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 Toyota 86 2-Door Coupe

2018 Toyota 86 2-Door Coupe

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Toyota 86 2-Door Coupe. Yep, there is a small back seat if you’re in a pinch and don’t want to put someone in the trunk. But you may have to remove their legs first. Most cars like this have never had a useable rear seat. Case in point in my mind is the much larger Ford Mustang where the rear seat is nearly as bad as these 2-seat sports cars.

General Information:

Assembly- Ota Guma Japan; Vehicles from Toyota- 4Runner, 86, C-HR, Corolla, Corolla iM, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Yaris and Yaris iA.

Handling & Performance:

As you’d expect this class sport car is an outstanding performer beyond even what they look like they could do. I test most all cars over a mountain road course, in Southern California it is usually the Angeles Crest which is Highway 2. Of course, I call it the ‘Crest Test’ for that reason and as a kid the Crest test referred to Crest Toothpaste. Anyone remember that?

“On RAILS”is a term that comes close to describing how well it corners and handles the ‘curves’. It will surely get your heart started. And on top of that, it will pull more G’s as speed increases and grip seems to improve. I never once felt uncomfortable about it holding the road. However, I must say the same about the competition listed here. All three are super on the curves and the rides are equally impressive.

One way I judge the road-ability of a car is how fast you can take a curve over the posted suggested speed. If the yellow sign suggests 30 mph most cars will feel right at the edge of in control at about 50, or 20 mph over. This Toyota 86 is comfortable at 40 miles over.

Dynamic rev Management is an innovative sport car feature that manages RPMs with an automatic transmission so that in a downshift the engine automatically revs the engine to match the engine speed of the next lower gear. This automatic action mimics the shifting characteristics of a manual transmission. What they won’t think of next, eh.

Styling:

Sporty look to go along with the feel you get when you drive it. But most first impressions from others was that it must be very expensive.

Fit and Finish:

Very Good.

Cost:

Excellent option if you’re looking for a sport car.

Conveniences and comfort:

You’ll notice it comes with most of the features so common on cars these days. But when it comes to comfort you will expect entry and exit to be a pain in the neck, back and other parts of your body. You will also expect to have limited space and thus you won’t have convenient storage compartments you get accustomed to in larger cars.

Consumer Recommendations:

It is clear and amazing, to me, that you can have such capable sports car handling performance in this price range. Anything beyond this is, in my opinion, to be left to the professional race car class of drivers anyway.So, don’t waste your money on more if you are not a race car driver.

I say that because a friend of my son, Paul Walker, died for this very reason. The car was far too powerful for Paul’s friend, who was driving, to control and a crash at over 100 mph killed them both. If you know the story you know alcohol or drugs were not involved. Moral of the story: Know your limitations when you get behind the wheel.

Paul Walker and friend (driving) died in fiery crash in 2013 – Car Porsche Carrera GT

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Toyota 86 28,000 27 4 2 Japan Japan
Subaru BRZ 26,000 24 4 2 Japan Japan
Nissan 370Z 32,000 22 2 2 Japan Japan

Good News:

Affordable performance sport car, fabulously fun to drive.

Bad News:

Anything built this low to the ground is for the young who are still limber enough to get in and out of. That holds true for a woman in a dress or skirt as it is awkward to negotiate entry and exit moves. Know what I mean!

Standard Equipment:

2.0 LITER 4-cylinder Boxer 200 HP engine, dual variable valve timing, direct and port injection system, dynamic rev management and controllers on a 6-speed sequential auto transmission, 17” alloy wheels, 4-wheel anti-lock ventilated disc brakes with brake assist and electric brake force distribution, MacPherson strut front suspension, Torsen limited slip differential, stability and traction controls, hill start assist control, VSC Track mode, front airbag system with seat mounted side airbags and side curtain airbags front and rear, back up camera, tire pressure monitor, power exterior mirrors, auto projector beam LED headlights and taillights, 7” touch screen display audio AM/FM/HD radio with 8-speakers, aux/USB ports with iPod connectivity, hands free phone capable and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology, aha application, remote keyless entry with engine immobilization, power windows and locks, 1-piece folding rear seatback, leather trim, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, air conditioning, rear window defogger, multi-information display.

Gas Stats:

24 City and 32 Highway MPG

$3.45 / Gal avg. August 26, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $26,975.

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

2018 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T 392

2018 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T 392

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T 392. In a word it is a Racer. Not your ‘normal’ driver. This is special and not for everyone looking for a transportation car for the family. It is a serious performance car that will appeal to the Macho Guy who wants ‘muscle’. One look and one crank of the engine will speak volumes – like you’re in for Mr. Toads Wild Ride (as Disneyland lovers will recall).

Hang onto your hat. Better yet wear a helmet. This is serious business and not for the Faint Hearted. BUT you’re gonna love the exhilarating ride.

And for the serious performance driver this car has an App. The Performance Pages App that gives drivers the tools to become familiar with their vehicle’s performance. The App provides access to real-time vehicle performance information including timers (such as 0 to 60 mph elapsed time), G-force, gauges, and engine performance. This data can be downloaded to a USB stick or SD card, allowing for easy sharing of your driving performance. You can also download the data to the web.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Brampton, Ontario, Canada; Parts- US/Canadian 63%, Mexico 26%; Engine – Mexico / Transmission – USA; Classification is- Large; Cars from Dodge- Challenger, Charger, Dart, Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey and Viper.

Handling & Performance:

392 horsepower V8 HEMI (High Energy Metals, Inc. or HEMIspherical combustion chambers in the engine) MDS (Multi Displacement System which shuts down 4 of the 8 cylinders to conserve fuel). Bottom line – it is an exciting power plant that takes us back to the Muscle car days of the mid-20thCentury. Those were happy days when the roar of the engines of the day excited the passions of youth.

The Active Exhaust or dual mode exhaust system uses a pair of electronic valves located near the rear of the vehicle to control the level of the exhaust noise. At idle and in light throttle situations, the valves are in their closed position to keep sound levels down. This also helps to reduce “drone” when cruising on the highway, but when you put the hammer down, the valves open and the exhaust gets a whole lot louder.

Today this Charger is unique on an automotive landscape where cars are to be seen and not heard. So, you get looks of curiosity about what the noise is. But at the end of the day it is a deep roar bellowed out of the exhaust that attacks your senses of sound and feel whether you’re in or outside of the car. The sound is rich and exudes raw power as your body literally vibrates. Not a car for everyone, especially in today’s world, where that exhibition is looked down on. But it has a way of exciting the senses in a rather magical way for those who found their manhood behind the wheel of Muscle Cars of the 1950’s and 1960’s. You gotta love it.

Styling:

Retro look that speaks of bygone days.

Fit and Finish:

Today the assembly of Chrysler cars is light years advanced from the early days of most cars of the day. That careless assembly so often resulted in rattling and squeaking when the rough roads caused a “shake rattle and roll” and even Elvis wrote songs about that.

Cost:

Well, cost is a relative value and although it is competitively priced, it is expensive, unless you appreciate cars that are bold performers, then they are cheap. This is the way it is with this Charger. It is surely worth the price of admission.

Conveniences and comfort:

The MSRP price represents the basic standard features. If you want all the trick hi-tech stuff the price jumps to nearly $53,000 or about $12,000 additional. At about $40,000 it is decently equipped. Heck, some folks would rather not have a sun roof anyway, and at the end of the day we did without all the gadgets for over 100 years. However, there is much more in the options that would appeal to most if they can justify the cost. Look at the optional equipment below and see how much you could do without.

Consumer Recommendations:

If you are looking for a rocket, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist. And I’m guessing this car will resonate largely with those who can now afford to have what they could NOT afford in their youth. But if it appeals to the nostalgic or adventuresome feelings in you, this may just be the car you’re looking for.

Driving this Daytona gave me a tingle that took me back to my teenage years when I had a love affair with a Corvette powered 1928 Ford model A Sedan. It was beautifully painted a Rose Mist with a white Naugahyde top.

My sedan was featured in the June 1956 issue of Hot Rod Magazine.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Dodge Charger 46,000 18 5 4 USA Canada
Cadillac XTS 47,000 22 5 4 USA Canada
Genesis G80 45,000 20 5 4 Korea Korea
Toyota Avalon 42,000 24 5 4 Japan USA
Chevrolet Impala 37,000 22 5 4 USA Canada
Cadillac CT6 55,000 25 5 4 USA USA

Good News:

Wow – fast, astounding performance, roar of the glory days of Muscle cars in the mid-20th Century and it has a mountain road ride magic about it. Fabulous experience!

Bad News:

Muscle Car performance that will consume fuel voraciously. Low to the ground limits roads you can take.

Standard Equipment:

5.7 liter 392 HP V8 HEMI MDS (Multi-Displacement System) engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, front, side, side curtain front and rear airbags, Parkview backup camera and park sense park assist system, stability control, high speed engine controller, Bilstein high-performance suspension, Brembo 4-piston high performance brakes, active exhaust, stability control, traction control, power steering, hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring, keyless enter and go, remote start, sentry key theft deterrent system, security alarm, Dodge performance pages.

Options:

Custom Package $5,000: 20” forged painted aluminum wheels with performance tires, Daytona upgrades with decals and badges to signify such things as 6-cylinder Brembo high performance front brakes and Pirelli brand tires, special seat and interior Carbonite accents, heated and ventilated front seats & steering wheel and heated rear seats, power tilt and telescopic steering column, auto adjust in reverse exterior mirrors, auto dimming driver exterior mirror, memory for radio, driver seat and mirrors, power heated memory mirrors and manual fold away.

Technology Package $1,495: Blind spot and cross path detection, adaptive cruise control with stop, full speed forward collision warning, lane departure warning with Lane Keep assist, auto high beam control, advanced brake assist, rain sensing windshield wipers, power heated memory mirror with blind spot indicator.

Harman Kardon Audio Group $1,995: 19 premium speakers including subwoofer.

Power Sunroof $1,295: Special tires Navigation with 8.4” display, SiriusXM with Traffic Plus and travel link with 5-year subscription. Adds another couple of grand.

Gas Stats:

$2.45/ Gal avg. September 3, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

15 City 25 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $39,995.

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

2018 Toyota 86 2-Door Coupe

2018 Toyota 86 2-Door Coupe

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Toyota 86 2-Door Coupe. Yep, there is a small back seat if you’re in a pinch and don’t want to put someone in the trunk. But you may have to remove their legs first. Most cars like this have never had a usable rear seat. Case in point in my mind is the much larger Ford Mustang where the rear seat is nearly as bad as these 2-seat sports cars.

General Information:

Assembly- Ota Guma Japan; Classification is- MiniCompact; Vehicles from Toyota- 4Runner, 86, C-HR, Corolla, Corolla iM, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Yaris and Yaris iA.

Handling & Performance:

As you’d expect this class sport car is an outstanding performer beyond even what they look like they could do. I test most all cars over a mountain road course, in Southern California it is usually the Angeles Crest which is Highway 2. Of course, I call it the ‘Crest Test’ for that reason and as a kid the Crest test referred to Crest Toothpaste. Anyone remember that?

“On RAILS” is a term that comes close to describing how well it corners and handles the ‘curves’. It will surely get your heart started. And on top of that, it will pull more G’s as speed increases and grip seems to improve. I never once felt uncomfortable about it holding the road. However, I must say the same about the competition listed here. All three are super on the curves and the rides are equally impressive.

One way I judge the road-ability of a car is how fast you can take a curve over the posted suggested speed. If the yellow sign suggests 30 mph most cars will feel right at the edge of in control at about 50, or 20 mph over. This Toyota 86 is comfortable at 40 miles over.

Dynamic rev Management is an innovative sport car feature that manages RPMs with an automatic transmission so that in a downshift the engine automatically revs the engine to match the engine speed of the next lower gear. This automatic action mimics the shifting characteristics of a manual transmission. What they won’t think of next, eh.

Styling:

Sporty look to go along with the feel you get when you drive it. But most first impressions from others was that it must be very expensive.

Fit and Finish:

Very Good.

Cost:

Excellent option if you’re looking for a sport car.

Conveniences and comfort:

You’ll notice it comes with most of the features so common on cars these days. But when it comes to comfort you will expect entry and exit to be a pain in the neck, back and other parts of your body. You will also expect to have limited space and thus you won’t have convenient storage compartments you get accustomed to in larger cars.

Consumer Recommendations:

It is clear and amazing, to me, that you can have such capable sports car handling performance in this price range. Anything beyond this is, in my opinion, to be left to the professional race car class of drivers anyway. So, don’t waste your money on more if you are not a race car driver.

I say that because a friend of my son, Paul Walker, died for this very reason. The car was far too powerful for Paul’s friend, who was driving, to control and a crash at over 100 mph killed them both. If you know the story you know alcohol or drugs were not involved. Moral of the story: Know your limitations when you get behind the wheel.

Paul Walker and friend (driving) died in fiery crash in 2013 – Car Porsche Carrera GT

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Toyota 86 28,000 27 4 2 Japan Japan
Subaru BRZ 26,000 24 4 2 Japan Japan
Nissan 370Z 32,000 22 2 2 Japan Japan

Good News:

Affordable performance sport car, fabulously fun to drive.

Bad News:

Anything built this low to the ground is for the young who are still limber enough to get in and out of. That holds true for a woman in a dress or skirt as it is awkward to negotiate entry and exit moves. Know what I mean!

Standard Equipment:

2.0 LITER 4-cylinder Boxer 200 HP engine, dual variable valve timing, direct and port injection system, dynamic rev management and controllers on a 6-speed sequential auto transmission, 17” alloy wheels, 4-wheel anti-lock ventilated disc brakes with brake assist and electric brake force distribution, MacPherson strut front suspension, Torsen limited slip differential, stability and traction controls, hill start assist control, VSC Track mode, front airbag system with seat mounted side airbags and side curtain airbags front and rear, back up camera, tire pressure monitor, power exterior mirrors, auto projector beam LED headlights and taillights, 7” touch screen display audio AM/FM/HD radio with 8-speakers, aux/USB ports with iPod connectivity, hands free phone capable and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology, aha application, remote keyless entry with engine immobilization, power windows and locks, 1-piece folding rear seatback, leather trim, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, air conditioning, rear window defogger, multi-information display.

Gas Stats:

24 City and 32 Highway MPG

$3.45 / Gal avg. August 26, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $26,975.

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

2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue

2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue. I had tested the Limited Plug-in Ioniq last year, but it is worth another look at Hyundai – this time the Blue, that is NOT a Plug-in. That’s just fine with me since I’m not thrilled with the plug in anything automotive, especially if it is All Electric.

Mark my words, all electric will not impress the world at large and they will not turn out to be the dominant mode of transportation, unless there is some miraculous breakthrough in battery technology. I repeat that Hybrid is, however, a good option. OK, but what about the fuel economy numbers of the Plug-in Hybrid? That is impressive for sure, but you must remember electricity at your house is NOT free. At least it isn’t at my house.

In the meantime, this Hybrid was easy to love. I took a trip up the coast of California from LA to Pismo beach to meet family and friends. At over 51 mpg that 400-mile round trip cost me about $25. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Two people with sleeping bags, tents (just in case), cooler with food and drink, suit cases, pillows, blankets, camp chairs etc. Trust me, we didn’t forget anything but it all fit easily in this hatchback with the rear seats folded flat. You gotta love it, especially when you fly by all those gas stations. It doesn’t get much better.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Ulsan, Korea; Parts- US/Canadian 1%, Korea 91%; Engine and transmission- Korea; Classification is- Midsize Cars; 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:

Great handling size car and I’m impressed with the acceleration and highway speeds that is a very stable feeling ride. No complaints with this one.

Styling:

Styling is very commonplace in a computer design sort of way. It has simple lines that are easy on the eyes. Older folks will recall how radical designs were in the early years.

Fit and Finish:

Very good attention to detail in assembly.

Cost:

I mean, really, it is amazing that you can have a car like this so affordably. In a word it is an ‘offer you can’t refuse’. That’s how they put it in my family.

Conveniences and comfort:

The ride is comfortable, not lush, but as priced this is an impressive ride.

Consumer Recommendations:

In this very economical class there are very few players. In this case only Toyota and Hyundai. My vote is Hyundai because I never warmed up to the Prius. It was more interested in the technology rather than how it looked. Ever known a nerdy suitor like that?

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Hyundai Ioniq Blue 23,000 58 5 4 Korea Korea
Toyota Prius C 24,000 46 5 4 Japan Japan
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid 26,000 119 5 4 Korea Japan
Toyota Prius 24,000 43 5 4 Korea Japan

Good News:

Economical, well priced, 5 passenger family car, handles well and is fast.

Bad News:

N/A.

Standard Equipment:

1.6 liter gas 4-cylinder engine, synchronous motor (32 KW), combined system power 139 horsepower, 6-speed automatic transmission, 240 volt lithium – ion polymer battery system and hybrid starter generator (lifetime Hybrid Battery warranty, 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, rearview camera, tire pressure monitor, 16” alloy wheels, automatic headlights, bodycolor side mirrors with blind spot indicators, proximity key entry with push button start, 4.2” color trip computer display, power windows and locks, climate control, tilt and telescopic steering column and steering wheel with cruise, audio and phone controls, cloth seating with 6-way adjustable front seats, 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks, 7” color touchscreen audio display, AM/FM/MP3 audio system with USB and Aux input jacks, HD Radio technology, SiriusXM, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, Bluetooth hands free phone, emergency tire puncture repair kit (no spare tire).

Gas Stats:

$3.49-Gal avg. August 18, 2018g

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

57 City and 59 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $23,210.

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

2018 Subaru Impreza 2.0 i Limited

2018 Subaru Impreza 2.0 i Limited

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Subaru Impreza 2.0 i Limited. In 2016 I reviewed the Impreza Premium and now I’m checking out the Small Wagon.

At the end of the day, I think it is my duty to present the good auto options and ignore others that don’t measure up to what we all demand in something so indispensable in today’s fast-moving population. Subaru is one of those good car manufacturers that seem to spend more on engineering than they do advertising. I don’t think they blow their own horn as much as most, but if you deliver a good product, as they say the world will beat a path to your door.

Advertising is self-serving, of course, so for me I’m more interested in the actual performance ‘at the wheel’ to get the experience, unrehearsed and unchoreographed, which is what advertising does.

For more than a quarter century I have been testing most all cars on and off road because the manufacturers believe in the process of independent reviews to give unbiased and unvarnished opinions of their cars. Never has a car company even hinted at the idea of saying only nice things about their cars. To me that is a testimony they have confidence in their products. Let’s face it, buying a car is a major purchase decision for us all, and one we won’t have to make any time soon.

General Information:

Parts- US/Canadian 40%, Japan 45%; Engine and transmission- Japan; Assembled in- Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Class- Small Wagon; Cars from Subaru- BRZ, Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, WRX.

Handling & Performance:

I’m always impressed with the innovation that is taking place in the auto industry as they apply technology that is so subtle you don’t even know it’s working in the background.

Safety Pedal System, or Brake override protects, via computer, against the occurrence of both the accelerator and the brake being pressed at the same time. The system senses that and then applies the brake and closes the throttle. Yes, it may be a rare occurrence, but it can and does happen with bad results.

Another subtle feature is VDC (vehicle dynamic control), to increase stability on slippery surfaces and to improve cornering performance by preventing skids. It does that by reducing engine power and / or apply the brakes to slow down individual wheel spin to keep the intended path rather than allowing you to go off the road. Neat feature.

Styling:

Clean and conservative body design.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

Subaru, to me, is always a good investment.

Conveniences and comfort:

A good features list for the money, but if you can afford the options noted for about 4-grand I think it is worth the cost.

Consumer Recommendations:

Subaru is ‘first class’ and should be looked at closely as an option for that next economy small wagon / sedan.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Subaru Impreza 20,000 32 5 4 Japan USA 4WD
Chevrolet Cruze 20,000 33 5 4 USA USA FWD
Mazda 3 20,000 32 5 4 Japan Japan FWD
Hyundai Elantra 21,000 32 5 4 Korea Korea FWD

Good News:

Priced well, good quality, economical, comfortable ride for seating of 5.

Bad News:

N/A.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder Horizontally opposed engine, Symmetrical all-wheel drive, Continuously Variable (CVT) automatic transmission, 17” alloy wheels, Vehicle Dynamic Control, front, side and side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, safety pedal system, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes, rear vision camera, tire pressure monitor, anti-theft system with engine immobilizer system, power folding exterior mirrors with turn signals, climate control, multimedia audio system, smartphone connectivity, HD radio, Sirius XM, Bluetooth hands free phone, USB port with iPod and iPhone connectivity, cruise control, auto on/off headlights, power windows, Locks and mirrors, keyless access with push-button start, 6-way power driver’s seat, leather, illuminated vanity mirrors, trip computer, leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, 60/40 split fold down rear seatback, all-weather package with heated front seats.

Options: On this vehicle included Eyesight feature including pre-collision braking, lane departure, adaptive cruise (smart cruise) control, power moonroof, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, reverse auto braking, high beam assist, upgraded audio system, Sirius XM traffic. Cost: $3,845.

Gas Stats:

$3.45 / Gal avg. August 5, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

28 City and 37 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $24,595.

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

2018 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4X4

2018 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4X4

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

“Faint hearted men are the product of a luxurious society; the same soil produces neither luxuries nor heroes.”

Early pioneers and those that followed up until 1960 were get ‘er done solid citizens of America. Most of the rest of the world is still in the stone ages while the good old USA prospers with the last vestiges of freedom that exist only in America. Don’t let it slip through your fingers or you will be flipping the finger to those great men and women who made this country great.

Overview:

This is the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4X4. For starters there really is no competition in this area of off road vehicles. But we will throw in a few others that are AWD and could go off road but if you’re looking for special, Jeep is unbeatable.

I’m biased because I have a special love affair with Jeep from my Navy days in the South Pacific and elsewhere. The image of Jeep is that of raw and basic transportation. WWII days relied on those no-frills Jeeps that played a major role for the free world to win that war.

I also have tooled around the back country in an original 1942 version with a friend who owns one. Whether forging streams, going fishing or just rock climbing in the High Sierra’s it holds an aura of history and heritage where bonds between man and machine cannot be broken.

And finally, today’s Jeep is my intended next vehicle to tow behind a motorhome. It’s a dream I’ve had for a long time so when I get to my destinations, no matter the terrain I’m good to go.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Toledo, Ohio, USA; Parts- US/Canada 60%, Mexico 22%, Engine – Mexico, Transmission – USA; Classification is- Small SUV; Cars from Jeep- Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler, Wrangler JK, Wrangler JK Unlimited and Wrangler Unlimited.

Handling & Performance:

This short wheel-based Jeep has great turning radius and is a super sure-footed SUV I have tested in tough off-road conditions over many years. This 2018 is state of the art off-road and in today’s world it is my first choice for the adventurous.

In the process of testing all off-road vehicles, my first shot at the Humvee military version to replace the Jeep was not impressive. For personal use, the roads are just not conducive with the Humvee, while the Jeep will go where Humvee’s can’t. Our road systems and trails in the outback have been developed over hundreds of years to accommodate typical vehicles of the day which are far too narrow for the “Desert Storm” type of venue where the Humvee would be used.

Styling:

Traditional Jeep design has been retained from the first ones produced. That design has been mimicked by others but still the look and feel of Jeep is king.

Fit and Finish:

Jeep is as good as it gets for a serious off-road vehicle. It is the fluffy SUV that is a fish out of water off road. Jeep is most comfortable where ever it is asked to go. It is beautiful out there, but the roads are generally far from pretty.

Cost:

Not cheap, but when it’s the only game in town it is worth the price of admission. Plus, you must consider all the skid plates etc. to outfit it for rugged use, is what makes it special and that costs more.

Conveniences and comfort:

Jeep has continued to improve the ride on highway. It is surprisingly smooth and comfortable.

Consumer Recommendations:

Look at the video and although it will seem a bit extreme I have to tell you, I’ve been in extreme off-road conditions I didn’t believe possible for any commercial vehicle. Jeep made me a believer. If you’re looking for Bear Grylls kind of adventures, you’ll want to have the best. That is Jeep in my experience.

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

Pricing is up to you: Consider how you’ll be using this vehicle. Will you be traversing the hills of Beverly Hills or Rubicon in and around Lake Tahoe, CA? The way this Jeep is equipped I doubt you need all the options which are numerous but available. And if you want all the comforts of home I doubt you will be camping and trail blazing anytime soon. Then you will want the $12,000 of options to cruise Beverly Hills, Malibu or brave the summer heat of California. Let’s face it, you don’t need air conditioning in the Sierra’s at 9,000 feet. You won’t need keyless entry because you will probably be leaving the keys in the ignition. You know, those kinds of things that are unnecessary in the wilderness. Just say’s.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Jeep Wrangler 28,000 18 4 2 USA USA 4WD
Hyundai Tucson 31,000 25 5 4 Korea Korea AWD
Ford Escape 34,000 23 5 4 USA USA AWD
Kia Sportage 35,000 21 5 4 Korea Korea AWD

Good News:

The best off-road vehicle hands down.

Bad News:

A little pricey and fuel economy continues to be extreme.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter VS 24 valve VVT engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, front and side seat airbags, rear back up camera, 4-wheel drive, 3.45 axle gear ratio, front and rear solid axles, fuel tank skid plate, transfer case skid plate and transmission skid plate, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes, stability control, electronic roll mitigation, trailer sway damping, hill start assist, keyless enter and go, sentry key theft deterrent system, tire pressure monitor, Uconnect 3 with 5” display, 8-speakers, media hub for USB and Aux, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, 12-volt aux power outlet, tilt and telescopic steering column, steering wheel mounted audio controls, manual seat adjustment and door locks, rear folding seat. This standard equipment is covered for the below listed MSRP.

Gas Stats:

$3.45 / Gal avg. July 27, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $26,995.

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

2018 Lexus RX 350 5-door SUV

2018 Lexus RX 350 5-door SUV

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Lexus RX 350 5-door SUV. The general thought is that the RX has grown larger, heavier and longer in a negative way. Some miss the smaller cute version. Well, although I also didn’t see its classification as ‘small’ it is rather midsize to me, and I like the new more spacious size.

Surely it is a lovely and classy vehicle that is priced very well and is in a class with a lot of competition. Demand for SUVs has continued since the popularization of the ‘station wagon’ in the late 1950s and 1960s. They were then touted as a utility wagon for moms’needs and they even suggested dads could use it for fishing and camping trips. Jeep, of course, took rough and tumble adventures to a new level. That was shortly after and the adventurous embraced utility vehicles with a kinda pioneer spirt of a few generations before.

I suspect all these luxury models as noted here have more to do with consumer image rather than areal desire for the outdoors.

A U.S. News magazine article some 4 years agoexplained, “The rugged individualist has traded in his boots for a comfortable pair of Rockports.” And they also concluded the baby boomers have stopped pretending to be off-roading daredevils and SUV popularity would end soon.

Well, it looks like they got it wrong and SUVs continue to be highly prized even if it is the image that is the real draw. The SUVs of the past decade have gotten prettier and although the 4X4 versions are capable and sophisticated engineering marvels, they are rarely used off-road. You may remember my mentioning that only about 5% of SUVs will ever get off-road.

General Information:

Assembly- Cambridge Ontario Canada; Classification is- Small-Standard SUV; Vehicles from Lexus- CT, ES, GS, GX, IS, LC, LS, LX, NX, RC, RX.

Handling & Performance:

Super comfortable ride for your Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive shopping trips. Fast and quiet.

Styling:

Elegant classy look.

Fit and Finish:

Outstanding assembly, which is rightfully expected these days. Squeaky components are rare but as luck would have it,my personal truck came with an annoying whistle no one seems to know why it does that. My response: “Well it is a Ford, after all”.

Cost:

You can get into a new Lexus RX at the low $40,000 range but with all the bells and whistles and luxury packages you’ll be right at $50,000. Or you could put a down payment on a house and continue to drive the old reliable clunker a few more years.

Conveniences and comfort:

Very well equipped and with options available for even higher tech features and more luxury features so thatyou’ll want for very little.

Scout® GPS Link is a part of the equipment on this RX which is to connect your car to your smartphone and to the cloud. I like that because it would allow me to eliminate the Nav system built in. Most cell phones have nicely advanced navigation capability.

Consumer Recommendations:

Wow, this is a great field but also a lot to be considered. I have no favorites here. SUVs are here to stay and with nearly half of all vehicles on the road being SUVs and Pickups they will continue to dominate the market for some time to come (in my opinion).

New 2019 models are emerging in August and September, so I suggest if you’re interested in finding a new car, go for the 2018 model year and you can realize great savings.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Lexus RX 350 50,000 23 5 4 Japan Canada
Lincoln MKT 50,000 17 7 4 USA Canada
Dodge Durango 50,000 21 7 4 USA USA
Acura MDX 50,000 22 7 4 Japan Canada
Cadillac XT5 49,000 21 5 4 USA USA
VW Atlas 49,000 19 7 4 Germany USA
Toyota Highlander 50,000 28 7 4 Japan USA
Jeep Grand Cherokee 49,000 21 5 4 USA USA
Buick Enclave 49,000 21 7 4 USA USA

Good News:

Comfortable quiet ride, priced well in class.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter 285 HP V6 engine, direct injection and VVT (Variable Valve Timing), 8-speed auto trans with Drive mode select, 18” Aluminum alloy wheels, 10-airbags, safety system with pre-collision and pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, auto high beam headlights, lane departure alert with steering assist and lane keep assist, Power ABS disc braking system with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), fog lights, daytime running lights, auto on/off headlights, theft deterrent system with engine immobilizer, electronic parking brake, Lexus Enform safety connect and service connect, back up camera, 9-speaker display audio system, HD Radio with iTunes tagging, dual USB ports, Sirius satellite radio, Scout GPS Link, rain sensing wipers, climate control, 10-way power front seats, power tilt and telescopic steering column, 40/20/40 split folding rear seat, power back door, smart access with push button start/stop, Bluetooth hands free phone and audio streaming.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 27 Highway MPG

$3.49/ Gal avg. July 22, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $43,270 plus.

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

2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2.0 T SE

2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2.0 T SE

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2.0 T SE. Large! What ever happened to cute little VW’s? Well, you can say VW has grown up and it’s gone from cute to mature. You know any company will chase the sales and consumer demand dictates what manufacturer’s will produce. So, you, the consumer, have more power than you may acknowledge or believe is possible. Manufacturer’s do listen and care what you think so make your views known.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Chattanooga, TN, USA; Parts- US/Canadian 48%, Engine – Mexico, Transmission – Japan; Classification is- SUV (small – I don’t think so); Cars from Volkswagen- Atlas, Beetle, CC, e-Golf, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf Gti, Golf R, Golf Sportswagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan & Touareg.

Handling & Performance:

Far faster than I expected for a mid-size SUV. I’d feel more comfortable if it were AWD since it is a good utility vehicle. I also found the steering super sensitive and I prefer more feel in my power steering. You may not find it as negative as I did.

Styling:

VW on steroids.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Right on target in class.

Conveniences and comfort:

Most of the tech features I suggest, however voice recognition needs a lot of help. It just isn’t very good, not-withstanding many of these systems require time to adjust to the user’s voice. I couldn’t get it to work properly.

Consumer Recommendations:

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Country of Origin Assembled
VW Atlas 31 24 7 Germany USA
Jeep Grand Cherokee 32 21 5 USA USA
Dodge Durango 31 21 5 USA USA
Ford Flex 31 19 7 USA Canada
Hyundai Santa Fe 32 21 7 Korea Korea
Chevrolet Traverse 31 21 8 USA USA
Kia Sorento 31 22 7 Korea USA
Toyota Highlander 32 22 8 Japan USA

Good News:

Roomy, comfortable ride with very good technology features and well-priced.

Bad News:

Voice recognition sucks, super sensitive steering.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter turbo 4-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, FWD – front wheel drive with 4-wheel independent suspension, front, side and side curtain airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, engine brake assist, anti-slip regulation, electronic brake force distribution, stability control, intelligent crash response system, LATCH system, tire pressure monitoring, 18” alloy wheels, auto LED headlights and daytime running lights, halogen front fog lights, heated foldable power mirrors with integrated turn signals, rain sensing variable intermittent wipers with heated washer nozzles, dual zone manual climate control with air vents in all three rows, leather wrapped multi-function steering wheel, tilt / telescopic steering column, 10-way power heated driver seat, 4-way manual heated passenger seat, 2nd row 60/40 split folding seats, adjustable with 3rd row easy access, 3rdrow 50/50 split fold flat seats, leatherette seating, reading lights all three rows, rear view camera, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, keyless access with push button start, composition media 8” touch screen, multi band radio & CD player, dual USB inputs, Aux-in, voice control & 8-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity for compatible devices, Sirius XM Satellite radio, anti-theft alarm system with vehicle immobilizer, cruise control, Electric parking brake.

Gas Stats:

$3.49/ Gal avg. July 16, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

22 City and 26 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $33,590.

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

2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD PRO 4X4 dbl cab

2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD PRO 4X4 dbl cab

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD PRO 4X4 dbl cab. Toyota says you can ‘go way, way, way off-road’ and take off-roading even further. TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development. There is a lot of buzz and ‘look-sees’ on line and on the road about this new offering to avid off-roaders. Even if folks didn’t know much about this new ‘tough guy’ they knew it looked serious about going outback.

Me, I took it to the High Sierra’s where most of the geography was solid granite. I can’t help wondering how well it would do on the Jeep Jamboree venue’s. Rubicon Trail, west of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains, is classed a 10 in difficulty and it is much like the Granite formations in the Sierra mountains where I tested this Tacoma.

General Information:

Assembly- San Antonio, TX. USA; Classification is- Small Pickup; Vehicles from Toyota- 4Runner, 86, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, C-HR,Corolla, Corolla iM, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, Prius V, RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma Access Cab, Tacoma Double Cab, Tundra CrewMax, Tundra Double Cab, Tundra Regular Cab, Yaris and Yaris iA.

Handling & Performance:

It is promoted as a serious off-road truck and I don’t doubt Toyota’s assessment. I’ve been on Jeep Jamboree’s in past years and was hugely impressed with the sure-footed prowess of Jeep’s off-road. I didn’t get into as serious outback adventures as those Jamboree’s because I was not supported by 120 other Jeeps traversing the same terrain.

But I did pal around with a 1942 Army version Jeep and of course it is the “Original” granddaddy of tough off road, all terrain vehicles. The Jeep is much smaller so it could go places I could. Talk about basic, the Jeep is basic to the max. The Toyota is a ‘Cadillac’ by comparison.

I was far above the dust of the desert, but the 2019 model of this Tundra has moved the air intake above the windshield. So, if you’re intending to enter the Baja 1000 you may want that new design.

“Crawl Control” – there is a setting designed for driving on difficult terrain at low speeds. It assists the driver by controlling acceleration and braking, allowing the driver to focus on steering. So, if you’re on large and lose rock it crawls slowly. Those who have been over large boulders and challenging terrain know ‘fast’ isn’t a good thing in such situations. This feature will keep you in control. Pretty cool.

Styling:

Style is typically Toyota but this TRD PRO takes the look to another level of Toughness Japanese trucks haven’t been known for in the past. Nice addition to the brand.

Fit and Finish:

Very Toyota – very good.

Cost:

Pricing is just about where I expected it to be. I have a Ford F350 4X4 Long Bed and $70,000 just gets you in the door. So, after taking this Tacoma through its paces in the High Sierra rugged mountains I must admit the price is ok by me.

Conveniences and comfort:

This model includes all the important features I enjoy and demand for the cars / trucks I care to drive and own. The list is generous and all is included with no ups and extras. Nice, I like it.

In addition to the great on-road features, TRD Pro is equipped with a heavy duty 1/4” aluminum skid plate to avoid being ‘inconvenienced’ off-road.

Consumer Recommendations:

Not a large field of serious off-road trucks so the search is a short journey. Look closely and I think you’ll agree this TRD PRO is a very serious contender. It’s at the top of my list for sure.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin
Toyota Tacoma 45,000 18-22 5 4 Japan
Nissan Frontier 38,000 15-21 5 4 Japan
Chevrolet Colorado 44,000 19-22 5 4 USA

Good News:

Consistent performer, comfortable ride on-road and great off-road prowess.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

3.5-liter V6 / 278 horsepower engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel on demand, part-time 4×4 system with 2-speed electronically controller transfer case, locking rear differential; multi-terrain select. Crawl control; Hill-start control, towing receiver hitch, engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, 130-amp alternator, 4/7 pin connector and trailer sway control, Toyota safety sense, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, sway warning system, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, rear backup camera and rear parking sonar, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert, TRD-tuned FOX 2.5 internal bypass shocks with rear remote reservoirs, LED fog lights, TRD front skid plate and TRD exhaust, 16” TRD Black Alloy wheels, 5 foot composite bed with 120 v power outlet, deck rail system with 4 adjustable tie down cleats, easy lower, lockable and removable tailgate, smart key system with push button start, leather trim seats with heated driver and front passenger seats, leather trim steering wheel with audio controls, power horizontal rear window with privacy glass, front dual zone A/C with individual temperature controls, Entune premium audio with integrated Navigation and app-suite, 7” hi – resolution screen, AM/FM/CD, USB/AUX, Bluetooth, HD radio and SXM, Qi Compatible wireless smartphone charging.

Gas Stats:

18 City and 22 Highway MPG

$3.39 / Gal avg. July 9, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $43,520.

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

2018 Lexus RC 350 2-door Coupe

2018 Lexus RC 350 2-door Coupe

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Lexus RC 350 2-door Coupe. Wow,FLAIR YELLOW will wake up the senses. But they have some other bright colors as well. It reminds me of the Socialist countries where a drab color has been the PC thing and you’re expected to wear dark earthy colors. Those colors are surely practical and Henry Ford’s early car production lines turned out cars of any color you wanted as long as it was Black. In today’s world painting cars has reached its pinnacle as they have perfected the process so well that any color is possible – even Black.

I say Celebrate the joy of life with vibrant (lively, vivacious, exciting) colors on your car. Some are adventuresome but by and large you see mostly white and black or other dark colors on cars. The bright yellow inspired me to think about why it is so uplifting. You need only go to Nature for a rainbow of color on Birds, and frogs and so many beautiful lives in creation. In LA you even see purple and yellow hair. It does look cool but I wouldn’t want to marry it.

Well back to this car. I’ve been through nearly all Lexus product recently and this RC Sport is no exception to the great performance cars these truly are. Yellow only adds to the allure of this fast and fun to drive sport car.

I’m not so enamored with Toyota product as so many are but they truly produce a fine automobile. I’ve owned a lot of cars including a few Toyota’s over the years and driven most all on and off the race track for nearly 50 years in the Automotive industry. I like this Yellow Lexus.

General Information:

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

Handling & Performance:

The RC “F”model is V8 powered but the RC 350 had a V6 that I had no problem with since there was no want for more power.

Styling:

Lovely design for style you can’t mistake.

Fit and Finish:

Always outstanding design and assembly at Toyota.

Cost:

More than I care to pay for transportation and not as much as I would pay for a gorgeous car. Since we’re looking at high end cars why not go test drive a Ferrari or Lamborghini. Refi the house before you go. I’ve owned some of those too over the years. BUT, I’ve learned if it Flies, Floats or goes fast, rent it or have a friend with one.

Conveniences and comfort:

OK, so there is one thing that was noticeably lacking in this car. Getting in and out is a pain. Literally it is the nature of sport cars and it must be taken into consideration. The older you get the more difficult it is to pour yourself into a low to the ground car. Getting out is even more interesting. Girls in dresses? Men in Kilts? Something to think about.

Consumer Recommendations:

If you’re in the market for a sporty car and you’re agile enough to enter and exit the car without hurting yourself this class is exciting to drive. I’ve known women as beautiful and exciting but quite frankly they can be a pain too. Know what I mean. On the other hand, to be fair, I’m sure the gals have known guys with inflated egos as well.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Lexus RC 350 45,000 23 4 2 Japan Japan
Mercedes Benz C-Class 44,000 25 4 2 Germany Germany
Audi A5 44,000 27 4 2 Germany Germany
BMW 4-Series 45,000 27 4 2 Germany Germany

Good News:

Fast, fun to drive and very pretty.

Bad News:

Mostly for the young at heart.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter V6 dual OH Cam, direct injection and VVT (Variable Valve Timing), 8-speed auto trans with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, Drive mode select: ECO, Normal, Sport and Snow, 18” Aluminum wheels, 8-airbags, Power ABS disc braking system with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution),Smart stop technology, Vehicle dynamic integrated management, Safety system with pre-collision system, pedestrian detection, high speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, intelligent high beam headlights, Back up camera, Lexus Enform connect with Enform remote, tire pressure monitor, 60/40 split folding rear seat, 10-way power driver seat, 8-way power passenger seat, smart access with push button start/stop, genuine wood interior trim, information display including audio, phone and trip info, Bluetooth hands free phone and audio streaming, HD radio, real time traffic and weather, MP3 player, USB integration, CD, Sirius XM satellite radio.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 28 Highway MPG

$3.65/ Gal avg. July 2, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $43,576 plus.

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

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