Lexus GS 350 AWD

Lexus GS 350, car review, Lexus GS 350 review,
Photos courtesy Lexus

Let the coddling begin!

Luxury cars make you feel special; they coddle you.

After a week in a gorgeous “mercury metallic (dark sparkling metallic blue)” 2013 Lexus GS350 I consider myself sufficiently coddled. The redesigned full-size GS comes as both a rear-drive and all-wheel-drive model, this being the latter.

All come with a strong 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 that delivers 306 horsepower via a seamless 6-speed automatic that allows you to shift manually via the console shifter or paddle shifters located behind the power tilt/telescope steering wheel. Everything feels silky smooth, belying the GS AWD’s $49,450 base price. Continue reading Lexus GS 350 AWD

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Kia Rio hatch delivers sporty feel

2012-Kia-5-door-Hatch review, auto reviews, savageonwheels
Photos courtesy Kia

Last week I drove the Hyundai Accent and this week I drive its near twin, the 2012 Kia Rio SX, both fine small entry-level cars. But there are differences among the similarities.

First, the test Rio was a 5-door or hatchback version, while last week’s Accent was a four-door sedan.

Second, Rio has a much sportier feel created by a stiffer suspension and more supportive contoured seats inside. Continue reading Kia Rio hatch delivers sporty feel

Die-cast car: Greenlight 2010 Indy winner

Dario Franchitti’s Indy winner a nice model at a moderate price

Dario Franchitti, Chip Ganassi Racing, Indy 500, SavageonwheelsGreenlight Collectibles’ 1:18 casting of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 race winner’s bright red Target Chip Ganassi racer is a great display model, if Indy cars are your thing.

IndyCar racing has regained much of its popularity the last few years as a new star has emerged, Dario Franchitti. The Scotsman with an Italian name is well spoken, friendly and married to movie actress Ashley Judd. He’s a marketing bonanza. Continue reading Die-cast car: Greenlight 2010 Indy winner

Slot cars: BBR’s Ferrari F430 looks great

The Ferrari F430 is a champ on the track and a popular racer in the American LeMans and FIA GT championship series, and also has raced at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Plus who the heck doesn’t like a Ferrari F430, slot car reviews, savageonwheels.comFerrari?

So it’s natural enough that noted Italian die-cast car model maker BBR has jumped into the slot car world with an F430.

In the real world the F430 goes for upward of $225,000 in the U.S. market and its 4.3-liter V-8 cranks out an a stout 483 horses with a top speed of nearly 197 mph. No wonder these are racers.

The interesting part here is that BBR’s first slot car is a kit, not pre-built, so BBR fans will get to build their own Ferrari. Continue reading Slot cars: BBR’s Ferrari F430 looks great

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep, savageonwheels
Photos Courtesy Chrysler, LLC.

With Hummer gone, Jeep is our resident Alpha male off-road vehicle and truth be told, it has been for 70+ years. Hummer was the upstart.

While Wrangler is Jeep’s real Type A personality, it’s more sophisticated brother, the Grand Cherokee is no shy guy. Take the Limited model for example.

Standard with a 290-horse Pentastar V6, our silver test model upped the ante with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with variable valve timing and Fuel Saver Technology aimed at eeking out an extra mpg while still giving the Jeep major grunt. Continue reading 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2012 Hyundai Accent GLS

Hyundai is trying something few carmakers have of late, offer a small entry-level car with nice styling.

4-door sedan reviews, Hyundai Accent 4-door sedan
Photos Courtesy Hyundai

No, the Accent isn’t as swoopy as the Sonata or even the Elantra, which is sandwiched between Accent and Sonata. But its lines are crisp and give the small car some flair. I drove a sparkling “marathon blue” 4-door GLS for the week and found it a great value. Here’s why.

First, it doesn’t cost you much to get into an Accent. Base price on the 4-door is $12,545 and for that you get the same 1.6-liter fuel-efficient direct-injected 4-cylinder all aluminum engine as all Accents. It delivers 138 horsepower, which is best in class, so there’s plenty of power for a light, 2,463-lb. car. Continue reading 2012 Hyundai Accent GLS

2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

The world needs another compact sport-utility vehicle like it needs a few more politicians, but Mazda definitely needed a new compact SUV.

It’s Tribute, which was based off Ford’s Escape, was aging and barely selling. Its CX-7 and CX-9 are larger and frankly, more expensive.

2013 Mazda CX-5, Mazda reviews, savageonwheels
Photos courtesy of Mazda

So the 2013 (already) CX-5 comes along at just the right time, for Mazda. The fact that it’s attractive, abandoning the giant gaping mouth nose styling that Mazda has fancied of late, will likely make it popular too, that and its performance. The good mojo starts with better than average gas mileage and extends to a pleasant ride, above average handling and a stylish interior. Continue reading 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

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