topspeed garage

topspeed garage

The Infiniti QX60 is relatively new in the crowded crossover market. Technically, 2014 is the QX60’s first year in production, but its literal existence dates back to 2013 when Infiniti introduced the three-row crossover as the JX35. Thanks to the automaker’s nomenclature shake-up for the 2014 model year, the JX became the QX60 with no major changes happening to the vehicle itself. Infiniti has made things simpler with its new naming structure, keeping sedans named with the prefix Q and the SUVs named with the prefix QX.

I recently spent a week utilizing the 2014 Infiniti QX60 for its intended purpose. I hauled people, their stuff, and even attached a car seat for my toddler. The rear-seat DVD system kept passengers entertained, and the all-wheel-drive system helped the QX60 navigate a few torrential Florida downpours.

I spent the majority of the week’s driving on the highway with a smaller portion stuck in city traffic. The Infiniti felt at home in both situations, especially with its optional Intelligent Cruise Control system. Speaking of optional equipment, my QX60 tester came equipped with over $14,000 in extras. To say it was loaded would be an understatement.

Even without the extra goodies, the QX60 comes with a laundry list of features befitting a premium brand. But does that make this crossover a good buy?

Keep reading past the jump to find out.

The GS is the second-largest sedan you can buy from Lexus , and it is one of the most luxurious. It comes loaded with all the leather, wood and technology you would expect from the brand, but it comes with something most Lexus models are missing; a touch of anger and performance. Lexus sells the GS with an adjustable sports suspension, an F Sport model and even a hybrid that promises to let you have fun.

Lexus has proven that it can do some great things with the F brand, but I had to laugh at the idea of a fun hybrid from the brand. Low and behold a Starfire Pearl colored GS450h rolled into my driveway for me to beat and cane on for a whole week. After experiencing what Porsche can do with the Panamera Hybrid , I was interested to see if Lexus could make a hybrid that was “fun.”

It has more than 300 horsepower, promises more than 30 mpg, and it looks great to boot. If there was ever going to be a hybrid from the Toyota family that I would enjoy, it would be this one. Let’s jump and in and drop the hammer; it’s time to see what this thing is made of.

Read on to find out more about the 2014 Lexus GS450h

You may recall my first drive experience with the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata. It took place in the heartland of Alabama, along I-65 at Hyundai’s Montgomery Assembly Plant. There I spent time in with all three Sonata models: the 1.6-liter, I-4 Turbo in the Eco model, the 2.4-liter, I-4 volume engine, and the sportier, 2.0-liter, I-4 Turbo. All three made a positive impression during the short routes over the busy afternoon. A more extended test was in order.

I recently spent a week behind the wheel of a Sonata 2.0T painted in Urban Sunset, much like the tester I had in Montgomery. Even the options list — or lack thereof — looked the same. Carpeted floor mats costing $125 was the only added extra my recent ride had. That’s not altogether terrible, as the Sonata comes with a healthy list of standard features, including the proximity key entry and push-button starting, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a five-inch touchscreen in the dash with SiriusXM and Bluetooth connectivity, HID headlights, and LED taillights. The most noticeable feature missing is navigation, but it is available.

The Sonata proved to be a helpful tool in the week’s chore list — a list that included a trip to IKEA, hauling four other passengers around town, and jaunting down the highway while riding solo. So how did the Hyundai handle the week? Click past the jump to find out.

Click past the jump for more on the 2015 Sonata

Volvo is the king of the family-hauling luxury SUV . When the XC90 hit the scene, it began a slow domination of the three-row market. Soon after, the Swedish automaker moved into the smaller market with the XC60 and once again, Volvo had a relative hit for the brand. Now for the new 2015.5 model, the XC60 is updated, upgraded and supposedly better than ever, and I was going to drive the new, more fuel efficient T6 Drive-E model.

As someone who ordinarily hates family hauling crossovers, but loves nicely designed cars like those from Sweden, I was interested in giving this car a run for its money. One of my favorite small hatches of all time is the Volvo C30 , so would Volvo be able to make me like a crossover ?

It is great to look at, has lots of nice details and features, plus it has 300 horsepower under the hood. I took the keys for a week and a few hundred miles to see if it was worth buying. Would the fuel saving features ruin the fun? Would the generally boring driving dynamics of a family car make me hate driving it?

Read on to find out more about the new 2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E.

The crisp, cold air caught me off guard when I stepped from the hotel into the staging area where Lexus had filed a handful of its newest creations into two lines, prepped for a drive through the lush countryside that envelopes New York’s Hudson Valley. The brisk air might not have been what this Floridian was used to in mid-September, but once behind the wheel of the 2015 Lexus RC F, things became familiar.

Though I’d not sat in Lexus’ two-door, rear-drive sports coupe a day in my life, the interior was an immediately recognizable place, harking back to my time in the 2014 IS 350 F-Sport. The controls fell in the same position, the infotainment screen showed the same Enform system, even the overall design looked like I’d accidentally sat in the wrong Lexus.

And that’s not a bad thing.

While there’s plenty of IS flavor in the new RC, there’s even more that’s unfamiliar. The beautifully stitched sports seats, the reworked gauge cluster, and the center console arrangement are all new, not to mention the 2+2 seating configuration.

Slipping the eight-speed automatic into gear, the faintly audible rumble of the RC F’s 5.0-liter V-8 mumbled at a lower tone. Our entourage of journalists was off to conquer a two-hour drive before arriving at our destination, Monticello Motor Club.

The Tundra is an obscure model in the Toyota lineup. In the world that is dominated by the "Detroit Three," Toyota continually strives to create a pickup that is worthy of the masses, even if the sales are far from stellar. The current-generation truck is getting quite old — it debuted in 2007 — so Toyota has given it a full visual overhaul inside and out for 2014. TopSpeed went to the first press drive and came away quite impressed, but how would the truck fair in the real world?

I took possession of a top-level trim 1794 Edition Tundra for a week to put it through its paces. The GM twins are all-new this year, the new Ford F-150 comes out next year, and the Ram should be getting refreshed soon. In this world of fast evolving pickups does the new Tundra have what it takes to stay relevant?

I spent more than 800 miles beating on this beast to see if it had what it takes to be a real truck that sees real work.

Read on to find out what I though of it.

The Lexus GX sport utility has been around since 2003 when Lexus added the midsize SUV to its lineup. Slotted between the smaller crossover RX and the larger LX platforms, the GX offered plenty of room for seven passengers and loads of rugged abilities that the then up-and-coming crossover segment lacked. A heavy refresh came in 2010 and included the 4.6-liter V-8 to replace the older 4.7-liter, a revised interior, and some slight updating to the exterior. Now for 2014, Lexus has reworked the GX460, giving it the corporate-wide Spindle Grille up front with HID and LED lighting, a reshaped rear bumper, and a new range-topping trim level. Lexus has also subtracted some stuff, namely the pricing. In fact, the base GX460 is roughly $4,700 cheaper than 2013 model. That said, the GX460 isn’t a cheap SUV, thanks to a starting price still touching $50,000.

The GX460 does offer a lot for that scratch, however, and it makes a solid case for itself when considering its heritage and capabilities as a true SUV — and one that can still haul seven people. It’s able to tow a 6,500-pound trailer, engage low range and hit the trails, yet still look at home parked at the county club.

I recently spent a week getting to know the 2014 GX460 with all its quirks and strong suits. The week was spent doing mixed driving, split pretty evenly on highways and city streets. Hauling passengers and hill climbing even happened on a few occasions.

Click past the jump for the full report

I’ve discussed before how every car in the Flyin’ Miata fleet has a special character. Each car is designed and created to show off a certain characteristic or modification. Nancy demonstrates just how the great the Miata the can be with a bit more power and a little suspension love, while Atomic Betty represents the pinnacle of a Grand Touring style roadster. And then we have Elvis.

Elvis is similar to Atomic Betty in that it is a V-8 conversion Miata, but Elvis is an NB-generation car, and it was the first V-8 car that FM converted. While Betty is a comfortable cruiser that just happens to have incredible power and immense speed; Elvis is a bit rougher, a little more raw, and he is all the better for it.

With a more horsepower thanks to a different engine cam, the smaller size and weight that comes with the older generation cars, and the inherently less rigid NB chassis, Elvis has a feel that is all his own.

Do all these differences make Elvis and inferior machine to the mighty Betty, or is he great just the way he is? We spent some serious time behind the wheel to figure it out.

Read on to find out more about the V-8 powered Miata that Flyin’ Miata call Elvis

When you want the greatest combination of pure undiluted luxury and benchmark-setting off-road performance, the only name that comes to mind is Range Rover . Since it was introduced as the more luxurious alternative to the standard Land Rover , the Range Rover has been garnering fans and accolades the world over.

An all-new, fourth-generation Range Rover was released in 2012, but to create a vehicle that is even more spacious and luxurious than any Range Rover before a long-wheelbase version was released for 2014. To handle the extra weight, Every L model also comes standard with the supercharged V-8. More room and more power seems like a great place to start.

It certainly adds more room, but does a stretched version of a Range Rover really make it more luxurious , and does that longer wheelbase negatively affect the off-road abilities of this legendary machine.

Is the stretched model is worth the extra cash required to take one home, or has the longer length and added weight ruined one of the best machines to ever roll out of Britain?

I took a week to put the newest Range Rover through its paces and decide.

Read on to find out more about the 2014 Range Rover Long Wheelbase Supercharged

The Scion FR-S and its corporate cousins the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 are still relatively new to the sports car scene, having been launched in 2012. The cars represent an interesting alliance between Subaru and Toyota , two Japanese automakers, with Toyota taking care of the design work and Subaru handling the greasy bits underneath.

Though the cars have been well received by journalist and enthusiast the world over, it seems sales, at least in the U.S., arn’t living up to the hype with just over 40,000 FR-S units moved since 2012 and roughly 18,000 BRZs sold. That’s an oddity considering just how well the cars fulfill the sport car checklist.

I recently spent a week behind the wheel of a Scion FR-S getting to know its personality. My tester came equipped with nothing more than optional six-speed automatic transmission. No navigation or SiriusXM; just an honest sports coupe with a willing powerplant and skinny tires that made driving anywhere an exciting event.

Click past the jump for the full rundown of the 2014 Scion FR-S


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