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2018 Nissan Maxima - Driven

2018 Nissan Maxima - Driven

The Nissan Maxima is something of an oddity in the automotive landscape. It used to be that the Max was the biggest car in Nissan’s lineup — hence its maximum name. But for the last couple of generations, the Maxima’s size has been matched by its cheaper sister, the Nissan Altima.

This creates all sorts of confusion for some consumers. A friend saw me comparing a Camry to an Altima and said, “Shouldn’t you compare Camry to Maxima?”

No, no you should not. The Maxima is much more of a driver’s car than any Camry, though I admit the new-for-2018 Camry closes the gap a little (more on that in a minute.)

As for anyone else who may be confused by Maxima’s place in the family sedan world, let me put it this way: It punches well above its weight — so much so that, if I were considering spending my money on an entry-level luxury car like a Mercedes CLA or Lexus ES, I’d honestly consider the Maxima in that same pack.

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The Front-Wheel-Drive BMW X2 Doesn't Deserve The Hate it Gets From Purists

The Front-Wheel-Drive BMW X2 Doesn’t Deserve The Hate it Gets From Purists

There’s room for it in BMW’s growing X family of crossovers and SUVs

The BMW X2 is not a perfect car. It may not even be the best BMW crossover in the German automaker’s lineup. But, it is worthy of our attention, not because of what it represents in today’s crossover-infatuated world, but simply because of what it is. BMW purists may cringe at the sight of another crossover diluting the brand, but there’s more to the X2 than meets the eye. You just have to know where to look.

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What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500

What It’s Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500

A grand tourer that’s fine with commuting… mostly

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is a stunningly beautiful coupe that looks more like a concept car than a production model. That visual appeal, combined with its sultry interior and angry V-8, solidly confirm its place as an aspirational vehicle. It would be right at home on a bedroom poster next to high-end sports cars from Ferrari or Lamborghini. Yet this 2+2 coupe isn’t a true sports car, but a grand tourer with comfort and luxury as its main objective with a go-fast nature coming in second.

It’s this aim at luxury that makes the LC500 a pleasure to daily drive. Of course, the 471-horsepower V-8, 10-speed automatic, and rear-wheel drive that turn the pleasure into outright giddy fun.

Continue reading for driving impressions of the Lexus LC500.

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Why The Lexus LC500 Isn't Perfect

Why The Lexus LC500 Isn’t Perfect

The misunderstood labeling that’s hurting the LC’s image

Read nearly any online review of the 2018 Lexus LC500 and you’ll be left thinking the car is too heavy, too underpowered, and too expensive. And in defense of my fellow automotive journalists out there, they mean well but miss the LC’s essence – its thesis statement. Compared to many 2+2 luxury coupes with V-8 power and rear-wheel drive, the LC simply falls short in the performance category. Unfortunately, this narrow-angle view entirely misses the point of the LC’s existence.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Lexus LC500.

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Valentine's Day Special – A Love Letter To The Subaru WRX

Valentine’s Day Special – A Love Letter To The Subaru WRX

Let me count the ways...

Welp, it’s Valentine’s Day, and as most of the country reaches for the champagne and chocolates, us car enthusiasts are a little too busy with the engine oil and spark plugs. And that makes it the perfect time to reflect on that one special model, the car that lit the fires of passion in your auto-loving bosom. For me, that car was the Subaru WRX.

Continue reading for the full story.

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The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Perfect Ride for a Valentine's Day Date

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Perfect Ride for a Valentine’s Day Date

A hot ride for a hot date

It’s Valentine’s Day, and so long as you’re not celebrating Single’s Awareness Day, you’ve probably got a romantic date planned for tonight. While most people will ride to the restaurant in their Toyota Camry or Chevrolet Tahoe, they’re dreaming of arriving at the valet booth with something a bit more… upscale.

It seems the 2018 Lexus LC500 fits the bill rather perfectly. Let me explain.

Continue reading for more on the Lexus LC500.

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The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer

Luxury combines with power to make driving an enriched experience

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is impossible to miss. Drive it anywhere and people will point, take pictures, and ask questions – both about the car and your best investment advice. The LC500 imparts an air of luxury and sophistication that not many vehicles can match. That’s especially true when, like my tester, the 2+2 coupe is draped in Liquid Platinum paint, fitted with the upgraded 21-inch wheels, and shows hints of its red interior through the windows. The LC simply looks like money.

And given its price tag, looking the part is the least it should do.

Lexus charges a whopping $92,000 for a “base” model LC500. Adding options makes the price rise quicker than Diet Coke out of a Mentos-filled bottle. My tester stickered for $100,920. That’s some serious coin for a vehicle some bill as a “personal luxury coupe.” But is it worth it? And more importantly, what is the LC500?

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Lexus LC500.

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What Lurks Under The Lexus LC500's Hood

What Lurks Under The Lexus LC500’s Hood

Hint: It makes the best noises of every Lexus short of the LFA

The 2018 Lexus LC500 has the pedigree of a proper sports car, though it’s far better at being a fantastic grand touring coupe. Still, it packs a wallop behind that Spindle Grille and it hides plenty of high-tech gadgetry under its carbon fiber reinforced plastic body panels.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Lexus LC500.

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The Lexus LC500's Interior is Breathtaking

The Lexus LC500’s Interior is Breathtaking

Function takes a back seat to form’s overtly striking appeal

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is a beautiful car to behold. Just look at it – everything from those exterior lines and Coke bottle haunches to the interior’s deep bucket seats and intricate dashboard. The dash pulls cues and inspiration from the famed Lexus LFA while combining new elements and Lexus’ most modern take on the Enform infotainment system.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Lexus LC500’s interior.

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Does The Face Of The Toyota Sequoia Hint At What We Can Expect For The Next Toyota Tundra?

Does The Face Of The Toyota Sequoia Hint At What We Can Expect For The Next Toyota Tundra?

Bringing Toyota’s line of trucks and SUVs into the modern era

The Toyota Sequoia and Toyota Tundra are both well-known in their respective segments, but lately, that reputation is derived from the fact that both are getting rather long in the tooth. The Sequoia was first put into production in September of 2000, with a second generation arriving in 2008 along with only a handful of meaningful updates since. Meanwhile, the Tundra first rolled off the line in May of 1999, with the latest second-gen arriving in 2007. Both these nameplates are just aching for a next-generation model to arrive, and Toyota has said it’s working on bringing consumers exactly that in the near future. What we wanna know is this – what will the next model years bring to the table before the third-gens finally arrive? To answer that, we can look to the latest 2018 model year for the Sequoia, which, despite its age, brings a few nice changes to the party.

For starters, the Sequoia is most definitely an old-school affair, offering classic SUV goodness like a ladder frame, part-time 4WD, and a meaty V-8 under the hood. LED lights are provided for illumination of the road ahead, while a few styling tweaks spruce up the old fascia. The gauges were also updated, while the modernized infotainment system comes with complementary safety systems like adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, and pedestrian detection. Meanwhile, a 5.7-liter ’eight provides 380 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.

Prior to the Tundra’s inevitable next-gen refresh, we’d expect the same sort of upgrades – small styling updates, the latest headlights, new infotainment gear, and small interior updates. The V-8 options (310-horsepower 4.6-liter and an up-rated 381-horsepower 5.7-liter) should go pretty much unchanged. Once we get the third generation, though, all bets are off, with far-reaching updates across the board.

What do you wanna see from the new Tundra?

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The new Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is a Cowboy's Dream of Luxury Come True

The new Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is a Cowboy’s Dream of Luxury Come True

More luxury than you can shake a stick at

After a long day of riding hawses on the range and ropin’ dogies, a cowboy likes to kick his boots off and sit a spell. Well, Ram now has a pretty good place to relax. The new 2019 Ram 1500 is completely new, and with it comes a revised and upgraded version of the Laramie Longhorn trim.

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Flamethrowers And Autopilot – Potentially Very Dangerous, But That's A Good Thing

Flamethrowers And Autopilot – Potentially Very Dangerous, But That’s A Good Thing

Elon Musk’s latest venture is an exercise in freedom

Those of us living here in the U.S. like to think we enjoy a good amount of leeway when it comes to self-determination and the way in which we live our lives. That includes the freedom to enjoy potentially dangerous activities, like driving a race car, or shooting a gun, or skydiving. And thanks to Elon Musk’s various ventures, we can add the convenience of the Tesla Autopilot feature and the fun of firing off a $500 flamethrower to the list. Unfortunately, there are still some individuals out there who demand hand-holding.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven

2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven

The grandfather of luxury crossovers

The Lexus RX has been around since 1998 and basically invented the luxury crossover segment. It’s even appropriate to credit the RX with the boom in popularity for all crossover niches. But things have changed, of course, and the competition is fierce. Lexus brought its latest RX iteration to life for 2015, complete with the aggressive styling seen elsewhere in Lexus’ lineup.

Now as 2018 rolls on, the Lexus RX gets a new three-row version called the RX L. it’s available in the RX350 and RX450 configurations, meaning you can haul seven people with a standard V-6 or one connected to a hybrid system. If that’s not enough choice, Lexus will also let you have the F Sport package – and that’s all before getting into the optional features available within the cabin. Needleless to say, the RX offers customers plenty of choices.

But we’re testing the old standard – the RX350 in FWD without the appearance package or hybrid powertrain. This is the type of RX you’d find at any Lexus dealership without having to special order something. Let’s have a look.

Continue reading for more information.

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What it's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350

What it’s Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350

Smooth cruising for four adults

This week we’re evaluating the Lexus RX350 in FWD and without all the extra stuff like the F Sport package and hybrid drivetrain. This is the RX in its purest form. It’s also the least-expensive way to have an RX and a build configuration that you’ll likely find stacked like cordwood at the local Lexus dealer.

It probably comes as no surprise to hear the Lexus RX 350 rides like a cloud on stilts. Lexus has always done a fantastic job building smooth-riding suspension systems for its sedans. That expertise carries over into the RX, along with the 20 years of experience Lexus has with build the luxury crossover. It’s almost hard to believe the RX nameplate is 20 years old in 2018.

Continue reading for our driving impressions.

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Price Check: Lexus RX350 vs the Competition

Price Check: Lexus RX350 vs the Competition

How the Lexus RX 350 stacks the cash

Luxury SUVs are expensive and it takes a hefty bank account to afford one, but even wealthy folks love a good deal. After all, saving and spending wisely are critical parts of becoming wealthy, right?

We’re comparing the 2018 Lexus RX350 to a four of its main rivals. These are the Cadillac XT5, Audi Q5, Lincoln MKX, and for a comparison to Lexus’ new three-row version of the RX, the Acura MDX.

Continue reading for the pricing wars.

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Cargo Space: This is how the Lexus RX350 Stacks Up

Cargo Space: This is how the Lexus RX350 Stacks Up

Turns out that sloping roofline has a downside

This week we’re evaluating the Lexus RX 350 luxury crossover. We’ve covered it Enform infotainment system, talked about its price verses it competition, and looked at how it drives. Now its time to compare the Lexus’ cargo-carrying abilities.

Four of the Lexus’ main competitors are the Cadillac XT5, Audi Q5, and Lincoln MKX. These two-row crossovers represent some of the hottest-selling in the luxury crossover segment, which itself is one of the fastest-growing vehicle segments in the entire automotive industry. We’re also including the three-row Acura MDX as a comparison against Lexus’ new three-row version of the RX, the RX L.

Continue reading for more information.

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A Brief Look at the Lexus RX350's Infotainment System

A Brief Look at the Lexus RX350’s Infotainment System

What’s to like and not like

The Lexus Enform system has been around a while, and unfortunately, its age is showing. While I can’t complain that it doesn’t work, the joystick-controlled system just isn’t the most pleasing to use or the most user-friendly. It takes a while to become comfortable with. Enform also lacks modern features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Still, for all its faults, it’s a decent system. It just goes about the whole user-input thing a bit differently than other systems on the market. It’s hard to criticize Lexus for trying something different, right? Maybe, but it seems Enform might be holding Lexus back. Let’s have a look.

Continue reading for more information.

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Quick Specs: 2017 Lexus RX350

Quick Specs: 2017 Lexus RX350

Lexus’ comfy crossover examined

The Lexus RX has been around since 1998, but its most recent iteration came out for 2015. Traditionally a two-row crossover, the RX ventures into new territory for 2018 with a three-row version called the RX350 L. The two extra seats makes the RX L Lexus’ first three-row crossover. Of course, the LX SUV has boasted three rows for quite a while, but with a massive jump in price and less on-road refinement relative to the unibody-based RX.

This week we’re behind the wheel of the 2017 RX 350 in FWD. It’s technically the base model since it doesn’t have the F Sport package, AWD, or the hybrid drivetrain. That’s just fine, though, as Lexus sells a big number of FWD models without the sporty appearance package or expensive hybrid system.

We’re taking a look at the RX 350’s specs – from its 3.5-liter V-6 to its passenger volume. We’ll also be covering several other aspects of the RX, both objectively and subjectively, along with the full driven review. Stay tuned for that.

Continue reading for more information.

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