own, a 6-speed manual transmission does come standard. The automatic adds $1,595 to the car’s price tag, so if you don’t need it, do yourself a favor and put that money toward the performance package and exhaust.

On the road, the Mustang feels stable and planted. Putting your foot down – just a little – provides good engine noise without finding yourself all of a sudden going 80. Push a little harder though and you’ll feel every cubic inch of the glorious power plant. I would have preferred the manual shifting mode to be a little more responsive, however having 10 gears to choose from means you can upshift and downshift as much as your heart desires.

There are 6 available drive modes, which include Normal, Sport+, Track, Drag Strip, Snow/Wet and MyMode. MyMode is where you can create your own unique mode. Each mode will adjust the steering, exhaust and suspension. Of those areas, the exhaust is probably the most noticeable when changed as it can transform the car from a sleepy kitten to a roaring lion.

During our week of driving, we experienced fuel economy of 29 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg with mixed driving. That bests Ford’s EPA numbers of 25 mpg highway, 15 city and 19 combined. Of course that’s with “normal” driving…no doubt a lead foot will mean more trips to the pump.

One feature I didn’t like was the Lane Keeping System. Overall I’m a big fan of this technology, however the Mustang provided feedback too early and too aggressively. The steering input was just too abrupt and I felt like it was pushing me around, especially in corners if I got anywhere near the lane markings. There is an option for “Intensity,” however this is only for steering wheel vibration intensity and has nothing to do with the sensitivity of the system. The Lane Keeping System gives you three options for feedback. In the menu you can choose between alert only mode, aid only mode, and alert + aid mode. If you find yourself continually being pushed around, consider trying alert only.

Exterior

On the outside, the Mustang has muscular shoulders that help give it an aggressive look. To take the style a step further, consider the optional Black Accent Package (includes a black painted roof), Performance Rear Wing, Raised Blade Decklid Spoiler, Unique Rear Spoiler, or Spoiler Delete. When it comes to wheels, Ford is offering 8 different styles including seven 19” options and one 20” option. You also have 11 different paint colors to choose from. Ours was Lightning Blue Metallic and probably received over a dozen compliments from people telling me how much they love the color. If you want racing stripes, you’ll either need to step up to the GT350, or put them on yourself.

Interior

The inside of the Mustang GT feels the part of a muscle car. It has clever switches used for toggling through the various modes, traction control, steering sensitivity and hazard lights. The available dual-zone climate controls also use a switch style design which looks fantastic, especially with their use of metal. The optional heated and cooled seats are comfortable and with the rear seats folded down, you can actually fit more cargo than you might think. Like any sports car, the backseat is really only useful for storing your things, not your friends.

Contrast stitching matches seat insert colors that include Ebony, Midnight Blue, and our favorite, Showstopper Red. The available customizable 12” fully digital LCD instrument cluster is spectacular and changes dramatically with each drive mode. There’s a 4.2” SYNC infotainment screen that’s standard, and an 8” screen is available. The SYNC system feels like it needs a big update as competitors like the Dodge Challenger have systems that look better and are more easy to use. If you choose not to use SYNC, you are able to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which is a big plus.

Difference Between Mustang GT and Shelby GT350

So you may be wondering, what are the differences between the Mustang GT and the Shelby GT350. Well, first is power. The GT350 has a larger 5.2L V8 that has 526 horsepower and 429 lb. ft. of torque, versus the GT’s 460 and 420 respectively. The GT350 also only comes with a manual transmission. Of course you’ll get the Shelby badging and some standard exterior cosmetic treatments and performance enhancements as well.

The price of our GT with the Performance Package and other goodies was $52,265 while a similarly equipped GT350 is a little over $61,000. Both have performance that will not disappoint, so you’ll just have to decide if the extra power and Shelby badges are worth $9,000. I’d say save the money and put it toward some time on the track.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV
By Phil Shuyler

Living with an electric car no longer has to feel limiting. For years, electric vehicles came with no emissions, but they did come with range anxiety. That feeling of running out of juice nearly goes away with cars like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. It still may be difficult to go on long road trips with the Bolt, but everyday driving, commutes to work and trips to the grocery store have never been easier.

The Bolt EV has a range of 238 miles per charge. That means many people may only have to charge the car a 2-3 times per week. And with more businesses and office buildings offering EV charging stations, finding a place to plug-in is easier than ever. The 238 mile range could also mean you never have to charge away from home, making the cost of ownership even lower.

Driving

Currently, the Bolt EV has the longest range of any EV without a Tesla badge. It drives smoothand comfortable and has good power, even at higher speeds. That’s a big plus as a downside to many EVs has been the lack of high speed torque. It even has a Sport mode if you really feel like burning some kWs.

Some available safety features include lane keep assist, collision alert, rear cross traffic alert and electronic stability control.

Exterior

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I personally like the Bolt EV’s exterior styling more than that of its EV competitors. It feels tall and has a large greenhouse that provides excellent visibility. The Cajun Red color of our test car is probably our least favorite of the available colors, which include Arctic Blue, Mosaic Black, Nightfall Gray, Summit White, Kinetic Blue and Orange Burst.

Interior

Of all EVs on the market, I like the interior of the Bolt EV the most. It feels open, bright and technologically advanced. There’s some attractive accent lighting and a great use of contrasting colors with a variety of textures. In the center of the dash is a large 10.2” infotainment screen that provides a wealth of information. It also combines with the available Bose audio system to pump sound through 7 speakers. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility comes standard and 4G LTE Wi-Fi is available.

To keep you comfortable, it’s available with heated seats, a heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging, and ample front and rear legroom. The cargo capacity is also respectable and quite functional at 56.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

The 8” LCD Driver Information Center (aka instrument cluster) is crisp, uses bright colors and contains a wide variety of information. You can also customize the display from Classic to Modern and Enhanced Visual Modes.

While on the go, the my Chevrolet Mobile App allows you to remote start the vehicle, lock or unlock doors, monitor charge status and find charging stations. Being connected to your car through your phone is one of those things that you don’t think you need, but once you have it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Pricing for the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV starts at $36,620 for the LT and tops out around $44,000 for a fully loaded Premier trim. Those prices are before any tax incentives, so be sure to check for available state and federal incentives if you’re considering the Bolt or any electric vehicle.

Some big news in the industry is the announcement of the 2019 Hyundai Kona EV, which will have an EPA estimated 250 miles of range. That’s going to be a prime competitor for the Bolt EV when it goes on sale later in 2018. For now, it’s hard not to be tempted by the bowtie’s EV.

2018 Jeep Compass Latitude 4X4

2018 Jeep Compass Latitude 4X4

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Jeep Compass Latitude 4X4. You can get into this Jeep for about $25,000 but if you want all the bells and whistles you may find yourself at $35,000. Either way it is a great, historic off-road capable SUV. This will appeal to the out of doors active folks from 20 to 102. Much older than that you’d need oxygen and a walker. I’m a ways from the top end but that is my planned next vehicle. The Wrangler is my choice to tow behind the motorhome to see, not only the highways and byways of much of the country, but take in the adventures of getting off the beaten paths.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Toluca, Mexico; Classification is- Small SUV; Cars from Jeep- Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler, Wrangler JK, Wrangler JK Unlimited and Wrangler Unlimited.

Handling & Performance:

Multi-air is relatively new technology to hydraulically actuate the variable valve timing (VVT). That technology was first available from the Japanese and now is becoming more common. The US companies dragged their feet much longer.

Selec-Terrain is one of Jeep’s solutions for increasing the off-road abilities. It allows the driver or the vehicle to choose a suitable setting to travel on various on and off-road terrains. There are five settings: Auto, Snow, Rock, Sand/Mud and Sport.

Styling:

Thankfully the styling has been true to the look and feel begun in the early 1940s, and it continues to ID the vehicle more than 75 years later.

Fit and Finish:

Before Jeep found new homes of ownership over the past few decades the quality was not as good. Today it is Very Good but it retains that rough and ready, tough and tumble image as well as it does in action.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5AWZvB1FuU

Cost:

It is very competitively priced for the basics but you can spend another ten grand if you want the available options.

Conveniences and comfort:

I found the new adaptation of the electric park brake an annoyance initially, but I eventually got used to it and appreciated the addition of safety. When you put the car in park the parking brake automatically sets. It is a great convenience that I think will be seen on more cars over time.

Every once in a while, the test car I get is equipped with the cap-less fuel filler. This simple addition is bound to catch on more in the future on more cars.

Consumer Recommendations:

You gotta love off-road excellence. Look at this YouTube video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5AWZvB1FuU

There is a large field to choose from so the consumer wins when you take the time to find what tickles your fancy. For an off-road option Jeep is my choice because I have engaged Jeep up close and personal on Jeep Jamboree’s and was blown away at how agile Jeep is off road. Most people don’t go off road so the other contenders listed would do just fine for those who only need to negotiate the speed bumps around town.

Again, as I remind my readers, it is important to identify what you will use a vehicle for and find which one fills that need the best. Subaru is my second choice because it is the recognized specialist when it comes to AWD that is standard on all their models. I think they do it best.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Jeep Compass 30,000 22 5 4 USA Mexico 4WD
Chevrolet Equinox 30,000 25 5 4 USA Canada FWD
Subaru Forester 30,000 28 5 4 Japan Japan AWD
GMC Terrain 31,000 26 5 4 USA Canada AWD
VW Tiguan 27,000 23 5 4 Japan United Kingdom AWD
Infiniti QX30 35,000 25 5 4 Japan United Kingdom AWD
Subaru Crosstrek 27,000 29 5 4 Japan Japan AWD
Audi Q3 36,000 23 5 4 Germany Germany AWD
Mercedes-Benz 36,000 26 5 4 Germany Germany AWD

Good News:

Great off-road champ, comfortable on the highway.

Bad News:

Fuel economy is not the best attribute of Jeep and never has been. That thought reminds me of the Will Rogers quote: “Things ain’t what they used to be and never were”.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 Liter Inline Multi-Air Engine, 9-speed automatic transmission, remote Keyless entry with proximity entry, Push-Button start/stop, cruise control, speed sensitive power door locks, rear back up camera, rear window defroster, front, side curtain front and rear airbags, front seat mounted side airbags, deep tint sunscreen glass, selec–terrain system, stability control, electric park brake, Roll mitigation, capless fuel filler, air conditioning, Uconnect with 5” display, Bluetooth streaming audio, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

Options are available for some of the hot features you will want to add: Cold Weather and Navigation Groups, including Power heated front seats, Nav and Car Play, climate control and other upgrades ($1,700), Advanced safety features like Lane sense / Lane departure warning and forward collision warning ($895), Safety group – blind spot and cross traffic detection ($795).

Gas Stats:

$3.89/ Gal avg. May 24, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $24,295.

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

2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport

2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport. There is a broad field of competition in this class as you would expect for a sedan that is affordable and decent size just perfect for most families. For the more adventuresome or out of doors active folks, I’m guessing most would opt for an SUV instead. But if the Sedan suits your need this segment of the market makes a lot of sense as it is more economical. For the money this is a heck of a bargain sporting AWD standard on all Subaru models, and that is unique in the industry.

I’ve heard some say that “Subaru spends more money on quality and features and less on advertising”. Come to think of it you do see less ads for Subaru than most other models… well except for Ferrari or Lamborghini who need zero promotion via advertisement. More advertising has a reverse effect that seems to cheapen the product. After all, if you must blow your horn too much it generally means others are not singing your praises. That applies to a lot more than car sales, don’t you think.

General Information:

Class- Midsize Sedan; Cars from Subaru- Accent, BRZ, Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, WRX & WRX STI.

Handling & Performance:

No complaints here and in the pack of contenders this is the only midsize sedan with standard AWD feature. And it comes from the master of All Wheel Drive vehicles since all of Subaru’s are AWD.

Subaru has developed a new yaw-control system called Active Torque Vectoring (ATV). This new technology makes handling more precise and enhances your vehicle’s agility while cornering by using the braking system to help turn the vehicle. With ATV, you can push your driving experience to new levels of performance.

Styling:

Generic – and that is a good thing.

Fit and Finish:

Subaru fine.

Cost:

Very good as it includes AWD safety.

Conveniences and comfort:

Very good overall and the only feature I miss from car to car is the ‘smart’ cruise control that is such a great addition to today’s automotive technology. Otherwise Subaru is a comfy and convenient mode of transportation.

Consumer Recommendations:

Look closely at Subaru because they don’t blow their own horn so I will. Test drive it and you may agree it is a better ‘toyota’. . . just say’n.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Subaru Legacy 27,000 29 5 4 Japan USA AWD
Ford Fusion 27,000 42 5 4 USA Mexico FWD
Kia Optima 27,000 28 5 4 Korea USA FWD
Hyundai Sonata 28,000 28 5 4 Korea USA FWD
Toyota Camry 26,000 32 5 4 Japan USA FWD
Chevrolet Malibu 26,000 30 5 4 USA USA FWD
Buick Regal 26,000 26 5 4 USA Germany FWD
Acura TLX 34,000 27 5 4 Japan USA FWD

Good News:

Great value for the money, good fuel economy, roomy sedan, great engineering AWD handling and safety.

Good News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter 175 horsepower 4-cylinder horizontally opposed (boxer) engine, symmetrical all-wheel drive, continuous variable 6-speed automatic transmission, active torque vectoring, air conditioning, cruise control, electronic parking brake, power automatic door lock and unlock, power windows and mirrors, remote keyless entry with push button start, security system with engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitor with individual wheel display, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth and cruise control switches, power moonroof, fog lights, 18” alloy wheels, sport trunk spoiler, foldable side mirrors with integrated turn signals, heated front seats, exterior mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer, auto dimming rear view mirror with compass, 10 way power driver seat, illuminated inner door handles and overhead console, dual zone climate control.

Gas Stats:

$3.89 / Gal avg. May 18, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

25 City and 34 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $26,345.

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

2018 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year

2018 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year

By Phil Shuyler

It’s not an easy task picking a “vehicle of the year,” let alone an outdoor activity vehicle of the year in the Northwest. This year there were many deserving candidates, and a total of 7 winners, including the pinnacle award of Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year.

Lets cut to the chase – the overall Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year is the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. It’s go anywhere attitude and redesigned interior and exterior styling for 2018 helped cement the Wrangler as the leader in achievable off-road performance vehicles.

Personally, I loved the new Hyundai Kona a bit more all-around. The Wrangler blew the competition out of the water off-road, however that capability comes with a price on-road. It’s not uncomfortable to drive, it just feels larger, feels less nimble at speed and has less cargo space than most or all of its competitors. Enter the Kona. It’s in the subcompact SUV segment, so it’s definitely small, however it’s plenty big for the needs of most people. It has adventurous looks and comes in both green and blue colors that are a call to nature just by themselves. The Kona did however win the Subcompact SUV of the Year.

Another vehicle high on our list was the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure. This trim for the RAV4 provides an increased ride height, larger over fender flares, durable rocker panel guards, and more. And like the Kona, the RAV4 Adventure looks like it’s ready to go exploring. You also receive Toyota reliably and dependability as well as appealing stying both inside and out.

Of course one can’t consider an activity vehicle without mentioning pickup trucks. Two standouts in this category were the 2019 Honda Ridgeline and the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel. The Ridgeline excelled on pavement, but was not as capable off-road as the Rebel. Conversely, the Rebel is much larger, so its behavior on pavement made it feel like the large truck that it is, but once off road, it felt right at home. That’s not to say the Ram 1500 isn’t comfortable in and around town however. Its air ride suspension is silky smooth and gives you height for clearing rocks and logs, and then lowers for increased aerodynamics on the highway.

Rounding out our top picks is the 2019 Jeep Cherokee. This completely redesigned model is more capable than you might think, and the Trailhawk version also looks the part. Aside from the Wrangler, the Cherokee had the least amount of difficulty crawling over the logs and traversing the hills we encountered during our testing.

Here’s the full list for each of the category winners:

Subcompact SUV – 2018 Hyundai Kona
Compact & Midsize SUV – 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Family SUV – 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
Luxury SUV – 2018 BMW X2
Pickup – 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel
Extreme – 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
NW Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year – 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

(All photos courtesy Ryan Douthit/NWAPA)

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 IS 350 4-door Sedan. I wonder why every player in this class car is from a country outside the shores of America. The US dominated the auto industry for 100 years, and now it has become just one of the gang with less and less influence in the industry, it would seem. All the while the lines of distinction are becoming more and more blurred as no one company dominates in the world marketplace of the cars we love to love.

As precise and perfect as designs are now, possible through technology, there are differences that will change the landscape of which products succeed and those that fail. The list of cars that have come and gone is staggering. And no matter the failures of the early days, technology still hasn’t guaranteed successful products of any kind. If computers were the answer to a perfectly run company we would see no failures. I guess people still have a roll in decision making. Can it be any worse or better when computers run the show. So far computers only seem to make things more complicated. That’s my observation.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Japan; Classification is- Compact; Vehicles from Lexus- CT, ES,GS, GX, IS, LC, LS, LX, NX, RC, RX.

Handling & Performance:

Drive mode select is appreciated more every time I review a car that is equipped with it. It is a way to remind me of my heavy foot. When I feel the need for speed it is there at the push of a button or the turn of a select knob. But it also reminds me there is a cost attached to every choice. Cruising down the highway, ECO is my choice of settings.

Dynamic radar cruise control is another new high-tech thing that make the ride easier to handle. It is truly a special development and when coupled with Lane Assist it keeps me on my toes to be a safer driver. It is easy to get distracted in this fast-paced world of cell phones that lead you to text or call when you really should not. We must all be very aware of ever-changing and increasing driver distractions.

Styling:

Although the looks are becoming more generic and difficult to tell brands apart there are always unique touches to distinguish those subtle differences. The grill work or smoother or sharper lines help but still too often we must look for the Badge to identify the manufacturer.

Fit and Finish:

Technology is available to all and component improvements are so advanced, over the past several decades, that all brands are consistently better, in assembly. Rarely do the cars of today have the shake, rattle and roll noises of the past. Remember when it was not so?

Cost:

Computers (computer aided design, or CAD systems) explain how precise pricing is possible across all brands. Component and labor costs are fine-tuned elements to create nearly identical product costs of the competition. The human factor is nearly non-existent in today’s world.

Conveniences and comfort:

Remote keys with the push button start/stop feature is so cool. When the car doesn’t have it digging in your purse or pocket to find the key is a real drag.

Consumer Recommendations:

We consumers have many choices in cars but sometimes it’s like a restaurant with a huge menu of choices that is more confusing than it needs to be. Oh, for the Henry Ford days when your choice of a Ford model A was black paint or black paint.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Lexus IS 350 43,000 23 5 4 Japan Japan
BMW 3 Series 43,000 36 5 4 Germany Germany
Alfa Romeo Giulia 43,000 26 5 4 Italy Italy
Jaguar XE 43,000 24 5 4 United Kingdom United Kingdom
Mercedes C Class 43,000 26 5 4 Germany Germany
Volvo S60 42,000 29 5 4 Sweden China
Audi A5 44,000 27 5 4 Germany Germany

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter V6 311 horsepower engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, Drive mode select / ECO, Normal, Sport, Snow, dynamic radar cruise control, dynamic management, 18” 5-spoke aluminum wheels, ABS power disc brakes with EBD (electronic brake force distribution), tire pressure monitor, power tilt and slide moonroof, remote access with push button start/stop, 10-airbags, safety system with pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, auto high beam control, back up camera, Lexus Enform safety and service connect, 10-way power driver seat, 8-way power passenger seat, 60/40 split folding rear seat, multi information full color display with Audio, Phone and trip information, Bluetooth hands free phone and audio streaming, Audio system with HD ?radio, Real-time traffic and weather , Gracenote Album Art, MP3 Player, USB integration, CD, SiriusXM Satellite radio.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 28 Highway MPG

$3.69 / Gal avg. May 14, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $41,430.

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

2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid Limited

2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid Limited

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid Limited. Although I believe All Electric is not a viable power plant solution (for the next several years, if ever) Hybrids, like this Ioniq, are here, now and available at reasonable prices to buy or lease and economical to operate. The important thing to consider between all electric and hybrid is which one is a more reliable option. Well, with the Hybrid your chances of being stranded are far less likely than electric only battery powered cars. Further, I have not seen or heard of any significant negative press on Hybrid technology over the many years they have been on the market. (if you have had a different experience please write and tell me your story).

I have driven several ‘all-electric’ or ‘electric only’ cars over the past 20 years when they first came on the scene with a range of 25 miles. Whoopie ! I’ll remind you that electric cars were tried well over 100 years ago and never caught on, even though they had a range of 100 miles back then. I have a keen sense of the obvious that the Tesla crowd fail to exercise. History simply does not bear out electric only technology. OK, so it is possible there will be a breakthrough that will change the narrative. Until then, my recommendation is to stay clear of ‘electric only’ propulsion systems.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Montgomery, Alabama, USA; Parts- US/Canadian 1%, Korea 98%; Engine and transmission –Korea; Classification is- MidsizeCars; Cars from Hyundai- Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra GT, Ioniq Hybrid, Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Handling & Performance:

When I look at the fuel economy numbers my interest perks up. But even though you don’t expect a rocket ship for such low horsepower performers this ride is no slouch. It has good power and generally OK handling. Most often lighter, lower cost cars are not as solid handling as the big boys or small super sport cars. If I were commuting coupled with mostly local driving needs, this is the ticket. If I put on a lot of long highway / road mile trips I would opt for larger models. Need over want applies here.

Styling:

Hyundai has maintained a conservative approach in design and that suits me just fine. I like the overall look of Hyundai.

Fit and Finish:

Good attention to detail, especially at this price point.

Cost:

Well, this is a car I would hope my kids would embrace, especially as we watch gas prices soar.

Conveniences and comfort:

The listing of standard features noted below is quite good and includes a fair compliment of safety assist features for the money. Moderate comfort level for a midsize car.

Consumer Recommendations:

If you are looking for a good all-around economical 5 seat sedan in this price range, I believe this covers your need very well. It is curious why there aren’t more players in this category. It is a great commuter, but not so great for long hauls. If you are looking for a little heavier model and want the plug-in hybrid design, I suggest you look at the Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, that will cost about $10,000 more.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Hyundai Ioniq 29,000 52 5 4 Korea Korea
Toyota Prius 29,000 52 5 4 Japan Japan

Good News:

Economical commuter and fine example of a young family starter car.

Bad News:

No bad news that comes to mind.

Standard Equipment:

1.6 liter gas 4-cylinder engine, synchronous motor (44.5 KW), combined system power 139 horsepower, 6-speed automatic transmission, 8.9 kw/hour lithium – ion battery system, 120 volt charge cable, stability management with traction control, 4-wheel disc brake with integrated regenerative braking, ABS electronic brake force distribution with brake assist, front, front side curtain airbags, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist, rearview camera, 16” alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, heated power side mirrors with turn signal indicators, proximity key entry with push button start, 7” color display, leather seating with power driver seat with memory system, 60/40 split folding rear seat with center armrest, climate control, heated front seats, AM/FM/MP3 audio system with iPod/USB and Aux input jacks, HD Radio technology, SiriusXM, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, Bluetooth hands free phone.

Gas Stats:

$3.63-Gal avg. May 7, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

52 City and Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $29,185.

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

2018 Lexus LS 500 4-door Sedan

2018 Lexus LS 500 4-door Sedan

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Lexus LS 500 4-door Sedan. Wow!!! What a lovely state of the art luxury car for the fortunate few who can justify the price of admission. For most of us it would be a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there!

This past week I had the opportunity to get an overview of 11 different models of cars with high tech devices found in most cars these days. The trend is going deeper and deeper into the weeds of complication. If you want knobs and buttons on your radio I suggest you buy a ‘classic car’ from the 20th Century. Don’t laugh. Most of you reading this were born and spent most of your life in that Century. The good news is that you surely know a pre-teen who you can call upon to show you how to use the controls on your $100,000 transportation vehicle. But if you don’t know a kid, the manufactures have huge manuals to reference, and classes to teach you to select channels on your radio. In the meantime, “Do NOT” attempt to use those features unless you are PARKED.

Opinion:

I believe Henry Ford would NOT have approved of the exclusivity of such luxury cars. He was “All Inclusive” in his production of cars so anyone could afford to have motorized transportation. And that marked the time when buggy whips became obsolete.

Conversely this LS 500 is designed for a select segment of automotive consumers.

I drive nearly every car made and it becomes clear, to me, that the main objective of the auto industry is transportation. But it also provides for satisfying our ego and self-image. This realization reminded me of my first career job at Price Waterhouse – Coopers. A partner at the firm drove an old, old Buick that seemed hardly a car that an important successful member of business would drive. It made an impression on me. He was making a statement to all who knew him that you didn’t go to a client in a flashy expensive car. I never checked to see if he drove a Ferrari on weekends.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Japan; Classification is- Midsize; Vehicles from Lexus- CT, ES,GS, GX, IS, LC, LS, LX, NX, RC, RX.

Handling & Performance:

Today’s cars, generally, make us better drivers. Smart Cruise Control, Lane Departure warnings where you must use the turn signal or a warning sound is triggered, Cross Traffic alerts and crash avoidance technology make us more aware drivers. These driver-assist features are becoming more common and will eventually be cheaper so the cost will be easily justified by all.

Styling:

Some tell me they do not like the grill design, but I rather like the bold look. How ‘bout you?

Fit and Finish:

Careful attention to assembly is exceptional in this class of car. You’ll find perfection in seams, stitching and perfect fits when doors and trunk lid closes.

Cost:

Well….. when I get to the $100,000 price point, I begin to wonder if I get what I pay for. Hey, I’ve been looking at Motorhomes and the price of this car buys a great home on wheels.

Conveniences and comfort:

Most of the comforts of home except you wouldn’t want to spend the night.

Consumer Recommendations:

“Just think, by boy, think” – Richard’s grandpa.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Lexus LS 500 76,000 23 5 4 Japan Japan
Genesis G90 75,000 23 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
Audi S7 82,000 18 4 4 Germany Germany
BMW 7 Series 84,000 24 5 4 Germany Germany
Porsche Panamera 91,000 23 4 4 Germany Germany

Good News:

Elegant classy look and feel, bold styling, top high tech capable, comfortable ride.

Bad News:

I found the controls (follow the pack) needlessly too complicated. (classes for using the features are available, which makes my point.)

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter twin turbo 416 horsepower V6 engine, continuously variable valve timing, direct cylinder injection system, 10-speed sequential automatic transmission, drive mode select ECO, Normal, Sport, Electronic power steering, 19” alloy wheels, 10 airbags, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, all speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with lane keep assist, intelligent high beam headlights, vehicle dynamic integrated management, stability control, brake assist and brake force distribution, traction control, ABS braking system, tire pressure monitoring system, electronic parking brake, smart stop technology, intuitive parking assist with auto stop, Blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, rain sensing wipers, Navigation with high resolution 12.3” screen with remote touchpad and backup camera, Lexus Enform Safety connect and service connect (10 years of ownership), Enform Wi-Fi (1-year included), Enform remote App and destination assist (1-year included), Enform App Suite 2.0, Enform dynamic Navigation (3-years included), SiriusXM satellite radio (3 months), Climate control, 16-way driver’s and front passenger power seats, leather trimmed interior, power rear sunshade, hands free power trunk open/close, keyless entry with push button start/stop, tilt and slide moonroof, 12-speakr sound system, multiple USB and AUX, single disc CD, Bluetooth and HD radio.

Gas Stats:

19 City and 30 Highway MPG

$3.69 / Gal avg. April 29, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $81,000; with the rest of the options $102,000.

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

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