Tag Archives: heated seats

2018 Lexus LS 500 AWD

Lexus LS500 impressive and loaded … 2018 Lexus LS 500 AWD

OMG, the Lexus LS 500 is one of the most impressive luxury sedans I’ve ever driven. That’s high praise, but this car is worthy.

Starting at $79,215, including delivery, one would expect nothing less than superfine, but loaded with 11 options and packages this goes all the way to stellar. Think competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series.

Also think big bank loan, cash in the 401k and hope great-aunt Harriet hasn’t forgotten you in her will. Continue reading 2018 Lexus LS 500 AWD

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2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali

Terrain redesign lightens the load; Denali model adds luxury …2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali

GMC redesigns its Terrain crossover for 2018 to make it lighter and a bit smaller, fighting all industry trends to add weight and length. Mostly, it’s a success.

Terrain is virtually the same vehicle as Chevrolet’s Equinox with a bit boxier styling, but much improved from the previous model. Mine was a dark gray metallic with all-wheel-drive and was GMC’s top trim, the Denali. Continue reading 2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali

2015 Nissan Juke SL AWD

Juke the latest oddball design from Nissan 

Odd nose and those lights atop the hood are great at holding snow and ice.
Odd nose and those lights atop the hood are great at holding snow and ice.

Nissan’s Juke is unusual looking!

You’ll probably substitute your own word for “unusual”, but there will be no argument that it looks like no other car on the road, but then neither did the Nissan Cube, which has been discontinued, or the late Pontiac Aztek.

For lack of a better descriptor, I’d say the Juke has bug eyes, or possibly a frog-faced nose. Some call it youthful, some funky. But it’s no Kia Soul, which exudes cute and trendy.

Plus the unique Juke has been around now for several years, so it’s not a newcomer to the market. It does offer all-wheel-drive, which is a plus in its favor, plus decent gas mileage and in the tested SL AWD model, heated front seats. That was especially nice on several sub-zero days during my drive.

This is the purplish blue of my test car.
This is the purplish blue of my test car.

Its other major plus, other than being a hatchback, is its lithe nature and easy sporty handling. It’s fun to drive with mild steering effort and responsive handling with little lean in turns. In that way, it feels much like a Jeep.

Sadly it feels Jeep-like in ride, which is to say choppy over Wisconsin’s rough roads. The front MacPherson struts and rear multi-link suspension, both with stabilizer bars, shocks and springs, delivered a bumpier small sport-utility truck type ride than many folks may enjoy and I found myself trying to dodge any road imperfection to ease the jostle. Blame much of that on Juke’s short, 99.6-inch wheelbase. Continue reading 2015 Nissan Juke SL AWD

2015 Chrysler 200C AWD

Fiat gives Chrysler a fine mid-size car with new 200C

The 200C (left) and 200S feature sophisticated styling and one might argue, a bit of Italian flair.
The 200C (left) and 200S feature sophisticated styling and one might argue, a bit of Italian flair.

The former Chrysler 200 was so long in the tooth you may have wanted to nickname it Snagglepuss.

It was updated a couple years back by Fiat, after it snaggled Chrysler away from bankruptcy and the U.S. government. Mostly, that change in ownership has done nothing but help Chrysler’s various lineups, and the new Chrysler 200 again confirms that.

The midsize sedan, which rides on the Jeep Cherokee platform (see my interview with the lead engineer done at the Chicago Auto Show) so is available with all-wheel-drive, carries the rounded styling first seen on the sporty Dodge Dart. This is a handsome sedan with swept back rear quarter to give it both a modern and sporty profile. The tested C model with AWD tops the 200 lineup and its $30,195 starting price reflects that. This isn’t your great aunt’s old Chrysler 200 winter beater car.

The 200 comes in basic LX trim with a list price of $22,695 and in that form is front-wheel drive with a competent 184-horse MultiAir 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. A mid-level S model is available in all- and front-drive as is this upscale C model.

This C stands out due to its more powerful 3.6-liter V6 that features variable valve timing and delivers 295 horses and a torque rating of 262. Tires also grow to 18 inches and the interior is decked out with leather trimmed heated seats and a load of bells and whistles. The vivid blue pearl (bright metallic blue) test car ladled on three option packages to doll itself up and hit a rather optimistic $34,675, including a $795 delivery charge.

The 200 looks attractive from the rear too.
The 200 looks attractive from the rear too.

The car itself feels more modern and refined that past 200 models. The engine is strong and will get to highway speeds easily, even with four people aboard. This is a fine highway cruiser for the family and the giant 16-cubic-foot trunk will accommodate a load of luggage.

While the car feels strong, it doesn’t really jump from a stop as you might expect. It feels heavy despite a moderate 3,473 lbs. Its 9-speed (that’s right!) automatic transmission is designed to save gas, but not to put the car on a speedy trajectory, especially in city driving. The car is rated 18 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. I averaged a fine 24.2 mpg in about 75% highway driving and with up to four aboard. Continue reading 2015 Chrysler 200C AWD