2018 Lexus GS 350

GS 350  proves Lexus understands luxury … 2018 Lexus GS 350

Lexus understands luxury like professional football coaches know their Xs and Os.

Lexus nails it, again, with its GS 350 sport sedan that offers a near perfect blend of luxury and sport. It starts with a bold exterior, aggressive nose and mammoth grille with chins spoiler, blended with a muscular, but mainstream profile. Continue reading 2018 Lexus GS 350

2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4×4

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited  improves its on-road abilities … 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

I’m not too proud to say that I used to dread test driving a Jeep, especially the Wranglers as they have traditionally been the most basic of vehicles meant for crushing rocks, splashing water and wallowing in mud.

I love the outdoors as much as the next guy, but slopping around in muck and then bouncing all the way home like I’m in an inflatable bounce house is not my idea of fun. Continue reading 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4×4

Die-cast: Autoart’s Chevy Corvette Grand Sport

Striking look makes Corvette Grand Sport a winner … Autoart Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Corvettes of late are little rockets that cost less than pricey European rockets that are capable of on-track racing, but usually end up in an upper class suburban driveway instead.

But that would be a waste for Chevrolet’s famous muscle car, especially in Grand Sport trim. And in die-cast models, it would be shame not to encase Autoart’s 1/18 scale 2017 Corvette Grand Sport in an acrylic case or behind a display cabinet’s glass doors. It’s a beauty, and ours was the Watkins Glen metallic gray with satin black stripes from nose to tail. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Chevy Corvette Grand Sport

2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4X4

4Runner is old school and that’s OK …2018 Toyota 4Runner

Technophobes and off-roaders have a rare opportunity to live life large aboard Toyota’s rough trail loving 2018 4Runner. That’s because this off-roader has not yet been updated to include all the electronic gee-whiz gadgets that fill most others in the segment.

Some might say the 4Runner is long in the tooth, others may just say thank you. Continue reading 2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4X4

Die-cast: Greenlight’s 2017 Indy 500 podium diorama

Greenlight delivers flashy Indy 500 diorama …Greenlight 2017 Indy 500 podium finishers

OK, I’m an Indy 500 nut and I know that shows in some of the products we cover here. But, to be honest, Indy has been regained much of its luster in the last 5-6 years and there’s a lot more IndyCar die-cast being offered. Continue reading Die-cast: Greenlight’s 2017 Indy 500 podium diorama

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4motion

VW’s Tiguan leads the brand with better handling …2018 VW Tiguan

Volkswagen has had its rocky moments the past few years. One word – diesel – tells you everything you need to know.

But of late the giant German automaker seems to be getting its mojo back, and none too soon. More new models are hitting the streets each year now. Continue reading 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4motion

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1958 Scarab Mk. II, Riverside winner

This beautiful Scarab won Riverside in 1958 … 1958 Scarab

First came the 1959 Scarab that Jim Jeffords drove to a win at Meadowdale, but now Replicarz delivers the first Scarab to win a sports car race. This beautiful bright light metallic blue racer is a replica of the one Chuck Daigh drove to victory at the Riverside International Grand Prix in California in 1958.

Replicarz exclusive lineup of Scarabs are cast resin, so feel substantial and are magnificently shaped with their sexy bulging fenders and long hood. This is a 1/18 scale model with great shelf or display case presence. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1958 Scarab Mk. II, Riverside winner

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL S-AWC

Outlander a star in Mitsubishi’s quiet lineup …2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi is the quiet company in the U.S. auto market; we hardly hear a peep out of the Japanese vehicle maker. Its lineup is compact and advertising minimal.

But the star of its lineup for several years has been the Outlander, a competent crossover with available AWD and a standard third row seat. That’s certainly something to tout to families looking for inexpensive wheels and the ability to carry 7 passengers. Continue reading 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL S-AWC

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited

Pacifica plug-in hybrid rocks the MPG …2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid 2018 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid

What would you say if I told you there’s a 5,000-lb. minivan that will get 84 miles per gallon, maybe 88.9 mpg?

I thought so. You’d laugh. You’d think this Savage dude has gone off his noodle, is a couple bricks shy of a full load, has an elevator that doesn’t go to the top floor. Continue reading 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited

Road America test drives

Car heaven at Road America

Nobody ever has to ask a second time if Mark and I want to attend an event at Road America. For us, the track, located in Elkhart Lake, Wis., is one of the most fun locations we visit in the automotive world. We were among the 80 plus media members from across the country given the opportunity to check out more than 90 new vehicles at the Midwest Automotive Media Association’s (MAMA) annual Spring Rally held May 23-24. Continue reading Road America test drives

2018 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium

Kia’s  Niro plug-in hybrid rocks the mpg ratings …2018 Kia Niro PHEV

Last year Kia’s Niro hybrid crossover wannabe surprised me big time. It’s attractive, handles well, has decent power and achieved good gas mileage because it was a standard hybrid.

Sure the Toyota Prius is queen of this category, but Niro has it all on looks and thoughtfully designed interior. Continue reading 2018 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium

2018 BMW M550i xDrive

BMW’s M550i a hot, but sophisticated, rocket! … 2018 BMW 550i xDrive

BMW 5 Series sedans still rock.

I know I about drooled myself silly praising the BMW 530e xDrive I tested about six weeks ago. I lauded it as epitomizing BMW’s motto of The Ultimate Driving Machine, and I still believe that. But …

Along comes its sister sport sedan, the M550i xDrive, and well, my lather has returned. That’s because in place of the silky smooth plug-in hybrid system of the 530e, with its 248-horse twin-turbo I4 and electric hybrid system, the 550 drops in a throbbing V8. Yes, this one has a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that creates — hold on — 456 horsepower. Continue reading 2018 BMW M550i xDrive

Die-cast: Replicarz 1925 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner

Pete DePaolo’s Duesenberg is a beauty … Replicarz 1925 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner

Last time we laid eyes on Replicarz’s 1/18 scale Indy-winning Duesenbergs they were prototypes. Now comes the real deal, and just in time for next month’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

Granted Duesenbergs haven’t been ripping up the Speedway recently, but they were a force in the 1920s. And Peter DePaolo may have been the best-known racer of his day, and Duesenberg’s main man too. So this 1925 Indy winner should be the fastest mover of the three winners (also 1924 and 1927) now available. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz 1925 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1985 March 85C, Indy Winner

Spin and Win Indy 500 winner a beautiful race car …1985 Indy 500 winner, March 85C

The March chassis was a dominant one in Indycar racing during the 1980s, and it was a beautiful racer.

That’s what makes Replicarz’s new 1/18 scale March 85C, the Miller beer-sponsored red and white beauty driven to the Indy 500 win by Danny Sullivan in 1985, such a winner. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1985 March 85C, Indy Winner

2018 Audi Q5 2.0T quattro w/Prestige

New Audi Q5 remains smooth, luxurious …2018 Audi Q5

Evidently once a smooth operator, always a smooth operator.

Audi’s new Q5 compact luxury crossover/sport-ute carries on its tradition of smooth, sporty performance with luxury ladled on for good measure. It’s a bit larger than its predecessor and slightly more fuel efficient too. This is an all-around winner. No wonder the Q5 is Audi’s best-selling vehicle. Continue reading 2018 Audi Q5 2.0T quattro w/Prestige

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