Tag Archives: Indianapolis

2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited

Hyundai Elantra, perceptions change a bit …2017 Hyundai Elantra

Perceptions can shift and auto writers often perceive differences in similar models they drive. This happened on a couple fronts with my latest drive of Hyundai’s attractive Elantra Limited, its near top-level compact.

I still like the car, its looks, its features, its gas mileage, its value. But compared with a 2016 drive of a quite similar model, well, I noticed differences.

First, the acceleration from Elantra’s somewhat new 2.0-liter I4 seems milder than in the previous test car although it’s the same engine. In the earlier car I pressed the Drive Mode button on the console and when Sport mode kicked in I felt decidedly different acceleration, more aggressive. This time there was a difference, but whether the algorithms were changed or what, acceleration was not as aggressive.

There’s an Eco mode too, but that’s unneeded as the car gets excellent gas mileage in Normal mode.2017 Hyundai Elantra

Second, there’s still modest road noise, although that seemed somewhat better on the tested bright Electric Blue Metallic test car this time. Funny, this time I test drove between Milwaukee and Indianapolis, so mostly highway driving where you’d think road noise would be more noticed.

Third, I’d found the earlier model’s seats supportive enough, but this time (possibly because I spent longer periods sitting) the black leather seats seemed harder and featured only modest hip support.

All that said, the Elantra remains an exceptional value. Consider this, the base SE model starts at $18,000, while the Sport model with more horsepower goes for $22,485 and the tested Limited lists at $22,350. All have an $835 delivery fee. Continue reading 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited

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2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Advance

New Acura RLX sport sedan does it all2016 Acura RLX …

I quickly feel in love with driving the new Acura RLX Hybrid, a sport sedan that does everything right from a performance standpoint.

One could argue that its looks are pedestrian, and they are mid-pack at best. But driving the RLX is like flying under the radar of our beloved highway patrol simply because it does NOT stand out visually. It simply kicks booty when it comes to manhandling the roads.

First, the Crystal Black RLX Sport Hybrid I tested was the top-end model with the Advance package and clicked the cost turnstiles at $66,870 including delivery. There were no options left to add.

The Advance package hybrid comes with the standard RLX engine, a strong 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing. To that it adds a hybrid system consisting of three electric motors, two working directly to power the rear wheels. That electric power extends gas mileage and boosts power by 67 horsepower for a total of 377 ponies.

In standard mode the car has generous power from a stop, but punch the Sport button on the console and the car is noticeably faster off the line, delivering a punch you might not expect from a car of such nonchalant looks. Sort of like discovering your class valedictorian also is a professional stunt double. Continue reading 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Advance

2014 Subaru BRZ Limited

Fun, Fun, Fun till daddy takes the BRZ away!BRZ 

Rarely have I driven a sports coupe that was more pure fun to drive and garnered more attention than the Subaru BRZ, and yet …

The BRZ, a kissin’ cousin to Scion’s F-RS, is far from perfect. But it’s so much fun you might overlook most of its shortcomings.

First, there are many bright spots. It’s an edgy looking sports car, one that gets thumbs up at stoplights from young men, young women and guys on motorcycles. It has a triangular center mounted brake light below bumper level in back and the tested Limited model touts a mean Star Wars look rear wing that even Darth Vader would give a thumbs up.

The test car was a dark metallic gray that complimented that edgy, somewhat menacing look, and being rear-wheel drive and packing a 200-horse Boxer 4-cylinder, the car has excellent balance and a peppy feel. BRZ accelerates quickly from a stop, but doesn’t have explosive power as it would if the car’s horizontally opposed Subaru-designed engine had a turbocharger. Could there be one in the future? One can hope.

BRZ1Subaru also gives the car an easy shifting 6-speed manual that slips through the gears smoothly and synchs well with the engine to give it that pep. The clutch works well too, so unlikely you’ll tire in thick traffic or kill the engine at a stoplight.

Handling is light and easy too with good steering feedback and the car feels well balanced so it zips through tight corners like the sports car that it is and with the car’s rear wheels feeling well planted. The low profile provided by the Boxer engine keeps the center of gravity low, which also helps handling. A Torsen limited-slip differential and stability control give BRZ sticky footing upon acceleration and in corners and much of the car’s light feel is attributable to its modest weight, just 2,776 lbs. Continue reading 2014 Subaru BRZ Limited

Die-Cast: Replicarz 1911 Indy 500 Winner, Marmon Wasp

New Replicarz Marmon Wasp creates buzz!wasp

After all the buzz created by early preview photos, the new Replicarz 1911 Indianapolis 500-winning Marmon Wasp, proves worth the wait.

I know I’ve been telling you for a while, and showing you photos, that teased at how special this 1:18 scale diecast would be, but now I’ve got the final product sitting on my desk to prove it. All it needs do is belch a little smoke and it’d be ready to head out onto the bricks at Indy.

A little background, if you’re not a die-hard Indy fan.

Check out the engine crank handle below the radiator and prominent rearview mirror in front of the cockpit.
Check out the engine crank handle below the radiator and prominent rearview mirror in front of the cockpit.

First, the inaugural Indianapolis 500 was run in 1911 on the 2 ½-mile brick covered oval and all the cars, save one, featured a riding mechanic. The lone wolf in the pack was Ray Harroun, a successful racer at the time for Marmon, a car company located in Indianapolis, a thriving car building area in the early 1900s. Harroun had won a preliminary race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a year prior to the first 500 and retired after becoming national driving champ. Continue reading Die-Cast: Replicarz 1911 Indy 500 Winner, Marmon Wasp

1911 Indy 500 winning Marmon Wasp

Sneak Peak Photos of Replicarz 1:18 Marmon Wasp

No secret, I’m an Indy 500 nut job. Love the cars, love the history, love all the wild crazy designs over the years. I also love die-cast models of historic Indy racers.

Marmon Wasp by Replicarz
The Wasp engine will be wired to match the original 1911 racer.

Don’t want to brag here, but I’ve got some sneak peak shots of the Replicarz 1:18 Marmon Wasp model that should be released in the next several months.The Wasp, with its distinctive yellow color and pointed tail (wonder how it got the “wasp” nickname?), was the only single-seat car in the inaugural 1911 Indianapolis 500. And Ray Harroun, a Marmon test driver and racer, won that rough and tumble first race for the Indianapolis-based car maker. Continue reading 1911 Indy 500 winning Marmon Wasp